Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Expelled farce gets even funnier

Check the latest post by PZ, concerning a desperate press release by the Expelled team, who are huffing and puffing and doing their best "well I never!" posturing over Robert Moore's blistering review of the movie in the Orlando Sentinel. They claim — you'll love this — that Moore created a "security breech [sic]" (at a press conference?) by sneaking in (to a screening for which his paper was sent an invitation?) disguised as a minister (huh?), and that he refused to sign the nondisclosure agreement (and what kind of "press conference" requires its attendees to sign an NDA?).

The usual "waah waah, the evil atheist conspiracy meanies are picking on us" self-pity you get from these losers, in other words. And they say "Big Science," Ben's imaginary villain, are the ones who want to "control the message"? Project much? Of course they do: they're IDiots, which means they're pathological liars and meretricious scumbags.

Note that on the Expelled blog, the whiny tard patrol respond by deriding PZ as an "atheist blogger and fabulist," while somehow forgetting to note that he's the same "fabulist" from whom they requested and got an interview for their movie under false pretenses.

How tragic it must be to be the sort of people who flail through life, literally psychologically incapable of being truthful, ever.


  1. Science in itself may not be subjective but people are scientist and people are indeed subjective.

    So by proxy science is subjective. Especially in historical science.

    That is the whole point for the Movie Expelled, it exposes the subjectiveness of the scientists. You don't have to like it but you have to acknowledge that the entire science community on either side of the spectrum has presuppositions when concluding any science experiments. The Data collected or the mathematics may be objective but it's the interpretation of said data that render it as subjective.

  2. Creationists certainly do have presuppositions when they do their faux-science; they're seeking to defend their bronze age myths. It's only natural for you to project their bad methodologies and dishonesty on the scientific community at large. But while scientists certainly are human and prone to err, one does not see the systematic pattern of lies and anti-science incompetence in the scientific mainstream as one does in subcultures like creationism, where they play at science and call it "intelligent design." Hell, even ID superstar Michael Behe admitted under oath that in order for ID to be considered science, the definition of science would have to be thrown so wide as to include astrology. That was pretty much the moment the whole farce was over, as far as the real world was concerned.

    As you are scientifically illiterate, Dan, your bafflegab about "proxy science" and "historical science" is just stuff you're obediently parroting from creationist sources, who have to make up terms in order to shore up their belief in a conspiracy theory against them, to compensate for simply never producing any legitimate scientific research or evidence to support their claims.

    As any biologist will tell you, there are challenges made to evolutionary science every day, and a lot of them are good ones. It's just that none of these challenges are coming from the creationist camp. The best they can come up with is a whopping fat argument from ignorance like ID, and that just ain't science, as Dover so eloquently illustrated.

    The purpose of the movie Expelled is to lie to the uninformed and scientifically illiterate public (ie: you) about the nature of the alleged "debate" between ID and science, and to invent a straw-man villain called "Big Science" whom they want the public to fear and mistrust. It's going to be a passel of lies from front to back, and the fact the producers are on record as having already had to misrepresent themselves in order to get interviews from legitimate scientists ought to demonstrate, to anyone who gives a shit about things like honesty and credibility, just how little you ought to trust the whole affair.

    Granted, Dan, you're a rank ignoramus, so it's no surprise you've chugged down their Koolaid. But I expect the word will get out to the rest of the public about what Stein and his clowns are really all about. People don't mind hearing all sides of an issue, and enjoy a hearty debate, but they don't appreciate sleazy, hidden agendas and being lied to, and when they realize that's what the ID camp deals in as a matter of course (with this movie as an exemplar), you might find you lose more of them than you gain.

    Think of it this way: evolution is basically Nancy Kerrigan, and ID is Tonya Harding. The public would have loved an honest contest between those two skaters, and cheered whichever of them skated to victory. But Tonya knew Nancy was the superior skater all along, and when she chose a truly pathetic way of trying to even the odds between them, the public was deservedly outraged.

