Discoveroids’ Top Ten for 2018 — #6

The newest entry in the Discovery Institute’s list of their Top Ten “achievements” for the year now ending is a strange one. We’ve previously written about the first four items in the Discoveroids’ impressive list — see #10, and #9, and #8, and #7.

Those were about some triumphs in public relations, quote mining, misinterpretation, wishful thinking, flogging a book written by a Discoveroid, and claiming that the so-called Cambrian explosion is evidence of the miraculous work of their supernatural designer. What they’re bragging about today involves another argument for creationism — the argument from the unknown.

They just posted #6 of Our Top Stories of 2018: Dickinsonia Probably Not an Ediacaran Animal. It was written by Günter Bechly. He’s the Discovery Institute “senior fellow” whose website used to say:

I despise the dogmatic and sometimes even fanatical stance of some evolutionists like P.Z. Myers (Pharyngula blog), Laurence Moran (Sandwalk blog), Jeffrey Shallit (Recursivity blog), Jerry Coyne (Why Evolution is True blog), freelance writer John Farrell, the anonymous coward behind The Sensuous Curmudgeon blog, and other infamous web activists against Intelligent Design and religion. [Emphasis supplied.]

From what we’ve seen of Günter’s posts at the Discoveroids’ blog, he goes into ecstasy whenever some evidence is found that requires changing some detail of evolution — like the time or place when something first appeared, which may require revising some species’ timeline of evolution. Such things happen all the time, and whenever it does, Günter imagines that the whole theory of evolution is about to collapse. His approach to such things seems to be this: Anything not yet known, or which previously wasn’t correctly understood, is evidence of a fatal crisis for the theory of evolution.

That’s what’s going on in Günter’s post today. It’s a copy (preceded by a request for money from their readers) of his earlier post from 27 September 2018, which was Why Dickinsonia Was Most Probably Not an Ediacaran Animal.

We ignored it when it first appeared for two reasons. First, because it’s very long, and dealing with it properly would take too much time. We do this for fun, not for a career. The second reason we ignored it was because it’s about Dickinsonia fossils from around 600 million years ago that have so far been difficult to classify. We considered the subject to be interesting only to a few specialists.

But if you care — really care — about Dickinsonia, then go ahead and read Günter’s post. He doesn’t manage to clarify anything, nor does he make much of a case for creationism; but his post is in the Discoveroids’ Top Ten, and that counts for something.

Well, dear reader — now we’ve seen the bottom half of the Discoveroids’ Top Ten list. The best is yet to come. What further wonders await us as they continue telling us about their glorious accomplishments? Stay tuned to this blog!

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21 responses to “Discoveroids’ Top Ten for 2018 — #6

  1. Christine Janis

    Scientists: ‘Dickinsonia is a metazoan’.

    Bechley: ‘Oh no it isn’t”

    Pantomime season, folks.

  2. Is this an example of something which is not an example of Intelligent Design?
    Or is it an example of something which is an example of Intelligent Design?
    Or is it just yet another example of something which is evidence for Intelligent Design whether or not? Intelligent Design predicting both outcomes, the Intelligent Designers able to produce any outcome with, or without, recourse to Intelligent Design? Able to Intelligently Design what is needed, if it is needed, etc. etc. etc.
    It certainly is one of the outstanding examples of the efforts of the workers in the field of Intelligent Design!

  3. Michael Fugate

    Summary of article – no matter what scientists uncover, my god could still be the reason for the diversification of body plans.

  4. Of course, whatever is observed, Intelligent Designers could have designed it. Whatever Intelligent Designers are, there could be a kind of Intelligent Designer which could have designed it. That is obvious. But what is “interesting” is:
    Whatever is uncovered, it is evidence for some kind of Intelligent Designers.

  5. If Bechly doesn’t want to classify Dickensonia as an animal, then (a) how does he want to classify it, and (b) what has that got to do with intelligent design anyway?

  6. ISTM that he wants to say that it is not obvious that it is in any known classification. Maybe it isn’t the remains of any living thing. In which case, it might as well be just a random shape.
    Does he want to say that we don’t know whether there is any design involved?

