Saturday, April 7, 2007

Easter egg (on my face)

Some time back, I was looking up some Intelligent Design folks on the web, which took me to William Dembski’s website. He is usually touted as a mathematician, but has a second Ph,D in theology, and teaches in a seminary. His website has one or two math papers, and scores of articles on Christian theology and ID. Fun stuff.

Here is a piece that tackles the problem of natural evil. The problem, if you recall, is why an omnipotent and benevolent God allows natural disasters that cause us suffering. Human evil can be blamed on us, not God, but what about earthquakes and floods?

According to Dembski, the root of natural evil also lies in the Fall – Adam’s transgression in the Garden. But Dembski is an intellectual, not a hick, so he doesn’t buy into young earth creationism. The earth, along with its tendency towards catastrophic convulsions, was created long before man. How could the effect precede the cause, then?

Well, God being omniscient, had foreknowledge of the original sin. The rest follows by application of divine pedagogy, a la Pat Robertson. He wanted to erect a nature that would mirror the corruption and evil in us, so that we are chastened sooner and learn the error of our ways. God practiced pre-crime!

On this holy weekend, as we remember and repent the killing of our savior, let us not lose sight of a fact no less important than the Resurrection.

The dinosaurs died for our sins too!!

Sorry T-Rex. We owe you a chocolate statue.


Schadenfreude said...

Your problem:

You think logic is universal (God is governed by logic).

However, logic is an invention of God - consider it a Holy Intelligent Design Tool. God governs logic, and is not bound by it.

NB. The above is what I would say if I were Dembski.

PS. It's considered courteous to link back to the websites who link to you. (Customize-->Add a Page Element-->Link List). you're welcome.

Gregor Samsa said...

Speaking about Dembski, I didn’t know about this one. Fun stuff.

I still hate blogging. It pisses me off that people come to read shit like this. You web people should reconsider associating with bloggers.

Seriously though, I have to work on the bells and whistles. How the hell do you do those photo/icon thingies?

Gregor Samsa said...

Oops, let's try that link one more time.

Archaeopteryx said...

Pianka's speech (the one that Dembski is referring to) is here. Actually pretty tame stuff. An account of the controversy is here.

Dembski is a fool and a liar. The Concord case has relegated him to the scrap heap of creationism--even ardent creationists are distancing themselves.

Dawn Coyote said...

To add an image to a post, click the picture icon on the top left of the posting window. You can add one from a web url or upload a file from you computer. Posting urls from other sites is risky, of course, because they can disappear on you. You might wish to get a photobucket or mydatabus account and save images there.

To add a profile image, go to 'edit profile' and add an url for the image (web-based only).

To change the banner, you've got to mess with html a bit, but there are tutorials available. There's one around for making an uploaded banner image clickable, so that readers can use it to navigate back to the top of the page. If you want to do that, I've got a brief set of directions that I gave to someone else (but easy to find on the web, too).

I was going to make the almighty ass into a banner for you, just for fun, but it didn't seem to go with "Parallax Error".

And give me a break with the modesty. You're a rockstar.

Archaeopteryx said...

Of course I've conflated Dembski with Behe--Behe was the one who was outed as a fook and a liar at Concord. Dembski refused to testify.

Gregor Samsa said...

Arch: Have you seen some of Pianka’s lizards? Could cause mass panic if let loose in Times Square.

Dawn: Mucho gracias. At this rate of learning, I’ll soon become Chantay, I fear.

Thanks for the compliment on my robust posterior. It should be understood in no uncertain terms that all the modesty I express is false.

TenaciousK said...

Gregor, when I was a kid my hyperactive best friend was chasing one of these around Silver Reef while were camping with the scouts (I thought my dad would have a heart attack, when he saw what was going on).

You'd think there'd be panic, but maybe there'd just be another example of Darwin's ideas in action.

Gregor Samsa said...

TK: Your friend says Hi! The picture’s a bit old, from back when he had all four limbs.

My Darwinian fitness vis-a-vis reptiles is pretty high. Show me a garden snake, and see the world record for the garden-to-attic dash tumble before your eyes. On the other hand, I should probably never go to Africa. I’d have an irresistible urge to pet the lions.

Gregor Samsa said...

Jesus, what's with the links today?

TenaciousK said...

Wow - an entirely different scale. The lowly gila is a desert dweller - the eatin's not good enough to support the additional mass, I imagine (though my friend was at least the equivalent of a good sized goat. The Gilas may catch onto the lost opportunity, eventually).

I understand the activity depicted in that picture is a really hazardous thing to do - not so much that they might eat you, but that their bites are notorious for infection.

We had a zoo employee around here get bit by one a few years ago. It was a problem.

So, while I was busy figuring out Pianka was all about (I only pretend to be well-informed, and only inconsistently at that), I came across mention of his proposal for an ebola-driven world reclamation project. Heard about it?

I assume he was joking. I hope he was joking. He must've been joking, right?

Funny how political extremes just end up meeting in this big circle...

Gregor Samsa said...

Well, that’s what all the brouhaha is about. The ID fellas went around claiming he is an advocate of genocide therapy, while indications are that he is just a finger wagging priest in a lab coat, warning about God’s impending wrath at all the debauchery. The usual blurring of the normative and the predictive, is my guess. I am not 100% sure, because I only nibbled at the rather long text of the infamous speech, but I’d wager a small sum that Dembski is the bigger nitwit for twisting lizard man’s words.

Our lizard guy, though, sounds like one of those scientists who become total crackpots when they step outside their narrow areas of specialization.

TenaciousK said...

Well, I suppose I'd be taken to apocalyptic rants by now if I were a any kind of biologist. And I have argued that the most likely natural correction for our burgeoning population is a good plague, and that ebola is as good a candidate as any. I suppose when I say things like "There's too damn many people", it might be taken as advocating a program to create, er, less of us.

Perhaps he was just making a modest proposal.

Happy Easter, Gregor - I hope your year is appropriate to the theme (The pagan, not the Christian).

PS. Oh, and thanks for the reciprocal link. I was going to mention something about stones and glass houses, but decided that'd be overkill.

Archaeopteryx said...

As a biologist, I can tell you it's pretty tough not to be giving apocalyptic rants during every lecture. Some slips in. Probably less than is justified.

I spent some time looking at Dembski's blog. Turns out he's not just a creationist, he's a global warming denier, too. What a shock. Apparently thinks that the cold Easter weekend proves that global warming is a materialist plot. A fucking genius, that one.

twiffer said...

free will?

i think it's all part of the ineffable plan.

Dara said...

Good for people to know.