Sal Cordova, quote-mining liar

The most telling thing about Intelligent Design blogs is that they rarely, if ever, discuss Intelligent Design — which is not surprising, given that ID is a label in search of an actual theory, a leering and drunken stand-in for classic Biblical creationism. As a result, pretty much all that exists in the ID world are armies of hollowheads gibbering about Darwinists, Darwinism, and all things Darwinian, doing their damndest to poke false holes in evolution or, failing that, take biologists to task for the way they speak or behave. It’s as though they think that if they make enough raw noise about evolution (which isn’t budging, of course), their non-theory will slide neatly into its place.
All of this is nicely encapsulated by another lame post by Sal Cordova at Uncommon Descent. Sal is pleased that Jason Rosenhouse has taken Jerry Coyne to task for not doing a better job of criticizing Michael Behe’s latest contribution to the ID cause, a book called The Edge of Evolution. (Coyne, a member of the University of Chicago faculty, is a prominent biologist.)


To hear Sal tell it, Jason is criticizing Coyne for being critical, period — that is, he’s indirectly supporting Behe’s work. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jason is lamenting the fact that Coyne, to his thinking, failed to take a golden opportunity to logically tear apart something that was eminently fiskable for the benefit of a large readership (the review was in The New Republic) and instead dove straight into derision, thereby giving the ID crowd fodder for their PR campaign. I’m not sure I agree, but that’s not an issue in this post.
Cordova then goes on to quote-mine Coyne three times, doing his best to pretend Coyne isn’t confident of evolution’s validity (despite the fact that he calls Coyne a “Darwinist All-Star”):

In science’s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics
if truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits
My own reaction [to the myth of the peppered moth icon] resembles the dismay attending my discovery, at the age of six, that it was my father and not Santa who brought the presents on Christmas Eve.

In the last quote, Sal’s use of “myth” in brackets is entirely unjustified, and he knows it. The quote comes from a review Coyne wrote of an article suggesting that the famous peppered moth experiment may not have demonstrated just what scientists have long believed. However, in no way does Coyne imply that there is anything “mythical” afoot here. There’s a difference between science that may not have been done correctly and myth-making. And at least evolutionary biologists have the integrity to admit when something long accepted needs closer examination.
As for the first two quotes, they mean nothing in terms of the solidity of evolutionary science. Coyne is only suggesting that evolution is not highly regarded or lucrative. If Coyne lacked confidence in “Darwinism,” it would have become evident in other ways by now.
Incidentally, I’d enjoy seeing a summary of where ID is in the scientific pecking order and what practical and commercial benefits it has yielded to date. It’s amazing how these fools can point and laugh at what someone else is wearing while they stand around perpetually naked and jiggling.
Has anyone noticed that evolutionary biologists don’t hinge their work on pointing out the errors in Genesis? Not only do they not do it constantly, they don’t do it at all. But the IDers do nothing but rail against evolution — dishonestly and ignorantly. Now why do you suppose there’s such a difference in approaches here?
(One caveat: Sal filed this under “humor,” which could mean he thinks it’s funny that Coyne, in his view, is imploding, but could also mean he knows his own posts are a joke.)

9 thoughts on “Sal Cordova, quote-mining liar”

  1. Thank you for the defense.
    Being called “brilliant” by Salvador Cordova is not one of the more pleasant experiences you can have in life. After thinking it over for a while I decided not to bother replying myself, but I’m happy someone else noticed his dishonest take on what I wrote.

  2. Meh… The Coyne quotes reek of quote-mine, but Sal didn’t actually say much of anything in spinning Rosenhouse’s work. How does he imply that “Jason is criticizing Coyne for being critical, period”?

