My Darwin Day debate in Fargo


Good morning, everyone! I’m in Fargo, and I need to go home, so I’m looking at a few hours on cold roads next. But I was in a debate with Dr Fazale Rana of Reasons to Believe last night, and I said I’d post my opening statement, so here it is.

In general, my strategy last night was to go meta on him. He’s trained as a biochemist, so I expected he’d try to slug it out toe-to-toe with lots of facts about biology, but I didn’t want to lose sight of the fact that he would be trying to use mundane, material evidence obtained by scientists who did not accept his creationist interpretations, and that his job was to provide evidence of the miracles that he would insist must have occurred in the history of life on earth. So I hammered him to give specifics about any divine intervention — to not just say we don’t know what happened in the Cambrian or at the beginning — and to explain how he knew it was definitely a supernatural transition rather than a natural one, like all the other examples he used. I think it worked and wrecked his rhythm and got him to stagger off of his planned script, which was enough.

I can’t declare victory though — as I predicted in the opening, the Christians didn’t abandon their beliefs, the atheists (there was a pretty good contingent of them there) weren’t going to join the church, and all we could hope to do is to get people to think.

Is there evidence for a creator or not?

I’m a reluctant debater. There are a couple of reasons for that.

One, debate is not how scientists resolve differences of opinion. You might find a few examples back in the 19th century or earlier, but in general nowadays, when a scientist finds himself on a stage with an opponent, it’s usually because an advocate for a fringe position is begging that their ideas be judged as credible enough to discuss. Theology and politics are hashed over in debates, but science is resolved in the court of observation and experiment.

Two, debates never seem to decide anything. I have no illusions that this audience will find my arguments so persuasive that anyone will change their minds. All I can hope to do is share a little bit of what I know with you, and hope it will trigger some of you to do deeper study of the subject.

Third, because scientists don’t debate, we never get training in it. Seriously, not once in my graduate or post-doctoral training, or in 25 years as a professor, have I ever done a debate in an academic setting, or even seen one put on at a science conference. It was important for us to get training in presenting science in talks and papers, but debate? Nope. So you’ll have to appreciate that I’m not very good at it. Again, all I can do is use the stage as a platform to present a few ideas.

But there’s another reason I find debates like this to be an exercise in futility. I’ve already won. As nice and persuasive as Dr Rana may be to you, nothing he says will influence the scientific consensus: it’s settled. Evolution works. You, the audience, may want to believe in God, but science has no need of that hypothesis.

I also know exactly how this debate is going to go.

Let me tell you a little story. Many years ago, I was in Washington DC, and as I usually do, I found an excuse to visit the museums on the mall. As a biologist, I always make a beeline for the Smithsonian, but this one time I thought I’d try something different, and I went to the National Portrait Gallery, thinking I’d do something light and easy.

It really opened my eyes.

I was doing the usual superficial visitor thing — “uh-huh, that’s nice, next” — moving quickly through rooms full of pictures, when I turned a corner and right there, in my face, was this painting: “Two Women at a Window”. Instead of my usual two-second glance before moving on, I stopped and really looked at it, and something about it compelled my attention.

murillo_twowomenatawindow

It was beautiful. The subject was enchanting: the two women looking out, that smile on the face of one and the coy laughter of the other. There was the lovely lighting — really, the digital image is inadequate, and you have to see the real thing to get a feel for how gloriously cheerful and enticing the painting is. And I stood right there, and I looked at it for about 45 minutes before I had to leave — just this one painting! —and I just immersed myself in it, looking at the brush strokes and fine detail, stepping back and seeing it from different angles. I’m no fancy art aficionado, but for a little while I could see what drew people into art.

The painting is by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, a 17th century Spanish artist, and it’s a portrait of two Gallician women. But now imagine, as I stand there enjoying it, that I’m joined by a fellow art lover — someone who thinks exactly as I do, that this is a beautiful painting well worth savoring. But he has a different idea. This painting is so beautiful that it could not possibly have been created by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo — it could only have come into existence by supernatural means, and he says he knows exactly who painted it and what magic was involved, and he’d like to debate me on the subject.

Do I need to paint the similarity to the situation tonight with a broader brush?

Anyway, the correct answer is obvious to me, and I’m curious to see how this person is going to defend his peculiar position. As a minimal necessity, I expect to hear something about the identity of the mysterious True Painter, and something about the True Painter’s methods, and I would hope quite a bit about epistemology — how did my opponent make his case, where did he learn the Truth of this painting?

In this little parable, I am disappointed, as I expect to be tonight. While insisting that everything had a supernatural cause, he dwells on the physicality of the painting: it’s on canvas, the colors come from complex combinations of organic and inorganic compounds, that scientists can bounce lasers off it and determine the proportions of each element in it spectroscopically.

Wait, I say, you’re making my case for me. The painting is a natural object, made of earthly matter, of compounds arranged in a way that is perfectly compatible with all physical laws.

So then he tells me, look, it’s made of hundreds of thousands of precise tiny brushstrokes, each one contributing to whole. It’s incredibly complex. It can’t have been created by natural means.

And I try to explain that complex objects are generated by natural mechanisms all the time — that something is complex is not evidence that it was spontaneously generated by an invisible spirit. We can look at how paintings are made even now, and see equally complex images created without the aid of metaphysical agents.

His reply is to cast doubt on the existence of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. We don’t know his exact birthday — sometime late in 1617. We don’t know whether he was born in Seville or Pilas. Therefore we should question whether Bartolomé Esteban Murillo even really existed, opening the door to the idea that some other mystical agent actually created the paintings.

Then I will be tempted to reply in kind: but we have his baptismal certificate from 1618! We know the names of his parents (Gaspar and Maria)! We know that he studied under Juan del Castillo, and that he was prolific and left a great many surviving paintings!

That’s the temptation, that I respond by deluging you in kind with more and more details, while failing to address the great big void in the room — that despite postulating a supernatural mechanism, despite calling into doubt the existence of the material cause on the flimsiest of excuses, my critic has not revealed who the True Painter is, how he knows its identity, how it placed all those exquisite brush strokes on the canvas, in fact, no positive evidence at all for his hypothesis.

My little story expresses my frustration with these kinds of events, and tells you what I predict.

I predict that tonight Dr Rana will first simply assume without evidence that his proposed creator of all exists, and further, that this creator is the Christian god. He will not actually defend this proposition, because it is indefensible, and because as is typical at these events, the audience is packed with people who take the assumption for granted. It’s a shame, too, because the basis of the whole creationist premise relies entirely on the existence of this being…a being who leaves no trace of its activity and no explanation of its motives or methods. I would suggest that in the absence of any evidence for the proposed first cause, any discussion of its hypothetical actions is simply dismissible.

Second, any attempt to justify the existence of this creator will involve pointing at a bible or pointing at biology, chemistry, and physics. The bible is irrelevant; I could point at the Harry Potter books, and at best they are evidence for the existence of JK Rowling, but not for the existence of magic powers. As for science, as I have seen many times before, when asked for evidence of supernatural miracles in the history of life, creationists provide examples of natural, material processes rather than the actual supernatural processes we’re asking for. It makes no sense. If you’re insisting that a painting was created by magic, telling me about the fine details of the brush strokes is making my case for me.

Third, much of the argument will consist of claiming that the evolutionary explanation is incomplete or even erroneous in parts. That’s something I’ll agree with: science is always a work in progress, and if we knew everything, science would stop. But while nitpicking at the details and telling you about what we don’t know, Dr Rana will not say the obvious: that the creationist explanation is empty and nonexistent, void of all details, having no experimental or explanatory power, and so feeble that all of science has simply abandoned it.

I wandered a bit from that text here and there. The sponsors did have a professional video crew present, so the event was recorded — we’ll have to see if it makes it online eventually.

Comments

  1. Badland says

    Not contributing, just QFTing:

    But there’s another reason I find debates like this to be an exercise in futility. I’ve already won. As nice and persuasive as Dr Rana may be to you, nothing he says will influence the scientific consensus: it’s settled. Evolution works. You, the audience, may want to believe in God, but science has no need of that hypothesis.

    Says it all, really

  2. says

    While I like that statement personally, I wonder if it is the most aptly chosen analogy? The painting is not created supernaturally, but it does indeed have an intelligent designer. Believers therefore would not try to argue that it was created supernaturally. It’s the wondrous design of living things that makes them think there must be a creator behind them — and they would take the painting as confirmation of that. The believers are likely to take the opposite conclusion from the one you wanted.

  3. kosk11348 says

    cervantes, that was my concern, too. In fact, one of Ray Comforts stock apologetics is to conclude that nature requires a creator just like a “painting requires a painter.” I like the strategy of focusing on the supernatural claims, though.

  4. Nick Gotts says

    You can lead people to the data, but you can’t make them think. – peterh@2

    Too true. Climate scientists have been leading people to the data that demonstrates that anthropogenic global warming is real, reponsible for effectively all the warming in the past century, and a problem requiring urgent attention, for a couple of decades now. More and more data has been making the case more and more conclusive. But there are still those who bury their heads in the sand and pretend that because we don’t know everything about the climate, we don’t know enough to know that we need to radically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Starting now.

  5. rodw says

    Excellent opening! You’ve really gone past the usual point counterpoint and gotten to the heart of the faulty reasoning of creationists. I think its even possible that you influenced 1 or 2 people!
    Any chance the debate will appear on Youtube??

  6. twas brillig (stevem) says

    re cervantes@3:
    I support your notion that the parable could backfire catastrophically, i.e. can be used as an argument FOR Intelligent Design:
    >> That the painting is so fracking beautiful and with such intricate brush strokes. While composed of ‘natural’ ingredients, only a conscious artist could compose them into such beauty. Q.E.D.: LIFE ITSELF: so intricately detailed, could only be the composition of a master designer. Nature is just stochastic; Design, being so specific, is, therefore, very improbable.<<
    ehhhh, crikey, I’m convincing myself that is a GOOD argument AGAINST nature processes producing life-as-we-know-it. I don’t wanna be on THAT side of the fauxdebate. Tell me, oh tell me, I am so mistaken that that is a good argument. Please punch holes in it so I can add them to my repertoire.

  7. geral says

    [quote]I predict that tonight Dr Rana will first simply assume without evidence that his proposed creator of all exists, and further, that this creator is the Christian god.[/quote]
    The painting analogy was a good subversion of one creationists typically would use, though it could have easily backfired. Dr. Rana first words out of his mouth could have been ‘But a painting was created by an intelligent designer!’ and you’d be forced to concede that point thus reinforcing the thought of half the people in the room.

    The quote is an interesting one. It says ‘I believe in a god, but not only some type of powerful being, he (it’s almost always a he) just happens to be the one I believe in. Imagine that. I’d like to see a Christian believe in god but associate the creator to some other religion.

  8. carlie says

    What I like best about it is that it starts the same way as the intelligent designer argument, but then goes one level deeper. Yep, that painting was intelligently designed – by a human who is a natural being and part of this natural world. Still circular. Even people who think humans have a soul recognize that our bodies are earthly (it says so right in the bible!). It cuts their analogy right out from under them.

  9. twas brillig (stevem) says

    Too true. Climate scientists have been leading people to the data that demonstrates that anthropogenic global warming is real, reponsible for effectively all the warming in the past century, and a problem requiring urgent attention, for a couple of decades now. More and more data has been making the case more and more conclusive. But there are still those who bury their heads in the sand and pretend that because we don’t know everything about the climate, we don’t know enough to know that we need to radically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Starting now.

    Sorry, you triggered me. The current winter in New England, is a factual example of the warming effect of climate change. The usual response from the deniers is along the lines of “This winter is COLD, so warming is nonsense, Go hibernate your blustery winter as PROOF that warming aint happenin.” I just want to say that even gentler responses of incredulity, “how can warming result in record setting cold this winter?” My response is a little something I heard (from weathermen, not climatologists) is that the warmer Gulf Stream evaporates more water than before, and when a “Polar Vortex” blasts that moist air, snow comes avalanching from the sky (and getting dumped on NE).
    I’m sorry to rant like that, but, even though no one argued against “climate change”, I’m just hunkering down for another dump of snow on the NE. This February has already set the snowfall record for the entire month of Feb, even after only 10 days into the month, with more snow on its way. Nevermind the Year 2015 is already Record breaking. Thank you Koch Bros.

  10. savant says

    PZ, maybe in another post you could go into how you’d turn that around? That sounds interesting!

  11. robbie says

    I think PZ’s parable is a good one. Not only can we specifically identify the creator, we know specifically how it was created (smearing pigment with a hairy stick). It’s probably possible to know specifically when it was created. No mystery. No magic. No supernatural anything needed to explain its existence.

  12. Sastra says

    No, I thought PZ’s strategy of co-opting the “painting / painter” argument was brilliant. He’s set the framework for using the analogy to his advantage. It also places the focus right where it needs to be. The supernatural. The more you try to say the universe/life/cell is like a PAINTING and a PAINTING needs a PAINTER the more I’ve already cut you off from doing that, from making a move for which the audience is prepared and expecting. They’re forced to go in the direction we want using their own shopworn analogy. It’s a clever trap.

    It’s like shrewdly reforming the Watch Argument by using an immobile rabbit instead of a watch. We see a rabbit lying by the side of the road: how do we decide whether it’s natural (a dead rabbit) or designed (a stuffed toy)? If they even try to answer it they’re following the familiar, common sense reasoning formed from experience … one which has not and need not lead to the supernatural.

    PZ’s analogy is even more direct than that. “Look at how biologically complex this is!” Yes — complex biology!” They’re making a positive claim for the supernatural. Force it out and don’t let them assume it as the underlying default. The Overlord is wise.

  13. says

    Well here’s the thing. We’d know it was a painting, created by an intelligent agent, even if we had no idea who the agent was or any information about him/her/it. Evolution can’t produce a painting, only a painter can do so. Creationists think the same is true of living organisms.

    That’s the argument from design, and it’s the most basic and common trope of creationists. I’d be very interested in seeing what PZ planned to do if the opponent seized on it, but even if he didn’t, I have to wonder what was going on in the heads of the believers i the audience.

  14. says

    One … Two … Third

    Ack! Parallelism error! Points off! (Sorry, I’m in marathon grading mode and it spills over into real life. [Question: Is it sad that for me “real life” involves website commenting?])

  15. didgeman says

    The painter analogy used here, of course fails completely, but it is rhetorically clever to use this argument to confuse the uninformed part of the audience. In fact, PZ compares the brilliant work of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo with the “work” of natural selection, acting on unguided, random mutations (the well established methods of evolution).
    While the painter as an intelligent being obviously lived and created this work (and nobody would claim a supernatural intervention for the painting, as the the painter is known, so the second rhetorical trick of a typical straw man argument fails again completely), there is no traceable evidence whatsoever for any naturalistic process of the first living cell and for the Cambrian Explosion (beside may other explosion in history of live, including the cultural explosion of the modern human). But of course, the case is setteled for PZ before the debate: “…nothing he says will influence the scientific consensus: it’s settled. Evolution works…” PZ, where have you been the last 10-15 years? have you ever read any of the latest discoveries around ENODE and systems biology? Or about biological engineering? An overwhelming number of predictions, which where ever made by your God “Evolution”, has miserably failed the last few years.

  16. says

    I liked “the painter” analogy. Good story, personal, less of an abstraction or generality.

    To illustrate just how entrenched the anti-evolution doofuses are, here’s an article that talks about the mistake Scott Walker made in London, and how the religious rightwing loves him for it.

    American Family Association governmental affairs director Sandy Rios is upset that media commentators like George Will are mocking Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for refusing to say this week whether he believes in evolution. After all, Rios explained on her radio show today, “science has done nothing but disprove the theory of evolution.”

    “There is no scientific evidence” to substantiate evolution, she said, at least according to “the real experts.” So why has this stunning revelation that the foundational theory behind modern biology has been refuted not percolated through the scientific community? Well, Rios explained, that’s because evolution has become a sacred, religious tenant.

    “Evolution has become the religion of the elite,” Rios said. “It’s a religion to the [level of] fanaticism of what they would say was the people at the Scopes monkey trial, the Christians waving their Bibles who were not really thinking through the facts, they were just outraged because it was against God’s law. The truth of the matter is that the evolutionists like George Will, waving their evolutionary theory, have become as rabid and unreasoned as what they accuse the Scopes monkey religionists of doing to Darwin during that time. It has become a religion. Science has disproven so much of evolution…. These guys are wrong, Scott Walker is right.” […]

  17. says

    Rand Paul is caught lying … again:

    […] while Paul studied English and biology at Baylor, he left the university after three years in 1984, before obtaining a bachelor’s degree in either field. Despite lacking an undergraduate degree, Paul went on to graduate from Duke’s medical school in 1988. A spokesman for the senator subsequently clarified that he does not, in fact, hold degrees in English and biology, as he’d claimed. […]

    Link.

  18. anteprepro says

    didgeman:

    there is no traceable evidence whatsoever for any naturalistic process of the first living cell and for the Cambrian Explosion (beside may other explosion in history of live, including the cultural explosion of the modern human).

    There is so much fail in just this one sentence I don’t even know where to start.

    If you added in something about the Big Bang and “why are there still monkeys” this could have been a one sentence “Greatest Hits” collection.

    Here are some tips:
    -Evolution by natural selection can be true without knowing ANYTHING about the first lifeforms on Earth or their origin.
    -The “Cambrian Explosion” doesn’t have to do with the origin of life.
    – The “Cambrian Explosion” is essentially ONLY evidence. An “Explosion” may not in fact have even happened: it is just the time period where we begin to have a shit-ton of fossils for a variety of species.
    -What the fuck is this “cultural explosion” you speak of and how does it have anything to do with evolution?

    have you ever read any of the latest discoveries around ENODE and systems biology?

    Does this count as dramatic irony or just the regular kind?

    Or about biological engineering?

    You know, using your logic, satellites like the moon are in fact made by magicians because artificial satellites are a thing.

  19. savant says

    didgeman@20

    Oh dear. Hello!

    If you read this blog, you’d find that yes, he does in fact know about ENODE and systems biology and biological engineering. I’m no biologist, but I’d wager that PZ thinks those are excellent evidence for evolution – not the straw-man, 18th century evolution so often trotted out to knock over, but the real set of interlocking processes as understood today.

    There are plenty of traces remaining of the first living cell – you are in fact one of them! You’re also a trace of the Cambrian Explosion. (For the latter, go take a look at some of the lovely slices of the Burgess Shale, they’re really remarkable fossils, worth seeing regardless of your opinions on where they come from or what they mean.)

    I’ve always been of two minds of using the term “unguided” to refer to evolution. It’s not guided by a designer, but it is guided, by the constraints of the environment in which it operates. The randomness is the paint, and the environment is the hand, guiding that paint within the canvas of living bodies to create all the wonderful forms we see. It’s not a conscious guidance – there’s no mind behind it – but it’s still guidance. What does the horde think of that?

  20. says

    Well, you know God created man first,” a smirking Corbin replied. “Then he took the rib out of man to make woman. And you know, a rib is a lesser cut of meat.”

    That’s Republican state senator in South Carolina, Thomas Corbin, speaking.

    And that’s not the only insulting thing he has said about women, and often directly to the sole woman, Katrina Shealy, in the senate chamber. Salon link.

  21. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Didgeman#20

    An overwhelming number of predictions, which where ever made by your God “Evolution”, has miserably failed the last few years.

    In order for us not to dismiss out of hand your wild assertions, please provide links to evidence that back up your claims. Keep in mind everything you asserted has been previously discussed here, and nothing has bee found to refute evolution.

  22. consciousness razor says

    didgeman, #20:

    The painter analogy used here, of course fails completely, but it is rhetorically clever to use this argument to confuse the uninformed part of the audience.

    What fails? Painters have bodies in spacetime, and part of their bodies are brains, which are responsible for their intelligence, experiences, and whatever other creative faculties you care to name that relate to their artworks or anything else that painters might do. Nothing of the sort could be said about a supernatural “intelligent designer.”

    Which analogy looks better so far?

    A painter is a natural organism, and I submit they have no supernatural souls, which is yet again analogous to any natural process you could cite. If painters had souls, which would be analogous to features of a deity (if at least one exists, although we still have zero evidence), the question would be how anything like that could possibly interact in any way with anything natural, much less how it could think/act/”cause existence” (whatever that means)/etc. without a body and without even extending in space or time.

    It looks to me like all you have is a lot of unevidenced assertions, no coherent argument against naturalism, and a lot of confused assumptions that you’d have to try to clear up simply to make your own claims comprehensible (not to mention probable or even plausible). Most likely, if you’re like every other theist who’s ever attempted to defend this bullshit, you’ll just bumble around for a while but make no progress at all. Note that I’m not even counting absurdities like omnipotence for you, nor the ridiculous claims about this deity’s supposed “benevolence” (simply defending the claim that it’s not totally malevolent would be hard enough), but we might have to add things like that to the laundry list of blunders, fallacies and falsehoods, if you’re going to insist on it.

    So what’s the problem supposed to be?

  23. CJO, egregious by any standard says

    there is no traceable evidence whatsoever for any naturalistic process of the first living cell and for the Cambrian Explosion (beside may other explosion in history of live, including the cultural explosion of the modern human)

    The origin of the first living cell is indeed an open question, but:
    1. It isn’t necessary to have a theory of abiogenesis to have a theory about the development of life since its origins.
    2. There could not, in principle, be any traceable evidence for magic, whereas preliminary results in abiogenesis research show that naturalistic processes could easily have bootstrapped primitive metabolic reactions isolated by lipid membranes in the prebiotic environment. After that, natural selection is a logical necessity.

    The Cambrian Explosion IS traceable evidence of the naturalistic process of adaptive radiation of ancestral forms into newly available niches.

    The material remains of “the cultural explosion of the modern human”, as revealed by paleoanthropology and archaeology, likewise consists of nothing but the kind of evidence you claim does not exist. We see in the homonim fossil record and the development of material culture exactly the kind of iterative progression (with “digression”) through time that is predicted by evolutionary theory.

    PZ, where have you been the last 10-15 years? have you ever read any of the latest discoveries around ENODE and systems biology? Or about biological engineering?

    He’s been right here, slapping down each instance of such risible obfuscation as it was extruded from the tedious pipeline of god-besotted drivel.

    Where have you been?

  24. Al Dente says

    didgeman @20

    Typical creationist, doesn’t know the difference between abiogenesis and evolution. BTW, the Cambrian “Explosion” took 20 to 25 million years to happen.

  25. Lion IRC says

    Well done PZ Myers.
    Created things, like works of art, are the intellectual property of their Creator.

  26. savant says

    Lion IRC @33

    True! That rule gets squidgey when it comes to living things though. What with not being designed and all that. I guess Monsanto can own the IP of a genetically engineered tomato, but they don’t own the living things – they just hold copyright over a sequence of digits.

    But I doubt that’s what you’re talking about!

  27. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Created things, like works of art, are the intellectual property of their Creator.

    Except there is no creator in your sense until you provide conclusive physical, not philosophical, evidence for it. Evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers, as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin.
    Which is MIA by all theists, so your creator is only imaginary.

  28. Sastra says

    Didgerman #20 wrote:

    In fact, PZ compares the brilliant work of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo with the “work” of natural selection, acting on unguided, random mutations (the well established methods of evolution).

    It is you who are confused, because this analogy holds. We are looking at two facts observable in the natural universe: a painting and (let’s say) an animal. Every element of those two objects is natural and can be examined and analyzed regarding its history and composition.

    IF someone were to assert that the painting must have a supernatural origin, we would point to all the evidence that human beings make paintings and human beings are natural. If someone were to assert that an animal has a supernatural origin, we would point to all the evidence that animals are embedded in natural biology. Natural objects always have natural sources.

    Give a counter example. Explain the method and process of supernatural creation and what we need to look for. The burden of proof is on you.

  29. Sastra says

    Lion IRC wrote:

    Well done PZ Myers.
    Created things, like works of art, are the intellectual property of their Creator.

    And all creators and creation processes are natural. Some are intelligent (like artists); some are not (like waves “constructing” lines of shells on a beach.)

    Give one counter example. Explain the supernatural method and tell us how we could in principle tell a shell made by nature apart from a shell made by magic.

  30. Markita Lynda—threadrupt says

    Didgeman, you say there’s no evidence for a natural origin of life. I guess that your prompters forgot to mention Chemical Evolution, didn’t they?

    The Cambrian Explosion itself is evidence that more organisms form fossils after they evolve hard parts and that hard parts drive further evolution in an arms race between biting parts and armour. Astonishing, isn’t it?

  31. mnb0 says

    @3 Cervantes: “The painting is not created supernaturally, but it does indeed have an intelligent designer.”
    That intelligent designer of the painting was natural too, used natural means and followed natural procedures. That’s the exact point.

    Excellent opening, PZ. You basically used Herman Philipse’s best argument from

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_the_Age_of_Science%3F

  32. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    PZ, I really liked the opening, and the thought behind it. You do write well.

  33. F.O. says

    Very nice PZ, changing the focus and going “all meta” is such an interest approach.
    Looking forward to see how it did actually lay out.

    Also, I would be very keen on knowing the answer you prepared in the event they asked you about the intelligent creator of the painting.
    I’d try and force them to qualify the True creator, asking for evidence and how they reached their conclusions about it.

  34. joel says

    Lynna, OM @24
    True, but you shouldn’t make a big deal out of that. The New Yorker covered that ground when they profiled Paul like a year ago. He left college without a BA, but he had a lot of credits and a high GPA and Duke Medical School admitted him on that basis.

    Don’t confuse Rand Paul with Scott Walker. Walker is a moron with uncannily good political instincts. Paul is a highly intelligent crank. Totally different beasts.

  35. F.O. says

    @didgeman #20 Ugh, I’ll add myself to the pile up, mostly because none seems to have asked the question.

    there is no traceable evidence whatsoever for any naturalistic process of the first living cell and for the Cambrian Explosion

    Fair enough.
    So what traceable evidence can you provide us for the supernatural intelligent creator?

  36. anteprepro says

    Lion IRC:

    Well done PZ Myers.
    Created things, like works of art, are the intellectual property of their Creator.

    Ugh. Creationist drivel trying to disguise itself with utter vacuity.

  37. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @CJO, egregious by any standard

    There could not, in principle, be any traceable evidence for magic

    Completely and utterly wrong. In effect, you are defending Gould’s NOMA, which is simply wrong.

    In this world, there is no such thing as magic (as conventionally understood), and thus in this world it is impossible to get evidence of magic.

    However, imagine another epistemically-possible world, such as the world of my Dungeons and Dragons character. In that world, magic often has very strong and useful explanatory power. For example, “Why does that goblin have a hole through its chest?” – “Because our party’s fighter stabbed the goblin with a sword.” And “Why is that goblin corpse burned to a crisp?” – “Because our party’s sorcerer used magic and force of will to create a ball of fire and direct it at the goblin.”

    The problem here is one of language. The idea that science fundamentally must use methodological naturalism is a Daniel Dennett deepity; it has an ambiguity of language, and it hides in the middle of these two readings. On one reading, “natural” simply means “observable” or “that which exists”, and of course science can only work on the observable or the existing. That’s the true but trivial reading. On the other reading, “natural” means “material” as in “materialism”. On this reading, the claim would be profound if true – science couldn’t say a thing about demons, angels, gods, or D&D sorcerers. On this reading, the claim is false. Science would have a lot to say if D&D sorcerers were running around and lobbing fireballs. Science would have a lot to say if Catholic prayers by Catholic believers could turn water into wine. Etc.

    It is simply wrong to say that science fundamentally is restricted to the natural.

    For further information, please see:

    How not to attack Intelligent Design Creationism: Philosophical misconceptions about Methodological Naturalism
    Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, Johan Braeckman
    https://sites.google.com/site/maartenboudry/teksten-1/methodological-naturalism

    God, Science and the Problem with Nature – Scott Clifton (Theoretical Bullshit) – Skepticon 7
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQMLFpQEOI8

    This single comic best sums up my objection (no other context necessarily):
    Girl Genius Webcomics – Science
    http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20081205
    >”Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science!”

  38. Amphiox says

    there is no traceable evidence whatsoever for any naturalistic process of the first living cell and for the Cambrian Explosion

    Utterly false on both counts.

    For the first cell, the traceable evidence for naturalistic processes is indeed sparse and incomplete. But since the traceable evidence for a non-naturalistic process for the same is a precise fat zero, the naturalistic explanation remains the preferred null hypothesis for the time being.

    For the Cambrian “explosion”, well, there was in fact no explosion. It was an adaptive radiation exactly the same as multiple other adaptive radiations observed throughout the history of life on earth, each and every one readily explainable by the fully naturalistic processes of evolution.

  39. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Creationist drivel trying to disguise itself with utter vacuity.

    I don’t think Lion IRC disguises Xeir utter vacuity. It is out there for everybody to laugh at.

  40. Amphiox says

    re Enlightenment Liberal @45;

    Magic in the D&D universe(s) follow explicit, specific rules. The rules are consistent, reproducible, and, in fact, based on math.

    In other words, the phenomenon called “magic” in the D&D universe is for all functional purposes, a science within that universe. The only difference is that the inhabitants of that universe don’t call it by that word.

  41. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Amphiox
    And your point is what? That the purported magic in our universe doesn’t follow rules? How did you make that determination? With evidence, logic, reason, science? I fail to see how what you wrote is in any way a rebuttal.

  42. malta says

    I wasn’t too keen on the painter analogy at first, but reading through the comments I think it makes a lot of sense. The point is that a painting is made by natural processes, nothing supernatural involved. Even if no one living saw this *particular* painting made, we know how the general process works and it doesn’t involve anything supernatural. When we already have an explanation supported by evidence (evolution), why would we add in something supernatural with no evidence (a god creator)?

  43. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    EL#49

    That the purported magic in our universe doesn’t follow rules

    Until you evidence that the magic exists, it doesn’t. QED. Where is your evidence?

  44. rietpluim says

    @Lion IRC #33 – And non-created things are the intellectual property of… who?

    @PZ Myers – Wonderful opening statement. As an art aficionado I can only appreciate the lovely painting. And I think you rebutted the “but the painting has a creator” argument beforehand.
    Because yes, we know that the painting has a creator, because we know his name, date of birth, family, residence, and how and when he made the painting, from what material and with what technique. If creationists want to make that argument, they should show the same sort of details about the alleged creator of the universe, which they can’t.
    Once again, creationists are making a case for us.

  45. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Nerd
    PS: Even by asking for evidence, you already admit that I am right and that you can do science on magic.

  46. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    PS: Even by asking for evidence, you already admit that I am right and that you can do science on magic.

    Then evidence your assertion, or shut the fuck up.

  47. didgeman says

    The only known source of information is intelligence. The only know intelligence is the human mind and in addition, the mind, who created the human mind. Even the very first living cells 3.8 billion years ago were highly complex, information-rich systems. As an engineer, I know exactly, what it means to make a complex system running. Some biologist are not yet there, but this will come over time with growing evidence. It took some very clever physicists like Einstein many years, to give up their metaphysical motivated world view on a steady-state universe and to follow the evidence for a beginning of the universe. The same will happen in biology, probably with some 100 to 150 years delay. PZ’s 1000 fold repeated creed for naturalism and evolution may add some 10 to 20 years, but who cares? Probably some patients in hospitals, who do not have access to the latest medical research, because too much money flows in programs trying to prove the absence of a genius mind behind all living things instead of working 100% in reverse-engineering and understanding the complex work of the great designer. But luckily, most biologist already work like this and do not care about atheistic worldview battles.

  48. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    EL, show god (magic): physical evidence that would pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural, origin. Until you do so, your argument is false, as the null hypothesis is that magic doesn’t exist, as there is no evidence for it.

  49. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Nerd
    I never claimed there is magic. I expressly claimed that there is no magic. I expressly claimed that (I have a strong degree of confidence that) in this world it is impossible to get evidence of magic (because magic does not exist). See what I wrote earlier:
    “In this world, there is no such thing as magic (as conventionally understood), and thus in this world it is impossible to get evidence of magic.”
    Again, I don’t know how to respond to strawmen. Could you please engage with what I actually write?

  50. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @didgeman
    Do you accept that all life on this planet has a single common ancestor? Do you accept as true that the main driver of adaptively-positive changes in species over time is blind, unintelligent natural selection?

    As an engineer, you must be aware simple computer genetic algorithms which can produce information from no information. I suspect that you might object and say that the algorithm itself is the starting information, but of course that would mean that physics is our algorithm in the real world, and natural selection itself is nothing more than physics.

  51. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Didgeman #57

    the mind, who created the human mind.

    Assertion with evidence, presuppistion, dismissed without evidence. You lose.

    As an engineer,

    You are talking to scientists, you lose.

    The same will happen in biology, probably with some 100 to 150 years delay.

    Nope, not without evidence for your imaginary deity/creator, which is MIA. Your presuppositions aren’t and never will be scientific evidence. You lose.

    But luckily, most biologist already work like this and do not care about atheistic worldview battles.

    All good world views are atheistic, as there is absolutely no evidence for your imaginary deity. You must provide physical evidence that would pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural, origin. Until you do, your presuppositions are and should be dismissed as delusional fuckwittery they are..

  52. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @didgeman, #57:

    The only known source of information is intelligence.

    a) Define “information”.

    Then
    b) define “intelligence”.

    Then
    c) prove the quoted statement.

    Then
    d) we can get to the rest of your argument.

  53. CJO, egregious by any standard says

    EL(;dr):

    Completely and utterly wrong. In effect, you are defending Gould’s NOMA, which is simply wrong.

    My point was simple, and it doesn’t require a digression into epistemology to make: “Goddidit” is an attempt to dodge epistemological considerations altogether. You can always say, when confronted with lack of evidence, that the magic man done it and magically didn’t leave any evidence.

  54. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Occam’s Razor, or parsimony, cuts through the goddidit BS. If you get the same results with god, and god hiding his work, as science without hiding the work, simplest explanation, which is without an imaginary god, wins every time.

  55. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @CJO
    Yes … but you’re moving the goalposts. That’s not what you wrote earlier:
    “There could not, in principle, be any traceable evidence for magic”.
    I agree that some magical explanations have no explanatory power and are unfalsifiable. Some materialistic explanations also have no explanatory power and are unfalsifiable. Magic doesn’t have a monopoly on unscientific explanations. What you wrote earlier is part of a systemic effort at accommodationism between science and religion similar to Gould’s NOMA, and we should have none of that.

