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Dawkins haunted by the ghost of (ulp!) Ben Stein

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Oh, look, everybody’s got a haunt, right? But they are not equally damning. From David Klinghoffer at Evolution News & Views:

On the story about evolutionary atheist Richard Dawkins getting disinvited as an event speaker by a progressive Berkeley radio station (see here and here), Discovery Institute chairman of the board Bruce Chapman points out the best irony. While Dawkins protests his “de-platforming” over past comments on Islam, in 2009 he helped get Ben Stein de-platformed as a commencement speaker at the University of Vermont over — you guessed it — Stein’s take on evolution and his role in the film Expelled. More.

Of course. Dawkins thought he would be eaten last on the progressive menu but he was really just an hors d’oeuvres. The progressives’ war is ultimately on reality and Dawkins is no real use to them because, at bottom, he believes that there is some sort of reality, even if our consciousness of it is an illusion.

See also: Evolution News and Views on Dawkins dumped from Berkeley: Did it serve him right?

Mark Steyn on Richard Dawkins getting dumped at Berkeley

Dawkins dumped from Berkeley due to “hurtful words”

and

How naturalism rots science from the head down

48 Replies to “Dawkins haunted by the ghost of (ulp!) Ben Stein

  1. 1
    chris haynes says:

    In his campaign to ban speakers who dispute his dogma, Dr Dawkins asked: “Was anybody in the Biology Department (at the University of Vermont) consulted before you issued an invitation to a notoriously mendacious propagandist for creationism?”

    Actually if anyone here were to consult the Biology Department at UVM, or any other university, it would be interesting to ask this: Is there any empirical evidence that refutes the Creationist claim that life originated through Divine Intervention? Please let us know what they came up with.

  2. 2
    chris haynes says:

    As part of his campaign to ban speakers who dispute his dogma, Dr Dawkins asked: “Was anybody in the Biology Department (at the University of Vermont) consulted before you issued an invitation to a notoriously mendacious propagandist for creationism?”

    If anyone here has consulted the Biology Department at UVM, or any other university, it would be interesting to actually get an answer to this: Is there any empirical evidence that refutes the Creationist claim that life originated through Divine Intervention? Please let us know what they came up with.

  3. 3
    Seversky says:

    Having invited Stein, the University of Vermont should have gone through with it. Stein should have been allowed to deliver the address just as Dawkins and others should have been free to voice their objections.

    As for Creationism, the burden of proof, as always, rests with the claimant. If someone claims the world was created by God then it is for them to provide the evidence, that’s if they are concerned with persuading others of the merits of the claim.

  4. 4
    chris haynes says:

    Evidence for Creationism? No Problemo.

    This discussion is about the Origin of Life. Creationism claims that he origin of life involved supernatural causes. Anti-Creationists claim that it did not, and that life’s origin involved only reactions of inanimate chemicals. These are the only two explanations offered, and thus constitute a dichotomy. In a dichotomy evidence against one explanation is evidence in favor of the other. Thus any evidence against the naturalistic explanation is evidence in favor of the Creationist one.

    Scientists do not currently have the knowledge or ability to offer any data regarding supernatural events. This is because Scientists have not developed any means of showing either that God does not exist, nor any means of inducing Him to Cooperate in an experiment. By contrast. Science has reached a point where any any possible chemical reaction can be performed in a properly equipped laboratory. Thus Scientists have had the means of demonstrating a theory of chemical origin of life.

    In fact a huge international Research Effort, involving Nobel Prize Winners, attempted for over 90 years to make life in a laboratory. It was a total failure. And that is compelling evidence that 1) a naturalistic origin of life is not possible, and 2) that the Creationist explanation is correct.

    Hope that helps.

    BTW, I notice that you didn’t respond to my request. Let me repeat it. If you know of a Biology Department at any university that has any empirical evidence that refutes the Creationist claim that life originated through Divine Intervention, please let us know what they got.

