PZ Myers posted Entry 2933 on February 24, 2007 10:55 AM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2923

The other day, the Time magazine blog strongly criticized the DI's list of irrelevant, unqualified scientists who "dissent from Darwin", and singled out a surgeon, Michael Egnor, as an example of the foolishness of the people who support the DI. I took apart some of Egnor's claims, that evolutionary processes can't generate new information. In particular, I showed that there are lots of publications that show new information emerging in organisms.

Egnor replied in a comment. He's still completely wrong. The Discovery Institute has posted his vapid comment, too, as if it says something, so let's briefly show where he has gone wrong.

Continue reading "Egnor responds, falls flat on his face" (on Pharyngula)

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

Comment #162553

Posted by Sugarbear on February 24, 2007 12:26 PM (e)

Now all Mr. Matzke has to do is demonstrate that these changes in the genome are the result of random, accidental, non-directed, fortuitous mutations and are not the result of intelligent guidance by structures and processes already programmed into the genetic machinery by an intelligent designer.

Comment #162555

Posted by PZ Myers on February 24, 2007 12:34 PM (e)

Sugarbear wrote:

Now all Mr. Matzke has to do is demonstrate that these changes in the genome are the result of random, accidental, non-directed, fortuitous mutations and are not the result of intelligent guidance by structures and processes already programmed into the genetic machinery by an intelligent designer.

I will repeat what I told you over at my site (What is this? Are you going to waft about, spouting ignorant comments everywhere?)

WRONG. Those natural, non-directed mechanisms have been repeatedly demonstrated in the lab – they involve errors in the process of replication that are normal and to be expected. If someone wants to propose additional mechanisms, the onus is on them to demonstrate their reality. Have you got any evidence of any unusual intervention in any lineage on the planet? No? I’m not surprised. The IDists won’t even hypothesize a mechanism.

Comment #162559

Posted by Sugarbear on February 24, 2007 1:00 PM (e)

PZ wrote:

“Those natural, non-directed mechanisms have been repeatedly demonstrated in the lab – they involve errors in the process of replication that are normal and to be expected.”

Matzke cites a paper by Long et.al. that lists the various sources of new genes. They include exon shuffling, gene duplication, retroposition, transposable elements, lateral gene transfer, gene fusion/fission and coding regions arising de novo from non-coding regions.
In looking at these various events it seems more likely to me that they are not at all random, accidental or non-directed. For example, when a retroposition occurs, it is the result of reverse transcription, not some arbitrary, accidental happenstance. Does retroposition occur independently of reverse transcription? I think not. In addition, transposable elements are directly recruited by host genes, not by any accidental, random or non-directed fortuitous event.
I think that the preponderance of evidence favors the notion that at least some of these new genes are being created as a direct result of processes that are already embedded in the genome and are part of the intelligently designed machinery in the cell.
While I cannot demonstrate empirically that these are intelligently guided processes, neither can you demonstrate that they are random, accidental or non-directed. But if I see trees lined up in an orchard in rows of 20 trees each, in perfect alignment what am I more likely to conclude, that they were the result of intelligent guidance or random chance?

Comment #162561

Posted by PZ Myers on February 24, 2007 1:05 PM (e)

If you see trees scattered seemingly haphazardly in a grove, would you argue that they were placed in their positions by chance or by the hand of a designer?

We don’t see everything “lined up…in perfect alignment”. We see accidents and happenstance arrangements throughout the genome. Yet you want to claim that the designer intended it that way, and clearly, no matter what arrangements were observed, you’d claim it was the product of intent.

Comment #162562

Posted by David B. Benson on February 24, 2007 1:09 PM (e)

Sugarbear — One day whilst walking in a temperate rain forest, I saw a little ‘plantation’ of about 4 rows of 4 trees each.

This was completely the result of natural processes: Long ago a tree fell over and decayed, becoming what is called a seed log in that tree seeds do much better starting on a decaying log. Some of these survived to grow tall. Those that did were well spaced along the former seed log, successfully competing for sunlight.

Then a storm, I surmise, blew about four of them over, regularly laid out. Each became a seed log in turn…

Voila, the plantation!

Comment #162566

Posted by PZ Myers on February 24, 2007 1:14 PM (e)

A similar pattern can be seen in fairy circles – rings of mushrooms that sprout around the edges of buried stumps of trees.

Comment #162567

Posted by Sugarbear on February 24, 2007 1:16 PM (e)

PZ wrote:

“Yet you want to claim that the designer intended it that way, and clearly, no matter what arrangements were observed, you’d claim it was the product of intent.”

And how are you different? You have already made up your mind that there is no intelligence involved and no matter what evidence is presented to you, you’d claim it was accidental. We differ, however in one significant way. My mind remains open to any possibilities while yours appears to be already made up and unwilling to be swayed by facts.

Comment #162568

Posted by Sugarbear on February 24, 2007 1:21 PM (e)

PZ wrote:

“A similar pattern can be seen in fairy circles – rings of mushrooms that sprout around the edges of buried stumps of trees.”

I picked the weakest of possible examples and you zeroed in on it. Surely it is not impossible to see patterns in nature that are random and accidental. But what if you went to the moon and saw a washing machine in one of the craters? Could you imagine that it arose by accident from materials on the moon’s surface?

Comment #162570

Posted by PvM on February 24, 2007 1:30 PM (e)

Now all Mr. Matzke has to do is demonstrate that these changes in the genome are the result of random, accidental, non-directed, fortuitous mutations and are not the result of intelligent guidance by structures and processes already programmed into the genetic machinery by an intelligent designer.

Of course, despite the fact that science has done all this, by demonstrating how such changes in the genome are in fact purely natural, ID can always argue that it was designed.

Which is why Sober and others have rightfully concluded that ID is scientifically vacuous.

The difference between ID and real science is that the latter one is based on observations, data, research, logic, hypotheses, deductions and all that hard work that is typically required to do science. ID on the other hand rejects such hard work as ‘pathetic’.

Comment #162571

Posted by PZ Myers on February 24, 2007 1:33 PM (e)

OK, so show me the lunar washing machines.

I’m waiting.

Comment #162572

Posted by PvM on February 24, 2007 1:35 PM (e)

I picked the weakest of possible examples and you zeroed in on it. Surely it is not impossible to see patterns in nature that are random and accidental. But what if you went to the moon and saw a washing machine in one of the craters? Could you imagine that it arose by accident from materials on the moon’s surface?

In other words, ID is scientifically vacuous because of the inevitability of false positives and the combination of a purely eliminative approach.

Fine, after we have laid that to rest, we can surely say that there is a spectrum of ‘design inferences’ and that ID does not provide us any tools to determine which is which. In fact, in case of DNA and evolution, there is no reason to accept a similarity with ‘design’ other than through the very poor and weakest form of ‘logic’ namely analogy. Analogy can be helpful in proposing hypotheses but ID does nothing more than ‘it looks like something we know was designed’ and thus ‘it must have been designed’. Fully begging the question.

Where is the hard work needed to determine if this analogy has any relevance?

And how are you different? You have already made up your mind that there is no intelligence involved and no matter what evidence is presented to you, you’d claim it was accidental. We differ, however in one significant way. My mind remains open to any possibilities while yours appears to be already made up and unwilling to be swayed by facts.

On the contrary, science is always open to intelligent involvement, which often rules out the ID movement. Do not hide behind being ‘open minded’ when in fact you are far less open minded than the real scientist.

It’s a sham my dear friend. If you were open minded, you would not be a mindless parrot for/of ID.

Comment #162574

Posted by BC on February 24, 2007 1:37 PM (e)

But what if you went to the moon and saw a washing machine in one of the craters? Could you imagine that it arose by accident from materials on the moon’s surface?

It’s funny how creationists pick examples of non-reproducing systems (not under evolutionary mechanisms) and then try to reason back to reproducing systems (which are subject to evolutionary mechanisms). Evolutionary mechanisms working on living systems allow for the accumulation of complexity over time, and can create complexity far beyond the capabilities of a human being. Complex systems like washing machines cannot accumulate complexity over time. All their complexity has to happen in one giant leap - leaving the only reasonable explanation to be “intelligent design”. Reasoning backwards from “complex organism” = “requires designer” is completely false.

Comment #162576

Posted by Keanus on February 24, 2007 1:51 PM (e)

“Fairy circles” of mushrooms aren’t the only circles in nature. Redwoods and sequoias also grow in circles, the vegetative offspring from the roots of a lone parent that’s long since disappeared. Is Sugarbear gonna say they’re intelligently designed too?

Comment #162579

Posted by PZ Myers on February 24, 2007 2:04 PM (e)

And if you look at the drum of a washing machine, it swirls in circles. Therefore, circular objects in nature are designed.

Also, the moon is circular as seen from earth when it is full, therefore the full moon is designed. Waxing, waning, half, and crescent moons may not be designed, or they may be the product of Satan.

Comment #162580

Posted by PZ Myers on February 24, 2007 2:08 PM (e)

I think Sugarbear needs to start contributing to Conservapedia.

Comment #162582

Posted by Anton Mates on February 24, 2007 2:24 PM (e)

Sugarbear wrote:

In looking at these various events it seems more likely to me that they are not at all random, accidental or non-directed. For example, when a retroposition occurs, it is the result of reverse transcription, not some arbitrary, accidental happenstance.

When a raindrop falls, it is the result of condensation and gravity, not some arbitrary, accidental happenstance. Therefore, all rain is intelligently designed.

Does retroposition occur independently of reverse transcription? I think not. In addition, transposable elements are directly recruited by host genes, not by any accidental, random or non-directed fortuitous event.

Reverse transcription and recruitment are accidental, random, non-directed, whatever-else-you-want-to-call-it processes. We have no evidence that mobile elements are trying to bring useful genes along with them, nor that genes are trying to recruit useful nearby noncoding sequences. It just happens sometimes, and if it improves the organism’s fitness, it’s kept around.

And we know that retroposition often doesn’t do good things for fitness–it can be responsible for cancer, hemophilia, Huntington’s disease, Apert’s syndrome, etc. In fact, the effect is pretty…random.

I picked the weakest of possible examples and you zeroed in on it. Surely it is not impossible to see patterns in nature that are random and accidental. But what if you went to the moon and saw a washing machine in one of the craters? Could you imagine that it arose by accident from materials on the moon’s surface?

See, so far your examples have fallen into two categories–things that are seen in nature and are explained through unintelligent mechanisms; and things that wouldn’t be easily explainable that way but don’t actually exist.

This is the problem with ID. They can give us tornados in junkyards which assemble 747s, but those don’t happen…they can give us faces on Mars and streamside rocks with holes through the middle, but those have plausible explanations that don’t require nonhuman (let alone supernatural) intelligences. Something in the middle is what we need…a nonfictional occurrence which is also unexplainable without supernatural design.

Comment #162584

Posted by Raguel on February 24, 2007 2:41 PM (e)

Serious question: has any ID proponent ever bothered to use math to quantitatively show:

1. mutations add zero information.

2. “theoretical transformations” (which need not be plausible given a natural agent) by which information to the genome is added.

3. That a novel (or a change in) phenotype is impossible without this new information.

How in the world is all this talk of “information” relevant anyway? If one can show a known plausible, natural mechanism that leads to novel genes, surely that invalidates the applicability of any math theory that says it’s impossible.

Comment #162586

Posted by stevaroni on February 24, 2007 2:48 PM (e)

Sugarbear writes…

But what if you went to the moon and saw a washing machine in one of the craters? Could you imagine that it arose by accident from materials on the moon’s surface?

Fine. I get your point.

We can all posit an unexplainable fact which would put a torpedo in the side of the SS Darwin. Is this conceptually possible? Yup, we all agree that it is, even Darwin agreed. In fact, he helpfully offered some avenues of exploration.

But the problem is that nobody ever has found the lunar washing machine; the inexplicable object that has no plausible explanation.

Mechanisms culling for selection – explained in the 1870s.
Mechanisms allowing mutations – explained in the 1950s.
The eye – explained. Several times for all the different models, in fact.
Blood clotting – explained in the 80’s.
Entropy arguments – debunked from the start.
Information based arguments – ditto.
The flagellum – plausible models developed last year.

Etcetera, etcetera.

There just is no smoking gun.

After 150 years, now we’re arguing about tiny mechanisms inside the cell, because there’s nothing left.

Really, be honest, how likely is it that everything living thing on the earth was whipped up in an act of special creation, and yet it all looks exactly the way it would have if it evolved naturally, right down to all the myriad flaws?

Even Egnor has to concede the point…

Matzke cites a paper by Long et.al. that lists the various sources of new genes. They include exon shuffling, gene duplication, retroposition, transposable elements, lateral gene transfer, gene fusion/fission and coding regions arising de novo from non-coding regions.

And then, still feels that he just can’t accept what every single bit of physical evidence shows is possible…

.. it seems more likely to me that they are not at all random, accidental or non-directed. For example, when a retroposition occurs, it is the result of reverse transcription, not some arbitrary, accidental happenstance. Does retroposition occur independently of reverse transcription? I think not.

I’ve clipped viciously here, but you can reference his entire argument elsewhere.

It all comes down to “Can all this be explained by the simple laws of nature? Yes. But I’m going to disbelieve it anyway”.

While I cannot demonstrate empirically that these are intelligently guided processes, neither can you demonstrate that they are random, accidental or non-directed.

That’s the whole gist of the problem. Science can demonstrate that stuff “just happens”.

ID can demonstrate nothing other than a vague hope in some overarching meaning that mother nature simply doesn’t seem to give a fig about.

Comment #162587

Posted by MarkP on February 24, 2007 2:50 PM (e)

Look Sugarbear, I’m totally open to the idea of the existence of a designer of some sort that was involved in some biology. I mean, come on, that would be cool as shit. But to do this, we have to be able to distinguish design from mere apparent design, and no one has figured out a way to do that without knowledge of the designer.

Take archaeology. They make design inferences all the time. They see a piece of pottery, they conclude design. But they are only able to do this because they know a lot about the human designers, namely that we interact with reality in such a way that it is advantageous to have containers to fill with needed objects. Contrast this with SETI, which has yet to identify anything out there as “designed”. Now maybe that means there is nothing out there to find. Or maybe it means there is no way to detect design without knowing the designer. For all we know there an alien intelligence trying contact us right here, right now, but we just don’t recognize it.

The ID efforts on this have been far less than satisfactory. They toss about terms like “Specified Complexity”, despite the best efforts of mathematicians to attach objective meaning to it resulting in “Something with high information content that has low information content”. The IDers also keep parroting the “intelligence cannot arise from nonintelligence” mantra despite that happening in experiments with evolutionary algorithms all the time.

Want a Nobel prize? Figure out how to detect design and demonstrate it. You will have the respect and attention of the world, and the gratitude of many scientists.

Comment #162588

Posted by David B. Benson on February 24, 2007 3:14 PM (e)

Take archeology. One of the most difficult problems is distinguishing human-caused shapes from natural ones. Even something so obvious as ‘the remains of an ancient cookfire’ might actually have been caused by, say, a forest fire. Well-known archaeologists have been taken in by the similarity of rocks shaped by humans knapping and other natural processes.

Archeologists have, in recent decades, learned to be extremely cautious and careful in making design inferences.

Comment #162594

Posted by Ed Darrell on February 24, 2007 4:11 PM (e)

Better, what if astronauts went to the Moon and brought back samples objects that had molds growing in them. How could that be interpreted as evidence of intelligent design? And shouldn’t it be even better evidence than a washing machine?

I only raise it because that’s what happened. One of the Apollo missions retrieved a camera put on the Moon earlier, and it was discovered upon return to Earth to have molds growing in it. The ID folks should be all over this one, since those hard-shell scientists have always “said” that life couldn’t survive in the harsh environs of the Moon, and so the only way it could have got there was by the Hand of God, right?

Except that it was a fairly standard mold which is known to plague camera factories. A simpler solution is that the mold contaminated the camera prior to its leaving Earth, and that contrary to previous hypothesis, molds can survive on the Moon.

If we found a washing machine on the Moon, we’d look around to see what human put it there, and how.

Creationists, it appears, are not rocket scientists, either.

Comment #162598

Posted by Oleg Tchernyshyov on February 24, 2007 4:29 PM (e)

Sugarbear wrote:

if I see trees lined up in an orchard in rows of 20 trees each, in perfect alignment what am I more likely to conclude, that they were the result of intelligent guidance or random chance?

That’s an extremely weak argument. Crystals contain billions upon billions of atoms in perfect alignment. They are nonetheless the result of a purely natural process involving a great deal of randomness.

Comment #162602

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 24, 2007 4:54 PM (e)

In looking at these various events it seems more likely to me that they are not at all random, accidental or non-directed.

…and this projection of subjective perception applied to observation (better known as “gut instinct”) is exactly what keeps the rubes coming to the ID church.

who the f*ck cares what it “seems” like to you? the world seems flat to my eyes. doesn’t mean it is.

that’s why we actually investigate what really IS going on, when perception alone isn’t sufficient.

that’s part of science; something the IDiots have obviously never known, nor apparently care to.

Comment #162608

Posted by steve s on February 24, 2007 5:25 PM (e)

I’m surprised nobody’s recognized the tedious crank behind Sugarbear.

Give you a hint. Google “random, accidental, non-directed, fortuitous mutations”.

Comment #162610

Posted by PZ Myers on February 24, 2007 5:35 PM (e)

Crap. Wagner. That idiot and fraud.

Never mind, I won’t be wasting my time with him any more.

Comment #162614

Posted by wad of id on February 24, 2007 6:03 PM (e)

LOL

So much for attesting to the power of the mind and design, when charlie can’t even make up new phrases to disguise his identity.

Comment #162631

Posted by charlie wagner on February 24, 2007 7:56 PM (e)

PZ wrote:

“Crap. Wagner. That idiot and fraud.

Never mind, I won’t be wasting my time with him any more.”

It’s hard to disguise true genius. But it took you long enough to figure it out. ;-)
You may not have to put up with me much longer. I’m flying to New York tomorrow to have a 5.6 cm aneurysm removed from my aorta. Say a prayer for me, will you?

Comment #162634

Posted by steve s on February 24, 2007 8:17 PM (e)

It’s easy to recognize Charlie from his poor technique. He strings together too many adjectives, for one thing.

Comment #162642

Posted by Randi Mooney on February 24, 2007 8:28 PM (e)

Uh-oh

The Overwhelmingly Stupids are at it again. This time they are claiming that PZ Myers is bullying the Doctor for criticizing his arguments.

http://www.overwhelmingevidence.com/oe/blog/hbla…

Comment #162646

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 24, 2007 8:37 PM (e)

Say a prayer for me, will you?

no, but I’ll break out my tiny violin for you, how’s that?

Comment #162648

Posted by k.e. on February 24, 2007 8:44 PM (e)

LOL

So much for attesting to the power of the mind and design, when charlie can’t even make up new phrases to disguise his identity.

Yeah the washing machine on the moon was an interesting domestic projection. That guy has problems with his mother. Then sugarbear, argument from fat, hairy, sting impervious ,honey thief indeed.

Now I see why they complain so vehemently that ‘evolution is random and therefor like a drunk man stumbling down a street’ and their alternative….that is to say ‘a g$d purposefully made them and thus going to church is not a waste of time’.

They think it stops them looking like mindless robots incapable of new thought.

Comment #162653

Posted by realpc on February 24, 2007 8:59 PM (e)


We see accidents and happenstance arrangements throughout the genome.

In order to declare something accidental, you would have to understand it first. But very little about DNA is understood.

Comment #162661

Posted by realpc on February 24, 2007 9:25 PM (e)


we have to be able to distinguish design from mere apparent design, and no one has figured out a way to do that without knowledge of the designer.

That’s one reason the NDE - ID debate may never be resolved. Design is in the eye of the beholder, and we have our own human-centric ideas about it.

It’s a very difficult question, for science or philosophy. To me, ID seems the obvious answer, but to others NDE seems perfectly obvious.

At the present time, we are still in the midst of the controversy, with no way to foresee when or how, or if, it will finally be resolved.

The logic and evidence I am aware of favors ID. But the amount of information available is tremendous, and no one can grasp more than a fraction of it. It would require expertise in many highly technical fields to comprehend every angle of the debate. And no one has that kind and degree of expertise.

Dembski is not a fool or a fake, but a competent mathematician. I recently heard a talk by his former PhD advisor, a highly respected physicist – he disagrees with ID, but had to acknowledge Dembski knows what he’s doing.

It’s just that the complexity of the subject is beyond us all, and no conclusion has been reached.

Darwnists insist they have the answer – the known laws of physics account for the origin of species. No other laws or fields need to be hypothesized, and none will be discovered.

IDers do not claim to have the answer. To me, the IDers are scientific, while the Darwinists are political. Of course you think it’s the opposite, that Darwinists are the real scientists.

Why would Darwinism be political? What is threatening about ID? ID is a grave threat because, if proven, it would undermine scientific materialism.

Comment #162668

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 24, 2007 9:41 PM (e)

But very little about DNA is understood.

except it’s structure, replication, transcription, formation into chromosomes, chemical composition, and how it is mapped for several species, among a dozen other technical aspects.

really, you qualify as certainly the most ignorant woodpecker to come here in a while now.

Comment #162669

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 24, 2007 9:44 PM (e)

IDers do not claim to have the answer. To me, the IDers are scientific, while the Darwinists are political. Of course you think it’s the opposite, that Darwinists are the real scientists.

so, if someone hasn’t even the ability to generate an answer to begin with, that makes them Okedokee in your book, eh?

LOL. talk about ignorance being bliss.

OK, I’m bored.

Comment #162670

Posted by Luna_the_cat on February 24, 2007 9:47 PM (e)

…And with realpc, we see the other half of the argument for ID/creationism.

In order to declare something accidental, you would have to understand it first. But very little about DNA is understood.

Not only must they remain ignorant of biology, but they insist that the rest of us must be ignorant as well. What knowledge we do have must be arbitrarily discarded, because they insist we do not have it.

realpc, not everything is understood about DNA, but a great deal is understood. Just because you are not aware of it, does not mean that this knowledge does not exist. You do not define the state of knowledge by any stretch of the imagination. (Thank goodness.) This is a common error I see on the internet though; people who think “I don’t know” means “no-one knows”.