  56. anteprepro says

    didgman:

    The only known source of information is intelligence.

    Buzzwords, therefore Jesus.

    The only know intelligence is the human mind

    Every single non-human animal on Earth do not count…..why, exactly?

    the mind, who created the human mind.

    We know that of this alleged Super Mind, how, exactly?

    Even the very first living cells 3.8 billion years ago were highly complex, information-rich systems.

    That’s fascinating. I seem to recall someone saying something like this:
    “there is no traceable evidence whatsoever for any naturalistic process of the first living cell ”

    Apparently, sans evidence, you happen to know about the level of complexity of the first living cell. Please, give us all the details. You either happen to know a lot about the first cells without any evidence, or you know that these first cells were supernatural and do have evidence. Please, show us.

    As an engineer,

    Oh god. A cliche.

    a genius mind behind all living things

    A genius mind who loves appendectomies, miscarriages, and cancer.

    A sufficiently advanced genius designer is indistinguishable from a cold, random, uncaring universe, I suppose.

  57. Al Dente says

    didgeman @57

    The only know intelligence is the human mind and in addition, the mind, who created the human mind.

    Who created this non-human mind? Or is it minds all the way down?

    As an engineer, I know exactly, what it means to make a complex system running.

    The Sun is a complex system. Which mind is involved in running it? Weather is an extremely complex system which doesn’t appear to have a mind guiding it.

    You are not making an engineering statement about biology, you’re making a philosophical statement. Philosophy is much more complex than electronic circuits. nuclear reactors or levers.

  58. CJO, egregious by any standard says

    a systemic effort at accommodationism between science and religion similar to Gould’s NOMA

    You’re tilting at windmills. What I wrote was convenient shorthand by way of addressing the absurdity of someone who apparently thinks that explanations that rely on magic should hold the field nevertheless accusing scientists of lacking “traceable evidence” for the origins of a variety of more or less empirically tractable phenomena. That it didn’t pass muster with your epistemological hobby horse is of negligible concern to me.

    Also, you mean “systematic”.

  59. consciousness razor says

    didgeman:

    The only known source of information is intelligence.

    If by “information” you mean “stuff being thought about,” then … okay I guess. Weird fucking definition, for somebody who considers themselves an engineer and ought to know better. Perhaps you’re an engineer who’s never heard of brains? Doesn’t seem very likely….. Or maybe you’re confused? Dishonest?

    The only know intelligence is the human mind and in addition, the mind, who created the human mind. Even the very first living cells 3.8 billion years ago were highly complex, information-rich systems.

    I would argue with your first claim, given the numerous other intelligent animals on this planet that we do know about…. But why would anybody need to think about a human mind or the very first living cells, in order for them to simply exist?

    I mean, we make more humans by fucking, not by thinking a baby into existence…. You at least learned that much in sex-ed right? Do they not teach that at creationist clown college?

    As an engineer, I know exactly, what it means to make a complex system running.

    Uh…. Is life or a human mind the only super-fucking-special complex thing you think there is? How about a star? Is that a complex system? How about an entire solar system or a galaxy?

    I want to make sure I have this right. You’re seriously claiming that, as a fucking engineer, you are Teh Expert™, knowing “exactly” about all of this, either what’s involved in making it or … “to make it running” whatever the fuck that is supposed to mean once you fix your grammar?

  60. anteprepro says

    As we all know, humans only come from other humans. Therefore, there needed to be a first human. And that human also built the universe out of rocks, clumps of grass, bated breath, and exactly seventeen drops of his own blood. It’s just logic.

  61. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @CJO

    You’re tilting at windmills.

    Quoting Wikipedia
    “Tilting at windmills is an English idiom which means attacking imaginary enemies.”

    So, you think that no one actually holds the literal position which you wrote? You think that no one actually holds the literal position that it is impossible in principle to get scientific evidence of magic?

    Jerry Coyne seems to think that it’s the majority opinion of scientists that it’s impossible in principle to get scientific evidence of magic.
    https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/methodological-naturalism-does-it-exclude-the-supernatural/

    Over the past week or so we’ve had a bit of to-and-fro about whether there is any evidence that could in principle count as supporting the existence of gods. My answer of “yes” seems to be a minority view, but it’s true in the sense that yes, I would indeed believe—provisionally—in gods or supernatural forces if I encountered certain types of evidence.

    It’s the official position of the American National Academy Of Scientists.
    http://www.nas.edu/evolution/Compatibility.html

    Science and religion are based on different aspects of human experience. In science, explanations must be based on evidence drawn from examining the natural world. Scientifically based observations or experiments that conflict with an explanation eventually must lead to modification or even abandonment of that explanation. Religious faith, in contrast, does not depend only on empirical evidence, is not necessarily modified in the face of conflicting evidence, and typically involves supernatural forces or entities. Because they are not a part of nature, supernatural entities cannot be investigated by science. In this sense, science and religion are separate and address aspects of human understanding in different ways. Attempts to pit science and religion against each other create controversy where none needs to exist.

    It’s the clear official position of the National Center for Science Education. Eugenie Scott and the rest are great people. However, it’s IMHO arguable whether they are doing good work. Yes they managed to get evolution into the science classroom and creationism out of the science classroom, but at what cost? To my view, the cost included removing some amount of critical thinking, good philosophy of science, and good epistemology out of the science classroom. More importantly, also at the cost of injecting bad philosophy of science and bad epistemology into the public discussion, and even into the seminal Dover court decision. I think they lost sight of the final objective which is rational thinking. They threw proper thinking under the bus in exchange for a short term goal.

    @CJO

    What I wrote was convenient shorthand

    No, what you wrote is wrong. You included none of that explanation in your first post. Your first post was largely indistinguishable from the majority opinion of scientists on this topic, which also happens to be wrong. It’s not “convenient shorthand”. Be more clear when you write.

    PS:

    Also, you mean “systematic”.

    Yes, typos.

  62. woozy says

    The only known source of information is intelligence.

    Bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. … or devious semantic misdirection.

    One or the other.

    Definition 1:
    Information = data. The layers of strata of the Grand Canyon is information. Tree ring structures are information. The orbital paths of planets and asteroids are information. The weather patterns are information.

    Ah… but here comes the misdirection:

    Definition 2:
    Information = interpreted data. And you can’t have interpretted data without an intelligence to interpret it. Ha-ha, gothcha. So without the human brain all those things above are just data and not information, and, uh, I guess that never actually existed until a human mind observed them and, um, well, quantuum and trees falling ifn forests without people hearing them, and.

    Yeah, only intelligence can make information.

    You’re a weasel. Or a liar. Or an idiot. Or all three.

  63. Owlmirror says

    While I am usually in support of the idea that the supernatural (“magic”) could be detected if it were real, I think CJO’s statement is reasonable in the context of talking about abiogenesis in the way that didgeman (and similar supernaturalist apologists) do. That is, supernaturalists seem to think that the supernatural event in question is that the magic happened, *poof*ing the Very First Cell into existence, and then very conveniently disappeared, leaving no evidence of what it had done except for that one lonely cell, which immediately began dividing (and, presumably evolving), completely naturally.

    In that situation, there would be no evidence that the magic had in fact occurred.

    Richard Carrier’s essay on defining the supernatural also has a discussion of the paranormal, as he uses the term. As I understand his argument, “paranormal” refers to what is currently unknown (and which may be unknowable). I think the exact nature of abiogenesis could be called paranormal (by Carrier’s definition), currently, but given the research into early chemical systems, there is no reason to think that it is anything but natural.

    But of course, supernaturalists are using that paranormality to stick a god into that gap in our knowledge. They don’t really have a good case here; just “It maybe could have happened (and we could never tell)!”. Which I think is all that CJO was trying to say.

  64. HappyNat says

    “As an engineer, I know”

    If there is a surer sign that bullshit is going to be coming fast and furious, I have yet to see it,

  65. consciousness razor says

    CJO:

    My point was simple, and it doesn’t require a digression into epistemology to make:

    I’d say the problem is that you should avoid getting stuck where you seem to be, in epistemology-land, which can get awfully messy and be awfully pointless if you never leave, by simply making sure at some point there’s an actual clear metaphysical claim about it.

    “Goddidit” is an attempt to dodge epistemological considerations altogether. You can always say, when confronted with lack of evidence, that the magic man done it and magically didn’t leave any evidence.

    I think your meta-claim about the purpose of making a “Goddidit” claim is generally accurate. That is usually the case.

    However, that does not change the fact that, if there were supernatural beings, the reasons why people (usually) make claims about such beings (here, in this world in which the beings don’t exist) has no bearing on whether or not those beings would be observable if they existed (at least indirectly, by having observable effects).

    I’d like to be able to say coherently what I mean when I say that supernatural beings don’t exist. Supernatural beings, if they were real, would not be a “dodge” in a creationist’s mind or as a behavior they exhibit. That’s not what I’m saying is nonexistent, not least because that certainly is something creationists actually do, for real. If there were any such beings, they would essentially be unembodied minds (or “mental” effects like that, as in the case of magic) — that’s what I’m saying isn’t. And if something like that did exist and was observable… well, then it would be observable, wouldn’t it? No reason to think that’s impossible. And I don’t get to decide something like that a priori, which is the only thing I could do at the moment, since I clearly don’t have anything like evidence that these nonexistent things wouldn’t be observable if they were real.

  66. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Owlmirror
    Yeah. I’ve read that, but I always have this nagging feeling that his definitions of “natural” and “supernatural” don’t actually correctly capture most common usage of those terms. It matches a lot of common usage, but I have this nagging feeling based on my personal experience that other people use the terms differently.

  67. woozy says

    EnlightenmentLiberal

    “Tilting at windmills” seems like a perfect description of what you are doing.

    Evidence for magic, in principal, can not exist because :

    Magic by definition magic is that which is unnatural and exists beyond nature. Natural by definition is that which can be examined and observed. So magic can not be examined and observed. So by fucking definition magic can’t have fucking evidence. If it had evidence it wouldn’t be fucking magic, would it?

    No-one said anything about Gods, or mental telepathy or spoon bending, in principal, no evidence. ( If they existed and they had evidence, they wouldn’t be magic. They’d just be weird things that exist.) That was entirely you own little windmill. No wonder Nerd and Amphiox utterly had no idea what you were talking about.

  68. CJO, egregious by any standard says

    So, you think that no one actually holds the literal position which you wrote?

    No, I think you deliberately misconstrued commonplace shorthand so you could ride your hobby horse.

    No, what you wrote is wrong.

    Most shorthand is technically wrong, and requires tiresome unpacking under the scrutiny of a pedant.

    Be more clear when you write.

    Be less of a fucking pedant.

  69. consciousness razor says

    Owlmirror:

    Richard Carrier’s essay on defining the supernatural also has a discussion of the paranormal, as he uses the term. As I understand his argument, “paranormal” refers to what is currently unknown (and which may be unknowable). I think the exact nature of abiogenesis could be called paranormal (by Carrier’s definition), currently, but given the research into early chemical systems, there is no reason to think that it is anything but natural.

    That’s a surprising interpretation. I don’t think I would read it that way. Here’s Carrier:

    What makes something paranormal is the fact that it exists outside the domain of currently plausible science.

    Abiogenesis is “unknown” certainly, in the sense of being able to identify the exact conditions and explain them physically/chemically/whatever. But that’s very different from being outside “plausible science” in the way that an alien abduction is. It’s quite plausible that abiogenesis happened. The fact of it happening isn’t implausible or what’s at issue among actual scientists (leaving aside creationist nonsense). It’s way more plausible than any alternative, so we can pretty safely believe it happened somehow or another; but the problem is that we don’t have the sort of evidence we would need to describe or explain it with any precision.

  70. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @CJO
    Look. I didn’t deliberately misconstrue what you wrote. Shorthands with technically incorrect meanings are acceptable when there is no reasonable possibility of confusion. What you wrote is technically incorrect, and it is a wrong-headed view shared by a majority of professional scientists which means that there is a reasonable possibility that someone – like me – will understand what you wrote in the simple straightforward reading, the same wrong-headed view held by a majority of professional scientists. In this particular case, the onus is on you to distinguish yourself, to be more clear in your writing, and to write what you actually mean.

    For example, we already have someone coming out of the woodwork, woozy in 78, who is (seemingly) defending this wrong-headed proposition that it is impossible in principle to get scientific evidence of magic.

  71. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    For example, we already have someone coming out of the woodwork, woozy in 78, who is (seemingly) defending this wrong-headed proposition that it is impossible in principle to get scientific evidence of magic.

    Fine, either cite the peer reviewed scientific literature for MAGICK, or shut the fuck up. Science doesn’t give a shit about your bad mental wanking, but is does give a shit about peer reviewed evidence. So, put up or shut the fuck up .

  72. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @woozy
    I already wrote that this entire problem is a linguistic problem. It’s a problem of definitions, of equivocation between definitions, etc. It’s a problem of a Daniel Dennett deepity, an assertion being ambiguous between a trivial but true reading, and a profound but false reading.

    Many people believe in the post-death appearances of Jesus, and many people believe this is “supernatural event” (whatever that means, but they do attach the label), which means that many people do believe that some supernatural events are observable.

    I also gave an explicit example of observable magic, namely a D&D sorcerer using a fireball spell to kill an (evil) goblin.

    Thus, I find your entire post to be an epic example of missing the point.

    Let’s make my point clear. I find the Dover v Kitzmiller court decision to contain wrong-headed epistemology and philosophy of science. The decision partly rests on the argument that creationism is a supernatural claim, and supernatural claims are unscientific, and thus creationism should not be in the science classroom. I find that argument to be deeply flawed and wrong-headed. The general creationism hypothesis is a scientific hypothesis. Similarly, the general garage dragon hypothesis is a scientific hypothesis. Of course, particular creationism hypotheses may not be scientific, just like some garage dragon hypotheses are not scientific (ex: invinsible, incorporeal, heatless garage dragons).
    http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/Dragon.htm

    The Dover v Kitzmiller decision was thus decided on some wrong arguments. The proper reason why creationism should not be science classrooms is not because it’s purportedly unscientific. It is scientific. The proper reason is that creationism is wrong. It has been falsified.

  73. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Nerd
    I don’t understand what you’re asking for. You have now reached comical levels of missing the point. I don’t know what to do. I suggest you re-read everything I’ve posted here. Or if you think I’m an idiot, read the Jerry Coyne link above. Jerry Coyne also suggests the Boudry paper as an excellent paper. I’m just repeating similar arguments of the Boudry paper, again link above.

    I find it hard to engage when you do not understand what the conversation is about.

  74. anteprepro says

    I’m thinking that the Thunderdome would be the ideal, scenic locale to continue these endless conflicts over witchcraft and wizardry. Because, really, derail has eaten over half the thread so far.

  75. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I find the Dover v Kitzmiller court decision to contain wrong-headed epistemology and philosophy of science.

    The your mere opinion is dismissed as trash, unscientific fuckwittery, when a scientific, not a philosophical question is being determined. Evidence is why science is making contributions to human knowledge, and why philosophy is being dismissed. Change your attitude to change those results.

  76. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I find it hard to engage when you do not understand what the conversation is about.

    Easy, the conservation is ABOUT YOU EVIDENCING YOUR ASSERTIONS.
    Nobody gives a shit about your UNEVIDENCED

  77. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Nerd
    I find it comical that you asked for a peer reviewed paper to defend my arguments, and I already provided it in the first post. You seriously have a reading comprehension problem – or an honesty problem. An honesty problem is a possibility too from here I sit.

  78. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dang, keyboard shortcuts again. #88.

    I find it hard to engage when you do not understand what the conversation is about.

    Easy, the consersation is ABOUT YOU EVIDENCING YOUR ASSERTIONS.
    Nobody gives a shit about your UNEVIDENCED philosophical mental wanking.
    What can you demonstrate from third parties to show you are right? Science versus philosophy.

  79. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @Nerd
    [non-rhetorical answer] Because a Frequentist approach to epistemology is bullshit. Parsimony and the null hypothesis are also bullshit approaches to epistemology. Bayesian reasoning is the correct answer.

    For a more-full explanation, see this link (which I just found on google – seems correct from a quick scan).
    http://www.bayesian-inference.com/hypotheses

    Also please see the work of Dr. Richard Carrier, especially his peer reviewed book Proving History.

    PS: Be sure to read post #89, and please read the peer reviewed Boudry paper above. And the Jerry Coyne link above as an example of someone else who argues the same thing. And the Skepticon 7 talk, link above, by Scott Clifton where he argues the same thing.

  80. says

    didgeman @57:

    As an engineer…

    …you might well know what it takes, as an intelligent agent yourself, to actively devise and create and maintain a system of artificial components (or a system of non-artificial components in an artificial arrangement).

    But being able to play with Lego Technic or do your own plumbing or use Visual Basic in an Excel spreadsheet (or design a coolant system for a nuclear reactor, for that matter) does not necessarily translate to being able to properly comprehend natural processes that arrive, naturally and unguided, at complex states. It certainly doesn’t grant you the ability to debunk and disprove a century and a half of cross-confirmatory fields of inquiry which all lead to the inescapable conclusion that life is not intelligently designed (for starters, you’d need to be able to comprehend, at least superficially, the science which supports evolution, which you plainly don’t – your ill-informed gabbleflab about “information”, lifted straight from creationist tracts, is just one of many obvious clues).

    TL;DR: unless you can actually demonstrate, beyond casting aspersions on science that you don’t understand, that life is designed, your efforts here will be wasted, personal experience with complex artificial systems be damned. As an engineer you know sweet bugger-all about biology.


    Meta question: why are there so many creationist engineers and mathematicians (and dentists and auto mechanics and GOP politicians) and so few creationist biologists?

    Meta suggestion: Nerd and EL to the T-Dome.

  81. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @We are Plethora, Protectors of the Orb of Tranquility ~+~ Seated on the Throne of Fantasia
    Does no one read? I provided lots of citations, some even peer reviewed like the boudry paper. Yet people pretend I didn’t. The fuck is wrong with people here?

  82. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Parsimony and the null hypothesis are also bullshit approaches to epistemology.

    So is not looking at evidence. Who give a shit about pure unevidenced opinion? Not I.

    Bayesian reasoning is the correct answer.

    Then evidence your presuppositions. At no point, do you not refer to real evidence in any decision. Or you are WRONG.

  83. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    EL
    If you can’t provide any evidence for imaginary deities/creators, or that Magick exits, they must be ZERO in any Bayesian equation/calculation. DUH. What part of reality don’t you understand?

  84. says

    The only known source of information is intelligence.

    Nope. Curiously, Rana tried to make the ID argument that “cells contain information; all information comes from minds; therefore cells were created by a mind”, and when I called him on it, he backtracked fast, and flat out admitted that there are natural genetic processes that increase information content.

    There are a lot of other silly arguments I see some people making to rebut me, and I wish I could take some time to address them, but man, I am stretched so thin right now — working on my LA talk. I’ll be working on it tomorrow. I’ll be working on it on the plane. My brain is toast right now, and until Monday.

  85. says

    Also, I’ve read the Boudry paper. I agree with the Boudry paper. It’s irrelevant what we’re calling “supernatural” in this case.

    I’m saying there is a historical sequence of events or processes, in which we have gaps that are poorly tested, like so:

    A-B-C-_-E-_-G-H

    There are hints and reasonable inferences that “D” and “F” belong in there somewhere, but I’ll concede that the evidence might be weak.

    Creationists insist that what belongs in those gaps is “GOD” and “JESUS”. I’m saying…show your work. Tell me what you think is going on in there, specifically. I am not saying a priori that the supernatural things are not allowed, I’m saying that you have to explain your reasoning, show evidence, and explain why “GOD” is a more reasonable explanation than a mundane “D”, and it’s insufficient to thump a bible or gesticulate wildly at a gap.

  86. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @PZ
    Any apologies to PZ Myers. I took issue with what another commenter said, not what you said. My use of the Boudry paper and my comments here were not directed at you at all.

  87. anteprepro says

    Hank_Says:

    Meta question: why are there so many creationist engineers and mathematicians (and dentists and auto mechanics and GOP politicians) and so few creationist biologists?

    I think it is something along the lines of “if you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail”.

    (I stumbled across some interesting Thinking Out Loud on the subject, involving some looks at Islamic extremism, right-wing views, and engineering here: http://scienceblogs.com/tfk/2007/11/11/the-salem-hypothesis-explained/ . Not sure if there is any real, clear, known answer about engineers and creationists specifically though).

  88. Owlmirror says

    Enlightenment Liberal @77 (regarding Carrier’s “Defining Supernatural”):

    I’ve read that, but I always have this nagging feeling that his definitions of “natural” and “supernatural” don’t actually correctly capture most common usage of those terms. It matches a lot of common usage, but I have this nagging feeling based on my personal experience that other people use the terms differently.

    When reading creationists talk on the subject of the supernatural, it certainly seems to me that they intend the more narrow sense of either “divine” or “demonic” (depending on what they’re referring to). On one search, I found that Answers in Genesis had an article basically trying to claim that ghosts don’t exist (despite the Saul/Witch of Endor/ghost of Samuel story in the bible, which they seemed to want to redefine as a demonic apparition).

    I don’t know if that’s what you’re thinking of or not.

    But I’ve also noticed that supernaturalists don’t usually like discussing the topic of definitions.

    Hey! Lion IRC and didgeman! What does “supernatural” even mean?

  89. woozy says

    EL:

    For example, we already have someone coming out of the woodwork, woozy in 78, who is (seemingly) defending this wrong-headed proposition that it is impossible in principle to get scientific evidence of magic.

    You really do like to misinterpret and get out of shape when you are incoherent, don’t you.

    No. I claimed the exact opposite and claimed what you and CJO seem to be in complete agreement on. If something exists and has evidence, it isn’t supernatural or magic.

    I also gave an explicit example of observable magic, namely a D&D sorcerer using a fireball spell to kill an (evil) goblin.

    Thus, I find your entire post to be an epic example of missing the point.

    No. You gave an example of a natural event in an alternative universe with different physical laws. In this world shooting fireballs is natural. It is not magic.

    Many people believe in the post-death appearances of Jesus, and many people believe this is “supernatural event” (whatever that means, but they do attach the label), which means that many people do believe that some supernatural events are observable.

    These believers are wrong and are in denial. The post-death appearances of Jesus in not naturally possible and they know it. But they believe it. Thus they claim to be there are “supernatural” possibilities beyond the limitations of the more conventionally know natural possibilities. This is simply their way of having their cake and eat it too. They want to belief post-death appearances are possible (having their cake) and they also want to be viewed as rational (eating their cake)and rational people know post-death appearances are not natural. Hence a category of “supernatural” which means “actually it *is* natural but it’s really really special”.

    The proper reason why creationism should not be science classrooms is not because it’s purportedly unscientific. It is scientific. The proper reason is that creationism is wrong. It has been falsified.

    No. It is *not* scientific because it does not hypothesize *anything*. It merely says “origins didn’t happen by F occurring, and therefore G did it” but it never defines what G *is* and how didding it works.

    It wouldn’t be supernatural to claim an interdimensional intelligent being who can manipulate matter telekenetically willed matter into existence and then burned amino acid proteins into living chains which incubated into adult life forms within minutes.

    This would not be supernatural. Although it would be provably false. (I balk at calling it “scientific” but I’ll grant it’s “hypothable”.)

    But this, nor anything like this, is not what they claim. They claim it wasn’t evolution and cosmology or anything natural and thus it was something different and supernatural but they never define what it actually is. That is *not* scientific.

  90. says

    didgeman@57: The only known source of information is intelligence.

    Please specify which definition of information you are using (Shannon, Kolmogorov,…..?), how to calculate it (because if you can’t do that, how do you know whether any more of it got created?), and that it obeys the implied conservation law. As an engineer, I’m sure you recognize the need to apply some actual math (rather than just hand-waving) to the problem, right? (Hint: neither of the definitions I cite above — standard within information theory — have the characteristics you claim).

    The only know intelligence is the human mind and in addition, the mind, who created the human mind.

    You should have stopped with the bolded part. The rest is the point in dispute.

    As an engineer, I know exactly, what it means to make a complex system running.

    The Salem Hypothesis strikes again.

  91. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    As an engineer (and a didgeridoo player) I am gonna say that didgeman is doing two things. First, as an engineer, he is looking for a big engineer in the sky. Second, as an engineer, he thinks that he knows how things work, but he has no frakking clue about people. As for the rest, others have already said it. (I worked with a fundamentalist Baptist deacon engineer one time, and can attest that most of my college technology teachers were Christians, and often they were Sunday School teachers or otherwise strong in the Lord.)

    Just because that derail about magic is still up there: If someone were to repeatedly perform some feat that clearly was impossible, yeah, I’d understand why some might call it magic – but then we’d work out how it worked. We have many things now that would have seemed magic a few centuries back (I am lying here in the dark, listening to techno waltz music while gifting my wisdom to people thousands of miles away by touching a glowing flat stone). But we figured it out, and it ain’t elves. Saying that it never will be elves is where that derail got going.

    As for PZ’s excellent painting comparison, I want to say that the act of painting says nothing about the intelligence of the painter. I mean it is really just reproducing what is in front of one – I have a camera on this tablet that does that, and I was just watching a vid about a bowerbird that did some clever decorating and color matching. Yes, painting is a highly skilled activity, and that painting is great; but as an engineer, I sneer at the intelligence and creativity and sensitivity and just general art-ness of it. “Ooo, it matches colors and reproduces an image! Put it in a fucking museum to impress the Minnesotans.” So why the other engineers want to worship the thing made the thing that made that is just beyond me, except that it was an engineer.

    Seriously, that painting is lovely, and so is PZ looking at it for 45 minutes.

    (I was in an art museum once, and there was a rather abstract painting that nobody understood, but I got it, and I started waving my hands and raving ….)

  92. echidna says

    Didgeman,

    As an engineer, I know exactly, what it means to make a complex system running.

    As a systems engineer, so do I. But you are arguing out of your field, and it shows. It’s embarrassing.

  93. williamquinn says

    I found very interesting PZ’s comment that debates were never featured at scientific meetings. In medical meetings debates are pretty common. For example in my field I am likely to see a spirited debate on whether Airway Pressure Release Ventilation Has Important Advantages Over Conventional Volume-targeted Ventilation for Managing ALI-ARDS. (I am a respiratory therapist) Such debates are useful because it is very hard to get good randomized controlled trials, especially when the patients in question are children, so the advantages of certain techniques are often hard to determine on a purely scientific basis. An important difference between the debates I am likely to attend and PZ’s experience is that either party in the debate is actually very likely to come back in a year or two with a very different opinion, influenced either by the outcome of a new FDA-approved trial or by observations they have made themselves back at their home hospital.

  94. didgeman says

    Hank_says @ 97

    Meta question: why are there so many creationist engineers and mathematicians (and dentists and auto mechanics and GOP politicians) and so few creationist biologists?

    I think, the main reason for that phenomena is, that engineers and mathematicians are not permantently exposed to strong metaphysical Darwinian/naturalistic claims during their academic education and do not risk their careers by asking the “wrong” questions. This means, it is much easier for them to keep critical and logical thinking during their education than biology students (which does not mean, that is impossible for some biologist to successfully survive the permanent brainwash).
    Would you expect democracy experts formed in the North Korean education system?

    Eamon Knight @ 109:

    The Salem Hypothesis strikes again.

    Thanks for that link, it’s an interesting one. My explanation for the effect is just above.

  95. didgeman says

    echidna @ 111:

    But you are arguing out of your field, and it shows. It’s embarrassing.

    Is anyone here arguing within his field? Is PZ remaining within his field, when opening the speech with metaphysical thoughts and a discussion about art? So, what do you blame me for?

  96. didgeman says

    consciousness razor @ 70:

    ….“to make it running” whatever the fuck that is supposed to mean once you fix your grammar?

    Sorry for my grammar. My native language is not English, so I was not aware, that the grammar is only correct when using regularly “f..” words in the sentences :-)

  97. Al Dente says

    didgeman @113

    I think, the main reason for that phenomena is, that engineers and mathematicians are not permantently exposed to strong metaphysical Darwinian/naturalistic claims during their academic education and do not risk their careers by asking the “wrong” questions.

    Two points about this:

    Engineers and mathematicians generally have little or no training in or knowledge of biology. Therefore whatever they say about biology and evolution is either pulled out of their asses or what other ignorati have told them. Just as I don’t ask a plumber about dentistry or a dentist about plumbing, I don’t ask engineers about biology because engineers are ignorant about biology (this last is something you’ve given evidence for).

    If someone could show that evolution was wrong, they would get the next Nobel Prize. Your handwaving about “strong metaphysical Darwinian/naturalistic claims” shows that you not only don’t have a clue about biology, you don’t have a clue about how science works. The “Darwinian/naturalistic claims” are taught because that’s where the evidence points. There’s literally tons of evidence supporting evolution. There’s zero evidence to support GODDIDIT.

  98. azhael says

    didgeman

    The only know intelligence is the human mind and in addition, the mind, who created the human mind.

    Wow, that is a profoundly ridiculous statement. Not only are you ignoring aaaaaaaaaaall the different forms of intelligence we absolutely know of, but you are claiming that this imaginary creative mind which somehow was necessary for other intelligent forms to sprout into existence out of nowhere, but required no mental cause itself, is known, which it fucking isn’t…if it were, you’d be able to demonstrate it, since that’s a property of things that are known. Unfortunately for you, you can’t. All you can do is make unevidenced assertions of such preposterous ridiculousness and factual wrongness as the one quoted above.

  99. Rich Woods says

    @didgeman:

    and in addition, the mind, who created the human mind.

    So who created the mind that created the human mind? Does your god worship another god, its creator? And who does that god worship? Why don’t you worship that older god instead? Where, in fact, did it all start?

  100. Al Dente says

    Rich Woods @118

    I asked the same question @68. didgeman ignored it. Xe probably knows there’s no good answer.

  101. Owlmirror says

    @didgeman: You came back, but didn’t address my question.

    What does “supernatural” even mean?

  102. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Didgeman: “The only known source of information is intelligence. ”

    Oh look, another engineer who hasn’t heard of information theory. Fundamental definition of information theory:

    information=negative entropy

    Come back when you have a clue.

  103. didgeman says

    Al Dente @ 116:

    Engineers and mathematicians generally have little or no training in or knowledge of biology. Therefore whatever they say about biology and evolution is either pulled out of their asses or what other ignorati have told them. Just as I don’t ask a plumber about dentistry or a dentist about plumbing, I don’t ask engineers about biology because engineers are ignorant about biology (this last is something you’ve given evidence for).

    Since the discovery of DNA, biology is more and more moving towards information technology and systems engineering, which is exactly the field, where engineers have their expertise. Because of the dogmatic evolution paradigm, the biology education is about 10-20 years behind this shift. Thats why it is difficult for many biologist to keep pace. But instead of working more on an interdisciplinary level with other disciplines, some of them rather prefer to fight grave battles in their Darwinian/naturalistic trenches. BTW, this is the reason, why I asked PZ, where he has been the last 10-15 years in my initial post 20.
    Could you imagine to do biology today without heavy involvement of engineering, information technology and mathematics? Would you rather go back and count finches with slightly different beaks and make speculative extrapolations?

  104. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Didgeman: “Probably some patients in hospitals, who do not have access to the latest medical research, because too much money flows in programs trying to prove the absence of a genius mind behind all living things instead of working 100% in reverse-engineering and understanding the complex work of the great designer.”

    Oh, this is rich. Dude why did your genius mind “design” the human heart with too few blood vessels to provide reliable blood supply, thus ensuring heart disease would be a major killer of his handiwork?

    Why did your genius mind design the human knee and back in a way that is ill suited to upright carriage?

    I’ve got a lot more, but it appears your “genius” is actually pretty stupid.

  105. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Could you imagine to do biology today without heavy involvement of engineering, information technology and mathematics? Would you rather

    None of which implies your imaginary deity, and you still haven’t and can’t/won’t evidence one. There is no evidence for one from DNA. All is explained by science, not magic.

  106. didgeman says

    Rich Woods @ 118, Al dente @ 119, Owlmirror @ 120:
    This is of course not a question, which can be answered in on sentence. I think, the colleague of Fuz Rana at Raesons to Believe, the astronomer Hugh Ross, did answer this question in a manner, to which I agree: Who created God?

  107. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    This is of course not a question, which can be answered in on sentence. I think, the colleague of Fuz Rana at Raesons to Believe, the astronomer Hugh Ross, did answer this question in a manner, to which I agree: Who created God?

    No evidence there, just theological fiction pretending to explain something that can’t be explained, since it doesn’t exist. Just more drivel from the presuppositional believer.

  108. oualawouzou says

    Short version of Hugh Ross’s answer: “Bible says God is outside time, therefore (the christian) God exists.”

  109. Al Dente says

    didgeman @125

    That’s not an answer, it’s an assertion. How about an answer with some evidence to back it up? BTW, since we’re atheists, the Bible doesn’t count as evidence.

  110. azhael says

    @122 didgeman
    Yeah, you see, you have demonstrated that you don’t know shit about biology, and that’s making your criticisms of biology very empty indeed. You can keep accusing biologist of being behind the times, of being dogmatic, of being too isolated…whatever…The point of the matter is that coming from someone so ignorant about biology, that means nothing. All it does is continue to confirm just how ignorant you are about biology that you think those criticisms could possibly be true.
    You haven’t demonstrated, in any way, shape or form, that your imaginary and biologically impossible creator mind exists….at all…..and so your insistence that it does and that biologists are too blind and dogmatic to see it, just makes you sound like a quack….You are basically throwing a hissy fit because people won’t just blindly accept your preposterous nonsense, and instead of doing anything at all to validate it, you are crying about how everybody else is a poopyhead and how they don’t understand. Grow the fuck up….

  111. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I noticed Didgeman repeated verbatim from #20 in #122. Gee, where did we last see such behavior? From another crank who thought they had a better idea than evolution. And with the same problem.

    Science is only replaced by more science. It can’t be replaced by theology or philosophy. What ever replaces evolution must follow the rules of science. Imaginary deities and hallucenogenic philosophy cannot and will not follow those rules. Hence, they are dismissed and ignored.