  5. 5
    ET says:

    If the burden of proof rests with the claimant then why doesn’t that also apply to evolutionists who can’t even figure out how to test their claims? 🙄

  6. 6
    Seversky says:

    chris haynes @ 4

    This discussion is about the Origin of Life. Creationism claims that he origin of life involved supernatural causes

    Where “supernatural” is undefined and is effectively equivalent to “unknown”.

    Anti-Creationists claim that it did not, and that life’s origin involved only reactions of inanimate chemicals.

    If no intelligent agency was involved then the only apparent alternative is some sort of natural process.

    These are the only two explanations offered, and thus constitute a dichotomy. In a dichotomy evidence against one explanation is evidence in favor of the other. Thus any evidence against the naturalistic explanation is evidence in favor of the Creationist one

    They are the only two explanations currently available but that doesn’t mean that they are the only two possible. They may both be wrong so it is not a proper dichotomy.

    Scientists do not currently have the knowledge or ability to offer any data regarding supernatural events. This is because Scientists have not developed any means of showing either that God does not exist, nor any means of inducing Him to Cooperate in an experiment.

    Since “supernatural” is undefined there may be nothing there to study. On the few occasions where there has been an attempt to study an allegedly supernatural phenomenon such as ghosts nothing has been found apart from the odd deception. There needs to be better reasons than that to commit scarce resources to an investigation. Much the same is true of God from a scientific perspective. If you want science to look for something, give it something specific to look for.

    By contrast. Science has reached a point where any any possible chemical reaction can be performed in a properly equipped laboratory. Thus Scientists have had the means of demonstrating a theory of chemical origin of life.

    They may have the means but they don’t yet have a theory.

    In fact a huge international Research Effort, involving Nobel Prize Winners, attempted for over 90 years to make life in a laboratory. It was a total failure. And that is compelling evidence that 1) a naturalistic origin of life is not possible, and 2) that the Creationist explanation is correct.

    There is ongoing research into abiogenesis but I think it is an exaggeration to call it a “huge international Research Effort”. It is also way premature to suggest that they have exhausted all possibilities. If abiogenesis occurred, it may have taken millions of years to happen so, even if we had a theory, it’s probably going to take a lot more than 90 years of laboratory time to replicate an event that took place over that sort of timescale.

    BTW, I notice that you didn’t respond to my request. Let me repeat it. If you know of a Biology Department at any university that has any empirical evidence that refutes the Creationist claim that life originated through Divine Intervention, please let us know what they got.

    Once again, burden of proof. If you want science to look for evidence of a Divine Creation Event, you need to provide reasons for thinking there is something there to look for and some idea of what is is.

  7. 7
    Seversky says:

    ET @ 5

    If the burden of proof rests with the claimant then why doesn’t that also apply to evolutionists who can’t even figure out how to test their claims?

    It does and they are.

  8. 8
    ET says:

    They are, what? No one knows how to test the claim that natural selection or any other blind, mindless process could produce any bacterial flagellum. And no one is working on it. The same goes for any and all protein machines. So you are either deluded or just plain lying.

  9. 9
    ET says:

    BTW, ID does not require the supernatural and the DESIGN exists in this universe and as such can be studied. To refute any design inference all you have to do is step up and demonstrate blind, mindless processes can produce what IDists say required an intelligent designer.

    ID’s claims can be tested whereas the claims made by evolutionism cannot be tested.

  10. 10
    rvb8 says:

    ET @8,

    don’t take your argument to court, it will, and has failed.