Speaking for myself, I actually know enough about DNA to see that “design” is an intellectually vacuous distraction from real research. The fact that 99.9% (at least) of biologists in the world think this way, and that 99.9% (at least) of the adherents of ID are non-biologists, should tell you *something* about what actual knowledge of the field means. And it is not that “scientists in thousands of institutions in hundreds of different countries are all in on a vast conspiracy”, either.

Comment #162673

Posted by Oleg Tchernyshyov on February 24, 2007 10:03 PM (e)

realpc wrote:

Dembski is not a fool or a fake, but a competent mathematician. I recently heard a talk by his former PhD advisor, a highly respected physicist – he disagrees with ID, but had to acknowledge Dembski knows what he’s doing.

The advisor in question is apparently Leo Kadanoff. He is, indeed, a respectable theoretical physicist at U Chicago. His opinion on Dembski, Behe, and ID in general is summarized in this talk at U Toronto. Here is the relevant quote:

Behe and Dembski start from a different presupposition. They do, I think, believe in a Creator and then find this Creator in their studies. Their main conclusions are not, as I see it, compelling— but they are possible. However, in my view, as we shall understand more about complexity, Behe’s examples and Dembski’s arguments will become less and less convincing.

I applaud their work: Good skeptics make good science. Behe and Dembski’s work will drive further studies of complexity. However, many of their followers want their work to replace science in the school curriculum. I cannot applaud that.

Comment #162674

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on February 24, 2007 10:20 PM (e)

realpc wrote:

The logic and evidence I am aware of favors ID.

That is because you don’t understand that a scientific theory must be predictive. ID has never predicted anything, and is pretty lousy on postdicting as well.

realpc wrote:

Dembski is not a fool or a fake, but a competent mathematician.

Let’s hear what a real mathematician thinks about Dembski, in an article submitted to Mathematical Review, a a highly qualified expert in machine learning and statistics, physicist David Wolpert:
“Like monographs on any philosophical topic in the first category, Dembski’s is written in jello. There simply is not enough that is firm in his text, not sufficient precision of formulation, to allow one to declare unambiguously ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ when reading through the argument. All one can do is squint, furrow one’s brows, and then shrug.”

Or a highly qualified expert in information and complexity, physicist Cosma Rahilla Shalizi:
“The manuscript contains exactly no new mathematics. Such is the work of a man described on one of his book jackets as “the Isaac Newton of information theory”.” ( http://www.cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/weblog/234.… )

Or another computer scientist, Mark Chu-Carroll:
“It’s time to take a look at one of the most obnoxious duplicitous promoters of Bad Math, William Dembski. I have a deep revulsion for this character, because he’s actually a decent mathematician, but he’s devoted his skills to creating convincing mathematical arguments based on invalid premises. But he’s careful: he does his meticulous best to hide his assumptions under a flurry of mathematical jargon.”

So whether Dembsko is competent or not is besides the point - he doesn’t show it. In fact, he hasn’t published any peer-reviewed mathematics after his PhD.

Comment #162676

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on February 24, 2007 10:25 PM (e)

realpc wrote:

Darwnists insist they have the answer

If you find any darwinists, give us their names. Meanwhile, the science called evolutionary theory is amply verified by its predictions. You do know that a theory isn’t just a couple of loose ideas, don’t you? Like, for instance, ID.

realpc wrote:

No other laws or fields need to be hypothesized, and none will be discovered.

Abiogenesis is outside evolution theory, which doesn’t need it to make predictions. The question is still open - how did life start? There are several partial hypotheses, but nothing verified.

realpc wrote:

the real scientists

No one ‘think’ evolution theory is correct. The science community knows it is, by it having passed all tests in the same manner as all other scientific theory. That means that practically everyone, besides the odd nut (now mostly on DI’s list), physicist to biologist, acknowledges it status as the correct explanation.

Science is not a political debate, it is a meritocracy where only the tests and the results are important. If you think it is a “he said, but she said” situation you are a bigger fool than many criminals. They know that evidence matters in a similar court.

Comment #162677

Posted by ofro on February 24, 2007 10:26 PM (e)

realpc:
“In order to declare something accidental, you would have to understand it first. But very little about DNA is understood.”

“Understand it first”: Nobody can dispute that an active effort is made by scientists to understand what we don’t know yet (although in the context of this discussion we already know a whole lot about the mechanisms underlying the many processes contributing to random mutation). And always, the question asked is: how is that happening, what is the mechanism?

Now apply your requirement of “understanding it first” to ID. Accordingly, it means that to make an inference that something is designed, we need to understand it first. We need to know a possible way how it could have been designed and who the designer could have been. Unfortunately, this is specifically excluded by the ID proponents. We are left to stating that “Design is in the eye of the beholder”, not a very strong scientific statement.

Comment #162679

Posted by pigwidgeon on February 24, 2007 11:02 PM (e)

I’m fed up with this bullshit about “Darwinism” being a political/religious movement. realpc, I’m going to assume you’re just buying into the shit that’s been fed to you and are not simply deceiving people.

Have you noticed that “Darwinists” don’t call themselves Darwinists? It’s the label put on them by the other side. Why do you think that is? Reckon IDers are too lazy to say ‘evolution proponents’, or do you think it makes them look like a political movement? Do you feel this is honest?

You think ID is science and Darwinism is political - and rightly notice that we see it the other way round. Well, you can’t have it both ways. So which do you feel is more convincing?

ID:

No scientific theory, but a whole shitload of attempts to discredit evolution - oddly, exactly like the creationism it claims not to be descended from.

Backed by an institute that spends more on PR than it does on science, and that at one point produced a document outlining a plan to overthrow ‘materialism’ and replace it with religion.

Shown at Dover to be so similar to creationism that a simple search and replace can turn a creationism textbook into an intelligent design textbook.

Forcibly inserted into schools, only to become a shitload-of-attempts-to-discredit-evolution without any scientific theory.

No research finished SINCE then.

Are you going to ignore all the above? Do you think there’s an honest explanation for all this? Can you not see any political or religious agenda there? How on earth can you claim ID is science when you can’t even tell what their theory is?

Let’s try evolution.

Evolution:

hypothesis (that animals evolve) suggested in 1800s based on observations.

Mechanism (variation and natural selection) suggested by Darwin in 1850s, along with common descent. Christians pissed off because the Bible says different. Is this where the materialist political movement began?

Genetic code discovered in 1950s - Darwinian theory still going strong after a hundred years, with modifications (mutations discovered to be the source of variation). Evolution turns out to be SUPPORTED by discovery of DNA (all lifeforms share the genetic code).

Genomes played around with for a few decades, still no falsification of evolution. Are they not trying?

2000s: a bunch of genomes decoded, all found to show the patterns expected if evolution is true (related animals sharing DNA, nested hierarchy).

Where exactly is the politics in this? You mentioned it, so you must be able to point to it, no? Richard Dawkins and his atheist crusade, perhaps? That’s the only one I can think of.

What is the materialist movement? Who follows it? Who are its leaders? What does it hope to achieve? How do you know?

Comment #162680

Posted by PvM on February 24, 2007 11:06 PM (e)

At the present time, we are still in the midst of the controversy, with no way to foresee when or how, or if, it will finally be resolved.

There is no controversy, at least at a scientific level. If ID wants to bring to table scientifically relevant ideas about design then fine, until then let’s not pretend that there is really something there, Of course, from a faith perspective there may be some controversy as to whether ID makes for good theology, many seem to think it does not

Comment #162703

Posted by k.e. on February 25, 2007 1:56 AM (e)

Dembski is not a fool or a fake, but a competent mathematician. I recently heard a talk by his former PhD advisor, a highly respected physicist – he disagrees with ID, but had to acknowledge Dembski knows what he’s doing.

…Is that you Sal?

Which is why he clawed his way onto the witness stand in Dover and set us all straight….right?…oh wait…he met Barbara Forrest before the trial and went AWOL!!
Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Oh and realpc you missed out a crucial bit of simplified unspecified dis-information (SUD) ID is creationism’s Trojan horse.

You seem to have missed the whole thing, when the rules of evidence are properly adhered to, lying toads such as Dembski and his supporters are found to be completely without any merit whatsoever.

You may want to read the judgment before you pick up the next creationism/ID product, to see where that product may be applied. You could save a bundle on toilet paper.

Comment #162709

Posted by j on February 25, 2007 4:00 AM (e)

This is a little off-topic, but I’m just finishing up my doctorate in biophysics, and I’m thinking I don’t want to continue with the traditional academic career path. One must pay the rent, however, and I’m mulling over my options.

I think being a Disco Fellow could be a pretty posh deal. They mostly just want the weight of my name and credentials, and maybe the occasional half-assed, pseudo-science rant to quote in press releases, so my one hour work-week and 48 weeks of vacation a year conditions shouldn’t be show-stoppers. Plus, I have a paper coming out in PNAS soon which has a brief section mocking Behe, so I’d make for a great conversion story, too.

My problem, which I hope some reader here can help me with, is that whenever I try to write my ID manifesto, the theme I have in mind is immediately crushed by the list of conflicting facts, logic, and evidentiary references my brain automatically responds with.

It’s difficult to maintain focus and motivation when your own brain is laughing at you. Would drugs help? Or do I just need to preserve by sheer force of will?

Comment #162715

Posted by Kit on February 25, 2007 4:45 AM (e)

Cognitive dissonance and greed are your friends, j.

;-)

Comment #162716

Posted by j on February 25, 2007 5:04 AM (e)

I understand cognitive dissonance is a given, but greed is a little more complicated. My Google recruiter is saying six figures with the first figure being greater than or equal to 2, but I imagine they’d expect me to do some actual work. Disco could offer high-5/low-6 and if they didn’t expect me to actually do anything most years, well, the greed motive gets a little murky.

You see my dilemma, no?

Comment #162718

Posted by j on February 25, 2007 5:19 AM (e)

Perhaps my problem is that I don’t have a solid counter-offer. Surely some Disco flack is assigned to reading this forum, so pass this on:

I’m currently an atheist, thus I have no morals or ethical compunctions: give me enough $$$ and I’ll be an orthodox Mormon before you can say “put your full body underwear on”.

Yes, I mock you now, but that’s just because you aren’t paying me yet. We can do some trial employee thing. Next federal judge – let me take it and we’ll all be anointing ourselves with high melting point lipids soon.

Comment #162721

Posted by ben on February 25, 2007 6:40 AM (e)

ID is a grave threat because, if proven, it would undermine scientific materialism

So ID proves to be right and we were designed by space aliens. How does that undermine “scientific materialism?”

Unless you assume (based on no evidence that I am aware of) that the Intelligent Designer, if it exists, is a supernatural entity. Which of course ID does not do. Or are the IDers just lying when they say it isn’t about religion?

Comment #162741

Posted by daenku32 on February 25, 2007 8:42 AM (e)

We were designed by aliens whom in turn were designed by Galactus who in turn was designed by the Big Bang which in turn was designed by two little white mice whom in turn were designed by an unnamed spectral being who in turn was designed by God. ;-)

Comment #162744

Posted by realpc on February 25, 2007 8:45 AM (e)

Evolution is proven. Evolution is a fact. If you call yourselves “evolutionists” you are deceiving everyone. All scientists believe in evolution. There is no controversy over evolution. You do not want the controversy to be clarified if you call yourself an “evolutionist,” rather than a neo-Darwinist.

DNA is not understood. Yes, they know something about it, how certain aspects of it function, what it looks like. They cannot decipher the program. Anyone who claims that has been thoroughly brainwashed.

Comment #162747

Posted by realpc on February 25, 2007 8:51 AM (e)

Oleg Tchernyshyov quoted Kadanoff:


Their main conclusions are not, as I see it, compelling— but they are possible. However, in my view, as we shall understand more about complexity, Behe’s examples and Dembski’s arguments will become less and less convincing.

I applaud their work: Good skeptics make good science.

Yes, that was the tone of the speech I heard. As you can see, Kadanoff does not believe the controversy has been settled. I mentioned him because he is on your side – scientific materialism – and yet he cannot accuse Dembski or Hehe of being morons. He cannot even say they are wrong. He is aware that the questions have not been answered.

Contrast that with the hysterical attitude of people like Dawkins or Randi. They would never acknowledge that Dembski is a skeptical and competent researcher.

Comment #162762

Posted by KL on February 25, 2007 9:44 AM (e)

Dembski is either delusional, and will continue to be so as long as his minions shelter him from true criticisms of his work, or he is laughing all the way to the bank, making a living off of others’ ignorance and adoration. I go for the former, as I trust people to be honest with others, even if they cannot always separate reality from fantasy.

Comment #162763

Posted by ben on February 25, 2007 9:49 AM (e)

Evolution is proven. Evolution is a fact. If you call yourselves “evolutionists” you are deceiving everyone. All scientists believe in evolution. There is no controversy over evolution. You do not want the controversy to be clarified if you call yourself an “evolutionist,” rather than a neo-Darwinist.

DNA is not understood. Yes, they know something about it, how certain aspects of it function, what it looks like. They cannot decipher the program. Anyone who claims that has been thoroughly brainwashed.

Ah, the ever popular argument from boldface. Surely you can do better. Just think how powerful your argument could be if it was also in all caps, underlined and italicized.

However I fear you will never truly be able to convince us, due to PT’s inability to handle multicolor fonts or smileys.

Comment #162765

Posted by science nut on February 25, 2007 10:00 AM (e)

Nick Matzke wrote:

“Dr. Egnor: admit you were wrong on your very first argument, and that the headquarters of the ID movement, the Discovery Institute, was also wrong in praising your argument here, and let’s start this discussion over.”

Have any ID’ist of note EVER admitted to any flaws in their arguments? Is their any reasoning ID’ist of note?

My question is not rhetorical. I am curious.

Comment #162768

Posted by Parse on February 25, 2007 10:10 AM (e)

daenku32 wrote:

We were designed by aliens whom in turn were designed by Galactus who in turn was designed by the Big Bang which in turn was designed by two little white mice whom in turn were designed by an unnamed spectral being who in turn was designed by God. ;-)

Who did all this, of course, while sitting on his throne of infinitely stacked turtles.

Comment #162769

Posted by MarkP on February 25, 2007 10:10 AM (e)

That’s one reason the NDE - ID debate may never be resolved. Design is in the eye of the beholder, and we have our own human-centric ideas about it.

Uh, no it isn’t in the eye of the beholder. Design is a statement of historical fact. Either a designer made the human eye or he did not. This is not literary appreciation, this is science, or at least it is supposed to be.

But again, ID isn’t science. It’s a PR scam trying to wedge religion into science classes. It’s all there in black and white.

Contrast that with the hysterical attitude of people like Dawkins or Randi. They would never acknowledge that Dembski is a skeptical and competent researcher.

To be a researcher one must do research. Idle hypothesizing is not research.

But do enlighten us Realpc. If so many of these IDers are scientists doing scientific research, regail us with the latest greatest discovery within ID. What do you know now that you didn’t know when The Design Inference was published? Science grows. Where is your growth?

Comment #162773

Posted by hoary puccoon on February 25, 2007 10:58 AM (e)

ID is amazing. realpc says DNA is not understood (even though biologists know what it looks like and how it functions) because ‘they cannot decipher the program.’ In other words, there has to be an intelligent designer out there writing the program, and since biologists don’t find evidence of it (excuse me, of Him)ergo they don’t understand DNA. QED.
realpc, I sincerely hope the Disco Institute is paying you a bundle, because it would be a crying shame to make yourself look this stupid for free.

Comment #162776

Posted by waldteufel on February 25, 2007 12:34 PM (e)

reaalpc has effectively used a bold-faced font in order to trumpet his bold-faced ignorance of what science is and how it works.

A junior high school course in general science would do realpc wonders.

Comment #162777

Posted by stevaroni on February 25, 2007 12:54 PM (e)

Realpc writes (in boldface, so it must be true)….

DNA is not understood. Yes, they know something about it, how certain aspects of it function, what it looks like. They cannot decipher the program. Anyone who claims that has been thoroughly brainwashed.

The following statement is true.

1) Large amounts are known about DNA; what it is, how it replicates, how it mutates.

2) The facts at hand are sufficient to explain a mechanism whereby evolution (previously stipulated as fact) can accomplish everything necessary to make humans out of slime molds, given enough time.

3) There has never been, anywhere on earth, at any time, any objectively verifiable evidence of any supernatural event (as conventionally defined) in the entire history of mankind.

4) There seems to be no demonstrable need for any force outside nature to act on the mechanism of 2, using the methods of 3, to get the world to work.

Am I wrong here? If so, where. Point it out. Don’t just re-state arguments that have already been shown to be lacking.

Once again, science doesn’t have a problem listening to crackpot theories. Examples of howlers from the past include the idea that the earth is a tiny ball of stone that spins around the sun, the continents are giant rafts of rock that float on an ocean of lava, and an enormous meteorite killed the dinosaurs.

Let’s not forget the biggest lunatic fringe idea of them all, that the vast panoply of earthly life could all be descended from a common ancestor that looked like beach scum.

But you know what, the great, monolith of conventional science listened to these crazy theories because they had the juice. They brought actual facts to the table, and facts are a tenacious thing, difficult to ignore if your passion is to figure out the truth.

On the other hand ID - and it’s worth hammering this home time after time - has produced exactly nothing - ever - in the way of positive evidence.

Again, where am I wrong. And don’t just wave your hands around and say “you don’t know everything”. We already know that.

Be specific. Given what we have, what part of the model is wrong?

You can believe anything you want, and that’s just fine with us. But if you come into a scientific forum and start spouting off about how there’s some kind of hidden Davinchi Code in our DNA, and it shows the fingerprint of God, Gaia, Vishnu or the FSM, well, it’s not unreasonable that we’re going to ask for some sort of evidence that you have any clue about what you’re talking about.

If you do have evidence, now might be a good time to put it on the table, that way you could be first.

Comment #162778

Posted by bob on February 25, 2007 1:02 PM (e)

to J

It’s difficult to maintain focus and motivation when your own brain is laughing at you. Would drugs help? Or do I just need to preserve by sheer force of will?

Write the manuscript that your brain wants you to write. then simply replace all of the ‘can’ with cannot, and is with isn’t, and so forth. Then throw in “God bless America’ at the end for good measure.

Comment #162792

Posted by realpc on February 25, 2007 3:01 PM (e)

1) Large amounts are known about DNA; what it is, how it replicates, how it mutates.

Large amounts are known about DNA, but MUCH LARGER amounts are completely unknown. How DNA guides the morphogenetic process, for example. And zillions of other things that science does not yet understand.


2) The facts at hand are sufficient to explain a mechanism whereby evolution (previously stipulated as fact) can accomplish everything necessary to make humans out of slime molds, given enough time.

That is absolutely untrue.


3) There has never been, anywhere on earth, at any time, any objectively verifiable evidence of any supernatural event (as conventionally defined) in the entire history of mankind.

All through history, in all human cultures, so-called supernatural events have been experienced. I think the word “supernatural” is misleading. The events are perfectly natural, just not yet understood by modern science.

Most people experience these things, at least occasionally. I guess if you wall off a part of your mind, you can block the perceptions. Materialist philosophy might be an effective way to restrict consciousness to the purely sensory level.

You say these experiences are not objectively verifiable. Well if millions of people have similar experiences, isn’t that verfication? How do we verify our sensory experiences? By checking whether others agree. Why does that count only for ordinary sensory perceptions, and not for so-called supernatural perceptions?

Comment #162795

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 25, 2007 3:07 PM (e)

How DNA guides the morphogenetic process

please define “morphogenetic”.

MUCH LARGER amounts are completely unknown.

prove it.

That is absolutely untrue.

prove it.

The events are perfectly natural, just not yet understood by modern science.

so then, by your own admission, the scientific method can and will explain all observable events.

so you’re essentially saying you’re an idiot for challenging 150 years worth of scientific endeavor with already well established and well supported predictions.

well, that’s what we’ve been telling you ever since you started posting. glad to see that at some level, you do understand how silly you are.

Well if millions of people have similar experiences, isn’t that verfication?

answer your own question. If millions of people look at the world and think it’s flat, is that verification?

really, you are not only ignorant, you haven’t the ability to even apply basic logic.

really, it’s fun watching you make yourself look more and more of an idiot with every post you poot forth, but one wonders just how much self-flagellation even you can stand.

Comment #162797

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 25, 2007 3:13 PM (e)

Have any ID’ist of note EVER admitted to any flaws in their arguments?

it’s a matter of timing.

On any given day, when pressed into a corner, an ID advocate (or creationist) will admit to error.

then, sometimes the very next day, they will repeat exactly the same error as if it was never pointed out to them.

so the answer to your question is both yes, and no.

Jonathan Wells is a great case on point, so is Dembski, and AFDave over at ATBC shows this pattern many times.

heck, they are so unsure of themselves, whenever pressed, they will run away. hence why i posed the silly bet to RealPC, which in response he disappeared until the next day.

Comment #162803

Posted by steve s on February 25, 2007 4:15 PM (e)

Comment #162661

Posted by realpc on February 24, 2007 9:25 PM (e) | kill

IDers do not claim to have the answer. To me, the IDers are scientific, while the Darwinists are political. Of course you think it’s the opposite, that Darwinists are the real scientists.

The Discovery Institute lists a few dozen affiliated ‘scientists’. They claim support from 700 scientists on their ‘Dissent from Darwin’ list. Since December 2005, they have spent probably $5-6 million.
And in that time, with all those ‘scientists’, and that amount of money, they have managed to publish exactly zero science papers in their own journal.

If you look at that evidence and conclude they’re the science side, I wouldn’t hire you to run a hot dog stand.

Comment #162808

Posted by stevaroni on February 25, 2007 5:18 PM (e)

RealPC and I conversed thusly….

The facts at hand are sufficient to explain a mechanism whereby evolution (previously stipulated as fact) can accomplish everything necessary to make humans out of slime molds, given enough time.

That is absolutely untrue.

Yes, it is true. Please, stop waving your hands and show me the missing step between slime mold and spaceman that lacks a plausible mechanism.

All through history, in all human cultures, so-called supernatural events have been experienced. I think the word “supernatural” is misleading. The events are perfectly natural, just not yet understood by modern science.

Then they are, in fact, not supernatural.

So if they’re not supernatural, what problem do you have with the concept that natural forces do the heavy lifting on planet Earth?

I completely don’t understand your point. I may be putting words in your mouth, but it seems to be “Yes, evolution is a real thing, and natural mechanisms seem to be at play, and there seem to be no supernatural stuff going on, but I still disbelieve the current explanation since it leaves me philosophically empty”.

