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Ustream chat room moderation

This is just a heads up. I think I’ve mentioned in the past that I kind of hate the chat room environment on Ustream. Ever since we’ve started there, we’ve gotten hundreds of people watching each show live. It’s often kind of a free-for-all of random stream of consciousness babbling, profanity, trash talking, and the kind of explicit sexual comments that are unlikely to leave a good impression on casual viewers.

Up until recently we’ve fielded email complaints about this by stating that the chat room is a free speech forum and we don’t have any responsibility for what people say. The upside of this approach is that nobody has to do any work. The downside is that, well, it remains an incredibly hostile place for new viewers.

So we’ve been experimentally moderating the chat room. I’ve done this a couple of times myself, on weeks when I’m not on the show just log in, and kick out people who are being disruptive. Several other regulars have also been in on the act.

Moderation is necessarily a subjective judgment call, especially in the situation where lines of text are being fired off so fast that they scroll off the screen within about ten seconds. As a result, it’s inevitable that people who get kicked off for (for example) using “gay” as a swear word, or using language that would probably be used freely (but sparingly) on The Non-Prophets, or being one voice in a dozen people who are participating in a hilarious conversation about rape, will think they have been treated unfairly. If you get kicked for deliberately insulting a moderator, probably even more so.

My message to those people is: tough luck. The chat room is a privilege, not your graffiti wall. If you’re a regular it’s very unlikely you will be kicked, but Phil Plait’s often maligned advice, “Don’t be a dick,” very much does apply here. If you’ve been kicked, you are welcome to keep watching the show without chat. If you decide that you refuse to watch the show anymore as a result of having been kicked, well you know… don’t let the door hit ya, etc.

I’m confident that the chat room can become a friendlier place over time, but for now the phase one solution is that people will be watching and wielding the big stick to keep the annoyances out.

[Edit: Changed the post to say "Ustream" instead of "blip.tv", as I had the archive site and the live streaming site mixed up.]

Comments

  1. says

    …If I'm not mistaken, you're talking about Ustream, not Blip.tv. Blip.tv is just the video host after the stream.The rest of this is fine by me, just wanting that to be clarified.

  2. says

    The most annoying aspect of it is that there are SO MANY people chatting all at once that the chat room is impossible to follow. Even if you wanted to respond to something that someone either in the chat room or on the show said, your comment would be there for only a few seconds before a flood of new comments came in. I don't know if there is a solution to that problem though–just too many people all at once. Maybe if people only said stuff that was pertinent to the topic, or interesting. But yet again, how do you insure that happens? I don't think there's much you can do–or should do. Oh well.

  3. says

    As far as slowing down the chat, I know BlogTV has a few options such as limiting talk privileges to people who've registered and limiting how many messages can be made in a certain timespan. However, I don't know if Ustream has these functions.

  4. says

    I've seen message boards(although not chat) on other sites(world community grid) I used to be involved with start to get out of hand-messy. Relatively early in the process(not long after they started up) I requested a stricter moderation with more rules, they listened and it cleaned up nicely with very few problems and the last I checked their members/participants have increased exponentially. It seems message boards or maybe even chat rooms left to their own devices become breeding grounds for flame wars, biogotry, hate, sexual discrimination, trash talking and bad taste in general.Creating more rules and policies only increases the respectful image and attracts a lot more quality followers even if a few undesirables are lost in the process. Atheist chat rooms do represent the community as a whole to new viewers and can have a permanent lasting impression of what it's about. Atheism already has a bad enough impression as it is with the general population.

  5. says

    Dimery, the people you're describing as "fans" could easily be described as trolls. They're not talking about scrubbing the chatroom clean of any crudeness or dissension. They're talking about weeding out people whose only goals are to disrupt the conversation while contributing nothing to it, to make the community look bad, and to create an unsafe, unpleasant environment for viewers. Are you seriously claiming that sensible checks on known trolls is unreasonable?

  6. says

    I don't care about the profanity, what I do care about is the amount of useless spam. It's impossible to follow any conversation in the chat because you have a million retards shouting nonsense every second.

  7. says

    I remember being excited about catching the show live and checking out the chat room for once, but I was dismayed to find out that it was just a wall of trolls and spammers. I have quite literally seen more intelligent conversations and debates in AE YouTube comments. I know these people don't represent atheism, but it didn't leave a good impression of the state of the AE fanbase. I wholeheartedly support stricter moderation, because it's a bit unwelcoming as it is now.

