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At it again: Agnostic David Berlinski offers to pray for Nick (“burn books” for Darwin) Matzke …

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… if anyone familiar with the problems of cladistics evaluates Matzke’s upcoming dissertation

Recently, at Evolution News & Views, David Berlinski commented on Nick Matzke, suspected noviewer of Steve Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt.Well, Berlinski’s at it again:

Had Stephen Meyer better appreciated the tools of modern cladistics, Nick Matzke believes, he would not have drawn the conclusions that he did in his book Darwin’s Doubt, or argued as he had. Meyer is in this regard hardly alone. It would seem that Stephen Jay Gould was just slightly too thick to have appreciated, and the eminent paleontologist James Valentine just slightly too old to have acquired, the methods that Matzke, writing at Panda’s Thumb, is disposed to champion. Should Valentine be appointed to Matzke’s dissertation committee at UC Berkeley, we at Discovery Institute will be pleased to offer uninterrupted prayers on his behalf. We can offer no assurance of success, of course, but then again, when it comes to cladistic methods, neither can Matzke.

Why, Matzke wonders, did Stephen Meyer not include within his book cladograms such as those he himself displays in his critique, one due to Brysse, the other to Legg? He is in asking this question in full Matzke mode: Sleek with satisfaction. Meyer may well have refrained from including these cladograms because they are topologically in conflict, and display virtually no agreement with one another. Matzke’s inability to discern what is directly beneath his nose is hardly evidence of his own competence in cladistic analysis.

No, Dr. Berlinski, but graduate student Matzke belongs to the very latest generation of Darwinists who are competent, and right in all they say, simply in virtue of their being Darwinists.

They are right in the way that, in some cultures, a man—in conflict with a woman—is right simply in virtue of his being a man. His testimony is worth more than hers in principle. In other words, “right” means “a correct relationship to the overarching system”; it does not mean having good evidence or a correct interpretation thereof. Never has and never will.

The legions of Darwin profs and trolls are—as Berlinski shows—happy to believe in ghosts (ghost lineages). If they believe in that stuff, it must, by definition, be science.

Note: Berlinski is also the author of The Devil’s Delusion, a riposte to Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham in The Battlefield

28 Replies to “At it again: Agnostic David Berlinski offers to pray for Nick (“burn books” for Darwin) Matzke …

  1. 1

    Could someone show me where Nick Matzke has ever advocated burning books, even metaphorically?

  2. 2
    JWTruthInLove says:

    @Liddle:

    It was Barry who introduced the book burner metaphor.

    You see, we’re all book burners. You, me, kairosfocus, Barry, …

    scordova:
    The book burning illustration I think is to illustrate symbolically the obvious delight in Matzke would have in seeing certain ideas burned out of society.

  3. 3
    JWTruthInLove says:

    Who is Dr. Berlinski praying to?

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Berlinski has used the allusion to prayer before to poke fun at ID critics. In the following article, after pointing out that ID critics often do more harm than good for their own position, Berlinski wryly noted:

    At the Discovery Institute we often offer an inter-faith Prayer of Thanksgiving to the Almighty for the likes of P.Z. Myers, Larry Moran, Barbara Forrest, Rob Pennock and Jeffrey Shallit.
    “For Donald Prothero, we are prepared to sacrifice a ram.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....FLsz1.dpuf

  5. 5
    News says:

    Yes, the news staff spends hours every day misshelving Darwinist books and writing to publishers to stop their publication when they are in galleys and … oh wait, we don’t.

  6. 6
    gpuccio says:

    “When cladistic analysis is applied to Cambrian paleontology, the imponderables of the method reappear as obscurities in the result, an interesting example of descent with modification.”

    Ah! This is pure art!

  7. 7

    Indeed. His article is certainly not science.

  8. 8
    scordova says:

    Nick Matzke in his own words:

    can only rigorously detect sister-group relationships, not direct ancestry

    Hahaha! Confirms everything I’ve been trying to say over the years! I told matzke about the transformed cladists way back in 2006. Seems he hasn’t learned his lesson.

    Yet Matzke tried to give the appearance of claiming otherwise in this discussion: Platonic Forms do not suggest we evolved from fish

    I said:

    That’s why the transformed cladists got into hot water — they saw all the similarities, grouped them together (like I did above) and you get sister groups with no parent explicitly shown. It seems the “parent” was a common design from the mind of an intelligence, and the grouping actually preclude notions of a transitional. The fossil record doesn’t contain believable transitionals because the were none.