Fine. Believe what you want. I don’t presume to tell you what to think.

But science isn’t a debating society. In this venue there is a correct answer, and if you sift enough haystacks you can find the needles.

In this venue, the currency of the real is the fact, and you’re expected to bring yours to the argument.

ID has no facts. That’s why it’s not science.

Once again, painfully slowly, does science know everything – no.

Has the final chapter been written and the book closed – not by a long shot.

But does that mean that competing theories should somehow be exempt from the simple prerequisite of being factually verifiable? No way.

Comment #162810

Posted by realpc on February 25, 2007 5:38 PM (e)

Sir_Toejam,

If your beliefs were scientific, rather than based mostly on emotional preferences, you probably would not resort to name-calling. You would use rational arguments to make your point instead.

Comment #162811

Posted by Matt on February 25, 2007 5:44 PM (e)

If your beliefs were scientific, rather than based mostly on emotional preferences, you probably would not resort to name-calling. You would use rational arguments to make your point instead.

Cool! So I can infer that you therefore agree with any rational arguments that have been presented to you? And to think, all this time the ID’s problem has been with the name-calling rather than the science.

All those thousands of peer-reviewed publications supporting evolution must be full of mean-spirited attacks against ID.

Comment #162814

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 25, 2007 6:19 PM (e)

If your beliefs were scientific, rather than based mostly on emotional preferences, you probably would not resort to name-calling. You would use rational arguments to make your point instead.

I did. perhaps you forgot the responses to the little wager i proposed?

no, responding to anything you have said with actual evidence is hardly needed, and only done for the lurkers, hardly for you.

now why don’t you tell me how I’m repressing your religious freedom by continuing to point out what an ignorant moron you are?

have you noticed anybody disagreeing with me?

no?

perhaps I have made a more rational argument than you think.

Comment #162815

Posted by PvM on February 25, 2007 6:21 PM (e)

realpc wrote:

If your beliefs were scientific, rather than based mostly on emotional preferences, you probably would not resort to name-calling. You would use rational arguments to make your point instead.

Would that not be helpful in your case as well? To make rational arguments?

Comment #162816

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 25, 2007 6:21 PM (e)

tommorrow, this idiot will again claim he was never shown any publications demonstrating mutation and selection resulting in observed speciation, even though he ran away when offered to put his money where his ignorant pie hole was.

just you watch.

aren’t you tired of self-flagellation yet, idiot?

Comment #162817

Posted by realpc on February 25, 2007 6:24 PM (e)


All those thousands of peer-reviewed publications supporting evolution must be full of mean-spirited attacks against ID.

You missed where I said I believe in evolution. All scientific people believe in evolution.


So I can infer that you therefore agree with any rational arguments that have been presented to you?

A rational argument is always more convincing than name-calling. I have never seen a convincing scientific argument for NDE, but some are better than others.

If you were really interested in discovering truth, you would try to understand some of the criticisms of Darwinism. But you are more interested in defending your prefered theory.

Comment #162818

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 25, 2007 6:28 PM (e)

You missed where I said I believe in evolution. All scientific people believe in evolution.

when you say it though, it is a lie, and you know it.

so, you’re ignorant (well established), a moron (also well established), a chicken (established yesterday), and now a liar to boot.

anything I’m missing?

Comment #162819

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 25, 2007 6:32 PM (e)

If you were really interested in discovering truth, you would try to understand some of the criticisms of Darwinism

why should we be interested in religious criticisms of a strawman?

now if you really WERE talking about evoltuionary theory, and wanted to debate the role of multi-level selection models, the importance of neutral mutations in observed phenotypic variation, the balance between sexual vs. environmental selection pressures on a given population, you’d have plenty of scientific argument to work with.

darwinism simply doesn’t exist. you and your ignorant-ass buddies made it up. It’s a complete strawman of the actual theory of evolution.

but, keep going, I’m surely enjoying myself as you keep making yourself out to be the idiot you are, and providing an ever more accurate representation of the ignorance the creobots display on a continual basis.

Comment #162822

Posted by Henry J on February 25, 2007 6:56 PM (e)

Re “Who did all this, of course, while sitting on his throne of infinitely stacked turtles.”

Or Galapagos tortoises?

Henry

Comment #162826

Posted by Matt on February 25, 2007 7:26 PM (e)

If you were really interested in discovering truth, you would try to understand some of the criticisms of Darwinism. But you are more interested in defending your prefered theory.

Why do you suppose that I haven’t done this. It’s people like yourself and Dr. Egnor that clearly have not done their homework on the theories that they are trying to criticize and are not arguing in good faith.

How else can Egnor go from

I am asking a simple question: show me the evidence (journal, date, page) that new information, measured in bits or any appropriate units, can emerge from random variation and natural selection, without intelligent agency.

to

My question about the information-generating capacity of RM+NS was rhetorical. I know you can’t answer it.

What kind of rhetorical question asks for an answer in the form of “journal, date, page” measured in “any appropriate units.” The guy stepped on his dick and rather than do the sensible thing and tuck it back in his pants and scurry off, he’s just going switch which foot he’s using.

Comment #162832

Posted by hoary puccoon on February 25, 2007 8:32 PM (e)

realpc– you want criticisms of “Darwinian theory?” I’ve got tons of them.
Criticism #1 The earth could only be a few hundred thousand years old if the sun burned by any means known in the 19th century, so… Oops. Scratch that. They discovered atomic energy.
Criticism #2 Any favorable inherited difference would be swamped by… Uh oh, they found inheritance comes in discrete units called genes. Scratch #2, too.
Criticism #3 Since the continents have always been in their present positions, the pattern of fossils is highly improbable… The continents MOVED? Oh. Never mind.
Criticism #4 There is no fossil missing link between apes and humans. Oh, they found one in Africa? And another? And another? And ANOTHER?
And so it goes. The real criticisms of “Darwinism” have been specific, serious, and seriously addressed. Sometimes Darwin turned out to be wrong. Protoplasm, for instance, is a dead letter. But the net result has been that evolutionary theory has emerged from each challenge stronger than ever. If ID can come up with a real challenge, they will be listened to just as seriously as the evo-devo crowd, who are currently reshaping our understanding of how mutations factor in evolution. But so far, ID hasn’t offered anything but the tired, old argument from personal incredulity.
Pardon our collective yawn.

Comment #162865

Posted by RavenT on February 25, 2007 10:54 PM (e)

realpc wrote:

You say these experiences are not objectively verifiable. Well if millions of people have similar experiences, isn’t that verfication? How do we verify our sensory experiences? By checking whether others agree. Why does that count only for ordinary sensory perceptions, and not for so-called supernatural perceptions?

You’re missing an essential component of verification–measurement of the experience in some way against some kind of instrument or standard. Just agreeing with each other is not enough to establish verification; the agreement needs to be in reference to some kind of standard external to all the observers.

If millions of people say they have an experience, but there is no way to compare your experience to my experience–to verify that we mean the same things by the same words–then that doesn’t qualify as verification. Your question assumes that all of those experiences are similar, but determining that they are truly similar is not always possible.

To take a simple example, there is no way to really know with absolute certainty that you and I experience the color “red” in the same way, because there is no way to measure that experience directly. We can compare it against an objective standard (wavelength), and verify that we consistently use the same word “red” for the same range of wavelengths, but we cannot ever know with perfect certainty that my experience of “red” is the same as yours. We can back up our wavelength data with the additional measurable observation that your eye’s anatomical structures are similar in their number, shape, type, and connectivity to other structures to those properties of my eye’s anatomical structures. But again, that reference to an external objective standard reinforces a reasonable assumption, but it does not directly measure either of our experiences of what we both talk about when we say “red”.

If you can provide some corresponding kind of reference or standard against which supernatural experiences can be compared, in order to establish the similarity of all of those different people’s experiences, then you will have taken a step toward verification. But without that external reference point, there is no way to verify the similarity of those experiences–just agreeing on the words used to talk about them is not enough to do so.

Comment #162867

Posted by Anton Mates on February 25, 2007 11:53 PM (e)

realpc wrote:

You say these experiences are not objectively verifiable. Well if millions of people have similar experiences, isn’t that verfication? How do we verify our sensory experiences? By checking whether others agree. Why does that count only for ordinary sensory perceptions, and not for so-called supernatural perceptions?

Um, one of the glaring characteristics of supernatural experiences is that everyone who has them doesn’t agree. Visions of the Virgin Mary only seem to appear to Catholics; visions of Ganesh only seem to appear to Hindus. When Christians have near-death experiences, they see Heaven and Hell; when Tibetan Buddhists have near-death experiences, they see the bardo. John of Patmos, Mohammed and Deanna Laney seemed to receive very different messages from God.

Given the standard of verification you present above, what does that tell you about the objective validity of these experiences?

Comment #162877

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on February 26, 2007 4:05 AM (e)

You do not want the controversy to be clarified if you call yourself an “evolutionist,” rather than a neo-Darwinist.

The theory is evolution, and the different mechanisms and the discussion about them is accessible. The ones naming people accepting evolutionary biology by the conflating term “Darwinists” are the ones who wants to dismiss this picture.

They cannot decipher the program.

The concept of hereditary is enough to predict evolution. The rest are details. ID isn’t interested in such “pathetic levels of detail”, but science sloughs on since knowledge is the name of the game.

Dembski or Hehe

Projection? I like it!

Comment #162881

Posted by Cedric Katesby on February 26, 2007 4:52 AM (e)

Realpc said “That’s one reason the NDE - ID debate may never be resolved. Design is in the eye of the beholder, and we have our own human-centric ideas about it.”

Debate? What debate?
Creationists talking all ‘sciency’ and putting out press releases and opinion polls is not a scientific debate. ID is empty. It has zero substance.

ID does not state that design is ‘in the eye of the beholder’. The Disco Institute says that ID is ‘real science’ not just religious apologetics.

Didn’t you get the memo? :)

But please, open a thread at AtBC and present your evidence for a scientific argument for ID.
No hand-waving please. No philosophical musings.
Does ID really have a scientific theory?
Cool.
Please share it!

(Sound of crickets chirping)

Comment #162882

Posted by Doug Schwer on February 26, 2007 6:22 AM (e)

It may be too late, but I have two comments regarding Egnor’s original post and reply.

1. The fact that Egnor can do a search on PubMed with the terms “information”, “measurement”, “random”, and “e coli”, and find almost nothing shows the sterility of information theory in looking at biological systems. People doing everyday research with e coli don’t use information theory simply because they haven’t found it useful, so why would they mention it?

2. Shouldn’t the IDists be the ones that come up with a useful quantitative measure for information, specified complexity, and irreducibility? If they were able to come up with an interesting quantitative measure, and actually demonstrate that it’s useful for something related to biology, they might actually get some publications, and even show up on Pub Med! But I suspect that they wouldn’t want to do that.

Doug S

Comment #162885

Posted by realpc on February 26, 2007 6:36 AM (e)

RavenT wrote:

If you can provide some corresponding kind of reference or standard against which supernatural experiences can be compared, in order to establish the similarity of all of those different people’s experiences, then you will have taken a step toward verification.

100 years of parapsychology. If you believe Amazing Randi, the results are all accounted for by cheating and errors. If you believe Randi, all those parapsychologists have been gullible morons, wasting their lives in self-deception. But I think it’s Randi who is deceiving himself, and millions of “skeptics” believe every word he says.

Yes there is cheating and error, in every field. Randi would never focus his “skepticism” on established mainstream science. Does he express any concern about any of the idiocy that goes on in medical research? No, only research that threatens his precious atheism.

Comment #162889

Posted by hoary puccoon on February 26, 2007 7:20 AM (e)

Okay, the evidence for ID is a hundred years of parapsychology. Glad we got that straightened out. Are we now going to have a bunch of law suits demanding palm readings and tarot cards in public school science classes? I mean, it would logically follow….

Comment #162890

Posted by hoary puccoon on February 26, 2007 7:20 AM (e)

Okay, the evidence for ID is a hundred years of parapsychology. Glad we got that straightened out. Are we now going to have a bunch of law suits demanding palm readings and tarot cards in public school science classes? I mean, it would logically follow….

Comment #162895

Posted by Laser on February 26, 2007 7:52 AM (e)

No, only research that threatens his precious atheism.

Wait! I thought ID was about science?

realpc, the best you can do is talk about “energy fields” (on another thread) and parapsychology. Now we see your true colors. With ID, it always comes down to religion.

Comment #162898

Posted by hoary puccoon on February 26, 2007 8:33 AM (e)

Third posting in a row– sorry, my finger stuttered.
I’d like to respond seriously to realpc’s pseudo-question about the amount of “information” theoretically available to evolutionary processes.
Nobody knows the upper limit on “information”, but the formula for calculating it would be the possible combinations of N things taken 4 at a time. 4 is the number of different bases in DNA, and N is the largest number of DNA bases in a feasible genome. We don’t know the value of N, but based on the large genomes of many plants, it must be astronomical. In fact, we would undoubtedly run out of carbon molecules to construct more DNA long before we would run out of “information.”
Of course, a genome of any specified size N will have a calculable limit to the amount of information (I) it contains. The value of I will probably be larger than the total number of individuals in the species, but it will not be infinite.
But calculating I on the basis of a known genome size ignores the ease with which genes duplicate within genomes. N can increase in any generation, with a concommitant increase in I. And we’re back to a theoretical limit to I that exceeds the number of carbon molecules on the planet.
So realpc’s question sounds good to an uninformed person, but is in fact meaningless. It’s like asking a sailor the theoretical limit on salt in the sea. He won’t know the answer, because he knows already that lack of salt isn’t a problem. A sailor might run out of many things on a long ocean passage, but salt won’t be one of them.

Comment #162900

Posted by Raging Bee on February 26, 2007 9:02 AM (e)

Contrast that with the hysterical attitude of people like Dawkins or Randi.

Thousands of scientists have contributed to evolutionary biology since the 1800s, and those are the only examples you can cite? Contrast them with the mindless bullying of Dembski’s friend and protector, DaveScot, who routinely deletes any post from his blog that contradicts the “cdesign proponentsist” party line, and bans everyone who demonstrates any ability to refute his assertions.

As for Dawkins, his opinions about religion can be, and have been, easily discredited; but his work in biology is a whole ‘nother story. Evolution stood without him before, and will continue to stand regardless of what he says.

As for Randi, there’s nothing “hysterical” about him; in fact, his relentless debunking and disproving of religious, psychic, magical, new-age, and woo-woo hogwash is getting predictable and – dare I say it? – boring.

Comment #162901

Posted by Raging Bee on February 26, 2007 9:06 AM (e)

How do we verify our sensory experiences? By checking whether others agree.

And writing off those who disagree as deluded or evil.

Comment #162908

Posted by realpc on February 26, 2007 9:42 AM (e)

Yes Randi has debunked a lot of nonsense. There will never be a shortage of ridiculous paranormal claims. But he goes way beyond the data in saying no paranormal claims can possibly be valid. He takes materialism to an extreme which resembles religion more than science.


Okay, the evidence for ID is a hundred years of parapsychology.

No, I never said that, as I’m sure you know. ID and parapsychology are separate areas of research, as I’m sure you know. I brought up parapsychology while answering this:


There has never been, anywhere on earth, at any time, any objectively verifiable evidence of any supernatural event (as conventionally defined) in the entire history of mankind.

Comment #162915

Posted by ben on February 26, 2007 10:18 AM (e)

There will never be a shortage of ridiculous paranormal claims. But he goes way beyond the data in saying no paranormal claims can possibly be valid.

Please describe a scenario where scientific research could, even in principle, confirm the existence of a “paranormal” event. If it’s detectable, describable, and predictable, it isn’t paranormal, is it? And if it’s not detectable, describable, and repeatable, then it just….isn’t.

Either Uri Geller could bend spoons with his mind or he couldn’t. If he could, it wasn’t paranormal, it was Uri Geller bending spoons with his mind and that phenomena would be explorable using the scientific method–and therefore not paranormal. If he couldn’t, he couldn’t, and there’s nothing paranormal about that. If I could bend spoons with my mind, I would be happy to have it confirmed by the most rigorous scientific testing available–Geller and all the other woo artists, by contrast, are invariably more interested in finding a credulous, paying audience, while attempts to achieve scientific confirmation of their claims are met with goalpost-moving, excuse-making, and complaints that the scientists just don’t want to accept their claims.

To me, it looks like your (and most) claims of the “paranormal” apply solely to things which have no scientific merit but which you want to believe, and have others believe as well. Good luck.

Comment #162923

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on February 26, 2007 10:30 AM (e)

realpc wrote:

If you believe Amazing Randi, the results are all accounted for by cheating and errors.

We don’t need to believe Randi. There is plenty of research and peer-reviews that has shown this.

realpc wrote:

Randi would never focus his “skepticism” on established mainstream science.

Randi focuses on pseudoscience and charlatans, because there is where the mostly frauds are. Science has its own check and control system (repeatability) which uncovers frauds in the end. (For example, exposing “Piltdown man”.)

And I don’t think Randi’s atheism has anything to do with his expertise in uncovering charlatans. More likely his experience as a renowned stage magic had something to do with his interests.

realpc wrote:

But he goes way beyond the data in saying no paranormal claims can possibly be valid.

Not at all, that is also the prediction of physics. The room for new forces that affects our everyday life is extremely limited. The difference is that paranormal claims aren’t religious miraculous one-offs, but are supposed to be repeatable, which means natural forces in the simplest approach. I’m not aware of any parapsychologists that have claimed that supernatural forces have anything to do with it. (And if so, these gods must be assumed to be very tireless. :-)

Raging Bee wrote:

As for Dawkins, his opinions about religion can be, and have been, easily discredited;

No one has discredited his claims on religion yet. Probably because critics still complain about his discussion of religion as it is practiced instead of the ephemeral religion of philosophers, the so called Courtier’s response. It will be interesting to see if someone will argue his claims.

Comment #162924

Posted by PvM on February 26, 2007 10:30 AM (e)

Yes Randi has debunked a lot of nonsense. There will never be a shortage of ridiculous paranormal claims. But he goes way beyond the data in saying no paranormal claims can possibly be valid. He takes materialism to an extreme which resembles religion more than science.

I guess you still believe in fairies as well?

Comment #162925

Posted by Cedric Katesby on February 26, 2007 10:36 AM (e)

Realpc said…”Yes Randi has debunked a lot of nonsense. There will never be a shortage of ridiculous paranormal claims. But he goes way beyond the data in saying no paranormal claims can possibly be valid.”

When and where did Randi say this?

Oh, and how about that scientific evidence for ID?

Any chance of that, or is there an evil “Darwinist” standing behind you, menacing you with a rubber chicken if you reveal the ‘science’ of ID?

Comment #162926

Posted by Raging Bee on February 26, 2007 10:48 AM (e)

But [Randi] goes way beyond the data in saying no paranormal claims can possibly be valid.

Such a claim is not really that far “beyond the data.” If a reasonable person repeatedly fails to observe a particular event, he/she will eventually begin to wonder whether the event is possible at all. One reason I believe that telekinesis is impossible (for Humans at least) is that I myself have never seen it done, nor have I read any credible account of it happening.

He takes materialism to an extreme which resembles religion more than science.

If his “materialism” “resembles religion” to you, it is probably because it directly contradicts some religion’s claims about the material universe. Either that, or you somply don’t understand the difference between scientific and religious thought. Not all strongly-held convictions are “religious;” and disputing a claim made by a religion does not, in itself, make one’s opinions “religious” in nature.

No one has discredited [Dawkins’] claims on religion yet.

Another commenter here cited a book review that took a good deal of Dawkins’ claims apart; and no one here even tried to dispute the substance of the review. (PG, of course, brushed it off with his usual name-calliing, but that doesn’t count.) Even Dawkins himself has occasionally accepted a rebuke on that subject.

Comment #162927

Posted by Neil on February 26, 2007 10:52 AM (e)

To steveroni, Torbjorn Larsson, PvM, pigwidgeon and others:

Thanks for the clear, succinct dismantling that you have given to ID and some of the IDists more noxious ‘arguments’ in this thread.

I have engaged ID/Creationists on several Guardian (UK newspaper) threads in the last few months and find that their usual technique (well those that can at least formulate a superficially plausible sounding argument) is a scattergun attack on a simplistic parody of biological evolution that they invariably call ‘Darwinism’. My response has been to try and deal with their points in a reasoned and fairly detailed (for a blog debate) manner. However, the response from the ID/Creationsts is invariably one of the following:

a.) Ignore my post and continue to repeat what I have just clearly rebutted.

b.) Move the goalposts or perform further contortions e.g. ‘well yes but that’s just microevolution which is trivial and everyone accepts (though they just denied the existence of beneficial mutations in the last post) but you Darwists don’t have any evidence for macroevolution which is proper evolution and oh so different…’.

c.) Just post another smattering of ill conceived rants about Darwinism and probably throw in some sort of conspiracy theory about Darwinist scientists perpetuating lies and suppressing the ID/Creationist truth.

As a result of this I have decided that the best response to the IDists on a blog debate is a fairly brief but thorough debunking of ID, rather than a lengthy reply to their many (and continually repeated) criticisms of the Darwinist strawman. Then I come across this thread and I am virtually tripping over well written source material for my ‘brief refutation of ID’.

Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to this thread and I hope no one minds if I use some of your more cutting phrases and concise rebuttals in future debates with ID/Creationists.

Comment #162940

Posted by MarkP on February 26, 2007 11:44 AM (e)

realpc galloped thusly:

Yes there is cheating and error, in every field. Randi would never focus his “skepticism” on established mainstream science. Does he express any concern about any of the idiocy that goes on in medical research? No, only research that threatens his precious atheism.

And how, pray tell, would telekinesis threaten someone’s atheism? If you are going to parrot the creationist talking points, you need to at least understand where to use them.

As for parapsychology, there is a 24/7 standing experiment just waiting for any real paranormal practitioner: Vegas. Think you can tell the future? Fine, aim your talents at the NFL and see how you do. Can move objects with your mind? The roulette table awaits. Can read minds you say? Then Hoyle himself wouldn’t stand a chance against you at Hold ‘Em. Don’t care about personal wealth? Fine, give your winnings to charity, or maybe the Discovery Institute, I hear they need research funds. Oh, they need researchers, never mind.

