Nov 022006
 

NOTE: This is a re-post from an earlier OP that was lost due to the recent crash of the host server for our blog. Since I didn’t keep a copy, this is a close reconstruction from memory as to what I originally wrote and the point I wanted to make. I believe Teleologist still has the orginal comments to this OP and will add them back in.
Donald M

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Professor P.Z. Myers from the University of Minnesota is up to his usual no good tricks. This time around he, along with several of the regular rabid anti-ID crowd over at The Panda’s Thumb, have taken it upon themselves to discredit nearly every word from Dr. Jonathan’s Wells’ recent book The Politically Incorrect Guide To Darwinism and Intelligent Design.

Not content to simply review the book, PZ et.al. have decided to pick at everything in the book, chapter-by-chapter, line-by-line. In their view, Wells has lied or misrepresented absolutely everything. That despite the fact that Wells holds a Ph.D. in, I believe, developmental biology.

Over at Doug Groothuis’s blog The Constructive Curmudgeon, Tim McGrew has pointed out some some very specific examples of where Myers deliberately and knowingly misquotes Dr. Wells in a pitiful attempt to try and discredit everything Dr. Wells says. Too bad for Myers he’s been caught red-handed. Read McGrew’s comments (you’ll have to scroll down a bit in the comments to find it) and decide for yourself who is telling the truth here.

  22 Responses to “P.Z. Myers Misquotes Wells”

  1. hi DonaldM,

    There is another explanation to your intellectual dishonesty claim. How about drinking problem?

  2. Wow, PZ Myers fabricates the evidence and the made the false accusation. PZ Myers actually accusses Wells of what Myers is guilty of but Wells is innocent. Amazing the dishonesty and hypocracy.

  3. Small correction:
    The Constructive Curmudgeon is Douglas Groothius’s blog, Tim McGrew is a more or less regular commenter there.

  4. I put this up at UD with attribution to DonaldM for alerting me to it.

    Sal

  5. Amazing the dishonesty and hypocracy.

    Amazing the amount of rigorous checking you didn’t do….
    Care to respond to the scanned images here?

  6. Myers’ rebuttal PZ Myers is such a LIAR!.

    Let’s watch Uncommon Descent to see how low they can sink. Someone posted a comment there pointing out that I’d rebutted their claim– they deleted it!

    Apparently not as low as Myers had sunk. As DaveScot pointed out and I can attest Myers never allowed any rebuttal and criticism from UD and this blog to be posted on his propagandist blog.

    DaveScot also did a fine job of rebutting Myers evidently cherry picked quoting. No one is asking Myers to ignore the summary box on pg. 35. He is just selectively choosing and ignoring the obvious context of where that quote came from. This is what Darwinian liars do to mislead the rubes. Is Myers suggesting we only need to read the outlines of a book and ignore the rest of the text? I think Myers is having a John Kerry moment.

    The point of Ballard’s paper was to argue for the diversity of gastrulation mechanisms, but right there in the paper, in the paragraph above the one Wells’ selectively quoted, he affirms that “the pharyngula stage”is remarkably uniform throughout the subphylum.”

    Did Wells mention anything about the pharyngula in that ” big bold box” ? Myers is still misrepresenting Wells.

    Wells’ complete quote is this.

    Before the pharyngula stage we can only say that the embryos of different species within a single taxonomic class are more alike than their parents. Only by semantic tricks and subjective selection of evidence can we claim that “gastrulas” of shark, salmon, frog, and bird are more alike than their adults. (Ballard WW (1976))

    Earth to Myers, anybody home? Do you see the 3 words ” Before the pharyngula” and then the word ” gastrulas” ? Duh!

    P.S. Hi escaflonase, I’ve posted this before I saw your comment, but I think I’ve answered your question.

  7. The heat is on!! Take a look at the discussion sparked by Sal’s post at UD.

    And PZ is all fired up over at PT. My conclusion is that it is genetically impossible for PZ to admit error. Must have been something he evolved!!

