Jul 212006

The Pandas visiting the Cornell weblog have given me a peak at their poker hand. Ask yourself, “if the Pandas are winning the debate, why should they complain to stop it? Why should they not utterly keep humiliating the IDers in the eyes of the students and the university?”

Answer: they’re takin’ a whuppin’ and they know it

Headed North”

Allen wrote:

BTW, we have received a number of comments asking/begging/demanding that we moderators do something to censor certain commentators

What! Censor! Do the Pandas think one side is arguing its case too persuasively? If the IDers made factually incorrect statements, all they have to do is demonstrate it to be so. Case closed. Of if they think the IDers are being unpersuasive, then by all means let the IDers post more.

Panda Don Baccus whines:

Personally I’d encourage Allen to close the blog to all but those in the class.

And, no, I don’t mean “all those in the class plus Salvador” , Hannah.

I mean, if they felt they were winning the exchanges (they claim that they are), why would they be pleading for it to end?

I’ve always wondered if they really, truly felt they had a defensible case. I mean, if they did have a case as strong as gravity, I would presume all they have to do is argue the facts. They belittle the IDers, but if the poor little IDers were so incompetent and unpersuasive, why shut down the debate? The best thing to do is to keep engaging them and humiliating them in debate.

Ah, but I know why. They know they’re losing. All they can do is bluff, and furthermore, they know that’s all they can do. And when a poker player knows he has the edge, he’s going to call the bluff or better yet, raise the his opponent.

Finally, look at the ratio of anti-ID posts to pro-ID posts:

Three problems, Sal:
1) The numbers you gave are more in line with the thread “Another take”” ( I have 113:54 )
2)The “Analogy”” thread is >3.5 : 1, where I have 72 anti-IDist : 20 IDer. PVM has a whopping 23 of the 92 total, out-numbering all IDers himself.
3) This thread is an anomaly, as it is now 4:3 anti-ID : IDer (or moderate).

Should the Pandas not be glad their poster boy PvM (Pim van Meurs) is out-posting me? I bet they know the Cornells students can’t get enough of Pim’s posts. “We want Pim. We want Pim. We want Pim!”

Now, given the sheer volume of posts and PvM-enthusiasm for the weblog, shouldn’t they be thrilled at the situation? Unless of course, they felt they were gettin’ whupped.

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15 years ago

I mean, if they felt they were winning the exchanges (they claim that they are), why would they be pleading for it to end?

Sal, I think you’ve missed the point; they don’t want it to end. They just want you to end. Baccus wrote: And, no, I don’t mean “all those in the class plus Salvador” This is their nuclear option. They are willing to end the whole blog just to end your comments. Why do I think that? Allen wrote: “BTW, we have received a number of comments asking/begging/demanding that we moderators do something to censor certain commentators

15 years ago

Pim is making me laugh.

I am not the only one concerned about the damage of ID to religious faith

He doesn’t get it. He doesn’t realize someone like Behe, or myself (a former catholic) had little theological complaint with Darwinian evolution. We jumped ship because Darwinian evolution was unpersuasive scientifically!

John, I am so sorry for the problems of our user interface. I usually cut and paste my comments from MS word because we haven’t figured out how to get the user interface to behave! Thank you by the way for visiting our humble abode.

John A. Davison
John A. Davison
15 years ago

It should be remembered that it was the IDists that decided to present Intelligent Design
as a subject for debate. That was a serious strategic error because it indicated uncertainty. Another error was to suggest ID was an “inference.” Intelligent Design is evident to every objective and genetically unimpaired mind and is the starting point for any understanding of the universe, animate or inanimate. Those who would even dream of denyimg it are nor worth dealing with and certainly not worth debating. I recommend doing what I have been doing for some time now – laughing at them. It really reaches them don’t you know! here is an example:

“Darwinians of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your natural selection.”
after Karl Marx


“Never in the history of mankind have so many owed to little to so many.”
after Winston Churchill

and of course

“A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
John A. Davison

15 years ago

If history has taught us anything, it’s that without exception all empires fall due to corruption, arrogance and tyranny. The Darwinian Empire is no exception.

I love these words from Malcolm Muggeridge, Churchill’s countryman.

I look back upon my own fellow countrymen, once upon a time dominating a quarter of the world, most of them convinced in the words of what is still a popular song that the God who made them mighty shall make them mightier yet. I’ve heard a crazed, cracked Austrian announce to the world the establishment of a Reich that would last a thousand years. I’ve seen a murderous Georgian brigand in the Kremlin, acclaimed by the intellectual elite of the world as wiser than Solomon, more humane than Marcus Aurelius, more enlightened than Ashoka. (read more)

The Visigoths are coming! πŸ˜†

15 years ago


PvM just started using the Chewbacca Defense.

