Saturday, February 06, 2010

Cashill on Sternberg

It's interesting to compare this screed by creepy far-right loony Jack Cashill on the Sternberg affair with this one by Ed Brayton. Sternberg, as you may recall, was the editor who published Stephen Meyer's lousy paper on intelligent design in Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington.

Note the differences: Cashill claims Sternberg "learned first hand the lengths that establishment will go to suppress dissent", while Brayton observes that "The evidence does not support the conclusion that Sternberg was discriminated against in any material way".

Cashill claims Meyer's paper was "tightly argued" but somehow fails to mention the fact that the paper's claims have been rebutted in detail. Cashill also somehow fails to mention that the Biological Society of Washington issued a disclaimer about the Meyer paper.

Cashill claims that "hell ... rained down upon" Sternberg after the publication of the paper. But Brayton points out that, in fact, "Sternberg has grossly exaggerated several alleged instances of “retaliation” in the early days of the scandal."

But when you're a far-right loony commentator, the facts don't really concern you. All that matters is making points against those damned godless liberal evilutionists.


Bill said...

Pesky things facts.

Like the fact that Sternberg gave a paper at a closed ID conference in 2002.

Like the fact that Sternberg and Meyer discussed the possibility of publishing since Sternberg was "sympathetic" to ID.

Like the fact that Meyer's paper was the only one in the Proceedings without an abstract, nor was it read by any of the associate editors, nor was it proof-read by associate editors.

Like the fact that Sternberg did this once before with a paper suspected of no peer review, rejected by the associate editors but published anyway.

Like the fact that Sternberg pulled this off as his ultimate act as editor having already ended his tenure, sort of like farting in a crowded elevator prior to getting off on your floor.

Pesky things facts. They get in the way of the persecution narrative.

Sternberg didn't do anything illegal but he betrayed trust and destroyed his professional reputation. All by himself. And for what?

Anonymous said...

Why are we still talking about this ~5 years after the fact?

Mike from Ottawa said...

Because creationists are unscrupulous and even made-up examples of oppression, like Sternberg, are few and far between.

Miranda said...

Something tells me that you don't buy Cashill's theory that Bill Ayers wrote much of Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Something tells me that you don't buy Cashill's theory that Bill Ayers wrote much of Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father.

It's a possibility. I'm willing to be persuaded, but so far the evidence that Cashill has produced is pretty meager and unconvincing. For example, he touts a study by Chris Yavelow, yet the actual text of that study doesn't seem to be available anywhere.

Miranda said...

I honestly appreciate and like your response.

Concerning the Yavelow study, could this be it?
(see the bottom for a pdf)

Maybe this doesn't count; I'm not sure. (Sorry for derailing the thread; I was just trying to be cute the first time.)

Jeffrey Shallit said...


Thanks - I had not seen that. But this kind of analysis doesn't convince me. It does not suffice to take two works and compare them like this to show their similarity. What you need to do is show that the two works are disproportionately similar when considered among a collection of many works. If Yavelow had done the same analysis with some other similar autobiographies written by other people, would he have come up with similar signatures? From his report, we don't know.