Discoveroids’ Top Ten for 2018 — #10

[30-second sound clip] You are about to leave reality and travel into another dimension — a dimension of the mind, a dimension that exists beyond the laws of nature, unknowable by evidence and reason — a wondrous land of Oogity Boogity! You have embarked on a journey into the realm of miracles and mysticism, where your only guide is faith. There’s a signpost up ahead: Next stop — The Drool Zone.

We were getting worried that the Discoveroids might abandon their tradition of posting about their Top Ten “achievements” for the year now ending. But our worries are over because today their hilarious series begins. As is usual in such a series, they’re working their way up from the bottom, and they’ll probably reach their Number One creationist news story on New Year’s day.

Are you ready, dear reader? Then let’s get started. Herewith begins the list of thunderous accomplishments that have thrilled the Discoveroids and their generous patrons this year. They just posted #10 of Our Top Stories of 2018: How Meyer Turned Prager Around on Evolution. It was written by Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this],

It begins with an editor’s note:

The staff of Evolution News wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We are counting down our top ten stories of 2018. If you haven’t done so yet, please take a moment now to contribute to our work [link omitted] in bringing you news and analysis about evolution, intelligent design, and more every day of the year. There is no other voice, no other source of information, like ours. Thank you for your friendship and your support!

Then Klinghoffer says:

The following article was originally published here on October 19, 2018.

He doesn’t link to that article — which he repeats in its entirety — so we had to scramble around to see if we blogged about it when it first appeared. We didn’t, but we mentioned it a week later in Discoveroids: The Logic of Supernaturalism. That was about a different post by Klinghoffer where our first excerpt was this:

I was thinking about the challenge related by Dennis Prager to Steve Meyer. (See “Dennis Prager on Evolution: Stephen Meyer Turned Me Around.”) [A Discoveroid post we ignored.] Mr. Prager cites an atheist friend who denies that it’s valid for science to infer an intelligent designer. Why? Because “science can only talk about that which is material.”

The event we didn’t bother posting about involved an exchange between Stephen Meyer, a Discoveroid senior fellow and currently the Program Director of their Center for Science and Culture, and Dennis Prager, who — according to Wikipedia — is the host of a nationally syndicated radio talk show. They say: “Although Jewish, his views generally align with the Christian right.” Prager has previously participated in at least one Discoveroid event — see Discoveroids’ Calvary Church Revival Meeting.

So the first of the major achievements of the Discoveroids for 2018 — according to Klinghoffer’s repeated post — was this:

What impressed Dennis was not theological objections [to evolution]. It was the fact that the field of evolution is in turmoil, a reality that the media largely conceal from the public, as Meyer has made clear in his books. “This is what you opened my mind to,” Prager said. “Scientists are having trouble with evolution!”

[…]

Prager recounts a challenge from an atheist friend: “You want to believe in God, go right ahead, that’s fine. But you can’t use science to argue for God because science can only talk about that which is material.” Yes, that’s an objection you hear all the time. Well, the agent behind the design in nature may be God, or it may not, as far as the theory of ID can tell us. But the agent is certainly a mind. So are we saying that science can’t detect minds?

In other words, Prager went into a swoon about “design in nature.” That’s it. There was no discovery, no experiment, no paper published in a recognized science journal, no science at all — just a radio talk show host who was already friendly to the Discoveroids who has now become even friendlier. Quite an achievement!

If that deserves a place on the Discoveroids’ Top Ten list, you can imagine how exciting the next nine items will be. What further wonders await us? Stay tuned to this blog!

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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17 responses to “Discoveroids’ Top Ten for 2018 — #10

  1. Merry Christmas to all those lost in denial. PTLJ! +++

  2. Michael Fugate

    Happy Holidays Porter. The solstice is the reason for the season.

    If a mind is behind the DI posts, then maybe a mind could be behind the seemingly mindless universe.

  3. Is there a “Bottom Ten” of non-news stories about creationism that are repeated, unchanged, each year? Non-news stories which are the same as they were last year, as they were for – well, at least, this century and the last century – items like these:
    No new argument against evolution
    No description of an alternative to evolution
    No experiment carried out or new observaton reported by evolution doubter
    No Nobel Prize for creatonism
    No signs of the immiment demise of evolution
    No retraction of claim of the imminent demise of evoluton

  4. ” “Scientists are having trouble with evolution!” ” Of course they are, although nowhere near the problems they are having with gravity.