  8. says

    Frankly, I suspect most of the vulgarity spews from teens or pre-teens, as their phrasing and locutions are similar to those used by kids on facebook. It doesn't bother me, but I could see where it might offend some people. As one astute host remarked, "the chatroom is a cesspool." Amen.

  9. says

    It has been a long time since I watched Axp on Ustream. My computer is a POS and always crashes when in it, so I use the Austin channel's feed. However, the last time I was in there, it was incredibly dismaying to see all of the trolls, flamers, and general cretins. I am sure that with time, people will welcome the moderated chatroom. To those who might be upset about this, I think one phrase is in order: too bad. Those who would be kicked probably deserve it.

  10. Admin says

    A few months back, I figured out that I could make the Ustream video come up in its own window, which is free of the chat room. Now I open a new window and close the one with the chat. I don't even have to look at that festering pile of shit anymore. I welcome any attempt at moderation.

  11. says

    Thank you! It's depressing (literally) to see the misogynist pile of reeking garbage that is the AE chatroom week after week. It's upsetting to think that the same people who are fans of the show are just as much sexist douchebags as the population at large.

  12. says

    I have to chime in here – I've actually been moderating the chat room for nearly as long as we've been streaming live. Others on the production crew (John and Steve) have also stepped up to that chore. I can't be there every single Sunday, mainly because I have to travel for work and am sometimes unavailable, but I'm there as often as humanly possible. This issue bubbled up about a week ago when someone emailed us to whine about showing up in the chatroom after hours, trying to engage some people there in a conversation, and being rebuffed. Seems the people there were talking about another topic and weren't interested in the newcomer's topic. Boo hoo. Bet this person doesn't get many invitations to parties with that attitude.We had someone else email us last week claiming they were banned for using profanity. We don't ban people solely for using profanity. My ban policy is very simple. Spamming, trolling, and being disruptive in the chat room will result in a warning. Ignore the warning, and I ban you. Threats or comments about the hosts' genitals (there's more of that than you'd think) will result in a ban without warning.As of the last show, I'm now instituting another ban rule for those who PM me during the show. Folks, when I'm in the chat room, I'm trying to watch the show, moderate the chat room, and sometimes actually participate in the chat. I don't have the time or the inclination (or the bandwidth) to have half a dozen private conversations. I certainly don't have time to have private debates with theists (one of them PMs me nearly every show). If you PM me during the show, you might find yourself kicked out of chat. Do it again, and I'll ban you.Also, lest I forget – HOSTS DO NOT MONITOR CHAT DURING THE SHOW! Don't type messages to the hosts in the chat. They can't see it, and no, I can't pass a message to them. When moderating a chat room, there's a fine line between letting the thing devolve into the proverbial piss fight and being too heavy handed. If anyone connected with the show thinks my approach to chat moderation sucks and would like to spend their time doing it, you're welcome to step into the fray.

  13. says

    Jen, you do a great job. I'm glad you guys are addressing this situation, as it was the single reason I stopped watching the show live for several months. I just recently came back and the problem is still there. While I agree that everyone should be able to have their voice heard, that doesn't apply to those who simply want to wail as loud as they can in an effort to hinder any sort of real conversation.I like the new policies and am anxious to see the chat return to what it was before the net got a hold of the show.

  14. says

    These aren't new policies! That was the whole point of my post. I have no idea what you mean by "anxious to see the chat return to what it was before the net got a hold of the show." The show's been out there for a while – way before we started streaming on Ustream.The chat is never going to "return" to some mythical version of what it was in the past. It will continue to evolve, hopefully into something more useful – although I'm not optimistic about that. Every time we break in a batch of n00bs and chase off the current crop of douchebags, a new set of each shows up and we have to start all over again.

  15. says

    Another possible solution would be people's messages only showing up if a moderator approves them. It would require more moderator work, and the ustream chat may not support it, but it would force intelligent discussion.

  16. says

    @JenIt's a "new" policy in the sense that Russell is advocating a stricter standard for moderating than the one hereto employed, not that you haven't been moderating at all (btw, thanks for the work you do!). At least that's how I'm reading it. You say "Spamming, trolling, and being disruptive" are banning offences. Russell added "random stream of consciousness babbling, profanity, trash talking, and the kind of explicit sexual comments that are unlikely to leave a good impression on casual viewers" as things that he'd like to see purged from the chat. Profanity is something I don't care about restricting (as long as we're not talking about racist, homophobic, or sexist slurs), but the rest of it sounds like an improvement.

