Sunday, December 5, 2010

Elliott Sober and the Enemy

Politicians and football coaches understand that what motivates people is an enemy. What better way for a leader to solidify support than by war with an evil foe. Internal failings and scandals fade in the light of an external threat. Whether it is nazism, communism or terrorism, there always seems to be an appropriate “ism” to capture and focus our attention.

The alarm of an external threat is often legitimate. Have not nazism, communism and terrorism been real dangers? But what begins as a legitimate response to a threat is sometimes extrapolated well beyond the original mandate. A war effort that is just can later lead to power grabs and secret wars.

For evolutionists, the enemy is creationism. And with creationism there certainly are many legitimate questions. Seventeenth and eighteenth century thinkers wondered about the age of the earth, whether god created the unsavory aspects of nature, how fossils fit into the picture, and so forth. Could it be that god created not by direct miracles but rather via nature’s laws?

Certainly these were, and remain today, legitimate questions. But in those centuries leading up to Darwin, several traditions emerged that did not merely question or doubt the traditional creation story, they mandated a strictly naturalistic origins narrative. The theory of creation, as several different arguments asserted, had been disproven so an evolutionary story must be the answer.

And that answer was increasingly viewed as the truth. Today evolutionists insist their theory is an undeniable fact. It would be perverse and irrational, they say, to doubt it.

This is the effect of having an enemy. Creationists are a unifying threat to evolutionists. Evolutionists routinely refer to creationists has having various nefarious motives. And this is why evolution apologists are quick to label any and all skepticism as creationism. Better to maintain a strong, threatening enemy than to thoughtfully consider different views.

Evolution is, of course, unlikely from a scientific perspective. Practically every one of its major predictions has been falsified. And the theory has become enormously complex and circuitous in its attempts to accommodate the uncooperative data.

But this misses the point. Evolution never was a likely idea. Its mandate did not come from the evidence in its favor, but rather from the evidence against creation. At bottom evolutionary thought is contrastive. It depends on its never ending recall of creationism. Today’s evolutionary literature reads very much like the Enlightenment version.

Evolutionists are continually explaining that while their idea is a theory, it is also a fact. The “theory” part refers to their ignorance of how all of biology could have arisen on its own, while the “fact” part refers to their certainty that it nonetheless must have happened that way.

Evolutionary philosopher Elliott Sober has analyzed how common descent advances via this contrastive thinking. The powerful arguments and evidence do not actually bolster the theory but rather they rebuke the alternative. He explains it this way:

This last result provides a reminder of how important the contrastive framework is for evaluating evidence. It seems to offend against common sense to say that E is stronger evidence for the common-ancestry hypothesis the lower the value is of [the probability of E given the common-ancestry hypothesis]. This seems tantamount to saying that the evidence better supports a hypothesis the more miraculous the evidence would be if the hypothesis were true. Have we entered a Lewis Carroll world in which down is up? No, the point is that, in the models we have examined, the ratio [the probability of E given the common-ancestry hypothesis divided by the probability of E given the separate-ancestry hypothesis] goes up as [the probability of E given the common-ancestry hypothesis] goes down. … When the likelihoods of the two hypotheses are linked in this way, it is a point in favor of the common-ancestry hypothesis that it says that the evidence is very improbable. [Evidence and Evolution, p. 314]

In other words, it doesn’t matter that common descent is not a good theory. It must be true because the alternative is even worse. Sober refers to this mode of reasoning as Darwin’s Principle. Evolutionists must fight their enemy.

Evolutionary thought is easily the greatest threat to science today. It turns science on its head in favor of its own metaphysics. Religion drives science, and it matters.

146 comments:

  1. Cornelius,
    As has been pointed out many times to you before, "contrastive reasoning" is the basis of all hypothesis-testing based science. Statistical tests used in hypothesis-based science don't test the probability of a given hypothesis (say, a difference in height between two populations) being correct, they test the probability of a null hypothesis (no difference in height between two populations) being false. So if you really think this type of logic is faulty, then the majority of all modern science is faulty.

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  2. Cornelius Hunter:

    " . . evolution apologists are quick to label any and all skepticism as creationism. Better to maintain a strong, threatening enemy than to thoughtfully consider different views."
    =====

    I've noticed this same phenomena with other philosophical/political/social/ideological/etc groups who needed to culture and nuture the hatred of something to bind their cause together or the lack of a common ground enemy would fractionalize them and the movement would fall apart.

    Take for example the various American Indian tribes whose distrust, jealousy and hatred of each other is ONLY at times seemingly brought together and united through the Native American Sovereignty Movement by cultivating and focusing their hatred of the White Man(the enemy). Without the white man their unity disintegrates and they go back to precolonial hatreds and predjudices of each other. There's certainly no arguing the horrible treatment their ancestors received during those early years. But their conduct towards each other was every equal to that experienced in Europe before and since.

    Evolutionists have displayed this same ugly tendancy towards each other in their pursuit of fame, glitter and glory. When the news comes out that a certain researcher has possibly discovered something, this inherent imperfect trait of coveteousness and envy kick in and they look to discredit the individual. I saw a documentary of fossil hunting scientists in northern Alaska fighting like children amongst themselves because of this same childish adolescent behavior of who's going to be first to discover something because of having the choicest prime digging site. The "Creation" issue is one of the most uniting factors that allows otherwise childish individuals to cooperate under a common cause or they'd be at each other's throats.

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  3. Elliot Sober:

    "It seems to offend against common sense . . "
    ======

    Definitions please ??? We've already established here on these boards in the past that ONLY "Politically Correct" definitions of this term "common sense" are to be allowed. It has to be peer approved as coming from the correct parallel universe or from the correct virtual world of Matrix online gaming site.

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  4. nanobot74:

    "So if you really think this type of logic is faulty, then the majority of all modern science is faulty."
    =======

    Actually your presence here proves exactly what he is talking about. Without this man, you and the others here don't actually have a life and would never otherwise associate with each other without Cornelius Hunter's presence as the enemy to be fought. Thorton even admits, "Not on my watch". Thanks for playing and illustrating his point.

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  5. Cornelius Hunter said....

    For evolutionists, the enemy is creationism


    No, the enemy of science is Fundamentalist religious fanaticism that seeks to replace sound scientific methods and results with anti-science religious dogma.

    Today evolutionists insist their theory is an undeniable fact.

    A flat out lie, still deliberately equivocating over the empirically observed reality of evolution and the theory which explains the observation.

    Evolution is, of course, unlikely from a scientific perspective. Practically every one of its major predictions has been falsified.

    Another flat out lie that CH has seen rebutted dozens of times before.

    Its mandate did not come from the evidence in its favor, but rather from the evidence against creation. At bottom evolutionary thought is contrastive. It depends on its never ending recall of creationism

    Another flat out lie with a good dose of projection thrown in. ToE stands on its own positive evidence irregardless of other creation ideas. Special Creation is the side that still relies 100% on a false dichotomy. Creation has no positive evidence of its own and relies solely on attacking ToE and claiming Creation therefore must win by default.

    Evolutionists are continually explaining that while their idea is a theory, it is also a fact. The “theory” part refers to their ignorance of how all of biology could have arisen on its own, while the “fact” part refers to their certainty that it nonetheless must have happened that way.

    The same lie as above, repeated by CH. But a lie told for Jesus isn't really a lie, right CH?

    CH has given up even the pretense of reasoned argument, now it's just blindly spew lies and propaganda to the sheep.

    Did you make your monthly quota of shrill anti-science nonsense posts for Biola yet CH? Or should we expect more for Christmas?

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  6. Hunter: For evolutionists, the enemy is creationism.

    It's the other way around, Cornelius. As a fellow of Discovery Institute, you are perfectly aware that it is creationists who wage the war on evolution. Defeating Darwinism is the title of a book written by the founder of the intelligent design movement Phillip Johnson. Creationists of all stripes are obsessed with defeating the theory of evolution.

    In contrast, very few professional evolutionary biologists care much about creationism. No more than professional physicists care about crackpots denying relativity or quantum mechanics.

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  7. 'No more than professional physicists care about crackpots denying relativity or quantum mechanics.'

    Actually general relativity and quantum mechanics fully supports Theism and was completely unexpected from a purely materialistic perspective.

    ,,,I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its 'uncertain' 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe:

    Psalm 33:13-15 The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works.

    The expansion of every 3D point in the universe, and the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe to each point of conscious observation in the universe, is obviously a very interesting congruence in science between the very large (relativity) and the very small (quantum mechanics). A congruence that Physicists, and Mathematicians, seem to be having a extremely difficult time 'unifying' into a 'theory of everything'.(Einstein, Penrose).

    Yet, this unification, into a 'theory of everything', between what is in essence the 'infinite world of Quantum Mechanics' and the 'finite world of the space-time of General Relativity' seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life - General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin - video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355

    "Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature." St. Augustine

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  8. Thorton:

    "No, the enemy of science is Fundamentalist religious fanaticism that seeks to replace sound scientific methods and results with anti-science religious dogma."
    =====

    Let's see, you think his brand of "Fundamentalist Religious Fanaticism" is an enemy of science, but not your's ???
    "Scientific Method" ???? You don't even use it, you prefer stories to fill in the gaps.
    So your against Cornelius' religion, but not your own ???
    -----

    Thorton:

    CH: "Today evolutionists insist their theory is an undeniable fact.

    Thorton: "A flat out lie, still deliberately equivocating over the empirically observed reality of evolution and the theory which explains the observation."
    =====

    How incredible is this. First you call him a flat out liar, then you proceed to confirm what you just said he lied about ???
    -----

    Thorton:

    "The same lie as above, repeated by CH. But a lie told for Jesus isn't really a lie, right CH?
    CH has given up even the pretense of reasoned argument, now it's just blindly spew lies and propaganda to the sheep.
    Did you make your monthly quota of shrill anti-science nonsense posts for Biola yet CH? Or should we expect more for Christmas?"
    ======

    And basically no science statements here, just the usual issues with accountability problems and ideological propagandizing. I'm sure you were a peach to raise by your parents.

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  9. Oleg:

    " . . you are perfectly aware that it is creationists who wage the war on evolution."
    ====

    Wrong, look back at the history of your religious dogma from it's infancy and ideological birth beginnings. It was the "Johnny Come Lately" to the party and was an offensive Marxist terrorist attack when your holy man invented it.
    ----

    Oleg:

    "In contrast, very few professional evolutionary biologists care much about creationism."
    ====

    This may have been a true statement if you'd said your average biologist, but "Evolutionary Biologist ??? Please, it's all about the ideology as your and every other atheist blog bares this out comrad.
    ----

    Oleg:

    "No more than professional physicists care about crackpots denying relativity or quantum mechanics."
    ====

    Which is why your unprofessional appearance here illustrates ???

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  10. Checking in...

    Nothing new here...

    Checking out.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Cornelius:

    "Today evolutionists insist their theory is an undeniable fact. It would be perverse and irrational, they say, to doubt it."

    No, that's not true. Here's what the Society for the Study of Evolution says:

    ""Evolution" refers both to a set of scientific facts and to a theory explaining such facts. "Evolution" refers to the scientific fact that biological organisms have changed through time, and that all life, including humanity, has descended with modification from common ancestors."

    Cornelius:

    "Evolution is, of course, unlikely from a scientific perspective. Practically every one of its major predictions has been falsified."

    Oh really? What are those major predictions that have been falsified?

    It's obvious that you are just projecting. As Oleg pointed out, it's the creationists that wage war on their enemies. The scientists are on the defense. There's nothing there for the scientists to attack.

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  12. Cornelius claims:"Better to maintain a strong, threatening enemy than to thoughtfully consider different views."

    If you honestly believe that evolutionary biologists spend more time/energy maintaining creationism as an enemy than considering different views you are massively deluded.

    You are equally deluded if you believe evolutionary biologists belive creationists are strong or threatening in any other than a popular and strictly non-scientific context.

    And if you want to make a actual case for this POV instead of just making wild assertions, try conducting some science to that effect.

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  13. Hey, it's great to know you have a copy of Evidence and Evolution! Maybe some day you could try to read it comprehensively.

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  14. Cornelius wrote

    Whether it is nazism, communism or terrorism, there always seems to be an appropriate “ism” to capture and focus our attention.