    And even with a busted knee, Nancy outskated her pitiful rival. Because Nancy had it. Either you have what it takes to be victorious, or you don't. In skating, it took skill which Tonya didn't have. In science, it takes facts which ID doesn't have. Ben Stein's lies will not go unreported, and the movie may well turn out to be ID's Tonya Harding moment it wishes it could take back.

  3. Oh yes, and I might as well mention:

    The whole hand-waving bit about "subjective interpretation" in science that Dan seems to think is such a big problem is why there is peer review. You know, that thing creationists don't like.

  4. Peer reviews can lead to bias

    "Consider this example: Several people live inside a house, but they've never been outside it, and there are no windows. Some occupants believe there is nothing outside the house, that the house is "all there is, all there ever was, all there ever will be." But others in the house contend that there is a whole other world outside the house, a place where light might come from something other than light bulbs, water might sometimes fall from the sky, and air might circulate without the means of fans or vents. These other people who believe in this external world hold up an earpiece and claim they get information about this outside world through this device. The occupants who believe there is nothing outside the house will sometimes pick up an earpiece, but they never go so far as to put it up to their ear; instead they claim the earpiece says nothing, and there is no proof that anything exists outside the house; after all, they've seen nothing come into the house from outside to "prove it." Meanwhile, unbeknownst to this group of skeptics, a whole world full of life and events is going on outside, and they remain incapable of even considering it.

    Is such a scenario any different than someone who stubbornly insists there is nothing outside the natural universe, there is no supernatural force in existence, and they refuse to give the Bible and the ideas of creation scientists an honest, objective hearing to evaluate the merits of their contention?"

  5. If Dan has a problem with a subjective interpretation of scientific data, I challenge him to produce a more objective interpretation.

    Let's take the scientific data regarding the age of the Earth. Where is the subjective interpretation? Is it that one scientist says 4.5 billion years and another says 4.6 billion? In this case the creationists attack the data or the method by which the data was collected. Remember, they don't have to come up with scientific data to support their claim, they just want to sew doubt about the scientific claim. Creationists cling to this doubt like a security blanket. They never attempt to resolve the doubt, they don't dare.

  6. Your link basically made my point for me, thanks. The usual creo whining about "they won't let us play in the cool kids club".

    Peer review is fallible, and on occasion papers have passed peer review that shouldn't have. But overall, it's been a sound system that's worked for decades to flush out bad ideas, which is what it's for in the first place. Is it any surprise that purveyors of a bad idea would condemn the process that keeps catching them out as "biased"? Hardly. Whether it's creationism or orgone rays or cold fusion, if a bad idea gets kicked to the curb repeatedly by peer review, maybe that's a signal it's time to move on. The real closed-minded people are the ones who keep hanging on to a bad idea, for ideological reasons, long after it's had its day and failed.

    As for the long-winded analogy...well, it only demonstrates what a bad idea it is to try to argue by analogy. Many scientists are profoundly fascinated by the idea of what, if anything, might lie outside our universe. Many physicists and cosmologists are devoting their careers to it.

    But right now, such ideas as the Many Worlds Hypothesis are just that, hypotheses, and understood as such, though they provide fodder for more and more ideas and possible avenues of research to explore.

    It takes more than just "well, our ancient bronze age myths might be true" to get a reasonable hearing in the scientific community. If some Christians want to put forth the notion that realms outside the universe exist which support the existence of their God, and do so as a scientific proposition, then by all means, they need to do precisely that. All Intelligent Design amounts to is an argument from ignorance, in the classic form of the God of the Gaps: "Science can't explain X, therefore God." If you guys want to present evidence for supernatural forces outside the universe (read "Heaven" and "Hell" and "angels" and that sort of thing), then please, be about it. But don't whine when the evidence you present is evaluated critically, and don't piss and moan about how "close-minded" scientists are if they spot holes in it. And don't expect the ideas you propose to be accepted a priori simply because there are gaps in our present scientific knowledge. There will always be gaps. But gaps are there for further research and exploration, not just to have a deity-of-choice plugged into them.

