Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Weekend Humor #3

I linked to this post a long time ago, but that was when I was the only one reading my blog. I think this is still my favorite Scrappleface post on the evolution debates. It begins:
Elderly residents still recall stories of the dust clouds that rolled through Salina as herds of Darwinists thundered across the Kansas plains unchallenged by competition -- unquestionably dominating, and some say destroying, their environment.

But as selective pressures mounted, Darwinists forced to fend for themselves in the natural arena of logic often fell prey to scrappy skeptics who contended for equal space in the Darwinist's natural habitat.

Some celebrate the success of the skeptics as healthy for the overall environment, while concerned conservationists race against the clock to raise funds and public awareness to rescue and shelter the Darwinist.

As they were driven from the public square in recent decades, Darwinists sought shelter in classrooms where they received protection from competing species and intellectual predators.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Dilbert Meets Pharyngula

You might think that Dilbert's fate would be the same as Bambi's in Bambi Meets Godzilla, but you would be wrong. Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert cartoons, recently commented on intelligent design and evolution. Professor P.Z. Myers, Pharyngula blogger of "steel toed boots and brass knuckles" fame, responded in his usual dogmatic manner. Adams' response to that is definitely worth reading. Adams' first post is here, Myers' reply is here, and Adams' not-to-be-missed reply is here. Denyse O'Leary's observations and other posts are here.

Since credibility is one of the issues discussed, I thought that I would provide some data on Prof. Myers' strong claims. He quotes Adams saying this:

For example, Darwinists often argue that Intelligent Design can’t be true because we know the earth is over 10,000 years old. That would be a great argument, supported by every relevant branch of science, except that it has nothing to do with Intelligent Design.

Myers then asserts:

I have never heard anyone on my side of the debate make this argument. Never. Now maybe some few people who aren't familiar with the issues might say something like this (someone like, for instance, Scott Adams), but we all know that Designists, while some are sympathetic to young earth creationism, avoid pinning any of their concepts to testable claims.
Notice the repetition and emphasis he puts on the word "never"? One such false attack was made in an Op-Ed piece by Verlyn Klinkenborg in the August 23, 2005 New York Times. He based his whole argument on this error .

Nearly every attack on evolution - whether it is called intelligent design or plain creationism, synonyms for the same faith-based rejection of evolution - ultimately requires a foreshortening of cosmological, geological and biological time.
His assertion was contradicted by a Times news article the day before. You can find a copy of the entire Klinkenborg piece here.

Do we know if Prof. Myers was aware of this piece? He was. In fact, after criticizing several Times news articles, he praised the piece, deeming it "excellent":
I will say that this readers' opinion piece today, "Grasping the Depth of Time as a First Step in Understanding Evolution", was excellent (Josh agrees). Maybe what the Times needs to do is fire their journalists as tainted goods and start from scratch with a few more competent outsiders.

Perhaps, like the Captain of the HMS Pinafore, he did not mean to say "never, never," but rather "hardly ever."

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My earlier post discussing the error in the Kinkenborg piece (and an amusing irony) is here.