Yang Yang posted Entry 878 on March 15, 2005 10:08 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/876

With any tavern, one can expect that certain things that get said are out-of-place. But there is one place where almost any saying or scribble can find a home: the bathroom wall. This is where random thoughts and oddments that don’t follow the other entries at the Panda’s Thumb wind up. As with most bathroom walls, expect to sort through a lot of oyster guts before you locate any pearls of wisdom.

The previous wall got a little cluttered, so we’ve splashed a coat of paint on it.

Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org. See our full disclaimer.

Comment #20375

Posted by Michael Finley on March 15, 2005 5:34 PM (e)

Emanuele wrote:

Therefore, the probability of at least one universe generating sentient life is, unsurprisingly, one.

By your (incorrect) use of “probability,” if a coin is tossed a single time and comes up heads, the probability of the result was one. Take the value of gravity (whatever it is). Even if the present universe is the only universe to have existed, it is possible that the value of gravity could have been different than it is.

Now, it’s up to the supporters of a “designed universe” to show that any other universe was/is possible. As long as they don’t do so, they can only grasp at straws and imagine that somehow this universe was/is “unlikely” (a completely meaningless term, used this way).

Thus, meaningful talk of possible universes does not depend on the existence of previous universes.

DaveScot wrote:

Any theory of everything leads to an infinite logical regress. If God created the universe then where did God come from?

Agreed (though I was specifically interested in the chain of temporal causes; temporal causes are within the realm of science, while logical causes are the pervue of metaphysics). And the only way to avoid the logical regress is to posit a first cause that justifies itself. Aquinas does just that be defining God as a being whose essence is existence. Without such a being, you’re left with an unexplained first principle.

I can’t resist a digression: don’t you find the notion of 11-dimensional space incoherent. Whatever string theorists are talking about, it isn’t space. When they try to interpret the math, they end up using everyday spatial metaphors that break down when pushed. At first glance, it seems like a textbook case of language run amok at the frontiers of science (akin to “unconscious thought”).

Comment #20378

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 15, 2005 5:59 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #20379

Posted by David Heddle on March 15, 2005 6:10 PM (e)

NOTE TO ALL: I am pledging polite conversation regardless of insults, and will avoid theology unless it is relevant. If you want to discuss theology with me, come over to my site.

Emanuele,

Could the universe appear anything but designed

I would say yes. If the universe were such that any old value of the expansion rate would lead to galaxies, and any old nuclear chemistry would result in supernovae, and any old value of planck’s constant would result in the necessary amount of quantum tunneling, etc,–then that universe would not have an appearance of design.

By the way, the inifinite number of universes that was discussed earlier–I think it was moved, is not possible–at least not in the expand-collapse scenario, because of thermodynamics. (Not to mention that the expansion of the present universe is accelerating instead of decelerating.)

Comment #20380

Posted by Michael Finley on March 15, 2005 6:39 PM (e)

Emanuele,

The way you are using “probability” makes the notion of an unrealized possibility meaningless.

One determines a physical possibility, not by the observation of different outcomes, but by whether or not the considered event contradicts a law of nature.

Since we are here discussing possibilities of natural laws, the measure cannot be natural laws. It must be logical contradiction. And as a different value for gravity does not involve a logical contradiction, it is “possible.”

Comment #20381

Posted by Flint on March 15, 2005 6:49 PM (e)

If the universe were such that any old value of the expansion rate would lead to galaxies, and any old nuclear chemistry would result in supernovae, and any old value of planck’s constant would result in the necessary amount of quantum tunneling, etc,—then that universe would not have an appearance of design.

As a mental exercise, try to imagine a universe where any of these postulates would actually work. I mean, a single, definable universe. I doubt even The Great Designer Himself could produce such a thing. Objects are defined by parameters. If any parameter whatsoever is as good as any other, you don’t have an object at all. You don’t have anything.

Comment #20382

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 15, 2005 6:58 PM (e)

Michael,

Please distinguish before the fact and after the fact. If I haven’t tossed a coin, the probability of each face coming up is 1/2. If I have tossed that coin, there is no more uncertainty: it either came up heads or it came up tails. No more 50-50; 0-100 or 100-0.

Now, if we are to discuss how “likely” or “unlikely” this universe is, we must admit up front that we have only this universe to observe, so any declaration of “likelihood” or “unlikelihood” is meaningless.

This universe is, and that’s all we know. We don’t know whether it is one in a gazillion universes, each with imperceptibly different physical constants, or it came out this way simply because there was no other possible way, or it came out this way because, well, it had to come out one way or another and this happened to be the way the chips fell.

Since we don’t know this, we don’t know how likely or unlikely it really is.

Is this difficult to admit?

We don’t even know whether the theoretical universe mentioned by Mr. Heddle, i.e. one that would not appear designed, is possible. Sure, finding one such universe would be powerful evidence for our own being designed… otherwise, it remains a quaint mind experiment with no evidential value whatsoever.

Comment #20383

Posted by David Heddle on March 15, 2005 7:07 PM (e)

Emanuelle,

While it is true we cannot say anything about the probability of this universe, would you agree or disagree that the appearance of fine-tuning motivates some scientists to look for cosmologies to replace the current big-bang model?

Flint:

Try not to just jump on imprecise language. What I meant was, much looser constraints on those things than presently exists.

Comment #20405

Posted by PJF on March 15, 2005 9:19 PM (e)

And on the “appearance of fine-tuning” (or design, or whatever…).

On faced with such an “appearance” (or even the “feeling of an appearance”), it’s perfectly rational to look not for the thing “in the world” that caused the appearance (the “Designer” or the “fine-tuner”), but to look instead for the things internal to ourselves that give rise to the feeling in the first place.

When we see the face on Mars, it’s one strategy to go looking for the folks that built it. It’s another to start wondering why we tend to see faces in rock formations, clouds, and whatnot. That latter strategy is far superior, given the ontological implications of the former: it’s too indulgent, postulating monument-building martians, or eternal designers, as it does. Given the success of the less “fanciful” theory (ie; that we’re just prone to see faces in things, due to some – usually handy – neural wiring, or here; that we tend to see the universe as “fine-tuned”, when we’re really more like the puddle of water marvelling how the depression in the ground fits it so snugly), the former shouldn’t earn much respect.

(And yes, I’m using a lot of scare quotes; but these are some instances of pretty unseemly mental hygiene – I’d rather keep my gloves on, so to speak.)

Comment #20418

Posted by steve on March 15, 2005 11:06 PM (e)

creationists, they do suck.

Comment #20419

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 15, 2005 11:07 PM (e)

Mr. Heddle:

While it is true we cannot say anything about the probability of this universe, would you agree or disagree that the appearance of fine-tuning motivates some scientists to look for cosmologies to replace the current big-bang model?

I can’t read minds, and frankly, as long as scientists do science, I couldn’t care less about their motivations.

If the big-bang model can accurately account for the data we have available, there is no particular need to replace it; if it doesn’t, every cosmologist worth his/her PhD should feel the need for a better model.

Here is where we part ways: you say “appearance of fine-tuning” and I say “appearance of fine-tuning”, but we don’t seem to be saying the same thing.

You seem to mean (correct me if I’m wrong) that our universe appears “fine-tuned” and therefore there must have been some kind of entity or agent that did an actual “tuning” of some sort; I see this “appearance” as the inevitable by-product of our anthropocentric point of view; we cannot but perceive an appearance of design.

If the universe were any other way and still supported some kind of sentient life, there would probably be a super-intelligent shade of the color purple named “Davidheddle” who would argue with a fellow shade “Emanueleoriano” using trivial variations of your arguments.

If the universe were any other way and, alas, could not support any form of sentient life, there would be no discussion.

The appearance of design cannot be avoided, except in your entirely hypothetical “flexible” universe. I already said that, if we found out that such a universe existed, that would be very strong evidence that our own was indeed “fine-tuned”.

Barring such evidence, however, I provisionally accept this universe as the only one we know for sure exists… and the appearance of “fine-tuning” as little different from the appearance of being at the centre of the universe.

Comment #20420

Posted by Henry J on March 15, 2005 11:08 PM (e)

Wayne,

Re “Filtering is great…”
What’ve you got there, a program that takes a downloaded html file and removes selected parts of it?
I have a program that takes the html and makes a text file out of it, to make it easy to keep posts I want (and discard what I don’t want). Since that leaves me reading the stuff in a text editor, it’s fairly easy to delete posts I don’t want to bother with, so I haven’t bothered to automatically delete based on user id (though it’d be easy enough to do).

Scott Davidson,

Re “[his] logic is a little flawed here. Just a tiny bit”
He had logic? And I missed it?
(Did I say that?)

Re “The genetics of the individual don’t change during it’s life time,”
Excluding some parts of the immune system, as I understand it. ;)

Michael Finley,
Re “As an aside, one can believe that natural processes might account for all (or nearly all, depending on the extension of “all”) we see, and still believe that the universe has a purpose.”
Yep. That agrees with my current viewpoint.

Re “I’ve read (though I forget the reference) that the design inference in cosmogony is a fairly strong one.”
I’d call it a speculation rather than an inference.

Re “you will immediately face an infinite temporal regress which is a physical impossibility.”
Why would an infinity be impossible? It’d be impossible for us (or any finite being) to measure it, or even be sure it’s there, but that by itself wouldn’t make it impossible.

luminous,
Re “I can tolerate the idea of intelligent design, if the intelligent designer is not too bright and has no clue what it’s doing.”
Which sort of describes what a gene pool does when it’s experimenting produces a new species.

Henry

Comment #20421

Posted by jeff-perado on March 15, 2005 11:16 PM (e)

Well I would like to start off this wall with a bit o’ science. On the previous wall, I had a message, #20343.

In response David Heddle wrote: (#20351)

jeff parado wrote, “They have a probability of being a wave or a probility of being a particle.”

This is not correct. A photon does not have a wavefunction that is a*(wave) + b*(particle) with a and b as probability amplitudes. The correct statement (complimentarity principle) is that on any given experiment you measure either wavelike or particle like properties.

DaveScot ignored my post and replied in message #20360:

Wrong. Light exhibits properties of both waves and particles.

Please read

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave-particle_duality …

While I’ll let them duke it out as to which of them is right and which is wrong. Here are the facts. Photons, while travelling (before detection/observation) exhibit a duality nature of particles and waves. Once they interract/observed, their probability function collapses into either one or the other, but before it is a 50/50 probability.

So in response to Heddle, I would say that a coin once flipped and in midair has a probability of being heads and a probability of being tails. Once it lands it is either heads or tails.

To DaveScot, I would say this, read that wikipedia article, it states just what I said, and clarified here. Then reread what I wrote. So, to summarize: in transit that photon has a “dual” nature of being both a particle and wave at the same time. Once it interracts/is observed, it exhibits only one or the other. Thus my original argument stands.

Comment #20423

Posted by steve on March 15, 2005 11:37 PM (e)

uh, no Jeff, let this one go. The probability amplitudes don’t give wave vs particle likelihood.

Comment #20428

Posted by DonkeyKong on March 16, 2005 12:20 AM (e)

A couple of simple concepts for the evolutionists.

An uneducated person from 1000AD hearing your voice behind a locked door would swear in court that you were there inside that room. An educated person today would allow the possibility that it could have been a phone attached to a loud speaker or you on TV etc.

Likewise the evolutionist who tells you that there is no possibility for someone to control evolution because it appears random and there is no evidence of outside intervention may be wrong. And just as the person unaware of phones and TVs would be reasonable in discounting that possibility so to the evolutionist is reasonable for discounting that notion.

But that has no bearing on wether they are right.

So if you ever hear an evolutionist telling you that evolution in any form proves there is no God, smile and back away for you are talking to reasonable yet very ignorant or very stupid person.

Comment #20434

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 16, 2005 12:44 AM (e)

Amazing! You even refuse to acknowledge that military chaplains are religious clerics paid for by U.S. taxpayers to explicitely provide religious services to military members, in time or war or peace, at home or abroad.

Chaplains provide a service to citizens, allowing the free exercise of religion while citizens are away from their homes. Now, how that is failing to acknowledge that they exist, I don’t know. Read what I wrote – pay attention to what the laws are.

You know what else Ed, the taxpayers build CHAPELS on military bases.

Absolutely. And swimming pools, and housing, and grocery stores. And theatres and bowling alleys. Yes, when we require military people to be away from home, we provide them and their families with benefits that other citizens have by dint of their being home.

Come on down here sometime and I’ll get you a tour of the Army-Air Force Exchange Service world headquarters. And over lunch I can get you started on a First Amendment reading program.

Your theory of that impenetrable wall of separation between church and state is blown all to hell by the egregious breach of said wall made in the military.

I did not propose any “impenetrable” wall. I merely noted what the government has the right to do (which does not include religion in any guise) and what rights are reserved to citizens. The government making arrangements to protect citizens’ free exercise rights is not a violation of the establishment clause; the government instructing in a religious view that is not backed by science and has no valid, secular purpose, is an illegal establishment.

There are two parts to the religious clauses of the First Amendment. And just to confuse you further, Dave, those religious rights for citizens existed prior to the First Amendment, too. All the First did is enumerate them.

Nothing allows the government to espouse anti-science views that are based wholly in religion.

In actuality, gov’t isn’t prohibited from promoting religion. It’s prohibited from promoting a state religion. This is evidenced in the military by the chaplain’s requirement to fulfill the religious needs of any servicemember regardless of what particular religion he practices. Gov’t is neutral with regard to religion, not hands off with regard to religion. Any greater separation is, as I said and as I proved, a tortured latter 20th interpretation of the establishment clause by an activist, liberal federal judiciary.

You’ve “proven” nothing with your torturing of history. The 20th century interpretation fo the establishment clause is based on an 1802 presidential declaration, which was based on a solid understanding of the intention of the author of the First Amendment and the Congress and states who ratified it, which was based on a solid understanding of the views of the people who asked for the Bill of Rights and the authors of the Constitution. No state, no governmental entity, has any religious right, duty or privilege, nor have they had any at any time under the Constitution (nor for some time prior to the Constitution).

The government makes broad tolerances for religious expression, which is not the same thing as promoting religion generally. Your statement is exactly the opposite of the view of the law; Justice Robert Jackson noted in 1943:

If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us.

(Justice Robert Jackson, writing for the Court, in WEST VIRGINIA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION et al. v. BARNETTE et al. (319 U.S. 624) 1943)

Neutrality requires “hands off” when it comes to science curricula. Military chaplains don’t change that.

Comment #20437

Posted by Wayne Francis on March 16, 2005 1:02 AM (e)

Comment # 20420

Henry J wrote:

Comment #20420
Posted by Henry J on March 15, 2005 11:08 PM
Wayne,
Re “Filtering is great … “
What’ve you got there, a program that takes a downloaded html file and removes selected parts of it?…

I’ve just wrote a quick program to help me keep track of the PT posts. I found, since I live in Australia, most posts where happening when I was asleep. So I wrote a program to track Posts and the comments. It does a few things for me.
It breaks up all the comments and stores them in a local database, now 127meg large.
It lets me scan articles for new comments, by default I scan any article that has any activity in the last 7 days, saving the new comments to the database.
It shows me how many new comments and total comments articles have.
It allows me to search comments based on author, date range, words in the comments.
It uses Microsoft’s text to speech engine to read the post & comments back to me.
Best of all I’m building in a filtering mechanism to allow the reader to skip comments from individuals

I get both a HTML view and a textual view of posts and comments. It also has a few other features like a simple double click in my article explorer lets me get a formatted Quote like I’ve used above. Honestly there would be no way I could keep up with this site with out this tool. Took me about 5 hours to write and another 1-2 hours putting in small features like the filtering. Well worth the time and I’m glad. I’ve been swamped at work over the past month. Just at a quick glance there are about a 100 new comments on the site that I need to listen to. Granted if the numbers hold out ~20 of those will be from JAD, DS or DK which I will be automatically skipped.

When I get the time I want to rewrite it in .NET and do some Java work for Cartwright to make the site a bit friendlier to visitors. Like allowing them to quickly find the new comments since their last visit to an article. Its just that the day only has 24 hours and there is work and my social life is very important to me.

I don’t know what my neighbours think of me. My morning ritual is wake up and do a scan then have it read comments back to me while I’m in the shower and eating. Multitasking (human that is) is great. I have to admit that the final straw on putting in the filter was DK’s posts. It is painful to listen to. The fact that JAD and DS posts are now skipped is just an added bonus. I do like some of the comments back to them. They make me laugh as its like listening to someone on the phone. You only get one side of the conversation but with these 3 its easy to guess theirs. I also like being able to go back through older articles. I strongly recommend using text to speech. Either alone or working while you read. I find absorption of the material is so much better.

Comment #20442

Posted by Marek14 on March 16, 2005 1:34 AM (e)

Another simple question for you: Do you or do you not believe that evolutionists largely use the argument that “evolution in any form proves there is no God”?

Comment #20445

Posted by bcpmoon on March 16, 2005 4:17 AM (e)

donkeykong wrote:

An uneducated person from 1000AD hearing your voice behind a locked door would swear in court that you were there inside that room. An educated person today would allow the possibility that it could have been a phone attached to a loud speaker or you on TV etc.

Question: You hear voices behind a closed door. Is somebody inside that room?
Answer from ID: Yes, I hear voices, there must be somebody. Case closed.
Answer from Scientist: Let’s take a look…

Comment #20449

Posted by John A. Davison on March 16, 2005 5:45 AM (e)

I wouldn’t want anyone “guessing” what my convictions are concerning the great mystery of organic evolution so here is a capsule summary.

1. It is a phenomenon of the past and is no longer operating beyond the formation of subspecies and varieties.
2. The role of obligatory sexual reproduction is anti-evolutionary and serves only to stabilize the species.
3. Allelic substitution never played a role in either the emergence of new life forms or their susbsequent evolutionary history.
4. All evolutionary (genetic) changes originated in individual organisms and, as far as can be experimentally and observationally ascertained, involved no input from the environment.
5. The most reasonable conclusion is that life was created many many times, the exact number being of course unknown.
6. The vast majority of all contemporary creatures are the terminal immutable products of what were orthogenetic, goal-directed sequences in which chance played no role whatsoever.
7. Evolution was an irreversible, predetermined, preprogrammed sequence which is now finished.
8. The primary role for allelic substitution was to ensure ultimate extinction without which progressive evolution could never have occurred.
9. None of the following have ever played any significant role in creative evolution.
a. Allelic mutation.
b. Natural or artificial selection.
c. Genetic drift.
d. Population genetics.
e. Competition
f. Isolation

In other words, the entire Darwinian fairy tale is exactly that, without a scintilla of validity, nothing more than the compulsive invention of a genetically predisposed atheist mentality.

How do you like them apples?

John A. Davison

Comment #20450

Posted by Kristjan Wager on March 16, 2005 6:10 AM (e)

Wayne, is that a program you feel like sharing? Out of curioisity, what did you write it in?

Comment #20451

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 16, 2005 6:15 AM (e)

Ironically, the only people I ever heard claiming that “evolution proves that there is no god” were anti-evolutionists like FL, venting their own fantasies about what the theory of evolution does and does not imply.

Comment #20455

Posted by bad joke on March 16, 2005 6:55 AM (e)

John A. Davison wrote:

8. The primary role for allelic substitution was to ensure ultimate extinction without which progressive evolution could never have occurred.

Poor Johnny, the fantasy world you have gone lost in is truly horrific.

Comment #20457

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on March 16, 2005 7:07 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #20458

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on March 16, 2005 7:10 AM (e)

Could the universe appear anything but designed

I would say yes. If the universe were such that any old value of the expansion rate would lead to galaxies, and any old nuclear chemistry would result in supernovae, and any old value of planck’s constant would result in the necessary amount of quantum tunneling, etc,—then that universe would not have an appearance of design.

Uh, in such a universe, who exactly would be here to observe it’s lack of design…. ?

Comment #20459

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on March 16, 2005 7:14 AM (e)

NOTE TO ALL: I am pledging polite conversation regardless of insults, and will avoid theology unless it is relevant.

Glad to hear it.

I have just one scientific question for you:

*ahem*

All I want to know is this: what is the scientific theory of creation (or intelligent design) and how can we test it using the scientific method?

I do *NOT* want you to respond with a long laundry list of (mostly
inaccurate) criticisms of evolutionary biology. They are completely
irrelevant to a scientific theory of creation or intelligent design.
I want to see the scientific alternative that you are proposing—-
the one you want taught in public school science classes, the one
that creationists and intelligent design “theorists” testified under
oath in Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas and elsewhere is SCIENCE and is
NOT based on religious doctrine. Let’s assume for the purposes of
this discussion that evolutionary biology is indeed absolutely
completely totally irretrievable unalterably irrevocably 100% dead
wrong. Fine. Show me your scientific alternative. Show me how your
scientific theory explains things better than evolutionary biology
does. Let’s see this superior “science” of yours.

Any testible scientific theory of creation should be able to provide
answers to several questions: (1) how did life begin, (3) how did the
current diversity of life appear, and (3) what mechanisms were used
in these processes and where can we see these mechanisms today.

Any testible scientific theory of intelligent design should be able
to give testible answers to other questions: (1) what exactly did
the Intelligent Designer(s) do, (2) what mechanisms did the
Designer(s) use to do whatever it is you think it did, (3) where can
we see these mechanisms in action today, and (4) what objective
criteria can we use to determine what entities are “intelligently
designed” and what entities aren’t (please illustrate this by
pointing to something that you think IS designed by the designer, something you think is NOT designed by the designer, and explain how to tell the difference).

If your, uh, “scientific theory” isn’t able to answer any of these
questions yet, then please feel free to tell me how you propose to
scientifically answer them. What experiments or tests can we
perform, in principle, to answer these questions.

Also, since one of the criteria of “science” is falsifiability, I’d
like you to tell me how your scientific theory, whatever it is, can
be falsified. What experimental results or observations would
conclusively prove that creation/intelligent design did not happen.

Another part of the scientific method is direct testing. One does
not establish “B” simply by demonstrating that “A” did not happen. I
want you to demonstrate “B” directly. So don’t give me any “there
are only two choices, evolution or creation, and evolution is worng
so creation must be right” baloney. I will repeat that I do NOT want
a big long laundry list of “why evolution is wrong”. I don’t care
why evolution is wrong. I want to know what your alternative is, and
how it explains data better than evolution does.

I’d also like to know two specific things about this “alternative
scientific theory”: How old does “intelligent design/creationism theory” determine the universe to be. Is it millions of years old, or
thousands of years old. And does ‘intelligent design/creationism theory’ determine that humans have descended from apelike primates, or
does it determine that they have not.

I look forward to seeing your “scientific theories”.

Unless, of course, you don’t HAVE any …… .

Comment #20461

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on March 16, 2005 7:18 AM (e)

While it is true we cannot say anything about the probability of this universe, would you agree or disagree that the appearance of fine-tuning motivates some scientists to look for cosmologies to replace the current big-bang model?

Would you mind pointing to some of these “cosmologies to replace the current Big Bang model”? Show me how they work?

Or is “POOF!!! God –er, I mean, The Unknown Intelligent Designer – dunnit !!!!!!” the, uh, scientific alternative tat you have in mind ….?

Comment #20462

Posted by "Rev Dr" Lenny Flank on March 16, 2005 7:20 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #20465

Posted by David Heddle on March 16, 2005 7:42 AM (e)

Rev,

Would you mind pointing to some of these “cosmologies to replace the current Big Bang model”? Show me how they work?

Or is “POOF!!! God —er, I mean, The Unknown Intelligent Designer — dunnit !!!!!!” the, uh, scientific alternative tat you have in mind ….?

A puzzling comment given that the current big-bang model, with its apparent fine tuning, is the friend of ID. Personally I would not like to see it overthrown. The alternatives, which would in effect falsify ID, include a number of multiverse cosmologies and unbounded geometries.

Comment #20467

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 8:02 AM (e)

Sorry Paredo,

You can probabilize all day long but at the end of the day light creating an interference pattern is a wave and light causing a photoelectric effect is a particle.

If you don’t understand something just say so.

Comment #20469

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 8:06 AM (e)

Granted if the numbers hold out ~20 of those will be from JAD, DS or DK which I will be automatically skipped.

Cool! An artificially closed mind. Good job!

Comment #20470

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 16, 2005 8:11 AM (e)

Mr. Heddle:

…the current big-bang model, with its apparent fine tuning, is the friend of ID.

This is your considerate opinion, and nothing more. The current big-bang model is not “the friend of ID” any more that it is “the friend of atheism”. It is a model of reality. If one grafts unwarranted theological assumptions onto a scientific model, one can make any model appear to support any conclusion.

But the current big-bang model, in reality, does not include a *poof* event that a fundamentalist theist might disguise and try to pass off as “Creation”. Hawking, for instance, seems to conceive this model as boundary-free. Stenger talks of an Inflationary Big-Bang model where

our Universe occurs as just a quantum fluctuation, a bubble of what’s called false vacuum in this true vacuum, and that expands into our Universe, and these bubbles are going off all over the place making other universes. The inflationary part is the early part of our Universe, where it expands very rapidly – all these processes that I’ve talked about, that generate the first particles (and forces get developed) – all during those very early stages of the Big Bang. That theory is, of course, still tentative, and could eventually be shown to be incorrect, but it’s been around now for close to twenty years. And as I’ve said, it’s made some successful predictions, and provides, really, the only explanation for an awful lot of observations that we make about the Universe.

It is, I think, a very naïve vision of the big-bang model that sees it as somehow supporting ID.

Comment #20472

Posted by David Heddle on March 16, 2005 8:17 AM (e)

Jeff Perado wrote:

Here are the facts. Photons, while travelling (before detection/observation) exhibit a duality nature of particles and waves. Once they interract/observed, their probability function collapses into either one or the other, but before it is a 50/50 probability.

No. You see the wavefunction collapse corresponds to the fact that a eigenstate is selected via a measurement. For example, if you send a beam of unpolarized electrons through a magnetic field, half will deflect up and have down, because (essentially) the wf was root2*up + root2*down.

So the same experiment will result in up and down electrons.

Duality is different. There is no single experiment that sometimes measures a particle-like photon and sometimes a wave-like photon. Any single experiment will always detect a particle-like photon or a wavelike photon. Particle-like and wave-like do not form a basis in which the photons wavefunction can be expanded.

Comment #20474

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 8:27 AM (e)

Darrell

Using taxpayer money to hire priests and build churches on military installations, which is done during times of war or times of peace, at home and abroad, is an egregious violation of the so-called impenetrable wall of separation between church and state.

You continue to ignore it when I point out this done during times of war and times of peace, at home and abroad. No other gov’t employees get churches built for them and priests hired for them when they accept a gov’t job that requires travel away from home.

There is no prohibition against gov’t supporting religion as long as it’s not supporting a state religion. The religious clerics hired and chapels built for military personnel are strictly non-denominational and serve the religious needs of any service member no matter what his particular religion may be. I know these things, Ed, as do all military veterans. It comes as no surprise to me that in a bunch of pathetic liberal atheist academic wimps there’s not a man-jack here that ever served his country. All you do is bitch and moan from the safe haven that men like me provide for you. Don’t bother thanking me.

Comment #20475

Posted by David Heddle on March 16, 2005 8:29 AM (e)

Emanuelle

Hawking is talking about a replacement for the big bang model, at least in part to avoid the fine-tuning, which he acknowledges is present in the current big-bang cosmology. His famous quote about “unless a God designed..” is not and endorsement of ID but a criticism of the current model for, in effect, providing ammunition for ID.

Stenger is talking about two things
(1) The universe appearing as a quantum fluctuation
(2) Then the evolution of the universe via the standard big bang model (including inflation.)

As for (1), if ever verified, it would falsify ID, because if there are an infinite number of universes, then there must be an infinite number of fine-tuned universes. ID relies on the fact that there is but one fine-tuned universe.

Comment #20477

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 16, 2005 8:42 AM (e)

Mr. Heddle:

You are not refuting my point. The “current big-bang model” is not at all incompatible with either Hawking’s or Stenger’s positions.

That IDists can and did try to hijack a scientific model to sneak in their theism in no way means that the model in itself implies that.

Also, even from my amateurish level of familiarity with IDist tactics I can conceive ways of distorting a steady-state model, or a pulsating model, to make it “support” ID.

The moment you come across (or devise yourself) a scientific theory of Intelligent Design, please let us all know. It may be tangential to the subject of evolution, but it would sure bridge the current gap between ID in any form and science.

Comment #20478

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 8:45 AM (e)

Oriano

How on earth can the big bang be used in support of atheism?

Creation ex nihilo is a core concept of Judeo-Christian religion. The big bang was more or less described in Genesis fercrisakes, thousands of years before science described it.

Denial is more than just a river in Egypt.

Comment #20479

Posted by David Heddle on March 16, 2005 8:52 AM (e)

Emanuele, It is compatible with Stenger. Inflation is “mainstream” as it were.

OTOH I have never said that ID is science.

Comment #20480

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 16, 2005 9:01 AM (e)

Mr. Heddle:

Is it just me, or have you switched to a different approach? First you said

…it is true we cannot say anything about the probability of this universe…

and now

I have never said that ID is science.

Two points of agreement in as many days!

I think I’ll keep reading your posts, unlike the garbage spouted by the unholy trio of JAD, DaveScot and FL.

Comment #20483

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 9:08 AM (e)

JAD

Someone asked you to explain how new forms continue to reproduce in the semi-meiotic hypothesis when it takes two to tango i.e. it takes a male and female of the new species to continue it. Semi-meiosis only produces one unique individual of a new species, correct?

If you answered it I missed your answer. Could you answer it again?

Thanks in advance.

Comment #20485

Posted by Nanovirus on March 16, 2005 9:11 AM (e)

Don’t forget that this Sunday is
Carnival of the Godless #8.
Get your heathen submissions in by Friday!

Comment #20486

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 9:24 AM (e)

Oriano

Quantum fluctuations which result in the so-called “boiling vacuum” are only probable at the Planck scale. Fluctuations resulting in the creation of matter at larger scales become increasingly improbable as the scale increases. To posit that the entire universe is a quantum fluctuation is a stretch of the imagination possibly only exceeded in imaginary extent by the supposition that accidental chemical reactions could create a huge suite of unique proteins capable of self-replication and self-modification.

Hugely improbable events don’t seem to bother members of the Church of Darwin but it bothers objective people like me who actually pratice scientific agnosticism and view hugely improbable events as, well, hugely improbable.

Comment #20487

Posted by GCT on March 16, 2005 9:29 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

If the universe were such that any old value of the expansion rate would lead to galaxies, and any old nuclear chemistry would result in supernovae, and any old value of planck’s constant would result in the necessary amount of quantum tunneling, etc,—then that universe would not have an appearance of design.

Hmmm, in my opinion, this sort of universe would require design. If “any old value” would do for any number of phenomena, then we wouldn’t have rules and laws to predict the occurence of said phenomena. This would lend credence to the idea that something was causing it or designing it. Again, just my opinion.

At any rate, David Heddle, you’ve once again maintained that ID is not science (as I know you’ve done in the past.) So, why do you continue to try and pass it off as science? Why do you continue to argue for falsifiability? Why do you even bother posting about it, because the argument is moot if you don’t even think ID is science.

As to the photon wave/partical duality argument, I’ve heard a couple different things from David Heddle and DaveScot.

DaveScot wrote:

You can probabilize all day long but at the end of the day light creating an interference pattern is a wave and light causing a photoelectric effect is a particle.

David Heddle wrote:

There is no single experiment that sometimes measures a particle-like photon and sometimes a wave-like photon. Any single experiment will always detect a particle-like photon or a wavelike photon. Particle-like and wave-like do not form a basis in which the photons wavefunction can be expanded.

You are both partially correct. Once you observe the photon in either its wave form or particle form, you can say that it is a wave or a particle. The key concept is that it must be observed and the method of observation is key in determining how it will be observed. The photon has no fore-knowledge that we are conducting an interference pattern test, and so it doesn’t know that it is supposed to exhibit its wave nature. It’s only after it has been acted upon, by the process of our observing it that its wave nature is apparent to us.

Comment #20489

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 9:35 AM (e)

Lenny,

How may I test the supposition that mutation/selection can create

1) novel body types
2) novel tissue types
3) novel organs

Comment #20491

Posted by steve on March 16, 2005 9:39 AM (e)

GCT, you and Jeff need to drop the quantum mechanics. You’re not talking about probability and duality correctly at all. Your comments on the topics are as fundamentally wrong as, for instance, someone who says that the observed value of Planck’s Constant is ‘unlikely’. At least David has an excuse, he’s committed to believing religion.

Comment #20492

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 16, 2005 9:41 AM (e)

Using taxpayer money to hire priests and build churches on military installations, which is done during times of war or times of peace, at home and abroad, is an egregious violation of the so-called impenetrable wall of separation between church and state.

You continue to ignore it when I point out this done during times of war and times of peace, at home and abroad. No other gov’t employees get churches built for them and priests hired for them when they accept a gov’t job that requires travel away from home.

Please explain how it is a violation of the separation of church and state to allow citizens in military service to worship. I’m missing your point completely.

By the way, Foreign Service members get similar or the same benefits. So did members of the Civilian Conservation Corps. So do kids enrolled in Job Corps programs. So do Members of Congress and their staffs. So did civilian contractors on the Alaskan Highway.

Madison was nervous about hiring chaplains. Frankly, having worked with both military and Congressional folk away from home, I can’t think of populations who need access to the counseling chaplains provide any more.

Who else is away from home for extended periods who does not get such benefits? What is your source of information that they don’t get benefits, if that is your claim?

There is no prohibition against gov’t supporting religion as long as it’s not supporting a state religion.

Well, if we ignore the Constitution and every case ever decided on this point, you could be right. As I noted in my earlier post, however, the case law is the opposite of what you state.

The religious clerics hired and chapels built for military personnel are strictly non-denominational and serve the religious needs of any service member no matter what his particular religion may be. I know these things, Ed, as do all military veterans. It comes as no surprise to me that in a bunch of pathetic liberal atheist academic wimps there’s not a man-jack here that ever served his country. All you do is bitch and moan from the safe haven that men like me provide for you. Don’t bother thanking me.

The depths to which creationists sink to find insult when they run out of argument and fact never ceases to amaze me. Typically, you make claims which are generally 100% at odds with the facts. I’ve sworn that oath more often than you, in more different situations.

But when have facts ever affected your claims in any way?

Comment #20493

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 9:42 AM (e)

GCT

I was 100% correct. You may say that my statement was not a complete description of wave/particle duality but you cannot say it was incorrect as far as it went. So that makes YOU incorrect.

Thanks for playing.

Comment #20494

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 16, 2005 9:45 AM (e)

DaveScot:

“Creation ex nihilo” is a key concept of all ancient cosmogonic myths, but trying to equate any “beginning” with “Creation” is the logical fallacy known as “begging the question” (have you looked it up yet?). Cough up a creator and then talk about creation as if this was a given.

Models requiring nothing more than natural forces imply no “Fiat!”; an atheist might argue that the big-bang model makes divine intervention unnecessary.

On the other hand, a steady-state universe could be said to support ID because, after the Intelligent Designer Previously Known as God created the universe, there was no need for any fundamental change.

So:
1) literally any model can be distorted to make it support whatever flavour of religious belief or lack thereof one might prefer;
2) that’s a very good reason for leaving religion out of any discussion on scientific cosmological models.

Comment #20495

Posted by David Heddle on March 16, 2005 9:46 AM (e)

GCT:

Science is not the same as falsifiability, it just includes it. Lots of things that are not science are falsifiable. The statment “my name is George” is falsifiable.

ID, for me, is a philosophy with a large scientific component. It is falsifiable. Just prove to me that we live in a multiverse and I’ll recant ID.

As for the photons:

Once you observe the photon in either its wave form or particle form, you can say that it is a wave or a particle

That is very imprecise and you would never read something like that in a QM book. What do you mean you can “say” it is a wave or a particle. Is that once for all? No, what you say is that a photon will behave like a wave or a particle depending on the experiment. Jeff’s problem is that he views a photon as a mixed state of wave and particle, and that is not correct.

My statement is not “partially” but “totally” correct in this regard, at least by the common interpretation of QM.

Comment #20496

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 9:47 AM (e)

Darrel

“Please explain how it is a violation of the separation of church and state to allow citizens in military service to worship. I’m missing your point completely.”

They’re not just being allowed to worship. The cost of the trappings of their worship (chaplains and chapels) are underwritten by taxpayers.

Which part of that don’t you understand?

Comment #20497

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 9:57 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #20498

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 10:03 AM (e)

Oriano

“trying to equate any “beginning” with “Creation” is the logical fallacy known as “begging the question””

No it isn’t. It’s a simple correlation. The Big Bang theory is creation ex nihilo and so is the account of creation in Genesis.

Get a clue.

Comment #20499

Posted by GCT on March 16, 2005 10:08 AM (e)

DaveScot, point out to me where I said you were wrong.

David Heddle, it is pointless for you to argue for ID on a science blog if you don’t think it is science. You said that you don’t care to talk about theology, but that’s exactly what you are doing.

As for my comment, I should have said that you can say that it exhibits wave or particle characteristics after those characteristics have been observed. Good catch there. I re-read your post and I see that I thought you were trying to imply that photons have some sort of a priori knowledge to act like waves when we are doing wave experiments. I simply wanted to emphasize that only through observation of the photon do we see its wave or particle characteristics.

Comment #20500

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 16, 2005 10:08 AM (e)

DaveScot:

“coming spontaneously into existence” and “being created by something/someone else” now are one and the same thing for you?

Man, I wonder what is the weather like on your planet.

Comment #20502

Posted by Ginger Yellow on March 16, 2005 10:12 AM (e)

DaveScot wrote:

Quantum fluctuations which result in the so-called “boiling vacuum” are only probable at the Planck scale.  Fluctuations resulting in the creation of matter at larger scales become increasingly improbable as the scale increases.  To posit that the entire universe is a quantum fluctuation is a stretch of the imagination possibly only exceeded in imaginary extent by the supposition that accidental chemical reactions could create a huge suite of unique proteins capable of self-replication and self-modification.

I’m not physicist, but…

The whole point of inflationary cosmology is that it only takes a quantum fluctuation in a miniscule amount of space with a miniscule mass to create the conditions for an inflationary field that explains the entire universe we see today. Of course, it all depends on the theoretical phsyics of inflationary cosmology, such as Higgs fields, being correct. With the Large Hadron Collider we’ll go some way toward finding out.

Comment #20504

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 10:20 AM (e)

Oriano

The Big Bang theory neither suggests nor discounts “someone or something” causing the initial event. It describes, among other things, the universe coming into existence from nothing - creation ex nihilo. The biblical account of Genesis also describes the universe coming into existence from nothing - creation ex nihilo. Where they differ is the biblical account describes a first cause (God) for the creation event whereas the Big Bang theory does not attempt to describe a first cause. I hope that clears up your confusion because you’re becoming really tedious.

Comment #20505

Posted by GCT on March 16, 2005 10:21 AM (e)

steve wrote:

GCT, you and Jeff need to drop the quantum mechanics. You’re not talking about probability and duality correctly at all. Your comments on the topics are as fundamentally wrong as, for instance, someone who says that the observed value of Planck’s Constant is ‘unlikely’. At least David has an excuse, he’s committed to believing religion.

I haven’t said anything about probability or duality at all. All I’ve said is that the photon exhibits wave or particle characteristics only after it has been observed. Previous to that, we don’t know what state it is in.

Comment #20507

Posted by John A. Davison on March 16, 2005 10:25 AM (e)

DaveScot

The answer to your question is no. Frogs which are produced semi-meiotically are all genetically different de to the fact that the first meiotic division has already occurred and the sister strands have separated randomly. A further source of variation results from crossing-over which has preceeded the first meiotic division.

Frogs, like mammals have an XX female, XY male, sex-determining system. Nevertheless frogs produced gynogenetically are of both sexes And the males are perfectly fertile and normal even though they are of course XX like their mother. Proof that all gynogens form a given female are genetically different is given by the fact that no two of them can accept skin transplants from one another or from their mother because none of them have more than a random half of their mother’s genes. The mother can accept a skin transplant from any of her gynogenetic offspring because none of them have any genes that are not hers. Isn’t that elegant?

Semi-meiosis has not even been attempted with mammals but it is interesting to note that if mammals prove to be like frogs, Christ would be no mystery.

There is no question that all the necessary information to produce both sexes is contained in the female vertebrate genome. For a more complete discussion of this I refer you to my Manifesto and the papers cited there.

John A. Davison

Comment #20508

Posted by David Heddle on March 16, 2005 10:28 AM (e)

GCT,

Previous to that, we don’t know what state it is in.

This is the same mistake as Jeff. “wave” and “particle” are not states that a photon can be in. If so, you could devise an experiment that would pick off those in the “wave” state from those in the “particle” state.

Comment #20509

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 10:29 AM (e)

ginger

“The whole point of inflationary cosmology is that it only takes a quantum fluctuation in a miniscule amount of space with a miniscule mass to create the conditions for an inflationary field that explains the entire universe we see today.”

The primordial plasma came into existence everywhere at the same time. All the matter/energy (matter and energy are equivalent) in the universe today winked into existence at once. It was not an explosion with a miniscule center where an underpressure surrounding it caused it to expand. That’s a common misconception taken from the name “Big Bang” which suggests an explosion of some sort.

Read this SciAm Article Misconceptions About the Big Bang

Comment #20510

Posted by GCT on March 16, 2005 10:32 AM (e)

David Heddle, saying that we can’t determine the state of the photon does not equate to saying that it is in a wave or particle state. It is indeterminant, and I said that.

Comment #20511

Posted by Ginger Yellow on March 16, 2005 10:44 AM (e)

DaveScot: Not according to inflationary theory. I’m not talking about an explosion. The matter/energy in the universe today (or for that matter 10^-30 seconds after the “bang”, comes from an inflaton field settling to zero energy after expanding space (note, not in space) by a factor of two every 10^57 seconds. The primordial plasma coming into existence and the bang are separate events.

Comment #20512

Posted by David Heddle on March 16, 2005 10:46 AM (e)

GCT,

But “state” has a definite meaning in QM, and “wave” or “particle” does not fit. Compare the spin up/down electron example.

If we have an ensemble of unpolarized electrons, then each is in a state described as a linear combination of up and down. An experiment will “pick” one for a given electron, then that electron will be in that state until disturbed (e.g. by measuring a non commuting property.) That is, a measurement will collapse the wavefuction. Other similarly prepared electrons, in the same experiment, will collapse to the other value.

States are defined in terms of eigenstates of the Hamiltonian. Neither “wave” nor “particle” is an eigenstate nor can it expressed as a linear combination thereof. Another way to put it, waveness and particleness are not are not quantum numbers for some operator.

Comment #20513

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on March 16, 2005 10:47 AM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

ID, for me, is a philosophy with a large scientific component. It is falsifiable. Just prove to me that we live in a multiverse and I’ll recant ID.

Is it simply too onerous a burden to ask ID advocates to understand what they choose to blither about? “Falsification” is not a labile term that can be used with just any old connotation now. It has a specific meaning given to it by Sir Karl Popper.

Popper’s “falsifiability” is something that ID advocates often invoke, but almost as often demonstrably do not understand. One does not falsify a conjecture by demonstrating that a competing conjecture is corroborated. Falsification is about deriving risky predictions of what must be true if one’s conjecture is true, and then looking to see if that is actually true. And then accepting that if the observation is false instead then the originating conjecture is false. As Popper points out, this is just modus tollens in action. The worthless notion that Heddle peddles above, that falsification of one conjecture occurs on corroboration of a competing conjecture, is unfortunately widespread amongst not just the glassy-eyed cheerleaders of ID, but also among the highest ranked promoters of ID, who should know better.