  7. Hey, hey, hey, I thought Dan had been permanently banned this time.

    Not that it isn't fun to watch you mop the floor with him time and time again, but Jesus...he's just arrythmia-inducing.

  8. Well, Akusai, I've changed my mind on that, as it gets old being Joe Comments Cop. Basically I have him on probation, which means I'll approve the comments he makes that have something in them worth refuting or replying to. If he gets out of hand like he's done before, and starts up with all of his passive-aggressive lashing out, then he gets denied. Regrettably that means the whole blog has to go under comment moderation for a while, but it keeps threads from degenerating into lengthy flame wars like last year.

    Let it never be said I wasn't scrupulously fair. ;-)

    I must admit that repeatedly having to explain to Dan why science isn't embracing creationism makes you kind of feel like the class dork's long-suffering buddy, trying to explain to him for the 50th time why the hottie cheerleader won't go out with him. But one always hopes it's instructive, or at least entertaining.

  9. Martin,

    Thanks for reconsidering, I will do my best to be civil even though your comments, like your last one, are not. It is after all your show, I am just merely a concerned bystander. You are helping me strengthen my tolerance to the lost, who are indifferent to our Savior, and for that I should thank you.

    "I want to make it VERY clear that we don’t want to be known primarily as ‘young-Earth creationists.’ AiG’s main thrust is NOT ‘young Earth’ as such; our emphasis is on Biblical authority. Believing in a relatively ‘young Earth’ (i.e., only a few thousands of years old, which we accept) is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation from our omniscient Creator.

    Nal "Remember, they don't have to come up with scientific data to support their claim, they just want to sew doubt about the scientific claim."

    That is just not true Nal. There is plenty of data that points to radio carbon dating being incorrect.. I will spare you the plethora of evidence and links out there.

    "Radioisotope dating can be better understood using an illustration with an hourglass. If we walk into a room and observe an hourglass with sand at the top and sand at the bottom, we could calculate how long the hourglass has been running. By estimating how fast the sand is falling and measuring the amount of sand at the bottom, we could calculate how much time has elapsed since the hourglass was turned over. All our calculations could be correct (observational science), but the result could be wrong. This is because we failed to take into account some critical assumptions.

    1. Was there any sand at the bottom when the hourglass was first turned over (initial conditions)?
    2. Has any sand been added or taken out of the hourglass? (Unlike the open-system nature of a rock, this is not possible for a sealed hourglass.)
    3. Has the sand always been falling at a constant rate?

    Since we did not observe the initial conditions when the hourglass time started, we must make assumptions. All three of these assumptions can affect our time calculations. If scientists fail to consider each of these three critical assumptions, then radioisotope dating can give incorrect ages."

  10. FINALLY, FL does something I can be proud of.

  11. I used to work on a medical journal that published research papers on cardio-thoracic surgery.

    The papers are broken down exactly the same way in every case:

    1. You have an abstract that provides a summary of the paper--what you're attempting to show and how you tried to show it. And what the result was.

    2. You have a few internal parts that describe things like Method and Subjects. This part describes who your test subjects were, how/why they were chosen (at random? because they had particular medical conditions? etc.). And then you explain what you did and what controls were in place to avoid contaminating your data. Basically how you ran your study.

    Certainly, at the end, there is a section that talks about the researchers' views (often there is more than one author)on the outcome of the experiment. In other words: Did what you predicted actually occur? If so, why does that validate your hypothesis, if not, what does that mean for your hypothesis? And why do you think you misjudged the outcome?

    These papers go to a journal for publication. Other medical scientists, surgeons, researches, read the papers to make sure they are sound. That the science is sound, that the writers are competent in the fields they need to be, and that they haven't reported errors or made obvious faults in their methodology.

    AFTER the paper publishes, assuming it survives the peer review, other professionals in the field will get this journal and read this study. And they will tear up a paper if it has a flaw or if the researches did not account for something they should have. They will point out if this data is inconsistent with other data. They will scrutinize it heavily and present criticisms that will be publicly aired in those same journals to the same professional community.