Anyway, go beat the games. Should be easy. Until then, parasychology is rightfully treated as the pseudoscience it is.

Comment #162946

Posted by GuyeFaux on February 26, 2007 12:06 PM (e)

As for parapsychology, there is a 24/7 standing experiment just waiting for any real paranormal practitioner: Vegas.

Also, isn’t there a standing 1m USD prize fund for anyone who can demonstrate any form of telepathy under controlled circumstances? I failed to find any references online, but I heard it mentioned on Penn and Teller’s Bullshit. Echoing MarkP, if the psychic doesn’t want the money, he/she can donate the winnings to a charity. Or better yet, the money can be used to fund parapsychology research.

Comment #162949

Posted by waldteufel on February 26, 2007 12:37 PM (e)

Hey, realpc, in addition to ID and parapsychology, do you also believe in astrology, unicorns,
faries in the garden, tarot cards …. …. . ?

Comment #162952

Posted by Kit on February 26, 2007 12:47 PM (e)

The $1m USD prize is given out by Randi’s JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation), which is why realpc is not a fan of Randi.

You’ll find that the most energetic debunkers of parapsychology are current and former stage magicians, because they know how to do these tricks.

I saw a teenager once make a quote online that I thought was incredibly insightful: “If the paranormal exists, wouldn’t it just be ‘normal’? If the supernatural exists, wouldn’t it just be ‘natural’?”

Personally, I think that MarkP made a great point regarding Vegas. In my opinion, if all of these supposed mental powers existed, we would be living in a very different world. On the other hand, I would simply LOVE to have these powers exist… think of the benefits to society!

But they don’t exist. They’re simply the same mentalist tricks that have been done for decades, if not centuries, if not even longer than that.

But this is coming for realpc, who STILL hasn’t given a definition for “life energy” or shown a single example where “non-orthodox science” has produced successful results, but was kept out of mainstream journals.

Again, I am simply SHOCKED.

Comment #162957

Posted by waldteufel on February 26, 2007 1:38 PM (e)

One excellent example of an “unorthodox” and “revolutionary” theorist was Albert Einstein.
Einstein published his first papers while an obscure patent clerk in Switzerland.

But unlike the ID kooks, his hypotheses and his theory of relativity were testable.

Did “orthodox” science try to suppress his theory, which proposed (with General Relativity) a completely new and revolutionary theory of space, time, and gravity? No, “orthodox” science could, and did, subject Einstein’s theories to observational and experimental testing.

Relativity passed those tests, continues to pass them, and “orthodox” science happily folded Relativity Theory in to “mainstream” physics. That’s how science is done. Skepticism and testing hypotheses are what science is all about.

ID, parapsychology, and the other pseudosciences are all about making shit up, using “sciencey” words,
and bamboozling the mostly scientifically uneducated public.

Comment #162958

Posted by Anton Mates on February 26, 2007 1:42 PM (e)

realpc wrote:

100 years of parapsychology.

Parapsychology has nothing to do with the supernatural. Either people have the abilities to read minds and influence rolling dice by thinking about it or they don’t, but that has no bearing on the existence of gods.

If you believe Amazing Randi, the results are all accounted for by cheating and errors. If you believe Randi, all those parapsychologists have been gullible morons, wasting their lives in self-deception. But I think it’s Randi who is deceiving himself, and millions of “skeptics” believe every word he says.

So you can’t believe that “all those parapsychologists” have been gullible morons, but you’re happy to believe that “millions of ‘skeptics’” have been gullible morons?

Yes there is cheating and error, in every field. Randi would never focus his “skepticism” on established mainstream science. Does he express any concern about any of the idiocy that goes on in medical research? No, only research that threatens his precious atheism.

Horse apples. Randi attacks medical quackery on a weekly basis. Just Google “site:www.randi.org/jr/ quack” or something.

Yes Randi has debunked a lot of nonsense. There will never be a shortage of ridiculous paranormal claims. But he goes way beyond the data in saying no paranormal claims can possibly be valid.

Have you ever actually read anything he wrote? He never, ever, ever says such a thing. And he frequently says exactly the opposite.

“Parapsychologists are very much in need of a certain type of expert help. Frequently involved in designing and implementing tests for ESP, precognition, psychokinesis, and other unlikely — but not impossible — abilities, they are sometimes faced with human subjects who are able to deceive them by bypassing controls and outwitting these academics who are dealing with factors they do not normally encounter and are thus understandably inexperienced and inexpert observers in this field.”

“It is of course not impossible that magnetic treatment of specially-selected water samples might give the result you claim.”

“Wrong. I don’t “try to disprove” anything. I ask the claimant to prove their case. Why do people have such a hard time seeing the difference between these two stances? I make no claims; I only ask that others prove their claims, and I offer a million dollars prize if they can. They offer nothing.”

“Dowsing is something that is not, on the face of it, an obviously frivolous notion. Nor is the ability to predict earthquakes, nor to sense the presence of a poisonous substance. Those, we can and will test.”

MarkP wrote:

And how, pray tell, would telekinesis threaten someone’s atheism?

Obviously, telekinesis is a Biblical prediction and would prove the existence of God. Remember when Jesus went rogue and started TK-rampaging through Neo-Jerusalem, then Judas tried to bring him down with that orbital laser, but Jesus mentally hacked into it and used it to hack the West Bank? Exactly like that.

Comment #162994

Posted by hoary puccoon on February 26, 2007 8:27 PM (e)

realpc tells me, “ID and parapsychology are different areas of research, as I’m sure you know.”
No, sweetie, I didn’t know that. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know they were areas of research at all. When you appeared to equate ID with parapschology, I was actually impressed. I thought you’d finally given us a solid position on something, instead of endless your weaseling and fluff. Apparently not, huh? Sorry I miffed you, honey. Be my guest. Weasel and fluff away.

Comment #162998

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 26, 2007 9:30 PM (e)

Ok, i just gotta ask.

what’s a hoary pucoon?

is that like a really well-worn puckered up racoon?

Comment #163002

Posted by waldteufel on February 26, 2007 10:09 PM (e)

What happened to “realpc”?
Did he get a new bag of cheezy poofs and lay his head back down on his Wholly Babble?

Comment #163005

Posted by lanewilcox on February 26, 2007 10:34 PM (e)

What I find interesting is that microduplications at the chromosome level (including ~60 genes) can also have phenotypic effects with little or no detriment to overall capabilities - look up microduplication 22q11.2 syndrome. A whole segment of chromosome 22 is duplicated, and even though those genes themselves are not “new information”, the duplication can actually cause certain features and people with 22q11.2 dup have certain similar features- (sort of like people with trisomy 21 having similar features). A good example of how a phenotype can be changed with addition of “old information”. We know that reductive evolution is loss of “info” as well. Creationists don’t read the lit. much, do they, in order to keep repeating their mantras.

Comment #163008

Posted by GvlGeologist, FCD on February 26, 2007 10:53 PM (e)

Posted by waldteufel on February 26, 2007 10:09 PM (e)

What happened to “realpc”?

Got tired of having his ass handed to him?

Ran away to come back to another thread with the same old BS as if no one had shown him it was BS already?

Who cares?

Comment #163043

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 27, 2007 12:22 AM (e)

Got tired of having his ass handed to him?

Ran away to come back to another thread with the same old BS as if no one had shown him it was BS already?

Who cares?

actually, I only care in the sense that what I predict is happening is that he is “resetting”.

what’s that mean?

well, it means that he will come back in a day or so, and act as if he never heard ANY of the dismissals of his claptrap that were posted in every thread he pooted on.

just watch.

one can only hope he finally gave up, but that wouldn’t be the normal MO of the standard creobot.

Comment #163088

Posted by DougT on February 27, 2007 7:56 AM (e)

Sir TJ

Hoary Puccoon is Lithospermum cansecens, a plant in the borage family. I’ve been wondering about the commenter who chose one of my favorite prairie plants as a nickname.

Comment #163096

Posted by hoary puccoon on February 27, 2007 9:30 AM (e)

Whoops, I’m out of the closet. Years ago I was involved in the Illinois tall grass prairie movement, and I loved that little, golden flower. Unfortunately, I’ve become hoarier and hoarier as the years roll on.

Comment #163100

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 27, 2007 9:57 AM (e)

Stevaroni wrote:

“1) Large amounts are known about DNA; what it is, how it replicates, how it mutates.

“(2) The facts at hand are sufficient to explain a mechanism whereby evolution (previously stipulated as fact) can accomplish everything necessary to make humans out of slime molds, given enough time.

“(3) There has never been, anywhere on earth, at any time, any objectively verifiable evidence of any supernatural event (as conventionally defined) in the entire history of mankind.

“(4) There seems to be no demonstrable need for any force outside nature to act on the mechanism of 2, using the methods of 3, to get the world to work.

“Am I wrong here? If so, where. Point it out. Don’t just re-state arguments that have already been shown to be lacking.”

While I agree with points (1) and (2), I have a bone to pick with the other two points. Despite youir forceful delivery, they seem to come up empty.

Pertaining to point (3), you ought to know that for thousands of years human beings viewed phenomena not as “ordered”, obeying rules or following patterns, but as “chaotic”. Events were dictated by the whims of capricious gods who were pleased one day and displeased the other days, while battling each other for supremacy. Today we laugh at such notions, thanks primarily to science which has demonstrated order and pattern in increasingly diverse areas. (The eventual spread of monotheism laid the philosophical foundation for the future sea-change in human thinking, that events are ordered instead of chaotic, and thereby created the basis for science. It is ironic how science is turning back to “chaos theory” at the same time that it is perceived as atheistic, while (mono)theism formed its foundation.)

In any event, even if many a truly supernatural event did occur in the “history of mankind”, our ancestors would have been hard pressed to recognize it as such amidst the chaos of events that all seemed beyond natural regularity.

Even today I suspect it would not be easy to recognize a supernatural event as such. A singular event would be denied and a repeated event would lead to a reformulation of the laws of physics to incorporate the new pattern.

A fellow named Emmanuel Velokovski presented (in the 1950’s) some very extensive historical evidence demonstrating all manner of interplanetary events that led to catastrophies of biblical proportions on earth. These are singular events and were simply laughed out of town because they did not agree with the laws of physics. Geniuses like Carl Sagan poo-pooed Velikovski’s ideas on the basis of “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”. So how is a supernatural event going to be recognized as such?

Pertaining to point (4), may I claim that there is a demonstrated need to explain all of nature’s work, evolution included. To paraphrase your point (3), there has never been, anywhere on earth, at any time, any objectively verifiable evidence of any creation ex-nihilo in the entire history of mankind. Things (mass-energy), rules (laws of nature) and conditions (initial) and parameters (constants) don’t just pop out of nowhere and nothing.

Comment #163104

Posted by Raging Bee on February 27, 2007 10:16 AM (e)

(The eventual spread of monotheism laid the philosophical foundation for the future sea-change in human thinking, that events are ordered instead of chaotic, and thereby created the basis for science. It is ironic how science is turning back to “chaos theory” at the same time that it is perceived as atheistic, while (mono)theism formed its foundation.)

Carol, that’s utter horsemuffins. The foundations of science – including the idea that “events are ordered instead of chaotic” – were laid by the polytheistic Greeks, long before Christ or Mohammed were born, with no significant input from the monotheistic Jews.

Comment #163113

Posted by DougT on February 27, 2007 12:20 PM (e)

Hoary Puccoon-

I’m still involved with the Illinois prairie movement, and have been for years. We probably know each other. My name links to me- drop me a line.

Comment #163115

Posted by David B. Benson on February 27, 2007 12:40 PM (e)

Ragging Bee & Carol C. — Actually, the foundations for science are first noted in recorded (pre)history as occurring in Mesopotamia, long before the classical Greeks began to learn from the folks to the east.

I have little doubt (but no evidence) that similar foundations were laid down in ancient China, etc., at a comparable time…

Comment #163116

Posted by David B. Benson on February 27, 2007 12:42 PM (e)

Oops! Raging Bee.

Apologies for the typo. I really need to learn to preview before posting…

Comment #163122

Posted by Raging Bee on February 27, 2007 12:52 PM (e)

Benson: you’re probably right. In either case, the “philosophical foundation for the future sea-change in human thinking” predates monotheism by a serious chunk of time.

Comment #163132

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 27, 2007 1:49 PM (e)

Raging Bee & Benson,

You folks are playing fast and loose with “foundation”. I was referring to modern science, which is the science that repeatedly demonstrated regularity in natural phenomena, and its origin is usually dated to about 300-400 years ago.

It is silly to attribute the foundation of modern science to the polytheistic Greeks or earlier. For one, thousands of years separate them. Second, Aristotelian “science”, together with its support by the Catholic Church, actually served as a huge obstacle to the development of modern science.

But think of the minds of the founders of modern science. Newton clearly was, in his own well-known words, motivated by his monotheism to find the order God installed in the solar system. It is very difficult to imagine the polytheistic mind building modern science. The two just don’t go together.

Comment #163133

Posted by David B. Benson on February 27, 2007 1:56 PM (e)

Carol C. — Why are there 360 degrees in a circle? When and where was Ptolemaic astronomy developed? Ever heard of the Archimedian principle?

Etc., ad nausem…

Comment #163135

Posted by GuyeFaux on February 27, 2007 2:05 PM (e)

It is very difficult to imagine the polytheistic mind building modern science. The two just don’t go together.

[Coffee over screen]

Comment #163137

Posted by Raging Bee on February 27, 2007 2:19 PM (e)

Carol: have you ever heard of a period of history called “The Renaissance?” Do you know that the word “renaissance” is French for “rebirth?” Ever look up what, exactly, was being “reborn?” Here’s the answer: “The Renaissance” was the period in which the science, philosipical outlook, and resulting art-forms of the ancient Greeks was “reborn” – rediscovered to be exact, after centuries of Christian suppression – and people felt free to build on the foundations laid by the (polytheistic) Greeks and buried by the (monotheistic) Church.

The science that began a mere few centuries ago was not invented from nothing; it was a restarting of what the Greeks had already started.

Ever have a look at the art that came from the Renaissance? Notice the obvious and heavy influence of “Classical” forms, styles and even subjects? There’s a truckload of examples of this in a place called THE VATICAN – even those monotheists admit the enormous contribution made by their polytheistic predecessors.

Comment #163140

Posted by waldteufel on February 27, 2007 2:30 PM (e)

Carol …

Monotheism is just as wacky at polytheism, except without the fun of variety.
Theism of any sort explains nothing. “Goddidit” just doesn’t move knowledge forward.
By the way, Velokovsky was a certifiable kook. His “theories” were absolute nonsense.
I would hope that you did not intend that we should consider Velokovsky’s absurd “theories” as anything more than delusional pseudoscience.

Comment #163141

Posted by Raging Bee on February 27, 2007 2:34 PM (e)

New headline:

Clouser Responds, Falls Flat on Her Face.

Comment #163147

Posted by Flint on February 27, 2007 3:00 PM (e)

Carol does fascinate me sometimes, though. She starts to build an argument, I follow it, it moves along for a while, and suddenly BLAM it turns out to have been an exploding cigar all along. Monotheism causes science? The Greeks didn’t do science because they had too many gods (none of whom played any role in their science)? The gods whose existence allowed ignorant people to impose an artificial “order” on a chaotic nature are what led to an understanding that nature is chaotic and gods aren’t required? Velikovsky “demonstrated” interplanetary events that never happened? But how ELSE could we guarantee that the energy, forces, and constants of the universe came from magical sources?

In the world of aviation, this is known as CFIT - Controlled Flight Into Terrain. The pilot, fully awake, conscious, and in control, flies straight into the ground. A short-circuit somewhere in the wetware.

Comment #163150

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 27, 2007 3:20 PM (e)

Hoary Puccoon is Lithospermum cansecens,

lol. never would have thought it to be a real name, even though I’m one of those who work on vertebrates with names like Sarcastic Fringehead:

http://www.photovault.com/Link/Animals/Aquatic/a…

thanks

Comment #163151

Posted by secondclass on February 27, 2007 3:27 PM (e)

Carol wrote:

Even today I suspect it would not be easy to recognize a supernatural event as such. A singular event would be denied and a repeated event would lead to a reformulation of the laws of physics to incorporate the new pattern.

Exactly. It’s not easy to recognize supernatural events because the term is meaningless. When scientists discover a new phenomenon, how do they know whether to label it supernatural or to adjust our understanding of nature to accommodate it?

And it makes no difference whether it’s a singular or repeating event; both types of events are common in nature.

Comment #163161

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 27, 2007 4:23 PM (e)

Raging Bee,

Despite your raging and raving, you sting not at all. The “rebirth” was of human creativity which was stifled during the dark ages by the church. But the new science was nothing like the old.

Greek astronomy consisted of hocus-pocus spheres mounted in ad hoc fashion on other non-existent spheres, its physics posulated “laws” for terrestrial phenomena different than those for heavenly phenomena, and ideas were concocted simply because they felt good with little regard for the evidence. And you see “order” or even an attempt to find order in this? You even dare call this science? There is good reason why it is referred to as “natural philosophy”. That is precisely what it was.

Comment #163163

Posted by David B. Benson on February 27, 2007 4:30 PM (e)

Gosh, Carol C., how was it that they managed to do a decent job of measuring the diameter of the earth?

By the way, you didn’t answer my previous questions…

Comment #163165

Posted by Raging Bee on February 27, 2007 4:39 PM (e)

Carol: your simplistic and clearly uninformed opinion of Greek contributions to science and mathematics is clearly the result of too much religious propaganda, of the “no one else’s religion was ever any good” variety.

Comment #163166

Posted by Raging Bee on February 27, 2007 4:40 PM (e)

I think I’m using the word “clearly” too many times – probably because I value clarity. Clearly my bad…

Comment #163167

Posted by MarkP on February 27, 2007 4:56 PM (e)

Flint opined:

Carol does fascinate me sometimes, though. She starts to build an argument, I follow it, it moves along for a while, and suddenly BLAM it turns out to have been an exploding cigar all along.

Took the words right out of my mouth. And to make matters worse, she’s too far out there for her dismantling to be of any value to the lurkers. Time is better spent elsewhere.

Comment #163173

Posted by waldteufel on February 27, 2007 5:21 PM (e)

Flint, to me reading Carol’s convoluted musings is like eating cotton candy. When I see a lot of words in her posting, I think “Aha …here comes a cogent thought.” Then …when I start to read, there’s nothing but air.

I’m still waiting to read how her sky fairy is responsible for modern science.

Newton’s seminal work was “The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.”
Sir Isaac considered himself a “natural philosopher”, just like Carol’s dumb old polytheistic Greeks.

Oh, I almost forgot …Carol’s old Greek dummies computed the circumference of the earth to with about 10% accuracy (Eratosthenes), discovered the Pythagorean Theorem (Pythagoras), first conceived the atomic nature of matter (Democritus); discovered the principle of siphoning (Hero), discovered how to measure the volume of an irregular solid (Archimedes) …. and on and on …. .

Comment #163174

Posted by carol clouser on February 27, 2007 5:29 PM (e)

David,

This is really besides the point of our discussion (which got sidetracked into whether the Greeks were seeking grand principles of order in the universe), but it is not at all clear that “they” (Eratasthenes, that is) really did a decent job of measuring the earth. It all depends on what exactly “stadia” are. Columbus was tricked into believing that the earth is much smaller than it is by a poor interpretation of stadia in Eratasthenes’ results, otherwise he never would have set sail the way he did.

This is NOT to take credit away from Eratasthenes who performed his experiment at a time when most folk were absolutely certain the earth is flat. I really do tip my hat to him.

The egyptians first divided a circle into 360 parts, not the Greeks, and it was based on their inaccurate attribution of 360 days to the cycle of the seasons.

None of this has any bearing on Greek mathematics.

Ranging Bee,

Your comments are rapidly descending into the sewer, at which point I part company.

Comment #163177

Posted by David B. Benson on February 27, 2007 5:42 PM (e)

Carol C. — Your history of science is terrible! The Mesopotamians divided the circle into 360 degrees first. They also had a try at predicting eclipses.

An interesting book, not without some flaws, is A History of Numbers
by an Algerian whose name escapes me just now.

Comment #163180

Posted by carol clouser on February 27, 2007 5:51 PM (e)

Flint,

It behooves you to read my comments carefully before reacting to them and to certainly not misrepresent or distort what they say.

I have come to respect you as one of the more intelligent defenders of atheism around here. You are capable of responding to the substance of my comments on the merits, without resorting to these tactics that accrue you no credit.

Now, you know very well, for starters, that I did not say nor mean that monotheism causes science. So if you have something intelligent to say about what I really said, I am all ears.

Comment #163181

Posted by carol clouser on February 27, 2007 5:55 PM (e)

David,

Earlier you claimed it was the Greeks, now you think it was the Mesapotamians, that first divided the circle into 360 parts. As I remember it you are wrong on both counts. It was the Egyptians.

None of this has any real bearing on the issue at hand.

Comment #163182

Posted by David B. Benson on February 27, 2007 6:05 PM (e)

Carol C. — Wrong. I asked you who first divided the circle into 360 degrees. You answered that it was the Egyptians.

You are certainly full of misinformation today.

This suggests to me that all of your posts contain misinformation…

Comment #163186

Posted by MarkG on February 27, 2007 6:23 PM (e)

Carol, are you saying that the ancient Jews invented science?

Comment #163189

Posted by normdoering on February 27, 2007 6:27 PM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

It is very difficult to imagine the polytheistic mind building modern science. The two just don’t go together.

Too much to read here, but did anyone bring up Titus Lucretius Carus and his pre-Christian work “On the Nature of Things”?

Did anyone bring up Heron and his machines? Epicurus? Archimedes?

Didn’t the Helenistic Greeks bring more science to the Hebrews than they had before Alexander the Great took them over as a tiny little footnote to his conquests?

We’re only now learning how much was lost.

http://normdoering.blogspot.com/

Comment #163194

Posted by waldteufel on February 27, 2007 6:44 PM (e)

Carol,

The circle was first divided into 360 degrees by the Babylonians who were Mesopotamians(meaning “between the rivers”-the Tigris and Euphrates), because they used the Sexagesimal numbering system, which is a numbering system based on 60, rather than based on 10. This is well documented. Pick up any history of mathematics or science in the ancient world.

