Monday, September 30, 2013

New York Times: No Fair Talking Science

Theory Protectionism

Motoko Rich’s New York Times piece from this weekend presented a one-sided view of the on-going Texas textbook controversy, but not for lack of material. Rich’s piece, which was decidedly in favor of the belief that the species spontaneously arose, did not give voice to those who doubt that idea. The article quoted several participants in the debate, but none were evolution skeptics. That’s probably because when interviewed, the skeptics didn’t provide the right kind of material—they didn’t fit the template.

Instead they had some reasonable and thoughtful things to say. So instead, the Times cast them as deceptive:

By questioning the science — often getting down to very technical details — the evolution challengers in Texas are following a strategy increasingly deployed by others around the country.

After all, this ploy has been used before:

Four years ago, a conservative bloc on the state school board pushed through amendments to science standards that call for students to “analyze and evaluate” some of the basic principles of evolution. Science educators and advocates worry that this language can be used as a back door for teaching creationism.

And according to Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, appealing to science is a dirty trick:

It is like lipstick on a Trojan horse,” said Ms. Miller of the Texas Freedom Network.

Philosophers call this theory protectionism. If analyzing and evaluating “basic principles,” exploring technical details, and questioning the science are not allowed, then evolution is fully protected.

121 comments:

  1. I wish I could say I'm surprised to see such yellow journalism from the mainstream media when it comes to evolution, but I'm not. Evolutionists are very protective of their religion, I mean "theory." It reminds me of Roger Ebert's review of the documentary. "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" He attacked the film for daring to question Darwin's myth, and took it upon himself to defend it in his review.


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    1. You are aware that Expelled has been thoroughly debunked as a limp and transparent piece of Creationist propaganda... right?

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    2. "You are aware that Expelled has been thoroughly debunked as a limp and transparent piece of Creationist propaganda... right?"

      We are aware that you say so but also aware that your "debunked" doesn't meet the dictionary definition.

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    3. Happy Kenesin

      Who debunked what?


      Expelled was a rather shoddy piece of Creationist political propaganda aimed at scientifically ignorant laymen. As with all such Creationist propaganda it was filled with half-truths, distortions, and outright lies.

      A well supported debunking of the Creationist dishonesty by the National Center for Science Education is here:

      Expelled Exposed

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    4. The righteous indignation is rather amusing from outside the US.

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    5. Happy Kenesin

      The righteous indignation is rather amusing from outside the US.


      Maybe if it were your country's science standards that were being attacked and dumbed down to allow all sorts of pseudo-science Creationist quackery into public schools you'd feel a bit differently.

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    6. Happy and Elijah

      Perhaps we should go through the claims of the film individually together and see how well they stand up to scrutiny...?

      Let's start with the people it claims were 'expelled'. Seems a logical place to start.

      #1 Richard Sternberg.

      The film claims he was terrorised and hounded out of his job as editor of Proceeding of the Biological Society of Washington for publishing a pro-ID article by Stephen C. Meyer.

      Yet none of this appears to be the case. He was not fired at all - he had resigned from his post 6 months before publishing the Meyer article. His Research Collaborator status was renewed for another three years by the Smithsonian in 2006. What's more, the Council of the Biological Society of Washington published a statement explaining why there was an 'outcry' - Sternberg had broken procedural protocol whilst publishing the paper.

      http://www.biolsocwash.org/id_statement.html

      The film also cited congressman Mark Souder who claims to have uncovered a conspiracy within the Smithsonian to oust Sternberg. However, as Ed Brayton here demonstrates, the conclusions Souder draws do not at all match the evidence he bases them on.

      http://www.souder.house.gov/_files/IntoleranceandthePoliticizationofScienceattheSmithsonian.pdf

      Let's just take this a small step at a time. Do you or do you not believe that Richard Sternberg was chased out of his job for 'daring' to publish a scientifically sound paper on ID? Is this a conspiracy against someone merely for daring to break with the status quo? Or is this someone with an agenda whining because they were unprofessional and got found out?

      Which do you think? And remember - be really specific. We have a LOT of claims to get through...

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    7. From what I've read the standards appear to encourage critical thinking, which is kind of weird since you'd expect that.

      Regarding Mr. Sternberg, I' not familiar with the details but a quick google quickly lead me to some rebuttals of the rebuttals.

      My opinion isn't really relevant,.

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    8. Thorton (Oct 1)
      I read your link to NCSE. Wow, its amazing that there isn't one nugget of truth in Expelled. 'Bet the truth is somewhere between this diatribe and the Expelled movie.

      I found the first article, "Evolution" to be the most interesting. It begins by defining "evolution" as: "The big idea of biological evolution is that living things have common ancestors". It then says, "Scientists agree that natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow, genetic recombination, mutation, and symbiosis are major evolutionary processes." Many IDers, hold to universal common ancestry. (I do, albeit with a loose hand.) The ID complaint is that the naturalistic processes such as: natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow, genetic recombination, mutation, and symbiosis are painfully inadequate to explain the genetic code that exists. These mechanisms hold no power to produce new systems. These mechanisms hold no power to explain the multiple simultaneous variation that seems necessary as we look at the code. These mechanisms hold virtually no power to create the orphan genes that seem to be much more common than previously presumed.

      Oh, and if origin of life isn't part of "evolution" (Technically correct, but an unbelievably spurious defense) then the science of abiogenesis is the one that is beaten down by the commitment to avoid any intelligent explanation.

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    9. Happy -

      From what I've read the standards appear to encourage critical thinking, which is kind of weird since you'd expect that.

      Pardon?

      Regarding Mr. Sternberg, I' not familiar with the details but a quick google quickly lead me to some rebuttals of the rebuttals.

      Well, let's look at those rebuttals of rebuttals then. Who are they written by? What exactly are they rebutting?

      My opinion isn't really relevant,.

      Relevant to what? This discussion? It kinda is.

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    10. Thorton,

      "A well supported debunking of the Creationist dishonesty by the National Center for Science Education is here:"

      Surely you jest.

      Well my hockey loving buddy, the shooting starts for real tonight. My Leafs taking on the Canadiens, what could be a better start? Glad to see the Leafs got Kessel signed long term.

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    11. Happy Kenesin

      From what I've read the standards appear to encourage critical thinking, which is kind of weird since you'd expect that.


      No, not even close. Under the proposed dumbing down of the standards a teacher could introduce any "alternate" Creationist hooey without the alternate having passed even the slightest amount of scientific vetting. Many of the proposed "alternates" like a 6000 year old Earth or literal Noah's Flood have been conclusively disproven by a hundred years of scientific study.

      Permitting such nonsensical Biblical dreck isn't critical thinking. It's good old fashioned religious dogma being forced into science classes.

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    12. bfast

      The ID complaint is that the naturalistic processes such as: natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow, genetic recombination, mutation, and symbiosis are painfully inadequate to explain the genetic code that exists.


      IDiots can whine about whatever they want on their own time. Seems that's all they do.

      Unless they can conclusively demonstrate their own mechanism and processes which explain the data better than ToE, have better predictive power that ToE, can be tested and falsified like ToE they have nothing but hot air.

      Sadly, all the IDiots do is whine instead of doing their own testing and research to provide positive evidence for their claims.

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    13. Nic

      Surely you jest.


      Hi Nic, and don't call me Shirley! :)

      Glad to see the Leafs got Kessel signed long term.

      Be careful what you wish for. That's a lotta years of him chopping people's legs. ;) Gonna be interesting to see how Torts handles the Canuckleheads, Vigneault the Rangers.. Sharks lost Torres for 3-4 months with an ACL tear. There's lots of interesting subplots to follow!

      Let the games begin!

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    15. Thorton, "Unless they can conclusively demonstrate their own mechanism and processes which explain the data better than ToE..."

      How silly is that. Translation: My theory doesn't explain the facts. However, you may not point this out until you have a theory that fits the grid.

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    16. Thorton,

      "Hi Nic, and don't call me Shirley! :)"

      How about Gladys?

      Torterella in Vancouver looks to be one of the more interesting scenarios in the upcoming season. Never at a loss for colourful comments, the situation in Lotus Land should supply plenty of fodder.

      Due to renovations at home, my computer is 'off-line' so I'll comment when I can while at work.

      Take care my friend, and here's to a great season.

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    17. bFast

      How silly is that. Translation: My theory doesn't explain the facts. However, you may not point this out until you have a theory that fits the grid.


      Your mischaracterization is pretty silly.

      ToE explains plenty of facts to the satisfaction of science professionals. Only ignorant laymen Creationists argue "ToE can't explain every last detail to my satisfaction so that means it doesn't explain anything!!" That's one of the many reasons you guys get laughed at then ignored by the scientific community.

