PvM posted Entry 2747 on November 26, 2006 01:25 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2738

Many of us are familiar with the accusation by Intelligent Design activists that evolution and Darwinism deals in just-so-stories. For example, Behe, after the Kitzmiller ruling, remarked that:

On December 21, 2005, as before, there are no non-design explanations for the molecular machinery of life, only wishful speculations and Just-So stories.

Source: Whether Intelligent Design is Science: A Response to the Opinion of the Court in Kitzmiller vs Dover Area School District By Dr. Michael J. Behe

Similarly, Dembski ‘argues’ that

Evolutionist explanations are just-so stories. They are entirely speculative and do not qualify as evidence.

Source: Dembski, William A., 2002. No Free Lunch, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, chap. 6.

And of course we see these ‘claims’ parroted by the faithful.

So let’s discuss the concept of just-so-stories and why Intelligent Design Activists use this term to describe Darwinian explanations.

The answer is trivially simple actually when one understands the nature of the Intelligent Design inference. As long as we are ignorant about how something happened, Intelligent Design can claim that it must have been designed. After all a pure chance explanation can easily be shown to be quite unlikely in most cases. However, the moment science provides for plausible pathways as to how some system may have arisen, ID is rendered useless. Why is that? Because the probability calculations to infer that something is still designed require one to establish that the probability under that particular scenario is still too small. Since ID has been unable to apply its probability calculations to any non-trivial examples, ID becomes unable to do the work needed to support its thesis. So, when lacking the scientific tools what else can an ID activist do but attack the nature of the hypothesis as a ‘just so story’. Unable to address and compete with Darwinian theory, Intelligent Design has to use the ‘ad hominem’ approach of referring to the hypothesis as ‘a just so story’.

Let’s just ask Dembski:

Dembski wrote:

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.”

Source

It’s not ID’s task to match ‘your pathetic level of detail’.

So ID does really not that much after all, other than calling our ‘ignorance’ design. And some ID activists are still denying that ID is scientifically vacuous… Perhaps some ID activist can explain to us what ID has contributed to our scientific understanding?

In my research I ran across Just So by Odd Digit

One things that the attackers of science (including ID advocates) frequently do is accuse scientists of constructing ‘just-so stories’.

This is first of all a deeply ironic claim, given that the ID advocates either are unable to or refuse to identify any candidate for a designer. Therefore the ID ‘explanation’ for - well - everything is: ‘an unknown intelligent designer did it using unknown methods for unspecified reasons at an unknown time’.

It only gets better. And notice how ID activists insist that detection of ID is separate from identification of the ‘designer’. In fact, as Dembski admits, the detection of ID need not necessarily point to an intelligent designer…

Before I proceed, however, I note that Dembski makes an important concession to his critics. He refuses to make the second assumption noted above. When the EF implies that certain systems are intelligently designed, Dembski does not think it follows that there is some intelligent designer or other. He says that, “even though in practice inferring design is the first step in identifying an intelligent agent, taken by itself design does not require that such an agent be posited. The notion of design that emerges from the design inference must not be confused with intelligent agency” (TDI, 227, my emphasis).

Source: Ryan Nichols, The Vacuity of Intelligent Design Theory

Seems that ID activists quickly have forgotten about this. Or perhaps they were not even aware of this.

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Comment #146609

Posted by Ron Okimoto on November 26, 2006 4:04 PM (e)

It is strange that the guys that were caught with their pants down and that had nothing to offer about the science if intelligent design are concentrating their efforts in chruches and events sponsored by religious organizations. How do the guys like Nelson and Dembski explain this change in emphasis?

Once the intelligent design creationist political scam was exposed there doesn’t seem to be much of a reason to pretend anymore.

Comment #146619

Posted by PvM on November 26, 2006 4:41 PM (e)

Even Dembski has returned to his old love of apologetics and UcD is focused mainly on Christian arguments

Comment #146792

Posted by Martin Wagner on November 27, 2006 12:11 AM (e)

As always, I want to know how design is a falsifiable concept. Exactly what do Dembski and Behe think a non-(god)-designed universe would look like? And how could one tell it wasn’t designed? How do you distinguish design from non-design? And if they’re capable of doing that at all, doesn’t that imply that there must be some things in this universe their designer-who-isn’t-God-no-really-we-swear has nothing to do with? And if that’s the case, where did those things come from?

ID is just a dog and pony show, except with neither a dog nor a pony.

Comment #146797

Posted by Timcol on November 27, 2006 1:00 AM (e)

PvM wrote: “Even Dembski has returned to his old love of apologetics and UcD is focused mainly on Christian arguments”

I’ve noticed this too – I follow UcD fairly closely and have noticed that the number of anti-evolution, anti-atheist blog entries seem to be on the rise. In fact, it’s harder to find anything whatsoever that is directly related to ID and it seems to have settled into a very shrill anti-materialist collection of rantings (and not a single new idea about ID).

Furthermore, Dembski’s idea of blogging is simply to write 1-2 sentences and then either provide a link or paste in copy from somewhere else. Hardly the fruit of a great intellectual mind at work. If he is supposed to be the ‘Newton of Information theory’ one would conclude that, although he may be an expert Googler, he doesn’t actually have anything to say in his own words.

Comment #146799

Posted by Inoculated Mind on November 27, 2006 1:13 AM (e)

Slipping further and further into vacuity. Who is up for a Dover Day celebration this coming 20th of December?

Comment #146826

Posted by Odd Digit on November 27, 2006 5:26 AM (e)

Thanks for linking to my piece Pim. Fame at last! ;)

It does wind me up when the old ‘just so story’ line is trotted out, which is what inspired me to write the piece in the first place. As I pointed out, even Kipling’s just-so stories are falsifiable, which is more than you can say for ID.

Comment #146846

Posted by mark on November 27, 2006 8:36 AM (e)

Rudyard Kipling, How the Camel Got His Hump (1902) wrote:

THIS is the picture of the Djinn making the beginnings of the Magic that brought the Humph to the Camel. First he drew a line in the air with his finger, and it became solid: and then he made a cloud, and then he made an egg–you can see them both at the bottom of the picture– and then there was a magic pumpkin that turned into a big white flame. Then the Djinn took his magic fan and fanned that flame till the flame turned into a magic by itself. It was a good Magic and a very kind Magic really, though it had to give the Camel a Humph because the Camel was lazy. The Djinn in charge of All Deserts was one of the nicest of the Djinns, so he would never do anything really unkind.

This sure sounds closer to Creationism than evolution, to me. Funny, though, the Intelligent Design skool of thought never seems to mention the Djinn as the Designer.

Comment #146849

Posted by Larry Gilman on November 27, 2006 8:54 AM (e)

The IDers’ use of the term “just-so story” is indeed vacuous, but it should be noted that biologists have occasionally used the same phrase to criticize each other’s evolutionary narratives. For example (http://cogweb.ucla.edu/Debate/Gould.html),

Stephen Jay Gould wrote:

To take an illustration proposed seriously by Robert Wright in The Moral Animal, a sweet tooth leads to unhealthy obesity today but must have arisen as an adaptation. Wright therefore states:

“The classic example of an adaptation that has outlived its logic is the sweet tooth. Our fondness for sweetness was designed for an environment in which fruit existed but candy didn’t.”

This ranks as pure guesswork in the cocktail party mode; Wright presents no neurological evidence of a brain module for sweetness, and no paleontological data about ancestral feeding. This “just-so story” therefore cannot stand as a “classic example of an adaptation” in any sense deserving the name of science.

By the way, the phrase “Just So story” is not ad hominem, whether used by IDers or scientists: it alleges narrative arbitrariness, explanatory story-making unconstrained by data. Accurate or not, this is a methodological charge, not an ad hominem one.

Creationist narratives about how things couldn’t have evolved, from “What good is half a wing?” to “What good is half a flagellum?”, could be called “It Just Ain’t So stories.”

Larry

Comment #146851

Posted by Larry Gilman on November 27, 2006 9:06 AM (e)

Although the IDers’ use of “Just So stories” is indeed vacuous, it should be noted that biologists have sometimes used the phrase to criticize each other’s evolutionary narratives. For example (http://cogweb.ucla.edu/Debate/Gould.html),

Stephen Jay Gould wrote:

To take an illustration proposed seriously by Robert Wright in The Moral Animal, a sweet tooth leads to unhealthy obesity today but must have arisen as an adaptation. Wright therefore states:

“The classic example of an adaptation that has outlived its logic is the sweet tooth. Our fondness for sweetness was designed for an environment in which fruit existed but candy didn’t.”

This ranks as pure guesswork in the cocktail party mode; Wright presents no neurological evidence of a brain module for sweetness, and no paleontological data about ancestral feeding. This “just-so story” therefore cannot stand as a “classic example of an adaptation” in any sense deserving the name of science.

By the way, use of the phrase “just-so story” is not ad hominem. It is an accusation of narrative emptiness, of explanatory arbitrariness unconstrained by facts. Accurate or not, that is a methodological charge, not an ad hominem one.

Creationists’ stories about how features couldn’t have evolved, from “What good is half a wing?” to “What good is half a flagellum?” could be called “It Just Ain’t So Stories.”

Larry

Comment #146854

Posted by Flint on November 27, 2006 9:14 AM (e)

I think we’re just looking at a pre-emptive first strike here. “Goddidit” is the quintessential just-so story boiled down to a single word. The creationists are painfully aware of this. Best to deflect the obvious.

Comment #146888

Posted by PvM on November 27, 2006 11:57 AM (e)

Odd digit wrote:

Thanks for linking to my piece Pim. Fame at last! ;)

You have several contributions on your site which I believe are quite good and worth perusing such as your responses to Mike Gene about TTSS and the flagellum and IC revisited.

Comment #146927

Posted by Lamuella on November 27, 2006 3:06 PM (e)

To be fair, “god did it” is not a just so story. To be a proper just so story it would have to be “god did it in the following amusing and whimsical way…”

Comment #146965

Posted by qetzal on November 27, 2006 5:53 PM (e)

It’s worth noting that even an evolutionary “just so” story is useful in debunking ID/creationist claims. As long as it’s biologically plausible, it’s more than sufficient to refute the contention that certain things (e.g. the flagellum, the immune system) can’t possibly have evolved without conscious intelligent intervention.

Comment #146968

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Comment #146981

Posted by Brian on November 27, 2006 7:00 PM (e)

I agree with Larry, biologists have used the accussation of ‘just-so-stories’. Againl I agree with Larry that it is a methodological problem. Kauffman has used the claim of ‘just-so-stories’ as well. The the [i]difference[/i] is that Gould and Kauffman are not claiming that natural selection or gradualism don’t happen at all, but rather biologists take the claim too far in their [i]theorectical[/i] claims. It is basically to pull the reigns back somewhat, but not to claim that evolution is a myth (I’m not saying Larry is claiming this though).

Source: [i]The Origins of Life[/i], p.42-43

Comment #146996

Posted by Mike Elzinga on November 27, 2006 9:04 PM (e)

The “just-so” stories, at the very least, have something in common with the “gedanken experiments” often done by physicists. They are a way of checking the internal consistency of ideas in a theoretical structure and exploring the ramifications of a theory. They frequently guide researchers to the way things actually happen in Nature by helping researchers construct experimental programs to test the issues raised by a theory. A particular “just-so” story may itself turn out to be incorrect in certain details because of unforeseen contingencies leading to the present state of a system or an organism, but its principal thrust can still be correct.

In stark contrast, the “just-because-I-said-so” stories ID/Creationist leaders tell their followers require no particular internal consistency or correspondence with the physical universe. Instead, one starts with a sectarian, ideological construct, and then asserts that the physical universe is consistent with this construct. Thus, any experimental program that finds otherwise is wrong. And, if you don’t believe it, there will be hell to pay.

Comment #146998

Posted by Matt Young on November 27, 2006 9:21 PM (e)

A just-so story need not be false. At least 2 of Kipling’s Just So Stories are plausible explanations of how writing developed. The explanation for why we have a sweet tooth is also plausible. I like the idea that good just-so stories are akin to Gedankenexperiments that give you something to think about.

Comment #147000

Posted by Paul Decelles on November 27, 2006 10:15 PM (e)

Of course Dembski is going to say:
“It’s not ID’s task to match ‘your pathetic level of detail’.”

After all, the DEVIL is in the details…**eg**

Comment #147032

Posted by Frank J on November 28, 2006 5:21 AM (e)

My response to William Dembski’s “I’m not going to take the bait” post:

WD: You’re asking me to play a game:

No, you’re already playing a game. We’re asking you to stop.

WD: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.”

We’ll settle for less detail, since we’ve had a few years’ head start. Unless you count Paley, in which case you had the head start. But we don’t just need “causal mechanisms,” we also need you to tell us what those mechanisms explain. You know, the “what happened and when” of biological history. Even YECs can do that part, so we’re confident that you can too.

WD: ID is not a mechanistic theory,…

It isn’t a theory, period.

WD: …and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories.

ID can’t match any level of detail, which is why you no longer demand that it be taught in schools. So you just promote the phony “critical analysis” of evolution, which insulates all the other attempts at “theories”, e.g. YEC, OEC, saltation, front loading, etc., from a
real critical analysis. Nice trick, I must admit.

WD: If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots.

Tell that to the YECs and OECs who insist on connecting the dots in the wrong way.

Besides, you conveniently overlook the fact that when a designer is detected in forensics and archaeology - using the “side information” that those fields have that yours lacks - investigators continue to “connect the dots” by determining what the designer did, when and how. In contrast, the object of your game is to get your critics to dwell on whether or not there is a designer. That saves you from having to say what the designer did, when and how. And you don’t want to do that because you know that the answer is “it’s still evolution.” Maybe not your “Darwinism” caricature, but still evolution.

WD: True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.

Then what exactly are the “fundamental discontinuities?” They must not be biological because Michael Behe made it clear that there is “biological continuity” (his phrase for common descent at the Kansas Kangaroo Court), and you have not challenged him on it. So for all your gyrations about “the” flagellum, barring any extraordinary evidence to the contrary, the most reasonable explanation is still that modern flagella originated “in vivo” not “in vitro.” Likewise humans are “modified monkeys,” not “modified dirt.” And the
process is still evolution.

But we understand. You can’t say too much because you need YEC political support. We know the game. Like astrology, which Behe likened it to at Dover, ID continues to fool millions of people, but it fools no biologists except the handful who already sold out to pseudoscience. And since the sell-outs seem to know that it’s a scam, we can’t necessarily say that it fools them either.

Comment #147051

Posted by Dan on November 28, 2006 9:22 AM (e)

I can understand it may feel as though some sort of intelligence threw everything into motion. But beyond that everything else is just a guess.

Comment #147053

Posted by Dan on November 28, 2006 9:25 AM (e)

I can understand it may feel as though some sort of intelligence threw everything into motion. But beyond that everything else is just a guess.

Comment #147064

Posted by Comstock on November 28, 2006 11:03 AM (e)

I agree that when you set them side-by-side, the oft-derided just-so stories suggested by some evolutionary biologists are preferable to the essentially content-less “it was designed” argument. At least a good just-so story comes packed in lots of potentially-testable details.

Comment #147074

Posted by Troublesome Frog on November 28, 2006 1:12 PM (e)

If I remember correctly, Behe was responding to a laundry list of counterexamples to his claims of irreducible complexity. The whole concept of irreducible complexity is that, “X is logically impossible because there are no plausible evolutionary paths to X.” When presented with a pile of literature on plausible evolutionary paths, the goalposts move to, “Well, you can’t prove that it actually *is* the path that was taken.” There is no need to show that the “just so” story actually happened when all you’re doing is demolishing the claim that there are no possible explanations. Sure, those hypotheses aren’t conclusively supported, but they’re enough to show that the concept of irreducible complexity does not apply to the systems in question.

Of course, all the ID camp has to do is pick up another IC-looking system and start waving that one around. If that isn’t an obvious god-in-the-gaps tactic, I don’t know what is.

Comment #147077

Posted by Bob Carroll on November 28, 2006 1:47 PM (e)

Mark, perhaps the designer is the Gasolinen Djinn? Good Ford!

Comment #147078

Posted by GuyeFaux on November 28, 2006 1:47 PM (e)

When presented with a pile of literature on plausible evolutionary paths, the goalposts move to, “Well, you can’t prove that it actually *is* the path that was taken.”

I think you’ve hit it on the head there.

To disprove “X can’t be designed”, any plausible just-so story is sufficient.

Comment #147079

Posted by GuyeFaux on November 28, 2006 1:49 PM (e)

Typo in previous post; it should’ve said:

When presented with a pile of literature on plausible evolutionary paths, the goalposts move to, “Well, you can’t prove that it actually *is* the path that was taken.”

I think you’ve hit it on the head there.

To disprove “X can’t have evolved”, any plausible just-so story is sufficient.

Comment #147175

Posted by Brad on November 28, 2006 6:11 PM (e)

Is there any room for compromise? There is both a little bit of necessary faith in evolution theory and a little bit of science in ID. Why must everything be so dualistic? Folks here ignore most of the subjective and ID folks ignore most of the objective.

Comment #147180

Posted by Steviepinhead on November 28, 2006 6:27 PM (e)

Compromise on what?

You can believe and speak what you like–this is America, still, mostly.

But high school science class is not for the “subjective.” That should be for fundamentals of well-accepted science methods and observations.

Comment #147183

Posted by Sam on November 28, 2006 6:47 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #147184

Posted by Sam on November 28, 2006 6:48 PM (e)

Brad wrote:

Is there any room for compromise? There is both a little bit of necessary faith in evolution theory and a little bit of science in ID. Why must everything be so dualistic? Folks here ignore most of the subjective and ID folks ignore most of the objective.

Ah - the “why can’t we all get along” approach, or, more properly, the argument from needing a hug and some hot cocoa.

Unfortunately, it falls apart when you realise, under close inspection, that there is no actual science in ID, no research, no predictions, nothing and any math involved with it is, while still properly math, about as related to the events it purports to model as a matchstick Titanic is to wind chill on Mars.

So, really, there is no point in compromise. You don’t let arsonists build houses just because they’re feeling a bit left out.

Comment #147190

Posted by Brad on November 28, 2006 7:21 PM (e)

While you may not support any logical or scientific pieces of ID, what you’re really failing to realize is that there is a fair amount of unknowable “subjective” stuff in evolution theory (such as much of macro-evolution… most of which is non-falsifiable) And a possible point of compromise would be to fill in the unknowable with at least a tolerance for some aspects of ID. I’m not talking about in the science classroom… I’m talking about your personal realm of openness.

Comment #147191

Posted by Pizza Woman on November 28, 2006 7:32 PM (e)

Oh, ah’m personally “open” all right.

Slurp!

But ah’m not too suah that ya’ll really want to trespass fah enough inta mah “realm” ta find out just how “evolved” ah really am…

Slurp!

Comment #147192

Posted by PvM on November 28, 2006 7:34 PM (e)

Brad wrote:

While you may not support any logical or scientific pieces of ID,

What scientific pieces of ID are you referring to?

Brad wrote:

what you’re really failing to realize is that there is a fair amount of unknowable “subjective” stuff in evolution theory (such as much of macro-evolution… most of which is non-falsifiable) And a possible point of compromise would be to fill in the unknowable with at least a tolerance for some aspects of ID. I’m not talking about in the science classroom… I’m talking about your personal realm of openness.

Explain your position on macro-evolution for instance. Why do you believe that it is non-falsifiable?

Comment #147194

Posted by Brad on November 28, 2006 7:52 PM (e)

I’ve heard little of scientifically proven ID “facts”… however the notion of irreducible complexity although unscientific, deserves some inquiry. I’ve never read anything by Behe or anyone but I did manage to hear him speak during college… he gave an analogy of a mousetrap that was at lesat interesting. To rule out logic and philosophy in ardent pursuit of scientific data will get a person nowhere.

Personally I’m somewhat of an agnostic. So I’m not going to try and claim that whatever I believe in will explain everything. But doubts abound across this entire subject field. For example. I’ve always wondered, that if the primordial soup eventually turned into organisms then its very first notion would have to be to develop evolution. And evolution (if it exists) is the most complex of our traits. How was the first adaptation the most complex. How did a few proteins decide that there were bigger and better things out there? And that they should develop the ability to adapt to this environment? We’re talking about a world without perceptions. And how did these proteins form in the first place? Also this presents a chicken and egg quandry. How did evolution evolve? How is any of that falsifiable?

I’m very interested in continuing this conversation.

Comment #147196

Posted by Glen Davidson on November 28, 2006 8:12 PM (e)

I suppose it might be all right to point out what I’m sure is obvious to many, that a molecular chemist like Behe wouldn’t understand the useful, though not completely certain, stories which the historical sciences regularly produce as helpful interpretations. In chemistry you can often come up with stories that almost certainly are legitimately “just so”, just as it happens, because one may look at all of the steps (yes, not really “all”, in every case”, but frequently all that are included within the explanation).

What he calls “just-so stories” would only be that if biologists really believed that a partially conjectural explanatory sequence really is exactly what happened, rather than being a very good possibility. Geology is rife with similar stories, and in both disciplines there are frequently alternative stories which are awaiting confirmation, or distinguishing details which might lead to confirmation even further down the road.

Does he complain about geology’s so-called “just-so stories”? Nah, he probably knows little or nothing about them, doesn’t care how geology is conducted, and merely wishes to harp about biology’s supposed failings. This is why he demands stories that tell “just how” it all happened, then complains when a plausible scenario is presented to him. He knew that the full details never could be produced, and wishes for the hollow triumph of demonstrating that not all can be known, in order to smother up the fact that nothing is known via his pet “hypothesis”.

And he neglects that aspects of the evolutionary stories are often known to a high level of accuracy, notably the aspects which tell of where fossils and living organisms exist in relationship with one another, along with the relative sequences of splits which occurred during adaptive radiations. Not every split is unambiguous, of course, however many are essentially known without any question, which means that these particular splitting stories are “just so” because there is actually nothing ambiguous about them or the evidence, and are not “just so” because they are fictions to any important degree.

He didn’t ask for those details? No, of course he didn’t, because he knew that they exist, and they conform extremely well with the predictions of known evolutionary causation. He only demands “just so stories” where he knows that a good deal of (educated) guess is needed to fill in the gaps (along with the solid evidences), and does not ask for detailed cladistic evidence which coincides, as well as the resolution permits, with the predicted patterns of evolution.

Thus he avoids the fact that he has absolutely no mechanism to explain cladistic patterns of radiative splitting, and he merely acts as if the splits predicted by known “mechanistic” constraints are predicted by his magical “evolution” as well. He thereby illegitimately subsumes the predictions of real science into his “poof, a miracle happens” story, and demands of us the sorts of evidence that we all know is lost to time (or at least will take a good while yet to find out).

Of course he has never wanted any explanations at all, merely hoping that anthropocentric prejudices will default to his miraculous design scenario if he can obscure the fact that much has already been explained by known evolutionary mechanisms.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #147198

Posted by JoeAstro on November 28, 2006 8:29 PM (e)

Brad wrote:

“To rule out logic and philosophy in ardent pursuit of scientific data will get a person nowhere.”

I, for one, am not so sure that philosophy has much to offer to the ongoing development of evolutionary theory. The theory of evolution is nothing more, or less, than the best explanation we have thus far developed to explain the well-documented changes over time of past and present life on Earth. It appears to be (thus far), a non-directed natural process, much like erosion, weather, nuclear fusion, etc., that procedes via the observed physical laws of the universe.

OK, back to lurkin’…

Comment #147200

Posted by Brad on November 28, 2006 8:38 PM (e)

I don’t agree with Behe’s notion of numerous frail just-so theories backing up evolution. There is much data on micro-evolution. However the flip side of this just-so stuff begs the question of an is-ought problem. If his attacks of these weakpoint “just-so” areas isn’t valid then why is evolution’s attack of ID’s subjective and logical structures also not valid? It can’t answer the tough questions either. Evolution theory attempts to claim ownership of these questionmarks on the subject… it wants to extend what is (adaptation) into what it wishes ought (big unprovables).

What use is preaching one ideology (faith based portions of evolution theory) in the science classroom than the other… unscertainty, doubt, subjectivity.

Comment #147202

Posted by Brad on November 28, 2006 8:59 PM (e)

Steviepinhead wrote:

“But high school science class is not for the “subjective.” That should be for fundamentals of well-accepted science methods and observations.”

High school science has shown that it is fully willing to claim ownership of all of the unknown matters concerning this subject. They show the students the “well-accepted science observations” then they take ownership of the gray areas too.

Is there no room for doubt and true curiosity in this world?

Comment #147203

Posted by Richard Simons on November 28, 2006 9:01 PM (e)

Brad says

I’ve always wondered, that if the primordial soup eventually turned into organisms then its very first notion would have to be to develop evolution. And evolution (if it exists) is the most complex of our traits.

Eh? How does soup have notions? Evolution is not a trait that develops, it is the process by which other traits develop and is an inevitable consequence of things (plants, animals, chemicals, bits of computer code) having inexact replication and differential survival.

You ask ‘How did evolution evolve?” I imagine pretty much the same way as gravity fell. It’s a meaningless concept.

Muller (? in 1913? - I don’t have the reference to hand) proposed that something the same as Behe’s irreducible complexity would be one of the consequences of evolution. Behe, meanwhile, has been in retreat, changing his definition of irreducible complexity and trimming back on the examples of systems he thinks exhibit it.

Comment #147207

Posted by Richard Simons on November 28, 2006 9:13 PM (e)

Brad says

What use is preaching one ideology (faith based portions of evolution theory) …

And what might these ‘faith based portions of evolution’ be? Before responding, you might want to check what
Talk Origins Index to Creationist Claims has to say on the subject of your answer.

Comment #147208

Posted by Brad on November 28, 2006 9:14 PM (e)

Richard Simons wrote:

“Evolution is not a trait that develops, it is the process by which other traits develop …like bits of computer code) having inexact replication and differential survival.”

Bits of computer code that is exactly the type of analogy of which I was thinking. And it in fact disproves what you are saying. Think of the concept of an object in computer programming. Through abstraction numerous functions and elements are placed within it that denote what it is and what it does. Your saying that the soup had a function built into it that called for it to adapt. I think that is just as far out on a limb as anything I’ve ever heard from ID.

Comment #147210

Posted by Brad on November 28, 2006 9:22 PM (e)

Richard Simons wrote:

“And what might these ‘faith based portions of evolution’ be?”

