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Author Topic:   Are the bulk of ID and Wedge arguments little more than the Chewbacca Defense?
Trae
Member (Idle past 2503 days)
Posts: 442
From: Fremont, CA, USA
Joined: 06-18-2004


Message 1 of 12 (466099)
05-13-2008 4:08 AM


Are the vast bulk of ID arguments and ID wedge strategies little more than the Chewbacca Defense?

I have one final thing I want you all to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, remember Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!

Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of two-foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this argument? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this argument! It does not make sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a major ID political organization, and I'm talkin' about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense!

None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you're deciding what is and what is not science, does it make sense to any old IDiot? No! Ladies and gentlemen, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must support Intelligent Design! I rest my argument.

The above is adapted from South Park, the “Chef Aid” episode.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ansg8BFbxc”


At first look, the above might seem absurd. The idea of a Chewbacca Defense is easy to dismiss due to its source. Still, animated shows like South Park and the Simpsons excel at social commentary.

Chewbacca Defense is a satirized account of Johnnie Cochran’s defense during O.J. Simpson murder trial.

One writer has defined the Chewbacca Defense as http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellis-weiner/d-is-for-diabolical_b_39491.html “>"someone asserts his claim by saying something so patently nonsensical that the listener's brain shuts down completely” I disagree with this description, though I grant it may be an sometime secondary effect of the defense. The Chewbacca Defense, I think, is better defined as an intentional obfuscation of an argument to create confusion for the purpose of allowing those viewing the argument to be able to rationalize away any legitimacy of the argument. In short, manufacture confusion so that one can point to and exploit the manufactured confusion and claim that the manufactured confusion amounts to reasonable doubt.

A couple of more recent ID arguments which constitute Chewbacca Defenses:

    The ‘Wedge Strategy’.
    ‘Teaching the Controversy’.

Phillip Johnson writes:

This isn't really, and never has been a debate about science. Its about religion and philosophy.
http://www.leaderu.com/pjohnson/world2.html


The ‘Wedge Strategy’ and ‘Teaching the Controversy’ are Chewbacca Defenses because instead of focusing on the actual scientific arguments in favor of the Theory of Evolution, the Chewbacca Defense instead seeks to create and exploit manufactured confusion for the purpose of reframing the question away from any scientific validity.

I have to ask, “Is it not fair to start pointing out that these wedge strategies are little more than lawyer and political tricks and it is not potentially beneficial to call it the Chewbacca Defense rather than or at least in conjunction with the less accessible ‘fallacies’?” After all the average person understands lawyer and political tricks far more then they understand logical fallacies.

Edited by Trae, : Refinded the OP.


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Admin, posted 05-13-2008 8:49 AM Trae has responded
 Message 5 by Larni, posted 05-15-2008 8:10 AM Trae has acknowledged this reply

  
Admin
Director
Posts: 12613
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Message 2 of 12 (466140)
05-13-2008 8:49 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Trae
05-13-2008 4:08 AM


This would go in the Intelligent Design forum.

Could you edit your post to include a couple examples of "ID arguments and ID wedge strategies" that are "little more than the Chewbacca Defense?" Post a note when you're done and I'll take another look.


--Percy
EvC Forum Director

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Trae
Member (Idle past 2503 days)
Posts: 442
From: Fremont, CA, USA
Joined: 06-18-2004


Message 3 of 12 (466415)
05-15-2008 12:17 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Admin
05-13-2008 8:49 AM


Is that more what you were looking for?
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Admin
Director
Posts: 12613
From: EvC Forum
Joined: 06-14-2002
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 4 of 12 (466473)
05-15-2008 7:55 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
Larni
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Posts: 3984
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 5 of 12 (466476)
05-15-2008 8:10 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Trae
05-13-2008 4:08 AM


I totally agree.

The position of ID and its identical twin creationism do not make sense.

Just like the wookie defence.


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Deftil
Member (Idle past 2652 days)
Posts: 128
From: Virginia, USA
Joined: 04-19-2008


Message 6 of 12 (466510)
05-15-2008 12:10 PM


So far, the Chewbacca defense is about all i've seen from the ID camp.

Ladies and gentleman, they are not making sense.


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Taz
Member (Idle past 1488 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 7 of 12 (466696)
05-16-2008 11:12 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by Deftil
05-15-2008 12:10 PM


Deftil writes:

So far, the Chewbacca defense is about all i've seen from the ID camp.


Unfortunately, it works very well against the common person, though. Juries often find the defendant not guilty simply because they mistook the confusion for reasonable doubt.

The chewbacca defense could also take another form that is less likely to be spotted. The defense (or IDer) could introduce an "expert" in DNA or cars or gun or whatever. Then the "expert" spends the next hour explaining in detail using very complicated words and phrases (fortune cookie language) something that almost has something to do with the case being discussed. It's close enough to the case that you think it's relevant to the case. But after of listening to the mumble jumble fortune cookie language, you are completely confused.

But here is the kicker. Most people don't want to ever admit that they are confused about something because the next guy over doesn't want to admit it. Makes them look like idiots. So, they'd go away with a confused state of mind, and voila we have reasonable doubt.

All you have to do is go to the spherical issue thread and read IamJoseph's posts to see a real live version of the chewbacca defense for ID and creationism.

