It was pointed out in a comment in our FRC post how much cherry picking resembles rank dishonesty.
That’s because it is. Deception is inherent in denialist arguments, and there are few better examples than Sal Cordova’s selective quotation as demonstrated by Ed Brayton in Dispatches from the Culture Wars.
Check out the Sal Cordova version:
Charles Darwin, perhaps medicine’s most famous dropout, provided the impetus for a subject that figures so rarely in medical education. Indeed, even the iconic textbook example of evolution–antibiotic resistance–is rarely described as “evolution” in relevant papers published in medical journals. Despite potentially valid reasons for this oversight (e.g., that authors of papers in medical journals would regard the term as too general), it propagates into the popular press when those papers are reported on, feeding the wider perception of evolution’s irrelevance in general, and to medicine in particular.
Then check out the full version from PLoS Biology
It is curious that Charles Darwin, perhaps medicine’s most famous dropout, provided the impetus for a subject that figures so rarely in medical education. Indeed, even the iconic textbook example of evolution–antibiotic resistance–is rarely described as “evolution” in relevant papers published in medical journals . Despite potentially valid reasons for this oversight (e.g., that authors of papers in medical journals would regard the term as too general), it propagates into the popular press when those papers are reported on, feeding the wider perception of evolution’s irrelevance in general, and to medicine in particular . Yet an understanding of how natural selection shapes vulnerability to disease can provide fundamental insights into medicine and health and is no less relevant than an understanding of physiology or biochemistry.
Denialists have no problem being deceptive, and as in this case, willfully misrepresenting the words of others to make their point, at any cost. There is no intellectual honesty. Intelligent design creationism is not a “science” as they suggest. It’s a systematic distortion of the truth.
Good job Ed, read the rest of his post for a full demonstration of the dishonesty of Cordova who has used this tactic many times in the past – including the time he did it to advance the idea that Charles Darwin liked to kill puppies. And Sal, here’s your reward.
2 thoughts on “Ed Brayton Exposes Sal Cordova’s Cherry Picking”
What Denialists desperately need are aliies that are respected scientists that have credentials in the relevant field and are currently active in the field. If they actually had these allies then they wouldn’t be Denialists they would be participants in an active functional scientific research program.
The solution that IDers and other Denilaists find is “pubjacking”. Simply go to pubmed and read a large number of articles by respected scientists until you find something that you can twist to support your case. Then you claim that scientist X is actually a supporter of your particular strain of Denialism. It must be a scientist’s worst nightmare – to one day wake to find you are supposedly a supporter of ID or HIV Denial etc.
The only question is: who are they trying to fool. It certainly isn’t scientists that are familiar with the field. Is it a lay audience? Certainly! Is it themselves? Probably. Sal Cordova is probably trying to convince himself as much as anyone else. This explains why he can be so stupid to misrepresent an article that is publicly available without an institutional subscription. Even his lay-audience followers can go and read the original article and detect his dishonesty.
Chris, if you think about it, it is entirely natural that
creationists would gravitate to such a strategy …
They, as a group, are intellectual authoritarians —
i.e., people who think the purpose of a human brain,
is to question, search and think _solely_ in order for
that brain to identify the correct ‘authority’ that will
tell it everything that it “needs to know”, — so then
it won’t have to question, search or think any more, ever
again, at all.
In other words, for them, the only fitting purpose of a
human intellect, is an ultimate anti-intellectualism.
It’s sort of like those tunicates, the purpose of whose
complex larval brains, is to help them navigate to find
a suitable rock to adhere to, so they can fix themselves
to it, and then absorb their own brain, settling down to
a sendentary life as a mindless filter-feeder of whatever
precipitating crap the great ocean of life might choose to
shower upon them.
This is a fit niche for tunicates, but not a suitable one
for human beings. Mindless filter-feeding makes for a
dangerously ineffectual democratic electorate, for one thing.
Anyway, obviously, such personality-types would be drawn
to any strategy consisting chiefly of identifying “authorities” whom they can pretend will do (or, in your variant, have done) their thinking for them. And, they hope, yours, for you.
The whole intellectual ethos of the creationist, is to find some magic place where they can live a human life without having to think any more.
Which is of course a contradiction. I’m sure half or more of their fury is the result of outwardly projecting all the
emotional frustration that must result, from that constant, distressing, irremediable cognitive dissonance.
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