Steve Reuland posted Entry 2785 on December 20, 2006 09:24 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2775

There is another issue about L’Affaire Sternberg that I think needs to be expounded upon, one that doesn’t seem to have been addressed much at length up to this point. And that is the role of the Office of Special Council (OSC) in releasing their preliminary findings that tried to make a martyr out of Sternberg.

Below the fold I will go into a fair amount of detail about how this came to be.

The Souder report is little more than the OSC findings warmed-over; as far as I can tell the body of the report contains nothing new. The bulk of that report consists of the OSC findings restated and used as a form of evidence in and of themselves. The report even attacks the Smithsonian for not accepting the OSC’s findings at face value. Consider this passage attacking the Smithsonian’s response:

Finally, the Secretary and Deputy Secretary continue to ignore the clear findings of the Office of Special Counsel in its “pre-closure” letter to Dr. Sternberg. The OSC found that Dr. Sternberg’s allegations of discrimination were supported by the evidence uncovered through its preliminary investigation.

And then it continues for another 4 paragraphs about the OSC, never once questioning its veracity, finally concluding…

The Deputy Secretary responded on May 3, 2006, by claiming that the Smithsonian has “conducted an internal inquiry, including a review of OSC’s preliminary findings, and concluded that Dr. von Sternberg is a Research Associate in good standing at NMNH, and that he has the same access to office space, laboratories, collections, libraries and other common facilities as that accorded to other Research Associates.”76 Tellingly, the Deputy Secretary’s statement completely failed to address the central question of whether the harassment and discrimination identified in the OSC report took place. Indeed, from the Deputy Secretary’s non-responsive “response,” one cannot determine whether the Smithsonian’s “internal inquiry” even addressed this issue. [emphasis original]

This passage exemplifies the extreme dishonesty of the report; those things that the Smithsonian inquired about – Sternberg’s office space, access to collections, status as a Research Associate, etc. – were the very things that the alleged harassment and discrimination consisted of. In other words, the Smithsonian investigated the charges made in the OSC report, found them to be without merit, and got on with their business. Outside of those specific charges, there wasn’t any harassment or discrimination to inquire about.

So contrary to the Souder report, the Smithsonian did not ignore the OSC’s preliminary findings – the letters sent by the Secretaries both to Sternberg and the politicians directly address most if not all of its allegations – it’s that they found the report’s claims and hysterical rhetoric completely wrongheaded. What makes the Souder report something more than just a repeat of the OSC is that it contains an appendix with all of the emails and letters that were used as evidence of Sternberg’s supposed persecution. Thanks to these materials, we now know that the Smithsonian was right and the OSC was wrong. The question is, how could this have happened? Since when did the OSC abandon its mission of protecting whistleblowers and instead become a political chop shop?

The answer is, ever since Special Counsel Scott Bloch was put in charge.

A comprehensive review of Bloch’s malfeasance would take up too much time and space. The following links have the full story if you’re interested (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), plus many, many more can be found on Google. I’ll just summarize:

  1. Bloch is a far-right wing activist and a notorious homophobe.
  2. Upon taking office Bloch immediately removed references to sexual orientation discrimination from the OSC website. Bloch has indicated that he will not protect gays from discrimination in contradiction of White House policy.
  3. Bloch is alleged to have used the OSC for partisan political purposes by ignoring claims made against Republicans while vigorously pursuing complaints lodged against Democrats.
  4. Bloch doubled the number of political appointees in the OSC, giving high paying salaries to many of his friends and fellow right-wing activists who have no relevant experience. He has simultaneously eviscerated the OSC’s professional staff, much of whom has either been fired for not relocating on short notice or resigned in frustration.
  5. James McVay, who wrote the preliminary report concerning Sternberg, is one of Bloch’s more controversial political appointees. He has no experience in employment law, whistleblower law, or federal-sector work.
  6. Many hundreds of meritorious cases, which by all accounts should have been investigated, were dismissed without investigation by Bloch’s office. Meanwhile, matters over which OSC has no jurisdiction have been pursued rigorously. (Sound familiar?)
  7. According to the OSC’s own polling, Federal employees are extremely dissatisfied with the work being done by the OSC, and effectively no whistleblowers have received relief as a result of the complaints they filed.
  8. When complaints were made about Bloch’s behavior and mistreatment of the staff, Bloch not only dismissed the complaints, he allegedly retaliated against the people who made them and issued a gag order preventing the OSC staff from speaking to anyone outside of the agency. Ironically, it is precisely this type of retaliation and intimidation of whistleblowers that the OSC is tasked with investigating.
  9. As a result of OSC failing to discharge its duties and taking revenge on aggrieved staff, former staff members and numerous whistleblower protection groups have filed a complaint with the Office of Personnel Management, which has launched an investigation (still on-going, as far as I can tell). Additionally, two Senate committees were forced to hold hearings concerning Bloch’s behavior.

It almost couldn’t get worse. There is a long and sordid history since Bloch took over the OSC of cronyism, political bias, shirking, and unfair treatment of staff. Scott Bloch makes former FEMA director Michael Brown look like a brilliant leader and seasoned professional by comparison.

This explains how the OSC managed to produce an preliminary investigation on the Sternberg affair that is so completely divorced from reality. Put simply, it was a political hatchet job, yet another in a long line of abuses that the OSC has become infamous for. What’s perhaps most telling about all of this is that in spite of having a major backlog in cases, in spite of trying to pare down this backlog by dismissing meritorious cases without investigation, the OSC somehow found the time to investigate a case for which they knew they had no jurisdiction. Amazing, isn’t it? If you are a whistleblower who needs protection, or a gay federal worker who’s been discriminated against, the OSC simply doesn’t have time for you. They’re too busy pursuing cases outside of their jurisdiction in service of the Culture Wars.

Considering that Sternberg should have known that the OSC lacked jurisdiction, it is my belief that the Discovery Institute referred him to Bloch’s office knowing that even though the case was outside the OSC’s purview, even though there were more appropriate venues for handling a legitimate grievance of this kind, Bloch and McVay would dutifully issue a preliminary report that would serve the propaganda purposes of the DI. One even wonders if the DI wrote the report for them.

(Cross-posted to Sunbeams from Cucumbers.)

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Comment #151164

Posted by Mark Studduck, FCD on December 20, 2006 11:45 AM (e)

SO,…. You do not think there was any biased or unfair treatment of Sternberg after he published the Meyer paper?

If there was, then the person behind the OSC who is making the claim doesn’t matter. What matters here is not the character of Bloch but the truth value to his claim. SO, if the answer is yes, (Sternberg was mistreated) then your post falls in line with the long history of fallicious debating tactics employed by people on a losing side. (ie. attacking the source rather than the claim.)

If the answer is No, (Sternberg was not unfairly treated) then the next question is, should he have been? I mean c’mon, this guy published an ID paper, should the scientific community not black ball him and do whatever they can to purify their ranks? As a reader in the history of science, I know that this is how the dissenters and fringe scientists (who sometimes become revolutionaries) are first treated. And I have heard many people in the anti-ID community, (not just scientists but activists from many fields) comment about not admitting students who hold ID into graduate programs, not granting tenure to ID friendly science professors, etc etc. From what I understand, that is at least by reading the bloggers here at PT and affiliated sites, Sternberg should be mistreated, fired, and possibly made to play in traffic. People here don’t even think he deserves his degrees. So, why retract from the reports findings? Why not just say, “Damn straight We put him in his place. Ha Ha!”

Either way,

It is either true or not true, that Sternberg was unfairly treated. This matters not on the person who says so.

MS

Comment #151168

Posted by Gary Hurd on December 20, 2006 12:02 PM (e)

Excellent piece of work. I hope that you can find a way to get this information to reporters for wider coverage.

Comment #151169

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on December 20, 2006 12:33 PM (e)

It is either true or not true, that Sternberg was unfairly treated. This matters not on the person who says so.

Sternberg is not the only person or entity who is being “treated” fairly or unfairly. The agenda of the person behind this stuff has a lot to do with the how other people and organizations have been treated.

Comment #151170

Posted by ben on December 20, 2006 12:36 PM (e)

Interesting blurb about the fictional character, Mark Studduck:

It must be remembered in Mark’s mind hardly one rag of noble thought, either Christian or Pagan, had a secure lodging. His education had been neither scientific nor classical–merely ‘Modern’. The severities both of abstraction and of high human tradition had passed him by: and he had neither peasant shrewdness nor aristocratic honour to help him. He was a man of straw, a glib examinee in subjects that require no exact knowledge (he had always done well on Essays and general papers).

-That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis

Hi Larry.

Comment #151171

Posted by Mike on December 20, 2006 12:36 PM (e)

Re: Comment #151164

Utterly amazing, isn’t it, the way they comment extensively on something that they don’t even seem to have read. The complete lack of understanding of the history of science, and how science is done is the thing that keeps me engaged in this issue, for the hope that education might be able to eradicate the attitude.

Comment #151172

Posted by Pete Dunkelberg on December 20, 2006 12:53 PM (e)

It is either true or not true, that Sternberg was unfairly treated. This matters not on the person who says so.

Not so fast. Since it’s not true and this has already been covered, it is of interest to note whether the misguided report is a rare accident or part of a pattern of malfeasance by the OSC and allies.

Comment #151175

Posted by Steve Reuland on December 20, 2006 1:12 PM (e)

SO,…. You do not think there was any biased or unfair treatment of Sternberg after he published the Meyer paper?

I think we’ve already established, as per Ed Brayton’s post, that Sternberg was not unfairly treated. I mentioned the fact that the appendix attached to the Souder report more or less exonerates the Smithsonian from any wrong-doing.

It is either true or not true, that Sternberg was unfairly treated…

There’s more to it than that. Unfair treatment isn’t an either-or type of thing, it comes in shades of gray. Even assuming Sternberg had been wronged, grossly exaggerating his supposed persecution is itself an act of unfair treatment towards the accused.

As such, the question is, why did the OSC treat the Smithsonian unfairly?

Comment #151179

Posted by Mark Studduck, FCD on December 20, 2006 1:32 PM (e)

Wesley R. Elsberry, I agree with your point and it is well taken.

Ben, Nice connection on the Pseudo name. Did you read all of That Hideous Strength? What does the full picture of Mark Studduck look like. From where does he come? What does he go through? And where does he end? That story will tell you why I chose to post under the name Mark Studduck. And no, I’m not Larry.