The less educated a person is, the less likely he'd admit to being confused or not understand something. Unfortunately, most people out there aren't very educated about science. This is why the chewbacca defense works so well among the science uneducated.


I'm trying to see things your way, but I can't put my head that far up my ass.
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Trae
Member (Idle past 2503 days)
Posts: 442
From: Fremont, CA, USA
Joined: 06-18-2004


Message 8 of 12 (466923)
05-18-2008 4:51 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Taz
05-16-2008 11:12 AM


Agreed.

I think the Expelled movie is more of the same. I guess my question to you would be, “If the IDers are refining their attacks are the methods of science proponents well-suited to this particular challenge?”


This message is a reply to:
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 Message 9 by Taz, posted 05-18-2008 9:14 PM Trae has responded

  
Taz
Member (Idle past 1488 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 9 of 12 (466967)
05-18-2008 9:14 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Trae
05-18-2008 4:51 PM


I honestly don't know. In an ideal situation, I'd say we could simply expose the ID side and their bullshit with genuine science. But... we're not in an ideal situation. Most people out there don't even know the difference between a virus and a bacterium. I remember when I took psychology in college. Most people that were in my class were english majors and whatnot. Our instructor had the hardest time trying to explain evolution to everyone. I had already taken evolutionary biology at the time so I knew what was going on, but she had trouble explaining the very simple concepts of mutation and natural selection to most of the people in class.

In fact, I continue to find it hard to explain evolution to normal everyday people. They already have this misconception in mind about evolution (probably due to sci fi movies and creationist agenda) that evolution means a dog morphs into a cat and then morphs into a snake, or if you want to get interesting a person somehow grows a pair of wings and become "evolved". When I explain evolution to people, I usually have to try to explain to them that evolution isn't like that at all.

ID, on the other hand, has the advantage of simplicity. "Goddunit" takes almost no time at all to say. God (specifically the judeo-christian god) snaps his fingers and voila we have life. It's an intellectual dead-end, but it's also easy enough to understand that the common man finds it much easier to swallow than scientific theories.

So, my short answer to your question is I see a dark and grim future up ahead.


I'm trying to see things your way, but I can't put my head that far up my ass.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by Trae, posted 05-18-2008 4:51 PM Trae has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Trae, posted 05-20-2008 1:14 AM Taz has responded

  
Trae
Member (Idle past 2503 days)
Posts: 442
From: Fremont, CA, USA
Joined: 06-18-2004


Message 10 of 12 (467173)
05-20-2008 1:14 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Taz
05-18-2008 9:14 PM


True. I don’t think the science establishment is particularly helpful. We and they can claim that certain terms have specific meanings, such as theory, but I regularly see those same terms stretched to be near meaningless by scientists themselves. It certainly isn’t hard to find a nova documentary which has some person implying a ‘theory’ is something one can just come up with. Discovery Channel and History channel’s screening process seems even worse. I’m not sure what they wouldn’t present as science.

Perhaps the better solution is not to try to talk two different languages while spending so much effort trying to translate the entire discussion into science. Perhaps as much of the discussion as possible should be in populist terms.

Whenever we take the discussion away from what science knows into hair splitting terminology and logical arguments we simply setup a possible Chewbacca defense. Which is a better counter to the Chewbacca defense, “Science never knows anything for certain” or “The Theory of Evolution is as certain as pretty much anything else in science” in terms of explaining what is meant by scientific certainty?


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Taz
Member (Idle past 1488 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 11 of 12 (467177)
05-20-2008 1:50 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Trae
05-20-2008 1:14 AM


Trae writes:

Which is a better counter to the Chewbacca defense, “Science never knows anything for certain” or “The Theory of Evolution is as certain as pretty much anything else in science” in terms of explaining what is meant by scientific certainty?


I wouldn't say science never knows anything for certain. I'd say science refuses to claim to know anything with 100% certainty. This is what sets science apart from religion. Every religion that has ever existed has claimed to have the monopoly on "truth" with 100% certainty.

What I would try to do, then, is try to explain to the lay person that 100% certainty is impossible to achieve, period. Yes, most of the time this is an impossible task considering the fact that the better part of the population has been indoctrinated to believe that christianity is 100% certain of truth. This is why I also advocate the shut-the-hell-up policy. This is a simple policy. If you don't know diddly squat about science, shut the hell up.

I very often point this out to people. They don't see or hear about me telling my mechanic what to do. That's because, while I have a rudimentary knowledge of what's what in the car, I can't even begin to tell you how the hell I'd go about fixing the air conditioner... or replacing it. My ultimate aim is to spread the gospel of STHU to as many people as I can. You know, there's a reason why people don't see me in the geology forum.


I'm trying to see things your way, but I can't put my head that far up my ass.
This message is a reply to:
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Trae
Member (Idle past 2503 days)
Posts: 442
From: Fremont, CA, USA
Joined: 06-18-2004


Message 12 of 12 (467504)
05-22-2008 3:41 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Taz
05-20-2008 1:50 AM


quote:
What I would try to do, then, is try to explain to the lay person that 100% certainty is impossible to achieve, period.

I would suggest that concept of 100% certainty muddies a layman’s explanation. It shifts the discussion away from what is known to what is unknown. Yes it is valid in certain situations, but in others it is simply diversionary.
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