Here are a couple of resources.

“Dances with Popper”. William Dembski’s attempts to invoke the authority of Popper without dealing with Popper’s actual conceptual framework are examined.

Video of my presentation at the CTNS/AAAS conference in 2001. There’s a lot of other stuff in here, but I point out how both Michael Behe and William Dembski were all wet on “falsifiability”. Their error is the same demonstrated by Heddle above.

And, of course, actually reading Popper’s The Logic of Scientific Discovery for comprehension would be useful.

Comment #20514

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 10:47 AM (e)

JAD

I can’t seem to find the answer to my question in your response, or maybe I didn’t pose the question well enough. Let’s specify mammals since that’s what I had in mind.

Where do one pair of mammals that are a new species, male and female, able to interbreed, come from in the semi-meiotic hypothesis?

In the Darwinian hypothesis the changes from one generation to the next are so small that ability to interbreed is maintained in each new generation. If I’m reading it correctly in your hypothesis a new species comes about in one generation in one individual. How does the new individual of the new species then become a mating pair able to continue the new species? Does the mother have to produce one each of the new species, male and female, or what?

Comment #20516

Posted by GCT on March 16, 2005 10:52 AM (e)

David Heddle, I was very careful to talk about the wave and particle characteristics, not states. Please don’t put words in my mouth.

Comment #20517

Posted by John A. Davison on March 16, 2005 11:00 AM (e)

The bipotential of the vertebrate gonad is also illustrated with birds which have only one ovary, the left one. If this is removed or destroyed by disease, the hen may transform into a crowing rooster, a phenomenon known since antiquity. This is due to the fact that the ovary, when present, prevents the latent gonad on the right side from developing. When that inhibition is relieved, (derepressed), that gonad may develop into a testis complete with the testosterone producing interstitial cells which of course determine all the secondary sex characters of the bird. Such birds produce sperm but I am uncertain if they have proved to be fertile or not. Incidentally, all birds have the opposite kind of sex-determination as mammals with a ZZ male and a ZW female. That is why all gynogenetically produced turkeys are males because the WW dyad is lethal and the ZZ dyad determines the male thus proving that they were produced semi-meiotically.

A sex reversed chicken ZW (male) crossed with a normal ZW female should give 1 ZZ (male) : 2 ZW female : 1 WW lethal. I don’t believe this cross has been made but I might be wrong. It should be done.

The many different forms of sex-determination that have evolved are one of several reasons I am convinced that sexual reproduction is anti-evolutionary as I tried to emphasize in an earlier post. It seems to have brought evolution to a screeching halt, much to the chagrin of the Darwinians if they would only acknowledge it. Of course that is out of the question as they would have to abandon the whole Darwinian fable.

The important take home lesson is that as far as we know, all the necessary information to produce both sexes is contained in the female genome. I know of no concrete proof to the contrary for any higher organism. On the other hand, I think Harvard is still offering 1 million dollars to the first man to have a baby.

John A. Davison

Comment #20518

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 16, 2005 11:02 AM (e)

DaveScot:

Your logic is full of holes, as usual.

If we were to apply your kind of ‘logic’ we might end up thinking, for instance, that since the big-bang model includes a cosmogonic singularity, it gives way more support to the Dogon myth of creation:

According to tradition, the Creator fashions an egg. It is the egg of the world “aduno tal.” The world egg is infinitesimal and consists of air, fire and water and a metal called sagala. The world egg is, then, infinitely small and infinitely heavy (480 donkey-loads or 85,000 pounds = weight of all seeds and iron on earth.)In the egg are two pairs of twins – one male, one female. The twins mature in the egg. At maturation they become androgynous (perfect creatures). One breaks out of the egg before maturation because he wants to dominate the creation. He carries part of the egg with him and from it creates an imperfect world. The Creator later destroys the other twin to establish the balance. Thus the perfection of the world, as originally intended, is lost.

It’s not “Creation ex nihilo”, it’s “Creation ab ovo”!

As I said repeatedly, grafting “first causes” onto scientific models is neither here not there.

And calling the universe “created” is begging the question. No amount of wishful thinking on your part will ever change this simple fact.

Comment #20519

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 11:02 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #20520

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 11:08 AM (e)

Oriano

Big Bang theory is agreeable with any account of creation that is something from nothing. It’s not rocket science. You’ve gone beyond tedious and I shan’t discuss this anymore with you as it’s a complete waste of my time. Arguing with idiots is never worthwhile. They drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. Adios, dopey.

Comment #20522

Posted by Ginger Yellow on March 16, 2005 11:12 AM (e)

I should point out that the figures in my previous post were from memory, and may be mistaken. The following are taken from Greene’s Fabric of the Cosmos. Assuming an expansion factor during the inflationary stage at the very conservative end of the range estimated by theorists of 10^30, then the entire mass/energy observed in the universe today (including dark matter/energy) could come from an initial uniform inflaton field in a “nugget” 10^-26 cm across with a mass of “20 pounds”. The key thing with inflaton fields is that energy density remains constant during inflation so the total mass/energy embodied in the field increases in proportion to the volume. A 10^30 increase in size means a 10^90 increase in mass/energy.

Comment #20524

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 16, 2005 11:17 AM (e)

DaveScot:

Luckily, in this case, you didn’t manage to drag me down to your level, and that’s why you couldn’t beat me with experience.

“Agnostic”, my rear end.

Comment #20527

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on March 16, 2005 11:28 AM (e)

DaveScot passes over in silence the astounding failure of his colleague David Heddle to come anywhere close to the mark when deploying the term, “falsifiability”. That isn’t a matter of interpretation or personal preference.

I see that DaveScot has learned to quote from Popper, but not to bother to learn his complete stance on natural selection. That’s a common failing of antievolutionist “scholarship”, such as it is. We don’t have to speculate on what Popper felt the scientific status of natural selection was; we have Popper’s own statements to examine on the topic.

Popper is misused by antievolutionists in a variety of ways. Hyping of Popper’s original erroneous (and retracted) stance of terming natural selection a tautology is a relatively common tactic among people who don’t know what they are talking about. DaveScot would have to be slightly less ignorant than he is to even come up to that poor level of scholarship.

Jim Lippard’s response to the canard that Popper thought natural selection was unscientific.

So, should I be ashamed because I know more about Popper’s writings than DaveScot does? I don’t think so.

Comment #20529

Posted by David Heddle on March 16, 2005 11:32 AM (e)

Wesley wrote,

One does not falsify a conjecture by demonstrating that a competing conjecture is corroborated.

It happens all the time. The Steady State model of the universe was falsified because a competing, mutually exclusive theory was confirmed. Or, if you like, its prediction that the universe was not expanding was refuted. It is the same thing with ID. It makes prediction that parallel universes do not exist. If they are shown to exist, then ID has been rendered demonstrably false. ID says that our universe is privileged, if it can be shown that it is not, then ID dies.

ID is falsifiable in exactly the same way that the steady state model was falsifiable.

Perhaps, Wesley, you spend too much time in the politics of science and should spend a bit more time actually doing science.

What’s really going on here, is that falsifiability is recognized as a necessity for a scientific theory, so the last thing you’ll do is admit that ID is falsifiable. You would rather hide in a philosophical cocoon (you PT types are such quote miners) than admit a practical method of falsifiability that has been employed throughout the ages: if conjecture A and B are mutually exclusive, and you confirm B, you have negated A.

If there were no competing conjectures about fine-tuning, then you’d have a point. There would be no way to falsify ID (in my opinion–others e.g., Ross, Gonzalez, Richards disagree) But we are not in that situation.

You just can’t get around the fact that if you do an experiment that confirms parallel universes, then ID is dead. Just like when we did experiments that demonstrated the universe was expanding, steady state was dead.

Ginger Wrote:

The key thing with inflaton fields is that energy density remains constant during inflation so the total mass/energy embodied in the field increases in proportion to the volume.

Which is at the heart of the cosmological constant fine tuning problem.

Comment #20536

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 11:43 AM (e)

ginger

Brian Greene’s speculations are hardly the definitive word in Big Bang theory.

You are confusing a singularity with a point source in the standard model. Time and distance are undefined in the singularity, temperatures and pressures are infinite. It was a gravitational singularity.

And we really only have evidence of expansion once the universe became transparent to radiation. It has expanded about 1000 fold since that time.

Until there’s a theory of quantum gravity the physics of the singularity will remain a mystery.

Comment #20541

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 16, 2005 11:50 AM (e)

Mr. Heddle:

mutually exclusive is a very important qualification.

Now, is this important qualification really applicable to ID?

You say:

It is the same thing with ID. It makes prediction that parallel universes do not exist. If they are shown to exist, then ID has been rendered demonstrably false. ID says that our universe is privileged, if it can be shown that it is not, then ID dies.

How so?

a) infinite universes exist, and they all have the same fundamental constants. The multiverse is, therefore, privileged, and obviously designed.

b) infinite universes exist, and they have different sets of cosmological constants. The subset of the multiverse which includes our own universe is therefore privileged, and obviously designed.

c) only one universe exists, but it couldn’t have been any other way. It is, therefore, privileged, and obviously designed.

d) only one universe exists, but it could have been just about any other way. The fact that it is as it is, therefore, is so unlikely that it shows it is privileged, and therefore obviously designed.

I think the point is clear. If one wants to see ID, there is always a way to spin things in order to avoid falsification.

Comment #20543

Posted by DaveScot on March 16, 2005 11:57 AM (e)

Heddle

I have a couple of problems with what you wrote.

First, neo-Darwinism doesn’t attempt to explain the origin of matter.

ID and ND cannot be mutually exclusive if they don’t both attempt to explain the same phenomena.

Second, any proposed tests for truth or falsehood have to be reasonably possible to perform. If you can’t think of a reasonable test that would provide evidence for or against a multiverse then it’s just plain specious to even bring it up.

Comment #20550

Posted by Ginger Yellow on March 16, 2005 12:13 PM (e)

I’m not confusing squat. You are. I’m not talking about the singularity. I’m talking about the inflationary period after the singularity. In theory the inflationary period could have occurred an arbitrarily long period of time after the singularity - indeed this is one of its strengths, as the necessary quantum fluctuation becomes a statistical inevitability given a chaotic “primordial plasma” as you put it. This isn’t “Brian Greene’s speculation” but mainstream theoretical phsyics, first put forward by Alan Guth over 20 years ago.

Comment #20551

Posted by David Heddle on March 16, 2005 12:13 PM (e)

Emanuele,

Of your 4 cases, (a) and (d) certainly point to design. Nobody, however, expects (a). © depends on some details. Nevertheless, the quest for parallel universes is to arrive at (b). And (b)

infinite universes exist, and they have different sets of cosmological constants. The subset of the multiverse which includes our own universe is therefore privileged, and obviously designed.

falsifies ID. Now the argument, which ID cannot withstand, is that there are an infinite number of universes and of course we show up in one that can support life. ID relies on the fact that there is only one universe and it, amazingly, has galaxies and stars and rocky planets.

Dave Scott.

I am not talking about Darwinism, neo or otherwise. The mutually exclusive conjectures are (cosmological) ID and parallel universes. I am ambivalent when it comes to evolution. (Although I find your garden variety biology professor, with few or no research credentials to speak of, who is willing to call a Nobel Laureate a fraud, to be an embarrassment.)

As for multiverses, it’s a good point. And one that Wesley missed. Those conjectures that I say will, if demonstrated, falsify ID are themselves unfalsifiable. It is interesting, though, that they are considered science and appear in the peer reviewed literature. Which is astounding in light of the well-known “level playing field.”

Comment #20552

Posted by John A. Davison on March 16, 2005 12:16 PM (e)

I am sorry of DaveScot or anyone else cannot understand the experimental demonstrations that the female vertebrate genome contains all the necessary information for the production of both sexes. Since the experiments have yet to be done and may not even be possible with mammals, I cannot present experimental evidence that has not yet been subject to analysis. Science proceeds on the basis of what has already been demonstrated, not on the basis of what has not yet been demonstrated or even attempted. I shouldn’t think that sort of thing would need further clarification. What we do know, from every living thing of which I am aware, is that there is no reason whatsoever to question the capacity of the female genome to produce both male and female offspring in the absence of a sexual partner. Many organisms reproduce naturally in no other way including both reptiles and amphibians and even some turkeys can do it when isolated from a sexual partner.

All oysters start off as males and then switch over to females when they get bigger. In some forms, females are diploid, males are haploid. In some parasites whether the parasite becomes a male or a female depends on the size of the host. The list goes on and on. Sexual bipotentiality is a fundamental feature of all sexually producing organisms as far as I am able to ascertain. Of course others may have secret sources of information to the contrary. If they do I sure have not heard about it.

I also recommend for all that before the Semi-meiotic Hypothesis is relegated to the scrap heap it should first be tested. Darwinism has been tested enough times and failed every one of them. I don’t see anyone willing to scrap that one yet, besides my self that is. Go on fantasizing folks. that is all you can do. The Darwinian (sexual) fantasy is the biggest hoax in the history of science. Only congenital morons still support it. If that shoe fits, slide it on and keep it on.

John A. Davison

Comment #20554

Posted by Ginger Yellow on March 16, 2005 12:21 PM (e)

David Heddle, how can you say nobody expects (a)? Several cosmological theories allow for (a), including the inflationary theory I’ve been discussing with DaveScot. In that case the universes are infinite but not parallel as such. It’s just that exponential inflation (capable of creating a low entropy matter/energy filled universe at least the size of the observed universe) can happen repeatedly.

Comment #20555

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 16, 2005 12:21 PM (e)

Mr. Heddle:

I still have to see why cosmological ID rules out infinite universes. Why couldn’t it simply accomodate them with the kind of sleight-of-hand that I proposed?

Comment #20557

Posted by John A. Davison on March 16, 2005 12:26 PM (e)

Which Nobel laureate did I call a fraud? Certainly not Sir Francis Crick or George Wald. Who then? They haven’t given it yet to Dawkins have they? That would not surprise me in the least. After all, the biggest con artist in all of science is already a member of the Royal Society.

John A. Davison

Comment #20559

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 16, 2005 12:28 PM (e)

Mr. Heddle:

…BTW, in all four cases inferring design is a non sequitur. Finding a designer would be the only real way of giving evidence of design, not the other way around.

Comment #20563

Posted by David Heddle on March 16, 2005 12:39 PM (e)

Ginger,

But things like the how relative strengths of the fundamental forces “freeze out” are a result of the details of the nascent universe. If you are aware of cosmological theories that predict infinite identical universes, then I stand corrected (and (a) is back in play) and would very much like a refrence.

Emanuele,

If you go down the path that says “no matter what happens IDers can argue God did it that way”, then we are at a standstill. But the bottom line, for me, is that if you demonstrate multiple universes ID has lost its foundation.

I love launching card discussions.

if every five-card hand from a 52 card deck represented a universe, but only the hand with 3C,6S,7H, 8H, and 8D was a hospitable universe, and we are in that universe, then (a) if we are also the only universe I claim ID (b) if all universes exist somewhere, I concede that we only here because it’s the only place where life could exist. Then, I claim ID is false.

Finding a designer would be the only real way of giving evidence of design, not the other way around.

I disagree. I still believe the old watch argument is valid. I don’t have to find the watchmaker.

Comment #20566

Posted by Russell on March 16, 2005 12:44 PM (e)

Although I find your garden variety biology professor, with few or no research credentials to speak of, who is willing to call a Nobel Laureate a fraud, to be an embarrassment.)

Really? I find that a bit surprising. (Or is ‘disingenuous’ the word I’m looking for?). For starters, why would Heddle feel embarrassment over what a biology professor says. It’s not like it reflects on Heddle in any way. But more to the point: if James Watson, say, or Steven Weinberg preach that their atheism is inextricably bound with their science, you will defer because they’re Nobel Laureates?

And, while we’re at it, let me just say that Nobel Laureate Kary Mullis is a fraud in lending his prestige to the HIV/AIDS denial cult.

Comment #20567

Posted by David Heddle on March 16, 2005 12:48 PM (e)

Russel,

if James Watson, say, or Steven Weinberg preach that their atheism is inextricably bound with their science, you will defer because they’re Nobel Laureates

I didn’t say you have to worship Nobel Laureates. But I wouldn’t call Weinberg a fraud (or any other of the names that the referring post and its comments used to label Townes) just because Weinberg proclaimed his athiesm.

Comment #20568

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 16, 2005 12:52 PM (e)

Mr. Heddle:

Saying that the universe is akin to a watch is, of course, a false analogy, which turns your claim into circular reasoning.

I think I’ll refrain from commenting further.
Thanks for the courteous conversation.

Comment #20577

Posted by Ginger Yellow on March 16, 2005 1:20 PM (e)

As it’s the one I’m most familiar with, I’ll refer you to inflationary theory: Wikipedia link here. Basically the concept is that the constants are frozen (if indeed they are variable) prior to the inflation. The potentially infinite universes come from repeated inflations after the “freezing”. The main proponent of this theory is Andrei Linde of Stanford.

Also, I’m pretty sure the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics embodies (a).

On a side note, as I’m sure you’re aware, the problem with the watch analogy is that we know what a designed watch looks like because, we, humans, have designed them. We have no idea what a God designed universe would look like because we have never designed a universe. But I’ll leave that to the others.

Comment #20580

Posted by David Heddle on March 16, 2005 1:29 PM (e)

Ginger,

Thanks for the link to Linde.

Yes I know all the watch rebuttals, but I don’t find them compelling.

Comment #20581

Posted by Ginger Yellow on March 16, 2005 1:31 PM (e)

To be fair, Linde himself leans towards a (b) interpretation of his theory. But it all depends on the assumptions you make, and others argue for (a).

Comment #20584

Posted by Reed A. Cartwright on March 16, 2005 1:44 PM (e)

Warning

Ninety comments in a day? You people better slow down or I will stop creating new bathroom walls when I lock the old ones.

Comment #20602

Posted by John A. Davison on March 16, 2005 3:33 PM (e)

Intelligent Design is a given and not subject to debate. Without ID we wouldn’t even be here mindlessly belaboring it. Sorry folks, that is the way it is. Get used to it.

John A. Davison

Comment #20604

Posted by Michael Finley on March 16, 2005 3:36 PM (e)

Emanuele,

My apologies for the late reply. I got nailed by one of those 24-hour flu bugs - 102 temperature, chills, nausea - it was a real joy.

In your last reply to me you wrote:

Now, if you want to argue that the value of the gravitational constant might have been different, I ask you how you know that…. It’s as simple as that.

Let’s assume that the gravitational constant is a law of nature, i.e., it is a first principle in nature (it is my understanding that string theorists want to explain such constants in terms of vibrations, but let’s leave that aside for the moment). When discussing the “possibility” of natural laws, physical possibility is not an adequate measure. Whether or not something is physically possible is determined by the laws of nature, and therefore, the “possibility” of the laws themselves is something other than physical possibility.

The only other type of possibility I’m familiar with is logical possibility. And a different value for the gravitational constant is certainly a logical possibility, i.e., it does not result in logical contradiction. Therefore, it is “possible.”

Comment #20606

Posted by John A. Davison on March 16, 2005 3:54 PM (e)

I deeply resent being described as a “garden variety biology professor with few or no research credentials,” especially by some cowardly anonymous jerk with no credentials at all. If that jerk took the time to examine my vitae he would discover that I have always published in the best peer reviewed journals. Besides that I am a staunch conservative and even a rabid fan of Ann Coulter. How many “garden variety biology professors” does that jerk think there are in this world that are also conservative fans of Ann Coulter? As far as I know I am the only one. Garden variety my butt. It is typical of Darwimps and Fundies alike to denigrate anyone who has the temerity to take any position that deviated a millimicron from their own myopic homozygous view of the universe.

Take a hike Heddle. Don’t mess with me. This is the Bathroom Wall.

John A. Davison

Comment #20610

Posted by Ginger Yellow on March 16, 2005 4:09 PM (e)

Heh. That’s got to be the first time I’ve ever heard anyone use their “rabid” liking of Ann Coulter as a buttress for their credibility. And John, unless I’m much mistaken, David was referring to PZ Myers, not you. Ease up.

Comment #20612

Posted by David Heddle on March 16, 2005 4:13 PM (e)

Ginger is correct JAD, if you had just clicked the link on #20551 you would have seen. And I am hardly anonymous.

Comment #20643

Posted by Cubist on March 16, 2005 6:03 PM (e)

john a davison wrote:

Intelligent Design is a given and not subject to debate. Without ID we wouldn’t even be here mindlessly belaboring it. Sorry folks, that is the way it is. Get used to it.

Assume your conclusion much, Mr. Davison?

Comment #20646

Posted by John A. Davison on March 16, 2005 6:18 PM (e)

I visited post #20551 and there is no way in the world that one can tell who it is that Heddle is calling a “garden variety biology professor”. Who the hell is PZ Meyers anyhow? That sounds like an alias to me. If he was referring to PZ Meyers why didn’t he say so? You must understand that I am paranoid as all get out and for damn good reasons. Words have meanings but if you aren’t going to use them properly don’t expect much from me. Heddle, are you a Fundie? I can’t really tell.

“Even a paranoid can have enemies.”
Henry Kissinger

John A. Davison

Comment #20648

Posted by Katarina on March 16, 2005 6:27 PM (e)

I know people here do not like religious comments, but this one is relevant to the post. You say that the biggest flaw is Dembski’s premise that there is a target.

Well if there is no target, does that put in peril the belief that both evolution and creation can be true (i.e., God using evolution as a tool for creation)? I am having trouble putting the concepts together, so if anyone has thoughts on it please let me know.

Comment #20649

Posted by John A. Davison on March 16, 2005 6:28 PM (e)

Cubical asks if I “assume my conclusions much.” No Cubical, I reach them by the time honored method of eliminating all other alternatives, the same process by which I arrived at the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis.

John A. Davison

Comment #20650

Posted by luminous beauty on March 16, 2005 6:43 PM (e)

Not at all. As far as I can tell Dumski’s target is spontaneous generation, a fool’s errand. Has nothing to do with the ontological questions posed by natural evolution. It’s those questions Demski, IDers and Creationists are unwilling to face because they upset their neo-medieval theology and metaphysics.

Comment #20653

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on March 16, 2005 6:59 PM (e)

David Heddle wrote:

Wesley wrote,

“One does not falsify a conjecture by demonstrating that a competing conjecture is corroborated.”

It happens all the time. The Steady State model of the universe was falsified because a competing, mutually exclusive theory was confirmed. Or, if you like, its prediction that the universe was not expanding was refuted. It is the same thing with ID. It makes prediction that parallel universes do not exist. If they are shown to exist, then ID has been rendered demonstrably false. ID says that our universe is privileged, if it can be shown that it is not, then ID dies.

ID is falsifiable in exactly the same way that the steady state model was falsifiable.

Perhaps, Wesley, you spend too much time in the politics of science and should spend a bit more time actually doing science.

What’s really going on here, is that falsifiability is recognized as a necessity for a scientific theory, so the last thing you’ll do is admit that ID is falsifiable. You would rather hide in a philosophical cocoon (you PT types are such quote miners) than admit a practical method of falsifiability that has been employed throughout the ages: if conjecture A and B are mutually exclusive, and you confirm B, you have negated A.

If there were no competing conjectures about fine-tuning, then you’d have a point. There would be no way to falsify ID (in my opinion—others e.g., Ross, Gonzalez, Richards disagree) But we are not in that situation.

You just can’t get around the fact that if you do an experiment that confirms parallel universes, then ID is dead. Just like when we did experiments that demonstrated the universe was expanding, steady state was dead.

Pay attention, this time, to the part in bold:

Is it simply too onerous a burden to ask ID advocates to understand what they choose to blither about? “Falsification” is not a labile term that can be used with just any old connotation now. It has a specific meaning given to it by Sir Karl Popper.

Popper’s “falsifiability” is something that ID advocates often invoke, but almost as often demonstrably do not understand. One does not falsify a conjecture by demonstrating that a competing conjecture is corroborated. Falsification is about deriving risky predictions of what must be true if one’s conjecture is true, and then looking to see if that is actually true. And then accepting that if the observation is false instead then the originating conjecture is false. As Popper points out, this is just modus tollens in action. The worthless notion that Heddle peddles above, that falsification of one conjecture occurs on corroboration of a competing conjecture, is unfortunately widespread amongst not just the glassy-eyed cheerleaders of ID, but also among the highest ranked promoters of ID, who should know better.

It certainly is part of science to prefer one competing hypothesis to another based upon consilience and other such considerations. That doesn’t make the process “falsification” as the term is now used. Equivocation is not cool, David.

As for “getting around” certain facts, we’ve already seen ID advocates back off claims that showing that ID was untenable for various of Michael Behe’s examples would “falsify” ID. I have higher expectations of the ability of ID advocates to move the goalposts than David does, based firmly upon observation of their past behavior. The demonstration of multiverses might simply be denied to be a problem, exactly as the excellent therapsid-mammal fossil record proved no problem for Phillip Johnson to dismiss with a handwave in Darwin on Trial. Maybe David really would abandon ID in that circumstance, but it’s not the way I’d bet.

Now, as to my scientific endeavors… I have been involved in scientific research since the early 1980’s; I think that I have a sufficient grasp of the practicalities not to require David Heddle’s assistance, and I am absolutely certain that Heddle is a purveyor of misinformation on the philosophy of science, so I will decline any “assistance” he offers there as well. Sure, my day job means that I’m not putting 100% into research, but I think that what I am doing is important and needs to be done. But neither does my day job keep me out of research altogether. In fact, NCSE has been very supportive of my need to continue my research. I have three papers on dolphin biosonar in various stages of clearance through the US Navy lab in San Diego. I am a co-author on a manuscript under submission to Marine Mammal Science. I have several more manuscripts in various stages of writing. I think I’m doing OK for someone who spent a good chunk of last year in a hospital. Your mileage may vary.

Davd Heddle, you were wrong on “falsifiability”. So were Behe and Dembski. Come to terms with it. See a therapist, if necessary. But please spare me the whiny weaseling crap.

Comment #20657

Posted by Katarina on March 16, 2005 7:27 PM (e)

Dembski does seem, on the surface, to support the idea of God-guided evolution. The way I interpret that is: the theory of evolution, unchanged, except to insert God behind some key (seemingly random, that is, of unpredictable cause) events influencing selection and mutation both. However, his interpretation seems to be that all the key events are demonstrably non-random, and that is where we disagree. If something seems random, that is all we can say about it.

But for one who wants to believe creation and evolution are compatible, it is not easy to get past the hurdle of so many false starts. So perhaps all those species that went extinct were experimenal. Is it possible that the very fact of having so many ancestors makes us stronger, our genes more resilliant to mutations and replication errors, and our immune systems resilliant to disease?

Or is that a poor argument to make, since so many species unrelated to us went extinct as well? I am just trying to smooth out the wrinkles in my argument for the compatibility of creation and evolution. Perhaps this is not the best place to do it, but I can’t help it if you guys are the smartest people talking about the subject.

Comment #20658

Posted by Jonathan Abbey on March 16, 2005 7:33 PM (e)

Katarina, I think we are stronger and more resilient for having evolved over such a long period of time. We (everything living today) are the best of the best of the best of the best, stretching back a billion years. Powerful evolution!

However, the fitness of any specific organism has as much to do with the environment in which it finds itself as it does its own history. If the environment were to drastically change, our fitness might be significantly less in that realm. Our crowding and global mobility might allow new pathogens to spread, for instance, or we could tip the climate one way or another and put our food stocks at risk, or another big rock could drop down and make a mess of things.

All those species that went extinct were experimental, yes. So are we, by the same token. ;-)

Comment #20659

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on March 16, 2005 7:36 PM (e)

I’m going to expand a bit on a conceptual difficulty that ID advocates and cheerleaders share.

What they assert is essentially the following:

“We observe event X. We have hypotheses A and B. Other observations corroborate hypothesis B as an explanation of event X. Therefore, hypothesis A is falsified.”

This is erroneous. Preferring hypothesis B over hypothesis A doesn’t exclude hypothesis A. Hypothesis A is merely stored in the closet, as it were, awaiting further evidence that might bear on whether hypothesis B really should be preferred as an explanation for event X. Hypothesis A might get a bit dusty, but it will be there on hand ready for a turn in its fortunes.

Popperian falsification, though, is a straightforward stake-through-the-heart, with no resurrection to be looked for. A falsified hypothesis is not merely stowed in the closet, it is hauled off to the trashcan in one hand whilst closing one’s nostrils with the other.

It’s no wonder that ID advocates and cheerleaders want to use the terms that Popper spent many essays and books defining and defending, but actually apply the sloppy standards of relative corroboration. This bit of equivocation makes it sound like they are taking a definitive stance when they actually risk nothing whatsoever. And this is exactly the sort of thing they claim is the case for their neoPalyeist notions, that those were never falsified as such, and that new evidence from biochemistry makes it imperative that these neoPaleyisms be re-examined. So on the one hand they deny the historical falsification of Paleyism, while on the other they assert the falsifiability of neoPaleyism. They are right on the former, for falsification was not an option, but they are wrong in the latter, because they are using the same old existentialist logical structure of argumentation.

Comment #20663

Posted by Great White Wonder on March 16, 2005 7:57 PM (e)

Mr. Abbey

We (everything living today) are the best of the best of the best of the best, stretching back a billion years.

Um, some of the things living today are better adapted to their present environment than they were a billion years ago. But some things are likely not better adapted to their present environment than their ancestors were to their environment. You point this fact out yourself Jonathan!

Evolution is change in response to a number of factors, some of which are understood better than others. Are some organisms “impressively” fit for their environment and present lifestyles? Yeah. Are they necessarily more ancient than apparently less fit organisms? I don’t think so.

Katherine hypothesized that

So perhaps all those species that went extinct were experimental.

According to the Popol Vuh, monkeys were a first attempt at making humans. Are you Guatemalan by chance?

Comment #20668

Posted by luminous beauty on March 16, 2005 8:06 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'url'

Comment #20669

Posted by Katarina on March 16, 2005 8:08 PM (e)

Katherine hypothesized that

So perhaps all those species that went extinct were experimental.

According to the Popol Vuh, monkeys were a first attempt at making humans. Are you Guatemalan by chance?

Great White,

I meant that comment in the context of supposing both creation and evolution are true. I am trying to find a purpose to the extinct species, and maybe it is just a fruitless line of thought, but when one is as intimate with creationists as I am, one has to come up with compatibility scenarios.

I am not Guatemalan. (Huh?)

Comment #20670

Posted by Katarina on March 16, 2005 8:11 PM (e)

Luminous Beauty,

Thank you for the reference. I have read Finding Darwin’s God by Ken Miller, and it was indeed an excellent read. However, it did not address this specific question (that I can remember).

Comment #20671

Posted by Great White Wonder on March 16, 2005 8:23 PM (e)

Katerina

http://www.jaguar-sun.com/popolvuh.html

You’ll be much better served enjoying the strange stories in the Popol Vuh than trying to find a “purpose” for extinct species.

Trust me.

Comment #20672

Posted by Katarina on March 16, 2005 8:29 PM (e)

Great White,

Please do two things. If you have no relevant response to my honest question, at least don’t poke fun at me. Second, spell my name correctly if you do post another comment directed at me.

Thanks.

Comment #20674

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on March 16, 2005 8:35 PM (e)

I’m going to expand a bit on a conceptual difficulty that ID advocates and cheerleaders share.

What they assert is essentially the following:

“We observe event X. We have hypotheses A and B. Other observations corroborate hypothesis B as an explanation of event X. Therefore, hypothesis A is falsified.”

This is erroneous. Preferring hypothesis B over hypothesis A doesn’t exclude hypothesis A. Hypothesis A is merely stored in the closet, as it were, awaiting further evidence that might bear on whether hypothesis B really should be preferred as an explanation for event X. Hypothesis A might get a bit dusty, but it will be there on hand ready for a turn in its fortunes.

Popperian falsification, though, is a straightforward stake-through-the-heart, with no resurrection to be looked for. A falsified hypothesis is not merely stowed in the closet, it is hauled off to the trashcan in one hand whilst closing one’s nostrils with the other.

It’s no wonder that ID advocates and cheerleaders want to use the terms that Popper spent many essays and books defining and defending, but actually apply the sloppy standards of relative corroboration. This bit of equivocation makes it sound like they are taking a definitive stance when they actually risk nothing whatsoever. The perfect illustration of the slipperiness of this sort of thing is found in what they claim is the case for their neoPalyeist notions, that those were never falsified as such, and that new evidence from biochemistry makes it imperative that these neoPaleyisms be re-examined. So on the one hand they deny the historical falsification of Paleyism (“Hey, look at this cool thing I found in the closet!”, while on the other they assert the falsifiability of neoPaleyism (“And it has all the latest features!”). They are right on the former, for falsification was not an option, but they are wrong in the latter, because they are using the same old existentialist logical structure of argumentation.

Comment #20675

Posted by Mike S. on March 16, 2005 8:37 PM (e)

Katarina,

I think the issue you raise is important, and is at the heart of a lot of the Creationism/Evolution debates. In my view, a lot of the problems arise because people confuse different kinds of “targets”. From the perspective of the Bible, what is the “target”? When it says that man is made in the image of God, what does that mean? Since God is non-corporeal, it must not reflect our physical makeup. The way I view it is that God created the universe knowing that life would arise and produce human beings. Whether He meant specifically for humans to arise on Earth, after 3 billion years of evolution, or whether He just meant for us to arise at some point, on some planet, I don’t know. Maybe there are many other planets with different kinds of sentient life that He has revealed himself to. Maybe we’re the only one. But the point is that the randomness of evolution is not equivalent to metaphysical randomness, as Steven Weinberg would have it. The weather is random, but I’ve never heard of a Christian not believing that God was ultimately in control of it nonetheless. Likewise, the Bible doesn’t give us specific detailed biological targets that God intended to hit.

Comment #20676

Posted by Great White Wonder on March 16, 2005 8:38 PM (e)

The Popol Vuh, of course, is directly responsive to the question Katarina asked. I thought I made that clear. Maybe not. Oh well!

If anyone else is feeling testy, go read the robotic colon crawler thread. Eli is in great form!

Comment #20678

Posted by Air Bear on March 16, 2005 8:40 PM (e)

Katarina,

Judging from the entries in this thread, you’re thinking about the relationship between God and evolution more clearly than Dembski is. Yes, I think he is indeed arguing for a God-directed evolutionary process. (The giveaway is the infinite regression of causes to a First Cause; this is a well-known technique in philosophy to prove the existence of God.) But you perceptively note that there are large numbers of “directed searches” that ended in extinction.

Perhaps it is useful to consider that the Will of an infinite God is inscrutable. He has His own reasons for producing species that went extinct. In fact, it may be considered blasphemous to try to divine the Will of God except as revealed in Scripture.

But then we are left to go with the flow of what we can observe, and merely study the products of evolution, past and present, that can be observed. We cannot perceive the Mind of God, but we can study his Handiwork as we see it. And this is just what professional biologist do – study and understand how it all works – without looking for Ultimate Causes.

As for a target: whatever is, is. We can’t objectively tell whether there is a target or not. And even if there is a target, all we know is what we have now and what lived on the Earth in the past. Moreover, if evolution is indeed valid, then God would have some future target. But obviously we are completely ignorant of what this future target may be, so there is no use worrying about it.

I, for one, think that it’s best for believers to take the position that David Heddle admitted to on PT a couple of weeks ago: ID (or by extension, God’s direction of evolution) is a background philsophical concept that can inspire scientists but has no place in the actual scientific research.

Myself, I’m pretty much an agnostic who was raised as a believer, so I understand the need to reconcile God and Nature. But it’s ultimately most productive not to try to guess at any Divine mechanisms.

Comment #20679

Posted by David Heddle on March 16, 2005 8:41 PM (e)

Wesley,

“We observe event X. We have hypotheses A and B. Other observations corroborate hypothesis B as an explanation of event X. Therefore, hypothesis A is falsified.”

This is erroneous. Preferring hypothesis B over hypothesis A doesn’t exclude hypothesis A. Hypothesis A is merely stored in the closet, as it were, awaiting further evidence that might bear on whether hypothesis B really should be preferred as an explanation for event X. Hypothesis A might get a bit dusty, but it will be there on hand ready for a turn in its fortunes.

Only, Wesley, if A doesn’t predict ~X. If A predicts ~X, and X is observed, then A gets tossed out, independent of B. In that way, multiverses falsify ID.

Comment #20680

Posted by luminous beauty on March 16, 2005 8:45 PM (e)

Katerina,

I’m personally not convinced that natural selection is the cause of much special extinction. It seems like sudden geological, climactic, or cosmic events are the natural causes of most extinctions; and now we have the agency of human civilization. Those earlier forms just evolved into new species. That survival of the fittest faustian crap doesn’t impress me much either, it’s more like survival of the fit enough.

In the sense I favor, that since all life shares in some part a common gene plasm, the only extinction that matters is the end of all life on earth.

Comment #20682

Posted by Katarina on March 16, 2005 8:52 PM (e)

Mike S.,

Thanks for your perspective, I will meditate on it.

GWW,

Having been entertained so many times by your fun-poking at others, I was a bit overly on-guard, perhaps, to your comments to me. You are right, it is not a question for biology, or any science, to answer. I agree also that my attempt to make a purpose for the extinct species may be blasphemous, and maybe isn’t very useful at all.

Appreciate the help.

Comment #20683

Posted by Katarina on March 16, 2005 8:55 PM (e)

Luminous Beauty,

I was writing at the same time as you were, but I just wanted to thank you for your comments as well, and bid everyone good night.

Comment #20685

Posted by Katarina on March 16, 2005 8:58 PM (e)

Air Bear,

Thanks for your thoughts as well.

Comment #20689

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on March 16, 2005 9:41 PM (e)

Ok, it looks like David Heddle is perhaps getting the idea that “falsifiability” is a technical term whose definition in the scientific context was given by Popper. Finally.

David Heddle wrote:

Only, Wesley, if A doesn’t predict ~X. If A predicts ~X, and X is observed, then A gets tossed out, independent of B. In that way, multiverses falsify ID.

That’s a straightforward non sequitur. There is no prediction from “intelligent design” that multiverses are forbidden. Multiverses are not incompatible, inconsistent, or contradictory to “intelligent design”. They would simply make the probabilities as asserted by Dembski and comrades more amenable to natural mechanisms without resort to “intelligent design”.

The fundamental claim of intelligent design is straightforward and easily intelligible, namely, there are natural systems that cannot be adequately explained in terms of undirected natural forces and that exhibit features that in any other circumstance we would attribute to intelligence.

(The Design Revolution)

That’s a nice example of what Popper called a “pure existential statement”. There’s also nothing in it that would lead one to expect that demonstration of the existence of multiverses would give its adherents the slightest pause. Given 500 milliseconds for consideration, an ID advocate or cheerleader would simply revise any connotation of “adequate” in play to accommodate the new finding and re-assert the old claim.

David’s original assertion was that he would recant ID if the existence of multiverses was demonstrated. The sloppiness of David’s assertions about scientific falsifiability are apparent in the fact that there would be no necessity for other ID cheerleaders or advocates to do the same on appearance of the same item of empirical evidence. The only reason that multiverses might affect David’s embrace of ID is not anything about the structure of ID itself (and therefore something to do with hypothesis A), but rather because multiverses would go some way toward apparent corroboration of a competing hypothesis (hypothesis B). Thus, I conclude that I am not missing anything here, as Heddle’s rejoinder implies, and Heddle’s assertion that ID (as hypothesis A) “predicts” the absence of multiverses is simply more whiny weaseling.

Comment #20691

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 16, 2005 9:44 PM (e)

Mr. Finley:

Sorry to hear about your problems. Hope you’re feeling better now.

The only other type of possibility I’m familiar with is logical possibility. And a different value for the gravitational constant is certainly a logical possibility, i.e., it does not result in logical contradiction. Therefore, it is “possible.”

Yes, in this watered-down definition of “possible”, it certainly is. Unfortunately for your argument, this has absolutely no evidential value, as it is equivalent to “conceivable”. The argument from conceivability is not evidence of existence, much like the argument from incredulity is not evidence of non-existence.

So, granted that such different values are conceivable, do you have any evidence that they are also possible in the other sense, the only one relevant to our discussion?

Of course not. So, you’ll excuse me if I provisionally withhold my assent that such alternative universes actually do exist outside our minds.

Comment #20692

Posted by Wayne Francis on March 16, 2005 9:48 PM (e)

Comment # 20529

David Heddle wrote:

Comment #20529
Posted by David Heddle on March 16, 2005 11:32 AM
Wesley wrote,
You just can’t get around the fact that if you do an experiment that confirms parallel universes, then ID is dead. Just like when we did experiments that demonstrated the universe was expanding, steady state was dead.

I have to disagree with you here David. Lets say that 99.9999999999999999999% of the universes in a multiverse scenario turn out to not be condusive to life, as we know it, is this a problem for ID? Nope, No more then 99.9999999999999999999% of this universe not being condusive to life, as we know it, is a problem for ID.

Comment #20695

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on March 16, 2005 10:18 PM (e)

I feel silly. There was something in my latest reply to Heddle that I failed to note.

You see, saying that hypothesis A predicts that we won’t observe X is yet another pure existential statement. We would have to make every possible observation that might show that X exists over the whole number of times available in our universe to establish the “prediction”. No matter how ofen “not X” was observed, you could not exclude the possibility that on the next observation X might indeed be found. It is therefore of a class of conjectures that Popper explicitly called unfalsifiable. So David Heddle’s rejoinder was screwed in two ways, and I only picked up one in my last comment. Silly me. Even if “intelligent design” were capable of “predicting” that “multiverses cannot exist” (which ID cannot), such a “prediction” would still not rise to the level of showing that the conjecture was falsifiable.

I haven’t felt this silly since the CSICOP 2002 conference when Paul Nelson presented a supposed negation of a statement in propositional logic and asked the panel I was on to explain why it was false. We didn’t come up with the simplest, most direct answer, one provided to me just after the event by someone in the audience. “He didn’t apply deMorgan’s law in the negation.” That was a forehead-slap moment something like this one.

Comment #20696

Posted by Ruthless on March 16, 2005 10:19 PM (e)

David Heddle said:
If you go down the path that says “no matter what happens IDers can argue God did it that way”, then we are at a standstill. But the bottom line, for me, is that if you demonstrate multiple universes ID has lost its foundation.

Perhaps, but whether or not the “theory” is logically falsified has little to do with your personal beliefs. Do you agree it is just as logical for other ID’ers to claim that cosmological ID is still a valid theory if other universes are found, with our without life? Why or why not?

I love launching card discussions.

if every five-card hand from a 52 card deck represented a universe, but only the hand with 3C,6S,7H, 8H, and 8D was a hospitable universe, and we are in that universe, then (a) if we are also the only universe I claim ID

How will we know if other universes exist? Science can’t prove nonexistance.
Besides, why would you claim that the universe is designed if we are in a hospitable universe and it is the only one? How do you get from 1 observed hospitable universe–>Jesus?

(b) if all universes exist somewhere, I concede that we only here because it’s the only place where life could exist. Then, I claim ID is false.

Again, this has nothing to do with the cosmological ID “theory”. I could claim that god created all the universes as well as our “special” one. What is wrong with my claim?

I disagree. I still believe the old watch argument is valid. I don’t have to find the watchmaker.

I’m pretty sure you do.

For instance, how do you know this universe is a watch? I claim it is a rock. How do we tell who’s idea is correct?

Comment #20697

Posted by Wayne Francis on March 16, 2005 10:39 PM (e)

March 15, 2005 07:27 PM
9:48 pm

Last 26 hours

DaveScot 2,252 Words
John A. Davison 2,242 Words
Donkey Kong 943 Words

Total Word count 39,556

Noise to signal ratio is down from 21% to just 13.7%

Yay!