    Thanks Matzke for affirming my point.

    I mentioned the transformed cladists (of which Hennig is associated here)

    Transformed Cladism rocks

    I pointed out this insight by a scientist:

    http://www.amjbot.org/content/90/9/1263.full

    Incongruences are ubiquitous in comparisons of cladograms with taxonomic classifications.

    (1) Cladistics is based on inferred phylogenies, which makes for an uncertain foundation. Phylogenies of groups above the species level are, with rare exceptions, unverifiable hypotheses. Taxonomic systems are based on observable characters and do not rest on phylogenetic hypotheses.

  9. 9
    gpuccio says:

    Elizabeth:

    I strongly believe it is art and science.

    While I need no argument to enjoy his art, I think you should maybe offer some argument to deny his science 🙂

    In the meantime, here is another pearl of his art:

    “The relationship between cladistics and Darwin’s theory of evolution is thus one of independent origin but convergent confusion. “Phylogenetic systematics,” the entomologist Michael Schmitt remarks, “relies on the theory of evolution.” To the extent that the theory of evolution relies on phylogenetic systematics, the disciplines resemble two biologists dropped from a great height and clutching at one another in mid-air.”

    I love Berlinski! 🙂

  10. 10
    lpadron says:

    Elizabeth Liddle @ #7:

    Why not?

  11. 11
    Barry Arrington says:

    lpadron @ 10: My sister is now vice president of a major corporation. But I remember her way back when, like when she was seven or eight years old. When presented with an argument she could not refute she would say “Oh huh!” and walk away feigning triumph.

    Dr. Liddle is apparently a practitioner of the “Oh huh!” argument, and you’ve caught her out. Her comment @ 7 caused me smile as I recalled my sister’s childhood antics.

  12. 12
    Joe says:

    Elizabeth:

    Indeed. His article is certainly not science.

    What he was destructing certainly was not science. If your position had some science, well that would be something.

  13. 13
    lpadron says:

    Barry,

    The post above serves as a sort of John 11:35 moment for the usually wordy EL. I wouldn’t blame her if she never explained why Dr. Berlinski’s post isn’t “science”. Even if he’s wrong, (and by no stretch of the imagination am I claiming he is) it’s hard to match his brains AND sense of humor/style.

  14. 14

    Dr. Liddle is apparently a practitioner of the “Oh huh!” argument, and you’ve caught her out. Her comment @ 7 caused me smile as I recalled my sister’s childhood antics.

    Well, I’m glad I caused you to smile, Barry. Smiling is good.

    However my absence from UD has nothing to do with avoiding lpadron’s question, which I simply did not see (and I may not see any responses to this one).

    Berlinski’s article is clearly not science – it is polemic. But more importantly, Berlinski appears to completely misunderstand the way that cladists understand cladistics.

    He seems, for example, to think that there is something misleading in rotating a cladogram so that it lies neatly on the page, and that an inference about ancestry depends on this tidiness of the rotational layout.

    He correctly points out that it doesn’t matter how you lay out a cladogram – it doesn’t alter the relationships. But he seems to think that cladists don’t know this. If he really thinks this, he is betraying ignorance, and if he doesn’t, he is being dishonest.

    A cladogram, as he rightly says, doesn’t tell you anything about when the actual critter at the end of the fork tines lived – it doesn’t use that information. But he claims that cladists fool themselves into thinking A is ancestral to B because of the way the cladogram is laid out.

    Nothing in a cladogram tells you that any of the organisms on the chart are ancestral to any other organism, and no cladist would claim otherwise. Often the organisms are actually extant today. What the cladogram tells you is how the characters are nested.

    And this allows us to infer which of the characters observed were possessed by the putative common ancestor at each node. It doesn’t tell us that any of the labeled organisms were at the node. Which they certainly aren’t going to be if they are currently splashing around in a mudpool near you.

    In other words none of the taxa in Berlinski’s cladograms are “intermediate taxa”, which is why rotating the cladograms makes no difference whatsoever as to the inference that is made.

    In fact, Berlinski largely agrees with Matzke throughout, while claiming that Matzke hasn’t understood his own point.

    Rather, it seems that Berlinski has completely misunderstood Matzke. Cladistic analysis reveals nested hierarchies. It does not impose them. And those nested hierarchies – empirically discoverable – require explanation.

    Any theory of biological organisms, whether ID or not, has to explain that tree pattern. Common ancestry does it nicely, whether the changes are guided or unguided, and at least some IDers (Behe, for one, and Dembski, I think) accept the overwhelming evidence for common ancestry.