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    18. bFast -

      How silly is that. Translation: My theory doesn't explain the facts. However, you may not point this out until you have a theory that fits the grid.

      1) Every theory in science is provisional. That is their strength. New data will continue to be found, and new discoveries will continue to be made. No scientific theory is ever totally complete in and of itself.

      2) What facts do you have that contradict evolutionary theory? I know of none. Have you, perhaps, discovered a rabbit in the Cambrian?

      3) Evolutionary theory, like every scientific theory, is always open to critique. Creationists are not derided simply for daring to challenge ToE - they are derided because those challenges are generally ridiculous.

      4) ID v Evolution is a false dichotomy. If the former is true and the latter false, then it is not enough to simply criticise ToE. A positive case must also be built for ID, with testable hypotheses, detailed mechanisms and positive evidence - something that no-one to date has ever actually achieved.

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    19. "ToE explains plenty of facts to the satisfaction of science professionals." That would be a classic argument by authority fallacy would it not?

      "ToE can't explain every last detail to my satisfaction" I'm looking for just one example where the development of a complex system has been explained mutational event by mutational event. This isn't "every last detail", this is just a request for a single detailed explanation of anything meaningful.

      Your pointing to "creationism" suggest that "religion" is the only possible reason why a person would question ToE (Darwinian). I come at this from the viewpoint of a software developer. Fortunately for my career, I did not have to put my software to the test of the real world for each keystroke, each copy, paste or deletion. Software cannot be written that way. DNA cannot be written that way.

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    20. bFast -

      That would be a classic argument by authority fallacy would it not?

      Actually, no it isn't. The Argument from Authority is fallacious when you defer to the opinion of someone who is not an authority on the subject in question. A good example is deferring to Einstein's religious beliefs - he was a physicist not a theologian, so it is fallacious to assume he was any more informed on religious matters than the rest of us. Or using a pop star to sell a shampoo - what exactly do these musicians know about the chemical science of hair-care?

      An appeal to the opinions of experts within their field of expertise is perfectly valid and sensible. Sure, they aren't infallible; no-one is. But they are likely to be better informed on the topic than laypeople.

      I'm looking for just one example where the development of a complex system has been explained mutational event by mutational event.

      Then an excellent case for you to examine would be Lenski's E.Coli bacteria study. It traced the evolutionary history of 12 colonies of bacteria (from the same initial parent colony) generation at a time, for 25 years and counting so far.

      http://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/

      On a separate but related note, what does ID have to offer in terms of testable mechanisms?

      Your pointing to "creationism" suggest that "religion" is the only possible reason why a person would question ToE (Darwinian).

      You have to admit the correlation is remarkable.

      I come at this from the viewpoint of a software developer. Fortunately for my career, I did not have to put my software to the test of the real world for each keystroke, each copy, paste or deletion. Software cannot be written that way. DNA cannot be written that way.

      Why can't DNA be written that way?

      The analogy between software and DNA is in many respects a poor one.

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    21. bfast

      "ToE can't explain every last detail to my satisfaction" I'm looking for just one example where the development of a complex system has been explained mutational event by mutational event. This isn't "every last detail", this is just a request for a single detailed explanation of anything meaningful.


      LOL! "I don't want every last detail, just every last mutation."

      I can point you to hundreds of studies with higher level step-wise descriptions of complex biological features, but that's never good enough for Creationists. It's all or nothing. Never mind that the "I DEMAND INFINITE DETAIL!!" approach is about as dumb as claiming if geologists can't list every rainstorm and windstorm that helped erode the Grand Canyon then the GC must have been carved by Space Aliens.

      I come at this from the viewpoint of a software developer.

      There's your problem. If you want to understand the biology and genetics, you need to study biology and genetics. Using inappropriate analogies from you own line of work is a sure fire path to disaster. Creationist love the "DNA is like software" analogy for the few similarities but completely ignore all the huge differences. For one, human written software is extremely brittle - small unintended changes anywhere will often break the whole process. DNA on the other hand is orders of magnitude more robust. Change the DNA most anywhere and you still get a functioning produce, just with a slightly different result.

      A much better analogy is that DNA is like the recipe for a cake. If you change the amount of salt, sugar, eggs, butter, or the mixing instructions, or the baking time and temperature you'll still get a cake, just a different cake. And who knows, some folks might like the new cake better and it will sell more. That's how the selection part comes in.

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    22. "Using inappropriate analogies from you own line of work is a sure fire path to disaster."

      While the language of DNA is starkly different than the languages used by software developers, DNA = program code is not an analogy.

      Structured languages like C++ dominate software development. But languages like LISP and FORTH structure themselves very differently, and require very different coding styles. Yet these are programming languages just the same.

      "For one, human written software is extremely brittle - small unintended changes anywhere will often break the whole process."

      This is hooey. While DNA has an incredibly robust style, structured software is very much more robust than all that. I have written gazillion lines of code. In the process I have written mazillion bugs. Statistical analysis suggests that huge buckets of these bugs simply go undetected. The majority of these bugs simply produce erroneous or undesirable results, they don't crash the program. Many others do crash the program, but only under very specific circumstances. (Come to think of it my uncle Harry suffered a "widow-maker" heart attack. Seems that errors in his DNA crashed his system.

      Creationist love the "DNA is like software". Error. Programmers love DNA is software. You got "love", DNA and software right. You confused programmers for creationists; you inappropriately added the word "like".

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    23. bFast

      While the language of DNA is starkly different than the languages used by software developers, DNA = program code is not an analogy.


      Sorry, but it is an only an analogy. Like all analogies, it breaks down as soon as you start examining the details.

      Yet these are programming languages just the same.

      And neither resemble the working of DNA except in the most superficial of ways.

      Programmers love DNA is software.

      That's why they're programmers and not biologists or geneticists.

      Maybe someday those scientifically illiterate types blindly attacking evolutionary theory will come up with something besides argument from bad analogy. But apparently not today.

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    24. bFast -

      While DNA has an incredibly robust style, structured software is very much more robust than all that. I have written gazillion lines of code. In the process I have written mazillion bugs. Statistical analysis suggests that huge buckets of these bugs simply go undetected.

      I cannot help but wonder, then, why you consider it impossible for a code to be changed one letter at a time?

      One major difference between your computer programming and the evolution of genes is that you do not have to test your programme after every single change - in your words, after every "each keystroke, each copy, paste or deletion." But such a thing is, in principle, possible, isn't it?

      And that is more akin to how genes work. Genomes replicate themselves in their entirety - to continue the analogy, it would be like a computer script replicating itself - and probably several times. And sometimes those replicated scripts do contain 'changes' (I will avoid using the emotive word 'errors', but technically it is accurate) - a keystroke, a copy-paste, a deletion, etc. This ensures that, in a group of such scripts, there is variation.

      Now, imagining that at every 'generation' the scripts are all tested. Those that no longer work due to their changes are deleted. Those that work better due to their changes are copied more times. In time, these beneficial 'changes' would spread and eventually become common - even universal among the scripts.

      I do appreciate that this is indeed not how computer programming works. But it is how evolution works. Which is (one of several reasons) why computer programming is a poor analogy for DNA.

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    25. Thorton, "That's why they're programmers and not biologists or geneticists." Thanks for clearing that up for me. I'll quash everything I know and become an evolutionist.

      Ritchie, "But such a thing is, in principle, possible, isn't it?"

      Actually, in principle I doubt that it is. the sender and receiver of a signal must both be on the same page. If the sender changes its signalling, with the receiver not understanding, then confusion happens.

      If, hypothetically, it were possible, then my challenge to have mutation by mutation transformations demonstrated would be easy.

      Consider, for instance my favorite mutation, the HAR1F gene. The thing is ultra-conserved throughout its very broad scope (land animals at least.) The lasso loop requires multiple interlocks on both branches to match. To make the change to a bigger lasso as happened in humans, you need to make a bunch of simultaneous changes. This Simultaneosity is outside the scope of the neo-Darwinian model.

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    28. bFast

      I'll quash everything I know and become an evolutionist.

      What you know is software programming. No-one doubts your knowledge in this field. The claim Thorton is rebutting is that your profession bares more than a superficial resemblance to a totally unrelated biological process.

      If, hypothetically, it were possible, then my challenge to have mutation by mutation transformations demonstrated would be easy.

      And it is. I already posted the link to an exemplary study above:

      http://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/

      To make the change to a bigger lasso as happened in humans, you need to make a bunch of simultaneous changes.

      To make a person with longer arms you also need to make a number of 'simultaneous changes'. For one thing, they need slightly longer bones. But they also need slightly longer veins and arteries. They will also need slightly longer muscles. And also slightly longer skin patches to cover those arms.