    ‘Evidence’! A wonderful word, implying something that can be measured, seen, leaves an imprint, or causes an effect, (the trees move because the wind blows, etc)

    Now the ‘evidence’, for evolution is abundent; fossils, DNA, morphology, homology, biogeography, etc etc:)

    The ‘evidence’ for a creator; one (or several) book/s:)

  11. 11
    ET says:

    rvb8- You are clueless. No one has ever demonstrated that ID requires the supernatural. And IDists have flat out stated that it doesn’t. And ID is not anti-evolution so obviously you have an equivocation problem. Please don’t talk about evidence as you have proven that you don’t understand the concept

  12. 12
    ppolish says:

    Richard Dawkins blocks people left and right on Twitter. I called BS on one of his tweets years ago. He angrily responded and blocked me boohoo. Your a dick Richard.

  13. 13
    rvb8 says:

    ET @11,

    correct, no one has proved ID needs the supernatural, mainly because ID is not recognised as anything that needs proving.

    Creationism is accepted, as it is the religious answer to nature. Evolution is accepted, as it is the naturalist answer to nature.

    ID is recognised nowhere, except here, and one or two other sites.

    Having failed in the ‘Wedge’ strategy to meet any of its goals to become a, ‘player’ in the academic world, it resorts to the courts, (where it repeatedly failed), and leguslatures (where its victories-two- are embarassments to those states, and non-binding.?

    The heavy hitters, such as they were, are gone, and you remain.

    I do miss BA77; and where is Kairosfocus BTW?

  14. 14
    ET says:

    rvb8- ID didn’t fail in the courts. The courts failed ID. Geez read the transcripts- Judge Jones was fooled by a literature bluff and took the word of the anti-IDists over that of the ID experts.

    It still remains that evolutionism is untestable nonsense whereas ID makes testable claims.

  15. 15
    ET says:

    Dr Behe responds to Judge Jones– basically jones was a clueless dolt on an agenda. He didn’t know what science entailed and had no place ruling on science. And he was fooled by a literature bluff. I am still not sure why the lawyers for the defense didn’t object to that tactic. It seems to me that they were also incompetent when it came to ID vs evolutionism.

  16. 16
    LocalMinimum says:

    where is Kairosfocus BTW?

    Taking a break from teaching “Calculus for Delinquents?”, maybe?

  17. 17
    ET says:

    rvb8:

    The heavy hitters, such as they were, are gone, and you remain.

    I am more than enough to take on the likes of you, Bob O’H, Pindi and all evolutionists. But that is only because you and yours have nothing but lies, misrepresentations, cowardly equivocations and bluffs. There aren’t any “heavy hitters” from your side. Just a bunch of mouthy losers.

  18. 18
    daveS says:

    LocalMinimum,

    Taking a break from teaching “Calculus for Delinquents?”, maybe?

    I hope everything’s ok. He has mentioned being very busy lately.

  19. 19
    rvb8 says:

    I too, wish Kairos well, and hope he returns shortly.

    He is a great foil, and is passionate about his position.

    He was also exceedingly prolific, something the posts of NEWS, and Mr Barry Arrington lack.

  20. 20
    ET says:

    KF is also educated, something that rvb8 lacks.

  21. 21
    rvb8 says:

    ET,

    I have a post grsduate degree in History, and an amateur’s interest in science.

    I like good science writing; Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins, Neil Shubin, Stephen Hawking,Stephen Gould, etc

    I also try to refrain from name calling, something the contributors here often forget.

    As we are just a, “bunch of mouthy losers”, it does seem odd that it is the modern evolutionary synthesis which dominates all science departments in all universities worthy of the title.

    PBS, BBC, All major US broadcasters (minus FOX, Heh:) NASA, WTO,UN, WHO,AAAS, Nature, Sci America, the EU (not sure about quirky little Britain anymore, they have their own ID groups),National Geographic, etc etc etc…

    Not bad company for, “a bunch of mouthy losers” eh?:)

  22. 22
    ET says:

    rvb8- You don’t seem to know anything about science. Jerry Coyne is not a good science writer. Richard Dawkins is a poseur. Neil Shubin doesn’t even know what makes a fish a fish and Hawking says that the laws of physics “just are the way they are”.

