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What meaning empty rhetoric?

Post of the Month: May 2008


Subject:    | What is Intelligent Design?
Date:       | 30 May 2008
Message-ID: |

noctiluca wrote:
>> It has become apparent that what most of this thread is about
>> for him is damage control rather than discussion. He
>> initially expressed his opinion, then took offense almost
>> immediately that anyone would presume to invite him to defend
>> his perspective

Bill Conner wrote:
> Not really. I always know how my posts will be received and yet I do
> it anyway. I've posted hundreds of times in many groups for many years
> and mostly just pissed people off. My perspective in this and every
> other thread I've posted in is that reality is infinitely complex and
> endlessly interesting so, let's talk about it.

noctiluca wrote:
The evidence suggests that you do not wish to "talk about it." You appear to be committed to some set of ideas that you feel cast doubt upon evolution, yet for which you act to deflect all examination. The most parsimonious explanation for this attitude is that you have little better than a shallow understanding of these issues and, rather than sacrifice any of your certainty, retreat into repetition and equivocation.

But just in case you do actually want to talk about these things let me offer a brief little scenario, upon which you are not only free but encouraged to comment. Maybe it will allow us to get back into this topic in a (hopefully) productive way.

Imagine that you have found an intriguing stone after digging in your back yard; there is something in its appearance, perhaps shape or subtle color variation etc., that sets it apart from others you have found. You are curious, so you carry it next door to your neighbor whose profession, you happen to know, requires deep familiarity with the history and geology of your area. He looks at the stone and says confidently, "Oh, cool, you've found what appears to be a Juaneno burial token" (don't bother googling it, I made it up).

You look down at the stone in your hand, then back up again. What is the very next thing you say to him?

Okay, so maybe your first response is "Is it worth anything?" But let's skip past that. I think we can all agree that one of the first questions asked will be "How do you know?" Imagine your reaction if his reply takes one of the following forms,

- "Because that's what it looks like."
- "Well, it would be silly to deny it, everyone agrees on that."
- "I'm not saying it *is* a Juaneno burial token, I'm just saying
   that's what it appears to be."
- "The fact that you ask that just shows that you don't allow for the
   existence of Juaneno Indians in your worldview."

If you understand why none of these responses furthers your understanding of Juaneno Indian artifacts, maybe you'll appreciate some of our frustration with your participation in this thread.

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