Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dembki's explanation: smells like mendacity

So Dr. Dr. Dembski has notpologized for plagiarizing stealing using the Harvard-produced video "The Inner Life of the Cell." It's all very touching, how mean old Harvard refused to sell him the DVD (as though that would have given him the right to use it) and so he was forced to plagiarize not the original, but someone else's mangled version:
A few months after announcing the video at UncommonDescent, I found on the Internet a version of the video that did add a voiceover, giving the relevant biology, and was in a format that allowed me to incorporate it into my PowerPoint presentations. I used the video a handful of times, including at a talk in Oklahoma this September.
Dr. Dr. Dembski's misuse of Harvard's video is pretty egregious even in the way he tells it. But right now, Dr. Dr. Dembski's convenient narrative has what Brick Pollitt used to call "the powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity."

Here's my question: Where did he find this version? I've looked around at the intertubes a wee bit, and I can't find it. Nobody I know can find it. Yet Dr. Dr. Dembski managed to find this spectacularly ID-friendly version "on the internet." He must have worked pretty hard for that one!

Look, I'm a writing teacher. I deal with plagiarism from time to time, and with bullshitting behavior on a regular basis. Simply put, I found it on the internet is not an explanation, and it's not an excuse. I found it on the internet is what a person says when he's making stuff up, when he's spinning, when everybody except the person speaking knows he's caught.

Hey, it suddenly occurs to me that, on an abstract level, there's something about this pattern that seems like what might be called "the inner life of the cdesign proponentsist." Consider

Statement 1: I found it on the internet.
Statement 2: the Designer did it.

In each case, there's no natural explanation.

Back to the topic at hand. Given Dembski's past behavior, why should we believe him anyway? Unless and until the good Dr. Dr. shows where he "found" this ID-friendly, crapped up version of "The Inner Life of the Cell," his claim that he "found it on the internet" should be treated as just so much bluster.

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