    That from a representative of a movement that almost exclusively uses "Darwinism" to refer to evolutionary biology. My irony meter blew up when I read that.

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  15. Cornelius wrote..."Creationists are a unifying threat to evolutionists. Evolutionists routinely refer to creationists has having various nefarious motives."

    Conspiracy accusations fly all over the place especially when science standards in public schools are in the process of considering critical thinking skills being taught which includes evaluating data in the evolutionary framework.

    I noticed, you have person in here claiming that evolution is not considered as an undeniable fact, but in reality this is what my friend's son was told by his teacher in college. It amazes me the stuff evolutionists come up with to argue about...lol

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  16. Thornton Another flat out lie with a good dose of projection thrown in. ToE stands on its own positive evidence irregardless of other creation ideas. Special Creation is the side that still relies 100% on a false dichotomy. Creation has no positive evidence of its own and relies solely on attacking ToE and claiming Creation therefore must win by default.
    I suspect this is deliberate - Cornelius often claims that Evolution is religion because it relies on arguments of bad design - "if must have evolved because no real designer would ..." - In reality these arguments are in response to claims of design.

    Attacking evolutionary theory with arguments about design generates counter arguments about bad design which Cornelius can then cite to support his arguments!

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  17. Bill Bigge:

    "I suspect this is deliberate - Cornelius often claims that Evolution is religion because it relies on arguments of bad design . . "
    =====

    While there is an element of truth to your point of which Cornelius does point out the bad design arguements, what really makes evolution a religion are the constant faith-based statements made to explain what Evolutionists believed happens in many supposed experimental proofs(especially with all the micro-world experiments where most of mankind are totally ignorant to it's complexity and therefore take it on faith that the prominent genuises know what they are talking about).

    The descriptions are often vague and rely on vivid imagination of the one telling the story. One opposing such a kook story is often put in the position of actually needing a Time Machine to go back and prove the story false.

    Many of Cornelius' examples of religion have been where the research work was very well done in explaining some extremely amazing things found in the natural world and how they work and function like a well oiled machine, ONLY to have a sentence or two attempt to plagerize all of that very purposeful directed efficiently running machinery and give Charlie Darwin the credit with mere citation without ever showing proof of that being true. It seems that the mere physical act of "SAYING IT'S SO" is all that is needed. That small crediting of Charlie is a formalistic type of Emperor Worship, which in itself is a religious ritual for appeasing your Church's Priesthood. Look up the dictionary word "faith" and realize that it takes huge amounts of faith to believe many of the otherwise unsupported supernatural stories your side invents to prop up this faith-based dogma.

    "ABIOGENESIS" is a perfect example of an Atheist version of their own Virgin Birth story.

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  18. Does this mean that ID proponents are going to stop associating evolution with Hitler?

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  19. Eocene:

    "give Charlie Darwin the credit with mere citation without ever showing proof of that being true. It seems that the mere physical act of "SAYING IT'S SO" is all that is needed. That small crediting of Charlie is a formalistic type of Emperor Worship, which in itself is a religious ritual for appeasing your Church's Priesthood."

    Show us a paper where some biological trait is claimed to have evolved followed by a citation of Charles Darwin.

    You probably won't because you never back up your hysterical rants with any evidence. I asked you earlier to give us a list of biologists whose career was ruined because they didn't "toe the party line", but of course you didn't respond.

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  20. Petrushka:

    "Does this mean that ID proponents are going to stop associating evolution with Hitler?"
    =====

    Why should they ??? It was a FACT that evolutionary and Darwinian "Survival of the Fittest" concepts were used and abused to justify such a horrible ideological doctrine. Those are the FACTS and you don't have to like them. That's what free will is all about.

    The more important question should be is "Why did almost 100% of various Churches in all of Christendom actually support such an animalistic worldview in the first place for which their own holy book condemns them to this very day as it does your side ???

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  21. Troy:

    "Show us a paper where some biological trait is claimed to have evolved followed by a citation of Charles Darwin."
    =====

    Go back over Cornelius' blog articles, there are planty. Evolution and the name Charlie Darwin go hand in hand, the two are absolutely inseparable. Proof of this is your and everyone else's constant defense of this man. He's the only scientist in history that has a need of Bulldogs and Pitbulls to defend him. No other claimed scientist throughout history has this need. Can you honestly say that no scientist from all the historically atheistic Communist countries was never persecuted had they NOT accepted evolution ??? I'm sure they were all given a "Cool Hand Luke" box treatment until they got their minds was right.

    Then there are all those numerous experiments that claim to offer evolutionary wonders of change mechanisms which are nothing of the sort, like the Lenski E-coli farce, Anti-biotic Resistance farce, Nylonase recycling farce, etc, etc, etc all of which rely on imaginary predjudicial bias of a worldview through the act of story telling. Somehow Lizards adapting to climate change and it being attributed to evolution also comes to mind.

    I also however believe that any creationist/IDist scientist would be equally guilty of the same thing if they simply made bold statements without impirical unbiased evidence acquired using the Scientific Method for the proof for others to independently verify. Unfortunately we don't live in a world where personal bigoted bias isn't going to get in the way and effect an outcome. That's why science should be neutral by it's own definition, but we're never going to get that in this present confused disunited world of humankind.

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  22. Troy:

    "I asked you earlier to give us a list of biologists whose career was ruined because they didn't "toe the party line", but of course you didn't respond."
    =====

    Easy, Google it. I can think of one earlier this year in the country of Israel where Dr. Gavriel Avital was dismissed for denying Evolution and Global Warming. I have no problem for the evolution issue, but clearly there is some type of complex global ruination going presently for which this world's inept leadership is totally responsible. It's irresponsible to look at the present conditions and deny something is wrong, but then that's my personal opinion. However I'm not going to throw up some list just so you can figuratively spit and urinate on it anyway. You have the power to Google, go for it.

    My position, is if some scientist is pushing either creationism, IDism or evolutionism, then they should be fired for not being neutral on science. All three involve political, ideological, religious and philosophical worldviews and all have contributed heavily in our world's social and natural disintegration. Yes, your side is the exact mirror image of the other. Live with it.

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  23. Prediction. Next thing Eocene will do is equate modern astronomy with Hugh Ross's apologetics and YEC cosmology and recommend firing people doing any of the three.

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  24. The more important question should be is "Why did almost 100% of various Churches in all of Christendom actually support such an animalistic worldview in the first place for which their own holy book condemns them to this very day as it does your side ???
    ___________

    I was wondering along the line of why people accept a book as holy that portray a god the orders genocides and which condones slavery.

    Why do almost 100% of churches think this god is good?

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  25. Oleg:

    "Prediction. Next thing Eocene will do is equate modern astronomy with Hugh Ross's apologetics and YEC cosmology and recommend firing people doing any of the three."
    =====

    Who's Hugh Ross ??? Never mind, I found out two years ago when someone mentioned his name and I hadn't heard of him before then. There is actually a number of these opponants of your's that are often brought up here that I have no clue who they are until I Google them. Even the ones Cornelius mentions from time to time. The Evo-Creo debate is actually reletively new to me. LOL

    I don't follow the celebrities. My understanding of older Earth goes back to the early 1960s through my own personal research without the power and influence of some supposed well known figure put on a pedestal by others.

    Fire who you like Oleg. It's ultimately your/their world anyway to do with as whatever political ideology having power at any one time feels like doing at any one moment. Moving targets must be frustrating for you. That's why a well grounded enemy is a better prefered target because it requires less effort and thinking.

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  26. Petruska:

    "I was wondering along the line of why people accept a book as holy that portray a god the orders genocides and which condones slavery.

    Why do almost 100% of churches think this god is good?"
    ======

    I don't know Comrade, you tell me!!! Since you come from an environment which openly supported such actions with force, you are probably in a better position to explain that one from personal experience than I could ever hope to do.

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  27. Eocene and Petrushka,

    ""Why did almost 100% of various Churches in all of Christendom actually support such an animalistic worldview in the first place for which their own holy book condemns them to this very day as it does your side ??? "

    This is an ungrounded statement.

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  28. Neal Tedford:

    Eocene:
    "Why did almost 100% of various Churches in all of Christendom actually support such an animalistic worldview in the first place for which their own holy book condemns them to this very day as it does your side ???"

    Neal Tedford:
    "This is an ungrounded statement."
    =====

    Interesting , could you explain why it is an ungrounded statement that is not factual ???

    Would you conclude that God approved of not only the Nazi ideology (who used Darwinian principles/concepts) for which most all churches in Germany/Austria supported, but also the Darwinian programs of South African Apartheid and Australian Aboriginal genocide program which are all well documented in history as having whole-hearted Church support???

    For example just recently, the Dutch Reformed Church over here in Europe apologized for it's role and involvement in South Africa's Apartheid arrangement. In fact 60 Minutes did a piece on the "World Council of Churches" (Protestant Group) role in support of Australian Aboriginal Geoncide for which a conscientious Baptist Minister in the USA refused to pay anymore his own personal church dues in support of the WCC group.

    The point is here, if both sides in this debate would just admit they both made mistakes in this matter equally, then you both could move on from here. That doesn't of course mean that anyone person here approves of those past mistakes, but they acknowledge them as having happened. This subject would never have to be brought up ever again. Thus far all I ever see is excuses by both sides and it's getting old. But I am serious in wanting to know why you feel it is an ungrounded statement given the written historical record which cannot be changed.

    Not long ago I read of an account of German Reverend from the Evangelical Church in Mainz, Germany who during the war after Germany had just defeated France, offered prayer in his filled to capacity congregation, thanking God for sending their savior Adolf Hitler to Germany. Do you understand how serious this is ???

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  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  30. iantracy603 displaying self-righteous indignation:

    "Eocene, you should be ashamed of replying to Petrushka like that."
    "Stereotyping people because of where you perceive they come from is out of order."
    ======

    So let me get this straight. You're okay with his misrepresenting something he cut n pasted off your typical atheist site for no other purpose other than flaming, but when I point out an obvious "pot calling kettle black" from an individual who perhaps lives in a former Atheistic enlightened communist stronghold country and how they took care of business the old fashioned way, then you want to come to his aid and defense ???

    Nice hypocrite iantracy603!!!
    -----

    iantracy603:

    "p.s, don't bother replying to me,
    =====

    Oops, too late!!!
    -----

    iantracy603:

    "I don't want to hear it nor do I care."
    =====

    Sure you did mate, sure you did.

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  31. One of the points of this post is that creationists are the "enemy" of evolutionists.

    Does this work the other way around, too? Are evolutionists the "enemy" of creationists and/or IDers? Is it true for creationists and IDers that "Internal failings and scandals fade in the light of an external threat"? That is, do the internal failings of both creationism and ID fade in the light of the threat posed by the evolution?

    Is it true that creationists and IDers hold onto their view, thinking "It must be true because the alternative is even worse"?

    If not, what make creationism and ID different than evolution? Neither creationism nor ID has enough empirical backing, philosophical rigor, or experimental support to recommend it over any scientific approach or hypothesis I can think of. So, why would creationists and IDers not be subject to the very same critique that the original post levels against evolutionists?

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  32. Larry Tanner:

    "If not, what make creationism and ID different than evolution?"
    =====

    I think this question hits the nail on the head. What is it that evolutionists, Creationists and IDists actually do that is different from one another ???

    This has nothing to do with definition shell games from all sides of each ones philosophy or take on life. I'm just asking about conduct and actions here. All three Groups have revered men that parishioners often blindly follow without question. These looked up to holy men are usually only interested in themselves, their fame and how much wealth they can acquire within their lifetime from their own group. They enjoy celebrityhood and the prominence their peer circles bring them. All of them write books for which to profit off their following. All of them are extremely political and have ideological agendas to pursue. All sides find the need to prosyletize and gain more followers. ETC,
    ETC, ETC.

    So what differences or similarities do you note Larry.
    ------

    Larry Tanner:

    "So, why would creationists and IDers not be subject to the very same critique that the original post levels against evolutionists?"
    ======

    Actually they should be. That's why if science was more neutral (as it should be) from all three of these religio/politico/ideologico/philosophico group's game playing, we wouldn't have to have this conversation and scientific progress could excel for the benefit of humankind. But we both know that will not be happening anytime soon. And besides, the present healthy controversy charged subject gives most bloggers purpose in life. You didn't actually believe this was all about science now, did you Larry ???

