Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Monton on ID

In response to those who’ve criticized the polemical tone of The Last Superstition, I have emphasized that while the arguments are directed at secularists in general, the polemics are directed only at those who, like Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens, have themselves already taken an arrogantly polemical and condescending tone with defenders of religious belief. As with physical violence, ideological aggression justly can and sometimes should be met with equal and opposite force.

But I have also emphasized that there are honorable and formidable atheists with whom I would never take such a tone. (I was a convinced atheist for a long stretch of my own life, after all.) J. L. Mackie, Quentin Smith, and J. J. C. Smart are three examples. Another is Bradley Monton, who has just published Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design. Monton rejects ID, but regards it as worthy of serious consideration and eschews the usual straw men and ad hominem attacks. I have not yet read the book – I just ordered it – but I look forward to doing so.

In TLS and in a long WWWtW combox exchange some months ago, I have been critical of ID from an Aristotelian-Thomistic perspective. But I have always deplored the thuggish, dishonest treatment ID theorists have received from most of their secularist critics. Monton hopes to move the debate to a more serious and fruitful level.

Monton is an honorable and courageous man. Go buy his book.

46 comments:

John Farrell said...

I'll add him to my book list. Thanks for posting!

One Brow said...

If teh prominent ID proponents had started by doing science, then most of the public acrimony would have been avoided.

Instead, they attempted to bypass the scientific process by getting invalid arguments and philosophical conjectures inserted into a science curriculum. I can't tell you how many anti-ID commenters have states that it would be appropriate to discuss ID in a philosophy class (as an ontological postion), in a social studies class (as a cultural phenomenon), or in a political science class (as a political movement). Instead, they want a forum they have not earned.

Crude said...

The problem with that, One Brow, is that the "forum they have not earned" is the same forum that men like Richard Dawkins, Victor Stenger, and others have not earned. I agree entirely that ID proponents many times pass off philosophical views as scientific. I agree that that shouldn't happen. But I also see their philosophical and theological opponents doing much the same.

The big difference between ID proponents and ID opponents (of the New Atheist stripe) is that ID proponents want to improperly hijack the description of science to bless their views. ID opponents want to maintain the status quo - meaning only -they- get to hijack science to that end, rather than having to share it.

One Brow said...

Crude,

I have no idea to which forum you refer. In the USA, the forum of public speaking does not need to be earned, it is a right to every citizen. I would have thought the forum to which refers, "science curriculum" was clear from the context. To my knowledge, neither Dawkins or Stenger has any textbook being proposed for science classes. Ken Miller has such a book, but IIRC he is a Catholic, so I doubt you will accuse him of sneaking atheism into the classroom. For a book designed for the publicm, you might try his "Finding Darwin's God".

The accusation that atheists of any stripe are controlling the dialog and hijacking the science of evolution is propaganda. The atheistic bilogists think the science supports atheism, the theistic biologists think it supports theism, the curriculum itself ic carefully examined for neutrality, and ID proponents whine and engage in political machinations.

Crude said...

One Brow,

First of all, the idea that some atheists haven't attempted to put their atheistic spin into the curriculum is a load of bunk. The entire debacle with the National Association of Biology Teachers removing the words "impersonal" and "unsupervised" (why were those words there to begin with?) - and the response from atheist groups - amply demonstrates otherwise. Eugenie Scott realized that was over the line, as did (eventually) Pigliuicci. The latter has blogged that the recent ramblings of Jerry Coyne indicate the man does not know where science ends and philosophy begins. In other words, this isn't a new problem, nor is it one-sided. (If I recall correctly, even Ken Miller himself admitted to adding in a similarly loaded line into a textbook he was creating/editing with an atheist colleague, at the latter's insistence.)

Second, the idea that ID is viewed and bashed as "harmful to science" only when public school lesson plans are concerned is a joke to say the least. When Michael Behe wrote his last book, the same accusations were in play. Just as well with Meyer's recent book. And as I said, to a degree I'm fine with that. When Meyer, or Behe, or Dembski pretend that they have provided wholly scientific evidence for the existence of a Designer or Designers, I can understand detractors insisting that they're misleading people, and that what they're "discovering" is - while perhaps valid in a philosophical context - not science. But the same goes for Stenger, Dawkins, and the rest who abuse science for -their- particular ends.

Pretending otherwise is utter and obvious hypocrisy. But then, all this crap about "defending science" has been nonsense from day one as near as I can tell.

Michael B said...