  112. Al Dente says

    didgeman @122

    Since the discovery of DNA, biology is more and more moving towards information technology and systems engineering, which is exactly the field, where engineers have their expertise. Because of the dogmatic evolution paradigm, the biology education is about 10-20 years behind this shift.

    Again you make assertions without providing the least bit of evidence to support them. How do you know that biologists aren’t au courant with information technology? I suspect you pulled this assertion out of your ass because you can pretend that you’ve “disproved” evolution. All I’m seeing from you is attempts to disparage evolution by throwing jargon around.

    But instead of working more on an interdisciplinary level with other disciplines, some of them rather prefer to fight grave battles in their Darwinian/naturalistic trenches.

    Do you know that Darwin published over 150 years ago? Biology has been revised and updated since Darwin. Your continued use of “Darwinism” tells me that you’re actually quite ignorant about biology. You may be knowledgeable about information systems but I doubt sincerely that you have any idea what biologists are actually presently studying and investigating.

    Could you imagine to do biology today without heavy involvement of engineering, information technology and mathematics? Would you rather go back and count finches with slightly different beaks and make speculative extrapolations?

    There’s a great deal more to biology than looking at bird’s beaks. You’re equating modern biology with 19th Century natural philosophy. There are some important differences.

  113. says

    didgeman@113: Much verbiage about “information technology” and how engineers get it and biologists don’t — and yet you neglected to tell us your definition of information and describe how it requires a mind to create it. Know what? I think you know diddly-squat about information theory and you’re just bullshitting us.

  114. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    didgeman, I am again saying that I am an engineer, and that all my engineering experience says that you are wrong. Exactly how you are wrong cannot be explained in a single sentence, or even a blog post, but as you keep saying stuff with no evidence, so all that I have to do is to say that you are wrong. You are wrong, dude – game over.

    Now, in that fatuous link of yours, Ross says something about the way that the physical universe is – its very parameters – implying a beginning, which he of course calls a creation. Well, the way that the biological world exists, just the observable way that it is, indisputably, is a world in which evolution through natural selection must occur – it cannot not happen. Evolution implies a beginning, and there is overwhelming evidence of that beginning, and good reasons to think it was natural processes – there is no need for a god hypothesis.

    Seriously, when I was reading what Ross wrote I was mentally gasping with horrified embarrassment for the poor goop. What he wrote showed a profound lack of thought. What you write shows a profound lack of thought. You are a bog-standard crank, and you are running through the standard religious routine. We joke about having bingo cards, because the same stuff comes up so regularly that it might as well be a godbot writing your comments.

    didgeman, your argument requires that a large number of people be dogmatic réactionnaires, blinded by their own selfishness and doctrine, smug in their ignorance of progress, disregarding evidence and logic. You brought that up, you did, to tell us that it was biologists and scientists and evolutionists who are like that. But you can’t prove that they are purblind fools, or set up a world in which it would make sense that they are.

    Now, I will agree with you that there are a large number of people who are just as ravingly lost as you claim that many people are, just as hidebound, just as gullible, just as greedy, just as you say people are. But I say that those people are the religious people and that everything that you lament is a perfect description of a religion. And I can show … hell, I can even sing about old-time religion, and show you groups of people sitting passively in front of some guy doing nothing but talking and taking their money.

    Arguing that science is like religion is a space on the old bingo card, and it is the gist of your position. And it is so fucking stupid that yes, I must use the f-word for emphasis.

  115. leerudolph says

    I would be grateful for (okay, actually, I would hate to see—but feel that I should see) the names of some of these creationist mathematicians that several of you have alluded to today. I’m a mathematician and I’ve never to my knowledge run into one. There are certainly some genuine mathematicians who are cranks of other sorts (the “New Chronology” is a prime example, likewise the Bible Code business…which was all the more shameful insofar as it purported to use mathematical methods, which the New Chronologists don’t), and some genuine mathematicians who are non-atheists of various sorts; at one time there was at least one genuine mathematician who was an HIV denialist (though I don’t think he’d still be one by now, if he were alive). It’s quite shocking to me, however, to imagine a genuine mathematician who is a creationist.

  116. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    didgeman, you threw in the term “systems engineering” up there, and it seemed so strange that I assumed that I was mistaken in my understanding of what it meant. But I went and looked it up, and it is you, didgeman, who is mistaken. Damn, you are flailing about and spewing jargon. A systems engineer is a fancy term for a production engineer (which I have had as a job title), and it has to do with operating factories, and fuck-all to do with DNA. (Yes, the f-word was needed.)

    didgeman, let me try to put evolution in engineering terms: First, most living things
    overproduce – far, far more are made than there is need for. Second, the reproductions are not exact – most are combinations of two successful things, with random combinations of traits from each. Third, there is competition for further reproduction in the limited living space. Now, obviously, the random variations around the sucessful forms are going to produce some forms that are even more succesful, and those will be the surviving templates for the next generation. If this continues over time, changes will accumulate.

    I could go on about efficiency and market forces and supply and demand and streamlining and creeping tolerances and much more, but you aren’t going to listen. So, again, I as an engineer say that you are wrong, and that I know why you are wrong.

  117. says

    Since we’re weighing in here: I should mention that I also am an engineer (Masters degree in Systems and Computer Engineering). And arrogant asses like didgeman just make me heave a sigh, waving around their credentials like it makes them experts on damn near everything — because one thing professionals in any discipline should understand is where their expertise ends.

  118. Al Dente says

    leerudolph @134

    I would be grateful for (okay, actually, I would hate to see—but feel that I should see) the names of some of these creationist mathematicians that several of you have alluded to today.

    David Berlinski and William Dembski are “Senior Fellows of the Discovery Institute”, i.e., creationists, and mathematicians.

  119. savant says

    Insofar as biology is just chemistry, I guess you can say that biology is just chemical engineering. Sure, okay, if you’re inspecting the chemical pathways in a cell, it can be said you’re researching “natural engineering”. That reductionist, there-is-no-magic-homonculus viewpoint is a good, longstanding atheistic tradition that has served humanity well. But you extend it wrong.

    This is a statement about the blurriness between “science” and “engineering” and the way we humans have to put things in categories, and it’s not about there being a ‘grand engineer’. You extend the metaphor too far.

    Information is about change – entropy. It can certainly exist outside of a mind, and in fact the vast majority of information does right now. No implication exists where the existence of information implies an Informer.

    Systems are about interactions between parts. There’s no implication that a Mighty Mechanic put those parts there, just because they’re doing things.

    You’re an engineer? Do your homework.

  120. leerudolph says

    David Berlinski and William Dembski are “Senior Fellows of the Discovery Institute”, i.e., creationists, and mathematicians.

    The American Mathematical Society’s “Mathematics Genealogy” database does not record Berlinski as ever having been awarded a Ph.D. (and his wikipedia biography doesn’t claim he has one); the AMS Mathematical Reviews database has reviews of 6 books by him, all of them what I would call (at most) “paramathematics”—about (or purporting to be about) mathematical topics, but not actually mathematics; it has no record of any actual mathematical publications by him. (Both databases are very good, but of course something might have slipped by them.) There’s nothing wrong with publishing paramathematics! After all, Martin Gardner did it (and was a huge influence on the younger me; I’ve cited two different Mathematical Games columns in two of my papers). But Gardner wasn’t a mathematician (and never claimed to be one). On the available evidence, I don’t think that Berlinski counts as (what I would call) a “genuine mathematician”. He’s certainly not a professional mathematician (a class that neither contains nor is contained in my class of “genuine mathematicians”, but has the advantage that its membership is probably more widely agreed upon).

    Dembski did in fact get a Ph.D. in mathematics (probability theory), from the University of Chicago, no less. (Of course, so did Ahmed Chalabi…) He also appears to have gotten a second Ph.D. there, in philosophy. Both his theses are indexed, but not reviewed, at Mathematical Reviews. His mathematics thesis became an article in a mathematical journal; MR credits him with three other publications, two books and one article in a philosophy journal. The MR review of his thesis-article doesn’t quite come out and say that it’s trivial: Dembski defines a new concept (“uniform probability”), and the reviewer allows as “The paper adequately explores the measure-theoretic consequences of the definition.” So I guess I have to count Dembski as a “genuine mathematician”, loathe as I am to do so. (The paper’s even been cited once, in an article on multifractals.) But I don’t think he’s much of one. And, again, he isn’t (or doesn’t seem to be) a “professional mathematician”, for what that’s worth.

    Thank you for the information.

  121. didgeman says

    leerudolph @ 134, Al Dente @ 137:
    Willimam Demski is a well-known mathematician (also referenced by Al Dente) who has much better explanations about information in living systems, than I do (and that PZ does), but it is certainly more, than only a reduction of entropy, what he is talking about: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_A._Dembski

    Another quite well known mathematician is John Lennox form UK, who is quite a sharp debating partner against people like Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking and others: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lennox

    If you look for more mathematicians, who have some doubts and ask for more science and less metaphysics, when it comes to evolution, you can find more than 50 of them in a list of about 800 scientists:
    http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org

    I did a quick search within this list. It contains about 180 chemists/biochemists, about 160 physicists, about 160 engineers, about 120 biologists, about 50 mathematicians, about 50 medical scientists and many other disciplines.
    So, it seems, that not only engineers and mathematicians ask unpleasant questions (for an atheistic worldview).

  122. savant says

    Dembski gets me irate. He’s a trained mathematician, but his analyses of the probabilities of evolutionary events are so poorly constructed that he wouldn’t pass an undergraduate statistics course with them. I’m not a biologist, but I understand enough of evolution to see that his analysis is deeply misguided.

    There’s no way that those probabilities are errors. They’re the straw in an intentional straw-man of evolution, designed to be knocked over. It’s dishonest and a cowardly position to take. I’ve got no respect for the man.

    Being a mathematician, or person-from-field-X, is no safeguard against bad thinking. I realize that in myself, and recognize it in others, too. Credentials are a poor platform.

  123. Anri says

    From the link @ 125:

    Those theorems establish that space and time had a beginning at the origin of the universe. They imply that the causal agent of the universe is not subject to space and time—thus, that agent can create space-time dimensions at will.

    Um, no, actually many recent theories of cosmology hold that due to quantum fluctuations, the universe doesn’t actually require a causal agent, regardless of the establishment (or not) or a hard Time arrow/startpoint.

    Hell, I’m not even an engineer, just a lowly design drafter, and I know that much.

    One question I like to ask folks trying to square the circle of demonstrating that science supports a theistic worldview is: What parts of the brain interact with the soul?
    These shouldn’t be hard to find, as they’d be present only in human brains. Are they structural? Cellular? When the soul is modifying the brain, or vise-versa, can we see that activity – on an fMRI, for example?
    Personally, I’m not aware that this question has ever been researched. Which is strange, if you think about it. Of course, I might be wrong, and plenty of theistic folks are running brain scans to check for brain/soul interaction.

  124. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    didgeman, you really aren’t qualified to say who is and who isn’t qualified in professions radically different from your own. You are appealing to authority, which is a square on our bingo cards.

    Notice that on your list of numbers, there are fewer biologists than there are of some other professions, even though evolution is a matter of biology. And these are people who disagree with Darwin – again, Darwin isn’t the boss, only creationists think that – and people here have told you that they disagree with Darwin on some matters. (I got into a discussion the other day, because I don’t believe in evolution – it isn’t a matter of belief, so I don’t say I believe in it, I say that I understand it.)

    Just so you know, there is a spoof of your dumb list. Somebody set up the Steve Project, which garnered signatures in support of evolution, but just from scientists named Steve. There are more biologists named Steve on that list than there are people of all professions on yours.

    didgeman, you are in what is called a closed information loop. All that you know comes from creationist dreck. It’s old info, it’s wrong, it’s stupid, it’s refuted, it’s bingo. I have heard people, some almost engineers, tell me that they have read and studied all about a subject, so they know that Darwin was wrong, just on their own expertise, and it turns out that they had read a few creationist books on the topic, and f-word all else. (One of the biggest braggarts turned out to be completely f-word awful at playing Jeopardy, but remained convinced that he was knowledgeable on all topics.)

  125. says

    leerudolph@139: Jeff Shallit (who is an actual mathematician) calls Berlinski: King of the Poseurs.

    @140: Dembski is “well known” chiefly within the Intelligent Design community (and among those of us who have the perverse hobby of following such charlatanry). The aforementioned Dr. Shallit (who was slated to testify in rebuttal to Dembski at the Dover trial, until the DI elected not to call him) wrote a deposition (see ref. 60 of the Wikipedia article) detailing Dembski’s general lack of street-cred. That Wikipedia article is hardly flattering to your hero, detailing his shenanigans and eventual disgrace at Baylor, and that he is now relegated to an obscure Baptist seminary (where he has managed to run afoul of the PTB for being wishy-washy on Biblical literalism). Academically, he’s a joke.

    Dembski’s claims are debunked (among many places) here (see also further links at that site).

    Now, how about, instead of citing (bad) authorities and making smarmy pronouncements about how enlightened your heroes are (compared to us benighted nasty evolutionists), you try actually defending your claims about information.

  126. savant says

    Anri@143:

    Personally, I’m not aware that this question has ever been researched. Which is strange, if you think about it. Of course, I might be wrong, and plenty of theistic folks are running brain scans to check for brain/soul interaction

    I think they’re afraid they wouldn’t find anything, so avoid looking so as to avoid poking holes in their cherished ideas.

    It’s also rather against the theistic mindset, really. Knowledge flows downwards from divine authority, not upwards from honest observation. At least, that’s how I understand it.

  127. Fair Witness says

    As an E.E. , I know that there is an arrogance that an engineer can acquire that makes one feel there is nothing that cannot be analyzed and understood, even across disciplines. I was not immune to this. Only by actually taking a peek into those disciplines did I realize that I am better off relying upon the experience and judgement of people who actually make it their life’s work to study those things, and not to think I can understand them by crude analogy to my own field.

    It seems that when the God virus really infects someone, it can override the critical reasoning faculties of an otherwise intelligent person, even when they have training in science or engineering.

  128. Amphiox says

    Dembski gets me irate. He’s a trained mathematician, but his analyses of the probabilities of evolutionary events are so poorly constructed that he wouldn’t pass an undergraduate statistics course with them. I’m not a biologist, but I understand enough of evolution to see that his analysis is deeply misguided.

    As a mathematician, of course he knows that his “analyses” are flawed. But he is not doing math, he is doing polemics, and he knows his target audience finds such constructs persuasive.

    He’s lying for Jebus.

  129. anteprepro says

    Loved that Hugh Ross article, trying to step the infinite regression of creators. It is truly presenting a clear case of special pleading:

    Philosophers responding to Dawkins have pointed out that he made a category error. God is in a different category than the universe or humans

    A different category than the universe or humans….

    Universe and humans? Same category.
    Universe, humans, and god? CATEGORY ERROR, what are you tryin’ to pull!!!?!?

    I wonder if some creationist brains would explode if I bothered to point out that maaaaaaaybe the real category error is putting “the universe” into the category of Things Within The Universe. Like putting “the internet” on a list of “Things That Are On The Internet”.

    If you look for more mathematicians, who have some doubts and ask for more science and less metaphysics, when it comes to evolution, you can find more than 50 of them in a list of about 800 scientists:
    http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org
    I did a quick search within this list. It contains about 180 chemists/biochemists, about 160 physicists, about 160 engineers, about 120 biologists, about 50 mathematicians, about 50 medical scientists and many other disciplines.

    Please note that those are only the 50 creationist mathematicians and 160 creationist engineers who somehow decided that they also counted as “scientists”.

  130. anteprepro says

    Oh, and more on that Dissent from Darwin list. I’m sure most people here are already well aware of it. It has been mocked for so long already. But it is always fun to get a new laugh in when it comes to old creationist drivel.

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

    The listed affiliations and areas of expertise of the signatories have also been criticized,[1][12] with many signatories coming from wholly unrelated fields of academia, such as aviation and engineering, computer science and meteorology.[38]

    In addition, the list was signed by only about 0.01% of scientists in the relevant fields. According to the National Science Foundation, there were approximately 955,300 biological scientists in the United States in 1999…..

    Barbara Forrest and Glenn Branch say the Discovery Institute deliberately misrepresents the institutional affiliations of signatories of the statement A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism. The institutions appearing in the list are the result of a conscious choice by the Discovery Institute to only present the most prestigious affiliations available for an individual. For example, if someone was trained at a more prestigious institution than the one they are presently affiliated with, the school they graduated from will more often be listed, without the distinction being made clear in the list. This is contrary to standard academic and professional practice and, according to Forrest and Branch, is deliberately misleading.[1]

    For example, the institutions listed for Raymond G. Bohlin, Fazale Rana, and Jonathan Wells, were the University of Texas at Dallas, Ohio University, and the University of California, Berkeley respectively, the schools from which they obtained their Ph.D. degrees. However, their present affiliations are quite different: Probe Ministries for Bohlin, the Reasons to Believe Ministry for Rana, and the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture for Wells. Many of those who have signed the list are not currently active scientists, and some have never worked as scientists. Also, if a signatory was previously the head of a department or the president of an institute, their past and most prestigious position will be listed, not their current position.[1]

    Visitors at prestigious institutions will have that affiliation listed, not their more humble home institutions. For example, Bernard d’Abrera, a writer and publisher of books on butterflies, appears on the list as “Visiting Scholar, Department of Entomology British Museum (Natural History)”, in spite of the fact that this museum had become independent of the British Museum three decades previously and had formally changed its name to the Natural History Museum almost a decade before the petition. d’Abrera’s primary affiliation is with his publishing company, Hill House Publishers. d’Abrera does not have a PhD either, nor any formal scientific qualification (his undergraduate degree was a double major in History & Philosophy of Science, and History),…..

    At least one other signatory, Forrest Mims, has neither a PhD nor any formal academic training in science. Additionally, at least seven signatories have their advanced degrees from outside the areas of “engineering, mathematics, computer science, biology, chemistry, or one of the other natural sciences” that are currently being recruited: Ronald R. Crawford has his Ed.D. in Science Education, David Berlinski has his PhD in Philosophy, Tom McMullen has his PhD in the History & Philosophy of Science, Angus Menuge has his PhD in the Philosophy of Psychology, and Stephen C. Meyer has his PhD in the Philosophy of Science; and at least six, Jeffrey M. Schwartz, Ricardo León Borquez (incorrectly listed as “Ricardo Leon”), Gage Blackstone, Daniel Galassini, Mary A. Brown and Thomas C. Majerus, have professional doctorates (such as an MD, DVM or PharmD), rather than holding a research doctorate (such as a PhD).

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/A_Scientific_Dissent_From_Darwinism

    Note also that many of the signatories are listed by the institution where they obtained their Ph.Ds, which does not indicate any current affiliation. So, for instance “Alfred G. Ratz, Ph.D. Engineering Physics, University of Toronto” does not currently have any affiliation with the University of Toronto, and Google does not reveal any current affiliation for Ratz whatsoever. In fact, relatively quick searches reveal that a very large percentage of the signatories have no academic affiliation at all; the number of biologists actively researching biological issues even remotely related to evolution can be counted on one hand.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/21/science/sciencespecial2/21peti.html?oref=slogin

    Article from 2006:

    In the recent skirmishes over evolution, advocates who have pushed to dilute its teaching have regularly pointed to a petition signed by 514 scientists and engineers.

    The petition, they say, is proof that scientific doubt over evolution persists. But random interviews with 20 people who signed the petition and a review of the public statements of more than a dozen others suggest that many are evangelical Christians, whose doubts about evolution grew out of their religious beliefs. And even the petition’s sponsor, the Discovery Institute in Seattle, says that only a quarter of the signers are biologists, whose field is most directly concerned with evolution. The other signers include 76 chemists, 75 engineers, 63 physicists and 24 professors of medicine….

    It also includes many with more modest positions, like Thomas H. Marshall, director of public works in Delaware, Ohio, who has a doctorate in environmental ecology. The Discovery Institute says 128 signers hold degrees in the biological sciences and 26 in biochemistry. That leaves more than 350 nonbiologists, including Dr. Tour, Dr. Picard and Dr. Skell.

    Of the 128 biologists who signed, few conduct research that would directly address the question of what shaped the history of life……

    http://www.sciencemeetsreligion.org/evolution/scientists-evolution.php

    In short, no matter how one objectively compares these lists, it is a fair conclusion that several hundred times as many well-qualified professional scientists accept the main precepts of evolution as dissent from them. And, given that the number of signers of the Discovery Institute list has hardly grown at all in the past two or three years, there is no indication that the number of dissenting scientists is sharply growing relative to those who have declared their support of evolution.

    Count on creationists to pack in as much failure as possible into one little package.

  131. Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy says

    didgeman: Yes, there is such a thing as bioinformatics, and there’s a lot going on there. It’s not a branch of electrical engineering.

  132. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    didgeman, person who won’t provide conclusive physical evidence for Xeir imaginary deity #140

    I did a quick search within this list. It contains about 180 chemists/biochemists, about 160 physicists, about 160 engineers, about 120 biologists, about 50 mathematicians, about 50 medical scientists and many other disciplines.

    Gee it contains people who let their belief in imaginary deities and mythical/fictional holy books get the better of their rationality. It happens when you delude yourself with fictions. Which means they are delusional fools, like yourself.
    Still no evidence for your imaginary deity. You can’t win without it, so you are losing at the moment.

  133. anteprepro says

    Vicki inspired me.

    Didgeman, Renaissance Man, Master of All Domains, Reviews Every Domain of Knowledge and Activity:

    Surgery: Basically just fleshy structural engineering.
    Medicine: Basically just gooey, pill-focused structural engineering.
    Neuroscience: Basically neuron level electrical work.
    Literature: Basically just word engineering.
    Theater Arts: Obviously, this is Engineering in Public.
    Geology: Basically just rock formation reverse engineering.
    Psychology: Basically just behavioral reverse engineering.
    Music: Basically just sound engineering.
    Culinary Arts: Food engineering.
    Astronomy: Trick question, this is just another word for rocket science.
    Education: Civil Reverse Engineering Engineering.
    Accounting: Business Engineering.
    Mathematics: Engineering 101.
    Physics: Engineering 201.
    Philosophy: Thought Engineering.
    Law: Political Engineering.
    History: Temporal Reverse Engineering with a minor Archaeological Engineering.
    Theology: Bullshit Engineering.

    Engineering Is All Things!

  134. says

    didgeman #113

    I think, the main reason for that phenomena [creationist engineers] is, that engineers and mathematicians are not permantently exposed to strong metaphysical Darwinian/naturalistic claims during their academic education and do not risk their careers by asking the “wrong” questions.

    Implying that there’s some kind of top-down authoritarian academic surveillance in science – that apparently exists only in biology and evo-related fields and in which heretics are ousted for questioning orthodoxy – isn’t helping your argument. Quite the opposite: it’s revealed an ignorance deeper than what was already on display in your previous posts. It also smacks of desperation: “we’re not being taken seriously by Science™; clearly there’s a conspiracy at work, because our creation science is unimpeachable! They’re just scared of what they’ll find if they look closer!”

    Of course, you couldn’t be more wrong. Creationism was the default hypothesis for millennia, with many scientists inspired to inquire of the natural world in order to reveal the workings of God. However, when scientists started investigating in detail how life actually worked, they found that the creationist hypothesis was an increasingly insufficient explanation.

    The closer science looks, the less evidence they find for gods. This is true across all fields of inquiry, not just the ones that cast specific doubt on the “made in God’s image” notion.

    Projecting the behaviour of rigid religious fundamentalist authoritarianism onto a field of science you take issue with is also very telling, as you appear to do it very selectively. Would you ascribe to the various fields of physics or geology the same kind of inquisitory methods (even though, on many levels, they confirm and support the biological evidence for evolution)? Or is it just biology in isolation, with its squishiness and uncertainties, that is fit to be painted like some shadowy sect out to protect its orthodoxy at all costs?

    If it’s not just biology, it’s ALL OF SCIENCE that’s circling the wagons to protect evolutionary theory. If it’s only biology closing ranks, then you’d need to explain how biology manages to isolate itself from the rest of the scientific world. Both conspiracy theories are extraordinarily implausible and would require the absolutely dedicated participation of millions of scientists, professors, lecturers, tutors, textbook publishers, scientific societies and students, even governments. But I’m open to evidence that either is true, if you’ve got it.

    But hey, it could just be that evolutionary theory is very well-supported and that the science that stems from it WORKS. That would certainly be simpler.

  135. says

    I missed didge’s little butt-nugget from #113:

    Would you expect democracy experts formed in the North Korean education system?

    Biology is North Korea?

    That’s the stupidest, most paranoid thing I’ve ever heard in defence of creationism. Especially considering the indoctrination in the DPRK is just modified religious fundamentalism on a national scale.

    You creationists don’t do irony, do you?

    ***BIOLOGY IS NORTH KOREA***

    AAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    You’re dismissed.

  136. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    didgeman, you want to make us not believe in science. Provide us with more science, from places like this, a science library and the journals therein. That is the only way we won’t laugh at you, as science is only refuted by more science. You can’t refute science with religion.

    You will not find science at any place that requires or expects biblical inerrancy. Those are theological/religious sites, like AIG, DiscoTute, and others who let their delusions get the better of them.

  137. says

    I just saw upthread where didge is trotting out and propping up, Weekend at Bernie’s-like, the rotting corpses of Berlinski’s and Dembski’s legitimate academic careers.

    And I laughed heartily. And ticked off another square in my Creationist Bingo card.

  138. leerudolph says

    Well, I’ve worked my way through the Dissent namelist, and I’m abashed and ashamed to find more than a handful of indisputable (by my standards) “genuine mathematicians” on the list. (There are certainly also some ringers, including three or four whose theses are in Mathematics Education.) I’m two handshakes away from some of them. Both partial differential equations and topology seem to be over-represented, for no obvious reason (other than the law of small numbers). Oh, well.

  139. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @didgeman
    I still really want to know what your beliefs are regarding
    1- the age of the Earth
    2- common ancestry of all life on Earth
    3- the origin of species through slow, gradual change and speciation over millions of years

    I want to know because those are things on which the evidence is amazingly clear even for a layman, and we should settle those before moving on to the IMHO much harder topic of full evolution by natural selection.

  140. Amphiox says

    Philosophers responding to Dawkins have pointed out that he made a category error. God is in a different category than the universe or humans

    Well duh!

    Two of those things are in the category of “things for which there ample evidence that they exist” and one of those things is in the category of “things for which there is no evidence whatsoever that they exist.”

  141. David Marjanović says

    Hey, Lion IRC! Where’ve you been all these years? You’ve missed a lot!

    Anyway, way up there in comment 12:

    OP:

    …but in general nowadays, when a scientist finds himself on a stage with an opponent…

    That may have been PZ’s way of referring specifically to himself.

    Elsewhere:

    PZ, maybe in another post you could go into how you’d turn that around? That sounds interesting!

    It does!

    The only known source of information is intelligence.

    Wow, you seem to have no idea that information is a technical term with several definitions – there’s a whole field of mathematics called information theory. Look it up – Wikipedia should be a good start.

    too much money flows in programs trying to prove the absence of a genius mind behind all living things

    …I’m a biologist. I’ve written grant proposals. No money at all flows into attempts to show the absence of such a disembodied mind, because it’s simply taken for granted that biodiversity doesn’t need a supernatural explanation. How much money do you think flows into attempts to demonstrate the absence of the tooth fairy?

    I found very interesting PZ’s comment that debates were never featured at scientific meetings. In medical meetings debates are pretty common.

    Mind blown.

    For example in my field I am likely to see a spirited debate on whether Airway Pressure Release Ventilation Has Important Advantages Over Conventional Volume-targeted Ventilation for Managing ALI-ARDS. (I am a respiratory therapist) Such debates are useful because it is very hard to get good randomized controlled trials, especially when the patients in question are children, so the advantages of certain techniques are often hard to determine on a purely scientific basis.

    …So write a review paper or even an opinion piece. Some journals I’m familiar with go so far as to publish “point/counterpoint” exchanges. ~:-|

    Why do you hold debates at meetings instead? Is nobody afraid that those will just establish who’s better at rhetorics?

    that engineers and mathematicians are not permantently exposed to strong metaphysical Darwinian/naturalistic claims during their academic education

    There’s nothing metaphysical about them. That’s actually exactly what you find so annoying!

    and do not risk their careers by asking the “wrong” questions.

    If you don’t enough questions – hard enough questions –, you’ll have no career in science at all. To start and maintain a career in science, you need to publish papers that are cited very often; the more minds such a paper blows, the more often it’ll be cited.

    Most journals completely refuse to publish manuscripts that just repeat what everyone already knows (or believes to know, of course). That’s because they live off their reputation for publishing mind-blowing papers.

    Since the discovery of DNA, biology is more and more moving towards information technology and systems engineering, which is exactly the field, where engineers have their expertise. Because of the dogmatic evolution paradigm, the biology education is about 10-20 years behind this shift. Thats why it is difficult for many biologist to keep pace. But instead of working more on an interdisciplinary level with other disciplines,

    Molecular biology is biology.

    High school biology education is 10 to 50 years behind on different subjects. University education is not. I can read the papers and see it’s not. I can read what the professors who hold the courses publish (because, see, that’s the trick about a university – you’re taught by people who do what they teach).

    Why do you talk about a topic you have no idea of? Have you ever begun to study biology?

    BTW, this is the reason, why I asked PZ, where he has been the last 10-15 years in my initial post 20.

    Yeah, you mentioned the ENCODE project. You should have looked up what PZ has written about it – in this very blog.

    More generally… DNA and intelligent design… did you know DNA falls apart when it’s kept in water? A large part of our basic metabolism does nothing but constantly repair DNA (with less than 100 % accuracy).

    One question I like to ask folks trying to square the circle of demonstrating that science supports a theistic worldview is: What parts of the brain interact with the soul?
    These shouldn’t be hard to find, as they’d be present only in human brains. Are they structural? Cellular? When the soul is modifying the brain, or vise-versa, can we see that activity – on an fMRI, for example?
    Personally, I’m not aware that this question has ever been researched.

    It was researched in the 18th or 19th century. The one hypothesis I know of is that the pineal gland is the part of the brain you’re asking for.

    All these hypotheses turned out to be untenable, so people gave up and abandoned the whole question.

    and people here have told you that they disagree with Darwin on some matters.

    Quite. For example, have you ever heard of Darwin’s theory of heredity? No? That’s because it’s so wrong it was abandoned in his lifetime.

    Please note that those are only the 50 creationist mathematicians and 160 creationist engineers who somehow decided that they also counted as “scientists”.

    No surprise there. Mathematics is not a science; science needs mathematics, but mathematics is a different beast. For starters, it proves all the time. Engineering and medicine aren’t science either, they’re applications of science*; of course the same person can both do science and apply the results, but most people in all these fields do one or the other, not both.

    * …in much the same way that science is an application of science theory, which belongs to philosophy. Philosophy isn’t science either.

    Count on creationists to pack in as much failure as possible into one little package.

    QFT.

  142. Amphiox says

    I did a quick search within this list. It contains about 180 chemists/biochemists, about 160 physicists, about 160 engineers, about 120 biologists, about 50 mathematicians, about 50 medical scientists and many other disciplines.

    Name dropping a bunch of scientists is an appeal to authority and is a logical fallacy.

    The proper way of using scientists to support one’s argument is not to chant their names like some magic mantra, it is to cite their work.

    So get to it, didgeman.

    It’s not really that hard, either. Your list only comprises about 0.001% of all the scientists and engineers in the world who have ever said anything about evolution.

    Though, of course, if you really did do that, you’d find that most of it comprises of 1)people talking out of their asses in areas outside of their own expertise, 2)challenges to small aspects of evolutionary theory that, in fact, support the larger framework of the theory, and which dishonest creationist types like you have misappropriated by selective quote-mining, 3)poorly done and already discredited claims, and 4) outright lies.

  143. Amphiox says

    I found very interesting PZ’s comment that debates were never featured at scientific meetings. In medical meetings debates are pretty common.

    In evidence-based medicine, there is a heirarchical ranking of “levels of evidence” that one can use to make clinical decisions. A, is naturally, large well run randomized controlled trials and meta-analyzes that include such trials. B constitutes evidence from studies with weaker methodologies, while C, at the bottom, is “expert opinion”.

    In most basic sciences, I think, no one really bothers much with C, because if there is any controversial question that does not have A level evidence, people are content to just wait for the A-level studies to be designed, done, and reported for peer review.

    But in medicine if you’re in the same situation, you don’t have the luxury of waiting. There are sick patients waiting for you to treat. The meetings are often used as Continuing Medical Education, and the context for the people attending those debates often is “if on the day after I return from this meeting I have to treat a patient who presents with this problem, what will I do?”.

    Another possibility is that C is a vestige of the days before medicine WAS a proper evidence-based science, back when the opinions of the all-powerful physicians were the be-all and end-all of everything. If so, then in the future, we ought to see “C” level arguments gradually get phased out and disappear.

    …So write a review paper or even an opinion piece. Some journals I’m familiar with go so far as to publish “point/counterpoint” exchanges. ~:-|
    Why do you hold debates at meetings instead? Is nobody afraid that those will just establish who’s better at rhetorics?

    Well, I’ve attended several such “debates”, and to be honest, most of them just boil down to two people taking turns doing what amounts to a verbal presentation of a review paper. There’s very little rhetoric, and most of that is very transparently tongue-in-cheek….

  144. Amphiox says

    re: anteprepro @154

    …Engineering Is All Things!

    Well, it would be true that in a created universe, ALL science would be a type of reverse engineering.

    Hmm. That might make an interesting premise for a work of fiction.

    I mean, Narrative Engineering.

  145. David Marjanović says

    Well, I’ve attended several such “debates”, and to be honest, most of them just boil down to two people taking turns doing what amounts to a verbal presentation of a review paper. There’s very little rhetoric, and most of that is very transparently tongue-in-cheek….

    Makes sense – except it still puts more pressure on the presenters than writing their arguments down at leisure and looking up sources in the process.

  146. didgeman says

    A lot of interesting points and questions here. I try to pick-up some.
    F.O. @ 145:

    @didgeman As an engineer, what do some strikingly poor engineering choices tell us about the supernatural designer*?
    * I’m still waiting for your qualification of the “True Creator” and the evidence that lead to such qualification.

