Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Going At It Hammer and Sickle

In a well that never seems to run dry, Dr. Michael Egnor is once again making a fool of himself.

He is now complaining that "Darwinists" are engaged in Soviet-style revisions of history on Wikipedia. Apparently, Egnor is unaware that revisions are actually how Wikipedia works:

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia collaboratively written by many of its readers. It is a special type of website, called a wiki, that makes collaboration easy. Many people are constantly improving Wikipedia, making thousands of changes an hour, all of which are recorded on article histories and recent changes. Inappropriate changes are usually removed quickly, and repeat offenders can be blocked from editing.

Egnor also seems to be unaware that the point of Soviet revisionism was to pretend that no changes had been made. The change in the Wikipedia article was immediately mentioned by the "Darwinists" back at the time of Egnor's original post. It was commented on at Orac's blog, Respectful Insolence and at Mark Chu-Carroll's blog, Good Math, Bad Math. The commenters could do that because Wikipedia, unlike the Soviet government, openly keeps a record of exactly what is being changed and by whom.
Nor does it seem to occur to him that, if his argument relies so heavily on the wording of a single sentence in an online encyclopedia collectively tinkered together by people of unknown expertise, maybe his argument is already in serious difficulty.

But the really incredible part is that, while Egnor is invoking the Soviet Union and its Doublethink, he is also pointing to the revision trail and the user name of the person making the changes. You'd think he'd kinda catch on that his pointing out the revision trail guts his analogy right out of the gate, wouldn't you? But Egnor has never let reality stop him yet!

Strangely, Egnor complains that this same person modified articles on President Bush in ways that that make them more critical of the President. You'd almost think that Egnor thinks ID is … why … political or somethin'.

If Egnor wants to challenge that reviser's objectivity through Wikipedia's revision protocols to attempt to get him blocked from editing, he is perfectly free to. I doubt Egnor will, however. He would have way too much trouble proving his own objectivity.


Update: Eamon Knight has traced the history of the article that led up to the inclusion of the phrase in the definition that Egnor seems to think somehow constituted "evidence" in favor of design. It turns out that it was the result of the actions of a single anonymous reviser, whose qualifications are, of course, unknown. On such ephemera does the whole of Intelligent Design Creationism rest.

And while I'm at it, and since Eamon noted that plumbing the depths of Egnor's bilge usually leaves something more to point to and laugh at, so deep and ... um ... rich is his illogic, let's not forget the irony of Egnor, with blithe unselfconsciousness, complaining about "Darwinists" engaging in "sneering, name-calling, and obfuscation" while, at the same time, comparing those selfsame "Darwinists" to agents of Soviet-style dictatorship.

If the term "mind-numbing" didn't already exist, it would have had to have been invented just to describe Egnor's blather.

And the Kiwis have weighed in:

Ozzy Osbourne and Michael Egnor - what is the connection?

In fact, Håkan Rosén's blog, The DesignInference, looks so good that I'm adding it to my roll.

He writes: "...The biological reverse engineering analogy was part of the original definition," ... "This is how Darwinists debate. I made the simple point that much of modern molecular biology is biological reverse engineering, and that the implicit inference to design may be helpful in guiding biological research. Their reply: delete the evidence."

(My bolding)

Except that a definition is evidence of nothing more than the usage of a term, and is always up for revision. Has he never looked at a dictionary?
The not-so-good doctor is so out of evidence that if any scientist happened to say that s/he 'has designs on that last piece of pie,' Egnor would be off writing 500 words about it.
It was a damned stupid thing to have been in the definition in the first place, IMHO. But Egnor loves his fallacies -- they're all he's got.
'In fact, Håkan Rosén's blog, The DesignInference, looks so good that I'm adding it to my roll.'

I'm sure I wrote this very message the other day, but on the other hand, maybe I'm a bit of a divvy.

Thanks for the kind words. I've managed to spend a good chunk of the last few days reading the posts of yourself and those of your links. During this "expedition", I've found some REALLY good and interesting writing. Thanks for making me use even more of my already precious time (he says sarcastically and gratefully)!
Thanks for making me use even more of my already precious time ...

Always glad to be of assistance!

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