"If teh prominent ID proponents had started by doing science, then most of the public acrimony would have been avoided." One Brow

Not true. At least it's not true on a prima facie level. I'm not an IDer and I reject a fairly large swath of the types of rationales they forward as being intellectually dishonest or at least lacking rigor. But there are more probative aspects of science and the philosophy of science (in addition to intellectual history in general and ideology and politics) they help to forward and expose on the other side of the divide. Further, at least some of what they do within science proper, Behe is an example, represents perfectly valid forms of inquiry, perfectly valid forms of hypothesis formation and scientific methodology in general.

More specifically now and to provide a certain "compare and contrast," in this same topic over at the WWWtW thread, this link to a Monton blog post was provided in which Monton responds to a set of complaints by academic philosopher Robert Pennock. He does so conscientiously and exposes Pennock's complaints as lacking merit and in fact misleading.

Most revealing, imo, are two excerpts Monton provides from still other academic philosophers who have taken it upon themselves to be activists in support of their cause. Barry Gross and Philip Quinn are the two activists/philosophers (i.e. presumptives/ideologues, in this capacity) Monton excerpts. I'll provide the P. Quinn quote below:

"... frequently these good arguments fail to persuade or carry the day, and gradually one's credibility and effectiveness wane. ... Maybe this is a way in which we could manage to have our cake and eat it too. For a short period one might engage in giving bad effective arguments without being thoroughly corrupted. Then one could retreat back to the academy to wash one's moderately soiled hands. After having one's intellectual integrity restored and reinforced, one might then be ready to repeat the cycle. ... So there may well be circumstances in which only the bad effective argument will work against them [the creationists] in the political or legal arenas. If there are, then I think, though I come to this conclusion reluctantly, it is morally permissible for us to use the bad effective argument ..."

An interesting, a revealing rationalization.

Iow, as Monton puts it, Philip Quinn is suggesting "that perhaps it is more important to say what it takes to get the right [legal, policy] decision than to be intellectually honest."

As your own comment broadly indicates, One Brow, science is not philosophy (nor is it ideology or politics), yet Philip Quinn is here blatantly mixing his own activism with philosophical inquiry per se in order to "bypass the scientific process," and the even more basic process of philosophical rigor and integrity ...

... and he's doing so without being subjected to any "public acrimony" whatsoever: zero, none, nada, nil, zil, nihil.

One Brow said...

The entire debacle with the National Association of Biology Teachers removing the words "impersonal" and "unsupervised" (why were those words there to begin with?) - and the response from atheist groups - amply demonstrates otherwise.

Perhaps you can name the curriculum that uses the the exact statements of the NABT? Or, is that supposed to be a big red herring to distract the gullible?

(If I recall correctly, even Ken Miller himself admitted to adding in a similarly loaded line into a textbook he was creating/editing with an atheist colleague, at the latter's insistence.)

I have no idea what "similar" means to you. If the book acutally used words like "impersonal" and "unsupervised", its sales would plummet, assuming someone noticed, as states like Texas would refuse to authorize its use.

Second, the idea that ID is viewed and bashed as "harmful to science" only when public school lesson plans are concerned is a joke to say the least.

It would be if anyone proposed such an idea. In science, lots of revfolutionary ideas get bashed and proclaimed harmful. A few of these go on to prove themselves anyway. Some of the most respected members of the biological community (Margulis, Woese, etc.) were seen as marginal or harmful for years. If the ID proponents want the respect of scientists, they have to do the work. It's not handed out free.

Michael B said...

"It's not handed out free." One Brow

In point of fact, on one side of the debate, there is much that is handed out "free," as is reflected in the "compare and contrast" previously noted.

And btw, the issues invoked in all this in fact include the philosophy of science, the history of science, intellectual history in general, epistemology, metaphysics - all in addition to science proper - and again, all in addition to ideology, politics, rhetoric, public policy debates at local and national levels, etc., etc.

Hence any more serious and thoroughgoing inquirer is going to view such things as the court decisions in question - Dover and others - from a highly critical and skeptical pov.

One Brow said...

Further, at least some of what they do within science proper, Behe is an example, represents perfectly valid forms of inquiry, perfectly valid forms of hypothesis formation and scientific methodology in general.

Can you provide some examples of the valid forms of inquiry, hypothesis formation, or methodology Behe was involved in *after* the publication of Darwin's Black Box? What experiments is he performing today?

He does so conscientiously and exposes Pennock's complaints as lacking merit and in fact misleading.

I see no reason to view either Pennock's or Morton's account of their disagreement has being more likely to be correct.

An interesting, a revealing rationalization.

Which may or may not be an accurate depiction of Quine's thoughts, and may or may not have been on Morton's mind in the original criticism of Jones' decision (odd that it does not seem to have been quoted then).