    This is of course a metaphysical question, which cannot be answered on a scientific level. For each engineered systems, there are design constrains and sometimes certain design goals. What, if the designer’s goal was to limit the lifespan of some creatures, like car manufacturers often are accused to do so for their cars? We simply don’t know, but this alone does not mean, that there was no designer or that the designer is stupid.
    The second * question is again a metaphysical one, which cannot be answered by anyone, as the possible answer lays outside our physical world. There is no final prove for God, but there is also no final prove to the nonexistence of God.

    Eamon Knigt @ 146:

    Now, how about, instead of citing (bad) authorities and making smarmy pronouncements about how enlightened your heroes are (compared to us benighted nasty evolutionists), you try actually defending your claims about information.

    I did only answer leerudolphs question in #134, where he was asking for “creationist mathematicians. BTW, it was not me, who put David Berlinski on the list.
    The information in living systems, which I am talking about, are blueprints, assembly instructions, regulatory instructions, hierarchical data structures, location- and time-dependent data manipulation instructions, activation- and deactivation of the instantiation of complete sub-structures .. The list is endless and thousand of clever, hard-working biologists and biochemists find out more of such incredible details every week, month and year. Most of these characteristics were already present in the very first bacteria, including the cyanobacteria, which enabled all future higher order live by their oxygen production via photosynthesis.
    To believe, that all of this came into existence by purely unguided natural processes, needs at least the same amount of faith, than the believe in a Creator outside space and time. But o.k., in our society, there is freedom of religion, and I accept your faith in the absence of any God.

    Fair Witness @ 148:

    It seems that when the God virus really infects someone, it can override the critical reasoning faculties of an otherwise intelligent person, even when they have training in science or engineering.

    That seems to be true, but for all religions, including Atheism.

    Hank_Says @ 156:

    I missed didge’s little butt-nugget from #113:
    Would you expect democracy experts formed in the North Korean education system?
    Biology is North Korea?

    Thanks for picking up this little analogy. Unfortunately, you completely screwed-up the meaning. I was comparing the academic freedom, when it comes to doubting the mainstream dogma of evolution to the political/democratic freedom in North Korea. PZ is giving a nice example, how it works in his opening statement of the debate with Fuz Rana (see above):

    As nice and persuasive as Dr Rana may be to you, nothing he says will influence the scientific consensus: it’s settled. Evolution works. You, the audience, may want to believe in God, but science has no need of that hypothesis.

    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls @ 157:

    didgeman, you want to make us not believe in science. Provide us with more science, from places like this, a science library and the journals therein. That is the only way we won’t laugh at you, as science is only refuted by more science. You can’t refute science with religion.

    No, I do not oppose science, I oppose scientism, where metaphysical claims towards atheism are made based on scientific findings and where these findings are permanently filtered by an atheistic worldview for the popular media.

    EnlightenmentLiberal @ 160:

    I still really want to know what your beliefs are regarding
    1- the age of the Earth
    2- common ancestry of all life on Earth
    3- the origin of species through slow, gradual change and speciation over millions of years

    Here my position:
    1. the universe is 13.8 billion years old, the earth 4.5 billion years. The first living creatures are about 3.8 billion years old and showed up on the earth about 50 million years after the late heavy bombardment, where the crust of the earth was most probably molten completely again. So no warm pond, now underwater hot vents, no billions of years for abiogenesis.

    2. I don’t believe in common ancestry. One of the most striking arguments against it for me is convergent evolution.

    3. For me, there is no evidence for a slow, gradual increase of the complexity of new body plans. All events in the fossil record show “explosions” in complexity. The most famous, worldwide event is the Cambrian explosion. If you are really interested in the issue, read the collection of many research papers about the actual status of the matter in Stephen Meyer’s book “Darwins Doubt”. If you rather want to spend a peaceful Sunday and sleep well tonight, don’t read the book yourself but all the reviews you find, of which most confirm evolution and show, how stupid and uneducated the author is. It is your choice.
    To conclude, I believe and see a lot of evidence, that the first living cells, the animals of the Cambrian explosion, the land animals, the very rapid enewal of the land animals after multiple dramatic mass extinction events and finally the explicit creation of the modern human with mind, consciousness, care, love, language, symbolism…
    And I don’t believe that, because the “God virus” has turned of my logical thinking, but because my reasoning and logic does not allow a naturalistic explanation, which would require much more faith.

    Amphiox @ 165:

    re: anteprepro @154
    …Engineering Is All Things!
    Well, it would be true that in a created universe, ALL science would be a type of reverse engineering.

    Even if you may mean it sarcastic, this is how I would state it. Science is finding our the secrets of nature and make some of them accessible and helpful for human life. So yes, science is indeed reverse engineering.
    And BTW, would it make Apple obsolete ore none-existent, if Chinese engineers successfully reverse engineerd and built the iPhone?

    O.K. that’s it from my side. I have to leave this “dangerous pond with piranhas” :-)

    As PZ’s debate was with the biochemist Fuz Rana from Reasons to Believe, I can recommend you to have a look at their web site and to find out about their interdisciplinary approach of addressing science and faith questions:
    http://www.reasons.org

  147. azhael says

    Yep, just like i said earlier, didgeman knows fuck all about biology.
    Just for laughs, i’ll quote these two gems:

    I don’t believe in common ancestry. One of the most striking arguments against it for me is convergent evolution.

    For me, there is no evidence for a slow, gradual increase of the complexity of new body plans. All events in the fossil record show “explosions” in complexity. The most famous, worldwide event is the Cambrian explosion

    Embarrashing…just down right embarrashing…And for you to think that you are in any way qualified to make valid criticism of biology when you hold such ridiculous, ignorant and factually wrong ideas, sails past the funny spectrum, well into the ultrapathetic. There is enough fail in those two sentences alone to make the entire scientific community facepalm in unison.

  148. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I can recommend you to have a look at their web site and to find out about their interdisciplinary approach of addressing science and faith questions:

    There is only one way to address science/faith questions. Faith, ie, delusional belief in imaginary deities and innerrant holybooks, realizes their errors and accepts science in toto. End of story. You have nothing cogent to offer, just your delusions.

    There is no final prove for God, but there is also no final prove to the nonexistence of God.

    Except the null hypothesis, as is should be is non-existence for anything, as one cannot prove a negative, unless you define your negative sufficently to allow falsification. Which happens to gods every time that happens. They don’t exist.

    I oppose scientism,

    An imagufactured and meaningless word, made up by delusional fools to pretend science is another belief system, rather than a methodology for determining how the world works. People often include that knowledge in the term science. There are no other “ways of knowing” that produce any verifiable results.

    I don’t believe in common ancestry. One of the most striking arguments against it for me is convergent evolution.

    Who gives a shit what you believe. I only give a shit what you will evidence. Evidence for your claim? No link, no evidence, dismissed without evidence.

  149. Al Dente says

    didgeman @167

    To believe, that all of this came into existence by purely unguided natural processes, needs at least the same amount of faith, than the believe in a Creator outside space and time. But o.k., in our society, there is freedom of religion, and I accept your faith in the absence of any God.

    You really need to acquaint yourself with the work done on abiogenesis.

    Based on research in the field it is proposed here how, once a self-replicating genetic molecule existed, life might have started and gradual evolution of complexity was made possible – in contrast to the sudden appearance of complexity that creationists claim to have been necessary at the beginning of life.

    No faith is required to accept chemistry, unlike the faith necessary to believe in an unevidenced magic sky pixie.

  150. Al Dente says

    I don’t believe in common ancestry.

    Ignorance and incredulity are not compelling arguments against evolution.

  151. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Didgeman,
    Sorry, dude, but if you are going to claim your engineering expertise gives you insight into the “engineered” nature of biology, then you don’t get a pass on discussing whether the engineering is piss poor or brilliant. Your answer @167 would seem to suggest you believe the creator was operating under constraint, and so not omnipotent or omniscient. So, what constraints, in particular would cause said creator to build a heart with so few blood vessels to provide blood to itself–not a very smart design choice, regardless of the constraints. What constraints could have driven such a choice?

    It seems that you must either admit your creator ain’t very good at design or admit that we are witnessing something that is the product of evolution rather than design.

  152. savant says

    Didgeman@167,
    I’m going to assume that you’ve left, as you said you did. Still, going to reply to one point!

    The information in living systems, which I am talking about, are blueprints, assembly instructions, regulatory instructions, hierarchical data structures, location- and time-dependent data manipulation instructions, activation- and deactivation of the instantiation of complete sub-structures

    Self-assembling systems. Happens to us at birth – we self-assemble from the combination of egg and sperm when in an environment conducive to it. We see that sort of thing all over the place in nature.

    Why is it so difficult to imagine a simple self-assembler popping up by chance four billion years ago and getting it all started? As an engineer, surely you know the variety and rate of change in a chemical soup as such a ‘warm pond’ must have been very high.

    As an engineer, surely you know that a diversification event that spans ten to fifty million years would leave only the slightest traces after two billion years, and that it would be all too easy to see it as an “explosion,” given the localized instances of preservation.

    As an engineer, surely you’d know that a hard-bodied form would be preserved far more readily than a soft-bodied form, and that a sudden appearance of those hard bodies in the fossil record would look like emergence “from nothing” to the untrained eye.

    You accuse us of following an “atheistic” religion. It’s not the case. I, and I’m willing to bet everyone commenting here, would gladly drop those beliefs if we found evidence of a God. We just find every ‘evidence’ ever given to be paltry, and every defense of such a being to be assertion and wishful thinking.

    You’re smart! You can do better!

  153. says

    didgeman@167: The information in living systems, which I am talking about [etc.]

    IOW: a completely non-rigorous definition of information which lets you exclaim, “Oh wow, it’s really complicated! Therefore God!” without having to do the math.

    Here’s the thing: “God did it” is a pseudo-explanation. I realize that it’s very tempting one — I’m an ex-Christian — but it’s a deceptive one. “Mind” is not a simple category that we can just toss anything we don’t understand into. The only minds of which we have uncontroversial knowledge (our own, and many of the smarter animals) are enormously complex phenomena (the whole field of psychology is devoted to characterizing them) relying on the function of complex brains. But here you’re trying to attribute all that (and much, much more besides) to the action of an even bigger and better Mind — as if that was the simple and obvious explanation*. “God did it” is not an explanation; it’s the logical equivalent of “I don’t know how it happened, and it looks too hard for me to work out. It must have happened by magic” — an answer that even the average six year old can tell is a cheat.

    And you accuse us of being the ones “having faith”? You haven’t even got a coherent answer.

    *And please, lets not have any crap about God being so ontologically different that we’re not allowed to ask where God came from, or that really God is simple and unitary**, because that’s just dishonest word games.

    **Which BTW strikes me as bad theology, because if we are made “in God’s image”, and our minds are complex, then how can God be simple?

  154. Anri says

    David Marjanović @ 152:

    It was researched in the 18th or 19th century. The one hypothesis I know of is that the pineal gland is the part of the brain you’re asking for.

    All these hypotheses turned out to be untenable, so people gave up and abandoned the whole question.

    That is highly cool info, David, thanks!
    I’m going to be digging further into this topic, as it’s simply so obviously a case of strapping on blinders: the brain and soul have to interact, frequently and substantially, for a theistic worldview to be accurate. Even if there’s no specific structure(s) built for that interaction, the changes themselves of interacting with a soul is something that should be traceable in a brain.
    Unless, of course, we’re just copping out to “Suuuper Gawd Magick!”

    Learning cool stuff like this is one of the major reasons I keep swinging by Pharyngula.

  155. says

    @173: I’m going to assume that you’ve left, as you said you did.

    Damn, I missed where didgeman said that. Yet another creationist Donn Quixote tilts at a few windmills, then notices the actual giants standing around looking bemused, and quickly buggers off…..

  156. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    Don’t forget that God let Moses see His ass that one time. And walked in the cool of the Garden. And made bets with Satan. All of which are hardly the stuff of an external-to-the-universe philosopher’s god. (Although Jesus’s 2000-year BRB does kinda imply having no sense of time.)

    didgeman used the fanciest language possible to describe DNA. Well, it isn’t blueprint, it’s more a recipe, and one that’s been handed down for generations.

    I can’t even guess how he uses convergent evolution to preclude common ancestry, unless he thinks we just all evolved the common traits convergently. Like I have five fingers with nails, and a horse has one hoof and two little splint bones because convergent, but we all have the same bends because convergent.

    As for the “explosions” (which still make no sense in relation to scripture), well, when something advantageous develops, it tends to take off, boom up, and to take over the world. It spreads fast, in an S-curve from just-barely to full-capacity, with tapers at each end and the middle going nearly straight up.

    As for numbers of adherents: It’s nice that didgeman accepts the age of the earth, but there are thousands of crestionists who don’t. (He needs to resolve their differences before he comes wasting around here again.) I say that of all the origin scenarios, the scientific view has the most supporters. Creationism is popular, yes, but it breaks up into YEC, OEC, and “I dunno, whatever my preacher says.” And that’s just the Christian Protestants. I take the divisions further and say that didgeman probably is in a one-person view of origins, and that his view changes from day to day. And such is the case for all Creationists – they haven’t an consensus, not even if they are alone.

  157. David Marjanović says

    There is no final prove for God, but there is also no final prove to the nonexistence of God.

    But who cares about proof? Proof is for mathematics, formal logic and American alcohol, not for science. Science doesn’t prove.

    After all, it’s not even possible to disprove solipsism!

    Science deals in probabilities, in evidence, in measuring the fit of hypotheses to data.

    The god hypothesis is not necessary to explain any currently known data; as far as anyone can tell, the universe looks exactly as we’d expect it to in the absence of any gods. So why should we assume there are any?

    The information in living systems, which I am talking about, are blueprints, assembly instructions, regulatory instructions, hierarchical data structures, location- and time-dependent data manipulation instructions, activation- and deactivation of the instantiation of complete sub-structures ..

    Those are metaphors, and not very good ones – mostly made by biologists who hardly even knew what a blueprint was. :-) DNA has often been called a blueprint. It’s not remotely like a blueprint. It’s more like… a template for protein production that works by nothing but electrostatic attraction and repulsion, and that only on a probabilistic basis.

    The first living creatures are about 3.8 billion years old and showed up on the earth about 50 million years after the late heavy bombardment, where the crust of the earth was most probably molten completely again.

    What, where are you taking the idea from that the LHB melted the crust? There are 4.4-billion-year-old zircons; the isotope ratios in them show that continental crust, oceanic crust and an ocean already existed back then. The last time the crust was molten was 4.52 billion years ago – the moon-forming impact.

    Most of these characteristics were already present in the very first bacteria, including the cyanobacteria, which enabled all future higher order live by their oxygen production via photosynthesis.

    By no means are cyanobacteria among “the very first bacteria”.

    On the origin and evolution of photosynthesis, I recommend this open-access paper and large parts of this book…

    To believe, that all of this came into existence by purely unguided natural processes, needs at least the same amount of faith, than the believe in a Creator outside space and time.

    Yeah, that’s what creationists always say so they don’t need to think about it.

    We understand the processes pretty well. They can do it. So why should we believe that there’s additionally a creator, let alone one outside space or time (which nonetheless acts within space and time)?

    But o.k., in our society, there is freedom of religion, and I accept your faith in the absence of any God.

    It’s not a faith. It’s a lack of faith.

    I was comparing the academic freedom, when it comes to doubting the mainstream dogma of evolution to the political/democratic freedom in North Korea.

    It’s not just North Korea that doesn’t bother funding research into phlogiston or the Four Humours.

    And stop trying to feed your persecution complex, it’s disgusting.

    2. I don’t believe in common ancestry. One of the most striking arguments against it for me is convergent evolution.

    Then let’s delve into probabilities.

    Why does all known life use DNA with the exact same 4 bases and RNA with the exact same 4 bases, only 3 of which are identical to those of DNA while the fourth is very similar but not identical? Other bases that pair up just as well have been made in the lab; and indeed many other bases occur as posttranscriptional modifications in tRNA. Other backbones have also been made in the lab; some of them, for instance a protein backbone, are more stable than deoxyribose phosphate. Why does all known life, from the coldest to the hottest and from the most acidic to the most alkaline environments, from freshwater to concentrated salt solutions, use the exact same carriers of genetic information?

    Why does all known life use the exact same 20 amino acids in proteins? Occasionally there’s one or two extra ones, but that’s it. Occasionally (like in collagen, a protein restricted to vertebrates) a few more show up, but that’s posttranslational modification: first the protein is made, then an enzyme comes and changes, for example, lysine into hydroxylysine. Why isn’t there more variation in the inventories of different organisms? Some 800 amino acids have been found in plants alone, but most of them don’t occur in proteins, and only the usual 20 (or 21) are encoded in the genome. Why?

    Why are the genes for certain basic housekeeping proteins so similar to each other in all known organisms? They’re more similar than they’d need to be for the same function.

    Why are the genes for some of those proteins so similar to each other, I mean to the genes for different basic housekeeping proteins, again with no regard for form or function? What reason do we have to suspect anything other has happened than the familiar process of gene duplication with subsequent point mutations turning one gene into two with different functions?

    Convergence is different. It produces the same shape from different starting points; everything that doesn’t need to be exactly the same will differ at random.

    3. For me, there is no evidence for a slow, gradual increase of the complexity of new body plans.

    All attempts to define “complexity” in a way that could be measured with enough precision have failed. The same holds for “body plan”. The range of complexity has clearly increased, but that’s pretty much all.

    All events in the fossil record show “explosions” in complexity. The most famous, worldwide event is the Cambrian explosion. If you are really interested in the issue, read

    Warning: I’m a paleontologist.

    I feel qualified to tell you that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    The Cambrian Explosion took a long time. Different organisms appeared at different stages within the “explosion”. This has been known for decades, Wikipedia has a handy chart.

    the explicit creation of the modern human with mind, consciousness, care, love, language, symbolism…

    All of these things are matters of degree. Gray parrots get pretty far with language, as do (in a very different way) communities of several species of monkeys in western Africa. Crocodiles love. Hippos care. Bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans have no trouble with symbols and symbolism. Consciousness… amphioxus (Branchiostoma and its fellow cephalochordates) have a limbic system, in other words, emotions – a decision-making system.

    We have a context. We didn’t spring up out of nowhere.

    And I don’t believe that, because the “God virus” has turned of my logical thinking, but because my reasoning and logic does not allow a naturalistic explanation, which would require much more faith.

    Logic applied to insufficient data does not give reliable results. Garbage in, garbage out.

    That is highly cool info, David, thanks!

    ^_^

  158. David Marjanović says

    Oh crap. There’s a typo in my HTML.

    All this red may be a bit hard to read, so I’ll try again… now that preview works (for years it didn’t), I should really use it.

    There is no final prove for God, but there is also no final prove to the nonexistence of God.

    But who cares about proof? Proof is for mathematics, formal logic and American alcohol, not for science. Science doesn’t prove.

    After all, it’s not even possible to disprove solipsism!

    Science deals in probabilities, in evidence, in measuring the fit of hypotheses to data.

    The god hypothesis is not necessary to explain any currently known data; as far as anyone can tell, the universe looks exactly as we’d expect it to in the absence of any gods. So why should we assume there are any?

    The information in living systems, which I am talking about, are blueprints, assembly instructions, regulatory instructions, hierarchical data structures, location- and time-dependent data manipulation instructions, activation- and deactivation of the instantiation of complete sub-structures ..

    Those are metaphors, and not very good ones – mostly made by biologists who hardly even knew what a blueprint was. :-) DNA has often been called a blueprint. It’s not remotely like a blueprint. It’s more like… a template for protein production that works by nothing but electrostatic attraction and repulsion, and that only on a probabilistic basis.

    The first living creatures are about 3.8 billion years old and showed up on the earth about 50 million years after the late heavy bombardment, where the crust of the earth was most probably molten completely again.

    What, where are you taking the idea from that the LHB melted the crust? There are 4.4-billion-year-old zircons; the isotope ratios in them show that continental crust, oceanic crust and an ocean already existed back then. The last time the crust was molten was 4.52 billion years ago – the moon-forming impact.

    Most of these characteristics were already present in the very first bacteria, including the cyanobacteria, which enabled all future higher order live by their oxygen production via photosynthesis.

    By no means are cyanobacteria among “the very first bacteria”.

    On the origin and evolution of photosynthesis, I recommend this open-access paper and large parts of this book

    To believe, that all of this came into existence by purely unguided natural processes, needs at least the same amount of faith, than the believe in a Creator outside space and time.

    Yeah, that’s what creationists always say so they don’t need to think about it.

    We understand the processes pretty well. They can do it. So why should we believe that there’s additionally a creator, let alone one outside space or time (which nonetheless acts within space and time)?

    But o.k., in our society, there is freedom of religion, and I accept your faith in the absence of any God.

    It’s not a faith. It’s a lack of faith.

    I was comparing the academic freedom, when it comes to doubting the mainstream dogma of evolution to the political/democratic freedom in North Korea.

    It’s not just North Korea that doesn’t bother funding research into phlogiston or the Four Humours.

    And stop trying to feed your persecution complex, it’s disgusting.

    2. I don’t believe in common ancestry. One of the most striking arguments against it for me is convergent evolution.

    Then let’s delve into probabilities.

    Why does all known life use DNA with the exact same 4 bases and RNA with the exact same 4 bases, only 3 of which are identical to those of DNA while the fourth is very similar but not identical? Other bases that pair up just as well have been made in the lab; and indeed many other bases occur as posttranscriptional modifications in tRNA. Other backbones have also been made in the lab; some of them, for instance a protein backbone, are more stable than deoxyribose phosphate. Why does all known life, from the coldest to the hottest and from the most acidic to the most alkaline environments, from freshwater to concentrated salt solutions, use the exact same carriers of genetic information?

    Why does all known life use the exact same 20 amino acids in proteins? Occasionally there’s one or two extra ones, but that’s it. Occasionally (like in collagen, a protein restricted to vertebrates) a few more show up, but that’s posttranslational modification: first the protein is made, then an enzyme comes and changes, for example, lysine into hydroxylysine. Why isn’t there more variation in the inventories of different organisms? Some 800 amino acids have been found in plants alone, but most of them don’t occur in proteins, and only the usual 20 (or 21) are encoded in the genome. Why?

    Why are the genes for certain basic housekeeping proteins so similar to each other in all known organisms? They’re more similar than they’d need to be for the same function.

    Why are the genes for some of those proteins so similar to each other, I mean to the genes for different basic housekeeping proteins, again with no regard for form or function? What reason do we have to suspect anything other has happened than the familiar process of gene duplication with subsequent point mutations turning one gene into two with different functions?

    Convergence is different. It produces the same shape from different starting points; everything that doesn’t need to be exactly the same will differ at random.

    3. For me, there is no evidence for a slow, gradual increase of the complexity of new body plans.

    All attempts to define “complexity” in a way that could be measured with enough precision have failed. The same holds for “body plan”. The range of complexity has clearly increased, but that’s pretty much all.

    All events in the fossil record show “explosions” in complexity. The most famous, worldwide event is the Cambrian explosion. If you are really interested in the issue, read

    Warning: I’m a paleontologist.

    I feel qualified to tell you that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    The Cambrian Explosion took a long time. Different organisms appeared at different stages within the “explosion”. This has been known for decades, Wikipedia has a handy chart.

    the explicit creation of the modern human with mind, consciousness, care, love, language, symbolism…

    All of these things are matters of degree. Gray parrots get pretty far with language, as do (in a very different way) communities of several species of monkeys in western Africa. Crocodiles love. Hippos care. Bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans have no trouble with symbols and symbolism. Consciousness… amphioxus (Branchiostoma and its fellow cephalochordates) have a limbic system, in other words, emotions – a decision-making system.

    We have a context. We didn’t spring up out of nowhere.

    And I don’t believe that, because the “God virus” has turned of my logical thinking, but because my reasoning and logic does not allow a naturalistic explanation, which would require much more faith.

    Logic applied to insufficient data does not give reliable results. Garbage in, garbage out.

    That is highly cool info, David, thanks!

    ^_^

  159. azhael says

    Don’t you wish that once, just once, a creationist was the least bit original? We’ve had the “atheism is a religion” bullshit, the “scientism” and the persecution complex, the “cambrian explosion”, the “there must be designer”, the “it takes more faith to believe that this could happen naturally than it takes to believe in magic”….
    If i complete 4 bingo cards, do i get to not hear the same ridiculous horseshit ever again?

  160. Amphiox says

    2. I don’t believe in common ancestry. One of the most striking arguments against it for me is convergent evolution.

    1) Convergent evolution first requires, you know, evolution. And evolution necessitates some degree of common ancestry, even if you someone bury your head in the sand regarding the evidence and refuse to accept UNIVERSAL common ancestry.

    2) The differences between convergently evolved structures and homologous structures (ie the ones that arise from common ancestry) is well described by the theory of evolution, such that we can readily distinguish features that are similar because of convergent evolution from those that are similar because of common ancestry.

    In other words, the theory of evolution accurately predicted the existence of both convergently evolved structures and homologous structures, AND describes precisely how to tell the two apart. And with only a tiny minority of as yet unclear cases, those predictions have all been shown to be correct.

    3. For me, there is no evidence for a slow, gradual increase of the complexity of new body plans.

    This is irrelevant with respect to your objection to evolutionary theory since evolutionary theory predicts no such thing. In fact, evolutionary theory specifically predicts AGAINST any kind of direction trend like “gradual increase in complexity of new body plans”. Evolution instead predicts a steady increase in DIVERSITY in all directions randomly. That a tiny minority of this diversity ends up being slightly more complex is simply a consequence of that randomness.

    the explicit creation of the modern human with mind, consciousness, care, love, language, symbolism…

    We already have extensive evidence, from paleontology, archeology, linguistics and a whole host of other fields, that care, love, language and symbolism evolved stepwise over long periods of time, and there was no such thing as an “explicit” creation or even explicit appearance for any of them.

    Consciousness is to my knowledge still a pretty nascent field, but I’m not betting against gradualism there either.

    To believe, that all of this came into existence by purely unguided natural processes, needs at least the same amount of faith, than the believe in a Creator outside space and time.

    To believe in purely unguided natural processes is to believe that things which you can see happening with your own eyes can add up over long periods of time. To believe in a Creator “outside of space and time” requires belief in a set of logical impossibilities.*

    To believe that those two propositions require the “same” amount of faith requires a very peculiar definition of the terms “faith”, “amount” and “same.

    * All things that happen in a sequence of one thing followed by another requires time. Creation is a sequential process dependent on cause and effect. It is impossible for anything that exists “outside of time” to create anything.

    Information is distinguished from random noise by patterns, and patterns can only exist spread out over space and/or time. Intelligence is the processing of information in sequential steps. “Outside” of space and time there can be no information, and no intelligence.

  161. Amphiox says

    It was researched in the 18th or 19th century. The one hypothesis I know of is that the pineal gland is the part of the brain you’re asking for.
    All these hypotheses turned out to be untenable, so people gave up and abandoned the whole question.

    What today’s creationist apologist either don’t realize or choose to ignore is that pretty much EVERY aspect of a creator-based worldview was rigorously tested in the period between roughly the 16th to 19th centuries, and all of it was discarded because it was all untenable.

    One of the reasons why Darwin’s theory was adopted with such enthusiasm when he and Wallace first proposed it was that scientific community already knew, from work completed in the decades before Darwin was even born, that a creation-based explanation for life’s diversity was already falsified, and they had, in fact, no viable theory, until Darwin came along and gave them one.

    It is, remotely, possible that modern evolutionary theory is indeed incorrect and will one day be replaced by a superior theory. Whatever that superior theory might be, it won’t be anything remotely creator-based, because creator-based theories have already all been falsified.

  162. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    Thanks creationist guy for the answers.

    I guess you said you’re leaving, but my next question would be about Carl Linnaeus. He was around a hundred years before Darwin, and he effectively was a Christian creationist. He discovered that at least all animal life can be arranged in a mathematical tree structure according to physical similarities. For example, dogs go into one bucket, cats go into one bucket, and the bucket of dogs and cats themselves go into a bucket, and that bucket goes into the mammal bucket, which goes into the vertebrate bucket, etc. Do you accept that this tree-structure classification on physical body particulars is not arbitrary, and it is an objective fact about the physical body similarities of all animal species? Do you accept that this tree of animal body shape similarities has a single root (anamalia)?

    Do you also accept that when we plot the molecular DNA differences of animal species, it produces a mathematical tree structure? Do you also accept that the tree of animal DNA differences is basically the same tree which the Christian creationist Carl Linnaeus discovered a hundred years before Darwin and the discovery of evolution?

  163. ck, the Irate Lump says

    azhael wrote:

    If i complete 4 bingo cards, do i get to not hear the same ridiculous horseshit ever again?

    Nope, because that’s all they have, and all they’ve ever had. They will continue recycling it forever. If they actually had evidence, they’d be presenting that rather than just trying to tear down the theory of evolution. They don’t seem to realize that even if they do tear it down, all their work is still ahead of them because they still haven’t produced any evidence for their (failed) hypothesis.

  164. says

    azhael@180: I hung out on talk.origins from ~1991 through 2005. I must have filled out dozens of bingo cards. Some creationists are just thought-free ranters regurgitating crap they got from a Kent Hovind seminar. Some are intelligent enough, but ultimately arrogantly convinced of the rightness of their position (I’d put didgeman in this category). And a few are thoughtful, willing to listen and learn, and you can have a decent discussion with them. And a few of these ultimately change their minds. Which makes it all worthwhile.

    But no, it never changes — there are always more naifs, fanatics and morons out there.

  165. says

    didgeman @167 – this is a long one, so skip to the bolded part at the end if you’re pressed for time (pro-tip: if you don’t want to be swamped with rebuttals and questions, maybe don’t invite yourself into a thread about evolution populated entirely by people who understand evolution and proceed to regurgitate creationist/ID scripture at them)

    I don’t believe in common ancestry.

    Then you either don’t understand biology – or you do understand it but just deny the bits that rub your theology the wrong way.

    Saying you don’t believe in common ancestry when you’re genetically 98% chimpanzee and 50% banana is like proclaiming you don’t believe in internal combustion while sitting on a bus.

    If you accept, as you maintain, that the Earth is 4ish billion years old and that the earliest evidence for life appears 3.8ish billion years ago, then you are accepting the very same scientific method that provides the evidence for evolution. You have simply chosen to accept some science and reject other science for the arbitrary and very poor reasons you’ve taken great pains to explain.

    [me] I missed didge’s little butt-nugget from #113:

    [didge] Would you expect democracy experts formed in the North Korean education system?

    [me ]Biology is North Korea?

    didge:

    Thanks for picking up this little analogy. Unfortunately, you completely screwed-up the meaning. I was comparing the academic freedom, when it comes to doubting the mainstream dogma of evolution to the political/democratic freedom in North Korea. PZ is giving a nice example, how it works in his opening statement of the debate with Fuz Rana (see above):

    [PZ] As nice and persuasive as Dr Rana may be to you, nothing he says will influence the scientific consensus: it’s settled. Evolution works. You, the audience, may want to believe in God, but science has no need of that hypothesis.

    The scientific consensus on evolution IS settled, as much as it is on the age of the Earth. PZ telling a small group of people that is not akin to Kim Jong-Un telling a nation what to think on pain of punishment; he’s relaying a simple, unimpeachable fact. If you truly doubt that, stop reading discredited pulp by failed mathematicians and read some actual science done by actual scientists.

    Besides, I understood your meaning. You directly compared the “academic freedom” regarding the “dogma of evolution” in biology (another two squares checked in my Creationist Bingo card, btw, thanks) to the political freedom of North Korea; I made fun of that ridiculous comparison with sarcastic hyperbole. I’m sorry, but your humour is not as deep and multi-layered as you appear to think.

    Also, I noticed that while you found time to fail at scolding me, you didn’t respond at all to my quite serious question regarding how, precisely, biology manages to wall itself off into a little silo of orthodox conspiracy where the other sciences can’t/don’t/won’t hold it to account for enforcing rigid evo-dogma despite lack of evidence (or presence of contrary evidence). If you, as an engineer, had any clue about science, how it works and how it’s practised, you’d know that such a thing would be impossible to maintain, even if it could be implemented – unless, of course, ALL OF SCIENCE is in on the enforcement of the rigid dogma of evolution. So…

    Didgeman, if you respond to me again, just answer this:

    Has biology isolated itself from the critical scrutiny of the other sciences in order to rigidly enforce evolutionary “dogma”? If so, how do you think this was implemented and how is it maintained?

    If biology is not so isolated, this implies that all the other branches of scientific inquiry are complicit in a global, centuries-old scam. How was this implemented and how is it maintained?

    By invoking some kind of conspiracy to conceal the “truth” about evolution, you are assuming the burden of proof. It’s up to you to back up your claim with evidence or at least attempt a plausible explanation. I don’t want chapter and verse, but since you appear convinced that such a conspiracy exists, you should at least be able to provide to me the same evidence that convinced you (in your own words would be great; I’ll know if you’re pasting and will give you an automatic F).

    You don’t appear to care that it’s not just biology that provides evidence for evolution: geology, dendrochronology, tectonics, ecology, genetics, epidemiology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, palaentology, archaeology, medicine, the most basic laws of physics and many other fields and sub-fields all support (and are influenced by) evolutionary theory and common descent in multiple ways, right down to the molecular level. So I reiterate that it’s up to you to explain how biology has managed to pull the wool over the eyes of the world.

    Again, if you’re not going to address this, don’t bother responding to me. I’m satisfied at this point with dismissing your entire argument on the basis that you simply don’t (or refuse to) understand what you’re arguing against.

  166. says

    What – he left? I guess he ran out of creationist boilerplate. I’ll just leave this here then:

    F. Must do better. Please read the actual course material, not homeschool pamphlets.

    Anyway, in #167 didge invoked Stephen “not a biologist, not a palaentologist, not actually a fucking scientist or even a human with any integrity” Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt. That should tell us all we need to know about his level of understanding.

