Intelligent Design

My Visit to Panda’s Thumb

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After my post at UD (http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/1204) about creating a Hello World computer program by random mutation and natural selection, apollo230 alerted me to the fact that the Panda’s Thumb crowd had created a special thread designed to demolish my thesis. This pleased me to no end, because it was obvious that I had created major trouble. If my arguments and logic were utterly vacuous, no response would have been required.

Just to prove that I’m not a complete coward, I decided visited Panda’s Thumb, check out the thread, and make a reply. After wading through a tome of hand-wringing PT diatribes, I posted the following comment:

“The fact of the matter remains: Random mutation and natural selection as an explanation for all of life’s complexity, functionally integrated machinery, and information content is wishful speculation, unsupported by convincing hard evidence. This should simply be admitted.”

Within a few minutes I was responded to by Steve S with this morsel of intellectually satisfying insight:

“Oh, don’t worry, Gil. In a week or so, Paul Nelson’s going to be presenting Ontogenetic Depth v 2.0 at the Society of Developmental Biology meeting, and I’m sure that will obliterate Darwinism, you know, like the Explanatory Filter did, and the NFL theorems, and your analogies to computers, and Irreducible Complexity, and Sal’s plane anecdotes, and the last 400-500 dumb things you guys have said, and Intelligent Evolution will in the future, &c, &c, &c….”

Such a marvelously profound rebuttal inspired me to conclude that I must agree with David Berlinski’s characterization of the Panda’s Thumb crowd:

“The Panda’s Thumb, on the other hand, is entirely low-market; the men who contribute to the blog all have some vague technical background – computer sales, sound mixing, low-level programming, print-shops or copy centers; they are semi-literate; their posts convey that characteristic combination of pustules and gonorrhea that one would otherwise associate with high-school toughs.”

14 Replies to “My Visit to Panda’s Thumb

  1. 1
    tribune7 says:

    “associate with high-school toughs.”

    I always imagined them to more like Toady in Road Warrior.

  2. 2
    scordova says:

    I was very pleased Eugenie Scott, when she visited GMU, encouraged the audience to go to Panda’s Thumb.

    I’m not so sure she’s aware how good Pandas Thumb is for ID.

    I recommend IDEA members go to Panda’s Thumb as I’m confident of the bad taste that place will leave in a student’s mouth, especially those who are sympathetic to design. (i.e. Lenny Flank admits he’s not converted hardly one person to his viewpoint in 20 years. )

    My other favorite site to inspire IDers is Pharyngula.

    Why is that? To illustrate my point, there was one IDEA member at JMU:

    1. started college age 14
    2. son of a university professor
    3. triple majors (math, physics, finance)
    4. strong Christian values
    5. On his way to a science PhD

    And another:

    1. Biology honors, awards, and distinction at graduation
    2. duaghter of a vetrinarian
    3. deeply religous

    Now, I simply refer them to PT and Pharyngula where they hear themselves painted as villains, uneducated idiots, children of uneducated idiots, and clueless anti-science liars wanting to establish a theocracy. They hear their personal beliefs, the beliefs of family and friends trashed and ridiculed, their motivations and competence questioned, etc…

    Can y’all guess the persuassive effect such rhetoric has on such young impressionable minds? 🙂 Can you guess who they will view as the bad guys are in this debate? Hint: not the IDers. 🙂

    Salvador

  3. 3
    dene_bebbo says:

    Sal, your comment is ironic given that Gil’s post quotes David Berlinski saying of PTers “their posts convey that characteristic combination of pustules and gonorrhea…”. There’s rhetoric and abuse coming from both sides of the ID debate, not just one.

  4. 4
    russ says:

    Sal, your comment is ironic given that Gil’s post quotes David Berlinski saying of PTers “their posts convey that characteristic combination of pustules and gonorrhea…”. There’s rhetoric and abuse coming from both sides of the ID debate, not just one.