There are HUGE questions still unanswered. Faith in exrapolating the data we have (via an is-ought sort of method) is used to fill in the gaps for your guys. They are in fact infered via these just-so stories. I’m not the one claiming to have all the answers. My point is that evolution theory won’t admit that it don’t have all the answers and con’t concede anything. Science should be about doubt not certainty.

Comment #147211

Posted by Richard Simons on November 28, 2006 9:36 PM (e)

Brad says

Bits of computer code that is exactly the type of analogy of which I was thinking.

I did not intend it as an analogy. Genetic programs are examples of things that evolve.

Your saying that the soup had a function built into it that called for it to adapt.

No, there is nothing that calls for it (or anything else) to adapt. Inexact replication and differential survival (or, if you prefer, random variation between progeny and differential reproductive success) result in adaptation (assuming the population is large enough to avoid accidental effects). The adaptation is a fortuitous effect, not something built into the organism (or whatever), no more than there is something built in to drops of water that causes them to all join together to make a river.

There are HUGE questions still unanswered.

Such as?

Of course, there are questions, which is why research into many aspects of evolution is continuing apace. By the way, do you have any information on this top secret research that ID people claim they are doing?

Comment #147212

Posted by Brad on November 28, 2006 9:37 PM (e)

Richard Simons wrote:

“You ask ‘How did evolution evolve?” I imagine pretty much the same way as gravity fell.”

The difference here though is that gravity is truly universal. There is nothing that gravity does not effect. Evolution seems only to effect only organic structures. I don’t see any evolving rocks or adapting chemicals out there. This is grasping at straws though.

But I am curious about this… is it widely accepted among evolution proponents that evolution is a universal principle? Is there any school of thought that it’s a trait? If it is a universal principle then it seems to be the only one that didn’t begin right along with the universe. Imagine gravity taking effect only after certain contributing circumstances allowed it to. Mass most probably has always existed. Biology has not.

Anyway none of this is provable. None of it falsifiable. All I want is for someone to admit that there is doubt involved. This website is all about certainty. It’s hilarious to me.

Comment #147213

Posted by Brad on November 28, 2006 9:45 PM (e)

Richard Simons wrote:

“do you have any information on this top secret research that ID people claim they are doing?”

No… I’m not an ID person. I don’t know any ID people. I’m an agnostic. I enjoy inquiry. I think science should be about doubt and uncertainty and the pursuit of truth rather than the espousing of static truths and the inference of dynamic ones in their absence. Once things are assumed to be certain (as they are on this website and on opoosing creationist websites) no progress is made.

Comment #147215

Posted by Anton Mates on November 28, 2006 9:56 PM (e)

Brad wrote:

I’ve heard little of scientifically proven ID “facts”… however the notion of irreducible complexity although unscientific, deserves some inquiry.

It’s been extensively delved into on this site; there’s actually a whole category of posts devoted to it.

For example. I’ve always wondered, that if the primordial soup eventually turned into organisms then its very first notion would have to be to develop evolution. And evolution (if it exists) is the most complex of our traits. How was the first adaptation the most complex. How did a few proteins decide that there were bigger and better things out there? And that they should develop the ability to adapt to this environment? We’re talking about a world without perceptions.

Well, the great thing about evolution is that you don’t need to try to do it. All you have to do is make copies of yourself. If you make them badly (which is what you’d kind of expect from a primitive on-the-verge-of-living replicator, right? Even we can’t reproduce ourselves perfectly, and we’ve had over a billion years of practice), then right there you’ve got variation. If your environment isn’t infinitely forgiving, some of your offspring are going to die (or break down, or whatever you want to call it, and some will die faster than others, so you’ve got natural selection. Boom–evolution. It’s actually hard to see how you couldn’t have it from the get-go, unless your replication process was amazingly perfect.

Which is not to say it’s not possible to evolve better evolvability. If you can constrain the way your offspring vary, you may be able to increase the chance that some of them will be different in a beneficial way. But that’s just frosting–you don’t need that for evolution.

And how did these proteins form in the first place?

Well, there’s a whole field of abiotic chemistry examining that question. They need not be proteins, incidentally–so far as I know they’re just as likely to have been nucleotide chains.

How is any of that falsifiable?

Comment #147217

Posted by Richard Simons on November 28, 2006 10:01 PM (e)

Brad says

is it widely accepted among evolution proponents that evolution is a universal principle?

The essential requirements for something to evolve are that it reproduces, traits are passed from parents to offspring but sometimes there are errors in transmission, and that these traits have an effect on reproductive success (some being positive - but the proportion of positive ones required is less than you might think).

If these requirements are met, my understanding is that evolution is inevitable (I have never worked in a field directly related to evolution but I have done other biological research).

Brad says that things are assumed to be certain (presumably thinking of the theory of evolution). I think people who are on the periphery of biology have no idea of just how overwhelming the evidence is. Every month, literally thousands of research papers are published, each one of which could potentially throw a major spanner in the works, yet for over 100 years none ever has.

Anyone who has attended a scientific conference knows that scientists love to argue about theories and can get quite heated, so anything that did threaten the foundations of the TOE would get immediate attention. Vultures flocking to a carcass would have nothing on the hordes of scientists swooping down on that particular research area. So all in all, I think it is fair to say that things that are treated as being certain are pretty much as tightly locked down as it is possible to be.

Comment #147219

Posted by Sam on November 28, 2006 10:13 PM (e)

brad wrote:

Anyway none of this is provable. None of it falsifiable. All I want is for someone to admit that there is doubt involved. This website is all about certainty. It’s hilarious to me.

Unfortunately, you are wrong. The traditional place to start researching the demonstrably false assumptions you have is http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/faqs-evolution.html. May I recommend the pieces on Evolution as Fact and Theory, and on Speciation (or ‘macroevolution’). Perhaps after going through that you might like to enlighten us as to what HUGE questions are still unanswered. At least by then you might be a little more aware of the topic and the language in which it is discussed.

Evolutionary theory has never pretended to have all the answers. What would be the point in researching it further? However, the question of whether or not Evolution occurs has already been answered in the affirmative by mountains of supportive data and research across the fields of biology, geology, paleontology, physics etc etc (the link above should give you a taste). Science is as sure of evolution as it is of anything - which is roughly the same level of certainty that aliens did not tie my shoelaces this morning. It’s might be physically possible, but if you believe it, you’re probably either slightly deranged or being wilfully perverse and ignoring a large amount of contrary evidence.

Comment #147220

Posted by PvM on November 28, 2006 10:13 PM (e)

Anyway none of this is provable. None of it falsifiable. All I want is for someone to admit that there is doubt involved. This website is all about certainty. It’s hilarious to me.

Science does not prove as much as disprove and science is never about certainty. What we do know is however that much of this is disprovable.

So what is so hilarious to you?

Comment #147221

Posted by Brad on November 28, 2006 10:25 PM (e)

“So what is so hilarious to you?”

It’s hilarious that the same denial and “fanboy” rejection occurs on the evolution side as does the creation side. I love that you said “Science is never about certainty” I totally agree. It just seems as though most of the comments on this site don’t allow room for uncertainty. And dealing with uncertainty is what this topic is all about.

Comment #147223

Posted by Brad on November 28, 2006 10:58 PM (e)

“enlighten us as to what HUGE questions are still unanswered.”

The questions may have answers but they are comprised and bridged by the same sort of functionalist concepts that ID folks use. Inference, filled in data (i.e. bootstrapping) etc. My argument is not a scientific one but rather a question of the philosphy of science. You certainly have answers to these questions as do the ID people. But don’t act as though your “well-known” concepts represent the truth. The universe is infinitely complex. No amount of data and research is ever going to resolve this argument.

“Science is as sure of evolution as it is of anything”

Good cause practice of science is inherently about being not sure of anything.

Comment #147224

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on November 28, 2006 11:43 PM (e)

My argument is not a scientific one but rather a question of the philosphy of science. You certainly have answers to these questions as do the ID people. But don’t act as though your “well-known” concepts represent the truth.

If you are interested in philosophy of science, you will soon find out that science is about observational facts and natural theories, not about truth and written dogma. Science explains old observations and predicts new ones, not Truth. It does so by rejecting false theories.

In most cases you can do hypothesis testing and establish a set probability for that you rejected the contrafactual hypotheses.

For example, in physics the standard is that an observation predicted by theory is established to 3 sigma (99.8 %) certainty, “beyond reasonable doubt” but not beyond all doubt. And a new type of observation (no theory, or connection with theory, yet) to 5 sigma to be accepted as a fact to work with. Anything less, and it is rejected.

So there is no initial full assuredness. And since any day a theory may be falsified or improved on, there is no guarantee. But after many falsification attempts, say 150 year of observational worth, to discuss the extremely small difference between remaining uncertainty and certainty seems like sophistry. Or ID.

Comment #147225

Posted by stevaroni on November 28, 2006 11:57 PM (e)

Brad said…
Bits of computer code that is exactly the type of analogy of which I was thinking. And it in fact disproves what you are saying. Think of the concept of an object in computer programming. Through abstraction numerous functions and elements are placed within it that denote what it is and what it does. Your saying that the soup had a function built into it that called for it to adapt.

Actually, Brad, computer code is an excellent analogy (and in fact a damn good surrogate) for genetic evolution.

But you’re up a few levels of abstraction too far in your model. A code object is more at the level of an organ, or maybe a cell, or a simple organism. The genes that create it are more on the level of machine code, and this is the level that mutations occur.

I go back a fair ways in tot he dark ages, long enough that I’ve written a lot of code in assembler. I also remember the early days of floppies, and the extensive error-correction we used to have to use to get the data back off of them. Despite this, we still spent many, many hours tracking down bugs from code that somehow always seemed to reload with a few bytes corrupted anyhow.

The odd thing is that, at that level, a couple of bits flipping were very hard to find, since they wouldn’t always crash the program, but they would make it behave in weird new ways (think about corrupting a stack pointer and jumping to some other spot, in otherwise executable code, for example). We always though of these as bugs, of course, since we could fix things after all, but assume for the moment we couldn’t fix it, assume we had to accept the code as it was. In that case, we would have picked out the best mutation, and moved on.

It’s almost an exact analogy for how genetic mutations seem to work, a point change once in a while, which is probably bad (throw those away), maybe neutral (don’t notice that one way or the other), but once in a great while, seems to do something interesting (keep that one!).

It’s not outlandish at all, not when you consider that there are organisms that exist with only a few hundred coding genes, and many proteins are coded by only a few dozen base pairs.

Especially since, unlike software, genes can effectively run in parallel, so you don’t get trapped in dead-end code or endless loops, one failed suboutine doesn’t always crash the whole program.

Modern hard drives, by the way, are still prone to bit-error problems, and there’s still extensive error correction going on inside the drive controller. Even in 2006, with all the tools at our disposal, we can’t get code storage to work perfectly. It’s not unreasonable at all to imagine lossy reproduction going on in an uncontrolled, uncorrected environment like gene division.

Comment #147226

Posted by JD on November 29, 2006 1:14 AM (e)

Brad, evolution is as true as relativity/gravity/atomic theory. When you understand how we can accept all those things without scouring the entire universe, you’ll understand why evolution is such an accepted fact.

Comment #147243

Posted by Odd Digit on November 29, 2006 3:30 AM (e)

Brad,

It’s hilarious that the same denial and “fanboy” rejection occurs on the evolution side as does the creation side. I love that you said “Science is never about certainty” I totally agree. It just seems as though most of the comments on this site don’t allow room for uncertainty. And dealing with uncertainty is what this topic is all about.

All scientists accept that all science is tentative. Evolution is the best explanation that fits the available facts. There is so much evidence for evolution that the scientists express a very high degree of confidence in the basic mechansisms (with the usual caveat that there still could be things that could be explained even better than they currently are, and that new evidence may cause us to change parts of the explanation).

It’s also worth stressing that evolution is a collection of mechanisms that help to explain the diversity of life, not the origin of life. There are a lot of uncertainties about the origin of life on this planet, these are covered by a seperate field of investigation (called abiogenesis - how that first replicating cell came to be is a huge unanswered question, and it’s one answer we may never know ‘for sure’… it’s certainly a fascinating field of research). Evolution does make the assumption that the origin of life did actually happen (not an unreasonable assumption this one, given that we’re sitting here talking about it). Assuming that first replicating cell exists (‘first life’) then evolution can explain the subsequent diversity of life on this planet, and it explains it extremely well.

So well, in fact, that the basic mechanisms are just as accepted in scientific circles as the explanation that an apple falling is caused by an invisible force called gravity. There is still plenty of debate - and plenty to be discovered - about the finer details of how evolution occurs and how all the various mechansisms combine, and occasionally a new mechanism is discovered (symbiogenesis for example) and added to the overall scientific theory.

One of the problems though it that many people doubt that evolution actually happens at all, in spite of all the evidence we have found that shows that it does - huge amounts of overlapping evidence from all the diverse fields in biology (and paleontology and geology) that are all best explained by these mechanisms.

This analogy is nice (I forget where I first heard it):
Expressing to a group of evolutionary biologists a doubt that evolution occurs is like sitting in an airport surrounded by parked and flying aircraft expressing to a group of aerodynamic engineers a doubt that anything heavier than air could ever fly.

That’s how much evidence we have. There is still room for uncertainty in evolutionary biology. There is also room for the confidence we have in the explanations we have uncovered so far that both explain the existing evidence, and are reinforced every time we uncover new evidence.

Comment #147244

Posted by Frank J on November 29, 2006 5:01 AM (e)

Brad wrote:

Is there any room for compromise? There is both a little bit of necessary faith in evolution theory and a little bit of science in ID.

Evolution, and all of science, rest on the faith that God (or Nature) doesn’t lie. And ID has lots of science - to misrepresent, that is - with cherry picking evidence, quote mining, bait-and-switch definitions. There can be no compromise as long as ID scam artists resort to those tricks. Evolution does not rule out either a theistic interpretation or non-Darwinian explanations, so there’s plenty of room for compromise. But to pretend that the insufficiency of “Darwinism” can be equated with design is pure pseudoscience. Not even “faith,” as the scam artists know that they are pulling a fast one.

Comment #147251

Posted by Richard Simons on November 29, 2006 6:49 AM (e)

Brad says

There are HUGE questions still unanswered.

Such as?

Comment #147267

Posted by mark on November 29, 2006 10:39 AM (e)

Brad wrote:

The difference here though is that gravity is truly universal. There is nothing that gravity does not effect. Evolution seems only to effect only organic structures. I don’t see any evolving rocks or adapting chemicals out there. This is grasping at straws though.

Have you never heard of “evolution of ground-water chemistry along a flow path?” Of course, that’s evolution of a somewhat different sort, because ground water does not reproduce as it flows. However, contingency can still play an important role in the chemical changes ground water undergoes as it moves through rock. If watches (or mousetraps) reproduced themselves according to a set of instructions similar to DNA, subject to mutation and disruption of regulating elements, and if the resulting variation affected further reproduction rates, then watches (or mousetraps) would evolve. That’s exactly what the computer programs show.

Comment #147269

Posted by Glen Davidson on November 29, 2006 11:28 AM (e)

There are HUGE questions still unanswered.

As others asked, like what? Do you have any evidence, or is this just a story that you got from the IDists?

Faith in exrapolating the data we have (via an is-ought sort of method) is used to fill in the gaps for your guys.

Unfortunately, you apparently know nothing about science. Extrapolation is used throughout science, so that “micro-fusion” produced in the laboratory is used to explain the “macro-fusion” occurring in stars.

Since you sound just like an IDist, with their level of “knowledge”, I don’t in the slightest believe your tale that you’re just some “agnostic” who likes to consider unknowns. You’d care about science if that were the case, as the fact that there is much unknown in biology, including evolution, is a staple in science.

They are in fact infered via these just-so stories. I’m not the one claiming to have all the answers. My point is that evolution theory won’t admit that it don’t have all the answers and con’t concede anything. Science should be about doubt not certainty.

Crack a book, or even just read the blogs and posts here, for God’s sake, instead of making “certain statements” that are so incredibly wrong. Apparently you have either swallowed ID propaganda whole, or are an IDist/creationist projecting your own false certainties upon the sciences which couldn’t operate with the certain and wrong opinions of the kind that you express. The tentativeness of science, including evolution, runs through the journals, as well as through the posts on this blog.

If you had a speck of honest questioning in yourself, you’d ask why the IDiots like Behe and Dembski are demanding certainty where it is not possible, instead of cravenly projecting their idiot demands on your own time.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #147272

Posted by Glen Davidson on November 29, 2006 12:00 PM (e)

I’ve heard little of scientifically proven ID “facts”… however the notion of irreducible complexity although unscientific, deserves some inquiry.

If unscientific, why does it deserve some inquiry? More importantly, concerns about so-called “irreducible complexity” are not unscientific, and are indeed addressed constantly in evolutionary scenarios, sometimes directly in response to what IDists say (a number of blogs at PT discuss these responses). Quit believing unscientific buffoons who throw you a line that you are all too eager to swallow.

I’ve never read anything by Behe or anyone but I did manage to hear him speak during college… he gave an analogy of a mousetrap that was at lesat interesting.

Wow, so you know nothing about either side, but you’ll stick your ignorant prejudices in here without any questioning of your own ignorance or prejudice.

To rule out logic and philosophy in ardent pursuit of scientific data will get a person nowhere.

That’s right, and apparently you don’t know much about the philosophy of science. Many philosophers of science will say that making stories, then selecting and honing them in order to fit the data as best as possible, is what science does.

Extrapolation plays a role in it, which is why anything that can be shown to work on the small scale is believed to act on the large scale as well. This has less to do with extrapolating “microevolution” to “macroevolution” than with acknowledging that the basic processes discovered in lab and field can be extrapolated to both “types of evolution”.

More importantly, what would be necessary for someone like you to do is to tell us why it is that essentially the same patterns of inheritance accepted in genetic family trees cannot be accepted for the trees coming out of family tree of the primate order, considering that basically the same marks of inheritance and change appear in both. It’s just that greater amounts of genetic change occur in the primate order than in any human family.

Or actually, a closer analogy would be that HIV evolves so rapidly that one has to identify strains by phylogenetic means, rather than by comparing an HIV virus from 1985 with one in 2006. Why is that accepted as legitimate, while similar amounts of evolution appearing in primate genomes is to be rejected?

By the way, I don’t agree that selecting and honing stories covers all of science, particularly the more basic levels of science. Rather exact mathematics can select out a rather sparse narrative (which is why Newton called it a treatise—he didn’t deal with complex change through time), such as Newton’s models of motion and gravity. But highly complex phenomena, like evolution, ecology, and geological change, are often treated with “stories” based upon hard facts and often upon softer educated guesses, at least until more data come in.

The problem with IDist propaganda is shown by this particular poster. Behe comes in with his tired mousetrap analogy (without bothering even to ask if anything like a mousetrap exists in living organisms), makes a bunch of false charges that science doesn’t treat its stories tentatively, and turns a mind against science. Then we have to deal with these people who have been deliberately targeted with untruthful just-so stories about people Behe doesn’t understand.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #147274

Posted by Glen Davidson on November 29, 2006 12:38 PM (e)

The difference here though is that gravity is truly universal. There is nothing that gravity does not effect. Evolution seems only to effect only organic structures. I don’t see any evolving rocks or adapting chemicals out there. This is grasping at straws though.

That it is, that it is. What difference to the principle does it make if gravity happens to affect everything? The fact that the electromagnetic force does not affect everything is no strike against QED or classical treatments of magnetism, electricity and light. The point is that we utilize evidence to demonstrate gravity, electromagnetic phenomena, and evolution.

And of course evolution doesn’t affect only organic structures. Biological evolution only affects organic forms, while an analogous, yet significantly different (some aspects are similar), sort of evolution affects languages, and even designs. However, one may discern that intelligence affects most language and design evolution, since horizontal transfers are frequent in language and design evolution, and is nearly absent in vertebrate evolution (not so in bacterial evolution). Rationalization of those borrowings and of the language or design itself also occurs in those kinds of evolution, since rational minds manipulate both phenomena, quite unlike what we see in biological forms (excepting those manipulated recently by humans).

Evolution affects whatever has a kind of continuity through time, yet which is able to change. Generally an evolution that is truly analogous with biological evolution would not be seen to occur outside of life and its productions, although analogous “natural selection” does affect the preservation of some structures (like natural arches).

But it is also important to note that invoking “organic structures” tells us little more than that evolution has been operating upon certain forms of matter. At the level of physical interaction, nothing distinguishes the “material processes” in life from those in non-life, so your notion that evolution in the strict biological sense is a tautology—of course biological evolution occurs in a specific manner, or rather, in specific manners (it’s different in bacteria, for instance). Languages evolve in specific manners as well.

But I am curious about this… is it widely accepted among evolution proponents that evolution is a universal principle?

And what is your concept of “universal principle”? Generally we would avoid such a statement, because evolution simply acts according to contingent facts and unavoidable facts about the world. It has predictivity because of the impossibility for extreme genetic change to be compatible with existence in this world, thus patterns of splitting and inheritance must be discernable.

Is there any school of thought that it’s a trait?

Why are you criticizing something about which you know so little? It doesn’t even make sense to ask if evolution is a trait, since evolution is responsible for traits.

If it is a universal principle then it seems to be the only one that didn’t begin right along with the universe.

Really? Did the principle of faunal succession begin right with the universe, even before fauna existed? Do you even know what “principle” means in science?

Imagine gravity taking effect only after certain contributing circumstances allowed it to. Mass most probably has always existed. Biology has not.

Your view of what evolution and its bases is seriously disturbed. Evolution is adaptation to conditions, such as gravity. Biology is a study of how mass has developed, in some reductionistic sense, and in that line of duty, evolution predicts many aspects of what is observed.

Anyway none of this is provable. None of it falsifiable.

Actually, most of what you say is falsifiable and has been falsified. And if you knew anything, you’d know that mass probably has not always existed, is in fact believed not to have existed (not “rest mass”, should anyone quibble over that issue) very early in the universe. I don’t think you have much more knowledge of the “principles” of gravity than you do of biology.

All I want is for someone to admit that there is doubt involved.

So everyone else is saying that doubt is involved, and you demand that someone admit that doubt is involved.

This website is all about certainty. It’s hilarious to me.

Why, because you understand it, and science, so poorly? One might invoke the principle that people laugh at what they don’t understand, in order to compensate for their inferior knowledge.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #147288

Posted by Aagcobb on November 29, 2006 2:15 PM (e)

Hi Brad! you wrote:
It just seems as though most of the comments on this site don’t allow room for uncertainty. And dealing with uncertainty is what this topic is all about.

Brad, there are huge amounts of uncertainty in genuine evolutionary science. There is a big dispute recently in the news about whether Neanderthals have contributed any of their genetic traits to modern humans. Some scientists claimed to have found a fossil of a tiny hominid on the Island of Flores, and others claimed its just a diseased modern human. Scientists fight about whether past mass extinctions were caused by, among other possibilities, climate change, volcanic activity, meteor strikes and hunting by humans. There are all sorts of scientific controversies that scientists are deeply engaged in, so don’t imagine that legitimate scientists reject IDism because they think they already have all the answers. Scientists reject IDism because it doesn’t have any answers.

Comment #147291

Posted by Dene Bebbington on November 29, 2006 2:19 PM (e)

It’s more than ironic IDers complaining about Darwinian just-so stories when all they have to offer is a just nothing story of an unknown designer with unknown abilities and purposes acting at unknown times. You’d think they’d feel ashamed at having even less than “pathetic” level of detail to offer.

Comment #147311

Posted by Brad on November 29, 2006 4:29 PM (e)

Glen D. I am not an IDer. I don’t agree with Behe… I believe that Evolution is proven on the adaptation level. Most of your attacks on me have been trying to prove evolution, that’s not what I’m arguing about. I’m arguing about certainty, compromise and openness. You didn’t read my above posts. However I have never disassociated this field “abiogenesis “ with evolution. (thank you OddDigit for bringing it up) And I have trouble with the whole chance thing.

It is true, I am not a scientist, I know just the surface facts of either side. I’m just a curious guy doing an argument project at university. Thanks for being the oposition. But the rudeness that I have encountered from many people through these posts has sincerely taught me never to question anything again! Asking questions will get me killed by both the IDers and you folks. This has proven my point that when you try to encourage openness from a heavily biased community you get lynched. There is a great deal of assumed certainty here. I understand that when you get viciously attacked by the ID folks you need to react. They ignore your data and attack you in the soft points, you attack their entire theory as a soft point with no data, nothing gets done. It’d be nice if there was some compromise on both sides. However, I do believe that you guys are suprisingly more flexible, which doesn’t say much for the ID folks!

I appreacate that many on this site have made VERY good comments that have aided in my curiousity Aagcobb, stevaroni, OddDigit. However Glen D. & Richard Simons you guys have been very unhelpful.

Comment #147313

Posted by PvM on November 29, 2006 4:36 PM (e)

Brad wrote:

It is true, I am not a scientist, I know just the surface facts of either side. I’m just a curious guy doing an argument project at university. Thanks for being the oposition. But the rudeness that I have encountered from many people through these posts has sincerely taught me never to question anything again! Asking questions will get me killed by both the IDers and you folks. This has proven my point that when you try to encourage openness from a heavily biased community you get lynched.

Perhaps it’s the use of terms such as this site is all about certainty and other terminology to describe what you believe this site is all about that caused people to respond in kind?

Such as

This has proven my point that when you try to encourage openness from a heavily biased community you get lynched.

Comment #147315

Posted by H. Humbert on November 29, 2006 4:42 PM (e)

I have encountered from many people through these posts has sincerely taught me never to question anything again! Asking questions will get me killed by both the IDers and you folks.

But you didn’t ask questions, you made assertions, such as that there are HUGE gaps in evolution or that scientists exhibit distain for uncertainty. Those are false assertions, and people are right to correct you.

You admit to being very uninformed on this topic, so what made you think you could march in and start making uneducated pronouncements on topics you aren’t familiar with?

In the future, you should actually try asking questions. I’ll bet you see a different tone in the responses you receive. And for future reference, questions are sentences that end with those funny curly marks that look like this —> ?

Comment #147321

Posted by Glen Davidson on November 29, 2006 5:06 PM (e)

Glen D. I am not an IDer. I don’t agree with Behe…

Then why do you use his insipid nonsense in your attacks?

