More Discoveroid Quote Mining by Michael Flannery

The Discoveroids — described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page — have again hauled out one of their “fellows,” Michael Flannery, to engage in one of the most contemptible of creationist techniques, quote mining. TalkOrigins has a great deal of information on this practice — see The Quote Mine Project — Or, Lies, Damned Lies and Quote Mines.

The last time we discussed Flannery was in Discovery Institute: Darwin and Eugenics Again, and before that we wrote Beyond Despicable, in which he blamed Darwin for the atrocities of Stalin. We began that one by saying this about Flannery’s post at the Discoveroids’ blog:

We can’t analyze it because that would require pointing out one or two major flaws in the article’s facts or reasoning. But this one is all flaws. There is nothing in it of any value whatsoever. Nor can we even describe the essay. How many synonyms for duplicity are there? For misdirection? For excrement? Were you to list them all, you wouldn’t have begun to describe this thing.

Our opinion of Flannery is reinforced by his latest post: Darwin’s Other Doubt. He begins by praising Stephen Meyer’s new book Darwin’s Doubt, which he has no background to critique, but Meyer’s title is where Flannery got the title for his post today. We won’t spend much time on it, but here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

In a letter to William Graham on July 3, 1881, Darwin wrote:

[Flannery quotes Darwin’s letter:] Nevertheless you have expressed my inward conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the Universe is not the result of chance. But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?

Where have we seen that quote before? Ah yes, we debunked it here: Shock! Discoveroid Quote-Mining. Hey — the very same quote was being promoted in another Discoveroid article by — brace yourself — Michael Flannery! There’s not much more to be said about his recycling of the same material, but let’s read on to see if Flannery says anything else of note. Well, there’s this:

So the lack of empirical evidence for Darwin’s notion of slow, incremental evolutionary change demonstrated in the Cambrian explosion [Aaaargh!!], while significant in itself, may not be as devastating as the deeper doubt he expressed to Graham nine months before his death. What a sad note upon which to conclude one’s life — in the end, his own theory negated itself!

Yes, Flannery, that noted historian, has discovered the horrible truth — at the end of his life, Darwin declared that he was a failure and an idiot. Does Flannery have any other scholarly insights for us? We’ll look a bit more. Ah yes, he builds upon his historical insight:

The epistemological nihilism inherent in Darwin’s theory ultimately becomes the refutation of every Darwinist.

Flannery has brilliantly shown that Darwin has refuted us all. And here’s his powerful conclusion:

Others before me have noted the self-refuting nature of Darwinism, but it is worth remembering that the Cambrian explosion wasn’t Darwin’s only doubt. Intellects governed by Darwin’s “law of higgledy-piggledy,” as the great astronomer John Herschel once called it, cannot speak with much conviction about anything. In a “higgledy-piggledy” world, what are the standards of objective truth for the “convictions of a monkey’s mind”?

John Herschel? He was the son of William Herschel (who discovered Uranus), and he died in 1871. Apparently he did say that about Darwin’s work, and it’s discussed here in Philosophy Now: John Herschel. But Herschel simply didn’t like Darwin’s theory — he wasn’t talking about that “monkey’s mind” stuff (he died ten years before the Darwin letter which Flannery quotes), so even here, Flannery is quote-mining.

Well, dear reader, there you are. It’s good to see that the Discoveroids are maintaining their high standard of intellectual argumentation.

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

12 responses to “More Discoveroid Quote Mining by Michael Flannery

  1. Charles Deetz ;)

    Doubt is a sure sign of a strong intellect. Certainty is a cover for the pain of cognitive dissonance.

  2. This brings to mind a discussion I had with a religidiot. He came out with all the Darwinist BS. And I answered…I’m NOT a Darwinist-there is no such thing except in the mental aberrations of the xtian mind. I’m NOT an evolutionist for the same reason, and I don’t worship science! I am a skeptical thinker that uses the scientific method to find answers to reality. evolution is a part of that-IT WORKS. Show me PROOF that anything you have to say works and I will change unlike you who is stuck in your stone-age beliefs. (I think stone-age sounds better then bronze-age, besides religion probably started in the stone-age or sooner)
    Also we should start stressing that it doesn’t matter what anyone said-thought-did or changed their minds about the science either works or it aint science.

  3. L.Long says: “This brings to mind a discussion I had with a religidiot.”

    I can’t recall ever having such a discussion. I hope I never have the experience.

  4. “What a sad note upon which to conclude one’s life — in the end, his own theory negated itself!”

    A lie soaked in condescension. Mr Flannery is all class, isn’t he?

  5. docbill1351

    Flannery is a librarian. He puts books on shelves. He knows as much about science and history as the cart he pushes down the stacks. I’m sure Flannery is a legend in his own mind.

  6. Flannery was just asked to plug Meyer’s book, which must not be selling well. These guys can probably whip out stuff like this in a few minutes before lunch – just cut and past a favorite mined quote or two, mention the “controversy” the book is supposedly causing (with links to other DI defenses of the book), add a random philosophical concept totally unrelated to either the book or it’s subject, (existential nihilism… really?), and mix with a heavy dose of snark. Oh, and if one can drop in a famous name, all the better.

    Flannery probably still filed all his books and got the cart back to the storeroom before closing time.

  7. I guess I was still anonymous. Sheesh.

  8. Re-booted the browser… am I still anonymous?

  9. Ed asks: “am I still anonymous?”

    You’re still showing up that way, but I’ve added your name to your recent anonymous comments.

  10. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    Michael Flannery historically said …

    “Others before me have noted the self-refuting nature of Darwinism, but it is worth remembering that the Cambrian explosion wasn’t Darwin’s only doubt.”

    Because when we want to prop up Meyer’s intellectually dishonest work that apparently ignores the last 50 or so years of research by real biologists concerning the Cambrian Nixplosion*, what you want to do is ignore the last 150 or so years of research by real biologists concerning the Cambrian Nixplosion*. This keeps the gap your god hides in wide enough he’s got some elbow room.

    After all, we all know real science is done by pointing out whatever doubts Darwin Newton may have had about what biology physics has shown us today. It gives us great license to kick all those nihilistic culture destroying Darwinists Newtonists right in the ‘nads.

    * Cambrian Nixplosion ~ I believe was coined by Diogenes, still makes me giggle.

  11. Cambrian Nixplosion was coined by Doc Bill, and I stole it outright.

    — Diogened

  12. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    Diogened (whose nick accidentally mutated by chance and necessity from nothing) said …
    Cambrian Nixplosion was coined by Doc Bill, and I stole it outright.

    Nice pull.