      Is it a coincidence that such changes always take place simultaneously? Is it a miracle? Is it evidence of design?

      No. It is simply a demonstration that biology does not work like that. You are thinking like an engineer, not a biologist. Thorton had it right when he said DNA was more like a recipe than a blueprint. You can tamper slightly with the original ingredients but you will always end up with a whole cake.

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    29. Ritchie, "To make a person with longer arms you also need to make ..." We programmers are lightyears ahead of you on this. See: http://www.fantamorph.com/index.html Hmmm. maybe programs are more flexible than you understand.

      The HAR1F is different, however. In a moment, somewhere in history, the handshaking necessary to re-link the HAR1F happened. See the following picture, http://www.bio.davidson.edu/courses/genomics/2006/henschen/HAR1F.jpg and rather than blowing me off as a simpleton, study it for a bit. Get from chimp to human mutational event by mutational event -- I dare yea.

      As far as your link goes, well, I haven't had time to peruse the entire thing. Please enlighten me as to what real improvements to ecoli were made in their 50,000 generations. Did any of the ecoli develop a new organ?

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    30. LOL! The simpleton programmer still with the demand to see EVERY last mutation over the last 6 million years.

      Some folks are honestly interested in learning and reducing their ignorance. Those you can have a discussion with. Then you get ones like this Bozo who know it all already, know more than the millions of scientists combined who have spent their lives studying the subject. To these egotistical blowhards all you can do is point and laugh.

      For anyone interested, here is a study outlining the evolution of HAR1F from the HAR gene family.

      An RNA gene expressed during cortical development evolved rapidly in humans
      Pollard et al
      Nature, 443, 167-172 (14 September 2006)

      "Abstract: The developmental and evolutionary mechanisms behind the emergence of human-specific brain features remain largely unknown. However, the recent ability to compare our genome to that of our closest relative, the chimpanzee, provides new avenues to link genetic and phenotypic changes in the evolution of the human brain. We devised a ranking of regions in the human genome that show significant evolutionary acceleration. Here we report that the most dramatic of these ‘human accelerated regions’, HAR1, is part of a novel RNA gene (HAR1F) that is expressed specifically in Cajal–Retzius neurons in the developing human neocortex from 7 to 19 gestational weeks, a crucial period for cortical neuron specification and migration. HAR1F is co-expressed with reelin, a product of Cajal–Retzius neurons that is of fundamental importance in specifying the six-layer structure of the human cortex. HAR1 and the other human accelerated regions provide new candidates in the search for uniquely human biology."

      Mr. know-it-all programmer won't read it of course, but you can bet he'll do his best to hand-wave it away.

      I'd love to hear his explanation for the HAR genetic data. Maybe the Magic Designer who did Meyer's Cambrian body plan designs time traveled to 6MYA and did this gene too. But I guarantee the simpleton won't provide one.

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    31. "LOL! The simpleton programmer still with the demand to see EVERY last mutation over the last 6 million years." There's been 18 mutations in the last 6 million years? Cool.

      I read your link. 'Seems to want me to pay to read the entire article. Please save me the hassle, and define the sequence of mutational events for the 18 mutations. Oh yea, bet its not in there. The article says, hey, humans are different from chimps in 18 non contiguous point, but PROVIDES NO PATHWAY as to how those mutations took place. Right? Right.

      Cool,

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    32. bFast

      I read your link. 'Seems to want me to pay to read the entire article. Please save me the hassle, and define the sequence of mutational events for the 18 mutations. Oh yea, bet its not in there. The article says, hey, humans are different from chimps in 18 non contiguous point, but PROVIDES NO PATHWAY as to how those mutations took place.


      "I DEMAND INFINITE DETAIL!!!!"

      I thought you wanted to be a scientist? The mutations are listed in the Supplemental Notes S3. Get off your lazy ass, go to the library and read the paper.

      You simpletons are the first to scream "I DEMAND INFINITE DETAIL" but dead last in trying to educate yourself.

      BTW, you forgot to provide your explanation for the HAR genetic data and how the HAR1F gene got here. Well? I though you programmers knew everything, way more than mere geneticists.

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    33. Thorton, "The mutations are listed in the Supplemental Notes S3."

      Thorton, I have been discussing 18 non-congruent point mutations. Do you think I haven't seen them listed out? The question is not, what are the mutations, the question is which came first. More accurately, the challenge is that non of them could possibly have come first.

      "You simpletons are the first to scream "I DEMAND INFINITE DETAIL""
      You insult your prophet who said, "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." If the test of the truth of Darwin's theory is "numerous, successive, slight modifications", then examining situations that cannot be explained by numerous, successive, slight modifications is justified. I challenge simply that the HAR1F is such an example.

      "BTW, you forgot to provide your explanation for the HAR genetic data and how the HAR1F gene got here."

      Darwin claimed that falsification required a situation that could not be explained by numerous, successive, slight modifications. Unlike you, he seemed to believe that falsification was possible even if another theory was not available to replace it.

      "I though you programmers knew everything, way more than mere geneticists." Are you claiming to be a geneticist? If so, then you prove the depths to which geneticists lack knowledge. You stare at the "machine code" of the DNA, at the 3D structure of the RNA that it produces, and you fail to understand it. As a programmer, the 3D model makes perfect sense to me. It also is perfectly clear that you are not going to get the necessary realignment with a single realistic mutational event.

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    34. bFast -

      As far as your link goes, well, I haven't had time to peruse the entire thing. Please enlighten me as to what real improvements to ecoli were made in their 50,000 generations. Did any of the ecoli develop a new organ?

      In a nutshell, the 12 groups each increased measurably in fitness - and each following its own evolutionary path; that is, each developing its own series of successive mutations. And every single generation (there have been over 50,000 by now) had a sample taken and frozen so we can see exactly what mutations occurred and when.

      On its own an impressive result. But there was an extra finding which is particularly relevant to our discussion here. One group changed radically and developed the ability to digest citrate - an ability unheard of in E.Coli before - and crucially it is an ability that required not a single mutation, but two! Neither conferred any benefit alone, but together, they give the E.Coli this huge advantage.

      You see, mutations are not always simply beneficial or harmful to the organism's survival chances. Some are neutral. And in such mutations may not necessarily be weeded out by natural selection (conversely they may not necessarily thrive in the gene pool either). But occasionally neutral mutations do combine to produce a result that is of great benefit (or detriment). They will produce functions which appear 'irreducibly complex', which is exactly what happened in Lenski's study.

      Now, to bring us back around to the HAR1F, the claim you made is that these 18 point mutations must have all occurred simultaneously. But that is flat wrong. There is no reason to think they must have, or did, occur simultaneously.

      Certainly 18 base pair changes in 6 million years is a lot compared to only 2 base pair changes in the 300 million years previously. But there is nothing puzzling about this either. Since humans split from chimpanzees, the HAR1F gene apparently took on a new function, and when this occurs it is perfectly normal for the rate of mutation in the gene to rise dramatically - in simple terms the gene mutates to fit its new role.

      Get from chimp to human mutational event by mutational event -- I dare yea.

      You're correct that we do not know precisely in which order the mutations occurred, But so what? There are any number of combinations they might have occurred in.

      But you are labouring under the assumption that ANY sequence of changes is impossible. "More accurately, the challenge is that non of them could possibly have come first."

      Why could none of them have come first? What exactly makes you think all 18 base pair changes MUST have been completely simultaneous?

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    35. bFast

      Thorton, I have been discussing 18 non-congruent point mutations. Do you think I haven't seen them listed out?


      LOL! Yes, I think you haven't seen them listed out. Go ahead and provide them here.

      The question is not, what are the mutations, the question is which came first. More accurately, the challenge is that non of them could possibly have come first.

      Why not? You keep asserting the same thing but you keep forgetting to provide any evidence.

      I challenge simply that the HAR1F is such an example.

      Another assertion without any evidence. Still waiting for you to explain why the evolutionary history of the HAR group as shown in the Pollard paper is wrong, and what your "correct" alternate explanation is.

      Darwin claimed that falsification required a situation that could not be explained by numerous, successive, slight modifications.

      Yep. You still haven't provided any evidence of such a situation. Science on the other hand has provided both known mechanisms for the genetic changes and a plausible evolutionary history that agrees with the empirical data. You lose.

      As a programmer, the 3D model makes perfect sense to me.

      As a simpleton scientifically ignorant programmer I'm sure it does. To scientists who actually study and understand the topic, not so much.

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    36. "and crucially it is an ability that required not a single mutation, but two! Neither conferred any benefit alone"

      Ho! Stop the presses! Two neutral mutations got together to make a beneficial mutation! Irreducible complexity solved!

      This is like the guy trying to walk on water. He put on snowshoes and ran. Running really fast he was able to to make two steps before getting wet.