  17. says

    @Juju – that's not going to happen.@Ibis – re-read the post. Russell's describing behavior he's observed, not adding those as banning offenses. Use of profanity will not be grounds for a ban – we specifically disable the Ustream filters that prevent swear words from showing up in the chat. The other things listed will already get someone banned.There's nothing new or "experimental" about chat room moderation. You may not like the way we've been doing it, and you're free to express your disapproval in that case, but claiming that this is a new thing is demonstrably false. If we ramp up moderation in the future, you may still think it's inadequate, and if you do, too bad. I'll continue to give my usual warning – the chat room is a cesspool. It's not for the thin-skinned or faint-hearted. OTOH – Frank, who manages the Ustream channel, is very close to shutting down the chat room completely. I think that would be a damn shame for those who show up every week and interact with other fans of the show during the live stream.

  18. says

    Jen,I apologize for implying that there hadn't been moderation until now. I'm hoping that maybe if more people get in on the act, it won't be quite so overwhelming for one person (or a few).Here's another question… can we disable anonymous chat? Would it be possible to force them to log in?Russell

  19. says

    Russell,Frank has already done that. Login has been required in order to chat for several months now, and it has helped considerably.I also have a permanent ban list for the repeat offenders, but I think that gets periodically deleted when Frank or Ustream makes changes. I'll have to check on its current status.I agree that more mods might help, and welcome the assistance. Especially on days when I'm co-hosting!

  20. says

    @JenFirst, I just want to say that I appreciate the fact that you do moderate the chat. I'm sure it would be far worse if you weren't around. I don't want this to come across as an attack on you or the job you've been doing. I'm a big fan.But the fact is, the atmosphere of the chatroom, even when someone is there moderating it, leaves a lot to be desired. Russell described the current situation rather well, as have other commenters here on this thread. Given that, isn't it a reasonable step to consider revising the standards?"The other things listed will already get someone banned."I don't think so. I think every time I have been on there (I've missed only a few Sundays in the past couple of years), the thing is filled with sexist crap. It's worse when you or Tracie are hosts (which obviously you can't see when it's you) and when both of you are on together it's like being in a grade six class of adolescent boys who think all women are mere fodder for fantasy instead of real human beings with valuable things to say. Is it too much to ask to consider instituting some stricter guidelines (i.e. which is what I thought Russell was suggesting in the first place)?

  21. says

    I misspoke when I said "new policies". I'm just happy it's being addressed in the blog as I feel exposure will help.As far as wanting to see the chat go back to what it was, I feel that after the show got big on Youtube and video clips were everywhere, there was an influx of random, disruptive people coming into the chat.

  22. says

    With such a large number of participants, chat rooms seem to inevitably decay into chaos. Several hundred people cannot have a coherent dialogue at the same time.I would suggest killing the live chat entirely, since it does not seem to add much value to the viewing experience. Direct them to the blog or something instead.

  23. says

    Well… I was in the chatroom yesterday, and it was worse than ever. Trolls and spammers were left alone, only two or three were kicked. Some tards joined and started spewing obscenities, only obsceneties, over and over again – i think thats the time to let the banhammer do the talking and not really bother do warn them. @Ibis: Yes, holy crap, every other comment was about Jen (or as some called her, tracie).

  24. Steve says

    Sometimes, moderating is necessary to maintain a pleasant chat environment. Trolls are everywhere these days.

  25. says

    Last time I watched the show live I did what an earlier poster has mentioned; open the show in a separate window and bypass the chat window altogether. At best it's like playing in traffic, and at worse…

  26. says

    @John: I wouldn't say the chat should be removed completely. There are those of us who like to comment based on what's currently happening on the show. But it's just hard to find us what with all the spammers and trolls. I kind of feel bad for those who have to moderate all that and it's understandable that they can't ban everyone violating the rules cause there are so many doing so. I say kudos to you Jen and Russell and to everyone else moderating the chat. I really just hope that people act a little more maturely. @Jen: You said there was a guy a few weeks ago who complained to you because no one wanted to talk to him. I'm pretty sure I was one of the people in the chat afterward with him. I mean, I may be mistaken but if it's the same guy, he was talking to us about how we have faith in science and whatnot and people were throwing out counterarguments and he just kept throwing a fit that people were "changing the subject" instead of answering our questions. Like I said, it could have been someone different but I dunno.