PvM resorts to the Chewbacca Defense


15 years ago

As of July 23, 2006 @ 5:00 pm PvM 62 posts vs. Sal 32 posts.

Chewbacca defense, πŸ˜† I’ve never heard that one, but then again I’ve never watched South Park.

PvM does seem to drone on and on with his Darwinian obfuscation and diatribe.

15 years ago

I just toasted PvM twice:

Burnt Once

Burnt Twice

PvM made a totally idiotic statement, but thankfully because Hannah is a math major, I know she’ll pick up the fact I just splattered PvM guts all over the floor. I suspect he totally knew he was wrong, but kept spamming away. He’s being a total jerk by spamming the thread.

Hannah is being way too nice to him. She caught him telling a likely fib (she gave him the benefit of the doubt however). If he comes back with more of the same nonsense, I’d ban him from the thread or even the weblog.

My main fear is he may show up as a sock, now that he’s been vanquished. He knows every one reading the thread with any math acumen now realizes he totally botched basic probability.

15 years ago

Hannah on CSI

Dembski’s character is not a matter of discussion on this thread; even if he is a vile scoundrel, that is perfectly irrelevant. The question here has to do with math, which, happily, is not relative and cannot be tarnished by unsavory associations. It remains that everyone here has utterly failed in making any relevant critique of CSI or its use in the design inference. There hasn’t been anything to clarify/improve simply because the critiques haven’t got to that level.

Hehehe! I just about died laughing!

15 years ago

πŸ˜† Good Job!

I think you and Hannah nailed him. Like many Darwinists, in their over zealot desire to discredit ID, he makes a fatal basic error in math.

The thread is way too long, but I don’t have to go far to find PvM’s inane arguments. I was just contemplating on a rebuttal to PvM 3 monkey attack on ID. I am also sick of his Trojan horse attack on ID using Augustine. Krauss uses this same distortion of Augustine to support their godless worship. While I am at it, I think I will nail matzke’s quote with my challenge to Elsberry.

I will see if I still feel like it tomorrow. πŸ™‚

15 years ago

The comment about Dembski being a scoundrels reminds me of a scene in Empire Strikes Back.


even if he is a vile scoundrel, that is perfectly irrelevant.

From Scoundrel’s Luck

LEIA: Let go.
HAN: Sshh!

LEIA: Let go, please.
Han: Don’t get excited.

Leia: Captain, being held by you isn’t quite enough to get me excited.
Han: Sorry, sweetheart, haven’t got time for anything else.
HAN: Hey, Your Worship, I’m only trying to help.
LEIA: Would you please stop calling me that?

HAN: Sure, Leia.
LEIA: Oh, you make it so difficult sometimes.

HAN: I do, I really do. You could be a little nicer, though. Come on, admit it. Sometimes you think I’m all
LEIA: Occasionally, maybe…when you aren’t
acting like a scoundrel.

HAN: Scoundrel? Scoundrel? I like the sound of that.
Leia: Stop that. My hands are dirty.

Han: My hands are dirty too, what are you afraid of?
Leia: Afraid?

Han: You’re trembling.
Leia: I’m not trembling.

Han: You like me because I’m a scoundrel. There aren’t enough scoundrels in your life.
Leia: I happen to like nice men.

Han I’m a nice man.
Leia: No, you’re not, you’re…

15 years ago

Very funny and interesting term! At the risk of being accuse as a chauvinist, “scoundrel” seems to be a preferred term by the female sex. It actually reminds me of Rhett Butler instead.

btw, the Michael guy is a gem. He might be a double agent for ID. πŸ˜€

15 years ago

Ok, I have to confess, I just e-mailed Bill Dembski and relayed the quote about him:

even if he is a vile scoundrel, that is perfectly irrelevant


15 years ago

They Pandas over there are a bunch of obfascating misrepresenting creeps. They’re using jamming tactics on the threads.

PvM: green is organge

Sal: No it’s not:

PvM: yes it is and your illogical and religiously motivated that’s why you said green is orange

Sal: I didn’t say “green is orange” you did

PvM: no I didn’t and your misguided and can’t support your assertions, you’re running away from my questions

Leonid: Well I can concoct some P(T|H) = 1

Sal: what’s the relevance of this

PvM: sal asserts “green is orange”, he runs from the issues because he’s a YEC


and the trash just keeps going on

15 years ago

We need to come up with a list of popular Panda tactics with examples.