      Lets look at the facts here. Single mutations leading to benefit -- many! Couplets (where one half of the couplet is not deleterious), 1. The ratio of a 1 mutation benefit to a 2 mutation benefit is VERY LARGE! If so, a 3 mutation benefit is ever that much harder to obtain than a 2 mutation benefit. That is simple logic.

      While it might be possible to re-loop the HAR1F without all 18 mutations happening simultaneously, it would take about 8. (It would take the number of mutations involved in the contact area.) However, here's the kicker -- until the point of transformation happened, these mutations would be deleterious.

      So lets see where we are at. We know that two non-deleterious mutations producing a benefical result is possible. How 'bout 8 mutations each of which is deleterious outside of the set? Oh yea, no big deal -- deep time, all that.

      How do I know that all eight of these mutations would be deleterious you ask? (Of course you do because you cannot read the obvious picture of the rna gene that results.) The ultimate proof is that the gene is ultra-conserved over a very wide swath of creatures. All of these creatures (mammals, at least, probably all land vertebrates, possibly all vertebrates) have been taking periodic mutations in the HAR1F. Every time they have flushed these mutations -- BECAUSE EVERY MUTATION HAS BEEN DELETERIOUS! (I know, you'll point to the 3 nucleotides that wander, there are 3 nulceotides in this gene that are not conserved -- honest.)

      Summary: Ultra-conserved means all mutations are deleterious. (Lets not point out those pesky ultra-conserved regions that have been knocked out of organisms with no apparent detriment to the organism. The fact that this is inconceivable within the neo-Darwinian model is beside the point.)

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    37. bFast

      Ho! Stop the presses! Two neutral mutations got together to make a beneficial mutation! Irreducible complexity solved!


      Yet that's exactly what the empirical data shows. But do keep arguing from your ignorance based personal incredulity. It will make all that nasty evidence you can't explain go away, honest.

      While it might be possible to re-loop the HAR1F without all 18 mutations happening simultaneously, it would take about 8. (It would take the number of mutations involved in the contact area.) However, here's the kicker -- until the point of transformation happened, these mutations would be deleterious.

      "WHAT GOOD IS HALF AN EYE???"

      Simpleton programmer here still stuck in the "all or nothing mode". He hasn't figured out that intermediate stages in evolution don't have to provide 100% of extant functionality, or even the same type of functionality to be selected. That's what you get when an ignoramus speculates about topics on which he is clueless.

      How do I know that all eight of these mutations would be deleterious you ask? (Of course you do because you cannot read the obvious picture of the rna gene that results.) The ultimate proof is that the gene is ultra-conserved over a very wide swath of creatures. All of these creatures (mammals, at least, probably all land vertebrates, possibly all vertebrates) have been taking periodic mutations in the HAR1F. Every time they have flushed these mutations -- BECAUSE EVERY MUTATION HAS BEEN DELETERIOUS!

      Why don't you write up this devastating disproof of evolution and submit to an appropriate scientific journal like Nature or Genetics? You'll be world famous in no time! I'll even pay for the postage. The only caveat is when (not if) you get laughed out the door you have to publish your rejection letter here. Deal?

      Delete
    38. "The only caveat is when (not if) you get laughed out the door you have to publish your rejection letter here."

      Yup, I would get laughed out the door. I would, because the geneticists that would analyze my claim would be as religiously blind as you are.

      Delete
    39. bFast

      Yup, I would get laughed out the door. I would, because the geneticists that would analyze my claim would be as religiously blind as you are.


      LOL! Double darn, another scientifically illiterate Creationist who has conclusively disproven evolution! but is too afraid to publish his work for scientists to check and verify.

      We average about one of these self-proclaimed geniuses a week around here it seems.

      Delete
    40. bFast

      Ho! Stop the presses! Two neutral mutations got together to make a beneficial mutation! Irreducible complexity solved!

      Well it is certainly something relevant and important to bare in mind, isn't it? Your sarcasm aside, it truly does go at least part of the way to explaining it.

      How do I know that all eight of these mutations would be deleterious you ask? (Of course you do because you cannot read the obvious picture of the rna gene that results.) The ultimate proof is that the gene is ultra-conserved over a very wide swath of creatures. All of these creatures (mammals, at least, probably all land vertebrates, possibly all vertebrates) have been taking periodic mutations in the HAR1F. Every time they have flushed these mutations -- BECAUSE EVERY MUTATION HAS BEEN DELETERIOUS!

      Yes, because gene has been used for it's ORIGINAL FUNCTION. But when the function of the gene changes, it is subject to different selection pressures. What is deleterious under one set of selection pressures is not deleterious under another set.

      Genes do not operate in a vacuum. They are all part of a very complex and interconnected whole. Changes to one gene have all sorts of knock-on effects further down the line. There is nothing at all unusual or puzzling about a specific ultra-conserved gene suddenly undergoing rapid mutation.

      Really, you talk as if you think the HAR1F gene is set in stone - unchangeable no what the host organism or selection pressures. That is simply not the case. The HAR1F gene itself does not have the objective property of being 'ultra-conserved'. That is a fallacy.

      Delete
    41. Think about it this way: the term 'ultra conserved' is an after-the-fact assessment. It means 'this gene has not changed in a long time'. It does NOT mean 'this gene cannot change'. Do you see the difference?

      Delete
    42. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    43. "It means 'this gene has not changed in a long time'. It does NOT mean 'this gene cannot change'"

      This statement is not consistent with the theory. In your post about the ecoli study, you pointed out that neutral mutations happen. According to the theory neutral mutations happen. If mutations don't happen, its because they are not neutral. (In fact, deleterious mutations do happen, but deleterious mutations are sopped up by natural selection quite readily.)

      If mutations are not showing up in a system, its because every mutation that has been tried has been rejected by natural selection. Failure to understand this, in my opinion, is a blatant failure to understand the theory.

      Delete
    44. bFast the Genius Programmer. Still to lazy to read up on and learn about the topic he's butchering.

      The term HAR stands for Human Accelerated Regions. These are areas of the genome that have noticeable differences between humans and chimps, and between humans and most other vertebrates.

      Genes located in the HAR1 region are highly conserved across all species because they control neocortex development in embryonic brain growth. The HAR1F mutations which are unique to humans alter mRNAs which change the sequence timing of this early brain development. The critical HAR functions of brain development are still conserved in humans, only the timing is changed. It's one of the things that makes us human.

      Why Mr. Genius Programmer thinks this is a problem for evolution is hard to understand. Or maybe easy to understand considering his considerable scientific ignorance.

      Delete
    45. "Or maybe easy to understand considering his considerable scientific ignorance." What is perfectly clear is that one of us has considerable scientific ignorance. It is clear that one of us totally doesn't understand what is meant by Darwin's statement, ""If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."

      Delete
    46. bFast -

      If mutations are not showing up in a system, its because every mutation that has been tried has been rejected by natural selection.

      That is true. But it does not mean that it will always remain so for every species for all time.

      Every genome is different, and constantly evolving. And - a crucial point that you seem to be missing - terms such as 'deleterious', 'beneficial' and even 'neutral' are all relative.

      Would any change to the HAR1F gene be deleterious? Well, first we have to ask, "deleterious to whom?" There is no such thing as a gene element that will never be able to be improved by any species. Again, genes do not work in a vacuum.

      Yet your argument is built upon the premise that any change to this gene is utterly impossible. And that is ridiculous.

      There is nothing at all puzzling about a new species putting a formerly ultra-conserved gene through a period of rapid mutation. Because this is all that happened in the case of the HAR1F gene in early humans.

      And, just as an aside, that line from Darwin that you quote is a common Creationist quote-mine. You would do well to put the words back into context. I think you might find some good advice relevant to you.

      "IF it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case. No doubt many organs exist of which we do not know the transitional grades, more especially if we look to much-isolated species, round which, according to the theory, there has been much extinction. Or again, if we take an organ common to all the members of a class, for in this latter case the organ must have been originally formed at a remote period, since which all the many members of the class have been developed; and in order to discover the early transitional grades through which the organ has passed, we should have to look to very ancient ancestral forms, long since become extinct.

      We should be extremely cautious in concluding that an organ could not have been formed by transitional gradations of some kind. Numerous cases could be given amongst the lower animals of the same organ performing at the same time wholly distinct functions; thus in the larva of the dragon-fly and in the fish Cobitis the alimentary canal respires, digests, and excretes. In the Hydra, the animal may be turned inside out, and the exterior surface will then digest and the stomach respire. In such cases natural selection might specialise, if any advantage were thus gained, the whole or part of an organ, which had previously performed two functions, for one function alone, and thus by insensible steps greatly change its nature. Many plants are known which regularly produce at the same time differently constructed flowers; and if such plants were to produce one kind alone, a great change would be effected with comparative suddenness in the character of the species. It is, however, probable that the two sorts of flowers borne by the same plant were originally differentiated by finely graduated steps, which may still be followed in some few cases.

