After reading Barbara Forrest and Paul Gross\’ excellent article on \”ID\”, I\’d recommend appending Richard Dawkins\'(superb, as usual)\”Gods and Monsters\”, conveniently positioned just a few entries above. For as we critically examine and demolish every bit of pseudoscience and sophistry in the \”ID\” inventory, it pays to jump ahead to its final conclusion, to see the nonsense fully magnified. For if God (or whatever else lurks within the \”ID\” Trojan Horse) indeed micromanages all of creation down to individual quantum interactions measured out in Plank time units, which is what the \”ID\” God would have to do in order to \”ID\”-direct the unfolding of creation, the evolution of species, and the course of all history, then it is this same \”ID\” God that is responsible for the recent tsunami plus all previous natural and man-made cataclysms. Some \”intelligent designer\”. A trial and error tinkerer, alot like the rest of us. Couldn\’t even get us humans right the first go around, something the \”ID\” brigade are particularly sensitive and in complete denial about. That poor blunderer had to first extinguish our Neanderthal cousins and, more recently, those cute little Florian hominids, not to mention countless other extinctions, before this great and glorious kingdom, wars and genocides notwithstanding, could emerge. Sadly, I can already see the lame reponse clearly: well, you see, the sinfullness and the endtimes and apocalypse are all part of the \”ID\”, they\’re built in you see, it\’s the very proof of \”ID\” and Scripture and God all rolled into one…and I insist that you teach it to all of God\’s little children. Amen.
For those who first read the author\’s name( Azar Majedi), would think that the author is a faithful muslim. Unfortunately, the author is a former Irani jewish refugee writing about Islam in despicable way.
I would like to make a site design suggestion.
You have three feedback sections: blog comments, Guestbook and Letters.
The Letters are very difficult to find if one is not already familiar with the site. Open and read an article, find at the bottom the invitation to comment, decide to comment and wow! A letters page, and good letters too! (I wonder what article each is responding to?)
Perhaps it might be helpful to index blog posts and comments plus Articles and Letters, in one system? The logical connection of the Article and Letters following is similar to Blog Post and Comments.
Alternatively, a link to Letters from the footer and/or masthead links would be good.
In his comment of 30/12/2004 below, Dr. Brian Miller confesses that although he has read some philosophy, he did not understand \”a single word\” of Derrida\’s Of Grammatology. This is a common \”argument\” used to conclude that Derrida\’s work is nothing more than obscure nonsense.
It goes like this: \”I have a PhD in Whatever… which makes me a very intelligent reader… but I read Derrida and didn\’t understand anything… that means Derrida\’s works are nonsense, because I didn\’t understand them…\”
But then, how come hundreds of other people seem to understand Derrida? For example, Geoffrey Bennington, Christopher Norris and Simon Critchley, who are three British scholars and respected professors, have written several books on Derrida and deconstruction… They would surely say that they have understood Of Grammatology… So, are they uncommon geniuses? Or are they also frauds? Why can Bennington and Critchley take Derrida seriously and say they understand what he thinks, and even consider it important, and why don\’t others understand a single word…? And I cite only British names so no one thinks that one has to be French to follow Derrida…
Anyway, if there are lots and lots of learned commmentators who consider Derrida to be a great thinker and have been able to follow him, I can\’t see why there are still people who think Derrida only wrote nonsense because Dr Whoever says HE didn\’t understand a single word… Having read most texts by Derrida myself, and having understood plenty of what he thought in his original and rigorous ways, I can only conclude that not to understand Derrida is the aforementioned reader\’s problem, and not Derrida\’s… Certainly not everybody was able to understand Aristotle in his day, or Spinoza or Hegel, etc…
\”Are You an Altie\” –
A very nice and amusing article (but unfortunately often not so far from reality, it seems), though I think there is one crucial item in this test missing:
\”If you answer every criticism or skeptical comment on \’alternative medicine\’ with a direct personal attack on the person who formulated the criticism or comment, you might be an altie.\”
The truce of silence has got to end. Just look around. Religious fundamentalism and scriptural absolutism killing, terrorizing and subjugating in the name of God and morality, while offspring of the Enlightenment, the scientists, the rationalists, silently wring their hands, trying to stay neutral in matters of God, Religion and Faith, about which, so we\’ve been told, we have nothing to say. It\’s time to confront, to storm the barricades, to reclaim the moral high ground that has always been ours, not theirs. The God they speak of, the author of creation, is precisely that which science, rationalism and the enlightenment has revealed in all of its glorious detail. The author of the big bang, quantum uncertainty, dark matter and energy, evolution and change in all things, biological and otherwise, even cultural, moral and ethical. We get it. They don\’t. It all evolves. It\’s all organized bottom-up, small-to-large, trial-and-error, keep what\’s better adapted, ditch what isn\’t, don\’t prejudge, keep tinkering, trying, changing, randomly, algorithmically or otherwise, untill you get it right. So it\’s clear that ALL scriptural literalism, all religious dogmatism, all theocracy, self-contained, doctrinally rigid, organized top-down, unaccepting of evolutionary change (except by schism with renewed dogmatism),are, ALL OF THEM, unGodly, unholy, and sinfull. A pox on all of their houses. I am using their own terminology intentionally. The time is long past, to get in their faces and redress the balance. WE SPEAK FOR GOD. Professions of atheism or agnosticism only serve to give all of those many self-righteous hypocrites, murderers, terrorizers, swindlers, charlatans and abusers, an easy out. It\’s time to get with the program, to get right in their faces, to speak up: WE SPEAK FOR GOD! We, not they. The new \”evangelism\”. It\’s we that speak for God.
