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What happened to Telic Thoughts?

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Years ago, I remember the not-quite-ID blog as a rival to Uncommon Descent, and as a place to go to pick up story threads. Hadn’t been there a while, and … it seems the plug has been pulled on it. Early warning sign?: For a while, only or mostly someone identified as chunkdz was posting.

The last post I noticed, reporting the death of anti-ID figure Mark Perakh, sounds odd at best. For example,

… Mark decided to confront one of the world’s greatest threats to science: The Bible Code. His in-depth, exhaustive investigation into The Bible Code resulted in an exposé of bible numerology that was completely devastating to the Intelligent Design claim that there are lots of secret hidden messages in the bible.

Is this a joke?

Come to think of it, the only time I ever encountered the Bible code in relation to ID was when I met an ID-sympathetic computational physicist at a conference. I had reviewed his book on the subject, which I quite liked.

As it happens,—using information theory—he had demonstrated that there is no Bible code. Chunkdz surely can’t mean him (?).

After ten or more years on this beat, if there was much more to know about ID and a supposed Bible code, I’d probably have heard more than the crickets.

In defaming ID folk, chunkdz’s apparent last post provides a useful demonstration of Godwin’s law:

As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.

Which usually ends the discussion. So was that chosen as a farewell note ? Sad.

Not to worry, Telic Thoughts’ better posts also live on, on the Wayback Machine! – O’Leary for News

18 Replies to “What happened to Telic Thoughts?

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    Funny. I was just going through some boxes of books this afternoon and there was a copy of Bible Code II. Apparently the first book wasn’t bad enough.

  2. 2

    I read and posted on TT a while ago, just before Mike Green published his book. I didn’t keep up with it for reasons I can’t recall. Seems they had some more secular ideas than folks here do. If they’re really gone, that is sad. I wonder if the Bible Code predicted this. 🙂

  3. 3
    News says:

    Cannuckian Yankee, do you mean Mike Green or Mike Gene? Are we talking about The Design Matrix?

  4. 4
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    I think the most obvious connection between ID and the Bible Code is Dr. Dembski’s positive review of Cracking the Bible Code about fifteen years ago. He wrote that it was “too early to decide whether the Bible Code is genuine,” but thought the work was credible. He explicitly connected it to ID:

    At the same time that research in the Bible Code has taken off, research in a seemingly unrelated field has taken off as well, namely, biological design. These two fields are in fact closely related. Indeed, the same highly improbable, independently given patterns that appear as the equidistant letter sequences in the Bible Code appear in biology as functionally integrated (“irreducibly complex”) biological systems, of the sort Michael Behe discussed in Darwin’s Black Box.

    He also opined a the time that the “relevant statistical methodology is identical for both fields,” although I suspect he no longer believes this to be true. He probably does not believe that the Bible Code research panned out, but that’s just a guess.

  5. 5
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    “In defaming ID folk, chunkdz’s apparent last post provides a useful demonstration of Godwin’s law . . . . Which usually ends the discussion.”

    Not around here.

  6. 6
    News says:

    Presumably, Pro hac vice is also referring to the question of whether Darwinian theory influenced the Nazis, which of course it did. It influenced vast swathes of people, including middlebrow Protestants in the United States, in the debased form of compulsory sterilization for the sake of human eugenics.

    We can hardly expect a person of Phv’s temper and character to see that insisting that these facts be faced does not amount to calling anyone today a Nazi or a eugenicist.

    One way of obstructing the facts today (like Darwininism’s current failures) is to obstruct facing past facts as well. Concocting a special history for Darwinism that leaves out all that stuff.

  7. 7
    Mark Frank says:

    Surely PHV’s point is much simpler. On UD it is clearly not the case that a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler ends the discussion. Actually in my experience it rarely ends the discussion on any debate.

  8. 8
    Mark Frank says:

    AS a matter of interest what does “facing the facts” of Darwinian influence on the Nazi’s actually mean? Hitler was influenced by many things – including a crude and faulty interpretation of Darwinism. I don’t think many people deny this. (On the other hand Darwin’s books were on the list to be burned. His beliefs were barely coherent.)

    What does one have to do to face the facts?

    Have you faced the facts that he was influenced by hundreds of years of Christian anti-semitism?