I believe that Evolution is proven on the adaptation level.

Do you have any idea what “evolution is proven on the adaptation level” even means? I sure don’t.

Most of your attacks on me have been trying to prove evolution, that’s not what I’m arguing about. I’m arguing about certainty, compromise and openness.

Science isn’t about compromise. It’s about making the best explanation, regardless of what pinheads like you and Behe say. And of course you want to ‘argue certainty and openness’ without knowing anything about the subject, but that’s why you’re such an obvious simpleton.

You didn’t read my above posts.

I addressed several of them. Did that escape your powers of perception?

However I have never disassociated this field “abiogenesis “ with evolution. (thank you OddDigit for bringing it up) And I have trouble with the whole chance thing.

Well they’re not fundamentally separate, however the mechanisms are sufficiently different (or believed to be) from each other that it is probably best to consider them separately. And yes, that is another aspect of the ignorance that you brought onto this forum.

It is true, I am not a scientist, I know just the surface facts of either side.

You know the surface attacks of the IDists, which you reproduce without even bothering to check out against the facts.

I’m just a curious guy doing an argument project at university. Thanks for being the oposition. But the rudeness that I have encountered from many people through these posts has sincerely taught me never to question anything again!

Actually, it’s time you begin to question your own prejudices, and the BS you picked up from the IDists. Intelligent questioning is valuable, a bunch of false charges, like you posted, is a waste of time.

Asking questions will get me killed by both the IDers and you folks. This has proven my point that when you try to encourage openness from a heavily biased community you get lynched.

Again you project your biases and false charges onto us. We attack you for your ignorant arrogance and false claims about evolution, not your supposed openness (which is not in evidence). Come at this matter honestly and you’ll receive quite a different reception.

There is a great deal of assumed certainty here.

Yes, and it comes straight from your ignorance and lack of openness. On our side, yes we who know things can and do state some things with certitude, for we know upon what (near) certainties science is based. You want us to doubt what is almost certain, just because not everything is known.

I understand that when you get viciously attacked by the ID folks you need to react. They ignore your data and attack you in the soft points,

What soft points? You never back up your charges, you simply repeat the mindless drivel of the IDists. For we have never claimed to know everything, the IDists simply attack us as if we claimed that we did, just as you did.

you attack their entire theory as a soft point with no data, nothing gets done. It’d be nice if there was some compromise on both sides.

Which you can only say because you don’t care about the science. We don’t compromise with pseudoscience, that is our virtue.

However, I do believe that you guys are suprisingly more flexible, which doesn’t say much for the ID folks!

What’s surprising about our flexibility? That it goes against the lies told to you by IDists, which you repeated here?

I appreacate that many on this site have made VERY good comments that have aided in my curiousity Aagcobb, stevaroni, OddDigit. However Glen D. & Richard Simons you guys have been very unhelpful.

Oh, do you have some evidence to back up your claims, or is this just another pitiful whine from the guy who makes false charges without a hint of evidence? The fact is that I answered you well, and all you did in turn was to feel sorry for yourself because your BS was called BS. You are incapable of answering me in turn, showing once again that the one who thinks we need to “compromise” with the IDists has nothing valuable to say at all.

May I never be “helpful” in your eyes, since you are singularly lacking in the ability to make a reasoned and educated judgment in these matters.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #147338

Posted by stevaroni on November 29, 2006 5:31 PM (e)

I believe that Evolution is proven on the adaptation level

It always bears repeating that there are no “levels” of evolution. The distinction is, and has always been, a fudge by those who feel they have to acknowlege the ground truth of observable change, but don’t want to admit where the logical regression leads.

There is no microevolution or macroevolution any more than there is no micromath and macromath.

There is just math, and likewise there is just evolution.

Once you demonstrate 1 + 1 = 2, the rest is just an exercise in scaling.

Sorry for the rant, it’s just that this is a pet peeve of mine.

Comment #147351

Posted by mark on November 29, 2006 5:58 PM (e)

Brad wrote:

I know just the surface facts of either side.

And this is your problem, Brad. It’s not as if there are two equal sides, each with its facts, each equally deserving of presentation in houses of learning. If you were to visit Talk.Origins as some have already suggested, or read the numerous books, papers, and blogs refuting Intelligent Design Creationism, you would understand that the ID side is devoid of facts. (Actually, it would be better to speak in terms of “explanations,” “models,” “hypotheses,” and “consistency with observations.”) Mousetrap as the quintessential irreducibly complex mechanism? It’s been thoroughly refuted, years ago. Despite Creationists’ denials, many of the “facts” of and about evolution have long been known (and more are discovered every day); indeed, Darwin came up with his theories after having observed innumerable “facts” that, as it turns out, are very well explained by his theories.

Comment #147364

Posted by KL on November 29, 2006 6:27 PM (e)

Brad Wrote:

“But the rudeness that I have encountered from many people through these posts has sincerely taught me never to question anything again! Asking questions will get me killed by both the IDers and you folks. This has proven my point that when you try to encourage openness from a heavily biased community you get lynched. There is a great deal of assumed certainty here. I understand that when you get viciously attacked by the ID folks you need to react. They ignore your data and attack you in the soft points, you attack their entire theory as a soft point with no data, nothing gets done. It’d be nice if there was some compromise on both sides.”

Honey, you have no idea how patient these guys were with you. Many of the answers were (in so many words) “you need to learn more about the basic science here” and yet when you persisted, they still were patient. I assume that in their long experience with trolls, they recognized someone who truly wanted to know, rather than someone who just wanted to argue from a position of ignorance. Get out there and read, and spend time watching this and other science blogs. I can’t tell you how much I have learned in the 18 months I have been “lurking” on this site, and my background IS in science and science education.

Comment #147404

Posted by Mike Elzinga on November 29, 2006 9:53 PM (e)

Some of the folks here may have watched Richard Dawkin’s talk at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, VA. During the Q&A session at the end of his talk, Dawkins was challenged by a number of students from nearby Liberty “University”.

I don’t know if anyone on PT sensed the same thing I did, but listening to the Liberty students was almost like watching someone defecating on a public street corner. I don’t think the Liberty students were aware of how much they were embarrassing themselves in spite of the snickers from the rest of the audience.

It seems that Brad has been immersed in some of the same crap that the Liberty students are. It points up the difficulties the scientific community has in trying to educate people who have been so thoroughly intimidated into fleeing from learning by their religious handlers. They no longer seem to have the will or the ability to tackle challenging ideas. Then we are seen as the cruel ones when we take them to task for their scientific and philosophical pretensions while at the same time trying to push them to get off their duffs and start doing some serious investigating and learning.

Handling them gently simply panders to the state they are already in, yet being tough on them merely elicits the kind of self-pity Brad exhibits. It is still a long road ahead.

Comment #147405

Posted by Brad on November 29, 2006 10:46 PM (e)

Ok this is a summary…

I started by saying “Is there room for compromise?”

People here said “hell no!”

I said “Oh… well there are unknowns in evolution and there are knowns is ID… doesn’t that leave some room for openness? There are still big questions.”

People here said “Like What?”

I offered some weak ones, hoping to get some direction on where the unknown areas were and to get some answers for myself. Some people provided me with good answers. But…

Many here thought I was attacking them. Called me an IDiot, told me I’m ignorant, swallowing ID’s hooks and wallowing in self pity. The argument turned into 1. why evolution is true (which I never denied) and 2. why I’m so ignorant about science (I never claimed to be a professional) when the argument started out as “is there room for compromise?”

Glen D. I choose not to respond to you for three reasons 1. this argument is not about proving or disproving evolution, which you seemed to think it was 2. If that were the argument then I would neither want to or be capable of participating in it. 3. You’re a total asshole!

I would like to bring it back to what I was intending, this… Everyone said “Like what?” when I said there were unknowns, as though there are none. Are there no more unknowns? I believe that there are not only unknowns but unknowables. Is this not true? An infinitely complex universe can’t be scribed out in outline format. Or am I going to be accused of steeling that from the ID people. Just asking. Please be civil. Once again, not a scientist, not an IDiot, not attacking evolution, just curious.

Comment #147406

Posted by richCares on November 29, 2006 11:14 PM (e)

Brad’s responses clearly show he has not read or understood any pf the comments made here. He has however hijacked this thread with his meaningles drivel. Once recognized, a troll should be ignored. Brad has no intention of learning or understanding ans those of you that took the time to help him have wasted your time.

all we got from Braad is a hijacked thread, no other gain
(reading his last response verifies that)

Comment #147494

Posted by Frank J on November 30, 2006 5:39 AM (e)

Brad wrote:

I am not an IDer. I don’t agree with Behe… I believe that Evolution is proven on the adaptation level.

Note how many ways that can be interpreted:

The “adaptation level” could mean that you fell for the micro/macro scam (& you hint at it elsewhere).

“I don’t agree with Behe” could mean that you deny common descent, even though he accepts it.

“I am not an IDer” could mean that you are a YEC.

If this interpretation is grossly wrong, please clarify your position. A best guess will do.

As you have been told many times, no one denies that evolution has many unanswered questions. But even some of its chief opponents agree that “are humans related to broccoli?” is not one of them. OTOH, ID is a pure scam, and depends on ambiguous statements like yours. If you are truly not an IDer, you should have no problem clarifying.

Comment #147505

Posted by Brad on November 30, 2006 7:53 AM (e)

My position is that of a young curious agnostic (who doesn’t even know what YEC means!) And believes solely that there is an abundance of uncertainty in the universe. I don’t support either theory! There is no way to know everything… it’s impossible… the universe is infinite in complexity. That is the weak point of science which I was speaking. Science should be about the pursuit of truth, not truth itself. The second it becomes about truth itself it turns into just another ideology.

and thank you for saying… “As you have been told many times, no one denies that evolution has many unanswered questions.”

Thant solidifies my point. That’s all I wanted.

The paranoia shown to me here is like a war… “Don’t talk to him, he’s one of them! He doesn’t have the secret password!” Please!

Comment #147508

Posted by Tyrannosaurus on November 30, 2006 8:13 AM (e)

There are “just so stories” and then there are “just plain funny stories”. I know this might not be a fit for this thread but again, this is just plain funny. Taken from The Onion (www.theonion.com/)

Kansas Outlaws Practice Of Evolution
November 28, 2006 | Issue 42•48

TOPEKA, KS—In response to a Nov. 7 referendum, Kansas lawmakers passed emergency legislation outlawing evolution, the highly controversial process responsible for the development and diversity of species and the continued survival of all life.

Lawmakers decried spontaneous genetic mutations.
“From now on, the streets, forests, plains, and rivers of Kansas will be safe from the godless practice of evolution, and species will be able to procreate without deviating from God’s intended design,” said Bob Bethell, a member of the state House of Representatives. “This is about protecting the integrity of all creation.”

The new law prohibits all living beings within state borders from any willful adaptation to changing environmental conditions. In addition, it strictly limits any activity that may result in enhanced health or survival beyond the current average lifespan of their particular species.

Violators of the new law may face punishments that include jail time, stiff fines, and rehabilitative education and training to rid organisms suspected of evolutionary tendencies. Repeat offenders could face chemical sterilization.

To enforce the law, Kansas state police will be trained to investigate and apprehend organisms who exhibit suspected signs of evolutionary behavior, such as natural selection or speciation. Plans are underway to track and monitor DNA strands in every Kansan life form for even the slightest change in allele frequencies.

“Barn swallows that develop lighter, more streamlined builds to enable faster migration, for example, could live out the rest of their brief lives in prison,” said Indiana University chemist and pro-intelligent-design author Robert Hellenbaum, who helped compose the language of the law. “And butterflies who mimic the wing patterns and colors of other butterflies for an adaptive advantage, well, their days of flaunting God’s will are over.”

Human beings may be the species most deeply affected by the new legislation. Those whose cytochrome-c molecules vary less than 2 percent from those of chimpanzees will be in direct violation of the law.

Under particular scrutiny are single-cell microorganisms, with thousands of field labs being installed across the state to ensure that these self-replicating molecules, notorious for mutation, do not do so in a fashion benefitting their long-term survival.

Anti-evolutionists such as Hellenbaum have long accused microorganisms of popularizing “an otherwise obscure, agonizingly slow, and hard-to-understand” biological process. “These repeat offenders are at the root of the problem,” Hellenbaum said. “We have the fossil records to prove it.”

“No species is exempt,” said Marcus Holloway, a state police spokesman. “Whether you’re a human being or a fruit fly—if we detect one homologous chromosome trying to cross over during the process of meiosis, you will be punished to the full extent of the law.”

Although the full impact of the new law will likely not be felt for approximately 10 million years, most Kansans say they are relieved that the ban went into effect this week, claiming that evolution may have gone too far already.

“If Earth’s species were meant to change over successive generations through physical modifications resulting from the adaptation to environmental challenges, then God would have given them the genetic predisposition to select mates and reproduce based on their favorable heritable traits and their ability to thrive under changing conditions so that these advantageous qualities would be passed down and eventually encoded into the DNA of each generation of offspring,” Olathe public school teacher and creationist Joyce Eckhardt said. “It’s just not natural.”

Some warn that the strict wording of the law could have a deleterious effect on Kansas’ mostly agricultural economy, since it also prohibits all forms of man-made artificial selection, such as plant hybridization, genetic engineering, and animal husbandry. A police raid on an alleged artificial-insemination facility outside McPherson, KS on Friday resulted in the arrest of a farmer, a veterinarian, four assistants, one bull, and several dozen cows.

Agribusiness leaders, who rely on evolution science to genetically modify crops, have voiced concerns about doing business with Kansas farmers.

“If Kansans want to ban evolution, that is their right, but they must understand that we rely on a certain flexibility in the natural order of things to be able to deliver healthy food products to millions of Americans,” said Carl Casale, a vice president with the agricultural giant Monsanto. “We’re not talking about playing God here. We are talking about succeeding in the competitive veggie-burger market.”

Comment #147515

Posted by KL on November 30, 2006 9:18 AM (e)

Hey, Brad, take some advice from a fellow learner:

Go to www.talkorigins.org. Read as much as you can, starting from the basics of what science is. You are right in one statement, science is not about the Truth, it is about the search. However, it is not about the search for the Truth. Science is about gathering information, organizing that information, coming up for explanations that fit, and then gathering more information. Theories are developed that explain the information, but must be modified to fit new information.

ID is not a scientific theory because a) it does not fit the evidence b) relies on forces/explanations outside that of science. (the “intelligence, as you were). Behe’s examples have been explained using evolutionary mechanisms. In spite of that, he won’t let it go. It has been shown over and over that ID is religious apologetics, pushed by political reasons into the public domain. One does not shift a established scientific paradigm unless one has a better paradigm that fits all the evidence and provides new evidence that the old paradigm cannot answer. ID has not done this, and no work currently is being done by anyone. One does not shift the paradigm using public opinion, either. Science is about scientific consensus under its own strict rules, not public consensus.

The regular posters here have explained this over and over to people who appear on this blog. When the conversation shifts away from science and tries to bring in the philosophical, religious, fantastical, superstitious, etc., they get a bit impatient. They also are life-time learners themselves, and want others who are truly interested to do their homework, to read scientific sites, and to avoid accepting information as “Truth” from sources that have agendas that are not scientific, such as political or religious sites. Also, they like to see people be skeptical of any new claims until the evidence from multiple sources finally fully backs it, and those who are experts have their chance to evaluate it.

If you really are a troll, this (rather lengthy) post will bounce off. If you are not, perhaps you will begin a terrific journey into the realm of science, something I have enjoyed since high school. It’s exciting and there’s more out there than anyone can learn in a lifetime.

Comment #147523

Posted by Glen Davidson on November 30, 2006 9:57 AM (e)

Glen D. I choose not to respond to you for three reasons

WTF? You “choose” not to respond to me, as you respond with your typical dishonesty and stupidity. God you’re dumb!

1. this argument is not about proving or disproving evolution, which you seemed to think it was

Your idiocy blinds you to the fact that the only issue is evolutionary explanation. “Design” isn’t an evolutionary explanation, it’s an abrogation of all explanation.

2. If that were the argument then I would neither want to or be capable of participating in it.

You’ve proven yourself incapable of any intelligent discussion.

3. You’re a total asshole!

OK, so I answered you, while noting how very ignorant and dishonest you are. Instead of refuting my points, you merely call names, like the moron that you are. Wow, you can write “asshole”. Too bad you can’t do anything more intelligent than that, cretin. You’re too dumb even to recognize that you responded to me when you said that you “choose not to”. Speaking of really stupid assholes….

Go to school for about ten years, and then you might begin to be able to do something more than write “asshole”, you retard.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #147524

Posted by Glen Davidson on November 30, 2006 10:08 AM (e)

Brad’s responses clearly show he has not read or understood any pf the comments made here. He has however hijacked this thread with his meaningles drivel. Once recognized, a troll should be ignored. Brad has no intention of learning or understanding ans those of you that took the time to help him have wasted your time.

all we got from Braad is a hijacked thread, no other gain
(reading his last response verifies that)

Yes, in truth I have never understood why people ever begin to be civil to people who can merely drool out IDist/creationist BS, while claiming to be “curious”, “agnostic”, or some such thing. Not that I’m saying that there’s anything wrong with being polite, but it is a waste of time when one spots the AFDaves and the Brads, who want to bring up “questions” that they don’t begin to understand, and who can’t even understand the answers that they are given (it’s not easy to “answer” him at all, since he doesn’t deal with “our pathetic level of detail”, or any detail at all).

Brad can’t write competently, he can’t understand what we tell him, and he doesn’t even have a decent command of ID. All he does is to blame others and to whine about how his idiocy is treated, after he came in here pronouncing his “certainties” as if he were some expert (now he whines that “he’s not a scientist”). True, we’re going to have to begin to ignore the mindless fool.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #147538

Posted by Frank J on November 30, 2006 11:07 AM (e)

Brad wrote:

My position is that of a young curious agnostic (who doesn’t even know what YEC means!)

Young Earth Creationist, which is one who thinks life is only a few 1000 years old, and that species (or other undefined “kinds”) do not share common ancestors. Do you find that “theory” more ore less plausible than “descent with modification over ~4 billion years”? Note that the latter includes Behe’s position as well as that of mainstream science.

Brad wrote:

and thank you for saying… “As you have been told many times, no one denies that evolution has many unanswered questions.”

And admits it. But unlike ID, evolution does not evade or bait-and-switch the questions. So again, without referring to what you find wrong with - or don’t understand about - evolution, what is your “best guess” about the history of life in terms of age and relatedness of species?

Comment #147556

Posted by Brad on November 30, 2006 1:35 PM (e)

“When the conversation shifts away from science and tries to bring in the philosophical, etc., they get a bit impatient.”

Thanks KL for the patient words.

Comment #147561

Posted by Anti Krebs on November 30, 2006 1:54 PM (e)

Just so.

Comment #147562

Posted by GuyeFaux on November 30, 2006 2:02 PM (e)

When the conversation shifts away from science and tries to bring in the philosophical, etc., they get a bit impatient.

Thanks KL for the patient words.

So will you heed KL’s patient words and actually learn something before you tell other how they ought to be?

Comment #147590

Posted by Richard Simons on November 30, 2006 5:11 PM (e)

Brad:

You complain that I haven’t been helpful. I tried, honest. But to be blunt, the first of your postings that I responded to had some rather bizarre statements in it (e.g. primordial soup having notions of evolving). You had already referred to ‘faith based portions of evolution theory’ which I asked you to clarify. Your response was to say that there are HUGE questions (your emphasis).

Since then you have failed to tell us what these huge questions are. I suspect you feel I have been unhelpful because I have been pressing you on this point. Since then you have said

I offered some weak ones, hoping to get some direction on where the unknown areas were and to get some answers for myself. Some people provided me with good answers. But…

If you had started like this, by saying you had heard there were large questions and was that the case, you would have had a different experience.

In future, be warned that if you have the arrogance to say that there are HUGE questions about some area of science of which you are almost completely ignorant, be prepared to justify it or to be treated like an utter fool.

Comment #147605

Posted by Brad on November 30, 2006 5:21 PM (e)

“So will you heed KL’s patient words and actually learn something before you tell other how they ought to be?”

It’s not me who is telling people how they “ought” to be. I did say science should leave room for uncertainty… which many here agreed with. I doubt everything and I treat the objective as I do the subjective… people can’t handle that.

Comment #147607

Posted by Brad on November 30, 2006 5:37 PM (e)

Ok, Richard and everyone.

The HUGE questions that I’ve referred to have been brought up as “abiogenisis” I did not see this as a seperate field before this arguement. Thank you for letting me know. Logically this field would have no basis for observation. Am I right? If so, it is a subjective field.

Also, I’ve brought up the infinite complexity of the universe. Is it truly infinite? If it is then there must be questions.

When I said there were HUGE questions still out there… people responded by saying “like what?” at this point I should have just said “Oh, so you’ve got it all figured out?”

Comment #147608

Posted by Popper's Ghost on November 30, 2006 5:46 PM (e)

There is both a little bit of necessary faith in evolution theory and a little bit of science in ID. Why must everything be so dualistic? Folks here ignore most of the subjective and ID folks ignore most of the objective.

Surely it is your objective/subjective formulation that is “dualistic”. Science does not have dual subjective/objective natures, nor does it have dual evolution/ID natures; science is simply science, and the theory of evolution is one of its consequences, whereas ID is not one of its consequences (rather ID is a consequence of religious dogma, political ideology, and ignorance).

Unfortunately, Brad, you are writing on subjects of which you are ignorant, you aren’t intellectually honest, and you have poor analytical skills (these are not unrelated characteristics), and as a result you are wasting your own time and that of many others. You would do well to read and study more about evolution and science in general, and to expound less.

Comment #147609

Posted by Popper's Ghost on November 30, 2006 5:50 PM (e)

people can’t handle that

What people “can’t handle” is an arrogant and foolish ass who makes such sweeping ad hominem attacks. People like you who attack the entire community are, by definition, trolls. Go away.

Comment #147610

Posted by GuyeFaux on November 30, 2006 5:56 PM (e)

So you said this to some scientists:

… what you’re really failing to realize is that there is a fair amount of unknowable ‘subjective´ stuff in evolution theory (such as much of macro-evolution¥ most of which is non-falsifiable) And a possible point of compromise would be to fill in the unknowable with at least a tolerance for some aspects of ID.

Sounds like you’re telling people how they ought to do science. Yeah, I guess people can’t handle that.

Also, you made an arse-load of misrepresentations and insinuations, none of which have been backed up.

Here’s a sampling of how you think science ought to be conducted:

To rule out logic and philosophy in ardent pursuit of scientific data will get a person nowhere.

[High school science classes] show the students the “well-accepted science observations” then they take ownership of the gray areas too.

Is there no room for doubt and true curiosity in this world?

Anyway none of this is provable. None of it falsifiable. All I want is for someone to admit that there is doubt involved.

think science should be about doubt and uncertainty and the pursuit of truth rather than the espousing of static truths and the inference of dynamic ones in their absence. Once things are assumed to be certain (as they are on this website and on opposing creationist websites) no progress is made.

It just seems as though most of the comments on this site don’t allow room for uncertainty.

Good cause practice of science is inherently about being not sure of anything.

And some stupid crap about evolution, none of which is backed up:

[Evolution] can’t answer the tough questions either. Evolution theory attempts to claim ownership of these questionmarks (sic) on the subject… it wants to extend what is (adaptation) into what it wishes ought (big unprovables) (sic).

Your (sic) saying that the soup had a function built into it that called for it to adapt. I think that is just as far out on a limb as anything I’ve ever heard from ID.

My point is that evolution theory won’t admit that it don’t (sic) have all the answers and con’t (sic) concede anything. Science should be about doubt not certainty.

Evolution seems only to effect only organic structures. I don’t see any evolving rocks or adapting chemicals out there.

And attempting to move the goalpost:

My argument is not a scientific one but rather a question of the philosphy of science.

Comment #147611

Posted by Popper's Ghost on November 30, 2006 5:59 PM (e)

My position is that of a young curious agnostic (who doesn’t even know what YEC means!)

Either you’re lying or you don’t know what “google” means, either. Perhaps you are so wedded to being curious that you avoid all means of satisfying your curiosity; that might explain your appalling ignorance – but not your belief that you know better than those who aren’t ignorant.

Comment #147612

Posted by Popper's Ghost on November 30, 2006 6:21 PM (e)

The IDers’ use of the term “just-so story” is indeed vacuous, but it should be noted that biologists have occasionally used the same phrase to criticize each other’s evolutionary narratives.

But it should be noted how they justify the use of that phrase:

This ranks as pure guesswork in the cocktail party mode; Wright presents no neurological evidence of a brain module for sweetness, and no paleontological data about ancestral feeding.

The numerous papers that Behe waves away are not evidence-free coktail party guesswork, and thus they are not “just-so stories”.

A good example of a just-so story is the recent paper that claimed that life on Earth necessarily arose because the environment was supersaturated with energy, much like lightning must result from a lightning cloud. It’s an ad hoc story crafted to fit the observed fact that there is life on Earth; it doesn’t flow from the facts. Notably, it doesn’t explain why there is life on Earth but not, say, on Mars – what are the salient facts about the Earth that distinguish it, such that we would predict life on Earth even if we didn’t already know of it? The theory implies that, because there is no life on Mars, there never was – not such a satisfying or obvious conclusion. That’s bad science, but the work that Behe and the rest of the IDiots dismiss is not.

Comment #147640

Posted by stevaroni on November 30, 2006 9:36 PM (e)

Brad,

It’s good to see that you’re still hanging around, and it seem that things have moderated on both sides a little.

But you still never found your compromise.

Problem is, you’re dealing with a subject were there’s not all that much room for a middle ground.

Its’ not like we’re discussing the politics of abortion, or the best path to peace in the Mideast.

These are subjects where there is no definitive answer to be found answer, and reasonable people can have differing opinions.

But biology isn’t like that. There are no competing valid viewpoints. There is only one answer, and the job is to find it..

Something happened long ago and it ought to be possible to figure out what that was, just as surely as it is possible to figure out a host of other mysteries that leave physical evidence.

Right now, it seems like there are really only two options; either we are the end product of a natural process or we are the end product of divine intervention. There simply is no middle ground.

And none of the available evidence points to the hand of God option.

