That's Mighty Selective Quoting, Salvador
My occasional sparring partner Salvador Cordova just provided me with an abject lesson in why it is important to never, ever, say anything remotely nice about an ID proponent.
In yesterday's post I briefly discussed one of William Dembski's recent technical mathematics papers. Dembski has been promoting these papers as a solid mathematical foundation for his bloviations about ID.
I focussed on the main result from one of these papers, and argued that it had no relevance at all to evolution. I also said that he has merely translated into fancy math jargon the bad argument he previously made in one of his popular level books. Then I suggested that Dembski writes these papers for the sole purpose of insulating himself from critics. Want to criticize me? Slog through all of this technical math and then we'll talk.
All in all, not a very flattering post. But I also observed that Dembski's theorem, as a statement in formal mathematics, appears to be unobjectionable. I further noted that I never questioned Dembski's ability to manipulate symbols with reasonable facility.
You would think that saying that the only thing that Dembski, who does, after all, have a PhD in mathematics, got right was his symbol manipulation would not be cause for celebration. But Salvador was quite excited. In a comment to this post over at Dembski's blog (scroll down to comment 18) he wrote the following:
I should note, Jason Rosenhouse thinks your calculations are impeccable.
“As an exercise in formal mathematics the paper seems unobjectionable. I have never questioned Dembski’s ability to manipulate symbols in accordance with the rules of algebra and calculus.”
Salvador, you might at least have mentioned that this was a prelude to a harsh criticism of Dembski's theorem.
But since you have decided to quote me so selectively, you could at least have gotten it right. I did not say Dembski's calculations are impeccable. I said his formal manipulations seem unbjectionable. That's hardly the same.
I should also point out that I have not personally chased through every line of Dembski's proof. The theorem itself seems correct, given the idiosyncratic way in which Dembski defined his terms, and I was simply assuming that he possesses some bare minimum level of competence in mathematics.
On the other hand, not everyone has the same confidence in Dembski's ability to manipulate symbols that I have. See David Wilson's critical commentary regarding one of Dembski's earlier papers.