My favorite two are “literature bluffing” and “the Chewbacca Defence” (I had not thought of it that way before your saying so).

Another one I hit on evolutionist blogs on occasion is the “argument through font size”, where the Darwinist uses the fact that he owns the message boards so that every one of his posts is a front-page message, while every one of your posts is buried at the bottom, not on the front page, in a small font, so noone will pay attention.

15 years ago

The problem with guys like Pim is that they have one basic presuppostion about everything they post that goes something like this: “As long as I am defending Darwinism and attempting to debunk ID, then nothing, absolutely nothing I say or write could be wrong, even in principle. Only IDPs can be wrong.” Thus never once will you see Pim or any of the other more prolific anti-ID bloggers admit error in anything. Also, never once will you see any of the errors of logic or math put forth in critique of ID or defense of Darwinism be challanged by a fellow Darwinist. Such is the level of intellectual dishonesty to which the Pandas, and others like them, have sunk. But to hear them tell it, it is only the IDPs who are intellectually dishonest and full of error.

Pim, like so many others, is a total waste of time.

15 years ago

“As long as I am defending Darwinism and attempting to debunk ID, then nothing, absolutely nothing I say or write could be wrong, even in principle.

Does this remind you of a cult? πŸ™

15 years ago


Thank you. Great to see you.


15 years ago

Well, I don’t know if I’d call it a “cult” per se, but it certainly has all the earmarks of dogmatism rather than science. Even with the most rudimentary understanding of the history and philosophy of science, one would know that science is does not advance nor is it “protected” by the heavy handed, take-no-prisoners, brook-no-opposition tactics we so often see from the anti-ID crowd. Those are the methods employed throughout history to defend dogma…not science. I think it is important to keep that in mind when engaging in online discussions with the anti-ID crowd. Always remember they are discussing dogma rather than science and keep the focus on that. Someday, they may want to have an actual discussion of science…but I’ve rarely seen it.

15 years ago

It’s been a real joy for me to watch the Pandas trying to argue in a venue where they are being monitored for language and manners.
Try as they might they just cannot acclimate. Not only do they repeatedly resort to ad hominem and genetic fallacy , as well as introducing red herrings as they go (“Sal’s YEC”, “Sal, are you or are you not?”, “why isn’t the IDEA club YEC? – what is it?”, “where are the aliens?”, “who’s the designer?”, “remember Dover?”), they continually complain about the behaviour of their opponents.
From the above-noted begging and demanding, to PvM’s not-so-subtle demands for moderation (“as per the rules of this board”) to his outright pleas to have opponents banned (JAD for sure, and where did DaveScot get to?), they couldn’t help but appeal for help. Take away ridicule (to some degree) and you rob them of their greatest weapon.

PvM made a list one day of his own grievances:
“1. We are accused of misrepresentation
2. Opposing claims are made and when asked to support them, seldomly attempts are made to provide us with a logical or reasoned explanation.
3. Attempts are made to redirect the discussion by raising only indirectly relevant topics.”

In that very comment he misrepresented Sal, as per the charge in number one, writing several lines on why the IDists should want the thread limited, but – oops – it was the Thumbsmen making the request.
When he was called on it, instead of graciously admitting his error (as Sal had only comments before) he exhibited the behaviour of his own point number 3 – he said “right, Sal didn’t say that … but he did miscount.” Which , of course, had nothing to do with the point or anything relevant, and was merely an attempt to misdirect.

In the same thread one member asserts that YECs deny all science. When he is shown that they don’t, he reasserts it without backing up his assertion (PvM’s complaint 2) and tosses in an ad hominem to boot.

I know you, Sal, were very appreciative and respectful of Allen, but it was funny even to watch his performance. When he finally had to close a thread due to his own bad behaviour he tried to make it sound like he was provoked, and that it had occurred contrary to his best intentions. But if you read him from the start you see that his best intentions included sarcasm (first thread – ‘The world is still waiting for such work to begin to trickle out of the clositered environs of the Discovery Institute. And waiting and waiting and waiting” Perhaps they’re too busy publishing press releases to do any science?”), favouritism (Susan”so, uh” Purcell says Sal and Hannah sound desperate and a tad nutty, and says we can judge IDers by their presumed motives, and Allen commends her on her arguments and avoidance of ad homs), veiled accusations of lying ( “And so, if you want to be taken seriously by anyone in the field of evolutionary biology, start reading and trying to understand where the field is now, and make your arguments on that basis. Unless, of course, your real program is one of political obfuscation and deliberate misleading of public opinion.” 2nd thread) and obfuscation from the start. Notice his red herring the other day, when talking about Dembski’s maths where he suddenly shifted gears to public school curricula, motive-mongering and questioning Dembksi’s objectivity. Much projection there, I see.

