Darwinian Debating Devices

Darwinian Debating Device # 7: “Definition Deficit Disorder”

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Thank you to all who contributed to my recent request for comments. There were many excellent comments, and I have attempted to synthesize them into a WAC. (BTW, I like WJM’s name for the syndrome better than my own and have switched to it). Here is the WAC:

Definition Deficit Disorder

Definition Deficit Disorder (“DDD”), also known as the “me no speaka the English distraction” and “definition derby” is a form of sophistry by obfuscation that demands that one’s opponent fulfil unreasonable or even impossible definitional criteria, not to advance the debate but to avoid the debate by claiming one’s opponent cannot adequately define their terms.

An example:

ID advocate: Intelligent design theory asserts chance causes cannot account for the generation of novel macroevolutionary features and that the best explanation for complex, functionally specified information beyond a reasonable chance threshold is the “artifact of an intelligent agent.

ID opponent: What do you mean by the terms “intelligent,” “design,” “chance,” “complex,” “functional,” “specified” and “information.” These terms are so vague as to render your argument meaningless.

One can be certain that DDD is being employed when a person involved in a debate displays a convenient lapse of understanding of even the most common terms. In extreme cases ID opponents have even claimed that a term they themselves injected into the debate has no clear meaning. The following is an actual case:

ID opponent. Since humans are not inherently superior to other organisms there is little point to this subject.

ID supporter: I suppose next you’ll assert that it is a scientific fact . . . that humans are not inherently superior to other organisms.

ID opponent: That depends on how you define superior. . . .If you can’t adequately define a term that is central to your argument, then maybe you should reevaluate your argument.

Notice that it was the ID opponent who inserted the term “superior” into the debate. When the ID supporter challenged him, the ID opponent immediately resorted to DDD by claiming the term he had just used has no clear definition.

Here is a classic response to DDD by ID supporter Upright Biped:

“I have no desire to play definition derby with an ideologue . . . when an ideologue rolls up and overplays his position by taking every opportunity to position the argument as incomprehensible, I rightly call [BS] on it. That’s a classic defensive maneuver which is intentionally irresolvable for the purposes of generating rhetoric. It’s the intellectual carcass from defending a weak position.”

32 Replies to “Darwinian Debating Device # 7: “Definition Deficit Disorder”

  1. 1
    DavidD says:

    ID opponent: What do you mean by the terms “intelligent,” “design,” “chance,” “complex,” “functional,” “specified” and “information.” These terms are so vague as to render your argument meaningless.

    That’s what one gets for arguing and debating with people who seem to have an uncanny ability to slide in and out of various parallel universes at the snap of a finger where rules change like appearing and disappearing mist on a fogging morning. Just when you think you’ve got them backed into a corner, they instantly slide into another universe where once again the rules play out differently. It’s like a form of Matrix Remix debate strategy where who reality is imprisoned in a permanent Fog, which is what they want the world to become. Seriously, just look at the world around us globally.

    Of course they follow the lead of their Father who from the beginning used definition shell games regarding what is really meant by “Good” & “Bad” (Genesis 3). Evolutionists have only made it more colorful & embellished on details a bit more ever since that first incident.

  2. 2
    Mark Frank says:

    Davidd

    When I read this OP I started to draw up a mental list of ambiguous terms commonly used in the ID debate. I shouldn’t have bothered. You have an excellent list right there.

    Every single one of those terms is open to interpretation. Take “information” for example – it has been the subject of hundreds of books and is measured in many incompatible ways. Do you seriously think a request to clarify exactly what is meant by each one is some kind of evasion? It may be tedious, but what harm can it do to be more explicit about what you mean?

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    “Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.”
    CS Lewis – Mere Christianity

    In the atheistic/materialistic worldview how can any word in any language have any true meaning in the first place?

    Do the New Atheists Own the Market on Reason? – On the terms of the New Atheists, the very concept of rationality becomes nonsensical – By R. Scott Smith, May 03, 2012
    Excerpt: If atheistic evolution by NS were true, we’d be in a beginningless series of interpretations, without any knowledge. Yet, we do know many things. So, naturalism & atheistic evolution by NS are false — non-physical essences exist. But, what’s their best explanation? Being non-physical, it can’t be evolution by NS. Plus, we use our experiences, form concepts and beliefs, and even modify or reject them. Yet, if we’re just physical beings, how could we interact with and use these non-physical things? Perhaps we have non-physical souls too. In all, it seems likely the best explanation for these non-physical things is that there exists a Creator after all.
    http://www.patheos.com/Evangel.....#038;max=1

    Does any one, besides atheists/materialists, really believe that a computer truly understands the meaning of any of the words it processes??