    It overwhelms not because we have found lots of fossils directly ancestral to other fossils or extant organisms.. We probably haven’t found any. It’s because of the strength of the tree signal in the character matrix.

    Sure, it’s possible that the tree structure indicates creation ex nihilo at each node. But as we can actually observe incipient speciation in real time, and understand a great deal about the processes that govern it, to claim that common descent is not supported by the finding of consistently strong tree signals in the distribution of characters found in both extant and extinct organisms, seems, at best, willfully blind.

    As for “ghost lineages” – sure, the best fitting tree will tend still to produce some ghosts. The remarkable thing is not that there are ghosts, but that there are so few, given the haphazard nature of fossilisation and preservation, and the strength and consistency of tree signal in the characters of the organisms we actually have.

    Again and again, Berlinski asks: “where is the ancestor for this organism?” It’s the wrong question. The chances of finding fossilised ancestors of any living creature is remote, and the chances of finding a fossilised ancestor of another fossil (with the possible exception of a pregnant animal) is even more remote. The relevant question is: “given that the character matrix of known organisms has such an overwhelmingly strong tree signal, how do we best explain it”?

    Common ancestry is by far the most parsimonious explanation. It isn’t even opposed by many IDers.

  15. 15

    I won’t be posting much at UD for a while, but if anyone has any questions about, or wants to make a response to, anything I have posted here, they are welcome to do so at TSZ.

  16. 16
    Joe says:

    Elizabeth gets it wrong again:

    Cladistic analysis reveals nested hierarchies. It does not impose them.

    WRONG! Clades are formed based on the criteria of a nested hierarchy, ie shared characteristics. If you don’t understand that then you are completely helpless.

    Again Lizzie, according to YOU we should not observe an objective nested hierarchy. Gradual processes do NOT produce nested hierarchies- they produce a smooth blending of traits.

    OK if you accept universal common descent how do you test it to the exclusion of all alternatives?

    How many mutations does it take to get a eukaryote starting with populations of prokaryotes- you can use each alleged symbiotic event as one genetic change/ mutation?

    How many mutations does it take to get a chordate starting with populations of invertabrates?

    How many mutations does it take to get a fish-a-pod starting with populations of fish? What genes are involved? Are any new genes required? If “yes” how many?

    Science says that genes control traits- traits being eye color, hair color, ear-lobe style, etc. What is your evidence that being human is just a collection of traits?

    And the killer question:

    What makes an organism what it is? Without knowing that no one can say one type can evolve into another.

    In his book (English title) “Why is a Fly not a Horse?”, the prominent Italian geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti, tells us the following:

    Chapter VI “Why is a Fly not a horse?” (same as the book’s title)

    ”The scientist enjoys a privilege denied the theologian. To any question, even one central to his theories, he may reply “I’m sorry but I do not know.” This is the only honest answer to the question posed by the title of this chapter. We are fully aware of what makes a flower red rather than white, what it is that prevents a dwarf from growing taller, or what goes wrong in a paraplegic or a thalassemic. But the mystery of species eludes us, and we have made no progress beyond what we already have long known, namely, that a kitty is born because its mother was a she-cat that mated with a tom, and that a fly emerges as a fly larva from a fly egg.”

    The bottom line is people accept universal common descent for personal, not scientific, reasons. And the comments will bear that out.

  17. 17
    Joe says:

    Easily refuting Lizzie:

    Revisiting Nested Hierarchies:
    From A Summary of the Principles of Hierarchy Theory:

    Nested and non-nested hierarchies: nested hierarchies involve levels which consist of, and contain, lower levels. Non-nested hierarchies are more general in that the requirement of containment of lower levels is relaxed. For example, an army consists of a collection of soldiers and is made up of them. Thus an army is a nested hierarchy. On the other hand, the general at the top of a military command does not consist of his soldiers and so the military command is a non-nested hierarchy with regard to the soldiers in the army. Pecking orders and a food chains are also non-nested hierarchies.

    For example in the nested hierarchy of living organisms we have the animal kingdom.

    To be placed in the animal kingdom an organism must have all of the criteria of an animal.

    For example:

    All members of the Animalia are multicellular (eukaryotes), and all are heterotrophs (that is, they rely directly or indirectly on other organisms for their nourishment). Most ingest food and digest it in an internal cavity.

    Animal cells lack the rigid cell walls that characterize plant cells. The bodies of most animals (all except sponges) are made up of cells organized into tissues, each tissue specialized to some degree to perform specific functions.