  3. “How does [Cordova] imply that ‘Jason is criticizing Coyne for being critical, period’?”
    Well, after Cordova opened by stating that the best “Darwinists” (here referring to Jerry Coyne) have been unsuccessful in their attempts to debunk Behe, said that Jason “broke ranks” in criticizing Coyne, implying (in my view) that he materially disagreed with Coyne. It’s quite possible to disagree with the method of argument of someone on the same side of said argument. And the extracts from Jason’s post that Cordova used seem to support this same premise. Maybe I’m engaging in some confirmation bias here, but I think that if I had read Cordova’s post before reading either Jason’s or Coyne’s posts (not the case), I would have believed that Jason was in agreement with, or not in disagreement with, at least some of what Behe wrote. Based on Jason’s comment above, he seems to believe the same thing.
    Contrast those extracts with Sal’s comment immediately below the post, where he quotes Jason again, this time revealing exactly what Jason thinks about Behe and ID in general.
    The main point is that these guys never say jack shit about intelligent design. They’re so busy criticizing how “Darwinists” argue and what they say about IDers that they apparently don’t have time to expand on the latest empirical findings in the promising field of ID creationism. This, of course, is not news.
    DaveScot washed up here once after I criticized a Dembski postconcerning vestigial organs. The sum total of his rebuttal consisted of HHAHAHHAHHAAHHAHAHAAA!!! and “looks like I touched a nerve.” When the members of the UD crowd aren’t hunkering down in their own comments section blowing smoke up each other’s asses, their absence of substantive arguments is thrown into BAS-relief.

  4. I’d enjoy seeing a summary of where ID is in the scientific pecking order

    As a pseudoscience, especially a socio-politically motivated one, as dirt water puddles to be circumvented, at times shrunken by helping society unclog the communal drains, and when you get something on you showering and washing your clothes before the stains sets.
    I really feel with Jason that got some of Cordova’s ‘brilliance’ on him.

  5. I’d enjoy seeing a summary of where ID is in the scientific pecking order

    As a pseudoscience, especially a socio-politically motivated one, as dirt water puddles to be circumvented, at times shrunken by helping society unclog the communal drains, and when you get something on you showering and washing your clothes before the stains sets.
    I really feel with Jason that got some of Cordova’s ‘brilliance’ on him.

  6. Sal touched a nerve

    Anyone openly and blatantly lying makes normal persons cringe for good reason. (You may look up “kinship”. :-)
    When it is done for an evil cause it is just so much worse.
    But Sal or DaveScot are no different from other creationist mongers, if that is what you think.

  7. Sal touched a nerve

    Anyone openly and blatantly lying makes normal persons cringe for good reason. (You may look up “kinship”. :-)
    When it is done for an evil cause it is just so much worse.
    But Sal or DaveScot are no different from other creationist mongers, if that is what you think.

  8. In a recent post on my blog, I drew attention to the particularly offensive hypocrisy involved in creationist quote-mining. I’ll repost part of it here:
    …creationists rightly emphasize the importance of context in Biblical interpretation. Yet they constantly take quotations from scientists who support evolution out of context and present them as though they are evidence of scientists acknowledging problems with evolution. If someone treated the Bible this way, and said “The Bible says that there is no God”, they would quickly point out that in context it says “the fool says in his heart that there is no God”. But they themselves do the exact same thing with quotes from experts in evolution, whose words are taken out of context and made to mean something they could never be possibly be understood to mean in context.

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Sal Cordova, quote-mining liar

The most telling thing about Intelligent Design blogs is that they rarely, if ever, discuss Intelligent Design — which is not surprising, given that ID is a label in search of an actual theory, a leering and drunken stand-in for classic Biblical creationism. As a result, pretty much all that exists in the ID world are armies of hollowheads gibbering about Darwinists, Darwinism, and all things Darwinian, doing their damndest to poke false holes in evolution or, failing that, take biologists to task for the way they speak or behave. It’s as though they think that if they make enough raw noise about evolution (which isn’t budging, of course), their non-theory will slide neatly into its place.
All of this is nicely encapsulated by another lame post by Sal Cordova at Uncommon Descent. Sal is pleased that Jason Rosenhouse has taken Jerry Coyne to task for not doing a better job of criticizing Michael Behe’s latest contribution to the ID cause, a book called The Edge of Evolution. (Coyne, a member of the University of Chicago faculty, is a prominent biologist.)

(more…)

2 thoughts on “Sal Cordova, quote-mining liar”

  1. I’d enjoy seeing a summary of where ID is in the scientific pecking order

    As a pseudoscience, especially a socio-politically motivated one, as dirt water puddles to be circumvented, at times shrunken by helping society unclog the communal drains, and when you get something on you showering and washing your clothes before the stains sets.
    I really feel with Jason that got some of Cordova’s ‘brilliance’ on him.

  2. Sal touched a nerve

    Anyone openly and blatantly lying makes normal persons cringe for good reason. (You may look up “kinship”. :-)
    When it is done for an evil cause it is just so much worse.
    But Sal or DaveScot are no different from other creationist mongers, if that is what you think.

Comments are closed.

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