Comment # 20450

Kristjan Wager wrote:

Comment #20450
Posted by Kristjan Wager on March 16, 2005 06:10 AM
Wayne, is that a program you feel like sharing? Out of curioisity, what did you write it in?

Its very rough, writen in Visual Basic 6. I’m slowly rewriting it in C#. If you would like the source code I’m happy to provide it, minus some of the filtering routines that I don’t have IP for, as is. Feel free to email if you want the source. It is VERY specific to PT.

Now to listen to 244 comments that have happened in the last 26 hours, minus JAD,DS and DK’s post.

Comment #20710

Posted by Marek14 on March 17, 2005 4:35 AM (e)

I was wondering - if evolution and religion WERE in fact incompatible (which they seem not to be, at least so far), would that change anything? Couldn’t there still be people accepting both? After all, I’m not aware of any evidence that human mind is incapable of believing two contradictory statements at the same time…

Comment #20719

Posted by Soren K on March 17, 2005 6:45 AM (e)

To Marek

I read a book by the dane Jacob Wolf, who made an argument for a kind of ID. He states that to believe that to be christian and claim that the theological explanations and “natural” explanations a true at the same time is paradoxical - and thus he later makes the argument that theological arguments are fuller than natural (or logical) (the connection between the two being the analogical argument.

But another place in his book he mentions that it is indeed a paradox that christ is both man and God.

So apparently some kind of paradoxes are OK if you are a believer, and some are not OK.

/Soren

Comment #20728

Posted by Soren K on March 17, 2005 7:55 AM (e)

To Marek

I read a book by the dane Jacob Wolf, who made an argument for a kind of ID. He states that to believe that to be christian and claim that the theological explanations and “natural” explanations a true at the same time is paradoxical - and thus he later makes the argument that theological arguments are fuller than natural (or logical) (the connection between the two being the analogical argument.

But another place in his book he mentions that it is indeed a paradox that christ is both man and God.

So apparently some kind of paradoxes are OK if you are a believer, and some are not OK.

/Soren

Comment #20729

Posted by John A. Davison on March 17, 2005 8:00 AM (e)

Wayne Francis is a perfect demonstration of the intellectual bigotry that has come to characterize the Darwimpian camp. He is pathetic and a blight upon the face of Panda’s Thumb.

“Orthodoxy means not thinking, not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconciousness.”
George Orwell, 1984

John A. Davison

Comment #20734

Posted by John A. Davison on March 17, 2005 8:20 AM (e)

To any who might not agree with Wayne Francis’ opinion of DaveScot and myself, I refer you to the “Intelligent design, indeed” thread. I see no point in repeating myself here. For all others, have a nice Groupthink.

John A. Davison

Comment #20737

Posted by Mike S. on March 17, 2005 8:32 AM (e)

Grey Wolf wrote:

Working out the Ultimate Question to Life, the Universe, and Everything?

So, now that we know the answer is 42, what do we do? ;)

Comment #20743

Posted by Marek14 on March 17, 2005 8:54 AM (e)

For what I’ve read, the Ultimate Question was, in fact, asked in the book Life, Universe, and Everything. By Marvin, to a mattress. He asked her:

“Pick a number. Any number.”

And the correct answer is 42. And now you know everything :-)

Comment #20749

Posted by DaveScot on March 17, 2005 9:52 AM (e)

Well, they’ve all but banned me now at Panda’s Thumb. It had to happen. PZ Myers is deleting all the vowels from my posts. Steve Reuland is just deleting my posts altogether. I knew censoring criticism was they way they played the game. It’s the only way neo-Darwinism can survive.

See y’all, around. It’s been real.

Comment #20750

Posted by Henry J on March 17, 2005 10:00 AM (e)

Emanuele Oriano,

Re “b) infinite universes exist, and they have different sets of cosmological constants. The subset of the multiverse which includes our own universe is therefore privileged, and obviously designed.”

I don’t know about “obvious”, but I can see how somebody looking for ID could get it from (b). When people design something new, there are generally any number of prototypes sitting around afterward (unless they got thrown out). Therefore if there’s lots of universes that “didn’t work”, that could mean the designer was still working on it.

Otoh, without some way of knowing what an undesigned universe would look like, relative to a designed one, the whole thing is speculative anyway.

Henry

Comment #20752

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 17, 2005 10:14 AM (e)

Henry J:

Precisely. My point was simply that, given any of those four alternatives, a determined IDist could very well see “obvious design” in each and every one of them (and therefore cosmological ID is evidence-independent and unfalsifiable).

Mr. Heddle was arguing instead that one of those alternatives would disprove (cosmological) ID, which he claims implies just one universe. The mode of implication is still unclear, though.

Comment #20753

Posted by Michael Finley on March 17, 2005 10:20 AM (e)

Emanuele Oriano wrote:

Yes, in this watered-down definition of “possible”, it certainly is. Unfortunately for your argument, this has absolutely no evidential value, as it is equivalent to “conceivable”. The argument from conceivability is not evidence of existence….

I’m not sure what is meant by “existence” here, for, ex hypothesi, there is and has been only the present universe. If the “existence” of another universe (e.g., one with a different gravitational constant) means the actuality of another universe, then of course possibility does not establish actuality. But what is that suppossed to establish? Certainly not that such a universe is impossible.

So, granted that such different values are conceivable, do you have any evidence that they are also possible in the other sense, the only one relevant to our discussion?

What other sense are you speaking of? Physical possibility has already been ruled out because of what we are discussing, i.e., it does not make sense to talk about the physical possibility of natural laws because physical possibility is determined by natural laws. Is there a third kind of possibility you are alluding to?

Comment #20758

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 17, 2005 10:43 AM (e)

Michael Finley:

No, there is no other sense, AFAIK. Are you therefore conceding the point?

If you recall, we were discussing whether any claim of this universe being “unlikely” was meaningful or not.

Now, the fact that this universe may be “unlikely” in our minds because in our minds the various physical constants might very well have been different is indeed completely meaningless. I can imagine that the moon could have been made of green cheese, but this does not make its actual rocky composition any more or less likely than it was before.

Using the already-overused analogy of a deck of cards, one cannot know whether the hand he was dealt was a good hand or a bad hand unless he already knows at least how many cards are in the deck and what the rules for the current game are. Being able to imagine various different deck compositions and game rules makes no difference.

1) We may have a deck of 5 cards only, and the “hand” and the “deck” are one and the same thing.
2) We may have been dealt 5 cards entirely at random, and got a winning hand.
3) We may have been dealt 5 cards entirely at random, and got a losing hand (note: with the SAME 5 cards of situation 2!)
4) We may not be “playing” at all, and simply find ourselves holding five coasters shaped and illustrated as playing cards!
5) We may have been dealt 5 cards from a deck of 20.
6) We may have been dealt 5 cards from a deck of 10^50 cards.
7) An Intelligent Designer may have dealt us 5 winning cards….do I make myself clear, now?
All these alternatives are perfectly “possible”; do we or do we not have any evidence of this?

Cosmological IDists make at least two completely unwarranted assumptions:

a) We have been dealt a hand out of an almost-infinite deck;
b) We are playing and the hand we got is a winning hand.

Assumption (a) is unwarranted because we have no evidence of the size of the deck.
Assumption (b) is unwarranted because we do not know the “rules of the game”, or indeed whether this is a “game” at all.

Comment #20768

Posted by Michael Finley on March 17, 2005 11:53 AM (e)

Emanuele,

I think we are talking past one another. I want to recognize a distinction between physical events (e.g., the moon being made of green cheese, being delt cards, etc.) and physical laws (e.g., the gravitational constant). Accordingly, I also want to recogize a distinction between the “possibility” of events and that of laws. “Possibility” is equivocal here: it doesn’t mean the same for an event as a law.

It is certainly meaningless to say of a physical law that it is “possible” in the sense that a physical event is “possible,” i.e., a “physical possibility.” That I concede, but maintain that it is irrelevant.

A physical law determines physical possibility, therefore, it cannot be subject to physical possibility. It is, nevertheless, subject to logical possibility. Thus, to ask whether or not a physical law is possible is by definition a logical inquiry….do I make myself clear now?

Comment #20769

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 17, 2005 12:08 PM (e)

Michael Finley:

OK, let’s reset and see whether we can reach a mutually satisfactory conclusion of some kind.

I do recognize the difference in “being possible” in those two sense; actually, it is crucial to what I was saying.

Precisely because of this distinction, the kind of “possibility” (i.e. in a purely theoretical way) is meaningless.

Do we know whether the gravitational constant could be different in practice? No, we only stare blankly inside our minds and say, “Sure, I can imagine different values for it”.

What if in reality it CANNOT be?
It’s up to those who theorize the possibility of other universes to devise a way to give evidence for their hypothesis.

If this really is the only universe we can ever be sure of, then saying it is “unlikely” or “likely” is indeed meaningless.

Comment #20770

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 17, 2005 12:10 PM (e)

Oops.

Precisely because of this distinction, the kind of “possibility” (i.e. in a purely theoretical way) is meaningless.

What I meant to write was:

Precisely because of this distinction, the kind of “possibility” you are talking about (i.e. in a purely theoretical way) is meaningless.

Comment #20773

Posted by steve on March 17, 2005 12:24 PM (e)

As has been pointed out many times in the past, ID is based on freshman statistics errors. The biological ID assumes, in flat contradiction to the evidence, that functional proteins are astronomically rare in the combination space, then concludes that they’re too hard to randomly find. Dumb dumb dumb. The cosmological ID assumes, with no evidence whatsoever, that a certain observed result is unlikely, and then concludes that it didn’t happen by chance. Dumb dumb dumb.

If you applied these probability ‘techniques’ to gambling, you’d get, like the astrology nuts, “Financially Dissappointing” results.

Comment #20774

Posted by Michael Finley on March 17, 2005 12:26 PM (e)

Emanuele Oriano wrote:

What if in reality it CANNOT be?

This is what puzzles me. Your use of “cannot” indicates that you are talking about “possibility,” and you characterize that “possibility” as “possibility in reality“. What is meant by “reality” here?

I would also point out that your pejorative characterization of logical possibility as mere conceivability (blank mental stares, imagination, etc.) puts the cart before the horse. Something is conceivable because it is logical, not vice versa. Logical possibility is a formal concept (in Frege’s sense of “concept”), not a psychological one.

My position, simply put, is this: Concerning logical laws, there is no difference between logical possibility and ontological possibility, i.e., to be logically possible is to be ontologically possible.

But perhaps we may have to agree to disagree.

Comment #20775

Posted by Michael Finley on March 17, 2005 12:31 PM (e)

Concerning logical laws, there is no difference between logical possibility and ontological possibility….

The typo bug is going around. That should read: “Concerning physical laws, there is no difference between logical possibility and ontological possibility….”

Comment #20777

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 17, 2005 12:55 PM (e)

Michael Finley:

Certainly, we can only agree to disagree. The possibility of a physical constant being different from what it is should be supported with some evidence; otherwise, there will always be the possibility that we are overlooking something that makes the only observed value the only observable value.

As long as we manipulate purely mental constructs with no evidence either way, we can reach whatever conclusion we want, provided it is consistent, i.e. logically non-contradictory. How does this tell us anything about reality itself?

Maybe an example will clarify my point. Suppose that nothing of what we currently know constrains the gravitational constant, yet some as yet undiscovered link with some other fundamental constant would constrain it to the point of “forcing” the value it has in the observable universe. In our little mental world, we would think “very unlikely” that the gravitational constant had exactly the value it has. Yet actually it might be not only likely but unavoidable. That’s another way of saying, the universe’s apparent “unlikelihood” is simply a measure of our (mine, yours, everybody else’s) ignorance.

Thank you for sparring with me for a while. This might not have anything to do with evolution per se, but it sure beats having to wade through the endless lines of crap spewed by some trolls.

Comment #20780

Posted by Flint on March 17, 2005 1:14 PM (e)

To calculate the probability of our universe just happening to be the way it is, we must place our universe into context. Now, what is this context? We have no clues. None at all. Granted, we can make up as many conceivable contexts as our imaginations can handle. I’m reminded of those people who feared a Y2K meltdown, and sincerely believed that if they could dream up twice as long a list of potential failures today as they did yesterday, the probability of meltdown doubled as a result.

But unfortunately, the universe has no external context at all. No basis for comparison. And so the claim that it is in some way extraordinary so as to stand out within that nonexistent context is a policy position, a straight statement of preference.

Comment #20781

Posted by Michael Finley on March 17, 2005 1:23 PM (e)

Emanuele,

I enjoy the sparring as well.

Unlike many theists/creationists (“creationists” in the broadest sense), I am perfectly comfortable with Darwinism. No valid argument moves from Darwinism to atheism, and so the truth value of Darwinism has no metaphysical consequences. By the same token, I have nothing to lose if Darwinism (neo-) turns out to be false.

The same, of course, could be said of cosmological discussions such as ours. Though if one were to look for perceptible signs of a creator, it seems to me that the beginning would be a good place to look. At any rate, I am interested in all rational (not necessarily empirical) arguments concerning the divine, not as a justification for belief, but as a way to understand my belief (fides quarens intellectum, faith seeking understanding as the Scholastics said).

Until next time.

Comment #20782

Posted by Michael Finley on March 17, 2005 1:28 PM (e)

My latin is a little rusty; I think the verb is missing an ‘e’ - quaerens.

Comment #20792

Posted by Dene Bebbington on March 17, 2005 2:28 PM (e)

Isn’t it about time Dembski turned the same level of scrutiny he applies to “Darwinism” to his beloved Bible? Oh wait, unless one restorts to Bible codes it’s difficult to hit the nail of the Bible with the hammer of maths.

Comment #20794

Posted by Micahel Finley on March 17, 2005 2:34 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #20870

Posted by John A. Davison on March 17, 2005 9:05 PM (e)

The difficult with Dembski and Behe too is that they spend all their time attempting to prove Intelligent Design, when Intelligent Design is self-evident to any unprejudiced observer like myself for example or DaveScot for another. ID is the inescapable requisite for any analysis of either ontogeny or phylogeny. Neither process ever was influenced by the environment. Both have unfolded from the derepression of stored front-loaded information. Both were self-regulating and self-terminating phenomenon proceeding inexorably and driven by forces yet to be identified. Both are part of the same organic continuum and evolution is finished.

Just my thoughts.

John A. Davison

Comment #20888

Posted by Michael Rathbun on March 17, 2005 10:09 PM (e)

John A. Davison wrote:

Just my thoughts.

Yeah, right.

So, now that you’ve expressed them several dozen times so far this week, could you perhaps retire gracefully, content in the knowledge that they have generally been disregarded as not relevent to the purpose of this forum, and just over all not be quite so much of an obnoxious pest?

In case you haven’t checked lately, the aforementioned purpose is

The patrons gather to discuss evolutionary theory, critique the claims of the antievolution movement, defend the integrity of both science and science education, and share good conversation.

EMWTK.

Comment #20890

Posted by jbbootay on March 17, 2005 10:15 PM (e)

John A. Davison wrote:

The difficult with Dembski and Behe too is that they spend all their time attempting to prove Intelligent Design, when Intelligent Design is self-evident to any unprejudiced observer like myself for example or DaveScot for another. ID is the inescapable requisite for any analysis of either ontogeny or phylogeny. Neither process ever was influenced by the environment. Both have unfolded from the derepression of stored front-loaded information. Both were self-regulating and self-terminating phenomenon proceeding inexorably and driven by forces yet to be identified. Both are part of the same organic continuum and evolution is finished.

“I wash born here, an I wash raished here, and dad gum it, I am gonna die here, an no sidewindin bushwackin, hornswaglin, cracker croaker is gonna rouin me bishen cutter.” – Jack Starratt, Blazing Saddles (1974)

“Now who can argue with that?” – David Huddelston, Blazing Saddles (1974)

Comment #20894

Posted by Henry J on March 17, 2005 10:36 PM (e)

Re “Every structural similarity (e.g., morphological, anatomical, genetic, etc.) is equally a prediction of a common designer as of a common ancestor.”
I have to disagree. Common ancestry implies inherited similarities, from a single predecessor species (in the absence of gene swapping, anyway). Common designer (without more details to go on) doesn’t imply that. A designed successor could have a mix of dna from multiple predecessor species, or be massively changed from the recent predecessor, or be based on something that went extinct a few eons ago.

Re “How do the findings of these sciences establish common descent to the exclusion of creation?”
Answering that would require a precise definition of “creation”, in order to know what it implies. For instance, if “creation” means only “caused by God”, then it doesn’t imply that any given observation to be more likely than any other. IOW in that case the two are not mutually exclusive. They only become exclusive when somebody takes the assumption “evolution didn’t happen” and tacks it onto creation as if it belonged there - but “caused by God” and “evolved” are completely independent statements, IMO - neither implies the other, and neither implies not the other.

Re “biogeography) are not predictions of common ancestry”
I disagree with that one, too. Common ancestry of two species means their descendants had to get from where the predecessor lived to where the descendants live today. So the prediction is that most successor species will be within the known travel range of their predecessors. Granted a few might manage to travel furthur than we’d expect, but they’d be a small minority. (Noting that changes in geography, esp. continental drift plate tectonics, have to be taken into account here.)

Henry

Comment #20903

Posted by Wayne Francis on March 18, 2005 12:45 AM (e)

Comment # 20794

Micahel Finley wrote:

Comment #20794
Posted by Micahel Finley on March 17, 2005 02:34 PM

My main question is this: How do the findings of these sciences establish common descent to the exclusion of creation?

This is a tricky question. Common descent doesn’t not exclude creation. A creator may have created everything to appear the way it is directly. Something that should be noted about ID when they claim similarity equates to “common design” by the creator there is a problem when you then ask why some function is performed differently by another organism. With ID all you can say is “Well the designer made these n number of species perform function “A” by process “X” (showing that they share a common design) but in these n number of species function “A” is performed by process “Y”. There is no way of saying why one set of species does it one way or another. With common descent you can say that any species that performs function “A” by process “X” probably developed it from a common descendant. When they are of common descent you can start making prediction about other processes that different species in that group may share.

I’ve thought of a good proof of ID. Show a number of species with sets of traits/processes that all perform the same way yet they have other traits/processes that may or may not perform the same way but common descent wouldn’t predict via common descent.

Now one trait/process occurring in two different branches isn’t unheard of. Most often these traits/process are just superficial. A good example is flight. Both mammals, birds and insects have developed flight. The wings of each are drastically different. Thus we have a situation where Function “A”, flight, is performed by process “X”, “Y”, and “Z”.

It might sound silly but finding a bird that breast feeds its young would be a sign for ID. This is because the development of this process for the function of feeding young occurred long after birds split off. Some people point to sharks live birth/placental as an example of this type of development. Sharks actually show a good case of what is actually happening. Placental births is progression of the common descent of birth by eggs. Some mutation causes the eggs to remain within the mother. This would allow the egg shell to eventually not be needed. Thus mutations that weakened the eggs would not be detrimental making it more likely that that mutation would occur. So here we have a function, birthing, that seems to be all over the place. We have mammals that give birth via eggs and we have reptiles that give birth to live young. When we look the structure involved in placental births they are all there in creatures that lay eggs. Small changes are all that is needed to cause this to happen.

Now if we had a few of these type of traits/processes in different species that does not match up to the “tree of life” you’d have serious problems. Even so looking at many of these processes at a genetic level we see that they are not actual performed the same. They do the same thing but the processes involved can be obtained by different genetic pathways.

In short you can’t say creation isn’t responsible. The problem is that creationism isn’t very good at answering question since there would be no reason within the creation model that tomorrow we could find a nocturnal blind echo location using bird that feeds its young via some mammary gland system and did its feeding via swimming and used baleen to do its own feeding. Creationism allows for anything. Evolution doesn’t.

Comment #20909

Posted by David Heddle on March 18, 2005 4:28 AM (e)

Wyane,

Isn’t what you are describing called “convergence”, and are there not some good examples already? (e.g., the sandlance and chameleon.)

Comment #20910

Posted by bcpmoon on March 18, 2005 5:05 AM (e)

John A. Davison wrote:

Intelligent Design is self-evident to any unprejudiced observer

Caveat I: Nothing is self-evident in science. The foundation of science is the experiment, the evidence. “Self-evident” is anti-science.

Caveat II: There is no such thing as an “unprejudiced observer”, hence double-blind studies, publications and acceptance of data only after replication of experiments in independent labs.

It seems to me that scientists are much more aware of the fallibility of man than IDists.

Comment #20911

Posted by John A. Davison on March 18, 2005 5:45 AM (e)

I have presented both indirect and direct evidence for the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis in that
paper (in press). What has been arbitrarily assumed to be convergent gradual evolution is not that at all but rather unrelated organisms reading the same latent blueprints and producing, probably instantly or in very few discrete steps, similar phenotypes. The environment cannot be implicated in any of these evolutionary phenomena. It is insane to continue assuming mechanisms which are not demonstrable either in the laboratory and certainly not in the fossil record.

The Darwinian fairy tale is doomed to oblivion folks. Get used to it. How anyone can still accept any aspect of it boggles my ancient mind.

John A. Davison

Comment #20913

Posted by Bob Maurus on March 18, 2005 6:10 AM (e)

Ancient minds tend to be easily boggled, John.

Comment #20915

Posted by John A. Davison on March 18, 2005 6:57 AM (e)

Bobby Maurus

You have just voluntarily added age discrimination to your many other innate, genetically determined and, of course, prescribed prejudices. Thanks you very much.

John A. Davison

Comment #20923

Posted by Katarina on March 18, 2005 8:30 AM (e)

Special Hemoglobin Helped Swim Bladders Give Fish Diversity a..

“On page 1752 of the latest Science, researchers use the fish family tree to piece together how an internal air sac called a swim bladder evolved a complex capillary network and special hemoglobin molecule to inflate it with oxygen, innovations that they claim helped fish expand their species diversity.”

Full story at
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/307/5716/1705a?etoc

Comment #20930

Posted by Wayne Francis on March 18, 2005 9:46 AM (e)

Comment # 20909

David Heddle wrote:

Comment #20909
Posted by David Heddle on March 18, 2005 04:28 AM
Wyane,
Isn’t what you are describing called “convergence”, and are there not some good examples already? (e.g., the sandlance and chameleon.)

Yes, while a single convergence is accepted I think if you have more then one then it would be a good sign for ID. The problem is I think much of what we see as convergence really is not at the genetic level. The issue with front loading to me would be easy to disprove in a few years. Take the duck bill platypus, something the great JAD thought actually had a bill of a duck
Comment # 18552

John A. Davison wrote:

Comment #18552
Posted by John A. Davison on February 28, 2005 06:04 PM
… On the other hand if the bill of the Platypus does not resemble a duck’s bill, why then is it called the Duck-billed Platypus?

While it looks similar it is not and genetically its VERY different. So if we have different genes causing the same thing to happen that really isn’t convergence. Anyway back to the front loading. Since duck billed platypuses still lay eggs you would expect from these front loaded hypothesis that the genes for developing a placenta would be present and fully ready to switch on.

We just don’t see convergence at the scale I would expect if a intelligent designer was reusing parts. Now….if you believe in the multiple designer theory then what we see is a better match. We see multiple designs for the same function. Some are similar some are drastically different.

I think some of the convergent features like the morphology of dolphins and whale is more do with the common physiology of their land bound ancestor. For example why are they both opposite to the way fish swim? I think this is simply do to the what the back operated as a land animal. It seems to me that trying to swim like a fish for land animals would be very difficult. The spine no longer has the same flexibility. Placental births is another one. It makes sense that a mutation that causes a mother to hold the egg inside here for a longer period of time would make sense as the survival of that offspring greatly increases Then in a species that has that trait the tough egg wall could go away without negative effects on the offspring so that mutation could be passed down easily. Next the embryo in the egg could not only tap into the food supply of the egg but tap into the mother’s system.

Anyway 2:30 am ….I’m tired and probably just babbling at this point.

Comment #20931

Posted by Russell on March 18, 2005 9:52 AM (e)

Special Hemoglobin Helped Swim Bladders Give Fish Diversity

That reminds me of a fascinating factoid I discovered on a recent trip to Antarctica: the Antarctic ice fish (Champsocephalus gunnari) lacks hemoglobin altogether! The cold water down there holds so much O2, apparently, that hemoglobin is dispensable! Might be of some interest to the irreducible complexitists among us.

Comment #20933

Posted by steve on March 18, 2005 10:31 AM (e)

Special Hemoglobin Helped Swim Bladders Give Fish Diversity

Now let’s run that sentence through the Creationizer™:

A Sky Hobgoblin Helped Swim Bladders Give Fish Diversity

Now it’s fit for ID “textbooks”

Comment #20935

Posted by Michael Finley on March 18, 2005 11:27 AM (e)

Clarification: By “creation” I intended special creation, as oppossed to guided evolution from a common ancestor. Therefore, creation and evolution are mutually exclusive.

Henry J wrote:

Common ancestry implies inherited similarities, from a single predecessor species. A designed successor could have a mix of DNA from multiple predecessor species, or be massively changed from the recent predecessor, or be based on something that went extinct a few eons ago.

The notion of “predecessor species” is not applicable to species qua creatures (see above). Common anscestry is inferred from an arrangement of structural similarities. Do the same structural similarities, absent the arrangement, support a design inference?

Common ancestry of two species means their descendants had to get from where the predecessor lived to where the descendants live today. So the prediction is that most successor species will be within the known travel range of their predecessors.

I think observed differences in geography of related species is consistent with common descent, but I deny that the former is a prediction of the latter. If, for example, related species occupied the same geography over time, that would not falsify common descent. Neither would a greater distance between related species falsify common descent.

This is a good place to discuss the difference between “prediction of” and “consistent with.” It seems to me that a necessary condition of a prediction is that, were it false, the theory would be falsified. Whereas, an observation is consistent with a theory if it does not falsify it. The evidence of biogeography seems to fall in the second category.

Comment #20936

Posted by Michael Finley on March 18, 2005 11:40 AM (e)

Wayne Francis wrote:

…there is a problem when you then ask why some function is performed differently by another organism.

I think this problem can be generalized in the following way: How can the theory of a common designer account for dissimilarity in species?

Consider an example of a common designer, e.g., Michelangelo. Suppose an art critic is confronted with 100 works of art, and only 10 are by Michelangelo. Assuming the critic does not know before hand which are which, will he be able to discover Michelangelo’s works? Each of Michelangelo’s works are different from the others, nevertheless, they are all the same in noticeable ways. It seems to follow from this that the similarities are more relevant than the dissimilarities.

Comment #20943

Posted by Henry J on March 18, 2005 12:49 PM (e)

Three bacterial genomes found lurking inside recently sequenced fruit fly genomes

When scientists finished sequencing the genomes of seven species of fruit fly last year, little did they know that they had also sequenced the genes of several bacteria that dwell undetected inside fruit fly embryos.

(Bugs have littler bugs.)

Eisen said. “After all, there are more bacterial cells in a human body than there are human cells.”

( Eek! )

Comment #20975

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 18, 2005 3:28 PM (e)

Eek! indeed. Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) wrote:

So, naturalists observe, a flea
Hath smaller fleas that on him prey;
And these have smaller still to bite ‘em;
And so proceed ad infinitum.
Thus every poet, in his kind,
Is bit by him that comes behind.

(On Poetry, A Rhapsody (1733))

Comment #20977

Posted by John A. Davison on March 18, 2005 3:47 PM (e)

No one has any idea of how life was produced or how many times it was produced. I have great difficulty imagining transformation states between animal phyla which would place the minimal number of creations in the 20 some range. That would seem to be compatible with the Cambrian explosion as well.

It could be much worse than that as all of evolution resulted from profound discontinuites from the production of the phyla to the classes to the orders, genera and species. The entire Linnaean system is inconceivable with a gradualist Darwinian model.

How much longer can the Darwinian myth continue? It has no basis in experiment or in the realities of the fossil record. It has been kept alive almost entirely through the clever wordsmanship of popular science writers like Ernst Mayr, Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins, not a scientist in the lot.

“We seek and offer ourselves to be gulled.”
Montaigne

John A. Davison

Comment #20989

Posted by luminous beauty on March 18, 2005 6:09 PM (e)

The Steady State model of the universe was falsified because a competing, mutually exclusive theory was confirmed

The SSU model was falsified by the observation of the omnidirectional red shift in the spectra of distant galaxies. Similarily the concept of universal ether was falsified by the Michelson-Morley experiment. It took years before Einstein could present a theory to replace it. Scientific theory has to fit evidence not be more logical than competing theories.

Discussing cosmogenesis or QM in English is a lot like a critique of Shakespeare by statistical analysis of his diction. Oy! What a headeache you trolls have given me.

Comment #21005

Posted by Henry J on March 18, 2005 9:32 PM (e)

Michael,

Re “Common anscestry is inferred from an arrangement of structural similarities. Do the same structural similarities, absent the arrangement, support a design inference?”

Not in my opinion. A designer could conceivable mix and match parts (or even dna sequences), so a pattern of this sort, while not inconsistent with “design”, is not itself evidence for it.

Re “I think observed differences in geography of related species is onsistentwith common descent, but I deny that the former is a redictionof the latter.”

In the absence of boats or planes on which to hitchhike (and those are recent developments), most descendants would have to be in areas to which their ancestors could have traveled. So finding a descendant outside where its ancestors are believed to be able to reach, would be something that would need investigating. Finding a large number of them with no available explanation would be a problem.

Re “prediction of” and “consistent with.”
Re “It seems to me that a necessary condition of a prediction is that, were it false, the theory would be falsified.”
Yup. If a specific prediction were shown false, then at least one of the assumptions used in making the prediction would have to be wrong. Of course, if a secondary assumption were used to infer the prediction, then it might be the wrong part instead of the main assumption. Taking the previous paragraph example, we tend to assume no assisted travel prior to human technology.

Re “How can the theory of a common designer account for dissimilarity in species?”

AFAIK, being designed wouldn’t necessarily imply absence of dissimilarities (i.e., not a prediction). Esp. if one drops the unnecessary assumption of a single designer.

Henry

Comment #21012

Posted by Bob Maurus on March 18, 2005 10:28 PM (e)

Johnny Davison,

Re #20913 & 15: Judging by the picture on your homepage you’ve probably got a few years on me, but not more than 20 or 30. For the record, I’m 63. You are ?

Robert W. Maurus

Comment #21015

Posted by Wayne Francis on March 19, 2005 2:23 AM (e)

In the last 49 hours we have had a unsuspected mutation in the troll posts

DaveScot 128 words
John A. Davison 5438 words
DonkeyKong 0 words

This is a dramatic change from DaveScot’s previous postings
numbers below are words per minute

 
        1st     2nd      3rd      4th 
DS     1.39    1.26     1.44      .04       
JAD     .95    2.31     1.44     1.85 
DK     2.18    7.25      .60     0.00 

Total # of words in comments for 39,221 making the troll ratio at ~14%
Still well worth the filtering so I don’t listen to JAD’s comments

Comment #21024

Posted by John A. Davison on March 19, 2005 6:47 AM (e)

They tell me I’ll be 77 in June. What do I know anyway?

As for DaveScot, it seems that the establishment here has managed, by practicing some pretty shabbly tactics, like removing vowels and deleting whole posts, to convince him that he is wasting his time with you. I for one am sorry to see him go for reasons that need no explanation.

Apparently Wayne Francis has managed to count words, a remarkable demonstration of computer technology and a silent commentary on his intellectual powers. He can count words but he cannot read or comprehend them. Or is it that he will not read and comprehend them? The fact that he DOES NOT speaks volumes concerning his willingness to engage in the purposes set forth by the founders of Panda’s Thumb.

John A. Davison, unfair as always, clearly unbalanced and judged to be senile, yet still not only unafraid to confront the Darwinian hoax but anxious to continue in that crusade against the forces of ignorance for the rest of his limited time on this planet. He has absolutely nothing better or more important to do.

Comment #21040

Posted by socrateaser on March 19, 2005 11:21 AM (e)

John A. Davison wrote:

John A. Davison, unfair as always, clearly unbalanced and judged to be senile, yet still not only unafraid to confront the Darwinian hoax but anxious to continue in that crusade against the forces of ignorance for the rest of his limited time on this planet. He has absolutely nothing better or more important to do.

I’m not a scientist – merely a lowly attorney with nothing better to do on a raininy Saturday morning, but it strikes me that referring to Darwin’s work as a “hoax” is a little overreaching, and not really very Christian.

I suspect that long after we are all dead and gone, that the “hoax” purpetrated by Charles Darwin will be alive and well.

But then, so too, will be the “hoax” purpetrated by Jesus of Nazareth.

;)

Comment #21041

Posted by steve on March 19, 2005 11:33 AM (e)

In the last 49 hours we have had a unsuspected mutation in the troll posts

DaveScot 128 words
John A. Davison 5438 words
DonkeyKong 0 words

And some time ago, Charlie Wagner stopped commenting entirely. Though I’m sure he still reads. He’s very frustrated that we poor fools haven’t realized he demolished evolution.

Comment #21044

Posted by steve on March 19, 2005 11:46 AM (e)

Friday, March 18, 2005 · Last updated 4:49 p.m. PT

Republican leader apologizes for Holocaust remarks during stem cell debate

By REBECCA COOK
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

OLYMPIA, Wash. – State House Minority Leader Bruce Chandler apologized Friday for remarks other Republicans made earlier in the week comparing embryonic stem cell research to the Holocaust.

Comment #21052

Posted by John A. Davison on March 19, 2005 1:13 PM (e)

In the interest of accuracy I did not describe Darwin’s work as a hoax. I described Darwinism as a hoax. I feel that way about most isms, communism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, uniformitarianism, gradualism, mutationism, selectionism, biblical creationism, you name it. You see, like Albert Einstein, I am a Spinozan. While Christianity offers a fine ethic, it is obviously not often practiced, certainly not on this forum. Here the primary effort seems to be to protect, by whatever means that prove necessary, including post deletion, thread closure and personal denigration, the biggest failure in the history of science from the criticisms and exposures of some of the finest minds of two centuries.

John A. Davison

Comment #21054

Posted by luminous beauty on March 19, 2005 1:26 PM (e)

Thus piety motivated the research that eventually overturned the teleological view of nature.

Am I to infer from this that the correct view of nature is one totally without meaning?

Comment #21056

Posted by Flint on March 19, 2005 1:42 PM (e)

Meaning is something everyone finds within themselves. It’s not a “thing” that exists externally.

I admit I’m also a bit disturbed by the tacit adherence to Pravda.

Comment #21057

Posted by socrateaser on March 19, 2005 1:44 PM (e)

John A. Davison wrote:

In the interest of accuracy I did not describe Darwin’s work as a hoax. I described Darwinism as a hoax. I feel that way about most isms, communism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Judaism, uniformitarianism, gradualism, mutationism, selectionism, biblical creationism, you name it. You see, like Albert Einstein, I am a Spinozan. While Christianity offers a fine ethic, it is obviously not often practiced, certainly not on this forum. Here the primary effort seems to be to protect, by whatever means that prove necessary, including post deletion, thread closure and personal denigration, the biggest failure in the history of science from the criticisms and exposures of some of the finest minds of two centuries.

Spinoza was a pantheist, no? He didn’t believe in a creator – just a deep reverence for the awe and mystery of the universe. Does this mean that your theory of biology does not include an intelligent designer?

I apologize that I may be asking a question that you may have answered 1,000 times in the past. However, I am new to this forum and I’m just trying to understand the protagonists’ positions.

Comment #21058

Posted by Janine on March 19, 2005 1:53 PM (e)

While I will not claim that I know enough to comment on the technical details here, I have to admit I am amused by the use of Bertrand Russel quotes by John A Davison. Here is a little quote by Mr. Russel and how would it fit in with Mr Davison’s arguments?

It appears that during those ages when animals were torturing each other with ferocious horns and agonizing stings, Omnipotence was quietly waiting for the ultimate emergence of man, with his still more widely diffused cruelty. Why the Creator should have preferred to reach his goal by a process, instead of going straight to it, these modem theologians do not tell us. Religion and Science (1961) p. 73

Comment #21059

Posted by Russell on March 19, 2005 2:10 PM (e)

Taking modern science to be incompatible with a teleological view of nature = adherence to Pravda?

I don’t think so. I wonder if we’re all defining our terms the same way. The teleological view we’re talking about, at least the way I read it, is Paleyism, which is what the ID movement wants to bring back.

Comment #21064

Posted by Zillinger on March 19, 2005 2:34 PM (e)

Mr. Davison,

They tell me I’ll be 77 in June. What do I know anyway?

If that is a recent picture, then I must say you wear your age well.

Comment #21065

Posted by Pete on March 19, 2005 2:47 PM (e)

luminous beauty wrote:

Am I to infer from this that the correct view of nature is one totally without meaning?

No. A genuine understanding of the interrelatedness of life is much more meaningful than “There was some guy who did it”.

Comment #21070

Posted by luminous beauty on March 19, 2005 3:03 PM (e)

Flint;

Meaning is something everyone finds within themselves. It’s not a “thing” that exists externally.

Meaning is a culturally shared concept (non-material thing) that describes ones percieved relationship to the “external” world. Concomitantly, the distinction between internal (subjective) and external (objective) has no material reality.

Russell:

Yeah, Paleyism sucks, but I’ve always had a rhetorical soft spot for Shelley’s co-generative spirit of nature. I’m sure you’d feel piqued if any mention of “objectivism” was limited to the views of those who would make a god of Ayn Rand. Or maybe not.

Comment #21072

Posted by John A. Davison on March 19, 2005 3:08 PM (e)

Well thank you Zillinger. The picture is about 6 years but and I am aging rapidly from dealing with homozygous Darwinians.

As for Bertrand Russell, he is also the same man who accused president Kennedy of war crimes. Of course he was then ninety or so.

I like this one by Russell

“Ascertainable truth is partial, piecemeal, uncertain and difficult.”

That is except for Darwinians.

John A. Davison

Comment #21076

Posted by Jim Harrison on March 19, 2005 3:23 PM (e)

If the absence of teleology in nature implies fatal meaninglessness, we’re screwed indeed. What does that have to do with the truth of the matter?

Religious conservatives are such relativists!

Comment #21077

Posted by socrateaser on March 19, 2005 3:25 PM (e)

Mr. Davison:

Does your failure to respond to me in your last post mean that you’re not willing to answer my question?

:)

Comment #21081

Posted by Jan on March 19, 2005 3:43 PM (e)

Jim wrote:

Back in the Dark Ages, circa 1953, grammar school kids in California were shown nature films put out by the Moody Institute. The narration for these films had a theistic slant—the Moody Institute was a church outfit—but the quality of the photography was very good. The producers wanted kids to come away with a conviction that the clever adaptations depicted in the films were evidence of providence, but it wasn’t hard to draw different conclusions. The point is, anything that makes children seriously interested in living things and motivates them to learn more real science undermines Creationism and Intelligent Design.

There’s a pattern here. The great naturalists of the 18th Century certainly believed that they were uncovering the hand of God in the works of nature. Thus piety motivated the research that eventually overturned the teleological view of nature.

Jim, have you seen the Moody Science Films? Do you truly believe that anything that makes children interested in living things and motivates them to learn undermines Creationism? Where is this idea coming from or on what are you basing this conclusion? I have worked with children all of my adult life and this is not a correct analysis. The exact opposite is true. As for the Moody films, they were also shown as late as the 70’s in other states and are still considered some of the finest work available, although they are no longer allowed in public schools. The teleological view of nature is far from being overturned. There is certainly a movement afoot in liberal colleges and universities to do just that, but it has not been nearly as successful as you might think. If you talk only to people who think as you think, read only those who believe as you believe, and limit yourself to biased commentary, you might believe this. The vast majority of Americans believe that we are not here by accident and our lives are not meaningless.

Comment #21083

Posted by Rupert on March 19, 2005 4:14 PM (e)

The vast majority of Americans believe that we are not here by accident and our lives are not meaningless.

But that’s completely compatible with standard evolutionary theory! Evolution is modification followed by natural selection - the modification may look random or accidental, but surely God can direct creation through that mechanism. It’s a matter of belief whether you think ‘random’ is truly random or in fact the actions of a subtle deity. It doesn’t affect what we see and how it works.

I have never fully understood why anyone other than young earth creationist fundies has problems with evolution - and the YECs have problems with a *lot* more than just evolution.

Rupert

Comment #21085

Posted by luminous beauty on March 19, 2005 4:17 PM (e)

Jan:

Even an accident can be meaningful.

Comment #21086

Posted by Jim Harrison on March 19, 2005 4:27 PM (e)

I never said or intimated that life is meaningless. That’s somebody else’s take on things. The absence of a creator doesn’t make automatically make life meaningless, and it’s not obvious why the reality of a creator would guaranteee that it was meaningful.

I don’t know about more recent Moody Institute movies. I saw lots of the old ones. It may in fact be true that they work as desired—they are, of course, sheer propaganda produced with the contempt for truth usual in fundamentalists—but if the films actually get people to learn real science, they will turn out to be counterproductive from the point of view of their sponsors since the serious study of living things inevitably leads to the realization that animals and plants were not designed by anybody. After all, as I wrote above, the folks who eventually worked out an evidence-based account of life began as believers in divine design until the facts changed their minds.

Comment #21095

Posted by John A. Davison on March 19, 2005 6:03 PM (e)

Socrateaser

I can’t speak for what Spinoza may or may not have meant. I have said many times that Intelligent Design is a given without which there can be no rational discussion of anything in the universe. I cannot imagine why it is even being debated.

When you ask if my hypothesis involves a role for a Designer you have just proved that you do not know what the word “prescribed” means. Of course a Designer WAS mandatory. That does not mean that one is around at present.

“Let us not invoke God in realities in which He no longer has to intervene. The single absolute act of creation was enough for Him.”
Pierre Grasse, page 166

I do not agree with Grasse that creation may have been a single act and I doubt if he would insist on that qualification. Leo Berg, for whom I have enormous repect, postulated “thousands of primary forms.” Is anyone prepared to challenge him and if so on what grounds?

“Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know.”
Montaigne

And as the Darwinians continue to demonstrate decade after decade, century after century, by the same author:

“We seek and offer ourselves to be gulled.”

John A. Davison

Comment #21098

Posted by Stuart Williams on March 19, 2005 6:12 PM (e)

The YECs have been at it for centuries now. The Anti-evolutionists for over one Century. A continuing “species” in the nature of the Evolution of Man that itself, persists.

In the overall scheme of things, they may win out, and the human race will of course go extinct as a result, for lack of it’s own ability to adapt to reality, as an ENTIRE species.

Perhaps that is the way it will be after all.

Comment #21099

Posted by Jan on March 19, 2005 6:12 PM (e)

I agree completely that God could easily say “Let there be…” and install the evolutionary process. The problem is with the evidence. It is lacking. I see the evidence for change over time as far as adaptation is concerned and change within a species. Our Creator did a marvelous job of creating each creature with just what was needed for survival. Every creature is stamped with Intelligent Design. If I had never met or heard of God, I would be able to see that. On the other hand, I do not see the evidence for the great leaps that evolutionist claim. The chances are overwhelmingly against a lizard becoming a bird or any other change of that nature. Anyway, I do not believe that those of you who are so adamant against having the words creation or intelligent design used in a classroom are being honest when you say, “God can direct creation through that mechanism”. If you really believed that happened, would you be so angry at the mention of a creator. As for life having meaning if it is just random chance that we are here, I do not agree. If that is true, you and I are worth little more than the grass in the field. In a few generations, the VAST majority will be remembered no more. The good that we attempt often harms rather than helps those around us. Seldom a day goes by when we are not misunderstood by someone around us. Prisons, asylums, hospitals, nursing homes, hospice centers, & homeless shelters in every city around the world are full and still there are people who need care. Surely we are in a fallen state. It is only through the hope of a Savior who has paid a price and redeemed us that we find peace, hope, and a future. We gain our worth and dignity from the Creator who made us in His image and who taught us to love by first loving us. I do not think that I will ever by able to understand why some of you not only will not acknowledge that the world is full of evidences of a Creator, but the biggest mystery is why you seem to prefer that there be no higher power. How could anyone not want the love of God as shown to us by His Son? He came that we might have life and that we might have it more abundantly. He came because He loves us and is not willing that any should perish. I owed a debt I could not pay, He paid a debt he did not owe.

