12 Replies to ““Progetto Cosmo”

  1. 1
    keiths says:

    The website claims:
    “I critici di Darwin non sono bigotti, come certi Darwinisti.”

    Perhaps in Italy they are all pure as the driven snow. Over here they are human, running the gamut from intelligent, civil and open-minded to narrow, intolerant and peevish.

  2. 2
    niwrad says:

    At last, the author of “I critici di Darwin non sono bigotti …” (Sermonti) simply wanted to mean that most Darwin’s doubters base their arguments on scientific facts. Instead certain Darwinists base their arguments only on a sort of “religious” Darwinian faith. So, in a sense, the latters are more “bigots” that the formers.
    Anyway, who wants to verify can read that article in English at http://www.discovery.org/csc

  3. 3
    keiths says:

    niwrad,

    The link you supplied does not work.

    I looked around and found the translation at

    http://www.discovery.org/scrip.....38;id=2955

  4. 4
    keiths says:

    niwrad claims:
    “(Sermonti) simply wanted to mean that most Darwin’s doubters base their arguments on scientific facts. Instead certain Darwinists base their arguments only on a sort of “religious” Darwinian faith.”

    Sermonti allows that only “certain” Darwinists are bigots (at least in the article’s title). But nowhere does he limit his plaudits to “most” Darwin doubters, as niwrad asserts. This imbalance is precisely what prompted my original comment.

    The body of the article is even worse. Sermonti, decrying the wholesale depiction of Darwin doubters as religious fundamentalists, proceeds to tar the “Darwinists” with an equally broad brush. Note that the restraint of the title has vanished at this point. It’s no longer “certain” Darwinists doing these bigoted things, but rather “the Darwinists” and “the high priests of Darwinism.”

    Sermonti complains:
    For the Darwinists, who in Kansas have abandoned the field, anyone who opposes Darwin is a poorly concealed religious fundamentalist. In Italy, by the way, the religious argument has never come into the debate; in fact, said debate does not even exist, as the Darwinists are much too convinced that truth lies with them to wish to waste time discussing the matter.”

    He later continues:
    “There is one matter that continues to offend me: that scientists of the stature of Cuvier, von Baer…Shibatani, to cite just a few, should be preemptively dismissed by the high priests of Darwinism as simple-minded religious fundamentalists.”

    How ironic that this article, complaining of bigotry, should exhibit it in equal measure.

  5. 5
    niwrad says:

    The words of Sermonti are quite balanced for a brilliant biologist who has had his academic and scientific career ruined by the censorship Darwinists use to apply in Italy at every level (universities, publishing, mass media …) against their opposers.

  6. 6
    keiths says:

    niwrad writes:
    “The words of Sermonti are quite balanced for a brilliant biologist who has had his academic and scientific career ruined by the censorship Darwinists use to apply in Italy…”

    I see. So you’re admitting that Sermonti’s words are not balanced, by objective standards, but arguing that we must apply a special standard in his case because of his perceived persecution at the hands of a small group of Italian “Darwinists”.

    By that argument, a piece of writing never stands or falls on its own merit. We’re obliged to withhold criticism until we’ve inquired into the personal background of the author and determined whether he has a “reason” for the partiality he exhibits.

    Suppose someone writes “Catholic priests are dictatorial, ruling their parishes like little despots. They exploit their position of trust to indulge their pedophilic desires.” Must we refrain from comment until we’ve determined whether the author had a bad experience as a child in Catholic school?

  7. 7
    niwrad says:

    “The Sermonti’s words are quite balanced” not only in relation to his negative personal experience but also for their objective merit about the debate on evolutionism.

    The propositions in his paper that could “offend” Darwinists are:

    1) “For the Darwinists […] who opposes Darwin is a poorly concealed religious fundamentalist.”
    2) “There is one matter that continues to offend me: that scientists of the stature of Cuvier […] to cite just a few, should be preemptively dismissed by the high priests of Darwinism as simple-minded religious fundamentalists.”

    Sermonti simply notes that Darwinists are often used to apply the straw man of religious fundamentalism to their doubters (also to the more scientific ones). That straw man is the more annoying thing for him (and not only for him).

  8. 8
    keiths says:

    niwrad writes:
    “Sermonti simply notes that Darwinists are often used to apply the straw man of religious fundamentalism to their doubters (also to the more scientific ones).”

    niwrad, you’ve done it again, softening Sermonti’s language to make him sound more reasonable. He did not say that Darwinists “often” label critics as religious fundamentalists. Reread his words:

    Sermonti:
    “For the Darwinists, who in Kansas have abandoned the field, anyone who opposes Darwin is a poorly concealed religious fundamentalist.”