    *wink*

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  33. Paul:

    ===
    You are equally deluded if you believe evolutionary biologists belive creationists are strong or threatening in any other than a popular and strictly non-scientific context.

    And if you want to make a actual case for this POV instead of just making wild assertions, try conducting some science to that effect.
    ===

    Again you are missing the point. It is precisely in its failure that creationism serves as motivation and proof for evolution. Creationism is, of course, not viewed as a credible or strong competing scientific explanation. Quite the opposite, it is viewed as obviously false and non scientific. And yes it is viewed as a threat in that it actively promotes its views, and this can influence school boards and the like.

    But more importantly, creationism was held to be a fact centuries ago. Several traditions grew in strength and emerged which rebuked creationism for various sins and argued for a naturalistic theory of origins. The naturalistic theory was not substantially motivated by the evidence in any direct way. It is not as though we were learning how life first arose, or how species transform. That was mainly speculation. The proof was in the failure of creationism.

    That story has not changed today. The strong arguments, demonstrating evolution to be a fact, are metaphysical, such as Sober shows in his explication of Darwin's Principle.

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  34. Larry Tanner:

    ===
    One of the points of this post is that creationists are the "enemy" of evolutionists.

    Does this work the other way around, too?
    ===

    Yes.


    ===
    Are evolutionists the "enemy" of creationists and/or IDers?
    ===

    Yes, though less so for IDers.


    ===
    Is it true for creationists and IDers that "Internal failings and scandals fade in the light of an external threat"? That is, do the internal failings of both creationism and ID fade in the light of the threat posed by the evolution?
    ===

    Yes.


    ===
    If not, what make creationism and ID different than evolution?
    ===

    We need to be careful not to enforce more symmetry than exists. Creationism, for instance, is generally fairly explicit with its metaphysics whereas evolution has a more complex relationship with its metaphysics. Simply put, evolution is less aware of its metaphysics. So you will see evolutionists dogmatically enforcing its beliefs, but at the same time unaware that such beliefs are not scientific. So when confronted they will insist with no little umbrage their program is strictly scientific. The reason for this curious flip-flopping is that their metaphysics seem obviously true and to be beyond question. This is a common theme in rationalistic thinking. As one philosopher explained:

    ---
    The typical rationalist will believe that theories that meet the demands of the universal criterion are true or approximately true or probably true … The distinction between science and non-science is straight-forward for the rationalist. Only those theories that are such that they can be clearly assessed in terms of the universal criterion and which survive the test are scientific … The typical rationalist will take it as self-evident that a high value is to be placed on knowledge developed in accordance with the universal criterion. This will be especially so if the process is understood as leading towards truth. Truth, rationality, and hence science, are seen as intrinsically good.
    ---



    ===
    Neither creationism nor ID has enough empirical backing, philosophical rigor, or experimental support to recommend it over any scientific approach or hypothesis I can think of. So, why would creationists and IDers not be subject to the very same critique that the original post levels against evolutionists?
    ===

    One reason why this aspect of evolution needs to be understood is that evolution claims to be a scientific fact as a consequence of its metaphysics.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Cornelius says:"It is precisely in its failure that creationism serves as motivation and proof for evolution."

    I must disagree. Evidence for evolution is independent of a view on creation. Hence theistic evolution.

    "Creationism is, of course, not viewed as a credible or strong competing scientific explanation. Quite the opposite, it is viewed as obviously false and non scientific. And yes it is viewed as a threat in that it actively promotes its views, and this can influence school boards and the like."

    That's what I said, I think. Interventionalist models of creationism that presuppose evolution has not occurred indeed lack any degree of scientific credibility and they have no evidence base.

    "But more importantly, creationism was held to be a fact centuries ago."

    Indeed, and still is by a majority of people, in one form or another.

    "The naturalistic theory was not substantially motivated by the evidence in any direct way."

    I don't claim to know which movements you refer to when you say this. However, modern evolutionary theory - which surely should be the subject here - cannot be characterised in this way.

    "It is not as though we were learning how life first arose, or how species transform. That was mainly speculation. The proof was in the failure of creationism."

    Like the neutral theory of molecular evolution (a major challenge to neoDarwinian models of nucleotide substitution), these ideas often do spark out of humble observations, ones that cannot be reconciled with what we thought we knew in the past. While neutral theory too has changed much since it was proposed, it still contains an important kernel of truth that was correctly identified by good scientific observation. The ideas it superceded are dead in the past because they were wrong.

    In the broad sense, if we are forced to contrast evolutionary theory with, say, literal biblical creationism we might be in the same situation. With a more general view of creation, I don't think that is strictly necessary. However, a creation world view should not tether a scientific approach to uncover how the world operates.

    You seem committed to viewing historical motivations as being the most important factor in understanding evolutionary theory. Again, I won't claim to know more about that than you, but I disagree about its centrality. Regardless of any motivations in the past, which may or may not be wholly the case, the evidence must stand on its own - a point I'm sure we both agree on.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Again you are missing the point. It is precisely in its failure that creationism serves as motivation and proof for evolution. Creationism is, of course, not viewed as a credible or strong competing scientific explanation. Quite the opposite, it is viewed as obviously false and non scientific. And yes it is viewed as a threat in that it actively promotes its views, and this can influence school boards and the like.

    Cornelius,
    You are surely aware that this deep seated denial of evolutionary is an American phenomenon as countries with wealth and stability go. The only countries other than the US where evolutionary denialism enjoys the support of the government are the likes Somalia where anarchy reigns. Even much maligned Iran hides a rapidly developing scientific society. and as for the presumptive claimant to the US's #1 position in scientific productivity - China - or the emerging giants, S.Korea, Russia, India and Brazil as well as several others - Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, and Vietnam - the many varieties of creationism - starting with the Old Earth variety to today's ID-Creationism - are all considered bunkum. The EU, Autralasia, Canada and other traditional powers in science don't spend bandwidth on such patently ridiculous ideas. The Nobel Committees too don't care much for the ideas of anti-science denialists like Jon wells, Behe etc.

    Every new variety of creationism has enjoyed progressively lesser credibility cycles before being thrown out of consideration. Creationism of the grand old variety lasted for decades, Creation Science lasted for 20 years, ID-Creo has been knocked in less than 10 years. There's a good reason why, even governors like Brashear (of Kentucky) and Jindal of Lousiana can't help.
    Evolutionary biology is so well established that there's nothing the denialist can do - but gnash his teeth and accept it.

    ReplyDelete
  37. jbeck:

    ===
    Cornelius,
    You are surely aware that this deep seated denial of evolutionary is an American phenomenon as countries with wealth and stability go. The only countries other than the US where evolutionary denialism enjoys the support of the government are the likes Somalia where anarchy reigns. Even much maligned Iran hides a rapidly developing scientific society. and as for the presumptive claimant to the US's #1 position in scientific productivity - China - or the emerging giants, S.Korea, Russia, India and Brazil as well as several others - Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, and Vietnam - the many varieties of creationism - starting with the Old Earth variety to today's ID-Creationism - are all considered bunkum. The EU, Autralasia, Canada and other traditional powers in science don't spend bandwidth on such patently ridiculous ideas. The Nobel Committees too don't care much for the ideas of anti-science denialists like Jon wells, Behe etc.

    Every new variety of creationism has enjoyed progressively lesser credibility cycles before being thrown out of consideration. Creationism of the grand old variety lasted for decades, Creation Science lasted for 20 years, ID-Creo has been knocked in less than 10 years. There's a good reason why, even governors like Brashear (of Kentucky) and Jindal of Lousiana can't help.
    Evolutionary biology is so well established that there's nothing the denialist can do - but gnash his teeth and accept it.
    ===

    This is a good example of how creationism underwrites evolutionary thought.

    ReplyDelete
  38. CH:"This is a good example of how creationism underwrites evolutionary thought."

    I reckon you could only make that interpretation from a rather selective reading of jbeck's post.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Cornelius,
    Does "separate ancestry" always mean creationism? Can you think of any alternative explanations for why a similar gene would be shared by two different species besides 1) common ancestry or 2) separate ancestry?

    ReplyDelete
  40. Paul:


    ===
    I must disagree. Evidence for evolution is independent of a view on creation. Hence theistic evolution. ... I don't claim to know which movements you refer to when you say this. However, modern evolutionary theory - which surely should be the subject here - cannot be characterised in this way.
    ===

    Do you know why evolution is a fact?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Cornelius says:"Do you know why evolution is a fact? "

    I have not stated that it is. Nonetheless, evolutionary theory certainly has standing as the only evidence-based explanation for the diversity of life. As always, you are are welcome to disagree and make other proposals.

    Feel free to address any of the actual points I've made above, though, i.e. how you consider the evidence for evolution - sufficient to motivate theistic evolution - is somehow inextricably linked to creation.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Paul:

    I explained that it is precisely in its failure that creationism serves as motivation and proof for evolution. You disagreed and maintained that the evidence for evolution is independent of a view on creation, and that cannot be characterised in this way.

    What that tells me is that, apparently, you are not familiar with the reasons why evolution is a fact. So I asked you if you know why evolution is a fact, and you replied that you have not stated that it is.

    Sure, but you did disagree with my characterization. If you do not know why evolution is said to be a fact, then you are not in much of a position to disagree with my characterization.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Continuing...

    Paul:

    Evolutionists claim evolution is a fact. They use terms such as "undeniable," "beyond any shadow of a doubt," etc. They compare it to the fact of gravity. Sometimes they even say it is *more* of a fact than gravity. They say it would be perverse to deny the fact of evolution.

    Now evolutionists are not making empty claims. They have, and continue, to back up this claim. You can read the literature for yourself. Everytime they prove evolution to be a fact, they employ metaphysical premises, not open to scientific scrutiny. They then, hypocritically, turn around and blame skeptics for smuggling religion into science.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Continuing...

    Paul:

    From a scientific perspective, evolution is undefendable. It says that all of biology, everything in every textbook, every journal paper, every conference, it is all a fluke. Everything about biology just happened to arise on its own. Just by chance, happenstance, etc, biology just somehow arose, though we don't know how.

    Sure maybe evolution is true, but it would be an incredible triumph of antirealism. We would have to turn science on its head. It is literally absurd. Like "The Emperor's New Clothes," evolution is absurd. It is no different than the mythologies of antiquity.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Cornelius:"Sure, but you did disagree with my characterization. If you do not know why evolution is said to be a fact, then you are not in much of a position to disagree with my characterization. "

    Nor did I did not say that I don't know why evolution is "said to be a fact". Actually, the only context in which people ever seem to write that evolution is a fact, is in response to creationists claiming that it is "only a theory". I will reiterate - the position of every serious biologist I know is that evolution is an extremely well supported theory. Everything is open to challenge.

    None of that changes the simple point that your characterisation is wrong because it overstates the importance of creationism to a modern theory of evolution. You have done nothing to address how evidence for evolution is in fact independent of creation, as evidenced by the large number of the "faithful" who accept evolution.

    "They compare it to the fact of gravity. Sometimes they even say it is *more* of a fact than gravity. They say it would be perverse to deny the fact of evolution... Now evolutionists are not making empty claims. They have, and continue, to back up this claim. You can read the literature for yourself. Everytime they prove evolution to be a fact, they employ metaphysical premises, not open to scientific scrutiny. They then, hypocritically, turn around and blame skeptics for smuggling religion into science. "

    If these mysterious evolutionary boogeymen are simply posters on blogs, who cares? If not - show me a quote from peer reviewed literature that states evolution is a "fact" and it would therefore be "perverse" to deny it.

    Anyone who does make such claims, I have little respect for. Nonetheless it has little bearing on the status of evolution as evidenced by the independent lines of argument that support it.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Cornelius says:"From a scientific perspective, evolution is undefendable. It says that all of biology, everything in every textbook, every journal paper, every conference, it is all a fluke...Sure maybe evolution is true, but it would be an incredible triumph of antirealism...It is literally absurd. Like "The Emperor's New Clothes," evolution is absurd. It is no different than the mythologies of antiquity.

    Okay, now we're getting down to it. This is where you show your hand. You actually do not understand the real premises of evolutionary theory if you can write this sort of stuff. Just like your "probability" calculations the other day, that assume prespecified directions.

    Antirealism, literally absurd, emperors new clothes?