Comment #21102

Posted by Longhorm on March 19, 2005 6:25 PM (e)

According to Rupert, “Evolution is modification followed by natural selection - the modification may look random or accidental, but surely God can direct creation through that mechanism. It’s a matter of belief whether you think ‘random’ is truly random or in fact the actions of a subtle deity. It doesn’t affect what we see and how it works.”

Rupert how are you using the words “random” and “accidental?”

When cells divide, the daughter-cell sometimes has a genome that is different than that of the parent-cell. When this happens, scientists tend to say the daughter-cell “has a new mutation.” I would like a better understand of the kinds of events that cause “mutations.” However, it is clear that events cause daughter-cells to be different than their parent-cells. At least I wouldn’t understand what “an uncaused event” would be. Moreover, the phenomenon of daughter-cells with different genomes (than those of their parent-cells) happens frequently – factoring in all organisms on earth, it might happen as often as 10% of all divisions. RNA-based lytic viruses average one new mutation per division. Humans average about 2 new mutations per sexual generation among coding genes and perhaps about 100 to 200 across the entire genome. Here is a link to the abstract of an article by Dr. John W. Drake, of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, on mutation rates that appeared in 1999 in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10415476&dopt=Abstract

Although the vast majority of new mutations did not make the organism more likely or less likely to reproduce, some mutations immediately have helped some organisms reproduce. For instance, some strains of bacteria are now resistant to antibiotics. Although mutations that have immediately helped organisms reproduce are probably a small percentage of all mutations, one should keep in mind that “small percentage” is relative a term here. 3.8 billion years is a long time! In short, mutations that have enhanced an organisms’ reproductive ability have occurred billions of times. Also, mutations that have not helped organisms reproduce (such as blue eyes in humans) have stayed present in a population. In fact, even mutations that might have made some organisms less apt to reproduce have stayed within a population over long periods of times. For instance, the mutation that causes tay-sachs(sp?) disease.

We do understand some of the kinds of events that cause mutations. Exposure to certain levels of radiation is an example. Elements like viruses getting lodged within the cell when it divides is another. And events that affect the mother (for instance, her diet) can cause her fetus to have new mutations. And probably mundane events such as the friction that occurs during cell-division. Abrupt movements probably also contribute. Maybe something as mundane as gravity. Also, a particular rate of mutation has helped some populations of organisms reproduce more frequently than other populations.

On a different note, billions of organisms and genetic sequences were caused by meiosis, sexual reproduction and genetic recombination – or “MeSexRecomb.” In fact, what we would identify as “sexual reproduction” has caused, or significantly contributed to, the existence of nearly every organism on earth with sex organs.

Sexual reproduction evolved perhaps between 1.5 billion and 600 million years ago. When organisms sexually reproduce, the offspring’s genome is always different (sometimes with more nucleotides) than its mother genome and its father genome – even if the offspring is born without one single new mutation. As most posters here know, in sexually reproducing organisms, a process called meiosis occurs. For instance, in the human male’s testes, cells carrying the father’s 46 chromosomes divide so that they have only 23 chromosomes. They are a mish-mash of the father’s 46 chromosomes. This also happens with the mother. The offspring inherits the two clusters of 23 when a cell with the father’s 23 fertilizes a cell with the mother’s 23. The two clusters never blend. The fertilized cell divides, and the offspring is formed. The offspring has the two clusters of 23 in each of its cells. The two clusters stay separate – but close together – in the nucleus of each cell. When the fertilize cell divides (in, for instance, the uterus of the female), it sometimes “mutates” – it sometimes results in a disanalogous daughter-cell. Sometimes a disanalogous daughter-cell gets copied over and over, and the offspring ends up having this mutation in all – or most – of its cells.

We know that, once sexual reproduction evolved, MeSexRecomb caused – or contributed to – the existence of nearly every sexual reproducing organism on earth. MeSexRecomb has some huge advantages over cell-division. In cell-division, the new organism has had a novel genome only about 10% of the time; however, in sexual reproduction, the offspring always has a novel genome. Every time. That is one reason we care so much about whom we mate with. We contribute half of the chromosomes; our mate contributes the other half. Another advantage of MeSexRecomb is that it enables organisms to develop in the womb of the mother before they are thrust out into the cold cruel world. Except in Star Trek, something as complex as the human brain could not have come about with mere asexual reproduction and mutation.

However, in sexually reproducing organisms, how much of the differences among organisms were caused by MeSexRecomb verses “division-mutation?” Has MeSexRecomb been the driving force? Or have MeSexRecomb and division/mutation been about equally important? I tend to think it has been the driving force. It always results in novel genotypes, and the differences that come from MeSexRecomb tend to be much more significant than the differences that come through division-mutation. In the former, you are adding two new clusters of genes every single time. And, remember, we are talking about massive lengths of time. None of us has a concept of 600 million years. Maybe the question is unimportant since we know that both processes (MeSexRecomb and division-mutation) have contributed significantly to the differences among sexually reproducing organisms. For instance, we know that MeSexRecomb has played the central role in causing the differences between the dogs at the big dog show at Madison Square Garden. However, the phenomenon of humans with blue eyes was most definitely caused during a cell-division.

Comment #21105

Posted by Russell on March 19, 2005 6:29 PM (e)

Jan: I don’t much care how you or anyone else chooses to reconcile objective reality with your religion - or chooses not to. But you seem to have some major misunderstandings of the objective reality described by actual biology.

The problem is with the evidence [for evolutionary processes]. It is lacking. I see the evidence for change over time as far as adaptation is concerned and change within a species.

You see no eveidence for ancestry common to humans and other primates, for instance? You must not have looked very hard.

The chances are overwhelmingly against a lizard becoming a bird or any other change of that nature.

Ummm… yeah. I think we can all agree to that. What’s that got to do with evolution?

I guess the rest of your comment has nothing to do with biology, so I won’t bother to comment except to say it makes no sense to me.

Comment #21106

Posted by Longhorm on March 19, 2005 6:33 PM (e)

I should add that, for sexually reproducing organisms, recessive genes have been a hugely important part of evolution. Some traits come to be only if the offspring inherits gene X from its mother and from its father.

Comment #21107

Posted by Longhorm on March 19, 2005 6:40 PM (e)

According to Jan, “On the other hand, I do not see the evidence for the great leaps that evolutionist claim.”

Jan, here is a link to some of the data that enable one to understand that all organisms on earth share a common ancestry: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/
——

According to Jan, “The chances are overwhelmingly against a lizard becoming a bird or any other change of that nature.”

Jan, first dinosaurs – not lizards – evolved into birds. Also, that a particular kind of event does not occur frequently does not enable us to justifiably believe that it never occurred. Sometimes events that don’t happen often do happen occasionally. For instance, people win the lottery.

Also, I’m not surprised that once cells came into being that they evolved into neat things. We are talking about enormously long periods of time. People don’t have a concept of 4 billion years. Also, there was lots and lots of water on early Earth. Water is key for life as we know it. The Sun is an amazing source of energy.

Also, here is an interesting excerpt from the intro to the physicist Richard Feynman’s book Six Easy Pieces (a book that I highly recommend):

“Once, during a public lecture, Feynman was trying to explain why one must not verify an idea using the same data that suggested the idea in the first place. Seeming to wander off the subject, Feynman began talking about license plates. ‘You know, the most amazing thing happened to me tonight. I was coming here, on the way to the lecture, and I came in through the parking lot. And you won’t believe what happened. I saw a car with the license plate ARW 357. Can you imagine? Of all the millions of license plates in the state, what was the chance that I would see that particular one tonight? Amazing!’”

Comment #21111

Posted by Jan on March 19, 2005 7:32 PM (e)

Longhorn wrote:

“Once, during a public lecture, Feynman was trying to explain why one must not verify an idea using the same data that suggested the idea in the first place. Seeming to wander off the subject, Feynman began talking about license plates. ‘You know, the most amazing thing happened to me tonight. I was coming here, on the way to the lecture, and I came in through the parking lot. And you won’t believe what happened. I saw a car with the license plate ARW 357. Can you imagine? Of all the millions of license plates in the state, what was the chance that I would see that particular one tonight? Amazing!’”

Would you not agree that using this type of logic proves absolutely nothing? What has that got to do with whether or not a dinosaur became a bird as you say? I have seen various scenarios on different websites. Evolutionist do not seem to be in agreement on just how this random selection worked to produce all the many different species.

I have not heard any of you address the matter of all evolutionary activity ending at the same level for each different specie. Would you not expect one variety to be far ahead of others? If that is true, then also, would homo sapiens all be equal on this evolutionary ladder? It would appear to me that the very nature of evolution would mean that some are much further evolved than others, but then we would get into the matter of equality…oops. How do you deal with that?

Here are a few other problems that your theory presents. Are not the words “endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights” a basis for justice in America? Did we not found our legal system on the Judeo Christian ethics of the Ten Commandments? Whether you admit it on this web-site or whether you do not, you are advocating radical change in many more areas of our lives than just education when you want to do away with the concept of a Creator. You cannot teach children that there is not Intelligent Design in our Universe and no evidence of a Creator and then expect them to live their lives as if there is a higher power to whom they are accountable. We must be reasonable. If you are going to insist that children be totally deprived of any knowledge of Intelligent Design, then society will have to accomodate the outcome of that decision.

Russell, Will you read the 53rd chapter of the book of Isaiah in the Bible? Then go to this site and read what the New Testament teaches about this same Messiah. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/106/53.0.html

Comment #21117

Posted by Russell on March 19, 2005 8:11 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'b'

Comment #21119

Posted by Longhorm on March 19, 2005 8:11 PM (e)

Jan asks:

“Would you not agree that using this type of logic proves absolutely nothing? What has that got to do with whether or not a dinosaur became a bird as you say?”

Jan, I don’t see your point. The reason that I used the example is to show the following: That a kind of event does not occur frequently does not enable use to justifiably believe that it did not occur. People win the lottery. Some people have run 100 meters under 10 seconds. Most people haven’t. Only a tiny percentage of people have.

I have seen various scenarios on different websites. Evolutionist do not seem to be in agreement on just how this random selection worked to produce all the many different species.

What do you mean by “random selection?” What do you mean by “random?” Do you mean “uncaused?” The notion of an “uncaused event” doesn’t make much sense. Maybe I can say more about that.

That some organisms have reproduced more times than some other organisms contributed significantly to the existence of every organism to live on earth subsequent to the first primordial cells. I’ll say more about this in my next post.

I recommend Ernst Mayr’s book What Evolution Is. Mayr was maybe the second or third greatest biologist to ever live, and he wrote the book for a general audience.

Also, I suspect we can get a better understanding of the kinds of events that caused the organisms to live on earth. But it is a scientific fact that all organisms to live on earth share a common ancestry. In other words, self-replicating molecules evolved into all of the life on earth.

Comment #21121

Posted by Longhorm on March 19, 2005 8:38 PM (e)

In much of the popular literature on evolution when the issue of “evolutionary mechanisms” is discussed, there is too much focus on “mutation” and not enough focus on what I’m calling MeSexRecomb. (I don’t like the phrase “mechanism.” What is a “mechanism?” But that is beyond the scope of this discussion.)

Obviously, there was a time when there was no sexual reproduction. Cells divided, and sometimes the daughter-cell had a different genome than that of its parent-cell. Sometimes with more nucleotides.

But once sexual reproduction evolved, it made a huge impact on life on earth. Sexual reproduction is amazing. It causes new genotypes and phenotypes every single time. And the difference between offspring and their parents tends to be much greater than the difference between a parent-cell and its daughter-cell. Look at those dogs at that dog show in Madison Square Garden. They are so darn different. And the most recent common ancestor that chihuahuas and Saint Bernards share is less than 5,000 years old. I suspect that much of those differences were caused by MeSexRecomb, because dogs are bread and dogs inherit half of their chromosomes from their mom and half from their dad. But that is not to say that “mutation” was not important. They were both important. It is just that MeSexRecomb gets overlooked.

In fact, in that list of scientists the Discovery Institute put out, it doesn’t even mention genetic recombination! That’s one more reason, that list is ambiguous. Where would we be without genetic recombination?! We wouldn’t be!
—-

It’s also important to talk about the origin of new genes. Where did they come from?

According to Ernst Mayr,

“A bacterium has about 1,000 genes. A human has perhaps 30,000 functional genes. Where did all these new genes come from? They originate by duplication, with the duplicated gene inserted in tandem in the genome next to the sister gene. Such a new gene is called a paralogous gene. At first, it will have the same function as the sister gene. However, it will usually evolve by having its own mutations and in due time it may acquire functions that differ from those of its sister gene. The original gene, however, will also evolve, and such direct descendents of the original gene are called oorthologous genes. In homology studies only orthologous genes may be compared.

“Additions to the genome come not only by the duplication of single genes, but sometimes through the duplication of groups of genes, whole chromosomes, and entire chromosome sets. For instance, a special mechanism, involving the kinetochores, can lead to a duplication of chromosome sets in certain orders of mammals, leading to variable chromosome numbers in these orders. Lateral transfer is another way for addition to the genome” (What Evolution Is, p. 108-9).

Most scientists include gene duplication under “mutation.” Some don’t. I don’t think it’s important – except pedagogically. Sometimes it is better to spell things out. And by separating “gene duplication” from “mutation,” maybe we can better help people understand evolution.

Some genomes consist of more base pairs than do others. Here are some numbers:

1. Bacteria have .004 X 10(9) That is supposed to be 10 to the ninth power

2. Yeast .009 X 10(9)

3. Fruit Fly .18 X 10(9)

4. Newt 19.0 X 10(9)

5. Human 3.5 X 10(9)

6. Lungfish 140.0 X 10(9)

7. Flowering plant (Fritillaria) 130.0 X 10(9) (What Evolution Is, p. 38).

Some of those number are out of date. Also, it’s interesting that newts, lungfish and certain flowering plants have more base pairs than do humans. Of course, many of those base pairs aren’t “coding.”
——

It’s also important to talk about what scientists call “Natural Selection.” I often don’t like when that phrase is used because it seems to not be as good as some other language in terms of getting people to understand evolution. So, I’ll just spell out what Charles Darwin seemed to mean by “Natural Selection”: That some organisms have reproduced more times than some other organisms contributed significantly to the existence of every organism to live on earth subsequent to the first primordial cells.

What reason is there to believe that vayring levels of reproductive success contributed signficantly to the existence of each organism to live on earth subsequent to the first primordial cell(s)?

First, all organisms to live on earth descended from a single-celled microorganism that lived about 3.8 billion years ago.

Second, organisms have been reproducing (either via cell-division or sexual reproduction) for about 3.8 billion years. When cells divide, the daughter-cell often is different — in terms of genotype and phenotype – than the parent cell. When organisms sexually reproduce, the offspring is always is different — in terms of genotype and phenotype — than either of its parents.

Finally, some organisms have reproduced more times than other organisms.

Comment #21122

Posted by Longhorm on March 19, 2005 9:00 PM (e)

I have not heard any of you address the matter of all evolutionary activity ending at the same level for each different specie. Would you not expect one variety to be far ahead of others? If that is true, then also, would homo sapiens all be equal on this evolutionary ladder? It would appear to me that the very nature of evolution would mean that some are much further evolved than others, but then we would get into the matter of equality…oops. How do you deal with that?

Jan, I don’t know if I quite understand your point. Some organisms are better than others at some things. I can’t run 100 meters under 10 seconds. Some other organisms can. But certain differences are not ones that are morally salient. In other words, even though I can’t run 100 meters under 10 seconds, I should still be able to vote.

Here are a few other problems that your theory presents. Are not the words “endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights” a basis for justice in America? Did we not found our legal system on the Judeo Christian ethics of the Ten Commandments?

The proposition that a being caused the Big Bang is logically consistent with the proposition that all organisms share a common ancestry.

Whether you admit it on this web-site or whether you do not, you are advocating radical change in many more areas of our lives than just education when you want to do away with the concept of a Creator. You cannot teach children that there is not Intelligent Design in our Universe and no evidence of a Creator and then expect them to live their lives as if there is a higher power to whom they are accountable. We must be reasonable. If you are going to insist that children be totally deprived of any knowledge of Intelligent Design, then society will have to accomodate the outcome of that decision.

Many people, including the Pope, accept evolution and believe in a “Creator.” The Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination in the world. In reference to evolution, I believe the Pope has said something like the following: Evolution is true, and truth cannot contradict truth.

Also, many people (1) don’t believe that any deities exist and (2) are, for lack of a beter word, ethical. In fact, I’m aware of no correlation between people not believing in the existence of deities and their being, for lack of a better word, unethical. For whatever it is worth (and it’s probably not worth much), I’ve seen studies that suggest that self-identified atheists and agnostics are a much smaller percentage of the U.S. prison population than of U.S. society at large. I think maybe 10% of U.S. citizens would self-identify as atheist or agnostic, and about .2 of the prison population does so. But maybe some prisoners became religious after they got arrested.:)

At any rate, I know many non-religious people who are very good people.

Comment #21123

Posted by Longhorm on March 19, 2005 9:13 PM (e)

I posted:

And by separating “gene duplication” from “mutation,” maybe we can better help people understand evolution.

The conceptual issue isn’t important to me as long as we explain to people where new genes come from.

Moreover, I, personally, would like to get a better understanding of the kinds of events that cause cells to divide so that the daughter-cell has a different genome than that of its parent-cell. I’m sure that part of it is that particular rates of mutation have contributed to reproductive success.

Comment #21124

Posted by Jim Harrison on March 19, 2005 9:23 PM (e)

Jan writes:

“Did we not found our legal system on the Judeo Christian ethics of the Ten Commandments?”

Actually even the most traditional of the founders would have wondered about the Judeo part of your comment—Judeo-Christian is a distinctly modern phrase that has about as much business appearing in an 18th Century context as microwave popcorn. Anyhow, many of the founders were Enlightenment types who (horrors!) were self-proclaimed citizens of the world and free thinkers. it’s hard to imagine modern fundamentalists having anything to do with a modern version of Adams, Jefferson, Madison, or even that Freemason Washington. Religious orthodoxy has only been promoted as the basis of the Republic since we underwent an ideological counterrevolution, which can be conveniently labelled the enmerdement.

Comment #21125

Posted by socrateaser on March 19, 2005 9:25 PM (e)

Mr. Davison:

I think you have me confused with someone who wishes to pick a fight with you. I was merely browsing the neighborhood and I came across a site where the entire world is locked in an apparent struggle to the philosophic death over whether or not evolution is a reasonably accurate presentation of the development of life on Earth.

I have no idea what your position is, other than what you tell me here, so for you to suggest that I have just proved that I don’t know what “prescribed” means, is a bit premature (and frankly, unnecessarily nasty), because even now, I haven’t a clue as to what you are talking about.

Regarding Spinoza – you brought him up, not me – describing yourself as aligned with his philosophy, so it seemed pretty fair for me to ask you if you believed in a designer, because Spinoza’s philosophy rejected a designer.

However, the remainder of your post now reveals to me that you take a designer as a given, therefore I take you at your word as to your position, regardless that you may have previously mischaracterized yourself as a “Spinozan.”

So, now, to my next question: Is this self-evident designer a supernatural entity, not subject to the physical properties of this universe, or is the designer, as Arthur C. Clark would have said, so advanced that his/her/it’s technology is the practical “equivalent of magic?”

:)

Comment #21126

Posted by Henry J on March 19, 2005 9:47 PM (e)

Re “Except in Star Trek,”

I hope nobody gets their info on evolution from there. I like the show(s), but in some episodes that involved evolution, they got it totally wrong. Either they didn’t bother consulting a biologist, or they ignored what advice they got.

Henry

Comment #21127

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on March 19, 2005 9:54 PM (e)

Jan writes “ Are not the words “endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights” a basis for justice in America? Did we not found our legal system on the Judeo Christian ethics of the Ten Commandments? “

Jan apparently doesn’t realize the use of the term “Creator” reflects the deism of the founding fathers, not the Christian God.

Well Jan lets examine your question” Did we not found our legal system on the Judeo Christian ethics of the Ten Commandments?

1st Commandment: I am the Lord God who brouaht you out of the land of Egypt. You shall have no other Gods before me.

Is that a Law Jan? No.

2nd Commandment: Remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy.

Is that a Law Jan? No.

3rd Commandment: Do not make unto me any graven images.

Is that a Law Jan? No.

4th Commandment: Do not take the name of the Lord in vain.

Is that a Law Jan? No.

5th Commandment: Honor thy father and mother

Is that a Law Jan? No.

6th Commandament: THou shall not murder.

Is that a Law Jan? Yes!!! Of course that law is hardly unique to Judeo-Christian ethics.

7th COmmandment: Thou shall not commit adultery.

Is that a Law Jan? No.

8th Commandment: THou shall not steal.

Is that a Law Jan? Yes!!! Of course that law is hardly unique to Judeo-Christian ethics.

9th Commandment: Thou shall not bear false witness.

Is that a Law Jan? Yes!!

10the Commandment: Thou shall not covet.

Is that a Law Jan? No.

See lets see, out of the 10 commandments, only 3 are actual laws.

Yes I can see why you say our laws are based on them.

Comment #21132

Posted by caerbannog on March 19, 2005 11:19 PM (e)

Jan said,

Did we not found our legal system on the Judeo Christian ethics of the Ten Commandments?

You mean the commandments that explicitly condone slavery?

Let’s take a look at the 10th commandment, shall we?

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife,
nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that
is thy neighbour’s.

So amongst the possessions that we should not covet are our neighbors’ manservants
and maidservants. If they are not slaves, then what are they? If manservants/maidservants
are not slaves, but instead are hired help (i.e. employees), then does not the 10th commandment
forbid me from offering my neighbor’s manservant/maidservant a raise to come work for me? Are
you seriously suggesting that this should really be part of the foundation of our nation’s legal
system?

Comment #21133

Posted by Keanus on March 19, 2005 11:20 PM (e)

10the Commandment: Thou shall not covet.

Is that a Law Jan? No.

Actually, were the Tenth Commandment to be law, we would be living in the functional equivalent of a communist state as envisioned by Marx. Covetousness, greed and envy—otherwise known as “keeping up with the Joneses”—are the grease that makes capitalism work, especially the American variety.

Jan should also note that our Constitution, the real foundation of the American legal system, contains no reference to God or god and omits any mention of the Decalogue either collectively or piecemeal. In fact it doesn’t even reference killing, theft or lying, the subjects of the three commandments that can by a stretch be said to be reflected in the law. I say stretch, because, our laws allow for three degrees of killing/murder plus justifiable homocide, a number of different kinds of theft, and different types of lying. Penalties are apportioned in a variety of ways to address the degree of heinousness each represents. The Ten Commandments, with its black and white strictures, is useless as law. That’s why this country adopted real laws rather than simple inflexible prohibitions written down more than two millenia ago by some Middle Eastern sheep herders.

Comment #21134

Posted by Kenneth Fair on March 19, 2005 11:42 PM (e)

Jan asks:

Did we not found our legal system on the Judeo Christian ethics of the Ten Commandments?

In fact, no. The source of the American legal system is not “natural law” or the Ten Commandments (and which ten is an interesting question itself). Nor, in fact, is our legal system based solely, or even primarily, on the Constitution.

Our legal system is based primarily on English common law. Common law is law made by judges, arising from the generalization of principles announced to decide particular cases. The majority of what we think of as the law, and what governs most legal decisions, is either common law or codification (i.e., legislative re-enactment) of common law.

This is what I hate about those who decry “activist judges making law.” It shows vast, vast ignorance about the law, ignorance that could easily be cured by reading a general introduction to the law or (heaven forbid!) asking a lawyer. Judges make law all the time. They’re supposed to make law. They’re authorized to do so. Truth be told, our legal system would come to a screeching halt if they didn’t.

Comment #21135

Posted by John A. Davison on March 19, 2005 11:50 PM (e)

Socraateaser

It is Dr. not Mr. Davison.

My mistake was to assume that someone who participates in a discussion on evolution might be expected to have some familiarity with the publications of those with whom he is trying to communicate.

I also do not believe for a moment that Spinoza’s philosophy rejected a designer as I don’t think he even broached the subject of the harmony in nature in those terms.

As far as i am able to tell the Designer is dead or at least not active. I also object to the term supernatural. Everything in nature is (or was) by definition natural or it wouldn’t have been there. That is why I, like Einstein again, have rejected metaphysics along with all the rest of philosophy.

I regard it as insane to arbitrarily assume that certain matters are unknowable. I foresee no obvious limits to what may prove to be knowable. We certainly have yet to even scratch the surface of the causes and properties of even the simplest living systems. To think otherwise, as the Darwinians most certainly do, is arrogant.

Maybe you are correct. Maybe I am not a Spinozan. It is only what I am not that is significant anyway. I can tell you that I am most certainly not a Darwinian, not one who would deny design, order and purpose in the universe when we see that all around us everywhere we look. I am not one who would claim, as Gould did, that “intelligence was an evolutionary accident,” or one who could accept Dawkin’s “Blind Watchmaker” or “Selfish Gene” or “Climbing Mount Improbable.” How anyone can escapes me.

Now, having rejected all of the previous and I have, and if you are correct in saying I am not a Spinozan, I guess I am in pretty sad straits, wandering around in some sort of intellectual no-man’s-land. Well I am having a great time of it and I have no complaints as long as I can continue to present my heresies in refereed journals and on forums like Panda’s Thumb.

“isn’t all of philosophy as if written in honey? Something may appear clear at first, but when one looks again it has disappeared. Only the pap remains.”
Albert Einstein

John A. Davison

Comment #21139

Posted by Rusty on March 20, 2005 3:07 AM (e)

To correct John in 20449,

1. Biological variation and selection is a phenomenon of the present. Numerous similar organisms are at present: a. just barely speciated, sterile hybrids (horses and donkeys) b. Not speciated but widely variant (dogs) c. Intensively varietised and not all hybrids are viable (brassicas). Biological variation in the past also consisted of the formation of subspecies and varieties. No new species, let alone genera were born to mothers that did not recognize their offspring.
2. The purposeful role of obligate sexual reproduction is unknown and unknowable, due to persistent absence of highly speculative purposer. An undeniable feature of it is the rapid dispersal of new variants within the breeding population. Oh, yes! So extremely anti-evolutionary.
3. Allelic substitution reasonably occurred in the past much as it does now. Ubiquitously present and capable of modulation of body shape and structures at least as great as that achieved in dog breeding. To deny any role is of similar magnitude as denying the role of water in protein structures, and a waste of a good tool to understanding.
4. Numerous genetic changes occur in individual organisms as a result of exposure to numerous agents in the environment. This occurs presently and is rather well described. Virually any type of mutation or gross chromosomal rearrangement can be induced by agents presently and previously available in the environment. There is no reason to suspect that it did not occur in the past, nor to imagine that it could not.
5. No data. No creator or tinkerer suggested or demonstrated. No evidence offerred of any deity that does not have a clear anthropic source.
6. The vast majority of contemporary creatures are a hodge-podge. Almost any example organism can be made by selective breeding to resemble its ancestors less than a dog does a wolf. It has not been disproven that further such selection for a different feature would result in organisms yet more different. The immutability of current species is not demonstrated. Present variations in gene sequences appear to be random within the broad constraints that some bases in some sequences are more easily mutated than others by various agents, and more or less well repaired/tolerated.
7. Evolution is irreversible in the way that any chemical reaction is irreversible in fine detail. The egg is not reassembled, big deal. Predetermined, preprogrammed – by who? Where did they publish? No statement of intent that I can see. Not so sure about finished either. Variation and selection are still going on, major variations of genomes continue to be thrown up, usually as disease states. Presumably the milder ones propagate like human chromosomal rearrangements. Hard to say they absolutely will not be cumulative in the future.
8. The primary role of allelic substitution is unknown. Primacy implies purposeful design, and I don’t see enough of that. The outcomes of allelic variation are clear in simple cases and awesomely powerful in extended cases (plant breeding etc). Allelic substitution has been demonstrated to generate greater fitness in response to changing environments, which is not exactly regressive.
9. All of the following are known to occur, and with one exception, to have profound and exemplary effects on organisms structure, metabolism, diet, resistance to disease, capacity to compete/survive:
a. Allelic mutation, including point substitutions, insertions, deletions and truncations.
b. Natural selection is of course slow, but very hard to say it does exist, since we have modeled it with artificial selection which has as pointed out before been used to drastically alter numerous aspects of a large number of model and domestic organisms, including size, the relative sizes and capacities of various organs, the capacity to tolerate novel toxins and disease resistance.
c. Genetic drift, which is demonstrated in model systems to permit a neutral allele (not even advantageous!) to enjoy high representation in a population in less than 100 generations.
d. Population genetics is a human discipline. The majority of biological evolution precedes the development of this field.
e. Competition for scarce resources almost uniformly favours by selection those organisms that can either successfully obtain more of, or use less of, such resource.
f. Frail, weak or small examples of a species die in stiff competition, yet thrive in isolation. Isolation is thus demonstrated as a means of allowing new variants to survive.

In other words, except for a couple of booboos, JAD has listed more demonstrable means of evolution (biological change within lineages, over extended time periods), most published with photos, than most neo-darwinists would bother with.

I think the apples are sweet, John. You would seem to be munching on rocks. No need to thank me for correcting your knowledge of undergrad biology.

Get with the pogrom JAD, you may have a pet theory, it may even be fully compatible with existing knowledge, it may even be correct with respect to contribution to evolution, I may even like parts of it, but you are yet to demonstrate that the existing paradigm is clearly untrue in any experimental respect. The relative importance may vary, but not much.

Rustopher.

Comment #21142

Posted by c. l. currier (Georgia USA) on March 20, 2005 4:36 AM (e)

Does it bother any of the ID/Creationist crowd that the Catholic Church made its peace with Darwin around 1951? I had always thought that the CC had an edge over any “Creation” Research group in theological sophistication. Or is there another agenda at work here? Perhaps, as crass as it may seem, MONEY! Some obscure American prophet said something to the effect that ‘A sucker is born (reborn, perhaps) every minuite.’ Wish they’d send me some tithes. America held out such promise to the world. Now all we can offer is fear and darkness of mind and spirit. What further proof of evolution does anyone need?

Comment #21147

Posted by shiva on March 20, 2005 6:37 AM (e)

I have always wondered - in private - what would happen to the sciences here if the Wedge were to succeed. Even for one such as myself who studied biology in the memorising mode in high school 25 years back in India it is clear to see how evolution is the unifying principle of biology. In those days I had what was an advanced curriculum (v.detailed explanation of protein synthesis and speciation) but just that. A few years later high schoolers (about 20 years ago) had already started working on Drosophila for simple experiments. Today looking around I see how very different biology instruction is. In India (and I expect in China, Europe, Japan, and most of the US Catholic school districts; and the more progressive public ones) evolution is taken for granted as the unifying principle. All the tools that biologists and scientists who work downstream of them use are evolutionary. So even if one of them has trouble acknowledging the validity of the theory, the tools used will not change. So today the “scientists” (that group of 300 who express “dissent”) may decry evolution but continue to work within its principles in ways obvious and many not so obvious. If Dissenter A takes a flu shot, he is benefiting from the successful application of the principles of evolution. When Dissenter B cites a peer’s paper to further his own research he is acknowledging the validity of evolution. How long will this go on before some “dissenter” decides that evolition being the “orthodoxy” or “19th century science” is useless and takes the bold step of using his crackpot principles to do “science”. In modern times the only known example of such large scale lunacy is the adventures of Lysenko that are said to have set Soviet agriculture back by a few decades. What is the worst that could happen? How fast is it happening?

Comment #21148

Posted by Faireth Ken on March 20, 2005 7:06 AM (e)

The United States isn’t old England. Judges are not authorized to make law in the United States. That power is delegated to the legislative branch.

Comment #21156

Posted by Dan S. on March 20, 2005 8:59 AM (e)

I think one of the more useful functions of PT comments is to show how much of the opposition to evolution (and similar anti-science positions) is facilitated by misunderstandings or confusion about what it actually is. For example, Jan’s posts, regardless of their political or philosophical merit, show little understanding of the theory (levels? ladders?). Of course, if evolution is further marginalized in the schools and squeezed out of science museums, I’m not entirely sure what can be done about this.

It would be depressing if popular science education on this topic ends up reduced to sporadic direct-mail campaigns - “Have you heard about the magic of EVOLUTION?” . .

-Dan S.

Comment #21160

Posted by Dan S. on March 20, 2005 9:22 AM (e)

I think one of the more useful functions of PT comments is to show how much of the opposition to evolution (and similar anti-science positions) is facilitated by misunderstandings or confusion about what it actually is. For example, Jan’s posts, regardless of their political or philosophical merit, show little understanding of the theory (levels? ladders?). Of course, if evolution is further marginalized in the schools and squeezed out of science museums, I’m not entirely sure what can be done about this.

It would be depressing if popular science education on this topic ends up reduced to sporadic direct-mail campaigns - “Have you heard about the magic of EVOLUTION?” . .

-Dan S.

Comment #21161

Posted by Dan S. on March 20, 2005 9:24 AM (e)

sorry about the double-posting! - I got a message saying the original one hadn’t gone through …

Comment #21164

Posted by Stuart Williams on March 20, 2005 10:22 AM (e)

Evolution does not HAVE an “ending” species or process. Thos who understand Evolution realize that it is an ongoing process that continues today. To say that we, or any other species currently alive is an “ending” species betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of the process itself.

“Lizard” and “Bird” are current terms, for current forms. Both evolved from very early reptiles which split into two distinct branches. Those who stayed “cold blooded” reptiles and became the “Lizards” of today, and those who became the “warm blooded” Therapods (T-Rex, Velociraptors, etc,) and evolved into modern day “Birds”.

Their genetic make goes all the way back to these early reptiles, perhaps 200 million years, and can be seen by the fact that current “Bird” feet skin still shares the same genetic composition of the scales of the “Crocodile”.

Fancy that!

We now know that “Man” has existed in six distinct forms, five of which have gone extinct, leaving “us”.

What “we” may yet become, remains to be seen. If we continue to remain so ignorant that we ignore this, reject it, and further stifle our own evolution in the process, we will surely go extinct ourselves and become….well….NOTHING but….GONE!

Comment #21170

Posted by Bill Ware on March 20, 2005 10:56 AM (e)

Faireth Ken wrote:

The United States isn’t old England. Judges are not authorized to make law in the United States. That power is delegated to the legislative branch.

Good grief! Have you never spent the morning in Chancery or Family Court? The legislature provides laws which cover a general set of conditions. Yet each case deals with a unique set of circumstances and the variations are far too numerous for any legislation to account for beforehand.

So the Judge is “making the law” when deciding each case, and the law (ruling) the Judge makes is referenced in similar cases that come up later.

Comment #21175

Posted by Jan on March 20, 2005 11:40 AM (e)

Kenneth Fair, would you please give us your source for American government studies? I would like to know where you were educated and exactly what text you studied.

Comment #21179

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on March 20, 2005 12:16 PM (e)

Michael Finley wrote:

Clarification: By “creation” I intended special creation, as oppossed to guided evolution from a common ancestor. Therefore, creation and evolution are mutually exclusive.

That’s a non sequitur. Phillip Gosse’s 1857 Omphalos demonstrated that you could have your special creation and transformism, too, just by adopting “created with the appearance of age” as an assumption.

But it’s nice to have an explicit statement of a connotation for “creation”.

Comment #21180

Posted by Jan on March 20, 2005 12:35 PM (e)

Would you list the five species of homo sapiens who have become extinct along with the place where the massive numbers of skeleton remains are being kept? We should have at least as many remains of these races of peoples as we have of dinosaurs. Right? We should be taught about their culture, their religion, and at least try to determine the reason for their becoming extinct.

On another note, I might respond to this:

Whatever problems it poses for you, you’ll have to deal with it. Meanwhile, let’s agree that our interpretation of the data should not be prescribed by what we think is best for this, that, or the other society.

It becomes the a very large problem when men interpret as Hitler did and decide that a generation of “racially pure” children can be produced by ridding the world of those considered inferior. What we teach children is important. Teaching facts should not harm our children. Indoctrination on the other hand is often extremely harmful. We should always be careful that we do not cross the line between fact and our personal interpretations of those facts.

As for the website to which I was directed in order to allow me to ‘understand’ that evolution has been proven, I only had time for a quick look. It will take days to read the material, but I see a few red flags here:
macroevolution depends upon the Punctuated equilibrium theory

Species selection and species sorting theories claim[b/] …that make it [more or less likely that certain species will exist…

think that the processes …

is thought to be of a different calibre and process than microevolution

Common descent is a general descriptive theory

I will spend a little time there this week.

Last, but not least, I stand by my statement that we have for the past two-hundred some odd years lived by a legal code that was formed around Judeo-Christian ethics. I did not say that the ten commandments are our laws, I said that our laws are based on those principles. I stand by that statement. A look at the constitution would help you see that. As for this question, “You mean the commandments that explicitly condone slavery?” I hope the author was joking instead of being that deliberately radical. The Bible was written during a period of time when slavery was an every day fact of life. Slavery, however, is not condoned there. The 10th commandment does not deal with slavery. There are passages in the New Testament that do, but our founding fathers did not institute slavery. While we did borrow a great deal from the Greeks and Romans, slavery was not one of those things and it was not written into our constitution.

Comment #21181

Posted by Great White Wonder on March 20, 2005 12:35 PM (e)

It would be depressing if popular science education on this topic ends up reduced to sporadic direct-mail campaigns - “Have you heard about the magic of EVOLUTION?” . .

On the other hand, a direct-mail campaign that said “Imagine a world science is banned” would be a good start.

That’s where we are headed.

You see, when the vacuum-helmeted generals find something that disagrees with their holy book or a politically useful interpretation of their holy book, the generals issue marching orders to the fundamentalist ignorant rubes.

That’s what’s happening with this creationist nonsense. And it’s what’s happening with this ridiculous Terry Schiavo case.

The fact that our country’s legal system – a model for the entire world (so we’re told) – has in both instances gone over the facts for years and years very carefully and found that the position advocated by the creationists is legally untenable does not matter.

What matters is stroking the ignorance of the fundamentalist rubes who robotically mumble pleasing meaningless platitudes about “culture of life” until they are told to start screaching those platitudes. And then we find ourselves in a country where a Senator who tortured kittens when he was a kid threatens to subpoeana a vegetable to congress in order to please fundamentalist voters who have zero – absolutely zero – clue about the facts of this case.

Same story with evolution.

It’s not about science education, folks. It’s about religious education.

Specifically, it’s about fundamentalism and the fact that the legitimization of fundamentalist ideology is a good sign that a country is going down the toilet.

Does anyone doubt that most Americans are more capable of appreciating and understanding this latter point than they are capable of appreciating and understanding what “common descent” means and why “common descent” is understood as a scientific fact?

Comment #21182

Posted by socrateaser on March 20, 2005 12:57 PM (e)

Dr. Davision:

I apologize for the faux pas in failing to recognize your academic achievement (Dr. v. Mr.). I do not apologize for failing to recognize your theory of the development of life. It is, after all, not one of which a non-scientist such as myself would likely be aware.

However, I have now managed to stumble upon your “Manifesto,” and after reading it, I have more questions:

1. For arguments sake, would you be satisfied if your theory of “instantaneous speciation” (or some hybrid, thereof) were to be confirmed, simultaneous with the absolute rejection of a “designer?”

2. As I understand it, Darwin stated a means of absolutely falsifying his theory of natural selection. I have read statements by others who claim that his test has, so far, withstood the passage of time. I have no idea whether this is actually true or false, however, I suspect that if it were false, it would be reported by the general media. Do you have a test that would absolutely falsify your theory? If so, what is it?

:)

Comment #21183

Posted by Dan S. on March 20, 2005 12:57 PM (e)

[Puts quarter into vending machine, gets handful of troll food…]
Jan wrote:
“I have seen various scenarios on different websites. Evolutionist do not seem to be in agreement on just how this random selection worked to produce all the many different species.”

Sure. That’s *science.* There is debate over the exact details. You don’t seem to be very familiar with the basic ideas of evolution, by the way. That’s fine, but it would be cool if you went and read up about it.

“I have not heard any of you address the matter of all evolutionary activity ending at the same level for each different specie. Would you not expect one variety to be far ahead of others? If that is true, then also, would homo sapiens all be equal on this evolutionary ladder? It would appear to me that the very nature of evolution would mean that some are much further evolved than others, but then we would get into the matter of equality … oops. How do you deal with that?”

Nobody seems to quite understand what you mean; additionally, there are rhetorical flourishes that suggest this is not an honest question. Nevertheless: as pointed out, the “evolutionary ladder” is not a currently accepted concept or metaphor. There do not appear to be a series of specific steps on a single path for species to take (ie, no reason to expect modern toads to evolve into lizards at some future time). It’s not even all that useful as a depiction of past events - the image of a branching bush or tree often is more accurate. As pointed out already, “further evolved” isn’t really a useful concept - in the absence of any specific goal that science can determine, all you can tell is how much something has or hasn;t changed from an ancestral form.

Different populations of H. sapiens show variation, although this is not a topic I am an expert in. As we can identify no clear goal, we can’t really speak of “further evolved,” although some groups seem better adapted for, say cold climates and less sunlight while others seem better adapted for warm cliimates with lots of sun. You seem to be trying to imply that evolution suggests or requires racism. That is not correct. Again, statements like “It would appear to me that the very nature of evolution would mean that some are much further evolved than others suggests you have an incomplete understanding of evolutionary theory. It would be both courteous to us, and more useful to your cause, if you reseached this matter further. Aside from www.talkorigins.org and other such sites, there are numerous books available in your local library or bookstore.

“Here are a few other problems that your theory presents. Are not the words “endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights” a basis for justice in America? Did we not found our legal system on the Judeo Christian ethics of the Ten Commandments? “

Regardless of the merits of these claims, this is not relevent to the scientific discussion.

“Whether you admit it on this web-site or whether you do not, you are advocating radical change in many more areas of our lives than just education when you want to do away with the concept of a Creator.”

While I do not believe in a Creator, I have no desire to do away with this concept, nor would I want to convince anyone that they were wrong to hold this concept. More importantly, evolution does not in fact do away with the concept of a Creator, anymore than medicine does. While I don’t personally believe this, there is nothing to stop you from believing that God created evolution. There is no scientific evidence for this, but no reason to assume that science would be able to find any.

“ You cannot teach children that there is not Intelligent Design in our Universe and no evidence of a Creator and then expect them to live their lives as if there is a higher power to whom they are accountable.”

No one intends to teach them this, *especially* not in school! Your concerns on this matter result from a confusion about the nature of evolutionary theory and science in general. Science has yet to determine any evidence for these things, and doesn’t get to just assume them, for much the same reasons that day-to-day financial decisions are usually made without the assumption that the Lord will provide. Science classes and other such presentations make the most sense if they reflect actual & current science, just as religious sermons, etc. make the most sense if they deal with religious matters. I wouldn’t expect the Bible to tell us much about the details of wildlife preservation, for example (that’s science); however, many people may reasonably see it as setting out our responsibilities in this matter.

“ We must be reasonable. If you are going to insist that children be totally deprived of any knowledge of Intelligent Design, then society will have to accomodate the outcome of that decision.”