  27. says

    Ustream chat can be put into a "slow mode" based on what I've seen on other Ustream channels like the Decorah Eagles or Owlceanside. Basically it forces a 1 minute wait between a user entering one comment and starting to type a new one. I have no idea if the delay time can be set to different amounts nor do I know how the mods activate this mode. I can ask a mod in one of those channels how it is done if it would be of help.

  28. says

    When the chatroom gets all crazy fast and ridiculous, I usually just go to the fallback rooms, such as Talk Atheist and the other Atheist Experience chat on IRC. It'll be cool to see it spam free for once.

  29. says

    When we set out to explain why and how something happens, we must use the evidence, facts and experience available to us if we are to arrive at a logical conclusion. Using available evidence, experience, facts, observation and experimentation, we know that the universe had a beginning and that before that beginning there was no universe and therefore there was nothing. We know this because of the Law of Causality (for every cause there is an effect and for every effect there is a cause). Based on this law, we can use the following logic:1. The universe exists.2. The universe had a beginning.3. Before the beginning of the universe, there was no universe.4. Since there was no universe, there was nothing.5. Since the universe does exist, it came from nothing.6. Nothing comes from nothing by any natural cause.7. Therefore the cause of the universe is supernatural.8. Life exists.9. Life always comes from pre-existing life of the same kind (the Law of Biogenesis).10. Life cannot come from nonliving matter by any natural cause.11. Since life does exist, the cause of life is supernatural.Many people with a naturalistic worldview assume everything can be explained by natural causes. From the beginning, they reject the possibility of a supernatural cause. Because of this they are left with no scientifically valid answers to the question of how the universe could come from nothing, which is impossible by any natural cause of which we are aware. Many answers have been proposed that go beyond the realm of known evidence, experience, facts, observation and experimentation and therefore enter the realm of fiction.The same logic applies to life. Using available evidence, experience, facts, observation and experimentation, we know that life only comes from pre-existing life of the same kind.“Spontaneous generation (the emergence of life from nonliving matter) has never been observed. All observations have shown that life comes only from life. This has been observed so consistently it is called the Law of Biogenesis. Evolution conflicts with this scientific law by claiming that life came from nonliving matter through natural processes. [From "In the Beginning" by Walt Brownhttp://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/LifeSciences4.html]Life never comes from non-living matter by any natural cause of which we are aware. Now that we have seen proof that God exists, using logic based on known evidence, experience, facts, observation and experimentation, we need to see if He has revealed Himself to us. In the Holy Bible there are hundreds of prophecies given by God who is speaking in the first person. In both Bible and secular history we find that those prophecies have been accurately fulfilled. No other writing on earth comes close to doing this! Only God can accurately reveal the future, ergo, He is the author of the Holy Bible. Within the pages of the Holy Bible He reveals His nature, our nature, His relationship to us, our need for salvation and His plan of salvation for us.The reason the universe and life cannot come from nothing by any natural cause, but can come from a supernatural cause is because God is the self-existent creator of everything and everyone. He is not subject to His creation. He created it and sustains it. It is a mistake to judge God by human standards and human perspectives. God reveals that He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.If you are interested in more detailed proof, read, “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell.[From "Reincarnation in the Bible?" http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000005147

