Saturday, June 04, 2005

Paging David Berlinski...

This past April evolution critic David Berlinski published this editorial in The Daily Californian. It began as follows:

Wearing pink tasseled slippers and conical hats covered in polka dots, Darwinian biologists are persuaded that a plot is afoot to make them look silly. At Internet web sites such as The Panda's Thumb or Talk Reason, where various eminences repair to assure one another that all is well, it is considered clever beyond measure to attack critics of Darwin's theory such as William Dembski by misspelling his name as William Dumbski.

As I pointed out in this previous blog entry, Berlinski simply invented out of whole cloth the idea that anyone affiliated with Talk Reason or The Panda's Thumb considers it clever to misspell William Dembski's name.

In a subsequent exchange of letters with the editors of Talk Reason, Berlinski wrote the following:

What is at issue is whether you regard infantile verbal abuse ranging from the distasteful /(William Dumbski, How creationists suck/) to the contemptuous (/The Art of ID Stuntmen/, /Icons of Obfuscation/) as clever. I have no way directly of knowing, of course. For all I know you may collectively wince when you read such stuff. If so, you have not winced conspicuously, the more so, I am minded to add, since you seem either to have written or to endorsed some of the stuff in question.

As I argued in my previous blog entry, there was no “infantile verbal abuse” going on in the examples Berlinski cites.

But since Berlinski seems terribly concerned about the level of discourse in this area, I'm sure he must be terribly disturbed by William Dembski's recent use of the term “Darwhiner” to describe his opponents. Meanwhile, ID proponent Denyse O'Leary prefers the term “Darwinbot”. In the comments to Dembski's post, O'Leary weighs in with some thoughts about the proper usage of such terms. Meanwhile, in the comments to this post over at John Lynch's excellent blog Stranger Fruit we find John Davison weighing in with “Darwimpian”.

Do you think Mr. Berlinski will open his next editorial with a criticism of the low level of discourse coming from his side of this issue?


At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wearing pink tasseled slippers and conical hats covered in polka dots, Darwinian biologists...."
I would say that Berlinski's first line is insulting (I am guessing that he's trying to imply that biologists are goofy or something), idiosyncratically odd (where does he get his fashion sense of absurdity?), and polemical (Darwinian?).

At 6:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

low level of discourse coming from his side of this issue

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

At 2:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet Berlinski has not attacked Jerry Bergman and John Woodmorpe who are both made a career out of attacks of the people behind evolution.

John A. Davison is using the term "Darwimpian" in comments in the "Stranger Fruit" blog.

At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I derived the term "darwimp" from Grasse's comment that Darwinists speak with what he called Olympian assurance. Olympian and Darwimpian. Get it?

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At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is late and the issue may no longer be pertinent, but for the record at least I agree completely with you that infantile verbal abuse remains infantile verbal abuse no matter the source. I am an all purpose deplorer in this respect. When I am next invited to say so in an editorial, I will say so. DB

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