Saturday, June 30, 2007

Eight Facts About Hermagoras

I asked for a tag, and I got it. Thanks Kristine!

We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
  • Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  • At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  • Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.
Okay, here goes:
  1. I'm an identical twin. Until college separated us, nobody could tell us apart. Now it's easy: I'm the heavy-set English professor, he's the fit rich scientist guy. We lived in different states for twenty-plus years. In 2004 I moved within three miles of him, and within half a year he moved to the other side of the world (Singapore).
  2. For about a month in college I was in a Dead Kennedys cover band called "Sirhan Sirhan and the Lee Harvey Oswald Choir." We also played song by the Vandals, Black Flag, Minor Threat, and the Meatmen. Mainly we just goofed off, but we did play one short show in a women's dormitory at my university.
  3. I wanted to be a fundamentalist theologian before I discovered poetry. "Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself."
  4. Back when I was a teenager I was the instrument for converting one of my best friends to Christianity. He was Jewish. I've had a hard time forgiving myself for that, especially as he's still (to the best of my knowledge) a fundie.
  5. Before the recent ugliness, I had never been kicked off a blog. As a kid, however, I was kicked out of the White Flint Mall in Rockville, Maryland for repeatedly going up the down escalator.
  6. I take Imitrex for migraines: the injection form, as the pill never worked for me. I had to take one on an Amtrak last year. Let me tell you, there's no feeling quite so wonderful and debased as shooting up a prescription medicine in the bathroom of a moving train.
  7. I love long poems: the early ones (Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, De Rerum Natura), medieval (Divine Commedy, Canterbury Tales, Troilus and Creseyde), Paradise Lost, Dryden, -- not so much Pope -- Samuel Johnson, Keat's Hyperion and Dream of Hyperion, Shelley's Triumph of Life and Adonais, Browning's The Ring and the Book -- oh, yeah. And love the modernist and postmodernist long ones too: Pound's Cantos, Zukofsky's "A," Olson's Maximus Poems, Bunting's Briggflatts, Stein's Tender Buttons and Stanzas in Meditation, Duncan's "Passages," Hejinian's My Life. I even like The Changing Light at Sandover. One summer I read nothing but long poems.
  8. I remain firmly convinced that Thomas Kinsella is the most underrated poet alive.
Okey, who should I tag:

Duae Quartunciae,
The Editors,
Adrian (just searching around for someone random to tag and I came across this. Pretty cool young blogger. Give him some love).
Jessica Smith,
Jaki Shelton Green,
Mike Edwards.

Some of these are far up the food chain and may not get a response. I mean come on -- the Editors? And I would have tagged Ron Silliman, but tagging him would be useless--he's already told us everything there is to know.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Who else can't speak for himself? Hermagoras, that's who. Because UD won't let him.

Welcome, Uncommon Descent members! For the record, I don't ban users or arguments (I will delete threats and suchlike.) As long as you're here, you might check out the reality behind ICON-RIDS (if you haven't heard about this before).

A letter to GilDodgen, responding to this:
I, Hermagoras, am banned at Uncommon Descent but apparently still discussion-worthy. Indeed, a whole post devoted to refuting someone (me) who is not allowed to respond. You guys are certainly committed to fair debate!

I was trying to make a fairly simple point, which I would have thought IDers agree with: that all observations and all "facts" are theory-laden. It's simple enough. I elaborated it in a post which Dembski apparently thought was off-topic and led him [to] ban me in precisely the terms I previously discussed on my blog. Hilarious. Then continued discussion (again I can't respond) about how I'm trying to be the clever one.

Nothing in my banned posts was were inflammatory, although I was annoyed at that ass Jehu for insulting my education. Perhaps I got a little to[o] technical on some rhetorical issues. In another comment that may have led to the banning, I disagreed with scordova on equivocation. (Shallitt and Ellsberry were not equivocating.)*

Frankly, I don't know why I was banned. I'm just guessing. Your leader never gives a reason. Instead he waves his hand [and] notes that I'm "no longer with us." Well, I guess I'm with the terrorists then.

Anyway, I'll avoid the lesson in rhetoric and just quote your own writing:

these facts certainly do speak for themselves, and they say that

Please read that a couple of times slowly. Let me know when the contradiction becomes apparent.
*[Update, not in letter to GilDodgen: amazingly, I now find that this comment made it through. I could have sworn it was in the moderation queue when I got banned.]

Further Update: Edited for various typos in my letter. Should have proofread; measure twice, cut once and all that. Changes marked with [brackets] and strikeouts (n.b.: most of the links were added in the bloggitation).

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Pixie is no longer with us

"Pixie is no longer with us."

That's a comment on Uncommon Descent, the intelligent design (and global warming denialist) blog. Apparently the user "Pixie" was kicked off the comment board for saying terrible things like this:
Tribune [another commenter], there is some ambiguity in both those cases; we do not know for certain why Gonzales failed to get tenure (maybe Iowa State did want anyone associated with anti-science, rather than someone who criticised evolution). Micheal Behe, Granville Sewell and Michael Denton still hold university positions despite their criticisms of evolution.