As your own comment broadly indicates, One Brow, science is not philosophy (nor is it ideology or politics), yet Philip Quinn is here blatantly mixing his own activism with philosophical inquiry per se in order to "bypass the scientific process," and the even more basic process of philosophical rigor and integrity ...

... and he's doing so without being subjected to any "public acrimony" whatsoever: zero, none, nada, nil, zil, nihil.


The difference would be that Quinn's position in that case was to allow the actual science determine the contents of science courses, and keep pseudo-science out of the classroom. If the creation scientists of yesterday and their big-tent cousins (ID proponents) today wanted to compete on the smae playing field, very little of the acrimony would be in the public sphere. No one notices when the 2-year-post-doc gets his idea laughed out of the room.

One Brow said...

In point of fact, on one side of the debate, there is much that is handed out "free," as is reflected in the "compare and contrast" previously noted.

The respect is handed out after the accumulation of years of research supporting the ideas. Read up on the experiences Margulis and similar people had sometime. Why should ID proponents get respect just for showing up?

And btw, the issues invoked in all this in fact include the philosophy of science, the history of science, intellectual history in general, epistemology, metaphysics - all in addition to science proper - and again, all in addition to ideology, politics, rhetoric, public policy debates at local and national levels, etc., etc.

As I noted, even the hard-core ID opponents note that ID is a proper subject for courses devoted to philosophy, society, and politics. However, until they actually do some science, they are not the proper subject for a science course.

Hence any more serious and thoroughgoing inquirer is going to view such things as the court decisions in question - Dover and others - from a highly critical and skeptical pov.

Absolutely. That's why any more serious and thoroughgoing inquirer will notice several clear and obvious differences between that the side opposing putting ID in the science classroom and the side supporting it, in terms of breadth of viewpoints and personal philosophies, in terms of funding, in terms of how they think science curricula should be decided, in terms of clearly stated goals for this side on this particular issue.

Michael B said...

One Brow,

Philip Quinn - not Quine. Before responding, you might first read and comprehend what you're responding to.

And it was a word-for-word excerpt, an exact quote, not a paraphrase or reduction. In general, all you're doing now is indulging a form of sweeping dismissiveness. In fact, you're not really taking the time to understand what is being said.

One Brow said...

Philip Quinn - not Quine. Before responding, you might first read and comprehend what you're responding to.

My typing is certainly haphazard, thank you for the correction. You missed where I typed Morton instead of Monton, though. You really should try to read more carefully if you are going to try to correct all a persons typos.

And it was a word-for-word excerpt, an exact quote, not a paraphrase or reduction. In general, all you're doing now is indulging a form of sweeping dismissiveness. In fact, you're not really taking the time to understand what is being said.

Not a reduction? I must say, Quinn had a very unusual writing style. I counted three different occurences of ellipses in the quote on Monton's blog, with rapid changes in topic and one a sentence had no ending punctuation at all. It must be very confusing when people quote the whole, unreduced section of a Quinn article and have to reproduce all those ellipses.

Thank you again for your advice to read and comprehend what I am responding to.

Michael B said...

I wasn't trying to correct all your typos. When you type Quine - an extremely well known philosopher - instead of Quinn, it doesn't suggest a mere typo. But regardless, gosh, you've now succeeded in sneering two or three more times, yet again, counting some elipses as well, so you're obviously a superior analyst and I can only bow in the face of such magnificence, or facile contempt and self-regard ... or whatever it is.

One Brow said...

I wasn't trying to correct all your typos. When you type Quine - an extremely well known philosopher - instead of Quinn, it doesn't suggest a mere typo.

Fair enough. I supposed Monton is relatively unknown enough, or Morton is, that the mistake was not nearly so striking.

But regardless, gosh, you've now succeeded in sneering two or three more times,

Well, I must admit it was difficult to match the sheer intensity of "Hence any more serious and thoroughgoing inquirer ...", so I relied on quantity rather than quality. However, I do apologize for offense you may have taken. I will try to be more cautious of your feelings in the future.

Michael B said...

One Brow,

Patronizing b.s. My "feelings" are not involved at any primary level whatsoever, they are not the issue. In my initial two comments I attempted to address the subject matter and the problems involved in doing so; you reduced it all and responded with pat, formulaic replies and a rank dismissiveness.

E.g., in indicating you "see no reason to view either Pennock's or Morton's account of their disagreement [as] being more likely to be correct," without any further explanation and given the germane quality of the quote, it serves as nothing more than a form of rank dismissiveness. Fact is, Monton presents a coherent and cogent excerpt from Quinn, and responds in a coherent manner as well.