    The next level (after kingdom) contain the phyla. Phyla have all the characteristics of the kingdom PLUS other criteria.

    For example one phylum under the Kingdom Animalia, is Chordata.

    Chordates have all the characteristics of the Kingdom PLUS the following:

    Chordates are defined as organisms that possess a structure called a notochord, at least during some part of their development. The notochord is a rod that extends most of the length of the body when it is fully developed. Lying dorsal to the gut but ventral to the central nervous system, it stiffens the body and acts as support during locomotion. Other characteristics shared by chordates include the following (from Hickman and Roberts, 1994):

    bilateral symmetry
    segmented body, including segmented muscles
    three germ layers and a well-developed coelom.
    single, dorsal, hollow nerve cord, usually with an enlarged anterior end (brain)
    tail projecting beyond (posterior to) the anus at some stage of development
    pharyngeal pouches present at some stage of development
    ventral heart, with dorsal and ventral blood vessels and a closed blood system
    complete digestive system
    bony or cartilaginous endoskeleton usually present.

    The next level is the class. All classes have the criteria of the kingdom, plus all the criteria of its phylum PLUS the criteria of its class.

    This is important because it shows there is a direction- one of additive characteristics.

    Yet evolution does NOT have a direction. Characteristics can be lost as well as gained. And characteristics can remain stable.

    Cladistics is a method of categorizing organisms based on shared characteristics. Each clade (allegedly) consists of a common ancestor and all of its (alleged) descendents:
    intro to cladistics

    The basic idea behind cladistics is that members of a group share a common evolutionary history, and are “closely related,” more so to members of the same group than to other organisms. These groups are recognized by sharing unique features which were not present in distant ancestors. These shared derived characteristics are called synapomorphies.

    cladistics:

    Cladistics can be distinguished from other taxonomic systems, such as phenetics, by its focus on shared derived characters (synapomorphies).

    And also what is cladistics?

    The clade is not constructed based on ancestor-descendent relationships, those are assumed. And ancestor-descendent relationships form a non-nested hierarchy- see Eric B Knox, “The use of hierarchies as organizational models in systematics”, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (1998), 63: 1–49

    Each clade, note- not the entire cladogram, can be a nested hierarchy based on shared characteristics in that each descendent node will consist of and contain, ie share, a set of defined characteristics present in the alleged common ancestor. However each clade is also a non-nested hierarchy in that the alleged common ancestor does not consist of nor contain all descendents.

    The point being is that if your basis for clade-construction is to make it conform to a nested hierarchy based on shared characteristics, then yes, you should see that a clade is a nested hierarchy based on shared characteristics, duh.

  18. 18
    Gregory says:

    Parading the agnostics at IDT again? Notice how News usually doesn’t start with ‘Christian’ in front of the other IDist leaders’ or supporters’ names? They are almost all Christians, mainly evangelical protestants, truth be told.

    “Common ancestry is by far the most parsimonious explanation. It isn’t even opposed by many IDers.” – Elisabeth

    Elisabeth, perhaps in England you are not as familiar with what people believe in the USA as Canadians such as Denyse and myself are. Roughly 40% of UDers are young earth creationists (who claim they are pro-science!), which isn’t far from the American national average. But they won’t let you do a survey here to confirm or deny it; live in limbo and mystery of actual beliefs!

    Even the meaning of ‘uncomment descent’ is meant to challenge the ‘common ancestry’ you suggest “isn’t even opposed by many IDers,” Elisabeth. I guess it depends on what you mean by ‘many’ because the number of people who accept ‘limited evolution,’ as in evolutionary creation, dwarfs the number of IDsts.

    In either case, the Anglo-American ‘view’ on this is imo rather primitive and thus far self-defeating, which is why so much dissent between ‘Darwinists’ and ‘anti-Darwinists’ persists, a fact you, Elisabeth, wish to call ‘silly’ and just semantics on your blog TSZ.

    What makes little sense to me is why the IDM and Dembski, Behe, Meyer, Wells, Nelson, et al. continues to accept Berlinski into their crew. Berlinski admits that he is “warm, but distant” to a positive case for ID. This is what O’Leary means by purposely labelling him ‘agnostic.’ He is not *really* one of the IDM’s leaders the way the others are, even if the DI gives him money to preach anti-Darwinism. They want him for only one edge of their ‘wedge,’ but actively label him ‘agnostic’ as not a real believer in (Big-ID) ‘Intelligent Design’. That’s truth that won’t easily be admitted here at UD.