On the brighter side, over the last couple of days, when things crunched down into a mathematical analysis (which washed many of us out of the conversation, and I must admit, seemed to end in an unresolved stalemate) much of the smarminess (finally) disappeared and a grudging respect seemed to be given both sides as the Pandas realized they couldn’t bluff through their opponents who were very well equipped to deal with the arguments. It was nice to see PvM finally seem to realize he was in over his head and start to yield the floor.

I would love for the blog to now be put into the hands of the psychology/sociology departments for analysis. That would be quite the study, I think.

That’s one biased outsiders take. I could go on for days.

15 years ago

Sal, I see on UD you have asked that we not speak ill of Allen MacNeill. If you feel I have done so here then, by all means, please remove my comment (and this one as well).

15 years ago

You may speak freely here, but I have only asked restraint on threads at very promient weblogs where I would like Allen to feel free to speak his mind and participate. And give us information. For example, it was good to hear that report about Dawkins. It was good Behe and Dembsk weren’t getting trashed talked (and it seemed they scored about as well as Dawkins). He’s passing on second hand his view of the students reactions. It may be accurate or not, but I still would hope to hear what he has to say. He has complained in the past about the harsh treatment of Darwinists at UD, and well, if he comes to our tent under flag of truce, I felt we should treat him honorably.

I have often said, I don’t mind anti-IDers teach ID as long as they teach it fairly. The other thing is Hannah has spoken very well of his conduct.

He’s stuck his neck out for IDers, and I’m willing to look the other way, because I think he needs our support and gratitude for the fact he befriended the IDEA club which the President of Cornell might prefer were not there.

15 years ago

Regarding the stalemate on the math, I think we’ve moved forward, but the both sides were fumbling through the math. I was more forthright in admitting when I erred because it would be hurtful to teach students inaccurate things. It sets a bad example. PvM on the other hand just keeps justifying and obfuscating his errors.

15 years ago

Nice synopsis of the persistent drama of the ID-Evo debate. Thank You.

You are always welcome to say whatever you want on this blog, within the bounds of avoiding scurrilous language and persistent personal attacks. Ultimately, each individual is responsible for their own posts. Comments on this blog might not necessarily represent the opinions of the contributors.

I agree with Sal, Allen is already one of the most fair and cordial ID opponents that I have encounter. His occasional sarcasm is unavoidable in a conflict that both sides feel deeply about. Only time will tell if his even handedness and cordiality will last. It is inevitable that people will get more caustic over time, even if slightly.

For the record, I don’t think your above comment have breached the bounds of this blog.

15 years ago

To rehash my thoughts on the psychological traits and techniques demonstrated, as the last week or so was wrapping up another thing that occurred to me was PvM’s habit of running through the last several threads and tagging on comments to each. It reminded me of a dog marking his territory.
Besides the fact that he routinely had to post more than anyone else I noticed he always had to have that last word, even if nobody was actively in the thread anymore. There were threads where he (and Ivy) banged out the last 3-4 comments.
Because I am obviously a little OC I took a look around today and noticed that of the last ten threads (not counting the very last thread, which I expect will receive some “goodbyes” yet) PvM was last on seven of them. His cohort, Ivy, was last on two, and Sal came in last on one thread. That thread was “Analogy…” which was effectively ended by Leo and Secondclass, but where Sal commented to direct activity over to the new website.

Excluding the two introductory threads, and the final one, there were (I think) 19 threads.
IDers ended 4 of them. Sal had the last word twice (the aforementioned announcement, and one to thank Allen), and Lino had the last words twice.
14/19 were definitely ended by anti-Iders (PvM 7, Ivy 4 (effectively 5), Allen 2 (including the thread he closed), and arensb the last).
One thread, which would give anti-ID 15/19 and Ivy 5 herself, was technically ended by undecided Elena, who had also initiated the post. However, she had just tagged a ‘thank-you’ on 11 days after a flourish by PvM, Allen and finally Ivy.

You might wonder if the antiIDists ended the posts because they had left questions that the IDers ran away from. Certainly they would argue that they spoke so much because they were the ones with substantive points.
To see if that was so I was going to copy those last comments but even I’m not that demented. You can check yourself to see if that was the case.
As one example of how they ended, however, this weekend PvM has seen a new ID post on Panda’s Thumb regarding pseudo-genes and has slapped that challenge onto the ends of two threads where it is completely irrelevant and off-topic to each.

