Saturday, August 18, 2012

IrrationalWiki

The guardians of intellectual propriety at RationalWiki.org (un)kindly have taken notice of the star larvae hypothesis. Here are some of the things that you can learn about the hypothesis by reading its entry on the wiki.
  • It is a creationist hypothesis. (The star larvae hypothesis has no use for, nor does it address, supernaturalism, so how it qualifies as creationism is hard to figure, unless creationism has an infinitely elastic definition.)
  • Its mix of ideas includes “religious creationist arguments” and “paranormal topics.” (The hypothesis includes creationist arguments only insofar as it includes arguments that are critical of the theory of natural selection, but the criticisms of natural selection have no root in any religious consideration.  The hypothesis has no use for, nor does it address, paranormal topics, unless one is using “normal” in the Kuhnian sense, in which case any reference to anomalous data is a reference to something “para”normal.)
  • It is guilty of “quote mining and misrepresenting the Gaia hypothesis and panspermia ideas of Fred Hoyle.” (The hypothesis cites sources in the ordinary way that such presentations do. If there’s any mining, it’s in the sidebar quotes, but those are for color. They’re not essential to the hypothesis. The accusation of misrepresentation is strange, but mudslingers tend not to aim very carefully.)
  • It denies macroevolution and claims there are no transitional fossils. (This characterization could be made only by someone who has not read, or understood, the hypothesis.) 
And so on goes the entry, into assertions about the author’s lack of relevant education, his religious fundamentalism, and his paranoia about “a conspiracy by the scientific community to deny his hypothesis”. Actually, the scientific community doesn’t seem to have taken any notice of the hypothesis; I’d be thrilled if a scientist took time to bash it.

I can’t help but ponder the P.R. cliché about no publicity being bad publicity. Since the wiki entry appeared, visits to the star larvae site have ticked up a bit.