  167. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    I read somewhere that somebody went around asking people from somewhat-isolated tribes how they classified animals. Everybody, no matter where, put all cats together, put them in with dogs, classed them with other mammals, and grouped birds together as not mammals. All down the allegedly science-enforced dogmatic line. So no, common ancestry is not something made up – it is the best explanation for something fairly obvious to all but the creationists. And of course they have to make up baramins and kinds that crawled off the ark and evolved like gangbusters, from a few common ancestors.

  168. says

    @188: A cite would be nice ;-). I do recall Jared Diamond writing that forest people in PNG recognized almost all the same species of local bird that Western ornithologists do. As a counter-example: the Levitical dietary laws notoriously class bats with birds and cetaceans with fish (but then, so do most people who haven’t had a little basic biology).

  169. Amphiox says

    @188: A cite would be nice ;-). I do recall Jared Diamond writing that forest people in PNG recognized almost all the same species of local bird that Western ornithologists do. As a counter-example: the Levitical dietary laws notoriously class bats with birds and cetaceans with fish (but then, so do most people who haven’t had a little basic biology).

    One thing to remember about the Levitical dietary laws is that the original writers very likely had never seen a cetacean, and possibly had never seen a bat. There is also the question of metaphors and translations. The word later translated as “fish” may well have, for the originators of the stories (possibly long before they were even recorded) may have been a metaphorical word for any swimming creature, and the one for “bird” might have actually meant “flying thing”. Not unlike how “almah” gets translated as “virgin” but actually had a much broader meaning to the original writers and readers of THAT text.

    The peoples who actually had good knowledge of the animals and plants they named, and needed to have good knowledge thereof for survival purposes, very commonly recognize the heirarchical nature by which organisms and their features can be classified, and as a result end up with classification schemes closely resembling modern ones.

  170. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    Amphiox, thanks. It is always good to read what you write.

    Yeah, I’d have cited if I had known. I was also thinking of a group that tended to divide animals into good-to-eat and not-good-to-eat, and then group those together as things-to-be-shot-either-way. I do think that most people who give little thought will group whales with fish, say, but they mean things-that-live-in-water-including-shellfish. But if you explain there are lungs and milk glands they will agree on mammalness. (But then, I heard a few of my Honors College class insist that an elephant without a trunk was not an elephant.)

  171. says

    @190: Agreed, and I always thought that trotting Leviticus out as a disproof of Biblical inerrancy was shallow. The Hebrew words meant what they meant to the community that used them, and if they lumped together species modern biology now regards as belonging in separate orders, that’s not “wrong” so much as a different set of cultural priorities. You can even see this today: botanists, landscape gardeners and cooks will divide up fruits, vegetables and flowers in different ways. The Bible is wrong in many ways, but that’s not one of them.

  172. didgeman says

    There are so many replies and good challenges since my last post, that I need to try to answer some of them, even if I said that I will leave (because of time restrictions).

    Al Dente @ 170:

    You really need to acquaint yourself with the work done on abiogenesis.

    Based on research in the field it is proposed here how, once a self-replicating genetic molecule existed, life might have started and gradual evolution of complexity was made possible – in contrast to the sudden appearance of complexity that creationists claim to have been necessary at the beginning of life.

    Sorry, but this is simply story-telling and vague wording. Please apply the same rules how to rate such statements, as you apply to my statements. There would not be much left, mainly if you consider the extremely short time window (in the 50 million year range) between the late heavy bombardment and the appearance of first life. This is an example, where science disciplines should work closer together and try to synchronize the latest discoveries form astronomy, geology and biology.
    A fair scientific statement could be: We have some hypothesis about abiogenesis but no evidence at all for the time being.

  173. says

    Also, @193: This is an example, where science disciplines should work closer together and try to synchronize the latest discoveries form astronomy, geology and biology.

    Because astronomers, geologists and biologists never talk to each other. Like they’re completely oblivious to what goes on in other fields. Good thing there’s engineers around to point out this problem.

  174. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Didgeman #193

    Sorry, but this is simply story-telling and vague wording. Please apply the same rules how to rate such statements, as you apply to my statements. There would not be much left, mainly if you consider the extremely short time window (in the 50 million year range) between the late heavy bombardment and the appearance of first life.

    Gee, no citation for your assertion, so it is dismissed without evidence.
    Now compare this to your imaginary creator. Reality, fiction. Your creator is fiction. You haven’t provided one shred of conclusive physical evidence for it, and until you do, it remains a fiction, a delusion in your mind.

    A fair scientific statement could be: We have some hypothesis about abiogenesis but no evidence at all for the time

    You obviously don’t understand science. What a scientist, like myself, would say, is that several steps of the hypothesis have been filled in, and work is being done to fill the gaps. Compare this to your imaginary creator. What steps are you taking to fill in the gaps in its existence, by demonstrating that existence with conclusive physical evidence not explained by science. You won’t find in abiogenesis.

  175. didgeman says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space @ 172:

    …It seems that you must either admit your creator ain’t very good at design or admit that we are witnessing something that is the product of evolution rather than design.

    The “bad design” argument is often used against a theistic worldview. Please be aware, that this is a purely metaphysical argument.
    It is kind of weird to argue with an atheist abut the characteristics of the Creator, who does not exist (in his world view). Please be assured, that I can deal with the design principles of my Creator (even if I do not understand all of it, of course). But if you seriously consider the existence of a divine Creator, I am of course willing to go on discussing about Him and his characteristics.

  176. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    didgeman, you are still thinking that evolution is a slow, slow, gradual process that goes really, really, slowly and takes lots and lots of time to gradually, ever so gradually, make trivially minute changes. Such is not the case. In times of crisis, evolution happens quickly (I have three dogs in this house, that hardly look like the same species, that all descended from a common wolf ancestor, one of which is of a freakish breed and has papers for his development in the last 150 years – all thanks to the pressure of selective breeding).

    In your misunderstanding of the aftermath of the late heavy bombardment is the perfect scenario for abiogenesis – extremes of conditions, changing environment. A molecule that is powered by temperature gradient, in a situation where the gradient is moving as it cools …

    And you keep asking for direct evidence of a freak molecule. What do you want, there, exactly? Fossils? (By the way, you keep over-describing the internal workings of life, so it is sure that you are expecting ‘way too much of the first replicator (life be upon it).) We have fossils of simpler and simpler kinds, going back, and good understanding of chemical processes. We are closing in on best scenarios for abiogenesis, and may someday set up an abiogenerator in a lab, but none of that will prove what did happen, just indicate evidence for one or the other.

    didgeman, nothing is going to be good enough for people like you. You aren’t doing science, you are religious and you are wrong.

    Side note in categorizing – to stellar-evolution theorists, everything but hydrogen is “metal”.

  177. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Please be aware, that this is a purely metaphysical argument.

    Just as is your imaginary creator. You don’t have evidence, so what you have isn’t and can’t be scientific. It is nothing but drivel.

    Please be assured, that I can deal with the design principles of my Creator

    Nope, you haven’t presented one scientific paper about your imaginary creator. You haven’t presented one scientific paper to refute evolution and abiogenesis. All you have offered is presuppositions and fuckwittery.

    Science is only refuted by more science. Any scientific theory is replaced by another scientific theory. You haven’t dinged evolution, missing by a mile without scientific evidence. Until you provide real and conclusive physical evidence for your creator, it exists only in your mind.

  178. Amphiox says

    A fair scientific statement could be: We have some hypothesis about abiogenesis but no evidence at all for the time being.

    Only someone who either doesn’t understand, or chooses to deliberately lie, about what the words “evidence”, “no”, “all”, “time” and “being” can say this statement with a straight face.

    The “bad design” argument is often used against a theistic worldview. Please be aware, that this is a purely metaphysical argument.

    The argument is used to demonstrate how the theistic worldview is such an intellectually bankrupt one that it fails on BOTH evidential AND metaphysical grounds.

    It is kind of weird to argue with an atheist abut the characteristics of the Creator, who does not exist (in his world view). Please be assured, that I can deal with the design principles of my Creator (even if I do not understand all of it, of course). But if you seriously consider the existence of a divine Creator, I am of course willing to go on discussing about Him and his characteristics.

    Backwards. And intellectually dishonest.

    All intellectually honest designer hypotheses BEGIN with a description of the designer. Its goals, abilities, and limitations. This description is the basis by which that hypothesis makes testable claims regarding what and how the designer could or could not do. Whether it is forensics (the perpetrator was a six foot human male, therefore the blood splatter should only be this high), archeology (the Egyptians built this structure. They did not have knowledge of the wheel at that time, so they used ramps), SETI (the aliens have the technology, and choose to use, radio transmissions) and so forth.

    The onus is thus on you, didgeman, to make proposals about the nature of your hypothesized creator. You SHOULD have done so RIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING. That WE are the ones who have to bring it up merely demonstrates again the intellectual bankruptcy of your position. We are, in fact, doing you a favor. We are bringing up an issue that is critical to the viability of your theory, which you have neglected to do, even though it should be YOUR responsibility to do so, to give you an opportunity to answer it. Whenever someone raises the question of the nature of the creator as an argument against creator hypotheses, it is done so simply to point out that the proponents of that hypothesis have NOT done so and thus have failed to bring their arguments up even to the level of a basic hypothesis.

    Every subsequent evasion from you, like the above, merely reinforces, once again, the intellectual bankruptcy of your position.

  179. didgeman says

    savant @ 173:
    Evolutionary changes (within very narrow boundaries) work in very large populations (e.g. bacteria) or within very long time periods, which is/was one of evolution theory preconditions.
    But both is missing in the scientific record at the corner stones of the history of life, like Cambrian explosion, quick recovery of fauna after mass extinction events (in few 100k to some mio years) and finally at the arrival of modern humans (cultural explosion about 40-60k years ago). These are well documented data, which contradict the slow and gradual evolution of species in direction of higher complexity. What we regularly find in the fossil record (including the fist life) is explosion of complexity, mass-extinction, explosion, mass-extinction, explosion…. and so on until the arrival of modern human. This repetitive pattern contradicts evolutionary predictions (first and very explicitly formulated by Darwin) but are perfectly in-line with the predictions of a Biblical creation model. I am not talking about young earth creationists like AiG, I am talking about the scientifically testable creation model of Reasons to Believe, http://www.reasons.org.

  180. azhael says

    @194 Eamon Knight
    Well, we are dealing with someone who thinks the Cambrian Explosion was actually an explosive event…

    Oh, and didgeman, this habit of yours of talking about things you know fuck all about…i highly recommend that you stop doing it. You don’t know a thing about abiogenesis…it’s in really bad taste to pretend otherwise…

    Finally, i’ll just say that even if we don’t know each and every single step in the abiogenetic process (which we don’t, are unlikely to ever do, and nobody in science is worried about, because it’s not even remotely necessary), we have this thing called chemistry that we know for a fact is real. Magic…not so much….

    I just love it that these people find complex chemistry to be too complicated to be possible, even if it’s happening all the time, but are totally willing to accept magic…xDDD It’s just so surreal…

  181. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But both is missing in the scientific record at the corner stones of the history of life, like Cambrian explosion, quick recovery of fauna after mass extinction events (in few 100k to some mio years) and finally at the arrival of modern humans (cultural explosion about 40-60k years ago). These are well documented data, which contradict the slow and gradual evolution of species in direction of higher complexity.

    Fixed that for you liar and bullshitter. There is absolutely nothing in evolutionary theory that requires the direction of higher complexity. This is your problem of not knowing what you speak about. Actually, the basic body morphology of animals has been in place for hundreds of millions of years.
    Until you stop opining, and start evidencing your claims from the peer reviewed scientific literature, all you do is show the intellectual and scientific vacuity that is creationism. Either use science properly, or go away.

  182. consciousness razor says

    Sorry, but this is simply story-telling and vague wording. Please apply the same rules how to rate such statements, as you apply to my statements. There would not be much left, mainly if you consider the extremely short time window (in the 50 million year range) between the late heavy bombardment and the appearance of first life.

    Okay, let’s apply the same rules. But don’t forget to notice that your magic being presumably doesn’t exist in time at all. If you feel like characterizing something in the range of 50 millions as a “short time,” then go for it I guess, but how does anything like that make it more (or less) likely that a non-temporal magic being was responsible? I simply do not see how that is supposed to follow. Physical processes do happen in time, so we could ask such questions about them and get some kind of a definite answer one way or another, but with your magic man it’s a different story isn’t it? Would you care to give something like a real answer, since you seem to think it would be in your interests to follow the same rules? Isn’t seven days a very short amount of time (much less than 50 million years), as the Biblical creation myth would have it? Shouldn’t that be considered hard to believe? If that’s not the myth you’re following, exactly how much time did it take and why would that (any amount of time you pick) be what’s expected on the basis of your “theory”?

    I mean, why is it exactly that we see there were at least many billions of years without even the planet Earth, if it’s supposed to be special? And then you can add more time for life to appear somewhere on it, if life is really the special thing. Then add more for the appearance of modern human lives or minds, if that’s supposed to be special. Then still more for the “chosen people” or Jesus or whatever prophet/con-artist you believe in. Or generally, we have to wait for whoever/whatever is finally supposed to be the purpose of this pointlessly long process. Perhaps it hasn’t even happened yet, because the afterlife is where the real fun is supposed to start, since it never ends while life on this planet apparently will. Kind of makes you wonder why anybody would go to the trouble. I’m not saying there was a “point” or a “purpose” for natural processes to make life, so I don’t have to come up with some kind of motivation or reasoning behind it, whereas an intelligent being like a god is stipulated to have such goals and reasons. So, since you’re claiming in effect that there was some kind of a purpose behind it all, what is that supposed to be?

    More generally, if some god really had a hankering for humans or human minds or some such thing, what’s with all of this other junk that we see all over the place, in every direction for tens of billions of light years? Perhaps some god really enjoys empty space, thus it exists. There is a lot of it, so why not? What a great argument — wouldn’t you say?

    But wait… How much time does it take it to make empty space anyway, assuming ordinary physical processes? And how likely is it? That’s not very clear, but let’s just suppose it’s not much time and very unlikely. Shouldn’t we expect your argument to be that a god really wanted to make empty space, given the overwhelming amount of it that exists, if we’re going to pretend your argument had anything to do with the evidence or how to explain it?

  183. Amphiox says

    Bad design is never really a problem for HONEST designer hypotheses. Each instance of bad design is a piece of evidence about the designer’s nature, regarding its limitations. The mistakes a designer makes illuminate the designer’s nature.

    The problem of bad design for the theistic worldview is not in any specific example of bad design, it lies in what the accumulate mass of all the DIFFERENT forms of bad design that we see in nature, tell us about the nature of the designer, if it existed.

    Simply put, there is no consistency or pattern in the bad designs. The beautifully designed organ in one creature is a fudged-up wreck in another creature that lives in the same environment and uses the organ for the same function. How can a designer that makes one so well mess up the other so badly? Time and time again, suboptimal options are chosen for some organisms even when a better alternative already exists in another.

    This pattern is not consistent with a omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent creator. It informs us instead of a creator that is capricious, stupid, evil, willful, and stubborn, among other things. OR it tells us that there must be multiple creators. Thousands at least.

    The reactions of people like didgeman to “bad design” arguments exposes them for the liars that they are. They claim to care only for the science, and that they just want to introduce the idea of a designer, any designer, into the discussion. But if that were true, they would not react the way they do to bad design arguments, with obsfucation and evasions, as didgeman has just so vividly demonstrated. HONEST supporters of design theory would simply say “yes, the evidence clearly shows that the designer is neither perfect nor nice, and there could well be more than one. Next bullet point.”

    It is indeed a metaphysical argument. For it exposes the dishonesty of the design proponents, like digdeman, on metaphysical grounds. Their designer is so obviously their tri-omni god, even if they insist that this is not their intent.

    Long before Darwin was even conceived, Christian theologians had rejected designer theory as an explanation of the diversity of life, on metaphysical grounds. Thus, on BOTH scientific and metaphysical AND theological grounds, today’s design theory proponents, like didgeman, have forgotten their history, and are hawking triply discredited ideas.

  184. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    didgeman, your finding it odd that atheists can discuss your god without believing it exists is further evidence for your own lack of thought. Then you say that you don’t understand all about your god your ownself, and you do that a few comments after putting the boot to evolutionists for not having sufficient evidence for abiogenesis. Man, you are messed up.

    I remember standing in a kayak factory having a spirited discussion about Wolverine, the comic book character. We didn’t believe that he existed (sorry, Logan), but we knew what was written, what was implied and what was possible. (See, all he had was mutant healing ability, which allows for greater strength, and allowed the recovery from the adamantium, and he did not have any stupid bone claws.) And a thousand other ways that atheists in general know more about your religion than you do, and can think about it better. (By the way, your bit about discussing something we don’t believe in is a square on the Bingo card, there is another near it for not caring at all about something that we don’t belive exists. Do you not even think about the stuff that you believe?)

    No, you don’t think about this stuff, do you? You just pop in here all smug in your stupidity, strong in your belief, and you don’t understand anything.

  185. Amphiox says

    But both is missing in the scientific record at the corner stones of the history of life, like Cambrian explosion, quick recovery of fauna after mass extinction events (in few 100k to some mio years) and finally at the arrival of modern humans (cultural explosion about 40-60k years ago). These are well documented data, which contradict the slow and gradual evolution of species

    On the contrary, every single one of these assertions is demonstrably false.

    The Cambrian explosion was not an explosion, and took several tens of millions of years. Recovery of fauna after mass extinctions similarly took tens of millions of years after the most severe ones. We now have multiple examples of evidence of modern human behavior well older than 60k, and those examples did not appear in a sudden burst. We see instead dribs and drabs of examples, scattered back in time, extending all the way back to 180k or so, the very dawn of anatomically modern humans, gradually increasing in frequency and commonality, until by 60k the evidence was ubiquitous.

    It should be noted that the one thing we never see after a mass extinction is the reappearance of a taxon eliminated in that extinction. The recovery is always a radiation of forms descended from survivors. IE, mass extinction recoveries are yet another example of evidence in support of common descent. A designer should have had no trouble repopulating the world after a mass extinction with the same organisms that lived prior. It should, after all, still have the blueprints for the T. rexes stashed away somewhere.

  186. didgeman says

    Menyambal – not as pretentious as I seem @ 177:

    As for numbers of adherents: It’s nice that didgeman accepts the age of the earth, but there are thousands of crestionists who don’t. (He needs to resolve their differences before he comes wasting around here again.) I say that of all the origin scenarios, the scientific view has the most supporters. Creationism is popular, yes, but it breaks up into YEC, OEC, and “I dunno, whatever my preacher says.” And that’s just the Christian Protestants. I take the divisions further and say that didgeman probably is in a one-person view of origins, and that his view changes from day to day. And such is the case for all Creationists – they haven’t an consensus, not even if they are alone.

    Unfortunately you have a very good point here and it is a shame, that the Christians are split-up so much. But with some of them, it is really hard to argue (yes, even for me!). But it is the same as in politics: Depending on your personal position, you may interpret the same data completely different. So nothing new here among the Christians, as they are humans like politicians and atheists. The only thing, Christians could do, is to treat other people (Christians, Muslims, Atheists) with respect.
    My own position is certainly a minority position, because it is unter attack from both sides, the atheistic camp and the young earth creationists. But I am not alone, I hold more or less the position of the ministry Reasons to Believe, http://www.reasons.org, which is operated by some scientists (among them the biochemist Fuz Rana, with whom PZ had his recent debate) and some few hundred volunteers with different backgrounds.
    Their approach is, that God revealed himself in nature and in scripture, and because both is from the same source, it basically should not contradict. Whenever there are contradictions, they ask the question, whether to review the interpretation of the Bible (theology) or the interpretation of nature (science). And you can be sure, their approach is not as simple as AiG (the Bible says so) or the naturalists (any theory is o.k. as long it excludes the supernatural). And it works quite well for my simple, straight-forward engineer’s mind.

  187. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @didgeman, #201:

    First, I note that you never did respond to my post asking for a definition of intelligence and of information.

    Now, merely for my own amusement, I’ll note this line from you in your latest:

    What we regularly find in the fossil record (including the fist life) is explosion of complexity, mass-extinction, explosion, mass-extinction, explosion…. and so on until the arrival of modern human. This repetitive pattern contradicts evolutionary predictions (first and very explicitly formulated by Darwin) but are (sic) perfectly in-line with the predictions of a Biblical creation model. I am not talking about young earth creationists like AiG, I am talking about the scientifically testable creation model of Reasons to Believe,

    Okay, this is bizarre, but let’s go with it.

    a) Point to the chapter and verse that says that there will be cyclical patterns of an “explosion” of “complexity” followed by “mass-extinction” followed by another “explosion” of “complexity”.

    b) Where does your bible say that the first detectable diversification will be billions of years ago, with a sharp rise in photosynthetic organisms? Since we don’t have any fossil record of a mass-extinction before the rise of photosynthetic organisms, what chapter and verse explains this new diversification event?

    c) Where does your bible talk about, “the boring billion” years after the Great Oxygenation Event?

    d) Where does your bible talk about the quite gradual replacement of the Cambrian fauna with the Ordovician fauna during the Ordovician radiation which had no mass-extinction/sudden increase in complexity pattern and yet over time replaced the Cambrian fauna nearly completely?

    e) What future fossil-record discoveries does your bible predict must occur? If the biblical model you espouse were to be tested, what tests would you propose to confirm or reject its predictions?

    In other words:

    Even if the fossil record supported a creation model, where do you get off saying it supports a BIBLICAL creation model?

    Responses to specific questions are much appreciated.

  188. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Their approach is, that God revealed himself in nature and in scripture,

    Sorry, but the evidence for your imaginary deity is nowhere to be seen. Unless one imagufactures it as a fiction, which is the case.
    Quit pretending your deity exists until you evidence it. Otherwise, you preach, you don’t discuss science.
    Still looking for your first scientific link, not one to theology, which refutes absolutely no science. It is rightfully ignored by science….

  189. didgeman says

    David Marjanović @ 178:

    ..Why does all known life use DNA with the exact same 4 bases and RNA with the exact same 4 bases, only 3 of which are identical to those of DNA while the fourth is very similar but not identical?..
    ..Why does all known life use the exact same 20 amino acids in proteins? ..
    …Why are the genes for certain basic housekeeping proteins so similar to each other in all known organisms? They’re more similar than they’d need to be for the same function…
    …Why are the genes for some of those proteins so similar to each other, I mean to the genes for different basic housekeeping proteins, again with no regard for form or function? What reason do we have to suspect anything other has happened than the familiar process of gene duplication with subsequent point mutations turning one gene into two with different functions?..

    These are good questions and can be answered by common ancestry. But they also can be answered by modular, common design . This principle, to reuse the same functional blocks on all level (genetic to morphology) in different designs is very common in all human works like buildings, cars, electronic equipment and so on. It is a very well proven engineering principle.
    I was often blamed here, not to specify the characteristic of my Creator. It is the God of the Bible, who created men in his image. So at least some of His genius was passed to us humans. It is therefore reasonable, to expect, that He could use the same construction principles, as we use it, but of course in much more advanced level.

  190. Saad says

    didgeman, 208

    Their approach is, that God revealed himself in nature and in scripture

    Why Jesus’s dad, though? There have been so many deities people have believed in. Is it because believers of Jesus’s dad killed, raped and conquered in the parts of the world where Reasons to Believe people were born/raised/lived?

    Your god doesn’t exist and is irrelevant to an understand of the universe for precisely the same reasons the Hindu and Aztec gods don’t exist and are irrelevant.

    And you can be sure, their approach is not as simple as AiG (the Bible says so) or the naturalists (any theory is o.k. as long it excludes the supernatural).

    There is no theory that includes the supernatural.

  191. didgeman says

    EnlightenmentLiberal @ 183:

    Do you accept that this tree-structure classification on physical body particulars is not arbitrary, and it is an objective fact about the physical body similarities of all animal species? Do you accept that this tree of animal body shape similarities has a single root (anamalia)?
    Do you also accept that when we plot the molecular DNA differences of animal species, it produces a mathematical tree structure? Do you also accept that the tree of animal DNA differences is basically the same tree which the Christian creationist Carl Linnaeus discovered a hundred years before Darwin and the discovery of evolution?

    The problem with all trees is, that they are not congruent. Before knowing genetics, the trees were morphological trees. And of course, evolution predicted, that genetic trees should confirm morphological trees. But this is by no means the case. This is another very weak point of the common ancestry argument, while it is very well covered by the common design argument.

  192. says

    didgeman@211: And you accuse biologists of “story-telling and vague wording”, when all you’re doing is telling vague “could-be” stories about “common design”?

  193. consciousness razor says

    I was often blamed here, not to specify the characteristic of my Creator. It is the God of the Bible, who created men in his image. So at least some of His genius was passed to us humans. It is therefore reasonable, to expect, that He could use the same construction principles, as we use it, but of course in much more advanced level.

    Yes, very advanced…. Very, Very, Very Advanced, with much Genius™ and numerous magic powers that we can’t even dream of…. It’s also really stupid. You should understand Tyson’s criticisms, as such an engineering expert, particularly “an entertainment complex in the middle of a sewage system: no engineer would design that at all.”

    Or instead of stupid, it’s malevolent. Since you say it’s the God of the Bible, malevolence must be the correct answer. So, if this evil being exists, do you think there’s anything we could do to destroy it? Considering how fucking evil it must be, it seems imperative that we do that as soon as possible. That is, if you want me to believe like you’re not on completely the wrong side, along with the young Earth creationists and religious extremists and terrorists and other people of that ilk, then you should be aware that “what would Jesus do?” is the wrong question. The question I want a clear answer to is this: what have you done lately to destroy God/Jesus/whatever-you-call-it?

  194. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    This principle, to reuse the same functional blocks on all level (genetic to morphology) in different designs is very common in all human works like buildings, cars, electronic equipment and so on. It is a very well proven engineering principle.
    I was often blamed here, not to specify the characteristic of my Creator. It is the God of the Bible, who created men in his image. So at least some of His genius was passed to us humans. It is therefore reasonable, to expect, that He could use the same construction principles, as we use it, but of course in much more advanced level.

    If you are correct that there not only is a creator, but that the creator uses “modular design” – indeed uses it “in a much more advanced level” than humans are able – why, then, does the octopus have a much better eye than the mammal?

    It seems that this “creator” isn’t reusing “the same functional blocks on all level (genetic to morphology) in different designs “.

    Are you wrong about your creator’s tendency toward or ability to use modular design? Or is some other aspect of your model incorrect?

    **BONUS POINTS** what experiment would we run to find out where you’ve gone wrong in your model and thus come up with a better model?

  195. says

    @213, didgeman

    The problem with all trees is, that they are not congruent. Before knowing genetics, the trees were morphological trees. And of course, evolution predicted, that genetic trees should confirm morphological trees. But this is by no means the case. This is another very weak point of the common ancestry argument, while it is very well covered by the common design argument.

    Actually they all match remarkably well. And this is far far more likely given the evolution hypothesis than the design hypothesis. It actually crushes the design hypothesis.

  196. azhael says

    @213 didgeman

    The problem with all trees is, that they are not congruent. Before knowing genetics, the trees were morphological trees. And of course, evolution predicted, that genetic trees should confirm morphological trees. But this is by no means the case. This is another very weak point of the common ancestry argument, while it is very well covered by the common design argument.

    Fuck you.
    Yes, fuck you, didgeman. Fuck you for being a lying, ignorant piece of shit. You do not get to say that ridiculous lie without being challenged and called on your horseshit.
    I’ll tell you again….you don’t know shit about biology, and you are embarrashing yourself by pretending that you do.
    The concordance of phylogenetic trees before genetic analysis was implemented and current models is remarkable. We did get a few things wrong, which is utterly unsurprising, but over all the concordance is so high, it would almost be uncanny if it weren’t for the fact that it is exactly what you would expect. People who know something about biology, unlike you, also fully expect phylogenetic trees based on morphology to not correlate perfectly, as that is entirely predictable by evolutionary theory. But i don’t expect you to acknowledge or even comprehend this…you are too bussy pretending that you know stuff that you don’t and whining that the scientific community won’t just accept magic for no reason whatsoever.

    You are not just ignorant, didgeman, you are also an idiot….and i for one i’m sick and tired of reading your ignorant, idiotic bullshit.

    Oh, and you know why ” it is very well covered by the common design argument.”? Because magic covers everything you like….including dragons coming out of your ass in a giant ball of fire. It doesn’t make it a valid explanation…at all…

  197. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    didgeman, thanks for addressing me in your 208, but for this bit

    ). . . . the naturalists (any theory is o.k. as long it excludes the supernatural).

    . . . a hearty “Fuck you.” You say “any theory” as if nobody gives a solitary shit about anything, then throw in the idea that excluding the supernatural is a goal. Put the two together, as you do, and we wind up with the idea that all the evolutionists are trying to do is to deny God, no matter how they have to scrabble to do so. And once again, the entire purpose of our lives is your benighted religion. Jesus Fuck! Can we not have anything that isn’t about you? All our work, all our thought, all our discovery, all our accomplishment, is just paddling about in futile denial of your religion?!?!

    And finally you get to this

    . . . the God of the Bible, who created men in his image.

    But the universe isn’t anything like the universe of the Bible. Are we in the image of a non-temporal, non-part-of-the-universe god, or in the image of the blustering boy-god of Genesis?

    For that matter, who is the God of the Bible? What is his name? Did he walk in the cool of the garden with the flaming body that would have blinded Moses?

    So much bullshit, so little giving a shit.

  198. didgeman says

    Hank_Says @ 186:

    Didgeman, if you respond to me again, just answer this:
    Has biology isolated itself from the critical scrutiny of the other sciences in order to rigidly enforce evolutionary “dogma”? If so, how do you think this was implemented and how is it maintained?
    If biology is not so isolated, this implies that all the other branches of scientific inquiry are complicit in a global, centuries-old scam. How was this implemented and how is it maintained?

    Yes, I think, it is a phenomena of biology. 100 years ago, most astronomers and physicists believed in a steady state universe, because of worldview reasons. But the growing evidence for the big-bang model and the expansion of the universe could turn their mind. The opposition was hard and long, even by the greatest physicist of that time, Einstein, who did not even believe his own equations and added the cosmological constant to make his equations compatible with his worldview. The Bible described the beginning of the universe, the expansion of the universe and the constant physical laws 2500 years before modern physics and astronomy confirmed it. This obvious indication to the creation event by the big-bang theory was one of the main obstacles against the theory (and the fact, the the Belgian priest and astrophysicist Lemaitre proclaimed this theory first in 1927 did not help much to accept it).
    For PZ and some others, evolution is an axiom, which is as certain as the spherical shape of the earth and does not need to be proven anymore (see his statement at the beginning of the debate above). I see no other scientific discipline to be so certain about something with so few evidence. But I think, this will change with growing evidence for design everywhere in biology. One characteristic of science normally is, that nothing is 100% sure and true, each knowledge has more or less probability and is always temporary. If something is 100% sure, then it’s religion, either Theism or Atheism/Naturalism.

  199. azhael says

    And just as an addendum, the reason why some phylogenetic trees based on the morphology of certain groups have been shown to be wrong and have been corrected and improved by the use of genetic analysis, is because it turns out that developing phylogenetic trees based purely on morphology is very unreliable for certain groups. That’s not a flaw of evolutionary theory or the validity of common ancestry, that’s a flaw of inferring phylogenetic relationships based on morphology. It works for some groups, it doesn’t for others.
    But regardless, how do you explain that using genetic analysis, our understanding and precission of common descent has been confirmed to completely new and extraordinary heights?
    And how do you explain the fact that there is no discontinuity between these relationships, as you would expect if they were magicked into existence independently? Actually, don’t answer that, you’ve already stablished just how ignorant you are about the subject, i don’t expect you to respond with anything other than meaningless made up dribble that doesn’t actually correspond with biological reality and only sounds vaguely convincing to you because of how ignorant you are about the subject. I can tell that in your head, you are thinking that there are in fact discontinuities and that biological diversity fits into independent buckets, so i’ll just go ahead and preemptively start laughing at you now.

  200. Vatican Black Ops, Latrina Lautus says

    didgeman

    The Bible described the beginning of the universe, the expansion of the universe and the constant physical laws 2500 years before modern physics and astronomy confirmed it.

    Apologies for coming in late, but I have to express how excited I am that Somewhere Out There is a phenomenon that lets a dude with a walking stick part large bodies of water so that one’s tribe can stroll across to the other side. I can’t wait for physics and fluid dynamics to catch up with the Bible!

  201. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Didgeman, I am not the one who claims that “…God revealed himself in nature and in scripture…,” and as I do not accept your scripture as anything more than the myths of a tribe of preliterate, bronze-age shepherds, that leaves what you deity might have revealed in nature as a possible pathway toward common understanding.

    The “bad design” argument is used commonly by atheists precisely because theists have no reasonable or compelling reply. An evolutionary perspective has no such difficulty, because there is no design involved. I note that you have no compelling response either. Which would you care to tackle: the blind spot in the human eye? The inadequate number of blood vessels providing blood to the heart? You pick.

  202. Vatican Black Ops, Latrina Lautus says

    I’m having some delicious word salad for lunch. I am grateful to didgeman.

  203. Vatican Black Ops, Latrina Lautus says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space,
    Forgive me for jumping in, but I’d also like to add the knee to your list of poor designs. Holy gods my knees are a mess.

  204. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The Bible described the beginning of the universe, the expansion of the universe and the constant physical laws 2500 years before modern physics and astronomy confirmed it.

    Nope, you lie and bullshit. No evidence, of course, and your claims are therefore dismissed for what they are. Fuckwittery.

    evolution is an axiom,

    Sorry, you again show abject stupidity and fuckwittery. Evolution is a scientific theory, [A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method and repeatedly tested and confirmed through observation and experimentation.] with a million or so scientific papers backing it up, both directly and indirectly. How many scientific papers back up your phantasm? Zero. And your babble, a book of mythology/fiction, isn’t a science text for obvious reasons.
    That is why you are being laughed at. You will never refute the science without more science, and you will never replace science with religion. Only with more science. Get real. All you have is:…………..[crickets chirring] *the sounds of silence*

  205. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    VBO,
    Indeed, the human back and knee were on my list @123–utterly stupid for any species that walks upright on two hind legs.

  206. Vatican Black Ops, Latrina Lautus says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space,
    Oops! Apologies for missing it. I also take any opportunity I can to whine about my knees. These damned knees. KNEES.

