Intelligent Design Part 2
Oh man, oh man. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed stirring up $#!T until I wrote about evolution and Intelligent Design. Many of your comments are fascinating, but the good stuff came in direct e-mails to me. I think my inbox actually burst into flames a few times.
As you might recall, my earlier post on this topic made the following point:
- Both sides misrepresent the others’ position (either intentionally or because they don’t know better or because of bias) and then attack the misrepresentation. Therefore, neither side is credible (to me).
I was waiting to see how many people fell into the irony trap and misrepresented my blog entry and then attacked it. The best and funniest case of this can be found on an entire web page dedicated to just that:
This blogger, who calls himself PZ, is evidently a highly educated scientist, extremely informed on the topic of evolution, and quite passionate. But for reasons that fascinate the trained hypnotist in me, that brilliance doesn’t extend to comprehending The Dilbert Blog. (The curious reader might want to Google cognitive dissonance to understand how something like that can happen.) That makes him the poster child for my point that the average person (me) has no credible source of information on the topic of evolution.
Let me say very clearly here that I’m not denying the EXISTENCE of slam-dunk credible evidence for evolution. What I’m denying is the existence of credible PEOPLE to inform me of this evidence.
The people who purport to have evidence of evolution do a spectacular job of making themselves non-credible. And since I don’t have any relevant scientific knowledge myself, nor direct access to the data, everything I know has to come from non-credible types. To me, it’s like hiring a serial cannibal as a babysitter based on the fact that he PROMISES not to eat your kids despite having eaten all the other kids on the block. It might be a fact that he’s telling the truth. The problem is that he’s not credible. (The other problem is that he eats your kids.)
When people misrepresent the views of their opposition, and attack the misrepresentation, they lose all credibility with me. Both sides in the evolution debate do that with gusto. Why would I believe people who prove to me they are either dishonest or biased or worse?
PZ’s misrepresentations of my views are incredibly clever. (He’s a smart guy.) And he uses quotes from my writing to make it seem impossible that he’s misinterpreting me. Here are just a few examples.
I said it’s POSSIBLE for scientists to have herd mentality. PZ interprets that as if I’m saying scientists DO. Then he attacks the misrepresentation. (How much credibility can you have if you argue it’s not POSSIBLE for scientists to have herd instinct on this issue?)
I said I DON’T believe in Intelligent Design and PZ attacks me because I "blindly accepted the claims of the Designists." Then he attacks Intelligent Design as if it were my view.
PZ declares that no one has EVER argued against the young earth argument to refute ID, except for uninformed people. My very POINT was that that argument comes from uninformed people, by definition. And I’ve heard it three times in the past month. If he’s wrong about this, and completely certain of his rightness, how can I trust his certainty on any other topic even when he IS right?
I said that Intelligent Design proponents allege that experts in various science fields are not convinced that their own field supports Darwin’s version of evolution. PZ turns that into MY opinion (not the Intelligent Design people’s allegation as I clearly state) and then refutes it.
I mention, unwisely and without the benefit of actual knowledge, that all of the human-like fossils ever found can fit into a small box. PZ cleverly misinterprets my point as if I was referring to all of the INDIVIDUAL human-like fossils ever found, which of course would be thousands. Then he attacks that misinterpretation. I didn’t make my point this clearly in the blog, but it should be obvious to anyone that I meant the RELEVANT fossils. If you find 50 Homo Erectus skeletons, it’s still only one relevant one as far as demonstrating human evolution. The others are somewhat extra from an argument standpoint. PZ mentions four “bunches” of relevant ones that have been found. Call it an even dozen. Unless they have extra large heads, I could put all 12 of them in a small box. I might have to crush them first, but that could be fun too.
Well, I could go on. But my point is that every argument I have heard in favor of Darwin’s version of evolution or in favor of Intelligent Design all come from people who have the same credibility problem wonderfully demonstrated by PZ.
For the record, if you put a gun to my head and make me choose, I’ll pick Darwin’s version over Intelligent Design, although I am rooting for the alien seedling theory most of all. But I can’t base my opinion on credible evidence or on credible people. I just don’t have access to either. To me, the lack of credible PEOPLE is the most fascinating aspect of this debate.
Now here’s the fun part. When PZ hears of this blog entry, will he accuse me of misrepresenting his views and attacking the misrepresentation? I hope so, because then I can pretty much rest my case.