Who on earth is insisting that?? That would be entirely unconstitutional!!! Anybody who wishes to raise their child so that they have whatever degree of ID knowledge has both my blessings and (more importantly) the law on their side. All we ask is that folks stop insisting that it be put into public school biology classes without adequate scientific support, which no one seems to have at this point. (Actually, all we ask is that it isn’t put into into public school bio classes without, etc. - folks have every right to insist.)

Again, possible consequences (whether likely or not) are not relevant to the scientific argument. If it turned out that chicken soup actually made colds worse, it would have horrible consequences for the status of Jewish folk medicine, not to mention the reputation of Jewish mothers and grandmothers worldwide, but that wouldn’t really make a difference in terms of the science, the fact that chicken soup is yummy, or people’s overall feelings towards Jewish mothers or grandmothers, individually or in general. I might want to belive that certain organic farming practices are much more productive than conventional ones, based on my feelings about agriculture, but if they’re not, they’re not, y’know, nor does that mean that organic farming is necessarily ‘wrong.’ Does this make sense to you?

“Anyway, I do not believe that those of you who are so adamant against having the words creation or intelligent design used in a classroom are being honest when you say, “God can direct creation through that mechanism”. If you really believed that happened, would you be so angry at the mention of a creator. As for life having meaning if it is just random chance that we are here, I do not agree. If that is true, you and I are worth little more than the grass in the field.”

Dust in the wind … All we are is dust is … oh, sorry. I just start singing sometimes …
You certainly don’t have to agree. I’m not cluttering up PT with more of my useless babble on this subject, but if you would like to see part of my argument being discussed by someone with similar view as you, feel free to visit
http://www.greatestpursuits.us/gp/weblog/comments/discussing_the_logic_of_morals_with_dan
I do wish more people would acknowledge, however, that there are people who do see meaning in life despite having pro-evolution views. In other words, that it’s clearly *possible,* at least for some, even if perhaps ultimately misguided or something . .

Jan, will you read the 3rd chapter of the book of Ecclesiastes? Or not. Your choice. But yeah, it might be cool to read some good up to date stuff on evolution, etc. - I really liked Darwin’s Ghost or Chance in the House of Fate …

And anyone, why can’t I markup my comments? What am I doing wrong? Is it all just random chance?

-Dan S.

Comment #21187

Posted by Dan S. on March 20, 2005 1:31 PM (e)

“Would you list the five species of homo sapiens who have become extinct …”
Not of H. sapiens - there’s only one species of those, by definition!
I assume he’s talking about Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Homo floresiensis, Homo however they’re counting Neadertals nowadays, um … does H. ergaster count? I haven’t paid much attention over the last decade … And then there were various australopithecines, etc.

“ …along with the place where the massive numbers of skeleton remains are being kept? We should have at least as many remains of these races of peoples as we have of dinosaurs. Right? …”
Um, probably not. More dinosaurs, for longer, in more places. Not races, species. We have some bones, not near as many as we would like …”

“It becomes the a very large problem when men interpret as Hitler did …”
Yeah, Hitler sucked. Ya think anti-semitism started with Hitler? But let’s not get into that. Any sick, twisted wacko can take *anything* and twist it to justify *anything.* So?

“As for the website to which I was directed in order …”
Sorry, I posted about how you should research it before I realized you currently were.
You seem to highlight a lot of theories, thinks, thinking, etc. Of course you know that a scientific theory is different from a vernacular, regular English theory, and science is all about best-idea-so-far-works-as-far-as-we-can-tell-seems-pretty-likely, not received Truth, and all that jazz ….

I will spend a little time there this week.
Enjoy. However, whoever, whyever, the world is unquestionably an amazing place.

“ A look at the constitution would help you see that [it is based in Judeo-Christian ethics].”
No. Just no. At least, not in any way that I can tell, except the most banal and general sense. Most of the constitution is fairly dry procedural stuff. What bits are you talking about?

“slavery … was not written into our constitution.”
Unfortunately, it was. Frickin’ 3/5 compromise! Franklin actually threw his weight behind the anti-slavery movement just before he died …wish we could’ve fixed that at the beginning ….

GWW says
“On the other hand, a direct-mail campaign that said “Imagine a world science is banned” would be a good start.”

That is a very nifty idea. Hear, hear!

Comment #21190

Posted by Stuart Weinstein on March 20, 2005 1:42 PM (e)

Jan wrote” Kenneth Fair, would you please give us your source for American government studies? I would like to know where you were educated and exactly what text you studied.”

Jan I’d like to know where you studied and waht classes you took. Cuz I’m trying to figure how sombody who seems to know something about the Decalogue didn’t know what only three of them are laws.

So where did you study Jan?

Or were you just spoonfed by your local preacher?

Comment #21192

Posted by Mike Hopkins on March 20, 2005 2:06 PM (e)

“slavery … was not written into our constitution.”
Unfortunately, it was. Frickin’ 3/5 compromise!

It is not just the slaves being being 3/5 of a person.

Here is something voided by the 13th Amendment:

(No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.)

Or how about:

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

And lets quote the 3/5 stuff:

(Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.)

Did this person ever actually read the Constitution? Or for that matter, take a course in American history?


Anti-spam: Replace “user” with “harlequin2”

Comment #21193

Posted by Katarina on March 20, 2005 2:29 PM (e)

Dan S. wrote:

Aside from www.talkorigins.org and other such sites, there are numerous books available in your local library or bookstore.

This reminds me of a problem I am having. I am very frustrated with my local library. It has popular anti-evolution books mixed in with popular evolution books on the same shelf, as if the two views were equal, and as if the anti-evolution books were based on science. I thought about stealing the anti-evolution books, but this would be out of character. I thought about complaining, but I do not like confrontations. I thought about writing a letter, but I am not sure who makes those types of decisions, or exactly what to say. In short, I am a whimp. Does anyone have advice for me? Can anyone help me with the letter?

Comment #21195

Posted by John A. Davison on March 20, 2005 2:43 PM (e)

Darwinism has survived because it is the only acceptable position for a mentality that denies a Creator in any form. It is the mentality of chance and randomness. It’s primary spokespersons have been declared atheists like Dawkins, Provine and Gould. In case you haven’t noticed, the general media is hardly objective in political matters and Darwinism is very definitely political.

Darwin very definitely did not present a means to falsify his hypothesis and please do not dignifiy it with the word theory. His entire thesis is based on the gradual slow accumulation of changes that could not conceivably be observed in the course of ones lifetime. That assumption renders the entire model untestable and accordingly unscientific. What complicates matters is the undeniable fact that true speciation and the formation of the higher categories cannot be demonstrated at present. I have repeatedly asked for a demonstration of two extant species one of which can be proven to be the ancestor of the other. Even the most strenuous attempts by man to perform such transformations under laboratory conditions have met with dismal failure. All attempts to generate true species through artificial selection of allelic mutants has done nothing but reduce the viability of the terminal products. The experimenter has always had to terminate his efforts with such qualifications as “incipient species.” Well, like it or not, incipient species are not species. The experimental tests which I have advocated have never been attempted. They involve not the aquisition of allelic differences through selection but the restructuring of the genome without the introduction of any new information. The sort of mutations involved in this system are not allelic but structural rearrangements such as inversions, translocations and fusions.

The semi-meiotic hypothesis postulates that any such structural rearrangement occurring in any chromosome will automatically be produced in homozygous configuration in one half of the products of that semi-meiotic process. I first presented this hypothesis in 1984. It has yet to be even recognized in the professional literature. I have clearly described both the means and the conditions for the testing of this hypothesis in frogs.

The Darwinians don’t even test their own hypothesis of gradualism any more as they have tired of failure. They now just asume that the gradualist position must be true even though that flies in the face of everything we know from both the fossil record and both plant and animal taxonomy.

I have presented my arguments in several published papers and I am not prepared to recapitulate that literature here on this or any other forum. That is what refereed journals are for. Online versions of all my papers except the original 1984 paper are avilable. What is most revealing is the fact that I have been instrumental in presenting very little of the significant literature that was mine alone. My conclusions have rested largely on the insights of my many distinguished predecessors, not one of whom was a Darwinian. I have been driven to the conclusion that evolution WAS an endogenously driven process which was in no way caused by the environment in which that evolution took place but nevertheless served to produce organisms that were adapted to that environment.

My current view is that evolution WAS planned, prescribed, predetermined and now finally more or less completely executed with contemporary man the terminal irreversible product.

The Darwinian paradigm is worthless as an explanation for organic evolution and it must, and soon will be, abandoned as a meaningful instrument of organic change. A summary of my position is presented in my latest paper “A Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis,” due to appear in the next issue of Rivista di Biologia, probably this summer.

John A. Davison

Comment #21196

Posted by Dan S. on March 20, 2005 2:45 PM (e)

Katarina -

Don’t steal them! They’re library books! [tone of shocked horror] That’s worse than dog-earing pages!
And anyway, that would be like pulling down campaign signs for a candidate you don’t like, but worse (even if the candidate is Sen. Santorum, I struggle to remind myself). Freedom of speech and all …

The best thing I can think of is going the misshelved route - arguing they should be shelved with religion instead of bio. Don’t know if the ALA (www.ala.org) or anyone else has a position on this - will try to find out.
Perhaps try quietly discussing your concerns with library staff, for a start?

Comment #21202

Posted by Katarina on March 20, 2005 3:29 PM (e)

Dan S.

Thanks for giving me a little direction with the web site. I browsed through it, still need to read more. It is against their policy to rate any book on its merit, as I understand it so far.

For now, I will make a list of the books filed incorrectly, and go from there. If I were to write a letter, I wouldn’t want to reveal my identity. We live in the Bible Belt of the Midwest and my children will go to school here. I don’t want them to be labeled. Also, I really do not have any credentials, I am just a humble undergraduate student majoring in Biology.

Comment #21203

Posted by DonkeyKong on March 20, 2005 3:32 PM (e)

LOL You all make me laugh….

“How will we compete against a billion Chinese people who won’t deny basic science?”

Let me list the ways in which this is silly.

1) America, the most dominant country in the world, the most christian country in the world, the richest country in the world, the most scientifically advanced country in the world. That America, has to fear from a country that I have lived in but you have probably never visited….Because in your imagination china is somehow superior.

We are the strongest BECAUSE of what we are not IN SPITE of what we are. Do you think 4 PHDs make 1 Einstein? Do you think that smart is a genetic thing and 4 times the people would have 4 times the smarts? Then why are India and China not the intellectual superpowers of the world? Why are the Christian or historically Christian countries dominant while the non-christian countries are not? Surely the 1.2 billion in China are less to fear than the 5 billion not in china and not in the USA…
How about the USSR? Oh my bad that prediction is already disproven so you have moved to another one….

2) As an engineer I have a better understanding of science than those of you who have never actually tried to build something very complex. When building a complex system one learns very quickly that the obvious is almost always false on closer inspection and often the dominant factor in a process is one that no outsider no matter how bright would have guessed it to be. This is something that many scientists who focus on a single process never fully internalize.

For example, America’s success may be precisely because religious people are in some way more able to do science (again dig deep here as this is probably not an obvious point to you). As such the ratio of lower mental food chain to higher mental food chain is maintained at a point that for some reason has outperformed the world since the start of this country. We had the first military submarine in the world when we were still a colony for pete sake. What have your chinese been first at in the last 1000 years? Your natural bias towards those who agree with you being right with no further proof than your ego is shining bright today…Hell even modern EVOLUTION was created by DARWIN who was raised a Christian.

I suspect that the reason that religious people make better science judges is because they are willing to believe the silly knowning that it is silly. Creationists believe God created life and their goals are only to find the mechanism. They have no motivation to start inventing LUCA and making silly statements about evolution BEFORE all the data is in. Why? Because they have no invested need for God to have acted in a single instance and are open to the idea that several lifeforms were created rather than just one. Because of this the believer has less bias relative to what happened because God can do either way, the athiest NEEDS LUCA the believers don’t. Because the believers, beliefs are more flexible they can more easily imagine alternative outcomes because their belief is already invested in something “silly”.

Evolutionists on the other hand don’t have this basic moral foundation and are compeled to make silly statements like the one about China that involve complexity far beyond their actual comprehension, prediction or testing. AND THEN THEY BELIEVE IT AS FACT UNAWARE THAT THEY ARE HAVING A RELIGIOUS BELIEF AND THEY WOULD CALL IT SCIENCE AND TRY AND FORCE YOU TO BELIEVE THEIR VERSION OF IT, as was common in athiest USSR, likewise China is NOT open to the truth regarding democracy’s superior performance.

That is why on a very basic level, even the ignorant creationists who don’t understand where the weaknesses in your argument are, even the least among you, are part of a greater machine that has outperformed your kind for thousands of years. And China, USSR, EU, etc etc etc will not change the outcome because the fundemental value of belief in a all powerful god is a pro-science enabler.

Comment #21210

Posted by socrateaser on March 20, 2005 4:00 PM (e)

Wow! You seem awfully angry.

Anyway, although you didn’t directly respond to either question, my interpretation of your answer is that:

1. No, you would not be satisfied if your theory were to reject the existence of a designer, and

2. You dispute that Darwin ever authored a means of falsifying his hypothesis of natural selection, and, you are not interested in describing to me a means by which to falisfy your semi-meiotic hypothesis.

I’m not really in a position to technically argue your positions with regard to answer #2. I am still in the learning phase, and I have insufficient background to make a credible argument.

As for #1, I don’t share your notion that the existence of a cosmic designer is a logical imperative, but, if your biological theories were confirmed, and Darwin’s falisfied, I would certainly accept your contribution to science as being landmark.

I would be interested in reading some of your other scholarly work. If you will provide me with some references/links, I would appreciate it.

Thanks for the chat.

Comment #21211

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 20, 2005 4:19 PM (e)

DK, your attempt at denigrating Chinese science rings hollow. You’re talking about a nuclear-bomb-equipped superpower which puts more graduate students into engineering and physics each year than the U.S.

How long the U.S. can hold an edge over China is a matter of discussion, but if we fail to teach the best science, the Chinese will eclipse us sooner, not later.

Which gets back to one of my favorite questions: In 1957, the wacko right wing in America claimed it was “godless communists” who had hamstrung American science. Now it’s the right wing.

Whose side are you really on, DK?

If we Christians lack the moral foundation to suit you, DK, stuff it.

Comment #21212

Posted by Air Bear on March 20, 2005 4:39 PM (e)

I know that troll-feeding is wrong, but when I see that big gaping mouth, I just gotta throw something in it. And since Jan has disappeared after that embarassing incident with the Decalogue, I gotta toss something into the second-biggest mouth.

DonkeyKong wrote

2) As an engineer I have a better understanding of science than those of you who have never actually tried to build something very complex. When building a complex system one learns very quickly that the obvious is almost always false on closer inspection and often the dominant factor in a process is one that no outsider no matter how bright would have guessed it to be. This is something that many scientists who focus on a single process never fully internalize.

First, building something complex isn’t science; it’s engineering. As a software engineer, I’ve built complex systems, and I know that a built system needs to meet the requirements placed on it. This usually includes reliability, maintainability, cost, performance, etc., and I like to throw in beauty and elegance partly for maintainability and partly for my own aesthetic enjoyment.

But built systems aren’t science. Scientists are not building self-contained systems – that’s for engineering and philosophy – but are observing external nature and coming up with coherent descriptions and explanations. The ones that fit best, win.

However, I will agree that in science that “the obvious is almost always false on closer inspection and often the dominant factor in a process is one that no outsider no matter how bright would have guessed it to be”. What better indictment of the commonsense notion that living things are just too darn complex to have happened by accident, and need some sort of creator? That the main driving force in development of varied forms of life is a mechanism that you must look closely to see?

Does Donkey Kong think that no outsider to science has thought of Creationism or ID?

As for the blather about Christianity and science, I won’t bother to try and talk sense to this guy. Just think about the non-Christian ancient Greeks, the poor state of science during the Christian Middle Ages, and the flowering of new scientific ideas during the post-Renaissance Scientific Revolution, when natural philosophers stopped looking to religion for all the answers.

China? Go around your dwelling, pick up stuff, look at the bottom and see where they’re made. Even though DK makes no distinction between science and technology, the ratio of “Made in USA” to “Made in China” stickers may give him pause.

Enough troll-feeding for me, at least this go-around.

Comment #21213

Posted by Air Bear on March 20, 2005 4:44 PM (e)

I know that troll-feeding is wrong, but when I see that big gaping mouth, I just gotta throw something in it. And since Jan has disappeared after that embarassing incident with the Decalogue, I gotta toss something into the second-biggest mouth.

DonkeyKong wrote

2) As an engineer I have a better understanding of science than those of you who have never actually tried to build something very complex. When building a complex system one learns very quickly that the obvious is almost always false on closer inspection and often the dominant factor in a process is one that no outsider no matter how bright would have guessed it to be. This is something that many scientists who focus on a single process never fully internalize.

First, building something complex isn’t science; it’s engineering. As a software engineer, I’ve built complex systems, and I know that a built system needs to meet the requirements placed on it. This usually includes reliability, maintainability, cost, performance, etc., and I like to throw in beauty and elegance partly for maintainability and partly for my own aesthetic enjoyment.

But built systems aren’t science. Scientists are not building self-contained systems – that’s for engineering and philosophy – but are observing external nature and coming up with coherent descriptions and explanations. The ones that fit best, win.

However, I will agree that in science that “the obvious is almost always false on closer inspection and often the dominant factor in a process is one that no outsider no matter how bright would have guessed it to be”. What better indictment of the commonsense notion that living things are just too darn complex to have happened by accident, and need some sort of creator? That the main driving force in development of varied forms of life is a mechanism that you must look closely to see?

Does Donkey Kong think that no outsider to science has thought of Creationism or ID?

As for the blather about Christianity and science, I won’t bother to try and talk sense to this guy. Just think about the non-Christian ancient Greeks, the poor state of science during the Christian Middle Ages, and the flowering of new scientific ideas during the post-Renaissance Scientific Revolution, when natural philosophers stopped looking to religion for all the answers.

China? Go around your dwelling, pick up stuff, look at the bottom and see where they’re made. Even though DK makes no distinction between science and technology, the ratio of “Made in USA” to “Made in China” stickers may give him pause.

Enough troll-feeding for me, at least this go-around.

Comment #21214

Posted by Dan S. on March 20, 2005 4:46 PM (e)

Katarina -
no rating on merit is a pretty much a good thing - once you start banning books or even slapping big “this is complete BS” stickers on them, it gets ugly. Of course, critical thinking is an important part of that implicit bargin, and we’re not always doing that great there …

One thing you could do is look at the copyright page of the books, which usually will have a Dewey Decimal number, to see if the book is shelved where that indicates it should be.
I would guess that YEC silliness would definitely be in the 200s or so, but Darwin’s Black Box, at least according to the Philly Free Library, is in the 500s. I think the best you can hope for is that outright non-science would be shelved appropriately.

Remember, we don’t want to run around restricting learning and information, even if we think quite reasonably that it is complete bullpucky.

Comment #21215

Posted by Air Bear on March 20, 2005 4:49 PM (e)

I know that troll-feeding is wrong, but when I see that big gaping mouth, I just gotta throw something in it. And since Jan has disappeared after that embarassing incident with the Decalogue, I gotta toss something into the second-biggest mouth.

DonkeyKong wrote

2) As an engineer I have a better understanding of science than those of you who have never actually tried to build something very complex. When building a complex system one learns very quickly that the obvious is almost always false on closer inspection and often the dominant factor in a process is one that no outsider no matter how bright would have guessed it to be. This is something that many scientists who focus on a single process never fully internalize.

First, building something complex isn’t science; it’s engineering. As a software engineer, I’ve built complex systems, and I know that a built system needs to meet the requirements placed on it. This usually includes reliability, maintainability, cost, performance, etc., and I like to throw in beauty and elegance partly for maintainability and partly for my own aesthetic enjoyment.

But built systems aren’t science. Scientists are not building self-contained systems – that’s for engineering and philosophy – but are observing external nature and coming up with coherent descriptions and explanations. The ones that fit best, win.

However, I will agree that in science that “the obvious is almost always false on closer inspection and often the dominant factor in a process is one that no outsider no matter how bright would have guessed it to be”. What better indictment of the commonsense notion that living things are just too darn complex to have happened by accident, and need some sort of creator? That the main driving force in development of varied forms of life is a mechanism that you must look closely to see?

Does Donkey Kong think that no outsider to science has thought of Creationism or ID?

As for the blather about Christianity and science, I won’t bother to try and talk sense to this guy. Just think about the non-Christian ancient Greeks, the poor state of science during the Christian Middle Ages, and the flowering of new scientific ideas during the post-Renaissance Scientific Revolution, when natural philosophers stopped looking to religion for all the answers.

China? Go around your dwelling, pick up stuff, look at the bottom and see where they’re made. Even though DK makes no distinction between science and technology, the ratio of “Made in USA” to “Made in China” stickers may give him pause.

Enough troll-feeding for me, at least this go-around.

Comment #21216

Posted by Katarina on March 20, 2005 4:49 PM (e)

Here is the list of books filed incorrectly at my library:

Darwin on trial
by Johnson, Phillip E., 1940- Washington, D.C. : Regnery Gateway ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c1991. c1991.

Defeating Darwinism by opening minds
by Johnson, Phillip E., 1940- Downers Grove, Ill. : InterVarsity Press, c1997. c1997.

What is creation science?
by Morris, Henry Madison, 1918-
El Cajon, CA : Master Books, c1987. c1987.

Shattering the myths of Darwinism
by Milton, Richard, 1943- Rochester, Vt. : Park Street Press, 1997. 1997.

Icons of evolution : science or myth? : why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong
by Wells, Jonathan.
Washington, DC : Regnery Pub. ; Lanham, MD : Distributed to the trade by National Book Network, c2000. c2000.

Comment #21217

Posted by Dan S. on March 20, 2005 4:52 PM (e)

Katarina -
no rating on merit is a pretty much a good thing - once you start banning books or even slapping big “this is complete BS” stickers on them, it gets ugly. Of course, critical thinking is an important part of that implicit bargin, and we’re not always doing that great there …

One thing you could do is look at the copyright page of the books, which usually will have a Dewey Decimal number, to see if the book is shelved where that indicates it should be.
I would guess that YEC silliness would definitely be in the 200s or so, but Darwin’s Black Box, at least according to the Philly Free Library, is in the 500s. I think the best you can hope for is that outright non-science would be shelved appropriately.

Remember, we don’t want to run around restricting learning and information, even if we think quite reasonably that it is complete bullpucky.

Encouraging the library to buy (or donating yourself, if appropriate) up to date, nifty books about evolution (as in the Dover situation, kinda) is probably the best thing to do; however, find out what policies the library has on donated books, first. Good luck!

Geez, DK is in fine form tonight. I’m actually getting kinda fond of him, in a way …

Comment #21219

Posted by Dan S. on March 20, 2005 4:55 PM (e)

Katarina -
no rating on merit is a pretty much a good thing - once you start banning books or even slapping big “this is complete BS” stickers on them, it gets ugly. Of course, critical thinking is an important part of that implicit bargin, and we’re not always doing that great there …

One thing you could do is look at the copyright page of the books, which usually will have a Dewey Decimal number, to see if the book is shelved where that indicates it should be.
I would guess that YEC silliness would definitely be in the 200s or so, but Darwin’s Black Box, at least according to the Philly Free Library, is in the 500s. I think the best you can hope for is that outright non-science would be shelved appropriately.

Remember, we don’t want to run around restricting learning and information, even if we think quite reasonably that it is complete bullpucky.

Encouraging the library to buy (or donating yourself, if appropriate) up to date, nifty books about evolution (as in the Dover situation, kinda) is probably the best thing to do; however, find out what policies the library has on donated books, first. Good luck!

Geez, DK is in fine form tonight. I’m actually getting kinda fond of him, in a way …

I’m having problems posting this, and don’t see it when I open up the page elsewhere, but if it turns out that I’ve posted this 7 times, sorry!

-Dan S.

Comment #21221

Posted by Air Bear on March 20, 2005 5:02 PM (e)

Sorry for the triple post. Sometimes strange things happen here. Guess when the page says “error”, I should assume that it will eventually accept my post anyway.

Comment #21225

Posted by Katarina on March 20, 2005 5:29 PM (e)

Dan S.

All the books I listed in my most recent comment are in the 500s. But so are all the evolution books. I don’t understand why that is the case.

To my library’s credit, they do have good up-to-date evolution books. I can donate Ken Miller’s “Finding Darwin’s God,” as someone has apparently stolen it.

Thank you for your effort, Dan.

If anyone else has advice for me, please e-mail me, as I do not wish to clutter up the comments section.

Comment #21229

Posted by Jan on March 20, 2005 5:47 PM (e)

Just one clarification and I will give you all a rest.

Dan S wrote:

Your concerns on this matter result from a confusion about the nature of evolutionary theory and science in general.

My concerns in this matter have nothing at all to do with confusion about evolutionary theory and science in general. My concerns in this matter come from reading the post on this web-site and other similar sites. The remarks and the venom that people spew along with the contradictions that are so evident are my concerns. These would not bother me nearly so much if these same people did not want to shape the minds of our youth.

Also, I will ask this question for yourconsideration only as I do not care at all what you think the answer is. I fully understand the motive.

Katrina wrote:

I thought about stealing the anti-evolution books, but this would be out of character.

Books on creation appear to be such a threat to you. One person suggest misfiling them on the shelf. Why would you feel the need to hide or steal them? If your theory is sound and your science so obvious, why do you feel so threatened that you would go to such measures. And you wonder why anyone would be concerned about evolutionist controlling the education of our children!

Comment #21237

Posted by Dan S. on March 20, 2005 7:01 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #21243

Posted by Russell on March 20, 2005 7:38 PM (e)

Donkey wrote:

Russel
your inability to read my links is telling …

What inability? Telling what? You’re just braying, Donkey. You’re going to have to be more explicit.

For me science is about …

Fortunately, no one cares what science is about “for you”.

Look. Here’s a prediction involving work I’m doing right now. We took a virus that grows well in animal species A, and poorly in animal species B. After serially infection of species B with the virus, I predict that we will recover a virus whose growth in species B is measurably improved, and that that improvement will be associated with mutation(s) in its genome. What does Intelligent Design predict?

Is it that you don’t want to admit that the reason evolutionists are trying to brainwash kids is because evolution fails the most basic tests of science?

Namely evolution fails to follow the scientific method for the majority of its claims.

What are you running from Russel?

I don’t know who you think you’re impressing with this infantile rhetoric. Certainly not me. Anyone out there reading this that finds it makes a persuasive case against evolution? Anyone?

Comment #21249

Posted by steve on March 20, 2005 8:00 PM (e)

my letter to the editor of the York Daily Record:

As a resident of North Carolina’s tech-savvy triangle area, I support the
Dover residents who want to replace science with religious “Intelligent
Design”, in Dover schools. Also I support them in their effort to cast
doubt on evolution and other fundamentals of basic science. If they
succeed, their kids will just be less competition for scientifically
literate people like myself.

thanks
Steve Story

Comment #21251

Posted by Katarina on March 20, 2005 8:15 PM (e)

Jan,

OOps, I made a rather dumb statement about stealing the books from my library. It was a joke, I would never do such a thing. I just don’t think they belong next to the evolution books, because while the evolution books are backed by decades of credible research, the books that attempt to challenge evolution only misrepresent a fraction of the available evidence without actually providing their own.

Anyone capable of critical thinking, and who devoted some reading hours to that section, would come to that conclusion on their own.

I just cringe at the thought of someone wanting to learn something about evolution for the first time, going to the library and seeing the garbage mixed in with books that belong in that section. I would not re-shelve them on my own, certainly, but if you read my whole comment, I was asking Dan whether he thought I should write a letter requesting they be re-shelved. However, he pointed out to me that it is not up to the individual library, and it appears they were shelved correctly all along. I am still confused by this.

I am still unclear about how the library categorizes books, and why, but I will look into it next week.

Comment #21255

Posted by Henry J on March 20, 2005 8:57 PM (e)

Re “Guess when the page says “error”, I should assume that it will eventually accept my post anyway.”

Or bring up a fresh copy of the thread in another browser window to see if your post is there or not. ;)

Henry

Comment #21256

Posted by Katarina on March 20, 2005 8:58 PM (e)

Jan,

Also, FYI,

I am not a regular here. I only started posting comments in the last two weeks or so. In addition, I am considered a semi-troll on most days, since I bring up faith and religion in most of my comments, and people here like to keep the discussion on-topic (mostly) and on-science (mainly).

Finally, I am just a bored housewife browsing the internet. I have no advanced degrees, and do not plan on teaching evolution anytime soon, at least unless my church lets me do a Sunday School class, in which case I would love to reveal ID as bad theology.

So as you can see, I pose no threat to the children, and neither are my views representative of everyone who wants to teach children evolution, and especially my bad jokes.

Comment #21258

Posted by Stuart Williams on March 20, 2005 9:07 PM (e)

Jan:

The issue of extinct “men” in prior forms has indeed been proven by the very fissil remains you ask for, in the same manner that the existence of “Dinosaurs” is equally evident by THEIR fossil remains.

To answer you question, I’ll take up, for now, the issue of the Neandertal. A “man” race, who hunted, gathered, built home family dwellings, used fire, made clothing, made jewelry, and held burial rituals for their dead. As did the other races of “man” that went extinct.

No apes engage in this level of societal sophistication to this day tho some are learning American Sign Language as a means of communication even to thero own young. Perhaps you have a different definition of what determines “man”. Religious, sociological or what exactly?

Neandertal wnet extinct about 25k years ago and DNA analysis now shows that this “man” in NOT our ancestor and never was. But is Neandertal any less of a “man” for not being so?

As recently as 800 years ago, the Romans believed that the Planets Saturn, Jupiter, Venus and Mercury were indeed actual “GODS” that they worshipped as what they believed to be true entities.

Then along came this Jew guy named Jesus that was a simple carpenter who had a peacful philosophy that 200 years later wound up having an entire Religion founded in his name. (Not sure he would have approved, but that’s another issue.)

But even this “Christian” Religion insisted for centuries that the Earth was the Center of the Universe. To suggest otherwise, (Like Copernicus and Galleleo) was hierecy and resulted in persecution and (then) lawful confinement.

So now we have a persistence of the same dogma, (based in fear) that says Evolution cannot be so because the releigious say it defies “God”. But it is “men” who say this, not the evidence itself.

The evidence does not dispute “God” any more than the evidence for an Earth that rotates around the Sun.

Maybe “God” IS working full time. But if this is so, (and no one is saying it ISN’T), this supreme being is most certainly causing life on this Planet to evolve in the manner we see very clearly, and the evidence for it quite irrefutable.

Whether the “Supreme Being” is actually CAUSING this or not is the only thing that is not proven either way.

Comment #21259

Posted by Air Bear on March 20, 2005 9:18 PM (e)

Re “Guess when the page says “error”, I should assume that it will eventually accept my post anyway.”

Or bring up a fresh copy of the thread in another browser window to see if your post is there or not. ;)

Thanks, but I did that. It was only much later that posts appeared.

It all started when I didn’t put an email address in the box, and got the “no-no” message. When I put an email address in, I got the “malicious posters … wait awhile” message. I’d wait awhile, look at another copy and didn’t see my post, so I’d click on Post again.

Next time this happens (it happened once before to me), I’ll be more patient.

Comment #21260

Posted by Longhorm on March 20, 2005 9:42 PM (e)

Jan wrote:

Would you list the five species of homo sapiens who have become extinct along with the place where the massive numbers of skeleton remains are being kept?

I don’t understand your question.

The fossil data does not, by itself, enable us to know that all organisms to live on earth descended from a single-celled microorganism that lived about 3.8 billion years ago. But that some data does not, by itself, enable us to determine that a given event occurred does not enable us to justifiably believe that the event did not occur. For the sake of argument, let’s say I’m justified in believing that OJ did it. And clearly he fired at least some of the shots. And his Bruno Magli shoe print was at the crime scene. But his shoe print being there does not, by itself, enable me to justifiably believe that OJ did. It is the shoe print plus other data.

At any rate, the fossil data is strongly supportive of common descent. Nearly all known organisms are very similar anatomically to some known organisms that are older than them.

Some of the most important data relevant to whether evolution occurred is that the existence of billions and billions of organisms has been proximately caused by cell-division or sexual reproduction. No other event is known to have proximately caused the existence of an organism. For instance, over the last 5,000 years, no deity or extraterrestrial has turned dust – poof! – directly into two elephants (one male and one female).

We should have at least as many remains of these races of peoples as we have of dinosaurs. Right? We should be taught about their culture, their religion, and at least try to determine the reason for their becoming extinct.

There are a lot of hominid fossil specimens. But there are a lot more dinosaur specimens. But dinos lived for tens of millions of years. I forget the exact number, but I think 300 million years. Hominids have been around for maybe 7 million years. And homos have been around for maybe 2 million. What we recognize as modern humans evolved only about 150,000 years ago.

It becomes the a very large problem when men interpret as Hitler did and decide that a generation of “racially pure” children can be produced by ridding the world of those considered inferior.

First, Hitler had free will. Second, that some people do bad things because they believe X does not enable us to justifiably believe not-X. Some people did bad things partly because they believed the earth revolves around the sun. And it does!

What we teach children is important. Teaching facts should not harm our children. Indoctrination on the other hand is often extremely harmful. We should always be careful that we do not cross the line between fact and our personal interpretations of those facts.

Evolution is not harmful. Every person I know who realizes that evolution happened is a good person.

As for the website to which I was directed in order to allow me to ‘understand’ that evolution has been proven, I only had time for a quick look. It will take days to read the material, but I see a few red flags here:

I take a little issue with the word “proven.” I never used that word. But I did say that common descent is a scientific fact, and that is because the evidence is that strong. I recommend that you read the book by Mayr.

macroevolution depends upon the Punctuated equilibrium theory

I don’t know what you mean by “depends.” And I don’t know what you mean by “punctuated equilibrium.” Stephen J. Gould hypothesized that some organisms are very similar to their ancestors that lived millions of years before them. And Gould was right about that. Bacteria is an example. The oldest known fossils we have are the remains of bacteria that was alive 3.5 billion years. It is very similar to modern bacteria.

I think cockroaches are another example.

Gould’s second hypothesis is that some organisms are fairly different anatomically than their ancestors that lived hundreds of thousands of years before them. First, hundreds of thousands of years is a long time. Second, Gould never claimed that mosquitoes evolved into elephants over hundreds of thousands of years. He just said that more significant evolutionary change could occur over hundreds of thousands of years than some other scientists had thought. Finally, Gould’s second hypothesis is highly problematic. There is no example that I’m aware of in which a fossil is very different anatomically than the fossil most like it that is only, say, 500,000 years older than it. There are some fossils that are about 535 years old that are somewhat different than all the specimens older than them. But they are not that different. There are specimens that are about 600 million years old that are fairly similar to them. And 45 million years is a long time!

Also, we have a limited number of specimens that are that age. A teeny tiny percentage of dead organisms leave their remains in such a way that human can find them.

Here is the link to an article that shows some photographs of specimens that are about 535 million years old. It also shows photographs of some of the known specimens that are older than them: http://home.entouch.net/dmd/cambevol.htm

It is not a perfect article. But it might help.

Species selection and species sorting theories claim[b/] … that make it [more or less likely that certain species will exist …

think that the processes …

is thought to be of a different calibre and process than microevolution

I don’t see what you are getting at here.

Comment #21263

Posted by Longhorm on March 20, 2005 10:03 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #21265

Posted by Longhorm on March 20, 2005 10:09 PM (e)

I posted:

For the sake of argument, let’s say I’m justified in believing that OJ did it. And clearly he fired at least some of the shots.

Obviously, no one shot Ronald and Nicole. I mispoke.

Also, I’m uncomfortable using the OJ case as an example because it is so politically charged. But I used it because everyone is so familiar with it.

Comment #21266

Posted by Henry J on March 20, 2005 10:17 PM (e)

Re #21249, posted 03-20-2005 20:00

ROFL

Henry

Comment #21267

Posted by Gary Hurd on March 20, 2005 10:33 PM (e)

Obviously, no one shot Ronald and Nicole. I mispoke.

Also, I’m uncomfortable using the OJ case as an example because it is so politically charged. But I used it because everyone is so familiar with it.

Funny how so-called “conservatives” are willing to trash the American system when there is a result they disagree with, isn’t it? And even the simple-minded should know that nobody shot “Ronald and Nicole.” Their throats were cut- no shots fired. There was once at a breakfast meeting where the forensic science gang watched home videos made by a Russian serial killer who cut his bound victim’s throats while they faced his camera- the blood spater patterns were the hot topic all day. Much easier in someways to watch than the rape investigation videos we watched at a dinner meeting.

Someone once asked me what was the most difficult forensic investigation I was ever involved in: it was determining if the tears in the rectum of a female murder victim were the result of sodomy by some large object, or the result of tearing from animal claws when her carcass was being ravenged by coyotes. (The coyotes use their paws to press aginst soft tissue while they tear with their teeth).

After close examination, it was coyotes and not anal rape. Still murder though.

I have found that in arguments about science versus mystical fantasy, it is best to stick to what you actually know.

Comment #21268

Posted by DaveScot on March 20, 2005 10:33 PM (e)

Russell wrote:

I predict that we will recover a virus whose growth in species B is measurably improved, and that that improvement will be associated with mutation(s) in its genome. What does Intelligent Design predict?

ID predicts that it will still be a virus.

Care to make a wager that the ID prediction is accurate?

ROFLMAO!

You just don’t get it.

Comment #21269

Posted by Dan S. on March 20, 2005 10:38 PM (e)

“ However, he pointed out to me that it is not up to the individual library, and it appears they were shelved correctly all along. I am still confused by this.”

I’m not a library person, though (except in terms of time spent in them!) so don’t take my word for it. I think the vast majority of public libraries use the Dewey Decimal System, but there might well be exceptions, especially in specific situations. I really just don’t know how they handle it - in these cases they may well just be going by the book, so to speak. I’m sure it’s the Library of Congress that classfies books, giving them dewey decimal (532.5 etc …) and lc (QH375 etc, mostly college/university libraries …) numbers. If you’re really curious, hunt down a friendly library science listserv or something - they might be more helpful … And maybe check/drop off a note with the library staff, if you think that would be alright …

I would guess the idea at whatever level it is, the idea is hey, they address biological science, so they go in there. I don’t really mind *that* - it’s the thought of all the channels of public science education getting tuned to the same static-chocked metaphorical frequency that worries me …

Lonhhorm - I think that Jan is seizing on quotes with any apparent indication of less-than-total-certainty - ‘theory,’ ‘think,’ etc. But I may be wrong.

So, how do we help Imax movies stand up to scary focus group members and disgruntled op-ed letter writers?

Comment #21270

Posted by steve on March 20, 2005 10:44 PM (e)

religious people are in some way more able to do science

Why, sure they are. And they’re also rich and good-looking. Curse those handsome devils!

The follow-up study reported in “Nature” reveals that the rate of belief is lower than eight decades ago. The latest survey involved 517 members of the National Academy of Sciences; half replied. When queried about belief in “personal god,” only 7% responded in the affirmative, while 72.2% expressed “personal disbelief,” and 20.8% expressed “doubt or agnosticism.” Belief in the concept of human immortality, i.e. life after death declined from the 35.2% measured in 1914 to just 7.9%. 76.7% reject the “human immortality” tenet, compared with 25.4% in 1914, and 23.2% claimed “doubt or agnosticism” on the question, compared with 43.7% in Leuba’s original measurement. Again, though, the highest rate of belief in a god was found among mathematicians (14.3%), while the lowest was found among those in the life sciences fields – only 5.5%.

http://www.atheists.org/flash.line/atheism1.htm

Comment #21271

Posted by Russell on March 20, 2005 10:47 PM (e)

Gosh, Dave! What a valuable prediction! Wow. Does ID have more like that?

Comment #21272

Posted by Henry J on March 20, 2005 10:50 PM (e)

Re “But dinos lived for tens of millions of years. I forget the exact number, but I think 300 million years.”

Geological Time Scale

Looks like the Mesozoic covered about 180 my.

Henry

Comment #21273

Posted by Longhorm on March 20, 2005 10:56 PM (e)

I posted:

At any rate, the fossil data is strongly supportive of common descent. Nearly all known organisms are very similar anatomically to some known organisms that are older than them.

I used the word “nearly,” but maybe I shouldn’t have. Maybe I just should say that all known organisms are very similar – or at least quite similar –anatomically to some known organisms that are older than them.

I guess the issue is the Ediacaran fauna. There are specimens that are about about 600 million years old that are sort of like sea anemones or cnidarians. Meanwhile, the oldest known specimens are bacteria that are about 3.5 billion years old.

Here are photographs of some of the specimens that are about 600 million years old: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/vendian/critters.html

As you can see, some of these specimens are fairly different than bacteria. However, there have been finds of specimens that are about 1.5 billion years old that are sort of in between cnidarians and bacteria. The problem is that the specimens did not carve out strong markings, so we can’t be sure that they are the remains of organisms. My understanding is that scientists are debating the issue.

However, even if we say that some Ediacaran specimens are fairly different than any known specimens older than them, they are not that different. It is not as if we have a hominid skull that is 1.5 billion years old.

Second, a lot can happen in 2.9 billion years. That is the difference between the oldest bacteria and the Ediacaran fauna.

Finally, the Ediacaran specimens would be the exception rather than the rule. I don’t know of any other case in which a known specimen is significantly different anatomically than every other known specimen older than it. If you disagree, give us an example.

Comment #21274

Posted by DaveScot on March 20, 2005 10:58 PM (e)

Katrina

Observations are agnostic. No theory “owns” the evidence. So when you say that ID provides no evidence of its own that’s not correct. All the evidence that neo-Darwinism uses can be used by ID as well. Indeed such evidence MUST be used. Any theory must attempt to explain the observations.

Comment #21275

Posted by Longhorm on March 20, 2005 11:02 PM (e)

Re “But dinos lived for tens of millions of years. I forget the exact number, but I think 300 million years.”

Geological Time Scale

Looks like the Mesozoic covered about 180 my.

Thanks, Henry. I posted what I did because of some the Permian organisms. But it is better not to count them as dinos. They are more like large reptiles. It’s just that I have that picture of Dimetrodon in my head.

Comment #21276

Posted by DaveScot on March 20, 2005 11:06 PM (e)

Longhorm

There are no specimens of 3.5 billion year old bacteria. Their existence is entirely hypothetical based upon presumed residues. As with just about everything to do with evolution more than 1 million years ago there are no intact specimens and no DNA to analyze. Keep that in mind. And there has been no major evolutoin in the last 1 million years. Not a single new higher taxa has emerged in many millions of years. John Davison will tell you that evolution has stopped. I’m not convinced it has stopped but there’s no compelling evidence that it’s still going on either.

Comment #21277

Posted by Longhorm on March 20, 2005 11:08 PM (e)

Gary Hurd posted:

Someone once asked me what was the most difficult forensic investigation I was ever involved in: it was determining if the tears in the rectum of a female murder victim were the result of sodomy by some large object, or the result of tearing from animal claws when her carcass was being ravenged by coyotes. (The coyotes use their paws to press aginst soft tissue while they tear with their teeth).

Gary, thanks for the interesting post.

Another example that makes my same point: I’m justified in believing that the universe is over 10 billion years. And my understanding of the speed of light helps me determine the age of the universe. But my understanding of the speed of light is not enough by itself. I also have to understand other data as well.

Analogously, the fossil data helps us understand that all organisms descended from common ancestors. But, by itself, that data does not enable us to to determine that. It is the fossil data plus other data.