Mike, Are you a historian of science? If you are, perhaps we’ll meet someday at a conference. I’ll be going by my real name there. We can discuss the history of science and my basic claim concerning dissenters to the reigning paradigm. I thought everybody knew this. Big famous example: Aristotelian paradigm, adopted by the reigning cultural power (the catholic church,) disagreed with by this one guy who believed the universe and Life to be designed by an intelligent creator whom he identified as the God of the Bible, but didn’t think the reigning aristotelian philosophy jivved with his empirical findings and theories. Man, if only I could remeber his name.

Pete Dunkelberg, Your post has something to offer. I agree that the seperate question of “malfeasance by the OSC and allies” is worth looking into. My post was about the logic of the matter. Was Sternberg mistreated or was he not. If he wasn’t should he have been. This latter question is to me the most interesting. No one has yet responded to that section of my post. I am curious as to whether anti-ID types would actually approve of biased treatment of a ID friendly but otherwise credentialed scientist.

MS

dlj

Comment #151180

Posted by Coin on December 20, 2006 1:32 PM (e)

SO,…. You do not think there was any biased or unfair treatment of Sternberg after he published the Meyer paper?

Having read the appendix in the Souder report, that is correct, I do not think there was any biased or unfair treatment of Sternberg after he published the Meyer paper.

In fact, it appears that despite having engaged in behavior in and regarding the Smithsonian and PBSW that ranges from wildly unethical to just bizarre, Sternberg has not suffered any negative consequences whatsoever as a result of his unprofessional behavior. I don’t know how things work at the Smithsonian, but I cannot help but wonder whether he could have gotten away with all of this were he not waving the poor me persecuted christian card like a shield.

Comment #151181

Posted by Erasmus on December 20, 2006 1:42 PM (e)

shoulda, coulda, woulda. other people’s ethics are boring.

but coin’s point is good. his sense of professionalism is rather lousy.

Comment #151185

Posted by Raging Bee on December 20, 2006 2:09 PM (e)

“Mark:” You know as well as we do that just being a “dissenter to the reigning paradigm” doesn’t make one right. Many such “dissenters,” in fact, have turned out to be idiots, charlatans, demagogues, and/or whoring their science for a political or economic agenda.

As the old saying goes, they laughed at Newton, they laughed at Einstein, but they also laughed at Bozo the Clown and Lyndon LaRouche.

PS: the fact that you’re blathering on in such a muddled way without even trying to discuss the specifics of the case, speaks volumes about your own intellectual honesty.

Comment #151189

Posted by Alann on December 20, 2006 3:12 PM (e)

It is ironic or simply tragic that the findings published by the OSC appear to be questionable material raising concerns about how the publisher has allowed their personal ideology to unethically influence their “editorial” decisions, in defense of a man who is accused of that very behavior.

Comment #151199

Posted by David B. Benson on December 20, 2006 4:34 PM (e)

Don’t bother to wonder if the DI wrote the report. They can’t write that well…

Comment #151205

Posted by Flint on December 20, 2006 5:39 PM (e)

It’s unfortunately possible that the OSC is itself a bad idea; one of those things that looks really good on paper, but that turns out to be a most excellent bully pulpit for ideological grandstanding. Imagine: a lightning rod *desinged* to attract otherwise inaccessible dirt against your enemies, complete with the power and authority to vanish any such dirt against your friends. It would be astonishing if a politician did NOT use such an agency for partisan political purposes.

I hope nobody thinks Bloch’s behavior was unexpected by those who placed him in this position. I hope everyone understands that someone of Bloch’s known habits and inclinations was carefully sought out, and doubtless many candidates less ideologically committed, were passed over in his favor.

I suggest the past relationship between Souder and Bloch might be worth investigating. They seem to be working more closely together than coincidence might account for…

Comment #151209

Posted by Gary Hurd on December 20, 2006 5:55 PM (e)

Actually, this does not need wider coverage in the news media because this “report” is dead in the water. Five days after its release, the Souder fart has no echo.

Do a Google News. No traction. WingNutDaily- that’s all folks!

Saddly, Souder was able to keep his seat even though he can’t find his ass. There is no possibility that Scott Bloch will have his current job after January. Based on the trackrecord of the Bushies, the Dem’s could fire and/or eliminate funding for a whole lot of conservatives. Are suicides in the offing? At least we should see an upturn in demand for the DC mental health services.

Still, it is good to be ready, so many thanks to Steve.

Comment #151212

Posted by Coin on December 20, 2006 6:00 PM (e)

Flint, there are other governmental departments that seem to be pulling off the task of nonpartisan oversight within the federal government without difficulty. The GAO, for example, as far as I know seems to be pretty much untouched by scandal. Perhaps there is some way to keep the OSC honest?

Gary Hurd wrote:

There is no possibility that Scott Bloch will have his current job after January.

Why do you conclude this? The OSC is part of the executive, isn’t it? Wouldn’t Bloch remain in place until the executive decided to replace him?

Comment #151213

Posted by Mark Studduck, FCD on December 20, 2006 6:22 PM (e)

Raging Bee, I agree with you entirely concerning the fact of history which you point out. (Many such “dissenters,” in fact, have turned out to be idiots,etc.) Although, strangely, or expectantly, you argued against something I didn’t in fact claim. and that is, when you said “just being a “dissenter to the reigning paradigm” doesn’t make one right.” Your logic is quite sound on that point. A point which I did not make or imply. May I correct your “old saying”?

They laughed at Pasteur, they laughed at Einstein, they praised and upheld the work of Lysenko, they ignored Mendel, and they pretended like the information revolution in biology somehow killed the argument for design. Oh yeah, and they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

Sorry for “blathering on in such a muddled way without even trying to discuss the specifics of the case,” I’m just having a bit of fun.

If by specifics, you mean you wanted me to point out that I was refering to Galilleo and the overturning of the Aristotelian Model of Planetary Physics, sorry.

MS

Comment #151215

Posted by Flint on December 20, 2006 6:37 PM (e)

Coin:

What keeps the GAO relatively honest is the OMB, which is the Executive branch equivalent organization. The two are often in conflict, and the OMB tends to be a lot more partisan because the GAO represents both parties, while the OMB represents the President.

What would keep the OSC honest is a more-or-less bipartisan agreement that it serves a useful purpose, and that the purpose needs to be kept relatively non-ideological. Seems clear to me that if there is any agreement about the OSC, it’s either that it doesn’t (and perhaps) can’t cut through the resistance it inevitably faces, or that it serves a better purpose as a pulpit for the party in power than as an agency to weed out wrongdoing.

I recognize that whistle-blowing is inherently an uphill battle; the discrepancy in power between the poor schmuck reporting the problem and the high mucky-muck pulling the stunts has always been too large to overcome *unless* the high mucky-muck is opposed directly by someone of equal power, and the whistle will be grist for the power struggle mill.

Nobody likes a whistle blower. If he’s blowing it against someone else, you don’t particularly care. If it’s against you, you’re going to fight it as hard as you can. No checks and balances.

Comment #151216

Posted by Bettinke, Head Nurse, Tr.San.&Ph. on December 20, 2006 6:37 PM (e)

Yust when an old lady of northland descent is about settling in for the season to think starting, the staff to tell me yet another patient has declined their caring are coming!

Mark Drake, or some such, this one is named being…?

Hokey-dokey!

Comment #151217

Posted by Scott Simmons on December 20, 2006 6:38 PM (e)

OSC is officially independent. The Special Counsel is nominated by the President & confirmed by the Senate, but he doesn’t seem to serve at the pleasure of the Executive. Hence the presumption of political impartiality. (Yeah, whatever.) Anyway, Hatch was confirmed for a five-year term in 2004, so it looks like even if a Democratic candidate wins the Presidency in 2008, they may be (briefly) stuck with this Bush nominee.

Comment #151229

Posted by Raging Bee on December 20, 2006 7:49 PM (e)

Okay, whatever else we may say about him, Mark is definitely not Larry Farfringinsinthin – he’s at least pretending to be civil, responsive and open-minded, which Larry could never credibly do. What point he’s trying to make here is another matter…

Comment #151238

Posted by Unsympathetic reader on December 20, 2006 9:18 PM (e)

Steve Reuland provides a link about Bloch dress code:
Bloch gives inappropriate fashion advice, turns out to be plagiarist.

“And remember, my people — there is no shame in being poor, only dressing poorly!”
- from “Zorro, the Gay Blade”

Comment #151242

Posted by Michael Rathbun, FCD on December 20, 2006 9:37 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

Okay, whatever else we may say about him, Mark is definitely not Larry Farfringinsinthin…

Yeah, but could he at least spell the name of the character correctly? (It’s “Studdock”.)

(A long time ago, back when I was a religious partisan, I loaned out one of my copies of that work to an unconvinced friend. Later, trying to track it down, I asked said friend, “Hey Charles, do you still have that hideous strength?”)

Comment #151250

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 20, 2006 11:56 PM (e)

Mark Studduck, FCD

Fafarman Cleverly Disguised?

I’m just having a bit of fun.

The technical term is “trolling”.

Comment #151254

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 21, 2006 12:50 AM (e)

What does the full picture of Mark Studduck look like. From where does he come? What does he go through? And where does he end? That story will tell you why I chose to post under the name Mark Studduck

Ah yes, you’re so clever. Mark Studdock wanted to be a member of the evil inner sanctum – in this case, a “Friend of Charles Darwin”. You, like C.S. Lewis and the rest of the ethically challenged IDiots, substitute such fictional creations for fact and reason.

Comment #151255

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 21, 2006 1:04 AM (e)

SO,…. You do not think there was any biased or unfair treatment of Sternberg after he published the Meyer paper?

Look, troll, it has been well documented that there was not.

If there was, then the person behind the OSC who is making the claim doesn’t matter.

But there wasn’t, and the person behind the OSC, and his character and motivations do matter as to why the false claim was made.

What matters here is not the character of Bloch but the truth value to his claim.

Not if his claim is in fact false and was made in bad faith – bad faith like yours, troll.

SO, if the answer is yes

But it’s known that the answer is “no”. Your counterfactual discussion of the answer being “yes” is intended as a smear:

(Sternberg was mistreated) then your post falls in line with the long history of fallicious debating tactics employed by people on a losing side. (ie. attacking the source rather than the claim.)

Since the answer is known to be “no”, this suggestion of “fallacious debating tactics” is bad faith, an evil act by an evil person. The evil of “Mark Studdock” that you project onto “FCD” is your own, troll.

Comment #151256

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 21, 2006 1:06 AM (e)

Are you a historian of science? If you are, perhaps we’ll meet someday at a conference. I’ll be going by my real name there.