    ” “you can’t use science to argue for God because science can only talk about that which is material.” ” Utter bollocks. We study things like emotions and ideas, which are in no sense material although most of us here would agree (believers in an immortal soul would not) that they are inseparable from the behaviour of some rather unusual physical objects.

    Science can only talk about what is observable, directly or indirectly, which is a completely different kind of criterion.

    And for this they get paid?

  5. should have said “rather unusual material objects”. I don’t want to get into whether there is a difference between materialism and physicalism

  6. “emotions and ideas, which are in no sense material”
    Depends on how you define material. Your definition apparently is much smaller than mine, which relates to E = m.c².
    Of course Klinkleclapper, in the grand tradition of creacrap and more apologetics, is deliberately vague about what he means with “mind”.

  7. “It was the fact that the field of evolution is in turmoil, a reality that the media largely conceal from the public, as Meyer has made clear in his books.”

    Evolution in turmoil? I don’t think so. Sure, there are all sorts of unanswered questions and disputes, but no one has yet proposed anything viable to replace natural selection as the main cause of adaptive evolution. And, if someone were successful, it would be all over the media. Poor ID advocates, not taken seriously by the establishment!

  8. @FrankB: one might study, say, the effects of early schooling or language acquisition. This might be a difficult subject study, because of confounding variables, but we would not criticise someone conducting such a study on the grounds that they had not reduced their observables to statements about material objects.

    “Science can only study the material”, on analysis, breaks down to “Science can only study what can be studied.” I would not demur

  9. Michael Fugate

    Prager’s book “Ten Commandments: Still the Best Moral Code”. So you know you dealing with an intellectual giant.

  10. Karl Goldsmith

    Prager of the pretend University.

  11. “So you know you dealing with an intellectual giant.”

    I see that you purposefully misspelled “gnat”.

  12. Benjamin Franklin, along with some others, studied mesmerism. They came to the conclusion that there was nothing to study.

  13. Michael Fugate

    PragerU motto “When you aren’t smart enough for a real university”

  14. “Dennis Mark Prager (/ˈpreɪɡər/) (born August 2, 1948)[1] is an American nationally syndicated radio talk show host and writer. Although Jewish, his views generally align with the Christian right.” — Wikipedia.

    They actually managed to talk a Christian right-affiliated talk show host over to their viewpoint? What an extraordinary triumph. /s

  15. So Prager was turned around by reading ONE book. Good, bad or indifferent, he read just one book. It didn’t occur to him to read more widely, invite some scientists to comment, corroborate or rebut what he had read, do some of his own research on the subject (or get his assistant to do it). Just ONE book.

    I’m not from North America; I wouldn’t know Prager if I tripped over him in the street. But even at this distance, I can reasonable say this guy lacks wisdom. He may be very intelligent, for all I know, but he lacks wisdom.

  16. @PaulB: in no way you contradicted what I wrote. So in at least one sense ideas and emotions are material (try to have them after 20% of your usual energy intake for a week), so you were wrong. Also note that you didn’t try to define what you mean with “material” either. Mine is simple: everything that can be described in terms of the fundamental quantities of physics. That isn’t the only possible definition.
    No, “Science can only study what can be studied” doesn’t necessarily follow. There might be stuff not (yet) accessible for our limited brains that can be studied in other ways – immaterial stuff. That you and I don’t have a clue how that looks like is nothing but an argument from ignorance.

  17. @FrankB, I’m not sure if we disagree on substance, or if I’ve just expressed myself very badly.

    Let me put it this way. Laplace discussed this very problem, namely whether science can investigate something whose physical nature was completely unknown, and chose as his example investigations of magnetism. At that time, no one had any idea how or if its effects could be explained in terms of material processes, but. nonetheless, it was possible to study it. So the question of whether something is material is quite separate from the question of whether it can be studied. As for being able to define “material” I freely admit my inability to do so, makingthe me wonder on reflection whether it is a useful concept.

    It is of course true that we may be able in the future to study things that we are not capable of studying now, just as we can study now things, such as the structure of the proton, or the accelerating expansion of the universe, whose very existence were beyond imagining a century ago.

    Consider Mendel discovering his laws of inheritance. He was able to do this, not because genes have a material basis, but because they have observable effects. Mendel no doubt would have agreed if asked that genes had a material basis, but even if he had imagined that they were expressions of some immaterial process, whatever that may mean, that would not have affected his research programme.