Larry, why do you think it is the teacher? Do teachers often have to write lines on the blackboard in your experience?

A general comment: Why should we suppose from this cartoon that there is a “Church of the Living Darwin”? Is a rejection of any and all criticism a distinguishing feature of religion?

No longer with us. The kind of thing you say when someone has died, or you've been betrayed. No longer with us. With whom, then?

Turns out that this is the standard language Dembski uses when kicking a user off the boards. The phrase turns up all the time. The lanky dictator of intelligent design waves his hand and poof! away goes a member. No longer with us. Remember, if you dare to comment over there.
There is one cardinal rule at this blog, namely, I [Dembski] make up the rules as I go along. In other words, these policies can change at any time. Moreover, if they change, it will most likely be in the direction of curtailing the time I need to spend with comments.
Read the comment policies and you'll get a sense of all the kinds of things Dembski finds unacceptable. You'll be banned for asking who designed the designer, for saying ID is "creationism in a cheap tuxedo" (actually the tux is pretty expensive), for linking ID with the religious right, and for pointing out that ID is not science. (Hilariously, NoeticGuru is still there. I would bet that Dembski et al. have discovered the snark but won't ban NG's old comments because it's been all over the blogs, and banning would force them to acknowledge the fiasco. They're hoping it will just go away.)

Here at little old paralepsis, we don't ban people for arguments. Not that that many people comment here, but arguments are not things you ban. It's a simple and, I would think, obvious principle.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Let the Mockery Continue

Just following up on the previous post: the first parody comment on Dembski's link seems to have made it past the censors (though really, it's hard to tell what's not parody). I thought I'd link to it here before Dembski et al. erase it along with the whole embarrassing episode. The poster calls him/herself "NoeticGuru," and writes:
Heh, long time lurker, first time poster here. But I’m glad that organizations like ICON-RIDS are showing up, and that proponents of ID are taking notice of them. I think that it will help show that ID isn’t a single religious doctrine since it can incorporate so many different non-materialistic philosophies. ICON-RIDS, for example, will probably attract a lot of followers with its ethical philosophy (you’ll probably need to scroll down a bit to get to his Transparadigmic Pleasurian socio-ethical paradigm, but it’s worth a read).

Since I’m also a dabbler in mathematics, I’ve been particularly impressed with Dr. Brookfield’s cosmological proof of cosmological physical incompleteness — I wonder how many mathematical polymaths ID will have to accumulate before Darwinists stop making light of the field’s credentialed researchers.

I love how NoeticGuru begins in the idiom of a talk radio listener. This "dabbler in mathematics" manages to get in a blurb for Pleasurian philosophy as well as a quiet dig at "Dr." Bloomfield's "credentials." Fine, fine snark.

Update: Just to give a sense of who is piling on: we have Stranger Fruit, Afarensis, Duae Quartunciae, Red State Rabble, Pharyngula, and Clever Beyond Measure.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

William Dembski links to a crank (so what else is new)?

From time to time, I surf over to Uncommon Descent to keep tracks on the intelligent design folks. They're an odd bunch over there: constantly proclaiming that this or that study is the stake in the heart of Darwinist OrthodoxyTM -- but then, nothing changes, and so a new stake must be discovered next week.

I commented there for a while but then I got banned, I guess -- anyway, my comments stopped showing up. I guess they were considered too snarky: this at a site where Dembski actually began a post by comparing the face of Jerry Coyne with Herman Munster.

What. An. Asshole.

Today Dembski posts the following:
It will be interesting to see how the National Center for Science Education Selling Evolution deals with the growing number of non-religious ID proponents. Check out the following link:
Yes, very interesting. No doubt the NCSE will be shaking with fear at this guy:
I don't hold any degrees from any university of any kind. My job as a citizen scientist is to represent science in general and the general public. I learned about the theory of "ontogeny recipitulating phylogeny" in my elementary school playground in 1968 -- from a friend (Calvin Jackson). Throughout the 60's and 70's I was a Darwinist. In 1979 I began to suspect something was wrong with Darwinism.
Meet William Brookfield, founder of "ICON-RIDS -- A Proposed Coalition of Non-Religious ID Scientists & Supporters." Or maybe it's "An International Coalition of Non-Religious ID Scientists & Scholars." Right now it's a coalition of one.

But what a one! Mr. Brookfield is also the founder of "The Brookfield Institute." He's not just an Intelligent Design proponent, but an "ID Pleasurian." What could that be, you ask? Mr. Brookfield provides the answer:
ID Pleasurian philosophy is a non-religious amalgam of ID science and Hefnerian Playboy philosophy. It serves as a strategically unified and archetypal counter proposal to orthodox ascetic religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Islam. It is also somewhat resonant with Wiccan and “mother nature”- based pagan cults (in the west) and Tantric Buddhism (in the east). Pleasurian-ism is an earthy, sensuous and physically celebratory form of “monistic idealism” or infocognitive monism.” Pleasurian science is naturally driven by the "pleasure of finding things out."
Why in the world would the NCSE care to "deal with" this?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Funniest Comment EVAH

Check out this picture from a Flickr set of the creationist museum. Then look at the first comment. I got the giggles and just could not stop.