Saturday, April 07, 2012


Welcome to the Quote Mines!

Massimo Pigliucci has discovered the joys of quote mining.

Along the way, he correctly debunks the idiot criticism of Robert Wright, a science writer, rather than a scientist, of Stephen J. Gould and the somewhat cranky comment by John Maynard Smith, who may have not liked Gould's challenge to Smith's position as the 'most revered evolutionary scientist of his day,' that Gould's ideas were "so confused as to be hardly worth bothering with."

Our old friend, Sal Cordova, the person most likely to want to have his lips surgically attached to William Dembski's posterior, kicked it all off by quote mining Pigliucci, who made the point (previously made -- and quote mined --by Adam S. Wilkins) that -- gosh darn it -- you don't need to explicitly address evolutionary theory when doing experiments in, say, molecular biology. Pigliucci's response is particularly nice:

[I]f it is the case that the theory of evolution (it's the Modern Synthesis, by the way, not neo-Darwinism, get your history of biology straight) has little heuristic value this is in the same sense in which quantum mechanics ain't particularly useful for building bridges. In neither case does it follow that the theory is somehow wrong or deficient. But, again, logic (even at the 101 level) isn't these people's forte.
But, as always, that's the price of being rational and open in the vicinity of creationists.

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