  30. says

    Science Proves GodWhen we set out to explain why and how something happens, we must use the evidence, facts and experience available to us if we are to arrive at a logical conclusion. Using available evidence, experience, facts, observation and experimentation, we know that the universe had a beginning and that before that beginning there was no universe and therefore there was nothing. We know this because of the Law of Causality (for every cause there is an effect and for every effect there is a cause). Based on this law, we can use the following logic:1. The universe exists.2. The universe had a beginning.3. Before the beginning of the universe, there was no universe.4. Since there was no universe, there was nothing.5. Since the universe does exist, it came from nothing.6. Nothing always comes from nothing by any natural cause.7. Therefore the cause of the universe is supernatural.8. Life exists.9. Life always comes from pre-existing life of the same kind (the Law of Biogenesis).10. Life cannot come from nonliving matter by any natural cause.11. Since life does exist, the cause of life is supernatural.Many people with a naturalistic worldview assume everything can be explained by natural causes. From the beginning, they reject the possibility of a supernatural cause. Because of this they are left with no scientifically valid answers to the question of how the universe could come from nothing, which is impossible by any natural cause of which we are aware. Many answers have been proposed that go beyond the realm of known evidence, experience, facts, observation and experimentation and therefore enter the realm of fiction.The same logic applies to life. Using available evidence, experience, facts, observation and experimentation, we know that life only comes from pre-existing life of the same kind.“Spontaneous generation (the emergence of life from nonliving matter) has never been observed. All observations have shown that life comes only from life. This has been observed so consistently it is called the Law of Biogenesis. Evolution conflicts with this scientific law by claiming that life came from nonliving matter through natural processes” [From "In the Beginning" by Walt Brown]Life never comes from non-living matter by any natural cause of which we are aware. Now that we have seen proof that God exists, using logic based on known evidence, experience, facts, observation and experimentation, we need to see if He has revealed Himself to us. In the Holy Bible there are hundreds of prophecies given by God who is speaking in the first person. In both Bible and secular history we find that those prophecies have been accurately fulfilled. No other writing on earth comes close to doing this! Only God can accurately reveal the future, ergo, He is the author of the Holy Bible. Within the pages of the Holy Bible He reveals His nature, our nature, His relationship to us, our need for salvation and His plan of salvation for us.The reason the universe and life cannot come from nothing by any natural cause, but can come from a supernatural cause is because God is the self-existent creator of everything and everyone. He is not subject to His creation. He created it and sustains it. It is a mistake to judge God by human standards and human perspectives. God reveals that He is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent.If you are interested in more detailed proof, read, “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell.[From "Reincarnation in the Bible?"]

  31. says

    The Law of BiogenesisSpontaneous generation (the emergence of life from nonliving matter) has never been observed. All observations have shown that life comes only from life. This has been observed so consistently it is called the law of biogenesis. The theory of evolution conflicts with this scientific law when claiming that life came from nonliving matter through natural processes (a). Evolutionary scientists reluctantly accept the law of biogenesis (b). However, some say that future studies may show how life could come from lifeless matter, despite the virtually impossible odds. Others say that their theory of evolution doesn’t begin until the first life somehow arose. Still others say the first life was created, then evolution occurred. All evolutionists recognize that, based on scientific observations, life comes only from life.a. And yet, leading evolutionists are forced to accept some form of spontaneous generation. For example, a former Harvard University professor and Nobel Prize winner in physiology and medicine acknowledged the dilemma.“The reasonable view [during the two centuries before Louis Pasteur] was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position.” George Wald, “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, Vol. 190, August 1954, p. 46.Wald rejects creation, despite the impossible odds of spontaneous generation.“One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are—as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation.” Ibid.Later, Wald appeals to huge amounts of time to accomplish what seemed to be the impossibility of spontaneous generation.“Time is in fact the hero of the plot. … Given so much time, the ‘impossible’ becomes possible, the possible probable, and the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait: time itself performs the miracles.” Ibid. p. 48.What Wald did not appreciate in 1954 (before, as just one example, the genetic code was discovered) was how the complexity in life is vastly greater than anyone at that time could have imagined. [See also http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/LifeSciences33.html#wp1009402 So, today, the impossibility of spontaneous generation is even more firmly established, regardless of the time available. But unfortunately, several generations of professors and textbooks with Wald’s perspective have so impacted our universities that it is difficult for evolutionists to change direction.[continue]

  32. says

    The Law of Biogenesis[continued]Evolutionists also do not recognize: that with increasing time (their “miracle maker”) comes increasing degradation of the fragile environment on which life depends, and that creationists have much better explanations (such as the flood) for the scientific observations that evolutionists thought showed increasing time.b. “The beginning of the evolutionary process raises a question which is as yet unanswerable. What was the origin of life on this planet? Until fairly recent times there was a pretty general belief in the occurrence of ‘spontaneous generation.’ It was supposed that lowly forms of life developed spontaneously from, for example, putrefying meat. But careful experiments, notably those of Pasteur, showed that this conclusion was due to imperfect observation, and it became an accepted doctrine [the law of biogenesis] that life never arises except from life. So far as actual evidence goes, this is still the only possible conclusion. But since it is a conclusion that seems to lead back to some supernatural creative act, it is a conclusion that scientific men find very difficult of acceptance. It carries with it what are felt to be, in the present mental climate, undesirable philosophic implications, and it is opposed to the scientific desire for continuity. It introduces an unaccountable break in the chain of causation, and therefore cannot be admitted as part of science unless it is quite impossible to reject it. For that reason most scientific men prefer to believe that life arose, in some way not yet understood, from inorganic matter in accordance with the laws of physics and chemistry.” J. W. N. Sullivan, The Limitations of Science (New York: The Viking Press, Inc., 1933), p. 94.[From "In the Beginning" by Walt Brownhttp://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/LifeSciences4.html#wp1036679]