  8. Looks like Teleogist and I posted the same links at the same time. However, T’s has the added benefit of DaveScot’s rebuttal, which was perfect! Do check it out.

    Here’s what I wrote in the discussion at UD:

    “You have to understand the rules of the game… Rule #1 among Darwinists, especially those at PT, is: never, ever concede a point, no matter how valid, to someone deemed a ‘creationist'(whatever the definition du jour of that term might be). Thus, PZ or any of the others can misquote, misrepresent to their hearts content knowing full well that none of their own will ever call them on it. But let a Darwin doubter even commit a typo and their all over it like a pack of jackals, whooping and hollerin’ “see what dishonest liars these creationists or IDers are!! See, we told ya, we told ya!!” Then, when someone painstakingly takes the time to point the obvious errors in their characterization of some IDP’s actual argument, they resort to the usual argumentum ad hominem, and never, ever admit error or misunderstanding, because rule #2 is: only ‘creationists’ and IDP’s are capable of error and misunderstanding an argument.

    The Panda’s Thumb should be re-named “The Straw Man” , (or maybe “The Straw Panda?” ) because, in the end, that is mostly what it is.

  9. Small correction:
    The Constructive Curmudgeon is Douglas Groothius’s blog, Tim McGrew is a more or less regular commenter there.

    I stand corrected. Thanks for pointing that out.

    (NOTE TO PZ MYERS: See how easy it is to admit an error and move on?)

  10. In the interest of accuracy, it needs to be pointed out that there does appear to some question over a quote by William Ballard, which appears one way in a call-out box on pg 35 of Well’s book, and the orginal quote used by Wells on pages 30-31.

    The latter quote says:

    Dartmouth College biologist William Ballard wrote in 1976 that it is “only by semantic tricks and subjective selection of evidence,” by “bending the facts of nature,” that one can argue that the cleavage and gastrulation stages of vertebrates “are more alike than their adults.”

    The call out box on pg 35 says:

    It is “only by semantic tricks and subjective selection of evidence,” by “bending the facts of nature,” that one can argue that the early embryo stages of vertebrates “are more alike than their adults.”

    As Tim McGrew notes in his comment, (you’ll need to scroll down to read the later posts from today 11-3-06) call-out boxes are usually inserted by the book editor, and not the author, which is probably the case here, though Wells will have to verify that to be the case. Be that as it may, there still doesn’t seem to be any validity to Myer’s claim that Well’s deliberately tried to mis-use Ballard’s quote to make it appear that Ballard was referring to the pharyngula stage rather than the gastrula stage of development, which is the main issue raised by McGrew in the first place. Even the edited version of the quote, which Myers did quote accurately from page 35 needs to be placed in the context of the original quote given on pgs 30-31. (Presumably, Myers read pg 30-31 before he read pg 35, and so should have known).

    The quote and page differences notwithstanding, Myers still isn’t off the hook to explain why he would accuse Wells of deliberately trying to misrepresent Ballard’s meaning, when Wells makes it pretty clear in at least three places that he is referring to the gastrula and not the pharyngula stage. Could it be that Myers knows that Wells made a valid scientific point, but Myers just can’t bring himself to admit that?

  11. In matters I’m less sure of, my language is a bit guarded as it was on UD. The net result is that Tim McGrew was well-intentioned, but had to later apologize to PZ for an overstatment. However, McGrew was NOT completely wrong, he really nailed PZ on “gastrula” vs. “pharyngula”.

    PZ did fool some people into thinking he was vindicated, when in fact, he only highlighted and oversight by McGrew, and brought a large amount of attention to his egregious error of “gastrula” vs. “pharyngula”. He after all, used this misrepresentation to howl “liar” at Wells. Will he retract and apologize, that is the question.

  12. Hey Sal,

    We can all see what Myers is doing. As I’ve said he is just having a Kerry moment. When you are discovered of making a error against your enemy, yell louder and attack with more misdirection.

