I used to make a joke here that quote mining, to a Darwinist, was any time an IDist or Creationist quoted a mainstream evolutionary biologist. A recent thread at TSZ has sadly revealed that my joke wasn’t a joke. That’s what they actually think.
After looking over the site petrushka (the author of the thread) referred to, I realized that the people at that site presented no evidence for quote-mining, and one of the site authors attempting to characterize why a quote was “quote-mined” said this:
So we see that Gould et al. don’t reject evolution, but claim that phyletic evolution takes a second seat to speciation.
Did anyone actually try to paint Gould as “rejecting evolution”? That hardly seems reasonable. It seems that simply using the Gould’s quote to establish agreement on both sides about the fact of “few transitional fossils” in a pro-creationist argument is the same as trying to paint him as “rejecting evolution”. I found this baffling and made what I thought was a rather sarcastic comment on the thread:
It seems that anti-ID/creationists think that if one quotes a Darwinist to make an anti-Darwinism point, it must be quote-mining simply because the Darwinist rejects creationism/ID.
Sadly, my comment turned out not to be sarcastic at all. Petrushka actually responded:
Well, yes, it’s true that quoting a mainstream biologist to support a creationist argument is quote mining.
You might think that the “intellectually honest” members of TSZ would have corrected him immediately. I mean, seriously, surely not even those at TSZ would try to defend such an ignorant, erroneous, laughable idea. Well, then again, you might not.
Flint agreed with petrushka with this bit of nonsense:
Yes, absolutely this is quote mining. Those who reject creationism DO NOT make statements supporting creationist arguments.
Faded_Glory chimes in:
Say there is a quote from a known and knowledgeable anti-creationist. How can such a quote, when seen in context, ever support creationism?
Amazed at the how far they would go to defend a blatant error and attack the person who pointed it out, I re-posted petrushkas statement and asked:
Anyone willing to agree that Petrushka is simply flat-out wrong about this? If not, you’re just as wrong as he is.
Only GlenDavidson came forth with a rather timid response:
Yeah, I don’t agree with that, and it seems not out of context (I’ll check).
But later, GlenDavidson said (and others agreed) that the list of quotes at the Idea Center was itself a case of “quote-mining” – even though it has a disclaimer at the top that not all the quotes had been verified and that the quotes were intended as a resource for research. They were not contextualized in any way on the site, nor was the original meaning of the quotes characterized (much less mis-characterized).
Glen Davidson said:
Here is an interesting example of a collection of creationist quotemines on the fossil record.
Actually it is a source of quote-mines William.
Surely someone at that site realizes that petrushka et al are utterly, laughably wrong about what constitutes a quote-mine, but as of yet none have chosen not to correct them. Which makes one wonder, if they can’t even bring themselves to go against one of their own making such a blatant, laughable error about something that isn’t really even all that important to serious debates, how can anyone find them remotely credible when defending their compatriots views on actual, meaty matters in the ID/Darwinism debate?
UPDATE: Glen Davidson won’t even call petrushka wrong, and offers a long apologetic argument that Gould probably, in most cases, is not “properly” quoted by creationists, noting near the end:
So while I do think that it’s possible for IDists/creationists to use Gould quotes appropriately, I can’t think of any instance where I could say that they have.
UPDATE: GlenDavidson has stated that him “differing” from petrushka is, in fact, him disagreeing with petrushka. Also, Reciprocating Bill has agreed that petrushka is wrong. I appreciate them coming forth to correct this misapprehension about what “quote-mining” means.