  33. says

    A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. 1. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience. 2. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. 3. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list. 4. If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong. 5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public. 6. War does not determine who is right – only who is left. 7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad. 8. Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to tell you why it isn't. 9. A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station. 10. How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire? 11. Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish. 12. I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted pay checks. 13. Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says "In an emergency, notify:" I put "Doctor". 14. I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you. 15. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman. 16. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice. 17. The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas! 18. Hospitality: Making your guests feel like they're at home, even if you wish they were. 19. I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot. 20. There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away. 21. I always take life with a grain of salt, plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila. 22. When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water. 23. You're never too old to learn something stupid. 24. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit, the target.

  34. says

    Acquired Characteristics Acquired characteristics—characteristics gained after birth—cannot be inherited (a). For example, large muscles acquired by a man in a weight-lifting program cannot be inherited by his child. Nor did giraffes get long necks because their ancestors stretched to reach high leaves. While almost all evolutionists agree that acquired characteristics cannot be inherited, many unconsciously slip into this false belief. On occasion, Darwin did (b).However, stressful environments for some animals and plants cause their offspring to express various defenses. New genetic traits are not created; instead, the environment can switch on genetic machinery already present. The marvel is that optimal (c) genetic machinery already exists to handle some contingencies, not that time, the environment, or “a need” can produce the machinery (d).Also, rates of variation within a species (microevolution, not macroevolution) increase enormously when organisms are under stress, such as starvation (e). Stressful situations would have been widespread in the centuries after a global flood.a. The false belief that acquired characteristics can be inherited, called Lamarckism, would mean that the environment can directly and beneficially change egg and sperm cells. Only a few biologists try to justify Lamarckism. The minor acquired characteristics they cite have no real significance for any present theory of organic evolution. For example, see “Lamarck, Dr. Steel and Plagiarism,” Nature, Vol. 337, 12 January 1989, pp. 101–102.b. “This hypothesis [which Darwin called pangenesis] maintained the idea of inheritance of acquired characteristics.” A. M. Winchester, Genetics, 5th edition (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1977), p. 24.c. In writing about this amazing capability, Queitsch admits:“… it is a perplexing evolutionary question how a population might move to a different local optimum without an intervening period of reduced fitness (adaptive valley).” Christine Queitsch et al., “Hsp90 as a Capacitor of Phenotypic Variation,” Nature, Vol. 417, 6 June 2002, p. 623.d. “… genes that were switched on in the parent to generate the defensive response are also switched on in the offspring.” Erkki Haukioja, “Bite the Mother, Fight the Daughter,” Nature, Vol. 401, 2 September 1999, p. 23.“… non-lethal exposure of an animal to carnivores, and a plant to a herbivore, not only induces a defence, but causes the attacked organisms to produce offspring that are better defended than offspring from unthreatened parents.” Anurag A. Agrawal et al., “Transgenerational Induction of Defences in Animals and Plants,” Nature, Vol. 401, 2 September 1999, p. 60.“… hidden genetic diversity exists within species and can erupt when [environmental] conditions change.” John Travis, “Evolutionary Shocker?: Stressful Conditions May Trigger Plants and Animals to Unleash New Forms Quickly,” Science News, Vol. 161, 22 June 2002, p. 394.“Environmental stress can reveal genetic variants, presumably because it compromises buffering systems. If selected for, these uncovered phenotypes can lead to heritable changes in plants and animals (assimilation).” Queitsch et al., p. 618.e. Marina Chicurel, “Can Organisms Speed Their Own Evolution?” Science, Vol. 292, 8 June 2001, pp. 1824–1827.[From "In the Beginning" by Walt Brown]

