Wednesday, May 1, 2013

In which the asshole makes a reappearance

I've been trying to keep my conversation style lately to 'focused, minimally sarcastic, minimally taunting' - it just doesn't help promote any meaningful dialogue, and even if I've got a strong argument, I'd rather people hear me out and consider changing their mind. Saying 'you're an idiot' in howevermany words only makes people retreat into their shell.

This rule gets lax with the Cult of Gnu, because they're immune to thoughtful discourse anyway. Literally. If they weren't, they would not be in the Cult - they'd be some other subspecies of atheist.

Either way, I poked my head in over at James Chastek's blog and got into a minor dustup there, so linked, with a guy named tildeb. Standard Cult of Gnu. Slightly better command of grammar than normal. I usually keep quiet on James Chastek's blog, along with Brandon Watson's, as they're both intelligent sorts given to a more refined style of discourse than I care to manage even when I'm trying to be polite. But hey, a threadshitting cultist? I don't feel as bad getting into it.

Anyway, it followed a few interesting patterns that tend to show up in Cultist discourse.

The Incredible Shrinking Claim: What started off as a statement that science had demonstrated that there was no fall and therefore humanity was in no need for a savior / Christianity has been falsified as science, by the end, turned into some kind of vague wharblegarble about "You don't respect science!!!"

Hook Line and Sinker: The claim trope went down partly because tildeb put way too much stock in Jerry "Specializes in making Fruitflies Fuck" Coyne's proclamations. See, he referenced Ed Feser's argument about first parents and argued that genetics show there can be no 'first parents of all humanity' in the past, even within a larger population, because then the mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam date estimates would converge. The problem was, this only holds if the claim is that Adam and Eve exclusively interbred or similarly such that their patriarchal/maternal lines were unbroken. Oops! Coyne forgot to mention that this wasn't the case. (Because if he mentioned it, it turns out there's no scientific problem after all for the scenario Feser and the like suggested.) So Coyne's attempt to sweep an inconvenient scientific/argument fact under the rug for PR purposes screwed over one of his disciples.

Those Who Love Science Rarely Understand It: My favorite part was the end bit about how science's methods == "respecting reality", but more than that, the fact that the exposure to science on display indicated a very, uh... fractured view of science. Insisting the 'evolution, by definition' doesn't allow for any guidance is just stupid beyond words. Evolution is descent with modification, period. And the idea that a scientific theory includes within it, implicitly or explicitly, a claim that God does not oversee or determine any outcomes is itself a laugh that's easy to poke a hole through. Just ask for the peer-reviewed research showing God's activity being tested for. But if your exposure to science by and large comes from 'shit talk in the comments section of Dawkins' site', well, you're going to just set yourself up for a sandbagging.

I write all this out mostly because I feel like it'd be fun to start a list of tropes the Cult of Gnu engages in, maybe even a field guide to the various species and subspecies of internet atheist. And it was kind of fun to have a good slugging-out after a long, long break.

6 comments:

questionablemotives said...

Crude, you're a liar.

You write he (meaning me) referenced Ed Feser's argument about first parents...

No. I. Didn't. You introduced it as an example of why I was incorrect that having no founding couple undercuts the notion of a literal and historical and necessary Fall. You presented Feser's apologetic argument because you mistakenly presumed that it "absolutely undercuts" my argument. It doesn't because it's factually wrong.

... and argued that genetics show there can be no 'first parents of all humanity' in the past, even within a larger population, because then the mitochondrial Eve and Y-chromosomal Adam date estimates would converge.

Unmitigated bullshit.

I never argued any such thing relying on the the oldest X and Y chromosomes for Feser's hypothetical founding couple within a larger population, you nit. I showed why Feser's argument that we could have had a founding couple within a larger population had no genetic evidence to back it up, that this evidence was missing in action, that this evidence should be present if the case were true but is not present. That you can't grasp this important difference shows you don't understand fundamental genetics but seek support only for your faith-based belief from whatever source appears to do the job while freely breaking the commandment not to lie here on your own blog with, I presume, with a clear conscience... busy as you are vilifying others who have knowledge you so clearly lack.

You're a piece of work.

And your scientific ignorance continues unabated:

Insisting the 'evolution, by definition' doesn't allow for any guidance is just stupid beyond words. Evolution is descent with modification, period.

No. It's. Not. What's stupid is your opinions in this matter.

This stupidity you're spouting is an essential plank for allowing theological wiggle room for 'micro-evolution' to occur without oversight by Oogity Boogity but leaving room for guidance and intention and oversight for 'macro-evolution'. This is standard creationism and not science. The core mechanism for evolution to occur, for modification by decent to happen, is - to reiterate it yet again because you missed it earlier - is 'natural' selection. No Oogity Boogity is required nor needed nor desired. In fact, if there were any evidence for some intervening causal agency in this decent, it wouldn't be 'natural', you moron.