    My guess is that he was picking through the highlights of Wells’ book. He’s already made up his mind that it is rubbish and nothing good can come from it. He skimmed through the pages and missed the full context of what Wells was saying.

    Before the pharyngula stage we can only say that the embryos of different species within a single taxonomic class are more alike than their parents. Only by semantic tricks and subjective selection of evidence can we claim that “gastrulas” of shark, salmon, frog, and bird are more alike than their adults. (Ballard WW (1976))

    Myers never address this quote directly even in his rebuttal. He deliberately made a big fuss over a highlight box. I guess this is how Myers reads all this books, reading only the highlights. No wonder his is so ignorant of ID. The sycophant rubes on his blog just gobble it up like the zombies of the Night of the Living Dead.

  13. The sycophant rubes on his blog just gobble it up like the zombies of the Night of the Living Dead.

    This was laugh out loud funny, T. Great line!!

    My guess is that he was picking through the highlights of Wells’ book. He’s already made up his mind that it is rubbish and nothing good can come from it.

    And he wasn’t picking through the highlights to understand Wells’s arguments; he was picking through the highlights looking for select-o-quotes that would be fodder for his blogsite. Haven’t we been told ad nauseum that only us silly ‘creationists’ play the dial-a-quote game? No matter how careful we are, any time we quote a Darwinist to support either a pro-ID argument or to demonstrate a significant problem with evolution, we’re told we’ve yanked the quote out of context, or we’re too stupid to understand it, or the author meant the exact opposite of what we claimed, etc etc. BUT, every time a Darwinist quotes an IDP, its always exactly in context, correctly quoted, correctly interpreted, and correctly understood. Today’s brouhaha is a primary example of this sort of double-speak and double-think.

    We just have to learn that we’re the ones who just don’t get it. [sound of loud sarcastic laughter!]

  14. Speaking of “howlers” , Nick Matzke, the Minister of Disinformation over at the National Coaliation for the Saving of Evolution, has weighed in at “The Panda’s Thumb” with this version of today’s events:

    This morning, the ID guys were embarrassed — once again — when it was revealed that they didn’t know what they were talking about when they accused PZ Myers of lying by misquoting Wells in PIGDID. PZ dealt with this pretty darn convincingly over here.

    There you have it, folks, PZ has “convincingly” dealt with all of us silly “creationists” once again.

    Geesh! What a joke. This is even beneath Matzke’s usual standards of misinformation!!

  15. Myers just keeps digging himself deeper into the hole.

    I suspect that if I’d used his misrepresentation of Ballard from pages 30-31, I’d now be hearing that I misquoted Wells maliciously, and they’d be pointing out the big bold box on page 35 and telling me I lied, and that I was blind as a bat, too, and gee, don’t you think pulling it out for special attention meant I should have used that one?

    Ah”, no PZ, we recognize the difference between a attention box with a condensed summary and a full quote in context. I suspect even Myers knows that or at least I hope he is not that stupid to not understand this simple little literary device.

    All of this is a distraction. Wells misrepresents biology and reports on the scientific research inaccurately throughout PIGDIG.

    Myers is right that his misdirection whether he lied by using a summary or a quote in context, is a distraction. The fact is that he misquoted Wells and failed to address the criticism that Wells brought against Darwinian developmental biology through a quote from one of their own. The fact is Myers, the Darwinian Prior, and his rubes continually repeat the mantra that Wells misrepresents biology and embryology. If that is true then just deal with his quote directly.

    Before the pharyngula stage we can only say that the embryos of different species within a single taxonomic class are more alike than their parents. Only by semantic tricks and subjective selection of evidence can we claim that “gastrulas” of shark, salmon, frog, and bird are more alike than their adults. (Ballard WW (1976))

    How did Wells misquote or misrepresent embryo development? Can’t do it can you “blind as a bat” Darwinian Prior?

  16. I just added a trackback of this post to Myers’ post. Let’s see how low he will sink or will he allow rebuttal to his hole digging.

  17. I tried to succinctly rebut Myers’ initial criticism here at his blog. Thus far, there is no substantial answer to it.

