Sunday, January 17, 2010

More Mind-Boggling Stupidity from O'Leary

Denyse O'Leary, the World's Worst Journalist™, is at it again.

Here she fulminates against Richard Dawkins in her inimitable mangled syntax, quoted exactly as written:

[About time someone said the obvious. Darwinism does not work, Never has, never will. Kept alive by a taxpayer-funded, court-supported Darwin industry that is nearly a century old.[A shame and a scandal, and a waste of tax money. For the moment, I will set aside the completely ridiculous quasi-religious obsequies paid to Darwin. It got so bad that Darwin was compared to Lincoln. And while we are here, Dawkins claims he cannot produce an original statement of his big no-design theory - though professionals associated with the goals of this site reconstructed it - and it doesn't work.

Translation for those who don't speak Denysish:

"taxpayer-funded, court-supported Darwin industry" = evolutionary biologists who have forgotten more science than Denyse ever knew. Denyse's fulminations against academia remind me of this quote from Gordon Allport: "College professors are suspect because whenever emotion is in control, anti-intellectualism prevails."

"Dawkins claims he cannot produce an original statement of his big no-design theory" = intelligent design crackpots making a big deal out of the fact that Dawkins no longer has his original BASIC program for his famous "Methinks it is like a weasel" example of how natural selection can do hill-climbing. Never mind the fact that any idiot can produce a functionally equivalent program in a few minutes. Well, maybe not any idiot.

"professionals associated with the goals of this site reconstructed it - and it doesn't work" = pure hogwash. The idea works, and is used all the time in industry.

And she calls herself a journalist!

Note added January 19: O'Leary has now edited her page to remove one (but not all) of the syntax errors. The original version is preserved above for posterity.


Harriet said...

"And she calls herself a journalist! "
Unfortunately I see nothing in her statements which would make me think that she isn't a journalist.

I've actually had journalists who report on environmental issues tell me that she had no need to know any mathematics to understand what was going on.

Joel said...

Quite frankly, that had nothing on her stylish refutation of self-organisation (comment #5).

Unknown said...

Wow, the cans in her library don't self organize, therefore self-organization does not occur. I guess IDers think that snowflakes require an intelligent snowflake designer. Not naming any names of course, but could it be Frosty the Snowman?

Filipe Calvario (from Brazil) said...

I wish the policy of "not feeding the trolls" were also applied to creationists. They would not feel reinforced to keep posting such trash, and we would have skeptical and intelligent bloggers posting more frequently on more enlightening subjects.

Blake Stacey said...

O'Leary and company's demands to see Dawkins' original code for his WEASEL program is a fascinating bit of creationist psychology at work. Thousands of people have independently reproduced Dawkins' result; genetic algorithms and evolutionary programming techniques are routinely used to solve problems much thornier than matching a string, even problems where the number and variety of acceptable solutions is not known a priori. If a printout of his original Apple BASIC showed up behind a sofa somewhere, it would be an interesting historical curiosity, but nothing more.

Were all of Isaac Newton's scratchwork on the problem of gravity lost in a terrible conflagration, we would not float up to the ceiling. Historians would mourn the loss of Newton's notebooks, and we'd have a harder time figuring out how he made this deduction or that, but even without knowing all the intermediate steps he took, other scientists could reproduce and check his final results.

Of course, if Dawkins' BASIC program did turn up, O'Leary would just shift the goalposts and make a new demand, probably never admitting that the old one had been met. She wants the WEASEL's long-form birth certificate, you betcha!

(Well, Dawkins was born in Kenya, after all.)

Valhar2000 said...

Filipe, unfortuantely, creationists are fed, sometimes quite luxuriously, by other creationists who consume their output, so asking the people here to ignore will not in any way affect their bottom line.

Indeed, since they are publicizing themselves anyway, our pointing out their idiocy can only help, by making some people who might otherwise be taken in aware of their lies.

Anonymous said...

I commented on Dembski’s debate against Lewis Wolpert on Premier Christian Radio’s Unbelievable? and made the point that IDer’s obsession with low probability is irrelevant since improbable events happen every day:

If you crunch the numbers in relation to your own birth (i.e. the probability that a particular sperm united with a particular egg multiplied by the probability that your parents met and repeated the calculation back until the beginning of time), you will get a fantastically low probability.

O’ Leary posted a response on Uncommon Descent that made no sense at all:

I cannot bring my parents into this (O’Leary, b 1950), because they are still alive.

But let me bring my grandparents, now happily at rest, into it instead: They kept trying and they got what they wanted.

The stats are 9 children on one side and 10 on the other, all born alive, no early deaths. That shows what intelligent design can do.

And if you have a problem with that, call on me only if you want a door slammed in your face for free. No need to go to the local Madam. That would happen here whether you enjoy it or not.

She didn’t even take the time to look at my “About” page where she would have seen that I am very much a “New Atheist” and not a Christian preacher shouting out against intelligent design.

My Internet moniker is borrowed from my favourite rock band, who are from Wales and never broke the States, which is why the reference was obviously lost on Denyse, but even so.