Thursday, 20 August 2009

I Sense An Ignobel Prize Coming...

Millions of scientific papers are published every year, each one on the frontier of where the known meets the unknown. The strive to understand nature pushes the boundaries of human knowledge and in some cases extends it further. Occasionally something so absurd comes out that one has to sit up and take notice, just like research released recently on what to do in the event of a zombie attack.



James said...

To Kel, from Jim:

Well, Kel, here I am, but I still won't debate evolution and ID with you. Here's why.

On my recent visit to Pharyngula, I wrote about the characteristically low-brow level of discourse on the blog, something that begins at the top with PZ Myers. As a regular to the blog, you surely must know that my description of the level of discourse is quite apt.

I also opined that the low-brow level of discourse that is so characteristic of Pharyngula is shameful to science, that it discredits those who resort to it, and that it is self-defeating. I also expressed my amusement and satisfaction in watching the Pharyngula choir members discredit themselves, and encouraged them to keep it up.

In return, you wrote the following about me:

"'re just another creationist hack."

"Surely at one point you would feel at least a bit of guilt towards displaying such intellectual dishonesty and staggering ignorance, but no."

"Jim has shown that either he's ignorant or that he's trying to wind us up. Why can't we get people who are intelligent enough and well read enough to actually engage in conversation about the underlying theory of biology?"

You know virtually nothing about me, yet on the basis of my comments about the level of discourse on Pharyngula, you felt obliged to inform me that I'm staggeringly ignorant and that I lack the intelligence to debate evolution and ID. Why in the world would I want to honor a person who says such things about me by engaging him in debate?

By the way, I could give you a good debate (but won't). I'm intelligent (a lapsed member of Mensa with an IQ to the north of 150) and well-versed in both the Darwinist and ID literature.

Have a nice day.

Kel said...

Hey James,

So you come all the way here just to tell me you won't debate me, then sing your intelligence? Okay, let's look at what my posts were in response to.
"There are few things I find more hilarious than watching the Darwinian faithful"

"There are few things I find more hilarious than watching the Darwinian faithful"

"I dare say that the first thing that comes to the mind of any reader who is not already among the Darwinian faithful is not "My, what a powerful argument!" "

"Led by the master (PZ Myers)"

"outside of the Church of Darwin."

You think that maybe my response at you might actually be in response to you actually setting the tone of the conversation?

Yet despite all that, I did numerous times try to engage you in argument about it, and like now all you can do is refuse, claim your own superiority and not offer a semblance of an answer. Nevermind that you might actually convince people to your way of thinking, nevermind that you could correct the errors and misunderstandings that I have. No, you're content to sing your own praises.

So from my perspective, you insult a bunch of people then when people act hostile to those insults you use your own indignation to refuse to debate the issues actually at hand?!?

Kel said...

And I couldn't care less about your IQ or which associations you are with, the fact of the matter is that when asked to present your case, you looked for every excuse under the sun not to engage in conversation. Then you come on here to tell me you won't debate with me? Why not just say that on pharyngula.

Again, this appears to me like you are just looking for excuses not to actually talk about it. Like I said, the reason I support evolution is because of the evidence. You said:
"I think the Darwinian tale of life's developmental history - a tale with which I'm probably as well-versed as anyone here (aside from any members of the choir who are evolutionary biologists) - is a preposterous tale informed by a host of wishful speculations, but little hard evidence"
So if your correct, then my whole position is undermined. Surely it would be a walk in the park to trample over me.

But no, you couldn't do that. Very pathetic...

Kel said...

"yet on the basis of my comments about the level of discourse on Pharyngula, you felt obliged to inform me that I'm staggeringly ignorant"

It was response to you saying "Church of Darwin" numerous times.

Yet despite knowing barely nothing about me and about my motivations, you feel compelled to construct your own story about what I did and way. The term hypocrite comes to mind...

James said...

Jim: "yet on the basis of my comments about the level of discourse on Pharyngula, you felt obliged to inform me that I'm staggeringly ignorant"

Kel: "It was response to you saying 'Church of Darwin' numerous times."

Oh, good grief. I was speaking metaphorically, although I must say that proponents of Darwinism defend their pet theory with religious fervor (which is why I chose the metaphor). No sensible person would defend a scientific theory with the fevered pitch that is so characteristic of proponents of Darwinism (and so openly displayed on Pharyngula). The passionate way Darwinism is defended makes it abundantly clear that its proponents are defending their worldview (atheistic materialism), not a mere scientific theory.

Kel said...

"I was speaking metaphorically"
Even if it were metaphorical, it was a highly antagonistic metaphor. Remember what I'm saying, that you gave hostility so you are receiving hostility back. If I went onto a Christian forums calling them "Christfags" and persistently referring to their homosexual relationship with Jesus, surely I'd expect hostility in return. Nevermind that it's a metaphor, after all I don't literally mean they engage in homosexual acts.

As for why evolution is defended so vigorously... maybe because the theory is constantly under assault unlike no other scientific theory. That it's persistently coupled with atheism, nihilism, immorality, abortion, homosexuality, etc. That it's no more atheist than any other scientific theory, and that the scientist who has done the most in the United States to combat creationism is... a theist!

But again I see no reply about evolution itself. Even if I believed in it for purely atheistic reasons (I don't, I support it for scientific reasons) the truth of evolution lies outside my belief in it. Why can't you actually take the arguments for evolution? Surely if it's just me pushing it for my agenda, you'd be able to trounce me and the evidences I claim support evolution (again I stress that I support evolution because of the evidence). But you don't do it, and despite me asking several times for you to do it, all you can do is find excuses not to do it. On Pharyngula it was the tone of NoR. As soon as you get here, it's because I called you a "creationist hack." To me, you're just looking for excuses not to argue against what is the cornerstone of modern biology.

Tomato Addict said...

I find it wonderfully ironic that in reply to a post referencing the IgNoble awards, a celebration of the humorous side of science, James completely misses the mark about "the Pharyngula choir".

People who appreciate science also appreciate humor, and Pharyngula has a collection of some of the smartest and wittiest people I have ever encountered. Is some of that humor low-brow? You bet it is. There is no shame in honest laughter, and it is no discredit to science to celebrate reason and rationality.

So in the name of humor, I offer this salute to James, who's IQ seems to have expired along with his MENSA membership: CLICKY

Tomato Addict said...

Kel: It seemed pretty obvious to me the Zombie paper is a shoe-in for an Iggy, and likely written with that in mind. Good fun!

Kel said...

One thing brought up on the SGU was that the novelty of the paper meant that people read a paper on mathematics that normally wouldn't be read. So there's one positive for the paper.

How often do mathematical papers get media coverage?