Dembski Recruits O’Leary

Over at his Uncommon Descent weblog, William Dembski has set about a reorganization. His “blog-czar” for the last several months, David Scott Springer, is stepping down from moderation duties. In Springer’s place comes Denyse O’Leary, the pseudo-journalist and ID-advocate-who-will-pout-if-you-call-her-an-ID-advocate. Denyse, though, is going to get equal billing on the weblog, a consideration never countenanced for Springer.

You may remember Denyse from the Discovery Institute’s showing of “Privileged Planet” at the Smithsonian Institution in 2005. The DI had arranged the showing via the Creative Response Concepts PR agency, and all was set for essentially a stealth endorsement-by-implication as the Smithsonian routinely permits donors to add its own “sponsored by” line to invitations. Enter Denyse. A few weeks before the event, Denyse announced the affair on her weblog. From there, the Smithsonian became aware of the problem they were letting themselves in for and did what they could to implement damage control. Without Denyse’s timely alert, the event might have slid right by everyone, and we would have had the DI claiming that that Smithsonian approved of at least part of their program forever.

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Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

11 thoughts on “Dembski Recruits O’Leary

  • 2006/07/18 at 1:03 pm
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    I was thinking that if they wanted to rename the blog, “WADDOL” might not be a bad starting place. “DOLWAD”, though, just isn’t euphonious.

  • 2006/07/19 at 6:27 am
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    You may also remember Denyse from her scientifically content-free discussions about evolution on the ASA weblist.

  • 2006/07/19 at 3:13 pm
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    What do you mean, she pouts if you call her an ID advocate?

  • 2006/07/20 at 5:05 am
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    Maybe she’s given it up recently, but for several years whenever she was called an ID advocate, her response was that she was an objective journalist and not an advocate of anything.

    Consider her response from this interview:

    There are lots of books attacking evolution or advocating for intelligent design (ID)—such as Darwin on Trial or The Case for a Creator. What’s different about your book?

    By Design or by Chance? wasn’t written to attack evolution or to advocate intelligent design. It was written to explain what all the shouting is about. It is aimed at a general audience, not necessarily a Christian one. In 1996, a political science prof based in Toronto urged me, as a journalist, to address the unseemly and unscholarly attacks on mathematician David Berlinski, for daring to question Darwinism. I ended up writing a book. In the course of writing, I came to the conclusion that intelligent design is more plausible than Darwinism, as an explanation for the life we see around us. By Design or by Chance? is not written to advocate Christianity. I am a traditional Christian, but I recognize that most faiths represented on this planet can account for intelligent design. Only atheistic secularism cannot. The question must be decided on evidence.

  • 2006/07/20 at 6:18 am
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    Ah, I see. So just as those kansas standards advocate ID and then claim they don’t, Denyse advocates ID and then claims she doesn’t.

  • 2006/07/25 at 7:59 am
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    Name calling is really all you pussies have left, isn’t it? (That’s called irony; but a different kind of irony than the one where you talk about science but, well, you’re smart enough to take it from there.)

  • 2006/07/25 at 10:58 am
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    I can’t even claim disappointment, as I wasn’t expecting better from the UD crowd.

    There’s a long tradition in antievolution advocates of claiming credentials beyond what the evidence supports. There is a difference between an advocate and a journalist. One can be a commentator, which is a reasonable title for what DOL has produced and done, and no less honorable for being accurate.

  • 2006/07/26 at 12:50 am
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    Ditto! What credentials do you have that is supported by evidence?

  • 2006/07/26 at 12:55 am
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    Maybe you can explain in a more elaborate way what YOU mean by “a journalist”! I would like to see a definition, and also a definition of “a commentator”. Maybe we can dissolve a misunderstaning!

  • 2006/07/26 at 3:00 am
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    I find it interesting how often moral relativism is espoused by antievolution advocates, which is evidenced by the use of the tu quoque (“you, too”) fallacy. I haven’t disputed any data item in DOL’s resume. My curriculum vitae is online, which is the same level of documentation as what we’re talking about.

    I’ve already mentioned on PT that there’s more to being a journalist than selling articles to short-turnaround media. One of the places that one can learn more about “journalism” and its practice is the Society of Professional Journalists.

    Preamble
    Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society’s principles and standards of practice.

  • 2006/07/26 at 12:29 pm
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    Over on UD, William Dembski asks:

    If Denyse is in fact a real journalist, does that make Elsberry a “pseudo-blogger”?

    No, Bill; it would mean that I was mistaken. Given the prevalence of error within your own work, one would think that you already understood this sort of thing.

    However, so far there seems to be no indication that I am in error on this point. I already stipulate the list of publication credits; that isn’t the issue. Some years ago I explained why I did not defer to Henry Morris’s request to call “scientific creationism” by the new moniker, “creation science”. On the Calvin Evolution list, I was asked why I was not being polite to Morris. My reply was that I’m all for politeness, except where it would entail complicity. In that case, it would have been complicit in marketing something that wasn’t science as if it were science. In DOL’s case, I have no interest in helping to market her as something that, in my opinion, she isn’t. She is a commentator and advocate by my reading of her stuff.

    I do have a background with a small amount of training in journalism and a larger amount of experience doing it. It is unfair in my opinion to accord DOL with a label that others have worked hard to make mean something.

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