The Egyptian numbering system was very awkward, due in part to the fact that they had no concept of the “zero.” This is also well documented. I refer you to the Rhind Papyrus, and the analyses thereof by many scholars.

On this point, you just don’t know what you are talking about. Continuing to repeat an error over and over does not make it correct.

Your credibility on technical matters hovers near … uh …zero!

Even though you disagree with the folks who post here, most are either science students, scientists,
teachers, or otherwise scientifically literate individual. You would do well to listen once in a while.

Comment #163197

Posted by waldteufel on February 27, 2007 7:08 PM (e)

Norm . .

This is completely off-topic, but years ago I was involved in radar meteorology researching thunderstorm electrification and precipitation mechanisms. In our papers, we often referred to “On the Nature of Things” as a way of showing how much the ancients observed about the world around them.
Lucretius observed and wrote about gushes of rain which accompanied lightning discharges. He of course didn’t understand the phenomenon, but he did observe and record it. Step 1 of doing science.
Jesus was nowhere to be seen.

Comment #163198

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 27, 2007 7:28 PM (e)

On this point, you just don’t know what you are talking about. Continuing to repeat an error over and over does not make it correct.

welcome to the world of the clouserbot.

now compare that to a typical creationist, say, AFDave over on ATBC and Dawkins website, and you will find a great many similarities in style and presentation.

just sayin.

Comment #163216

Posted by stevaroni on February 27, 2007 10:37 PM (e)

David B wrote

Why are there 360 degrees in a circle?

Um, I may be displaying my ignorance here, but why are there 360 degrees? I always figured that they just picked a number that divided neatly by a lot of shapes builders typically used.

is there a (hushed tones) deeper meaning?

Comment #163219

Posted by stevearoni on February 27, 2007 10:55 PM (e)

Oops, my bad, I posted my question about the 360 degree thing before I read to the bottom of the thread, and then saw it had already been answered.

I must say, though, that I never would have guessed a base-60 numbering system.

I had always assumed that almost all human counting systems would be base 10, since the reference would be, well, close at hand, as it were.

Plus, it’s about the right size, 8, 10, a dozen, that seems like a convenient number for measuring everyday quantities. My problem with binary has always been that there were so many damned digits, and a big number, like 50 would have too much granularity.

This has always been my beef with the metric system. The divide by 10 part is great, but the arbitrary baseline ( 1/10000000 of the distance between the equator and the poles) left us with an ungainly unit.

For my taste, the meter is a bit to big, and the centimeter is a bit too small for human sized everyday units. (and nobody uses the decimeter).

Saying a doorway is 2.1 or 2.2 meters high seems awfully coarse, and saying it’s 210 cm versus 215 or 220 seems like too big a number. Saying about 7 feet just feels like the right units to me.

Same with inches, or ounces, just a good size.

I’m told that the Ming Dynasty had a base 10 measurement system, and basic units were a little less than a foot long, which would have made for a decimal inch, and another, bigger, unit at the 10 foot (3.2m) mark.

Ahhh, those were the days.

Were there other weird systems out there? Did anybody ever count by 42’s?

Comment #163221

Posted by GuyeFaux on February 27, 2007 11:16 PM (e)

(and nobody uses the decimeter).

Simply not true. I can’t speak for other places, but in Hungary the decimeter (dm) sees lots of use. Similarly for deciliters (dl). This is just another cultural thing, it’s not a fault of the metric system.

(And look at that, both Firefox’s and PT’s spellchecks accepted both deciliter and decimeter.)

Comment #163228

Posted by Raging Bee on February 28, 2007 9:46 AM (e)

There seems to be a bit of a dispute over who first divided the circle into 360 degrees; but I don’t think there’s any dispute that all of the peoples who may have been first past this post were polytheistic at the time. So either way, Carol’s “polytheists don’t do science” thesis is crap.

Oh, and the people who torched that library at Alexandria were MONOTHEISTS. Only the Gods know how much knowledge was destroyed out of simple faith-based spite.

stevaroni: the base-60 numbering system was created by and for people who did a lot of business with other peoples who all used different numbering systems. Base-60 became a sort of lingua-franca, being a common multiple of everyone’s bases, so that people could more easily translate their numbers into numbers everyone else could understand and work with.

STJ: “Clouserbot” may be a more appropriate label then you realize. Carol’s fixation on finding “literal” interpretations of the Bible that don’t contradict science is ridiculously technocratic, has nothing at all to do with any sort of spirituality that I know of, and seems to be, not merely an interest or a promising line of inquiry, but an obsession, followed with a narrow determination that can best be called “robotic.” I have repeatedly pointed out that the Bible is not a literal document, and that it’s main subject – Man’s relationship to God – doesn’t fit into literal descriptions; and she has simply never responded to these points AT ALL. I really get the impression that my ideas on this subject are so alien to her mindset that she not only can’t refute them, but can’t even acknowledge or process them at all, any more than Microsoft Excel can process the ground-control signals NASA or JPL send to their satellites.

Comment #163234

Posted by waldteufel on February 28, 2007 10:07 AM (e)

The thug who led the rioters that burned the library at Alexandria was named Cyril. He had
the library’s director, one Hypatia, flayed to death. Hypatia more or less was lost to history.
Cyril was canonized a saint by the church. St. Cyril of Alexandria. Ain’t religion good?

Comment #163256

Posted by Thanatos on February 28, 2007 11:44 AM (e)

Carol
As a Hellen ,I’m really tempted to start using french expressions,reading what you wrote about Hellas.

But instead,
in a olympian apathy,in an chronical ontogeny,in a cyan pyre,in a tactical phobia, in an hermaphrodician mystery,in a physical odyssey,
in a gaian holisticity,in an central catharsis,in a psychic musicality,in a spiral chorus,in a cinematic polymorphy,in a typolatric icon,in a socratic army,
in a promethean theatricality,in an anarchical melody,in a sphaerical scheme,in a theoretical symphony,in a photonic antinomy,in a methodical atrophy,
in a dialectical synthesis,in a astral egoism,in a utopian misanthropy,in a technical parabole,in a characteristic moira,in an atomic apocalypse,
in an anethical aeon,in an androgynous agony,in a cosmic symmetry,in a dramatical austerity,in a platonic calligraphy,in a catastrophic hilarity,
in a cubical comedy,in a ephemeral polemic,in a erotic paradigm,in a phaenomenal nike, in a democratic stasis, in a empiricismal orthodoxy,in a titanic galaxy,
in an arithmetical panspermy,in an aethereal zone,in an adamand disk,in a cyclic policy,in a hyperentropic paranoia,in a automatic dynamicality,
in a heroic zeal,in a phlogistic poem,in a monotonous hubris,in a triadical philippic,in a symbiotic helicity,in a rhetoric morocity,in a somatic tyranny,
in a gigantic idea,in a systematic strabism,in a synoptical endoscopy,in a trojan cataclysm,in a harpic laconism, in a anomalous telos,in a harmonious anthem,
in an aesthetical hydra,in an energetical chaos,in a hadean serenity,in a critical nostalgia,in a historical melancholy,in a pragmatical myth,
in a tantalising panoply,in a talented eclipse,in a homeric academy,in a cardiac asylum,in a philosophical theosis,
cynicly,stoicly,
I’ll only point,direct you to The Antikythera Mechanism

This link is highly,strongly recommended to all.Try and will understand,try and wheep, reflecting on the 1.5 millenia lost.

Comment #163260

Posted by Thanatos on February 28, 2007 11:58 AM (e)

Same link here,just directly to full english version for ease

The Antikythera Mechanism

Comment #163272

Posted by Carol Clouser on February 28, 2007 1:51 PM (e)

Thasnatos,

You know very well that I intended no insult to the ancient Greeks. I even tipped my hat earlier to Eratosthenes. Much, but by no means all, of what the ancient Greeks created, particularly in mathematics, politics and philosophy, can be admired by all modern folks even today. (Although if I were alive at about 150-250 BCE I would not have appreciated the Greek attempt to crush Jewish culture in ancient Israel. Of course, the Greeks paid dearly for that misadventure when the tiny band of Jewish rebels known as the Hasmoneans defeated the much greater Greek forces and forced them back to Syria. This has resulted in the holiday of Hanuka, as you may know.) Above all, the emphasis on rationalty is a great contributuion to humanity. But to say that they were engaged in activity akin to MODERN science is ridiculous.

Comment #163275

Posted by Raging Bee on February 28, 2007 2:11 PM (e)

Above all, the emphasis on rationalty is a great contributuion to humanity. But to say that they were engaged in activity akin to MODERN science is ridiculous.

Excuse me, Carol, but “emphasis on rationality” IS an “activity akin to MODERN science.” More to the point, it’s an activity INDISPENSIBLE to modern science. And as you just admitted, those pesky polytheistic Greeks were doing it long before any of our monotheistic religions got into the act. Furthermore, modern science began with, and built on, a rediscovery of all that Greek rationality and logic, which many monotheists labelled “pagan” and “anti-God.”

And your completely irrelevant reference to a Jewish military victory over the Greeks, only further proves that your thesis and mindset are based on dishonest religious propaganda, not on reality.

Give it up, Carol; you’ve tried to preach about history and all you’ve done is make a complete fool of yourself. Can’t you uphold and defend your religion without looking like an idiot?

Comment #163281

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 28, 2007 2:43 PM (e)

Can’t you uphold and defend your religion without looking like an idiot?

after all this time, surely you meant that rhetorically?

Comment #163282

Posted by Raging Bee on February 28, 2007 2:50 PM (e)

Hey, I’m trying to give her the benefit of the doubt. I’ve known plenty of really intelligent Jews (the ones who studied their asses off and got good jobs, only to be dissed and loathed by their classmates who didn’t), and was hoping to remind Carol that she was making her religion look stupider than it really is.

Comment #163286

Posted by Thanatos on February 28, 2007 3:33 PM (e)

Carol
visit the aforementioned link before enganging over and over in what in greek we metaphorically call aerology,that is thoughts,words,talks of the wind.

And again it’s Thanatos not Thasnatos nor anything else.

Comment #163287

Posted by Thanatos on February 28, 2007 3:40 PM (e)

sorry enganging engaging

Comment #163293

Posted by carol clouser on February 28, 2007 4:34 PM (e)

Raging Bee,

I am not going to engage in exchanging shrill insults with you (or anyone else here, such as TJM). But for the record, your comments are utterly wrong and indefensible. Modern science is the antithesis of Greek logic and to say otherwise is just plain ignorance. It was Greek logic that led Aristotle to the logical conclusion that heavier objects reach the ground before lighter ones, that the closer an object gets to the ground the heavier it gets, and many other such insightful statements. It was modern science, in this case Galileo, that said,
“ to hell with logic, let us try it!” These are the founders of modern science - Galileo, Copernicus, Newton and their relative contemporaries and they were most certainly not polytheists.

Enough of my trying to teach you something. You refuse to learn and you are a bigot to boot. Go get some spirituality from your phony distorted Bible, just don’t equate it with the authentic one of which you apparently know nothing.

Comment #163294

Posted by Thanatos on February 28, 2007 4:49 PM (e)

And please before using the epithet polytheistic on ancient greek religion I suggest you studied it more profoundly.There wasn’t a just ONE and ONLY greek religion and the properties-characteristics you assign to you “it”,whatever you misunderstand as-of “it”, are purely superficial and biased.Try seeing the different polytheistic,monotheistic,pantheistic,philosophic versions-views-aspects of “it”.Try reexamining Dodekatheon and Mythologia.Try seeing the inner structure.Try a sociological-historical-ethnological analysis.Try
Mysteries of Eleusis,Try Hesiod,try Dionysian Cult,try Chaos,try religion-faith-thoughts of the philosophers,try hellenistic and greco-roman religious syncretism and syncrasis.Try neoplatonism.Try seeing religion ,in manners other than ,and especially versus or not as just, dogmatism.
And after that try to see how Christianity,in all of it’s aspects, came to being,came to life.
As for Hanuca winning a battle(of course again winning-in-only-jews’-minds)
isn’t equivalent to winning the war.Try History.
In other words,please ,try reading-researching-thinking before aerologein.

Comment #163297

Posted by Sir_Toejam on February 28, 2007 4:56 PM (e)

I am not going to engage in exchanging shrill insults with you (or anyone else here, such as TJM). But for the record, your comments are utterly wrong and indefensible.

translation:

“i have no logical way to defend my statements, so I will bait you into a name-calling contest and claim it was your fault”.

Comment #163299

Posted by Thanatos on February 28, 2007 4:59 PM (e)

…assign to you “it”…

Comment #163300

Posted by David B. Benson on February 28, 2007 5:02 PM (e)

Carol C. says “Enough of my trying to teach you something.”

Ah, but Carol, perhaps that is because you have demonstrated over and over and over again that you have nothing factual to teach?

Comment #163302

Posted by Thanatos on February 28, 2007 5:13 PM (e)

I forgot to mention a very important but not widely known event-fact.So add->
Try greco-indian hinduism and greco-indian buddhism.

Comment #163327

Posted by Henry J on February 28, 2007 9:29 PM (e)

Re “It was Greek logic that led Aristotle to the logical conclusion that heavier objects reach the ground before lighter ones,”

And here I assumed that conclusion came from the fact that objects light enough to be significantly slowed by air resistance, do take longer to reach the ground than heavier objects.

Henry

Comment #163328

Posted by carol clouser on February 28, 2007 10:06 PM (e)

Henry J,

It is not lighter objects, per se, that take longer to reach the ground due to air resistance, but objects with large cross-sectional areas, particularly if they are light. A sheet of paper takes longer than a ball, but it will also take longer than an equally light ball and if you crumple the paper into a ball will take just as long as a heavier ball. With the right attitude (not being so enamored with logic) even Aristotle (the greatest of the Greek thinkers) could have ascertained the facts with some very simple experiments.

Comment #163333

Posted by demallien on February 28, 2007 11:32 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #163334

Posted by demallien on February 28, 2007 11:36 PM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

Modern science is the antithesis of Greek logic and to say otherwise is just plain ignorance. It was Greek logic that led Aristotle to the logical conclusion that heavier objects reach the ground before lighter ones, that the closer an object gets to the ground the heavier it gets, and many other such insightful statements.

Psst! Carol! Objects do get heavier the closer they get to the ground. Inverse square law and all of that… To borrow from Sir Toejam, ‘just sayin’”….

Comment #163386

Posted by Raging Bee on March 1, 2007 7:27 AM (e)

It was Greek logic that led Aristotle to the logical conclusion that heavier objects reach the ground before lighter ones…

No, Carol, it was flawed and primitive techniques of observation that led to that conclusion, and to other whoppers in the Christian era as well. The Greeks were just getting started on the path of science and reason, so of course there would be a few mistakes along the way. Science has NEVER been error-free in any era, not even in this one, and only an idiot would expect otherwise. Oh, wait…

And before you call anyone else a bigot, please try to remember that YOU were the one who went out of her way to trash polytheism, with no understanding of history, and ended up looking like a horse’s ass (are horses’ asses kosher?) – or, at best, an embarrassingly incompetent propagandist. (Does the phrase “false witness” ring any bells?)

Comment #163398

Posted by Anton Mates on March 1, 2007 11:04 AM (e)

carol clouser wrote:

With the right attitude (not being so enamored with logic) even Aristotle (the greatest of the Greek thinkers) could have ascertained the facts with some very simple experiments.

Why, that lazy bastard! If he’d just taken the time to invent the concept of acceleration in the first place and cobble together a decent stopwatch, and not frittered away his time doing observation-based studies of embryology, meteorology, comparative anatomy, animal husbandry and the shape of the Earth, he could have come up with a proper theory of gravity!

Sure, he laid the foundations for half a dozen major fields of science, but he could have finished off all of them if he’d just had the right attitude. Then the rest of us wouldn’t have had to do any work. Tragic, it is.

Comment #163406

Posted by Shirley Knott on March 1, 2007 1:02 PM (e)

But Anton, clearly the problem was that he made the poor decision to be born Greek rather than Hebrew. Had he had the benefit of those wise masters who made no errors in the Septuagint, he would have had more than ample time to wrap up all of science. The only reason Carol’s honored ancestors didn’t was that they were focused on bigger and more important issues than such pathetic levels of detail.

hugs,
Shirley Knott

Comment #163409

Posted by Steviepinhead on March 1, 2007 1:28 PM (e)

And not to niggle endlessly, Carol, but Henry J never claimed that lighter objects “per se” took longer to reach the ground, but that

objects light enough to be significantly slowed by air resistance

do, in fact, take longer (my emphasis). You (Carol) then launched into your redundant “correction” concerning “cross-sectional area,” which is, of course, only important because it results in increased air resistance…

Just as Henry said.

Do try to read with comprehension toggled on before quote-mining, intentionalyy or not, next time around.

Oh, and lest I forget:
Stop The War! Save A Gerbil!

Comment #163415

Posted by David B. Benson on March 1, 2007 2:03 PM (e)

Correcting a small point regarding ancient history — It was Bishop Theophilus who completed the destruction of the library in Alexandria, not St. Cyril.

The Wikipedia article on the library generally agrees with the two or three books I have read about the library…

Comment #163424

Posted by Carol Clouser on March 1, 2007 3:22 PM (e)

Oh, I get it now! Aristotle didn’t get around to observing heavy and light objects falling together because he was too busy (according to Anton), he didn’t have a stopwatch (Anton again), he used flawed techniques (Raging Bee) and he hadn’t developed the concept of acceleration (Anton again).

The inimitable wisdom to be found on Panda’s Thumb!

I must conclude that Galileo had lots of time on his hands, that he had a stop watch (not so), and that he used very sophisticated techniques (not the case). And the concept of acceleration is not necessary to the question at hand. (Aristotle, by the way, did know that falling objects accelerate, which he attributed to the increased force of gravity.)

If some people here would stop commenting on topics they no very little about, there is a chance that some lurkers out there might erroneously conclude that they actually know something.

Pathetic.

The reason Aristotle was so wrong about motion and refused to thoroughly conduct observations on the subject is because he had a logically developed philosophical system on the subject and he would not allow observations to get in the way. Logic reigned supreme and he had no doubt he was correct. The other areas you mention, Anton, where he did observe, have the common denominator that there were no preconceived philosophical systems to get in the way.

Comment #163425

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 1, 2007 3:23 PM (e)

A historical essay:

“Carol Saves the Zebras!”

OK, it’s time. for those who have just seen Carol for the first time, I hope this little compilation will show you the kind of “mind” you are dealing with.

It took me a while to track down the thread where Carol went into detail about how cruel hyenas are, that they should all be wiped out, and where she thinks she got that idea from (as well as the link to PETA), but I have selected the “best” from that original thread:

http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2006/06/from…

enjoy.

First, this is the post she started on this journey with, which Nick Matzke himself labeled “My nomination for silliest comment of the week:”

Having carefully read all the above posts and Lenny’s lengthy talkreason article, I can only conclude that you all miss the point. YOU JUST DO NOT GET IT!

And you cannot battle your oppenents if you do not understand them.

The point is not what Hitler or Darwin said or didn’t say, what they believed or didn’t believe. We all know that people don’t always verbalize precisely what they mean, and don’t always mean what they verbalize, especially when they have hidden agendas up their sleeve.

The point, my friends, is this: Evolution is based on the idea that nature operates on the basis of Nazi-like tactics. Survival of the fittest implies that ethics, morality, right and wrong, are all tossed to the wind and the ONLY thing that matters to the development of life is how “fit” (albeit with all the comlexities that word entails, something that is usually glossed over) an organism is.

When I see a video clip of 6 or 7 hyenas getting their food by ripping flesh from a live zebra, for example, I can only shake my head and say to myself - what on earth did that poor zebra do to deserve such a fate. And the even larger question then becomes - what kind of God is this who builds his universe on the basis of this kind of process? By glorifying this into a mulit-billion year process upon which the fundamentals of life are based, evolution comes face to face with these Nazi-like tactics and implies that the process of building life is God-less.

Now, you might say that this is going on anyway, right in front of our eyes, even before Darwin was born. True. But with humankind around, a religious person can convince himself that this is one of the defects in the world that God has assigned to us the task to rectify. Humans and only humans are the ones with the free will (as opposed to those hyenas) and the partnership with God to civilize and perfect the planet.

I say this as a friend of science and evolution in particular. Those of you who know me, know that I accept evolution as a fact of life (and know that the Bible does too). So don’t start throwing mud my way, it will do you no good. Deal with the issues.

now, for a bit of background, the original thread was about creationists saying the ToE was responsible for the rise of Nazism. Carol’s thoughts related directly to how she seems to view cruelty in general:

Warfare per se is not what makes Nazism stand out. It is wholesale cruelty visited upon the weak, the defenseless, and the less powerful that makes Nazism stand out in its barbarity and evilness. In doing so Hitler (may his name and memory be erased) gained nourishment and encouragement from evolution where he saw this type of behavior given the imprimatur of nature (and God) as described by science. If long necked giraffes survive at the expense of the short necked ones who cannot reach to the upper branches of trees, and the long necked fellows don’t even think about altruistically sharing with their weaker brethren and as a result they wither away, than that is in the spirit of Nazism.

ok, so then we move on to some choice quotes later…

…And equating humans to animals is absolutely part of the fabric of evolution, as you probably know. This was an endorsement the Nazis derived from
evolution. I have even heard it in interviews with gang members and mafia hit men. “It is the way of the world,” say they.

followed no less than 1 post later (after she was challenged on that statement directly) by:

I never equated humans to animals nor did I ever imply that Darwinian theory does.

sounds like one of those comparison video clips John Stewart likes to use of the Bush Administration, doesn’t it?

then it just gets REALLY far out, when someone asks for clarification:

“And could you (or God) also elaborate on how we would attempt make Hyena’s more civilized? I suppose one could try to hand them a knife, a fork, a napkin and a nice dinner suit then they would just turn around and LAUGH AT YOU. Before ripping you to shreds.”

You think you’re funny. Did you think of providing food so they are not hungry enough to be willing to put up with all that hard work to obtain their food?

We should do it for the Zebras! Join PETA and prevent this cruelty to animals, not by humans, but by other animals.