Why you can't grasp such basic understanding of the terms used in science, eager as you are to condemn those who do as stupid beyond words, shows you to be duplicitous: you don't care to be accurate, you don't care to be honest, you don't care to learn, you don't care that others even try. You serve your own causes here, causes that are not true, that are not real, that are not honest. And you try to target New Atheists with your sanctimonious duplicity for having the intellectual capacity, care, and concern about all these to be promoting a mythology equivalent to discredited creation myths.

Grow up.

Crude said...

You write he (meaning me) referenced Ed Feser's argument about first parents...

No. I. Didn't.


No, tildeb. I wrote that he - meaning Coyne - referenced Ed Feser's arguments. Remember? The fact that I spend that whole paragraph talking about Coyne should have been a clue.

You, however, referenced Jerry Coyne's arguments: " Feser can wax poetically all he wants about inheriting souls as the heritable trait but his attempt to dispute Coyne – a professor of genetics – on such grounds is very silly. If you and I and everyone else living today had inherited souls from a single couple no matter the size of the population from which they come, then we should share genetic information through common ancestry to them. This evidence, as Coyne quite rightly points out, is missing in action."

But Coyne's scenario assumes unbroken male and female lines tracing back to Adam and Eve. Feser's argument does not require this. But Coyne doesn't mention this, because the whole goal is for him to present science as having falsified the claim. Admitting (as people in his own comments section do), 'Well, actually, Feser's view isn't undercut here...' would screw him.

So, he left that unspoken - and you, not nearly being skeptical enough, bought it, and got smacked. Which is minor stuff, but man, you won't learn your lesson.

This stupidity you're spouting is an essential plank for allowing theological wiggle room for 'micro-evolution' to occur without oversight by Oogity Boogity but leaving room for guidance and intention and oversight for 'macro-evolution'.

What in the hell are you talking about? I nowhere mentioned microevolution or macroevolution, and it is irrelevant to both my views and my arguments, including the distinction I mentioned. I accept macroevolution. With some skepticism, granted, but God's guidance is active on all levels of evolution.

You, meanwhile, are demonstrably wrong. Evolution does not include the concept 'unguided', period. It is descent with modification. End of story, voila.

In fact, if there were any evidence for some intervening causal agency in this decent, it wouldn't be 'natural', you moron.

Derp. Me tildeb. Me smart because me quote others! Me no understand, but me no have to! DERP!

First of all, science is completely incapable of detecting the 'causal agency of God' in the relevant senses. In fact, it's incapable of detecting the causal agency of sufficiently powerful aliens, by the admission of Coyne, Shermer and others, certainly at this point. But by your logic, if aliens intervene in an evolutionary process - hell, if MONSANTO intervenes - we have ourselves evidence for the supernatural onhand. Do you even bother to read about what you argue?

Why you can't grasp such basic understanding of the terms used in science, eager as you are to condemn those who do as stupid beyond words,

I didn't say you were stupid beyond words. I think you're just a typical Cult of Gnu member whose brain shuts off when someone insults your prophets, or when your ignorance is exposed. The fact that you can't conduct a single conversation on this topic without spiraling off into dramatics or namecalling, the fact that being exposed over and over again as dealing in false claims, flawed arguments, and woeful scientific ignorance (all while clutching at your mythologized science like an infant to his bottle) shows as much.

You were wrong, tildeb. On multiple fronts. You're not on the side of science. You are, essentially, a science rapist. It doesn't give you what you want and need, so you try to take it by force.

Knock it off.

cl said...

"I write all this out mostly because I feel like it'd be fun to start a list of tropes the Cult of Gnu engages in, maybe even a field guide to the various species and subspecies of internet atheist. And it was kind of fun to have a good slugging-out after a long, long break."

Hmm... not sure what happened to the other comment but anyways, point is, you wanna get involved with that?

Email me.

cl said...

Hey did I rub you the wrong way or something? No email, no reply, you took me off your blog roll... what gives? Shoot from the hip.

Crude said...

No, not at all. Did I ever have you on my blogroll? I've only recently started to update that thing at all - I certainly don't recall putting you on OR taking you off. I'll add you today.

I approved your comment when I woke up, then went back to bed. Mostly forgot about replying, since it was further back in my blog posts. Shoot me an email and tell me what you have in mind.

cl said...

No worries, just checking. Yeah, I'm pretty sure you had me hooked up on there before. No big deal, I don't really blog anymore anyways.

But I am getting the inkling to get back in the trenches. Feel free to surf on over and see the smackdown Cormack's getting on that whole Sheldrake thing...

:)