    ReplyDelete
  47. Paul:

    ===
    Actually, the only context in which people ever seem to write that evolution is a fact, is in response to creationists claiming that it is "only a theory".
    ===

    No, evolutionists routinely make this claim.


    ===
    None of that changes the simple point that your characterisation is wrong because it overstates the importance of creationism to a modern theory of evolution. You have done nothing to address how evidence for evolution is in fact independent of creation, as evidenced by the large number of the "faithful" who accept evolution.
    ===

    You are conflating evidence with knowledge claims. The flat-earth and geocentrism theories have plenty of supporting evidence. Likewise, evolution has plenty of supporting evidence. But that doesn't make it a fact. To know that something is obviously a no-brainer fact is a very different claim. You need more than mere evidence. You need compelling evidence. And evolutionists have it.



    ==========
    "They compare it to the fact of gravity. Sometimes they even say it is *more* of a fact than gravity. They say it would be perverse to deny the fact of evolution... Now evolutionists are not making empty claims. They have, and continue, to back up this claim. You can read the literature for yourself. Everytime they prove evolution to be a fact, they employ metaphysical premises, not open to scientific scrutiny. They then, hypocritically, turn around and blame skeptics for smuggling religion into science. "

    If these mysterious evolutionary boogeymen are simply posters on blogs, who cares?
    ==========

    These are not mysterious evolutionary boogeymen. Again, you apparently are oblivious to the underlying foundation of the theory you defend.


    ===
    If not - show me a quote from peer reviewed literature that states evolution is a "fact" and it would therefore be "perverse" to deny it.
    ===

    This is another protectionist device evolutionists use. The leading evolutionary figures make all kinds of fact-claims, going back centuries, which are religious. And then evolutionists pretend it doesn't matter, using the peer-reviewed filter as their defense. Darwin's book matters, but when challenged on it, they just use the peer-reviewed filter defense.

    Now to be sure, evolutionary metaphysics are so pervasive they certainly do make it into the peer reviewed literature. You can start with the Sober paper, (follow the link in the OP). And from Dobzhansky to Avise, there certainly are plenty more peer-reviewed examples. But for the most part, the peer-reviewed literature stands on the shoulders of the apologetics literature. The peer-reviewed literature takes the fact of evolution for granted--as its starting point. It has no burden to prove the fact of evolution, that is the premise.


    ====
    Anyone who does make such claims, I have little respect for.
    ====

    That would be quite a list of leading evolutionists.


    ===
    Nonetheless it has little bearing on the status of evolution as evidenced by the independent lines of argument that support it.
    ===

    But there are independent lines of argument that support geocentrism.

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  48. Paul:

    ===
    Okay, now we're getting down to it. This is where you show your hand. You actually do not understand the real premises of evolutionary theory if you can write this sort of stuff.
    ===

    I'm afraid I do understand the "real" premises of evolutionary theory. That's the problem.

    ====
    Just like your "probability" calculations the other day, that assume prespecified directions.
    ====

    Paul, this is an incredible defense. I will blog on it, but simply put, the defense that the origin of a protein is not a problem because there are many different solution paths is a joke. Take hemoglobin, which we were discussing. This evolutionary argument goes like this.

    Yes, the globin fold occupies a tiny subspace in sequence space (1 over 10^100+), and yes there is not much in the way of intermediates leading to such proteins. But this is no problem because we don't need the globin fold per se, we merely need *some* fold to do the job. And after all, you cannot prove there are not other folds that can do the job.

    Paul, I don't know how familiar you are with the globin fold, or with the hemoglobin protein, but it is an incredible machine. We have no reason to think that completely different folds can achieve its capabilities, which are fine-tuned. But we don't know, and so giving evolution a break, sure, let's imagine some other, unknown, folds that could do the job. How many do think there might be. Two, three? A dozen? Let's go all out for evolution here. It has been estimated there are on the order of tens of thousands of different folds. So let's make the ridiculous assumption that there are an equal number of unknown folds that could perform like the globin fold. 10,000 different, unknown, folds for evolution to choose from to get the job done. As completely ridiculuous as that is, it wouldn't even dent the problem. Such a protein just happening to arise is still astronomically unlikely.

    There are, of course, many variations to this lunacy. We can try the gene duplication explanation, for instance, but ultimately they doesn't help. You still face the astronomical odds, one way or another. Dawkins' solution to Mt. Improbable still stands as great evolutionary fallacy.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I said:"If not - show me a quote from peer reviewed literature that states evolution is a "fact" and it would therefore be "perverse" to deny it."

    To which Cornelius replied:"This is another protectionist device evolutionists use. The leading evolutionary figures make all kinds of fact-claims, going back centuries, which are religious. And then evolutionists pretend it doesn't matter, using the peer-reviewed filter as their defense. Darwin's book matters, but when challenged on it, they just use the peer-reviewed filter defense."

    I am emphatically not employing a protectionist device. Science is made in the literature, with weight given to the peer-reviewed literature. This is the basis of the Western scientific discipline since the Royal Society was founded.

    And it is a brutal process. Rejection is always hard, softened perhaps by respect for the process and and a view of the benefits in the bigger picture. It is an imperfect process too - I know I decry articles that make assumptions I understand to be bunk in the context they are made. Sometimes, my blood boils. But then I have the right to comment, so long as an editor and reviewers agree I have a point worth making.

    This is all an important vetting process. It's not like "evolutionists" invented the system, either. So, when you fail to find a quote stating what you claim "evolutionists" claim as a matter of routine, then - yes - I am going to be suspicious. Your task should be an easy one, if you're not overselling your position.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Cornelius says:"Paul, this is an incredible defense. I will blog on it, but simply put, the defense that the origin of a protein is not a problem because there are many different solution paths is a joke. Take hemoglobin, which we were discussing. This evolutionary argument goes like this."

    It is no joke because that is not my defense, nor something necessarily that should be defended. In a purposeless universe, life did not have to evolve as it has. There is no need for a solution when the problem does not exist. Seeing evolution as consecutive "problems" and "solutions" is a grave misunderstanding of evolutionary theory, and almost certainly evolutionary history. If you remove the supposition that life needs to turn out a particular way, this problem-solution view of evolution dissolves.

    "Yes, the globin fold occupies a tiny subspace in sequence space (1 over 10^100+), and yes there is not much in the way of intermediates leading to such proteins. But this is no problem because we don't need the globin fold per se, we merely need *some* fold to do the job. And after all, you cannot prove there are not other folds that can do the job...

    There are, of course, many variations to this lunacy. We can try the gene duplication explanation, for instance, but ultimately they doesn't help."


    Right. This is the problem, and the reason why I have said that you do not understand how evolution is theorised to proceed.

    Imagine a world in which evolution occurs: Genomes expand through duplications of bases, genes, chromosomes, and sometimes the whole genome. Replications are imperfect. Sometimes those imperfect replications have fitness consequences for offspring.

    If there's not a pre-ordained path for this random evolutionary process, then there is no need at all for there to be a globin molecule, or any other particular protein.

    In other words, evolution wanders in sequence space at random. Not looking for solutions to a particular problem, but when mutant sequences produce a greater fitness than previous sequences, they have an elevated chance of being retained in a population. I hope that distinction is clear. Finding a sequence of greater fitness could constitute the type of contingent event that potentially shapes the future direction of the evolution of the species bearing that mutation - but it is not necessary.

    This is like the lottery scenario a number of people have raised here previously. If you presuppose a globin molecule is a necessary solution for life to exist then sure - it starts looking like picking the winning lottery numbers. An unlikely scenario. But, if you either just need something that's better than what you've then instead you are looking at the odds that someone - anyone - picks the numbers.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Paul:

    ===
    Right. This is the problem, and the reason why I have said that you do not understand how evolution is theorised to proceed.
    ===

    No, I am not imposing pre-specified solutions.

    ===
    Imagine a world in which evolution occurs: Genomes expand through duplications of bases, genes, chromosomes, and sometimes the whole genome. Replications are imperfect. Sometimes those imperfect replications have fitness consequences for offspring.

    If there's not a pre-ordained path for this random evolutionary process, then there is no need at all for there to be a globin molecule, or any other particular protein.
    ===

    Agreed.

    ===
    In other words, evolution wanders in sequence space at random. Not looking for solutions to a particular problem, but when mutant sequences produce a greater fitness than previous sequences, they have an elevated chance of being retained in a population. I hope that distinction is clear.
    ===

    Agreed.

    ===
    Finding a sequence of greater fitness could constitute the type of contingent event that potentially shapes the future direction of the evolution of the species bearing that mutation - but it is not necessary.
    ===

    Agreed.

    ===
    This is like the lottery scenario a number of people have raised here previously. If you presuppose a globin molecule is a necessary solution for life to exist then sure - it starts looking like picking the winning lottery numbers. An unlikely scenario. But, if you either just need something that's better than what you've then instead you are looking at the odds that someone - anyone - picks the numbers.
    ===

    Your approach doesn't change the fact that life appears to be very low probability. This is true for the particular version we observe, and it seems true for life in general as well. The latter is, of course, a more difficult problem to quantify, but that basic conclusion is certainly well supported.

    So we can shrug it off as just one of many possible outcomes. Yeah, life is improbable, but so what? It didn't have to happen in the first place. And by the way, if you don't like low probability events just throw in a multiverse and that problem vanishes. So we have an explanation, but it doesn't change the fact that life is improbable short of a multiverse.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Cornelius said:"Your approach doesn't change the fact that life appears to be very low probability. This is true for the particular version we observe, and it seems true for life in general as well. The latter is, of course, a more difficult problem to quantify, but that basic conclusion is certainly well supported...And by the way, if you don't like low probability events just throw in a multiverse and that problem vanishes. So we have an explanation, but it doesn't change the fact that life is improbable short of a multiverse.

    The problem remains that when you assert this "low probability" you provide no numbers to support that assertion. I don't agree that the basic conclusion is well supported.

    "No, I am not imposing pre-specified solutions."

    That seems to be what you are doing when you calculate the probabilities of finding globins in sequence space, here and in the previous thread. How can it be interpreted otherwise?

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  53. Hunter:

    Your approach doesn't change the fact that life appears to be very low probability.

    This thread is showing some life at last. What was the probability of that event? It would depend on many factors, including Dr Hunter’s willingness to engage, and that is a factor that is hard to quantify.

    So, how low is the probability that life can arise spontaneously on a privileged planet at some time during the history of that planet? Bearing in mind that there are many environmental factors to consider.

    If anyone has made an effort at such a calculation, Dr Hunter, would you kindly provide that information?

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  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  55. "Yes, the globin fold occupies a tiny subspace in sequence space (1 over 10^100+)...There are, of course, many variations to this lunacy.""

    Is it part of "moderate empiricism" to reach the conclusion that folded proteins are impossibly rare in sequence space, and that functional proteins are rarer yet, and discard all data to the contrary, calling it lunacy?

    Worse, you even double back to the 20^140 calculation that assumes every residue in a globin is essential, despite all evidences to the contrary! You know this isn't true!

    How easy it is to dispute evolution, when you discard the science!

    Some data to consider:

    5% of a random peptide library exhibits folding (helical content, denaturation and protease resistant):
    Davidson AR, Sauer RT. 1994. Folded proteins occur frequently in libraries of random amino acid sequences. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 91:2146–50
    http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/full/10.1146/annurev.biophys.37.032807.125832

    20 out of 10^13 random RNAs bind streptavidin:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11274392?dopt=Abstract

    4 out of 6X10^12 random RNAs bind ATP:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11274392?dopt=Abstract

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  56. RNA functionalities can be found in 0.8 nanograms of RNA:
    "Additionally, we can refine our estimates of the number of random sequences required for a 50% probability of finding an example of each site in unbiased random pools of length 100 to 4.1 × 10^9 for the isoleucine aptamer and 1.6 × 10^10 for the hammerhead ribozyme. These figures are consistent with the facile recovery of these motifs from SELEX experiments....." "However, the amounts of RNA we predict to be required for function are still very small: 1.6 × 10^10 100 nt RNA molecules is about 0.8 nanograms of RNA, about the quantity of RNA found in a sample of 1.5 × 10−8g of modern bacteria, or about 15 000 cells. Consequently, once RNA was first synthesized (perhaps for an entirely different reason), our results show that catalytic activity would soon be likely to emerge. "
    http://nar.oxfordjournals.org/content/33/18/5924.full

    Taking a starting point, like a four helix bundle, half of a library bound heme, exhibited enzyme and oxygen binding (not totally random, but worth considering as a addition to a pre-existing fold):
    Hecht MH, Das A, Go A, Bradley LH, Wei Y. 2004. De novo proteins from designed combinatorial libraries. Protein Sci. 13:1711–23

    Computational and mutagenic approaches show folds are not nearly as constrained as you would like. Often a core of a few residues is all that is needed for stable folding.