      Again, two distinct organs, or the same organ under two very different forms, may simultaneously perform in the same individual the same function, and this is an extremely important means of transition..."

      http://www.bartleby.com/11/6005.html

      Delete
    47. "Well, first we have to ask, "deleterious to whom?""

      We don't, actually. We can ask, rather, deleterious to what? Any single mutation would be deleterious to the structure of the HAR1F gene. More specifically, many of the mutations that have happened would, of necessity, destroy the shape of the RNA gene. The only way that the shape of the RNA gene remains useful is if multiple simultaneous mutations happen at once.

      If you can demonstrate that the HAR1F is unnecessary to great apes, then my hypothesis would surely be falsified.

      Delete
  2. cornelius, you're a DI 'fellow", right? The DI says that they do not advocate teaching ID in public schools*, so why do you advocate teaching ID in public schools?


    *The IDiots at the DI are lying of course. Their agenda is to 'wedge' their religious beliefs into public schools and every other aspect of everyone's life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well since you have been found to believe in the Blue Fairy of chance creating everything out of nothing why shouldn't they. You have your religion trying to wedge so I say equality for all :)

      Delete
    2. You're not STILL using the analogy of the Magic Blue Fairy, are you Elijah?

      Have you STILL not worked out that it is a mockery of your side of the argument?

      YOU are the one who believes in immaterial beings that make things happen by magic.

      Before you (unsuccessfully) parody a point of view, it would help you to try to actually understand it first. It might make you look less silly then.

      Delete
  3. cornelius said:

    "If analyzing and evaluating “basic principles,” exploring technical details, and questioning the science are not allowed, then evolution is fully protected."

    If the analyzing, evaluating, exploring, and questioning remain with scientific methodology and reality there shouldn't be a problem. The problems occur when religious wackos try to push their fairy tale beliefs into science, education, and everyone's life. Science is all about analyzing, evaluating, exploring, and questioning but that doesn't mean that any wacky, unscientific beliefs about supernatural sky daddies should be allowed.

    One of the things that you god pushers obviously never comprehend is that your fairy tale religious beliefs are NOT the only fairy tale religious beliefs held by god pushers, and if your beliefs are allowed then so are ALL the other ones. Is THAT what you want?

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    Replies
    1. That should be: remain within scientific methodology

      Delete
    2. When you stop pushing your blue fairy everything out of nothing Religion then you might be able to make a more logical and coherent point. Until then its devastated by its own hypocrisy.

      Now go ahead and fume some more.

      Delete
  4. CH -

    Rich’s piece, which was decidedly in favor of the belief that the species spontaneously arose...

    Sorry, what does Rich believe? That species spontaneously arose? That species just appeared spontaneously out of thin air? You are calling Rich a Creationist? I'm confused.

    That’s probably because when interviewed, the skeptics didn’t provide the right kind of material

    No, it's probably because 'the skeptics' are just a fringe element of religious fanatics and this journalist just wanted to interview actual scientists - not Christian preachers with too many opinions.

    So instead, the Times cast them as deceptive

    They said nothing that isn't true.

    "And according to Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, appealing to science is a dirty trick

    Now that IS a bare-faced lie.

    The line you have quote-mined from her is NOT referring to 'appealing to science'.

    Shame on you for this cowardly, self-serving deception.

    Philosophers call this theory protectionism.

    And psychologists call what you are doing 'projection' - accusing others of all your own flaws. Much as you scream that it is Creationism which is scientific and ToE which is not, the reverse is in fact the case.

    Doesn't it ever dawn on you when you cry about ToE having an 'agenda' that it is the creationist institutes (like the very one you belong to) that have the statements of faith and not the secular ones? Doesn't that ring any alarm bells about who is actually doing the real science?

    While you decry evolution for being 'based on a false dichotomy', doesn't it ever occur to you that 100% of the output of every creationist ever (yourself included) is about trying to undermine ToE and 0% is doing any actual science?

    When you call out ToE for being 'religiously motivated', don't you ever notice that evolution is widely accepted by people of every faith (and none at all), while Creationists (yourself included) all 'just happen' to also be pushing an entirely religious explanation for life on Earth?

    How can you be so blind that it is your own position that is guilty of all the fallacies you accuse others of?

    ReplyDelete
  5. I see CH can't even come up with his own Creationist propaganda anymore but has to plagiarize John West, head of the Disco 'tute. Can't go wrong by kissing up to the man who signs your checks, can you CH?

    I hear the NYT has a pretty one-sided view against teaching Holocaust denial and Geocentrism too. Where is the journalistic fairness??? I'm sure the DI will be working hard to end this travesty as well.

    ReplyDelete
  6. CH: And according to Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, appealing to science is a dirty trick:

    Again, from the previously discussed NRO article: Perhaps it is the case that the scientific consensus regarding evolution is wildly off base and that George Gilder is in possession of the secrets of the universe. If that is the case, then the people who need convincing are the professors, not the high-school kids. Attempting to influence the scientific debate by monkeying around with high-school textbooks is like trying to steer an aircraft carrier with a wooden oar. That the creation-science gang is most interested in sharing its ideas with the audiences least intellectually prepared to evaluate them suggests that it is up to no good.

    This is the same dirty trick.

    As what Philosophers consider theory protectionism, from Karl Popper's Conjectures and Refutations....

    (7) Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers--for example by introducing ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by re-interpreting the theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status. (I later described such a rescuing operation as a 'conventionalist twist' or a 'conventionalist stratagem'.)

    However, modifications to evolutionary theory, such as the inclusion of HGT, are not ad hoc. They are themselves are testable theories.

    While Popper indicated he was initially mistaken about the status of evolution in this regards, he later clearly indicated the theory meet his requirements for having scientific character.

    IOW, exactly which philosophers are you referring to and what is/was their relevance to the field of science? Please be specific.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Scott: (7) Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers

      J: But you say even the validity of the validity of the LNC, the reality of actual memories, and the reality of 3 or more beings are each purely speculative beliefs. So what you really mean to say is something like this:

      "I believe, apart from either self-evidence or positive evidential grounds, that there there exists testable theories. Which is to say that I am UTTERLY clueless as to whether there is such a thing as a theory at all, much less a testable theory."

      Now, see how moronic you sound when it's worded consistently with your epistemology? But alas, you can never talk consistent with your epistemology. Because you, like everyone else, are a foundationalist. Thus, you expect to be taken seriously when you assert propositions in the indicative mood. But your epistemology renders no belief per se worthy of serious regard. Regard itself, per your epistemology, is a notion that has no knowable relation to reality.

      In short, it makes NO difference what the answer to the question "'which philosophers' is CH 'referring to?"' is if your epistemology is valid. Because all beliefs (including the belief that there are other minds) are indistinguishable from superstition and blind faith if your epistemology corresponds to reality.

      Delete
    2. Jeff: But you say even the validity of the validity of the LNC, the reality of actual memories, and the reality of 3 or more beings are each purely speculative beliefs. So what you really mean to say is something like this:

      No, Jeff. I haven't said that. As a foundationalist, you're the one with the problem. And you're projecting your problem on me.

      Specifically, to reach that conclusion, somewhere along the line, you must assume I must make the assumption that without being self-evident, without positive evidential grounds, etc, we know nothing.

      But, apparently, you can't recognize that assumption as, well, an assumption itself that you have not justified, warranted, etc.

      It's a false dilemma.

      So, apparently, you're the one who is utterly clueless as you cannot recognize your conception of human knowledge as an idea that itself would be subject to criticism.

      I've expanded on the issue in this comment.

      Now, other than trying to distract from the actual substance of my comment by misrepresenting my position, do you have a response to what I actually wrote? If not, then I'll be ignoring you.

      Delete
    3. Scott: So, apparently, you're the one who is utterly clueless as you cannot recognize your conception of human knowledge as an idea that itself would be subject to criticism.

      J: How can any idea be KNOWABLY subject to criticism if the LNC itself is not KNOWABLY true? Oh, that's right, you can't even DEFINE knowledge. You're not even trying to communicate, Scott. So CH has no reason to take you seriously. You do realize that's why he never responds to you, right? There's no one on this forum that has agreed with your view that there is no such thing as positive evidence. So why, pray tell, would you single out CH as one who should care about your a-probable pontifications?

      Delete
    4. Jeff: There's no one on this forum that has agreed with your view that there is no such thing as positive evidence.

      Except, that's not the issue in question, Jeff.

      Any modus ponens argument can be transformed into a modus tollens argument. This means all of the positive evidence referenced here represents criticism of the theory.