E.g., when you state "the difference would be that Quinn's position in that case was to allow the actual science determine the contents of science courses, and keep pseudo-science out of the classroom," you're indulging question begging and are eliding the underlying problems alluded to.

One Brow said...

My "feelings" are not involved at any primary level whatsoever, they are not the issue.

Good to know.

In my initial two comments I attempted to address the subject matter and the problems involved in doing so; you reduced it all and responded with pat, formulaic replies and a rank dismissiveness.

So I have a speck in my eye, eh?

E.g., in indicating you "see no reason to view either Pennock's or Morton's account of their disagreement [as] being more likely to be correct," without any further explanation and given the germane quality of the quote, it serves as nothing more than a form of rank dismissiveness.

Both Pennock and Monton are referring to conversations to which we are not privy. Both seem to have a personal stake in the issue. Noting the motivations of both sides, the skeptical and critical pov (which I recall you advocating at one point) is to assume that each side is, at the very least, presenting the facts in a light favorable to them. If it is dismissive, it is no more dismissive of Monton than of Penncok.

Fact is, Monton presents a coherent and cogent excerpt from Quinn, and responds in a coherent manner as well

I'm not sure how that is related to the discussion between Pennock and Monton. As for Quinn's quote, if monton feels it is wrong to compromise your own character for the betterment of society, good for him. Quinn seems to have felt that the needs of the children came before the needs of his own honor. I don't find either position objectionable, and both are probably valuable.

E.g., when you state "the difference would be that Quinn's position in that case was to allow the actual science determine the contents of science courses, and keep pseudo-science out of the classroom," you're indulging question begging and are eliding the underlying problems alluded to.

Quinn's comment was in reference to McLean vs. Arkansas, where the issue was very definitely creation science (which is definitely pseudo-science) vs. evolution, as opposed to the current discussion over whether issues that are more philosophical in nature.

Michael B said...

No, this presumptive and preemptive sense of superiority you bring to your commentary reflects no mere "speck," it's the very thing that prevents any serious exchange in the first place. Though given your pat, automaton-like responses, perhaps you don't even comprehend the subject matter being addressed, yet you imagine and presume to conceive of a mere "speck" in your eye.

For example, it wasn't Quinn's "honor" that was at issue, nor his supposed sacrifice of that honor. (Which "sacrifice" would be what, a yet more valiant indication of "honor"? Good grief, such fatuous arrogations and contempt.)

Rodak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rodak said...

NB: It's not possible for one to have a "serious" exchange with Michael B., except under the condition that one is willing to call affirmation of his every pronouncement an "exchange." That's what makes Mike so darn much fun to be around.

One Brow said...

Rodak,

There's no need to poison the well for Michael B. We all rebveal our character in our own way.

Michael B,

I wonder if you even caught the reference regarding the speck. Also, I think it is quite revealing that, when you see your own style (and even your own words) used by others, your presumption is that these people are have a preemptive sense of superiority. It's very unlikely you know me well enough to make that evaluation, even if it were true.

Now, if you really want to have a serious discussion, why not back up some of the claims you made about Behe doing work in science? How about a serious question actually being raised by ID proponents? I have not seen a word from you that indicates you can reasonably speak on the division between science and philosophy.

For example, it wasn't Quinn's "honor" that was at issue, nor his supposed sacrifice of that honor. (Which "sacrifice" would be what, a yet more valiant indication of "honor"? Good grief, such fatuous arrogations and contempt.)

That is precisely what Quinn himself said was at stake. He refers to being corrupted, to his integrity being restored and diminished by his actions, to moral permissibility. It is absolutely about honor, and the potential scorn he might have to endure, which Monton offers up just as Quinn all but predicts. For an academic, what professinoal sacrifice would be larger?

You don't increase your honor by sullying it, though. I'm not sure where you would pull that concept from.

Michael B said...

One Brow,

1) I wasn't making any evaluation about you in general or more personally, I was referring to your style and commentary as applied to the subject matter herein, within this thread, commentary you apparently deem worthy of a "serious discussion." You speak as though I suggested you mistreat your dog. Or, you speak as though it were I who had worried over your feelings.

Mine is often pointed commentary, I have my reasons for doing so, though you're free to ignore it. But I in fact do think, both stylistically and substantively (the lack thereof), that your approach herein reflects a certain presumptive and preemptive sense or attitude of superiority (i.e. in lieu of more responsibly, more conscientiously engaging the subject matter), one that permits you to evade rather than engage on a more coherent/cogent and responsible basis (an example of which I'll note parenthetically at the end of this comment).