    Comment by dene_bebbo — June 21, 2006 @ 6:05 am

    I think there’s a difference. Berlinski is using harsh rhetoric to describe how the PT folk conduct themselves in debate. The PT folks, on the other hand, use harsh rhtetoric as a substitute for debate. You can have an honest debate with the former, but not with the latter.

  5. 5
    Joseph says:

    Dene_Bebbo:
    Sal, your comment is ironic given that Gil’s post quotes David Berlinski saying of PTers “their posts convey that characteristic combination of pustules and gonorrhea…”.

    That is what reality demonstrates. Do you have a point?

    To Gil, It is very interesting that instead of refuting you with actual scientific data that they instead choose to respond with nonsense. I take that is because they don’t have any scientific data to substantiate their anti-ID, ie “sheer dumb luck” position. Good job!

  6. 6
    Scott says:

    Gil,

    I love how Steve S lists off some of the key tenets of ID in a manner which suggests that these notions have somehow failed because, “Gahick! We Darwinists is still here tawkin’ bout how Evolution works!” Steve: the fact that you ignore, misunderstand & obfuscate the ID tenets you mention, doesn’t mean that they are impotent. It turns out that these hypotheses actually DO obliterate your Materialistic mythology. You just have to be intellectually honest. I know… that rules you out.

    Silly atheistic simpletons.

  7. 7
    DonaldM says:

    Gil,

    Wear their scorn as a badge of honor! Kudos for going into the Panda’s den and taking them on. I can’t help but note that in Steve S’s response to you, he never actually adressed your thesis. You know, if the science behind evolution were so blatently obvious, you’d think that instead of ad hominem attacks and straw man arguments that they (the anti-ID crowd) would respond with the science. That Steve S couldn’t or wouldn’t offer you one bit of “hard evidence” for the power of RM/NS to account for “all of life’s complexity, functionally integrated machinery, and information content”, which is all you’re asking for, is itself very telling, don’t you think?

  8. 8
    dene_bebbo says:

    Russ, I don’t think it’s fair to say you can’t have an honest debate with PTers but assume this doesn’t also apply to the other side. You’ll find plenty of people who would say it’s not possible to have an honest debate with Berlinski. Besides that, I’d love to know how he came up with the “vague” technical backgrounds we’re supposed to have.

  9. 9
    idadvisors says:

    We, the IDists, just want aspiring bioscientists to refer to information theory
    (psycholuiguistics) when they observe CSI and linguistic structures in natural phenomenon. Easy for a few, difficult for many.

  10. 10
    BK says:

    Those that have nothing to say, mock.

  11. 11
    russ says:

    “Russ, I don’t think it’s fair to say you can’t have an honest debate with PTers but assume this doesn’t also apply to the other side. You’ll find plenty of people who would say it’s not possible to have an honest debate with Berlinski.

    Comment by dene_bebbo — June 21, 2006 @ 12:02 pm

    I was addressing this one instance only, not generalizing about Panda’s Thumb or Berlinski. It’s not inappropriate for Berlinksi or anyone at PT to say that someone on the other is a blockhead or a nitwit. But if they do so specifically as a response to an argument, then that takes away from their credibility.

  12. 12
    Mung says:

    I find it interesting that the materialists are all too willing to trot out computer simulations as proof of the efficacy of their theoretical mechanisms but then complain loudly and vociferously against anyone using the same means to demonstrate the utter implausibility of it all.

    I say keep coming with the anti-RMNS sims and anytime someone complains ask them what an evolution simulator should

  13. 13
    Mung says:

    hmm… my post got truncated. Intelligent Design, Intelligent Evolution, or Unintelligent Evolution?

    Ask them what an evolution simulator should look like. If they can’t answer that, then on what basis do they criticise yours?

  14. 14
    Joseph says:

    I say it is very possible to have an honest debate with D. Berlinski just not a fair debate.

    Ya see in order for evolutionitwits to have a “fair” debate with any person that person must be very gullible and/ or scientifically ignorant.

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