The other side yells “teach the controversy” but there’s just no controversy to teach, because there just are no counterfacts on the ID side.

There’ s no fingerprint from the hand of God, and that’s a pretty damning fact since they ought to be all over everything but, as a species, we’ve been looking for 3000 years and still haven’t found a single one.

There’s some math that nobody aside from Dembski can demonstrate, and there’s Behe’s long-discredited analysis of the immune system, but there’s never been anything that anyone can verify.

Am I wrong? If so, show me. One single tiny bit of verifiable evidence. That’s not much to ask, is it?

Science, on the other hand, has lots of evidence, since answering questions by assembling physical evidence is what science is all about.

In many ways, it’s like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle. It’s challenging puzzle, to be sure, especially since we don’t have the box cover, the pieces are spread all over the house, and it’s likely some pieces have been lost forever.

And just like a puzzle, in the beginning, it’s tough to tell what you have. Could be polar bears in the snow, could be tropical islands, or maybe autumn in new england.

And the few pieces you have don’t help much.

What’s this one? May be be a coconut, or maybe a polar bear’s eyeball. Can’t tell yet.

But the pieces keep turning up, and once you get enough, they start fitting together, and the picture starts resolving itself.

Any you might never have every detail, but sooner or later, you know you’ve got the tropical islands and not the polar bears in the snow.

Yes, there are always some people who say “You can’t prove it’s not polar bears till you get every single piece. Technically true, I guess, but at some point the argument looses real-world credibility.

We still argue vigorously about how all the pieces might finally fit together, but all the pieces we have are the color of palm trees, surf, or sand.

Thing is, every single piece ever found leans toward evolution. Nobody has ever shown a piece that unambiguously demonstrates design.

Never.

That’s why there’ s not much tolerance in here for ID arguments, since most people who come here with stuff like that have lots of bluster but no working facts, since, of course, there are no actual facts to be had..

It’s not being contrary, or having a closed mind. It’s just that at some point, it feels like you’re standing in an airport with a guy who claims that heavier than air flight is impossible and, despite what you both see around you, you shouldn’t believe it for some obscure religious reason.

That’s why you walked into a free-fire zone.

But it ought to be obvious by now that plenty of people in here who will thoughtfully discuss this stuff all day so long as the discourse is logical, and polite.

Which is much more than you can say for the ID bulletin boards, where asking tough questions will get you banned forever.

So hang around and argue, you’re welcome, but try not to call people assholes. That’s not so helpful.

Comment #147647

Posted by PvM on December 1, 2006 1:00 AM (e)

I did say science should leave room for uncertainty… which many here agreed with. I doubt everything and I treat the objective as I do the subjective… people can’t handle that.

Perhaps you may start by doubting yourself? And before you visit a site next time, you may prefer a more suitable approach?

Comment #147667

Posted by Joe G on December 1, 2006 7:32 AM (e)

And notice how ID activists insist that detection of ID is separate from identification of the ‘designer’.

Of course it is and reality supports that. The ONLY way to make ANY determination about the designer or the specific process involved, in the absence of direct observation or designer input, is by studying the design in question.

Abiogenesis and evolution are separated even though the origin of living organisms directly impacts any subsequent evolution-? That is because if living organisms did not arise from non-living matter via stochastic/ blind wathmaker-type processes there would be no reason to infer the subsequent diversity arose solely due to those types of processes.

As for ID being an “argument from ignorance”- quite the opposite. ID is based on what we know about designing agencies coupled with what we know about what nature, operating freely, is capable of.

Now if one wants to falsify ID all one has to do is show that nature, operating freely, can account for itself and the laws that govern it, as well as accounting for living organisms arising from non-living matter. Do that and ID falls.

As for the “evolution” of the immune system- I hope the same tactic used in Dover is used the next time- and there will be a next time- because further research has shown the references used do not suport the anti-ID claims. The debate is not about “evolution”, it is about the mechanism(s). For example the immune system could have been designed to evolve. (see SciAms feb 2003 “Evolving Inventions”)

Comment #147671

Posted by GuyeFaux on December 1, 2006 9:15 AM (e)

(This is a total aside, since Stevaroni’s post was well on the mark.)

I’m sure this has been addressed before, but is this really true?

stevaroni wrote:

Right now, it seems like there are really only two options; either we are the end product of a natural process or we are the end product of divine intervention. There simply is no middle ground.

And none of the available evidence points to the hand of God option.

We dislike “Poof” because it’s outside the realm of science, and not because it has no evidence in its favor. I.e. the evidence doesn’t matter one way or the other.

Comment #147672

Posted by B. Spitzer on December 1, 2006 9:30 AM (e)

And notice how ID activists insist that detection of ID is separate from identification of the ‘designer’.

Of course it is and reality supports that.

Many mainstream branches of science deal with “design” in one form or another– forensics, archaeology, etc. None of these branches of science separate the detection of design from the identification of the designer.

Abiogenesis and evolution are separated even though the origin of living organisms directly impacts any subsequent evolution-? That is because if living organisms did not arise from non-living matter via stochastic/ blind wathmaker-type processes there would be no reason to infer the subsequent diversity arose solely due to those types of processes.

Below, you state that the immune system “could have been designed to evolve”. Could the first organisms have been designed to evolve? In that case, the inference that biological diversity is due to natural processes (evolution) would be correct despite the fact that living organisms did not arise via stochastic/ blind-watchmaker processes.

In other words, you provide a logical counterexample to your own claim.

As for ID being an “argument from ignorance”- quite the opposite. ID is based on what we know about designing agencies coupled with what we know about what nature, operating freely, is capable of.

And what do we know about the “design agency” behind biology? According to ID, it is an unknown entity with unknown abilities, unspecified motivations, and unknown limitations, which acted at some unspecified time and place on some biological structures or functions (we’re not sure which exactly) by unknown methods. Is that not ignorance?

And how do we know this designer was responsible? Every ID argument I’ve ever seen proceeds by trying to rule out all known natural causes– in short, by saying “We don’t know of any natural mechanism that could have done this.”

There isn’t anything to ID arguments but ignorance. I’ve seen claims that ID is based on positive argumentation, but these “positive” arguments always boil down to “We don’t know how this pattern arose, therefore design.”

Now if one wants to falsify ID all one has to do is show that nature, operating freely, can account for itself and the laws that govern it, as well as accounting for living organisms arising from non-living matter. Do that and ID falls.

Except that when ID is falsified in one instance– for example, when it was demonstrated that the blood-clotting cascade could have evolved– its proponents merely abandon that particular instance and argue about another one instead. “All one has to do” to falsify ID is to demonstrate the origin of every biological structure and function on this planet.

I hope the same tactic used in Dover is used the next time

So do we, Joe.

the immune system could have been designed to evolve.

In that case, is there any feature, on any organism, that could not have been designed?

That’s why we claim that ID isn’t falsifiable.

If ID proponents were serious about science, they would be trying to formulate falsifiable hypotheses based on ID. After twenty years, I think it’s fair to call a spade a spade: ID was a hoax.

Comment #147673

Posted by GuyeFaux on December 1, 2006 9:55 AM (e)

For example the immune system could have been designed to evolve. (see SciAms feb 2003 “Evolving Inventions”)

That article, the whole of which is not available without a paid subscription, is about the capabilities of genetic algorithms. I highly doubt that anything in that article supports your claim. If you think otherwise, please provide an in context quote.

Comment #147675

Posted by hooligans on December 1, 2006 10:02 AM (e)

What I find so interesting about your post, Joe G, is that your entire post hinges on accepting the notion that living organisms and all of their complexity could NOT have arisen through natural processes.

Why would any rational person assume intelligent design, when they had not yet been able to sort out which features are designed and which ones are not? Haven’t your noticed that each time one of ID’s big shots goes out on limb and states this or that could not have evolved, they get shot down? Furthermore, when the features that were presumed to be designed (flagellum, immune system, eye, etc) were later shown to be the product of natural processes wouldn’t a person reevaluate their original hypothesis? Please Joe G, choose a feature and PROVE it is designed. Please show how it isn’t the product of natural processes. So far your sources are not even close to convincing.

Comment #147676

Posted by hooligans on December 1, 2006 10:05 AM (e)

What I find so interesting about your post, Joe G, is that your entire post hinges on accepting the notion that living organisms and all of their complexity could NOT have arisen through natural processes.

Why would any rational person assume intelligent design, when they had not yet been able to sort out which features are designed and which ones are not? Haven’t you noticed that each time one of ID’s big shots goes out on limb and states this or that could not have evolved, they get shot down? Furthermore, when the features that were presumed to be designed (flagellum, immune system, eye, etc) were later shown to be the product of natural processes wouldn’t a person reevaluate their original hypothesis? Please Joe G, choose a feature and PROVE it is designed. Please show how it isn’t the product of natural processes. So far your sources are not even close to convincing.

Comment #147680

Posted by Joe G on December 1, 2006 10:45 AM (e)

hool:
What I find so interesting about your post, Joe G, is that your entire post hinges on accepting the notion that living organisms and all of their complexity could NOT have arisen through natural processes.

Both intelligence and design are natural, ie they both exist in nature. And complexity is just part of the equation.

And again the debate is NOT about “evolution”. And IC does NOT say that X could not have evolved. It is the MECHANISM. And yes design is a mechanism- just get a dictionary and look up the words “design” and “mechanism”.

The SciAm article “Evolving Inventions” is all about goal-oriented programs, which in the end all GAs are.

Comment #147682

Posted by gwangung on December 1, 2006 10:52 AM (e)

Both intelligence and design are natural, ie they both exist in nature. And complexity is just part of the equation.

Methinks you’re mixing metaphors here. And your thinking here is a mite muddy.

Comment #147683

Posted by Joe G on December 1, 2006 10:54 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'i'

Comment #147684

Posted by stevaroni on December 1, 2006 10:56 AM (e)

GuyeFaux writes

We dislike “Poof” because it’s outside the realm of science, and not because it has no evidence in its favor. I.e. the evidence doesn’t matter one way or the other.

True enough, Guye.

The problem with “poof”, in all its various flavors is, of course, that it’s pretty useless.

Practically speaking, you can’t do anything with “and then some magic happens”. You can’t prove it you can’t apply it (because you can’t repeat it) and you can’t even disprove it because it leaves no trace.

From the point of view of science, this is the kiss of death, with garlic and onions to boot, and most rational people here pretty much acknowledge that, if only tacitly.

The other side, unfortunately, clings to “poof” tenaciously, since it’s the ultimate fallback and frankly, fallback is the only thing they have; witness JoeG this morning…

the immune system could have been designed to evolve

Let’s face it, this is nothing more than a cop-out, right up there with “God planned everything so it would evolve”. Anything to preserve a shred of doubt, anything to keep the ember of “controversy” alive, so there’s something to teach.

ID wants to paint the issue as a he said / she said, since that plays on people’s sense of fairness.

In response, I always try to point out that in the real world, we deal with he says / she says all the time. And the way we do it is with evidence.

If you and I go in front of Judge Judy and you say I owe you money, and I say I don’t, that’s a he said, she said and there’s not good answer. But if you say I owe you money, and I pull out the original signed contract, a receipt for payment, and a photocopy of the cancelled check, then that’s a completely different story.

It now becomes incumbent on you to “meet my pathetic level of detail”, to borrow an infamous phrase.

That’s why I keep hammering on the “no evidence” side of the argument.

I find that a calmly done “Just the facts, Maam” argument works best with scientific laypeople, because it demonstrates the total vacuity of the ID side

“Show me the money. Some money. Any money. A subway token. Anything” is something people can understand better than going into the subtleties of what makes for good scientific method. That’s important to be sure, but also makes for a big dose of eyes-glazed-over.

Comment #147685

Posted by Joe G on December 1, 2006 10:57 AM (e)

B:
Many mainstream branches of science deal with “design” in one form or another– forensics, archaeology, etc. None of these branches of science separate the detection of design from the identification of the designer.

Yes they do for the reason provided:

The ONLY way to make ANY determination about the designer or the specific process involved, in the absence of direct observation or designer input, is by studying the design in question.

B:
Below, you state that the immune system “could have been designed to evolve”. Could the first organisms have been designed to evolve? In that case, the inference that biological diversity is due to natural processes (evolution) would be correct despite the fact that living organisms did not arise via stochastic/ blind-watchmaker processes.

If they were “designed to evolve” then it ID not NDE. And again “natural” has nothing to do with it.

B:
And what do we know about the “design agency” behind biology? According to ID, it is an unknown entity with unknown abilities, unspecified motivations, and unknown limitations, which acted at some unspecified time and place on some biological structures or functions (we’re not sure which exactly) by unknown methods. Is that not ignorance?

It is ignorance and that also demonstrates why we need science- to answer those questions. However ignorance about a designer or a process does not equate to total ignorance. For example almost 150 years after “On the Origins of Species…” was published you still can’t account for the differences observed between chimps and humans.

B:
Except that when ID is falsified in one instance– for example, when it was demonstrated that the blood-clotting cascade could have evolved– its proponents merely abandon that particular instance and argue about another one instead. “All one has to do” to falsify ID is to demonstrate the origin of every biological structure and function on this planet.

Wishful thinking and speculations do not refute anything.

B:
In that case, is there any feature, on any organism, that could not have been designed?

Dr Behe:

Intelligent design is a good explanation for a number of biochemical systems, but I should insert a word of caution. Intelligent design theory has to be seen in context: it does not try to explain everything. We live in a complex world where lots of different things can happen. When deciding how various rocks came to be shaped the way they are a geologist might consider a whole range of factors: rain, wind, the movement of glaciers, the activity of moss and lichens, volcanic action, nuclear explosions, asteroid impact, or the hand of a sculptor. The shape of one rock might have been determined primarily by one mechanism, the shape of another rock by another mechanism.

Similarly, evolutionary biologists have recognized that a number of factors might have affected the development of life: common descent, natural selection, migration, population size, founder effects (effects that may be due to the limited number of organisms that begin a new species), genetic drift (spread of “neutral,” nonselective mutations), gene flow (the incorporation of genes into a population from a separate population), linkage (occurrence of two genes on the same chromosome), and much more. The fact that some biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent does not mean that any of the other factors are not operative, common, or important.

Comment #147687

Posted by GuyeFaux on December 1, 2006 11:02 AM (e)

The SciAm article “Evolving Inventions” is all about goal-oriented programs, which in the end all GAs are.

So why did you reference it?

And, no. Most genetic algorithms (Dawkins’ Weasel, and other academic exercises excluded) have no stated goal. This is a pretty old canard that has been refuted. In particular, the GAs that were mentioned in the article invented solutions to problems which were equal to or better than the human-designed solutions.

If you think that presenting the problem to an agent (GA or human being) is tantamount to handing them the solution, I have a bridge to sell you.

Comment #147688

Posted by Joe G on December 1, 2006 11:12 AM (e)

GF:
In particular, the GAs that were mentioned in the article invented solutions to problems which were equal to or better than the human-designed solutions.

Goals- specified goals. And when you can demonstrate an algorithm, any algorithm, arising without the aid of an intelligent agency please let me know.

To Steveroni,

How is just saying “it evolved” NOT a cop-out?

And what, exactly, is the materialstic alternative to ID if not sheer-dumb-luck? (that is from the laws that govern this physical realm to our own existence)

Do you guys even understand what is being debated? Methinks you do not and instead have erected and worship a strawman. The strawman that was erecetd and ruled against in Dover.

Comment #147689

Posted by GuyeFaux on December 1, 2006 11:13 AM (e)

Please rewrite your post so it makes sense. Your verbiage is confusing enough without the strange formatting.

Comment #147690

Posted by GuyeFaux on December 1, 2006 11:26 AM (e)

And when you can demonstrate an algorithm, any algorithm, arising without the aid of an intelligent agency please let me know.

1) The way spiders make their webs requires an algorithm.

2) Random mutation plus selective reproduction is an optimization algorithm found in nature. No need for intelligent agency.

Goals- specified goals.

Thank you for repeating yourself. Let me then repeat myself: Most GAs are only given problems to solve. The solution is never specified.

The strawman that was erecetd and ruled against in Dover.

Since you seem to be an expert ID-er, pray tell, what is ID?

Comment #147691

Posted by hooligans on December 1, 2006 11:29 AM (e)

Joe G cites Dr. Behe as saying, “The fact that some biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent does not mean that any of the other factors are not operative, common, or important.”

What is funny is that all of the other methods Dr. Behe mentioned can be observed and/or tested, but the one he says is factual (intelligent design) is the one that can’t be observed and/or tested. So, Joe, why would Behe lump together an unobserved, untested, unfounded idea like ID in a group of theories/facts that are well tested and /or observed? Seems to me he made an illogical leap of faith.

Furthermore, you responded to my earlier post by saying that , “Both intelligence and design are natural, ie they both exist in nature.” Duhhh, I wasn’t talking about intelligence and design, I was talking about the Intelligent Designer that is supposedly responsible for all these IC systems that are supposedly all over the place. Isn’t the whole point of your design detection to detect the hand of an Intelligent Designer? Your not testing for intelligence and your not testing for design separately! Your testing for evidence of Intelligent Design! If you determine that humans display intelligence does that prove an intelligent designer created the biological complexity on earth? If you prove that humans can design stuff, does that prove an intelligent designer created the biological complexity on earth? NO!

Comment #147692

Posted by B. Spitzer on December 1, 2006 11:42 AM (e)

I’m sorry, JoeG, but you really haven’t addressed my objections. I’ll try to explain more clearly where you need to provide additional information.

B:
Many mainstream branches of science deal with “design” in one form or another– forensics, archaeology, etc. None of these branches of science separate the detection of design from the identification of the designer.

Yes they do for the reason provided:

The ONLY way to make ANY determination about the designer or the specific process involved, in the absence of direct observation or designer input, is by studying the design in question.

Please give me an example of an accepted, mainstream science in which design inferences are drawn without any information about the nature, abilities, limitations, or motivations of the designer.

B:
Below, you state that the immune system “could have been designed to evolve”. Could the first organisms have been designed to evolve? In that case, the inference that biological diversity is due to natural processes (evolution) would be correct despite the fact that living organisms did not arise via stochastic/ blind-watchmaker processes.

If they were “designed to evolve” then it ID not NDE. And again “natural” has nothing to do with it.

You seem to be saying that, if something is “designed to evolve”, then what happens to it subsequently is not evolution. Forgive me, but this does not seem coherent. If life was “designed to evolve”, its origin would be ID and its subsequent diversification would be NDE. If this is incorrect, please explain why.

B:
And what do we know about the “design agency” behind biology? According to ID, it is an unknown entity with unknown abilities, unspecified motivations, and unknown limitations, which acted at some unspecified time and place on some biological structures or functions (we’re not sure which exactly) by unknown methods. Is that not ignorance?

It is ignorance and that also demonstrates why we need science- to answer those questions. However ignorance about a designer or a process does not equate to total ignorance. For example almost 150 years after “On the Origins of Species…” was published you still can’t account for the differences observed between chimps and humans.

If ID provides something other than “total ignorance” about the designer, please explain what that something is.

B:
Except that when ID is falsified in one instance– for example, when it was demonstrated that the blood-clotting cascade could have evolved– its proponents merely abandon that particular instance and argue about another one instead. “All one has to do” to falsify ID is to demonstrate the origin of every biological structure and function on this planet.

Wishful thinking and speculations do not refute anything.

Speculations refute a great deal, in this case. Behe’s original claim was that no possible stepwise pathway led to the blood-clotting cascade– not even a speculative pathway. His claim to have proven “design” hinged on the claim that no possible pathway exists. And this latter claim was proven false.

B:
In that case, is there any feature, on any organism, that could not have been designed?

The quote you provided from Dr. Behe does not answer this question. Please answer it. If your answer is “yes”, please give an example.

Comment #147693

Posted by stevaroni on December 1, 2006 11:42 AM (e)

To Steveroni,
How is just saying “it evolved” NOT a cop-out?

The problem, Joe, is that evolution has been observed and the mechanisms that drive it have been documented, both in the lab, and, more tellingly, in the historical record.

Aside from a fringe element that believes that Satan buried all those Pleistocene proto-horses and primitive whales for the express purpose of deceiving us, most people agree that the bones of those animals represent actual physical proof that substantially different critters once roamed the earth.

People may not agree on the details of dinosaur life, but it’s reasonable to extrapolate from their mortal remains that they did, at one point, actually exist.

It may be decades before the mechanisms of how streptococcus developed penicillin resistance are fully understood, but is demonstrable that some kind of genetic change allowed the development of MRSA superbugs.

There is hard evidence on the ground that evolution exists in some form.

I’ll say that again, for emphasis.

There is a natural mechanism that seems to be able to drive these sorts of change. We have documented it, and we have documented that it seems to be able to affect changes all by itself, without outside intervention.

Against truckfulls of bones and databases of genetic fingerprints, the design camp has an elegant argument, which boils down to substantially…

“Maybe magic happens, and you can’t prove that it doesn’t”

Technically true.

Totally useless.

But, believe it or not, Joe, I do have an open mind. All I ask, and it’s a small thing, is that you point me to one little piece of the natural world that had to be designed.

One little scrap of nature where the natural processes that we see all around us would have failed to do the deed.

That shouldn’t be that tough in a universe where every single atom was individually crafted by the hand of God.

He should have left one little fingerprint somewhere.

I’ll wait.

Comment #147697

Posted by stevaroni on December 1, 2006 12:13 PM (e)

To Steveroni,
How is just saying “it evolved” NOT a cop-out?

The problem, Joe, is that evolution has been observed and the mechanisms that drive it have been documented, both in the lab, and, more tellingly, in the historical record.

Aside from a fringe element that believes that Satan buried all those Pleistocene proto-horses and primitive whales for the express purpose of deceiving us, most people agree that the bones of those animals represent actual physical proof that substantially different critters once roamed the earth.

People may not agree on the details of dinosaur life, but it’s reasonable to extrapolate from their mortal remains that they did, at one point, actually exist.

It will be decades before the mechanisms of how streptococcus developed penicillin resistance are fully understood, but is demonstrable that some kind of genetic change allowed normal strep to become MRSA superbugs.

There is hard evidence on the ground that evolution exists in some form.

I’ll say that again, for emphasis.

There is a natural mechanism that seems to be able to drive these sorts of change. We have documented it, and we have documented that it seems to be able to affect changes all by itself, without outside intervention.

Against truckfulls of bones and databases of genetic fingerprints, the design camp has an elegant argument, which boils down to substantially…

“Maybe magic happens, and you can’t prove that it doesn’t”

Technically true.

Totally useless.

But, believe it or not, Joe, I do have an open mind. All I ask, and it’s a small thing, is that you point me to one little piece of the natural world that had to be designed.

One little scrap of nature where the natural processes that we see all around us would have failed.

That shouldn’t be that tough in a universe where every single atom was individually crafted by the hand of God.

He should have left one little fingerprint somewhere.

And what, exactly, is the materialstic alternative to ID if not sheer-dumb-luck?

But that’s the whole point of the thing!

Sheer dumb luck is the explanation!

Random chance is perfectly adequate to explain how the natural world works.

How do you pick the atoms you draw in with every breath? You don’t. Whatever oxygen molecules are handy will do just fine.

How do you decide which serial numbers you need for the bills in your wallet? You don’t. Whatever you get in change at the donut shop is good enough.

How does nature decide which animals get the privilege of breeding? She doesn’t. Whichever animals escape predators longer gets to pass on its genes.

You’re still working with the idea that there’s something special about you, that somehow nature called you into existence on purpose.

There’s not, and she didn’t.

You, and I, and all of us, were just the lucky sperm that won the lottery. The other 20 million were the losers.

The hand of God is simply not required to make this material world run.

Comment #147698

Posted by mark on December 1, 2006 12:15 PM (e)

The HUGE questions that I’ve referred to have been brought up as “abiogenisis”

Given that there is life, reproducing according to a mutable set of instructions and with differing success according to how well individuals can eat and find mates, evolution will occur regardless of how life originated. But since you mention it, there is an article describing yet more research on the question of life’s origins published in Science, 27 October 2006:
“{alpha}-Hydroxy and {alpha}-Amino Acids Under Possible Hadean, Volcanic Origin-of-Life Conditions” by Claudia Huber and Gunter Wachtershauser.

from the abstract wrote:

To test the theory of a chemoautotrophic origin of life in a volcanic, hydrothermal setting, we explored mechanisms for the buildup of bio-organic compounds by carbon fixation on catalytic transition metal precipitates. We report the carbon monoxide–dependent formation of carbon-fixation products, including an ordered series of {alpha}-hydroxy and {alpha}-amino acids …[snip]… The results narrow the gap between biochemistry and volcanic geochemistry and open a new gateway for the exploration of a volcanic, hydrothermal origin of life.

Not “all the answers,” but honest scientific research contributing to our understanding of the world.

Comment #147699

Posted by stevaroni on December 1, 2006 12:27 PM (e)

Joe G;

Oops, server burp. My full response to you is in Comment #147697, comment Comment #147693 somehow hiccuped out of the spell-check page. It was a draft and missed your second question.

Comment #147710

Posted by GuyeFaux on December 1, 2006 1:04 PM (e)

Sorry, Stevaroni, I’ve got another nit which I’ll pick:

Sheer dumb luck is the explanation!

Random chance is perfectly adequate to explain how the natural world works.

Natural selection is *not* dumb luck. Random mutation is.

Evolution is surprising in that beneficial alleles tend to increase in the population whereas deleterious alleles tend to decrease. So dumb luck has a part to play in the process, but evolution is anything but a blind process.

Comment #147725

Posted by fnxtr on December 1, 2006 4:34 PM (e)

I thought this might be apropos here:

http://www.webamused.com/blogosophy/archives/002064.html

heh heh

Comment #147753

Posted by Henry J on December 1, 2006 8:05 PM (e)

Re “From the point of view of science, this is the kiss of death, with garlic and onions to boot,”

But I like garlic and onions (well, depending on what they’re on). :)

Henry

Comment #147781

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 2, 2006 6:56 AM (e)

It’s a never ending theme, discussion for the next millenium. It’s about taking sides.

As an example, a Biology professor specialized in Cyanobacteria (ultimate Extremophiles) that held my Astrobiology classes was a Godly woman with strong Christian rhetoric. With great enthusiasm she talked there must be life ‘out there’. I asked, since she knows what elements constitute life on Earth, whether she knows are those elements present, general atomic, molecular, chemical composition and aboundances in a near-by or any Star System from which life can arise, she said she doesn’t. If a person doesn’t take sides and believes in two opposite things, that’s a paradox.