2) As to Behe specifically, can you point to anything he's doing in his field that does not fall within responsibly qualified scientific research? I'm not a Behe aficionado particularly and have read him only sparingly such as circumstance and coincidence has allowed, but what I've read in that vein has seemed viable. Likewise, in general, I agree with Plantinga that Behe has very much been slandered/libeled, with little or no foundation. So, again, what can you point to in a contrary sense in terms of his work in biology?

3) As to Philip Quinn and honor, two or three things. You ask, "For an academic, what professinoal sacrifice would be larger?" In the current, often politically correct environment in academe that is, in one part, to beg the question. Political correctness is more important than honor, all too often. What Philip Quinn displays in the excerpt in question appears to be one aspect of that political correctness, agenda driven interest, as applied to relevant philosophical and scientific issues. Otoh, at least as conceived from his own pov, it's not self-evident he would be sacrificing his honor in the first place, since he's advancing a consequentialist rather than a deontological moral argument. He does so very speciously, in moral and intellectual terms, and without warrant (and he does so consciously), but he does so nonetheless - or at least seems to do so, for there is some ambiguity at play since he is self-conscious, obviously, about what he's admitting, or confessing to, or rationalizing, or whatever it is that's going through his mind and conscience more specifically.

(Two or three things in conclusion. What did I miss in terms of the "speck" reference? If you were indulging some irony, I caught it, though I wasn't 100% certain irony was intended. Or, if it's the Morton/Monton spelling thing, fine, don't bother commenting beyond a brief mention. I also didn't correct your earlier teh/the typo. I wasn't concerned with typos. And it wasn't simply that you substituted Quine for Quinn (the one that actually did arrest my attention), it was the additional and far more important fact that you engaged in a sweeping dismissiveness of the Quinn excerpt despite the coherent line of thought presented. If you want to predicate a more conscientious and more thoughtful reply by saying something along the line of, "well, suppositionally, if the excerpt does reflect Philip Quinn's thought," that would be a reasonable and responsible caveat. But to blithely dismiss the thought in such a sweeping fashion, as if it's a blatant or obvious misconstrual for tendentious effect, and without any basis for doing so beyond some generically applied "doubt," is unfounded and in fact is irresponsible, assuming you do desire your "serious discussion." Or, if the suggestion is your generic, your generalized doubt is viable, then every exchange becomes subject to the whim of such "doubt," on any spurious basis, and the result will be ad hoc evasions and other degradations.)

One Brow said...

Mine is often pointed commentary, I have my reasons for doing so, though you're free to ignore it. But I in fact do think, both stylistically and substantively (the lack thereof), that your approach herein reflects a certain presumptive and preemptive sense or attitude of superiority ...

As I pointed out, I was merely reflecting the style I had seen in your posts. Make of it what you will.

2) As to Behe specifically, can you point to anything he's doing in his field that does not fall within responsibly qualified scientific research?

Within his field of biochemistry? last I heard, he was no longer active in his field at all. If he has resumed his activities, bravo. As a scientist, from what I could tell Behe was competent and moderately talented. Writing books for popular consumption, writing affidavits and testifying in court, public speaking, etc. are not scietific activities, whether the person involved is Behe or Dawkins. To my knowledge, since DBB was published, Behe has done no science. He did get a few articles printed based on work done before DBB was published.

More generally, I am not aware of any research published at any time that can be used to present positive evidence of design. My personal opinion is that there are reasons such work will never be possible scientifically, but that is beyond the scope of this thread.

Political correctness is more important than honor, all too often. What Philip Quinn displays in the excerpt in question appears to be one aspect of that political correctness, agenda driven interest, as applied to relevant philosophical and scientific issues.

What I read was, in defense of making sure that true science was put into the classroom, Quinn was willing to overstate or shade his testimony to favor that result. Only a complete abuse of the term could consider supporting science, generally, or evolution particularly, in the USA as politcally correct. In many areas it's political suicide.

Or, if the suggestion is your generic, your generalized doubt is viable, then every exchange becomes subject to the whim of such "doubt," on any spurious basis, and the result will be ad hoc evasions and other degradations.

Monton has chosen a side and laid claim to a position. People with causes tend to present evidence in a fashion that supports their cuase best. Recognizing this is hardly whim.

Really, it's difficult to take your position on having a "serious discussion" seriously when youoriginally claimed Quinn's quote was "a word-for-word excerpt, an exact quote, not a paraphrase or reduction" despite the presence of three ellipses.