    The modern synthesis is useless. It doesn’t help anyone with any research. Not only that its claims cannot be tested. But then again you know anything about science so you wouldn’t understand what that means.

    As for the KT boundary my claim is correct. If the impactor caused the extinction of dinos then we would find their fossils in and just above it. You couldn’t even understand that.

  23. 23
    LocalMinimum says:

    daveS:

    I hope everything’s ok. He has mentioned being very busy lately.

    And here I was taking him for granted; now you have me worried. Busy can be good, though; great, even. I hope it is so.

    rvb8:

    He is a great foil, and is passionate about his position.

    Assuredly, it is not my place to speak for him; but I’d expect he feels likewise.

  24. 24
    ET says:

    Jerry Coyne, Dawkins, Shubin, Hawking et al., cannot say how to test the claim that any bacterial flagellum arose by natural selection or any other blind, mindless process. The same goes for any and all protein machines. They can’t even say how eukaryotes arose- they can only guess. They cannot say how the genetic code arose. They can only guess.

    There isn’t any evidence that natural selection is the designer mimic Darwin posited. So yes all evolutionists and materialists are a bunch of mouthy losers.

  25. 25
    LocalMinimum says:

    rvb8 @ 21:

    …it does seem odd that it is the modern evolutionary synthesis which dominates all science departments in all universities worthy of the title.

    There are plenty of archaic schools of thought and sciences which once dominated science departments, that are now even mocked by the pop-sci establishment whose attention you so value.

    Phrenology, for instance. Oh, wait; Darwinians still do that, they just limit it now to subjects in the deep past.

  26. 26
    Mung says:

    Hawking had to correct one of his books. When will evolutionist writers start following suit?

  27. 27
    Axel says:

    Seversky’s gone all quiet since your #8, ET.

  28. 28
    ET says:

    It’s just a case of “butt-hurt”. 🙂

  29. 29
    Dionisio says:

    ET and Axel:

    I see you two have noticed that Seversky has taken a long break from what you thought was a serious discussion.

    Well, sorry to disappoint you, but this is not the first time that the named interlocutor quits a discussion when it turns too difficult for him to handle it.

    Last July 8th the same happened in another discussion thread. The same interlocutor did not answer a series of questions addressed to him in 5 consecutive comments @64-68 starting here:

    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/john-sanford-darwin-a-figurehead-not-a-scientist/#comment-635316

    Evidently you may have serious discussions with other folks, but not with the named interlocutor. Some folks lack what is required in order to engage in serious discussions. They can’t stand the heat.

    The word “troll” seems to come to mind, doesn’t it? 🙂

  30. 30
    J-Mac says:

    Seversky’s gone all quiet since your #8, ET.

    I can give him a hand…here is a tip from Mike Behe on how to falsify Darwinian Evolution in the lab…By the same method the Falsifying Intelligent Design is possible…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mf26zlgZ0es

    Unfortunately for unknown reason Darwinists refused to falsify evolution and prove ID wrong…

  31. 31
    Dionisio says:

    Did professors Behe and Moran have a friendly chat after this presentation? 🙂

    https://www.youtube.com/embed/s6XAXjiyRfM

  32. 32
    Mung says:

    The word “troll” seems to come to mind, doesn’t it?

    That title’s taken already.

  33. 33
    rvb8 says:

    ET,

    Jerry Coyne is the Emiratus Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago, and this title kind of diminishes ID’s attempts at diminishing him.

    Neil Shubin,the Robert R. Bensley Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, and Associate Dean of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, and Professor on the Committee of Evolutionary Biology, at the University of Chicago, will also survive the mallings of ET, and ID.

    Richard Dawkins? Well, where to begin with his resume? Likewise the devastating attacks from ID have left little residue, as he tours the world trying to bring a little light to the benighted.(Read his ‘Awards and Recognition’ entry at wiki, it’s bloody long.)