      Again, disagreeing with someone about how knowledge grows isn't the same thing as disagreeing on whether there is knowledge. So, this is yet another attempt to distract from the substance of my comment.

      Delete
    5. Again, Cornelius claimed that objections raised in these articles represented theory protectionism according to philosophers.

      But what's objectionable here is "creation-science gang ... sharing its ideas with the audiences least intellectually prepared to evaluate them", rather than actual biologists.

      Furthermore, I quoted an example of theory protectionism from an actual, specific philosopher, which said nothing about monkeying with high school text books and was compatible with non-ad hoc changes to evolutionary theory.

      So, I'll repeat my question to CH....

      IOW, exactly which philosophers are you referring to and what is/was their relevance to the field of science? Please be specific.

      Is asking for specifics too much a to him to handle?

      Delete
    6. Scott: Any modus ponens argument can be transformed into a modus tollens argument. This means all of the positive evidence referenced here represents criticism of the theory.

      J: But:

      1) You don't claim you can remember,

      and

      2) You don't claim the LNC is valid.

      Thus, you've said nothing that isn't a bald-faced pontification, per your epistemology.

      Scott: Is asking for specifics too much a to him to handle?

      J: Scott, he's handled it by implication over and over. Cladistics has no known correspondence to the effects of historical mutations (blindly assuming mutations have occurred, of course, right?). And phenotypes are unpredictable at the level that would be relevant to rejecting SA non-arbitrarily. IOW, even BY the standard inductive approach in logic textbooks that describe what constitutes "positive" evidence, there is precisely ZERO of that kind of evidence for naturalistic UCA. IOW, everyone here who believes in both naturalistic UCA and the standard view of "positive" evidence are absolutely WRONG that there is "positive" evidence for naturalistic UCA. What more does CH need to be warranted in saying what he says? What has he said that is "self-evidently" false (per consensus human intuition) or rationally invalid per logic textbooks? Nothing, Scott. The fact that there are atheists who hate the fact that the atheist epistemology can't account for the KNOWABLE validity of reason or any particular belief (including whether there is even another mind "out there," let alone a "scientific" one, whatever that would be) is not CH's problem.

      You have yet to define your terms, Scott, in terms of your epistemology (which is not the one that conventional definitions arose from). CH is not a mind-reader.

      Delete
  7. Ritchie

    "100% of the output of every creationist ever (yourself included) is about trying to undermine ToE and 0% is doing any actual science"

    1) It is scientist's job to uproot established theories. No theory should be protected.
    2) There are lots of scientists who are creationists and they contribute to scientific discoveries.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Eugen

    1) It is scientist's job to uproot established theories. No theory should be protected.

    I agree. But at the same time, every scientific theory must stand on its own. You need positive supporting evidence for every theory. You do not establish a theory by tearing into a competitor theory and implying yours is the only alternative. Which is exclusively what Creationists do.

    2) There are lots of scientists who are creationists and they contribute to scientific discoveries.

    You sure about that?

    Prolific scientists can publish a dozen articles in a year. Yet almost no scientific article has ever been published in direct support of Creationism. To the point where the IDEA centre actually published a list of excuses for this:

    http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.php/id/1163

    Moreover, the ratio of creationists to 'evolutionists' is generally vastly misrepresented on Creationist sites like this one. I am convinced that the whole reason Cornelius refers to them as 'evolutionists' is to give the erroneous impression that the term refers to a small sub-set of biologists - that 'evolutionism' and 'creationism' are somehow on a par intellectually in biology.

    In actual fact, this is a gross distortion. Among most developed countries, the support for Creationism among scientists is virtually non-existent. America is highly unusual among western countries in having any scientists support the idea at all, and even there that level is absolutely minute. It would be far more appropriate to refer to 'evolutionists' simply as 'biologists'.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution

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    Replies
    1. Re. 1) If ID is not serious enough challenge to uproot established theory then it should be ignored. Biologist should not get emotional about ID or seek protection. Otoh, they should welcome challenge if it's valid.
      I read astronomy web sites and forums. Now and then a new self taught "expert" shows up and posts his new crazy theory about space-time or speed of light,etc. Nobody gets emotional, people either read it or ignore it or occasionally comment.


      Re. 2) I mean there are many religious scientists who believe in creation but they contribute to their scientific discipline not creationism.

      Delete
    2. Eugen

      If ID is not serious enough challenge to uproot established theory then it should be ignored. Biologist should not get emotional about ID or seek protection. Otoh, they should welcome challenge if it's valid.

      In principle, there is a truth to what you say. The ideal of the scientific mind is a dispassionate and objective examination of the evidence leading to rational conclusions.

      However, I am confused that you lay the charge of being loud and emotional at the door of the biologists. No-one is shielding evolution from criticism - evolution has been put thoroughly through the wringer of critical analysis for a century and a half. No-one dismisses ID just because it 'dares to criticise' - we dismiss it because it has no substance and it's objections are fallacious - often embarrassingly so.

      And yet it does not go away. Despite the fact that ID is all but dead in the halls of scientific academia, Creationists DO hold a lot of power among laypeople. The fundamentalist Christian right has a lot of power and money, and they can use them to make a lot of noise. Constantly churning out the same old garbage pseudo-science which has been discredited hundreds of times before, preaching to the masses and converting thousands to their cause. All actively and deliberately advancing a mistrust of scientific authorities and a fundamental misunderstanding of how science actually works. All this is very loud and emotional. In fact it is little else: just loud, emotive, substanceless noise.

      Is it any wonder scientists get frustrated? We are merely human, after all.

      I would like to see a history teacher calmly teach their class if there was a particular student they could not remove - a holocaust denier - sat at the back of the room loudly and continuously shouting over everything he said and claiming the holocaust was all lies from governments pushing their agendas. How long would your patience last, I wonder?

      I mean there are many religious scientists who believe in creation but they contribute to their scientific discipline not creationism.

      Okay, yes that is true. There are scientists, who merely happen to be creationists, who do contribute.

      But the flip side is that this demonstrates that religion and science need not be in conflict. A person of any faith or none at all can be a scientist - and that includes biology. Despite what so many Creationists will tell you, there is no particular link between evolution and atheism. Scientists of all faiths or none can and do accept evolution. Because evolution is absolutely not a religious position.

      The only reason evolution comes into conflict with creationism is that creationism demands that the evidence match their dogmas, and then cry foul when it does not.

      Delete
    3. Ritchie

      Thanks for your detailed answer. You write well.

      " All actively and deliberately advancing a mistrust of scientific authorities and a fundamental misunderstanding of how science actually works. All this is very loud and emotional"

      I'm not familiar with it , I didn't follow too closely, especially if it happened more than few years ago. It's likely there were some extreme cases like with any issue. ID as presented now seems to rely on scientific data, it may be interpretation that is not appealing to anti ID people. Recent example is the little gears found in an insect. What is average person to think about that? Evolved? Yes, possible. Designed by an alien or supreme being? Possible too.

      Delete
    4. Eugen

      Thanks for your detailed answer. You write well.

      That's nice of you to say. I try to be thorough. Sometimes I think I waffle.

      ID as presented now seems to rely on scientific data, it may be interpretation that is not appealing to anti ID people. Recent example is the little gears found in an insect. What is average person to think about that? Evolved? Yes, possible. Designed by an alien or supreme being? Possible too.

      Indeed, this IS a good example. What ARE we to make of these 'gears'?

      Both explanation are indeed possible. But which is more probable?

      The gears are an ingenious bit of biological engineering. But biology does not lack for those - the eye, the brain, the heart, etc.

      Is there anything specific about those 'gears' which indicates design? If so, I would be very interested to hear it. And if not, then how does this qualify as supportive evidence for ID, precisely?

      Delete
    5. I mean is this really anything more than a new bacterial flagellum?

      Delete
    6. Ritchie

      However, I am confused that you lay the charge of being loud and emotional at the door of the biologists. No-one is shielding evolution from criticism - evolution has been put thoroughly through the wringer of critical analysis for a century and a half. No-one dismisses ID just because it 'dares to criticise' - we dismiss it because it has no substance and it's objections are fallacious - often embarrassingly so.

      And yet it does not go away. Despite the fact that ID is all but dead in the halls of scientific academia, Creationists DO hold a lot of power among laypeople. The fundamentalist Christian right has a lot of power and money, and they can use them to make a lot of noise. Constantly churning out the same old garbage pseudo-science which has been discredited hundreds of times before, preaching to the masses and converting thousands to their cause. All actively and deliberately advancing a mistrust of scientific authorities and a fundamental misunderstanding of how science actually works. All this is very loud and emotional. In fact it is little else: just loud, emotive, substanceless noise.