Comment #21278

Posted by Katarina on March 20, 2005 11:10 PM (e)

Russell wrote:

Here’s a prediction involving work I’m doing right now. We took a virus that grows well in animal species A, and poorly in animal species B. After serially infection of species B with the virus, I predict that we will recover a virus whose growth in species B is measurably improved, and that that improvement will be associated with mutation(s) in its genome.

I am jealous. If I still had time to do resaerch, you would not see me posting comments on this site, I would be too busy doing the research and would not have the altruism necessary to contribute the knowledge here. I really appreciate that real scientists do get their hands dirty with the trolls once in a while, and in the process demonstrate to the rest of us what the difference is.

Donkey Kong, DaveScot, I bet you are jealous too, and that is why YOU’re here.

Comment #21279

Posted by Longhorm on March 20, 2005 11:21 PM (e)

There are no specimens of 3.5 billion year old bacteria. Their existence is entirely hypothetical based upon presumed residues.

What do you mean by that? See Cowen’s History of Life. See Mayr’s What Evolution Is. Mayr includes photographs of said bacteria. So does Cowen.

As with just about everything to do with evolution more than 1 million years ago there are no intact specimens

That is totally false. There a billions of “intact specimens” that are over 1 million years old. Go to any museum of natural history. See that gaint T-rex in the Chicago museum. It is an “intact specimen.” There are millions. Look at Lake Turkana boy. Check out some of the hominid specimens at this sight: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

And there has been no major evolutoin in the last 1 million years.

What do you mean by that? Modern humans evolved about 150,000 years ago. Dave, are you being dishonest with yourself?

John Davison will tell you that evolution has stopped.

What does he mean by that? And what is his evidence?

I’m not convinced it has stopped but there’s no compelling evidence that it’s still going on either.

I don’t know what you mean by “evolution.” But organisms are getting born that are different than their parents.

Comment #21280

Posted by Katarina on March 20, 2005 11:25 PM (e)

DaveScot wrote:

Observations are agnostic. No theory “owns” the evidence. So when you say that ID provides no evidence of its own that’s not correct. All the evidence that neo-Darwinism uses can be used by ID as well. Indeed such evidence MUST be used. Any theory must attempt to explain the observations.

The people who have done the genetic and molecular research, field observation, embryology, comparative anatomy, fossil collecting, identifying, and classifying, have all come to a similar conclusion: evolution happened.

Through the peer review process, anyone is free to challange the conclusions of any study previously published. But mere argument and mathematical manuevering is not a sufficient challenge. As far as I understand peer review, it involves not only critique, but additional work to show why an alternate conclusion makes more sense.

Anyone is free to use research that has been done in the past, and do their own research, citing the original research as a reference when the paper is published. So you are right, evidence is not owned. However, to challange someone else’s evidence, you need more than what you got.

Comment #21281

Posted by Longhorm on March 20, 2005 11:26 PM (e)

Observations are agnostic. No theory “owns” the evidence.

What do you mean by that?

So when you say that ID provides no evidence of its own that’s not correct.

What do you mean by “ID?” Dave, which event(s) do you believe that a designer caused? And what evidence, if any, suggests that a designer did that?

All the evidence that neo-Darwinism uses can be used by ID as well.

What do you mean by “neo-Darwinism?”

Comment #21282

Posted by Longhorm on March 20, 2005 11:43 PM (e)

There are no specimens of 3.5 billion year old bacteria. Their existence is entirely hypothetical based upon presumed residues.

Dave, I don’t what to do with that. What are you thinking about? Here is a link to some photographs: http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/bacteria/bacteriafr.html

You also have stromatolites: http://www.wmnh.com/wmel0000.htm

Comment #21283

Posted by DaveScot on March 20, 2005 11:45 PM (e)

Katarina

Well I’m certainly not jealous. I’m an accomplished inventor and self-made millionaire. I retired from Dell Computer Corporation 5 years ago at age 43. Now I do whatever I feel like doing. At this moment I’m on my yacht getting blasted as a reward for a good day’s work tinkering with this and that. Don’t be presumptious.

Comment #21284

Posted by Longhorm on March 20, 2005 11:48 PM (e)

Dave, here is another link:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/305816.stm

Comment #21285

Posted by DaveScot on March 20, 2005 11:51 PM (e)

Yeah, Russell, ID does have more predictions.

It predicts that no matter what you do with a virus it will still be either a live virus or a dead virus when you’re done with it. The common thread is it will still be a virus. That’s because mutation/selection isn’t capable of producing:

1) novel body forms
2) novel tissue types
3) novel organs

I’m an optimist so I believe that someday you will see the light.

Comment #21286

Posted by Longhorm on March 21, 2005 12:17 AM (e)

However, there have been finds of specimens that are about 1.5 billion years old that are sort of in between cnidarians and bacteria. The problem is that the specimens did not carve out strong markings, so we can’t be sure that they are the remains of organisms. My understanding is that scientists are debating the issue.

Apparently the above is wrong. According to Richard Cowen, “A very rich and well-preserved fossil assemblage in the Gunflint Chert of Minnesota, about 2000 Ma, contains no eukaryotes” (History of Life, p. 62).

Also, according to Cowen: “Acritarchs are spherical microfossils with thick and complex organic walls…The most recent discoveries are fossils that look very much like acritarchs in rocks from the Ural Mountains that formed around 1600 Ma” (History of Life, p. 62).

Comment #21290

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 21, 2005 12:36 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #21291

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 21, 2005 12:58 AM (e)

DaveScot said:

Observations are agnostic. No theory “owns” the evidence. So when you say that ID provides no evidence of its own that’s not correct. All the evidence that neo-Darwinism uses can be used by ID as well. Indeed such evidence MUST be used. Any theory must attempt to explain the observations.

It is correct to say that ID provides no evidence of its own. There are no predictions made by ID independent from evolutution. There is no suggestion of where to find evidence, or what evidence to find, that is different, based on an ID paradigm. Contrast this with Kepler’s work, and the difference made when one starts looking at the planets as members of a local solar system instead of looking at them as rogue stars. Or contrast it with Dubois’ prediction, from Darwin’s work, that Indonesia would be a good place to look for hominid remains.

“Intelligent design” points us toward no new knowledge. ID shows no new light on any facet of biology that is useful either in simply understanding what goes on, or is usueful in practical application in agriculture or medicine.

ID provides no mirth for the Earth to borrow.

Comment #21292

Posted by Longhorm on March 21, 2005 1:09 AM (e)

According to Dave:

That’s because mutation/selection isn’t capable of producing:

1) novel body forms
2) novel tissue types
3) novel organs

Dave, what do you mean by those things? And why do you say that? And what do you mean by “mutation/selection?”

I think the traits you mean by those words evolved before sexual reproduction evolved? So, we are overwhelmingly justified in believing that “mutation/selection” is “capable of producing” those things, because we are overwhelmingly justified in believing that they did.

However, sexual reproduction helped organisms like humans evolve. This included meiosis, sexual reproduction and genetic recombination. I don’t think those kinds of events are what you mean by “mutation/selection.”

Comment #21293

Posted by Longhorm on March 21, 2005 1:14 AM (e)

I posted:

So, we are overwhelmingly justified in believing that “mutation/selection” is “capable of producing” those things, because we are overwhelmingly justified in believing that they did.

Analogously, we are justified in believing that Al Gore was capable of winning the popular vote in the 2000 election, because we are justified in believing that he did indeed in win the popular vote in the 2000 election.

Comment #21294

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 1:28 AM (e)

Longhorm - yeah, yeah, yeah… there were what looked like microrganism remains in a meteorite from ancient Mars found in the Antartic ice pack. Spare me the conjectures.

I’ll make you a deal. If you stick to just the facts, I will too.

Comment #21295

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 1:42 AM (e)

No, none of those things have been observed happening due to mutation selection. The mechanism of evolution on those scales is entirely conjecture. It may not be the responsible mechanism. I think it’s unlikely that mutation/selection is the whole story. It’s premature to rule out intelligent design which is a BIG tent. The neo-Darwinian view presumes that design is either not possible (an extraordinarily ignorant view from my high perch) or is somehow “not science” for reasons only pedants will argue are valid.

Plus there’s different flavors of ID. I’m not saying any version of ID is true. I’m saying some version of it might be true and mutation/selection as the primary mechanism of evolution is not a fact, is not observed, and isn’t even what Darwin proposed was the primary mechanism as he reckoned it was heritable acquired characters the same as Lamarck.

Comment #21298

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 1:55 AM (e)

Ed Darrell wrote:

There are no predictions made by ID independent from evolutution.

So you’re saying ID makes the same predictions as “evolution” and uses the same empirical evidence as “evolution”.

Think hard Ed. What logical conclusions may we reach from that?

Comment #21299

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 21, 2005 2:03 AM (e)

Jan said:

I agree completely that God could easily say “Let there be … “ and install the evolutionary process. The problem is with the evidence. It is lacking. I see the evidence for change over time as far as adaptation is concerned and change within a species.

Others have already pointed you to some good sources. I would urge you to keep in mind that evolution was developed by Christians, most of them quite devout. They were not looking to pose problems for religion, and few of them found any conflict between what was revealed in their observations of creation and their faith. When you say you think evidence is lacking, it seems apparent to me that you’ve not looked at the classic arguments for design by poof, and the reasons that scientists in the 19th century, many of them ordained Christian ministers, found so much evidence for their points.

You might do well to read some Darwin first hand. He was one of the earliest and still best who noted just how difficult it is for human minds to grasp the vastness of the planet, and the vastness of time. But, as Sherlock Holmes later urged, Darwin was dogged about eliminating impossibilities. I think most thinking Christians appreciate the care with which Darwin deals with the several different, non-evolutionary explanations for fossils that were extant in his day. He works hard to keep everything in science, but one gets the feeling that Darwin also did not like the idea of the mean and arbitrary deity necessary for some of those explanations.

In any case, you would do well to keep in mind that nothing in science, and especially in evolution, was done with animus toward God, or toward Christianity, or toward any faith.

Jan said:

Our Creator did a marvelous job of creating each creature with just what was needed for survival. Every creature is stamped with Intelligent Design. If I had never met or heard of God, I would be able to see that.

That’s an interesting claim, but one that tends to suffer a lot on examination. Why can’t humans make their own vitamin C, for example, like other mammals? Do you really wish to put the responsibility on God to say God intended to create caterpillars who would die a nasty death when other insect larvae eat their brains from the inside out? Do you really think God designed domestic cats to torture mice before death? One of the strengths of Darwin’s work is its scope: Darwin was more broad and deeper than most naturalists of his day, and his work holds up even today. So on the one hand he was prone to see design as you do, as the handiwork of God – but on the other, he was prone not to claim God was repsonsible for what appears to be cruelty in nature. Darwin had dozens of examples of cruelty that no rational Christian would wish to pin on God.

I urge you to study deeply the designs you think you see. There is an earlier discussion on this site, in the past few weeks, about the neck of the giraffe, for example. It is a favorite example of “God’s design” for many creationists. And yet, that neck is a burden to the animal, and it often leads to premature death. At the same time, there are aspects of the neck that clearly point to evolutionary origins. I’ll wager you’re unfamiliar with giraffe anatomy, at least to the point that when the creationist advocates tell you it’s a marvelous design, you don’t know that they’re fibbing a lot on the claim.

On the other hand, I do not see the evidence for the great leaps that evolutionist claim. The chances are overwhelmingly against a lizard becoming a bird or any other change of that nature.

What great leaps? It’s not really a great leap from you to your child. It’s not a great leap from your grandparents to your child. But you will immediately see that they are different. Dinosaurs didn’t magically sprout feathers and fly away. Such a process would take millions of years, at a minimum. But at the same time, dinosaurs and birds share many, many features. The features in common are far greater in number than those that differ. That is true for almost all animals. It’s no great leap from a skink to a skink that has slightly atrophied legs and crawls like a snake. It’s a small leap from that to a legless skink that crawls like a snake. In fact, it’s difficult to tell them apart from snakes. Then when you stumble into snakes that have atrophied legs, you begin to realize that great changes can be wrought by tiny increments. It may make you uncomfortable, but you share blood types with other great apes, among dozens of other features. When one lines up the 20 or so species we know of between our last shared ancestor with the other great apes and modern humans, one sees incremental changes, not great leaps.

Anyway, I do not believe that those of you who are so adamant against having the words creation or intelligent design used in a classroom are being honest when you say, “God can direct creation through that mechanism”. If you really believed that happened, would you be so angry at the mention of a creator.

Not angry at mention of a creator. Angry at those who bear false witness against science and scientists. Here in Texas there is a well-financed, 35-year campaign against biology. Nor is it a nice campaign – rather than present science to back their cause, most often these people indict the motives of the scientists. For example, I’ll bet you’ve heard some of these claims, all of them false: “Evolution was the basis for communism.” “Evolution was the basis for Nazi-ism and the Holocaust.” “Evolution is the origin of the breakdown in morals in America today.” “Evolution is racist – since Darwin’s book title mentions ‘races.’”

You as a thinking Christian immediately recognize that evolution could not be the basis for diametrically opposed political philosophies such as communism and nazi-ism. And as a student of history, you know that the communists banned Darwin, and that Hitler’s government held anti-evolutionary views (particularly about blood types, which led to their decision not to have blood banks, which led to many a German soldier dying unnecessarily from blood loss).

And correct me if I’m wrong, but you appear to have assumed that most evolution supporters are atheist – despite the fact that most Christians have no truck with evolution, and most Christian sects say nothing against evolution.

Some preachers and many creationists see this as a battle for morals. Alas, in that fight they do not hesitate to repeate falsehoods against science, apparently in the belief that a lie in a good cause is just. Please do not fall into that trap.

Evolution is the basis for much of modern medicine, including almost all of the drive to cure cancers. If you have ever known anyone who had a form of cancer, or who died from it, you cannot easily condemn as “godless” those who toil so hard to find cures.

As for life having meaning if it is just random chance that we are here, I do not agree.

Well, you’ve appeared to purchase one major creationist falsehood there. Evolution is not random. I repeat: Evolution is not a random process. Darwin called it evolution “by natural and sexual selection.” If you do not grasp anything else, work hard to understand this: “Selection” is the opposite of random. When you selected your spouse, you did not pick a guy randomly from the street. In fact, your selection of a mate was a key part of evolutionary process. Just as your selection of a mate was not random, evolution is not random.

And please don’t torture us or yourself with the idea that heredity means all – Christianity’s better contributions to civilization have included the idea that it’s not so important how one got here, it’s important what one does with one’s life once one is here. Evolution is consistent with the message of the passion – that important things come to us in humble packages, and they can change our lives, if we bother to look with open eyes and an open mind.

Evolution does not say your presence here is random – but if it did, that wouldn’t affect the meaning you give to your own life.

If that is true, you and I are worth little more than the grass in the field. In a few generations, the VAST majority will be remembered no more. The good that we attempt often harms rather than helps those around us. Seldom a day goes by when we are not misunderstood by someone around us.

Particularly scientists are misunderstood when there are campaigns to promote misunderstanding. You’re preaching to the choir here – a scientifically literate choir, but a choir nevertheless.

Prisons, asylums, hospitals, nursing homes, hospice centers, & homeless shelters in every city around the world are full and still there are people who need care. Surely we are in a fallen state. It is only through the hope of a Savior who has paid a price and redeemed us that we find peace, hope, and a future. We gain our worth and dignity from the Creator who made us in His image and who taught us to love by first loving us.

So you find that the facts are there is plenty of sin in the world to justify God’s sending a savior.

Evolution disputes nothing in that section. I’ll bet you didn’t know that.

I do not think that I will ever by able to understand why some of you not only will not acknowledge that the world is full of evidences of a Creator, but the biggest mystery is why you seem to prefer that there be no higher power. How could anyone not want the love of God as shown to us by His Son? He came that we might have life and that we might have it more abundantly. He came because He loves us and is not willing that any should perish. I owed a debt I could not pay, He paid a debt he did not owe.

I do not think I will ever understand why you assume that I, a lifelong Christian, an elder, active in my congregation, holds beliefs against a creator. Where did you get such stuff?

Now that you know better, will you be able to avoid making such erroneous assumptions again?

Comment #21302

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 2:20 AM (e)

Bravo Jan. Sorry I missed your postings. I don’t have time to keep up with all of it.

Comment #21304

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 2:29 AM (e)

Ed Darrell wrote:

you appear to have assumed that most evolution supporters are atheist

Most scientists are disbelievers in God - 72%. 21% are agnostic and 7% believe there’s a God.

http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html

Thanks for playing.

Comment #21321

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 21, 2005 6:08 AM (e)

Dave,

I wasn’t talking about scientists. About 86% of Americans claim to be Christian. 83% of Americans want their kids to learn evolution, according to Gallup – including a healthy portion of creationists who see no problem with learning what the important ideas in the world are.

Most Christian groups have no truck with evolution. Most Christians, world wide, are Catholic. The Popes’ opinions on evolution are well known. In the U.S. the next largest Christian denomination is Methodist. Methodists have a statement specifically noting they have no difficulty with evolution. Similar statements are available from the mainstream Protestant sects, except the Southern Baptist Convention.

Any way it’s sliced, evolution supporters don’t come out to be atheist as a majority.

Then we get to the cancer and infectious disease wards, where supporters of evolution climb to 100% regardless of religious affiliation …

Disraeli claimed it was Mark Twain who said there are “lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics.” Twain must have known a lot of creationists.

Please play by the rules.

Comment #21327

Posted by Katarina on March 21, 2005 7:33 AM (e)

DaveScot wrote:

Well I’m certainly not jealous. I’m an accomplished inventor and self-made millionaire. I retired from Dell Computer Corporation 5 years ago at age 43. Now I do whatever I feel like doing. At this moment I’m on my yacht getting blasted as a reward for a good day’s work tinkering with this and that. Don’t be presumptious.

Congratulations. I am glad you are using your time wisely by engaging PT. Indeed I was presumptious, but at least I can say the same for you. From this comment, and maybe I am risking making another presumption, nothing leads me to believe you have a background in Biology, yet instead of coming to PT to learn something, you presume to challenge everything in a general sense. I wouldn’t go to a doctor’s office, for example, and dispute the germ theory with him or her.

The greatest achievement in life is being enlightened by new truths, and finding out how the world around us works. Doing productive research is right up there with the most rewarding things one can do in life, second only to charity, community, and raising a family.

Comment #21329

Posted by Russell on March 21, 2005 7:34 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'b'

Comment #21334

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 8:48 AM (e)

Russell,

Now there’s a new one - endogenous retroviruses are really people.

Congratulations. I think you crossed some sort of line there.

When will you publish?

Comment #21335

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 8:51 AM (e)

Katarina,

A background in logic is what’s needed and lacking in most of the dopes here. I presume you don’t have one.

Comment #21336

Posted by JimBob on March 21, 2005 8:52 AM (e)

DaveScott wrote:

That’s because mutation/selection isn’t capable of producing:

1) novel body forms
2) novel tissue types
3) novel organs

I cannot understand your insistence on this point. You turn down evidence that mutations in hox genes can control leg number, wing number, number of body segments, brain size, etc. because they aren’t novel. When people point out things that are lost, you say that loss of a structure isn’t new information.
So what really is novel? Comparing mammalian body forms, there really aren’t that many variations on the basic theme: head, trunk, ribs, spinal column, limbs with generally 5 digits each, tail. For that matter this really applies to almost all terrestrial vertebrates. Vertebrates all use the same tissue types (endoderm, mesoderm, ectoderm, which differentiate into muscle, neurons, glia, epithelia, cartilage, bone, etc), and most of these are also present in invertebrates. And most vertebrates use only minor variations on the same key organs: kidneys, hearts, eyes, noses, ears, brains, stomach, intestine, with one notable difference being the evolution of the lung from the swim bladder of fish (fish swimbladders even contain the same surfactants that lungs use to allow air exchange). There isn’t much molecular biology right now on the evolution of the lung (the lungfish genome project is shall we say not very far along), that I’m aware of, but I’m sure there are people looking into it.
So basically for most of the evolution of vertebrates, there has been little novel done. It’s just subtle variations on a theme. Even “novel” organs like the lung are derivations of existing organs that underwent a gradual transition in function. If evolution has created tremendous variation using a relatively stable body plan over the last few hundred million years, why do you expect us to have created radically different organs or body plans in the 25 years that we’ve been able to manipulate DNA? And as far as tissue types, while we haven’t come up with some radically different tissue type, we do know how changes in gene expression can convert mesoderm to ectoderm, etc.
What we do know is that changes in expression patterns of key genes such as Hox genes can alter the size of developing organs, placement of limbs, fate of the tissue (such as turning antennae into eyes), etc. Since most of the diversity we see between animals is at a relatively minor level, I think that the molecular evidence is quite good for demonstrating how to make subtle changes to the standard vertebrate body plan.

Comment #21338

Posted by Russell on March 21, 2005 8:58 AM (e)

Now there’s a new one - endogenous retroviruses are really people.
Congratulations. I think you crossed some sort of line there.

Dave: what did I tell you about table manners when eating crow? You said

no matter what you do with a virus it will still be either a live virus or a dead virus when you’re done with it. The common thread is it will still be a virus.

I pointed out that viruses have become part of the human genome. Not “people”. Notice the subtle distinction?

Comment #21339

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 9:00 AM (e)

Darrell,

Nice straw man you have there.

Not one single time have I ever advocated not teaching a child about evolution or the neo-Darwinian theory thereof.

Please play by the rules.

Next!

Comment #21340

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 9:03 AM (e)

Russell,

A leach attached to man’s leg is still a leach. A virus attached to a man’s genome is still a virus.

Next!

Comment #21341

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 9:06 AM (e)

JimBob,

I have answered the body type question many times. Here’s what I mean by body types:

http://tolweb.org/tree/

See the seven pretty pictures in the tree? Those are novel body types.

Next!

Comment #21342

Posted by Wayne Francis on March 21, 2005 9:07 AM (e)

In the last 54 hours there have been 53,667 words in the comments.

DS 1,161 words
JAD 3,856 words
DK 2,034
Total troll content 7,051 words or 13% of the comments

For those of you that don’t know I’ve resorted to filtering out these three trolls because they only mutter the same babble over and over again despite others showing them errors in there logic. For those that are not sure what their stance is.

DaveScot – I’m not a creationists, everything was/is front loaded in Amoeba dubia genome. Evolution has never been observed to cause a 1) novel body type 2) novel issue type 3) novel organ.
it actually doesn’t matter what the topic is about. This is all he can say beside proclaiming his 153 IQ, 67 foot boot that he uses to get women, beach front property, and how without him we would not have computers today.

John A. Davison – Blah blah blah darwimps blah blah blah most failed hypothesis in the history of science blah blah blah no one has ever refuted my prescribed evolutionary hypothesis blah blah blah speciation doesn’t occur blah blah blah sexual reproduction is a dead end road blah blah blah
Seems that for atleast 16 years JAD couldn’t do anything to try to prove his own hypothesis while he was an active “bench scientist” and expects other scientist to try even tho it has huge gapping holes in it. He loves wasting peoples time. He asks for speciation using a definition of his choosing and when provided examples he says its just a variety or subspecies even though it met the definition he requested be used. Despite a number of promises to leave he sticks around like a bad cold just coughing up the same flem over and over. And lets not forget if you cross him that

Comment # 16458

John A. Davison wrote:

Comment #16458
Posted by John A. Davison on February 16, 2005 01:54 AM
… You better keep your traps shut about my sources or I’ll turn you all in to the FBI as security risks. Of course you have made that quite impossible haven’t you with your cowardly anonymity. What a collection of losers …

BTW JAD I’m still waiting for you to get me fired, deported and arrested by the FBI.

As for DonkeyKong he is a bit more interesting in that his posts change a bit more and seem to latch onto key concepts for a while before he finds something else that he thinks makes him sound like he knows what he is talking about, last I knew it was LUCA. He consistently shows a complete lack of any scientific concept that he ries to talk about. This includes concepts that he tries to use in his defence like the 2nd law of thermo that he kept telling us was the 3rd law and was correct many times. If you ever want a headache run his posts through a text to speech engine. I notice from responses to his post that lately he tries to say that evolution when applied to humans is the equivalent to the human genome spontaneously arising from nothing. Seems he can grasp the concept that his religion says that not evolution.

My advice ….don’t feed the trolls … You see one of these people commenting just skip it. We now have over 175,000 words contributed by these people. Pretty much all they have to say is what is above. Also note they have only been commenting for the last 3 months. Don’t add to the spam on this site by responding to their posts. They don’t listen. They don’t want to discuss. They’ll ask for examples of something and when provided they’ll ignore it or move the goal post.

Comment #21345

Posted by Katarina on March 21, 2005 9:11 AM (e)

DaveScot,

You blow me over with your simple, yet arrogant logic. A leach attached to a man’s leg will not be attached to that man’s offspring’s leg. However, a virus that is attached to our genome becomes a part of us, and is passed down through many generations. If you refuse to see the difference, there is no logic that can help you.

Comment #21346

Posted by Katarina on March 21, 2005 9:17 AM (e)

Sorry, I wrote that response to DaveScot before the comment by Wayne Francis was posted. I figured since this was the Bathroom Wall, and all.. but feel free to delete my last comment to DaveScot.

Comment #21350

Posted by Wayne Francis on March 21, 2005 9:30 AM (e)

Katarina what you do is up to you. I’m just done reading their post myself. I’m providing number to others to show how much time is wasted. This doesn’t even count the responses they get which has at times been over 25% leading to almost half of PT either being trolls or the feeding of them.

You are free to respond if you want.

Comment #21362

Posted by Russell on March 21, 2005 10:20 AM (e)

A virus attached to a man’s genome is still a virus.

Wrong.

Comment #21368

Posted by John A. Davison on March 21, 2005 10:37 AM (e)

Allelic mutation and substitution through natural or artificial selection never had anything to do with organic evolution. Those sorts of mutation are all that the distinguish the various varieties of dogs, goldfish or any other domesticated forms that man has tinkered with for centuries. Dogs are still wolves, goldfish are still asiatic carp and pigs are still pigs. Trust me.

I am certainly not the first to insist that evolution is over. Try Robert Broom in the 30’s, Julian Huxley in the 40’s, Pierre Grasse in the 70’s and Davison for the last twenty years. You Darwimps just insist on studiously avoiding all the really significant literature on evolution.

Furthermore Mendelian (sexual) genetics never had anything to do with evolution either because that kind of genetics deals only with the reassortment of alleles, which, as I have repeatedly indicated, are nothing but errors on what Pierre Grasse called “the ‘magnetic tape’ on which the primary information for the species is recorded.”

Speciation clearly WAS related to restructurings of an otherwise unaltered genome, a process which requires absolutely no new information and results in novel expressions from previously silenced genes and gene families as well as the silencing of old ones. These matters are not conjectural as they have already been demonstrated. Evolution, a phenomenon of the past resulted largely if not entirely from the restructuring of the chromosomes in such a way as to result in what has, for over half a century now, been recognized and described as “position effects.”

William Bateson recognized this in 1914 when he described evolution as:

“an unpacking of an original complex which contained within itself the whole range of diversity which living things present.”

He also had the good sense to use the past tense long before Robert Broom, Julian Huxley and Pierre Grasse.

Ten years later in 1924, Bateson once again displayed his insight when he confided to his son Gregory:

“that it was a mistake to have commited his life to Mendelism, that it was a blind alley which would not throw any light on the differentiation of species, nor on evolution in general.”

Well folks, that is my free lecture for today, presented as usual in a giant empty auditorium. You may now return to the safety of the Darwimpian groupthink,

John A. Davison, pathologically unfair, clearly unbalanced to the point of certifiability, yet still not only unafraid of Darwimpianism but gleefully enjoying these God-given opportunites to expose it as the most hideous hoax ever foisted off on humankind in recorded history.

“We seek and offer ourselves to be gulled.”
Montaigne

Comment #21374

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 11:00 AM (e)

Ed,

This is my favorite source for past and current polling data on a wide range of issues.

Polls on evolution are in the science topic here.

The numbers don’t surprise me at all but they might surprise you.

Quite frankly, Ed, it’s pissing into the wind trying to keep stickers like Cobb’s out of textbooks. All that’s doing is inflaming a super-majority of voting age adults that don’t just question neo-Darwinism like me but are positively convinced it is wrong. It’s just a matter of time until they exercise their political power. The judiciary branch isn’t the ultimate decision maker - the voters are the ultimate decision makers. A super-majority can change the constition. Pretty cool how that works, innit?

Comment #21378

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 11:14 AM (e)

Even better - polls on teaching evolution/creation

http://www.pollingreport.com/educatio.htm

NY Times 11/04 65% favor teaching creation and evolution together.

That is the majority that I fall into although I don’t think more than a single minute needs to be spent on the creation side. The Dover statement is perfect at one minute, one time, just to make students aware that skeptical scientists exist albeit relatively small in number. If there were more I’d suggest spending more than a minute on their disagreement. What I’m more interested in is the presentation of neo-Darwinism in a more critical light starting with a clear distinction of where direct observation ends and extrapolation begins.

Comment #21381

Posted by JimBob on March 21, 2005 11:20 AM (e)

DaveScot wrote:

http://tolweb.org/tree/ …

See the seven pretty pictures in the tree? Those are novel body types.

So over 3 billion years of evolution there are seven basic body plans. The millions of species we see today are all subtle variations of those basic body plans. Our increasing ability to understand how the variations of these body plans are controlled by slight variations of the same general molecular mechanisms is meaningless because we haven’t accomplished what took evolution billions of years? Remember that speciation is not caused by formation of new tissue types, organs, or body plans, but rather by slight genetic, morphological, behavioral or environmental differences.

Let us compare humans and great apes who have been separated for millions of years. What are the differences? All major organs are nearly identical, the body plan is identical, the tissue and cell types are probably indistinguishable for all but a handful of experts. The differences are loss of hair (which we know can be controlled by mutations in several different genetic cascades), expansion of the brain (which we know can be controlled by mutation in several different genetic cascades), slight changes in skeletal structure such as the pelvis and length of forelimbs (which we know can be controlled by mutation in several different genetic cascades), slight changes in dentition (which we know can be controlled by mutation in several different genetic cascades), etc. There is nothing terrifically novel about humans. And this is precisely what evolution would predict. Subtle changes in molecular and structural homology to our closest relatives and increasing changes as the time since branching off the tree increases.

Comment #21382

Posted by Donkeykong on March 21, 2005 11:28 AM (e)

One last word.

You censored dissent.

When we censor dissent do not be suprised.

I personally reaised the following very real scientific issues and never heard any cogent reply.

1) Evoluion has poor adherence to the scientific method first by not predicting future events and second by not predicting unknown past events except in rare and localized instances.

2) Evolution is not honest about the vast improbabilities involved in evolution. Were you to tell students the numbers your brainwashing would be void.

3) Natural selection by its very nature cannot be falsified and as such is not science

4) abiogenesis cannot be falsified any more than it has been so by its very nature is not science. 50 years of failed predictions and even evolution has disowned it. Abiogenesis is a nessary part of evolution as without it you need an extra creation mechanism which may have explained evoluion more easily than random change.

5) LUCA is as much an article of faith as God in that there is 0 scientific support for its direct existance. The evidence that does exist argues against it due to minimum size and diversity of life.

6) Events that rely on randomness to have happened once cannot be disproven. You can calculate the odds and demonstrate that they are very near exactly zero. But quantom theory currently tells us that everything macro is possible, even energy conservation is a trend and can be violated on occasion, to be fair quantom doesn’t tell us what macro events are impossible and we assume that abiogenesis is possible or ape-> human etc. AS such scientific theories that rely on unlikely enough events cannot be disproven in human timescales and as such are not science within those timescales.

7) Evolution is the primary religious belief of athiests. Athiests need LUCA, athiests need a single abiogenesis event. It is only in the light of this that it becomes clear why believer scientists, as opposed to the wackos you guys like to point to, have chosen to oppose you. Non-literal christians, which are the majority, don’t need a 7 day creation, unlike a typical evolutionist my faith is untouchable by the outcome of evolution and I am free to follow the data WHERE EVER it leads. But as a believer in science I am saddened by the inability of the evolution camp to be honest when they teach evolution in school.

8) Evolution makes its limited predictions regarding currently unknown data via the shotgun method where the majority of its predictions have been false. This makes it easy for a evoltuion adhearent to not realize that what they claim as prediction is really random. For example, genetic evidence did not pan out as planned. Shotgun predictions and limited matching of predictions is evolution’s calling card.

I have enjoyed my time at panda’s thumb. It has given me a very good understanding on how evolution dogma works and how best to defeat it. The aspects of evolution that are valid science do not bother me personally as I beleive in science. But if you could remove your athiest blinders you would see that you argue at least in part out of religious ferver.

I have begun mailing the school boards with a variation of the above. I have already sent this to all the dissenting members of the Kansas board. What you have all missed is that the average person is not as dumb as you would like to believe, they can see that your position is straining to believe things that are not demanded by the data, eg LUCA. They can see that you are not teaching that evolution and bigbang are the only backwards science fields and all others process future predictions as opposed to predictions regarding future information that occured in the past. This is fact and not some religious ferver as you will paint it.

The average person may not understand where you paint over the gaps of logic in evolution or how large those gaps are scientifically. But the average person is a very good judge of how a person in denial acts. The typical evolutionists is in denial regarding the weaknesses of evolution. When faced with those weaknesses you react emotionally with appeals to authority as opposed to real scientific responses.

See you in court =)

Comment #21383

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 11:34 AM (e)

Someone mentioned plate tectonics as a process that’s based on extrapolation of actual observations because it works too slowly to see the larger changes. I didn’t have time to respond when I read it.

Here’s my answer.

If continental plates exhibited, as Richard Dawkins so aptly phrased it, an overwhelming appearance of design, then it would be a fair analogy with evolution. The fact of the matter is that the earth’s crust doesn’t have an overwhelming appearance of design. It’s just a simple matter of rigid, broken plates floating around and colliding on a molten fluid substrate. The machinery in a living cell is so far removed from that it’s absurd to compare them or the processes which drive each.

Comment #21387

Posted by Russell on March 21, 2005 11:54 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'b'

Comment #21389

Posted by JimBob on March 21, 2005 12:06 PM (e)

DaveScot wrote:

It’s just a simple matter of rigid, broken plates floating around and colliding on a molten fluid substrate. The machinery in a living cell is so far removed from that it’s absurd to compare them or the processes which drive each.

Actually, a cell membrane is a bunch of proteins floating around and colliding in a phopholipid substrate. There is a tremendous interest in the stochastic properties of protein-lipid interactions, variability in phospholipid makeup, lipid rafts, and various cellular attempts to anchor things into the sea of phospholipids.
Like the center of the earth, the inside of a cell has lots of stochastic chemical reactions going on that form new molecules and provide the source for the material for the surface.

More to the point of the original question, though, is not the mechanistic issue but the scientific one. Both plate tectonics and evolution involve measurement of small changes in real time and extrapolation forward and backward to make a grand theory. In both cases, the small changes can be well extrapolated to fit the known data about the world in ages past, and in both cases we can make some predictions (fault lines where an earthquake is more likely; a sequence of DNA that is under less selective pressure and therefore more likely to mutate) but the stochastic nature of the processes don’t allow precise future predictions.

Comment #21394

Posted by steve on March 21, 2005 1:07 PM (e)

Ah yes, it’s different because it has the “appearance of design”. For 20 years the ID movement has tried and failed to come up with an algorithm which can certify that.

Comment #21398

Posted by Neil on March 21, 2005 1:33 PM (e)

Donkey Kong wrote:

I personally reaised the following very real scientific issues and never heard any cogent reply.

Aha! This explains completely Donkey Kong’s inability to comprehend any of the detailed and compelling rebuttals to his statements. He was expecting them to be read aloud to him!

Comment #21403

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 21, 2005 2:18 PM (e)

DaveScot said:

This is my favorite source for past and current polling data on a wide range of issues.

Polls on evolution are in the science topic here.

The numbers don’t surprise me at all but they might surprise you.

I’m not surprised – not a single poll suggested that evolutionists are a majority atheist. I didn’t even see the topic broached. So, once again you’ve shot off a claim that even extensive research can’t back up.

Why did you think that would surprise me? Why aren’t you surprised, if you really meant what you had said earlier?

Quite frankly, Ed, it’s pissing into the wind trying to keep stickers like Cobb’s out of textbooks. All that’s doing is inflaming a super-majority of voting age adults that don’t just question neo-Darwinism like me but are positively convinced it is wrong. It’s just a matter of time until they exercise their political power. The judiciary branch isn’t the ultimate decision maker - the voters are the ultimate decision makers. A super-majority can change the constition. Pretty cool how that works, innit?

Hitler learned that pissing into the evolutionary wind wasn’t a good idea. His soldiers died at a considerably higher clip than those of the allies because he “stickered” the German textbooks, claiming against Darwin and science that race is carried in the blood, not the genes. Stalin would have learned a similar lesson, had he lived and not murdered so many Darwinists. The anti-Darwin frenzy sabotaged Soviet agriculture, and the constant crop failures, by 1954, meant the Soviets could not survive without Darwinist, capitalist wheat. The Soviet Union never did get out from under the debt incurred in purchasing wheat to cover over the anti-Darwin failures.

Yeah, it’s possible that God will curse America, and that America will stop teaching evolution. But last time we got close, the Soviets put up a satellite, and people woke up to the educational damage, and fixed it.

How long do you think Americans will take it when the Chinese, Japanese and French start whipping our butts in Nobels, and food? How much rice and fish do you think the average Texan will eat before demanding the U.S. get out in front again?

I really doubt most Americans would, in a pinch, sacrifice the First Amendment on an altar of political power demonstration. You could be right – but I’ll bet more Americans would get nervous about the government coming after their faith next. You won’t let them come to take away the rights of scientists; scientists will protect you, too.

Comment #21406

Posted by Longhorm on March 21, 2005 2:41 PM (e)

Longhorm - yeah, yeah, yeah … there were what looked like microrganism remains in a meteorite from ancient Mars found in the Antartic ice pack. Spare me the conjectures.

Dave, do you want to talk on the phone?

Here is what Mayr says, “The earliest fossiliferous rocks are 3.5 billion years old and already contain a rich biota of bacteria” (What Evolution Is, p. 43).

I don’t know about the so-called rocks from Mars. But let’s say those rocks did not include “life.” That does not enable us to justifiably believe that we don’t have fossils with bacteria that lived 3.5 billion years ago. They are two different situations. The fossils with 3.5 billion year old bacteria are much more pronounced. I think that the whole scientific community agree that they are the remains of bacteria. Why don’t you ask John Davison what he thinks.

Comment #21408

Posted by Longhorm on March 21, 2005 3:02 PM (e)

No, none of those things have been observed happening due to mutation selection.

I don’t know what you mean by “mutation selection.” But, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that no person has observed the events that you are talking about. That an alleged event has not been observed by any human does not mean that claims that the event occurred are no more plausible than not. For instance, no one has observed the core of Pluto, and I’m sure it is not made of cream cheese. No person observed earth 65 million years ago, and I’m sure it existed 65 million years ago. No person has seen a living T-Rex, and I’m sure some T-Rexes ate things. No person has observed a quark, and I’m sure quarks exist.

Also, the other day I was walking my dog. I made sure no other person was around. We walked up to a fire hydrant. Right after my dog lifted up its leg I closed my eyes. I kept them close for about one minute. When I opened them, the fire hydrant was covered in dog pee and my dog looked very relieved. We are justified in believing that my dog peed on that fire hydrant. Therefore, even if no person has observed the evolution of the traits you have mentioned, that does not enable us to justifiably believe that it didn’t happen.

The mechanism of evolution on those scales is entirely conjecture.

Why do you say that?

It’s premature to rule out intelligent design which is a BIG tent.

Which event(s) do you believe the designer caused? Please be specific.

The neo-Darwinian view presumes that design is either not possible (an extraordinarily ignorant view from my high perch) or is somehow “not science” for reasons only pedants will argue are valid.

I don’t know what you mean by that. I listen to any hypothesis. But I’m sure that a deity or extraterrestrial did not turn inert matter (or “nothingness”) – poof! – directly in two elephants (one male and one female). That didn’t happen.

Plus there’s different flavors of ID. I’m not saying any version of ID is true.

What do you think happened? Give us a hypothesis.

I’m saying some version of it might be true and mutation/selection as the primary mechanism of evolution is not a fact, is not observed, and isn’t even what Darwin proposed was the primary mechanism as he reckoned it was heritable acquired characters the same as Lamarck.

I don’t know what you are talking about. Did you read Origin of Species? Much of the book is about what Darwin calls “Natural Selection.” But so what? Darwin published the book in 1859? He got some things wrong. He didn’t even know about DNA and genes.

I’ll say more in my next post.

Comment #21410

Posted by John A. Davison on March 21, 2005 3:06 PM (e)

It is perfectly true that a prescribed evolution, in other words an intelligent designed one, has no predictive value since the phenomena with which it has been concerned are no longer in operation. Just as ontogeny is a predetermined self-regulating, self-limiting and self terminating process, so has been phylogeny. The primary predictive value for ontogeny is the 100% certainty that it will terminate in death. The comparable predictive value for phylogeny that it will end with extinction and already has for millions of species, less than one tenth of a percent of which are still extant. Neither ontogeny nor phylogeny has predictive value. Neither does pregnancy and for the same reasons. It too is prescribed, self regulating, self terminating and it too ends, in case you haven’t noticed, typically after 9 months.

To assume any role for the environment in the emergence of life and its subsequent evolution is a figment of man’s imagination totally devoid of experimental or observational evidence. That is why I have proposed the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis. Thanks for not listening. You never do.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for neo-Darwinism, the biggest and most long-lived hoax in the history of civilization.

“Science commits suicide when she adopts a creed.”
Thomas Henry Huxley

John A. Davison, genetically incapable of being fair, rejoicing in his senile dementia, yet slowly but surely, oblivious to the dastardly attempts by his adversaries to ignore him, continues bravely, methodically and with gleeful malice to destroy every single element of the Darwimpian fairy tale.

Comment #21411

Posted by Longhorm on March 21, 2005 3:07 PM (e)

No, none of those things have been observed happening due to mutation selection.

What do you mean by “mutation selection?” Also, I don’t know if you are right. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume that no person has observed the evolution of the traits you have mentioned. That an alleged event has not been observed by any human does not mean that claims that the event occurred are no more plausible than not. For instance, no one has observed the core of Pluto, and I’m sure it is not made of cream cheese. No person observed earth 65 million years ago, and I’m sure it existed 65 million years ago. No person has seen a living T-Rex, and I’m sure some T-Rexes ate things. No person has observed a quark, and I’m sure quarks exist.

Also, the other day I was walking my dog. I made sure no other person was around. We walked up to a fire hydrant. Right after my dog lifted up its leg I closed my eyes. I kept them close for about one minute. When I opened them, the fire hydrant was covered in dog pee and my dog looked very relieved. We are justified in believing that my dog peed on that fire hydrant. Therefore, even if no person has observed the evolution of the traits you have mentioned, that does not enable us to justifiably believe that it didn’t happen.

The mechanism of evolution on those scales is entirely conjecture.

Why do you say that?

It’s premature to rule out intelligent design which is a BIG tent.

Which event(s) do you believe the designer caused? Please be specific.

The neo-Darwinian view presumes that design is either not possible (an extraordinarily ignorant view from my high perch) or is somehow “not science” for reasons only pedants will argue are valid.

I don’t know what you mean by that. I listen to any hypothesis. But I’m sure that a deity or extraterrestrial did not turn inert matter (or “nothingness”) – poof! – directly in two elephants (one male and one female). That didn’t happen.

Plus there’s different flavors of ID. I’m not saying any version of ID is true.

What do you think happened, Dave? Give us a hypothesis.