    Otoh, it makes sense against IDism qua ideology to heed the advice of ‘Christian Stephen Barr’ (which you won’t ever hear about Christian William Dembski, Christian Stephen Meyer, Christian Michael Behe, Christian Jonathan Wells, Christian Paul Nelson, et al. here at UD, though their worldview is no secret): “I think you confuse an evolution skeptic with an intelligent design advocate.”

    That’s exactly what Berlinski is; a skeptic, just like Elisabeth, though Elisabeth is an ‘evolution believer’ rather than an ‘evolution skeptic’.

    A major question is: how does/can one actually move post-evolution, even just outside of a few or even many academic fields? IDists haven’t offered a credible or forward-looking solution to this question so far (their past-tense ‘Designed’ is so far only backwards). Instead they unwittingly contribute to probabilistic dehumanisation via their (‘strictly scientific’) scientism (which still they deny).

    Matzke displays more honesty than most IDist ideologues, that is clear. Even if I disagree with his worldview, Matzke deserves credit rather than shame from an undergraduate-level journalist Catholic convert trying to belittle a ‘graduate student’ for gaining higher knowledge about natural history. But Denyse has shown little interest in or even-handed reporting of natural history from such as the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, which broadly rejects the IDism she has (with no scientific training) eagerly embraced.

  19. 19
    lpadron says:

    Gregory,
    What’s any of that got to do with Berlinski’s post?

  20. 20
    Mung says:

    Elizabeth Liddle:

    A cladogram, as he rightly says, doesn’t tell you anything about when the actual critter at the end of the fork tines lived – it doesn’t use that information.

    I can only hope that if there is a critter on the end of my fork times that it lived recently.

    I won’t be posting much at UD for a while, but if anyone has any questions about, or wants to make a response to, anything I have posted here, they are welcome to do so at TSZ.

    A much safer venue for spouting nonsense, to be sure.

  21. 21
    Smidlee says:

    Gregory
    “Parading the agnostics at IDT again? Notice how News usually doesn’t start with ‘Christian’ in front of the other IDist leaders’ or supporters’ names? They are almost all Christians, mainly evangelical protestants, truth be told.”

    If I was quoted on a forum where “They are almost all Muslims” I wouldn’t mind them putting “Christian” in front of my name.

  22. 22
    Axel says:

    The closest metaphor I can think of for the learned, but vapid, sophistries of the likes of Elizabeth and KN, is the ‘soap opera’.

    A German-born, patent translator and ‘born again’ Christian I know, told me that, before he went freelance, one of his bosses was musing on how, in their conversations with each other, all the women in the firm seemed interested in, was who was going out with which bloke.

    That helps me to understand why women tend to get more of a ‘buzz’ out of watching ‘soaps’ than males. Not because of anything gender-specific, as such, but because most of us lead boring enough lives of our own (outside of books, online communications, etc), without seeking to immerse ourselves in the mind-numbing daily chit-chat and carry-ons of our fellow human beings – unless there’s a lot of humour and banter in it, as in the military for example. Although that is too spontaneous and sometimes anarchic to be captured in TV productions.

    Now, once it has been pointed out that theists and, perforce, IDers, have been ever more clinically and comprehensively vindicated since the beginnings of QM, it means that the endless evasions required to deny the latter, on the part of the materialist brigade, bear all the intellectual cachet of the ‘soap opera’.

    Indeed, the very erudition of their sophistries ensures that, with their empirically-discredited assumptions, the whole business of arguing with them belongs, not to polemics, dialectic, science, metaphysics or theology, but to high farce.

    I don’t like to see ‘soap operas’ mocked, however inadvertently, since they indicate a certain level of empathy and warmth. I doubt if too many psychos of either sex would watch them.

    But, alas, arguing with the obdurate nescientist is to treat with proponents of the worst offerings of both worlds, as they are the purveyors of a spuriously clinical banality, which can only remain circular nonsense.

    Someone here said of evolution – it might have been mapou – that it was ‘for cretins by cretins and ..’, well, I’ve forgotten his actual ‘bon mot’, but it was a beautifully balanced and succinct encapsulation. The Cambrian explosion, alone, is a terminally-lethal Black Swan, but try telling them that. Or rather don’t.

  23. 23
    Jerad says:

    Dr Donald Prothero has reviewed Darwin’s Doubt on Amazon if anyone is interested. Or think that Nick Matzke was wrong.