Michael B said...

A voluptuously vapid indulgence, One Brow.

One Brow said...

I have no objection to you indulging yourself, Michael B.

Michael B said...

So, you evade, deflect and arrogate uncomprehendingly and incoherently, and you forward a smear you cannot substantiate. Then, in terms of wit, you fail in that area as well, responding in the manner of a common, schoolyard nosepick.

In defense of "science," he imagines.

Let me guess, more witty repartee is in the offing. One cannot help but impatiently await the next flash of brilliance.

One Brow said...

While it's not necessary to use the same tactics as one's opponent, it's often fun. It's also funny that you seem to feel I need to substantiate your committing a vapid indulgence immediately after you post a single sentence whose only purpose was to denigrate, not to respond.

However, I certainly don't feel as though I am defending science in this thread, because you seem quite incapable of posting any substantive sontent regarding science. You claimed Behe has made perfectly valid forms of hypothesis inquiry, yet you have failed to produce one example of such since he became involved in the ID movement. You confused Quinn's comments on his willingness to spin an issue with bypassing the scietific process. You actually said the science side of the debate was getting a free pass in their science-based positions heard. You proclaimed some connection between political correctness, of all things, and supporting teaching science in science classes.

So, I'm sure you'll understand why I am unsure you are truly capable of having a serious discussion on the topic. Every time you have tried, your prose has been ludicrous.

Michael B said...

He walks, he talks, he says stuff. But no, it's purpose was to be descriptive. The fact it was denigrative was a secondary offshoot of that primary, that descriptive fact.

And no, I didn't "actually" say "the science side of the debate was getting a free pass in their science-based positions heard," which is an inordinately stupid, question begging formulation. Where do you pull this stuff from?

As to "confusing" Quinn's comments concerning "his willingness to spin an issue with bypassing the scietific process," that too is wrong and again serves a simplistically tendentious formulation. What I did indicate in summarizing Quinn was that he was willing to say what it takes to get the right (politically correct) legal decision rather than to be intellectually honest. He was tasked, essentially, with being intellectually honest.

So you get that wrong as well.

But you do know how to count ellipses.

One Brow said...

And no, I didn't "actually" say "the science side of the debate was getting a free pass in their science-based positions heard," which is an inordinately stupid, question begging formulation. Where do you pull this stuff from?

From you.
One Brow: If the ID proponents want the respect of scientists, they have to do the work. It's not handed out free.

Michael B: In point of fact, on one side of the debate, there is much that is handed out "free," as is reflected in the "compare and contrast" previously noted.


I agree your formulation is inordinately stupid, although I don't think "question begging" is accurate. At any rate, if you meant a different debate that the one between scientists and ID proponents, it was incumbent upon you to clarify the context. I took a direct, immediate, unqualified response as referring to the same context, and I certainly feel no lack on my part for so doing.

What I did indicate in summarizing Quinn was that he was willing to say what it takes to get the right (politically correct) legal decision rather than to be intellectually honest. He was tasked, essentially, with being intellectually honest.

Again, you use "polically correct" is a fashion divorced from all common meaning. There is no broad social change involved in Quinn's testimony. If anyone, it was the creationists who were trying to be politically correct by changing the curriculum to include pseudo-science.

http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/politically%20correct

Aside from that, your analysis that Quinn sought a particular legal result matches my analysis. You seem to think the was tasked otherwise. Tasked by whom? Not the judicial process, which is inherently adversarial and goal-based. There is no indication that Quinn lied on the stand.

Nice of you to admit your error regarding reduction, though. Perhaps we can have a decent conversation after all.

Michael B said...

I can't tell where you are being uncomprehending vs. where you are being consciously and willfully deceitful. One or the other? A mix of the two? I can't even discern that. A massive amount of self-satisfaction and contentment is on evidence, but in and of itself that doesn't afford much light into the uncomprehending vs. underlying deceit question.

One Brow said...

Why worry so much about me? I don't myself as uncomprehending or as deceptive, so asking me is unlikely to enlighten you in that regard.

If you think a statement is in error, address the statement.

Michael B said...

It was an observation concerning your evasiveness, opacity, sniffs, deflections, inconsistencies, etc. The questions were rhetorical.

One Brow said...

Michael B, since your first comment your responses have been nothing but rhetorical. There was no need to punctuate that. Meanwhile, when asked for real content, such as the actual scientific forms Behe presents or the serious questions ID actually proposes, your silence looms large.

So, I'll take your comment on evasiveness with all the respect yor comments have earned.

Michael B said...

One Brow,

Does this suggest I'm not on your holiday gift list?