    Stephen Hawkings? Again, you have a computer.

    I’m sure ET and Co, can handle me, Bob, Pindi, etc, but this fragment of academia I have just noted? Not a chance; “chewed up, and removed by a velocitus expulsion of air from the lungs”, comes to mind.

    I don’t mind being ridiculed on this site as a mental light weight, I am modest enough to largely agree with that description.

    But the slandering of truly great living thinkers, and contributors to humanity’s store of knowledge is childish, and an increasing concern here at UD.

    Shubin spent four years looking for one rock that proved the conjecture that fish, over time became land animals; amazing, determined, foot slogging science;

    What do you have again? Oh yes, another coffee table edition by Wells/Dembski, Dembski/Behe, Wells/Whoever etc.

    Where is Kairos?

  34. 34
    ET says:

    I know who they are. I also know my claim about them is true. Shubin doesn’t have a testable mechanism capable of producing fish. So he loses

  35. 35
    LocalMinimum says:

    rvb8:

    Neil Shubin found a “walking fish”, a mosaic that is commonly observed in the wild in myriad forms in the very present. Admittedly, it’s the oldest “walking fish” found; well done; but nearly immediately afterwards, evidence of earlier tetrapods (the alleged descendants of this “walking fish”) was discovered in Poland.

    I don’t see anything compelling about this beyond the discovery of a new species.

  36. 36
    ET says:

    To add to what LocalMinimum posted:

    Dr. Shubin found an organism that was adapted to its environment. Neither he nor any other human knows if any number of genetic change can produce the types of transitional forms required to go from fish to terrestrial walker. And without a mechanism his evolutionary interpretations are nothing more than wishful thinking.

  37. 37
    rvb8 says:

    ET @34,

    I’m glad you know who they are. Your disrespect for their lifelong passion, and calling, is also notable.

    I am aware also that tetrapods found in Poland predate Tiktaalik, proving of course that the forces of nature, the environment and selection, are universal.

    What Shubin did is make a prediction, acess a location, and search. What he and his team predicted finding in the early shallow freshwater, ancient environment, they did find.

    What does ID discover, through its predictive lens?

  38. 38
    Seversky says:

    Axel @ 28

    Seversky’s gone all quiet since your #8, ET.

    ET’s tactic is to employ the informal fallacy of moving the goalposts or raising the bar. He knows all the standard evidences for evolution full well but dismisses them and demands proofs or tests which he knows are impractical.

    In the case of the bacterial flagellum it’s true that science has not yet been able to map out in detail the evolutionary path between that organelle and any specified precursor. However, let’s suppose, purely for the sake of argument, that there was a hypothesis of how it might have happened which estimated that the process could have taken around 5,000 years. To prove that hypothesis to ET or his ilk’s satisfaction would require simulating that process in real time in the laboratory. Tell me what scientist or research team or institution is going to commit to a 5,000 year experiment whose outcome will not be known until millennia after the original researchers are dead? Especially when you can be damn sure that, even if all that effort produces a working flagellum, ET’s descendants will still dismiss it as not being proof of natural processes but rather, because it was run in a laboratory, it was proof of design.

    It’s easy to throw out that sort of challenge when you know it can’t be answered in practice but it proves nothing and I’ve already wasted much more time on it than it deserves.

  39. 39
    Dionisio says:

    Seversky @38:

    Did you mean “Axel @27”?

    🙂

    BTW, did you read the comment @29?

  40. 40
    LocalMinimum says:

    Seversky @ 38:

    What it appears ET is demanding is proof via experiment and/or a mechanically sound model. Something standard to a science such as, say, physics; where you’d demonstrate/prove something about a phenomenon such as, say, gravity.

    Your claim appears to be that such a thing is impractical. This would, of course, be in conflict with the “theory” status of evolution.

    If any objective model or experiment that supports evolution while standing on its own two legs is impractical, perhaps evolution is impractical as a science?