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    Jerad: Luskin exposes Prothero’s rant, I mean review, over Darwin’s Doubt, as bogus

    Darwin Defenders Love Donald Prothero’s Ranting Review of Darwin’s Doubt
    Casey Luskin July 23, 2013
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....74791.html

    Myself, I think Prothero’s diatribe, I mean review, against Darwin’s Doubt was motivated in large part by the embarrassment he, and Shermer, received at the hands of Meyer and Sternberg in this following debate:

    Has Evolution Adequately Explained the Origins of Life?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-KPfFPIaVU

    Bringing a knife to a gun fight is the feeling I had of Prothero’s defence in the debate against Meyer.

  25. 25
    Gregory says:

    “Bringing a knife to a gun fight is the feeling I had of Prothero’s defence in the debate against Meyer.”

    Such fighting words are typical of (mainly American) IDists’ idolatry in the name of an ‘Intelligent Designer’ that isn’t allowed to be talked about in public by scientistic fiat. They think they are in a gun-slinging battle with anyone who disagrees with them, no matter if theists or atheists. Talk about confused priorities and needlessly picking fights with brothers, sisters and friends!

    The IDist argument was lost already, not by Dover or by the collapse of the Polanyi Centre or the Wedge Document, but by IDT’s obvious links with creationism (cdesignproponentsists), right-wing American politics and the haughty declarations of ‘Scientific Revolution’ by IDists.

    Berlinski has no positive theoretical case for Big-ID (‘Intelligent Design’) to offer. That should be News at UD, but for the sake of PR convenience, it is ignored. Silence to legitimate criticism = ID faithful.

  26. 26
    bornagain77 says:

    Gregory, I take it you are not smitten with the whole western cowboy metaphor ‘knife to a gunfight’ thing. Well,, since you think you got the gun with this whole big ID vs little id and we got the knife opposing you, perhaps this twist on the metaphor will be to your liking:

    The Punisher knife to a gunfight
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsqClktIKZQ

  27. 27
    lpadron says:

    Gregory,
    You’ve yet to address Berlinski’s post. Will that be forthcoming? Or shall I assume “criticism of ID as lack of legitimate criticism of Berlinski’s post = Gregory”?

  28. 28
    Timaeus says:

    “That’s truth that won’t easily be admitted here at UD.”

    *What* won’t “easily be admitted” here at UD? That Berlinski has not endorsed ID, and doesn’t have much in common personally with a lot of ID people, but is allied with the ID people because of their common critique of Darwinian thought, and their common critique of the shallowness of the new atheism?

    I “easily admit” all of this. I certainly have never said that Berlinski shares the religious views of most ID leaders, or that he has defended any particular ID design inferences.

    In fact, I think it’s a *strength* of ID that some of its criticisms of modern scientific theories, and of scientism, are shared by people who do not identify with many of the personal religious and social aims of ID supporters. If the *only* people who thought ID should be given a hearing were religious fundamentalists, ID would look very much like a purely fundamentalist activity. The fact that Catholic, Jewish, agnostic, and even atheist thinkers (Barham, Monton, Nagel) think that ID should be given a fair shake in the scientific realm indicates that the ID’s questions, if not all of its answers, are thought reasonable by a number of thoughtful people.

    I don’t see what the problem is in Berlinski’s association with the Discovery Institute. There are no false pretenses; the Christians and Orthodox Jews at Discovery know of Berlinski’s non-Christian, non-Jewish religious views, but they accept him as a colleague nonetheless. I don’t see anything different about the Berlinski-Discovery association than about, say, communist and capitalist scientists working together on a problem in thermodynamics. Just as the scientists would be under no illusion that their collegial efforts implied any political agreement, so Berlinski and the conservative evangelical Christians in the ID movement know that they do not share the same religion or the same vision of social change in America. As long as both parties are clear and honest with each other about the limits of their cooperation, and as long as the public knows how the personal religious and social views of Berlinski differ from the views of many in the ID movement, I do not see what harm is done. Where there is voluntary association for common ends, and no deception is involved, there should be nothing to worry about.

    I don’t see the issue here. Is someone being harmed by the association between Berlinski and Discovery? And if there is an issue, what is being recommended? That Discovery should give Berlinski the boot? Or that Berlinski should disavow Discovery? Or that UD should publish an official statement that Berlinski is not a Christian?

    I don’t understand what the complaint is, and I don’t understand what the recommended remedy is.

    What I do understand is that Berlinski wrote a very entertaining and incisive critique of the New Atheists in his book *The Devil’s Delusion* — a book I recommend to all.

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