With regard to the TSIGY factor on asbestos, here\’s a quote I\’ve pulled from some lazy Google-based instant research:
\”Documents from the 1930s and 1940s reveal that many asbestos manufacturers were aware of the serious health issues surrounding asbestos, but kept the information secret from workers and from the public ( Paul Brodeur, The Asbestos Tragedy, Boston University School of Public Health).\”
Abestos use in the US peaked in the 1970s.
Thanks for the laugh, one for pharma junkies.
\”At your next dinner party, try playing the following game. Challenge everyone around the table to produce a single drug that can cure people of an illness, other then antibiotics. If you come up with anything, stop whatever you are doing and call me.\”—Lynne McTaggart
Oh, I just don\’t like the moniker. \”Altie\” sneers at the alternative part, and that seems unfair. What happened to good old \”sucker\”?
But what has this got to do with ACSH?
What\’s it got to do with the ACSH? I thought it went like this:
(1) I wrote that industry-funded lobby groups, while capable of coming out with generally correct pronouncements about the desirability of technical progress, and also with scientifically-proven stuff on the safety or otherwise of some things, have also demonstrated an ability to suppress research that would harm their commerical interests: I cited a few cases, including that of asbestos, where I believed this to have happened / be happening.
(2) You (PaulP) wrote that in your opinion, everyone agree that asbestos causes mesothelioma, and hence the only bad science was the product of false claims for compensation
(3) I responded with a little bit of \’evidence\’ pointing out that the asbestos industry appears to have indulged in suppression of data that it didn\’t like for over 50 years, with resulting kilodeaths.
(4) So I\’m a bit nonplussed when you then turn around and ask what it\’s got to do with the ACSH. The answer is, plenty: they represent a type of organisation that in itself has no reason to promote the truth. Their laughable \’defence\’, in which they couldn\’t offer a single example of research they had publicised which went against the immediate commercial interests of their sponsors, means that as far as I\’m concerned, they are in the same \’purveyors of potentially junk science\’ category as Greenpeace. I\’m sure that both ACSH and Greenpeace are capable of sponsoring good science: but in each case I\’ll look elsewhere for corroboration and the rest of the story before making up my mind.
Great article. This creationism insanity polluting our nation\’s intelligence like a stupidity virus must be stopped.
The neocons are pushing their movement to Dumb Down America further with this up and coming Jerry Falwell led conference on ID:
Please keep writing informative articles on this malignancy metasticizing in the U.S. educational system. I think all thinking people who can make it, and all of our brilliant scientists available, should convene outside the building of this conference to protest this awful Jerry Falwell led conference on ID. It\’s sickening. The sponsors of it should be thrown into the light of public scrutiny and revealed as the child abusers they are. Making kids stupid is criminal.
Thanks, Professor Leiter, for your observations on Derrida. While difficulty is not something to sneer at automatically, Derrida\’s turgidity is appalling and one finally has to decide whether it\’s worth the strugglew, especially as one grows older. Better, I say, to go back to Plato and many others and hang out with them than to fawn over Derrida. I have seen too many academics genuflecting before him and mindlessly citing him. Also, his flippant treatment of Gadamer at what was supposed to be a dialog some years ago, was inexcusable.