Astrobiology by its nature is a none-Christian science, it searches for life beyond (and alternative to) the world of Adam and Eve, it strives and is driven to find traces of organic matter in distant planets’ atmospheres from which life and evolution can build upon. It may be the choice not to take sides or be paradoxical and stay neutral in just-so stories.

Comment #147791

Posted by Frank J on December 2, 2006 9:28 AM (e)

Brad, if you’re still here, regarding abiogenesis:

Don’t confuse the fact that abiogenesis occurred at least once by definition with details of how it occurred. There is not yet a theory of “how” but many promising hypotheses. “Evolutionists” are working on it - and admit what is not yet known - while anti-evolutionists are content to spin “impossibility” arguments, conflate it with evolution, and pretend that mainstream science necessarily rules out a designer’s involvement, which it does not.

What “evolutionists” have concluded beyond the trivial “by definition” is that abiogenesis occurred once, or at most a few times, all nearly 4 billion years ago. Michael Behe is one of the few anti-evolutionists who has publicly agreed with that part. I ask again, do you?

Most other anti-evolutionists state or imply that abiogenesis occurred many times, either off-and-on during the 4 billion years, or in the case of YECs, all at once ~6000 years ago. They have zero, repeat zero, evidence for the timeline, let alone mechanisms, and resort to the aforementioned conflation, and other word games to deflect attention from the flaws and contradictions.

If you are truly trying to learn, you might want to keep us posted as to your progress.

Comment #147801

Posted by Brad on December 2, 2006 10:41 AM (e)

“There is not yet a theory of “how” but many promising hypotheses. “Evolutionists” are working on it - and admit what is not yet known - [they] pretend that mainstream science necessarily rules out a designer’s involvement, which it does not.”

This is the kind of compromising attitude which I was originally inquiring about, it leaves room for doubt and inclusion, Thank you.

“I ask again, do you?”

I cannot yet answer that question. I will say that it seems plausible. But as I have said before I am an agnostic, let me be clear that I’m not just agnostic concerning God, but concerning Science as well which I’m sure is difficult for you to understand since you have “facts.” Observation I can be more certain of it’s models theories and concepts that I cannot.

“If you are truly trying to learn, you might want to keep us posted as to your progress.”

I fear that if my “learning” isn’t wholly in line with your accepted doctrine then it won’t be called learning.

I attempted to ask this question a few days ago (under a different name for fear of attack) and got blocked or something. So I’ll try again… What philosophical viewpoint is the frontier of science approached with? I’m sure that some will say that this question is invalid… but we are still human, it is impossible to purge yourself of opinion. Here are some possible choices, kind of a spectrum (there are many more)

Logical Positivism: Objective meaning is all there is. Metaphysical, theological, and ethical questions are cognitively meaningless.

Post positivism: Objective meaning is conjectural. Human knowledge is not based on unchallengeable, rock-solid foundations.

Model Agnosticism: Objective meaning not ultimately knowable. And philosophical/metaphysical questions are not ultimately verifiable but that a model of malleable assumption should be built upon rational thought.

Nihilism: The world, is without objective meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value.

Are these approaches different for every scientist? Is there a consensus? How does the scientific world view epistemology?

Comment #147802

Posted by PvM on December 2, 2006 11:24 AM (e)

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Comment #147803

Posted by PvM on December 2, 2006 11:26 AM (e)

brad wrote:

What philosophical viewpoint is the frontier of science approached with?

it’s better described as a methodological viewpoint and is called methodological naturalism.
Individual scientists may hold philosophical viewpoints, but these viewpoints are (mostly) irrelevant to science.

Comment #147805

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 2, 2006 11:41 AM (e)

Brad:

Observation I can be more certain of it’s models theories and concepts that I cannot.

If that is the case, it takes you halfway. Some deny even that we can do repeated experiments, or that these are facts.

Okay. You don’t need to understand theories to see how they work. Theories are thingies that predict specific observations. For example, general relativity predicts that masses attracts. Sure, you may say, but we have always known that, it is a postdiction. Besides, Newton gravity explained that.

That is correct. To be accepted as a verified theory and not merely a postdictive description, a just-so story, it must at least predict something that no other theory can. General relativity started to be accepted when it could explain the precession of Mercury which earlier gravitation theories could not. It is even better when the theory predicts previously unknown facts, but that is not the main criteria.

So theories are descriptions that we get new facts out of. If you appreciate facts, you will come to like theories.

“How does the scientific world view epistemology?”
As a badly behaved clown. Scientists are generally not interested in philosophy since it mean little if anything in practise. Theories stands and dies with facts and peer-review.

Those that are interested in philosophy of science may say that science is empiricism and methodological naturalism (a fair description of properties in its methods). Besides that, it could be most anything. Most are scientific realists, it seems, expressly or not.

Roughly put, scientific realism is the thesis that the unobservable things talked about by science are little different from ordinary observable things (such as tables and chairs)….
Scientific realism is related to much older philosophical positions including rationalism and realism. However, it is a thesis about science developed in the twentieth century. Portraying scientific realism in terms of its ancient, medieval, and early modern cousins is at best misleading.

Scientific realism is developed largely as a reaction to Logical positivism.

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_realism )

Comment #147807

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 2, 2006 11:49 AM (e)

I should add that I think that description of realism is clumsy and philosophy heavy.

Comment #147808

Posted by Frank J on December 2, 2006 11:59 AM (e)

Brad wrote:

I fear that if my “learning” isn’t wholly in line with your accepted doctrine then it won’t be called learning.

You have nothing to fear. If you have evidence, for example, that “species A and B probably do not share common ancestors,” I’ll be your backer. Similarly if you have evidence that life is substantially younger - or older - than ~4 billion years. Until then, the prevailing conclusions, along with a general mechanism are not just “plausible,” but supported by multiple lines of independent evidence. The way to conclude otherwise is not to take evidence and terminology out of context, but to find contradictory evidence. Anti-evolutionists have not, and are no longer even trying.

Note that no “evolutionist” has ruled out a priori that, for example the Universe could be only 5 minutes old and that everything else is just our imagination. Same for the YEC and OEC scenarios. If that’s what you mean by “agnostic”, so are we. But if you imply that they are equally likely in light of the evidence, you need to back it up in a way that no one else yet has. The latest anti-evolution trick is to not even mention the other possibilities by name, so to avoid any “critical analysis” of them. Innocently or not, you have adopted that approach.

Comment #147814

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 2, 2006 1:31 PM (e)

Brad:

I found a much better description of the realism I tried to give a picture of, which is different from naive realism and the former description:

Scientific realism says the universe really contains just those properties which feature in a scientific description of it, and so does not contain properties like colour per se, but merely objects that reflect certain wavelengths.

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Na%C3%AFve_realism )

There are caveats, of course. There always are, in philosophy. So perhaps it is better to forget this. As I said, it isn’t at all important for science.

Comment #147826

Posted by Mike Elzinga on December 2, 2006 6:14 PM (e)

Here is an analogy for Brad.

The various strands of evidence for evolution can be compared with the various tracks on a multiple track recording.

A multi-track recording done by an amateur can sound reasonably good to an unsophisticated ear. However, to someone with a trained ear and professional music experience, the recording will display a lot of problems. Each individual track may be full of mistakes and these may be covered up by what is going on at the same time in the other tracks. The music may reveal a lack of maturity and sophistication because only a single chord is used throughout but this is hidden by embellishments on other tracks. The instruments on each track may not be in tune with instruments on other tracks. By focusing on the individual tracks, the trained listener will be able to see that the overall impression is merely a blend of multiple efforts by a relatively untrained individual or group.

The overall impression of evolution having taken place on this planet is somewhat similar to a blend of multiple tracks coming from the fossil record, physical similarities among organisms, molecular information, geological information, and a host of other information coming from many different disciplines. The main difference in this case is that each track is professionally and competently done with data provided from Nature. What is remarkable is that all tracks mesh together to give the unmistakable impression of evolution by selection of random variations among individuals within larger populations. The music is clear, and intelligent design is not clearly evident in the emerging tune.

Unfortunately, some folks don’t like the tune. So they go back and mess around with the various tracks, redoing them by leaving out things or putting in suggestions that, when blended together begin to give the impression of design. But scientists who are thoroughly familiar with the individual tracks provided by Nature easily recognize the clumsy attempts to change the tune or the impression given by the blend of data.

Studying evolution is not an exercise in artistic creativity or license. Scientists are not trying to produce a preconceived impression with the multiple tracks of data, but rather are looking to faithfully record as competently and professionally as possible the various tracks of evidence so that the music that Nature is providing can come out as forcefully as possible. To the sophisticated and well-trained “ear” it is a fascinating tune. Not necessarily comforting to some, but nevertheless as truthful as we can make it.

Comment #147833

Posted by stevaroni on December 2, 2006 7:05 PM (e)

similar to a blend of multiple tracks coming from the fossil record, physical similarities among organisms, molecular information, geological information, and a host of other information

Don’t forget that all these tracks were recorded in different places, on different machines, at different times.

It’s as if everybody in the orchestra played their solo part into their own recorder, and later someone gathered up the tapes and mailed them to one studio where they could be assembled and compared.

Yet, they all line up with each other and play along with the master tune, with the only problem being the occasional noise you’d expect from million-year old records.

Pretty convincing proof that everyone’s working off one sheet of music no mater where they’re playing it.

Comment #147840

Posted by stevaroni on December 2, 2006 7:27 PM (e)

Dayan S writes….

Astrobiology by its nature is a non-Christian science, it searches for life beyond (and alternative to) the world of Adam and Eve

So?

My Bible makes absolutely no reference to the fact that other planets even exist, much less what God might, or might not, have done there.

If his hobby was making living, sometimes intelligent, things, what wellspring of arrogance makes us assume that we were his only, or even his best, creation?

Maybe he felt it was none of our business what he did with his other universes.

Maybe he simply didn’t deign to tell us what he was up to on other worlds, much like I don’t bother to fillilg in my dog on what I do at work every day.

Comment #147844

Posted by Steviepinhead on December 2, 2006 7:38 PM (e)

Or, if I may try to simplify the above analogies for my pinhead–

–if there wasn’t something pretty compelling to this evolution notion, then there would be no necessary reason that the fossil record, compiled independently by the vagaries of wind, water, deposition, etc., should match up at all with the genomic information, compiled independently by the vagaries of mutation, inheritance, etc., or with the grouping of currently extant and once-living but now extinct species by their phenotypic resemblances and differences, compiled independently, and, in its overall outlines, well before the ToE was ever developed, by generations of “folk” naturalists, hobbyists, enthusiasts, and other formal and informal systematists.

(While these included such giants as Linnaeus (1707-1778), they also included many individuals with no commitment to the ToE–and many who might well have resisted it had its implications been known to them–parsons, ship captains, bug and butterfly collectors of all descriptions, persusions and motivations…)

That the geological time table–again compiled independently of any necessary commitment to evolution (much less to modern understandings of human origins) by reference to “typical” fossils found in given layers (which might, however, have had no “descent and diversity” relationship to fauna found in other layers), by reference to chemical and mineralogical correspondences, and only much more recently by reference to yet another independently compiled set of radiographic measurements based on nuclear physics (containing within itself multiple independent but overlapping techniques involving different elements with wildly-varying half-lives)–“fits” so harmoniously with the fossil “track” and the genetic/genomic “track” and the phenotypic systematics “track” and other such independent “tracks,” is simply nothing like what we would expect of either the whims or the deliberate intentions of some hypothetical interventionistic designer.

(Which of course doesn’t tell us anything, one way or the other, about whether the “laws” of nature of the universe itself may have been framed by, or may be otherwise compatible with the existence of, some less-meddlesome Designer.)

Or, setting aside the arguments for design, nothing like what we would expect if some entirely different principle or set of principles, natural or supernatural, were behind the recording of these multiple “tracks”….

Comment #147860

Posted by Anton Mates on December 3, 2006 1:46 AM (e)

Dayan Smreca wrote:

Astrobiology by its nature is a none-Christian science, it searches for life beyond (and alternative to) the world of Adam and Eve

I don’t recall Adam and Eve ever visiting Australia. Is studying bandicoots non-Christian?

Comment #147872

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 3, 2006 5:34 AM (e)

Off the topic: Bible talks about only one Adam and Eve, not Adams and Eves. The science of Astrobiology is vice versa, at the time of being it is based upon finding elements like methan and such in the atmospheres of Solar System Satellites and distant Planets, if it depends on, i.e., first clues of organic molecules, that can evolve into… then live evolution into… and eventually to Adams and Eves, is like stating evolution is the intelligent design itself. Those are two different stand-points. People combine them, though.

Comment #147873

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 3, 2006 5:45 AM (e)

In regards to Anton Mates, if you do or don’t think/feel/believe that bandicoots go through evolution, there’s the answer.

Comment #147877

Posted by KL on December 3, 2006 8:18 AM (e)

huh?

Comment #147882

Posted by Brad on December 3, 2006 9:43 AM (e)

One more question and then I am done bugging people… probably. How does methodological naturalism deal with values such as curiosity? Curiosity seems to be what both science and religion are trying to fulfill. This is from a wikipedia article on it… “We may therefore be agnostic about the ultimate truth of naturalism, but must nevertheless adopt it and investigate nature as if nature is all that there is.”

I like the agnostic part… that’s what I came here looking for. But the “as if” part is a bit hard to swallow… it cannot be proven that nature is all that there is. But I suppose that isn’t my question…

How does methodological naturalism deal with curiosity? There is much value in finding these answers. How can the drive to find answers be explained by the natural world.

Comment #147885

Posted by KL on December 3, 2006 10:35 AM (e)

To Brad,
Science cannot (yet) deal with values. It also cannot deal well with such things as love, curiousity, hate, reaction to the arts or artistic value, effects of music, beauty, etc. (give science another 100 years it may have some neurological explanation for why these things exist) If scientists cannot gather empirical evidence for these things, then they lie outside the realm of science. I can explore the evidence for the paleontological and geological past of the earth, but I have no clue why I am so fascinated by it, nor why others in my family have zero interest in it and think I’m nuts.

This does not mean that my interest doesn’t exist. There just isn’t (yet) a scientific explanation for it. That’s okay with me; I will still like the color green, think the Grand Canyon is one of the coolest places on earth, enjoy movies and certain types of music, like dogs, snakes and horses and love my husband and family even if I don’t know why. I don’t need scientific proof of these things to appreciate that they exist. But I am not asking science to prove them or explain them.

Just for background-I am a teacher in a church affiliated private school (Episcopal) and an atheist. How do I teach in a church school when I am a non-believer? The school uses Christian values as the basis for their policies, but does not insist on shoving it down anyone’s throat or controlling them using fear. I happen to believe that ethical behavior does not require religion, but is part of being human.(notice that I use the term “believe”-I am not trying to find proof of that either)Contrary to what some Christians might think, I’m not a baby-killer, I don’t have sex on the street or with animals (I think it would be cruel to the animal, personally) and I try to be kind to everyone because I think the best part of being human is lifting up others around you and making them believe that they are worthy of love, not because I want a place in heaven or want to avoid hell.

Comment #147886

Posted by stevaroni on December 3, 2006 10:45 AM (e)

How does methodological naturalism deal with curiosity? There is much value in finding these answers.

It doesn’t

There’s a whole bunch of things we can’t really explain yet, foremost amongst them, how a 4 pound blob of nerve tissue called a brain can somehow even realize that it is, well, a four pound blob of nerve tissue.

Consciousness, curiosity, morality, all these are, to a large extent, still mysteries.

Conversely, there are things we understand very well, like the Newtonian laws of motion.

I think most of us agree that saying we don’t yet understand everything doesn’t mean that we should stick our heads in the sand and pretend that we somehow don’t understand the parts that we do.

I can still balance my checkbook even though mathematicians are still wrestling with the next digit of pi.

It’s a matter of trying to decide what’s on which side of the “we probably understand this now” line.

That’s where the whole science versus religion fight comes in.

About 150 years ago, human origins moved over the line to the “explained stuff” side, and, unfortunately for religion, took most of the perceived need for God with it.

Religion has been battling ever since, but they can’t pull it back, there’s just too much hard evidence to ignore.

There’s still a lot that science doesn’t explain. Especially since the “full, complete” knowledge of all but the simplest subjects is a moving target because the more you learn the more you learn you still have to learn.

And science is really OK with that because learning stuff is good.

You ask about how science explains consciousness, curiosity, love, laughter?

We don’t.

Yet.

But nobody does.

Does religion do a job by telling us we were galled into existence by a divinity that made us out of clay and spare ribs?

Really, seriously, be honest with me a moment. If you hadn’t been told this over and over as a child would it make any sense at all to you now?

At least science working to find a good, solid answer, and I have high hopes that eventually we’ll find it because, after all, our track record is pretty damned sound.

Comment #147891

Posted by stevaroni on December 3, 2006 12:28 PM (e)

How does methodological naturalism deal with curiosity?

It doesn’t

There’s a whole bunch of things we can’t really explain yet, foremost amongst them, how a 4 pound blob of nerve tissue called a brain can somehow even realize that it is, well, a four pound blob of nerve tissue.

Consciousness, curiosity, morality, all these are, to a large extent, still mysteries.

Conversely, there are things we understand very well, like the Newtonian laws of motion.

I think most of us agree that saying we don’t yet understand everything doesn’t mean that we should stick our heads in the sand and pretend that we somehow don’t understand the parts that we do.

I can balance my checkbook even though mathematicians are still wrestling with the next digit of pi.

It’s a matter of trying to decide what’s on which side of the “we probably understand this now” line.

That’s where the whole science versus religion fight comes in.

About 150 years ago, human origins moved over the line to the “explained stuff” side, and, unfortunately for religion, took most of the perceived need for God with it.

Religion has been battling ever since, but they can’t pull it back, there’s just too much hard evidence to ignore.

There’s still a lot that science doesn’t explain. Especially since “full, complete” knowledge of all but the simplest subjects is a moving target, because the more you learn the more you learn you still have more to learn.

And science is really OK with that, because learning stuff is good.

You ask about how science explains consciousness, curiosity, love, laughter?

We don’t.

Yet.

But nobody does.

Does religion do a better job by telling us we were called into existence one morning by a bored deity that made us out of clay and spare ribs?

Really, seriously, be honest with me a moment. If you hadn’t been told this over and over as a child would it make any sense at all to you now?

At least science is working to find a good, solid answer. And I have high hopes that eventually we’ll get there because, after all, our track record is pretty damned good so far.

Comment #147938

Posted by Henry J on December 3, 2006 6:31 PM (e)

This is from a wikipedia article on it… “We may therefore be agnostic about the ultimate truth of naturalism, but must nevertheless adopt it and investigate nature as if nature is all that there is.”

I disagree with the way that’s phrased. I’m not even sure what “as if nature is all that there is” even means. If something exists, doesn’t that make the something part of nature? After all, science can investigate pretty much anything that can be repeatably and consistently detected by senses and/or instruments - the nature/not-nature criteria looks to me like seeing a distinction where there isn’t a distinction.

Henry

Comment #147989

Posted by Kevin on December 3, 2006 10:13 PM (e)

Brad is pulling your chains.

“I offered some weak ones, hoping to get some direction on where the unknown areas were and to get some answers for myself.”

He never wanted any direction. He is just trying to provoke you so he could see how the group collectively builds an argument. He’s doing some stupid sociology test.

Comment #147990

Posted by Kevin on December 3, 2006 10:14 PM (e)

Brad is pulling your chains.

“I offered some weak ones, hoping to get some direction on where the unknown areas were and to get some answers for myself.”

He never wanted any direction. He is just trying to provoke you so he could see how the group collectively builds an argument. He’s doing some stupid sociology test.

Comment #148001

Posted by GuyeFaux on December 3, 2006 11:04 PM (e)

Brad is pulling your chains.

Figured. Strategy:
1) Say some crap, wait for refutation
2) Get offended, wait for refutation
3) Don’t aknowledge refutation
4) Move goal-post
5) Repeat.

Comment #148007

Posted by Mike Elzinga on December 3, 2006 11:45 PM (e)

Interesting that Brad may be pulling our chains for a sociology paper. His website (or at least the website http://www.thesundaythursday.com, he connected with his name in one of his earliest posts) does mention that he is “busy as heck with final papers for school now…”

I wonder how honest he will be in the paper he presents to his instructor.

Maybe he is learning from the ID/Creationist crowd how to elicit responses from the science community that will become the grist for their future distortions.

Well, if true, we’ve seen all this crap before. Yawn.

Comment #148019

Posted by Wayne E Francis on December 4, 2006 12:54 AM (e)

Comment # 147605

Brad wrote:

Comment #147605
Posted by Brad on November 30, 2006 5:21 PM (e)
“So will you heed KL’s patient words and actually learn something before you tell other how they ought to be?”
It’s not me who is telling people how they “ought” to be. I did say science should leave room for uncertainty… which many here agreed with. I doubt everything and I treat the objective as I do the subjective… people can’t handle that.

Brad science always will “leave room for uncertainty”. The answers science obtains are only answers for as long as they are the best answers we have available.

The thing is scientists and educated lay people don’t want ignorant rubes to come in and say things like “You can’t know x, y & z for certain.” Because coming from an ignorant rube it means nothing. Now if you want to educate yourself and come up with a better answer to x, y & z that is supported by the data then more power to you but coming in and making stupid claims is just like you coming in and saying “George Washington was a child molester” without any proof. Sure that statement could be true but there is no evidence to support it.

Science also is about removing as much “uncertainty” as possible. If there are lots of unanswered questions in your explanation then you need to start answering those questions and uncertainties. That is what science is about. Find some questions and uncertainties and finding the answers. It is not about saying “Well we should leave that unanswered because some things should be left unanswered.”

Comment #148062

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 4, 2006 6:45 AM (e)

To Wayne E. Francis: The truth about spiritual teachings where there is no materialistic proof is that you can prove anything you want to believe in, as long as rhetoric is concincing enough.

Upon previous example, if a group of people, let’s say, Canadian/Mexican nation wants to disrespect the southern/northern neighboor by disrespecting the President, a group of psychologists can be formered to come up with the insignificant fact like, i.e., the President didn’t have Sunday dinners with his family, thus they conclude he lacked love in childhood, thus as he grew up it developed in the aggression seeing other children be happy. If in the group of 100 people, 99 people believe in something, 1 is not supposed to say ‘well, let’s take a moment to discuss…’, that 1 is already on the other side being a non-believer. It’s the either-or situation.

A few centuries ago, Astronomers were prosecuted for claims that the Earth in not situated in the center of the Universe with all Planets and Stars revolving around it, people who presented themselves as the direct representatives of religion found it was not according to the Psalms like 93:1 and 96:10. Today it is and it can’t be said Galilei, Kopernikus… were not Christians for what they saw through telescopes, on the contrary. Perhaps they understood things more widely and clearly by broading and opening their horizons. In many religions, representatives of the religion were utmost science researchers.

A person once told me: ‘In the world of science, I met some of the greatest Christians I have ever come accross in my life’. Some people of faith don’t take scientific data for just-so stories, some do. History often proved just-so stories are a time consuming process.

Comment #148096

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 4, 2006 10:31 AM (e)

Brad wrote:

How does methodological naturalism deal with curiosity?

That was a loosely framed question.

If you mean as a phenomena: curiosity is a survival value.

If you mean as a value: science doesn’t deal with values, except in a descriptive manner as above.

If you mean how it answers our curiosity, it is what science is about. But in a careful and trustworthy manner. Religion says mainly “goddidit”. And if it has a dogmatic description it is found wrong when the empirical facts are in.

Comment #148107

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 4, 2006 11:52 AM (e)

Brad wrote:

How does methodological naturalism deal with curiosity?

That was an ambiguously framed question.

If you mean as a phenomena: curiosity is a survival value.

If you mean as a value: science doesn’t deal with values, except in a descriptive manner as above.

If you mean how it answers our curiosity, it is what science is about. But in a careful and trustworthy manner. Religion says mainly “goddidit”. And if it has a dogmatic description it is found wrong when the empirical facts are in.

Comment #148108

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 4, 2006 11:58 AM (e)

Sorry for the now famous PT double-comments. For some reason the preview didn’t show the earlier queued comment - off the queue but still not on my view.

Comment #148197

Posted by Mike on December 4, 2006 2:35 PM (e)

“ “Naturalism” (the idea that science can only work on natural, not supernatural,
explanations) has become a bad word because it is mistakenly viewed as a
philosophical commitment by scientists to atheism. Instead, science works by
applying a practical naturalism in which scientists seek natural explanations, not
because these are the only ones possible, but because they are the only ones
we can test by reason and evidence (i.e., scientifically). ”

Massimo Pigliucci, Member
Jessica Gurevitch, Executive Vice-President
Dolph Schluter, President
Society for the Study of Evolution

Comment #148257

Posted by Henry J on December 4, 2006 9:29 PM (e)

Re “science works by applying a practical naturalism in which scientists seek natural explanations, not because these are the only ones possible, but because they are the only ones we can test by reason and evidence (i.e., scientifically).”

Depending on how one defines “naturalism”, that sentence might be circular - i.e., “naturalism” could be defined as “things testable by reason and evidence”. But that might be get-around-able by defining “practical naturalism” as “using repeatable verifiable testing of conclusions”. In which case the word “natural” could actually be removed entirely from the description of how science works, which imo would undermine anti-science arguments that use the natural vs. supernatural distinction.

Henry

Comment #148262

Posted by Wayne E Francis on December 4, 2006 10:38 PM (e)

Comment # 148062

Dayan Smreca wrote:

Comment #148062
Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 4, 2006 6:45 AM (e)
To Wayne E. Francis: The truth about spiritual teachings where there is no materialistic proof is that you can prove anything you want to believe in, as long as rhetoric is concincing enough….
A person once told me: ‘In the world of science, I met some of the greatest Christians I have ever come accross in my life’. Some people of faith don’t take scientific data for just-so stories, some do. History often proved just-so stories are a time consuming process.

Forgive me but I fail to see why you are addressing me with this statement. I’ll assume english is not your first language and account part of my confusion to the grammar used by you and my inability to work out what you are trying to say.