  35. says

    Mendel’s LawsMendel’s laws of genetics and their modern-day refinements explain almost all physical variations occurring within species. Mendel discovered that genes (units of heredity) are merely reshuffled from one generation to another. Different combinations are formed, not different genes. The different combinations produce many variations within each kind of life, as in the dog family. [See Figure 3 on page 5.] A logical consequence of Mendel’s laws is that there are limits to such variation (a). Breeding experiments (b) and common observations (c) also confirm these boundaries.a. Monroe W. Strickberger, Genetics, 2nd edition (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1976), p. 812.Alfred Russel Wallace, who independently proposed the theory of organic evolution slightly before Charles Darwin, was opposed to Mendel’s laws of genetics. Wallace knew Mendel’s experiments showed that the general characteristics of an organism remained within distinct boundaries. In a letter to Dr. Archdall Reid on 28 December 1909, Wallace wrote:“But on the general relation of Mendelism to Evolution I have come to a very definite conclusion. This is, that it has no relation whatever to the evolution of species or higher groups, but is really antagonistic to such evolution! The essential basis of evolution, involving as it does the most minute and all-pervading adaptation to the whole environment, is extreme and ever-present plasticity, as a condition of survival and adaptation. But the essence of Mendelian characters is their rigidity. They are transmitted without variation, and therefore, except by the rarest of accidents, can never become adapted to ever varying conditions.” James Marchant, Letters and Reminiscences (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1916), p. 340.b. “Every series of breeding experiments that has ever taken place has established a finite limit to breeding possibilities.” Francis Hitching, The Neck of the Giraffe: Where Darwin Went Wrong (New Haven, Connecticut: Ticknor and Fields, 1982), p. 55.“All competent biologists acknowledge the limited nature of the variation breeders can produce, although they do not like to discuss it much when grinding the evolutionary ax.” William R. Fix, The Bone Peddlers: Selling Evolution (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1984), pp. 184–185.“A rule that all breeders recognize, is that there are fixed limits to the amount of change that can be produced.” Lane P. Lester and Raymond G. Bohlin, The Natural Limits to Biological Change (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1984), p. 96.Norman Macbeth, Darwin Retried: An Appeal to Reason (Ipswich, Massachusetts: Gambit, 1971), p. 36.William J. Tinkle, Heredity (Houston: St. Thomas Press, 1967), pp. 55–56.c. “…the distinctions of specific forms and their not being blended together by innumerable transitional links, is a very obvious difficulty.” Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, 6th edition (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1927), p. 322.“Indeed, the isolation and distinctness of different types of organisms and the existence of clear discontinuities in nature have been self-evident for centuries, even to non-biologists.” Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (London: Burnett Books, 1985), p. 105.[From "In the Beginning" by Walt Brown]

  36. Martin says

    Pahu, your "arguments from copy-paste" (particularly as posted to a thread that is hardly on-topic for this subject) are tiresome and show a complete absence of the most basic netiquette. Please demonstrate you possess the ability to think for yourself and express points of view that are actually your own. Otherwise we're going to start disemvoweling you for wasting our time.In any case, Darwinian natural selection ≠ Lamarckianism.You need to stop getting your information about evolutionary biology from creationists sources. In virtually all cases, you will be getting misinformation, and often deliberate disinformation. Creationism is not about applying a method of scientific inquiry to understanding biodiversity. It is about protecting millennia-old religious beliefs from scientific inquiry, which is a very different thing. For now, here are some facts regarding supposed genetic limitations to evolution. Beyond this, don't expect any more replies. It is not worth anyone's time to respond to someone cutting and pasting the writings of others. You could be learning this information for yourself, if you were at all honest about pursuing a spirit of inquiry.

  37. says

    Bounded VariationsNot only do Mendel’s laws give a theoretical explanation for why variations are limited, broad experimental verification also exists (a). For example, if evolution happened, organisms (such as bacteria) that quickly produce the most offspring should have the most variations and mutations. Natural selection would then select the more favorable changes, allowing organisms with those traits to survive, reproduce, and pass on their beneficial genes. Therefore, organisms that have allegedly evolved the most should have short reproduction cycles and many offspring. We see the opposite. In general, more complex organisms, such as humans, have fewer offspring and longer reproduction cycles (b). Again, variations within existing organisms appear to be bounded.Organisms that occupy the most diverse environments in the greatest numbers for the longest times should also, according to macroevolution, have the greatest potential for evolving new features and species. Microbes falsify this prediction as well. Their numbers per species are astronomical, and they are dispersed throughout almost all the world’s environments. Nevertheless, the number of microbial species is relatively few (c). New features apparently don’t evolve.a. “… the discovery of the Danish scientist W. L. Johannsen that the more or less constant somatic variations upon which Darwin and Wallace had placed their emphasis in species change cannot be selectively pushed beyond a certain point, that such variability does not contain the secret of ‘indefinite departure.’ ” Loren Eiseley, Darwin’s Century (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1958), p. 227.b. “The awesome morphological complexity of organisms such as vertebrates that have far fewer individuals on which selection can act therefore remains somewhat puzzling (for me at least), despite the geological time scales available…” Peter R. Sheldon, “Complexity Still Running,” Nature, Vol. 350, 14 March 1991, p. 104.c. Bland J. Finlay, “Global Dispersal of Free-Living Microbial Eukaryote Species,” Science, Vol. 296, 10 May 2002, pp. 1061–1063.[From "In the Beginning" by Walt Brown]