Paul Nelson?

Comment #151259

Posted by PvM on December 21, 2006 1:09 AM (e)

The Friends of Charles Darwin currently have 845 members in 43 countries. Our most recent new member is Robert W Carroll, USA.

If your haven’t done so already, why not become a member? It’s free, and entitles you to put the letters FCD after your name.

Hence FCD

Comment #151260

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 21, 2006 1:13 AM (e)

Hence FCD

As happens so often, you don’t know what’s going on; the troll is no FCD. Rather, he is equating FCD with C.S. Lewis’s evil organization NICE.

Comment #151267

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 21, 2006 1:46 AM (e)

It’s free, and entitles you to put the letters FCD after your name.

Is FCD trademarked? Is there some legal restriction on its use? If so, PT should ban its use by nonmembers (such as “Mark Studduck”). Heck, it would probably be a good idea even if there isn’t any legal restriction.

Comment #151347

Posted by Mark Studdock, FCD on December 21, 2006 5:31 PM (e)

Fellas, There seems to be some animosity towards my picking a fictional character’s name as a pseudonym here. Sorry. Like many people here and elsewhere in the blogo-sphere, I chose a name I liked and of which I had some reason for adopting. (kind of like choosing the name Popper’s Ghost, or raging bee) Unfortunately, and thank you for pointing this out, I have been misspelling the name. (misspell it once in the NAME: bar to the left and it will come up every time.

The connection made by some of you of my using FCD to the N.I.C.E. (which is a scientistic pawn program of some evil force in the science fiction story That Hideous Strength)is interesting, but not intentional. I actually am an FCD in a very real sense. I do not equate Darwin, his writings, or his ideas, explicitly with modern naturalism and am quite fond of much of his work. Maybe someone would disagree with my putting FCD by my name if it is the case (as it is) that I do not agree 100 percent with Darwin. But, truly no one here agrees with Darwin 100 percent. But I love Darwin’s prose, his natural history description and theorizing, his formulation and understanding of selective pressures on populations, and the story of his life. I find him very interesting and admirable. However, I do not use his name or picture as an Icon of naturalism and bow before his name as if he were a saint of my faith or anything like that. If that is what is required of me to place the FCD after my name, well then I will remedy the situation. I guess I could put, I Have Actually Read the Bulk of Darwin’s Scientific and Personal Writing. IHARBDSPW. Kind of long, a little bulky. I’ll stick with FCD. For it is true.

Oh, and you shouldn’t kick me off PT for placing FCD behind my name willy nilly or without permission. You might want to get onto the FCD organization for letting a fictional character so easily sign their role. Popper’s ghost, you didn’t go check that out? I’ve been a member for quite some time.( 6 or more months to a year. Can’t remember, but there is a chronological by date of joining list at the FCD website.)

How weird of many of you for quibbling over this. Can an FCD not ask a question about Sternberg? All I did was ask a series of questions. And the second question was the one I really wanted to hear some feedback on. (should pro-ID scientists be persecuted in a sense?)

Also, I am referred to as a troll for posting in the fashion I am posting? I’m not sure I understand what makes a troll a troll. I read a post, and post some questions or comments in response. I use a fictional characters name to keep my anonymity. I don’t just pat my fellow non trolls on the back or repeat all the same rhetorical attacks and straw man arguments… These are the things which warrant the title troll. BTW, this is the only blog which I post on in any regular sense.

What the hell is going on at PT?,

MS

Comment #151349

Posted by Mark Studdock, FCD on December 21, 2006 5:38 PM (e)

My counterfactual discussion of the answer being “yes” is not intended as a smear. I know some people who, regardless of whether Sternberg was treated poorly or not, believe that he ought to have been fired and removed from the scientific community in general for supporting ID in the way that he did.

If he really did do some unethical things in getting the paper published, I myself think he ought to be punished in some form. But I don’t think he should be punished simply for being friendly towards ID and YEC scientists. I do believe that some people, if they were being honest, would say that he did.

MS

Comment #151355

Posted by Katarina on December 21, 2006 6:38 PM (e)

What the hell is going on at PT?

The wiser commenters recognize trolls.

But I don’t think he should be punished simply for being friendly towards ID and YEC scientists.

Well, sure, he could have a cup of coffee with them and play a game of chess, and not many would question his competence.

I do believe that some people, if they were being honest, would say that he did.

Nice conjecture. Unfortunately, there isn’t much anyone can do with it, for as RB pointed out, there are no details to discuss. Which people are not being honest? What is the real truth? What do you suggest should be done to uncover it?

Comment #151356

Posted by Katarina on December 21, 2006 6:44 PM (e)

I know some people who, regardless of whether Sternberg was treated poorly or not, believe that he ought to have been fired and removed from the scientific community in general for supporting ID in the way that he did.

Sorry, this must be the detailed evidence for the argument you seem to be aiming at.

Comment #151369

Posted by bob on December 21, 2006 9:22 PM (e)

Mark Studduck,

According to the appendix, there are at least two reasons to put Sternberg’s butt in a sling. First, he took poor care of specimens. That is an unforgivable sin in museums. He can be the most brilliant taxonomist ever, but if he doesn’t take care of the materials entrusted to him, what good is he? Each specimen in a museum represents a not only a taxa, but a representative of that taxa at a particular time and place. These records can never be replaced.

Secondly, he took poor care of the books and articles. On its face that doesn’t seem like that great of an offense, but you have to remember that institutions like the SI have rare publication. I work in a similar setting, and I’m willing to bet that we have a lot of the reprints which probably less that a dozen copies still surviving. And a few reprints here are probably the only surviving copy.

Both of these actions show a disrespect for not only the his current co-workers, but for past and future scientist.

Science is rough. Science does not tolerate sloppy work, nor should it. Sternberg allowed a publication that in all rights should not have been published. It contained numerous factual errs. It failed to review relative papers. And above all it skirted the review process. It should be noted that the publication wasn’t ID friendly, because it did not contain any positive support for ID, but instead was just rehashed and out-dated arguments against evolution. You can’t publish crap and not get called on it.

Finally it is important to know that OSC is not an unbiased organization, but instead a political puppet. It goes to the very claim that Sternberg was treated unfairly. It appears that it is the SI as an institution and the people within that have be treated poorly and unfairly by the OSC and Sternberg.

bob

Comment #151373

Posted by Mark Studdock, FCD on December 21, 2006 10:53 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #151374

Posted by Mark Studdock, FCD on December 21, 2006 10:55 PM (e)

Katrina wrote, or rather repeated, some stuff already said by others above

Umm… thanks. How nice and constructive of you.

Bob wrote:

“it did not contain any positive support for ID, but instead was just rehashed and out-dated arguments against evolution.”

Whether the argument is convincing to you or not, Meyer does make one for ID. The conclusion of his paper is not, “Evolution can’t explain the Cambrian information explosion.” But is…

“An experience-based analysis of the causal powers of various explanatory hypotheses suggests purposive or intelligent design as a causally adequate–and perhaps the most causally adequate–explanation for the origin of the complex specified information required to build the Cambrian animals and the novel forms they represent.”

Meyer is a philosopher of science, and I think his argument is more of a philosophical nature. However, it is an argument which relies heavily upon scientific findings. That is why much of the paper is a survey of various lines of evidence concerning novel body plan appearances and so forth. His argument is to the best explanation. A matter of comparing various theories explanatory power. He argues that only one hypotheses (that of intelligent design) has been observed as a causally adequate explanation of sudden increases of information.

Now, I think this argument is very interesting and certainly worth thinking about… but before you jump on me and tell me to go read the PT rebuttal or rehash something about not reading all the literature or something, I am only here pointing out that I think it is easy to understand how and why this argument is not just against evolutionary naturalism but is in fact formulated in a positive form for ID as a better explanation.

MS

Comment #151385

Posted by Steve Reuland on December 21, 2006 11:32 PM (e)

He argues that only one hypotheses (that of intelligent design) has been observed as a causally adequate explanation of sudden increases of information.

Oh has it? When has it ever been observed that an “intelligence” has created a living organism? What evidence establishes that such an “intelligence” existed during the Cambrian?

Meyer can’t be making an “argument to the best explanation” if he’s completely ignoring the difficulties with one explanation, declaring it true by default if the other one has perceived weaknesses.

Comment #151392

Posted by Mark Studdock, FCD on December 22, 2006 1:27 AM (e)

Steve,

What Meyer seems to be saying is that we have abundant empirical evidence of intelligent agents increasing information or creating new designs. This is part of his positive case for his inference to design. We know what an intelligent agent can do. Namely, specify complexity. And from observing the intelligent agents we can study (human beings) and comparing their products with the products which nature can lay claim to creating on it’s own (rock formations by wind and erosion for example, or to give a biological example, environmental pressures selecting which members of a population will pass on their genes and which will not and thus the gradual variation and genetic change over time so abundantly witnessed in biogeographical studies.) Meyer also examines other possible naturalistic mechanisms for producing information (namely, specific amino acid sequences and so forth) such as self organization. He compares the causal adequacy of these various causal possibilities and concludes that we have empirically observed only one type of cause able to produce specified complexity or increases in information. He uses the Cambrian Explosion as an example of an explosion of information. He doesn’t use the Cambrian explosion simply because it is a problem for evolution. He uses it as an example of an example of a vast amount of information (all those different cell types) coming about geologically sudden in the history of our world.

In response to,
“When has it ever been observed that an “intelligence” has created a living organism?”

Although it is utterly amazing the things which man makes, your right, we have not yet designed anything near as complex as biological life. None of the ID theorists are arguing specifically that a human being created a living organism. But, humans are an example of an “intelligence” and

In response to,
“What evidence establishes that such an “intelligence” existed during the Cambrian?”

Well, the simple answer here is that…wait a minute…Hello, that’s what Meyer’s paper was all about. The Increase in information, the cell types, you know…the CSI. Evidence of an “intelligence.” Honestly, you got to understand at least this about the argument being made by ID theorists.

Maybe I can help. Think about this: Say you were a mechanic and one day upon re-entering your shop after a short lunch break, you found a large number of various new automobiles and other strange new never before seen devices, that all appeared to have been constructed from various spare parts you had left lying around the shop. Would you think that (A) inherent potentialities to the shop made the new machines, (B) that natural laws in combinations with various environmental happenings created the new machines, © that some other mechanic or a group of mechanics made them, or (D) some even higher intelligence than an ordinary mechanic (because the speed at which they were made, their originality, etc,) somehow (even though it was unknown to you how) made them.