      That is very well written and succinct Ritchie. It's exactly why I fight these cretins who would drag the whole country back to the scientific dark ages.

      Delete
    7. Ritchie

      Really, what is a layman supposed to think about gears? Gears are normally part of a mechanical power transfer system. Gears are arranged in an interlocked fashion (way) to be able to transfer power. Often they have different ratios between them to enable speed and power control.

      Whether gears are small or big, whether they are made of steel, plastic or biomaterial doesn’t matter. Basic principle of operation and the purpose of any gear arrangement is the same regardless of where or when they are used.

      It should be the same with motors. Basically motor is an arrangement of components for purpose of energy conversion. Different types of energy can be converted into a mechanical, motive energy. Whether motor is powered by electricity, compressed air or acid (in the case of flagellum if I remember right) there are some basic principles that should be followed. Motor is usually arranged as a group of components that can be named as stator, rotor, energy delivery conduits and mechanical power coupler.

      Both of these types of mechanical arrangements are highly interlocked (intermeshed), i.e. the system is dependent on position of its components. Removal of a component in an interlocked system makes the system fail. Actually it is worse, even a small change in one of the components may make the system fail.

      Delete
    8. Eugen

      Really, what is a layman supposed to think about gears?


      An ignorant layman driven by personal incredulity will go "GEE!! it looks like a human design, it must be CONSCIOUSLY DESIGNED TOO!". He'll look only at the superficial similarities and ignore all the glaring differences.

      An educated layman will go "Oh, that's cool. Another example of where nature hit upon a simple mechanical solution to solve a problem encountered by a certain creature in its particular environment".

      As I pointed out before, animals use all sorts of simple physical machines in their bodies - levers, pulleys, ball-and-socket joints, even the rare rotating part. That's because there are only a finite number of solutions to the physics problems they face.

      Humans only discovered these physics principles and simple physical machines hundreds of millions of years after nature found them. Now we're supposed to be awed because our designs made to solve the same physics problems resemble naturally occurring ones?

      Delete
    9. Eugen -

      Thorton is quite right - there are any number of engineering mechanisms with biological equivalents. This does not at all indicate that such features were therefore designed. Why aren't you citing the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder as evidence for ID?

      What you are arguing is a form of irreducible complexity. But we have never come across a concrete instance of irreducible complexity. For example, the concept's posterchild, the bacterial flagellum, is not irreducibly complex:

      http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~matzke/matzke_cv/_pubs/Pallen_Matzke_2006_NRM_origin_flagella.pdf

      The real lesson we can learn from the bacterial flagellum is that nature can produce stunning complex mechanisms.

      Now, allow me to put your argument under the microscope for a moment. All it consists of really is a mixture of Argument from Incredulity and 'It Just Looks Designed'. Taken alone, it is easy to see that neither argument holds much water. And neither actually constitutes positive supporting evidence for ID at all, since ID does not pose any kind of mechanism to account for the gears. All it offers is 'It was designed', which has the explanatory power of 'It was magic' and no more.

      Delete
    10. Ritchie, Thorton

      My Engrish (and laziness) is preventing me from writing proper text on this topic. Maybe I'm not forming an argument per se, rather a point or two to think about. Lets call this point "gear is a gear, motor is a motor" or "principle of equivalence of operation".

      Macroscopic and microscopic motors and gears operate on same principles. Components of these systems can be distinguished, mapped, analyzed, their arrangements are logically inter-meshed. Energy is harnessed/produced elsewhere and delivered/channeled to these systems. Systems accepts energy, apply it properly and produce purposeful work. Basically, they control energy for the purposeful outcome.(we may come back to this energy control issue)

      We are not talking analogies here but the same principles of operation.

      Delete
    11. Eugen

      We are not talking analogies here but the same principles of operation.


      So? What's to stop natural processes from utilizing the same laws of physics in simple physical machines as humans do deliberately?

      All you or anyone else from the IDC camp has ever offered is "gee it's soooo complex!!' personal incredulity. That just doesn't work.

      Delete
    12. We are not talking analogies here but the same principles of operation.

      Yes, that is true. But so what?

      Finding the functional equivalents of gears, levers, water valves and pistons in the natural world is just a coincidence - two agents (humans and nature) creating the same mechanisms by coincidence. That does not mean they were created the same way.

      And returning to the evidence point, this is not positive evidence for ID because ID does not explain it.

      Delete
    13. Ritchie, Thorton

      I would like to extend, maybe stretch a little this "gear is a gear, motor is a motor" or "principle of equivalence of operation".
      Instructions for building macroscopic and microscopic motors and gears should be stored somewhere appropriate for their size, medium of operation and method of reading.

      Generally speaking, system that regulates and controls energy by way of logical arrangement of physical components is likely designed. You maybe a bio-robot.

      Think about this while drinking nice cold Moosehead.

      Delete
    14. Generally speaking, system that regulates and controls energy by way of logical arrangement of physical components is likely designed. You maybe a bio-robot.

      I guardedly agree with the second sentence.

      All genes 'want' to do (if I do not derail you too much by using the word 'want') is replicate itself. That is all. From a genetic point of view, the only reason bodies are built at all is so that our genes get the chance to be passed on. We are Trojan Horses carrying the genes that built us.

      But your first sentence is a nonsense. Genes do not arrange components; they ARE those components. They become those components because that is what they are programmed to do.

      What is more, we have a perfectly valid method of explaining exactly how complex instructions arise undesigned - the trial by fire of natural selection. Mutation ensures the 'instructions' (ie, gene pool) are always being changed in many small ways - and blindly. But the 'bad' changes get winnowed out because they are bad. While the 'good' changes have a high chance of being spread throughout the gene pool. In that way, the genepool as a whole is always achieving greater fitness, and this can lead to remarkably complex and impressive features.

      Perhaps you would understand this better if you consider evolutionary algorithms. These are computer simulations that use evolution as a design tool. You set the computer a problem, and let it generate a number of solutions. The programme then finds the best solution and builds a number of variations on that solution, tests them again, builds more variations of the best of those, etc, you get the idea. The model they end up with is often rather complex, but the point is that it was achieved after a long series of steps of incremental improvement. This is brought about by simply winnowing the worst - natural selection. Complex and ingenious constructions being reached - and demonstrably NOT by design.

      Think about this while drinking nice cold Moosehead.

      Beer? Eurgh. I'm a cider boy. Can't beat a draught of Cornwall's finest.

      Delete
    15. Eugen

      Generally speaking, system that regulates and controls energy by way of logical arrangement of physical components is likely designed.


      Only true if 'designed' is defined to include naturally observed feedback processes like evolution. Otherwise it's just your assuming your conclusion once again.

      Delete
    16. I wasn't clear again, genes and the rest of the DNA are instructions, arranged components build ribosome, polymerase, motor proteins etc. Energy source is ATP, etc

      Anyway, bio-robots must drink lots of beer and cider to be in good repair. I didn't find any info on Google about Cornwall cider.

      Delete
    17. Eugen

      I wasn't clear again, genes and the rest of the DNA are instructions, arranged components build ribosome, polymerase, motor proteins etc. Energy source is ATP, etc


      You're perfectly clear. You have lots of personal incredulity that tells you "this looks designed to me, so it must BE designed!".

      Pity that personal incredulity is all you and the rest of the IDCers have, but there it is. Enjoy your beer.

      Delete
    18. "this looks designed to me, so it must BE designed!"

      Oh yeah?

      I'm not some big evolution denier but lets see how this looks the other way:

      "this looks evolved to me, so it must BE evolved!"

      Yes, beer and Philadelphia game, I'll enjoy that-I can't get any breaks here.

      Delete
    19. Eugen

      I'm not some big evolution denier but lets see how this looks the other way:

      "this looks evolved to me, so it must BE evolved!"


      Incomplete. What science actually says is

      "this looks evolved to me, based on the huge amounts of consilient positive evidence from both the fossil and genetic records, including descriptions of the mechanisms and the timeline, and so we accept that it must BE evolved!"

      You IDCers always forget the positive evidence part.

      Delete
    20. Thorton

      one molecule motor

      Can you recognize all the basic components any motor should have? Do you really think motors evolve?

      Delete
    21. Eugen

      Can you recognize all the basic components any motor should have? Do you really think motors evolve?


      Human produced ones, no.

      The simple molecular ones we find in living matter? Yes, until you or someone comes up with some positive evidence they were consciously "Designed".

      You just don't get that personal incredulity isn't a winning argument. Not today, not tomorrow, ever.

      Delete
    22. Motor in "living matter" is not simple. There is no "living matter" anyway-life is a chemical process driven by nano machines. Accept it-you are an atheist robot.

      Delete
    23. Eugen

      Motor in "living matter" is not simple.