    Why We Can’t Yet Build True Artificial Intelligence, Explained In One Sentence – July 9, 2014
    “We don’t yet understand how brains work, so we can’t build one.”,,,
    [IBM’s “Jeopardy!”-winning supercomputer] Watson is basically a text search algorithm connected to a database just like Google search. It doesn’t understand what it’s reading. In fact, “read” is the wrong word. It’s not reading anything because it’s not comprehending anything. Watson is finding text without having a clue as to what the text means. In that sense, there’s no intelligence there. It’s clever, it’s impressive, but it’s absolutely vacuous.
    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/.....ntentstory

    Turing Test Extra Credit – Convince The Examiner That He’s The Computer – cartoon
    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/turing_test.png

    Can a Computer Think? – Michael Egnor – March 31, 2011
    Excerpt: The Turing test isn’t a test of a computer. Computers can’t take tests, because computers can’t think. The Turing test is a test of us. If a computer “passes” it, we fail it. We fail because of our hubris, a delusion that seems to be something original in us. The Turing test is a test of whether human beings have succumbed to the astonishingly naive hubris that we can create souls.,,, It’s such irony that the first personal computer was an Apple.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....45141.html

    Genesis 2:7
    Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

    David Chalmers on the ‘Hard problem’ of Consciousness – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmZaA_xoJiM

    Moreover, for codes to exist, Intelligence must first exist so as to assign ‘meaning’. i.e. ‘Meaning’ must exist before a code can be brought into existence.

    John Lennox – Semiotic Information – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6rd4HEdffw

    “A code is a unique mapping of something in space ‘a’ to something is space ‘b’. ,, Where the word coffee does not mean goat. It means coffee. A beverage that you drink. ,,, The word stop means stop. The word stop does not mean go. The word go means go. The word go does not mean stop.,,”
    Perry Marshall – 24:50 minute mark – The DNA Code – Intelligent Design – video
    https://vimeo.com/16576263

    “A code system is always the result of a mental process (it requires an intelligent origin or inventor). It should be emphasized that matter as such is unable to generate any code. All experiences indicate that a thinking being voluntarily exercising his own free will, cognition, and creativity, is required. ,,,there is no known law of nature and no known sequence of events which can cause information to originate by itself in matter.
    Werner Gitt 1997 In The Beginning Was Information pp. 64-67, 79, 107.”
    (The retired Dr Gitt was a director and professor at the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Braunschweig), the Head of the Department of Information Technology.)

    Thus, since ‘meaning’ must exist before coded information can be brought into existence, then finding coded information permeating life is very close to proving, much contrary to what atheists want to believe, that there must be some ultimate ‘meaning’ for life.,,,

    Jennifer Fulwiler: Scientific Atheism to Christ – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw8uUOPoi2M

    What caused Jennifer Fulwiler to question her atheism to begin with? It was the birth of her first child. She says that when she looked at her child, the only way her atheist mind could explain the love that she had for him was to assume it was the result of nothing more than chemical reactions in her brain. However, in the video I linked above, she says:

    “And I looked down at him, and I realized that’s not true.”

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Besides computers never creating a new code from scratch, computers, as Dembski and Marks have now shown, cannot even create new information within an existing code,

    LIFE’S CONSERVATION LAW – William Dembski – Robert Marks – Pg. 13
    Excerpt: (Computer) Simulations such as Dawkins’s WEASEL, Adami’s AVIDA, Ray’s Tierra, and Schneider’s ev appear to support Darwinian evolution, but only for lack of clear accounting practices that track the information smuggled into them.,,, Information does not magically materialize. It can be created by intelligence or it can be shunted around by natural forces. But natural forces, and Darwinian processes in particular, do not create information. Active information enables us to see why this is the case.
    http://evoinfo.org/publication.....ation-law/

    On Algorithmic Specified Complexity by Robert J. Marks II – video
    (All Evolutionary Algorithms Have Failed To Generate Truly Novel Information) – Marks
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No3LZmPcwyg

    One of the primary reasons why computers have failed at the creation of novel information, besides the fact that computers have no true comprehension of the information they are processing, (i.e. they do not understand the ‘meaning’ of the information), is because computers have no free will,,