Perhaps to protect the zebras we eliminate the uncivilized hyenas (they are thieves too), therby ridding the world of this cruel and uncivilized element. I think lions are far more civilized. They try to kill in seconds and usually succeed. In any event, I was speculating as to how theologians might resolve this problem of God’s universe being naturally based on so much cruelty and suffering (on the part of creatures with no free will). But the problem is much bigger with evolution. Then this unsavory business went on for billions of years in the absence of humans, as opposed to a mere few thousand years and in the presence of humans. This is also why fundamentalists see evolution as Godless.

so what if we follow Carol’s advice, someone asks:

“Then when the zerbras have overpopulated and are either starving or raiding farm crops, what then?”

Then we cull the herd HUMANELY. I am sure you can figure out ways of doing so.

One thing we ought not do is hunt for sport and in disregard of the suffering that causes. And I am proud to say that my people do not engage in such activity nor does the Hebrew Bible allow for it.

Do I take it that you are also opposed to the principles (not the tactics) of PETA, fighting to prevent cruelty to animals? Or do you think that only humans ought not be cruel to animals, but animals may be cruel to other animals and we ought not get involved in THEIR affairs?

I’ll end by noting where she thinks her bizarre idea is actually based on the philosophy of Albert Schweizer, and also make the link to PETA complete.

Here is a quote from the PETA website. It speaks for itself.

“The renowned humanitarian Albert Schweitzer, who accomplished so much for both humans and animals in his lifetime, would take time to stoop and move a worm from hot pavement to cool earth. Aware of the problems and responsibilities that an expanded ethic brings, he said, “A man is really ethical only when he obeys the constraint laid on him to aid all life which he is able to help … He does not ask how far this or that life deserves sympathy … nor how far it is capable of feeling.”

We can’t stop all suffering, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t stop any.

so… we see Carol (and PETA) horribly misapplying a quotemine of Schweizer to create a very bizarre (and humorous) journey for us.

I’m not going to try to analyze how this kind of malformed logic ends up being so common, that’s a thread for a different time and place, but since others have challenged me when I told them of these things (they simply refused to believe any sane person could ever have said them), and Carol herself challenged that she ever said anything like this (not unusual for Carol), it was high time it was put back on the record.

oh, and Carol….

http://home.earthlink.net/~tjneal/hyenas.wav

Comment #163426

Posted by David B. Benson on March 1, 2007 3:33 PM (e)

Sir TJ — I, too, doubt that any sane person would write that…

Comment #163427

Posted by Carol Clouser on March 1, 2007 3:36 PM (e)

Stevie,

Hi. Haven’t seen you in awhile.

I seems to me that Henry was saying that the objects that are slowed significantly by air resistance do so because they are light. That is only half the story. Shape also plays a role. If I misunderstood his meaning, he can speak for himself and I apologize.

The great middle-eastern gerbil (I forget their name) test you and I concocted on another thread to resolve key religious issues, has still not been performed. Perhaps it will take as long as the dropping of heavy and light objects which had to wait from Aristotle to Galileo to be carried out.

Comment #163432

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson on March 1, 2007 3:39 PM (e)

Raging Bee wrote:

Another commenter here cited a book review that took a good deal of Dawkins’ claims apart; and no one here even tried to dispute the substance of the review.

I’m sorry, you have to be more specific to support your claim and allow us to analyze it.

Comment #163434

Posted by Shirley Knott on March 1, 2007 3:51 PM (e)

Isn’t it amazing how Carol just *knows* not only what Aristotle’s thoughts were, but his motivations as well? Particularly given that we have no extant writings of the man himself, only student notes…
Now if she’d only pay attention to the only sensible thing she’s ever said, and stop talking about things about which she knows nothing. Like history, logic, philosophy, science, oh, heck, reality in general.

no hugs for thugs (that would be you, Carol, you arrogant ignorant twunt)
Shirley Knott

Comment #163435

Posted by Carol Clouser on March 1, 2007 4:00 PM (e)

TJM,

Your quote-mining my comments actually reveal you to be a liar, cheat and hypocrite.

The paragraph you quote that begins with, “Perhaps to protect the Zebras we eliminate ….” actually begins as such: “Or to get even funnier, perhaps to protect the zebras we eliminate the uncivilized hyenas…” You cut out the words indicating that it was not a serious proposal.

I stand by everything I REALLY wrote there. And you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Comment #163437

Posted by Carol Clouser on March 1, 2007 4:11 PM (e)

For those of you wish to see for yourselves how dishonest and underhanded TJM is, check out comment # 106729 in the thread he quote mines so extensively.

Comment #163438

Posted by David B. Benson on March 1, 2007 4:16 PM (e)

Carol C. — Perhaps Sir TJ is playing fair and perhaps not.

But my observations of your posts that I have seen here on Panda’s Thumb leads me to the previously posted conclusion…

Comment #163439

Posted by GuyeFaux on March 1, 2007 4:17 PM (e)

Sir TJ I believe you were caught red-handed. On the other hand, you did provide a link to the original thread; you just misquoted it.

Carol, you owe me an explanation re PISHAT that’s outstanding on another thread.

Comment #163440

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 1, 2007 4:18 PM (e)

Your quote-mining my comments actually reveal you to be a liar, cheat and hypocrite.

“Clouser responds, falls flat on face”

c’mon carol, you wouldn’t have gone on and on, comparing evolution to naziism, and then pulling that quote from Schweitzer unless you were serious.

the part i clipped wasn’t intentional, I didn’t post EVERYTHING you said (it would have gotten entirely tedious and repetetive), but that’s why I provided a direct link for the readers to go and check out the thread for themselves.

who’s lying, here, Carol?

now you could have responded with:

“well, I was a bit off that day, but I never seriously thought that hyenas are cruel”

but you didn’t, did you? instead you decided to quote PETA and attempt to rationalize why you thought we should extend human ideas of cruelty to animals.

so which is it, Carol?

was your entire series of posts just a joke that nobody got, or are you actually serious when you say:

“I stand by everything I wrote there”.

was your first post a joke?

your last?

really, spell it out.

do you now recount your ideas on naziism and evolutionary theory? on hyenas being “crueller” than lions?

please, do clarify. I could use another good laugh.

Comment #163441

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 1, 2007 4:22 PM (e)

…also note, Carol, that if I JUST posted your first post on the matter (which isn’t clipped at all), you would find that entirely defensible, according to your own statement.

Comment #163442

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on March 1, 2007 4:23 PM (e)

C’mon, Toe.

Try something challenging for a change.

Like delivering tasty pizza hot and in a hurry.

Or Ichthyobiology.

Carol’s just too easy (no reflection on CC’s sexual mores intended).

Comment #163443

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 1, 2007 4:26 PM (e)

Perhaps Sir TJ is playing fair and perhaps not.

oh no, I never play fair.

but anyone can read the thread for themselves and come to their own conclusions.

I think I painted the story accurately enough without re-posting the entire damn thread, and anyone who has experience with Clouser has seen the lapses in logic so common to her. I just found this one particularly amusing.

Comment #163444

Posted by Steviepinhead on March 1, 2007 4:30 PM (e)

For the irony-challenged, I suspect that this unabashed plug statement–

Like delivering tasty pizza hot and in a hurry

–was itself a subtle dig at Ms. Clouser (though I’ve been known to misinterpret LPG before, and will apologize in advance if I’ve done so again).

Anybody care to explain why such an unabashed plug statement might carry that intent?

…I’m still trying to be all sweet and civil when I appear here lately.

Comment #163445

Posted by Carol Clouser on March 1, 2007 4:31 PM (e)

TJM wrote:

“the part i clipped wasn’t intentional, I didn’t post EVERYTHING you said (it would have gotten entirely tedious and repetetive), but that’s why I provided a direct link for the readers to go and check out the thread for themselves.”

Your are an incompetent liar. It is highly unlikely that a handful of words at the beginning of a paragraph surrounded by other paragraphs that you copied intact, words that alter the entire meaning of the sentence that follows, were deleted unintentionally.

And you do not even have the fortutude, you coward, to apologize when apprehended.

Comment #163446

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 1, 2007 4:32 PM (e)

…I’m still trying to be all sweet and civil when I appear here lately.

or at least more subtly hiding your sarcasm.

;)

oh, and save the gerbils.

Comment #163448

Posted by Pizza Woman on March 1, 2007 4:35 PM (e)

Haw!

Ah’m bettin’ that this

Stevie:

…I’m still trying to be all sweet and civil when I appear here lately.

–prolly explains this:

Carol:

Stevie,

Hi. Haven’t seen you in awhile.

Any takers, y’all?

Comment #163449

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on March 1, 2007 4:38 PM (e)

Holy Moly (no gerbil slur intended)!

Who’s gonna show up next?

Nurse Bettinke?

“Dr.” Michael Moron Martin (no mustelid slur intended)?

What is this, like Old Home Week for Freaks?

Comment #163451

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 1, 2007 4:49 PM (e)

that’s right, Carol, avoid the substance of your arguments for the details.

I went back to figure out how that line got left out. When i copy the text from the original posts into a text editor, line breaks appear that i have to then remove in order for the post to read correctly. As proof, check where i missed one in the third quote i posted after the word “from”. That one was where I missed deleting the extra line break, and the missing text in the quote you are concerned about was the exact opposite error, i deleted too many line breaks and it removed the first line in that paragraph.

If you wish an apology i certainly grant one, but it wasn’t intentional. If it was intentional, why would have i provided the direct link to what you said? Real quote miners don’t do that.

that said, why are you avoiding the actual substance of your posts?

do you think that one missing line totally reinterprets what you said before or after?

hey, I gave you the opportunity to spell out what you meant by those comments earlier, and the offer is still there. Perhaps, rather than accusing me of being a lying hypocrite, you might think to take the opportunity to clarify what you “really” meant?

I don’t think pointing out a mistake in my quotes changes the meaning of everything you posted there, do you?

anybody else think that the missing line changes the gist of what Carol was saying in the rest of the posts, or that thread in general?

Comment #163452

Posted by Steviepinhead on March 1, 2007 4:53 PM (e)

LPG:

What is this, like Old Home Week for Freaks?

Sigh.

I knew that boy and I had issues…

Comment #163453

Posted by David B. Benson on March 1, 2007 4:59 PM (e)

What Carol C. writes could use more actual logic, Aristotelian or otherwise…

Also, could be more factual.

Lots more factual…

Comment #163454

Posted by Anton Mates on March 1, 2007 5:06 PM (e)

Carol Clouser wrote:

Oh, I get it now! Aristotle didn’t get around to observing heavy and light objects falling together because he was too busy (according to Anton), he didn’t have a stopwatch (Anton again), he used flawed techniques (Raging Bee) and he hadn’t developed the concept of acceleration (Anton again).

The inimitable wisdom to be found on Panda’s Thumb!

I must conclude that Galileo had lots of time on his hands, that he had a stop watch (not so), and that he used very sophisticated techniques (not the case).

Oh, Carol. With just a tiny amount of reading you would know that Galileo made a kickass custom-made highly accurate water clock and carefully-constructed polished ramps for *cough* rolling his balls. Now I recognize that under a “literal” Clouser-style interpretation that may translate to, “Galileo just threw some stuff off a tower and counted “One mississippi, two mississippi…”

And as for time on his hands…it’s more that, when you’ve founded embryology and comparative anatomy and meteorology and so forth, your status as a scientist no longer hinges on whether you also got physics right, you know? And yeah, when you’ve done all that and written historic treatises on logic, religion, cosmology, ethics, and politics, and founded a philosophical school, and gone on natural history research expeditions, and tutored Alexander the Great into the bargain…no, I’m not going to complain about Aristotle’s use of his time.

And the concept of acceleration is not necessary to the question at hand. (Aristotle, by the way, did know that falling objects accelerate, which he attributed to the increased force of gravity.)

Aristotle knew of acceleration in the qualitative sense. Galileo made it quantitative. Which is partly because he was a very gifted applied mathematician, and partly because he had 2000 years on Aristotle math- and science-wise. (Although his mathematics were largely grounded on another Greek–Eudoxus.)

Comment #163459

Posted by carol clouser on March 1, 2007 5:09 PM (e)

TJM,

I will generously accept your half-hearted apology on the condition that you are commited to henceforth read my (and everyone’s) comments carefully and certainly not distort what people say. I know old habits are difficult to break, but that is the price you will have to pay if you wish to engage in any further discussion with me.

I repeat what I said above, I stand by everything I REALLY wrote. Anyone interested can read that thread to which TJM so enthusiastically and helpfully provided a link to divert attention from the topic at hand.

Comment #163461

Posted by Thanatos on March 1, 2007 5:12 PM (e)

What Carol surely means
is that after a highly important in-an-only-need-to-know-basis secret research program, the Wise of the DI have discovered that Darwin didn’t live in the 1800s but that ,that is only one of the infinite materialistic global conspiracy lies.In fact, huge piles of evidence of pathetic detail, clearly proove that Darwin was a pseudo-scientist of the 1900s,a sadistic member of the Waffen SS Totenkopf division and can be again and again recognised-seen in many concentration camp dharma initiative videos,teaching nazi students his racial pseudotheory by experiments showing the evolution of judean tolerance to Zyclon B,experiments proven later to have been highly biased.
The widely known,easily recognised bearded-harmless-old-wise-granpa photographs of him have been proven to be another satanic PSI-Corps operation achievement.The evil force behind the global consiracy has been found to be the Out of Seirius Society of the We Hate Morality,We love Young Boys,Greek Paedophile Brotherhood.This brotherhood has been, over the ages, keeping humans slaves, concealing the True Nature and History Of Science .That is that the origin of science and of every human intellectual activity is found in the tribe of a desert fellow called jahve ,and that the first true scientific books ever written and whereon all human thought afterwards is based and eventually returns to ,are the Torah,The Tanakh,and The Talmud,jahve’s ancient blockbuster trilogy, on the triadicality of which ,some jahve’s subjects of heretic-innovative thought later formed a highly important but highly antagonistic to orthodox jahvetics scientific theory called christianity.
Jahve’s offsprings,over the ages formed themselfs a brotherhood ,the Illuminati,fighting for humanity’s sake the war against the Dark ,the amoral children of the Greek Paedophile Brotherhood.The founders of DI are thought to be of illuminatian uncommon descent.

So evidently modern materialistic science is wrong.
Thank you Carol and thank you DI for enlighting us and for fighting the War against the Evil Dark Ones.

Comment #163462

Posted by David B. Benson on March 1, 2007 5:15 PM (e)

To quote at least two previous commenters:

Carol C. responds, falls flat on her face.

Like the boy who cried wolf, nobody takes you seriously, Carol.

Comment #163463

Posted by carol clouser on March 1, 2007 5:29 PM (e)

Anton,

Yes, Galileo had a water clock (not quite a stopwatch) but so did Aristotle have a sand clock. Neither is needed to see heavy and light objects falling TOGETHER. Galileo built his device for his light experiments which required them.

You seem to have added another lame excuse for Aristotle’s failure. With all his other achievements, he just did not care about physics!

Actually physics was most important to Aristotle, for he recognized it as fundamental and he had much to say about it. The reason for his shortcomings is what I stated above. This is not at all meant to diminish his resume, it is just the fact. Analyzing what has been transmitted from Aristotle allows us quite a window into his thinking. To Aristotle, logic was the superior method to employ above all else. I cannot see why you are banging your head into the wall to avoid this established knowledge.

Comment #163464

Posted by MarkP on March 1, 2007 5:29 PM (e)

Carol’s just too easy (no reflection on CC’s sexual mores intended).

At this point I’d find a discussion of Carol’s sexual mores an elevation of the discourse.

What is this, like Old Home Week for Freaks?

We’ll know if Donald shows up. We’ve got a slot open on our dance card, apparently Realpc got tired of having his ass handed to him.

Comment #163465

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 1, 2007 5:34 PM (e)

I will generously accept your half-hearted apology on the condition that you are commited to henceforth read my (and everyone’s) comments carefully and certainly not distort what people say

LOL.

again, carol, how have i distorted the gist of your argument?

you keep failing to explain that.

Comment #163466

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 1, 2007 5:37 PM (e)

What Carol surely means
is that after a highly important in-an-only-need-to-know-basis secret research program, the Wise of the DI have discovered that Darwin didn’t live in the 1800s but that ,that is only one of the infinite materialistic global conspiracy lies.In fact, huge piles of evidence of pathetic detail, clearly proove that Darwin was a pseudo-scientist of the 1900s,a sadistic member of the Waffen SS Totenkopf division and can be again and again recognised-seen in many concentration camp dharma initiative videos,teaching nazi students his racial pseudotheory by experiments showing the evolution of judean tolerance to Zyclon B,experiments proven later to have been highly biased.

gotta hand you that one, far more witty than any explanation I could have derived from Carol’s bleatings.

Comment #163468

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 1, 2007 5:41 PM (e)

At this point I’d find a discussion of Carol’s sexual mores an elevation of the discourse.

well, I did wait a LONG time until essentially any substantive discourse related to the actual topic of the thread was long gone.

should i have waited another 100 posts or so?

Comment #163472

Posted by Katarina on March 1, 2007 5:52 PM (e)

Hmmm. I’m getting into a bit of a feminist rage about now.

Comment #163474

Posted by David B. Benson on March 1, 2007 6:00 PM (e)

Katarina — No need for rage, feminist or otherwise. The same comment might well have been applied to a troll of the more traditional kind.

All of whom appear to be male…

Comment #163475

Posted by Steviepinhead on March 1, 2007 6:09 PM (e)

Katarina, if it was my “easy” remark back up in #163442 that offended, I’ll retract it with apologies.

In retrospect, though I was–at least in part–just trying to be clear, a better way to have done it would have been to find a synonym for “easy,” rather than to get parenthetically cutesy.

Comment #163494

Posted by normdoering on March 1, 2007 8:29 PM (e)

Why do you guys bother with carol clouser?

Is it just to amuse yourselves?

Well, you’re amusing me too… “Darwin was a pseudo-scientist of the 1900s, a sadistic member of the Waffen SS Totenkopf division…” Man, you should write for Steven Colbert.

Comment #163495

Posted by normdoering on March 1, 2007 8:33 PM (e)

Death wrote:

The widely known, easily recognised bearded-harmless-old-wise-granpa photographs of him have been proven to be another satanic PSI-Corps operation achievement.

Satanic PSI-Corps? They any relation to CSICOP?

Too bad you can’t put Dembski in a Nazi uniform and say this is what Darwin really looked like.

http://normdoering.blogspot.com/

Comment #163496

Posted by Thanatos on March 1, 2007 8:45 PM (e)

since I’m currently unemployed and in a desperate need of money,if Steven asks I don’t think I’ll say no.
Though I hope he won’t mind the little,tiny problem of my being an ocean plus something away and my knowledge of english only as a foreign language.Of which I need lots of practice.
But anyway thanks. :-)

Comment #163513

Posted by Anton Mates on March 2, 2007 12:03 AM (e)

carol clouser wrote:

Yes, Galileo had a water clock (not quite a stopwatch) but so did Aristotle have a sand clock.

No, he almost certainly didn’t; there’s no record of sand clocks before the first millennium. Aristotle probably had a water clock too, like several other Greek intellectuals. But it wouldn’t have been nearly as accurate as Galileo’s; the latter had the advantage of superior technology and a particular interest in building timekeeping mechanisms.

Neither is needed to see heavy and light objects falling TOGETHER.

…you don’t need accurate timekeeping to confirm that two fast-moving objects hit the ground simultaneously? Huh.

Galileo built his device for his light experiments which required them.

No. From Galileo’s Two New Sciences:

“A piece of wooden moulding or scantling, about 12 cubits long, half a cubit wide, and three finger-breadths thick, was taken; on its edge was cut a channel a little more than one finger in breadth; having made this groove very straight, smooth, and polished, and having lined it with parchment, also as smooth and polished as possible, we rolled along it a hard, smooth, and very round bronze ball. Having placed this board in a sloping position, by lifting one end some one or two cubits above the other, we rolled the ball, as I was just saying, along the channel, noting, in a manner presently to be described, the time required to make the descent….

“For the measurement of time, we employed a large vessel of water placed in an elevated position; to the bottom of this vessel was soldered a pipe of small diameter giving a thin jet of water, which we collected in a small glass during the time of each descent, whether for the whole length of the channel or for a part of its length; the water thus collected was weighed, after each descent, on a very accurate balance; the differences and ratios of these weights gave us the differences and ratios of the times, and this with such accuracy that although the operation was repeated many, many times, there was no appreciable discrepancy in the results.”

To Aristotle, logic was the superior method to employ above all else. I cannot see why you are banging your head into the wall to avoid this established knowledge.

One more time!

“Though Aristotle’s work in zoology was not without errors, it was the grandest biological synthesis of the time, and remained the ultimate authority for many centuries after his death. His observations on the anatomy of octopus, cuttlefish, crustaceans, and many other marine invertebrates are remarkably accurate, and could only have been made from first-hand experience with dissection. Aristotle described the embryological development of a chick; he distinguished whales and dolphins from fish; he described the chambered stomachs of ruminants and the social organization of bees; he noticed that some sharks give birth to live young – his books on animals are filled with such observations, some of which were not confirmed until many centuries later.”

www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/history/aristotle.html

“The only medical treatises of worth to come down to us from the times before Aristotle are the Hippocratic writings….In the work On the Nature of the Infant an exploratory study is suggested in the clearest terms. ‘Take twenty eggs or more, and set them for brooding under two or more hens. Then on each day of incubation from the second to the last, that of hatching, remove one egg and open it for examination. You will find that everything agrees with what I have said, to the extent that the nature of a bird ought to be compared with that of a man.’ Commentators on these writings seem to be agreed that the text does not suggest that the author actually followed his own prescription. That was left to Aristotle. Here is his description of the embryonic stages in the development of the chick.”

iweb.tntech.edu/chem281-tf/Aristiotle.htm

“There were reasons, to be sure, to find the flat-earth theory unsatisfactory and, about 350 B.C., the Greek philosopher Aristotle summarized them. First, certain stars disappeared beyond the Southern Hemisphere as one traveled north, and beyond the Northern Hemisphere as one traveled south. Second, the earth’s shadow on the moon during a lunar eclipse was always the arc of a circle. Third, here on the earth itself, ships disappeared beyond the horizon hull-first in whatever direction they were traveling.

All three observations could not be reasonably explained if the earth’s surface were flat, but could be explained by assuming the earth to be a sphere.”

chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/RelativityofWrong.htm

Comment #163514

Posted by Anton Mates on March 2, 2007 12:05 AM (e)

normdoering wrote:

Why do you guys bother with carol clouser?

Is it just to amuse yourselves?