My guess is that even a regular poster at PT would think only option © or (D) would be possible candidates for the cause. Why is that? Because © and (D) are causally adequate explanations. Why is that? Not because we saw the humans or the “higher intelligence” doing the designing, but simply because they are “intelligences.”

MS

Comment #151393

Posted by Steve Reuland on December 22, 2006 2:11 AM (e)

Mr. Studduck, I understand Meyer’s argument perfectly well. I’m just pointing out how horrendous it is. It tries to create a false equivalence between human designs and divine intervention; it assumes the existence of some hyper-intelligence during the Cambrian when in fact that is the very thing that needs to be proved; and on top of it all, it’s completely wrong about the ability of natural causes to increase information. Meyer in fact has the causal adequacy part totally backwards.

As for this:

In response to,
“What evidence establishes that such an “intelligence” existed during the Cambrian?”

Well, the simple answer here is that…wait a minute…Hello, that’s what Meyer’s paper was all about. The Increase in information, the cell types, you know…the CSI. Evidence of an “intelligence.”

It’s just good old fashioned circular reasoning. Your premise cannot be derived from your conclusion.

I’ll ask again: What evidence is there that some “intelligence” existed during the Cambrian and was capable of designing body plans? There wasn’t any evidence provided in Meyer’s paper.

Comment #151399

Posted by Mark Studdock, FCD on December 22, 2006 2:50 AM (e)

A very simplified version (I’m tired and going bed soon) of the inference to the best explanation argument for ID, refuting the above post concerning circular reasoning and a premise being derived from a conclusion.

Premise 1: The Cambrian Explosion Data is X. (X being the sudden appearance of many phyla, meaning many cell types, meaning much information)

Premise 2: There are various causal explanations available for X.
They are EN, SO, ID

Premise 3: EN has not been observed to Produce X.

Premise 4: SO has not been observed to Produce X.

Premise 5: ID has been observed to Produce X

Therefore: ID is the best observable cause of X given in the Cambrian Explosion.

Steve, don’t get confused here. I am not writing in reply to your statement about Meyers being “completely wrong about the ability of natural causes to increase information.” I am here writing in opposition to your claim that you “understand Meyer’s argument perfectly well.” and that it is “good old fashioned circular reasoning.”

MS

Comment #151406

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on December 22, 2006 4:14 AM (e)

Premise 1: The Cambrian Explosion Data is X. (X being the sudden appearance of many phyla, meaning many cell types, meaning much information)

Modulo that the appearance isn’t all that sudden, that first appearance is not necessarily the same thing as time of origin, that phyla are not necessarily any much different in cell types, and that “much information” is not given a consistent meaning by Meyer or other “intelligent design” creationism advocates.

Premise 2: There are various causal explanations available for X.
They are EN, SO, ID

Meyer fails to give a complete enumeration and effective review of known causal mechanisms, nor does he address the issue of unknown causal mechanisms.

Premise 3: EN has not been observed to Produce X.

Premise 4: SO has not been observed to Produce X.

Premise 5: ID has been observed to Produce X

Whether it’s equivocation or something else, premise 5 is false. EN and SO are discounted because we cannot say with a high degree of certainty what particular mechanism did result in the first appearance of phyla in the Cambrian, but ID has not either been “observed to produce many phyla”. For equivocation, one merely notes that two standards are being used, a high standard for natural causes, and a much laxer one for ID. The various explanations are not held to the same standard.

What Meyer says “intelligent design” does is what John Wilkins and I call ordinary design, not the rarefied design that Meyer wants to conclude ID explains. Even though our peer-reviewed paper was quite relevant to the argument Meyer offered, one will note that Meyer did not cite or discuss our paper and its criticism of “intelligent design”. In essence, Meyer says “EN does not produce X” and “SO does not produce X”, but offers “ID produces Y”, not “ID produces X”, and there are reasons why trying to argue that “ID produces ordinary design” implies “ID produces rarefied design” is invalid (see our paper).

Besides which, we know historically that “intelligent design” is at best simply a rationalization, a means of generating a plausible-looking argument to obtain a desired result. Obviously, some people still find it more plausible than others.

Therefore: ID is the best observable cause of X given in the Cambrian Explosion.

Given that the logic given was unsound and various of the premises are false, the conclusion does not follow.

Further, what Meyer delivers is not even “inference to the best explanation”, AFAICT.

Comment #151408

Posted by Katarina on December 22, 2006 5:35 AM (e)

Katrina wrote, or rather repeated, some stuff already said by others above

Umm… thanks. How nice and constructive of you.

Actually I asked some questions so I could better understand your accusations, which you shamelessly avoided answering. But I wouldn’t expect anything less vague from a creationist.

As your cars and mechanic, I assume it is supposed to represent the Cambrian explosion. But it doesn’t, so your choices are irrelevant. I hope you read the paper Dr. Elsberry linked to, and many more - it’s never too late to improve your standards of reasoning. You creationists like to tout “teach both sides.” Maybe you should take your own advice and learn what the evolution side actually says, instead of presenting us with your strawman level of understanding, while pretending to know better.

Comment #151409

Posted by Katarina on December 22, 2006 5:37 AM (e)

Excuse me, As for your cars and mechanic…

Comment #151425

Posted by Scarlet Seraph, FOAFOCD on December 22, 2006 8:31 AM (e)

Mr. Studdock wrote:

What Meyer seems to be saying is that we have abundant empirical evidence of intelligent agents increasing information or creating new designs. This is part of his positive case for his inference to design. We know what an intelligent agent can do. Namely, specify complexity.

But in fact, this is a false statement: we do not know that intelligent agents can produce specified complexity. Despite the numerous claims of Dembksi, et. al. it has never been demonstrated that specified complexity even exists. Never.

Since Mr. Studdock’s ‘auto-shop’ analogy is invalid, and since he clearly knows very little about the ID literature (else he would recognize the lack of demonstration of CSI), it is difficult to take any of his other comments regarding evolution seriously.

Comment #151428

Posted by Richard Simons on December 22, 2006 8:55 AM (e)

Mark Studduck says “Premise 5: ID has been observed to Produce X” where X is “the sudden appearance of many phyla”.
Oh? When? Unless you mean during the ‘Cambrian explosion’, which is what you are trying to demonstrate.

Mark is sounding more and more like Afdave.

Comment #151445

Posted by Steve Reuland on December 22, 2006 11:17 AM (e)

Premise 5: ID has been observed to Produce X

What I’m trying to tell you is that this particular premise is completely unestablished (given that “X” is what happened during the Cambrian). There is no evidence presented that some intelligence capable of designing metazoan body plans was operating during the Cambrian. Were Meyer to establish this as true, the ID would in fact have achieved “causal adequacy”. Until then, it is the very thing that he needs to prove.

When you turn around and claim that the Meyer’s argument establishes this premise as true, you are engaging in circular reasoning. Being a premise, it cannot be derived from the conclusion. It must be established as true before making the conclusion that follows from it.

Comment #151463

Posted by Mark Studdock, FCD on December 22, 2006 2:26 PM (e)

Thank you for your continuing comments. Some of them are very helpful to me. Thanks to Wesley Elsberry for passing me on to a good paper worth reading. It is an interesting idea, distinguishing ordinary design from design in general. I think ID people do not distinguish the two and rather believe that there is some general discernable category that they both fall under. I hope to read Dr. Elsberry’s paper soon. And I’m sure it will come up elsewhere if I remain posting at PT.

Some of the other comments are helpful as well. But, simply being told that I don’t understand or being identified as some other past user whom you guys eventually chased off, is not going to convince me that my understanding is weak or my arguments are de facto fallacious.

In Response to Steve,

Premise 5: ID has been observed to Produce X. Is being observed all the time. (the above objection, that no it is not because ID is not applicable to intelligent agents who are Human Beings, as I have said above might be helpful, but it also might be a rabbit trail…) But, anytime a human being makes new things or writes new ideas and so forth, there is an increase in information, design, and I think a quite fitting analogy to the X given in the above simplified argument structure.

Katarina, Will you help me with my Mechanic and his discovered new machines analogy. It isn’t supposed to be a direct analogy of the Cambrian explosion exactly but an example of what would be thought of as possible explanations of such a dramatic increase in design when observed by an intelligent agent. You seem to have written something concerning how it doesn’t work but accidentally deleted it before you posted.

Scarlet Seraph, FOAFOCD,
You specified complexity when you wrote your post. You had before you a keyboard with the English alphabet on it and you specifically chose and arranged the letters before you into a complex and meaningful sequence which other designers could then read.
Friend of a friend of Charles Darwin. Man you are missing out. You need to meet the guy yourself. If you have read all his primary literature, I suggest you now go and read Adrian Desmond’s excellent Biography.

MS

Comment #151465

Posted by Bettinke, Head Nurse, Tr.San.&Ph. on December 22, 2006 3:09 PM (e)

Crouching over, looking under things, lifting up the skirts covering the legs of the comfortable chairs in the PT lounge:

“Markie, Markie! Here, little Markie…! Out come, out come, wherever are you!”

Comment #151470

Posted by MarkP on December 22, 2006 3:29 PM (e)

Mark Studduck:

Premise 5: ID has been observed to Produce X. Is being observed all the time. (the above objection, that no it is not because ID is not applicable to intelligent agents who are Human Beings, as I have said above might be helpful, but it also might be a rabbit trail…) But, anytime a human being makes new things or writes new ideas and so forth, there is an increase in information, design, and I think a quite fitting analogy to the X given in the above simplified argument structure.

There’s your problem right there. Analogies illustrate, they do not prove. I grant you without reservation that it is a good analogy for what you are saying. But then, the experience had by the ants near to where I am stomping is a good analogy to what we experience during earthquakes. However, that lends no credence to the theory that earthquakes are caused by stomping giants.

Mark Studduck: Will you help me with my Mechanic and his discovered new machines analogy. It isn’t supposed to be a direct analogy of the Cambrian explosion exactly but an example of what would be thought of as possible explanations of such a dramatic increase in design when observed by an intelligent agent. You seem to have written something concerning how it doesn’t work but accidentally deleted it before you posted.

Easy. Machines do not reproduce, and we all agree that what we observe with evolution can’t occur without that. Again, analogies don’t prove. You don’t need analogies. We understand perfectly clear what you are saying. What you need is evidence, because we haven’t seen any that you are correct.