    Algorithmic Information Theory, Free Will and the Turing Test – Douglas S. Robertson
    Excerpt: Chaitin’s Algorithmic Information Theory shows that information is conserved under formal mathematical operations and, equivalently, under computer operations. This conservation law puts a new perspective on many familiar problems related to artificial intelligence. For example, the famous “Turing test” for artificial intelligence could be defeated by simply asking for a new axiom in mathematics. Human mathematicians are able to create axioms, but a computer program cannot do this without violating information conservation. Creating new axioms and free will are shown to be different aspects of the same phenomenon: the creation of new information.,,,
    The basic problem concerning the relation between AIT (Algorithmic Information Theory) and free will can be stated succinctly: Since the theorems of mathematics cannot contain more information than is contained in the axioms used to derive those theorems, it follows that no formal operation in mathematics (and equivalently, no operation performed by a computer) can create new information.
    http://cires.colorado.edu/~dou...../info8.pdf

    Of course, where the atheist/materialist is at a complete dead end in explaining this matter, the Theist, particularly the Christian Theist, would fully expect that material processes would be completely stone walled in their attempt to create information, since the Christian Theist holds that the primary ‘stuff’ of the world is information theoretic in its origin:

    Quote, Verse and Music:

    John 1:1
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

    “The thesis of my book ‘Being as Communion’ is that the fundamental stuff of the world is information. That things are real because they exchange information one with another.”
    Conversations with William Dembski–The Thesis of Being as Communion – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYAsaU9IvnI

    Francesca Battistelli – Write Your Story (Official Audio)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecV1NHmELuA

    Supplemental Note:

    The following video is very suggestive as to providing almost tangible proof for God ‘speaking’ reality into existence:

    Evan Grant: Making sound visible through cymatics – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsjV1gjBMbQ

  5. 5

    The problem with all this is that the successful communication of meaning depends upon more than the deployment of dictionary definitions. It requires accurate conveyance and discernment of speaker intent. (It is probably no coincidence that “mean” is often used as a synonym for “intend.”) So the question is not only “what does that word mean?” but also “what do you mean (intend to convey) by that word?”

    Ordinarily this exchange of conveyance and discernment is assisted by common use and/or context, which we all rely upon. However, during the course of a conversation, particularly concerning technical and/or contested topics, it is a common experience to intend word meanings in a commonplace or contextually ordinary way, but then discern that one’s conversational partner intends something different by his/her use of the word in question, or has been deploying a word in a way that it makes it difficult to discern which of several possible meanings are intended.

    At that point “what do you mean (intend) by _____?” becomes a legitimate and important question, often conveyed by the remark “it depends upon what you mean by ____.” There is no contradiction in my knowing what I have meant (intended) by the use of ____, yet discovering that it is unclear what you intend to convey as you deploy the same term. When this occurs I haven’t suddenly and conveniently forgotten the meaning of a word I just used; rather what has occurred is that it I have found it unclear what you intend by the same word. There is no dictionary in which I can look up your intent when that occurs, and in cooperative conversation (even those concerning contested points) one’s partner then makes an effort to clarify his intentions/meanings. The aforementioned discussion of “superior” exemplifies this phenomenon – and the need for clarification was amusingly demonstrated by the fact that the conversation began to take the form of suggested definitions for “superior.”

  6. 6
    Axel says:

    You’ve said nothing: ‘mean’ = ‘intend’. There is no disparity. intelligibility implies intent. It is implicit in intelligent design.

  7. 7
    Axel says:

    I mean ‘intent’ is implicit in ‘intelligent design’ – in case it’s unclear.

  8. 8
    Joe says:

    Great RB is back with more raw spewage.

    The problem with all this is that the successful communication of meaning depends upon more than the deployment of dictionary definitions.

    Cuz Billy sez so.

    So the question is not only “what does that word mean?” but also “what do you mean (intend to convey) by that word?”

    And that is figured out by the dictionary definitions along with the context.

    Ordinarily this exchange of conveyance and discernment is assisted by common use and/or context, which we all rely upon.

    Dictionary definitions.

    There is no dictionary in which I can look up your intent when that occurs,

    I can, so the problem is all yours. But then again you have problems with counting to ten…

  9. 9
    Joe says:

    Mark FRank:

    When I read this OP I started to draw up a mental list of ambiguous terms commonly used in the ID debate.

    LoL! ID’s terms are only “ambiguous” to the willfully ignorant. And here you are.

    Every single one of those terms is open to interpretation.

    Only if you struggle with the English language.

    Take “information” for example – it has been the subject of hundreds of books and is measured in many incompatible ways.