    And not all of structure space is occupied! Evolution, as far as we know, never hit on some stable folds that have been artificially generated.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9822371?dopt=Abstract
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14631033?dopt=Abstract

    So, 5% folded, 1 in 10^12 functional? Out of five million trillion trillion (5 x 10 to the 30th power) bacteria?

    So Cornelius, what is your best piece of empirical data that function within sequence space is sparingly rare? Or does 'moderate' in 'moderate empiricism' mean 'dispensing with'?

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  57. Some questions for ID:

    1) Why is so little of fold space occupied (why so few folds)? Was the designer less creative than biochemists?

    2) Why are domains so limited in size (a few hundred amino acids, max)?

    3) Why are most, if not all folds, found in all three Domains?

    Please support your answers with data.

    ReplyDelete
  58. RobertC:

    Was the designer less creative than biochemists?

    Evidently the design team was constrained by something. Maybe it was laziness or a great respect for historical precedent.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Pedant said, "If anyone has made an effort at such a calculation, Dr Hunter, would you kindly provide that information?"

    Yes. Signature in the Cell by Meyers.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Neal,

    For those of us unlikely to run out and buy the book this minute, could you summarize the calculation?

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  61. "Evidently the design team was constrained by something. Maybe it was laziness or a great respect for historical precedent."

    But in all seriousness, the creationists are conceding a strong point here. Evolution of IS difficult. That is why we see the great innovations in fold and enzyme activities in the microbes with huge population sizes, short generation time, free gene transfer and recombination, and often higher mutation rates.

    What novel protein fold or enzyme activity is present in us and not a mouse? A zebrafish? A nematode?

    But what has never been shown is the impossibility of evolving new activities, as the examples above, coupled with microbial population sizes and time, show.

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  62. RobertC:

    ===
    "Yes, the globin fold occupies a tiny subspace in sequence space (1 over 10^100+)...There are, of course, many variations to this lunacy.""

    Is it part of "moderate empiricism" to reach the conclusion that folded proteins are impossibly rare in sequence space, and that functional proteins are rarer yet, and discard all data to the contrary, calling it lunacy?
    ===

    Yes, it is. The data are not to the contrary, which I explained earlier.

    =====
    Worse, you even double back to the 20^140 calculation that assumes every residue in a globin is essential, despite all evidences to the contrary! You know this isn't true!
    =====

    Agreed, that is not true, and I'm not assuming that. In fact I explained to Paul that the globin sequences (note the plural) occupy a *small* subspace in sequence space. I will blog on this shortly as I can see there is confusion on this important topic.

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  63. "I will blog on this shortly as I can see there is confusion on this important topic"

    Of curiosity to me are the assumptions:

    1) That only the 3-on-3 globin alpha sandwich fold can do the job.

    2) That folds are rare in sequence space.

    3) That simpler intermediates contributing to a fold, or the intro-conversion of folds through an evolutionary pathway are impossible or unevidenced.

    4) That most (1 in 10^100 is still 20^75) globin residues are non-alterable within the globin fold, and how you have empirically demonstrated this is an accurate determination. (Did you make all 20^140 globin permutations and test them for a globin fold?)

    5) That you are correct, despite experimental verification that folds and functions emerge from random libraries at rates 85-98 orders of magnitude better than your 1 in 10^100 estimate.

    ReplyDelete
  64. Check this out:


    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101115074033.htm

    ReplyDelete
  65. Did you make all 20^140 globin permutations and test them for a globin fold?

    I'm guessing the answer is no!

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  66. "I understand that there are a number of diseases that are the result of misplaced amino cids in a hemoglobin molecule. That would seem to indicate that hemoglobin cannot tolerate a great deal of deviance, and still be biologically useful.

    ReplyDelete
  67. natschuster:

    If people can still live while having deleterious mutations in hemoglobin is actually a sign that it can tolerate variations. You can even live with only one working copy of the gene (and get a better resistance against malaria as a bonus).

    If you are still not convinced, I would suggest you try to compare the sequence of the hemoglobin gene across various species. Then you can try the same analysis using histone genes to see the difference.

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  68. Charles,

    Nat won't do anything of the sort, you know.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Actually Nat, there are about 1500 known human hemoglobin variants, of which a *few* can cause disease (usually in a recessive manner).

    http://globin.bx.psu.edu/cgi-bin/hbvar/counter

    ReplyDelete
  70. Charles:

    But if it causes a decrease in the organisms ability to survive and reproduce, then it menas that the organisms will become extinct. This is Darwinism 101.


    And I reserched histone


    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC147196/pdf/260372.pdf

    I'm not sure what the point is.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Robertc:

    1500 out of how many? Does this represent the upper limt of the number of biolgocally useful hemoglobins? I'm just asking.

    ReplyDelete
  72. natschuster
    But if it causes a decrease in the organisms ability to survive and reproduce, then it menas that the organisms will become extinct. This is Darwinism 101.

    Citation please.

    ReplyDelete
  73. natschuster
    "But if it causes a decrease in the organisms ability to survive and reproduce, then it menas that the organisms will become extinct. This is Darwinism 101."

    No it doesn't, it reduces the fitness of an individual slightly, not all members of a population will have the same fitness or share identical traits. A critical deleterious mutation might prevent an individual from reproducing but the fact that they are prevented from reproducing prevents the mutation spreading (Selection 1.01), non critical deleterious mutations don't prevent reproduction, they just reduce reproductive sucess for individuals with the mutation.

    Only a total inability to reproduce, spread across an entire population, will ensure that the population goes extinct.

    ReplyDelete
  74. "1500 out of how many? Does this represent the upper limt of the number of biolgocally useful hemoglobins? I'm just ask"

    The ~1500 are discovered human hemoglobins, and associated deletions, etc. Some are deleterious, some neutral, a few beneficial. We don't know how many there are out there.

    We could add to this the animal hemoglobin sequences for many more functional hemoglobins.

    We should also consider the hemocyanins, for example, a non-globin fold that binds copper instead of iron, but make quite nice respiratory proteins.

    So how many ways are there to build a reversible iron transporter?

    How would you calculate this?

    But Hunter holding up one and only one hemoglobin, declaring it the only solution evolution could have hit on, ignoring variation, ignoring proposed intermediates and evolutionary patways, and doing the tornado in the junkyard calculation as a probability of it having evolved is absurd.

    ReplyDelete
  75. natschuster:

    Of course a deleterious mutation will decrease the fitness of an organism. That was not the point. The point is that if an organism can live with a deleterious mutation in a gene, it means that the gene can tolerate variation to some extend. Otherwise, the mutation would be lethal.

    You should also take in consideration that deleterious mutations receive much more attention than beneficial mutation. The priority is to understand disease in order to be able to cure them. This mean that we have a much better understanding of the mutations that can inactivate a gene compared to the mutation that are beneficial.

    The point with the histone was not to do a research in pubmed, but to compare the gene sequence across various organisms. If you had done what I asked, you would have noticed that there is much more variation in hemoglobin gene across species than for the histone genes. The histone was used as an exemple of a gene that does not tolerate variation very well.

    ReplyDelete
  76. I keep hearing that natural selection is so pawerful that even the slightest advantage gives an organism reproductive success to the extent that the mutation will become fixed in the population. This is how complex adaptations arise. Each step gives the organism an adbvantage that becomes fixed. So the next step can happen. The same should apply with a harmful mutation.

    ReplyDelete
  77. How many total functioning hemoglobins are there? Out of how many possibilities? And will hemoglobin from one species work in another species? Will chimp hemoglobin work in people? It doesn't just have to function, but it has to function in a context. I'm just asking.

    ReplyDelete
  78. natschuster: I keep hearing that natural selection is so pawerful that even the slightest advantage gives an organism reproductive success to the extent that the mutation will become fixed in the population. This is how complex adaptations arise.

    The chance of fixation of a beneficial mutation is ~2s where 1/4Ne << |s| << 1, with s being the selection coefficient and Ne being the effective population size.

    natschuster: The same should apply with a harmful mutation.

    If 1/4Ne << |s| for a new deleterious mutation, the chance of fixation is nil, otherwise, it is ~1/Ne.

    ReplyDelete
  79. natschuster:

    "[...] that even the slightest advantage gives an organism reproductive success to the extent that the mutation will become fixed in the population."

    Not all beneficial mutation will get fixed in the population. It's just that they are more likely to be fixed than neutral mutations and even more likely than harmful mutations.

    Under some circumstances (i.e.: bottleneck), it's even possible for an harmful mutation to be fixed. The loss of a gene involved in the production of vitamin C in some primates (including humans) comes to mind.

    "How many total functioning hemoglobins are there? Out of how many possibilities?"

    You might want to reread the last comments by RobertC, he covered that point already.

    ReplyDelete
  80. natschuster,
    Don't you get it yet? You'll receive an education in this despite yourself. The longer you hang around talking to the other side, the more you will learn. Despite yourself.

    But you can't help it can you? You know it's all a big lie but you keep picking away at it.

    natschuster: The same should apply with a harmful mutation.

    Yeah, because if an organisms gets a harmful mutation and it cripples or kills it, that's really likely to spread through the entire population.

    natschuster, I think the problem (one of them) that you have is that you don't appreciate exactly how many generations evolution has taken. The number is too big to get your mind around and you just instinctively reject it. And everything else just follows.

    But you keep talking to Zachriel, who has an infinite amount of patience, and you'll get it.

    Eventually.

    I keep hearing that natural selection is so pawerful that even the slightest advantage gives an organism reproductive success to the extent that the mutation will become fixed in the population.

    There are simulations which demonstrate this, of course. But I suspect there's no point.

    ReplyDelete
  81. I guess I wasn't clear. What I meant to say was that a mutation that confers even a minor advantage will result in differential reporductive succes that will allow the mutation to become fixed in the population so that there will be enough organisms to insure that the next step in building a complex adaptation will happen. But a mutation that has a negative effect, should have an that is just as strong, but in the opposite direction. The population tha has this gene should shrink and eventually disppear.

    ReplyDelete
  82. natschuster: The population tha has this gene should shrink and eventually disppear.

    The sub-population that has the deleterious mutation will tend to be replaced by members of the population without the deleterious mutation.

    ReplyDelete
  83. "The population tha has this gene should shrink and eventually disppear. "

    You seem to be assuming that new or modified genes appear in the population as a whole, thereby promoting or eliminating the entire population depending on the helpfulness (or lack thereof) of the gene. In reality new or modified genes appear in only a portion of a given population. Now, as far as that portion of the population goes, you are entirely correct. That portion of the population will shrink and eventually disappear. Meanwhile the portions of the population that did not have that gene will remain stable or even grow to fill the void created by the disappearing portion of the population.

    This is exactly why natural selection works so well. Populations (or portions of populations if you prefer) with "bad" genes shrink and eventually disappear, leaving the populations with the "good" or at least "not bad" genes to take their place.

    ReplyDelete
  84. 84 Comments. Many arguments from both sides. Has it made one once of difference? Has anyone changed their views as a result of this dialogue?
    Should we not just accept that some people's world view is informed by their religion, and some people's is not. Logical argument will not change this. We are all talking to ourselves. What point is served by this? My vote is that we agree to differ and leave ot at that,

    ReplyDelete
  85. Simian:

    My vote is that we agree to differ and leave ot at that,

    You don't seem to realize that the future of Western Civilization is at stake.

    It's up to us voices of reason to stand up and fight.

    ReplyDelete
  86. Simian said...
    84 Comments. Many arguments from both sides. Has it made one once of difference? Has anyone changed their views as a result of this dialogue?
    Should we not just accept that some people's world view is informed by their religion, and some people's is not. Logical argument will not change this. We are all talking to ourselves. What point is served by this? My vote is that we agree to differ and leave ot at that,


    Problem is the religious Fundies keep trying to force their anti-science BS into public science classrooms. That lowers the quality of science education and hurts everybody. Increasing scientific literacy / scientific awareness, even in small backwater blogs like this, still helps. Think globally, act locally.