  41. 41
    ET says:

    Seversky is just being a baby because he? knows he cannot support the claims of his position. He? blames everyone else for this failure like all babies do.

    Thanks, Seversky, for admitting the claims of your position are not scientific. Hiding behind father time is a sure sign that you don’t know anything about science.

  42. 42
    ET says:

    Let it be known that I did not move any goal posts nor did I raise any bar. All I did was ask evolutionists to support their claims. Seversky said it was up to the people making the claims to support them. All I did was to show that evolutionists do not do so and Seversky has now confirmed that fact. And that has made him? very upset

  43. 43
    ET says:

    rvb8:

    What Shubin did is make a prediction, acess a location, and search. What he and his team predicted finding in the early shallow freshwater, ancient environment, they did find.

    He was looking where he did because he thought tetrapods did not yet exist. The tracks in Poland say tetrapods existed before Tiktaalik, which means he was looking in the wrong place for what he was looking for.

  44. 44
    Dionisio says:

    Seversky @38:

    To prove that hypothesis […] would require simulating that process in real time in the laboratory.

    No, that’s wrong.

    All it’s required is to present a comprehensive theoretical description of the cellular, molecular, physicochemical steps required to achieve the given results. Obviously in must be precise, coherent and very well documented.

    This is serious non-fiction.

    No mortal being alive today can provide such a presentation.

    But the offer is up. Spread the news. Maybe someone will dare to take the test.

    Then we’ll see.

    OK?

  45. 45
    Seversky says:

    LocalMinimum @ 40

    What it appears ET is demanding is proof via experiment and/or a mechanically sound model. Something standard to a science such as, say, physics; where you’d demonstrate/prove something about a phenomenon such as, say, gravity.

    That’s right, but he’s rejecting all the standard evidences for evolution and demanding those which he knows are unobtainable given the current capabilities of science and technology

    Your claim appears to be that such a thing is impractical. This would, of course, be in conflict with the “theory” status of evolution.

    There’s no conflict. As I said, science has only been working on evolution for 150 years or so. There’s no reason to think we know now everything that can be known about a process like evolution which may have taken place over billions of years. A thousand years from now biology may well have the capability to run the sort of simulation I suggested. We can’t do it now but that doesn’t mean we never will, which is what ET is heckling about.

  46. 46
    Seversky says:

    ET @ 42

    Let it be known that I did not move any goal posts nor did I raise any bar.

    Sure you did. You know the standard evidences for evolution as well as I do. You just dismiss them and demand what you know cannot be done at this time

    All I did was ask evolutionists to support their claims.

    You didn’t ask for any old support. You asked for the kind of support you know doesn’t exist yet and ignored everything else.

    Seversky said it was up to the people making the claims to support them. All I did was to show that evolutionists do not do so and Seversky has now confirmed that fact. And that has made him? very upset

    This is ET’s version of the three wise monkeys – in this case the three dumb monkeys – see no evidence, hear no evidence, speak no evidence. You wouldn’t be a Donald Trump supporter by any chance, would you?

  47. 47
    ET says:

    Seversky- You don’t get to make bald assertions. You actually have to make your case and you have failed to do so. And now you are equivocating as mere evolution is not even being debated.

    If what I asked for doesn’t exist then why do evolutionists still make the claims? YOU said the people making the claims have to support them.

    Are you now claiming that no one claims that natural selection and other blind, mindless processes produced bacterial flagella and ATP synthase? Really?

    What did I ignore, Seversky? Again you just blurt out a false accusation with nothing to support it. What am I rejecting? That is another claim you cannot support.

    It isn’t that you and yours don’t know everything. It appears that you don’t know anything when it comes to the evolution of protein machines, vision systems and Common Descent.

    Clearly you are just another clueless troll.

  48. 48
    ET says:

    Great, so Seversky chokes causing it to hurl false accusations and bald assertions my way and then runs away. Typical

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