You have to admit, “And now, a woman will explain why Aristotle was an idiot” would make an excellent Monty Python sketch.

Comment #163517

Posted by Thanatos on March 2, 2007 1:00 AM (e)

Anton Mates wrote:

You have to admit, “And now, a woman will explain why Aristotle was an idiot” would make an excellent Monty Python sketch.

very very true.
But I believe a Monty Python-BlackAdder-Yes(Prime)Minister Series of the Bush Administration-Creationism-IDiotism-movement would be even better.

Comment #163518

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 2, 2007 1:09 AM (e)

she’s freakin’ Anne Elk!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAYDiPizDIs

Comment #163531

Posted by Katarina on March 2, 2007 2:24 AM (e)

Haaaa ha ha ha hahaha!

Comment #163537

Posted by Katarina on March 2, 2007 2:44 AM (e)

Um, what about this one? I picture Bill Dembski, myself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leEsz9ci5XE&m…

Comment #163538

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 2, 2007 2:51 AM (e)

nawww the black knight can only be AFDave.

12000 posts to his creationist drivel and counting, on two blogs no less.

Comment #163564

Posted by Vyoma on March 2, 2007 7:25 AM (e)

I’m coming a little late to this thread, but I note that all the discussion regarding Clouserbot’s inane assertion that only monotheists ever did science have been centered around Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures.

However, I have in my collection translations of several ancient books from India, some of which date as far back as the second century BC. By any measure, the culture that produced them would be considered polytheistic. These books contain everything from observations of the interior of the human body and instructions on how to perform surgery, calculations of the periodicity and paths of eclipses, chemistry, and the physics of building large structures. While the material contained in them is frequently factually wrong (because we’ve clearly got better tools and so can make better, more consistent observations), the process described inthem is clearly in keeping with scientific method. The assertions made in texts such as Rasarnavakalpa or Grahanamandana are based on empirical observation, are testable and falsifiable, etc.

And, in fact, polytheistic cultures are still doing science to this day. As far as I’m aware, no particular theistic system is a hindrance per se to scientific inquiry, so long as it doesn’t blind its adherents to the fact that religion is a lousy source of scientific data, and thus no basis for progress.

Comment #163573

Posted by Raging Bee on March 2, 2007 7:43 AM (e)

Carol blithered thusly:

This is not at all meant to diminish [Aristotle’s] resume…

I may hurt too much to be reminded of this, Carol, but you originally hijacked this thread for the sole purpose of diminishing, not only Aristotle’s resume, but those of pretty much all of the polytheistic scientists who went before Christ. And now you’re flatly denying the intent that was so obvious in your words.

Clearly, you do NOT stand by everything you really wrote. Beneath all the name-calling and pseudo-scholarship, you know you can’t.

As long as you’re moving goalposts, why don’t you move them back to your own living room, and out of our way?

Comment #163575

Posted by Raging Bee on March 2, 2007 7:48 AM (e)

Vyoma: thanks for the perspective. Speaking for myself, I focused on Western polytheists simply because my high-school and college history courses didn’t cover Indian and Chinese scientific achievements. But I, for one, am aware that their civilizations are a good bit older than ours, so they’ve had more time to do the sort of thing Carol insists polytheists just can’t do.

They also have better spiritual insights, but that’s another matter…

Comment #163603

Posted by Carol Clouser on March 2, 2007 11:22 AM (e)

Vyoma wrote:

“I note that all the discussion regarding Clouserbot’s inane assertion that only monotheists ever did science have been centered around Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures.”

I never said any such thing.

But I am beginning to understand why some people here are desperately trying to refute my comments, which focused on the idea that supernatural events would have been difficult to recognize in ancient times. I had the temerity to say a good word, in passing mind you, about monotheism and its providing a supporting basis for seeking order in the universe, which is the hallmark of modern science. Well, folks, like it or not, the founders of modern science were almost all monotheists and many of them clearly enunciated the association. You will just have to deal with the history of the world as it really happened, instead of the revisionism you are engaged in.

Katarine,

Don’t be too offended by the crude and infantile behavior of some folks here. This is typical around here when their arguments are thoroughly defeated and exposed for the stupidity that it consists of. First comes name calling, then distortion, then clipping out words, then sexist crap, and so on down the sewer where many here prefer to dwell.

Comment #163609

Posted by Raging Bee on March 2, 2007 12:29 PM (e)

Vyoma referred to:

…Clouserbot’s inane assertion that only monotheists ever did science…

And Carol responded:

I never said any such thing.

Yes, Carol, you did say such a thing, in Comment #163100:

The eventual spread of monotheism laid the philosophical foundation for the future sea-change in human thinking, that events are ordered instead of chaotic, and thereby created the basis for science…

And you add in Comment #163132:

It is very difficult to imagine the polytheistic mind building modern science. The two just don’t go together.

Did someone say “incompetent liar?”

If you won’t, or can’t, even own up to your own words, when they’re printed in black & white (okay, black & pale yellow) for all to see, then there’s no point in arguing with you – you’re a liar and a coward, and have no place in any adult debate. Buh-bye.

Comment #163610

Posted by Shirley Knott on March 2, 2007 12:48 PM (e)

There’s never been any point in arguing with her.
For her, living in the sewers would be a tremedous move upwards.
Her ignorance is boundless, her arrogance nearly so.
Her relevance, however, much like her honesty and integrity, requires whole new branches of mathematics to compute such infinitesimals.

no hugs for thugs,
Shirley Knott

Comment #163618

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 2, 2007 1:49 PM (e)

But I am beginning to understand why some people here are desperately trying to refute my comments,

LOL.

desperate… yeah that’s the ticket.

Comment #163622

Posted by Katarina on March 2, 2007 2:37 PM (e)

Oh, Carole.

Comment #163630

Posted by David B. Benson on March 2, 2007 4:16 PM (e)

And once more,

Carol responds, falls flat on her face.

Comment #163678

Posted by Vyoma on March 3, 2007 4:56 AM (e)

Clouserbot bleated wrote:

Vyoma wrote:

“I note that all the discussion regarding Clouserbot’s inane assertion that only monotheists ever did science have been centered around Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cultures.”

I never said any such thing.

But I am beginning to understand why some people here are desperately trying to refute my comments, which focused on the idea that supernatural events would have been difficult to recognize in ancient times. I had the temerity to say a good word, in passing mind you, about monotheism and its providing a supporting basis for seeking order in the universe, which is the hallmark of modern science. Well, folks, like it or not, the founders of modern science were almost all monotheists and many of them clearly enunciated the association. You will just have to deal with the history of the world as it really happened, instead of the revisionism you are engaged in.”

When I first read this, I was taken aback by the degree of dishonesty it displays. A moment later, I recalled previous instances of this kind of behavior from the same author.

I must admit, I’m still amazed that anyone can display this degree of dishonesty and expect to be taken seriously. Not only, as someone else pointed out, did you make that assertion twice before, but you made it again in the same statement in which you attempt to deny making the assertion.

The only way this is valid is to disregard the foundations of modern science before a certain point in history, that point being arbitrarily chosen to suit the argument. The foundation of modern science is the search for natural explanations for natural phenomena, and that search has been going on for far longer than the existence of monotheism. It can be seen in the fragmentary extant writings of pre-Socratic philosophers and writings from South Asia. It goes back as far as the origins of writing, and probably further than that. Granted, it was necessary in Europe to rediscover the process after a few centuries of active suppression, but even so, it continued elsewhere in the world. The names of most of the founders of scientific inquiry aren’t even recorded by history.

Moreover, what you did wasn’t to simply say a “good word” about monotheism, what you did was to state that anyone who wasn’t a monotheist suffered with a disorganized mind. Again, there are people still with us who have such disorganized minds, incapable of rational and linear thought according to your terms, who do perfectly good science… and a huge number of people who are monotheists who aren’t capable of rational analysis powerful enough to see the obvious contradictions present in their own heads, and thus their arguments. If pressed to give an example of such an instance in the future, in fact, I would have no compunction in citing you as an example of this.

Comment #163737

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 3, 2007 4:14 PM (e)

I must admit, I’m still amazed that anyone can display this degree of dishonesty and expect to be taken seriously

the one thing i will give the clouserbot, is that I really don’t think it’s intentional in her case.

there is just some kind of defense mechanism that simply prevents her from recognizing when she has said something incredibly inane.

something related to simple denial, I’d wager. again, I see the same pattern with creationists. go check out the AFDave “creator god” thread on ATBC, or look at the recent posts by RealPC. There is a psychology involved here that I personally think relates to some form of cognitive dissonance.

There is an unconcsious recognition that there is extreme conflict between two entirely different worldviews, and anything that tries to break the cobbled barriers between them, whether said by a listener, or even the person themselves, must be denied, lest the entire defensive structure come tumbling down and the person then have to deal with some sort of final resolution between the two worldviews. Forcing that kind of resolution, when the barriers have been maintained for decades, can be very traumatic; sometimes even leading to serious psychological breaks, so they are rightly fearful of confronting the issue directly.

I still recommend to people who exhibit the kind of patterns Carol, AFDave, Michael Egnor, etc. exhibit to find themselves a good analyst and really explore the barriers they have created with their help. Resolution can only lead to a happier life, with far less stress and fewer attempts at irrational defense mechanisms.

Even simple group therapy might work wonders.

Comment #163899

Posted by Carol Clouser on March 4, 2007 12:13 PM (e)

Vayoma wrote:

“Not only, as someone else pointed out, did you make that assertion twice before, but you made it again in the same statement in which you attempt to deny making the assertion.
The only way this is valid is to disregard the foundations of modern science before a certain point in history, that point being arbitrarily chosen to suit the argument. The foundation of modern science is the search for natural explanations for natural phenomena, and that search has been going on for far longer than the existence of monotheism. It can be seen in the fragmentary extant writings of pre-Socratic philosophers and writings from South Asia. It goes back as far as the origins of writing, and probably further than that.”

If you cannot see how what I actually said is very different from what you said I said, then you must have taken leave of your senses. The same applies to the “someone else” you allude to.

Your definition of science as “the search for natural explantions for natural phenomena” is utterly devoid of any content. It is rank amateurish clap-trap. When is an event not a “natural phenomenon”? What constututes a “natural explanation”? Do the gods do so? Why not?

You could say, coming as close to what you did say as possible, that science is the search for natural explanations for ALL phenomena, and by natural we mean ordered and repetitive.

By your definition of science, the ancient cavemen who discovered fire tens of thousands of years ago, were engaged in activity that constitutes modern science. That is not the way the term modern science is used by most people. If that is your definition, then you and I are not speaking the same langauage.

The longer this thread goes on, the more I discover how utterly silly some folks here are.

Comment #163902

Posted by normdoering on March 4, 2007 12:32 PM (e)

Carol Clouser asked:

Your definition of science as “the search for natural explantions for natural phenomena” is utterly devoid of any content. It is rank amateurish clap-trap. When is an event not a “natural phenomenon”? What constututes a “natural explanation”? Do the gods do so? Why not?

Skepdic answers:
http://skepdic.com/naturalism.html

“To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy.” - David Brooks

Comment #163910

Posted by Vyoma on March 4, 2007 2:25 PM (e)

Wow, Clouser is really gone, isn’t she?

Natural phenomena are anything that can be measured, because they interact physically with one another.

“Supernatural” is a meaningless word; anything that interacts with the natural world is quantifiable. For something to be “supernatural,” it would have to not leave any physical evidence - thus excluding it a priori from any scientific investigation.

At least now I understand why Clouser doesn’t see her own intellectual dishonesty; she apparently doesn’t speak the language that she’s speaking (?)

Tell ya what, Carol; you and RealPC go investigate the supernatural and get back to us when you have your results, ‘kay? I expect you’ll have to redefine that now, too.

Comment #163924

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 4, 2007 4:33 PM (e)

The longer this thread goes on, the more I discover how utterly silly some folks here are.

physician, heal thyself.

Comment #163934

Posted by David B. Benson on March 4, 2007 5:37 PM (e)

Once more, but with feeling this time:

Clauser responds, falls flat on face.

Comment #163965

Posted by Carol Clouser on March 4, 2007 9:18 PM (e)

For the benefit of the multitude of lurkers in the shadows of Panda’s Thumb, I will summarize the pearls of wisdom that can be gleaned from some of the regular commenters appearing in this thread.

(1) The modern scientific era began, not as historians say about four hundred years ago, but tens of thousands of years ago, when the ancient cavemen began to make observations and discoveries, such as that rubbing flint stones together can produce fire.

(2) Many of the ancient polytheistic Greeks were really modern scientists, despite the fact that they viewed phenomena as the result of the actions of batttling gods.

(3) Aristotle was a great modern scientist. The fact that he pontificated at length about the physics of motion and gravity and failed to perform rudimentary observations, such as that heavy and light bodies fall together, observations that readily would have revealed how wrong his ideas were, is due to the fact that he was very busy, he did not care and besides, he did not have a stopwatch.

(4) Folks such as Galileo, Newton and Copernicus, do not represent the beginning of a new approach in the study of nature, usually described as modern science, just a “rebirth” of a very old approach that began with the cavemen.

(5) Whatever really happened, one must be careful not to attribute credit where credit is due if the credit goes to monotheists. The real credit for science goes to polytheists and atheists.

That’s about it.

If you’re shaking your head, just read this thread. You are bound to be truly impressed with the penetrating insight to be found here.

Comment #163969

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 4, 2007 9:35 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #163970

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 4, 2007 9:37 PM (e)

For the benefit of the multitude of lurkers in the shadows of Panda’s Thumb, I will summarize create strawmen of the pearls of wisdom that can be gleaned from some of the regular commenters appearing in this thread.

well, they certainly got an eyeful of your “pearls” there, babe.

Comment #164081

Posted by Raging Bee on March 5, 2007 10:23 AM (e)

So…Carol misrepresents what she said, then she misrepresents what everyone else said. At least she’s consistent…

Comment #164304

Posted by André Luis Ferreira da Silva Bacci on March 6, 2007 3:59 PM (e)

[delurk]

Carol Clouser wrote:

For the benefit of the multitude of lurkers in the shadows of Panda’s Thumb, I will …

Best. Laugh. Ever.

[relurk]

Comment #164310

Posted by Popper's ghost on March 6, 2007 4:40 PM (e)

Now all Mr. Matzke has to do is demonstrate that these changes in the genome are the result of random, accidental, non-directed, fortuitous mutations and are not the result of intelligent guidance by structures and processes already programmed into the genetic machinery by an intelligent designer.

No, he doesn’t. The burden is on Egnor and the rest of the IDiots to demonstrate that they are the result of intelligent guidance. Scientists not only don’t have to demonstrate that there is no intelligent guidance, they can’t demonstrate that, and have repeatedly said so. All they assert is that there is no rational reason to think that there is such guidance, since all observation is not only consistent with non-directed mutations, but is what would be expected of non-directed mutations.

Comment #164312

Posted by Popper's ghost on March 6, 2007 4:44 PM (e)

I think that the preponderance of evidence favors the notion that at least some of these new genes are being created as a direct result of processes that are already embedded in the genome and are part of the intelligently designed machinery in the cell.

Nice fallacy of begging the question. That the machinery is intelligently designed is precisely what you were supposed to demonstrate.

Comment #164313

Posted by Popper's ghost on March 6, 2007 4:49 PM (e)

My mind remains open to any possibilities while yours appears to be already made up and unwilling to be swayed by facts.

But what if you went to the moon and saw a washing machine in one of the craters? Could you imagine that it arose by accident from materials on the moon’s surface?

Uh, right, the hallmark of being open to possibilities is the inability to imagine them.

IDiot.

Comment #164314

Posted by Popper's ghost on March 6, 2007 4:51 PM (e)

“Yet you want to claim that the designer intended it that way, and clearly, no matter what arrangements were observed, you’d claim it was the product of intent.”

And how are you different?

Uh, in not claiming that a designer intended it that way, and clearly, no matter what arrangements were observed. Look up “tu quoque”, dolt.

Comment #164316

Posted by Popper's ghost on March 6, 2007 5:02 PM (e)

It’s funny how creationists pick examples of non-reproducing systems (not under evolutionary mechanisms) and then try to reason back to reproducing systems (which are subject to evolutionary mechanisms). Evolutionary mechanisms working on living systems allow for the accumulation of complexity over time, and can create complexity far beyond the capabilities of a human being. Complex systems like washing machines cannot accumulate complexity over time. All their complexity has to happen in one giant leap - leaving the only reasonable explanation to be “intelligent design”. Reasoning backwards from “complex organism” = “requires designer” is completely false.

Exactly right. As PvM says, analogy is the weakest form of argument – especially when it is applied so IDiotically and dishonestly, by ignoring the very differences that are held to be relevant. The theory of evolution applies to descent with modification, specifically to imperfect self-replication. Washing machines are irrelevant, and any difficulty imagining them evolving is no excuse for IDiotically failing to imagine how imperfect self-replicators might evolve.

Comment #164324

Posted by Popper's ghost on March 6, 2007 5:27 PM (e)

if I see trees lined up in an orchard in rows of 20 trees each, in perfect alignment what am I more likely to conclude, that they were the result of intelligent guidance or random chance?

But we’re not talking about trees in perfect alignment or washing machines or watches, we’re talking about biological organisms and mechanisms. Why introduce these examples of “obvious” design if it weren’t for the lack of obviousness in the biological case? Paley finds a watch in a field and sees design – what about the grasses and insects in the field? The very fact that the watch is so strikingly different should be a huge clue; it certainly shoots the analogy in the head.

Suppose you encounter a string of digits which, if taken as pairs that number the letters of the alphabet, translate into Shakespeare’s Macbeth? Would you conclude that it was intelligently produced? Yet, mathematically, it is likely that such a sequence appears somewhere in the infinite decimal expansion of pi – in fact, it is likely that it occurs infinitely many times. A claim of “intelligent guidance” would ignore the known facts about pi, and would be highly selective by ignoring all the digits of pi with no discernible meaning. Claims of intelligent guidance in biology reflect similar ignorance and intellectual dishonesty.

Comment #164326

Posted by Popper's ghost on March 6, 2007 5:33 PM (e)

Say a prayer for me, will you?

If I were stupid enough to think that prayer is effective, I would pray that the clots in your brain clear up enough to allow you to think rationally.

Comment #164328

Posted by Popper's ghost on March 6, 2007 5:54 PM (e)

All through history, in all human cultures, so-called supernatural events have been experienced. I think the word “supernatural” is misleading. The events are perfectly natural, just not yet understood by modern science.

That’s right, they are only “so-called” supernatural, “supernatural” is misleading, all events are perfectly natural (and many of them are understood by science). Now go tell that to Dembski and Behe and the rest of the IDiots. Oh, but wait, you wrote “ID is a grave threat because, if proven, it would undermine scientific materialism”, and you think that “ID seems the obvious answer”. So you’ve contradicted yourself, indicating that you’re confused or dishonest or trolling or some combination. In any case, you’re a waste of time and energy.

Comment #164334

Posted by Popper's ghost on March 6, 2007 6:22 PM (e)

you don’t need accurate timekeeping to confirm that two fast-moving objects hit the ground simultaneously? Huh.

No, Anton, you don’t. As Galileo observed in his notebook, an object consisting of two objects tied together hits the ground at the same time as the lighter objects comprising it, and a light object tied to a heavy object either falls just a fast or retards the heavier object, resulting in the combined (heavier) object falling slower, which is a contradiction. Having carried out this thought experiment, he had no need to carry out a physical experiment, and may not have – see A.F. Chalmers’ “What is this thing called Science?” for further discussion.

Which is not to say that Clouser isn’t a loon and didn’t make numerous ridiculous claims about Aristotle.

Comment #164336

Posted by Lenny's Pizza Guy on March 6, 2007 6:23 PM (e)

Carol, the comedienne:

they viewed phenomena as the result of the actions of batttling gods

Did they get really teed off in that battle?

Or was that a clever-beyond-measure visual reference to the three crosses ==> trinity, like the verbal pun you tried earlier?

Any better guesses? A free, piping-hot pizza, delivered virtually instantaneously, dressed to suit, awaits the funniest* explanation.

*(That Carol can’t spell doesn’t count. That we know.)

Comment #164353

Posted by Paul Flocken on March 6, 2007 9:06 PM (e)

clouser: Modern science is the antithesis of Greek logic and to say otherwise is just plain ignorance. It was Greek logic that led Aristotle to the logical conclusion that heavier objects reach the ground before lighter ones, that the closer an object gets to the ground the heavier it gets, and many other such insightful statements.

Why are you conflating Greek logic with Greek science and conflating Aristotle with all Greek science. The Greeks were quite in love with logic but they weren’t limited to it and it alone. There were many more Greek scientists that just Aristotle and they originated the experimental tradition rediscovered and exemplified by Galileo. Many Greeks did experimental science in modern sense. Their limitations were technological not philosophical.

clouser:that the closer an object gets to the ground the heavier it gets

Regardless of how Aristotle arrived at this conclusion it is, atleast, a true statement, to the degree that closer to the ground is closer to the center of the earth.

clouser: (2) Many of the ancient polytheistic Greeks were really modern scientists, despite the fact that they viewed phenomena as the result of the actions of batttling gods.

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, AND MORE WRONG ! ! ! The entire point of the Greek awakening was that they rejected gods as any kind of answer to the questions they were asking about the world they lived in. I have read any number of explanations about this but Sagan said it better than i can.

The first Ionian scientist was Thales of Miletus, a city in Asia across a narrow channel of water from the island of Samos. He had traveled in Egypt and was conversant with the knowledge of Babylon…. Thales attempted to understand the world without invoking the intervention of the gods. Like the Babylonians, he believed the world to have once been water. To explain the dry land, the Babylonians added that Marduk had placed a mat on the face of the waters and piled dirt upon it. Thales held a similar view, but, as Benjamin Farrington said, ‘left Marduk out.’ Yes, everything was once water, but the Earth formed out of the oceans by a natural process-similar, he thought, to the silting he had observed at the delta of the Nile. Indeed, he thought that water was a common principle underlying all of matter, just as today we might say the same of electrons, protons and neutrons, or of quarks. Whether Thales’ conclusion was correct is not as important as his approach: The world was not made by the gods, but instead was the work of material forces interacting in Nature. Thales brought back from Babylon and Egypt the seeds of the new sciences of astronomy and geometry, sciences that would sprout and grow in the fertile soil of Ionia. (Carl Sagan, “Cosmos”, ch VII “The Backbone of Night”, pages 176-177)

I would have liked to type the whole section but six pages of text was too much. The pertinent section begins on page 174.

