Sal Cordova, Intelligent Design Blog a Hoax? John A. Davison Edition

December 30, 2007

I’ve already gloated over having two posts worth of material generated by Sal Cordova’s new Intelligent Design blog, Young Cosmos. But I’m starting to think that the entire site might be a clever hoax.

Case in point is this short post:

I would like to present John Davison’s website. He was a biology professor for 42 years and accepts Intelligent Design. He studied under some of the great ones like James Crow. He deserves a fair hearing.

Merry Christmas, John.

Seems inconspicuous enough, no? But the thing is, John A. Davison is, as far as I can tell, the retired Vermont U physiologist who ran for Governor of Vermont, at least in his own mind. And put simply, it’s very very difficult to read through Davison’s writings and history and not come away with the idea that he is very much a complete crackpot, calling into question anyone that claims to take him seriously.

An oft noted case in point are his previous blogs. And when I say previous blogs, I don’t mean that in the sense of one person writing on different blogs. I mean in the sense that Davison was so confused by the very concept of blogging that his “blogs” consisted of a single post each, followed by hundreds of follow up comments. The majority these were, in fact, Davison himself randomly updating his latest thoughts, periodically interrupted by a few passersby trying in vain to explain to Davison that you’re supposed to add new blog posts to update a blog, not simply endlessly reply to yourself in the comments.

This first outing was called Prescribed Evolution, which at last count has 883 comments, most of which end with Davison’s trademark exclamation “I love it so!” At some point, Davison declared (emphasis mine):

The original Prescribed Evolution blog got pretty cluttered so I am starting a new one. Hopefully I will be able to better manage this one than the original.

This, in fact, was to be the first and only post of his second blog, New Prescribed Evolution, now weighing in at 654 comments. This soon came to a close as well:

I am abandoning this blog with all its revealing comments about and by my many enemies. Don’t expect any further responses from me here.

I am opening a new blog with the tantalizing title – The end of evolution. Let’s see what kind of perverts that will attract.

I love it so!

It didn’t stop there either (the different blog title format of the third and all follow blogs was, by the way, almost certainly due to the fact that some jokester, recognizing the trend, registered “New New Prescribed Evolution” before Davison could get to it). But you get the long, sad picture.

I’m generally not one for poisoning the well. I could try to go into some of Davison’s actual arguments against evolution (though that would be hampered by the fact that his writing style and lack of coherent organization is very very hard to make sense of what he’s even claiming). Normally I would. But if you spend any time reading through his “posts” (i.e. the comments), or catching sightings of his rambling comments at the Expelled! blog and elsewhere, I think you’ll come to the conclusion that going with the  “crackpot” label and leaving it at that is perfectly forgivable.

Then again, these many bizarre blogs could have been a clever caricature of a much savvier real-life Davison (though no one has ever admitted to it, nor has the real Davison has ever denied authorship). Of course, telling truth from parody would be much easier if the actual arguments weren’t so close to rambling parody of themselves to begin with. If these Intelligent Design blogs are really all just a put on, I still think I have a pretty good excuse as to how I got hoodwinked into thinking it was all for real.

Abstinence-Only Education As Applied to Loaded Guns

December 28, 2007


Sal Cordova, The Evolutionary Expert Who Thinks Fish Turn Into Cows

December 28, 2007

I can tell that newfound Intelligent Design blogger Sal Cordova is going to provide a rich vein of bad ideas. I’m set! Like many Intelligent Design blogs, Sal and pals over at Young Cosmos apparently cannot handle allowing critics open access to comment and respond to his claims, which just means more entertainment for you, the Bad Idea Blog reader, rather than me dividing my efforts elsewhere.

In this latest edition, let’s take a gander at what Sal’s picture of what evolution is:
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Sal Cordova, Young Earth Creationist, Used Car Salesman

December 27, 2007

Back when I first started blogging, one of the first things I highlighted were the madcap quote-mining antics of Intelligent Design sycophant Sal Cordova. Sal has been a longtime net presence on numerous forms devoted to evolution and intelligent design, but it seems that now he has his own blog: “Young Cosmos.

I have to admit: I honestly somehow missed the fact that Sal was a straight up young earth creationist (he says old that dabbles in “young,” but whatever). Whether it was a sort of open secret until now, or I just haven’t expended enough time obsessing about Sal Cordova I don’t know. It certainly does make him a rather poor spokesperson for the claim that Intelligent Design is not, as he has long insisted, a direct outgrowth of the political and scientific failures of classic creationism.

In any case, in his latest post, Sal tries to take on the classic problem of evil: why would a good God create a world that not only has evil, but seems in many respects designed to be specially conducive for evil and suffering?

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Skeptic Beats Psychics on Year End Predictions

December 25, 2007

Skeptico has been looking back over the decidedly non-psychic predictions he made on January 1st of last year, and has concluded that with just a little common sense and guesswork, he’s got alleged professional psychics beat.

Now, the cynics among you will probably say I ignored the predictions I got wrong and just concentrated on the hits. Well, I never claimed to be 100% accurate. And as Sylvia Browne said, only God is 100% accurate. Others may say that some of the predictions weren’t really that surprising. Well, at least I didn’t predict that Tiger Woods would win a golf tournament.

Of course, making obvious predictions, and then counting the hits and not the misses, is all that professional psychics do anyway. And I still think I did better than them. Remember that when, this year, we get the same bunch of lame playing the odds guesses, reprinted uncritically by a gullible media. And although these “psychic predictions” might look like just a bit of fun, remember that uncritically reporting this nonsense as if it were real gives cover for vultures like Browne to prey on the recently bereaved. They also waste police time by forcing them to follow up their made-up psychic “impressions”. I did better than any of them by just guessing.

So if you’re wondering what 2008 will bring, the lesson here is to do yourself a favor and just think about it. Or, better yet, go out and make it happen (like whomever got Christina Aguilera pregnant did). And if you positively, absolutely must give someone money to make up amazing “paranormal” predictions off the top of their heads, get a skeptic. We’re much better at it!

Dear Christians: Thanks for Christmas, Love Atheists

December 25, 2007

Christian friends, the season is upon us. Not, as some of you seem to think, just your season either. Our season. All of us.

The fact is, any thriving society needs community holidays and social rituals. And Christmas is simply one of the finest ever conceived: a holiday that boasts its own distinct cultural spirit. If you think that non-believers can’t appreciate it, you’re quite wrong. Why would we need disown it, or turn up our nose at it? It’s as much ours as yours in its modern character and conception. We don’t even need to take the Christ out of Christmas: we can recognize its roots even as we enjoy its modern fruits, finding spiritual meaning in stories without having to believe in the supernatural pretensions. Mythology can be meaningful too, after all.

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The Ten Commandments are Not the Basis of Anything: Huckabee Edition

December 24, 2007

Pretty much the best way to tell if someone is truly full of it is if they insist that the Ten Commandments are the basis of the American legal system and philosophy. As countless skeptical folks have tried to explain, this argument is so patently absurd that you really have to wonder if the people claiming it have actually even read the “Ten Commandment”s in the first place. Ed Brayton over at Dispatches takes on the latest example of this claim: from a Presidential candidate no less. As he notes, as seems obvious, and yet as no theocratic activist seems to ever acknowledge, of the standard ten, only two would even be constitutional in the U.S., and even those two (against murder and theft) are common universals in nearly every society in recorded history.

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