  207. Amphiox says

    If you are correct that there not only is a creator, but that the creator uses “modular design” – indeed uses it “in a much more advanced level” than humans are able – why, then, does the octopus have a much better eye than the mammal?

    One could simply say that the creator likes cephalopods better than vertebrates, if it were not for the niggling point that cephalopod eyes lack colour vision. So what you have is TWO badly designed eyes, each badly designed in different ways, and for which an easily superior design could have been achieved simply by combining the best features of both. Human toddlers playing with lego bricks are readily capable of this kind of design improvement. Yet didgeman’s creator, supposedly “at a much more advanced level” is apparently incapable of this.

    The Bible described the beginning of the universe, the expansion of the universe and the constant physical laws 2500 years before modern physics and astronomy confirmed it.

    The bible says nothing of the sort. Every single physical description in the bible is dead wrong, unless you resort to metaphorical explanations arbitrarily applied AFTER THE FACT.

    The problem with all trees is, that they are not congruent. Before knowing genetics, the trees were morphological trees. And of course, evolution predicted, that genetic trees should confirm morphological trees. But this is by no means the case. This is another very weak point of the common ancestry argument, while it is very well covered by the common design argument.

    Do you LIKE lying, didgeman?

    The genetic trees and the morphological trees conform VERY well. Only at the finest details of the end branches do we see a tiny amount of disagreement. No scientifically derived tree, whether morphological or genetic, ever misclassified whales as fish or bats as birds, or put lobsters and clams in the same group.

    On the other hand, the common design argument doesn’t cover this AT ALL. In a designed biota, organisms should not even BE classifiable in a tree at all.

  208. didgeman says

    Menyambal – not as pretentious as I seem @ 177

    ..As for the “explosions” (which still make no sense in relation to scripture),..

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden @ 209:

    Okay, this is bizarre, but let’s go with it.
    a) Point to the chapter and verse that says that there will be cyclical patterns of an “explosion” of “complexity” followed by “mass-extinction” followed by another “explosion” of “complexity”.
    b) Where does your bible say that the first detectable diversification will be billions of years ago, with a sharp rise in photosynthetic organisms? Since we don’t have any fossil record of a mass-extinction before the rise of photosynthetic organisms, what chapter and verse explains this new diversification event?
    c) Where does your bible talk about, “the boring billion” years after the Great Oxygenation Event?
    d) Where does your bible talk about the quite gradual replacement of the Cambrian fauna with the Ordovician fauna during the Ordovician radiation which had no mass-extinction/sudden increase in complexity pattern and yet over time replaced the Cambrian fauna nearly completely?
    e) What future fossil-record discoveries does your bible predict must occur? If the biblical model you espouse were to be tested, what tests would you propose to confirm or reject its predictions?
    In other words:
    Even if the fossil record supported a creation model, where do you get off saying it supports a BIBLICAL creation model?
    Responses to specific questions are much appreciated.

    All these questions are quite well answered in different books by Hugh Ross, the founder of Reasons to Believe.
    For instance, “Navigating Genesis” would be a good start. I think, if you are really interested in the compatibility of the last scientific findings with the Biblical creation account, it is better, to read this book from a real scientist and Bible specialist (I did not get a lot of credibility here as an engineer):
    on Reasons.org
    on Amazon, also available a Kindle Version

  209. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    No, didgeman.

    Citing your sources is good.

    Saying that you’re not going to answer because someone else in the world already answered your question = NOT GOOD.

    What happens if I question something in Ross? How will I know it’s a part with which you agree?

    Frankly, how the fuck do I know you even understand Ross?

    Do your own work. Citing other person’s work is PART of showing your own work. Submitting another person’s work in place of actually doing your own isn’t citing work, and it sure as hell ain’t **doing** any work.

    If you would like to simply admit now that you have no knowledge or even opinions, that’s fine.

    However if you wish us to believe that you DO have your own knowledge and/or opinions, you sure as heck ought to be able to SHOW some when asked.

  210. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Didgeman,
    If they are “quite well answered” anywhere, you can certainly save us the trip and summarize the answers here for us, n’est ce pas?

  211. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    All these questions are quite well answered in different books by Hugh Ross, the founder of Reasons to Believe.

    They are not peer reviewed scientific literature, and as such are dismissed as fuckwittery.
    When will you show some intellectual power and honesty by actually citing the peer reviewed scientific literature to demonstrate evidence against evolution. And when are you going to provide conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity? No evidence, no deity, it’s all a delusion in your mind. QED.

  212. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    VBO, I was a lifelong runner and going into my 50s had pretty good knees…until one of my cats tried to kill me–and itself–as I was going down the stairs. And once that cartilage is gone, it ain’t comin’ back.

  213. Amphiox says

    This principle, to reuse the same functional blocks on all level (genetic to morphology) in different designs is very common in all human works like buildings, cars, electronic equipment and so on. It is a very well proven engineering principle.

    This is precisely what we DON’T see in living organisms. Ever. Functional blocks are not reused in biology. Functional blocks are only ever shared if inherited from a common ancestor. If not so inherited, organs of identical function have to evolve separately by convergent evolution, and the end results are tellingly DIFFERENT from one another in the fine details, even if the functions are identical. And even if one solution is superior in all aspects to another, the lineage stuck with the inferior solution never gets the superior one.

    NO WHERE do you see whole functional blocks reused across lineages. (Even where lateral gene exchanges occurred, you clearly see the evidence of divergent evolution in the details of the exchanged genetic material over time.) Feathers would have been very useful for bats. Bats don’t have them. Vertebrates could have used the cephalopods right-way layered retina, but they don’t have them. Cephalopods could have used vertebrate cone opsins for colour vision, but they don’t have them. Mammals could have used salamander’s ability to regenerate adult axons, but they don’t have them. Synapsids REALLY could have used the archosaur’s flow-through air-sac respiratory system, but they don’t have them. Whales, seals and porpoises could all have used gills (99.5% of the orca’s hunting strategies for marine mammals would be useless if only those marine mammals had gills, for example) but they don’t have them.

    The list is endless. Indeed you can find examples in every single living thing on this planet.

  214. Vatican Black Ops, Latrina Lautus says

    _ray_, so sorry to hear it. :-( You can always tell who the old jocks are. We’re the ones limping around and wearing tensor bandages or braces in our 30s and up. I am a hobbling meatbag.

  215. Amphiox says

    I was often blamed here, not to specify the characteristic of my Creator. It is the God of the Bible, who created men in his image.

    Not sufficient for an honest scientific design hypothesis. It is no different from saying the creator is Gandalf. “God” just a word.

    A DESCRIPTION of the creator is a detailed summary of the creator’s specific properties, ie powers, capabilities, limitations, goals, etc, linked to a prediction as to what observable consequences those properties should have in the proposed creation, as well as a prediction of what we WON’T see in the design, because the properties of the creator means that said creator will not produce such designs.

    For example, if we hypothesize that the Egyptians built the pyramids and we propose that the Egyptians were regular humans who needed stone and copper tools to shape rocks, then we predict that we should see copper and stone tool-marks on the blocks that make up the pyramids. If we propose that they did not have concrete making technology then we should NOT see any components of the pyramids made of concrete.

  216. Amphiox says

    All these questions are quite well answered in different books by Hugh Ross, the founder of Reasons to Believe.

    If that is all you got, then you should have made your very first post “hey everyone, take a look at the writers of Hugh Ross”, with an appropriate link, and then you should have vacated the thread and not come back.

    Legitimate honest participation in a discussion entails more than name-dropping authorities and indeterminate reliability.

  217. Saad says

    I can understand when creationists like didgeman disguise their beliefs using scientific terminology (expansion, cosmological constant, probability, morphology, etc), but then how does this connect Jesus’s dad and walking on water?

    didgeman, what criterion did you use to go with the Bible instead of the Qur’an or the Vedas as containing the truth. I’m almost certain you didn’t spend years studying the others and living your life as a Muslim and then a Hindu before ruling them out.

  218. Saad says

    And why do you ignore the Mesoamerican explanations of the universe and creation of humans? Are you racist too?

  219. Vatican Black Ops, Latrina Lautus says

    Saad,
    Christians just know they’re right. It says so right in their book. I mean come on.

  220. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yawn, the preacher is boring. Not making their case either.
    Didgeman, science is only refuted by more science. Show us some real science, not theology. Which refutes nothing, as it is based on the twin fallacies of your imaginary deity and mythical/fictional holy book. No way to make a case for anything.

  221. Al Dente says

    didgeman @193

    Sorry, but this is simply story-telling and vague wording. Please apply the same rules how to rate such statements, as you apply to my statements.

    In my post @170 I gave a link (here it is again) and a short quote from it. Obviously you didn’t follow the link or else you would have seen it was more than “simply story-telling.” Try harder.

  222. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Can we have louismorelli instead, please?

    That’s a significant chunk of tofu-dog you have to come over to my house to clean up, Saad.

    Damn, you have to WARN people before bringing that level of funny.

  223. says

    didgeman #241:

    Here you go:

    [link]

    [link]

    Okay, so the only part even vaguely relevant to my question appears to be at the second of those links:

    Thus says the LORD, “If My covenant for day and night stand not, and the fixed patterns of heaven and earth I have not established then I would reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, not taking from his descendants rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.” Thus, God compares his trustworthiness to the reliability of the day/night cycle and the fixed patterns of the heavens. The variation in α described above gives no reason to doubt the predictability of either of the physical phenomena mentioned in the passage.

    But that doesn’t show God setting the value of any constant. It merely states that he promises not to change stuff. Hell, you could take this as a promise that strawberry yoghurt will always taste like strawberry yoghurt. You claimed that the various constants were described in the Bible.

    You appear to be dodging the question.

    Please show specifically where, as you put it, ‘The Bible described the beginning of the universe, the expansion of the universe and the constant physical laws.’

    I’ll give you a start:

    Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven.

    Please show the verse wherein it is stated that the firmament, aka ‘heaven,’ was then made to expand.

    When you’ve done that, please address the strong interaction I asked about, and where that’s described in the Bible.

  224. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    I am agreeing with Amphiox about created organisms. If all were created from scratch, there should be no treeing anywhere. There also should not be air-breathing marine life and flightless birds (I was once watching a nature video about the critters feeding on a school of sardines – dolphins, sharks, seals, penguins, pelicans – it was just bizarre the variety of lifeforms).

    I have been claiming to be an engineer. Well, I did that for a living, but if I really was what I wanted to be, I’d be a designer, like my father before me. I have the talent, but haven’t had the time and tools. I do have the ability to recognize design, though – I was at my dad’s yesterday, and picked up a set of home-made handlebars from the grass near his shop, and could tell that he had not made them. I can reverse-engineer like a champ, and tell you the tools and motives of the designer/builder (let’s not forget that God was also the builder). And all my skill, expertise, and talent tells me that this universe was not created, nor was it intelligently designed.

    So, didgeman, whatever personal belief you bring to this is trumped by my disagreement. So we have to go back to the evidence and the logic – you know, Science. Or have you got some way we can settle this through religion? (I can levitate a coke can, and make a rubber band roll back to me, and make a knot vanish – what magic miracles have you got?)

    Speaking of religion, I am 100% sure that there is a dog under my right ankle right now. Is that my religion? Who worships, and how? You are 100% sure that your trite trivia is the goods, and that almost everybody else in the world is wrong – that is indeed your religion. By the way, if your religion considers me worthy of eternal hellfire, I’m just going to slip in another “fuck you” on general principles.

    As for your designer, I am holding this tablet at a range of about eight inches because that is all the further my eyes can focus, and I am lying down because my ass hurts from what your holy book says your god designed and sent, namely emerods (Jesus, it hurts). Now, the bed, the tablet, the music and the lighting were all designed by humans and this particular arrangement was worked out by me. There are elements of randomness in the mix – half this stuff was stumbled upon at garage sales – but I have two pillows, two dogs, a nice comforter, and The Pirates of Penzance in the background, all by my intent, while your god has given me wonky eyes and a painful ass, and a bladder that is going to make me stand up to a whole ‘nother batch of design flaws. If your god did indeed make us in his image, he is indeed a purblind flaming asshole.

  225. didgeman says

    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden @ 233:

    Citing your sources is good.
    Saying that you’re not going to answer because someone else in the world already answered your question = NOT GOOD.
    What happens if I question something in Ross? How will I know it’s a part with which you agree?
    Frankly, how the fuck do I know you even understand Ross?
    Do your own work. Citing other person’s work is PART of showing your own work. Submitting another person’s work in place of actually doing your own isn’t citing work, and it sure as hell ain’t **doing** any work.
    If you would like to simply admit now that you have no knowledge or even opinions, that’s fine.
    However if you wish us to believe that you DO have your own knowledge and/or opinions, you sure as heck ought to be able to SHOW some when asked.

    You know exactly, that it is impossible to do all work yourself, about which you tell something. This is impossible in science and in philosophy if you ever want to draw a conclusion, which is more general than the own little world.
    Nevertheless, I read the book and find it answers your questions quite well. What I did for discussions with young people is to create a one-page science/creation collage, which tries to combine the scientific findings and the Biblical key messages combined in on large picture. This is my work, although I used some public domain pictures, for which the collage is too small to list all the copyright remarks. So please don’t republish it. Here, you can find it:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/p3o5oy6dl7tslff/Creation_Collage_Nov2014.pdf?dl=0

  226. didgeman says

    Daz: Keeper of the Hairy-Eared Dwarf Lemur of Atheism @ 249:

    Okay, so the only part even vaguely relevant to my question appears to be at the second of those links:

    Sorry, but if you are not willing to read the mentioned chapters and verses in the first link, I can’t help you.
    Here again the link with the verses about the start and the expansion of the universe:
    http://www.reasons.org/articles/is-the-big-bang-biblical
    Here an online Bible, where you can select the translation (e.g. NIV, ESV):
    https://www.biblegateway.com/

  227. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    Yeah, no. Sending us off to books that explain your god-perfect book is wrong. It’s like the folks who defend the Star Wars prequels by telling you to go read the expanded universe. The original material has to stand on its own, especially if it was tag-teamed by God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost.

    I used to do technical writing. I never expected other, lesser, writers to have to explain my documents, nor did I expect my intended audience to have to spend their Sunday mornings listening to some preacher explain what I meant. And when I included a help-line number, I intended the communication to prevent divisions into rival cults. And when I had designed the product, I did my best to remove the need for an operator’s manual at all.

  228. says

    didgeman #253:

    Ah, spotted it. ‘God is “stretching out the heavens” like a tent.’ You could’ve just, you know, said what verse you were talking of.

    But, that’s it? Really? A tent, when stretched, doesn’t tend to eternally expand. I find myself, let us say, somewhat sceptical of your interpretation, even at the basic level of what the metaphor implies. In fact, even the author of that drivel is hesitant about assigning such meaning to it:

    Obvious parallels emerge from these descriptions. Although it is certain the ancient authors didn’t specifically have the big bang in mind when they wrote those words, it’s at least possible that the supernatural Author inspired these particular descriptions because He knew they reflected an accurate account of what scientists would discover millennia later.
    [emphasis added]

    In other words: If we squint hard enough, cast all reasonable doubts aside, and pretend, we might be able to convince ourselves that that’s what it means. Bravo! *slow clap* You sure have this ‘doing science’ business down pat, don’t you.

    Still an’ all, you’ll be tackling the strong interaction now, yes?

  229. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sorry, but if you are not willing to read the mentioned chapters and verses in the first link, I can’t help you.

    If you won’t read and cite the peer reviewed scientific literature we can dismiss everything you say. And do.
    Your preaching can get you banhammered, so stop it. That means quite citing religious web sites. They are meaning drivel for the reasons explained in my #245. Your thoughts are based on fallacies.

  230. Amphiox says

    So, the link that didgeman finally produces is nothing but a sad hodgepodge of after-the-fact metaphorical apologetics that only works with the liberal inclusion of outright lies as well. Claiming, for example, that big bang cosmology actually requires a transcendent cause (which it decidedly does not, as modern work on it clearly shows), claiming the biblical statement that there will be a “new heaven and a new earth” is equivalent to the cosmology’s prediction of a heat death of the universe wherein the universe will no longer be able to sustain life, which anyone with basic logic skills can tell is NOT a valid equivalency (the biblical phrase clearly predicts a NEW creation, while the cosmological model only states that the old creation will run down and end – note also that didgeman’s source deliberately ignores the fact that the biblical account has the universe ending energetically, with much violence, while the scenario in modern cosmology is the exact opposite of that – an interminably slow winding-down), and trying to say that equivalencies that are basically binary choices (ie the universe has a beginning, time goes in one direction, etc) which only need a 50% chance guess to be right are somehow profound.

    It is notable as well that all of this is produced only after science independently discovered the big bang. It is an after-the-fact attempt to fit known reality into scripture. No one took the metaphor of god “stretching out the heavens” and used it to predict that the universe would be expanding BEFORE that fact was discovered. Indeed, the static universe prior to the advent of big bang theory was the scripturally approved interpretation for centuries.

  231. Amphiox says

    The “stretched out the universe like a tent” metaphor can just as easily be interpreted to mean that the bible predicts that the universe has only two dimensions. Which is, of course, false.

    Or that the heavens are a sheet or membrane over the earth, upon which the fixed stars are hung. Which is also false.

  232. Rey Fox says

    Can we have louismorelli instead, please?

    No thank you. At least I can actually read what didgeman says.

  233. Amphiox says

    Note also that didgeman’s equivalencies only ever go into broad outlines. Very primitive, basic stuff. Like the universe is expanding. (It’s only one possibility out of three). But science goes much further than that. Modern cosmology gives us the fine details of the universe’s expansion over time. The actual rate of the expansion itself. The fact that it is accelerating. The possibility that there was an inflationary episode near the beginning, and so forth.

    The biblical texts don’t give even a hint of any of that.

  234. Vatican Black Ops, Latrina Lautus says

    I’ll refute Didgeman’s propositions by hauling out something at the same level:

    “He’s not the Messiah! He’s a very naughty boy!”

  235. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    Dang it, didgeman. I had to copy that link, open another browser, paste, download, open and then look at that. I must compliment you on the collage, as far as composition and choice of pictures go. But, dang, the writing, even though it was nicely colored, well-fonted, and pleasingly-placed, should have been replaced with the rubble of an Hungarian type factory’s garbage dump after being razed by hemp-crazed Cossacks on a three-day horilka bender.

    Geeze. No wonder you worship Hugh Ross. I told you up there that the very first bit of his writing that you linked to, had me clenching in embarrassment for the guy. I am not going to read anything of his, and I will thank you to copy and paste, with verse number, directly from the Bible, from now on. We will get the word of God that way, undiluted, from the version of the Bible that you have settled upon as the correct one.

    Jesus wept. – John 11:35

  236. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @didgeman

    And you can be sure, their approach is not as simple as AiG (the Bible says so) or the naturalists (any theory is o.k. as long it excludes the supernatural). And it works quite well for my simple, straight-forward engineer’s mind.

    This is a serious problem in many parts of academia, or at least with their rhetoric. However, I feel very confident that if the supernatural side ever produced anything resembling compelling evidence, then academia would quickly change their mind. You only have to see else-thread where I have been arguing for the proper inclusion of well-formed supernatural hypotheses into science. It’s just that all supernatural hypotheses have failed tests (or been too obscure to have been tested).

    The Bible described the beginning of the universe, the expansion of the universe and the constant physical laws 2500 years before modern physics and astronomy confirmed it.

    By what method do you cherry pick from the bible to determine “true accurate scientific predictions” vs “that’s just poetry / metaphor, etc.” ? Because I also read Genesis as saying that trees came before all stars, which is laughably wrong. I also read Genesis and the rest of the bible as having a cosmology with a firmament. The bible uses the same terminology to describe the same firmament concept which existed in all neighboring cultures at the time. I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as a firmament.

    The problem with all trees is, that they are not congruent. Before knowing genetics, the trees were morphological trees. And of course, evolution predicted, that genetic trees should confirm morphological trees. But this is by no means the case. This is another very weak point of the common ancestry argument, while it is very well covered by the common design argument.

    Wait what? Congruence is the case, to a very high degree. Of course morphological trees sometimes put some species in wrong positions, but that was like the 1% case. The 99% case was near exact congruence. Do you disagree? Do we need to go back to primary evidence and find Carl Linnaeus’s original drawings, and compare that to modern genetic cladistics? What do you expect to find if we do this? I expect at least a 95% congruence (informal use of percentages – sorry).

    For exmaple, I expect that cats will be put in the same bucket, bogs in the same bucket, cats and dogs together in a single bucket (carnivoria), carnivoria and the rest of mammals in the mammal bucket, all vertebrates in the vertebrate bucket, all birds in the birds bucket, etc.

    What do you expect to see? Do you disagree with my characterization?

    For example, all monsters created by humans for their fiction violate modern cladistics. Mammals with feathers. Such like that. If we ever found an animal which similarly violated modern cladistics, that would be the start of great evidence against common ancestry. We have exactly 0 examples of a real species which doesn’t fit on the genetic tree of life and the morphology tree of life, but we have many examples of fictional species which don’t, such as about every fictional monster created by humans.

    Thus says the LORD, “If My covenant for day and night stand not, and the fixed patterns of heaven and earth I have not established then I would reject the descendants of Jacob and David My servant, not taking from his descendants rulers over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But I will restore their fortunes and will have mercy on them.” Thus, God compares his trustworthiness to the reliability of the day/night cycle and the fixed patterns of the heavens. The variation in α described above gives no reason to doubt the predictability of either of the physical phenomena mentioned in the passage.

    I want to continue some analysis of this quote. It literally talks about the constancy of the fixed patterns (of stars and planets) in the heavens. That’s simply false. Stars move over time, and the constellations change over time. This looks very much like false and falsified scientific knowledge.

    PS: I’ve heard equally compelling arguments that the Koran makes equivalent scientific predictions. Their readings require just as much “looking for what I know to be right” and “wishful thinking” as yours. Your readings are not simply not honest. Taken with a simple straightforward reading, it talks about firmament cosmology, with 4 pillars holding up the firmament, and 4 pillars holding up the Earth, using the exact same terminology to describe the exact same concepts that were found in all neighboring cultures at the time.

  237. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    Here’s something about the Bible:

    “The sons of Adonikam,” men and women and children, numbered 666 according to the list as given in Ezra, but 667 according to the copy in Nehemiah.

    So, didgeman, if the Bible can lose a child of Adonikam between books, why should we trust it on anything at all? You act like it is 100% perfect, as you seem to think Hugh Ross is, and as you seem to think we regard science as (black-and-white thinking is a space on the Bingo card). But the Bible is not perfect, and even you say that you refer to the real world when you decide to.

    As has been said in this very thread, the majority view for the majority of the past 2000 years has been that the Bible was accurate, if a tad obscure. But once the thought that it was not inerrant started to spread, the world changed. And people like you keep whinging that it hasn’t been given a chance.

    And people like you dismiss all the progress of the recent centuries, just so you can keep on hating everyone who does not worship your arrogance. Again, fuck you.

  238. says

    didge #220 – again, feel free to skip to the end if you’re pressed for time.

    Hank_Says @ 186:

    Didgeman, if you respond to me again, just answer this:
    Has biology isolated itself from the critical scrutiny of the other sciences in order to rigidly enforce evolutionary “dogma”? If so, how do you think this was implemented and how is it maintained?
    If biology is not so isolated, this implies that all the other branches of scientific inquiry are complicit in a global, centuries-old scam. How was this implemented and how is it maintained?

    Yes, I think, it is a phenomena of biology. 100 years ago, most astronomers and physicists believed in a steady state universe, because of worldview reasons. But the growing evidence for the big-bang model and the expansion of the universe could turn their mind. The opposition was hard and long, even by the greatest physicist of that time, Einstein, who did not even believe his own equations and added the cosmological constant to make his equations compatible with his worldview.

    I didn’t ask about physics.

    The Bible described the beginning of the universe, the expansion of the universe and the constant physical laws 2500 years before modern physics and astronomy confirmed it.

    You’re as terrible at comprehending your own scripture as you are at comprehending the words of others.

    Genesis describes God speaking everything into existence (6000 years ago by Ussher’s reckoning, yet you apparently accept the 13.8 billion year age of the observable Universe – care to account for the discrepancy?). There is no mention of a hot dense singularity, no mention of expansion, no mention of physical constants, even in the most charitable reading. The people who wrote the Bible didn’t even know what stars were made of, or that the Moon was just a reflector and not a light source, yet you expect people to accept it was a work of divine scientific genius? That kind of thing should be beneath you.

    Now, can’t you stick to the simple question I asked – y’know, the one that you quoted and then ignored?

    Tell me how you think biology – and only biology – managed to wall itself off from the critical scrutiny of its sister sciences.

    As a bonus, telling me why would be interesting too. What is it about evolution that would drive millions of people to such deception? Arguably, cosmology and astronomy do far more damage to the God fable than humans being apes – why and how did biology isolate itself?

    For PZ and some others, evolution is an axiom, which is as certain as the spherical shape of the earth and does not need to be proven anymore (see his statement at the beginning of the debate above).

    PZ’s opening statement means that scientists overwhelmingly accept that the evidence conclusively points to common descent. That’s not an axiomatic point of view; it’s a conclusion based on evidence – it’s only denied by people who don’t understand that evidence or have some kind of vested metaphysical interest in it not being true.

    As with any current theory, the scientific consensus on evolution can of course be challenged and changed, but only by evidence that is superior in quality and quantity to that already amassed (across dozens of fields), all of which supports evolution, none of which does not and much of which directly contradicts the God model.

    So, you and your capering cadre of carny clowns for Christ better hit the lab, schedule some field trips and get cracking. You have a little way to catch up and – sorry to inform you of this – Bible quotes probably won’t pass peer review.

    I see no other scientific discipline to be so certain about something with so few evidence.

    Then – there’s no nice way to put this – you’re just fucking lazy. Or frightened. Or simply not interested in looking at the actual evidence that exists for evolution because you’ve already decided in advance that God did it, you believe it and that settles it.

    But I think, this will change with growing evidence for design everywhere in biology. One characteristic of science normally is, that nothing is 100% sure and true, each knowledge has more or less probability and is always temporary. If something is 100% sure, then it’s religion, either Theism or Atheism/Naturalism.

    I have registered and ignored your attempt to stigmatise atheism (which I’ll add to the ever-growing list of Things Didge Doesn’t Understand) as a religion which claims 100% certainty. It is not and it does not – please stop projecting your fundamentalist leanings onto others.

    There is actually no growing evidence for design – zero plus zero equals zero. The pathetic, cold trickle of self-published ID/creationist “research” over the last decade or so amounts to little more than clueless nitpicking and willful distortion of data gathered by real scientists and discredited charlatans like Dembski & Behe attempting to hijack peoples’ ignorance on complex topics for their own theological ends.

    Hell, if anything, the creationists are regressing. Since they won’t engage in any real science to back up their claims (possibly knowing on some level that they will fail), all they do is circle around, cite each other and repeat the same old tired anti-evolution facepalms that weren’t true 150 years ago, weren’t true five years ago and aren’t true today. Your presence here is a prime example: you’ve given us nothing but assertions of scriptural truth, possibly deliberate misunderstandings of science and a parade of stock-standard creationist misconceptions, misrepresentations and laughable conspiracy theories.

    But I’m glad you realise that 100% certainty is not a scientific goal, or even a possibility. Biologists understand that as well as other scientists, which is why they continue to investigate life. They want to know more about it precisely because they don’t know everything.

    In fact, the only people I’ve ever seen claim scientists think they know everything are fundamentalists who don’t understand science but hate any bits of it that don’t support their legends, leading them to impugn scientists’ motives and invent cabals and conspiracies. Additionally, I’ve lost count of the number of fundies who claim absolute certainty that their gods exist, in the face of no evidence or even contradictory evidence.

    CONCLUSION

    I shouldn’t have to point out that you haven’t even attempted to answer how a global biological conspiracy involving millions of people was implemented or how it’s maintained, especially when it so frequently intersects with all the other fields of science that any attempt at subterfuge would be detected and quashed before it could take a breath.

    If you respond again, don’t bother unless you want to explain to me why you think biology is a global conspiracy and how it protects itself from the scrutiny of the other sciences.

  239. Al Dente says

    Greta Christina considered how the supernatural has become more and more trivial:

    When you look at the history of what we know about the world, you see a very noticeable pattern. Natural explanations of things have been replacing supernatural explanations of them. Like a steamroller.

    Why the sun rises and sets. Where thunder and lightning come from. Why people get sick. Why people look like their parents. How the complexity of life came into being. I could go on and on.

    All of these things were once explained by religion. But as we understood the world better, and learned to observe it more carefully, the religious explanations were replaced by physical cause and effect. Consistently. Thoroughly. Like a steamroller. The number of times that a supernatural or religious explanation of a phenomenon has been replaced by a natural explanation? Thousands upon thousands upon thousands.

    Now. The number of times that a natural explanation of a phenomenon has been replaced by a supernatural or religious one? The number of times humankind has said, “We used to think (X) was caused by physical cause and effect, but now we understand that it’s actually caused by God, or spirits, or demons, or the soul”?

    Exactly zero.

    It’s true that science doesn’t know everything. But just because science doesn’t know something doesn’t mean you can fill the hole with whatever fairytale you like.

  240. Menyambal - not as pretentious as I seem says

    Yay, Hank_Says!

    didgeman says that astronomers “believed” that the universe was steady-state. No, they thought that it was, or assumed that it was, or had no reason to think otherwise, but blind faith was not the case. And it would have been both the logical assumption AND the vestige of Creationism. Creationists like didgeman use any chance to slide in an insulting mischaracterization and picking them out takes more time than it takes for them to say more shite, such as something about Einstein. Everyone concerned looked at the new evidence, sought more, changed their minds and publicly acknowledged their previous error – not that they had held their previous positions as unchangeable in the first place.

    What the fuck to you want, didgeman? Show us a church group that has done as much, eh? (And, of course, it was Science that found that Science’s tentatively-held thought was incomplete (I’d hardly call the present rate of growth anything but steady at any human timescale).)

    didgeman, as I pointed out above, the present situation in the animal world is that of inexact reproduction of too damn many offspring, with a sprinkle of randomness. Each generation is indisputably slightly different from the one before – if that difference accumulates, evolution is inevitable. The survivors out of all the excess offspring are usually those best-suited for the current conditions – that “selection” is natural. If you put those two together, you get evolution through natural selection. Where is the damn conspiracy? Darwin simply pointed out that cheetahs breed fast antelopes as surely as a Surrey farmer breeds Red Polls. Do you doubt that? Is it a conspiracy?

    As we have said, common ancestry is obvious, once you look at it. It isn’t dogma, it isn’t a conspiracy. You can look at living animals and you can look at the fossil record. I can show you records that humans kept that show that two different, but similar, breeds of dogs had common ancestors, back in Somerset in 1800-and-some. Where does that stop, huh? Where does the conspiracy kick in?

    I’ll tell you where the conspiracy is, didgeman, it is in religion. I can show you the con-men, I can show you the money. I have been a part of religion more than you have been a part of science, and I have seen your kind before, and I know where you get your idiotic ideas. Don’t “conspire” me, you knee-crawling twit.

  241. didgeman says

    Amphiox @ 258:

    It is notable as well that all of this is produced only after science independently discovered the big bang. It is an after-the-fact attempt to fit known reality into scripture. No one took the metaphor of god “stretching out the heavens” and used it to predict that the universe would be expanding BEFORE that fact was discovered. Indeed, the static universe prior to the advent of big bang theory was the scripturally approved interpretation for centuries.

    Sorry, but this is plain wrong. I am often asked here to do my homework. Does this only apply for me?

    Have a look here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_nihilo
    And this here is a quote from this link:

    Biblical scholars and theologians within the Christian tradition such as Augustine (354-430),[11] John Calvin (1509–1564),[12] John Wesley (1703–1791)[13] and Matthew Henry (1662–1714)[14] cite Genesis 1:1 in support of the idea of Divine creation out of nothing.

  242. azhael says

    @271 didgeman
    What? Are you saying that creation ex nihilo is a pre-scientific hypothesis for the Big Bang?
    *facepalm*
    Do you comprehend at all why that is not the case?

    And when are you going to acknowledge all the factually wrong shit that you have spewed in previous posts? Your lies have been adressed and corrected, are you simply going to gloss over them and move on to new lies, in traditional creationist fashion, or are you going to be intellectually honest and acknowledge that you were wrong and that your ignorant preconceptions don’t actually fit reality and that they don’t support magical “explanations”?
    This one is also rhetorical…we all know there is no chance that you’d be honest about it…that’s because you don’t actually care about knowledge, you just care about how you can distort what little you think you know to fit your preconception that magic exists. You’ll disregard anything that doesn’t fit with it, or actively falsifies it.

  243. says

    we all know there is no chance that you’d be honest about it…that’s because you don’t actually care about knowledge, you just care about how you can distort what little you think you know to fit your preconception that magic exists. You’ll disregard anything that doesn’t fit with it, or actively falsifies it.

    One in a very long string. The age-old plea for better trolls shall forever remain unanswered.

  244. zenlike says

    From the link of didgeman, describing the model “Reasons to Believe” uses (and which is believed by didgeman):

    The following foundational beliefs help shape how we interpret the data.
    1. The Bible (including Genesis 1–11) is the error-free word of God.
    4. The message of nature will agree with what the Bible says.

    didgeman, you and Reasons to Believe are not performing science, you are adhering to a strict dogma. It is useless to debate you since you are willfully ignorant and have taken a wild assumption as a basic tenet which you deem to be true whatever any other piece of evidence says.

  245. Menyambal says

    didgeman, I am now clenching with embarrassment for you. And when I clench, it really hurts, thanks to some poor “design”.

    Your comment at 271 is distilled essence of what is wrong with you creationists. You snottily send us off to a link that has nothing at all to do with the issue at hand, and that clearly doesn’t say what you think it says. And that is so very comm8n thst it is my favorite spot on the Bingo card.

    It is now quite, quite, clear that you read selectively, and poorly. We need know nothing more than that about you to dismiss any chance that you have a point, down in the rubble of your rambling. And it tells us that discussion with you is useless – you will not learn, you will not change, you will not be honest – so we are just writing for the lurkers, and to hear our keyboards rattle.