  9. 9
    News says:

    Mark Frank, the original speculation re Godwin’s Law was whether the widespread belief otherwise prompted the note Telic Thoughts went out on. TT does not appear to have been much missed to judge from the overall type and tone of commenters. Hmmm.

  10. 10
    Alan Fox says:

    From the Wayback Machine:

    Guts Says:
    November 23rd, 2012 at 9:17 pm
    Mainstream science does not say we came from one man or from one woman. That’s what all the hoopla was about with biologos and the southern baptist church on Christianity Today not too long ago.

    There are two kind of genetic estimation of effective population size (Ne):
    inbreeding Ne and variance Ne. The first one is based on the increase of inbreeding in the population over the time, and the second one on the change in the allelic frequencies over time. So they are virtually always testing for that kind of stuff.

    If you like science than u like mainstream science, then you must admit genesis is metaphorical, if you’re still in the Bronze Age you must declare science is mistaken all of it, and that has contradictory implications for your world view. Regardless good luck, I won’t be returning to defend any of these assertions, because I don’t see the point. I’m disgusted by the fact that in this day and age we are still in Dayton mode, wtf, I mean really, I’m tired of it, even when I was an ID creationist I was tired of it.

    Comment by Guts — November 23, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

    Nelson Alonzo’s Damascene conversion that sounded the death knell of TT. Look out, Sal. It may come upon you, one day!

  11. 11

    Pro Hac Vice:

    I have no current interest in the alleged Bible Code, though if it were true, I suppose that would be interesting. Just wanted to point out a flaw in your approach here:

    He also opined a the time that the “relevant statistical methodology is identical for both fields,” although I suspect he no longer believes this to be true.

    Your conclusion doesn’t follow. The fact that an identical statistical methodology can be applied to two artifacts does not mean that the methodology should be thrown out when one artifact returns a positive and one returns a negative. It just means that one artifact did contain something and the other one didn’t. No need to abandon a valid methodology.

  12. 12
    Mapou says:

    The Bible does not hide messages and knowledge in numerical code. That is silly. It hides it in plain sight using metaphors. All the alien Gods of the ancient world, including Yahweh, spoke in metaphors. It was the best way to keep secret knowledge confined to a few trusted high priests who were initiated into the occult. These included instructions on how to move a 1400-ton obelisk from a quarry across the Nile to its destination in the valley of the dead many miles away. Sir Isaac Newton wrote that almost all the myths of ancient Egypt, Sumeria, Babylon, Greece and the Roman empire were metaphorical texts. The Mayan writings, too, were full of metaphorical stories of wars and conflicts that were used to describe the precise movements of the moon, sun, stars and other bodies in the heavens. Some of the books in the Bible (Revelation, Zechariah, Ezekiel) are either entirely or partially metaphorical.

    I predict that the most paradigm-shattering scientific breakthroughs in this century will come straight from the Bible. Neither atheists nor Christians will see it coming.

    “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” 😀

  13. 13

    “Cannuckian Yankee, do you mean Mike Green or Mike Gene? Are we talking about The Design Matrix?”

    Ah, yes. Thanks for the correction – Mike Gene. It’s been so long, I forgot his name. I could have checked. My bad.

  14. 14
    Pro Hac Vice says:

    Eric Anderson,

    I think you misunderstood me. I didn’t mean that the statistical method is invalid–I don’t even know what it is. I only meant that Dembski wrote the book review over a decade ago. I assume his methodology has changed since then.

  15. 15
    Deuce says:

    Oh, for crying out loud. How is it not obvious to you folks that chunkdz is being facetious throughout that entire post?

  16. 16
    Deuce says:

    I mean heck, it was obvious to the first commenter on that post that chunkdz was making fun of Mark Perakh the whole time. Just how wooden, humorless, and incapable of detecting irony to you have to be not to pick up on that? Or was this a matter of seeing what you wanted to see?

  17. 17
    Alan Fox says:

    I mean heck, it was obvious to the first commenter on that post that chunkdz was making fun of Mark Perakh the whole time.

    Yes, that was very clear. A hilarious obituary.

    Is there anyone here who thinks that might have been somewhat inappropriate?

  18. 18
    News says:

    Alan Fox at 17, Yes, it would be inappropriate if a broad, drop-in audience didn’t appreciate the esoteric joke. Obits are best kept simple and obvious.

    Nil nisi bonum and so forth.

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