My point, agian, is that Brad is basically saying “You can never know anything for sure so making up something out of the blue should hold as much weight as the current theories that are supported by data.”. In that case he is a pig ignorant rube that should hope that he’s ignored at best and at worst accept that people will point out his flawed logic with a good dose of slander.

Comment #148276

Posted by richCares on December 4, 2006 11:21 PM (e)

MWayne E. Francissaidy
“point, agian, is that Brad is basically saying “You can never know anything for sure so making up something out of the blue should hold as much weight as the current theories that are supported by data.”. In that case he is a pig ignorant rube that should hope that he’s ignored at best and at worst accept that people will point out his flawed logic with a good dose of slander.”

Perfect, and right on.

Comment #148310

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 5, 2006 12:58 AM (e)

And when you can demonstrate an algorithm, any algorithm, arising without the aid of an intelligent agency please let me know.

We have – evolution by natural selection.

And that’s just one of a vast number of algorithms that have arisen without the aid of an intelligent agency. Some, such as the algorithms for snowflake and mountain range formation, are evident because they are characterizable as general processes that are meaningful to us, but most, such as the algorithm that transforms one specific sand dune from its shape at one moment to its shape at another moment, are not.

If you actually cared about this stuff, rather being a committed ignoramus, you might be interested in Stephen Wolfram’s “A New Kind of Science” (he well demonstrates how physical processes can be modeled as finite state algorithms, although his view that they should be is widely regarded as bogus).

Comment #148311

Posted by Sir_Toejam on December 5, 2006 12:59 AM (e)

it cannot be proven that nature is all that there is.

aside from the other thread where probabilities were discussed, this indicates an exactly wrong view of how science works.

science attempts to disprove hypotheses, so more correctly you should say that the null hypothesis is that nature is all there is, and we have yet to be able to disprove this.

If you can, you’d be instantly famous.

good luck with that.

Comment #148313

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 5, 2006 1:02 AM (e)

it cannot be proven that nature is all that there is

1) What there is is all that there is.
2) Nature is what there is.
QED

Comment #148318

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 5, 2006 1:11 AM (e)

you should say that the null hypothesis is that nature is all there is

It’s not a hypothesis, it’s a definition. If nature isn’t all there is, then what distinguishes that which is in nature from that which isn’t in nature? What makes something “supernatural” other than that it doesn’t exist in the physical world? Natural, physical, causal, real – they are all basically synonymous, widespread linguistic and ontological confusion notwithstanding.

Comment #148322

Posted by Brad on December 5, 2006 1:20 AM (e)

“this is what Brad is saying… You can never know anything for sure so making up something out of the blue should hold as much weight as the current theories that are supported by data.”

This isn’t exactly what I’m saying. I’ll clarify.

Red = empirical data

Blue = unknowns, uncertainty, unknowables

ID = Making something up out of the blue which is contrary to much of the red.

TOE = Discovering the red and making other things up out of the blue which are supported by much of the red.

Go ahead.. go hog wild with that one… this is just some stupid sociological test.

Comment #148323

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 5, 2006 1:27 AM (e)

In which case the word “natural” could actually be removed entirely from the description of how science works

Lenny has repeatedly pointed out that the description of the scientific method says nothing about naturalism.

which imo would undermine anti-science arguments that use the natural vs. supernatural distinction.

Supernaturalists could argue that the supernatural is beyond the reach of science, so it’s expected that the description of science doesn’t mention it. I would argue instead that “supernatural” is simply a placeholder for an unknown cause for a known effect; that fundamentally “supernatural” as an “explanation” is always a case of argumentum ad ignorantiam.

Comment #148327

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 5, 2006 1:40 AM (e)

ID = Making something up out of the blue which is contrary to much of the red.

You are pig ignorant about ID. ID is not “contrary to much of the red”. ID is basically “all the red in the world won’t convince me that God isn’t a necessary part of the process”. ID is not simply mistaken about the facts, it isn’t science. Thus all your blather about “compromise” is nonsensical, which you might be able to grasp from all the commentary to that effect if you weren’t such an arrogant twit.

TOE = Discovering the red and making other things up out of the blue which are supported by much of the red.

You are pig ignorant about TOE and science. The only things that are “made up” are hypotheses – but they aren’t made up “out of the blue”, they flow from the existing evidence. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning

Comment #148329

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 5, 2006 1:52 AM (e)

What philosophical viewpoint is the frontier of science approached with? I’m sure that some will say that this question is invalid… but we are still human, it is impossible to purge yourself of opinion. Here are some possible choices, kind of a spectrum (there are many more)

Logical Positivism: Objective meaning is all there is. Metaphysical, theological, and ethical questions are cognitively meaningless.

Since science is not a theory of meaning, this is a stupid attempt to troll.

In any case, your definition – which you probably got from some creationist site or DI – is wrong and confused. Logical Positivism is the position that only verifiable statements are meaningful. Logical Positivism is dead because, by its own criterion, it isn’t meaningful.

Comment #148331

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 5, 2006 2:20 AM (e)

How does methodological naturalism deal with values such as curiosity?

It’s rather odd to characterize curiosity as a “value”, but in any case curiosity and values can be seen as behavioral dispositions. There’s no apparent incompatibility between methodological naturalism and the explication of behavioral dispositions. And methodological naturalism doesn’t “deal with” anything. Science, or scientists, deal with issues by applying the scientific method – that’s how. Neither curiosity nor any other aspect of human behavior is beyond the scope of science – certainly no one has offered any reason why it isn’t. One particularly dense contributor to PT often asks at this point if science can tell us whether murder is wrong. One might as well ask whether science can tell us whether it’s wrong for people with Tourette’s Syndrome to swear. It’s silly, because right and wrong don’t have any ontological status beyond the behavioral dispositions of human beings to categorize things as right or wrong. It’s the latter that science can address – why we generally hold killing people to be wrong, for instance, can be explained in terms of social dynamics. Notably, we don’t consider all killing to be wrong – e.g., killing people from other tribes is often acceptable (recall that Madeleine Albright infamously stated that killing 500,000 Iraqi children was “worth it”).

Comment #148376

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 5, 2006 7:08 AM (e)

I apologize for not daring to attempt how to use KwickXML formatting to make a quote in ‘Comment #148062’.

It seems me confusing to read words like ‘ Darwinism’ ‘evolution’ and ‘Intelligent Design’ ‘religion’, as if someone put vs. between those two. It knows to end-up like that.

Darwin was buried nearby a church, most of us have childhood memories of Christmases with our families, many of us grew up to be researchers in the field of biological evolution, astrophysical evolution of other planets’ atmospheres, life consequently.

For someone to come up with a spiritual teaching and say: ‘just-so stories are the achievements of science published so our civilization can better understand the world around us, National Geographic documentaries broadcasted so people can be educated by the findings…’, feels like a rather ignorant manner.

Comment #148431

Posted by Mike Elzinga on December 5, 2006 2:38 PM (e)

Brad claims on his website that the folks at PT are certain that he is wrong about not being certain about things. That would be an illogical claim by anyone.

No one at PT would ever claim that people do not have uncertainties. On the contrary, most would probably agree that superficial approaches to learning tend leave people in the most uncertain and vulnerable state. People who don’t learn how to learn or whose will to learn had been destroyed will remain in the state they are in.

There are many things in this universe that yield to diligent investigation which improves the certainty one can have about them. What’s more, the knowledge one obtains about such things is pretty much independent of the individual observer. These happen to be the areas in which the scientific attitude operates effectively.

However, even musical and artistic ability are also very much improved and made more certain with rational approaches using tried-and-true techniques that have been worked out by generations of skilled artists. Feelings alone don’t usually get you there. Knowledge accumulates in these areas also.

And, I would suggest, using one’s uncertainties to justify remaining uncertain is evidence that one is wallowing in self-pity about ones own shortcomings while refusing to address those shortcomings. It’s a common pattern that must be fought.

Every human being faces self-doubt and uncertainty. The best approach is to turn those feelings into a motive for learning and, in the process, learn how to move beyond where you are. And then continue this throughout the rest of your life. In the process, one’s BS filter gets better and better.

Comment #148471

Posted by DJ on December 5, 2006 5:57 PM (e)

I see that my friend Brad got in some trouble here. I followed this link from http://www.theSundayThursday.com It’s funny that you guys took him seriously. He doesn’t take himself that seriously. He’s a bit of an eccentric, I mean an agnostic concerning facts?!?!?! HOW!?!?! WTF does that mean? Sorry buddy.

This is a guy who kayaks in drainage ditches and has worked extensively around Lead-based paints (I’m not kidding, it was to help children) a mountaineer and a musician who records and posts two new original songs a week on his website while working 40 hrs a week and attending night classes… I mean who does that?!?! He has an uncommon brilliance.

And some advice from a communications student… you guys should distance yourselves personally from your arguments or else ad hominem becomes the rule.

Comment #148474

Posted by Mike Elzinga on December 5, 2006 6:58 PM (e)

Apparently Brad didn’t recognize that we were dropping hints (many not so subtle) that we suspected he wasn’t being serious. As an undergrad at Pitt, he may enjoy the humor of the Borat or Animal House genre. That comes across in some of his stuff.

But, just in case he may have had a hint of seriousness, we didn’t want to totally brush him off. Many of the people who post on this site are, or have been, instructors of various types in addition to being researchers. So we have seen a lot of crap mixed in with genuine desires to learn. We’re not that naive; we know the games students and trolls play.

Comment #148489

Posted by Steviepinhead on December 5, 2006 8:47 PM (e)

Assuming that “DJ” isn’t just Brad himself dropping by to whine some more about Brad’s well-earned mistreatment here, and that separate-person “DJ” really does know some things about what kind of guy Brad “really” is (when Brad isn’t busy being a schmuck on a global blog), and assuming, therefore, that Brad really does spend some time in the mountains–as I do myself–then I would ask Brad whether he’s inclined to let his uncertainties about science and the facts influence his relationship with gravity when he’s poised on the brink.

I rather expect that Brad has formed the habit of behaving a good deal more respectfully around gravity than he has around the ToE, or Brad would by now be nothing but a past “fact” himself, a statistic in the obits column of one of yesterday’s papers.

I’m not wishing any harm on the Brad. I’m just suggesting that nature isn’t quite as whimsical or uncertain as Brad is sophomorically indulging himself in believing. And, when actually engaged with the world, as opposed to engaged with his masturbatory “intellectual” musings about the world, I’m pretty sure that Brad knows that the world is as chock-full of hard-edged and unforgiving certainties as it is of dreamy, fluffy uncertainties.

Come back when you’re prepared to get real down on it, Brad.

Comment #148505

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 5, 2006 11:11 PM (e)

science attempts to disprove hypotheses, so more correctly you should say that the null hypothesis is that nature is all there is, and we have yet to be able to disprove this.

Works for me.

If nature isn’t all there is, then what distinguishes that which is in nature from that which isn’t in nature?

If one choose to not try to make it a definition but an observation the most fundamental is symmetries. Laws of physics are the same over appreciable spacetime volumes.

Perhaps one could imagine a chaotic universe, but the way to bet is that it wouldn’t work. Regardless, on our observed background of symmetries such imaginary things as local ‘miracles’ are in principle easily distinguishable. As PG says, “super-natural” is an supposedly for ever unknown cause, placeholder or not, and “non-natural” sporadic causes, placeholder or not, embeds them nicely so we can debunk both.

I would also argue that making nature not what can be observed but what is observed is a philosophy which seems more in the spirit of science’s de facto empiricism.

Comment #148518

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 6, 2006 12:25 AM (e)

And some advice from a communications student… you guys should distance yourselves personally from your arguments or else ad hominem becomes the rule.

How ironic. Do you actually have anything to say on the substantive issues?

Comment #148606

Posted by GuyeFaux on December 6, 2006 10:04 AM (e)

…you guys should distance yourselves personally from your arguments or else ad hominem becomes the rule.

Once again, insults are not necessarily ad hominem attacks.

Comment #148612

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 6, 2006 11:04 AM (e)

If one choose to not try to make it a definition but an observation

a) You can’t make an observation about X before even establishing what is or is not X.
b) observations are necessarily of nature – remember, science is based on methodological naturalism. The natural world consists of what is observable, at least in theory. But what else is there? To claim that something exists (in the world – as opposed to, say, the roots of x**2 - x + 1 = 0, which exist in the complex plane) but isn’t observable in principle is blowing hot air.

Laws of physics are the same over appreciable spacetime volumes.

They wouldn’t be laws if they weren’t. In any case, that has nothing to do with nature being all there is.

Perhaps one could imagine a chaotic universe, but the way to bet is that it wouldn’t work.

I have no idea what “work” means here. Are you saying such universes aren’t realizable? I can’t see why not – especially since this is a chaotic universe, in large part.

Regardless, on our observed background of symmetries such imaginary things as local ‘miracles’ are in principle easily distinguishable.

Um, how are imaginary things distinguishable? How distinguishable are the angels dancing on the head of a pin?

As PG says, “super-natural” is an supposedly for ever unknown cause

I didn’t say anything about “for ever” – “placeholder” suggests a temporary condition. It’s bad enough that you write so incoherently; please don’t make me incoherent by putting your words in my mouth.

“non-natural” sporadic causes

The notion of a non-natural cause is incoherent.

I would also argue that making nature not what can be observed but what is observed is a philosophy which seems more in the spirit of science’s de facto empiricism.

So the backside of the moon isn’t part of nature? A ship drops out of nature when it sails over the horizon or sinks out of sight? A tree falling in the forest …?

Comment #148736

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 6, 2006 9:03 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'blockquote'

Comment #148737

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 6, 2006 9:07 PM (e)

PG wrote:

You can’t make an observation about X before even establishing what is or is not X.

Which I did in the same sentence. Symmetries is a fundamental observation of the nature we observe.

PG wrote:

observations are necessarily of nature – remember, science is based on methodological naturalism.

This works for me: “the methodological assumption that observable events in nature are explained only by natural causes” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methodological_naturalism ).

All observations are fine, but theories must contain natural objects and relations. So I don’t preclude watching a miracle. I haven’t seen any, though.

As far as I can see this is a perfectly consistent philosophy, as consistent as precluding unknown causes. As I noted, it is more in the spirit of de facto empiricism. It also leads to the possibility of hypotheses testing on sporadic causes, which is my larger frame.

PG wrote:

this is a chaotic universe

I believe you are conflating contingency, randomness and deterministic chaos here, while still missing what I am trying to describe. I was discussing chaos from having our fundamental laws varying locally over spacetime. We could call it fundamental chaos, to distinguish it from deterministic chaos.

Yes, I doubt it will be realizable. Without symmetries, no conserved charges. (Noether’s theorem.) Not only different physics in each point in spacetime, but no energy and no action principle so no physics.

PG wrote:

How distinguishable are the angels dancing on the head of a pin?

I agree this is a problem, which is why I said “in principle”. Moran’s levitating bus is still a problem. But I believe this is only a problem if you have an (imaginary) theory describing how gods act. But I preclude such theories. Besides, no observations yet. :-)

(In my larger frame, I am only out looking for observations of sporadic behaviour, observations looking like fundamental chaos.)

PG wrote:

please don’t make me incoherent by putting your words in my mouth.

Is that possible? :-)

But it wasn’t my intention to misquote. I was trying to paraphrase, to suit me in this case. I thought it was OK since the original text was close and close by. Sorry.

PG wrote:

The notion of a non-natural cause is incoherent.

That remains to be shown, of course. It is, an admittedly somewhat clumsy named, description which isn’t meant to clash with the definition of methodological naturalism above. It stands for what we shouldn’t observe being realized, natural vs non-natural, while still being theoretical natural causes.

Supernaturalistic causes are those agents that can’t be allowed in theories since it is not natural objects or relations. Too powerful and stops further description.

I have answered your problems. Is there a remaining inconsistency?

PG wrote:

So the backside of the moon isn’t part of nature?

This is either a problem for both views, or for none. They are both based on observations and explaining them by natural cause theories.

Comment #148746

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 6, 2006 10:52 PM (e)

Hmm. Apparently the repost was of the draft, not the final one.

“Symmetries is a fundamental observation of the nature we observe.” - Symmetries is a fundamental observation of the nature we live in.

“Not only different physics in each point in spacetime, but no energy and no action principle so no physics.” - Not only different physics in each point in space and time, but no energy and no action principle so no acting physics. Spacetime will break down too, of course.

Comment #148816

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 7, 2006 4:26 AM (e)

Spacetime??? I’m afraid if Biologists (or in Biology talk) start to use facts from Astrophysics, someone may come up and say its basic principles are just-so stories as well…

Comment #148983

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 7, 2006 10:07 PM (e)

Dayan:
Please don’t get the wrong impression about science from commenters. Side discussions doesn’t need to be about biology or science, as here where it has ventured into philosophy, the commenters aren’t all scientists (as you noted), and even if it would be about science it can be very wrong as most comments can.

It can also be boring for others.

Comment #149023

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 8, 2006 4:46 AM (e)

…it was a funny conclusion, when someone states ‘Evolutionist explanations are just-so stories’, it feels like taking life from a fun side.

Spiritual teaching like the one from beginning of this article lacks in materialistic basis, it needs one, and it finds it in being anti- to basic principles of a materialistic science. Biology is targeted.

Astrobiology isn’t addressed in such a disapproving way, like it’s beyond critic’s reach, even though they are the same bio-science. Biology deals with life and evolution on Earth, Astrobiology further on.

Maybe it’s because of a dominant Astrophysical part, NASA founded NAInstitutes. No one stated Astrobiological models of primitive atmospheres are ‘just-so stories’, or has opposed the Cassini-Huygens mission to Titan expectations.

Maybe Astrobiology’s attemp to understand how primitive atmospheres evolve and evolution of life arises, doesn’t ring anyone’s bells. As more Biologists start to use the facts from Astrophysics/Astrobiology, it just-so may.

Comment #149119

Posted by Popper's Ghost on December 8, 2006 7:47 PM (e)

You can’t make an observation about X before even establishing what is or is not X.

Which I did in the same sentence. Symmetries is a fundamental observation of the nature we observe.

Huh? X is nature – you know, the thing you said we observe. You did not establish what is or is not nature in that sentence.

but theories must contain natural objects and relations. So I don’t preclude watching a miracle. I haven’t seen any, though.

What’s “natural”? How would you know you haven’t seen any miracles, when you have no basis for claiming that something is or is not miraculous?

The notion of a non-natural cause is incoherent.

That remains to be shown, of course.

No, it does not; the meanings of “natural” and “causal” are tightly connected.

Comment #149207

Posted by Steve B on December 9, 2006 5:08 PM (e)

REVIEWING BRAD

Brad is clearly an inferior and unfit individual who should not survive in a forum such as this. In fact agnostics, IDists and creationists should be exterminated or at the very least put in camps somewhere - obviously since their presence does nothing but hinder evolutionary progress.

With these thoughts in view I commend Glen Davidson, Poppers Ghost et.al. for having the courage to eviscerate Brad for even suggesting that evolution might not be correct. The others here also deserve high commendation for helping present a unified front in this regard.

Comment #149230

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 9, 2006 7:38 PM (e)

There can never be too much of tolerance. Open societies are defined by the freedom of choice, as long as the choice is not enforced over others.

I believe this discussion was to say the IDists’ claim: ‘Evolutionist explanations are just-so stories. They are entirely speculative and do not qualify as evidence’, doesn’t have sense and logic in real physical world.

Conclusions were no more general than the theme’s subject, at least not on my side. I hope I helped to outline inconsequence in a spiritual teaching like the one analyzed.

Science is not about taking sides, nor the main stream. It’s where it leads you.

Comment #149235

Posted by Sir_Toejam on December 9, 2006 8:05 PM (e)

There can never be too much of tolerance. Open societies are defined by the freedom of choice, as long as the choice is not enforced over others.

er, you mean like enforced tolerance?

Comment #149251

Posted by stevaroni on December 9, 2006 10:26 PM (e)

There can never be too much of tolerance. Open societies are defined by the freedom of choice, as long as the choice is not enforced over others.

er, you mean like enforced tolerance?

If you were perfectly tolerent, shouldn’t one of the things you tolerate be intolerence?

Comment #149274

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 10, 2006 4:31 AM (e)

Tolerance as live and let others live. People have the right to think what they think is right, as long as they don’t enforce their opinion over others.

Comment #149275

Posted by Sir_Toejam on December 10, 2006 4:53 AM (e)

round and round we go…

Comment #149301

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 10, 2006 3:03 PM (e)

I seem to be the only one who felt the need to opt out from the Comment #149207. No more from me.

Comment #149313

Posted by Freelurker on December 10, 2006 5:26 PM (e)

I seem to be the only one who felt the need to opt out from the Comment #149207.

Probably most people saw it as a parody. Nobody took the bait.

Comment #149338

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 10, 2006 8:45 PM (e)

PG wrote:

You did not establish what is or is not nature in that sentence.

My point is that observations of nature tells us how nature is.

PG wrote:

How would you know you haven’t seen any miracles, when you have no basis for claiming that something is or is not miraculous?

I have already covered that above. Patches where we don’t observe the background of symmetry is readily observed. And these includes possible miracles as defined by the supernatural notion.

The flying bus thingie is a convenient illusion, but that is not how it would work against the background of nature.

PG wrote:

No, it does not;

Again, you must show where my notion is incoherent.

PG wrote:

the meanings of “natural” and “causal” are tightly connected.

And this isn’t it.

First, causality as described by light-cone lorentz invariance are an example of exactly the type of symmetry I discussed. We can readily observe if that is broken. For example, there are papers who finds that superluminal signaling destabilizes gauge theories. Our effective field theories are gauge theories, and so we would observe all sorts of emissions from such patches localized in our spacetime.

Second, causality is a secondary property of nature, derived from symmetries such as above and other properties. The connection is not so tight as you make it. See http://pancake.uchicago.edu/~carroll/nd-paper.html for a discussion by a physicist and more fundamental model of this.

“Once we figure out the correct formal structure, patterns, boundary conditions, and interpretation, we have obtained a complete description of reality. (Of course we don’t yet have the final answers as to what such a description is, but a materialist believes such a description does exist.) In particular, we should emphasize that there is no place in this view for common philosophical concepts such as ”cause and effect” or ”purpose.” From the perspective of modern science, events don’t have purposes or causes; they simply conform to the laws of nature.

In particular, there is no need to invoke any mechanism to ”sustain” a physical system or to keep it going; it would require an additional layer of complexity for a system to cease following its patterns than for it to simply continue to do so. Believing otherwise is a relic of a certain metaphysical way of thinking; these notions are useful in an informal way for human beings, but are not a part of the rigorous scientific description of the world. Of course scientists do talk about ”causality,” but this is a description of the relationship between patterns and boundary conditions; it is a derived concept, not a fundamental one.”

Comment #149760

Posted by Lin D on December 11, 2006 2:27 PM (e)

This thread cuts off at December 5th and the last post itself is cut off too!

What the heck is going on?

Comment #149773

Posted by Lin D on December 11, 2006 3:03 PM (e)

Freelurker,

The post sounds to me like the logical (albeit not absolutely necessary) application of ones acceptance of the TOE.

I for one like to see someone step up to the plate like that as opposed to what you did when you characterized it as “parody” seemingly as a way of not dealing with it ….

As far as the others goes an appeal to “tolerance” sounds like a cop-out. After all, one of that main reasons for PT’s existence is to be intolerant of ID, creationism etc. and we all know this….

Comment #149794

Posted by Freelurker on December 11, 2006 7:17 PM (e)

The post sounds to me like the logical (albeit not absolutely necessary) application of ones acceptance of the TOE.

Your “logic” is wrong, but I enjoyed the part where you said it’s not necessary to follow logic.

So, Lin D, why aren’t you stepping up to the plate to argue with “Steve B?” No doubt it is because he is one of your friends. Nice try, guys …

Comment #149931

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 12, 2006 3:33 PM (e)

p.s. Lin D, it’s easier if you write your full name so people can know what opinions you support, I have never come across someone like that in real life, I believe most people haven’t.

I hope you are a writer of books in Molecular Biology, if you are a reader, you may have read some books of my previously mentioned professor who is esteemed in her field of specialty and with-head-in-faith believer. It would be a paradox since, in your opinion, her presence as a believer hinders evolutionary progress.

My great grandfather was taken to a camp during World War II and didn’t return, it was because one nation in Europe at certain moment felt they are superior race to other nations of Europe and wanted to conquer the world. Great grandma raised me, wish if I knew my great grandfather. Millions of people missed someone.

No one can have enough morality to propose another ‘camps’ for whatever reasons in the history of humanity, or provoke ‘step up’ in support to put billions of believers to camps in any context. Hopefully what you support will never have Military power.

I’ll believe Steve B,indeed, wrote it as a parody.

Comment #149936

Posted by Lin D on December 12, 2006 4:04 PM (e)

Freelurker,

You missed the point entirely.

It was simply an obervation that Steve B’s application follows logically but not with absolute necessity and that it was refreshing to see someone honest enough to admit that the TOE is the basis for it.

As to “why aren’t you stepping up to the plate to argue with “Steve B?””.

First of all you probably did’nt notice this but Steve B’s post looks more like a sidenote to the theme here so your question is illegitimate on those grounds. Secondly, the “why aren’t you” part makes your question ad hoministic and therefore doubly illegitimate.

As far as knowing Steve B. goes this is yet another red herring which by definition misdirects and lets you and who knows who else avoid the issues raised. This unfortunately is an obvious and all to common maneuver her on PT that I think hurts our advocacy of the TOE .. but I digress ….

Comment #149952

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 12, 2006 4:57 PM (e)

Lin, hope I wasn’t too harsh in critics, I am ‘subjectively’ oversensitive on the word ‘camps’ like many people are.

Astrobiology is ‘the love of my life’ and I enjoy conversations/discussions about evolution and spiritual teachings, they are all virtues of life. That is why I keep coming back to PT, I may cancel Discovery Channel subscription because of spending my free time here!

Comment #149953

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 12, 2006 5:06 PM (e)

Lin, hope I wasn’t too harsh in critics, I am ‘subjectively’ oversensitive on the word ‘camps’ like many people are.

Astrobiology is ‘the love of my life’ and I enjoy conversations/discussions about evolution and spiritual teachings, they are all virtues of life. That is why I keep coming back to PT, I may cancel Discovery Channel subscription because of spending my free time here!