    ReplyDelete
  87. RobertC said:"The ~1500 are discovered human hemoglobins, and associated deletions, etc. Some are deleterious, some neutral, a few beneficial. We don't know how many there are out there.

    We could add to this the animal hemoglobin sequences for many more functional hemoglobins.

    We should also consider the hemocyanins, for example, a non-globin fold that binds copper instead of iron, but make quite nice respiratory proteins.

    So how many ways are there to build a reversible iron transporter?

    How would you calculate this?

    But Hunter holding up one and only one hemoglobin, declaring it the only solution evolution could have hit on, ignoring variation, ignoring proposed intermediates and evolutionary patways, and doing the tornado in the junkyard calculation as a probability of it having evolved is absurd.
    "

    Very nicely put - these are exactly and succintly the problems with the argument Cornelius puts forward. Unfortunately the obvious prediction is that these problems will not be addressed when Cornelius fires out his promised post on the topic...

    ReplyDelete
  88. simian

    Its also fun to exchange ideas.Jump in.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Eugen, why do you keep saying Pedantskiii? What does it mean? Is it a reference to something?

    ReplyDelete
  90. simian said: "84 Comments. Many arguments from both sides. Has it made one once of difference? Has anyone changed their views as a result of this dialogue?"

    A few years ago I was a young earth creationist. Eventually, facts and reason can get through to some people. Not to everyone, but some; perhaps most. If they value the truth over dogma, that is.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Ritchie said...
    Eugen, why do you keep saying Pedantskiii? What does it mean? Is it a reference to something?

    I’m just joking with my ol’ buddy Pedant. If it bothers him or anybody I’ll stop.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Oh okay. It doesn't bother me. I just didn't get it.

    ReplyDelete
  93. The problem with Cornelius' argument is that creationism can be completely compatible with evolutionary theory. TE is just one such example.

    You can simply move the point at which creation occurred before the scope of evolutionary theory. You could even move it before the scope of biogenesis. At this point, creationism and evolutionary theory are not at odds with each other.

    Specifically, the creator could have caused the big bang to occur in just the right way that specific laws of physics would appear. And these laws would cause elements to form with specific chemical properties. The resulting system would eventually cause some kind of life to appear.

    However, since there are no limits placed on an abstract or all knowing and all powerful designer, the point of creation could have happened at the big bang, 6,000 years ago, last Thursday or 3 seconds ago.

    Simply put, without a functional reason to pick one particular point of creation in this continuum, choosing one is irrational.

    Furthermore, when we ask Cornelius to present a specific point at which creation occurred and the functional role it played in biological complexity, he refuses. Instead, he suggests a lack of creation at a specific point in the continuum is less 'compelling', but does not specify what criteria is used or how it's free from metaphysics.

    Does compelling mean the theological positions that he personally believes? How about theological position with historical precedence? Or perhaps he assumes that reality should reflect common-sense interpretations of phenomena we observe?

    Again, without some functional explanation as to why a lack of creation at a particular point in the continuum is supposedly less compelling, his choice appears to be mere preference or compelling only in the scope of his personal theological position.

    Note that we can make a similar observation in regards to human choices. Given an abstract or all knowing and all powerful creator, there would be a similar continuum in which creation could occur. However, it's likely that Cornelius assumes a creator could have specifically defined human choices at a point on the continuum that would have effectively made us 'robots', but intentionally chose not to.

    Does Cornelius consider this a compelling point of the continuum? If so, why is this sort of hands-off form of creation compelling, while TE is not?

    ReplyDelete
  94. continued

    - - - - - - - -

    In other words, what axioms support holding these two positions simultaneously, which represent two disparate points on a continuum of creationism?

    We don't need to look far. There are a number of theological positions that use these two disparate points as an underlying explanation of ultimate reward and punishment, why good things happen do some people, but not others, death, etc. And they are compelling because the underlying assumptions result in desirable outcomes, such as ultimate justice, eternal life, etc.

    Of course, I don't want to put words into anyone's mouth. If there is some other reason why these two disparate views are compelling, perhaps Cornelius could enlighten us?

    ReplyDelete
  95. Simian:

    "My vote is that we agree to differ and leave ot at that, . . "

    Pedant:

    "You don't seem to realize that the future of Western Civilization is at stake.

    It's up to us voices of reason to stand up and fight."
    ======

    True statement. This is NOT about anything SCIENTIFIC as it is culture, ideology, philosophy and politics. Science is an excuse/crutch for indivduals with behavioral issues and resentment of accountability to an authority. Hence truthfully as you've admitted, this is strictly an issue of Universal Sovereignty.

    Thanks for sharing that.
    -------

    Thorton:

    "Problem is the religious Fundies keep trying to force their anti-science BS into public science classrooms. That lowers the quality of science education and hurts everybody."
    ======

    Yes, I wish you'd stop the faith-based statement making and provide actual scientific facts. Do dump the religion.

    ------

    Thorton:

    "Increasing scientific literacy / scientific awareness, even in small backwater blogs like this, still helps. Think globally, act locally."
    ======

    Yes, let's think about global responsibility and what science is has done and will do to save the planet. Let's look at Global Warming/climate Change(which I believe in BTW) and what all the members of the secularist driven United Nations and scientists will be doing to stop it.

    UN Climate Change Convention Serpent Cult Invokes Mayan Goddess At Cancun Global Warming Summit

    Wait a minute, isn't that religion ??? !!!

    ReplyDelete
  96. Eocene, you are a perfect example of the scientifically ignorant Dunning-Kruger poster-boys who are a big part of the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Thorton:

    "Eocene, you are a perfect example of the scientifically ignorant Dunning-Kruger poster-boys who are a big part of the problem."
    =====

    Interesting. So you're saying it's perfectly logical and rational for a cream of the crop group of scientists and other assorted worldly wise intellectuals to invoke the Mayan Moon Goddess "Ixchel"
    to provide a blessing on their efforts to turn the tide in Global Warming / Climate Change ??? And if you do approve, would that make you a Moonie ???

    Whose the real dunce here ??? You know, I would have been equally discusted if they would have started out with a prayer to Jesus Christ, especially since Jesus originally stated he was no part of this world.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Eocene, if you're too stupid to not understand a symbolic gesture done to honor the history of the country hosting the conference and an actual attempt at a scientific solution, there's no hope for you.

    ReplyDelete
  99. Thorton:

    "Eocene, if you're too stupid to not understand a symbolic gesture done to honor the history of the country hosting the conference and an actual attempt at a scientific solution, there's no hope for you."
    =====

    Interesting, so you would have felt it appropriate had they even prayed to Jesus Christ ??? LOL

    No, actually, there is no hope for this world (Human/Natural) if these people actually believe it's ONLY going to take yet another materialistic "Fix-It-Pill" approach to solve any of this climate change. The focus should be on greed and selfishness and how to get ALL Earth's people to change their attitudes and habits, but after all, that would be unscientific. Needless to say, the same inept disunited world governance will be the normal order of the day with no real positive changes on anything. When it comes to a die hard biased materialistic worldview, if it's not broken, why fix it.

    Moonies , *eyes rolling*

    ReplyDelete
  100. Just a quick rule of thumb bearing no relation to any specific comment or post here.

    If you think you understand something better than the experts do, it's likely that you don't actually understand it at all.

    ReplyDelete
  101. Venture Free:

    "Just a quick rule of thumb bearing no relation to any specific comment or post here."
    =====

    Yeah, sure you did! This is a follow up on Thorton's "Dunning-Kruger" slam, so don't be shy. Who cares anyway. Admit it and be done with it. We're all anonymous here anyway, right McGee ???
    *wink*
    -----

    Venture Free:

    If you think you understand something better than the experts do, it's likely that you don't actually understand it at all."
    =====

    Then maybe you can enlighten us on why the so-called Experts/Geniuses who have ALL the correct answers to the Global Warming/Climate Change fiasco, are also the same clods who brought this global disaster to us in the first and why we should trust and put our faith in anything they have to say when it comes to solutions ???

    ReplyDelete
  102. Eocene said...

    Then maybe you can enlighten us on why the so-called Experts/Geniuses who have ALL the correct answers to the Global Warming/Climate Change fiasco, are also the same clods who brought this global disaster to us in the first and why we should trust and put our faith in anything they have to say when it comes to solutions ???


    They're not the same ones. Earlier industrialized societies didn't have access to the same information and evidence we have now, and didn't understand the magnitude of the damaging effects being caused.

    ReplyDelete
  103. No, actually, there is no hope for this world (Human/Natural) if these people actually believe it's ONLY going to take yet another materialistic "Fix-It-Pill" approach to solve any of this climate change.

    Eocene,

    Perhaps you can elaborate on what you really mean, rather than ambiguously throwing around terms like 'materialist' in the context of climate change.

    For example, do the concrete weather conditions we observe have a natural or a non-material cause? (Did God define the initial conditions and let them run naturally, does he micromanage every rain drop and lighting bolt or somewhere in between?)

    Can we learn anything about nature by simulating weather conditions?

    I'm asking because it's unclear how you can simultaneously hold a view that God doesn't micromanage the weather, yet we need a non-materialistic solution (whatever that means) to climate control.

    Of course, this would require you to actually answer a direct question, rather than assume it's a complement or respond with some vague tangent to avoid the issue.

    ReplyDelete
  104. Thorton:

    "They're not the same ones. Earlier industrialized societies didn't have access to the same information and evidence we have now, and didn't understand the magnitude of the damaging effects being caused."
    ======

    Man it's amazing the excuses that can be made up on the fly when all your Church leaders reputation's are in jeopardy.

    The junk happening presently has nothing to do with industrial revolution ignorance, greed and selfishness. Modern science today has taken it to knew lows. The key timeline towards ruin is actually WWI onwards. In just the last 15 years it has more than peaked, in fact it actually continues to reach new peaks every year forward.

    Maybe you can explain why deforestation is presently resulting in the global increase of earthquakes and volcanism ??? And before you get smartassie with me on this, take a few days and do your homework.

    Most of my critics with this are usually the extremist "See No Evil - Hear No Evil - Speak No Evil" religious Fundie Right-Wing side who should be at the forefront on this but instead fight tooth and nail to deny anything is wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  105. Scott:

    "Perhaps you can elaborate on what you really mean, rather than ambiguously throwing around terms like 'materialist' in the context of climate change."
    =====

    How does one explain to a materialist that it's actually a spiritual fix as opposed to some political mechanical solutions game ??? Every man, woman and child needs to be on board with the same educational program globally in order for it to work. This of course will never happen, but you've been given the opportunity to try. Unfortunately for most of this world, dumping the "works of the flesh" and replacing these with the "fruitage of the spirit" as mentioned at Galatians 5:19-22 are quite simply not an option.

    ReplyDelete
  106. Eocene said...

    Maybe you can explain why deforestation is presently resulting in the global increase of earthquakes and volcanism ??? And before you get smartassie with me on this, take a few days and do your homework


    Correlation doesn't equal causation, dumbassie.

    ReplyDelete
  107. Scott:

    "Can we learn anything about nature by simulating weather conditions?"
    =====

    You people don't have enough time to screw around with simulations, theories, hypothesis, or Eco-Solutions idea games being regurgitated at your favourite Scientific Pow Wow. Time is fast running out and I guarantee you your world leaders aren't being upfront and forthright as to how desparate the situation is.
    ------

    Scott:

    "I'm asking because it's unclear how you can simultaneously hold a view that God doesn't micromanage the weather, yet we need a non-materialistic solution (whatever that means) to climate control."
    ------

    Do we really need newer and better Eco-Solutions and Green-Inovations ??? Sure!!! But they mean nothing if the majority of the party animal population on earth believes it's somebody else's problem and refuses to change their habits. It would also help if this world's celebrity darlings, political and business leaders would set the example, but obviously given their historical track record, that's a snowball's chance in Death Valley of ever happening.
    ------

    Scott:

    "Of course, this would require you to actually answer a direct question, rather than assume it's a complement or respond with some vague tangent to avoid the issue."
    ======

    You're the one who cowers back into the Netherworld of MAYA(Illusion), not me. Maybe you can pray to the MAYA Moon Goddesss and report back us what she informed you we should do.