Comment #151472

Posted by ben on December 22, 2006 3:31 PM (e)

Premise 1: The Cambrian Explosion Data is X. (X being the sudden appearance of many phyla, meaning many cell types, meaning much information)

Premise 5: ID has been observed to Produce X

Is equivalent to

ID has been observed to Produce he sudden appearance of many phyla, meaning many cell types, meaning much information

But somehow you then equivocate that with

Premise 5: ID has been observed to Produce X. Is being observed all the time. (the above objection, that no it is not because ID is not applicable to intelligent agents who are Human Beings, as I have said above might be helpful, but it also might be a rabbit trail…) But, anytime a human being makes new things or writes new ideas and so forth, there is an increase in information, design, and I think a quite fitting analogy to the X given in the above simplified argument structure.

What a load of crap.

Comment #151474

Posted by Katarina on December 22, 2006 3:34 PM (e)

“Mark,”

Thanks for your courtesy, I will try to respond in kind. I am but an undergrad, but even to me, Paley’s pocket watch analogy, much like the “junkyard” analogy, much like your Mechanic and cars analogy, obviously has nothing to do with living organisms. If you re-read Dr. Elsberry’s patient response to you, you will note that he says four very important things regarding the cambrian “explosion,” all of which are worthy of your meditation:

1. “the appearance isn’t all that sudden”

The cambrian, including middle, upper, and lower, actually occured over a time period of about 50 million years (someone correct me), which is only short in terms of the entire history of evolution on earth, not really in itself. And yes, this change is considered rapid, but only compared to the usual speed of evolution. One widely accepted explanation is that there were many nitches to be filled due to a recent disaster that caused mass extinctions.

2. “that first appearance is not necessarily the same thing as time of origin,”

Think about what it means. The fossils found in the cambrian explosion have precursors found in other periods, and fit the branching pattern evolutionists would expect.

It wouldn’t be too difficult to find out more. You don’t want us to point you to the talkorigins website, I don’t know why. It is full of information regarding your very questions:

From CC300:

The Cambrian explosion was the seemingly sudden appearance of a variety of complex animals about 540 million years ago (Mya), but it was not the origin of complex life. Evidence of multicellular life from about 590 and 560 Mya appears in the Doushantuo Formation in China (Chen et al. 2000, 2004), and diverse fossil forms occurred before 555 Mya (Martin et al. 2000). (The Cambrian began 543 Mya., and the Cambrian explosion is considered by many to start with the first trilobites, about 530 Mya.) Testate amoebae are known from about 750 Mya (Porter and Knoll 2000). There are tracelike fossils more than 1,200 Mya in the Stirling Range Formation of Australia (Rasmussen et al. 2002). Eukaryotes (which have relatively complex cells) may have arisen 2,700 Mya, according to fossil chemical evidence (Brocks et al. 1999). Fossil microorganisms have been found from 3,465 Mya (Schopf 1993). There is isotopic evidence of sulfur-reducing bacteria from 3,470 Mya (Shen et al. 2001) and possible evidence of microbial etching of volcanic glass from 3,480 Mya (Furnes et al. 2004).

3. “that phyla are not necessarily any much different in cell types,

Point three is more subtle, and it is one of the reasons any analogy between biological structures or entities and mechanical ones is ridiculous. Biological structures are very similar at a cellular level, pointing to their relatedness. Not so with mechanical structures. The other obvious point is that biological structures are alive. Therefore they can reproduce and create their own variety, whereas inanimate objects are dependent on outside forces to move them.

4. “that ‘much information’ is not given a consistent meaning by Meyer or other ‘intelligent design’ creationism advocates.”

What does information mean for biological systems? How can we measure and quantify this information? ID apologists haven’t made it clear.

My comment is just from my general knowledge, and if anyone here cares to correct me that is fine. Like you, I come here to learn, and have fun with it. Read more talkorigins.

(P.S., I did not delete any part of my comment. I was trying to make a small correction, but goofed that too, and put italics on your instead of for, which was the word I omitted the first time. But even with all my fumbling and imprecision, I am still able to search the internet for the relevant information I need to answer your questions, as should you be able to.)

Comment #151479

Posted by Steviepinhead on December 22, 2006 4:00 PM (e)

You can get to the site.

You can comment on the site.

Your comments actually appear.

Yay-whee!

But the main page still says Katarina commented after ben’s comment, and four attempts to read Katarina’s comment–even with deleting files and refreshing, and running back and forth between main and comment pages–still fails to produce Katarina’s comment.

Did a time warp get installed alongside all that other new gear? And why waste a time warp on PT, when you could be scouting the andromeda galaxy, or sampling the abiogenesis process in exquisite detail?

Just sayin’…

Comment #151480

Posted by Glen Davidson on December 22, 2006 4:00 PM (e)

A very simplified version (I’m tired and going bed soon) of the inference to the best explanation argument for ID, refuting the above post concerning circular reasoning and a premise being derived from a conclusion.

Premise 1: The Cambrian Explosion Data is X. (X being the sudden appearance of many phyla, meaning many cell types, meaning much information)

Actually, you have no idea what it means. There may not have been a huge increase in information during the “Cambrian explosion”, rather the phenotypes may have changed, using mostly pre-existing information, because of a considerable increase in oxygen levels.

Premise 2: There are various causal explanations available for X.
They are EN, SO, ID

I don’t know what “SO” is supposed to be, and I fail to understand how “ID” is any kind of causal explanation available for X. Because the same physical conditions apparently prevailed during the Cambrian as now, EN is indeed a causal explanation available for that time, the sole one of which we know.

Let’s cut to the evidence now, though, and ask you to try to explain why the phyla are all related, with homologies, similar molecular and body parts, and why they arrange naturally (ask Linnaeus) into a “nested hierarchy”. Even if we had an intelligence far beyond our present capability during the Cambrian, why would those results be expected from such a “causal agent”? They are expected from EN, however, which gets us back to the fact that one should pay attention to the evidence, not crude categorizations like “complexity” and false claims about how complexity “must appear”.

Premise 3: EN has not been observed to Produce X.

Yes, it has. Or anyway, it has been observed to produce the homologies and genetic relatedness found evolutionary processes happening today, and our obervations of genomes and fossils are consistent with the presently observed evolutionary changes.

The question is what one means by “observed”. If one insists that “someone had to watch”, then nothing can be observed to cause what happened in the distant past. If, however, we sensibly extrapolate present-day observations to similar-appearing phylogenetic patterns of the past, then we may well be said to at least make observations of what occurred.

Premise 4: SO has not been observed to Produce X.

No doubt, whatever SO is.

Premise 5: ID has been observed to Produce X

ID has been observed to produce the Cambrian explosion? I’m well aware of why you’re using X to substitute for the short enough term “Cambrian explosion”, which is that it tends to obscure the audacious nonsense that you’re writing.

And in principle, we have never seen any intelligence produce anything as complex as life is, particularly not on its scale. That is to say, the complexity of life is an argument against intelligent design (even apart from the telling evidence that it evolved), not an argument for intelligent design of life.

We’ve observed evolution, we’ve never observed any intelligence causing life to be as it is observed to be—related by lines of descent, largely homologous across closely related lines, and having mixtures of “good design” and “bad design” which indicate nothing except adaptation of pre-existing structures. We’ve never once observed a designer who designed things strictly according to evolutionary principles (and only recently have we gained the considerable advantage of being able to use genetic algorithms), instead we’ve seen designers who designed rationally, with novelty, and by “borrowing” from other forms and structures. The conservatism of evolution, seen in the phyla as well as everywhere else, is a constraint (and thus a source of prediction) with respect to evolution alone, not of design. And if design has no constraints (which is how IDists try to make it out to be, versus the designs that we can and do detect) it explains nothing at all.

Therefore: ID is the best observable cause of X given in the Cambrian Explosion.

It would be, if your premise (ID has been observed to produce the Cambrian explosion) were correct. Since it’s a breathtaking fiction, the truth-value of your conclusion is nil (except as a meaningless truth statement, that is).

Steve, don’t get confused here. I am not writing in reply to your statement about Meyers being “completely wrong about the ability of natural causes to increase information.” I am here writing in opposition to your claim that you “understand Meyer’s argument perfectly well.” and that it is “good old fashioned circular reasoning.”

It typically comes down to circular reasoning, though I don’t know about this particular instance. Your depiction of it involves the insertion of an astonishingly incorrect “fact”, however it does seem that you’re using circular reasoning as well. As in, you seem to be saying that “intelligence can do anything” (with no telling constraints whatsoever, unlike scientifically known intelligences), EN can’t produce the Cambrian explosion (nor can “SO”), so intelligence did it, since “it can do anything at all”.

But because “it can do anything at all” wouldn’t tell us what it actually did even if that claim were true, your logic doesn’t hold and you have to fall back on the “Goddidit” that set up your whole sorry set of claims in the first place. Granted, it isn’t a really coherent circle, but you have nothing to fall back on except your insistence that God must have done it, for you have absolutely no causal mechanism for the Cambrian explosion in ID.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Comment #151482

Posted by Steviepinhead on December 22, 2006 4:02 PM (e)

Ah, there Katarina is!

But I’m not sure we want me commenting between every other comment just so’s I can read them all.

As hard as it can be to tell at times, some days I just don’t have all that much to say…

Comment #151488

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 22, 2006 4:35 PM (e)

troll wrote:

My counterfactual discussion of the answer being “yes” is not intended as a smear.

This is disingenuous, as is demonstrated by your immediately following it with this smear:

I don’t think he should be punished simply for being friendly towards ID and YEC scientists. I do believe that some people, if they were being honest, would say that he did.

Comment #151492

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 22, 2006 5:03 PM (e)

“What evidence establishes that such an “intelligence” existed during the Cambrian?”

Well, the simple answer here is that…wait a minute…Hello, that’s what Meyer’s paper was all about. The Increase in information, the cell types, you know…the CSI. Evidence of an “intelligence.” Honestly, you got to understand at least this about the argument being made by ID theorists.

That’s not evidence of an “intelligence” unless one assumes that that sort of evidence is evidence of an “intelligence”. Even Dembski says that CSI doesn’t imply an intelligent agent, it only implies “design” by his idiosyncratic definition – a definition that includes the products of evolution.

Maybe I can help. Think about this: Say you were a mechanic and one day upon re-entering your shop after a short lunch break, you found a large number of various new automobiles and other strange new never before seen devices, that all appeared to have been constructed from various spare parts you had left lying around the shop. Would you think that (A) inherent potentialities to the shop made the new machines, (B) that natural laws in combinations with various environmental happenings created the new machines, © that some other mechanic or a group of mechanics made them, or (D) some even higher intelligence than an ordinary mechanic (because the speed at which they were made, their originality, etc,) somehow (even though it was unknown to you how) made them.

