I should have known better. I really should have. I knew no good could come of it, just as no good can come of clicking on a piece of spam. But I did it anyway. I foolishly clicked on the link to the article about which Mr. Bowen apparently wanted me to comment. I instantly regretted it. Contained in the article was more "intelligent design" apologia, this time in response to Dr. Richard Hoppe's critique of the same mind-numbingly bad "criticism" of evolution written by historian Professor William D. Rubinstein that I myself had critiqued, both in the comments of Professor Rubinstein's original article and right here on Respectful Insolence.
Humble guy that I am, I immediately realized that I was probably not being singled out for the "honor" of being asked to comment on Mr. Bowen's article because he was genuinely interested in my opinion about it. Rather, I'm guessing that I was probably "invited" to comment on his piece because (1) I had commented on Professor Rubinstein's article in similarly unflattering terms as Dr. Hoppe had and (2) because Bowen probably thought (mistakenly, I hope) that I would be an easier mark than either PZ Myers, who had also eviscerated Professor Rubinstein's article twice or Dr. Hoppe, who had posted the original article to Panda's Thumb that had gotten Mr. Bowen all worked up. Although I'm a physician with extensive training in molecular biologist, I'm not an evolutionary biologist. Given the shoddy quality of the "rebuttal" Mr. Bowen posted, I'm not surprised that he would naturally seek out whom he perceived to be the weakest target, rather than simply forwarding his permalink to Dr. Hoppe for comment. However he miscalculated. I'm more than sufficient to take care of ID apologia as poorly constructed as that by Mr. Bowen. And I also called him on it by forwarding his request for comment to the target of his wrath (I had to get to clinic and didn't have time to start to address his post until last night).
So what did I see when I made the mistake of clicking on the link provided? Well, this sure wasn't auspicious:
Oh, boy.If you should ever see a jackass wearing a mortarboard exiting a biology department, it might well answer to the name "Hoppe." From a post attacking someone who dares to dissent from evolutionary dogma, quoth Richard Hoppe:
Whenever I read or hear anything along the lines of "dissent from evolutionary dogma," I know I'm probably dealing with a hard-core creationist of the "intelligent design" variety. Mr. Bowen is a prime example of the "pot calling the kettle black." He's oh-so-self-righteously upset that anyone would use less than perfect decorum criticising an author who publicly posted something so risible that he utterly deserves being called "pig-ignorant" but then sees no problem calling Dr. Hoppe a "jackass wearing a mortarboard." Mr. Bowen then proceeded to use a time-honored ID technique for attacking evolution: quote-mining. In this case, he carefully selected a few paragraphs from the Talk Origins speciation FAQ that put the topic in context and pointed out a few shortcomings with the presently existing reports of speciation, with the clear intent to make it appear that this FAQ "admits" that there are few examples of speciation. Of course, Mr. Bowen neither linked directly to the FAQ, nor did he bother to mention that the FAQ to which he referred lists at least a couple of dozen more examples of observed instances of speciation. He did mention another FAQ from Talk Origins that lists a few more examples, but then dismissed them blithely as having "their flaws" (without, of course, actually listing what any of those flaws are or why he considers them flaws--surprise, surprise), finally concluding with another fine example of a "pot-kettle-black" attack on Dr. Hoppe:
Spend your time researching instead of defending your faith with content-free invective like Hoppe.No, Mr. Bowen, I suggest that you spend some time learning some basic evolutionary biology, rather than defending your faith with content-free invective. Good places to start are here, and, for information regarding what you incorrectly label as "missing" fossils, here. I could go on more about Bowen's obvious selective quoting, but why bother? PZ, as usual, has beaten me to it, dismantling Bowen's post in more detail and with more gusto. I don't want to belabor the obvious about this ID apologist and the utter speciousness of his "arguments," other than to point out that he invited me to comment on his article. All I can say now is:
Invitation accepted.Aren't you glad you invited me? No, no, don' t thank me for my trouble.
It was my pleasure.
ADDENDUM 05/24/2005 11:30 PM: Someone told me that the link to Mr. Bowen's article was broken. I tried to access the article and Mr. Bowen's blog to verify whether or not this was true, and, as of this writing, Mr. Bowen's blog is indeed unavailable, at least from here. I keep getting an error message. Blogger bug? Who knows? Anyway, hopefully his article will be up again soon. Articles like that should be read widely to demonstrate the utter speciousness of the usual "criticisms" of evolution made by self-proclaimed "skeptics," most of whom are ID apologists. Also, whatever nastiness has passed between us, I can't help but feel sympathy for a fellow blogger whose blog may have been sabotaged by Blogger's shortcomings. I've been there myself.