SocraticGadfly: 2/13/05 - 2/20/05

February 17, 2005

MLB: Asterisks, stripped records or what?

So, should proven Major League Baseball steroid losers be stripped of any records they hold or awards they won? Should asterisks be put next to their names?
None of the above, says Gordon Edes, a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America and a reporter for the Boston Globe.
"That's inconceivable to me. Like it or not, steroids were not a banned substance at that time in Major League Baseball. That would be like rewriting the rulebook after something happened. But I do think it could impact judgment when it comes down to Hall of Fame voting."

This in response to former Red Sox slugger Mike Greenwell indicating he now feels cheated out of the 1988 American League MVP award by Jose Canseco.

In a word, Gordon, bullshit. Use of steroids for non-medically indicated reasons was just as illegal then as today. And players knew it.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in the baseball world, current St. Louis Cardinals and former Oakland A’s manager Tony LaRussa None of the above, says admits he knew Mark McGwire had a “helper” when he was with the A’s. In addition, Washington Post sportswriter Thomas Boswell has claimed LaRussa was his source for a 1988 story about steroids in baseball.

So, Does Big Mac now get ready to change his denial of steroid use?

And fans, this Bud’s not really for you

What about MLB itself, where security chief Kevin Hallinan denies FBI Special Agent Greg Stejskal told him about steroid usage in baseball a decade ago.

If Commissioner Bug Selig had any integrity, he would immediately suspend Hallinan, announce an investigation, and use this as leverage to tighten up MLB’s steroid testing, and maybe try to get amphetamines thrown in there too.

But, I’m not holding my breath.

Ahmed “I left my heart in Teheran” Chalabi, Iraqi PM?

According to Yahoo, he’s one of two finalists, the winner to be chosen by a secret ballot canvass.

It would be funny, ironic and more, in a sense (as well as ridiculous, sad and stupid), to see him win. I’d love to see BushCo try to spin the positives in this one.

February 16, 2005

Dawkins and Dennett -- willful tar babies to Behe and Dembski?

That's exactly the charge leveled against the two “neo-Darwinian bulldogs” by Bruce H. Weber and David J. Depew in the great new book “Debating Design.”

DD, coedited by Dembski and Michael Ruse, has an overview chapter for both the evolutionary and the ID sides.

It then has four main sections of four chapters each.

The first goes to orthodox Darwinians. The fourth goes to IDers.

The third goes to theistic evolutionists who don't necessary accept the natural theology (i.e. the compulsion to develop an argument to design) of IDers.

The second section is led off by Stuart Kauffman of the Santa Fe Institute, one of the leading proponents and developers of self-organized complexity in biological evolution, as part of a larger focus on issues of complexity theory in general.

He is followed by Weber and Depew. Not in any way sympathetic to IDers, they nevertheless also excoriate Dennett and Dawkins as “hyperadaptationists" and charge that they, the DDers, deliberately take a polar opposition to BeDemski, who in turn in developing new speculation, go with something guaranteed to generate a polar response from the DDers.

To the degree that I believe elements of complexity theory, including evolution by parallel processes, lie outside of at least a narrow reading of orthdox neo-Darwinianism, I think the authors have a very valid point.

Remember, contesting unscientific speculation being passed off as scientific undercutting of the validity of evolutionary processes in general does not mean holding a rabid partisan ship for any one narrow and particularist neo-Darwinism.

The Intelligent Designer of the gaps

This is the first note in what will eventually be several comments in review of "Debating Design," the 2004 book that lays out IDers, traditional neo-Darwinists, self-organizing complexity gurus like Stuart Kaufmann asking the Dennetts and Dawkineses of the world to look outside their narrow Darwinian boxes for evolutionary explanatory power, and theistic evolutionists who don't buy into the natural theology of IDers.

That said, Bruce Weber and David Depew, in their piece, immediately following Kaufmann, definitely stimulated my thinking.

They got me to thinking the more BeDemski's objections to specific organs, functions, catalytic processes, etc. as being "irreudicbly complex" get shot down, the more and more their Deisgner becomes a Designer of the gaps.

And anyone with an open mind and any philosophical insight knows what happened to any gods of the gaps.

February 13, 2005

Wingers must politicize everything

Don’t buy the lies that progressives are the ones politicizing Iraq.

The Wall Street Journal opines that Iraqi voters should get this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

No doubt to be followed by W. being awarded the honor next year.

Instead, we could give him the economics prize at the same time. That would be either for various misappropriations of funds, or nonappropriation to the Iraqi people, for rebuilding that land, or numerous transgressions here. (Fill in blank for your particular favorite.)