    Reference please. Do you really think we are just going to take your word for that?

    Do you seriously think a request to clarify exactly what is meant by each one is some kind of evasion?

    Seeing that evos never clarify anything it is strange that you ask us for clarification of terms that we have fully clarified.

  10. 10
    Upright BiPed says:

    It’s so nice that Reciprocating Bill, a veritable master of definition derby, stopped by to instruct us on the finer points of exactly what is entailed by ”cooperative conversation”.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    UB in Oct, 2011: (making the original semiotic argument)

    There is a list of physical entailments of recorded information that can therefore be generalized and compiled without regard to the source of the information. In other words, the list is only about the physical entailments of the information, not its source. I am using the word “entailment” in the standard sense – “to impose as a necessary result” (Merriam-Webster). These physical entailments are a necessary result of the existence of recorded information transfer.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    RB on April 28, 2012:
    The issue is not whether there is a single way to record information that doesn’t entail the physical roles and dynamic relationships as given in the argument…

    RB on May 3, 2012:
    …you neither understand the word entailment, nor understand the entailment relationship described in the simple illustrations we have provided. For that reason, you repeatedly travel the wrong way down a one-way street.

    RB on May 4, 2012:
    Again demonstrating that you don’t grasp the relationship of entailment. Entailment may be 100% reliable, yet by itself does not “confirm.”

    RB on May 8, 2012:
    I assert (not suggest) that you do not understand entailment, and due to your failure to grasp entailment you have constructed an argument beset with a fatal logical flaw.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    (… then after literally weeks and weeks and thousands of useless words of argument over the word “entailment”, which I fully defined at the very point of its use)

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    UB on June 10 2012:
    Bill, if a specific thing only exist under specific conditions, then does its existence entail the existence of those specific conditions?

    RB on June 11 2012:
    Yes, it does. So that would be a valid use of “entailment.”

  11. 11

    To any rational person not steeped in denial, intelligent design is a scientific fact. We know it exists because we use it every day, and we know it is fundamentally different from chance and natural law. In many cases we can recognize it easily and expect to be able to do so even if the designer(s) in question isn’t(aren’t) human.

    Requiring that the terminology be defined in some supposedly technical, scientific fashion is just a diversion so that the core principle and concept can be ignored. Of course ID exists; of course the recognizable distinction is the quality of functionally specified complex information (or some other string of terms that means approximately the same thing). Every post here, even when arguing against it, is a demonstration of it and an expectation that others will recognize them as such and employ ID to respond.

    Since these obvious core concepts cause problems for the atheist/materialiist worldview, they are left denying the obvious – or at least employing definition diversions to keep from having to cast their eyes upon what is right in front of them. What makes this plain is the pass they give to their own terms and, as Mr. Arrington points out, their habit of inserting and using similar undefined terms. Also, when they are provided definitions, they either ignore them, refuse to accept them or demand some “kind” of definition they can’t provide for their own terms – I believe one poster here required a “canonical” definition.

  12. 12
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Barry, when you have to completely misrepresent the words that have been written by commenters to support your claim that DDD is used by evolutionists to obfuscate the issue being discussed, the validity of your claim must be hanging by a thread.

    The one real example that you used was the discussion from another thread where the issue of human superiority was talked about. You stated that:

    Notice that it was the ID opponent who inserted the term “superior” into the debate. When the ID supporter challenged him, the ID opponent immediately resorted to DDD by claiming the term he had just used has no clear definition.”

    Since the OP being commented on included the word superior in its title, I was hardly the person who inserted it into the debate. And I went into additional detail to support my point. You conveniently ignore these little points.

    I won’t go as far as to call you a liar, although the definition fits. I am willing to admit the remote possibility that your misrepresentation of an easily confirmed fact was an innocent error. They occur to the best of us.

  13. 13
    Acartia_bogart says:

    RB’s rational approach makes far more sense that simply putting your fingers in your ears and yelling DDD, DDD, DDD.

    Since the example of superior has already been brought up, I will stick with it to demonstrate that its definition can change depending on its use and who uses. If I say that the Beatles are superior to the Stones, you will probably agree of disagree. But you probably won’t ask me to define what I mean by superior (although you could).

    But if someone says that humans are superior to chimps, the definition of superior will be significantlh different for a theist than for a non-theist. So, in this case, a clear and agreed to definition is necessary if you are going to have any meaningful debate. And by agreed to definition, I am not saying that both parties have to agree that the definition is correct, just that they both agree to limit the debate on the grounds of that definition. Otherwise they will not even be debating the same thing.

