Comments on Devolves Back Cover


(Bill Cole) #1
Only somebody who was intellectually dishonest would sanction the use of these misleading blurbs on their book.

What do think the value of these ad hominem attacks are?

Three Misrepresentations on Darwin Devolves' Back Cover
(Timothy Horton) #2

It’s not an ad hom when it’s true. Quote mining to deliberately misrepresent an author’s views is considered lying in every honest circle. Why do you think it’s OK for IDers to quote-mine so blatantly?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #3

Bill, can you ask Behe if he approved of these blurbs? If he did not, that would clear him here. If he did approve them, this looks bad.

(Herculean Skeptic) #4

I’m curious if you read the article Bill. The endorsement from Orr is drawn from this passage in the article:

Michael J. Behe, a professor of biological sciences at Lehigh University (and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute), is a biochemist who writes technical papers on the structure of DNA. He is the most prominent of the small circle of scientists working on intelligent design, and his arguments are by far the best known.

Sounds like a glowing endorsement, doesn’t it?

But he goes on to say:

But Behe’s principal argument soon ran into trouble.

Behe and his followers now emphasize that, while irreducibly complex systems can in principle evolve, biologists can’t reconstruct in convincing detail just how any such system did evolve.

What counts as a sufficiently detailed historical narrative, though, is altogether subjective. Biologists actually know a great deal about the evolution of biochemical systems, irreducibly complex or not.

The New Yorker article from which the “endorsement” is drawn goes on. It is not condemning, per se, but it is definitely not an endorsement. Really, what the publisher has done is to take an introduction and to use it as an endorsement. It seems suspicious, at best.

(T J Runyon) #5

How come no one on this forum knows what that means?

(Bill Cole) #6

Do you think this is anything different than what publishers do? They sell books.

I really have no interest in pursuing ad hominem attacks that are not relevant to the central argument.

(Bill Cole) #7

It is a logical fallacy that means attacking the person and not his argument.

(Herculean Skeptic) #8

So if someone from the other side of the aisle does something that is unethical, you are okay with that because they are just trying to sell books? Do you really think that’s the case? David Klinghoffer wouldn’t write an article at DI stating that some evolutionary biologist’s publisher had taken liberties and used a critique as an endorsement?


(T J Runyon) #9

Eh. There were no arguments to be ignored there. Those were just insults. An Ad Hom would be if I replied to you, “ no, you’re wrong! You’re just a big idiot!” That’s not what’s happening here.

(Bill Cole) #10

Whats interesting is the substance of the book period.

What I see are scientists engaged in politics and that is very telling to me.

If they have a solid counter argument these tactics are unnecessary.

(Dave Carlson) #11

@swamidass smells of elderberries.

Ad hominem:
@swamidass smells of elderberries, so genealogical Adam is false.

(Bill Cole) #12

Ad homonym: Painting someone as dishonest.

(Herculean Skeptic) #13

I’m really sorry that you have responded in this way. The viability of the book’s content is a separate issue. Sadly, if there were more, real endorsements, those would have been printed instead, and it wouldn’t have been pointed out. This is clearly an ethics issue and you know, full well, DK would have done an entire article series on the desperate evolutionary biologists in a state of chaos.


No one is saying that Behe’s arguments are false because his publisher used quote mines to promote the book.

(Bill Cole) #15

This is political attack form a scientist. Do you not consider that an ethics issue?

(Bill Cole) #16

Doesn’t matter. This is coming in pieces and I honestly am horrified at this smear complain from respected scientists. Argue the science or I am done.

Three Misrepresentations on Darwin Devolves' Back Cover
(Herculean Skeptic) #17

I consider it on the same lines as what you are doing here. There is obviously a motivation that is driving actions. That’s not the issue over ethics, though. The issue over ethics is that one person (Behe’s publisher) has been called out for doing something unethical. You are defending that action by stating that it is unimportant. It is NOT unimportant.

On the other hand, as I stated earlier, the viability of the book’s content is a separate issue. Maybe a more important one, but it does not make this a non-issue.


There is no smear campaign here at PS. Many scientists here are giving detailed scientific criticism of Behe’s book.


It does.

Those are crocodile tears. Go read some articles over at ENV where the consistently attack scientists and the scientific community with much stronger words than we are using. I doubt you will have any criticisms of their actions.

(Bill Cole) #20

Great lets get back to the scientific discussion. I am done with the diversions that don’t help anyone.