    ReplyDelete
  108. Thorton:

    "Correlation doesn't equal causation, dumbassie."
    =====

    Exactly, that's what I thought, you don't have clue one and neither do your religious leaders.

    Thanks for playing anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  109. Eocene said...

    Thorton:

    "Correlation doesn't equal causation, dumbassie."
    =====

    Exactly, that's what I thought, you don't have clue one and neither do your religious leaders.

    Thanks for playing anyway.


    Feel free to present your evidence that deforestation causes earthquakes and volcanism.

    ReplyDelete
  110. Eocone wrote:

    Every man, woman and child needs to be on board with the same educational program globally in order for it to work. This of course will never happen, but you've been given the opportunity to try.

    Why don't you say what you really mean, rather that make ambiguous statements like 'global educational programs'?

    Eocone wrote:

    You people…

    Again, with the assumption. It's all or nothing. I'm either on the right side or the wrong side. Must be nice to live in a world where everything is black and white and you know everything without actually knowing anything.

    Time is fast running out and I guarantee you your world leaders aren't being upfront and forthright as to how desparate the situation is.

    As I suspected, you avoided the question yet again. Instead, you presented another vague tangent on how time was supposedly running out. You jump from one assertion to another - eventually ending up where you started.

    Are you talking about running out of fossil fuels or making assertions about some other timeline?

    Do we really need newer and better Eco-Solutions and Green-Inovations ??? Sure!!! But they mean nothing if the majority of the party animal population on earth believes it's somebody else's problem and refuses to change their habits.

    Eocone,

    What does this have to do with the so called materialistic "fix it pill" you keep ranting about? Actions have consequences. I'm asking how the actions you're ranting about actually cause climate change.

    You keep trying to suggest there is some kind of non-material connection. However, this appears to be nothing more than hand waving to support your personal theological views on life, death, why bad things happen to bad people, etc.

    Unsustainable consumption is just that - unsustainable. It's a function of taking more than you return. However, we could find clean, sustainable solutions to energy and resource needs. At which point, the habits you're referring to would not have an impact on climate.

    That is, unless God is wielding our climate as some kind of punishment. But, again, this requires he micromanage the weather, earthquakes, etc.

    Note that, in this particular context, I'm not taking a position on whether any sustainable behavior is morally wrong or right. I'm simply noting that you can't connect it to climate change unless you assume that our climate isn't a function of nature.

    So, it seems we're back to square one.

    Is our concrete weather conditions a product of nature or not? Can we learn something about nature by simulating the weather?

    Of course, I won't be holding my breath waiting for an answer.

    ReplyDelete
  111. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  112. Scott:

    "Why don't you say what you really mean, rather that make ambiguous statements like 'global educational programs'?"
    ====

    This is clearly illustrative of how a strict materialist views problem solving as nothing more than requiring only a physical material innovative fix-it-pill approach as opposed to any educational program to try and reach the hearts(seat of motivation) of Earth's inhabitants for a permanent solution. Nice!!!
    ----

    Scott:

    "Again, with the assumption. It's all or nothing. I'm either on the right side or the wrong side. Must be nice to live in a world where everything is black and white and you know everything without actually knowing anything."
    ====

    Again, this is yet another one of those crystal clear illustrative comments that reflect a materialist's love of wallowing in a muddled, murky and gray area world of definition shell games and a parallel universe netherworld of there being no absolutes and truth being reletive. Right Larry ??? Nice !!!
    ----

    Scott:

    "Are you talking about running out of fossil fuels or making assertions about some other timeline? "
    ====

    There are actually two points here with the first being most pressing & more important.

    First, this ongoing court trial(as highlighted in the Bible at the beginning) of self-determination has proved mankind's independence from a creator as having totally failed, with closing arguements wrapping up. Time has run out for humans to turn things around as they insisted they could.

    Second, for the sake of avoiding debate, let's say materialists are correct and there is no God. Our natural world and mankind's ability to continue making a living and indeed their very existance on Earth are fast running out. All the bold future catastrophic scenario predictions(created mostly for their sensationalism and entertainment value) far into the future are continually being upgraded as being closer than the experts previously thought. The time for more theories and political game playing are over. You people need to act now in order to salvage anything left.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Scott:

    "Unsustainable consumption is just that - unsustainable. It's a function of taking more than you return. However, we could find clean, sustainable solutions to energy and resource needs."
    ====

    This will never happen. Your politicians and big-business leaders would never allow it unless these present failures of inept leadership who run this planet were in charge and running it with the continued underlying motive of obscene wealth profiteering. Money is not the problem, it's the obsessive love for money that is at the heart(seat of motivation) of the matter. Hence in reality any educational program your side would invent would be doomed to failure before it ever got off the drawing boards. But it's still the ONLY correct solution.
    ----

    Scott:

    "At which point, the habits you're referring to would not have an impact on climate."
    ====

    And exactly how would you impliment such ideas ??? By creating more imperfect laws which would require force if necessary to carry out those perceived successful goals ??? That's been tried in the past over and over and failed miserably. Look what pure unadulterated atheism did to the environment under ALL communist dictatorships.
    -----

    Scott:

    "That is, unless God is wielding our climate as some kind of punishment. But, again, this requires he micromanage the weather, earthquakes, etc."
    ====

    Not at all. But of course he could step in and correct natural disasters, but that would be interference with your side's pusuit of mankind's know-it-all self-determination proof for which council for the defense would step up and proceed with objection after objection - stall tactic after stall tactic. The increase in earthquake activity and weather related disasters is squarely on humankind's shoulders and it's your own holymen(scientists) who are telling us this. Hence all the Climate Change Conventions. You certainly don't need me to tell you this. Just listen to your own religious leaders.

    ReplyDelete
  114. Scott:

    "So, it seems we're back to square one."
    ====

    That has always been your choice not mine. I'm not the one that when backed into a corner ventures off into a netherworld of "New Age" definition shell games about words/terms and stifles any further intelligent discussion.
    ----

    Scott:

    "Is our concrete weather conditions a product of nature or not? Can we learn something about nature by simulating the weather?"
    ====

    See reply to Thorton!

    ReplyDelete
  115. Thorton:

    "Feel free to present your evidence that deforestation causes earthquakes and volcanism."
    ====

    Much of what I know and have researched goes far back to undertanding how any forest ecosystem works and operates. For me it goes back to understanding how the ancient hydrological cycle which was strictly a minerotrophic one and allowed a natural world which was at it's peak of biodiversity(both plant and animal) completely around the globe to function. Then looking at the present Ombrotrophic hydrological cycling system and how it operates. In both cases healthy old growth forests fine tuned and regulated each system.

    Today we understand cloud formation and rainfall are fascilited by various landscapes which have a healthy vegetative componant in place no matter what the eco-type. The physical geological part of our Earth is a constantly moving and running machine with it's tectonic plates. Water has always been a major part of this machines smooth running parts. Trees, shrubs, grasses, etc allow penetration of water into the ground and even deep aquifirs. Removal of this biological system off the surfaces prevents this from happening. There's more to it than that, but at the predictable risk of knowing this will be made fun of anyway, I'll move on.

    The turning point in the natural world's pristine nature seems to be around World War I onward to the present. Many respected political, socialogical and scientifc leaders have agreed on this and commented so in the past.

    continued below . .

    ReplyDelete
  116. Sorry, looks like this blog software erased my previous post. I'll have to bring back the other link otherwise my post above makes no sense.

    *whew - sigh*

    ReplyDelete
  117. continued from above.

    I'm thinking that perhaps applying another link must erase the previous one so I'll just post a non-link address for which you will need to cut-n-paste to another browser.

    Here's the link:

    http://www.thehorizonproject.com/earthquakes.cfm

    This chart above is taken from the United States Geological Survey website and it's historical listings are quakes which have had a devestating destructive impact on humankind globally. The quakes are all of a rating of 6 - 8 or higher. The recorded history on this chart begins with the year 1900 and concludes on 2006, tho 2008 is showing, the dates 2007-2010 are not yet listed.

    The dramatic increase start at the year 1915 onwards and is pretty much steady from there to 1997 where a very dramatic rise starts and radically spikes first in 1999 and then especially from the years2003 to 2006 which you can verify from the chart.

    Now, click on this other link at the top of that chart which comes from the USGS website and count those totals for the years 2007, 2008, 2009 and you'll find they are far more than doubled the dramatic picture of the chart listed and are in actual fact well OFF that CHART and a new chart has need of being created. Of course 2010 isn't even finished yet, but will also be dramatic. Here's that other link where historical data for the chart is taken from.

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/historical.php

    ReplyDelete
  118. Okay I just lost the other post. I'll come back later. I'm confident there is enough material here for you all to squabble over in the mean time.

    ReplyDelete
  119. Eocene said...

    The dramatic increase start at the year 1915 onwards and is pretty much steady from there to 1997 where a very dramatic rise starts and radically spikes first in 1999 and then especially from the years2003 to 2006 which you can verify from the chart.


    Correlation still doesn't equal causation, dumbassie.

    Where is your evidence that deforestation causes earthquakes and volcanism? You seem to be floundering badly.

    ReplyDelete
  120. Thorton:

    "Where is your evidence that deforestation causes earthquakes and volcanism? You seem to be floundering badly."
    =====

    The blog comments software wouldn't allow me to continue posting yesterday without deleting as you of all people well know from time to time genius. I'll continue a little later today.

    However, it will mostly be for the benefit of the lurkers who may actually be interested and have the ability to dump the ideology, philosophy, religion, bigotry, hate and sarcasm.

    I take it your team lost yesterday ??? LOL

    ReplyDelete
  121. Eocene,

    Are the questions I'm asking really that difficult for you? Really?

    Because, we're back to where we started from. Example?

    This is clearly illustrative of how a strict materialist views problem solving as nothing more than requiring only a physical material innovative fix-it-pill approach as opposed to any educational program to try and reach the hearts(seat of motivation) of Earth's inhabitants for a permanent solution. Nice!!!

    Of course, exactly what you meant by a "physical material innovative fix-it-pill approach " was the original question I asked, which still remains unanswered.

    How a "global educational program" is actually a non-material, non-"fix it pill" solution unclear. Nor is it clear what the specific curriculum would be.

    Without some underlying explanation as to how the consequences of actions address by this "global educational program" actually effect our climate, this appears to one of many assertions on your part, which we simply keep circling back to.

    Furthermore, you continue to assume you know everything about me because I'm one of those "atheists." Beyond the obvious problem that non-theism need not indicate any positive beliefs, my comments here which indicate I'm a strong agnostic. God may exist in some form that doesn't reflect any of our conceptions.

    You, on the other hand, keep presenting false dilemmas based on your personal theological interpretations of phenomena we observe. Somehow, you know that, if God exists, he'd micromanage biological complexity. If God exists, he give us eternal life, rather than intentionally design us with a limited a existence. If God exists, our behavior would be part of some court trial, etc.

    Of course, you can't think outside of your theological box long enough to realize these are false dilemmas. And when a direct question falls out side of this box, you avoid it by changing the subject to a topic that does.

    ReplyDelete
  122. Eocene wrote,

    Most of my critics with this are usually the extremist "See No Evil - Hear No Evil - Speak No Evil" religious Fundie Right-Wing side who should be at the forefront on this but instead fight tooth and nail to deny anything is wrong.

    Eocone,

    Is climate change a test? Is God in perfect control? If so, it would seem that our resource problem isn't an accident, it was ultimately orchestrated by God.

    I mean, surely, the amount of resources at our disposal can't be an accident. Right? And if the problem were to go away, then how would God know who to punish and who to reward? In fact, you said…

    [Solving the problem of climate change] of course will never happen, but you've been given the opportunity to try.

    So, given the assumptions above, isn't everything going according to plan? Isn't the problem unsolvable by design? (After all, It was all designed, right?)

    ReplyDelete
  123. Eocene said...

    I take it your team lost yesterday ??? LOL


    Actually my team, honest peer-reviewed science, is on a 150+ year winning streak. It's the Creationists and IDiots who are 0 for the last two centuries.