  14. 14

    UB:

    It’s so nice that Reciprocating Bill, a veritable master of definition derby, stopped by to instruct us on the finer points of exactly what is entailed by ”cooperative conversation”.

    Ick.

    Anyone interested my rebuttal of UB’s revisionist history (all two of you) can read it here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-438609

  15. 15
    Joe says:

    Amazing- the definition of the word being used depends on the context it is being used. Really? Are you just now realizing that?

    Words can have several definitions and yes it usually depends on the context as to which definition is being applied. That is what education is for, to help you make the proper definition determinations when involved in a conversation.

    If I say that the Beatles are superior to the Stones, you will probably agree of disagree. But you probably won’t ask me to define what I mean by superior (although you could).

    I know what “superior” means but you haven’t said in what context they are superior. Obviously the Stones are superior when it comes to the number of recordings they have released. They are also superior when it comes to the number of tour dates and longevity.

    The Beatles were more superior in their versatility, creativity, harmonies, and fan admiration.

  16. 16
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Joe, it is nice to see that you agree that it is a perfectly acceptable for someone to clarify a definition and that DDD is just Barry’s attempt to derail any contentious discussion. I appreciate the support.

  17. 17
    Charles says:

    Acartia_bogart @ 12

    Since the OP being commented on included the word superior in its title, I was hardly the person who inserted it into the debate.

    True, you were not the person who introduce the term “superior” into the debate. (BTW, that’s what intellectual honesty looks like)

    You were however the person who introduced obfuscation over the meaning of “superior”.

    And I went into additional detail to support my point. You conveniently ignore these little points.

    Yes, you did go into additional detail to support your point, which is that “humans are not inherently superior to other organisms”. (Again, that’s what intellectual honesty looks like).

    But your additional detail did not clarify the definition of “superior”, rather you listed what you believe to be examples of animal remarkability, not superiority. For your argument to be intellectually honest (albeit lame) requires that you had written “That depends on how you define superior remarkable” and then go on to substantiate the scientific facts on how humans are ‘inherently’ unremarkable compared to other organisms.

    But you didn’t do any of that, did you. No. “Remarkable” is not a synonym for “superior” nor an antonym implying “inferior”. Your choice of “remarkable” is a rather unremarkable ambiguity to blot out the goal posts altogether. Non-sequiturs and straw-men define neither superiority nor inferiority nor even remarkability, and none of it was scientifically factual, it wasn’t anecdotal, it was so bad it wasn’t even wrong. You deflected the challenge to substantiate with scientific facts your assertion ‘that humans are not inherently superior’, with a non-sequitur of straw-men about “remarkability”.

    That is what intellectual dishonesty looks like.

    And none of your points were ignored. They have been eviscerated, filleted and laid before you ad infinitum.

  18. 18
    Upright BiPed says:

    Bill, I used a specific word in making a claim. I used the word, then gave the dictionary definition of that word, then restated my claim using the dictionary definition in place of the word itself.

    You subsequently argued for two months that my use of the word was incoherent, only to eventually concede that it was not.

    There is nothing to revise.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    AHH but UB, you must not forget that along with DDD, Darwinists also suffer from a forth D, “Denial”. 🙂

    so the proper acronym is really

    D of DDD

    “Denial of Definition Deficit Disorder”

    🙂

  20. 20
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Charles#17,
    Yes, you are basically correct in the order you describe. But the examples I detailed were not examples of things being remarkable, they were examples of attributes that are superior in one animal over another. But if someone is going to claim that humans are superior to all other animals, I think that it is incumbent on the person making this claim to definite what they mean by this. Is that really an unreasonable expectation?

  21. 21
    anthropic says:

    Humans are superior because, so far as we can tell, only humans have the concept of “superior.”

  22. 22
    Charles says:

    Acartia_bogart @ 20

    But the examples I detailed were not examples of things being remarkable, they were examples of attributes that are superior in one animal over another.

    Again you imply you already had a definition of “superior”, a definition you implied in your examples. But they were not examples of “attributes” (superior or otherwise). “stereoscopic vision” or “opposible thumbs” are attributes, arguably superior attributes. “Need”, “exploitation”, “survival” are not. To be most charitable, you listed inter-dependencies or inter-actions. But regardless, they remain straw-men because no one argued humans (or any animal) is independent or does not interact with (or exploit or need) other species.