    For Sermonti, it’s not “some Darwinists” or “certain overzealous Darwinists”, neither of which would be false. It’s “the Darwinists”, which is obviously wrong. Similarly, it’s not “some” critics who are labeled as fundamentalists, but “anyone.” Again, obviously false.

  9. 9
    niwrad says:

    keiths, I admit you are a clever debater (it’s a pity you seem to be on the Darwinian side of the controversy, but I trust in your intelligence and conserve some hope you might change side in the future (:-)…

    Sermonti: “For the Darwinists, who in Kansas have abandoned the field, anyone who opposes Darwin is a poorly concealed religious fundamentalist.”

    Perhaps he wanted to refer only to Kansas Darwinists. Kansas Darwinists have abandoned the field indeed they thought anyone they would have encountered was a religious fundamentalist. Whether they would have thought someone was a very scientific ID supporter why not to meet him and discuss the scientific controversy? It seems to me they have refuted the meeting because they thought all Darwin’s doubters were religious fundamentalists. So, in a sense, Sermonti is right.

    But, after all, wouldn’t it be more interesting to debate the scientific issues of Darwinism and ID instead of these little polemics?

  10. 10
    keiths says:

    niwrad writes:
    “keiths, I admit you are a clever debater (it’s a pity you seem to be on the Darwinian side of the controversy, but I trust in your intelligence and conserve some hope you might change side in the future (:-)…”

    Well, I try to keep an open mind and to question my own beliefs. One of the reasons I like hanging out on this blog is that I know people will scrutinize my comments for errors or inconsistencies and cheerfully point them out to me. (Believe me, they do!)

    I, too, hope that you might change sides in the future and proudly reverse the letters in your blog name.

    niwrad again:
    “Perhaps he wanted to refer only to Kansas Darwinists.”

    Possibly, but only if the comma after Darwinists was put there by mistake. That comma makes all the difference in the world. Without it, the sentence would have the meaning you’re looking for.

    niwrad concludes:
    “But, after all, wouldn’t it be more interesting to debate the scientific issues of Darwinism and ID instead of these little polemics?”

    Indeed it would. Come join us on some of the other threads. We’ve got some interesting debates going on.

  11. 11
    russ says:

    KeithS wrote: ““For the Darwinists, who in Kansas have abandoned the field, anyone who opposes Darwin is a poorly concealed religious fundamentalist.”

    For Sermonti, it’s not “some Darwinists” or “certain overzealous Darwinists”, neither of which would be false. It’s “the Darwinists”, which is obviously wrong. Similarly, it’s not “some” critics who are labeled as fundamentalists, but “anyone.” Again, obviously false.”

    I think Sermonti is correct. It is sometimes appropriate to make generalizations about groups or movements. The reader should assume that there will be exceptions, while understanding that the generalization is true. Of course not all Darwinists take the position described, but leading voices in the pro-Evolution, anti-ID debate (“the Darwinists”) do take this position. I hear the accusation of “concealed fundamentalism” leveled at the ID movement all the time. I understand that it is not leveled by every single Darwinist, but it is still a proper generalization to state that “Darwinists accuse ID supporters of harboring a secret religious agenda.”, or similar.

  12. 12
    keiths says:

    russ writes:
    “It is sometimes appropriate to make generalizations about groups or movements. The reader should assume that there will be exceptions, while understanding that the generalization is true.”

    Russ,
    Imagine changing the Darwinist references to “blacks” and the IDer references to “whites” throughout the article, and then tell me how well you think your argument about generalizations would work.

    Writers know how to handle this “qualification problem” without making their prose unwieldy or repetitive. Let me give you some examples:

    1. Some Darwinists…
    2. Darwinists often…
    3. A majority of Darwinists…
    4. A vocal minority of Darwinists…
    4. Many Darwinists…
    5. Certain Darwinists…
    6. There are Darwinists who…
    7. Occasionally Darwinists…
    8. Prominent Darwinists…
    9. These Darwinists… (regarding a group that’s been previously delineated)
    10. Militant Darwinists…

    …and many more.

    And qualifiers don’t have to be carried through the entire piece of writing. See how it’s done here:

    “Darwinist street gangs have been harassing the law-abiding intelligent design supporters of Dover, Pennsylvania. The ID supporters say they are afraid to go out at night or to let their children play outside. The Darwinists say the harassment is a protest, aimed at their mistreatment at the hands of the Dover School Board…”

    If you reread Sermonti’s article, you’ll see that there is nothing in it to suggest that he is talking about a subset of Darwinists. The article’s title starts to move in that direction, by using the qualifier ‘certain’, but then the article itself fails to follow through. And the title itself omits a qualifier for “Darwin’s critics”.

    I’m with niwrad, though. Let’s let this rest and debate some more interesting things.

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