    ReplyDelete
  124. Thorton:

    "Actually my team, honest peer-reviewed science, is on a 150+ year winning streak. It's the Creationists and IDiots who are 0 for the last two centuries."
    ====

    Your so called winning team has been directly responsible for bring the natural world to it's proverbial knees and you think this is funny ???
    There is no difference between your failed ideological position and that of Creationists or IDists. You're gonna have to try harder and do better than hatred to win Thort!!!
    -----

    On a side note, is there some moderator here deleting posts out of spite ??? I've lost several again in the last few hours. I'll post web addresses without the actual links and folks will simply have to cut-n-paste them.

    ReplyDelete
  125. Scott:

    "Eocone,

    Is climate change a test? Is God in perfect control? If so, it would seem that our resource problem isn't an accident, it was ultimately orchestrated by God.
    ====

    Climate Change and global ruin have nothing to do with the God of the Bible. However it was foretold to happen exactly as it has according to God's timetable. Very good Scott. *wink*
    ----

    Scott:

    I mean, surely, the amount of resources at our disposal can't be an accident. Right?
    ====

    No, unfortunately for your shortsightedness, the amount of physical natural/manmade resources are irrelevent. You could even have millions more times the resources presently avilable and you'd still botch it up. You people have already display irresponsiblity in your efforts to use them properly anyway. Nothing in your past and present behavior proves that the future will be proving itself much different. Keep praying to that MAYA(illusion) Moon Goddess there Scott. Perhaps she is busy doing something else and is presently unavailable. As Elijah once mocked to the prophet/priests praying to Baal for an answer, maybe your Moon goddess is also busy in the Loo taking a dump and is unable to give a reply.
    ----

    Scott:

    So, given the assumptions above, isn't everything going according to plan? Isn't the problem unsolvable by design? (After all, It was all designed, right?)
    ====

    Actually it's right on track. Thanks for being so observant. Earthquakes in the time of the end were foretold and their origin was by human error and mismanagement of the natural resources all of which a leftwinger position totally agrees with. Good job again Scott.
    ----

    ReplyDelete
  126. Well apparently I'm going to have to write an actual blog about this because deletions are the order and rule of the day here on this software program.

    ReplyDelete
  127. Eocene wrote:

    No, unfortunately for your shortsightedness, the amount of physical natural/manmade resources are irrelevent.

    It would seem that we can add Supply and Demand to the number of things that Eocene doesn't understand.

    ReplyDelete
  128. Eocene wrote:

    You people have already display irresponsiblity in your efforts to use them properly anyway.

    Again, with the "You people." Must be nice to live in a black and white world where you know everything about me despite knowing virtually nothing about me - except that I don't share your specific religious beliefs. Furthermore, it must be nice to know you're not part of the problem because you're not one of "those" people.

    After all, the actual details behind these issues are really just an irrelevant inconvenience. Right?

    ReplyDelete
  129. Eocene, don't forget your evidence that deforestation causes earthquakes and volcanism. Your "the dog ate my homework" excuse only works so many times.

    Post the titles of the appropriate scientific papers that support your amazing claim and I'll look them up myself.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Cornelius wrote in the Eugene Koonin thread:

    No, I was bemoaning the metaphysics parading as science. Evolutionists prove their theory is a fact using a contrastive approach. That is, they argue the data are more likely on their theory than other theories. The unspoken metaphysics is that those other theories are the only possible alternatives.

    No. But you keep on repeating the last statement as if it was a fact. You do realise that there are always more alternatives (an infinite number of them, actually)? It is obviously impossible to test your theory against them all. So, what do you do? Answer: you test your theory against some alternative. Anyone can do it, yourself included.


    Later:
    That is an obvious fallacy to which evolution is wedded.

    No, but you are wedded to the idea that evolution is wedded to that idea. (Ah, sandbox fighting...). Get over yourself. It' quite silly to have this massive tantrum over the use of the word "fact".

    Any alternative that I or anyone else might offer doesn't change the fact that evolution is a metaphysical theory, not open to the scientific interpretation of the evidence.

    The fact that no one proposes an alternative seems to be good evidence that opponents of evolution are not interested to scientific interpretation of the evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  131. Thorton:

    "Eocene, don't forget your evidence that deforestation causes earthquakes and volcanism. Your "the dog ate my homework" excuse only works so many times.

    "Post the titles of the appropriate scientific papers that support your amazing claim and I'll look them up myself."

    I couldn't even do that. I have no idea what screwy things are going on in this thread. I just posted response to Scott again with no complicated text or links and it's erased. But then you are already well aware of the idiocy of this software on this site or the Ghost moderator that plays games. I swear I have tried over and over. I'm done here.

    I think I'll go ahead and create a blog since much of what I know and have personally discovered I already use in planning and practical architeching of environmental layouts, be it in the wild or Urban environment settings. Either way the info is interesting and for the most part has zero to do with these rediculous debates anyway.

    ReplyDelete
  132. Eocene said...
    Thorton:

    "Eocene, don't forget your evidence that deforestation causes earthquakes and volcanism. Your "the dog ate my homework" excuse only works so many times.

    "Post the titles of the appropriate scientific papers that support your amazing claim and I'll look them up myself."

    I couldn't even do that. I have no idea what screwy things are going on in this thread.


    What a pathetic excuse. You can type wall after wall of meaningless text but you can't type in a simple title/author's name.

    Your bluff got called, and now you're busted.

    ReplyDelete
  133. Thorton:

    "What a pathetic excuse. You can type wall after wall of meaningless text but you can't type in a simple title/author's name."

    "Your bluff got called, and now you're busted."
    ====

    The next time you publish complaint after complaint about your precious posts being deleted by the mysterious Cyber Tinker Bell, then I'll be justified in calling YOU a liar then. Nice !!!

    You weren't really interested in the truth about any possible Global Warming mechanisms anyway as most of your text content bares this out anyway. Both you and Scott strangely took the position of some right-wing Christian Fundamentalist Republican stance arguing against what I posted that would have provided evidence for YOUR most cherished Left-Wing environmental cause you claim only your gang champions. No wonder there are no solutions to be found. What a hypocrite. Have fun again at your company's Christmas party hypocrite. I'm sure they'll have plenty of booze on hand for you.

    ReplyDelete
  134. Thorton:

    "What a pathetic excuse."
    ====

    Really ???
    ----

    Thorton:
    "Another post of mine just vanished.

    If someone doesn't fix the disappearing post problem this whole blog can kiss off."
    =====

    That's no excuse, you must have lied.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Eocone wrote:

    Both you and Scott strangely took the position of some right-wing Christian Fundamentalist Republican stance arguing against what I posted that would have provided evidence for YOUR most cherished Left-Wing environmental cause you claim only your gang champions.

    Eocene,

    Actions have consequences. You're assuming that actions only have negative consequence when they diverge from instructions of your holy book. The obvious problem here is that this is fallacious reasoning. Actions motivated by the best of intentions, but based on ignorance, can have substantial negative consequences and actions motivated by the worst intentions can have neutral or positive consequences. Unless we're all knowing, which were obviously not, then the outcome need not match our intentions.

    Furthermore, we keep hearing that the Bible was intentionally not written as a science book. If so, is our inability to convert even a fraction of the 120,000 terrawats of clean and sustainable energy received from the sun, which could easily meet the 15 terrawats of energy we globally consume every year, part of God's plan? Is this omission irrelevant to climate change?

    Again, it seems you exist in some fact-free zone where the reality of consequences and actions magically disappear should they be inconvenient for your theological views.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Eocene said...

    Thorton:

    "What a pathetic excuse."
    ====

    Really ???


    Yes really. No need to post another huge wall of text or actual links. Just type in the title of the paper(s) and author that show deforestation causes earthquakes and volcanism. Simple short posts don't disappear.

    You could easily post that info if you had it, but you don't. So you make up BS excuses. Pathetic.

    ReplyDelete
  137. Thorton:

    "You could easily post that info if you had it, but you don't. So you make up BS excuses. Pathetic."

    Look in the mirror buffoon.

    Thorton:
    ""Another post of mine just vanished.

    If someone doesn't fix the disappearing post problem this whole blog can kiss off."
    -----

    No way, you must be lying!!!

    ReplyDelete
  138. Scott:

    "Actions have consequences. You're assuming that actions only have negative consequence when they diverge from instructions of your holy book. The obvious problem here is that this is fallacious reasoning. Actions motivated by the best of intentions, but based on ignorance, can have substantial negative consequences and actions motivated by the worst intentions can have neutral or positive consequences. Unless we're all knowing, which were obviously not, then the outcome need not match our intentions.

    Furthermore, we keep hearing that the Bible was intentionally not written as a science book. If so, is our inability to convert even a fraction of the 120,000 terrawats of clean and sustainable energy received from the sun, which could easily meet the 15 terrawats of energy we globally consume every year, part of God's plan? Is this omission irrelevant to climate change?"
    =====

    Wow, two large paragraphs that fall off reality and into the illusional world of MAYA(Moon Goddess) world and give us nothing of value or import.
    -----

    Scott:

    "Again, it seems you exist in some fact-free zone where the reality of consequences and actions magically disappear should they be inconvenient for your theological views."
    =====

    I'm actually curious here why you and Thorton are posing as closet right-wing republican Fundies on this issues ??? The info is fascinating and supports your side of the Global Warming / Climate Change political issue. I use the term "political" because as usual none of these debates ever have anything to do with science for either ClimateGate debaters. Seriously, neither side really cares. As Pedant truthfully stated, it about ideology, philosophy, religion & politics. Science is an excuse and justification for nothing more than pathetic worldviews which have created these environmental disaster problems in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  139. Eocene, since we both know you don't have the data just man up and admit it. Watching you post walls of text denying that you can't post a simple title is embarrassing.

    ReplyDelete
  140. Thorton:

    "Eocene, since we both know you don't have the data just man up and admit it. Watching you post walls of text denying that you can't post a simple title is embarrassing."
    =====

    Google CO2 increase, global warming and increase in Earthquakes and volcanism. Seriously, you argue as some kool-aid drinking fundie who waits for what to think by listening to Rush Limbaugh.

    I'm NOT posting anything on this subject anymore for you to just figuratively spit and urinate on it in the end. You are the one making this politcal , philosophical and religious and the present degenerative conditions on this planet couldn't care less about your left wing extremism leanings or the right-wing extremism you love to hate. Nature is dumped on by both Kamps.

    Everytime you publish any future post where you stamp your feet and throw a little girl fit about erased or deleted posts, you also deserved to by called a liar using your own low grade standard.

    Nice try again!!!

    ReplyDelete
  141. Eocene said...

    Thorton:

    "Eocene, since we both know you don't have the data just man up and admit it. Watching you post walls of text denying that you can't post a simple title is embarrassing."
    =====

    Google CO2 increase, global warming and increase in Earthquakes and volcanism. Seriously, you argue as some kool-aid drinking fundie who waits for what to think by listening to Rush Limbaugh.


    No. If you have evidence that deforestation causes earthquakes and volcanism, post the titles of the appropriate papers. If you don't, keep making weak empty excuses.

    I'm NOT posting anything on this subject anymore for you to just figuratively spit and urinate on it in the end

    Since you haven't posted any evidence to support your claims in the first place, you might as well flounce out and keep your record intact.

    ReplyDelete
  142. Thorton:

    This is revealing. You may be a card carrying left wing extremist, but on this issue of Global Climate Change you are definitely expossed as a closet Born Again Fundie suck up Republican. Thanks for sharing that. You also clearly have no clue as to how ecosystems work and their connections to geological machinery that drives our planet. At least you can take comfort in the fact that you are amongst the majority of elites. Here's a hint Thorny, it's not about the science, it's about the MONIE$$$$$$$ LOL
    -----

    Thorton:

    "If you have evidence that deforestation causes earthquakes and volcanism, post the titles of the appropriate papers. If you don't, keep making weak empty excuses."
    =====

    Thanks Rush Limbaugh!!!

    ReplyDelete
  143. Eocene said...

    Thorton:

    "If you have evidence that deforestation causes earthquakes and volcanism, post the titles of the appropriate papers. If you don't, keep making weak empty excuses."
    =====

    Thanks Rush Limbaugh!!!


    OK, then you admit you have no such evidence. Not that anyone expected you to back up the inane bluster. Your record here is intact.

    ReplyDelete