    Sighing trying: See, the discussion in 271 was about the fact that the universe is expanding (present tense). You are arguing that God once spread out (past tense) the heavens like a tent (past tent), and that that past spreading describes the current expansion. You say that what the Bible say that God did, describes what the universe is doing now.

    Which it doesn’t. God once spreading the heavens does not say that he is still spreading them. He was done before the seventh day. He quit creating. Everybody knows that. So you really need a good case for your argument.

    So you send us off to a link about creation from nothing. Which has nothing at all to do with spreading heavens, not a ruddy thing. Look, when I spread my tent like a tent, I do not create it from nothing, I take it out of a bag. Spreading like a tent is not creating.

    So maybe you are saying that the spreading was done with something that was created from nothing. Which to you is a logical follow, I guess. So you send us off on that link to ex nihilo .

    The link! Oh, Jesus, the link. I think it does not mean what you think it means. It says, right up at the top, that the whole “from nothing” business is not at all settled, and was probably made up in the second century. Your god did indeed get the tent out of the bag.

    Listen, didgeman, I know English is not your first language, and I am happy to cut you some slack (I say, using an odd idiom). But you need to remember that English is not the Bible’s first language, either. You need to tread carefully, going back to the original sources, not trusting the English translations or the European traditions.

    See, what scientists do is skip over the Bible entirely, and go directly to the Creation. And what it tells them is that it isn’t a creation at all – it just growed. Those that look at the Bible in a critical fashion find it to be a contradictory compendium of folklore and propaganda.

    The only people who have faith in the Bible are the people who have faith, instead of having logic, honesty, and reading skills. And thanks to the Bible, they have a lot of hate for their fellow humans. Damn them all to Hell.

  246. Menyambal says

    Ow. I botched a quotation in a comment that advised checking the source material. My apologies to Inigo Montoya and William Goldman and all here.

  247. didgeman says

    Menyambal @ 275:

    The only people who have faith in the Bible are the people who have faith, instead of having logic, honesty, and reading skills. And thanks to the Bible, they have a lot of hate for their fellow humans. Damn them all to Hell.

    I am really sorry, if your last sentence is the impression, which you have got from Christians. I can assure you, this is NOT the message of the Bible and if “hate for their fellow humans” is the outcome of their faith, they are really mis-guided completely (it comes close to the actual terrorism done in the name of Islam).
    I am kind of surprised to find here many participants, who have a deep knowledge of some Biblical truth but also some strong remaining aspects of young earth creationism (I was absolutely not prepared to argue with some of you about 6000 years/7 days, because, this is of course not my position). If you have encountered such people during your youth and your scientific career, I absolutely understand, that some of you have completely left their faith.

    My point is, that there are people out there, who try to make it better, like the scientists from Reasons to Believe. Give them a try and dig a little bit deeper at http://www.reasons.org. They also have theologians in their team, who have the training to read and interpret Biblical texts in the original language (and do not come to the same conclusions as AiG). A lot of points of your post concerning Biblical interpretation is addressed by them.
    You can be assured, that logic and rational thinking are dominating my personal career since high school, that’t why I chose to become an engineer. My conclusions concerning worldview and faith may be different from yours or PZ’s (the happy atheist), but believe it or not, my mind is still working good enough to fund my life :-)

  248. Amphiox says

    didgeman @271,

    The only logical way to get the big bang theory out of “creation ex nihilo” is by after-fact metaphor fitting.

    And it is a rather poor fit even with that.

    1. The big band theory actually does NOT, in any way shape or form, describe the universe coming from anything remotely resembling “nothing”

    2. The universe either came from nothing or it arose from something that predated it (and if the universe is defined as “all there is”, that means the universe in some form has always existed). It is, quite literally, another one of those 50% guesses that are only accurate in the broadest imaginable sense.

    3. The big bang theory encompasses a detailed description of every that happened from the moment of the hypothesized singularity to the present day, describing, in detail, how the universal forces arose and interacted, how the fundamental particles appeared, how they combined to produce other particles, how all the energy and matter in the modern universe took the forms that we recognize them to be in today. Your theology provides nothing remotely resembling such description.

    Trying to claim that “creation ex nihilo” someone presages the big bang theory is equivalent to me guessing right now that you are a man and not a woman and turning out to be right.

  249. Amphiox says

    My point is, that there are people out there, who try to make it better, like the scientists from Reasons to Believe. Give them a try and dig a little bit deeper at http://www.reasons.org.

    So long as those people from Reasons to Believe cleave to that foundational belief that the bible is the error-free word of God, they are not scientists.

    To take ANYTHING aside from nature itself as an error-free description of nature is antithetical to science.

  250. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My point is, that there are people out there, who try to make it better, like the scientists from Reasons to Believe.

    You mean the scientists who lie and bullshit to themselves after their faith gets the better of their intellect? They lost their scientific reasoning by blindly accepting a book of mythology/fiction as being inerrant. They are not role models. They are people to be looked at skeptically.
    You are preaching, and every time you post that idiocy of a web site you show your true colors. You aren’t discussing, as you can’t be wrong, you are simply proselytizing your slogans.

  251. Amphiox says

    You can be assured, that logic and rational thinking are dominating my personal career since high school, that’t why I chose to become an engineer.

    If so then you compartmentalize well, since you have displayed no sign of any form of logic or rational thinking in your comments on this thread.

  252. oualawouzou says

    I’ve read a few articles on reasons.org, and… well… they’re… underwhelming. A brief summary of one area of scientific research or the other (these summaries seem ok to this untrained eye, but feel free to correct me), followed by one or two verses from the bible that have about-maybe-more-or-less a tangential thematic link to the subject being discussed. And voilà, proof that it was in the bible all along!

    Everybody knows that barbecue chips are infinitely superior to plain, regular chips. It’s in the bible : God totes prefer animal-flavored sacrifices to grain-flavored sacrifices. So there!

  253. says

    didgeman, this is all I want to know:

    How was biology alone able to isolate itself from the scrutiny of the other sciences in order to protect evolutionary theory?

    Optional questions:

    Why did it do this?

    Other sciences do considerable damage to creationist models of the universe – arguably, sciences like cosmology, physics, astronomy, whose conclusions on things like Earth’s and the Universe’s age you apparently accept, do far more damage than biology – so what it is about evolution that required unprecedented global social engineering?

    In fact, given that so much of science directly contradicts even the most charitable interpretations of scripture (ham-fisted hypothesising by your favourite theologians notwithstanding), what is it about evolution specifically that so frightens creationists?

    If you can’t answer questions as asked – and especially if you’re going to repeatedly evangelise that laughable reasons.org website (which is barely a step up from those YEC lunatics Answers in Genesis) or link to theologians speaking way above their pay grades and attempting to shoehorn God into science – don’t be surprised if people continue to be unimpressed by your responses.

  254. Menyambal says

    didgeman, you may believe that the folks at reason.org are maki g sense, but that don’t make it so. Yes, I looked, and yes, it is the same old stuff.

    By the way, I have twice worked for Christian organizations, and grew up in a Christian family that hosted brush-arbor revivals. I call that Kent Hovind idiot “Brother Kent”, because that is what folks did when I was a kid. I know Christianity pretty damn well, I have lived and worked with Muslims, and for a while I dated a Jewish woman. I know religion, didgeman.

    I also know the Biblle well enough to know that when a Christian tells me something about it, they are almost always wrong. It is a goofy book, and does have a lot of hateful stuff in it. But, sad to say, it doesn’t havesas much about Hell in it as most folks believe. See, the devil and hellfire stuff is something that Christians made up because they like it, and they believe it because they want to.

    Every Christian, no matter how nice, hates me enough to want me to burn forever. If you want to hang out with such folks, don’t come around here pretending to be nice.

    didgeman, your problem is that you are a believer. I don’t mean just that you believe in God, your particular god. I mean that you are a superstitious, unthinking person of faith. You would be of the local religion wherever you lived, and just as dismissive of everyone else. You have that weird humble/ego thing going that isn’t Christian, it is just religious. You don’t think things through, you just believe them, then you believe that you used logic.

    You believe that you have made good arguments here, but believe me, you have not. You don’t live by logic, you just believe that you do. Yeah, you get about and get a living, but so do lots of religious people, and they all believe that they are right.

    You can’t argue against Science without believing that it is a religion, and you could only prove that your religion is right by using the tools of Science. You, personally, can’t do any of that, but by golly you can believe.

    You are a believer, didgeman, not a thinker.

  255. leerudolph says

    @207:

    A designer should have had no trouble repopulating the world after a mass extinction with the same organisms that lived prior. It should, after all, still have the blueprints for the T. rexes stashed away somewhere.

    Against bit rot the gods themselves contend in vain.

  256. Menyambal says

    didgeman, I said ‘way up there that engineers like the idea of an engineer god. I am going to add to that in your case, and say that the same love of what you condider to be logic and rules that led you to engineering also led you to your particular religion. You like looking up tables, God has stone tablets with rules on ’em.

    There is more to it, but you, personally, chose your profession and your religion for the same reasons. You may believe otherwise, and you may believe you chose well, even.

    I think you chose well, myself. You belong in engineering. You remind me of a Hindi engineer that I worked with – he was the guy that was just like the fundamentalist Baptist deacon that worked there. Both were good with rules and directions, but didn’t have creativity or flexibility.

    Your bad choice was coming here. I don’t know what you believe you are accomplishing, but you are doing as badly as all the others that have played Bingo.

    It is exactly like you are wrong about life and the universe, and the wrongness is running your life.

  257. didgeman says

    Hank_Says @ 283:

    How was biology alone able to isolate itself from the scrutiny of the other sciences in order to protect evolutionary theory?

    You are quite reluctant to get your question answered. :-) thats fine for me, it only needs some time to answer it and I have the feeling, that you will dismiss any anwer, I will give. I just looked up the quote from the zoologist D.M.S. Watson about evoultion and found, that he was heavily dissmiss by athesist all over the web. I post the quote anyhow, because it is a good summery of my argument:

    The theory of evolution itself, a theory universally accepted not because it be can proved by logically coherent evidence to be true but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.

    This is still true more than 80 years later and it explains part of the special position of biology. BTW, astronnomy, physics, geology and other science disciplines do not contradict to a creation model, as long as Scripture is not interpreted narrowminded (as often seen by YEC people).
    I will discribe my arguments around this issue later today more in detail.

  258. azhael says

    The theory of evolution itself, a theory universally accepted not because it be can proved by logically coherent evidence to be true but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.

    Ah yes, i remember when i was at university studying biology and our professors would just sit there and tell us “well, we don’t have any evidence for any of this, except that we think creationism is bloody stupid”. Good times….good times….

    In reality, though, the field of biology contains such a ridiculously gigantic amount of evidence in support of evolutionary theory that even though there are constant efforts to find flaws, falsify and test every single aspect of it, it turns out that it is such a robust and extraordinarily well supported theory that it just gets getting confirmed over and over again with every new test, every new piece of evidence…
    And then, you know, there are people like you who are not even remotely aware of just how much we know about biology, who think magic is a fantastic way to explain shit…

    Oh, and you were asked how biology has managed to isolate itself from scrutiny from OTHER sciences, not from atheists, you ignorant, dishonest, delusional, lying moron…..
    If there was a god, and it was a god worth its salt, it would be ashamed of you….

  259. didgeman says

    azhael @ 288:

    you ignorant, dishonest, delusional, lying moron…..

    Do you really think, this language helps to strengthen your argument? It is not the first time, that I am accused here to be dishonest or to be a liar. How could you know? Only if my worldview is different from yours? I can assure you, that I write my arguments down in full honesty and 100% in line, with what I believe and know. So, you can disagree with my position or doubt my intelligence and knowledge, but please don’t accuse me to be dishonest or a liar. Is this a fair proposal?
    BTW, I only gave a short anwer today by using a famous quote. I also wrote, that I will answer Hank_Says question more in detail.
    In the meantime, If the evidence for evolution is so overwhelming, could you give me any concrtete, well documented, reprocduceable evidence, where accumulated adaptations of a species finally lead to a higher order species?
    Or any reasonable transition path for the phyla during the Cambrian explosion? ( the name explosion was not invented by creationsists)

  260. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It is not the first time, that I am accused here to be dishonest or to be a liar.

    You are. You believe and and are shilling for an imaginary deity. Prima facie evidence you are a liar and bullshitter. Take your imaginary deity on the road preacher. You have nothing but lies and bullshit to peddle. No honest person does that.

    So, you can disagree with my position or doubt my intelligence and knowledge, but please don’t accuse me to be dishonest or a liar.

    Sorry, you haven’t presented ONE peer reviewed scientific literature paper to back up anything you say. More prima facie evidence you are not honest. You only think, due to your delusions, that you are. Your deity is a delusion.

  261. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Didgeman, Science is only refuted by more science. You present no science. Lies, lies and bullshit.

  262. azhael says

    @289 didgeman

    don’t accuse me to be dishonest or a liar. Is this a fair proposal?

    No, actually, it’s not.
    You have made completely false claims, repeteadly. You have accused scientists of being dishonest and dogmatic while being dishonest and dogmatic yourself. Not acknowledging that you were wrong when you are corrected is very dishonest. Ignoring those corrections and repeating your false claims, is doubly dishonest. Inventing false claims about a subject you want to discredit, is lying.
    You are a liar and you are dishonest…..and you don’t know diddly squat about biology. In fact, you know so little about biology that you don’t even begin to comprehend just how deeply ignorant you are about the subject…but let me assure you, you are extremely ignorant….

    If you want me to stop calling you a dishonest liar, stop claiming that evolutionary theory is unsupported by evidence (when in actuality is one of the best supported theories in the whole of science), stop claiming that biologists are dishonestly ignoring valid arguments (they are not, they are ignoring ridiculously silly arguments about sky wizards), and stop pretending that you are qualified to speak about the subject at all….
    As long as you continue to those things, i will continue to call you on your lies.

    You lying, dishonest arsehole…

    In the meantime, If the evidence for evolution is so overwhelming, could you give me any concrtete, well documented, reprocduceable evidence, where accumulated adaptations of a species finally lead to a higher order species?

    No, because i have no idea what the fuck you are talking about. Using sciency words doesn’t mean that you are making sense. There is no such thing as a higher order species.
    See? this is why we keep saying that you don’t know what you are talking about….you think you do, but that’s only because of how incredibly delusional you are in your own staggering ignorance.

    Or any reasonable transition path for the phyla during the Cambrian explosion? ( the name explosion was not invented by creationsists)

    If i don’t, are you going to claim that that’s evidence of magic? Argument from ignorance, right there, in spectacular technicolor. If i did, you’d just ignore it and move on to the next piece of ignorance or blatant lie….
    And no, the term Cambrian Explosion wasn’t invented by creationists….but let’s see if you can follow this….the name is just a colourful way to reference the fact that it is a relatively fast period of adaptive radiation. However, people who are not completely ignorant about the subject, like say, biologists, know that the cambrian explossion was a progressive phenomenon in the span of 20-25 millions of years, preceded by the Ediacaran Period with its multicellular fauna and already recognizable body plans. That’s one slow fucking explosion right there….

  263. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Or any reasonable transition path for the phyla during the Cambrian explosion?

    Random mutation [Link 1] [link 2] and natural selection [link]. Links are to peer reviewed scientific papers, and back the claims without your imaginary deity. This is ONLY refuted by more peer reviewed science. Which is MIA in your drivel.

  264. chris61 says

    @289 didgeman

    In the meantime, If the evidence for evolution is so overwhelming, could you give me any concrtete, well documented, reprocduceable evidence, where accumulated adaptations of a species finally lead to a higher order species?

    The evidence for evolution IS overwhelming but what you are asking for is the equivalent of saying you’ll only believe in the existence of the sun if you see a picture of it taken from the moon on Jan 1, 1905. Ain’t gonna happen.

  265. says

    didgeman @287, 289: BTW, I only gave a short anwer today by using a famous quote. I also wrote, that I will answer Hank_Says question more in detail.

    Oh goody, we can check off the “Quote Mine” square on the Bingo card AND get bonus points for the fact that the quote is (as creationist quotes so often are) mangled. In this case, it omits an ellipsis which elides a rather long piece of text. See: https://sphericalbullshit.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/spectacular-quote-mining/ (I’d heard that particular quote-mine before, though not about the C.S.Lewis connection).

    Hell, even Wikipedia debunks the creationist abuse of it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._M._S._Watson#Famous_Quote

    The take-home points being:
    1) The full quote means something different from the creationist spin on it.
    2) It dates from *1929*. There’s been a lot of work done since then (in particular, the Modern Synthesis, which married genetics to the organism-level view of evolution).
    3) The entire approach is wrong and dishonest: a “gotcha” quote from one guy (even if accurate) from 86 years ago (or for that matter, yesterday) does not refute an entire field of science and establish the existence of a Vast Conspiracy to hide the truth. This is not good-faith argument; it is propaganda.

    Wanna know why you’re not getting much respect around here? There’s an example right there.

  266. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Didgeman, You are being dishonest, but the one you are being dishonest with is yourself. There is no way you can view the Bible has having predicted anything we now know to be true about the Universe. Predictions must be falsifiable, and there is no way to falsify the vague statements you cite–e.g. in support of a “Big Bang.” However, there are many, many statements in the Bible that science has falsified.

    And as I have pointed out repeatedly, if we view biological characteristics as “designed,” then many, many are piss poor designs. If on the other hand you view them in terms of random mutation with natural selection, they are not only understandable, but expand our understanding of what came before and since. There is no need to insult any putative creator by saying it is a poor designer. ID is not just bad science…it’s bad theology.

    Finally, you present the rejection of “theistic” hypotheses by science as a prejudice, but this is untrue. Science can only work, as I said above, in terms of falsifiable hypotheses. An omnipotent, omniscient deity can by definition do anything–there is no falsification. Any theory that explains the observations is equally plausible if it involves an omnipotent, omniscient being. Since you can get any answer you want, then positing a deity is a cosmic “divide by zero” error. Finally, science works extremely well without positing any sort of creator jamming its thumbs into the celestial clockwork. We have no need of that hypothesis.

  267. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @didgeman
    So, going back to a more fundamental question, didgeman, do you believe the Christian bible is inerrant? Which came first – trees or stars? The bible says one. All of reality and science says the other. What about Noah’s flood. Did that flood really happen and cover the whole world? Is Genesis just metaphor?

  268. didgeman says

    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls @ 293:

    Random mutation [Link 1] [link 2] and natural selection [link].

    Thans for the links. I had indeed planned, to reference to the E. coli long-term evolution experiment by Richard Lenski as a very good example for the limits of evolution. We are talking here about a number of bacteria generations, which correspond to about 1 mio years for mammals or hominids. And the best outcome is a new digest system for citrate!

    If you do some probability estimations, you may find out, that this is very thin evidence for the plausibility of the Cambrian explosion, with the appearance of 30+ completely new body plans, hunter/prey eco-systems, focus lensed eyes, 3000+ facetted lens eyes, complete blood vessel /heart system and so on within some few mio years (or even some few 10 mio years, I don’t want to argue about the length of the Cambrian explosion).
    Or if you compare the 1 mio year equivalent to the evolution of modern human, which required a massive change in brain, vocal box, fine movement skills, mental skills and so forth, but the comparable outcome in the lab is a new digestion of citrate.
    Do you understand, why I see a disconnect here? And I expect, that you gave me the very best case for evolution.

    Under “Evolution” I understand (beside the simple explanation: change over time) the following categories:

    – Microevolution (variation and adaptation within a species, caused by environment, natural selection and genetic drift)
    – Speciation (long-term microevolution due to population isolation, e.g. Darwin finches, creation of sister species)
    – Microbial evolution (bateria, viruses, single cell organisms, remain same species with some beneficial changes under some condition, e.g. E-coli with citrate digest)
    – Macroevolution (appearance of new species with completely different body plans and features)

    The fist three categories of evolution can be observed today (e.g. breeding success of domestic animals, peppered moth, Darwin finches) and I do not doubt at all, that this kind of evolution exists. These (except microbial evolution) has been the hallmarks for Darwin to develop his theory, together with the fossil record.

    But for Darwins speculative extrapolation to macroevolution (the forth listed category), which means the whole pathway “from amoeba to Goethe”, there is little to no evidence. Yes, the fossil record points to a layering from older, primitive life forms to younger, more advanced life forms. But the fossil record does not show the predicted gradualism, it rather shows very rapid changes and then long quiet periods (repetitively as mentioned earlier) and most of the predicted intermediate forms are simply missing. Darwin knew about the Cambrian explosion and the missing links, he simply hoped, that it would be found in the future. But the status today is rather, that after all discoveries in the fossil record, the gaps have been approved and become larger, not the other way round.

    In the third link about the computer simulation program for evolution of biological information, there are two points to say from my side:
    – the mathematician William Demski has shown, that any computer simulation programs for the time being for the random simulation of evolutionary processes always sneak in some information by the programming itself, such, that the program is guided in a specific direction.
    – The expression of “punctuated equilibrium“, which was also used by other biologists, has no explanatory meaning, it was never predicted by evolution theory and is nothing else that an other wording for my many times repeated explosions (in complexity).

    At the time of Darwin, his theory found immediate acceptance, because it was the first time and since then the only way, to explain the biological life around us by purely naturalistic methods. The failure to find solid evidence for macroevolution and plausible, testable processes for macroevolution over 150 years after Darwin’s publication could be at least an alarm bell, that something with the theory may be wrong. But no, this is not needed, evolution is a fact, as the spherical shape of the earth is.
    Darwin’s reasoning was mainly metaphysical. The (wrong, church inspired) hypothesis of his time was the unchangeable character of species (“according the their kind“). So, showing, that this hypothesis was wrong by examples of microevolution in animal breeding and by finding the Darwin finches was a good starting point for him. Because he had deep doubts about God because the evil in the world, the death of his daughter and about the „bad designs“ in nature by his believed „perfect, omnipotent“ God, he had a very strong metaphysical motivation, to push this theory, which obviously makes this God obsolete.
    And to finally answer Hank_Says question @ 283:

    How was biology alone able to isolate itself from the scrutiny of the other sciences in order to protect evolutionary theory?

    I think, the overwhelming reason, why evolution is much more detracted form scientific reasoning and is close to an axiom, is the fact, that many biologist have the same metaphysical thinking as Darwin, they want to get rid of a personal Creator. Or they were brainwashed with outdated texbooks since high school (by a dogmatic teaching, similar to the church some 200 years ago but in the reverse direction) or do simply not care and do their very important work for medical advances by reverse-engineering and understanding nature. Most of the other science disciplines don’t care either, except some metaphysical (atheistic) motivated astrophysicist, who try to disprove the overwhelming and widely accepted fine tuning of the universe for advanced life, which is again a strong indication for a divine Creator.

  269. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Do you understand, why I see a disconnect here?

    There is no disconnect. You did not refute anything, since science is only refuted by more science, and you didn’t once link to the peer reviewed scientific literature. The scientific evidence stands as fact until YOU provide equivalent evidence to refute it. Your questions, drivel, imaginary deity, are not and never will be refutation of science. Your questions are irrelevant. Either present peer reviewed scienfic evidence, or shut the fuck up about refuting science. All you have is your phantasm which you can’t/won’t evidence.

    Under “Evolution” I understand

    No links to solid evidence afterwards. You keep acting like this is some type of philosophical/theological discussion. It isn’t and never will be. It is a scientific discussion played out using the rules of science, not theology or philosophy. The science stands until refuted by more science from the peer reviewed scientific literature.
    Stop your lying and bullshit with theology/philosophy, and start linking to the only evidence that refutes science.

  270. azhael says

    You have no shame…
    That last post of yours is such a pile of diarrheic shite…Please know that you do indeed know fuck all about biology. I know that i’ve said this before and that you still fancy yourself like someone who has some understanding of it…but you really, really, really don’t. What you think you know is the creationist fictional version of “evolution” and “biology”, which has nothing to do with the actual science and is so ludicrously wrong that of course you don’t accept it..who the fuck would. Which leads me to my last comment on the subject…the only reason why you think that the modern evolutionary synthesis is not scientific is because tha fake, fictional version you are thinking about is not even remotely scientific. If you knew even a little bit of the actual, real science of biology, you would instantly realise just how much fail and how much horseshit there is in each and every one of your ridiculous posts.

    Continue to believe preposterous horseshit about sky wizards magicking stuff into being if you like, as if i could possibly stop you, but you could at least have the basic decency not to lie about a topic you are completely and utterly ignorant about just so that you can give the impression that it is discredited in the eyes of others just as ignorant as you are.

    Arsehole.

  271. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Didgeman, if you have honor and integrity, you will do one of two things. The first is to cite peer reviewed scientific literature to refute Lenski and Schneider. They stand until that happens. The second, is you shut the fuck about them.
    If you have no honor and integrity, you will continue along your present path of pretense, lies and bullshit. Which doesn’t touch any science, and evolution, in any way whatsoever.
    You can’t ask questions to cast doubt on evolution. You either show more science, or present a better scientific theory that better describes the evidence. Just remember, that precludes any idea where you presuppose imaginary deities, and the ineranncy of a book of mythology/fiction. That isn’t and never will be science.

  272. says

    didgeman@298:
    If you do some probability estimations, you may find out, that this is very thin evidence for the plausibility of the Cambrian explosion….

    Using what — numbers pulled out of your ass? Show your goddamn work or STFU with the wild assertions.

    the mathematician William Demski has shown, that any computer simulation programs for the time being for the random simulation of evolutionary processes always sneak in some information by the programming itself, such, that the program is guided in a specific direction.

    No, he damn well has not, as already discussed upthread, with links to supporting material. Bloody hell, but if you’re just going to trot out the same claim while ignoring rebuttals, why shouldn’t people give up and call you a liar?

    The expression of “punctuated equilibrium“, which was also used by other biologists, has no explanatory meaning, it was never predicted by evolution theory and is nothing else that an other wording for my many times repeated explosions (in complexity).

    You know fuck-all about what punctuated equilibrium says, don’t you? No, I’m not going to educate you; start with Wikipedia and work up from there.

    And again with the pretending to know all about the metaphysical attitudes of biologists — your abysmal ignorance is matched only by your breathtaking arrogance. You are a bigot and a fool.

    Oh, and it’s far from obvious that the universe is “fine-tuned” at all, let alone in a way that requires intelligent intervention. No, don’t bother quoting the usual laundry list of authorities at me; I’ve probably already seen them. But you might want to look at Victor Stenger’s work (my current reading: The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us).

  273. Menyambal says

    See, didgeman, you quoted someone, once again. You didn’t go hunt down the original quote, you just posted what someone said that someone else had said. You also thought that just the fact that someone had once said whatever it was, was important, as if words were magic (to your engineer mind, words probably are full of incomprehensible mojo). And once again, the quote does not mean what you think it means.

    All of that, all your attitude toward authoritarian words, is so very Christian, and so very wrong … but I repeat myself. Listen, didgeman, to my words: No scientific person gives a solitary damn about who said what. Really. We have concern for truth, but we are not impressed but authoritative statements. (Richard Dawkins showed up here once, and tried to get us to take his argument on his authority – the commenters kicked his ass.)

    As for your demand to see a documented instance of evolution – again, what exactly do you want? Do you want us to somehow arrange for a first-grade class to be able to watch a crawling insect change into a flying insect, right the fuck there in front of them? Geeze.

    Look ye: I have said that offspring differ from their parents. We all know that we can breed animals for desired traits. We see mutations, some of which are beneficial. All of those are evolution in brief, in animals big enough to see, with changes noticeable in our lifetimes. Scientists have documented changes in bacteria, that they regard as evolution in action. What mechanism, didgeman, keeps those changes from accumulating over time into something that even you must admit is evolution?

    What makes evolution impossible? Well for creationists, it is largely that they have been told it is impossible. They often rave something about “but it is still bacteria”, as if we were claiming to be able to develop a human being from a single cell within a person’s lifetime.

    (We are bacteria, didgeman, colonies of bacteria. We have other bacteria trapped in our cells. We host other bacteria in our guts. Our very brain cells crawl into place, crawling, creeping, crawling, crawling . . . )

    Some of your problem, didgeman, is what I think is called “essentialism”, the idea that a thing is a thing and that is what it is. You cannot deal with changes or indeterminacy – which is why you became an engineer. A lot of creationists feel that way (it is a Bingo square) and do not realize that in evolution, one species splits into two parts, rather than one species converting wholesale into a new one.

    It’s about splitting, and that is where the common ancestry comes in. Yes, all the breeds of dogs are still dogs, as the creationists so rabidly point out, but they are different kinds of dogs. As they all together are still wolves, and canids, and carnivorae, and mammals, (and if you really want to annoy PZ, fish) and vertebrates.

    To you, a dog is a dog, with specifications and all. And there it stops. But seriously, is a Chihuahua really a dog, the same as an Irish Wolfhound (peace be upon them)? And as long as the word “dog” covers so many things, while the word “bird” covers such a variety of other forms, with no overlap between them, what explanation can you give except the common ancestry of evolution? Was your god smoking something? Or just getting lazy?

    While I am asking, how the fuck does that conspiracy in Biology even work? And why, after claiming that all biologists are cooperating in one massive lie, do you object to being called a liar?

    Your response to being called a liar was what we call “tone trolling” and what some call “Bingo!”

  274. Amphiox says

    Thans for the links. I had indeed planned, to reference to the E. coli long-term evolution experiment by Richard Lenski as a very good example for the limits of evolution. We are talking here about a number of bacteria generations, which correspond to about 1 mio years for mammals or hominids. And the best outcome is a new digest system for citrate!

    1. A new digestive system for citrate in a bacterium is equivalent to the evolution of an entire new species in a mammal.

    2. The Lenski experiment has had a constant, unchanging environment for the whole time. It’s a feast-famine food regime with the exact same amount of nutrients put into the broth at the exact time of day every day. In order to control for variables and make the results comprehensible, Lenski deliberately chose what is essentially the SLOWEST POSSIBLE case for evolution for those bacteria.

    3. In the Lenski experiment a lot more happened than just the evolution of citrate metabolism. The bacteria increased several fold in size (equivalent to a howler monkey growing into a gorilla), changed the appearance of their outer cell wall (equivalent to going from hairy to hairless in a primate), and their metabolic efficiency for glucose increased several fold as well. There are a host of other evolutionary changes as well.

    If you do some probability estimations, you may find out, that this is very thin evidence for the plausibility of the Cambrian explosion, with the appearance of 30+ completely new body plans, hunter/prey eco-systems, focus lensed eyes, 3000+ facetted lens eyes, complete blood vessel /heart system and so on within some few mio years

    Unfortunately for you, the probability estimations HAVE been done. For focus lensed eyes those calculations show that it would have taken, with CONSERVATIVE estimates of generation times and selection pressures, 500,000 years. Now need I remind you that the Cambrian “explosion” took at least 30 million years? Or that different organ systems and other features are evolving simultaneously? Hunter/prey ecosystems (notably, this did NOT evolve in the Cambrian, and single-celled hunters long predate the Cambrian) and blood vessel heart systems don’t have to wait for the eyes to finish evolving before they start evolving themselves.

    I don’t want to argue about the length of the Cambrian explosion

    Of course you don’t. It destroys your entire position utterly.

  275. Amphiox says

    In the meantime, If the evidence for evolution is so overwhelming, could you give me any concrtete, well documented, reprocduceable evidence, where accumulated adaptations of a species finally lead to a higher order species?

    There is no such thing as “higher order species” in the theory of evolution. That particular expression is a vestige of the old creationist way of thinking, now utterly discredited, that predated Darwin, with respect to the so-called “great chain of being”.

  276. Amphiox says

    The expression of “punctuated equilibrium“, which was also used by other biologists, has no explanatory meaning, it was never predicted by evolution theory and is nothing else that an other wording for my many times repeated explosions (in complexity).

    “Punctuated equilibrium” was never intended to have explanatory meaning. It was a term used to describe an OBSERVATION seen in the fossil record. It does not even attempt to clarify if the observation is a real phenomenon with actual changes in diversity, or an artifact from fossil preservation.

    Adaptive radiation is the explanatory term, derived from the theory of evolution, that EXPLAINS the observation of punctuated equilibrium.

    I should note here that the phenomenon of “many times repeated explosions in complexity”, while itself not contrary to a creator hypotheses in general, is quite explicitly contrary to the Biblical account, which only describes a single creation event, at the beginning of time. It is in fact far more consistent with multiple designer hypotheses, with imperfect, non-omnipotent and non-omniscient creators, or a single non-omnipotent, non-omniscient creator who both makes mistakes, gets random flashes of inspiration at various times, and improves his output over time.

    Or, of course, no designer at all.

    If you admit to “many times repeated explosions in complexity” you are, de facto, admitting that the bible is not inerrant.

  277. Amphiox says

    Do you understand, why I see a disconnect here?

    Oh, we understand very well why you, in particular, SEE, a disconnect.

    But just because you imagine it, doesn’t mean that it is actually there in reality.

  278. Amphiox says

    Oh, and the changes seen in the Lenski experiment that I listed, among others, did not all occur in the same lineages of bacteria, nor to the same degree, or in the same detail, among the lineages.

    So the Lenski experiment produced an adaptive radiation, with an explosion of diversity, as well.

  279. didgeman says

    EnlightenmentLiberal @ 297:

    So, going back to a more fundamental question, didgeman, do you believe the Christian bible is inerrant? Which came first – trees or stars? The bible says one. All of reality and science says the other. What about Noah’s flood. Did that flood really happen and cover the whole world? Is Genesis just metaphor?

