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Monday, July 09, 2007

Ideas: Francis Beckwith on "the Irrationality of Dawkins"

Francis Beckwith (yes, yes, the one who had the tenure struggle at Baylor), takes issue with Darwinist atheist Richard Dawkins savaging Bryan U's creationist paleontologist Kurt Wise:
Dawkins harshly criticizes Wise for embracing a religious belief that results in Wise's not treating himself and his talents, intelligence, and abilities in a way appropriate for their full flourishing. That is, given the opportunity to hone and nurture certain gifts—for example, intellectual skill—no one, including Wise, should waste them as a result of accepting a false belief. The person who violates, or helps violate, this norm, according to Dawkins, should be condemned, and we should all bemoan this tragic moral neglect on the part of our fellow(s). But the issuing of that judgment on Wise by Dawkins makes sense only in light of Wise's particular talents and the sort of being Wise is by nature, a being who Dawkins seems to believe possesses certain intrinsic capacities and purposes that if prematurely disrupted results in an injustice.

So Dawkins knows just enough about traditional views of life, the mind, and intellectual freedom to use them to attack someone he disagrees with? (Don't) stop the presses.

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Darwinism and academic culture: "Have evolved" as synonym for "exist"

Recently, I was blogging on the grammar of speculation: grammatical uses that help speculation disguise itself as fact - in particular the use of "would have" (scroll down to second point, regarding "would have") where one dare not say "did." Now a friend writes to note the use of "have evolved" as a synonym for "exist."

He refers to an abstract of a Nature paper just out this month, which announces:
Multiple mechanisms have evolved that contribute to this exquisite
specificity, including the structure of the catalytic site, local and distal interactions

He asked the author:
You use the phrase "have evolved". Is this phrase used interchangably with the word "exist" or have you specific evidence related to the evolutionary origin of these pathways?

The author's answer:
In the context of this abstract "exist" would be interchangable although we do believe that these pathways have evolved over time.

My friend suspected as much. "Have evolved" was not demonstrated in the paper, and perhaps not anywhere else either. It is a statement of faith.

In general, be suspicious of terminology that is more complex than necessary. There lie propaganda or euphemism. In this case, for instance, "exist" describes what was actually observed, and "have evolved" is a disguised statement of faith. Read George Orwell's Politics and the English Language.

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Evolutionary psychology challenge:Read the latest and keep a straight face!

Those who will take themselves seriously but shouldn't attract comedians.

Bill Dembski scooped me on the latest idiocy of Darwinism's idiot child, evolutionary psychology:
Until very recently, it was a mystery to evolutionary psychology why men prefer women with large breasts, since the size of a woman's breasts has no relationship to her ability to lactate. But Harvard anthropologist Frank Marlowe contends that larger, and hence heavier, breasts sag more conspicuously with age than do smaller breasts. Thus they make it easier for men to judge a woman's age (and her reproductive value) by sight-suggesting why men find women with large breasts more attractive.

and on Fred Reed's hilarious take on it. Reed, of course, knocks the stuffings out of the pillow. Responding to "Blue-eyed people are considered attractive as potential mates because it is easiest to determine whether they are interested in us or not", he notes,
I think of those millions of pitiful Chinese women, sobbing quietly in corners, "Oh, how can I let him know I'm interested when I have these horrible dark eyes? Maybe I can write him a letter.."

One thinks also of the advice Naomi gives Ruth in the Book of Ruth. I doubt Boaz knew what colour Ruth's eyes were. It's not clear how he could.

Still, we need to put a pin on the map for this latest outburst of evo psycho ... Read more »

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