    By the way, check Ballard’s summary:

    “It may be that the cells of representatives of different phyla are behaving in such different microenvironments and being controlled by such different genes and forces that the analysis of their morphogenetic movements will be as difficult to compress into a single account as the description of their early embryonic stages has proved to be. It seems wise, in the meantime, to avoid assumptions of uniformity drawn not from precise observation, but from antique homological theory. We should be cautious with the use of terms that have become more and more loaded with implied meaning while they were becoming less and less definable.”

    It seems Ballard is arguing caution when accepting antiquated notions of morphogenetic uniformity, supporting Wells’ basic claim regarding Haeckel and embryology, does it not?

  18. Hey todd,

    It is almost funny reading that last set of exchanges. You present a flow of argument and logic. What did you get in response? A diatribe of Darwinian Prior followers invectives.

    They are just incapable of directly addressing Wells’ full quote.

    You also make a great addition to Wells’ quote with Ballard’s summary. This is the crux of the problem with the development biology argument for homology. Even if there was greater similarities in the gastrula and pharyngula stages, so what? Mere morphological similarities are not evidence of common ancestry and certainly not a scientific explanation for anything. But then again Darwinians have relied on such just so stories for so long they actually believe that it is sufficiently science. Without detail genetic pathways from each taxonomic class there is no way of knowing if these features are homologous or analogous, let alone designed. I don’t even think anyone has been able to identify a genetic basis for the minimal perceived similarities in a late stage of embryonic development and diverges again. To use this developmental argument as evidence for Darwinian evolution is a joke.

  19. Well, now that the dust has settled a bit from this little “dust up”, it is worth noting that despite all the protests, and despite some of PZ’s sychophantic follwers trying to defend him, the bottom line remains that PZ deliberately and knowingly misquoted Jonathan Wells for the purpose of trying to discredit him.
    The only surprising thing about this entire escapade is that anyone was surprised by it. The fact that the Panda’s Thumb crowd devoted so much time to trying to discredit Wells’s book, chapter by chapter speaks volumes about the absolute disdain they have for anyone who dares question Darwinian orthodoxy.

  20. I’ve got a half-written reply to the last comments on the PZ blog, with a defense of Ballard’s paper as basically a proto version of Wells argument, but I seriously wonder if it is not casting pearls. I’ve seen invective and nastiness before, but some of the wanker commenters over there are parodies of themselves! Feces hurling assclowns really sums them up!

  21. Sal, those guys really hate and loathe you, thouugh. Alas, the irony is lost them considering how very much they look like judgemental finger pointing ‘fundies’, especially when you attack their material faith. Lordy man, you are the devil to those people. Their hatred for your unapologetic defense of your own beliefs is simply stunning. Also, consider how the worldview of these very same people logically precludes moral categories of evil and good – it never ceases to amaze me. I know some materialists/athiests who are not such jerks (though always superior for their enlightenment) and have had many agreeable disagreements without ever approaching that level of rancor. It seemed there were some posters who were such jerks, but even the more polite ones judged my posts as bad faith offerings, in a general sense this view appears apriori among all regulars. Fearful projection, I reckon.

    Few of them yield an inch either, it is something to behold. I want to get all Yoda on them: “Fear leads to Anger, Anger leads to Hate, Hate leads to Suff-er-ing”…

  22. It is because of the scurrilous and gutter tactics in those Darwinian forums and blogs that I stop posting in them. They are welcome to come here and debate but under our censorship. Censorship is almost nonexistent here but we have a zero tolerance for foul languages. Blatant obfuscations are tolerated only so far. You are welcome to invite those sycophantic Prior followers over to debate here if they want. A couple of those personalities I haven’t seem around for awhile now are Tenebrous Visionary aka Beaming Visionary and Inspector Clouseau aka eddarrell. 😀

    Sal should wear their hatred of him like a badge of honor. It is not easy to engender that much disdain even from these Darwinian Priors.

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