I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Scientific American duped by Wickedpedia

A report of a roundtable discussion between Scientific American magazine editors and Mark Mathis, associate producer of the movie "Expelled," said,

One point requires response here. Mathis charged that some 92 percent of the judge’s decision in the Dover intelligent design trial was copied directly from papers filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). We said we would follow up and find out the truth. We did. In fact, Mathis was wrong in three ways. One, even the Discovery Institute’s own charge is that the judge copied 90.9 percent of ACLU material for one specific section in the judge’s decision. Second, a correct statistical workup finds that the number is as low as 35 percent, depending on whether you include material filed that is not included in the decision and the length of word strings. But the most important point is one that I guessed at in the conversation. We spoke to actual legal experts who told us that when the sides in a trial file their facts, it is with the hope that they make the case strongly enough for the judge to incorporate their texts into the finding of fact section of the decision. Therefore the charges that Mathis makes against Judge Jones are both incorrect in detail and spurious in spirit. For more information, you can go to footnote 88 in the Wikipedia entry on the Discovery Institute. There’s more info on the permissibility of using filed facts in a decision at The Panda’s Thumb Web site, pandasthumb.org. It’s an entry called "Weekend at Behe’s" dated December 12, 2006.

Regarding the Discovery Institute's charge that 90.9 percent of the Dover opinion's ID-as-science section was copied from an ACLU brief (the DI report that originally made the charge is here) --
(1) The Wickedpedian control-freak administrators refused to post a link to the DI's defense of the charge.

(2) The Wickedpedian adiminstrators refused to post criticism or a link to criticism of the computer method used to obtain much lower estimates of the extent of copying.

Wickedpedia has no credibility. The smoking gun is in the following Wickedpedia discussion pages for the article titled "Discovery Institute" -- "Casey Luskin", "Text Comparison", and "Appeals Court opinion". These are archived discussion pages -- some of the comments in them have since been censored by the Wickedpedian control-freak administrators.

Here is an excerpt from these discussion pages:
The text comparison cited in the court opinion required only a simple word-finding function, which even the simplest word-processing programs possess (i.e., the program counted the number of times "creation" or "creationism" appeared and the number of times that "intelligent design" was substituted). A simple word-finding function is trivial in comparison to your program's attempt to compare ideas of the opinion's ID-as-science section and the ACLU's "proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law " brief (a discussion of Elsberry's computerized comparison of the opinion and the ACLU brief is here). Using a computer program to compare ideas in two different texts is unreliable -- particularly when the program shows a low correlation -- because ideas can remain unchanged while substituting synonyms, inserting or deleting superfluous or non-essential words, paraphrasing text, and scrambling sentences and paragraphs. The only reliable way to compare the ideas in two different texts is by a side-by-side visual comparison of the two texts, and the Discovery Institute's report showed the two texts side by side for a visual comparison. The similarity of ideas in the opinion and the ACLU brief is readily apparent in this side-by-side comparison. BTW, I don't accept the DI's 90.9% text correlation figure either.

Your statement here that your program is "approved for use and considered authoritative in Federal court" is a gross misrepresentation. You failed to show that even a single judge ever accepted the results of your program for the purpose that you claimed here: a comparison of the ideas in two different texts as opposed to mere word-finding, which virtually any word-processing program can do. Furthermore, your statement "approved for use and considered authoritative in Federal court" implies approval by the entire federal court system whereas you have not shown approval by even a single federal judge.

And here is another quote --

You folks are really making a mountain out of a molehill by making such a big stink about adding a rebuttal from the Discovery Institute. You are contributing to Wikipedia's already bad reputation as an unreliable source.


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Anonymous Anonymous Rex said...

> Wickedpedia has no credibility. <

Obviously it has a great deal of credibility except in some piddly school district and in the rantings of non-notable and crappy blogs.

Sunday, April 13, 2008 8:25:00 AM  

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