I would suspect C), but not D, as it refers to an unknown with unknown characteristics, and nothing can serve as “evidence” for such handwaving.

My guess is that even a regular poster at PT would think only option © or (D) would be possible candidates for the cause. Why is that? Because © and (D) are causally adequate explanations. Why is that? Not because we saw the humans or the “higher intelligence” doing the designing, but simply because they are “intelligences.”

No, that is not why. An unintelligent robot might have created the devices. I obviously don’t think that simply because it’s an “intelligence”. “an intelligence” is a ridiculously vague and IDiotic notion that has no place in science.

Comment #151495

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 22, 2006 5:23 PM (e)

refuting the above post concerning circular reasoning and a premise being derived from a conclusion

Yeah, right.

Premise 2: There are various causal explanations available for X.
They are EN, SO, ID

ID is not a causal explanation. You apparently have no idea what either of those words means.

Premise 5: ID has been observed to Produce X

Uh, no, it hasn’t; and that was the thing to be proved:

Therefore: ID is the best observable cause of X given in the Cambrian Explosion

Sheesh; how stupid can you get?

Comment #151499

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 22, 2006 5:34 PM (e)

Premise 5: ID has been observed to Produce X. Is being observed all the time. (the above objection, that no it is not because ID is not applicable to intelligent agents who are Human Beings, as I have said above might be helpful, but it also might be a rabbit trail…) But, anytime a human being makes new things or writes new ideas and so forth, there is an increase in information, design, and I think a quite fitting analogy to the X given in the above simplified argument structure.

Uh, no; you defined X as “the sudden appearance of many phyla”. Of course you IDiotically added “meaning many cell types, meaning much information” – but no, these things don’t mean the same thing, obviously. And “intelligent design produces much information” is an IDiotic thing to say, and is quite useless for reaching the IDiotic conclusion that intelligent design is the best explanation of the Cambrian Explosion.

Comment #151505

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 22, 2006 5:56 PM (e)

BTW, the “argument” offered by the troll (and he clearly is one from his name, just as someone calling himself “Saddam Hussein, FCD” would clearly be a troll) is not at all dependent on Meyer’s evidence, or any evidence. In essence it’s

1: humans can produce CSI
2: therefore “an intelligence” can produce CSI
3: nothing else is known to be able to produce CSI
4: biodiversity requires CSI
5: therefore “an intelligence” is the best explanation for biodiversity

He apparently actually takes this argument seriously. Ok, go ahead and laugh.

Comment #151536

Posted by neo-anti-luddite on December 22, 2006 10:39 PM (e)

What with all the brouhaha about ol’ Mark’s “Premise 5: ID has been observed to Produce X” stupidity, another argument of similarly jaw-dropping illogic seems to have slipped through the cracks. Or am I mistaken that Mark is essentially claiming here:

Mike, Are you a historian of science? If you are, perhaps we’ll meet someday at a conference. I’ll be going by my real name there. We can discuss the history of science and my basic claim concerning dissenters to the reigning paradigm. I thought everybody knew this. Big famous example: Aristotelian paradigm, adopted by the reigning cultural power (the catholic church,) disagreed with by this one guy who believed the universe and Life to be designed by an intelligent creator whom he identified as the God of the Bible, but didn’t think the reigning aristotelian philosophy jivved with his empirical findings and theories. Man, if only I could remeber his name.

that we should all be sceptical of scientists because the pre-enlightenment Catholic church persecuted Galileo for disagreeing with its worldview; ergo, we should listen to a bunch of religious fundamentalists, instead?

Dude, where’d you score that killer bud?

Comment #151541

Posted by Steve Reuland on December 23, 2006 12:02 AM (e)

In Response to Steve,

Premise 5: ID has been observed to Produce X. Is being observed all the time.

I’m pretty sure that ID hasn’t been observed to produce animal body plans during the Cambrian. That’s what we’re interested in. Not whether human beings who did not live during the Cambrian could do X. That tells us nothing about what happened in the Cambrian.

No one doubts that if there existed some sort of highly intelligent being during the Cambrian, especially if it were supernatural, that it could at least in principle design animal body plans. But of course that’s the very point of contention. It cannot be claimed that ID is “causally adequate” if this intelligence is not known to exist. Causal adequacy in this case is simply being presumed.

I’m not arguing against the primary ID argument here (though obviously I think it’s wrong) I’m pointing out that this argument holds that we should infer a cause that is otherwise not in evidence based upon it being the only (supposed) explanation possible. There is no evidence presented for the actual cause itself however. The claim of “causal adequacy” is thus smoke and mirrors.

Comment #151558

Posted by Mark Studdock, FCD on December 23, 2006 1:35 AM (e)

MarkP,
My Analogy wasn’t meant to prove ID, but rather to prove that the argument given by Meyer was in a reasonable, understandable, and non-circular form. I know that analogies don’t prove anything but help explain arguments. That, if you will go back and read why I formed the analogy in the first place, was what I was up to. And you are on my side then by saying, “I grant you without reservation that it is a good analogy for what you are saying.”

Glen Davidson,

Linnaeus was able to understand organisms as related with homologies, similar molecular body parts, etc within a nested hierarchy within the framework of ID. Yes, he believed as a matter of scientific conclusion that nature and its many varied and wondrous (similar and different) designed organisms were the product of Mind.(—– that was a causal agent)

Also, X in the argument doesn’t stand for “Cambrian explosion” but…from comment 151399”(X being the sudden appearance of many phyla, meaning many cell types, meaning much information)”

The rest of your post stands upon this misunderstanding or purposeful misrepresentation.

Popper’s ghost,

Thank you for following and understanding my mechanic analogy. I myself would have suspected C. You see, rarely would I suspect option D. But you see, your choosing C for the mechanic is rational for the analogy because it is obviously taking place at a time in History in which human mechanics are present. No human Mechanics (or unintelligent robots which you mentioned) were present during the Cambrian. So choosing C over A or B, would put you much closer to choosing D as causal explanation for the Cambrian Explosion.

The rests of your comments in your various posts trouble me not. Although, it’s not very nice to call people stupid or troll without actually having a good reason. This concern of my placing FCD after my name was already dealt with and we moved on. But if you want to have a contest about who is a better friend of Mr. Darwin that would be fun. And you seem so affected. Don’t get to upset over this, everything is going to be okay.

neo-anti-luddite,

Your statement that “the pre-enlightenment Catholic church persecuted Galileo for disagreeing with its worldview; ergo, we should listen to a bunch of religious fundamentalists, instead?” is sadly trivial and not worth much of a reply but since I am already wasting my time….

Galileo was originally brought up in these posts as an example of a dissenter to a dominant paradigm vigorously held by the scientific community. He was treated unfairly not because he thought the Bible wasn’t true or accurate or God’s word. He was not treated unfairly because he thought the universe produced itself without the active hand of a designing intelligence. He was persecuted for disbelieving, and forcefully rejecting the current paradigm for cosmological physics. He challenged Aristotelianism.
Now, the Aristotelian scientific understanding had been adopted an inseminated into the Catholic Church so much so that they even read it’s understanding of the natural world into the Bible. You can say that they made Aristotle’s views almost canonical, that is dogma. Today, the reigning social force in the western world is not the Catholic Church but is instead some form of general secular humanism. The reigning biological paradigm adopted and canonized by this consensus is the naturalistic paradigm of science with it’s creation story of evolution by various non-intelligent mechanisms. Any scientist who questions or challenges this reigning dogma is thus treated unfairly. Which brings us back to the original topic of this post.

MS

Comment #151562

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 23, 2006 2:02 AM (e)

No human Mechanics (or unintelligent robots which you mentioned) were present during the Cambrian.

No, but evolution was, moron. All you’re saying is, if it must have been an intelligence, then it was some kind of intelligence other than human or robotic, therefore it was some super duper unknown intelligence. Well, buddy, that means you don’t qualify as “an intelligence”.

The rests of your comments in your various posts trouble me not.

No, of course reason and logic trouble you not. Get a clue: there are a lot of smart and informed people here, and it is obvious to all of them that you’re not one … and every time you write another stupid post it will further confirm that.

Comment #151563

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 23, 2006 2:11 AM (e)

My Analogy wasn’t meant to prove ID, but rather to prove that the argument given by Meyer was in a reasonable, understandable, and non-circular form.

But, as several people have demonstrated, you didn’t prove any such thing. Being the foolish troll you are, though, you ignored those demonstrations.

In #151505 I laid out your argument with the “ID has been observed to produce the evidence of the Cambrian Explosion, therefore ID is the best explanation for the Cambrian Explosion” nonsense stripped out. Will you agree that #151505 is your argument? If not, correct it so that it is. Then we can explain exactly what is so IDiotic about it.

Comment #151564

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 23, 2006 2:15 AM (e)

The reigning biological paradigm adopted and canonized by this consensus is the naturalistic paradigm of science with it’s creation story of evolution by various non-intelligent mechanisms.

It’s not a “creation story”, and it has not been “adopted and canonized” by consensus, you pathetic ignorant moron. The theory of evolution is the explanation for biodiversity best inferred from the evidence, something that you are completely ignorant of.

Comment #151600

Posted by neo-anti-luddite on December 23, 2006 9:25 AM (e)

Mark spouts:

Galileo was originally brought up in these posts as an example of a dissenter to a dominant paradigm vigorously held by the scientific community. He was treated unfairly not because he thought the Bible wasn’t true or accurate or God’s word. He was not treated unfairly because he thought the universe produced itself without the active hand of a designing intelligence. He was persecuted for disbelieving, and forcefully rejecting the current paradigm for cosmological physics. He challenged Aristotelianism.

I included the term “pre-enlightenment” to highlight the fact that you’re trying to conflate the actions of modern scientists who adhere rigorously to the scientific method with the actions of the Catholic church. It wasn’t the “scientific community,” not even what passed for the “scientific community” back then, that tried and convicted Galileo of heresy, it was the church. This is exactly the sort thinking that allows you to spout the “cars don’t assemble themselves, thus eveolution is false” inanity with a straight face and expect it to fly with people who actually understand logic. When was the last time you saw a car grow or reproduce, all on its own, as even the simplest biological organisms can? And if you haven’t seen this, then how can you credibly claim that your car analogy is at all useful?