  38. says

  39. Martin says

    Actually, I had already informed Pahu that he'd be disemvoweled if he kept up the copy-paste crap. That he went right ahead and did it again is pretty clear proof that he isn't reading our replies to him, isn't interested in discussion, or in defending the creationist position himself, or that he is even capable of doing so on his own. Therefore, he's done. We all know that dishonesty is creationists' stock in trade — these are people who in many cases are literally psychologically incapable of not lying — but we don't deal in it here. Formulate your own arguments, then defend them with your own reasoning. Or fail.

  40. says

    My purpose is to share scientific information that disproves evolution. I am not a scientist, so I must rely on scientists for that information in order to make my point. If you cannot accept information beyond my ignorant opinions, then you make it impossible for me to communicate. If that is your purpose, then you will succeed, since you have the power to silence me.I am not interested in entering into endless quibbling over the information I am sharing because I believe the information speaks for itself. If you disagree, that’s fine. I believe the free exchange of ideas based on facts is a healthy, profitable way to discover truth, but your disagreement is with known laws of physics and biology confirmed by the scientists being quoted, not me. The mentality of unredeemed human nature has remained unchanged since Cain murdered Abel over a disagreement. History is full of examples of people silencing those with whom they disagree:Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace because they refused to worship the king’s idol.Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den for worshipping God, contrary to the king’s decree.Jesus was crucified because the religious authorities disagreed with Him.His disciples were tortured and murdered because the authorities disagreed with them.Thousands were murdered for disagreeing with the Roman Catholic Church during the inquisition.Hitler murdered millions of Jews, Christians and others because he disagreed with them.Over 100,000,000 people have been murdered under atheist communism for disagreeing with them.Muslims murder everyone who disagrees with them.So you are definitely in the majority when you want to silence me because you disagree with the facts I am sharing that challenge your worldview.The refusal to believe facts in this and other instances may run deeper than just simple fear, hatred or partisanship. Perhaps some people invest so much of themselves into a certain political, religious, philosophical or scientific viewpoint, that their identity and sense of self becomes bonded to it. The bond is so strong that any fact that disproves even a small part of their particular viewpoint is interpreted as a direct attack upon their own self-identity. This can lead to retaliation in the form of wild accusations or character attacks upon the people promoting such facts (i.e. stop the message by killing the messenger). If this is true, then you can probably never prove any disagreeable facts to such people. They’ve traded introspection and reason for the security, comfort, and certainty that their viewpoints, and thus their identities, are always 100 percent correct.

  41. says

    (Retrieving the disemvoweled text): "I am not interested in entering into endless quibbling over the information I am sharing because I believe the information speaks for itself."Well, you can kindly fuck right off, then. Over here we DISCUSS the validity of ideas. We don't just copy-paste a big pile of somebody else's text and then say that the information stands by itself and you refuse to "quibble" about it. If you're not going to listen to anyone else, then no one else is obliged to listen to you.

  42. Martin says

    And not surprisingly, Pahu is, like every other creationist of our acquaintance, a brazen, bald-faced liar, as evidenced by this self-serving distortion:This can lead to retaliation in the form of wild accusations or character attacks upon the people promoting such facts (i.e. stop the message by killing the messenger).You were not disemvoweled because you've been presenting us with information that inconveniences our precious scientific scripture, idiot. You were disemvoweled because (try to follow this carefully):• You came to an off-topic thread and posted text that was nothing but cutting-and-pasting from creationist websites• After providing you with links showing that these passages were in error, I asked you to stop pasting the work of others and enter into a discussion in your own words• You ignored the request and kept copy-pasting creationist twaddle; this is behavior typically known as "trolling"So while we wanted you to engage us yourself, you've more or less stated outright that you simply want to paste this material and have us accept it as factual with no discussion at all, which flies in the face of your other self-serving lie, that you "believe the free exchange of ideas based on facts is a healthy, profitable way to discover truth." It's obvious you believe no such thing.So until you grow up and get past the usual moral and psychological failing innate in creationists as a breed — the inability to not lie — we're really not interested. You had a chance for this "discussion" you want people to think you seek, and blew it.

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