    While the opinions of the researchers may be subjective, they are not beyond criticism--by their own peers. And there are many checks and balances in place to make sure "wishful" science isn't presented or accepted as good science in the scientific community.

    Could something unsound still get through? I suppose. But I know of no valid reason to think this would or could occur on a large scale.

  12. I should also note that the end part of the paper, the summary, is quite small. The opinions of the researchers make up only a small part of the paper. Most of the paper is presented as raw data/information--with zero editorializing. I'm talking about a paragraph or two at the end that allows the research a chance to express professional opinions. These papers aren't editorials by any stretch.

  13. I will do my best to be civil even though your comments, like your last one, are not. It is after all your show, I am just merely a concerned bystander. You are helping me strengthen my tolerance to the lost, who are indifferent to our Savior, and for that I should thank you.

    Dan, I'm absolutely delighted to have been of help to you!

    And of course, for every bit of pseudoscience you cut-n-paste for us from AiG, there is a legitimate scientific response.

    But anyway, you give the game away every time you quote something like the following, while thinking these guys have anything scientifically legitimate to offer: "I want to make it VERY clear that we don’t want to be known primarily as ‘young-Earth creationists.’ AiG’s main thrust is NOT ‘young Earth’ as such; our emphasis is on Biblical authority. Believing in a relatively ‘young Earth’ (i.e., only a few thousands of years old, which we accept) is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation from our omniscient Creator."

    Right there is the money quote that invalidates YEC's (and that is what they are, their dislike for the term notwithstanding) like AiG from scientific legitimacy. The minute you've said that a 2000-year-old holy book is the infallible authority to which you hold, then you have as much as admitted that you will simply not consider any findings or any evidence that contradicts that authority. And you have disqualified yourselves from the ranks of science. Real scientists don't start with their conclusions, and then only look for "evidence" to support them. They just don't.

    Cue the standard creationist reply: that "Big Science" does the same thing, by refusing to look at all the evidence for ID that challenges "Darwinism." Wrong on all counts. The reason science hasn't taken ID seriously is that they have presented no such evidence. And as far as straying from Darwin is concerned, well, evolutionary science has been doing that for a long time. The actual experts in the field know exactly where recent research has confirmed Darwin, and where it has disconfirmed him, and new scientific discoveries proceed accordingly.

    Meanwhile, you poor saps on the creo side are stuck back at square one, with your dogmatic adherence to your religious book, desperately waving around a list of perceived weaknesses in science ("Carbon dating is flawed! Peer review is biased!") as if those things actually lent credibility to creationism. What's sad is that you guys just don't know how sad it looks from this side, especially because we do know how sincere you guys are in the wrongheadedness of your approach. The biggest thing creationists tend to be clueless about is their own cluelessness. Where science and the pursuit of knowledge is concerned, there's simply a very fundamental level at which you're just not getting it. You're like the nerd in school who doesn't understand why the homecoming queen won't date him, even though you leave flowers and notes on her locker every single day!

  14. Dan: There is plenty of data that points to radio carbon dating being incorrect.. I will spare you the plethora of evidence and links out there.

    But I will not return the favor. Regarding R.A.T.E. (Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth):

    More Faulty Creation Science from The Institute for Creation Research

    Austin and Snelling have written a number of articles in creationist magazines, but neither has published articles using radiometric dating in the mainstream literature.

    ... personnel at Geochron Laboratories of Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, performed the K-Ar dating for Austin et al. This laboratory no longer performs K-Ar dating. However, when they did, their website clearly stated in a footnote that their equipment could not accurately date rocks that are younger than about 2 million years old ("We cannot analyze samples expected to be younger than 2 M.Y."; also see discussions by Bartelt et al.).

    This is the creationist's common tactic. Perform some phony "research" and use that as a basis for their beliefs. It takes time for their lies to be debunked, and in the meantime they spread the lies like crazy. Most people won't bother to take the time, or don't care enough, to find out the truth.

    That's what the creationists are counting on, an uniformed public. It is deceit that AiG is pushing, and it doesn't seem to bother them in the least.