Carol you seem so enamored of monotheism but I would ask; how many gods were worshiped by the religion that crushed the Greek awakening?

Comment #164357

Posted by Thanatos on March 6, 2007 10:05 PM (e)

I believe it’s now safe to say,declare that whatever one responds to Carol,no general difference will be Observed.
Except in the diverse and huge energy used and consumed in order to answer (in vain) to her chaotic thoughts.
If you scroll up this thread you’ll see that She,Carol, has been my Muse,forcing extensive and unused parts of my brain to stop being lazy.
Therefore ,she is going herefrom ,to be called by me, Aerologias Hanassa or Mousa Moy.

Comment #164358

Posted by Thanatos on March 6, 2007 10:22 PM (e)

forgive me Mousa Moy,I meant Aerologias Anassa or Vanassa

Comment #164412

Posted by Carol Clouser on March 7, 2007 1:37 PM (e)

Paul,

Hi. Haven’t seen you here for quite some time. But you didn’t miss much.

Most of your comments actually support my position. Read through the thread carefully and you will see that your remarks are best addressed to the other commenters, my interlocutors, here.

But a few points are in order:

(1) Aristotle is mentioned because he stands out as one of the highest achieving Greek intellectuals.

(2) The Greeks did observe and discover, but when it came to postulating laws or finding patterns they typically resorted to philosophy.

(3) Unfortunately, their laudable work (where it was so) did not lay the foundation for modern science that is systemic, continuous and that animates others to build upon previous work, as is evident from the fact that no work at all took place for centuries. I know the blame for this lies elsewhere, but it is the fact nonetheless.

(4) Yes, as an object approaches the ground there is an indetectable, vanishingly small increase in the force of gravity upon it (due to the inverse square law), but according to Aristotle this increase must be much more pronounced to explain the very noticeable increase in speed of the falling object.

(5) I agree that many of the Greeks engaged in observation and discovery were not polytheists. You should direct your comments in this regard to the other commenters here.

Comment #164420

Posted by Raging Bee on March 7, 2007 2:28 PM (e)

Carol, do you ever get tired of making a fool of yourself in public?

(2) The Greeks did observe and discover, but when it came to postulating laws or finding patterns they typically resorted to philosophy.

Yes, the Greeks invented the term “philosophy” to mean “pursuit of knowledge,” of which “postulating laws or finding patterns” was, and is, an integral part. This certainly does nothing to advance your original thesis, which was, let’s remember, that polytheists didn’t do that sort of thing at all.

(3) Unfortunately, their laudable work (where it was so) did not lay the foundation for modern science that is systemic, continuous and that animates others to build upon previous work, as is evident from the fact that no work at all took place for centuries…

Their work was animating plenty of people to build on it, until a certain coalition of monotheists snuffed it out with all the force at their disposal. Just because it was forcibly stopped, does not make it meaningless, especially after it was restarted.

…I know the blame for this lies elsewhere, but it is the fact nonetheless.

Thank you, you have just undercut your own thesis without even knowing it. Where, exactly, do you “know” the blame lies?

Comment #164429

Posted by Steviepinhead on March 7, 2007 3:36 PM (e)

Heck, I’ll give the virtual pizza contest a shot (if only out of the vain hope of partially repairing my longstanding breach with LPG…):

Carol has obvious issues with poly-t-ism.

Surely somebody can do better than that!

Comment #164432

Posted by Sir_Toejam on March 7, 2007 4:09 PM (e)

Most of your comments actually support my position.

of course they do, Carol.

of course they do.

(psst: project much?)

Comment #164443

Posted by Popper's Ghost on March 7, 2007 5:22 PM (e)

It’s amusing that Carol first wrote “The eventual spread of monotheism laid the philosophical foundation for the future sea-change in human thinking, that events are ordered instead of chaotic, and thereby created the basis for science”, but is now complaining that the Greeks “typically resorted to philosophy“. But then, Carol is always amusing.

Comment #164444

Posted by Gav on March 7, 2007 5:24 PM (e)

Paul Flocken asked “how many gods were worshiped by the religion that crushed the Greek awakening?”
Interesting point. It’s arguable that the awakening was mortally wounded, if not actually crushed, by Ptolemy VIII around 145BC, for reasons unconnected with religion. It’s subsequent decline may have been more a matter of neglect by later Roman overlords than religious antipathy. Not sure either whether it’s sensible to generalise about the early Christian Church’s attitude towards whatever science there was at the time. Can find examples of extreme hostility (although again the notorious murder of Hypatia may have been more for political than religious reasons), of realism (that passage from St Augustine that’s always being quoted) and no doubt many shades in between. Not so different from today really.

Comment #164446

Posted by David B. Benson on March 7, 2007 5:47 PM (e)

Hipparchus, 190 BCE – 120 BCE was the first to correctly predict solar eclipses.

Three centuries later, the astronomer Ptolemy build on his work to form the epicyclic model.

Hmmm, doesn’t appear to be crushed or anything, just infrequent advances since there were so few scientists in those days…

Comment #164453

Posted by Glen Davidson on March 7, 2007 6:07 PM (e)

One might suppose that the Greeks who produced much of the foundation of science were moving toward monotheism, if one looked just at Plato. When we look at Aristotle (his god is decidedly unorthodox and unlike the gods of the monotheists) and other later thinkers, however, the monotheistic tendencies appear much more like a movement away from religion altogether.

The atomists of the Epicurean school, in particular, seem to be leaving religion behind, though not entirely behind. Lucretius, etc., have all of the appearances of being close to modern science in thought, although they lack too much of the facts of science to be able to do much with their admirable outlook.

For what little it’s worth, Dembski has sometimes tried to suggest that we “Darwinists” are adherents of Epicurean philosophy, rather than acknowledging the fact that sense tends to drive ancients and moderns toward the same stance. I’d give him just one thing, which is that Epicureanism probably did set a useful precedent for those who preferred thinking from nature to model, rather than trying to impose models on the facts about nature.

Monotheism may be thought to have had a salutary effect upon science once it was revived, mainly by driving the effects of the gods away from the terrestrial sphere. In a sense it is true that monotheism may well be a step on the road to empirical thought, the diminishment of the role of the gods that is completed when people give up the last one. Of course I’m not saying that the last one has to be relinquished to do good science, just that believing that “the gods”, or even Aristotelian tendencies of objects, cause what we see does not assist in doing science.

Gav points to the loss of interest in science during the Roman Empire, something that is not especially well explained. Epicureanism didn’t die out very quickly, however, with Lucretius writing in the 1st century BC, and Epicurean writings having been found to make up a considerable portion of a library found at either Pompey or Herculaneum (as I recall it was the latter). That Epicureanism was a dead end without more empirical facts being produced (Epicureans evidently didn’t do a whole lot of science) may have led to its eventual eclipse in favor of more mystical philosophies, especially if issues of the afterlife might have seemed more important than improving machines and science in the face of disintegrating empire.

To the extent that monotheism might help science along it appears to be doing partially what secularism does all the better, it denies proximal causes by invisible deities, and suggests unity of the world and its forces. If one wishes to praise monotheism as a stepping stone away from religious explanations and toward physics pure and simple (which understands the universe as a unity, but also as operating sans theistic causation), well and good.

But it was the Greeks, who were successful in laying much of the basis of science in so far as they denied action by invisible minds, who were most instrumental in fashioning a view of the universe as a unity, not the monotheists who attributed any observed unity to the outside force of a God. Later monotheists were able to take in the philosophies of the Greeks in part because the Greek thinkers weren’t polytheists, yet these monotheists were successful by following the Greeks away from an instrumental view of religion, not because monotheism per se leads toward science.

Glen D
http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

Comment #164815

Posted by Anton Mates on March 9, 2007 10:40 PM (e)

Popper's ghost wrote:

No, Anton, you don’t. As Galileo observed in his notebook, an object consisting of two objects tied together hits the ground at the same time as the lighter objects comprising it, and a light object tied to a heavy object either falls just a fast or retards the heavier object, resulting in the combined (heavier) object falling slower, which is a contradiction.

Well, two things there. The notion of the lighter object retarding the heavier one doesn’t seem (at least to me) to be immediately obvious without some experimentally-derived understanding of force and tension–which latter Galileo studied, not coincidentally. And while the thought experiment may point out the absurdity of gravitational acceleration depending purely on weight, it doesn’t prove that gravitational acceleration is independent of weight. Indeed, you could envision the same experiment with air resistance factored in, and of course acceleration would be influenced by weight then. Likewise for objects being accelerated by, say, an electromagnetic field.

Having carried out this thought experiment, he had no need to carry out a physical experiment, and may not have – see A.F. Chalmers’ “What is this thing called Science?” for further discussion.

I’ve never read Chalmers, but from Google Scholar there seem to be a lot of recent articles arguing that Galileo did perform the experiments he described–something about a new journal of his having been discovered?

Though it would be very ironic if he overturned Aristotle’s mildly observation-based theory of gravity by means of a thought experiment….

Comment #164832

Posted by Popper's Ghost on March 10, 2007 3:31 AM (e)

The notion of the lighter object retarding the heavier one doesn’t seem (at least to me) to be immediately obvious without some experimentally-derived understanding of force and tension–which latter Galileo studied, not coincidentally. And while the thought experiment may point out the absurdity of gravitational acceleration depending purely on weight, it doesn’t prove that gravitational acceleration is independent of weight. Indeed, you could envision the same experiment with air resistance factored in, and of course acceleration would be influenced by weight then. Likewise for objects being accelerated by, say, an electromagnetic field.

You’re making things unnecessarily complicated. I realized several years ago, before learning of Galileo’s thought experiments, that it follows logically from the fact that half an object falls at the same rate as the whole object that a heavier object doesn’t necessarily fall faster than a lighter object, thereby refuting Aristotle. What would you expect upon dropping two cannonballs, one of which has been split in half and the other hasn’t? Why should the separated halves fall slower than the attached halves? Perhaps they would, but there is no reason to expect it – Aristotle’s claim now seems rather unintuitive.

Here is a discussion of Galileo’s “famous” thought experiment. Looking at Chalmers, I can’t find (via the index) mention of this thought experiment, although he does write

Contrary to the popular myth, Galileo seems to have performed few experiments. Many of the “experiments” he refers to while articulating his theory are thought experiments. This is a paradoxical fact for those empiricists who think that new theories are derived from the facts in some way, but it is quite comprehensible when it is realized that precise experimentation can only be carried out if one has a precise theory capable of yielding predictions in the form of precise observation statements. Galileo was in the process of making a major contribution to the building of a new mechanics that was to prove capable of supporting detailed experimentation at a later stage. It need not be surprising that his efforts involved thought experiments, analogies and illustrative metaphors rather than detailed experimentation.

—–

from Google Scholar there seem to be a lot of recent articles arguing that Galileo did perform the experiments he described–something about a new journal of his having been discovered?

That may be, but his journals nonetheless describe many thought experiments, including the one about falling bodies – try entering Galileo thought experient.

Comment #164833

Posted by Popper's Ghost on March 10, 2007 3:37 AM (e)

er, Galileo thought experiment

Comment #164836

Posted by Popper's Ghost on March 10, 2007 3:55 AM (e)

Here’s another thought experiment: coat a lighter object and a heavier object with superglue, and drop the heavier object just after the lighter object. According to Aristotle, when the heavier object catches up with the lighter object and bonds to it, it will suddenly accelerate. The thought experiment indicates that Aristotle’s conception of speed is flawed.

As I said Anton, in response to your question “you don’t need accurate timekeeping to confirm that two fast-moving objects hit the ground simultaneously?”, Galileo having carried out his thought experiment had no need to carry out a physical experiment. Perhaps he did, but he already had logical confirmation, and had his timekeeping equipment indicated otherwise, he would have had good reason to question its accuracy.

Comment #164846

Posted by k.e. on March 10, 2007 6:34 AM (e)

For those not old enough to remember the famous Apollo 15 TV clip.

The Apollo 15 Hammer-Feather Drop.

Movie link:
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/image/feath…

Comment #165161

Posted by Anton Mates on March 12, 2007 8:00 PM (e)

Popper's Ghost wrote:

You’re making things unnecessarily complicated. I realized several years ago, before learning of Galileo’s thought experiments, that it follows logically from the fact that half an object falls at the same rate as the whole object that a heavier object doesn’t necessarily fall faster than a lighter object, thereby refuting Aristotle. What would you expect upon dropping two cannonballs, one of which has been split in half and the other hasn’t? Why should the separated halves fall slower than the attached halves? Perhaps they would, but there is no reason to expect it – Aristotle’s claim now seems rather unintuitive.

And yet they do fall slower. Moreover, if you grind the cannonball into iron filings, you find–unsurprisingly–that the cloud of filings drops considerably more slowly than the entire ball. A cloud of dust falls more slowly than an equal-weight dirt clod. If you understand air resistance you see why those examples don’t really count, but if you don’t, I’d say intuition falls closer to the Aristotelian model than the Galilean.

That may be, but his journals nonetheless describe many thought experiments, including the one about falling bodies – try entering Galileo thought experient.

Oh, I agree. So far as I know, he did test balls rolling down inclined planes, and (due to friction, I imagine), found results only partly in agreement with his theory–and he just didn’t bother talking about the failures! See “The Pendulum Swings Again: A Mathematical Reassessment of Galileo’s Experiments with Inclined Planes” by Alexander J. Hahn, in Arch. Hist. Exact Sci. 56 (2002).

Here’s another thought experiment: coat a lighter object and a heavier object with superglue, and drop the heavier object just after the lighter object. According to Aristotle, when the heavier object catches up with the lighter object and bonds to it, it will suddenly accelerate. The thought experiment indicates that Aristotle’s conception of speed is flawed.

Except that Aristotle would generally be correct there. (Depends on exactly how each object is shaped, but if they’re, say, hemispheres of equal size but different density, they will suddenly accelerate once they’re touching. You don’t even need glue.)

Aristotle would still be quantitatively incorrect, of course, since the various objects don’t fall with accelerations proportional to their weights.

As I said Anton, in response to your question “you don’t need accurate timekeeping to confirm that two fast-moving objects hit the ground simultaneously?”, Galileo having carried out his thought experiment had no need to carry out a physical experiment. Perhaps he did, but he already had logical confirmation, and had his timekeeping equipment indicated otherwise, he would have had good reason to question its accuracy.

But if his timekeeping was sufficiently accurate, it would indicate otherwise. You may be quite right that Galileo didn’t feel the need to check up on his claim, but we now know that it’s simply not true unless you’re in a vacuum. No thought experiment can logically confirm a claim that’s false.

Comment #165165

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on March 12, 2007 9:22 PM (e)

Not friction (unless you mean air resistance), rotational inertia. You’ve got to get the ball started, after all :)

Comment #165168

Posted by Anton Mates on March 12, 2007 10:00 PM (e)

W. Kevin Vicklund wrote:

Not friction (unless you mean air resistance), rotational inertia. You’ve got to get the ball started, after all :)

Actually, I did mean friction: air resistance plus the possibility of the ball skidding slightly rather than purely rolling. It’s been a long time since any mechanics classes, but IIRC two rolling balls of equal radius but different mass should–barring friction–move identically on an inclined plane. Rotational inertia slows them both down vs. falling or sliding balls, but it’s still proportional to mass so it doesn’t screw up the uniformity of their acceleration.

Not that Galileo knew that. But that alone shouldn’t have messed up his results AFAIK.

Comment #165182

Posted by Popper's ghost on March 13, 2007 4:34 AM (e)

And yet they do fall slower.

Even if you were correct, Galileo didn’t think so, which is what is relevant. But you aren’t correct, as there are configurations, such as a cannonball that has been sliced horizontally, where air resistance is identical.

If you understand air resistance you see why those examples don’t really count, but if you don’t, I’d say intuition falls closer to the Aristotelian model than the Galilean.

Since Aristotle’s intuition doesn’t involve air resistance, that can’t be right. As you say, his intuition was that objects fall with accelerations proportional to their weights, and that intuition is starkly wrong.

Comment #165184

Posted by Popper's ghost on March 13, 2007 4:39 AM (e)

But if his timekeeping was sufficiently accurate, it would indicate otherwise. You may be quite right that Galileo didn’t feel the need to check up on his claim, but we now know that it’s simply not true unless you’re in a vacuum. No thought experiment can logically confirm a claim that’s false.

Ah, so you are arguing that Galileo must not have actually carried out the experiment, because if he had he would have observed that Aristotle was qualitatively right? That’s remarkably inconsistent with “you don’t need accurate timekeeping to confirm that two fast-moving objects hit the ground simultaneously? Huh.”

Comment #165185

Posted by Popper's ghost on March 13, 2007 4:47 AM (e)

You comments about “intuition fall[ing] closer to the Aristotelian model” and “Aristotle would generally be correct there” are also remarkably inconsistent with “it would be very ironic if he overturned Aristotle’s mildly observation-based theory of gravity by means of a thought experiment”, as it seems to imply that one would naturally assume that it was physical experiment, thought experiment, that had that result.

Comment #165600

Posted by Anton Mates on March 15, 2007 12:20 PM (e)

Popper's ghost wrote:

And yet they do fall slower.

Even if you were correct, Galileo didn’t think so, which is what is relevant. But you aren’t correct, as there are configurations, such as a cannonball that has been sliced horizontally, where air resistance is identical.

If the air resistance is identical to the whole-cannonball case, then the halves will fall slower, because they’re each experiencing the same retarding force versus only half of the original gravitational force, as acting on half the original mass. The halves will fall at the same speed as the whole cannon ball only if the air resistance they each experience at a given speed is also cut in half. This isn’t actually possible–even if you slice the cannonball vertically, so its horizontal cross-sectional area is halved, the drag from skin friction will still be more than half its original value.

I suppose if the ball is sliced horizontally and the halves are left in contact, and the distance dropped is small, the halves might not have time to come apart at all and experience significantly increased drag. But only shows that halves which are combined into one object fall faster than separated halves, which, again, is qualitatively in line with Aristotle.

And no, what Galileo thinks isn’t the issue. You were saying that your intuition agreed with him; I was saying that mine doesn’t.

If you understand air resistance you see why those examples don’t really count, but if you don’t, I’d say intuition falls closer to the Aristotelian model than the Galilean.

Since Aristotle’s intuition doesn’t involve air resistance, that can’t be right. As you say, his intuition was that objects fall with accelerations proportional to their weights, and that intuition is starkly wrong.

I don’t know what Aristotle’s intuition was, although I’m fairly confident he thought he was basing his model of physics on logic and observation, not intuition. But his model is all about resistance–his whole idea is that a moving (earthly) object’s natural tendency is to come to rest. Moreover, in De Caelo he explicitly invokes resistance to motion through a medium to explain why objects with a wide cross-section fall or rise more slowly:

“The shape of bodies will not account for their moving upward or downward in general, though it will account for their moving faster or slower. The reasons for this are not difficult to see. For the problem thus raised is why a flat piece of iron or lead floats upon water, while smaller and less heavy things, so long as they are round or long-a needle, for instance-sink down; and sometimes a thing floats because it is small, as with gold dust and the various earthy and dusty materials which throng the air. With regard to these questions, it is wrong to accept the explanation offered by Democritus. He says that the warm bodies moving up out of the water hold up heavy bodies which are broad, while the narrow ones fall through, because the bodies which offer this resistance are not numerous. But this would be even more likely to happen in air-an objection which he himself raises. His reply to the objection is feeble. In the air, he says, the ‘drive’ (meaning by drive the movement of the upward moving bodies) is not uniform in direction. But since some continua are easily divided and others less easily, and things which produce division differ similarly in the case with which they produce it, the explanation must be found in this fact. It is the easily bounded, in proportion as it is easily bounded, which is easily divided; and air is more so than water, water than earth. Further, the smaller the quantity in each kind, the more easily it is divided and disrupted. Thus the reason why broad things keep their place is because they cover so wide a surface and the greater quantity is less easily disrupted. Bodies of the opposite shape sink down because they occupy so little of the surface, which is therefore easily parted. And these considerations apply with far greater force to air, since it is so much more easily divided than water. But since there are two factors, the force responsible for the downward motion of the heavy body and the disruption-resisting force of the continuous surface, there must be some ratio between the two. For in proportion as the force applied by the heavy thing towards disruption and division exceeds that which resides in the continuum, the quicker will it force its way down; only if the force of the heavy thing is the weaker, will it ride upon the surface.”

Aristotle essentially envisions a friction-dominated world, just as Galileo envisions a frictionless one. Both are quantitatively wrong; but each view is qualitatively correct under certain conditions.

But if his timekeeping was sufficiently accurate, it would indicate otherwise. You may be quite right that Galileo didn’t feel the need to check up on his claim, but we now know that it’s simply not true unless you’re in a vacuum. No thought experiment can logically confirm a claim that’s false.

Ah, so you are arguing that Galileo must not have actually carried out the experiment, because if he had he would have observed that Aristotle was qualitatively right?

No, I earlier cited a paper arguing that he had carried out at least three such experiments, but discarded some of his results precisely because Aristotle was qualitatively right, and friction produced results inconsistent with Galileo’s predictions.

That’s remarkably inconsistent with “you don’t need accurate timekeeping to confirm that two fast-moving objects hit the ground simultaneously? Huh.”

Um, the two statements don’t have anything to do with each other. Two objects dropped simultaneously from the same height don’t in general hit the ground simultaneously. But if they did, you’d need accurate timekeeping to confirm it. Do you see now?

You comments about “intuition fall[ing] closer to the Aristotelian model” and “Aristotle would generally be correct there” are also remarkably inconsistent with “it would be very ironic if he overturned Aristotle’s mildly observation-based theory of gravity by means of a thought experiment”, as it seems to imply that one would naturally assume that it was physical experiment, thought experiment, that had that result.

I don’t know that means. Are you equating physical experiments and thought experiments?

Let me try again. The standard story, as repeated by Carol, is that Aristotle developed his theory of gravity by means of pure philosophy and logic, and that Galileo refuted it by means of physical experiment and empirical observation. It would be very ironic if, in fact, Aristotle’s theory owed more to observation and Galileo’s refutation was based primarily on thought experiments.