31 January, 2006

DaveScot is Not a Laughing Matter

I pride myself on my intellectual honesty. Even when it would result in ridicule, embarrassment or humiliation I have aspired to confront and admit my mistakes.

I have done a great disservice to a scientist, a singular man in the evolution-Intelligent Design debate, whose unique and fresh look at the discussion deserves far more limelight from both sides.

I am talking about DaveScot. He is a man I cynically laughed at, denigrated and abused when I found he would be blogging at Uncommon Descent, the antievolution blog of Discovery Institute fellow William Dembski. As usual when reality counters my pessimism I am proud to announce that I was wrong and that I am truly sorry. I should have known better. The signs were there.

He is after all a free thinker: a man of science, reason and uncompromising skepticism. He is - or was - an engineer, working in a field where creative solutions to problems would always be strictly along the lines of parsimony; simplistic, elegant and functional. Clearly a man with credentials perfect for analysing biology. He displays an abhorrence of orthodoxy and dogma, proving himself a strict adherent to the empiricism and experimentation fundamental to science. Conciliatory, and without an emotional investment in ID, he is able to rise about the bickering childishness of the evolution-ID debate and offer a fresh appraisal of how it is conducted. He for instance cuts away the chaff and argues succinctly against the ad hominem fallacy which so permeates the thinking of evolutionists, overshadowing the research the Discovery Institute is no doubt conducting and publishing in respected peer reviewed journals somewhere. And such a warning is necessary - I personally was tempted to debase myself with a tu quoque, sinking so low as to point out the incredible hypocrisy of DaveScot in baselessly insulting a man who has contributed more to human knowledge than the entire fellowship of the Discovery Institute combined, and then whinging about character attacks. As you can tell from the link, other evolutionists have not been so careful.

As an agnostic DaveScot rejects the theism so common to his brothers-in-arms - he is living proof that supporters of Intelligent Design are not necessarily motivated by religion. He states his agnosticism thus: 'The game was rigged for life to win. Anyone who argues with that is either uninformed or in denial.' As an agnostic myself I can only admire the conviction he holds - so lacking in other agnostics - that the universe was crafted by some sort of intelligent entity with Godlike abilities. DaveScot is clearly not the man whose clear religiosity and lack of science training caused me to place Uncommon Descent in the 'religion' section of my blogroll.

Thankfully, all that may change - in the interests of curbing the open discussion that Uncommon Descent has long been famed for, DaveScot recently created a policy that would ban William Dembski from his own blog - by threatening to ban anyone who rejects common descent. Sad to say, DaveScot seems to have missed the posts of Paul Nelson - Discovery Institute fellow and young Earth creationist - otherwise he would presumably have already been banned, much like Dembski will be banned when DaveScot finds the time between conducting research programmes into Intelligent Design and publishing his findings.

My apologies, I am getting off track. My point is this: I am truly sorry for suggesting that it would be hilarious if DaveScot was made a blogger at Uncommon Descent. There is absolutely nothing funny going on over there, and DaveScot is a profoundly sciencey addition to the entire enterprise.

Update: the last link in this post no longer works, as it appears William Dembski deleted DaveScot's rant. Oh, DaveScot, had you only been faster with the ol' banning stick. Now religion will forever be a part of Uncommon Descent. This is a sad day for opponents to the Darwinian hegemony.

-The Rev. Schmitt.

1 comment:

J-Dog said...

Good post - funny stuff! Why not come over to After The Bar Closes for some more DaveScot Tardeliscious fun?