  7. I think there’s no doubt that it’s a living thing. Perhaps his argument is that it is not perfectly bilateral, therefore it is not a bilaterian, therefore claims to have found a common ancestor for vertebrates and arthropods (like the segmented worm that Alice Roberts showed yesterday on the BBC Christmas lectures, which I hope you’re all watching) are bogus therefore missing link therefore separate creation/ID

    Any advance on that?

  8. Herr Belch sings a Christmas carol about Dickensonia, but Belch’s facts are a bleak house. The Tooters had great expectations their pip of a fellow, Belchy, would make evolution disappear like David Copperfield, and promote a tale of two theories. Unfortunately for the Tooters the best of times are actually the worst of times, it is the age of foolishness, it is the epoch of incredulity, it is the season of Darkness, it is the winter of despair. As the Gerb wrote on his day of departure from Fort Courage, “Quitting this nonsense is a far, far better thing than I’ve ever done before.”

  9. Nicely done, docbill1351.

  10. Whatever their point is, it is clearly one of the most important points this year concerning Itelligent Design.
    Which tells us something about how important something has to be to make this list.

  11. Michael Fugate

    Why the elaborate façade when all you really want for Christmas is to be special – solely by virtue of being human – without any effort on your part? You don’t even need good works to get to heaven any more, just turn your life over, cede all responsibility – and whatever happens happens. Weren’t “thinktanks” invented because being a scholar/professor is too much work?

  12. There is something peculiar about this:
    I am special because I belong to this group. For example, by being human.

  13. If our dear Curmudgeon, whose blog is open to a wide range of commentators, is an “anonymous coward”, then what term is appropriate for the Discoveroids and their hermetically-sealed online screeds?

    Surely they aren’t worried that their galaxy of luminaries, like Saavy Sarah and Green-Screen Annie, couldn’t answer challenges from enquiring minds?

  14. There is a history of anonymous writing in the USA: The Federalist Papers were published under the pen name “Publius”.
    Much of the Bible is anonymous. There is reason to believe that some of the Bible has traditional false authorship. (There are Christian scholars who argue that the identificaton of the authors are often not part of the inspred content.)

  15. It’s really odd that there’s nothing else going on out there — not even a letter to the editor. It’s been like this for about five days.

  16. BTW, about pseudonyms, the case of Publius and the Federalist – how do we know that the Sensuous Curmudgeon is not more than one author?

  17. TomS asks:

    how do we know that the Sensuous Curmudgeon is not more than one author?

    Olivia, who to this day remains traumatised by her brief encounter with him, offers a better theory, viz.: “He clearly suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder, and each one of them is unspeakably disgusting.”

  18. Megalonyx, you fool! As Olivia will readily confirm, like Caesar, I am constant as the northern star.

  19. Interesting reply, considering that Polaris is a multiple star, with three components: α Ursa Minoris Aa, α Ursa Minoris Ab, α Ursa Minoris B.
    BTW, the first component, Aa, is a variable star, and α Ursa Minoris was not a pole star at the time of Caesar. (Shakespeare was not infallible.)

  20. Re: Günter Bechly about the “anonymous coward” comment. Hmm, well it is a near certainty that SC isn’t affiliated with a university or other public institution. As a denizen of Florida possibly his (private) business might be affected by offending the ignorant? So what’s “cowardly” about this. It is common for businesses (and even celebrities) to avoid politics and controversial issues. If we knew everything about the SC, how would this change his “dogmatic and sometimes even fanatical stance”?

  21. anonymous coward
    See the Wikipedia article on “List of anonymously published works”. Some cowards!
    Just a coupole of comments on modern anonymity on the Web.
    We have heard of the dangers of upsetting certain people, particularly when it comes to deeply felt opinions. Like not being related to monkeys.
    On the other hand, consider the possibility that the anonymous people might be concealing their identities so that what is said is accepted or rejected on its merit, rather than their personality. The Sensuous Curmudgeon could be famous television personalities, multibillionaires, or powerful politicians, who does not want that to influence the recepton of what they have to say. We do know that they have a network of clandestine agents, a fabulous underground control center, …