Who’s the bigger liability for ID?

I thought Michael Egnor was the DI’s biggest liability for stupid arguments. Now I’m thinking based on Aferensis’ posts that it’s probably Dave Scot based on his suggestion that “All the hominid fossils we have wouldn’t fill a single coffin.”

But my favorite part of how embarrassing he is for humanity is how people, sometimes inadvertently, make predictions about his stupidity.
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This reminds me of a joke I once heard…

Dembski misses the point as always with his recent post describing why the vertebrate eye is again evidence of design. You see, the big bad Darwinists used the structure of the eye, which has its photoreceptors in the back behind all the layers of the retina, as evidence that our eye isn’t designed, because what kind of designer would have the light pass all the way through the layers of the retina to reach the receptor cells?

I’m interested in talking about these cranks today because I think this argument is one that exposes the fundamentally deceptive nature of the DI and proponents of the ID movement.
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Adult Stem Cell Nonsense

For this Friday afternoon I thought I’d rehash a previous post from denialism.com on adult stem cells and those that hype results inappropriately to disparage embryonic stem (ES) cells. It all started with an exciting JAMA article about using autologous stem cell transplants to help treat type I diabetics who still had some capacity to produce insulin. The problem is that the adult stem cell hypers, like Wesley Smith (you guys remember him right? Senior fellow of DI etc.) will jump on any article that says “adult stem cells” and blather on and on about there are no ES cell cures – so why study them?
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Comment policy

I’m turning on moderation since the 9/11 truthers have shown up and desire to show me how they’re not cranks by hijacking threads and linking their conspiracy sites.

Sorry about that. But I don’t think it’s a valuable use of time to argue with cranks. I also won’t accept comments that are just drive-by trollings, or thread hijacks.

If my commenters want to take them on, that’s fine, but I have a limited tolerance for futile endeavors.

After the weekend (Chris and I don’t blog much on Saturday and Sunday) when I can monitor things more closely I’ll take moderation off.

Logical Fallacies

Almost everybody knows about the fallacies of logic, formal and informal, that are routinely used in arguments with denialists. While these fallacies aren’t perfect examples of logic that show when an argument is always wrong, they are good rules of thumb to tell when you’re listening to bunk, and if you listen to denialists you’ll hear plenty. I wish they’d teach these to high school students as a required part of their curriculum, but it probably would decrease the efficacy of advertisement on future consumers.

The problem comes when the denialists get a hold of the fallacies then accuse you, usually, of ad hominem! It goes like this.
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Impossible expectations (and moving goalposts)

I’m sorry for mixing terminologies. But moving goalposts isn’t adequate to describe the full hilarity of the kinds of arguments denialists make. For instance, the goalposts never have to be moved when they require evidence that places them somewhere in the land before time. What I mean is the use, by denialists, of the absence of complete and absolute knowledge of a subject to prevent implementation of sound policies, or acceptance of an idea or a theory.

So while moving goalposts describes a way of continuing to avoid acceptance of a theory after scientists have obligingly provided additional evidence that was a stated requirement for belief, impossible expectations describes a way to make it impossible for scientists to ever prove anything to the satisfaction of the denialist. They’re related though so we’ll group both together.

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