I’m saying some version of it might be true and mutation/selection as the primary mechanism of evolution is not a fact, is not observed, and isn’t even what Darwin proposed was the primary mechanism as he reckoned it was heritable acquired characters the same as Lamarck.

I don’t know what you are talking about. Did you read Origin of Species? Much of the book is about what Darwin calls “Natural Selection.” But so what? Darwin published the book in 1859? He got some things wrong. He didn’t even know about DNA and genes.

I’ll say more in my next post.

Comment #21412

Posted by Longhorm on March 21, 2005 3:12 PM (e)

Dave, that some organisms have reproduced more times than some other organisms contributed significantly to the existence of every organism to live on earth subsequent to the first primordial cells, because:

1. All organisms to live on earth descended from a single-celled microorganism that lived about 3.8 billion years ago.

2. Organisms have been reproducing (either via cell-division or sexual reproduction) for about 3.8 billion years. Cells tend to divide many times per years. Organisms tend to sexually reproduce many more than once per years. When cells divide, the daughter-cell often similar to but not identical to — in terms of genotype and phenotype —- than the parent cell. When organisms sexually reproduce, the offspring is always is always somewhat similar but never identical — in terms of genotype and phenotype — than either of its parents.

3. Some organisms have reproduced more times than other organisms.

Comment #21413

Posted by Longhorm on March 21, 2005 3:19 PM (e)

John wrote:

That is why I have proposed the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis.

John, what do you think happened? Please be specific. And please don’t give me a bunch of jargon. Be real concrete. And what evidence, if any, supports your hypothesis?

Comment #21417

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 3:38 PM (e)

JimBob

There’s at least seven novel body plans. I don’t really care if it’s seven, seventy, or seven hundred. The point is the different body plans are at or near the phylum level not the species level. While there’s widespread disagreement I believe 50 or so phyla (most of the modern phyla) appeared in very short order during the Cambrian explosion.

Comment #21418

Posted by Longhorm on March 21, 2005 3:41 PM (e)

According to John Davison:

That is why I have proposed the Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis.

John, if you don’t mind, what do you think happened? Please don’t use a lot of jargon. And what evidence, if any, do you think supports your hypothesis? Thanks

Comment #21419

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 3:43 PM (e)

Wayne Francis

Thanks for confirming that a few neo-Darwinism critics stimulate most of the discussion at Panda’s Thumb. Without us this blog would deteriorate into a nepotistic mutual admiration society that few would bother giving a second glance.

But I already knew that before you started counting words.

Comment #21421

Posted by Longhorm on March 21, 2005 3:56 PM (e)

There’s at least seven novel body plans. I don’t really care if it’s seven, seventy, or seven hundred. The point is the different body plans are at or near the phylum level not the species level. While there’s widespread disagreement I believe 50 or so phyla (most of the modern phyla) appeared in very short order during the Cambrian explosion.

Dave, what do you mean by “the Cambrian explosion?” And please present an example of one known specimen that is very different anatomically from every known specimen older than it. Maybe you could even provide a link to a photograph of this specimen.

Some known specimens that are about 535 million years old are somewhat different than any known specimens older than them. Maybe trilobites are an example. But no specimen I’ve seen that is 535 million years old is significantly different than every specimen older than it. For instance, all the trilobites of that age are fairly similar to Spriginna Flounderisi (sp?). Here is a link to article that deals with some of the specimens that you might have in mind:

http://home.entouch.net/dmd/cambevol.htm

Also, there is at least 30 million years separating the “cambrian specimens” and the Ediacaran fauna. In some cases, it is 45 million years. A lot can happen in 45 million years. It is not as if the fossil recond consists of mosquitoes and then five years later the remains of an elephant.

Comment #21435

Posted by Paul Flocken on March 21, 2005 6:05 PM (e)

I would have put this in the X-chromosome thread but for s(o)m(e) r(ea)s(o)n the thread had to end. {thanks d(o)nk(e)y k(o)ng)}

Maureen Dowd decided to humorize the X-chromosome paper. The link:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/20/opinion/20dowd.html?n=Top%2fOpinion%2fEditorials%20and%20Op%2dEd%2fOp%2dEd%2fColumnists&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1111440961-XMl/K6+XZX58IW/BTYhD2g

Sincerely,

Paul

Comment #21436

Posted by Paul Flocken on March 21, 2005 6:18 PM (e)

Comment #21263

Posted by Longhorm on March 20, 2005 10:03 PM

Einstein never built something complex.

Or Carl Sagan.

No disagreement with your post, only wish to point out:

Einstein held several patents for inventions, most notably in refrigeration.
Carl Sagan may have had technical input into several space probes, though he may not have actually done any hands on engineering.

Sincerely,

Paul

Comment #21438

Posted by Longhorm on March 21, 2005 6:35 PM (e)

According to Paul,

Einstein held several patents for inventions, most notably in refrigeration. Carl Sagan may have had technical input into several space probes, though he may not have actually done any hands on engineering.

Thanks, Paul. That is good to know.

Comment #21441

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 21, 2005 7:04 PM (e)

Dr. Davison said:

It is perfectly true that a prescribed evolution, in other words an intelligent designed one, has no predictive value since the phenomena with which it has been concerned are no longer in operation. Just as ontogeny is a predetermined self-regulating, self-limiting and self terminating process, so has been phylogeny. The primary predictive value for ontogeny is the 100% certainty that it will terminate in death. The comparable predictive value for phylogeny that it will end with extinction and already has for millions of species, less than one tenth of a percent of which are still extant. Neither ontogeny nor phylogeny has predictive value. Neither does pregnancy and for the same reasons. It too is prescribed, self regulating, self terminating and it too ends, in case you haven’t noticed, typically after 9 months.

So PEH predicts that no new viruses will arise, that we need no new influenza vaccines, and that HIV will cease to mutate rapidly? PEH predicts that Genentech would be unsuccessful trying to coax human insulin out of e. coli? PEH predicts no new products in the mustard family (which has in recent years given us Canola and broccaflaur, after having given us radishes, broccoli, cabbage and rapeseed in the previous couple of millennia)?

At what point can we stop research on insecticides because the insects will be unable to evolve new defenses, Dr. Davison?

Your claim of non-prediction is a prediction in itself.

Comment #21442

Posted by Paul Flocken on March 21, 2005 7:11 PM (e)

Comment #21403

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 21, 2005 02:18 PM

Yeah, it’s possible that God will curse America, and that America will stop teaching evolution. But last time we got close, the Soviets put up a satellite, and people woke up to the educational damage, and fixed it.

This old canard has been argued against this way.

Developing and building nuclear weapons is easier to do when you build them big(in terms of weight not yield). During the fifties the U.S. was concetrating on making nukes smaller, something technically harder to do than what the Soviets were then capable of. Smaller nukes require smaller (and hence from a capitalist point of view, cheaper) ICBM’s. Bigger rockets were less technically difficult to make than smaller nukes, and because the Soviets needed bigger rockets they built them. When it came time to switch the warhead for a space capsule the Soviets had an built in advantage, purely because the U.S. was much more technologically advanced, a seeming paradox. Although the effect of Sputnik on American education was eminently desirable, the U.S. was never behind the Soviets in any meaningful way, and certainly not because of any desires to get evolution out of the classroom. To continue with the space race analogy, the overwhelming majority of the scientists, engineers, and technicians who participated in the Saturn/Apollo program had already been educated when Sputnik went up. Both sides were (in the beginning) highly dependant upon German research and the personnel interned after WWII, though my personal belief is that the Soviets were far more dependant then the U.S., because we had a better educated populace(a small part of which could be attributed to the post-WWII GI Bill)

The threat from China today is real. When the local university held commencement in December the local paper announced the number of graduates at 900. The most popular degree earned, Business: 168. The least popular degree, Physics: 2.

Sincerely,

Paul

Comment #21443

Posted by Paul Flocken on March 21, 2005 7:14 PM (e)

Einstein certainly did not have the technical acumen of an Edison or a Tesla, but he was no slouch. ;^)

Sincerely,

Paul

Comment #21444

Posted by Paul Flocken on March 21, 2005 7:35 PM (e)

Comment #21195

Posted by John A. Davison on March 20, 2005 02:43 PM

The semi-meiotic hypothesis postulates that any such structural rearrangement occurring in any chromosome will automatically be produced in homozygous configuration in one half of the products of that semi-meiotic process. I first presented this hypothesis in 1984. It has yet to be even recognized in the professional literature. I have clearly described both the means and the conditions for the testing of this hypothesis in frogs.

Tell me Davison, in your capacity as a professor at a large university why did you never do this research yourself? Surely, you would have accomplished more by following up your inductive reasoning from the literature with deductive research in the lab. You might have made more people stand up and take notice.

But I guess you can’t answer that, since, in light of your contention that evolution is over and finished with you could not have induced any worthwhile changes in the frogs anyway.

Sincerely, Paul

Comment #21445

Posted by Paul Flocken on March 21, 2005 7:54 PM (e)

Comment #21283

Posted by DaveScot on March 20, 2005 11:45 PM

Katarina

Well I’m certainly not jealous. I’m an accomplished inventor and self-made millionaire. I retired from Dell Computer Corporation 5 years ago at age 43. Now I do whatever I feel like doing. At this moment I’m on my yacht getting blasted as a reward for a good day’s work tinkering with this and that. Don’t be presumptious.

Comment #21302

Posted by DaveScot on March 21, 2005 02:20 AM

Bravo Jan. Sorry I missed your postings. I don’t have time to keep up with all of it.

Is it my imagination or do these two posts contradict each other?

Comment #21446

Posted by Wayne Francis on March 21, 2005 8:07 PM (e)

10 hours 13,669 words

DS 2,097 words
JAD 799 words
DK 732 words
Total 3628 words, 6words per minute. 25% of the comments.

Remember its your choice if you feed these trolls or not. The fact is this is a great site.
It has been running for almost 1 year, Happy Birthday PT on March 23rd.

Comment # 1

Ed Brayton wrote:

Comment #1
Posted by Ed Brayton on March 23, 2004 06:24 AM
Testing the comments. Nice job on the initial post, Wes.

The discussions here are wide and varied. Don’t let trolls like these throw discussions off topic.
Nothing they say is original. They spew out the same garbage over and over despite the fact that they are shown to be wrong over and over. Do us all a favour and when they post just ignore them. Getting into a debate with them doesn’t work because they never recognise anything you say. They’ll ask for evidence and when given it they will move the goal post. When shown that moving the goal post does not help their point they become vague and will not answer any of your questions. Simply ask DaveScot why we couldn’t have evolved from some early great apes if by his definition he’s only concerned with 1) Novel Body plan 2) Novel tissue types 3) Novel organs since we don’t have any of those that any other great apes do….for that matter we don’t have any compared to most vertebrates.

Feeding the trolls is like responding to spam email. You think anything you say to them will produce anything of value? If you do I’ve got emails for you to respond to that will add 3” to your manhood or let you loose 20kilos in just 20 days.

Comment #21447

Posted by John A. Davison on March 21, 2005 8:09 PM (e)

can’t post

Comment #21448

Posted by John A. Davison on March 21, 2005 8:11 PM (e)

Why have I been banned from posting?

Comment #21450

Posted by steve on March 21, 2005 8:54 PM (e)

I wish

Comment #21452

Posted by steve on March 21, 2005 9:10 PM (e)

Get a load of this crap. Terri Shiavo and the Discovery Institute, plus the Free Republic, all on one page:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/1366816/posts

Comment #21456

Posted by Henry J on March 21, 2005 9:59 PM (e)

Katarina,

Re “Well if there is no target, does that put in peril the belief that both evolution and creation can be true (i.e., God using evolution as a tool for creation)? I am having trouble putting the concepts together, so if anyone has thoughts on it please let me know.”

I have some thoughts. Perhaps God’s “target” was to have the universe produce an intelligent life form. In that case, the target would not depend on details like how many fingers, or how many and which amino acids, how many and which bases in the dna, what arrangement of organs, what proteins get used and where, or on what planet said life form arose. So the more general sense of “creation” doesn’t imply that evolution had to search for any particular protein or other “target”.

Re “But for one who wants to believe creation and evolution are compatible, it is not easy to get past the hurdle of so many false starts.”
See above paragraph. :)

Henry

Comment #21457

Posted by Wayne Francis on March 21, 2005 10:01 PM (e)

Comment # 21393

Andrea Bottaro wrote:

Comment #21393
Posted by Andrea Bottaro on March 21, 2005 01:04 PM
evilgenius:
that’s actually an interesting point, because it turns out that dogs, as the result of selection, are significantly better than any non-human primates in their ability to understand and communicate with humans. See for instance this paper.
Even more strikingly, it was recently shown that similar, though less marked behavioral changes could be quite rapidly (in a few decades) selected in foxes, and were accompanied by morphological changes similar to those observed in dogs (short muzzles, floppy years, etc), suggesting some behavioral and morphological traits are either genetically linked, or the result of a common set of pleiotropic genes (i.e. genes that influence more than one phenotypic trait). Cool, uh?

I remember reading something about that. Like the fact that dogs aren’t breed for floppy ears but floppy ears might be tided to the same genetic traits that effect, placid behaviour, that was breed for. Thus when you see a floppy eared dog they probably really are placid.

Comment #21461

Posted by Noturus on March 22, 2005 12:25 AM (e)

I have a question (rhetorical I guess). Why do ID proponents get away with BOTH claiming that the unspecified “intelligence” could be either a god, or aliens, AND that scientists are against ID because of some “philosophical materialism” conspiracy?
Aliens or other nonsupernatural “intelligent designers” would not be attacked by such a conspiracy, would they? Even if scientists were engaging in some sort of societal coup to overthrow religion they wouldn’t have a problem with aliens designing everything. So if the IDers are not talking only about a God (theirs), how can they bring up the “materialism” charges? But I guess on the “ID illogicalities” list that entry comparitively is not so bad.

Comment #21462

Posted by Noturus on March 22, 2005 12:27 AM (e)

As a native and resident of Kansas as well as a student of Biology I just thought I would relate my experience regarding the state school board mess. Last November Kathy Martin, then running for the state board for my district, came and gave a presentation to Kansas State University. During her presentation she talked about her two campaign planks. One was that she intended to reexamine whether it was really necessary in all cases for the public schools to comply with federal requirements for federal funding. The second was teaching intelligent design in schools. And wonder of wonders, she had a handout! I have one and will attempt to recreate it below. The right side (top) is typed on the original, the left (below) is handwritten then photocopied, and I have left out her address and phone number because I feel she probably wouldn’t want it publicly disseminated.

www.IntelligentDesignnetwork.org
www.reasons.org
www.AnswersInGenesis.org
www.icr.org
www.reviewevolution.com
www.discovery.org

www.ksde.org
Mrs. Kathy Martin
(Home address, etc.)
martinkathy@yahoo.com

Afterward she took questions, so I asked her if she had opened a scientific journal in the past 30 years. She said “No.” I thought this odd because she was in charge of the K-12 science education in a school district.

Later I discussed with her her view of the “historical sciences” such as geology, biology, etc. She believes that these are not real sciences and that there is no way to tell, for example, whether or not the age of the earth is older than 6,000 years - I asked her this specifically.

I’m sorry if you were expecting a point to this post, there isn’t one, except to say that Mrs. Martin was elected to the board and is now one of the members fighting for ID in the schools.

Comment #21465

Posted by steve on March 22, 2005 1:29 AM (e)

Answers in Genesis. If you can’t trust their scientific opinion, whose can you trust? I think Ken Ham has a Masters degree in education or something.

It’s nice to have her email address, of course, but why bother using it? Just look past your monitor and talk to your wall. Easier on the carpal tunnel, but with the same rhetorical effect. And look on the bright side, your wall won’t say things like “My granpappy weren’t no monkey!”, or call evolution a religion, so it’s better on your mental health.

Comment #21467

Posted by steve on March 22, 2005 1:41 AM (e)

I have left out her address and phone number because I feel she probably wouldn’t want it publicly disseminated.

That’s what I call a non-sequitur.

Answers in Genesis. If you can’t trust their scientific opinion, whose can you trust? I think Ken Ham has a Masters degree in education or something.

It’s nice to have her email address, of course, but why bother using it? Just look past your monitor and talk to your wall. Easier on the carpal tunnel, but with the same rhetorical effect. And look on the bright side, your wall won’t say things like “My granpappy weren’t no monkey!”, or call evolution a religion, so it’s better on your mental health.

Comment #21468

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 22, 2005 4:34 AM (e)

Later I discussed with her her view of the “historical sciences” such as geology, biology, etc. She believes that these are not real sciences and that there is no way to tell, for example, whether or not the age of the earth is older than 6,000 years - I asked her this specifically.

And this isn’t being told in front of every meeting of petroleum geologists, highway engineers, code inspectors, etc., why?

Comment #21469

Posted by DaveScot on March 22, 2005 5:21 AM (e)

John Davison asked me to relay to y’all that he has been banned from Panda’s Thumb.

Comment #21470

Posted by John A. Davison on March 22, 2005 6:14 AM (e)

Thanks Dave but it turns out they can’t do anything right. After telling me I cannot post, they then allow me to post.

Paul Flocken asks why I didn’t test my own hypothesis, another propaganda ploy. It would never occur to someone that perhaps I could not test my hypothesis. In order to test the semi-meiotic hypothesis one must have at his disposal female frogs know to carry chromosome rearrangements (paracentric or paricentric inversions or translocations or fusions) in heterozygous form. That material was unavailable to me.

The situation was further complicated when I was evicted from my laboratory. A friend of mine in another college provided me with laboratory space from which I was also evicted on the order of his dean who was obviously in cahoots with the dean of my own colege. You see, the administration of the university decided that I was not a useful member of their faculty. To this day there is no record at UVM that I ever taught there (for 33 years). I am not considered as an emeritus professor although I masquerade as such and for damn good reasons.

I finally decided to resign when I discovered that they were going to detenure me, a step which I had always thought was impossible. The Provost, who resigned the same day I did, awarded me 104,000 dollars as a partial compensation for the way I had been treated. He left to become the President of Montana State University, where he is today.

Now I suppose this revelation will be interpreted as some sort of paranoid rant, but I can assure you that it is factually correct but very incomplete. If I were tell you the whole truth I am confident you wouldn’t believe me. After all, you don’t believe me when I instruct you that evolution is finished, that allelic mutations and natural selection had nothing to do with it and Darwinism is a pipe dream. Why should you believe anything else that I say?

John A. Davison, still arbitrary, bigotted and unfair, teetering on the edge of insanity, yet somehow still holding forth gamely, in the face of insurmountable odds, by proposing the only conceivable hypothesis to explain the diversity of life on this planet - The Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis.

And yes, it has no predictive value just as the score of a football game has none once the game is over.

Comment #21472

Posted by Paul Flocken on March 22, 2005 6:58 AM (e)

Davison,
Your paper was published in 1984 and according to your website your were still a member of the university at least as late as May 25, 2000. Across sixteen years you never once thought to try this research, especially in the mid-eighties when it would still have been a fresh, revolutionary, and exciting thing for you? Come on. You had the chance to overturn the Modern Synthesis. That’s a Nobel at the very least. Wouldn’t that have been a significant attraction to try. Persecution at UVM might have stood in the way but, again, your website indicates it began in the nineties. Why did you really squander 7 years?

Paul

PS
It seems odd that a university that ousted you would still give you webspace.

Comment #21473

Posted by DaveScot on March 22, 2005 7:03 AM (e)

Wayne Francis with an as yet undetermined appendage wrote:

Simply ask DaveScot why we couldn’t have evolved from some early great apes if by his definition he’s only concerned with 1) Novel Body plan 2) Novel tissue types 3) Novel organs since we don’t have any of those that any other great apes do ….for that matter we don’t have any compared to most vertebrates.

Thanks for asking, Wayne!

There’s no reason I can think of why we didn’t evolve from an earlier hominid line. Your behavior especially (see no evil, hear no evil) leads me to believe we did!

In fact I think all life on earth is descended from a single, common cell. I can’t prove it and no one else can either but the evidence is strong. I find the almost perfect commonality of codon tables amongst all life forms to be the single most compelling bit of evidence. The coding tables could have a large number of equivalent permutations but the fact that all life uses just one permutation speaks volumes towards common descent.

It’s the underlying mechanism driving change that I take issue with. I’m skeptical of mutation/selection as an adequate explanation for the diversity of life. I have an even bigger problem with extending it to explain abiogenesis of the first DNA-based cell.

Comment #21474

Posted by DaveScot on March 22, 2005 7:09 AM (e)

Paul Flocken,

Perhaps if you can elaborate on the perceived contradiction?

Rest assured there is none in any case.

Comment #21476

Posted by DaveScot on March 22, 2005 7:24 AM (e)

Longhorm

“No person has observed a quark, and I’m sure quarks exist.”

That’s called faith, my boy.

Welcome to the Church of Darwin. Leave the facts at the door on your way in. It’s all based on faith.

Comment #21479

Posted by Katarina on March 22, 2005 7:54 AM (e)

Henry J,

Thanks for the thoughts. That could work if we think of “His Image” as something spiritual or intellectual, or the way that we relate to our environment. It certainly makes sense.

Comment #21480

Posted by DaveScot on March 22, 2005 8:09 AM (e)

Paul Flocken wrote:

The threat from China today is real. When the local university held commencement in December the local paper announced the number of graduates at 900. The most popular degree earned, Business: 168. The least popular degree, Physics: 2.

Follow the money. Science is expensive these days even if you’re doing useless crap like studying the evolution of penis size on arrow worms. Capitalism is what pays for it which is why China is 40 years behind the U.S., why the Soviet Union collapsed, and why Europe is in decline. U.S. culture is a curious mix of capitalism and religion embodied principally in the Protestant Work Ethic. The Protestant Reformationists invented neither Christianity nor capitalism but they did invent a religion which promoted both at the same time as a way of life while casting aside the wasteful ritualistic trappings and infrastructure of the Catholic church. Research scientists tend to deliver informaton that yields practical results when engineers get ahold of it. Practical results are of interest to the Protestant capitalists. It’s a good working relationship that has resulted in the U.S. being the only superpower on the planet. Don’t screw up the relationship by pissing on the Protestant right’s belief in a creator by insisting that 9th grade biology students be indoctinated into the atheist orthodoxy of neo-Darwinism. That’s a lose-lose situation. It can’t be won because the atheists are a tiny majority but a nasty, vindictive battle with lots of name calling will serve to alienate academic scientists from the rest of the taxpayers and hence from their funding. Monumental asses like Ward Churchill aren’t helping the situation either.

Comment #21482

Posted by Flint on March 22, 2005 8:24 AM (e)

“No person has observed a quark, and I’m sure quarks exist.” That’s called faith, my boy. Welcome to the Church of Darwin. Leave the facts at the door on your way in. It’s all based on faith.

What a strange, thoughtless comment. Quarks are a model which, as tweaked a few times, successfully explains some subatomic behavior. They “exist” only in this sense. This isn’t a matter of faith at all, it’s a matter of finding a way of characterizing the available evidence that suggests new experiments, and that most successfully predicts the results of continuing experiments.

Somehow, though, I suspect DaveScot realizes this perfectly well. However, admitting as much and working with accepted understandings would be honest, instantly disqualifying this approach.

Comment #21484

Posted by Katarina on March 22, 2005 9:02 AM (e)

DaveScot,

Did your boat take you to Fantasy Isle? Your last comment is such a complete load of delusional Republican rubbish! Do you really think medical and environmental research will come to a standstill because the current administration’s leader is an ignorant cowboy?

You really must have a lot of time on your hands to come up with this stuff.

Comment #21486

Posted by Paul Flocken on March 22, 2005 9:45 AM (e)

Comment #21229

Posted by Jan on March 20, 2005 05:47 PM

Katrina wrote:

I thought about stealing the anti-evolution books, but this would be out of character.

Books on creation appear to be such a threat to you. One person suggest misfiling them on the shelf. Why would you feel the need to hide or steal them? If your theory is sound and your science so obvious, why do you feel so threatened that you would go to such measures. And you wonder why anyone would be concerned about evolutionist controlling the education of our children!

Whether they were or were not contemplating these things, they are certainly better then the “Christian” thing to do. Just ask Hypatia and the other Librarians of Alexandria about how Bishop Cyril felt so threatened by their books.

Torches at Dusk anyone??????????????????

Insincerely, Paul

Comment #21488

Posted by Henry J on March 22, 2005 10:16 AM (e)

If you haven’t already, check out talk origins Post of the Month: February 2005 by Ron Okimoto, especially the concluding paragraph about ID.
The Jigsaw

Henry

Comment #21489

Posted by Sandor on March 22, 2005 10:43 AM (e)

I’m terribly sorry to post this reaction to the topic “When the moon is in the 7th house” here, but I failed to find a way to reply directly in the topic itself. Oh well, maybe someone will put it in the right spot. :)

Posted by John A. Davison on March 17, 2005 04:16 PM

[…]

Phylogeny, […] proceeded with no reference to the environment in which it has taken place, […]

Of course that is just my opinion.

John A. Davison

So John, in your opinion, would it be prudent for a designer not to take into account the environment in which it’s designs is supposed to operate?

Sandor

Comment #21493

Posted by Charlie Wagner on March 22, 2005 11:59 AM (e)

Time to quell some idle speculation:

1) no, I’m not dead.
2) no, I have not given up my belief in intelligent input.
3) no, I have not returned to my home planet.
4) No, I have not moved to Mount Athos.
5) no, my computer is not broken.
6) no, I’m not in prison.
7) no, I’m not in a mental hospital.
8) no, I have not been banned from this forum.
If you have any interest in knowing where I am, look here:

http://charliewagner.blogspot.com/2005/03/wheres-charlie.html

Regards, Charlie Wagner

Comment #21494

Posted by steve on March 22, 2005 12:04 PM (e)

Have faith charlie. Don’t be frustrated. One day we’ll all get smart enough to realize you single-handedly revolutionized biology. Nelson’s Law will be carved in granite over the entrance to Caltech’s biology building. You should spend your time deciding if you prefer boston to pasadena, or maybe princeton. It’s but a matter of time.

Comment #21495

Posted by John A. Davison on March 22, 2005 12:27 PM (e)

What makes you think there was one designer? What makes anybody so sure that life originated only once? What makes you guys know anything about evolution except that it did happen and it isn’t happening now. That is about all I am willing to admit too. Now when it comes to what I know DIDN’T have anything to do with evolution I know a whole lot more. This is just off the top of my head and I am sure it is not complete as my memory is fading fast. The following at best can involve subspeciation or the formation of varieties and had absolutely nothing to do with the emergence of novel life forms.

1. Allelic mutation.
2. Selection, atificial or natural.
3. Obligatory sexual reproduction.
4. Mendelian genetics.
5. Long periods of time.*
6. Population genetics.
7. Founder effect
8. Isolation.

* Like every other known genetic change, those producing new life forms took place with time constants on the order of seconds or less. That is only one of several reasons that I am convinced evolution is finished.

How do you like them apples?

John A. Davison, homozygous at the unfair locus, delighted to be regarded as unbalanced by the denizens of Panda’s Thumb (what more could a man want?) and fiercely unafraid, even salivating with unrestrained glee to have the God-given privelege of being instrumental in the demise of the biggest hoax in the history of mankind.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill:

Never have so many been so magnificently screwed by so few.

“We seek and offer ourselves to be gulled.”
Momtaigne

Comment #21498

Posted by John A. Davison on March 22, 2005 12:59 PM (e)

Incidentally the university froze my webpage long ago. They apparently didn’t care for my piece entitled. “What it means to be an antiDarwinian at the University of Vermont.”

I have squandered none of my time but have spent it very wisely except for the periods when I have been wasting it on forums like EvC, brainstorms and Panda’s Thumb. Even that has proven productive in making me realize just how absurd the Darwimpian view of evolution really is. I have grown to know my intellectual enemies very well. Thanks for all the help.

John A. Davison

Comment #21499

Posted by John A. Davison on March 22, 2005 1:01 PM (e)

Incidentally the university froze my webpage long ago. They apparently didn’t care for my piece entitled. “What it means to be an antiDarwinian at the University of Vermont.”

I have squandered none of my time but have spent it very wisely except for the periods when I have been wasting it on forums like EvC, brainstorms and Panda’s Thumb. Even that has proven productive in making me realize just how absurd the Darwimpian view of evolution really is. I have grown to know my intellectual enemies very well. Thanks for all the help.

John A. Davison

Comment #21504

Posted by Charlie Wagner on March 22, 2005 2:54 PM (e)

steve wrote:

Have faith charlie. Don’t be frustrated. One day we’ll all get smart enough to realize you single-handedly revolutionized biology. Nelson’s Law will be carved in granite over the entrance to Caltech’s biology building. You should spend your time deciding if you prefer boston to pasadena, or maybe princeton. It’s but a matter of time.

Thanks steve, but you’ve overstated my contribution. I have only addressed evolution, which is only a tiny, unimportant miniscule part of biology. To say that I revolutionized biology is an affront to all of the dedicated scientists over the past decades who have made the really important contributions, not one of which had anything to do with evolution.

Charlie Wagner

Comment #21506

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 22, 2005 2:57 PM (e)

I have squandered none of my time but have spent it very wisely except for the periods when I have been wasting it on forums like EvC, brainstorms and Panda’s Thumb.

You did make it to each and every one of the home games of the Vermont basketball team this year, right?

Comment #21508

Posted by Great White Wonder on March 22, 2005 3:12 PM (e)

Charlie, have you picked up the Genuine Telecasts v.1 yet? Check it out on eBay. There’s a nice 3 DVDR compilation of nearly all of Dylan’s TV performances up to “We are The World”. There’s a volume 2 from as well but that is far less interesting.

In other news, John Davidson and DaveScot are lying sacks of donkey dung.

Isn’t it funny how Davidson is so freaking paranoid that every other day he wonders if he’s been banned? What an idiot. It’s no suprise that he and Lying David Scott Springer find themselves on the same page of the Who’s Who in the World of Creationist Nutjobs.

Did you know that Davidson and Springer used to snort imported dirt from Mt. Ararat with John Barbour and Skip Stephenson while watching Sarah Purcell with a camera hidden in the ladies bathroom at the network studio? Yup, it’s true. That’s where David Springer got his brilliant idea not to cite any non-patent prior art in his crappy patents and to bray like a jackass on his alumni page about his “waterfront property”!

And did you know that Springer’s kids laugh in his face when Springer he tries to explain his crank theories about alien beings designing life on earth? I talked to them yesterday and they said that Springer and Davison and some guy named “Donkey Kong” are getting ready to board “The Sea Finch” cruise for “male pseudoscisence hacks”. Allegedly it’s all booked up and bound for the shores of Galapogos sometime next week. Sadly (for us), they will have Internet access the entire time but hopefully they’ll be too busy oiling their bald empty heads to protect them from sunstroke.

It’s all true folks. Is there any reason to doubt any of this?

Everyone knows that aging male pseudoscientific cranks love to hang out and flex their muscles for each other. Why do you think they organize conferences in warm places and troll around Internet sites looking for comraderie?

Don’t worry, Springer. I won’t tell the wife.

Comment #21509

Posted by John A. Davison on March 22, 2005 3:26 PM (e)

Not one for reasons even a moron should be able to understand. I regard UVM as a blight upon the face of academe and an international embarrassment to the cause of science. The reason it has no endowment is because it has never produced products willing to acknowledge their financial success to the experience provided by the four years they spent inside its ivied walls, most of which was spent dinking and smoking pot. It still ranks as one of the top ten party schools in the nation or did the last time I looked. Not too long ago it was numero uno. It also has one of the highest in state and out of state tuitions in the nation, a sure sign of its economic bankruptcy, that in one of the poorest states in the union. Most of our high school graduates go elsewhere for their college education. It is a disgrace when a state university cannot serve its own youth.

John A. Davison

Comment #21516

Posted by Great White Wonder on March 22, 2005 5:10 PM (e)

Has anyone else started imagining how their posts sound when Wayne Francis’ computer reads them? ;)

Comment #21524

Posted by Great White Wonder on March 22, 2005 5:33 PM (e)

Has anyone else started imagining how their posts sound when Wayne Francis’ computer reads them? ;)

Comment #21525

Posted by John A. Davison on March 22, 2005 5:35 PM (e)

As I already declared on RBH’s (Mr. Avida’s) thread about throwing in the towel, DaveScot and myself OWN Panda’s Thumb. Get used to it folks. You should all throw in the towel as you have lost big time. The sad part is that you don’t recognize it.

Now listen to me Scott Paige, it is Davison, not Davidson. Write that down.

Comment #21527

Posted by Enough on March 22, 2005 5:41 PM (e)

Anyone who considers Vermont to be one of the top party schools in the nation is even more out to lunch than his earlier posts have let on. The last time you checked? When was that? 1862? Trying to compare UVM to ASU or ANY southern school when it comes to “partying” is ridiculous in the extreme. The only embarassment at UVM is you John.

Comment #21529

Posted by Great White Wonder on March 22, 2005 5:59 PM (e)

You should all throw in the towel as you have lost big time.

You see, Davidson is already thinking about that cruise! He wants us all to drop our towels and get freaky on the Greatest Crank Vacation of 2005.

All aboard The Sea Finch!

There’s going to be a real interesting game of shuffleboard the first night between the cranks who believe that evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics and the cranks who think that Hogzilla is escaped from a pen of wild boars raised by Georgian Sasquatch.

On Day Two everyone’s favorite trolls DaveScot and Charlie Wagner are going to appear in a nude musical entitled “Not Strange Fruit, or Isn’t It Obvious?” in which they will re-enact the birth of ten different fruit flies which differ markedly, cannot reproduce with each other, but which “everyone” agrees “are still fruit flies.” It’s going to be a hoot! Don’t miss it. Cash bar opens at 8 pm. Bartering is encouraged – dont be shy, all you free-thinking libertarian types!

Day Three will be one for the intellectually curious where David Heddle will host five rounds of Parallel Universe Jeopardy where only 100% wrong answers will be penalized. If you can make a compelling argument that in a parallel universe your answer might be correct, you will be awarded full credit! It’s loads of fun. Afterwards Mr. Heddle will demonstrate his amazing ability to read the minds of world-famous physicists and he will attempt to determine once again which physicist is most troubled about “fine-tuning” and which evolutionary biologist is least impressed. Due to phlogistic interference phenomenon, the mind-reading program is contingent on the absence of any world-famous physicist on the cruise ship. Please pay attention to the announcements on Deck 2 for possible changes to this program.

Comment #21530

Posted by OwenHargreaves on March 22, 2005 5:59 PM (e)

Mr Davison,

If you believe that evolution happened then I’m a bit curious as to how species can develop in PEH without the intermediates which you posit (a) are necessary for Darwinism and (b)are (you say) not found and, furthermore, not to be found.

That is, how does PEH explain the fossil record in which complexity appears over time? Assume we have an amoeba with everything pre-programmed for it to become eventually a chimpanzee, then how did that happen in practice in PEH? Or am I misunderstanding your hypothesis?

Either way a response would be appreciated.

Owen Hargreaves

Comment #21531

Posted by Great White Wonder on March 22, 2005 6:08 PM (e)

You should all throw in the towel as you have lost big time.

You see, Davidson is already thinking about that cruise! He wants us all to drop our towels and get freaky on the Greatest Crank Vacation of 2005.

All aboard The Sea Finch!

There’s going to be a real interesting game of shuffleboard the first night between the cranks who believe that evolution violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics and the cranks who think that Hogzilla is escaped from a pen of wild boars raised by Georgian Sasquatch.

On Day Two everyone’s favorite trolls DaveScot and Charlie Wagner are going to appear in a nude musical entitled “Not Strange Fruit, or Isn’t It Obvious?” in which they will re-enact the birth of ten different fruit flies which differ markedly, cannot reproduce with each other, but which “everyone” agrees “are still fruit flies.” It’s going to be a hoot! Don’t miss it. Cash bar opens at 8 pm. Bartering is encouraged – dont be shy, all you free-thinking libertarian types!

Day Three will be one for the intellectually curious where David Heddle will host five rounds of Parallel Universe Jeopardy where only 100% wrong answers will be penalized. If you can make a compelling argument that in a parallel universe your answer might be correct, you will be awarded full credit! It’s loads of fun. Afterwards Mr. Heddle will demonstrate his amazing ability to read the minds of world-famous physicists and he will attempt to determine once again which physicist is most troubled about “fine-tuning” and which evolutionary biologist is least impressed. Due to phlogistic interference phenomenon, the mind-reading program is contingent on the absence of any world-famous physicist on the cruise ship. Please pay attention to the announcements on Deck 2 for possible changes to this program.

Comment #21535

Posted by jeff-perado on March 22, 2005 7:25 PM (e)

Heddle:

I’ll tell you what. You show me when, in accordance with my original post, and not the muddled clarifications subsequent, that a photon never interacts with a PMT as a particle, and a photon never interacts with a prism as a wave, then I’ll recant. It was all that nonsense subsequent to that post about the duality of waves/particles that led to the dispute. But, I’ll tell you, any time I’ve ever experienced a photon interacting with a PMT, it has always been as a particle, which was the sole, only, mono, point of my post. Since that is true, then my original post stands, let all the jarheads argue about the nature of “duality.” And you can debate “spin” all you want. But spin was not the point, the mere fact that a photon interracts as a particle with a PMT all the time, was my one and only point. See my original post #20343.

Granted, I was unclear when I tried to elaborate to those who may not know QM, but the fact remains that a photon-PMT interaction is a a particle. and a photon-prism interaction is as a wave. You brought up spin, how do you explain that to someone who thinks of spin, in terms of a basketball, baseball, or planet? That has nothing to do with the QM term, spin. So I will concede that I oversimplified the state of a photon prior to interaction as wave/particle duality, but you must do the same and concede that a photon only interacts as a particle on a PMT. Thus, verifying my original point, in my original post, #20343.

Comment #21536

Posted by John A. Davison on March 22, 2005 7:27 PM (e)

OwenHargreaves

For starters do not ascribe to me the judgements of scholars the stature of Otto Schindewolf.
I have never denied intermediates of a sort. What I and others have denied is any gradual transitions between discrete species. The vast majority of all plant and animal species appeared suddenly in the record and disppeared later, typically unchanged. There is one glaring possible exception to this generalization. That has to do with the obvious orthogenetic tendency for many lines to undergo substantial increases in size which nearly always terminate with extinction. That was true for the ammonites, the trilobites, the dinosaurs, the Titanothores and representatives demonstrating this orthogenesis can be found in virtually every phylum. Coupled with this suicidal tendency is the development of bizarre terminal morphologies which seem to have been nonadaptive. There is no way that these innately driven scenarios can ever be reconciled with Natural Selection, that cornerstone of the Darwinian myth.

I have neither a responsibility nor the capacity to explain how a prescribed evolution was effected. It is at present a mystery exactly as is ontogeny. What is not a mystery is the total failure of the mutation/selection model to explain anything about evolution beyond the questionable production of subspecies and varieties. I have arrived at my conclusions by the elimination of the two major hypotheses that have historically been offered to explain evolution, Lamarckism and Darwinism. They are both experimental and observational failures.

I have presented my conclusions in the manuscript “A Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis” which will appear this summer sometime in Rivista di Biologia. I have only extended and generalized the conclusions independently reached by those of my many distinguished predecessors not one of whom was a Darwinian. Until you are thoroughly familiar with their writings and the evidence they have produced there is no point in trying further to communicate with you.

This not meant to be either arrogant or argumentative. It simply represnts my conviction that the Darwinians have deliberately avoided their critics for reasons which I conclude are ideological rather than scientific in nature. It is a scandal and Darwinism is a hoax perpetuated by a groupthink mentality congenitally incapable of hearing what Albert Einstein called “The Music of the Spheres.”

“I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific reasearch.”
Albert Einstein, from “On Cosmic religion,” a worship of the beauties and harmony of physics that became the common faith of physicists.

John A. Davison

Comment #21538

Posted by jeff-perado on March 22, 2005 7:38 PM (e)

Please allow me to repost my original statement, as it appeared:

Posted by jeff-perado on March 15, 2005 03:36 PM

DaveScot quotes Dembski:
Dembski wrote:

Intelligence acts by changing probabilities.

Then DaveScot responds:
This is very, very far from being silly, Wesley.

It is silly. Probability function collapse has nothing to do with intelligence. Take for example light photons. They have a probability of being a wave or a probility of being a particle. If a randomly selected photon happens to hit a charged plate of a photomultiplier tube, its probability collapses to 1.0 of being a particle. However, if this photon passes through a prism instead, then its probability function collapses to 1.0 of being a wave. No intelligence was required to collapse the probability function, it was merely dependent on the surface it lands on. Again no intelligence needed there.

You then backtracked and said well some probability function collapses don’t require intelligence, but some do, and you invoked a term, “anticipation” to distinguish. I still fail to see where you are trying to go with that. For even if complexity and information increase as being to sole product of intelligence, you still fall short, even adding some new term.

For example, consider a snowflake. It is quite complex, unique, and is a major increase of information from it constituent parts, namely water vapor. The water molecules have no information contained in them that guides the snowflake-making process, over its molecular configuration and its inherent dipolar nature (and this is constant for all water molecules) Yet, a snowmaking machine set up on a mountainside of any ski resort can make snow. Are you claiming that this snow machine is an intelligence, like humans are an intelligence?

DaveScot:
How were the meaningful results obtained? By an effective method.

Dave, I’m disappointed in you, would you like to prove that statement true? Because I can prove it false. Can you possibly conceive of an ineffective method that failed to produce its intended result, but succeeded in producing the observed goal instead? That’s entirely possible, thus making it a ineffective method for one result but effective at some unintended result.

You see I am guilty of oversimplification of the nature of wave/particle duality PRIOR to interaction, but once it does interact, it is an exact measure. That was my sole point, then, and now. My gross oversimplification of the nature of photons (and subsequent statements to this effect) prior to interaction is truly irrelevant to the issue.

Comment #21543

Posted by shiva on March 22, 2005 8:24 PM (e)

John A. Davison is pretty sure about his “science”. Wonder what the residents of Vermont think of his campaign.

http://www.uvm.edu/~jdavison/platform.html

Comment #21545

Posted by Great White Wonder on March 22, 2005 8:46 PM (e)

Good lord, John, what happened?

Only four years ago you were lookin’ buff and turning on all the guys and gals with your all-American good looks.

http://www.johndavidson.com/john.html

Now you’re lookin a wee bit tired, shall we say.

Perhaps a cruise on the Sea Finch will be just the thing for you. My advice is to try not to party too hard with DaveScot – that guy’s a wild man once he gets a couple shots in him.

Good luck with the nude musical.

Comment #21546

Posted by ts on March 22, 2005 8:48 PM (e)

[The comments I was posting this to were closed while I was in the middle of writing it, so I guess I’ll put it here – it wasn’t on topic there anyway.]

flint wrote:

Scientific American tends to ask whether global warming is scientificially supportable as an assertion, which is the wrong question. A better question is, would scientists support steps to alleviate global warming if the cost of those steps were subtracted from scientific funding across the board?

How bizarre. First you take SciAm to task for engaging in politics rather than science, then you say that the scientific question they address is the wrong one and it would be better if they would address a political question instead.

The scientific questions about global warming are absolutely the right ones, as the answers indicate scope, severity, and causality, which are vital to making policy to address the issue. OTOH, your “better” question is a vile piece of corrupt propaganda, on a par with asking Michael Dukakis if he would seek personal revenge if his wife were raped, and the notion that SciAm should ask this sort of question is moronic. What does asking this question consist of – taking a poll of their readers? And what do they do with the results? Fortunately, the editors of SciAm are not the sort of complete idiots who would contemplate abandoning the scientific investigation of climate change to ask this “better” question about individual scientists’ personal willingness to share economic burdens – to take a charitable interpretation of your outrageously loaded question; why exactly would scientific funding suffer “across the board” as a result of addressing global warming? The question of distribution of costs is itself an interesting empirical question – as opposed to your claptrap garbage which is a bit like asking a religious biologist if s/he would be happy to have evolution taught in schools even if it led to more children becoming atheists – by your lights a “better” question than those that biologists currently ask about the process of evolution.

