Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Wingnut or not?

Remember Vox Day?

It looks as though he still doesn't like me after all these months. That's good. I'm surprised he even remembers. Given that Vox doesn't think women should have the right to vote because, according to him, they are "fascists at heart," I'd start worrying about myself if he ever started speaking highly of me.

I will concede one point, however. It may have been exaggerating a bit to refer to Scott Adams as a "wingut" just for his ill-considered comments about the evolution/ID conflict. Adams definitely appears ignorant and unable to evaluate evidence and judge which positions are more valid than others. But a "wingnut"? Perhaps I should have reserved judgment. On the other hand, Adams' nihilistic concept that no one who has a preexisting opinion or "a financial/career incentive" can be considered "credible" about an issue does flirt with wingnuttery. Such a position implies that Adams considers people who don't know enough about a topic to have formed an opinion and who have no professional connection to the issue at hand to be "more credible" than experts who have studied a problem all their lives. It's one thing to have a healthy skepticism about the claims of experts, but it's another thing entirely to dismiss all experts as "not credible" just because they have a preexisting opinion or because they make their living studying an issue. That's a simplistic and childish approach. Nonetheless, in the future, I should probably reserve the term "wingnut" for people to whom it truly applies.

People like Vox.

13 example(s) of insolence returned:


At 11/16/2005 9:17 AM, Blogger Robert M. said...

I spend a fair bit of time poking around pro-science and lefty blogs online, and Vox Day has come up once or twice. I've tried to read his blog a few times, and every time his naked misogyny, homophobia, and racism send me running away from the page.

He's an intellectual cockroach, and you're completely right in believing that criticism from him is a badge of honor.

 

At 11/16/2005 10:13 AM, Blogger Rockstar Ryan said...

Doc:

I read that. His blog is hillarious, and the commenters sound like 6th graders. Why does he dislike you so? I've been a loyal reader since the inception of yer blog here, but I've not seen from whence his misguided hatred came.

 

At 11/16/2005 10:15 AM, Blogger Rockstar Ryan said...

Umm...nevermind...clicked the link...

I remember that now.

*sheesh, been abloggin' for over 6 mos. now and can't even follow a link...*

 

At 11/16/2005 10:59 AM, Blogger Ron said...

Vox Day is sick. Enough said...

Adams and his followers have placed themselves in the position where they realize that expertise isn't absolute, but they don't know how to judge expertise themselves. They conclude all experts are wrong, then whine when they find it too hard to make decisions for themselves without the help of experts...

 

At 11/16/2005 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave S.

I think that while Dilbert is usually funny, Scott Adams himself is rather clueless when he comes to doling out his 'skepticism'. Nothing wrong with being clueless, we're all clueless about something or other. I'd be damn sure I had my t's crossed and i's dotted (complete with references) if I were to take on orac in his field for example. Even then I'd keep in mind that this isn't my area of expertise, so I might be badly missunderstanding some facet of it. But when you insist on pontificating your cluelessness without even considering the possibility you might not be well informed, then you gotta expect a certain amount of backlash.

Personally I'm delighted when someone who doesn't understand some issue that I might, asks me to clarify or explain why I hold the position I do. I'm more than happy to do that. I'm less delighted when someone equally benighted promptly makes an ass of themselves by espousing lame arguments and then hides behind cheap rhetoric to make some "point".

As for Vox Day, I've read a column or two. It was funny to watch his unrestrained misogyny and his toadies lapping it up. Funny for about 2 minutes, then the joke got old and tired and I haven't bothered since.

 

At 11/16/2005 10:09 PM, Blogger Orac said...

Actually, Vox is seriously flirting with a visit from the Hitler zombie with today's post (and a previous post I've saved from a couple of months ago).

 

At 11/16/2005 11:14 PM, Blogger IAMB said...

I just read today's...

Oh yes, I think a visit is in order.

I, for one, have missed the zombie in some weird sort of way... and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

 

At 11/17/2005 6:23 AM, Blogger Orac said...

People were complaining that the zombie had worn out his welcome; so I decided to nail the crypt shut for a while. It may have been long enough...

 

At 11/18/2005 1:27 AM, Blogger Clark said...

I suggest you are missing Scott Adams' point. He is being a devil's advocate and suggesting that perhaps sticking to the facts would be beneficial. Try it - find 10 things that are claimed by the ID institute (whatever it is called) and debunk those with scientific facts. With creationism this was easy to do. Don't find the most ignorant IDer (Vox?) and pick his arguments apart.

About the only point Scott Adams is missing is that intelligent ID is, almost by definition, indistinguishable from evolution. Perhaps a more descriptive term would be guided evolution. "Ok, now I'll mutate this nucleotide", ... .(Why God would choose to do something so time consuming and tricky is a complete mystery, but hey, it makes the IDers feel good about being the purpose of life.). Given that it is indistinguishable there is almost no point in a debate (but there is also little point to worrying about which theory is correct).

 

At 11/18/2005 8:06 AM, Blogger Orac said...

Oh, I got Scott Adams' point. He was in essence whining that he didn't understand evolution or intelligent design and that he couldn't figure out who was credible to spoon feed him information. He was whining that he couldn't figure out which authority figure to follow, in essence. He then made an incredibly stupid statement about how he doesn't find anyone who has a preexisting opinion to be "credible" or anyone who makes a living studying a problem.

As others have said, I wonder if he uses the same criteria to choose a doctor when he gets sick.

As for Vox Day, I didn't hold him up as an "example" of an ignorant IDer to ridicule; I only mentioned him in passing because of our previous run-in six months ago and because he mentioned me.

As for debunking the Discovery Institute's talking points, between Talk Origins, Panda's Thumb, Pharyngula, and (to a lesser extent) here, you can find them all debunked quite thoroughly. Believe it or not I sometimes get tired repeating the same refutations again and again. Maybe I'll do a detailed refutation someday, but I'll reserve it for when I'm in a particularly nasty mood.

 

At 11/18/2005 10:26 AM, Blogger Rockstar Ryan said...

About the only point Scott Adams is missing is that intelligent ID is, almost by definition, indistinguishable from evolution. Perhaps a more descriptive term would be guided evolution.

Well, their Bible "Of Pandas and People" states: "Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency with their distinctive features already intact, fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks and wings, etc."

So that would make it pretty distinguishable from evolution.

 

At 11/18/2005 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave S.

"Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency with their distinctive features already intact, fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks and wings, etc."

Which is of course to be distinguished from Creationism, as is defined in earlier drafts as:

"Creationism means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency with their distinctive features already intact, fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks and wings, etc."

But really, it's hard to find a definition for ID that's even consistant. The Discovery Institute uses a different one altogether. But what clarke describes sounds more like theistic evolution than intelligent design.

Those arguments, at least as the DI hacks spew them out, are not at all "indestinguishable" from evolution. In fact, they are the opposite of evolution. Design is only 'inferred' by them when evolution explicitly fails. Or so they claim.

Their arguments have been elaborately examined and debunked multiple times. That Scott Adams can't be bothered to find out what the actual arguments are is too bad. Luckily he can fall back on the absurd claim that people who have made up their minds are not credible. I guess that means I should doubt the existance of atoms since really the only people who have claimed their existance are Daltonist chemists unopen to the possibility they don't.

 

At 11/18/2005 3:48 PM, Blogger Rockstar Ryan said...

Dave S:

*LOL*

Yeah, it's hard to be taken seriously as science when you can't even get proponents to blather the same "hypothesis".

 

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