What does all this say (other than that I have a problem)? Nothing, obviously, about the issue of ID itself.
And on its own it may be insignificant, but it is certainly indicative of the types of personalities involved and the strategies they employ in this debate.

Then again, maybe it is interesting only to me…

15 years ago

That is a pretty funny way of looking at it. Maybe this is indicative of the insecurity of the Darwinists.

This is the reason why talking to a Darwinist is like

15 years ago

Greeting Daron!

Thank you for the statistics. I and PvM are compulsive, and I have often seen him as my counter part on the net. Nick Matzke would be my other counter part, and I had to take both of them on.

One of the major problems confronting me was the fact the other side had little inhibition about introducing falsehoods and misrepresentations. The best example was PvM P(T|H) = 1. That went on for 50 verbose posts, and thankfully Hannah saw through it. Everyone else could easily fall for it because I was losing my cool and getting angry that PvM would actually resort to such an unwholesome tactics. I end up looking like a whiner instead. Think about it, PvM could cooley say 1+1 = 5 and then cite irrelevant peer-reviewed articles and then issue taunts like “Sal again fails to prove his point”.

Of course it didn’t help that I slipped up toward the end on Dembski’s new paper since I did not have time to really study it like the other topics. However the other side was slipping up as well. You may notice that Leonid after almost 200 post of going back and forth on Dembski’s formula as flawed finally concedes its consistency after I make a derivation (see comment 21 at Symbols of Specified Complexity. Even second class has a Eureka moment, “Sal I finally see your point”. But this happens after a week after all the damage of misrepresentation is done on the weblog. Still I’m glad they came around”.

I could say the same almost every open issue left on the weblogs. If I only had time, I could have tied up the lose ends. I did not have the time to go clean up the misrepresentations, and further, any attempt to do so would have been just thread jamming Chewbacca tactics.

PvM did not like the fact I didn’t take the Chewebacca bait, but ignored his posts and just said what I thought was important. It was, in effect, “Gish Gallop” (Sal)_ vs “Gish Gallop”(PvM).

But what’s infuriating is what may take me an hour of research to make sure what I’m posting is true, the other side can just spam with whatever suits them. I end up getting mad that they’ll willing make misrepresentations, and I end up looking like a whiner.

I was better about it this time than usual, and just went forth posting, ignoring whatever was said. It may have looked evasive to those in the middle, but it was important for me to sustain the guys on “my side”. I knew people like Hannah would see through the other side, and also would learn a lot from what I transmitted.

For example, I successfully taught Hannah about Matzke’s literature bluffing. Any one else who saw it will trust the other side less and less upon seeing such tactics. The problem is the other side is willing to invest a lot of time and effort constructing elaborate ruses. They appear sincere. After all, why waste all the time building strawmen?

I’m glad the conversation went on at the other website (Specified Complexity), as Hannah can now see Dembski’s math was vindicated. She is too valuable to the cause to lose, and the other side tried to take her out of the fight by introducing as much doubt in her mind as possible. If Dembski’s math could be shown flawed, then she might hesitate in future debates, even if she fundamentally feels ID is right. I thus had to make sure that I cleaned up my errors and broke through the stalemate on the math.

Those however, on the other side that want to believe I got whipped in debate have ample opportunity to do so. They hear Leonid saying, “you’re misunderstanding of population genetics is mind boggling”, and then he cites literature and textbooks. Even though the literature is wrong, and demonstratably so, how much energy can I invest in a debate to show 20 books and papers which he cites are wrong! I then end up looking like I evaded the question. In fact, I went on to pound the other side about Nachman’s paper at ARN recently over the very issue that Leonid said my misunderstanding was mind boggling. But that took two days to thrash out. In the meantime, little jabs like, “you’re misunderstanding is mind boggling” and backed up with textbook citations and literature bluffing look temporarily credible.

But what could be done practically? If I just quit, the other side would have won by default. Rather I chose to take some casualties and fight. They will be able to score points and injure my position, but not because truth was on their side.

Finally, the amount of sour grapes the other side is showing because they know their goal of utterly humiliating the ID side failed. Just the fact we survived the debate is threatening to them. In other words, they had to annihilate us, show that ID has no chance in the colleges. The IDers merely needed to survive, and that we did. And the worst thing that could happen is to see the students go unscathed having been exposed to it!


[…] This is a continuation of PandasTake a Whuppin. Pandas takin’ a whuppin’ at Cornell I appreciated Daron’s post #24. Greetings Daron! […]