Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Richard Dawkins is a midwit

Aesop brings the Hammer Of Truth down on the good professor:

One cannot have "only a quarter of an eye, only a hundredth of an eye, or half an eye, is better than nothing " (3:50ff).

Basic physiology disagrees:

It doesn't work like that.
In the trade, there's a technical term for what you are when you have a half, a quarter, or a hundredth of an eye (and by this we mean not just the eyeball itself, but the entire cascade of processes enabling vision): BLIND.

There's a lot more in the post, and even more in the comments.  But what I find most interesting is the fact that Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist and so he knows this. Aesop has a simple answer to why Dawkins still tells this sort of lie  (he's a lying liar).  Well, sure.

But that's not particularly interesting.  Why does he lie?  Moldbug explained this 15 years ago:

Nonetheless, it’s my sad duty to inform the world that Professor Dawkins has been pwned. Perhaps you’re over 30 and you’re unfamiliar with this curious new word. As La Wik puts it:

The word “pwn” remains in use as Internet social-culture slang meaning: to take unauthorized control of someone else or something belonging to someone else by exploiting a vulnerability.

(At least here at Unqualified Reservations, pwned alliterates with posse and rhymes with loaned.) How could such a learned and wise mind exhibit such an exploitable vulnerability? And who—or what—has taken unauthorized control over Professor Dawkins? The aliens? The CIA? The Jews? The mind boggles.

Ah, those crazy kids and their barbaric slang like pwned.  Good Lord, do I really have over 400 posts with that tag?  Ahem.  

Continuing with Dawkins' failure to adequately explain the difference between Science and Religion:

My belief is that Professor Dawkins is not just a Christian atheist. He is a Protestant atheist. And he is not just a Protestant atheist. He is a Calvinist atheist. And he is not just a Calvinist atheist. He is an Anglo-Calvinist atheist. In other words, he can be also be described as a Puritan atheist, a Dissenter atheist, a Nonconformist atheist, an Evangelical atheist, etc., etc.

This cladistic taxonomy traces Professor Dawkins’ intellectual ancestry back about 400 years, to the era of the English Civil War. Except of course for the atheism theme, Professor Dawkins’ kernel is a remarkable match for the Ranter, Leveller, Digger, Quaker, Fifth Monarchist, or any of the more extreme English Dissenter traditions that flourished during the Cromwellian interregnum.

Frankly, these dudes were freaks. Maniacal fanatics. Any mainstream English thinker of the 17th, 18th or 19th century, informed that this tradition (or its modern descendant) is now the planet’s dominant Christian denomination, would regard this as a sign of imminent apocalypse. If you’re sure they’re wrong, you’re more sure than me.

Now I must warn you, Moldbug is pretty thick going.  Fosetti has a very accessible overview that will give you 95% of Moldbug's arguments.

One other interesting comment at Aesop's place concerned science as a process.  As I've pointed out repeatedly over the last few years, science as practiced today is very, very sick, and the reason is The Iron Law of Bureaucracy in action:

I can't seem to find and data about the number of scientists working today, vs. the number a century ago.  I can't even find decent proxy data for this - say the number of scientific articles published in 2010 vs. the number published in 1910.  But we can all agree that there has been a vast increase in the number of working scientists and the number of published articles (which may be up to 50 Million by now).

And yet we are not seeing any obvious acceleration in the pace of scientific discovery.  Nigel Calder again:

While the modern advances are all impressive, are they really more impressive than those from a century ago?  Especially when you adjust for the army of scientists at work today - perhaps a thousand times as many as at the dawn of the 20th Century - the question becomes why has science slowed down?