Now, the Aristotelian scientific understanding had been adopted an inseminated into the Catholic Church so much so that they even read it’s understanding of the natural world into the Bible. You can say that they made Aristotle’s views almost canonical, that is dogma. Today, the reigning social force in the western world is not the Catholic Church but is instead some form of general secular humanism. The reigning biological paradigm adopted and canonized by this consensus is the naturalistic paradigm of science with it’s creation story of evolution by various non-intelligent mechanisms. Any scientist who questions or challenges this reigning dogma is thus treated unfairly. Which brings us back to the original topic of this post.

I ask again, how do the actions of the Cathiolic church in the seventeenth century reflect poorly on the actions of modern scientists, beyond your laughable implied premise that a “dominant paradigm” is always defended in the exact same way, every single time, in every culture and historical period? You yourself note that the Aristotelian paradigm was adopted into the church as dogma, but then you try to lay the blame for Galileo’s persecution not on the church, but on the “scientific community.” Now that sounds like persecution.

Comment #151612

Posted by MarkP on December 23, 2006 10:37 AM (e)

Mark Studduck:

My Analogy wasn’t meant to prove ID, but rather to prove that the argument given by Meyer was in a reasonable, understandable, and non-circular form. I know that analogies don’t prove anything but help explain arguments.
italics mine

You say you realize analogies don’t prove anything, and then you claim your analogy proves something. [sigh]

I suspect this is a trait you picked up from listening to religious speakers. They argue via analogy all the time. Scientists don’t, and for good reason, because you can come up with an analogy for anything. They prove nothing, not the argument, not that the argument is reasonable, nada.

Evidence my friend, not analogies, that’s what we need.

Comment #151615

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on December 23, 2006 11:06 AM (e)

I suspect this is a trait you picked up from listening to religious speakers. They argue via analogy all the time. Scientists don’t, and for good reason, because you can come up with an analogy for anything. They prove nothing, not the argument, not that the argument is reasonable, nada.

Scientists do argue by analogy. The difference is that successful arguments by analogy are convincing insofar as they carefully explore the evidence for both the supporting points of similarity and those points of dissimilarity that may be present. The canonical example, of course, would be Charles Darwin’s argument for natural selection based upon analogy to artificial selection.

Of course, the sloppy sort of analogy offered by “Mark Studdock” here and others elsewhere don’t give that sort of support; one is always urged to accept the analogy on no other basis than that it “obviously” holds. The canonical example is the ID argument that cellular mechanisms look like machines, therefore they must be designed.

Comment #151632

Posted by Mark Studdock, FCD on December 23, 2006 2:38 PM (e)

PG, evolution was “present” at the Cambrian Explosion. Well, not if you are refering to it as if it were some disembodied intelligence or thing or whatever, but sure “evolution” was present. Don’t worry about whether I am an evolutionist, I assure that I am. I do agree that since their were animals, environmental presures, and DNA transcription and translation, and all, well, yeah…evolution was present. Of course the process of natural selection was at work during the Cambrian period in the same way that it is at work today. It is a process which is at work anywhere and anytime that designed organisms are alive and active in an environment. Evolution is like a natural law intrinsic to the designed biological world. Am I old school in the belief that evolution can’t explain where evolution came from. Am I wrong to think that there are certain necessities (Such as, the ability of an organism to pass on genetic information to it’s offspring) involved before evolution can even start to work.

Now, the rest of your posts amount to your telling me that:

I am a Moron. (which is cute of you, but the real problem you have with me is that we don’t have the same faith and religious devotion to the current reaigning scientistic world view.)

That I don’t qualify as “an intelligence” according to my own writing concerning intelligence. (Which is absurd and patently false.)

That I care nothing for reason and logic. (lets just say that if you want to debate, or discuss anything with anyone else in the future you shouldn’t resort so quickly to this last ditch tactic of telling the person you are communicating with that they reject the laws of thinking. It’s kind of pathetic to move so quickly away from an argument into an unfounded attack upon the person sitting at a computer a hundred miles away from you…How very PT or UD in style of you.)

Then you tell me I’m stupid again, and that this current post further proves it. (good argument. BTW I don’t think you are stupid. It just seems to me that you have chosen to be 100 percent sure and devoted to something so completely that you can’t even talk to people who disagree with you. You can’t assess their statements as true or false outside of judging them solely upon whther they do or do not seem to buttress your own world view. You may be a little hateful, and biligerent to people, and maybe a little closeminded, but you are probably not stupid. Maybe the only other thing I could say concerning the attributes of your person from the limited evidence I read here is that you are immature. You may one day grow up to be able to talk to people on the other side of the fence.)

Then you called me a Troll and told me that I have ignored some arguments and so forth. (well, I have asked exactly what makes a troll a troll, and believe that I have contended to a satisfactory manner that I am not in fact a troll. Some people apparently have decided that I, although they still disagree with me and argue against my post, am not a troll, but instead refer to me somewhat politely by my username Mark.)

Then amidst some more name-calling you ask something constructive concerning post #151505. Your argument was that my argument could be reformulated as.
“1: humans can produce CSI
2: therefore “an intelligence” can produce CSI
3: nothing else is known to be able to produce CSI
4: biodiversity requires CSI
5: therefore “an intelligence” is the best explanation for biodiversity”
Then you asked me to either agree that #151505 is my argument or correct it so that it is. Then you could explain exactly why it is so IDiotic and then laugh at me. I will try to carry out your request. But I am going to type it straight through and not spend all day making this submittable to a philosophical journal or anything, so give me some leeway with the language. I have really got to get out to the mall and buy some last minute gifts.
1. Intelligent Agents can produce CSI
2. Humans are Intelligent Agents.
3. They are regularly observed Intelligent Agents.
4. Even if we do not observer their existence at a given time and place, if we find CSI we generally assume that Human Intelligent agents were present and responsible for the CSI observed. (an example of this would come from archaeology and the discovery of ancient and unknown writing and so forth)
5. CSI can be an indicator of the presence of an Intelligent Agent. (from 1-4)
6. We generally assume that CSI is a reliable indicator of the presence of Human Intelligent Agents.
7. There may or may not be other Intelligent Agents.
8. Other Intelligent Agents may or may not specify complexity in a similar and understandable human-like way.
9. Other intelligent agents may be of a higher intelligence or lower intelligence. Their basic attributes, ability, properties, and so forth may be otherwise unknown to us while the theoretical possibility of detecting their intelligent agency may be possible by detecting CSI. (from 1-4)
10. Given these possibilities (from 5-9) we human intelligent agents attempt to or theoretically could discover CSI from a non-human intelligent agent. (ie SETI, ID,)
11. CSI is a reliable indicator for intelligent design. (not this argument but dembski argument) Intelligent design is causally explanative of CSI.
12. Evolutionary Naturalism and it’s various mechanisms and theories has not been, or has not yet been shown to account for CSI.
13. Self-Organization theories and various similar ideas have not been, or have not yet been shown to account for CSI.
13. The Cambrian Explosion happened at a time when there were no human intelligent agents present.
14. The Cambrian Explosion displays a very early insertion of vast amounts of new CSI.
15. If we are to attribute the CSI encountered in the Cambrian explosion to a cause, we must use abductive reasoning. (inference to the best explanation)
16. From 1-11, 12, 13, and 14, we can argue that Intelligent Design is the best current explanation of the CSI of the Cambrian explosion.
Many of these premises of course require further argument (as is true of most arguments) and thus require the research project of Intelligent Design. And I will admit this is a very rough and quickly jotted out argument but it is in reply to your request. I have tried to point out the difference between your misrepresentation or misunderstanding here by showing why and how an ID theorist might move from a human IDer to a theoretically possible IDer.
You then return to name calling and statement making. I call the theory of evolution a creation story because that is exactly what it is. It’s being true or false has nothing to do with whether it is a story about how things are created. Since I am taking too much time out to deal with your insults already I will recommend you read “Species of Origin. America’s Search for a Creation Story” by Giberson and Yerxa. I was first turned on to this book by an advertisement on the NCSE web page. Excellent work.
Responding Now to neo-anti-luddite,
I hardly feel like it is necessary to quibble with you over the Galileo affair. My explanation given above is the standard and currently accepted interpretation. I will not persecute you for not understanding the important cultural and societal trappings of Galileo’s time. But your question concerning why it is valid to relate the way the Catholic Aristotelians (properly understood as such for they were far more committed to this dogma than to the Christian Bible) treated Galileo to the actions of modern scientists is worth a response. I do not think as you said that I implied, “that a “dominant paradigm” is always defended in the exact same way, every single time, in every culture and historical period?” But the similarity among all paradigm challenges throughout time is that those scientists entrenched in the current and challenged orthodoxy do not readily discourse properly of fairly with their dissenters. Examples abound. I would suggest a read or probably a re-read of Thomas Kuhn’s “Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Response to MarkP,
Excellent catch. Your right I concede. My wording was quite poor. I should have written “My Analogy wasn’t meant to prove ID, but rather to show how or illustrate why the argument given by Meyer was in a reasonable, understandable, and non-circular form. I know that analogies don’t prove anything but only help explain arguments.

But going from this to accuse me of picking up a poor trait from religious speakers. And then telling me that Scientists don’t use analogies to explain their theories. WOW. I will remember that every time I read a scientists analogy. Oh wait, I don’t have to make an argument here because one of the higher ups at PT agree with me. (comment above by Wesley Elsberry)
Well, it has been fun being the only one on this side of things. I wish I had clones to go do the Christmas Shopping (ooops I mean, holiday or winterish shopping, I know how sensitive some of you anti-religionists get, just kidding around) I need to do. God bless you all richly this Christmas. I’ll get back on PT after I am through celebrating the birth of Christ with my family and friends here in a few days.

MS

Comment #151638

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 23, 2006 3:06 PM (e)

A wellconstructed analogy can be (more or less) isomorph in the studied domain.

Isomorphism (mathematics), informally: “The word “isomorphism” applies when two complex structures can be mapped onto each other, in such a way that to each part of one structure there is a corresponding part in the other structure, where “corresponding” means that the two parts play similar roles in their respective structures. [my bold]

Isomorphisms are frequently used by mathematicians to save themselves work. If a good isomorphism can be found from a relatively unknown part of mathematics into some well studied division of mathematics, where many theorems are already proved, and many methods are already available to find answers, then the function can be used to map whole problems out of unfamiliar territory over to “solid ground,” where the problem is easier to understand and work with.”