      True - they are complex. But so what? Evolution can create complex systems. Why should motors be impossible?

      There is no "living matter" anyway-life is a chemical process driven by nano machines. Accept it-you are an atheist robot.

      In a way, yes that is true. But do not be fooled into thinking that is a determinist statement. The whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.

      Delete
    24. Ritchie

      We can celebrate our robotness by saying domo arigato

      Delete
  9. Eugen said:

    "There are lots of scientists who are creationists and they contribute to scientific discoveries."

    If they contribute to science it is only because they use natural scientific methodology. No one has ever contributed to science by using religious, supernatural methodology.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm a little confused. Proponents of evolution claim that people who question evolution are not being, but they should be. Its liek some Holocaust deniers who claim that the Holocaust never happened,bu it would have been a good thing if it did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. natschuster,

      Are you so confused that you can't write a coherent comment?

      "People who question evolution are not being" What?

      Delete
    2. pedant,
      natschuster,
      Are you so confused that you can't write a coherent comment?


      Confusion has nothing to do with it

      Delete
  11. Sorry, my bad. I meant "are not being persecuted."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! Pretty rich that a proven homophobic bigot like natschuster who wants to deny equal civil rights to others is now be whining about being persecuted.

      Delete
  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thorton:

    I'm not complaining. I'm not being personally persecuted. It just that it seems to me to be a contradiction. Persecution isn't happening because it is a bad thing. But it should happen because it is a good thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Persecution is a good thing...?

      Is it? How do you reason that one out?

      Delete
    2. natschuster the lying homophobic bigot

      I'm not complaining.


      Yes you are bigot. You whine like a little girl all the time when you do your trolling. It's kinda your signature move.

      Persecution isn't happening because it is a bad thing. But it should happen because it is a good thing.

      No Creationists anywhere are being persecuted because of their religious beliefs, and no one in the scientific community is calling for their persecution for their religious beliefs. That's just another one of your many Creationist lies.

      All that's being called for is they be held accountable for the costly and time wasting frivolous lawsuits they keep filing (like the current COPE stupidity in Texas) over scientific issues that were decided a hundred years ago.

      I know you lying Creationists aren't into personal responsibility, but all the other honest folks are.

      Delete
  14. When I said :persecuted, I meant that they are losing jobs, denied tenure, promotions, etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No Creationists have lost jobs, been denied tenure, or been skipped over for promotion due to their religious Creation beliefs.

      Some have lost jobs, been denied tenure, or been skipped fpr promotion due to their demonstrated incompetence, but that's an entirely different matter.

      Whining about their victimhood to hide ignorance and incompetence is a long Creationist tradition.

      Delete
    2. I didn't say beliefs. I said questioning evolution. Adn Didn't PZ Myers say that Francis Collins shouldn't be appointed becuaseof his beliefs?

      Delete
    3. natschuster the lying homophobic bigot

      I didn't say beliefs. I said questioning evolution.


      No Creationists have lost jobs, been denied tenure, or been skipped over for promotion for merely questioning evolution either.

      Keep whining about your victimhood bigot. You'll win the day for sure with that tactic.

      Delete
    4. natschuster

      Do you think they should be?


      Only if their religious Creationist beliefs negatively impact their job performance or that of their coworkers.

      There are certainly productive scientists who are YECs. The just don't let their personal beliefs screw up their work or the work of others around them.

      It's the mouthy proselytizing ones who wreck everyone's productivity that get reprimanded, just as anyone who disrupts the work environment for any reason would get the boot.

      Delete
    5. So if a person says that there are significant problems with evolution it's okay.

      Delete
    6. nat -



      Such a person would be called on to explain exactly what those problems were.

      And the strength of their case would probably determine their scientific credibility.

      If any Creationist every actually came up with valid, scientific criticisms of evolution, then yes that would be fine. Laudable, even. But if they just replied with transparently religious, pseudo-scientific waffle, then they would likely have damaged their reputations as scientists.

      Delete
    7. natschuster

      So if a person says that there are significant problems with evolution it's okay.


      People can and do hold all sorts of ridiculous personal opinions that they're free to blither about all they want in an appropriate venue.

      Demanding special privileges in your job and disrupting coworkers in theirs isn't an appropriate venue. Neither is filing frivolous lawsuits and costing school boards wasted time and money. Both are favorite tactics of Creationist proselytizers.

      Delete
  15. And to the best of my recollection, I oly complain when I post something you can't answer, then you resort to insults instead of argument,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL! Another one of your favorite trolls - start with "as far as I remember" followed by your usual laundry list of lies.

      You need a new writer bigot.

      Delete
  16. nat -

    Please explain. You'll need to elaborate.

    You think it's a GOOD thing that people should be persecuted (fired, denied tenure, etc)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think it's a good thing. Proponents of evolution who claim that people who question evolution should be persecuted think it's a good thing.

      Delete
    2. natschuster the lying homophobic bigot

      Proponents of evolution who claim that people who question evolution should be persecuted think it's a good thing.


      Demanding that Creationist "scientific' work be held to the same rigorous standards and protocols that apply to all other scientific work isn't persecution bigot.

      You "victims" keep demanding science provide an Affirmative Action program for your Creationist stupidity but it ain't gonna happen. Deal with it.

      Delete
    3. nat -

      I don't think it's a good thing. Proponents of evolution who claim that people who question evolution should be persecuted think it's a good thing.

      Ummm... citation please.

      Or is this merely circular logic?

      Delete
    4. Thorton,

      "isn't persecution bigot."

      David Suzuki, the Canadian embarrassment, advocates those who deny global warming should be prosecuted and jailed. I don't doubt he would feel the same way about those who deny evolution. But I agree there is no wide spread effort to persecute creationists.

      I also believe sincere creationists do adhere to sound scientific practice and do not expect a double standard be applied to their work.

      Leafs & Canadiens game was great, typical game when these two meet. Both teams always turn it up a notch when they play each other. Montreal may have lost George Parros for a while. He fell hard to the ice face first while fighting Orr and was knocked out cold. Orr could tell it was serious and started waving to the Habs bench immediately. Don't mind a good fight, but I hate to see that happen.

      Take care my friend. Hope your Sharks do well.

      Delete
    5. Nic

      David Suzuki, the Canadian embarrassment, advocates those who deny global warming should be prosecuted and jailed. I don't doubt he would feel the same way about those who deny evolution. But I agree there is no wide spread effort to persecute creationists.


      Well, everyone's entitled to their opinion.

      I also believe sincere creationists do adhere to sound scientific practice and do not expect a double standard be applied to their work.

      For the large majority that's true. It's only the PR seekers who demand special treatment and exemption from the same standards followed by every other scientist.

      Only caught highlights of Habs / Leafs. Local TV had Caps / Hawks. Saw Parros do the face plant - ouch! Wonder it didn't cost him his front teeth.

      Interesting there have been a couple of fights now where both guys willingly take off their helmets, both drawing the extra 2 min. Even in battle most guys try to keep things fair. This stink about the hybrid icing is going to be interesting. The NHL says the players approved it but looks like the league is lying through their teeth - most all players asked are still opposed. Something is rotten in Bettmanville. Again.

      Delete
    6. Ritchie:

      If evolutionist don't think persecuting people is a good thing, why do they advocate it?

      Delete
    7. natschuster the lying homophobic bigot

      If evolutionist don't think persecuting people is a good thing, why do they advocate it?


      Easy. They don't. That's just you lying again.

      The personal opinions of individuals like PZ and Dawkins don't constitute an "evolutionist" position.

      Keep lying nat. It just makes the pro-science side look that much better.

      Delete
    8. nat -

      If evolutionist don't think persecuting people is a good thing, why do they advocate it?

      Again, citation please.

      Who is advocating it, exactly?

      Delete
    9. Thorton,

      "Well, everyone's entitled to their opinion."

      That's true, as long as such an opinion does not take hold and become the majority opinion, or become the opinion of someone wielding absolute power.

      It's only the PR seekers,..."

      And there are lots of them in every camp.

      "This stink about the hybrid icing is going to be interesting."

      I'm for having one or the other. Either the way it was or no touch icing. This hybrid nonsense will only lead to confusion and probably a few weird plays. Some guy will turn away assuming a whistle and turn the puck over with embarrassing results.

      "Something is rotten in Bettmanville. Again."

      Some things will never change.

      Leafs did great in their first two games. Four games in six nights, three on the road and they win 3 out of 4, though only two give them points.

      Hope I can see the Sharks and Canucks tonight. It will depend on what network is carrying the game. If it's TSN I will be able to see it.

      Didn't take Roy long to get fined, did it? Six seconds left in the game and you're leading 6-1, and you go crazy over a missed tripping call? Me thinks the man needs help.

      Delete