    Your examples did not demonstrate “superiority” or “inferiority” or even “remarkability”, save possibly the human brain (and mind). As well as being straw-men, your examples were largely orthogonal and so ambiguous as to preclude analysis other than to begin by asking you to be more detailed, specific and on subject.

    That is what I mean when I said it was so bad it wasn’t even wrong. Where to begin?

    But if someone is going to claim that humans are superior to all other animals, I think that it is incumbent on the person making this claim to definite what they mean by this. Is that really an unreasonable expectation?

    And so, was it unreasonable for Mung to expect that since you had claimed “that humans are not inherently superior to other organisms.” that it was incumbent on you to define what you meant? And did you, do you, seriously think that a non-sequitur of straw-men about remarkability (orthogonal, not actually superior) non-“attributes” would suffice as a “definition” of not superior, or inferior, or not remarkable, or wherever it was that you planted your goal posts?

  23. 23

    UB:

    Bill, I used a specific word in making a claim. I used the word, then gave the dictionary definition of that word, then restated my claim using the dictionary definition in place of the word itself.

    Actually, you pivoted from using “entailment” in a sense that yields reasoning beset by a fatal logical flaw to a sense that is useless because it assumes its conclusions.

    Now you said your thing and I said my thing. Give it a rest. That’s my plan.

  24. 24
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Anthropic: “Humans are superior because, so far as we can tell, only humans have the concept of “superior.””

    I know that you are being sarcastic but you have been the only one here willing to provide a meaning for your use of this word. The rest would rather complain that I should not even be asking for one and fabricating a pompous new reason to justify not having to answer it (I.e., DDD).

    Is everyone else too afraid to define what they mean when they say that humans are superior to all other animals? Are you referring to physical properties, intellectual properties, spiritual properties, sexual prowess, all of the above?

  25. 25
    Upright BiPed says:

    RB,

    “Actually, you pivoted from using “entailment” in a sense that…”

    I defined my usage of the term at the time that I used it.

    “Give it a rest. That’s my plan.”

    Now you know why I left Liddle’s house …

  26. 26
    Joe says:

    Acartia_bogart

    Joe, it is nice to see that you agree that it is a perfectly acceptable for someone to clarify a definition and that DDD is just Barry’s attempt to derail any contentious discussion.

    I said that you have to clarify the context, not the definition.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Graham2 says:

    Has anyone picked up on the irony of a laywer spurning the careful use of definitions ? Anyone ever read a legal contract lately ? Don’t even start on the topic of plain English vs legalese.

  29. 29
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Is everyone else too afraid to define what they mean when they say that humans are superior to all other animals?

    It has to do with goal, purpose and meaning.

  30. 30
    Joe says:

    Upright Biped:

    Now you know why I left Liddle’s house …

    Correction: Liddle’s House of Cards (it’s all fake with nothing on the inside but air)

  31. 31
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Definition Deficit Disorder

    Brilliant title for this. It really is a form of ADD. As mentioned, a ‘distraction’. Once the topic gets bogged down in re-definining definitions it can go on forever without a conclusion, thus attention-deficit.

    I’ve done the same thing many times when trapped. I see it more of a universal human problem and not limited to anti-ID (although maybe more common there). We suddenly want “clarification” when we lost the argument.
    Thus we have legalese and hair-splitting. It depends on what the defintion of “is” is, etc. It’s one of many methods to squirm out of a bad spot in an argument. Distraction works well. It often starts with a memory-bluff: “Yes, but in that other thread you claimed …” Now you have to find that old post. You might give up there: “No, I never said that” … or else waste a day trying to find it.
    Then quote the old post “But that’s out of context, what I was really talking about was …” Now you have to re-post the context. Then another opponent joins. “No, you’re misrepresenting what he said”. Give that a few days, and ADD has finally won. Nobody cares any more and you live to argue the same thing again another day.

  32. 32
    bornagain77 says:

    Vestigial, another shining example of Definition Deficit Disorder

    Now It’s Whale Hips: Another Icon of Darwinian Evolution, Vestigial Organs, Takes a Hit – September 15, 2014
    Excerpt: Under selection pressure from reality, Darwinists have already had to back away from Darwin’s own understanding of what it means for a structure to be vestigial. Rather than serving no purpose, writes Jerry Coyne in Why Evolution Is True, now being vestigial can mean serving a different purpose than in one’s distant ancestors.,,,
    You see the problem. Whale hips are “vestigial” yet still extremely important. Comments our colleague Michael Behe, “So doesn’t that make everything a vestigial structure from a Darwinian viewpoint? And if so, of what use is the word?”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....89811.html

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