Darwin’s example seems to fit in these regards. By analogy, of course. :-)

Comment #151639

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on December 23, 2006 3:15 PM (e)

Since I forgot to connect my comment with a quote, and there is some trolling going on, let me note that my previous comment was only responding to comment #151615 by Wesley.

Comment #151647

Posted by neo-anti-luddite on December 23, 2006 4:20 PM (e)

Quoth Mark:

But the similarity among all paradigm challenges throughout time is that those scientists entrenched in the current and challenged orthodoxy do not readily discourse properly of fairly with their dissenters.

(emphases mine)

Just scientists? Wow, I guess “paradigm challenges” are a pretty recent phenomenon….

The problem with your attempt at a point is that those who denounced Galileo’s work held the titles of Bishop, Cardinal, Inquisitor, Pope, etc. Now, if you want to claim that they were the “scientific community” of the time, bust a nut, but they were also, without the possibility of doubt, members of the Catholic church heirarchy, and they operated within the “paradigm” of church authority. As this “paradigm” is worlds apart from the modern “paradigm” of scientific authority based on the scientific method (or did I miss the bit where Alfred Wegener was put under house arrest by the scientific community for his “heresy?”), I ask you again how the actions of the seventeeth-century Catholic church require that we view twenty-first century scientists with suspicion?

You know, one of the big reasons that Galileo is considered one of the fathers of the Enlightenment was his focus on empirical experimentation and evidence, and his assertion that such should trump a blind faith in authority. Leaving aside the other problems with your Galileo example for a moment, the fact that ID offers neither empirical experimentation nor empirical evidence in its defence also renders your comparison invalid. Until someone - anyone - can offer any empirical evidence to support ID, seriously attempting to equate the summary dismissal of Intelligent Design “theory” with the persecution of Galileo requires a fundamental misunderstanding of how modern science actually works. Unless, of course, you’re also going to start railing against the scientific community’s ‘persecution’ of Bigfoot enthusists, flat-earthers, ufo-logists, and similar cranks. If ID had any empirical evidence that supported it, as opposed to argument by extremely poor analogy, your comprison might have some small measure of relevance, although the differences between the church of Galileo and the modern scientific community would still negate any but the most superficial of parallels.

Comment #151704

Posted by Popper's ghost on December 23, 2006 11:45 PM (e)

I am a Moron. (which is cute of you, but the real problem you have with me is that we don’t have the same faith and religious devotion to the current reaigning scientistic world view.)

That you make that claim is enough to demonstrate that you are a moron – the “reigning scientistic (sic) world view” is not a matter of “faith and religious devotion”, it’s a matter of following the evidence and applying reason – something you are demonstrably incapable of. Scientists actually predict things that do occur and make things that do work, not because of their “world view” but because of their competence and because of the effectiveness of the scientific method.

A clear sign that you are a moron is your immensely idiotic 16-point argument, that adds nothing of substance or relevance to my 5 point one. It boils down to you saying that “intelligence” can produce CSI because humans can produce CSI, and thus “intelligence” can produce the CSI of the Cambrian Explosion – which is multiply fallacious, an invalid generalization over both CSI and “intelligence”. And to you saying that “Evolutionary Naturalism” isn’t known to be able to produce the CSI of the Cambrian Explosion, which is utter nonsense. Whatever “CSI” is, there is nothing known about the Cambrian Explosion which is not within the known and observed scope of evolution, something that you may “believe in” but evidently know nothing about.

Well, it has been fun being the only one on this side of things.

The world is full of willfully ignorant and stupid people, and a few of them do wander over here.

Comment #151736

Posted by Scarlet Seraph, FOFOCD on December 24, 2006 7:54 AM (e)

In response to my point that Mr. Studdock’s analogy and observations are meaningless because his analogy was invalid and the required empirical observations have not been made commented

Scarlet Seraph, FOAFOCD,
You specified complexity when you wrote your post. You had before you a keyboard with the English alphabet on it and you specifically chose and arranged the letters before you into a complex and meaningful sequence which other designers could then read.
Friend of a friend of Charles Darwin. Man you are missing out. You need to meet the guy yourself. If you have read all his primary literature, I suggest you now go and read Adrian Desmond’s excellent Biography.

In other words, he didn’t bother to respond in any way, and was offensive to boot.

Why waste time on trying to educate someone who clearly displays no desire to be educated and no real understanding of ID?

Again, Mr. Studdock - show me one single example of actual CSI. You will find you are unable to do so - hence your argument is valueless.

Comment #151738

Posted by Scarlet Seraph, FOFOCD on December 24, 2006 8:10 AM (e)

Mr. Studdock attempted a reformulation of his invalid argument. It can be easily shown that his reformulation, beginning with its very first point, is completely invalid as well.

1. Intelligent Agents can produce CSI

False. It has never been demonstrated that ‘intelligent agents’ produce CSI. Never.

2. Humans are Intelligent Agents.

In many cases, I’d say that’s debatable, but we’ll let it go for now. %:->

3. They are regularly observed Intelligent Agents.

This point adds nothing to the argument.

4. Even if we do not observer their existence at a given time and place, if we find CSI we generally assume that Human Intelligent agents were present and responsible for the CSI observed. (an example of this would come from archaeology and the discovery of ancient and unknown writing and so forth)

Since CSI has never been shown to exist, this point is invalid.

5. CSI can be an indicator of the presence of an Intelligent Agent. (from 1-4)

Logical fallacy. This is an unsupported generalization.

6. We generally assume that CSI is a reliable indicator of the presence of Human Intelligent Agents.

False. We do NOT make this assumption. Various religiously motivated idiots (such as Dembski) make this assumption. Regrettably, they have not demonstrated that it is anything more than simple, wishful thinking.

Again and again: where is the science? Where is the actual research on CSI? Where are the demonstrations that such a thing exists?

Nowhere.

7. There may or may not be other Intelligent Agents.

Of course, but a pure hypothetical.

8. Other Intelligent Agents may or may not specify complexity in a similar and understandable human-like way.

Another pure hypothetical.

9. Other intelligent agents may be of a higher intelligence or lower intelligence. Their basic attributes, ability, properties, and so forth may be otherwise unknown to us while the theoretical possibility of detecting their intelligent agency may be possible by detecting CSI. (from 1-4)

Not as currently formulated, no. CSI has not been demonstrated, so it has not been demonstrated as a marker of anything.

10. Given these possibilities (from 5-9) we human intelligent agents attempt to or theoretically could discover CSI from a non-human intelligent agent. (ie SETI, ID,)

An invalid conclusion, given the false premises you’ve offered above.

11. CSI is a reliable indicator for intelligent design. (not this argument but dembski argument) Intelligent design is causally explanative of CSI.

A false premise. CSI has never been demonstrated.

12. Evolutionary Naturalism and it’s various mechanisms and theories has not been, or has not yet been shown to account for CSI.

Another false premise; since CSI has not been shown to exist, it has not been shown that ‘evolutionary naturalism’ (your use of this particular phrasing indicates your poor understanding of the theory of evolution, since you put a religious spin on it by equating it with philosophical naturalism) cannot produce it.

13. Self-Organization theories and various similar ideas have not been, or have not yet been shown to account for CSI.

False premise: no CSI, remember?

13. The Cambrian Explosion happened at a time when there were no human intelligent agents present.

Presumably.

14. The Cambrian Explosion displays a very early insertion of vast amounts of new CSI.

False premise. But feel free to demonstrate this - if you can.

15. If we are to attribute the CSI encountered in the Cambrian explosion to a cause, we must use abductive reasoning. (inference to the best explanation)

Not necessarily. Brush up on your logic: since your premises are invalid, abductive reasoning is meaningless in this case.

16. From 1-11, 12, 13, and 14, we can argue that Intelligent Design is the best current explanation of the CSI of the Cambrian explosion.

Nope. Does not follow.

Indeed, most of your argument is based on false premises; unnecessary claims, false analogies, and ignorance of such experiments as the Avida work.

Many of these premises of course require further argument (as is true of most arguments) and thus require the research project of Intelligent Design.

Then you best get cracking; Dembski, et. al. have produced no research of any kind to support their assertions. Indeed, in Behe’s case, they have produced research which directly contradicts their conclusion.

Is this the best you can do?

Comment #151826

Posted by Popper's Ghost on December 25, 2006 4:30 AM (e)

4. Even if we do not observer their existence at a given time and place, if we find CSI we generally assume that Human Intelligent agents were present and responsible for the CSI observed. (an example of this would come from archaeology and the discovery of ancient and unknown writing and so forth)

Only an imbecile would explicitly base his argument on what we “generally assume”. Imagine a prosecutor arguing that, because people generally assume that the guilty party is most likely the one on trial, that therefore the defendant is most likely the guilty party. But “Mark”’s argument is much much worse than that. It’s like arguing that the defendant would most likely be the guilty party because we generally assume that, but we happen to know that the defendant wasn’t there, so the guilty party was most likely someone else living in his house (even though they are all ghosts, and a certain Mr. Evolution had means, motive, and opportunity and had been seen lurking around the scene of the crime).

Regardless of whether there is CSI, there isn’t a shred of logic in Mr. “Studdock”’s argument. And of course it’s idiotic nonsense that archaeologists observe “CSI” when they find ancient writing or that they “assume” that humans were responsible for the writing because the writing indicates “CSI”. Considering that archaelogists can detect the presence of humans from very meager evidence, long preceding the invention of writing, it’s so idiotic that it can only be a result of immense intellectual dishonesty.

Comment #151913

Posted by Glen Davidson on December 26, 2006 11:20 AM (e)

Glen Davidson,

Linnaeus was able to understand organisms as related with homologies, similar molecular body parts, etc within a nested hierarchy within the framework of ID. Yes, he believed as a matter of scientific conclusion that nature and its many varied and wondrous (similar and different) designed organisms were the product of Mind.(—– that was a causal agent)

The point is that he had no explanation for his hierarchies, moron. You take his presupposition as if it were a sound conclusion.

Also, X in the argument doesn’t stand for “Cambrian explosion” but…from comment 151399”(X being the sudden appearance of many phyla, meaning many cell types, meaning much information)”

Which is the Cambrian explosion, moron.

The rest of your post stands upon this misunderstanding or purposeful misrepresentation.

You are a cretinous liar. You introduced the confusion and purposeful misrepresentations, deliberately conflating rather ordinary “design” with “CSI”. To be sure, you’re not the first to be so dishonest and/or stupid, however you are responsible for perpetuating the lie in this thread.

And you haven’t begun to answer my response to your idiocies.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm