Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Quoting, Misquoting, Quote-Mining

On his Blog Uncommon Descent, Dembski discusses quote mining. Here is my response in case it is removed.

The problem with ID and the Cambrian explosion is that ID relies, as usual, on gaps in our knowledge to infer ‘design’ and represents the phyla as all having arise simultaneously during the Cambrian Period. When making their ‘arguments’ research is often quoted incompletely or the research is out-dated by new findings. The worst example is the use of the work by Valentine by ID when in fact Valentine is on the record as

Valentine wrote:

The title of this book, modeled on that of the greatest biological work ever written, is in homage to the greatest biologist who has ever lived. Darwin himself puzzled over but could not cover the ground that is reviewed here, simply because the relevant fossils, genes, and their molecules, end even the body plans of many of the phyla, were quite unknown in his day. Nevertheless, the evidence from these many additional souces of data simply confirm that Darwin was correct in his conclusions that all living things have descended from a commmon anscestor and can be placed within a tree of life, and that the principle process guiding their descent has been natural selection.

(Valentine On the Origin of Phyla 2004: Preface)

See Meyer: Cambrian Explosion and CSI? and Icons of ID: And the Wedge continues at for a more detailed description.
While the Cambrian explosion may have appeared to support creationist scenarios, increased knowledge and understanding shows that regularity and chance cannot be excluded, blocking a design inference. Since ID fails to present any scientific hypothesis of design, its reliance on this eliminative approach dooms it to irrelevance under the category of “God of the gaps” arguments (or as Dembski himself stated that if the filter would admit false positives, it would render it utterly useless. Given that the filter cannot exclude false positives, the conclusion seems simple.

Comment by WedgieWorld — April 27, 2005 @ 8:15 pm

Read more!