Comment #150104

Posted by Steve B. on December 13, 2006 2:35 PM (e)

Dayan,

NO it wasn’t a parody - here let me try again.

Roughly:

1) Evolution is objectively real.

2) IDists deny the reality of evolution
which makes them unfit.

3) It follows that since IDists are unfit
they should not survive because they
hinder evolutionary progress.

(I think that We Need To Own This.)

Implementation:

A) How far is one willing to go to act on
#3?

a) For the most part PT exists is to act
on #3.

Example:

Participants on PT routinely use justifiably hateful and dehumanizing language to describe IDists or anyone who even suggests that TOE may not be correct.

Question:

With this much intensity why not advocate carrying our efforts to their fullest extent since doing so is consistent with the reality of evolution?

Comment #150107

Posted by Raging Bee on December 13, 2006 2:56 PM (e)

To be fair, “god did it” is not a just so story. To be a proper just so story it would have to be “god did it in the following amusing and whimsical way…”

Which pretty much rules out all of the Old Testament, which is neither amusing nor whimsical. That’s why I became a Pagan.

Comment #150111

Posted by Ric on December 13, 2006 3:42 PM (e)

Steve B,

You’re quite the troll. Of course everyone knows that the point of PT and of proponents of evolution is not to advocate for evolution or to help evolution along. That’s such a straw man. Advocates for evolution simply argue that what has the scientific evidence behind it should not be unfairly suppressed or criticized for political and religious reasons.

Evolution is descriptive, not prescriptive.

But I wonder if you aren’t one of Dembski’s sycophants, seeing as how Dembski links to your post from his blog. Of course the idea that Dembski would link to such an obviously trollish post just shows how much difficulty he has with, well, using his intelligence.

Comment #150116

Posted by GuyeFaux on December 13, 2006 4:07 PM (e)

…since IDists are unfit
they should not survive…

You’re giving the TOE moral value, of which it has none by conflating the two meanings of “should”. To boot, you’re betraying an ignorance of evolution by conflating it with species selection.

Comment #150125

Posted by Glen Davidson on December 13, 2006 4:15 PM (e)

Participants on PT routinely use justifiably hateful and dehumanizing language to describe IDists or anyone who even suggests that TOE may not be correct.

But of course we don’t. Some do, yes, but most do not.

We end up using demeaning language when, as is nearly inevitable, the IDist begins to “support ID” with misrepresentations, strawman arguments, false analogies, and demands that we make room for nonevidence-based claims. For the fact is that when it becomes clear that an intelligent discussion is impossible, we have to point out why we aren’t engaging in intelligent discussion, mainly because the IDist/creationist is not arguing intelligently and insists that we must think as badly as they do (or we’re “materialists” or some other meaningless name-calling that IDists regularly resort to (Dembski recently called Judge Jones a “putz”, with the usual level of “argumentation”, essentially none)).

I think that obvious trolls (of whatever kind), like AFDave and “Brad” are often given rather more credit than they deserve here (not from me), no matter that they actually begin by insulting our intellectual integrity. I think this is because many think that people are inherently rational and evidence-driven, beliefs that I have long since abandoned. Regardless of the reasons, undeserved respect is often meted out to those who begin with trollish demands, with the proper disrespect generally reserved until later.

There is nothing at all wrong with suggesting that the TOE is incorrect, and everything wrong with suggesting that it is incorrect without having any good reasons to doubt it (and no, tired old rubbish from ID sites do not constitute “good reasons”). The insult to our intelligence that “questioning” the TOE, either sans evidence or with stupid PRATTs, is enough reason to point out that such a person is stupid, ignorant, and/or intellectually dishonest.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #150126

Posted by GuyeFaux on December 13, 2006 4:20 PM (e)

Definitely not a word:

ad hoministic

And no it doesn’t.

Sorry. Continue.

Comment #150180

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 13, 2006 6:37 PM (e)

Upon Steve B.’s Comment #150104,

I would not define myself as anti- of anything, science is more general than being anti- from a group of people who suggest certain views of a spiritual teaching, science talker is at lose for his vocabulary to be made of ‘social’ words like ‘hateful’. I never read such subjective word in Astrophysics books.

Being anti- from something is how people who don’t have the real thing in their hands to talk about define themselves, by neglecting, disapproving, objecting, all ‘social’ words. I analyze their logical inconsistency, physics world senselessness. Thruth tells for itself, no need for ad hominem. Don’t ‘hate’ them, let them ‘hate’ you.

If all commentators are to be in the ‘united front’, ‘hateful and dehumanizing’ ideology, maybe I impressed PT wrongly and I shouldn’t be here, as similar rhetoric usually used nationalists, politicians, I believe many people at PT would like to stay strict to ‘scientific’ vocabularity without being contexted into any social movement.

In the Wholy Wars article, I wrote Einstein was being believer/nonbeliever in astro-conclusions, to suggest the complex connection of science and faith should be taken in consideration, a person defined my words as a ‘lie’ (‘social’ word), I submited Einstein’s quote I was referring to and my post was censored. I asked the site administrator why as all I did was quoted Einstein, science is not about ‘eliding’ ‘hiding’ (‘social’ words) facts.

I read today about the melting ice from the North Pole and predictions how it will effect the world and its climate until 2040, seas will rise, salinity of Atl. Ocean will drop, making it more often to freeze, resulting in slowdown of the Gulf Stream, producing…, before the text about an oil company that financed with $19millions reasearchers to claim global warming is not happening.

It’s a ‘manipulation’ of science, ‘misuseage’. Together with ‘hateful and dehumanizing’ language they make ‘social’ words not justifiable within the vocabulary of science. Science is science, nothing more or less, that’s how I see it. Let science speak with the facts.

Comment #150203

Posted by Katarina on December 13, 2006 7:18 PM (e)

Dayan,

It seems from some of the words you skip, such as “the” that English is your second language. I read in one of your comments that your grandpa was in a labor camp during WWII. Both of mine were too (Jasenovac).

May I ask where you’re from?

Comment #150265

Posted by normdoering on December 13, 2006 9:14 PM (e)

Steve B. wrote:

… why not advocate carrying our efforts to their fullest extent since doing so is consistent with the reality of evolution?

Are you insane? Or are you just a troll?

Comment #150286

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 14, 2006 1:11 AM (e)

My point is that observations of nature tells us how nature is.

You’re terminally clueless.

Comment #150309

Posted by djmullen on December 14, 2006 4:09 AM (e)

Hmmm… Let’s see ….

“Steve B.” posts a fairly typical creationist misunderstanding of evolution (and morality) combined with the kind of love for humanity we expect from a religious extremist at 2:35 PM on December 13.

Comment #150104
Posted by Steve B. on December 13, 2006 2:35 PM

The post is hundreds of comments down on a thread that started two weeks ago.

William A Dembski reposts the ignorant and immoral screed on Uncommon Descent on December 13, time unknown. Salvador Cordova posts a reply to the ignorant screed on December 13 at 4:28 PM.

Two hours for WAD to “come across” “Steve B.”’s comment, post it and for Salvador to spot WAD’s post and reply to it? No way!

The question is, which IDiot is posting as “Steve B.”? I nominate Dembski on the theory of “He who smelt it delt it.” I hope “Steve B.”’s IP address was logged and that somebody looks into who he really is.

Comment #150331

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 14, 2006 8:54 AM (e)

Katarina,

The usage of ‘articles’ follows me like a curse through all Anglo-Saxon languages I speak, there’s no such thing in (South) Slavic languages. Glad to see you worked it out.

As far as I know, my great grandfather was taken to the concentration camp in Vukovar, but he may have ended up in Jasenovac as well, Jasenovac was a ‘crowded’ place in those days. I noticed you mentioned how communists dealt with the believers in ‘The Wholy Wars’ text. History teaches us lessons beyond personal experience.

I’m not a member of any ‘Human Rights Watch’ organisation, still where’s the calling for the modern man probably from one of the world’s richest/technologically most advanced country, with plenty to eat, drink, resources to develop spirit….to spend thoughts on proposing ‘camps’ and ‘some groups of people hinder other people’s evolutionary progress’, it’s a nationalistic/ideologistic rhetoric last time used in the World Wars for massacring ‘lower’ races until the higher-race utopia didn’t fall to pieces with millions of casualties fallen behind.

Some use science to propose pugnacious social movements, some vice-versa use faith, as if it’s a natural process how civilization develops, master all the diseases to cure people and people will continue to develop diseases as a more sufficient biological weapon, like there’s no peace in our nature but motiv for conflict.

It’s a paradox to say a group of people hinders other group of people’s evolutionary progress, then make a proposition no more intelligent than the acting of an ant colony with agression to conquer the rival group.

It’s a paradox when an anti-evolution supporter goes to the doctor and doctor says the bio-medicament needs to evolve/evolutionize in the body’s immune system before being effective so don’t eat in the next hour, and the person says ‘ok’.

Rival groups are formed to express the warriors/contenders for physical dominance/spiritual supremacy, like male lions kill cubs they find with lionesses to secure the genes of the dominat one will prevail, extreme in the need for the rival group to be eradicated.

In a documentary about football hooligans in England, one was asked why is he one, he said it’s something within him as a man, the rush of confronting the enemy, one person was with the great financial richness, guess the same urge drove him to risk life on the streets.

In Astrobiology, I’d rather predict principle of Planets and Solar Systems being rivals one to each other than living in mutual harmony. Less imagine life already intelligent enough to overcome physical existence, fight for survival, conquer or be conquered battlecry.

Comment #150332

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 14, 2006 8:58 AM (e)

PG wrote:

My point is that observations of nature tells us how nature is.

You’re terminally clueless.

Of what you are trying to say, yes.

You are defining nature as all what is observed. It is a common philosophical position.

I am defining nature as all what is observed. I am also modelling it based on observations to predict what we should continue to expect to observe (global symmetry for certain quantities) and what we should not (local symmetry breaking for those quantities).

This is no different from any other theory. I don’t expect to see any such events, because it would mean fundamentally different local physics. It would also falsify the theory. Meanwhile it is a valid constraint.

And it answers the question originally posed:

PG wrote:

what distinguishes that which is in nature from that which isn’t in nature?

What you clue me in on is that you have no argument against my model.

Comment #150333

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 14, 2006 9:09 AM (e)

Djmullen,

I just posted my comment, before seeing yours. It almost feels being on the trail of some theory of conspiracy, now that would be something :)

Your comment’s report: “William A Dembski reposts the ignorant and immoral screed on Uncommon Descent on December 13, time unknown. Salvador Cordova posts a reply to the ignorant screed on December 13 at 4:28 PM.”, really sounds like a warlike vocabularity, like you just proved my point about the rival groups principle :)

Comment #150339

Posted by Katarina on December 14, 2006 9:31 AM (e)

Dayan,

I noticed you mentioned how communists dealt with the believers in ‘The Wholy Wars’ text. History teaches us lessons beyond personal experience.

No, this is not what I meant to express. Actually I think of Yugoslavia as one of the milder communist countries -at least by comparison to China and Russia- as far as the way they dealt with religion. My household in particular was oppressively atheistic, since my grandfather was a young communist pioneer and believed in Tito’s dream, and that is what I was referring to in my comments in Holy Wars. It was meant to illustrate how teenagers react to their parents, whether they are brought up in religion, or anti-religion. Funny story though: my husband’s parents, when they were young missionaries, got kicked out of the communist Yugoslavia as suspected spies!

Anyway, it’s nice to see another Slav on PT. I am trying to understand your position. Can you be more explicit in what you are trying to express on this thread? Are you under the impression that evolution is plagued by just-so stories? Like human evolution and the genetic difference between races? I have to tell you that it scared me a little when I read the book Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of our Ancestors by Nicholas Wade, which came very close to arguing in favor of the intellectual superiority of Northern people, a select group of Jews, and Orientals. All in all though, I thought the arguments were well supported, and not just-so stories. And it was pointed out that there are many genes coding for IQ, and we simply haven’t found ones yet for, say, Southern Africans.

Comment #150394

Posted by Steve B. on December 14, 2006 3:22 PM (e)

I don’t have alot of time here but
it looks like some clarification is needed.

1) I take it as self-evident that there exists a moral obligation to adopt positions \ behaviors that are consistent with reality.

2) Every feature of reality i.e. the cosmos including the human mind, society and morality can be explained by the TOE.

3) Since I reject the naturalistic fallacy I therefore base my ethics upon the firm foundation of evolutionary reality.

4) Evolutionary reality dictates that the inferior \ unfit should not survive – in this case IDists & creationists who oppose this reality.

5) It follows that I have a moral obligation to support and encourage those on PT who often use Justifiably vicious and dehumanizing characterizations of IDists & Creationists.

Djmullen

You’re labelling me as a creationist? Give me a break! You may not agree with my position, fine, but cheap tactics like this, come on!

Ric et.al.

I had no idea this was on Dembski’s site.
Please provide a link.

Comment #150398

Posted by GuyeFaux on December 14, 2006 4:04 PM (e)

1) I take it as self-evident that there exists a moral obligation to adopt positions \ behaviors that are consistent with reality.

It’s not self evident at all. And what the hell do you mean by “consistent with reality?” Is shooting down airplanes “consistent with reality” since gravity is real and generally makes things fall down? Or are you saying that we should be afraid of falling from heights?

2) Every feature of reality i.e. the cosmos including the human mind, society and morality can be explained by the TOE.

Horse-crap. Please explain to me how the cosmos is “explained” by the TOE.

3) Since I reject the naturalistic fallacy I therefore base my ethics upon the firm foundation of evolutionary reality.

This contradicts the “self-evident” bit in 1).

4) Evolutionary reality dictates that the inferior \ unfit should not survive – in this case IDists & creationists who oppose this reality.

Once again, what do you mean by “should”? And either way I don’t see how this follows from anything you’ve said.

5) It follows that I have a moral obligation to support and encourage those on PT who often use Justifiably vicious and dehumanizing characterizations of IDists & Creationists.

No, by your reasoning you should go kill them yourself.

But then, one can derive anything from a contradiction.

Comment #150399

Posted by GuyeFaux on December 14, 2006 4:13 PM (e)

Since I reject the naturalistic fallacy I therefore base my ethics upon the firm foundation of evolutionary reality.

You reject the naturalistic fallacy because you think it’s not a fallacy? Because that’s what you’re advocating by basing your ethics on the TOE.

Comment #150403

Posted by Kristine on December 14, 2006 5:15 PM (e)

Evolutionary reality dictates that the inferior \ unfit should not survive – in this case IDists & creationists who oppose this reality.

Evolutionary reality “dictates” no such thing. “Survival of the fittest” was not coined by Darwin and he only reluctantly included it in his 5th edition of Origin of Species. Darwin did not like the phrase, Dawkins has argued against it, and I think it’s completely worthless.

It follows that since IDists are unfit they should not survive because they hinder evolutionary progress.

Individuals don’t evolve so evolution doesn’t “dictate” their feelings–it won’t make Ann Coulter want to have children and it doesn’t say that individuals “should” die (we’re all going to die anyway, genius), but that those who do not reproduce before they die will not spread their genes. Duh. People not having children before they die already hinder their own evolutionary progress so I don’t know what you’re talking about.

At any rate evolution happens no matter what humans do and so there is no (im)moral imperative to kill your fellow human beings based upon your ignorant view of ToE. Also, “survival” in the evolutionary sense means reproduction, so unless you’re planning to wipe out the children too your little plot is doomed (good!). As if someone like me is going to stand by and let that happen. But you’re just talking out of your butt, anyway, and everyone knows it. You’re not serious and if you are, I’d be the first to turn you in.

It follows that I have a moral obligation to support and encourage those on PT who often use Justifiably vicious and dehumanizing characterizations of IDists & Creationists.

Well, then I apologize for my words that may have dehumanized people, and from this point forward why don’t we all take responsibility for our choice of words. I think that that behavior has more survival value than yours so why don’t you quit while you’re behind, or issue an apology for this repulsive statement that you don’t really believe anyway. Look at the people at Uncommon Descent, they’re taking you seriously.

There are enough recriminations involved in this issue without fanning the flames of panic about genocide for pity’s sake.

Comment #150404

Posted by Sir_Toejam on December 14, 2006 5:41 PM (e)

steveb is just playing a wanker’s game of making “logical” (and false) extensions of the ToE and making ostensible sociological conclusions based on that, primarily just to yank yer chains.

god, but this place is getting boring, when an elementary school level conceptualization of the ToE can generate discussion here.

Comment #150407

Posted by GuyeFaux on December 14, 2006 5:53 PM (e)

god, but this place is getting boring, when an elementary school level conceptualization of the ToE can generate discussion here.

Damn it. Second time today a troll ate my logic.

Comment #150409

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 14, 2006 6:03 PM (e)

I have to tell you that it scared me a little when I read the book Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of our Ancestors by Nicholas Wade, which came very close to arguing in favor of the intellectual superiority of Northern people, a select group of Jews, and Orientals. All in all though, I thought the arguments were well supported, and not just-so stories.

I’m not familiar with that work, but Jared Diamond cogently argues for a very different – and, IMO, much more plausible – position in “Guns, Germs, and Steel”.

Comment #150440

Posted by normdoering on December 14, 2006 11:04 PM (e)

Mr. B wrote:

4) Evolutionary reality dictates that the inferior \ unfit should not survive – in this case IDists & creationists who oppose this reality.

Who are you to play nature?

Nature takes casre of that herself. Your evolution is too small.

Comment #150452

Posted by djmullen on December 15, 2006 12:43 AM (e)

Steve B. ejaculates:

You’re labelling me as a creationist? Give me a break! You may not agree with my position, fine, but cheap tactics like this, come on!

When you post an immoral argument straight out of the creationist playbook, one so shoddy that only someone with a complete lack of understanding of evolution would ever make it, you’re damned right I call you a creationist. And when Dembski reprints your shoddy and immoral posting and passes it off as an evolutionary argument that is typical of what gets published on Panda’s Thumb, double damned right I do.

Creationist! Creationist! Creationist!

Comment #150489

Posted by Dayan Smreca on December 15, 2006 10:53 AM (e)

Katarina,

I apologize if I referred to your words incorrectly, I remembered you mention a few familiar words to me and I didn’t go back to the ‘Holy Wars’ text to re-read them.

Talking about that text, one said it’s unclear what I know about Einstein, it is, but I still pass by his wife’s monument in her home town and live 10mins away from where he stayed at. This is my answer to you where I am from!!: )

I came across PT last week having more free time (that I’ll have less with January coming). Some things have been revealing for me reading the discussions, I begin to wonder why would someone say ‘the most of Biology is just-so stories’.

‘djmullen’ comments are such a coincidence to mine. Commentating previous comments yesterday, I wrote about the ‘rival groups’ principle, by the time I posted it, his comment was already there like a report of a real example.

Today reading yesterday’s comments, I got a certain impression, only to see at the end that ‘djmullen’ has already written it down. Words of commentator ‘Steve B.’ don’t seem real, I never heard a person in reality talking like that.

Opinions are beyond humane comprehension, as if they are a decoy, no one with a clear mind would support them here, so it’s not about criticizing them, but waiting for someone to say ‘yeah, why not’.

What’s the meaning to provoke a scientist (many people on PT seem to be related to science by profession), or a science enthusiast, to be floppy and support such a social opinion? Upon ‘Freelurker’s Comment #149313, I think everybody took the bait.

Comment #150493

Posted by Glen Davidson on December 15, 2006 11:38 AM (e)

don’t have alot of time here but
it looks like some clarification is needed.

1) I take it as self-evident that there exists a moral obligation to adopt positions \ behaviors that are consistent with reality.

Actually, to say that there is a “self-evident” “moral obligation” sounds like nothing except creationism/ID.

Either you are a creationist troll, or you manage to know as little as a creationist.

No one knows what “consistent with reality” even means, except in specific contexts. In one context, being consistent with reality would entail opposing evolutionary theory because it is contrary to the beliefs held by humanity during its biological and cultural evolutions.

2) Every feature of reality i.e. the cosmos including the human mind, society and morality can be explained by the TOE.

Straight out of the IDist playbook, as has been noted in other posts. The theory of evolution only deals with biological development, and even that is constrained by factors well beyond the control of evolutionary processes.

If you weren’t a creationist you’d know these things.

3) Since I reject the naturalistic fallacy I therefore base my ethics upon the firm foundation of evolutionary reality.

Again your IDist-level of ignorance is exposed. Basing your ethics upon “evolutionary reality” is the naturalistic fallacy, more or less. You need to study even to pass as a real evolutionist, rather than relying upon the bilge coming from IDists.

4) Evolutionary reality dictates that the inferior \ unfit should not survive – in this case IDists & creationists who oppose this reality.

Again you commit the naturalistic fallacy.

Beyond that, the “inferior/unfit” is determined by natural selection, not by IDiots who pretend to be evolutionists. Dembski proves himself to be relatively fit in evolutionary terms, by selling books of nonsense to IDiots like yourself, by knowing how to lie by claiming that trolls like you faithfully represent PTers, and by generally avoiding truth and the facts in favor of popular myth.

5) It follows that I have a moral obligation to support and encourage those on PT who often use Justifiably vicious and dehumanizing characterizations of IDists & Creationists.

Whoa-ho, the obligatory IDiot misplaced capitalizations just showed up. Once again, it proves that you are an unfit IDiot, not a fit one like Dembski, since he avoids the stupid mannerisms of the uncouth and uneducated. True, he fails spectacularly in other ways (without this being noticed by a quorum of idiots like yourself), but he doesn’t reveal ID/creationist mannerism like you do, troll.

And anyway, it’s only IDiots and creationists who prattle endlessly on about “vicious” and “dehumanizing” characterizations of the crapheads like yourself who come in with false accusations against us. Indeed, we think and speak ill of morons like yourself, but that isn’t because it is impossible for an IDist or creationist to be intelligent and open-minded, it is that we so rarely meet them on this particular forum.

Djmullen

You’re labelling me as a creationist? Give me a break! You may not agree with my position, fine, but cheap tactics like this, come on!

I suppose the fact that you don’t know what the naturalistic fallacy is, you do uncomprehendingly argue in favor of the naturalistic fallacy you don’t understand, and you pretend that “viciousness” against IDiots and creatonionists is not called for specifically by the pathetic arguments they use (which it is in the majority, if not all, cases), makes anyone think that you’re too stupid to understand anything about evolution. Hence we have cause to believe that you’re creationist/IDist.

Ric et.al.

I had no idea this was on Dembski’s site.
Please provide a link.

A creationist like yourself ought to be able to find it well enough, supposing (as I really do not) that you’re telling the truth here. Or are you so “creationist” that you can’t even perform simple internet operations?

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #150496

Posted by Glen Davidson on December 15, 2006 11:58 AM (e)

With these thoughts in view I commend Glen Davidson, Poppers Ghost et.al. for having the courage to eviscerate Brad for even suggesting that evolution might not be correct.

OK, so odds are that you are either the idiot Brad, or you are closely associated with that lying bigot. Almost certainly the former.

Can you point to one place where PG or I ever “eviscerated” you simply for suggesting that evolution might not be correct, idiot Brad? Of course you can’t, you simply continue on with your lies.

We did attack you for stupidity and dishonesty, which you continue to evince. Your “friend” excuses you for supposedly being quite the humanitarian, and for inhaling lead paint dust. IOW, we noted what an idiot you were, and “he” excused you because, apparently, you are an idiot, lead dust being the excuse (unlikely—lead seriously impairs growing brains, without much damage to mature brains. Brad’s lack of acumen must have other causes).

Well anyway, thanks for telling us who you are, and what is behind your viciousness and idiocy.

The best part of this is the fact that Dembski was so readily taken in by your pathetic trolling on this forum.

Dumbski apparently doesn’t have a clue about statistics, meaning that even if you were other than a vile lying troll, an intelligent mathematician would recognize that one swallow does not a summer make. To be sure, he may know better than to write what he did, but the intellectual dishonesty we’d infer from that is hardly more commendable.

Anyway, you’re too stupid even to be a credible troll, other than to Dumbski (I have rarely called him that in the past, but he seems to be writing dumber and dumber things all the time) and other IDists, UDists, and creationists. It’s comical how you fail to comprehend even the slightest thing, Brad, like the naturalistic fallacy, using it while declaiming against it. I’d say that you’re only competent to strip lead paint off of walls, and your brain couldn’t possibly get any worse no matter how much of it you inhaled.

If you were even slightly smarter than retarded, you’d be able to recognize that we eviscerated you for your incompetent attacks and near-total lack of understanding of the issues you “criticized”, and not simply for criticizing evolutionary theory.

Unless you learn the difference, your posts will continue to be worthy only of contempt and evisceration. The fact is that I answered your idiotic posts more specifically and thoroughly than anybody had, at least up to that time, and you simply attacked me personally, revealing what a stupid and evil person you are.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #150497

Posted by Glen Davidson on December 15, 2006 12:21 PM (e)

By the way, Brad, you’re in violation of PT rules by posting under a second name. I doubt you’d be aware of that, any more than you are of what evolutionary theory is or any of its supposed flaws, and I doubt that you’d care about being abusive even if you did know (as you never once used any “argument” which wasn’t simply a version of the unsupported lie about how we’re “close-minded”), but your purported “ethics” ought to include some respect for others.

(just to clarify my earlier post, the “friend” also said that Brad was “brilliant” or some such thing, but did excuse his idiocy via the lead paint story. Which makes me think that the “friend” is either as incompetent at logic as Brad is, or indeed he was Brad—who clearly doesn’t mind resorting to dishonesty the second it seems to serve his purposes.)

But anyhow, Brad, feel free to write anything like the latest set of dishonest posts that will show up Dembski for the “careful mathematician” that he is, at least with respect to origins. Apparently neither you nor he ever really get enough of revealing your shameless and mindless hatred of your betters, and so much the better that your “ethics” and intelligence be known by the world.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #150544

Posted by Steve B. on December 15, 2006 9:43 PM (e)

GuyeFaux

“It’s not self evident at all. And what the hell do you mean by “consistent with reality?” Is shooting down airplanes “consistent with reality” since gravity is real and generally makes things fall down? Or are you saying that we should be afraid of falling from heights?”

———————————————————————-
I said “I TAKE IT as self-evident” so TO ME it IS self-evident. Instead of just saying on your own authority that “It’s not self evident…” you need to back it up…..