The post about how sick science as practiced today is gives the reason:

Nothing is moving in the foundations of physics. One experiment after theother is returning null resultsNo new particles, no new dimensions, no new symmetries. Sure, there are some anomalies in the data here and there, and maybe one of them will turn out to be real news. But experimentalists are just poking in the dark. They have no clue where new physics may be to find. And their colleagues in theory development are of no help.
This is a long and detailed discussion which is hard to excerpt.  This bit seems very important as to the institutional rot:
Developing new methodologies is harder than inventing new particles in the dozens, which is why they don’t like to hear my conclusions. Any change will reduce the paper output, and they don’t want this. It’s not institutional pressure that creates this resistance, it’s that scientists themselves don’t want to move their butts.
How long can they go on with this, you ask? How long can they keep on spinning theory-tales?
I am afraid there is nothing that can stop them. They review each other’s papers. They review each other’s grant proposals. And they constantly tell each other that what they are doing is good science. Why should they stop? For them, all is going well. They hold conferences, they publish papers, they discuss their great new ideas. From the inside, it looks like business as usual, just that nothing comes out of it.
This is not a problem that will go away by itself.

The people who run the institutions of Science don't see that there's a problem.  I mean, hey - there's a ton of grant funding coming in and nobody can be allowed to rock that boat, amirite?  And so it's all gatekeeping and name calling.

The result? Scientific Progress has essentially ground to a halt.

Note that this doesn't apply to Engineering, which we can call "science that works".  SpaceX is Exhibit 1 for the Prosecution here.  But Science as currently practiced is a game for fools and liars. And Richard Dawkins, but I repeat myself.

Retractionwatch is Exhibit 2 for the Prosecution.  A few minutes thought will produce another dozen Exhibits.

And yes, I was an Engineer not a Scientist by training back at State U.  Because of that, I haven't been (intellectually) pwned, like Dawkins has.  But good gravy, it's getting to where the term "scientist" is almost as pejorative as the term "intellectual".  The last word goes to Aesop, who explains why:
I doubt, with Dawkins being so invested, intellectually and morally, in the lifelong lie, he'd ever be intellectually honest enough to admit that he, just like Darwin, had a grudge against the idea of the divine or supernatural, and both had therefore sunk their spurs into the idea that there is no god, because it makes the rest of their pathetic existence tolerable and comfortable, not to mention lucrative.

He's entitled to go to hell in whatever way he sees fit to do so; that's free will in action.

But to make it his life's work to try and bamboozle others by deliberately ignoring the utter lack of any scientific underpinning for his delusions, and furthermore the evidence to the exact contrary, and outright lying about both in support of his line of twaddle, is quite inarguably and inexcusably monstrous and damnable.


danielbarger said...

Science is dying because it sold out to politics. Money now matters to science more than actual fact. As for creationism and those who adhere to it...they are operating on faith. The blind belief in something,a belief that exists totally independent of fact. Evolution is a flawed theory based on incomplete data. The other has no need for facts or evidence. The two theories/beliefs are incompatible. One must choose. If you believe in both you believe in nothing.

Divemedic said...

I would posit that you can believe in both- perhaps that a creationist could believe that the $diety set up the rules of the game, natural laws, if you will, and then waited for evolution to run its course.
I say this as an atheist who is intellectually honest enough to admit that I don't know everything and have been known to be wrong from time to time, so I also grant that I may be wrong and will have to answer for that in front of some afterlife version of being sentenced to eternity in damnation prison for my nonbelief.

Tree Mike said...

I am not an atheist, but from my seekings, I've come to believe that the creator (not capitalized) is not the omniscient, omnipotent,omnipresent "Our Father Who Art in Heaven", but rather, one that created us to go forth and do and create new things and experiences for more knowledge, experience and wisdom for us and the creator. Lucifer, in his narcissistic free will, phuqued it up (part of it, like 4%) and captured this earth plane in his bad copy of the original creation. Wes Penre has pursued this line, and has much study and research for those that are interested. Apparently, what got him started was "Why are there SO MANY gods doing the SAME SHIT in ALL of histories religions?", except Christianity, which has lots fewer, for GOOD reasons.
Anyway, it's very interesting. It helped me to approach it like a giant ancient alien creation sci fi. It explains the "missing gaps" in evolution. There are none, there's lots of creations. The "matrix" makes it possible for plenty of lower, imperfect, entities to do their own creations and terminate them when it suits them. YMMV