  15. "I learned that the estimated ages for some fossils varied within a margin of a few tens of thousands of years. Even the estimates yielding the lowest figures are talking about ages significantly older than 6,000 years."

    Again with your presupposition it seems very logical that ALL fossils are formed over a LONG period of time and that just isn't true

    Example 1

    Example 2

    I have heard the transparent augments against these examples by people that doubt a Creator so you don't have to but it all goes back to presuppositions.

    Look at the link that Nal provided "More Faulty Creation Science from The Institute for Creation Research"

    From that website it came from: "Gondwana Research is a peer-reviewed journal. All submissions will be reviewed by at least two reviewers and a member of the editorial board. In general, most submissions require modification following review and the authors are encouraged to follow reviewers comments. In order to help identify qualified reviewers, authors are asked to supply the names and contact information for 5 possible reviewers with their submissions."

    This paper that you submitted hasn't even been reviewed by peers at all! It is a submission only that hasn't been addressed/reviewed yet. I can summit a paper that says the great spaghetti monster actually is true but until it is reviewed it will sit there never published, like that link you provided. My point is to wait until after it is peer reviewed and published before submitting it. Look how many papers here are publishedIRC and here Radioisotopes, these papers are all submitted by people with many credentials and accomplishments that all have PhD's, are you saying they are all wrong? To me the evidence is overwhelming for a young earth. But again we are lead by faith it is just coincidental and natural that all the evidence points to the same thing. Telling me we all come from pond scum and frogs is a fairytale. No matter how many times you kiss that frog it will never turn into humans no matter how many million years we give you. It is only a fairy tale.

  16. Okay, gang, as it's as clear as it's ever been that Dan is stupider than a truckload of industrial strength stupid dug out of the stupidity mines of Stupidsville, Stupidopolis, and that trying to educate him is like trying to teach a herd of cows to sing Wagnerian opera, I'll leave it up to reader vote:

    Do you want to keep debunking his stupid? Or is the whole thing pointless and should I start denying his comments from now on? Let me know. Let him stay, or send him packing?

  17. I'm reminded of Andy Kauffman on Saturday Night Live. Like the audience that night, I, for one, have to vote for the boot.

    His stupid just hurts.

  18. Let him stay.

    Although his last post was so lacking in substance that there's nothing there to debunk.

  19. Anybody care to be the tie-breaker?

  20. Very well then. Dan gets to continue commenting and I will remove comment moderation (which is a real pain in the glutes, so yay). I'll leave it to Lui and the rest of you guys to tilt at his windmills, though. I had more than my fill of the fellow last year, and I'm moving on to other topics.

  21. Ah American freedom is a beautiful thing, I was beginning to think I lived in a different country. I am humbled that you want to continue this conversation and Martin I still forgive you. :P

    Is it peer reviewed? If not, why not?

    If it is peer reviewed, you can look for more information on what other scientists say about it, the size and approach of the study and whether it is part of a body of evidence pointing towards the same conclusions.

    Like debunking the R.A.T.E program and Dr Meert was debunked already Dr Joseph G. ('Joe') Meert, is a vocal anti-creationist active on the Internet, who certainly used to describe himself as an atheist

    My point was if it was peer reviewed where is further backup instead of that one link that Nal provided.

  22. dan marvin:Is it peer reviewed? If not, why not?

    Of course it's not. No self respecting peer reviewed journal is going to publish rebuttals to creationist's deceptions. They've got better things to do, like reporting on real science. Why should the rebuttal be peer reviewed when R.A.T.E. wasn't peer reviewed?

    The link provided did not say one word regarding the Geochron Laboratories deception.

    The link is about Humphrey's helium diffusion dating invention. From:

    Young-Earth Creationist Helium Diffusion "Dates"
    Fallacies Based on Bad Assumptions and Questionable Data

    Authentic science journals are no more likely to accept a critique of his Creation Research Society Quarterly (CRSQ) article (Humphreys et al., 2004) than a rebuttal of the astrology columns and Big Foot articles in the National Enquirer.

    He said it much better than I did.


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