Comment #21548

Posted by John A. Davison on March 22, 2005 9:13 PM (e)

Typically, rather than address the questions dealing with evolution, the discussion degenerates on the spot into the sort of garbage just offered by shiva And GWW (aka Scott L. Paige). Is it any wonder I have no respect for any of you. You are nothing but a bunch of ignorant unfulfilled morons who, never having had an original idea in their lives, naturally gravitate toward others of the same ilk into a communal groupthink devoid of any curiosity about anything and sustained only by one another. You are a collective caricature of yourselves, a monument to man’s ignornce, a living, breathing demonstration that there are far more horses asses than horses.

John A. Davison

Comment #21551

Posted by Wayne Francis on March 22, 2005 9:39 PM (e)

Comment # 21543

shiva wrote:

Comment #21543
Posted by shiva on March 22, 2005 08:24 PM
John A. Davison is pretty sure about his “science”. Wonder what the residents of Vermont think of his campaign.
http://www.uvm.edu/~jdavison/platform.html …

I asked the same thing about 6 weeks ago.

Comment # 16749

Wayne Francis wrote:

Comment #16749
Posted by Wayne Francis on February 17, 2005 11:28 PM

Oh JAD … How did your run for Governor? I’m sure others here would love to hear about your run for political office.

He didn’t answer me either

Can anyone tell me if JAD has started the procedures to get me fired, deported and arrested by the FBI yet?

Heavenly light show caught on film

They don’t yet know what’s going on….It must be intelligently designed!

BTW GWW, you don’t have anything to worry about. I’m sure even though JAD is a biologist and knows what a woman is, he probably doesn’t know what to do with one. I noticed on the last pass of counting the troll posts that JAD’s back to his paranoid behaviour. Good to see that I’m not missing anything worth while.

Remember people don’t feed the trolls. JAD self proclaims that he’s only here to piss people off. He doesn’t realise people are annoyed with him and not his hypothesis which even he himself can not support with evidence. JAD pulling quotes out of context is not evidence.

Comment #21554

Posted by Wayne Francis on March 23, 2005 12:15 AM (e)

Happy Birthday Panda’s Thumb!!!!

Welcome to the Panda’s Thumb!

looking forward to a good 2nd year.

Wayne

Comment #21557

Posted by Air Bear on March 23, 2005 2:01 AM (e)

way off-topic but …

An article in NY Times about hypomania (mild manic) led to www.newpath4.com. It’s a refreshing change of pace from Creationism and ID. The gentleman has thought up a steam-nitrogen engine that is so efficient that it defies gravity. There’s also a car that runs on compressed air harvested from the shock absorbers when they go over bumps in the road.

Comment #21563

Posted by Bruce Beckman on March 23, 2005 5:51 AM (e)

Air Bear wrote in #21557

“An article in NY Times about hypomania (mild manic) led to www.newpath4.com. It’s a refreshing change of pace from Creationism and ID. The gentleman has thought up a steam-nitrogen engine that is so efficient that it defies gravity. There’s also a car that runs on compressed air harvested from the shock absorbers when they go over bumps in the road.”

Thanks for the www.newpath4.com link. It’s pretty fun to read through. He does have a leg up on the ID crowd since he does make some definite testable predictions.

Comment #21570

Posted by John A. Davison on March 23, 2005 6:47 AM (e)

I didn’t arrive at Panda’s thumb to answer silly questions which I have already answered in my papers. I came to prove once and for all that Darwimpianism, like political liberalism, has a solid genetic basis exactly as Gilbert and Sullivan proclaimed before the dawn of the twentieth century. I have been eminently successful due largely to the the spontaneous inputs from Wayne Francis, Scott L. Paige, P.Z. Meyers and RBH (Mr. Avida). Of course there have been many others too numerous to mention and I apologize if you didn’t make my short list.

We are all helpless manifestations of a predetermined evolutionary history in which we are the terminal products. Some of us have been luckier than others as the prescribed gene families have reached their present arrangements. I am humbled and grateful to number myself among the more fortunate ones who is not hamstrung with intellectual bigotry as those I mentioned above so clearly are.

Since I know how much you all loathe my use of quotations:

“Every boy and every girl,
That is born into the world alive,
Is either a little liberal,
Or else a little conservative.”
Gilbert and Sullivan, Iolanthe

“Our actions should be based on the ever-present awareness that human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are just as causally bound as the stars in their motion.”
Albert Einstein

“Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics and it springs from the same source…They are creatures that can’t hear the music of the spheres.”
ibid

“A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”
Winston Churchill

Panda’s Thumb is crawling with all the above.

‘An hypothesis does not cease to be an hypothesis when a lot of people believe it.”
Boris Ephrussi

As for the mindless attacks by the members of Panda’s Thumb, I offer the following:

“There is nothing mnore exhilarating than to be shot at without result.”
Winston Churchill

In view of the fact that God limited the intelligence of man, it seems unfair that he did not also limit his stupidity.”
Konrad Adenauer

As for myself:

“First make yourself unpopular, then people will take you seriously.”
Konrad Adenauer

“I have always felt that a politician* is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents.”
Winston Churchill *substitute evolutionist

“Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
ibid

Have a nice smug, aimless, pointless, mutationist, selectionist and, of course, Godless Darwinian day.

John A. Davison

Comment #21575

Posted by Air Bear on March 23, 2005 7:30 AM (e)

on the John Calvert page, matthew wrote:

I assosiate living life to the max with bad things, because this is the general way of non-Godly people. I live my life to the max!

Now in answer to you’re final question about the porn site, [emily_angel_21] I have no idea! God says that I can not indulge in lusts of the flesh, I’m not into that stuff. The adress was a fun one I made up when playing a joke on my friend.

Sounds like he has more basic issues than the nature of science and the relationship between science and religion. He first needs to get beyond the raging-hormones stage. But considering his contradictory logic and obvious dissembling, he’ll probably end up like the rest of the trolls here.

So I woun’t comment on how his young life was saved by non-Godly modern medicine.

Comment #21576

Posted by Neil on March 23, 2005 7:31 AM (e)

I’m truly sorry John, but Dogbert has copyrighted all of your statements and you won’t be able to post here anymore…

Comment #21578

Posted by Katarina on March 23, 2005 7:38 AM (e)

Matthew is correct when he says people who post here are too smart. It creates a barrier for the young and poorly educated. I wish there were a site that defends evolution, which wasn’t so.. well, prickly. Am I telling lies? This sweet guy is trying to save your souls, and all you can do is point to his spelling errors. C’mon.

BTW, I think I have a case with the library mis-shelving creationist literature right alongside science books about evolution. I will contact Barbara Forrest and see where it goes from there. Thanks for your advice, Dan S.

Comment #21581

Posted by Bob Maurus on March 23, 2005 7:47 AM (e)

JAD said, “We are all helpless manifestations of a predetermined evolutionary history in which we are the terminal products.”

That sounds like an unattributed paraphrased theft of something Mark Twain said about a clam - or was it the final coat of paint on the Eiffel Tower?

Comment #21586

Posted by Air Bear on March 23, 2005 8:11 AM (e)

Katarina wrote:

This sweet guy is trying to save your souls, and all you can do is point to his spelling errors. C’mon.

You’re a nice person to be so charitable toward matthew, but he’s heard about more than spelling:

- creationists answering only certain questions
- the nature of science
- the validity of Christianity vs. other religions
- “Everything fun is either fattening or sinful” (my mother’s expression)
- medicine vs. faith in healing
- likely dissembling about visiting porn sites
- raging hormones

But you’re right that biology needs easy links to sites that explain evolutionary theory in digestables bites, something like the National Geographic article, but more content-oriented.

Nevertheless, the prospects of reasoning with matthew don’t look good. You can give it a try, but you may end up finding out why people here get so prickly. (Even you have snapped at DaveScot.)

Comment #21587

Posted by Katarina on March 23, 2005 8:18 AM (e)

DaveScot is not a tender young mind. But I still am! I could use some digestable sound bites, as you write, myself. I have a heck of a time trying to keep up with PT! Otherwise what would I be doing here on the Bathroom Wall? (no offense intended)

Comment #21596

Posted by John A. Davison on March 23, 2005 9:40 AM (e)

Bob Maurus

I think you will find that to be a Davison original. Try this one on for size.

“Liberals* have been completely vanquished. Acually they lost the war of ideas long ago. It’s just that now their defeat is so obvious that even they’ve noticed.”
Ann Coulter * substitute Darwimps for liberals as the two are virtually synonymous anyway as I have demonstrated time and time again.

Katarina

If you are still a tender young mind, why are you still spouting Darwimpian pablum? I’ll tell you why. It is probably because like every other student you have been conned into believing in the biggest hoax in recorded history. It is known far and wide as Darwinian evolution. That is the kind of evolution that never existed except in the minds of a couple of Victorian mystics who happened to have shared a common reading experience with Thomas Malthus and Charles Lyell.

“He that I am reading seems always to have the most force.”
Montaigne

“Study Nature, not books.”
Louis Agassiz

John A. Davison

Comment #21597

Posted by Roadtripper on March 23, 2005 10:14 AM (e)

For matthew and Katarina;

Have you checked out the list of “Evolution Resources” links on the Panda’s Thumb homepage? You’ll find reading material on evolution at just about every reading level, as much as you want. Enjoy.

Rt

Comment #21600

Posted by Matt (Not Matthew) on March 23, 2005 11:08 AM (e)

Someone should post the Crackpot Index somewhere on this site permanently:

http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html

That way, we could keep score on our resident trolls. I know it’s written for physics, but it’s easy to adapt, and most of it is generally applicable anyway.

It should probably be a daily score, or truly ludicrous numbers will be reached very quickly. JAD uses the first half of number 34 in virtually every post, while Donkeykong does the same with the second half.

Comment #21601

Posted by Katarina on March 23, 2005 11:15 AM (e)

Katarina

If you are still a tender young mind, why are you still spouting Darwimpian pablum?

(Why don’t you stop using that stupid word?)
Because it is a beautiful idea which inspired my imagination from the first time I heard about it in biology class. It puzzled me how my biology teacher described the idea, which was totally different than how I’d heard people talk about it in general. The real idea is so much more plausible than what most people imagine it to be (ie. one creature magically changing into another). He presented it in such a way that it came together in my mind, and because my father always told me,

“Study Nature, not books.”
Louis Agassiz

(it’s true!), I never doubted it. The first simple piece of the puzzle: variation. The second: competition. The third: natural disasters. The fourth: genetic mutation and sex.
What more do ya need?

Thanks Rt for your suggestions. But those sites are so politically correct! What fun is that? And where’s GWW on those sites? It’s just what I complain about on this site, that attracts me. So don’t take my complaints seriously. I do read the basic science, and it is very rewarding. Still, it’s difficult to keep up with sharp tounges (and minds) at times, at PT.

Sometimes I feel compelled to write here, not because I feel I have something significant to contribute, but just to remind people to be kind to religious folk, and sometimes to ask questions. I am an undergrad student in biology, and used to asking questions of my superiors.

Comment #21605

Posted by slpage on March 23, 2005 11:41 AM (e)

“A leach attached to man’s leg is still a leach. A virus attached to a man’s genome is still a virus.”

‘Attached to’?

Is this not the same individual that stated that one need only have a foundation in logic - which the ‘dopes’ here do not - to understand the issues?

A clear example of how a supposed (but undemonstrated) background in ‘logic’ does not prevent someone from making a jackass out of himself. A freshman biology major would not make so asinine a statement.

But then, Dave Springer is no biology student.

Comment #21611

Posted by Art on March 23, 2005 12:16 PM (e)

Regarding comments 21603 and 21606 and Behe’s record at Lehigh:

I’ve moved over here so as to not distract from Ian’s most excellent contribution. There’s another twist to Behe’s record and ID that I don’t recall being mentioned. By all (well, at least some) accounts, Behe was a steady contributor to the research literature, at least until his foray in ID. Since then, little research , and nothing explicitly ID-supportive, has come from his lab. If we grant that Behe was and is competent, then this suggests (to me at least) that the field of ID itself is pretty bereft of scientific merit. A capable researcher would have, in the time since DBB came out, been able to coax some sort of data into publishable form.

Comment #21615

Posted by slpage on March 23, 2005 12:57 PM (e)

Again we see Davison’s paranoia.

I am not GWW. Never was, never will be. In reality, John, there is more than one person that sees your ‘science’ since about 1986 for what it is. So please do not continue to assume that everyone that points out the shallowness of your pseudoscience is me.

Comment #21623

Posted by Great White Wonder on March 23, 2005 1:49 PM (e)

FYI, those oh-so-sensitive poorly-educated and rednecked Southern folks with their IMAX freakout have made it into CNNs top stories!

http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/Movies/03/23/volcano.movie.ap/index.html

IMAX theaters in Texas, Georgia and the Carolinas have declined to show the film, said Pietro Serapiglia, who handles distribution for Stephen Low, the film’s Montreal-based director and producer.

“I find it’s only in the South,” Serapiglia said.

Oh, Mr. Serpiglia, I’m sure if you checked out enough trailer parks and backwoods slums in Idaho you’d find some uptight white folks there, too. Of course, a lot of those poor and poorly educated folks can’t afford a ticket to an IMAX movie regardless of what’s on the screen.

In any event, all this is obviously just a Canadian-based secular humanist conspiracy to make America weak. Granny, get my gun! I’m going to shoot down one of them UFOs tonight and recruit some Sasquatch to help put an end to this Yankee nonsense.

Comment #21625

Posted by steve on March 23, 2005 1:55 PM (e)

Evolution is a beautiful idea, Katarina. I’m in physics, not biology, but I think it might be the coolest idea in science. If you read OTOOS, you’ll be amazed at how he glimpsed it through nearly impossibly messy data.

Comment #21628

Posted by steve on March 23, 2005 2:13 PM (e)

what is with this?

http://nytimes.com/2005/03/23/science/23gene.html?hp&ex=1111640400&en=8f3d930c9f478eac&ei=5094&partner=homepage

Comment #21647

Posted by Longhorm on March 23, 2005 4:37 PM (e)

According to Dave

That’s called faith, my boy.

Welcome to the Church of Darwin. Leave the facts at the door on your way in. It’s all based on faith.

No, quarks exist. So do electrons. My point being: you don’t need a person to have seen an alleged event to know that the event occurred. No one has seen a T-Rex eat things, and I’m sure some T-Rexes ate things.

And how are using the word “faith?” And why do you say “it’s all based on faith?”

Is fact that a self-replicating molecules that were on earth about 3.8 billion years ago evolved into all the multicellular organisms to live on earth.

Comment #21652

Posted by Henry J on March 23, 2005 4:51 PM (e)

Re “Evolution is a beautiful idea, Katarina. I’m in physics, not biology, “

Well, I’m in software engineering, and find both physics and evolution fascinating. :)

Henry

Comment #21671

Posted by John A. Davison on March 23, 2005 6:21 PM (e)

I can hardly believe that Scott Paige is not the Great White Wonder when Paige already has at least six aliases to his credit already. Besides when dealing with a groupthink it really makes little difference who ones adversaries are anyway. Darwimps all think alike and always have.

“When all think alike, no one thinks very much.”
Walter Lippmann

It is not “my science,” but that of some real scientists like Berg, Goldschmidt, Grasse, Bateson, Broom and Schindewolf among many many others. Those who perpetuated the Darwinian myth have never been scientists and I defy anyone to identify a single contribution of substance that can be identified with any one of them. Start with their most recent spokespersons, Provine, Gould, Dawkins and Mayr and work your way backward. There has never been a real scientist in the Darwinian camp. Most of them have voluntarily cemented themselves to their endowed chairs at otherwise distinguished places like Harvard, Oxford and Cornell to spend the rest of their useless lives writing endlessly concerning something they know absolutely nothing about. Or worse, like Gould proselytizing on Public Television with such insane pronouncements as “Intelligence was an evolutionary accident.”

What I find really amusing is when members of Panda’s Thumb can arrogantly inform me that I don’t understand what is in the undergraduate biology curriculum. Of course they are absolutely right because it is all hogwash, pure ideological drivel which I rejected when I was a graduate student. It is no wonder that our young scientists are still convinced of the Darwinian myth. That is all they have ever been exposed to. Darwinism is a scandal, an intellectually criminal offense perpetrated and perpetuated by generation after generation of homozygous liberal atheists, like nearly all white cats, stone deaf to the truth, which is that evolution has been a planned and largely executed phenomenon in which chance played virtually no role whatsoever.

My primary goal has always been to resurrect those whom the Darwinians have had to ignore in order to maintain their silly fairy tale. That has been a most revealing experience for me and a source of great personal satisfaction to be able to reinstate them in the evolutionary scenario. All one has to do to find out who the real evolutionists have always been is to examine the index of Mayr’s “The Growth of Biological Thought” or Gould’s “The Structure of Evolutionary Theory.” There you will find them all, either conspicuously absent or dismissed with a wave of the imperial Darwinian wand.

As for logic, anyone who is so weak-minded as to assume the living world is logical has already exposed himself as a fool.

There now, I feel somewhat better. Thanks for not listening. You never do.

John A. Davison

Comment #21676

Posted by Longhorm on March 23, 2005 8:14 PM (e)

John A. Davison, what do think happened? I don’t think I have time to read your papers. Could you just give me a quick sentence or two? Or maybe provide me a link to one of your papers?

Thanks.

Comment #21677

Posted by Longhorm on March 23, 2005 8:29 PM (e)

Steve posts:

what is with this?

http://nytimes.com/2005/03/23/science/23gene.html?hp&ex=1111 …

Steve, thanks for posting a link to the article. It’s interesting. I don’t have time to comment on the substance of the article. But the author, Nicholas Wade, said something that is highly problematic. He wrote: “The finding could undercut a leading theory of why sex is necessary. Some biologists say sex is needed to discard the mutations, almost all of them bad, that steadily accumulate on the genome.” It seems like Wade, who is a good science writer, is saying that most mutations are “bad.” I’m not sure what he means by “bad.” But given what I think he means, he’s probably wrong. The majority of mutations neither helped nor hurt an organism’s reproductive ability. Some people call that the neutral theory of mutation. Kimura has been a leading proponent of it. Do any professional biologists agree with the idea that most mutations hurt an organism’s ability to reproduce? Here is from Richard Harter in an article at Talkorigins entitled “Are Mutations Harmful?”:

“Q: Doesn’t evolution depend on mutations and aren’t most mutations harmful?
A: No. Most mutations are neither harmful nor helpful.”

Mutations happen frequently. For instance, RNA-based lytic viruses average one new mutation per division. Humans average about 2 mutations per sexual generation among coding genes and 100 to 200 across the entire genome. I’ve heard different numbers for mice. I’ve heard 1, 4 and 6. It seems like most new mutations don’t affect an organism’s ability to reproduce.

Comment #21678

Posted by Longhorm on March 23, 2005 8:34 PM (e)

One other point. People sometimes say: “Well, since most new mutations do not help the organism reproduce, evolution is no more plausible than not.”

Well, sure. Mutations that have helped organisms reproduce are probably a small percentage of all mutations. But keep in mind what “small percentage” means. 3.8 billion years is a long time! Mutations that helped organisms reproduce have occurred billions of times. Analogously, the percentage of days that there has been golf-ball sized hail somewhere on planet earth is probably a smaller percentage of all the day in earth’s history. But earth is 4.6 billion years old. There probably have been billions of days in which there has been golf-ball sized hail somewhere on planet earth.

On a different note, even mutations that have made some organisms less apt to reproduce have stayed within a population over long periods of times. For instance, the mutation that causes tay-sachs disease.

Comment #21680

Posted by Longhorm on March 23, 2005 8:46 PM (e)

According to Dave Scot:

That’s called faith, my boy.

Welcome to the Church of Darwin. Leave the facts at the door on your way in. It’s all based on faith.

It is true that no person has witnessed a rodent-like mammal evolve into a human. We can all agree on that.

However, that no person has seen an alleged event does not enable us to determine that the event is no more likely than not to have ocurred. For instance, the other day I was walking my dog. I made sure no other person was around. We walked up to a fire hydrant. Right after my dog lifted up its leg, I closed my eyes. I kept them close for about one minute. When I opened them, the fire hydrant was covered in dog pee and my dog looked very relieved. I am overwhelmingly justified in believing that my dog peed on that fire hydrant. In fact, we can even do DNA tests. Therefore, that no one has witnessed a rodent-like mammal evolve into a human does not enable us to determine that I am no more justified than not in believing that it happened.

Dave, do you think you are justified in believing that OJ did it? Did you see him do it?

It is fact that earth existed 65 million years ago. But no person saw earth exist 65 million years ago.

It is a fact that self-replicating molecules that were on earth 65 million years ago evolved into all the organisms to live on planet earth. But no one saw that happen.

Comment #21681

Posted by Longhorm on March 23, 2005 8:52 PM (e)

It is a fact that a self-replicating molecule evolved into all the multicellular organisms to live on earth. According to Ernst Mayr, the late Harvard biologist:

Astronomical and geophysical evidence indicate that the Earth originated about 4.6 billion years ago. At first the young earth was not suitable for life, owing to heat and exposure to radiation. Astronomers estimate that it became livable about 3.8 billion years ago, and life apparently originated about that time, but we do not know what this first life looked like. Undoubtedly, it consisted of aggregates of macromolecules able to derive substance and energy from surrounding inanimate molecules and from the sun’s energy. Life may well have originated repeatedly at this early stage, but we know nothing about this. If there have been several origins of life, the other forms have since become extinct. Life as it now exists on Earth, including the simplest bacteria, was obviously derived from a single origin. This is indicated by the genetic code, which is the same for all organisms, including the simplest ones, as well as by many aspects of cells, including the microbial cells. The earliest fossil life was found in strata about 3.5 billion years old. These earliest fossils are bacterialike, indeed they are remarkably similar to some of the blue-green bacteria that are still living” (What Evolution Is, p. 40).

Comment #21683

Posted by Longhorm on March 23, 2005 9:01 PM (e)

I posted:

It is a fact that self-replicating molecules that were on earth 65 million years ago evolved into all the organisms to live on planet earth.

That is wrong of course. Self-replicating molecules that were on earth 3.8 billion years ago evolved into all the organisms to live on planet earth.

Comment #21685

Posted by Henry J on March 23, 2005 9:12 PM (e)

I wonder if somebody should point out that there’s a big difference between “not listening to” and “strongly disagreeing with”?

Oh well.

Henry

Comment #21691

Posted by Wayne Francis on March 23, 2005 10:59 PM (e)

Comment # 21685

Henry J wrote:

Comment #21685
Posted by Henry J on March 23, 2005 09:12 PM
I wonder if somebody should point out that there’s a big difference between “not listening to” and “strongly disagreeing with”?
Oh well.
Henry

Most of us “strongly disagreed” with JAD, DK, and DS for long enough. Now after them not being able to say anything but the same disproved dribble over and over again I choose to “not listen to” the same dribble over and over again. Let JAD paranoid schizo condition make him think that I’m part of some big conspiracy against him. I don’t care what he thinks about me or the 99.9% of scientist out there. Just as I don’t listen to the crazy guy in the city that talks about salvation when he’s pissed off his face I don’t listen to the crazy guy that was getting fired because he couldn’t grasp the concepts that he was hired to teach.

Ignoring the trolls is just the easiest thing to do. JAD’s probably thinking/saying “who the hell do you think you are not listening to me!” I’m Wayne Francis, born August 28 1970, joined the USMC Sept 28 1987, currently living in Adelaide South Australia working for the Royal Adelaide Hospital eagerly awaiting my deportation back to the USA where I’ll be arrested by the FBI because of JAD.

Comment # 16458

John A. Davison wrote:

Comment #16458
Posted by John A. Davison on February 16, 2005 01:54 AM

You better keep your traps shut about my sources or I’ll turn you all in to the FBI as security risks. Of course you have made that quite impossible haven’t you with your cowardly anonymity….

I’d love to hear his call to the FBI to get me arrested.

I noticed as some posts flashed by DS has picked up a catch phrase of “Next” how cute he wants to be just like his idol JAD with the “Who’s Next” “How do you like them apples” and the longer blow hard phrases that are good indications of paranoid schizophrenia

Comment #21702

Posted by John A. Davison on March 24, 2005 5:38 AM (e)

Relax Wayne

It is not good to get so exercised. Did you really think that I could possibly care enough about you that I would waste my time calling up the FBI? You flatter yourself.

DS is not my idol and I am not his. We trade insults in our email exchanges. Bright people do that. On the important issues I suspect we are in fundamental agreement. Some of these are:

1. Both ontogney and phylogeny were front loaded and still are.
2. Chance had very little and perhaps nothing to do with evolution.
3. Allelic mutations are anti-evolutionary.
4. Natural selection, serving only to maintain the status quo, is also anti-evolutionary.
5. Darwinism is anti-intellectual.
6. Darwinians (Darwimps) are genetically impaired.
7. Bible thumping Fundamentalists (Fundies) are genetically impaired.
8. Ann Coulter is a beautiful genius.

Now I can’t guarantee that DS agrees with all these, but I am sure he is quite willing to respond and perhaps add to the list if he should choose.

How do you like them apples? Who is next?

John A. Davison, still as miserably unfair as ever, unbalanced by virtue of majority opinion and not only unafraid but revelling in the opportunities that forums like this one afford him to expose his intellectual adversaries for what they continue to demonstrate about themselves, monumental ignorance, perfect orthodoxy and unfailing devotion to the greatest hoax in the history of science.

Comment #21705

Posted by Katarina on March 24, 2005 7:05 AM (e)

Steve,

Sorry, I did not understand your reference to OTOOS. Could you help?

Everyone,

I don’t know if anyone here cares, but to give you an update, I wrote to the NCSE abuot my concern with the way my local library catalogues and shelves some creationist and evolution books together in the same category. I got a response, and I will give you the highlights.

“The point of cataloging is to indicate what the book is about, not to endorse the book as treating its topic competently, thoroughly, or honestly. Thus a creationist book on, say, the fossil record is– and ought to be– cataloged with the mainstream scientific books on the fossil record. A book on creationism in general, however, is likely to be cataloged as creationism, part of the religion section.”

“(That is not) to say that the present systems of cataloging are sacrosanct… For example, a Minnesota librarian named Sandy Berman, who’s legendary in cataloging circles, recently successfully lobbied the Library of Congress to introduce “intelligent design” as a LC descriptor, which enables people to find works advocating, describing, and criticizing intelligent design creationism more easily.”

“What’s more important than cataloging, though, is collection development….
It is at the level of collection development that we encourage people to work with their local librarians, rather than wrangle with them about cataloging, for which they probably lack time, resources, and interest.”

However, she did mention that one of the books on the list, What Is Creation Science, seems to be mis-cataloged, just judging by the title. It is published by Master Books, a publisher that turns out many other creationist books, but usually doesn’t bother to provide suggestions to the libraries about cataloging becasue they don’t expect the libraries will acquire them in the first place.

As Dan S. suggested before, I agree with the idea of “supply” rather than “wrangle about cataloging,” so I went ahead and donated my Unintelligent Design and Deeper than Darwin, for now, and will look at some philosophy of science books to donate as well (though it’s hard to give them up). In my opinion, everyone who supports evolution here should donate at least one good science book to their libraries.

I have an exam in calculus today, wish me luck!

Comment #21745

Posted by Michael Thomas on March 24, 2005 1:33 PM (e)

Hello- I’m sorry if this is not posted correctly as I am quite new to this. I am a science teacher (high school) and former cultural anthroplogist currently engaged in discussion with a fellow faculty member who is a creationist. He has recently raised the usual red herring of “why there aren’t more transitional fossils” and as I’m fairly informed on evolutinoary theory I can give him the usual theoretical responses, but he likes specifics and wants to talk T. rex. He is concerned that “all T. rexes look alike; where’s the variation” My understanding is that there are only about 30 T rex fossils and most are grossly incomplete. I’m wondering if anyone can telll me specifics about

1) Intraspecific variation among T. rex fossils
2) Degree of species variation within the T. genus (i think there are 3 species?)
3) Transitionals to other taxa

I appreciate it greatly. And thanks for all the GREAT work you all do. We NEED you out here.

Comment #21748

Posted by Ed Darrell on March 24, 2005 1:52 PM (e)

Noting that ID contributes nothing to science, I said:

There are no predictions made by ID independent from evolutution.

DaveScot said:

So you’re saying ID makes the same predictions as “evolution” and uses the same empirical evidence as “evolution”.

Think hard Ed. What logical conclusions may we reach from that?

No, I’m not saying ID makes the same predictions. I’m saying ID doesn’t make any predictions. However, some IDists have claimed there are predictions, but in each case those predictions are exactly what evolution would have predicted – the IDists acknowledge that, but claim a different discerning tool for use on the evidence.

In short, evolution makes thousands of predictions in genetics, paleontology, horticulture, etc. ID adds nothing anyone can distinguish. In no case does ID make a different prediction from evolution.

I don’t know what conclusion you’re hinting at, Dave, but if it is one that suggests ID is anything more than crank science spread by charlatans, it’s wrong.

Of course, had you read the rest of my post, that would have provided some of the necessary context for you. Stripping stuff out of context is not something a reader trained in reading for comprehension does, logically. Perhaps creationists do that. It doesn’t look logical to me.

Comment #21752

Posted by DonkeyKong on March 24, 2005 2:30 PM (e)

Best story detailing why evolutionism is in for a slight setback.

http://www.kansas.com/mld/eagle/living/religion/11174394.htm

Comment #21753

Posted by steve on March 24, 2005 2:53 PM (e)

Just to be kind of pedantic about it, any real theory would necessarily make at least some predictions which differed from the predictions of evolution. IDiots don’t really understand how science models work, and say, well, ours just makes all your predictions, but additionally, it differs in certain untestable ways. Usually science-oriented people reject this, and say, that’s not good enough. But I think it’s better to say wait a minute, that’s not just inadequate, it’s not true. ID doesn’t make any predictions. Dembski can say their predictions comport with evoluton’s all day long, but they don’t have any to comport. It doesn’t make any predictions whatsoever. There’s no theory.
IC was an attempt to make a theory, but they could never get the thing to stand on its own feet. CSI died during birth too. Recognising design is an imperfect set of heuristics which generally has survival value. It goes wrong all the time. Look at that old Martian photo of what appears to be a monument in the form of a human face. The entirety of ID ‘research’ has been to try to turn an imperfect heuristic into a reliable algorithm. If they could ever do this, they’d have a real scientific theory on their hands, but they can’t.

Comment #21758

Posted by Great White Wonder on March 24, 2005 3:49 PM (e)

A titillating few paragraphs from Somberby’s www.dailyhowler.com today, regarding the Christian Right and their strange relationship with the mainstream press:

Novak notes that congressional voting on the Schiavo matter moved outside normal partisan lines. But not since Vietnam, he says, have his colleagues in the mainstream press staged such a heated debate at such a fine dinner party.
At THE HOWLER, we don’t doubt Novak’s account, and we think you should ponder what it means. According to Novak, the Schiavo matter has his mainstream press colleagues more upset than anything since Vietnam! Translation: They didn’t care this much about Iraq. They didn’t care this much about Bush’s tax cuts. They don’t care this much about Social Security. They didn’t care this much about the Bush-Gore election—the election which totally changed our politics—or about that crackpot book by those Swift Boat Veterans. No—more than all else, they care about this. It’s a confession we find most illustrative.

Who are the opinion leaders of your mainstream Washington “press corps?” As we’ve told you for years and years, they’re a gang of perfumed millionaires, and no, they don’t give a good goldarn about Bush’s budget follies. Indeed, because they’re multimillionaires, they gain from everything Bush has done in that area, and no, they don’t care if you don’t. But there’s one thing these people still aren’t—they still aren’t a group of Christian conservatives. They get upset when the Christian right takes the stage. They don’t care much about anything else.

Not since the days of Vietnam has your powered press corps been so upset! They were willing to roll with Iraq—and with Bush’s endless gifts to the rich. This is the one thing that gets them upset. We think you should ponder that deeply.

Comment #21759

Posted by Great White Wonder on March 24, 2005 3:52 PM (e)

Our reliably wise steve writes

IDiots don’t really understand how science models work, and say, well, ours just makes all your predictions, but additionally, it differs in certain untestable ways. Usually science-oriented people reject this, and say, that’s not good enough. But I think it’s better to say wait a minute, that’s not just inadequate, it’s not true.

I cannot agree more with the strategery suggested in the last sentence.

Comment #21762

Posted by Longhorm on March 24, 2005 4:08 PM (e)

According to John Davision:

1. Both ontogney and phylogeny were front loaded and still are.

John, what do you mean by that?

2. Chance had very little and perhaps nothing to do with evolution.

How are you using the word “chance?”

3. Allelic mutations are anti-evolutionary.

Could you elaborate on that?

4. Natural selection, serving only to maintain the status quo, is also anti-evolutionary.

Could elaborate on that? Some organisms reproduce more times than others, which contributed significantly to the existence of every organism to live on earth subsequent to the first self-replicating molecules.

Could your provide a link to one of your papers and/or give a brief summary of your hypothesis?

Comment #21771

Posted by steve on March 24, 2005 5:17 PM (e)

Katarina, OOTOS==On the Origin of Species

Comment #21773

Posted by steve on March 24, 2005 5:21 PM (e)

OOPS. Katarina, OTOOS==On the Origin of Species

Comment #21774

Posted by John A. Davison on March 24, 2005 5:22 PM (e)

Someone quoted Mayr from his book “What Evolution Is.”

You notice that this is a declaration which assumes that evolution is in progress. For starters that is wrong as evolution is finished. Now he could have said “What Evolution Was,” but that’s no good either because nobody knows for sure what evolution was except that it happened. His title could have been “What is Evolution?,” but that too is no good as I and others have pointed out that it isn’t going on any more. Actually the only rational title for his book would have been “What Was Evolution?, and that book would have been filled with blank pages.

You see phylogeny is a huge mystery except to men like Ernst Mayr who, in another of his many books, defined himself as “a dyed-in-the-wool Darwinian.”

The very title of Mayr’s book discloses that he never had a clue about evolution. Neither did Gould or Provine or Dawkins. Everything on which their many books are based is fictional, without any verification either in observation or experiment or the undeniable testimony of the fossil record, the final arbiter of reality.

Our certain knowledge about evolution is represented almost entirely by what we know was NOT involved. It is all negative but negative information is very important in serving as a guide to the truth. I won’t bother again to list all the things that we know had absolutely nothing to do with evolution as I have already done that too many times right here on Panda’s Thumb and elsewhere.

I discovered a long time ago that there is a surefire way to identify a real scientist. Scientists ask questions. Pierre Grasse asked three of them in a single paragraph as I posted some time ago. Otto Schindewolf even included the word question in the title of his last and most important book, “Basic Questions in Paleontology.” I can’t recall Mayr ever asking a question unless it was one that he had a ready made answer for. So much for Ernst Mayr and neo-Darwinism generally.

John A. Davison, demonstrably unfair, clinically unbalanced and still unafraid of anything including the unvarnished demonstrable truth that Darwinism, in all its manifestations, is an illusion, a scandal and a hoax.

Comment #21787

Posted by Longhorm on March 24, 2005 6:17 PM (e)

John Davison posted:

You notice that this is a declaration which assumes that evolution is in progress. For starters that is wrong as evolution is finished.

What do you mean by “evolution is finished?” And why do you say that? Organisms are coming into being that have genomes that are different than those of their parents.

I’m definitely open to the idea that if ancestors to today’s humans are alive 10 million years from now, they won’t be significantly different anatomically from you and I.

Comment #21794

Posted by Great White Wonder on March 24, 2005 6:38 PM (e)

Davidson, when you’ve got a second, could you refresh me memory? Did That’s Incredible precede Real People or did you, Fran and Kathy just rip Real People off? I think the statute of limitations has run out so you’ve nothing to worry about if you admit it.

And do you remember the episode of That’s Incredible where that guy caught a bullet between his teeth? Awesome. Were you involved in any of the frauds that were aired?

Comment #21796

Posted by Stephen Elliott on March 24, 2005 6:41 PM (e)

Does anybody have an idea about what % of creatures have colour vision?
Also do all apes have colour vision? If not, which ones do?

Comment #21820

Posted by Henry J on March 24, 2005 8:35 PM (e)

Wayne,
Yeah, they do get monotonous. Plus I don’t really have a knack for communicating with somebody who thinks the validity of an argument can be judged by whether they like or dislike the conclusion.

steve,
“Just to be kind of pedantic about it, any real theory would necessarily make at least some predictions which differed from the predictions of evolution.”
Yep. If it doesn’t add to understanding of stuff, then it’s just adding assumptions that aren’t needed or used for anything. Not to mention that if ID is assumed, then ad-hoc assumptions have to be added to explain why standard evolution theory works at all. And that kind of negates the alleged purpose of the thing.

Henry

Comment #21822

Posted by steve on March 24, 2005 8:39 PM (e)

“A Fermilab press release reports that the expansion of the universe may be explainable without the need for dark energy or a cosmological constant. Apparently, ripples from inflation in the early universe may account for the observed expansion rate of the universe.”

http://www.fnal.gov/pub/presspass/archive.html

(it’s under “March 16”. The Panda’s Thumb software is not capable of posting the actual link to the press release.)

I’ll have a huge laugh if the ‘exquisitely-tuned cosmological constant’, which some zealots say implies god, doesn’t exist. And then I’ll be sad, when those zealots immediately announce that they’ve found a new Gap, and they’re certain god’s in it this time.

Comment #21846

Posted by Jim on March 24, 2005 11:13 PM (e)

I found the discussion of the probability of a coin flip, before and after the fact, to be quite humorous. I only dabble in probability theory, but let me point out that there is “probability”, and “conditional probability”.

Consider this question: what is the probability that a family with two children has two girls? If all you know is that the number of children in the family is 2, and all possibilities are equally likely, then the probability the two children are both girls is 25%.

Note that we already started with a condition: the number children in the family is 2.

Now, consider this question: given that a family with two children has 1 girl, what is the probability that it has 2 girls? The answer now is 50%.

Finally, consider the last question: given that a familly with two children has two girls, what is the probability that it has two girls? Wow, by amazing coincidence, the “probability” is 100%!

Comment #21847

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 24, 2005 11:52 PM (e)

Exactly my point, Jim.

Comment #21853

Posted by Sandor on March 25, 2005 4:13 AM (e)

Posted by Longhorm on March 23, 2005 08:34 PM

[…] There probably have been billions of days in which there has been golf-ball sized hail somewhere on planet earth. […]

Wouldn’t it be lovely if all creation/ID proponents from this day onward should be pummeled by golfball-sized hailstones, perpetually precipitating from their private hailstoneclouds hovering above their patheticly hollow skulls? :P

Comment #21854

Posted by John A. Davison on March 25, 2005 5:52 AM (e)

Longhorn’s definition of evolution is children having genetic differences from their parents. I really don’t know what more to add, so I won’t.

The only prediction that can be made about a process which is finished is that it is extremely unlikely to start up again.

“This is one of those cases in which the imagination is baffled by the facts.”
Winston Churchill

How do you like them apples?

Who’s next?

John A. Davison, unfair to the point of total intolerance, unbalanced by any reasonable criterion and still unafraid of all who are so transparently deluded as to see evolution going on all around them in a kind of Darwimpian delirium tremens.

Get some help.

Comment #21856

Posted by Sandor on March 25, 2005 6:20 AM (e)

Posted by John A. Davison on March 25, 2005 05:52 AM
[…]
The only prediction that can be made about a process which is finished is that it is extremely unlikely to start up again.
[…]

I don’t understand what you are trying to say here; Is your definition of a “process” here to be understood as some kind of entity with a finite lifespan? I always thought that processes were not entities, but descriptions of sequences of events. Something is “in the process off”. This is really confusing me; can someone help me out with this?

Comment #21857

Posted by John A. Davison on March 25, 2005 6:36 AM (e)

I can’t help you. It is not what I am trying to say. It is what I have said that seems to be the problem. I have said that evolution is finished, a conclusion which I, like others, have reached because of the absence of facts to the contrary. If you or anyone else chooses to ignore that conclusion there is nothing that I can or will do to dissuade you. You have that right.

It is my considered opinion that evolution is finished except for minor changes which will never lead to new life forms. I intend to remain of that opinion until undisputed facts force me to abandon it.

John A. Davison

Comment #21861

Posted by Sandor on March 25, 2005 7:06 AM (e)

Posted by John A. Davison on March 25, 2005 06:36 AM

[…] evolution is finished except for minor changes which will never lead to new life forms. I intend to remain of that opinion until undisputed facts force me to abandon it.

John A. Davison

This begs the question: What criteria would you apply to decide if something is a new life form?

Comment #21862

Posted by Paul Flocken on March 25, 2005 7:09 AM (e)

Comment #21578

Posted by Katarina on March 23, 2005 07:38 AM

This sweet guy is trying to save your souls, and all you can do is point to his spelling errors. C’mon.

Katarina, I am a troll similar to you so please don’t take the PT crew to task for something I wrote.

As far as soul saving goes, churches are real easy to find anywhere in the world, whereas a good science education is damned difficult to find. The PT crew put this forum together to help people find the education, if they want it. Yet the first thing this young man did was comment and question on subjects he couldn’t yet know anything about (judging from questions about a spinning big bang, backward rotating planets, or out-evolving illness he was rehashing tired canards he had heard others spew). And he started proselytizing. When he stopped all that, started talking and listening, the contributors (Marek14, Ian Musgrave, Wayne Francis, Flint, Frank Schmidt, Descent & Dissent, Neo-Anti-Luddite) jumped at the chance to congenially present information that would help him learn, like the great people they are. Much better than any little ole troll like myself or the DS,DK,JAD crowd would have done. He may even make some friends out of the deal.
I’m impressed I didn’t get jumped on for screwing up Pascal with Fermat. It was Pascal’s Wager I referred to, not Fermat.
Congrats on getting your library to pay attention to the shelving issue. It’s great you could make a difference.

Sincerely,

Paul

Comment #21864

Posted by Paul Flocken on March 25, 2005 7:33 AM (e)

For the curious who may not already know.
Pascal’s Wager

Paul

Comment #21866

Posted by Katarina on March 25, 2005 8:04 AM (e)

Paul,

You are right, of course. Thanks for making the point.

Comment #21867

Posted by steve on March 25, 2005 9:08 AM (e)

Comment #21846

Posted by Jim on March 24, 2005 11:13 PM


Now, consider this question: given that a family with two children has 1 girl, what is the probability that it has 2 girls? The answer now is 50%.

Have you been taking statistics from David Heddle or William Dembski? ;-)

It’s 1/3.

Comment #21869

Posted by John A. Davison on March 25, 2005 10:21 AM (e)

I never begged a question in my life. I never heard of such a thing. I am a physiologist not a beggar. Physiologist are scientists that are concerned with how things work which is why I rejected Darwimpianism years ago. It simply doesn’t work and never did.

Jim, I’m afraid Steve is right but it doesn’t really matter because probability and chance never had anything to do with evolution anyhow. Get used to it. Darwimpianism is a cruel hoax.

John A. Davison, etc. etc. etc.

Comment #21870

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 25, 2005 10:30 AM (e)

I beg your pardon? So, the other child has 66.6% chances of being male? Could you explain the rationale behind this assertion?

Comment #21871

Posted by Emanuele Oriano on March 25, 2005 10:32 AM (e)

Oh, I see… a matter of definitions. OK, ignore my previous comment.