Since your initial reply to me, I took you as neither a sincere or thoughtful interlocutor and questioned your honesty, within this thread, from that point.

Likewise, given the fact my initial comment plainly stated I'm not an IDer, you might in fact add some comprehension to your reading skills: coherence, continuity of thought, cogency in general, all that is greatly handicapped when you can't so much as read and comprehend what is plainly stated, or otherwise refuse to incorporate that into your commentary.

If you should ever feel like a more honest exchange:

InterResSys@hotmail.com

I don't mind the barbs and even understand them. But at no point whatsoever did you offer anything more fruitful, more piquant, more germane, transparent and coherent. Not one, lone, solitary time. Nada. Instead, you offered opacity and sniffing deflections.

One Brow said...

Does this suggest I'm not on your holiday gift list?

Would you like to be?

Since your initial reply to me, I took you as neither a sincere or thoughtful interlocutor and questioned your honesty, within this thread, from that point.

I'm the type of person that will give the same answer to people who I suspect are not thoughtful and sincere questioners, when the suspicion is based on limited experience, as I do to those I suspect of being thoughtful or sincere, because to me the issue is the question, not the questioner.

Likewise, given the fact my initial comment plainly stated I'm not an IDer, ...

I'm pretty sure I've never referred to you as an ID proponent. I have asked to you defend statements that you made. If you want to claim I misinterpreted your comments, explain or revise them. Proclaiming how I misread you while saying I thought of you as an ID proponent is irony worthy of a WorldNetDaily column.

If you should ever feel like a more honest exchange:

InterResSys@hotmail.com


I am equally honest in blog comments, on my blog, on message boards, in emails, and in person. I don't see why an email conversation would increase the level of honesty.

However, if you are looking for more freedom to comment, feel free to come to my blog. As long as you don't attack the other posters there, you will be free to say anything you like about me or my ideas.

But at no point whatsoever did you offer anything more fruitful, more piquant, more germane, transparent and coherent.

I don't feel the need to be more fruitful than noting that ID proponents have tried to bypass the scientific process rather than participate, and that I don't find Monton's account to be more authoritative than Pennock's. These are not deep truths, certainly, but they were germane and coherent, at any rate.

Michael B said...

There are at least half-a-dozen things that could be said, applied to this last offering alone. But for the sake of focus and since it applies to one of my original inquiries, a single item only:

"I am equally honest in blog comments, on my blog, on message boards, in emails, and in person." One Brow

Truly? And, is this sense and standard of equal honesty something you'd recommend to a Philip Quinn?

And you have a blog where you indulge an "equally honest" standard?

Michael B said...

And I read the material in the ellipses, it can be read at Amazon with a small effort. It doesn't change the meaning. Quinn elaborates (profuses) about his indignation and his sense of rightness and righteousness, but it doesn't change the meaning. You do know how to dance though, Mr. "Equally-Honest."

One Brow said...

For Quinn, I cdertainly recommend equal honesty in blogs, emails, academic papers, etc. However, courtroom testimony is about an adversarial process. You put forth your best case, even if that means not mentioning a couple of caveats and questions. In particular, the chance of losing, and allowing children to be exposed to pseudo-science under the guise of science, probably outweighed the loss of integrity in Quinn's mind. He sacrificed his own integrity for the integirty of science classes.

Thanks for explaining to me that Monton's quote of Quinn was fair. Yes, I have a blog, you can find it easily enough by clicking the link on my handle.

Michael B said...

Ironic, that within one of those ellipsis Philip Quinn refers to a "slippery slope," one he's assurring himself and his readers he's able to manage. It's especially ironic given the subject matter, involving epistemic and other categories requiring an often profound and subtle appreciation of inter-related subject matter. Oh, but darn, it's adversarial, so given the rightness and righteousness of the cause, let's not worry ourselves or our conscience overly much.

1) the notion anyone is sacrificing a lesser integrity for a greater one is mere presumption, one dependent upon the additional and underlying presumption of the "rightness and righteousness" alluded to and that any partisan could readily rationalize and arrogate to themselves and their cause, which is precisely what Philip Quinn is doing. (Further, Quinn is invoking and making statements about general principles, so it's impossible to examine the presumptions inherent in his and your rationalization, beyond that general level.)

2) expert witness testimony is about veracity and integrity, in the deontological sense of the terms. 3) likewise, if your adversarial rationalization and arrogations were applied to - e.g., medical doctors testifying in a malpractice case - the weakness in such a rationalization would be exposed still more readily. 4) taking your rationalization to (one of) its logical conclusions, an academic or anyone else could be motivated to write entire volumes that are rife with subtle forms of deceits, with an express or contingent purpose of using such volumes in adversarial courtroom situations.