“Reality”?
Try reading things through first and look at #2 for an idea of how I’m using it?
———————————————————————-

“Horse-crap. Please explain to me how the cosmos is “explained” by the TOE.”

———————————————————————-
I said “Every FEATURE Of Reality i.e. the cosmos….” Please Read !
———————————————————————-

“This contradicts the “self-evident” bit in 1).”

———————————————————————-
No it doesn’t but I can simplify it further using what an IDist might say.

1) My obligations should be based upon reality.
(God gave me the desire for this.)
2) Every feature of reality was created by God.
(Morality therefore is a feature of reality created by God).
3) Therefore to live realistically I am obligated to base my morality upon Godly morality and not an unreal \ fictional version of what is real.

Think 1 + 2 = 3 not 1 then 2 then 3.

BUT here’s what I say only I hold that there is nothing higher than naturalistic evolution.
…yawn

1) My obligations should be based upon reality.
(Evolution gave me a natural desire for this)
2) Every feature of reality was produced by evolution.
(Morality therefore is a feature of reality produced by evolution).
3) Therefore to live realistically I am obligated to base my morality upon evolution.
———————————————————————-

4) Evolutionary reality dictates that the inferior \ unfit should not survive – in this case IDists & creationists who oppose this reality.

“Once again, what do you mean by “should”? And either way I don’t see how this follows from anything you’ve said.”

———————————————————————-
As an obvious definition it’s normally “do” but as an ethical statement it’s “should” because in my view ethics is based upon evolution.
———————————————————————-

5) It follows that I have a moral obligation to support and encourage those on PT who often use Justifiably vicious and dehumanizing characterizations of IDists & Creationists.

“No, by your reasoning you should go kill them yourself.”

———————————————————————-
You’re wrong, by my reasoning it does lead to this and hopefully that’s clear now but I can only do so much…..

BTW, in case you hadn’t noticed, “kill” is your word not mine. In fairness though in the earlier post I should have said “fullest justifiable extent……” instead of just “fullest extent”. Beyond that it’s up to the reader to decide for themselves what’s justifiable.
———————————————————————-

“But then, one can derive anything from a contradiction.”

———————————————————————-
Yes, and because one hasn’t read carefully, one has wrongly derived everything.
———————————————————————-

Since I reject the naturalistic fallacy I therefore base my ethics upon the firm foundation of evolutionary reality.

“You reject the naturalistic fallacy because you think it’s not a fallacy? Because that’s what you’re advocating by basing your ethics on the TOE.”

———————————————————————-
You have it backwards, I base my ethics on the TOE because the TOE conforms to evidence based reality And because I am not constrained by the naturalistic fallacy and for that matter the is/ought problem too.
———————————————————————-

Kristine

“Evolutionary reality “dictates” no such thing. “Survival of the fittest” was not coined by Darwin and he only reluctantly included it in his 5th edition of Origin of Species. Darwin did not like the phrase, Dawkins has argued against it, and I think it’s completely worthless.”

———————————————————————-
Ok fair enough but look at what I have been talking about:

Justified terms like “IDiots” “Dumbski” etc. etc. are not neutral, they don’t indicate fitness, so they must indicate, well lets see what’s left? Oh look, inferior \ unfit? And if ID & creationism is inferior \ unfit then by definition they should not survive - and thankfully PT is largely dedicated to this in it’s own way.
———————————————————————-

It follows that since IDists are unfit they should not survive because they hinder evolutionary progress.

“Individuals don’t evolve so evolution doesn’t “dictate” their feelings–it won’t make Ann Coulter want to have children and it doesn’t say that individuals “should” die (we’re all going to die anyway, genius), but that those who do not reproduce before they die will not spread their genes. Duh. People not having children before they die already hinder their own evolutionary progress so I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

———————————————————————-
Well then you should have asked me first what I was talking about. Anyway, what I mean is the evolutionary progress of humanity as a whole because that which is inferior by definition hinders evolutionary progress including inferior projects such as ID - and this clearly follows from what I said.

And BTW “die” is not my word, but then again if they really are all of these vile things
that we say they are, then it seems like there should be more that we can do to get rid of
them. So “not survive” is meant to convey this.
———————————————————————-

“At any rate evolution happens no matter what humans do and so there is no (im)moral imperative to kill your fellow human beings based upon your ignorant view of ToE.”

———————————————————————-
Yes but in my view there is a moral imperative to find ways to help evolutionary progress. Once again “kill” is your word not mine.
———————————————————————-

“Also, “survival” in the evolutionary sense means reproduction, so unless you’re planning to wipe out the children too your little plot is doomed (good!).”

———————————————————————-
No, actually if one survives they are able to reproduce.
———————————————————————-

“As if someone like me is going to stand by and let that happen. But you’re just talking out of your butt, anyway, and everyone knows it. You’re not serious and if you are, I’d be the first to turn you in.”

———————————————————————-
All right lets not get worked up here.
———————————————————————-

It follows that I have a moral obligation to support and encourage those on PT who often use Justifiably vicious and dehumanizing characterizations of IDists & Creationists.

“Well, then I apologize for my words that may have dehumanized people, and from this point forward why don’t we all take responsibility for our choice of words. I think that that behavior has more survival value than yours so why don’t you quit while you’re behind, or issue an apology for this repulsive statement that you don’t really believe anyway. Look at the people at Uncommon Descent, they’re taking you seriously.”

———————————————————————-
We just disagree, besides I’m not responsible for something that happens on another website and who cares what they say anyway.
———————————————————————-

There are enough recriminations involved in this issue without fanning the flames of panic about genocide for pity’s sake.

———————————————————————-
I already covered this and “genocide” is your word not mine.
———————————————————————-

Sir_Toejam

“god, but this place is getting boring, when an elementary school level conceptualization of the ToE can generate discussion here.”

———————————————————————-
Only an elementary school conceptualization would confuse “the ToE” with ethics based upon the TOE.
———————————————————————-

GuyeFaux

“god, but this place is getting boring, when an elementary school level conceptualization of the ToE can generate discussion here.”

“Damn it. Second time today a troll ate my logic.”

———————————————————————-
It blew up in his face so he really ate something else, but if you want to own that go ahead.
———————————————————————-

djmullen

“Creationist! Creationist! Creationist!”

Question: What’s the difference between djmullen and a child ?
Answer: There is no difference.

Glen Davidson

2) Every feature of reality i.e. the cosmos including the human mind, society and morality can be explained by the TOE.

“Straight out of the IDist playbook, as has been noted in other posts. The theory of evolution only deals with biological development, and even that is constrained by factors well beyond the control of evolutionary processes.”

“If you weren’t a creationist you’d know these things.”

———————————————————————-
It’s more like from Haeckel, Caneri and Buchner and other Darwinists but if you were really an evolutionist you would know this. And if you had actually read what I said you would also know that I’m talking about evolutionary ethics and Not the “theory of evolution”.
———————————————————————-

3) Since I reject the naturalistic fallacy I therefore base my ethics upon the firm foundation of evolutionary reality.

“Again your IDist-level of ignorance is exposed. Basing your ethics upon “evolutionary reality” is the naturalistic fallacy, more or less. You need to study even to pass as a real evolutionist, rather than relying upon the bilge coming from IDists.”

———————————————————————-
Since I clearly said that “I reject the naturalistic fallacy” your lack of reading skills and or self deception is exposed.
———————————————————————-

4) Evolutionary reality dictates that the inferior \ unfit should not survive – in this case IDists & creationists who oppose this reality.

“Again you commit the naturalistic fallacy.”

———————————————————————-
Wrong again, I reject the naturalistic fallacy on other grounds therefore I do not commit it – see it’s v e r y s i m p l e.
———————————————————————-

“Beyond that, the “inferior/unfit” is determined by natural selection, not by IDiots who pretend to be evolutionists. Dembski proves himself to be relatively fit in evolutionary terms, by selling books of nonsense to IDiots like yourself, by knowing how to lie by claiming that trolls like you faithfully represent PTers, and by generally avoiding truth and the facts in favor of popular myth.”

———————————————————————-
Wrong yet again. In my view inferior/unfit can also be determined by artificial selection but hopefully not by emotionally unstable evolutionists who lack basic reading skills and who make up statements without conscience in order to attack other evolutionists like myself.
———————————————————————-

5) It follows that I have a moral obligation to support and encourage those on PT who often use Justifiably vicious and dehumanizing characterizations of IDists & Creationists.

“Whoa-ho, the obligatory IDiot misplaced capitalizations just showed up. Once again, it proves that you are an unfit IDiot, not a fit one like Dembski, since he avoids the stupid mannerisms of the uncouth and uneducated. True, he fails spectacularly in other ways (without this being noticed by a quorum of idiots like yourself), but he doesn’t reveal ID/creationist mannerism like you do, troll.”

———————————————————————-
Only an “IDiot”, “unfit IDiot” someone with “stupid mannerisms” and someone who has joined a “quorum of idiots” would think that misplaced capitalization’s mean anything. I feel sorry for a clearly inferior \ unfit person like this because they were obviously raised very poorly. Hopefully a person like this never has children.

By the way, the word that you wrote “capitalizations” is supposed to have an apostrophe between the “n” and the “s” so this once again proves that you are an “IDiot”, “unfit IDiot” someone with “stupid mannerisms” and someone who has joined a “quorum of idiots” for not even living down to your own standard.
———————————————————————-

“And anyway, it’s only IDiots and creationists who prattle endlessly on about “vicious” and “dehumanizing” characterizations of the crapheads like yourself who come in with false accusations against us. Indeed, we think and speak ill of morons like yourself, but that isn’t because it is impossible for an IDist or creationist to be intelligent and open-minded, it is that we so rarely meet them on this particular forum.”

———————————————————————-
Only an “IDiot”, “craphead likeyourself”, “moron” and someone in need of anti-psychotic medication and years of therapy would be able to read what I wrote and think that it contained “false accusations”.
———————————————————————-

Djmullen

You’re labelling me as a creationist? Give me a break! You may not agree with my position, fine, but cheap tactics like this, come on!

“I suppose the fact that you don’t know what the naturalistic fallacy is, you do uncomprehendingly argue in favor of the naturalistic fallacy you don’t understand, and you pretend that “viciousness” against IDiots and creatonionists is not called for specifically by the pathetic arguments they use (which it is in the majority, if not all, cases), makes anyone think that you’re too stupid to understand anything about evolution. Hence we have cause to believe that you’re creationist/IDist.”

———————————————————————-
Only someone “too stupid to understand anything” and someone with first grade reading skills would think that I said “that “viciousness” against IDiots and creatonionists is not called for” when I Clearly said that it was “justified”. But I guess that someone in this bad of shape can’t be expected to understand when someone blatantly says that they “reject the naturalistic fallacy” and it’s therefore inapplicable to their position either.
———————————————————————-

Glen D.

I had no idea this was on Dembski’s site.
Please provide a link.

“A creationist like yourself ought to be able to find it well enough, supposing (as I really do not) that you’re telling the truth here. Or are you so “creationist” that you can’t even perform simple internet operations?

———————————————————————-
Are your reading skills so poor that you can’t comprehend the difference between a time dependant statement and a time independent statement. The answer is for you is “yes” in case you need help with that too.
———————————————————————-

Glen Davidson

With these thoughts in view I commend Glen Davidson, Poppers Ghost et.al. for having the courage to eviscerate Brad for even suggesting that evolution might not be correct.

“OK, so odds are that you are either the idiot Brad, or you are closely associated with that lying bigot. Almost certainly the former.

Can you point to one place where PG or I ever “eviscerated” you simply for suggesting that evolution might not be correct, idiot Brad? Of course you can’t, you simply continue on with your lies.

We did attack you for stupidity and dishonesty, which you continue to evince. Your “friend” excuses you for supposedly being quite the humanitarian, and for inhaling lead paint dust. IOW, we noted what an idiot you were, and “he” excused you because, apparently, you are an idiot, lead dust being the excuse (unlikely—lead seriously impairs growing brains, without much damage to mature brains. Brad’s lack of acumen must have other causes).

Well anyway, thanks for telling us who you are, and what is behind your viciousness and idiocy.

The best part of this is the fact that Dembski was so readily taken in by your pathetic trolling on this forum.

Dumbski apparently doesn’t have a clue about statistics, meaning that even if you were other than a vile lying troll, an intelligent mathematician would recognize that one swallow does not a summer make. To be sure, he may know better than to write what he did, but the intellectual dishonesty we’d infer from that is hardly more commendable.

Anyway, you’re too stupid even to be a credible troll, other than to Dumbski (I have rarely called him that in the past, but he seems to be writing dumber and dumber things all the time) and other IDists, UDists, and creationists. It’s comical how you fail to comprehend even the slightest thing, Brad, like the naturalistic fallacy, using it while declaiming against it. I’d say that you’re only competent to strip lead paint off of walls, and your brain couldn’t possibly get any worse no matter how much of it you inhaled.

If you were even slightly smarter than retarded, you’d be able to recognize that we eviscerated you for your incompetent attacks and near-total lack of understanding of the issues you “criticized”, and not simply for criticizing evolutionary theory.

Unless you learn the difference, your posts will continue to be worthy only of contempt and evisceration. The fact is that I answered your idiotic posts more specifically and thoroughly than anybody had, at least up to that time, and you simply attacked me personally, revealing what a stupid and evil person you are.”

———————————————————————-
Actually I wrote it.

And for replying as if it was Brad , that makes you the “lying bigot”, someone who has been “inhaling lead paint dust”, an “idiot”, someone who Clearly lacks “acumen” someone of embarrassing “viciousness and idiocy” who engages in “pathetic trolling” and is a “a vile lying troll” and someone who’s intellectually “dishonest”, someone who’s “too stupid even to be a credible troll”, someone who Obviously writes “dumber and dumber things all the time” as seen here, someone who comically fails “to comprehend even the slightest thing”, someone who’s “only competent to strip lead paint off of walls” because their “brain couldn’t possibly get any worse no matter how much of it you inhaled.”.

And Glen Davidson if “you were even slightly smarter than retarded” you would realize how “incompetent” you are for attacking the wrong person and how that reflects a “near-total lack of understanding” and “Unless you learn the difference” between who’s writing here and who isn’t “your posts will continue to be worthy only of contempt and evisceration” as it turns out.

Not only all this but you made it even worse by taking the (“I commend”) compliment that everyone can Clearly see and turned around and said that Brad “attacked me personally”. If this doesn’t reveal “what a stupid and evil person you are.” then nothing does.

The other thing too is that you must be some kind of fat little desk worm who’s such a sniveling coward that all he can do is write things on PT that he would never say to someone’s face. And I bet your a lawyer \ sociopath too who’s incapable of embarrassmant no matter how badly you screw up.

Ok are we done yet? Yawn….
———————————————————————-

Comment #150548

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 15, 2006 10:25 PM (e)

Troll, crackpot, or both, his post is incompetently composed and not worth any attempt to decipher.

Comment #150550

Posted by demallien on December 15, 2006 11:54 PM (e)

Steve B wrote:

1) My obligations should be based upon reality.
(God gave me the desire for this.)
2) Every feature of reality was created by God.
(Morality therefore is a feature of reality created by God).
3) Therefore to live realistically I am obligated to base my morality upon Godly morality and not an unreal \ fictional version of what is real.

Think 1 + 2 = 3 not 1 then 2 then 3.

BUT here’s what I say only I hold that there is nothing higher than naturalistic evolution.
…yawn

1) My obligations should be based upon reality.
(Evolution gave me a natural desire for this)
2) Every feature of reality was produced by evolution.
(Morality therefore is a feature of reality produced by evolution).
3) Therefore to live realistically I am obligated to base my morality upon evolution.

[giggles]

Steve B thinks that eolution is a God. He he he he he!

In other news, Creationists, having got the butts handed to them on a plate throughout the US legal system, have lost what tenuous grip on reality hey already had.

Actually, it’s kinda sad. Maybe we need to start an outreach program to help these people adjust to reality.

Comment #150552

Posted by demallien on December 15, 2006 11:59 PM (e)

Oooo, that’s fun. The server has decided to start eating characters rather then whole posts. Either that, or my proof reading (and the spell checker) both suck…

Anyway corrections as follows:

me, wonderful me wrote:

Steve B thinks that evolution is a God. He he he he he!

In other news, Creationists, having got theor butts handed to them on a plate throughout the US legal system, have lost what tenuous grip on reality hey already had.

Comment #150553

Posted by normdoering on December 16, 2006 12:47 AM (e)

Steve B thinks that eolution is a God.

That might explain why some people have such a problem with the theory; their thinking habits are too polluted with religious habits of thought, they need to get rid of them. Evolution never came down and talked to anyone from a burning bush and then carved commandments in stone tablets.

We’re not obligated to base our morality upon evolution and you couldn’t do it if you tried since we don’t always understand how nature makes her choices.

Morality is here to serve our social purposes. It’s our invention for our benefit. It requires civilized behavior, which means not going around killing people you disagree with. Living civilized means being a good loser like Christ instructed. Civilization, and especially democracy, require good losers. We only have to get rid of bad losers, like those who would kill abortion doctors because they can’t get their laws made.

Mr. B still believes laws must come from God. He doesn’t think men have the right to negotiate them among themselves.

Comment #150643

Posted by Steve B. on December 16, 2006 6:26 PM (e)

It’s amazing to see so many people here like demallien with no ability to read and every ability to misrepresent without conscience. But hey if you want give the IDists ammo then it’s on you.

normdoering you made a mistake by taking demallien’s word for it and then drawing false conclusions from it And by not seeing that I said “My obligation” the operative word there being “My”. Whew…

Lastly, PG is B.S.ing himself - too bad….. yawn

Comment #150645

Posted by Sir_Toejam on December 16, 2006 6:37 PM (e)

Only an elementary school conceptualization would confuse “the ToE” with ethics based upon the TOE.

yawn. you did miss the point, which was that you were basing your ethics on a strawman version of the ToE.

duh.

ya gotta wonder when you are even made fun of by the idiots over on Uncommonly Dense.

or, heck, maybe YOU don’t…

Comment #150665

Posted by MarkP on December 16, 2006 9:06 PM (e)

Am I the only one that reads Steve B and thinks of the Monty Python skit where the guy pays for an argument?

Seriously, statements like this:

“I reject the naturalistic fallacy on other grounds therefore I do not commit it – see it’s v e r y s i m p l e.”

by Steve B show how pointless arguing with people like him is. He, like his IDer brethren who keep claiming ID isn’t religious, is under the mistaken impression that merely stating a thing makes it so, and contrary facts or logic be damned.

Or he’s just messin witchya, which it may just be. How else do you explain the lecture on “congratulation’s” [sic]?

Comment #150687

Posted by normdoering on December 16, 2006 11:14 PM (e)

Mr. B wrote:

normdoering you made a mistake by taking demallien’s word for it and then drawing false conclusions from it And by not seeing that I said “My obligation” the operative word there being “My”. Whew…

You’re not obliged by evolution to do anything either. Nature doesn’t give you shoulds – it just dooms you to be what you are.

Comment #150712

Posted by demallien on December 17, 2006 2:46 AM (e)

Stevie B wrote:

normdoering you made a mistake by taking demallien’s word for it and then drawing false conclusions from it

Nah, for starters, I gave the original quote from you that leads to the conclusion that you think evolution is a god. Secondly, Norm’s a bonafide skeptic. He doesn’t take anyone’s word for it, without passing through a BS filter first….

In other word’s Norm has independantly arrived at the same conclusion as me.

Stevie, here’s a hint. Evolution is a physical process, nota god. If you pray to it, nothing is going to happen….

Comment #150844

Posted by Glen Davidson on December 18, 2006 11:17 AM (e)

Troll, crackpot, or both, his post is incompetently composed and not worth any attempt to decipher.

I think you about summed it up. I gave up trying to decipher his paw prints almost immediately.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #150877

Posted by Steve B. on December 18, 2006 2:37 PM (e)

And just when things were becoming reasonable Glen Davidson shows up.

Remember him, he’s the guy who goes to a party, craps on the floor and then leaves. Lithium anyone?

——————————————

BTW Glen, it’s really s i m p le, just scroll down, look for your name and start reading and it’s ok to have some help you with that too….

Comment #150881

Posted by Steve B. on December 18, 2006 2:59 PM (e)

normdoering & demallien,

Ok fair enough.

As far as the A/B scenario that I used goes, sure both use almost identical frameworks but it really stops there - so with part B, nature as god and prayer to nature are not consequences. Although it might be interesting to poll those who also subscribe to evolutinary ethics and ask them what they think about these things …..

Comment #150883

Posted by ben on December 18, 2006 3:09 PM (e)

Evolution is a physical process, nota god. If you pray to it, nothing is going to happen….

How does that differentiate between the two?

Comment #150885

Posted by Glen Davidson on December 18, 2006 3:23 PM (e)

And just when things were becoming reasonable Glen Davidson shows up.

Remember him, he’s the guy who goes to a party, craps on the floor and then leaves. Lithium anyone?

The only things you know, shit and drugs. No wonder you project it onto others.

By the way Brad, you still haven’t written a single intelligent response to anything I’ve said, just this Dembski-esque attempt to be funny by revealing your various perversions.

——————————————

BTW Glen, it’s really s i m p le, just scroll down, look for your name and start reading and it’s ok to have some help you with that too….

And this relates to what, moron? Oh that’s right, you’re too stupid to be able to make any coherent comments, instead you ramble stupidly on with your lame name-calling, demonstrating what a “creationist” (read ‘complete idiot’) you really are.

Thanks for showing up and giving us yet another example of how incompetent creationists/IDists are at anything other than puerile name-calling, lead paint boy.

You know, if you were more than a retard people would be willing to discuss things with you. However, you are even too stupid to understand why it is that people don’t take kindly to ignoramuses coming in and telling those of us who know both sides that they’re simply too “biased” to consider that evolution might be wrong. We’ve done nothing but consider it, and to show how it is not wrong. Lead paint boy is too lazy, stupid, violent, and prejudiced even to bring his decidedly limited mental capacity to considering that his derivative lies might be wrong.

Lead paint boy failed to back up his particular lie that PG and I attacked his lies simply because “evolution cannot be questioned”, but then he could never understand any intelligent responses to his mere name-calling. He’s apparently too stupid to know that we demand evidence around here, and that repeating lies and his insipid insults are unconvincing, though about par for creationist idiots like him.

God, can you believe how these morons dig themselves in further and further, trying to be clever with unrelated “responses” to who knows what delusions coursing through their ratskulls? Try chelation therapy, lead paint boy, and at least the hallucinations might diminish. You must be about the dumbest thing that ever went to college, if indeed you did.

And I’m out of here (not a promise, but an intention to ignore any further lies of this cretin on this thread). Let the driveling idiot rant stupidly on, proving in post after post that the term IDiot is well-earned by their raging stupidity.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #150888

Posted by Steve B. on December 18, 2006 3:32 PM (e)

Mark P

BTW, some of those who also subscribe to evolutionary ethics also reject or have a lesser regard for the naturalistic fallacy. Wilson, Ruse et.al have expressed this before to some extent and I doubt that they believe “that merely stating a thing makes it so” and “contrary facts or logic be damned.”

Sir_Toejam

re: “you missd the point” you did’nt make the point. All you said was “the ToE” but instead of taking responsibility for it you turn around and act like “the ToE” = “you were basing your ethics on a strawman version of the ToE”. And as far as being made fun of goes, you should think about changing that name …….

Comment #150908

Posted by normdoering on December 18, 2006 5:43 PM (e)

Steve B. wrote:

… nature as god and prayer to nature are not consequences. Although it might be interesting to poll those who also subscribe to evolutinary ethics and ask them what they think about these things …..

You think people who talk about “evolutinary ethics” might pray to nature?

Do you know what the term “evolutinary ethics” means?

It’s not a prescriptive set of rules, it’s an explanatory theory. Morality is seen as a useful adaptation that increases the fitness of its holders by providing a selective advantage. We can see it in creatures without religion, the lioness risking or sacrificing her life for her cubs, dogs adapting to behave in ways their trainers want, wold packs that seem to have rules for cooperation, etc..

Comment #150909

Posted by normdoering on December 18, 2006 5:46 PM (e)

I wrote:

wold packs that seem to have rules for cooperation, etc..

That should be wolf packs.

Comment #150911

Posted by MarkP on December 18, 2006 6:37 PM (e)

Steve B. blathered thusly:

Wilson, Ruse et.al have expressed this before to some extent and I doubt that they believe ‘that merely stating a thing makes it so’ and ‘contrary facts or logic be damned.’

I wasn’t talking about them, loon boy, I was talking about you. Thanks for illustrating my point so, um, pointedly. I’m with Glen, no more feeding this troll.

Comment #151637

Posted by Steve B. on December 23, 2006 3:05 PM (e)

Mark P.

Anyone reading this can easily see that you deliberately dodged my point just so that you could get a cheap thrill out of calling me a name – a clearly immature and unethical way to do business that tends to damage the credibility of PT and the TOE.

BTW, lining yourself up with Glen “the psyc ward” Davidson makes it even worse……

Comment #151640

Posted by Steve B. on December 23, 2006 3:22 PM (e)

normdoering

RE: “You think people who talk about “evolutinary ethics” might pray to nature?”

Of course not, I just meant that it might make be an interesting poll, because a Darwinist praying to nature would be well, off the wall.

RE: Prescriptive Evolutionary Ethics

You might be interested to know e.g. that Patricia A. Williams in her article “Can Beings Whose Ethics Evolved Be Ethical Beings?” says that “Prescriptive evolved ethics, on the other hand, tells us what ought to be, that is, what beings ought, ethically, to do”. Her position BTW is against Evolutionary Ethics..

Comment #151649

Posted by MarkP on December 23, 2006 4:35 PM (e)

One cannot dodge a point not made Steve B. You blather nonsensically, whether anyone calls you names or not.

And once again you show you just don’t get it. TOE stands on the EVIDENCE, you know, that stuff you IDers never have. Me identifying your lunacy changes none of that.

Comment #153591

Posted by LinD on January 6, 2007 3:51 PM (e)

Steve B.

I’ve scrolled up and reviewed Mark P’s posts and he’s obviously an a–hole. It’s also obvious that he’s an immature college student who will commit any act of self deception just to make a point. When he grows up he’ll probably end up as a corrupt lawyer, so the most anyone can hope for is that he eventually disappears and doesn’t screw up PT anymore with his crap.