Expert witness testimony is about veracity and integrity. The adversarial process within American and other systems of jurisprudence does not suggest the adversarial quality per se is first and foremost within all aspects of the courtroom. Expert witness testimony is a form of evidence and, as with the presentation of material evidence, veracity and integrity are paramount.

Hence, perjury, as defined by Merriam/Webster online: the voluntary violation of an oath or vow either by swearing to what is untrue or by omission to do what has been promised under oath : false swearing.

One Brow said...

Your naivte regarding the judicial process is apparent. Expert testimonies are carefully selected and vetted by attorneys to be truthful, intelligible, and favorable, these are not always mutally contradictgory goals. It is the duty of the opposition to decide which, if any rebutttal points to bring forward. Despite their accomplishments, knowledge, and integrity, the Discovery Institute will not be hiring Ken Miller to provide expert testimony, nor will the NCSE be hiring Behe.

This rationalization is applied to doctors in medical malpractice suits. Why to youj think each side will have their own experts?

Academics that write volumes as it they were expert depositions will no doubt experience a host of problems.

Your attempt to bring in perjury is laughable. Despite their radically different testimonies, no one thought perjury was applicable for Miller or Behe in the Kitzmiller trial. Who are you trying to kid?

Michael B said...

Nonsense, there is no naivete. None. Zero. E.g., in referring to a dictionary definition I'm obviously referencing an ideal type, an ideal conception. I was also using that conception to provide a contrast with a pure consequentialism.

Otoh, that acknowledgement, on the obverse side, doesn't simply accept a relativism or a pure consequentialism.

Each side has their own experts, in substantial part, because very often, most often, various sides of the epistemic interest, the epistemic object, do have viability.

One Brow said...

Each side has their own experts, in substantial part, because very often, most often, various sides of the epistemic interest, the epistemic object, do have viability.

Yet, no one expects that the experts for one side will argue for the epistemic viability of the other side in a court case, where I do regularly see such allowances in academic papers, including legal academic papers.

Michael B said...

Two different situations. And, nonetheless, while they obviously would not typically take the initiative to argue for the other side, if presented with cross-examinating questions by the opposing counsel, or even questions by the counsel who hired them, they are required to answer honestly.

Cases of perjury against expert witnesses, while perhaps not common (I simply don't know how common or rare they are), are not unknown.

One Brow said...

Yes, it was my point they are two different situations, which is why Quinn, being used to the requirments of one, felt uncomfortable with the requirements of the other. It's nice to see we agree after all.

Michael B said...

Once again, no, and the self-satisfaction at having again resisted a coherent line of thought is boorish, is in fact regressive and juvenile.

With some, a well clarified exchange can be had. Terms and general conceptions are honestly, coherently and cogently exchanged: continuity of thought is maintained. These exchanges are as light traversing a pane of glass in a pellucid manner.

A second group of exchanges can be compared to dealing with a jagged mass of sharp and broken glass, wherein attempts at clarity are distorted, diffused, refracted: variously deflected away from the possibility of coherence and continuity of thought. It's as if an intelligence perceives the intended communication, but via sophistical and willful refusal, chooses not to respond in an intelligible manner.

A third grouping is akin more to a glassy piece of dark obsidian, wherein, despite the glassy veneer, light never does truly penetrate in the first place. This compares to a situation wherein a habituated obduracy or a lack of innate intelligence and discernment results in the communication never being received in the first place.

You certainly don't belong in the first category. I'd take a guess at placing you in the second grouping, as applied to the subject we've been attempting, though it's not entirely clear the third and final category is not the better fit.

One Brow said...

Well, it's awfully nice of you to clarify what sort of conversations I am capable of. I suppose this sort of behavior, engaged in with regularity, does relieve one of the burden to read and understand the posts of someone they have, for whatever reason, decided to disagree with. You seem to think it is entirely my lack that, after I pointed out testimony in a court case was a different environment, with different needs for truth-telling that might make an academic feel they are somewhat comprimising their usual standards, you first objected that this could be the case, and then confirmed it. It's a curious postion to hold, to say the least. I suppose it fits in with your notion that an email exchange has some apparent advantage in engendering honsesty.

This discussion with you has been so heavily focused on the person that it is not surprising you seem to miss the content. Your search for an honest man leads to bypass the honest conversation.

By the way, did you have anything left of relevance to say? Just checking.

One Brow said...

I'll take that as a 'No'.