    Biblical inerrancy is quite a strong word for my rather liberal cultural background. But, yes I believe, that the statement in the Bible about creation are true, because the Bible is the man-written but inspired word of God and who knows better how it was done than Him?
    Now, to answer the question about the stars and plants:
    The Old Earth Creation Model (or day-age model) takes the creation days (yom) literal, but as long finite time periods. When you have a look to my creation collage, (see link at the end of this post) the term “In the beginning” in Genesis 1.1 goes from 13.8 bya to about 4.5 bya. The primordial state of the early earth is very nicely described as “the earth was void and dark and the spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters”. So Genesis 1.2 describes exactly the early earth, as astronomers today thinks it looked like, including the coverage with water (already mentioned here earlier by the findings of 4.4 bio years old zircon crystals). And the expected early atmosphere was very heavy and dense (Venus like) but with much more dark dust. So it was completely dark at the surface of the earth. Which is again exactly, how the Bible describes the early earth (also in Job 38, where it is described as “wrapped in dark clouds”. Through the moon forming collision and the late heavy bombardment, most of the heavy atmosphere and a lot of water was ejected to space, so the early atmosphere became translucent. This is again, what is described in Geneis 1.3 (day 1). The translucence allowed diffuse sun light to arrive at the surface of the earth and to start a water cycle (scientists talk about an extremely heavy monsoon-like rainfall for 40k years or so). This is the separation of the waters below and above the heaven in day 2 of Genesis. Day 3 is then plate tectonics and first land vegetation (about 1.2 to 0.8 bya) and day 4 is the atmosphere to become partially transparent, by increase of oxygen and reduction of CO2 by photosynthesis and rainfall on up-pushing land masses. Then of course day 5 is the creation of sea animals, impressively documented by the Cambrian explosion and day 6 is the creation of land animals (including hominids) and finally the modern humans, some 100-150k years ago (please be aware, that the error bar in dating with thermoluminescence or comparable methods is some 10k years and C14 dating is neither very precise in the 70 to 200k year range). Even the extinction and repopulating events in the are between Cambrian explosion and Dinosaur extinction (65 mya) are described in the creation Psalm 104, 29-30:

    29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
    when you take away their breath, they die
    and return to their dust.
    30 When you send forth your Spirit,[c] they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.

    Sorry for repeating, but all these details including the exact wording in Biblical Heberw are very well documented in the book “Navigating Genesis” by Hugh Ross. And there is also a very good description of Noah’s flood.
    Your question about Noahs flood: I believe, it happened about 80 to 60k years ago and it whipped out all human life, except Noah’s family. But it was a local flood in the area of middle east/east Africa, which did not left any geological evidence. The Ice core drillings in Greenland and antarctica show, that there was no global flood. Because the modern humans population was quite small at that time and did not yet migrate over the whole globe of the earth, a local was enough to kill all men. Because it was local, only the regional animals had to be on Noah’s ark. Not because they would not have survived somewhere else, but because Noah’s family had it at hand just after the flood as domestic animals and for amusement (e.g. birds). So any children books with penguins, ice bears and kangaroos on the ark, are not very authentic :-) The scientifically well documented Out-of-Africa migration of the modern human about 50 to 80k years ago is very much in line with the Biblical narrative of the language confusion of Babel, which happened an few 100 years after the flood. The fact, that there are worldwide over 100 flood legends with some astonishing similarities is good evidence, that all human ancestors were on the ark (Noah’s family).
    So I hope, this gives you a short glimpse of the Old Earth creation model, which shows, that Biblical narratives and latest scientific discoveries do not mandatorily contradict. Here again the link to my graphical summary of this model:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/p3o5oy6dl7tslff/Creation_Collage_Nov2014.pdf?dl=0

  280. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yawn, no science in #309, just creationist/theological drivel. Dismissed for what it is: Lies and Bullshit, as there is no scientific evidence.

  281. consciousness razor says

    Most of the other science disciplines don’t care either, except some metaphysical (atheistic) motivated astrophysicist, who try to disprove the overwhelming and widely accepted fine tuning of the universe for advanced life, which is again a strong indication for a divine Creator.

    Not that you’ve responded to anything I’ve said so far, but I’m wondering….

    I don’t think anybody has very clear ideas when it comes to “fine tuning.” Maybe you could explain, because you seem confident about your strong indications. Suppose you were right about the evidence. If there were any laws or conditions that were very sensitive to the existence of life (as we know it), why would that be a strong indication of anything divine (or simply anything)?

    You’re saying we have some evidence, which is reason to believe that this divine creator wasn’t interested in creating life per se. It was instead interested in making a highly-precarious set of physical laws and conditions, such that if they had been slightly different than they what they actually are, then life wouldn’t exist. What sort of demented magic-sky-wizard would want to do that?

    If the laws or conditions were not very sensitive to small adjustments — this is the possibility you haven’t even bothered to consider, not that there’s any evidence pointing either way — then in that case you could have told us to consider what happens when those were changed. We could just as well say that is also evidence for a god. To counter your claim about fine-tuning, I could claim that there’s this other kind of divine being, hidden somewhere up my sleeve, who wanted to make that. My deity wanted to make life, I’m saying, using those sorts of laws and conditions, the ones that will still make life because they are not sensitive to slight changes like that, maybe because that was my god’s plan all along. The only idea we need here is simply that it wanted life, however it could or would or should or felt like doing that.

    Thus, according to this plan (which seems simpler and less risky to me, than the one you concocted for your god), all of the other options in the neighborhood of our actual laws would also permit the existence of life. Of course they would, I might say, because the divine creator wanted it to be so. The creator, I say, really wanted to make life, thus, the laws are not at all sensitive to the existence of life. If there were any way at all to change the laws, whether by a little or by a lot, my magic-sky-wizard would have been clever enough to guarantee that life would still be possible even then. Why? Who really knows, after all. But since I get to make all of this up out of whole cloth, I’ll just say it’s because my magic-sky-wizard loves living things so goddamned much, therefore, that is what it did.

    If I was worried about evidence of fine-tuning, that’s the sort of thing I might believe. Then, if that were what I thought, it would be a reason to doubt my beliefs about my magic-sky-wizard, which is not substantially different from your magic-sky-wizard. One thing it wouldn’t do is “support” the same fucking nonsense as you’re spewing, no matter what story anybody tells me or what evidence I have.

    You should be able to see that there’s no way for anyone to win a game like this, if that’s the one we’re playing. We would have to conclude that there must be something incoherent or dishonest about our reasoning. Whatever the evidence is and whatever position you take about it, one thing that cannot be true is that being fine-tuned truly is good evidence for a creator, while it’s also that not being finely-tuned is good as evidence for a creator. You would need to only pick one and have some evidence to actually support that. Or stop lying to us and to yourself when you say it’s good/strong/clear/coherent evidence which actually supports what you’re saying (and not, for example, the opposite of that).

  282. didgeman says

    Amphiox @ 304:

    1. A new digestive system for citrate in a bacterium is equivalent to the evolution of an entire new species in a mammal.

    Oh, this is a very long extrapolation (you do it multiple times)!
    To extrapolate the change in metabolism of a bacteria, which can be achieved by some few mutations in a very large population, to the appearance of a new mammal species is one of the most “science fiction” ideas in biology, I have ever heart. It is more an adventure, than claiming, what works with the Lego train of my grand son must mandatorily work with the latest high speed train in France. Man, you are away from the real life complexity difference by magnitudes.

  283. zenlike says

    didgeman,

    The fact that there are a lot of flood legends can be easily explained by the fact that floods happen almost everywhere. But why do I bother with you? You have already firmly made up your mind that bible = correct, so any thing that contradicts your book of fairy tales is explained away by you choosing the one stupid explanation that does not contradict your safety blanket if favour of every other possible explanation, simply because your starting point is one dogmatic statement: the bible = true.

    This contradicts everything science stand for, but you are to blind to see this.

  284. chris61 says

    @ 298 didgeman

    There is in fact plenty of evidence for macroevolution in comparative genomics and in evolutionary developmental biology. It isn’t all neatly laid out in the fossil record because most animals don’t manage to die in conditions that allow preservation of their tissues.

  285. zenlike says

    Again, didgeman, your #312 just showcases again that you have no fucking clue what you are talking. You have read some books by christian apologists, and you regurgitate their points because you want to believe them soooo hard. But there is not a single original thought there, not one iota of understanding.

  286. Amphiox says

    Oh, this is a very long extrapolation (you do it multiple times)!

    It is pretty obvious you do not understand what an extrapolation is, by this comment.

    You also quite clearly don’t understand what speciation means, or how species are defined (any of the 150+ defiinitions).

    But of course, you’ve been babbling from the beginning about things you do not actually understand.

    Your opinions on this subject carry no more validity than those of a marine biologist who thinks himself qualified to critique how engineers guild skyscrapers.

  287. Amphiox says

    Biblical inerrancy is quite a strong word for my rather liberal cultural background. But, yes I believe, that the statement in the Bible about creation are true, because the Bible is the man-written but inspired word of God and who knows better how it was done than Him?

    Then why are you babbling about the Cambrian “explosion”? Per the bible, the Cambrian “explosion” did not exist.

  288. Amphiox says

    I wonder if didgeman realizes that, depending on circumstances, it takes only a single mutation to create a new species of mammal (or for that matter that the number of differing mutations actually has no bearing whatsoever on whether two populations count as one species or more than one).

    I wouldn’t actually be surprised if someone eventually gene sequenced Lenski’s strains and showed the that percentage genetic differences between some of them are not equal to or even greater than the percentage differences between some closely related mammal species.

  289. Amphiox says

    Your question about Noahs flood: I believe, it happened about 80 to 60k years ago and it whipped out all human life, except Noah’s family.

    The genetic bottleneck in the human population at that time left somewhere between a few hundred and a thousand breeding couples in the population at its LOWEST extent.

    According to the bible, Noah’s family was not that big.

    So much for biblical inerrancy.

    But it was a local flood in the area of middle east/east Africa, which did not left any geological evidence.

    There is no geological evidence because it did not happen. You cannot have a flood that big, even a local one, and have it leave NO evidence.

    On the contrary, the geological evidence for that period shows a DROUGHT, triggered by the formation of glaciers at the poles with the onset of a new ice age. Humans died at the time from a LACk of water, not from drowning.

    So much for your biblical inerrancy.

  290. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @didgeman
    Fascinating – your thought processes and excuses. Thank you.

    I’m still curious about taxonomy and cladistics in particular. I am still curious for a response to what I wrote earlier:

    The problem with all trees is, that they are not congruent. Before knowing genetics, the trees were morphological trees. And of course, evolution predicted, that genetic trees should confirm morphological trees. But this is by no means the case. This is another very weak point of the common ancestry argument, while it is very well covered by the common design argument.

    Wait what? Congruence is the case, to a very high degree. Of course morphological trees sometimes put some species in wrong positions, but that was like the 1% case. The 99% case was near exact congruence. Do you disagree? Do we need to go back to primary evidence and find Carl Linnaeus’s original drawings, and compare that to modern genetic cladistics? What do you expect to find if we do this? I expect at least a 95% congruence (informal use of percentages – sorry).

    For exmaple, I expect that cats will be put in the same bucket, bogs in the same bucket, cats and dogs together in a single bucket (carnivoria), carnivoria and the rest of mammals in the mammal bucket, all vertebrates in the vertebrate bucket, all birds in the birds bucket, etc.

    What do you expect to see? Do you disagree with my characterization?

    For example, all monsters created by humans for their fiction violate modern cladistics. Mammals with feathers. Such like that. If we ever found an animal which similarly violated modern cladistics, that would be the start of great evidence against common ancestry. We have exactly 0 examples of a real species which doesn’t fit on the genetic tree of life and the morphology tree of life, but we have many examples of fictional species which don’t, such as about every fictional monster created by humans.

  291. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @didgeman
    As an example of how basically all fictional monsters violate cladistics, here’s an example of a good takedown of the several incarnations of Godzilla.
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/aronra/2014/06/08/weighing-in-on-godzilla/
    Ex:

    The conceptual artists reportedly referenced illustrations of dinosaurs, but that’s not what they rendered. All bi-pedal dinosaurs [Therapods] were digigrade, walking on their toes, like birds, and usually only three or four digits. Godzilla was plantigrade and pentadactyle, (having five digits and walking on the whole foot) just like lizards. It even looks like a lizard, apart from the fact that no reptile has an actual nose or external ears. In a sense, what Toho pictures created was actually an oriental dragon. These tend to mix reptilian and mammalian traits.

    There’s much more in that link. <3 Aronra. He's a boss when it comes to cladistics.

  292. says

    didgeman @298

    I think, the overwhelming reason, why evolution is much more detracted form scientific reasoning and is close to an axiom, is the fact, that many biologist have the same metaphysical thinking as Darwin, they want to get rid of a personal Creator. Or they were brainwashed with outdated texbooks since high school (by a dogmatic teaching, similar to the church some 200 years ago but in the reverse direction) or do simply not care and do their very important work for medical advances by reverse-engineering and understanding nature.

    Utter fucking dribble.

    1. Darwin did not want to “get rid” of a personal creator. He ended his life an agnostic, but when he began his voyage on the Beagle he was a faithful Christian man investigating the handiwork of God, like most Victorian scientists. His journey away from religion came after his discoveries (and they weren’t the only thing that made him question his faith). If you’d actually read Darwin’s own words instead of copy-paste fundamentalist propaganda, you’d know that.

    Darwin wasn’t some prophet that biologists blindly follow (that’s how you lot operate; please don’t project that cultish foolishness onto others); he was a keen observer who was the catalyst for a new avenue of inquiry. He’s rightly revered for his groundbreaking work but he isn’t blindly worshipped; there were many aspects of his early theories that were incomplete or flat wrong.

    BTW do you know who discovered & corrected Darwin’s errors and filled in the gaps of his understanding? I’ll give you a clue: it wasn’t creationists. Or Designists. Or whatever brand of disgraceful anti-scientific magick you’ve been hobbled by.

    Revisionist history (aka lying) regarding Darwin, impugning his motives, presuming to know the minds of others: FAIL.

    2. So generations of biologists have been “brainwashed with outdated textbooks”. Citation please? While it’s nice that you tried to finally explain your conspiracy theory, the brainwashing via obsolete texts charge is another claim that requires evidence. How did you arrive at your assessment of the currency of modern biology texts? Which have you read? Name a biology textbook in common use in state high schools, 2014 edition, and tell me where it’s lacking. Unless of course that’s just another unevidenced assertion that you’re thoughtlessly repeating as an axiom, in which case I’m happy for you to concede the point.

    A creationist scolding biologists for brainwashing via outdated texts: FAIL. And amusingly hypocritical.

    Also, I’m not entirely sure what that word-salad about reverse-engineering was supposed to prove; dismissed as tangential and not supporting your conspiracy charge.

    Seriously: do you really think a global biological conspiracy running over 150 years (and counting) could be accomplished with obsolete textbooks by a few dedicated atheist conspirators? FFS, those guys who faked cold fusion lasted about a nanosecond before they were busted – because science is self-correcting. If biology were built on a sham, it would have been discovered – by scientists – long before people like you had time to invent implausible criminal fantasies.

    Most of the other science disciplines don’t care either, except some metaphysical (atheistic) motivated astrophysicist, who try to disprove the overwhelming and widely accepted fine tuning of the universe for advanced life, which is again a strong indication for a divine Creator.

    When you make ridiculous yet vague accusations like this I have even more trouble taking you seriously than I was already having. “Most of the other science disciplines don’t care”? They “don’t care” that biology is apparently being conducted purely along atheist principles with the goal of disproving just ONE of countless ancient gods? Chemistry and geology and palaeontology (and epidemiology and pharmacology) don’t fucking CARE that their neighbours are a pack of lying, scheming conspirators working actively against the evidence?

    You do realise that biology frequently intersects with, informs and is informed by the other sciences, right? If you have one dodgy line of code in a computer program, that program’s doomed even if all the other coding’s perfect. If one branch of the scientific enterprise was rotten, it would be discovered and corrected or excised. Which is why nobody practices phrenology anymore. Or Creation Science, for that matter.

    Scientists don’t start out with the goal of disproving your precious, omnipotent-but-apparently-well-hidden creator. They have the goal of finding out how things work; if they come to the conclusion that gods aren’t necessary to make things word, suck it up. If your creator wanted to be found he’d try a little bit harder and stop disguising himself like completely natural phenomena. Don’t blame the messenger.

    Impugning peoples’ motives again, assuming subterfuge without evidence, argument from fucking Fine-Tuning: FAIL.

    On fine-tuning: in short, it’s the purest bollocks. We developed to fit the Universe, not the other way round – the Universe is a hole in the ground; we’re the water that makes a puddle. That’s what all the evidence says. I could go on but I sense that I’m wasting my time, just like everyone else here.

    There’s really no creationist trope you won’t swallow whole, is there? As an engineer, you’re a litany of motivated reasoning and conspiracist paranoia. At this point it’s hard to decide which is the greater crime here: your deliberate, motivated misunderstanding of very simple concepts or your bafflingly dim attempts to cast biology as a vast criminal enterprise conducted via old books and scientistic atheismists.

    What. The fuck. Are you smoking.

  293. Amphiox says

    If the universe as fine tuned by a creator for human life, it did a piss poor job of it, seeing how 99.999999999999999999999% foot is instantaneously lethal to humans.

  294. Amphiox says

    Since didgeman dishonestly presupposes a creator, he projects that biologists must presuppose not-God. His tiny mind cannot comprehend the possibility that many people are not as intellectually dishonest as he is, and do not presuppose anything.

    Modern biologists do not call upon creator hypotheses because 1) there is zero evidence a creator exists and 2) there is nothing yet found in the universe that requires a creator as an explanation.

    Bible based creator hypotheses were the cutting edge of science up to the 1800’s. One by one they were falsified. Intellectually honest scientists (devout Christians for the most part) followed the evidence, and the evidence, in every case, in every branch of study, led inexorably to “no creator necessary”

  295. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    To extrapolate the change in metabolism of a bacteria, which can be achieved by some few mutations in a very large population, to the appearance of a new mammal species is one of the most “science fiction” ideas in biology, I have ever heart. I

    Whereas the stupidity of your presuppositions, knowledge of how science actually works, and your inability to understand personal incredulity does not and will never touch science, is the biggest amount of fuckwittery on this blog today. Science doesn’t give a shit about your views. Only the evidence you present.
    Which, like your imaginary deity, and evidence for your inerrant babble, IS MIA. You have shown nothing, since you won’t shut the fuck up and point, preferably to the peer reviewed scientific literature. Until then, dismissed without evidence.

  296. says

    @287, didge (missed it before), quoting some chap named DMS Watson as a summary of his “argument”:

    The theory of evolution itself, a theory universally accepted not because it be can proved by logically coherent evidence to be true but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible.

    FYI Watson said this in 1929, a full six decades after Darwin’s Origin was published. How it’s relevant now escapes me.

    What’s more, Watson then went on to say this (emphasis mine):

    Thus the present position of zoology is unsatisfactory. We know as surely as we shall that evolution has occurred; but we do not know how this evolution has been brought about. The data which we have accumulated are inadequate, not in quantity but in their character, to allow us to determine which, if any, of the proposed explanations is a vera causa. But it appears that the experimental method rightly used will in the end give us, if not the solution of our problem, at least the power of analysing it and isolating the various factors which enter into it.

    Shorter, for those hard of reading: We know that evolution has occurred but we do not know how. Here, a rephrasing by the man himself:

    Whilst the fact of evolution is accepted by every biologist, the mode in which it has occurred and the mechanism by which it has been brought about are still disputable.

    Watson accepted evolution but lamented the presence of evidence that showed its specific mechanisms.

    However, to his good fortune, Watson lived until 1973. In 1929 he should’ve been well aware of Mendelian genetics; even if he wasn’t, he lived to see both the discovery of DNA in the 40s and the revelation of its double-helix form in 1953 and thus the birth of molecular genetics. Watson actually lived to see the answers he’d been yearning for in 1929 – but don’t let that stop you dishonestly misquoting him.

    In his own lifetime, Watson witnessed the transition in evolutionary science from fossils and cross-breeding experiments to being able to witness the structure and functions of the very molecule that makes it all possible. And you have the nerve to sit there and paste a partial quote from the man, from 90 years ago, and assert that it somehow props up your conspiracy theory.

    As an engineer, you’re as shameless as you are ignorant.

    Horde, let us add two more ticks to our Creationist Bingo cards: misquoting a real scientist AND using a historical quote with no bearing on or relevance to the state of modern science!

    And that’s Numberwang!

  297. says

    Sorry to multipost.

    @287, didge (explaining his bio-conspiracy model):

    BTW, astronnomy, physics, geology and other science disciplines do not contradict to a creation model, as long as Scripture is not interpreted narrowminded (as often seen by YEC people).

    Yup. There’s your problem. You creationists can’t even decide which of you is right, yet you all expect others to take you seriously when you bring up your pet scientific disagreements. You lot should clean house before presuming to tell real scientists how to Science.

    But, really – I have to chuckle at you sitting sitting there and expecting me to believe that the YECs are the crazy ones while you’re trying to sell me this ludicrous fable about biologists all huddling together and pulling the wool over the eyes of their fellow scientists. Did you know that’s actually one of the YECs’ favourite bullshit theories too? You rodeo-clowns for Christ have a lot more in common than your realise.

    BTW astronomy, physics, geology and the other sciences DO in fact contradict creation. Astronomy & physics find no evidence at all of the presence of gods and provide rich, detailed explanations of their respective phenomena and workings without needing to invoke or imply supernatural interference.

    Geology underpins palaeontology, which was one of the first sciences to imply descent with modification, which led directly to evolutionary theory.

    Physics describes the motions of large bodies in space as well as the chemistry that underpins biology.

    To deny the conclusions of biology while accepting those of other sciences is a very clear indication that you don’t understand either – or you do understand on some level but don’t want to engage any further because challenges to your faith make you very uncomfortable. No wonder you need a conspiracy theory to explain the disconnect.

    Is there a single aspect of this argument that you don’t completely fail at?

  298. consciousness razor says

    Is there a single aspect of this argument that you don’t completely fail at?

    Well, it is true that there are creationists who are narrow-minded. There is also of course the implicit claim that they believe things which are false.

    Those may not be things didgemen wants to focus on, but if we’re going to be fair, it’s not a complete failure, technically speaking.

  299. says

    @327: As an engineer, you’re as shameless as you are ignorant.

    Hey, watch the splash damage there ;-). Seriously, though: I’m about as pissed off as anyone here at this pompous ass’s waving around of his engineering credentials as if they were license to tell other people how to do their jobs. There’s nothing wrong with being an engineer — we have to be smart, along certain axes, to get through the degree, if nothing else — but there’s also nothing fucking magic about it either. It’s fucking colossal arrogance in *anyone* to second-guess experts in other fields — or worse, to dismiss them outright as blind ideologues and conspirators — just because you don’t like their conclusions. Creationism isn’t a wrong belief system so much as it’s a serious character flaw.

  300. Amphiox says

    It should be noted that didgeman’s Watson quote comes from a period of time when there were doubts in the scientific community, not as to whether or not evolution occurred, but as to whether or not Darwin’s proposed mechanism (natural selection of random variation) was truly a significant mechanism of evolution or not, precisely because the integration of genetics with evolutionary science, and the application of statistical population-based math, had not yet occurred. (This makes that particular period a fruitful one for dishonest quote miners like didgeman to peruse).

    In other words it is a quote arguing against a specific aspect of old evolutionary theory (not the whole thing), which has been subsequently superceded by newer science.

    It’s a double strawman, and failure squared for poor didgeman.

  301. Amphiox says

    BTW, astronnomy, physics, geology and other science disciplines do not contradict to a creation model, as long as Scripture is not interpreted narrowminded (as often seen by YEC people).

    When the very order of creation in Genesis is wrong in multiple places, in the domains of cosmology, geology, hydrology, astronomy, and biology, your “not narrowminded” interpretation would require viewing it as a non-linear, atemporal text.

    But if you do that, you can no longer claim that Genesis even describes a “beginning” of anything.

  302. Amphiox says

    I mean, in Genesis 1:1, the very first lines, you have water existing before light.

    It is also notable that God, in Genesis, did not create the water. The water was already present for God’s spirit to “hover over” before the very first “Let there be X” logos-creation statement.

    Frankly, one can pretty easily interpret Genesis 1:1 that God did not create the universe ex nihilo at all, and that the primordial waters were already there, predating God himself.

  303. Menyambal says

    Eamon Knight says:

    Creationism isn’t a wrong belief system so much as it’s a serious character flaw.

    I have to agree with that. I think these pop-ins would be enthusiastic adherents of some other whacked-out belief if they were in some other country.

    Some folks seem to latch on to the first nugget of info that they hear on a new subject, and never let it go, wrong or right. They also tend to just go with the first/prevailing belief system they grow up in. And they don’t give it much thought, just comfortable to be right.

    But these adamant Creationists seem to put a little more thought and work into getting their belief customized to their traits. didgeman seems to be a little more clever (but not near as clever as he thinks he is (bog standard for fundy leaders)), and went digging a little deeper until he found an area that made him feel surer and smarter. He is learning, not just coasting, and he gets to feel really smug and sure that he is right. And he gets all the joy of being aware of a big conspiracy, not just being aware of his religion.

    And, kinda like water in a puddle, he is shaping himself to this religion that he has found. I really do think that this cannot bode well for his future.

    (I’m not going to say “his mental health”. I probably shouldn’t be saying “his” either, but his name does seem to have “man” in it. (Are all the really dedicated Creationists male?))

  304. says

    @Eamon

    Heh, I could’ve phrased that better I suppose. “Despite being an engineer…” :)

    Anyway, I’m sure we’re all aware that credentialism is a major pillar of the creationist marketing strategy, but I’ll chat about it anyway, so didgeman knows he’s nothing we haven’t seen before.

    It’s part of their generally authoritarian bent, which is unsurprising for dedicated religionists. And of course citing someone’s degree or job title isn’t just an attempt to boost their own side’s credibility; they project that credentialism and authoritarianism onto science and assert that science – or the bits of it they disapprove of – is organised in some kind of hierarchical top-down system that apes religion, in which Truth is handed down from on high and official dogma is to be protected at all costs. They’re basically saying to biology or to science in general: “See? You’re just like us!” I’m sure they think that’s a clever insult, but accusing your opponent of being just as stupid as you are isn’t quite the cutting remark you may imagine. Especially when you’re holding the blade.

    It’s particularly laughable considering the various theologically-acceptable areas of scientific inquiry vary from creationist to creationist, as didgeman admitted upthread. Some happily accept the age of the Earth & Universe but quibble over evolution (of course giving no good reason for why biology’s some special case), while others throw the whole of science under the bus because – unlike half-arsed cherry-picking pseudo-creationists – they understand that NO science substantiates Genesis and much of it is in direct contradiction, therefore ALL of science is wrong and must be opposed. So you can at least admit they’re consistent.

    Again, I’d say to didgeman – sort out your issues with your fellow creationists before presuming to tell scientists how to do their jobs. You and the YECs strongly agree that evolution is impossible, but you disagree vehemently about other things. By what authority or knowledge do you presume to tell YECs they’re wrong about anything? Scientific evidence for the age of the Earth and Universe? But the exact same scientific method applied elsewhere concludes that there’s common ancestry for all life! And now you’re back where you were many comments ago, flailing around trying to explain how science is mostly A-OK except for biology, which is in the grip of a sinister cabal of atheists armed with old textbooks.

    Maybe you could save time and just explain, in very small words, what it is about evolution that makes you uncomfortable.

  305. says

    @335: ‘sokay. I continue — some 20 years after I first heard it (and I was there!) — to be fascinated by the Salem Hypothesis, despite a paucity of data as to its reality. I have a few thoughts on why it might be true, but better things to do at the moment than maunder on about them….

  306. Menyambal says

    didgeman is doing the standard Creationist shtick of assuming Darwin invented evolution. They always call it “Darwin’s Theory of Evolution” as the set phrase, when they aren’t saying “Darwinism”. I can’t find my rant, so just a few words on those few words …

    Darwin did not come up with the concept of evolution. It had been around for millennia, and was really becoming obvious by Darwin’s time (his grandfather was aware of it). The thing that kept evolution from being accepted as the best explanation of everything (that’s what a theory is – the best explanation) was that scientists could not figure out what made it tick – what drove it. They wanted a full explanation, not just a looks-like-it-might-be.

    Darwin found the mechanism that drove evolution – he figured out that it was natural selection, the dying off of all but those few best suited to the local conditions. The natural variation allowed adaptation to changing conditions over time.

    Now, Darwin took his time getting his explanation of what drove evolution all worked out and written down. While he was doing so, another person, Wallace, figured it out, wrote it up fast, and mailed it off … to Darwin. So you can’t even say “Darwin’s”. Wallace worked out natural selection, too. But he agreed that Darwin had done much more work, and Darwin had a book in progress, which he hurried up a bit, so Darwin published the first big work about natural selection, his explanation of what made evolution happen.

    Notice, please, that his explanation was not just some wild guess. It was a very good explanation, far better than any other, with reasons, reasoning, evidence, lots of examples and lots of work. Because that is what a scientific theory is – a robust, fault-free explanation of everything about a topic, that still is regarded as tentative by scientists, some of whom immediately set out to find faults in it, some of whom set out to see what it predicts and if it does so correctly.

    So, to sum up: Evolution wasn’t Darwin’s idea, natural selection was. Natural selection was co-figured-out by Wallace. A theory is not a guess, it is as sound as can be. So it isn’t “Darwin’s half-assed idea: evolution”, it is “Darwin (and Wallace)’s rigorous explanation of how natural selection (also rigorously explained) drives species to separate and to change over time, which they obviously do and have been doing, as everybody knows.”

    We call that changing “evolution”, but Darwin never did. So rattling “Darwin’s Theory of Evolution” at a scientist is really, really, wrong.

  307. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    We call that changing “evolution”, but Darwin never did. So rattling “Darwin’s Theory of Evolution” at a scientist is really, really, wrong.

    To add to this astute observation, Darwin got a whole lot wrong. He didn’t have a mechanism for heredity for a while. But he was amongst the first to put it in writing, and with substantial amount of evidence to back it up.
    Then came genes, chromosomes, DNA, etc, and it all backs up Darwin’s basic theory. Details are wrong, but not the general idea.
    All the creationists, being authoritarians, waste their time on Darwin when scientists look at everything since that supports evolution, including genomes. The amount of scientific evidence supporting evolution is staggering. It doesn’t make sense unless natural selection was at work.
    The amount of evidence for any deity? ZERO. They don’t exist until that changes.

  308. says

    BTW, in response to yet another of didgy’s eructations (which I can’t be arsed to look up the comment # of, because he doesn’t fucking deserve the courtesy): Annie Darwin lived from 1841 to 1851. Darwin had written down the gist of his theory by 1844 and entrusted it to his wife for safe-keeping (he was chronically ill, and afraid he might die), and we know from his notebooks that it had been brewing in his head for some time before that. IOW: it was essentially complete some years before tragedy struck, and no doubt well on its way before Annie was even *born*.

    So the assertion that Darwin invented it out of some perverse desire to get rid of God, in response to Annie’s death is contemptibly stupid — both factually and morally.

  309. Menyambal says

    I like the reverse (or is it Converse®) of the “you just want to get rid of God” accusation. It is “No, you Christians must really, desperately, want there to be a god.”

    I haven’t used that, mind, at least not in meatspace. But I find it interesting how often the fundamentalists are projecting in reverse like that.

    We are all familiar with how much they project, but I like to watch for the reverse projections (or is it Converse®), which are still projecting, not the opposite of projecting.

    It’s like they cannot even begin to understand that other people are different, let alone how different. At least that is what my Engineering Logic® tells me.

  310. says

    Yep, Menyambal @340, the accusations we receive are quite telling. “You just want to get rid of God” not only reverses to a perfect description of creationist desperation, it’s also another prime example of creationists assuming/asserting that we’re just like them: committed in advance to inherited dogma bestowed by authority figures and which we’ll defend zealously regardless of the lack of evidence for it, or presence of evidence against it. Hell, the projection is so strong it could be used to display advertisements on the fucking Moon.

    A clash of two authoritarian dogmas, of which there can be only one winner, appears to be the only way creationists can conceive of or participate in a disagreement. That shouldn’t be at all surprising to anyone, considering religion’s long and infamous history of theological disagreements ending in schisms, torture and bloody massacres.

  311. didgeman says

    Hank_Says @ 327:

    Shorter, for those hard of reading: We know that evolution has occurred but we do not know how.

    Yes, and this is still the case today when it comes to macroevolution. The only change is, that “Evolution” has advanced to an axiom in the head of many biologists. This makes it easier to deal with nasty data, which are so arrogant not the fit the predictions. With an axiom in place, you don’t need predictions, or you can reformulate it after the data.

  312. didgeman says

    Amphiox @ 333:

    I mean, in Genesis 1:1, the very first lines, you have water existing before light.
    It is also notable that God, in Genesis, did not create the water. The water was already present for God’s spirit to “hover over” before the very first “Let there be X” logos-creation statement.
    Frankly, one can pretty easily interpret Genesis 1:1 that God did not create the universe ex nihilo at all, and that the primordial waters were already there, predating God himself.

    I gave the description of a day-age creation model in #309 on EnlightenmentLiberals request, where the sequence of the Biblical creation account perfectly fits with the astronomical and geological data, including fossil record. Please have again a look at it.
    One of the key problems in reasoning (including scientific reasoning) is to agree on the correct reference point. While Genesis 1:1 is kind of bird view of the universe and the solar system, including the premordial earth, the reference point in Genesis 1.2 was set to the surface of the earth. All descriptions after that shift are related to the surface of the earh, and there it was completely dark because of the heavy dusty premordial athmosphere. The big-bang and all the development of galaxies and stars, including sun and earth are covered in Genesis 1.1. Of course, there was already light 4.5 bya, but it was not yet visible on the earth. Again, have a look at this model and don’t blame me for YEC interpretations of Genesis. I cannot speak for them. I only can say, there are other possibilities for looking at the Biblical descriptions (as there are other options for interpreting biological data, when it comes to macroevolutionary processes).

  313. azhael says

    @342 didgeman
    xDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

    Jesus fucking chris you are an arsehole…
    I’m done, i have no interest in battling The Neverending Lie Machine. I’ll just say one last time that your personal ignorance about something does NOT mean that there is not a gigantic fucking mountain of excellent evidence in spectacular support of it, it just means you don’t know about it. Your arrogance knows no bounds, though, it extends almost as far as your bullshit…

  314. Lofty says

    Goodness, didgeman, you would be funny if you weren’t so daft.

    the sequence of the Biblical creation account perfectly fits with the astronomical and geological data, including fossil record.

    Do you have a tool better than a drool smudged hand lens to examine science so poorly? Dur.
    Science progresses, creationism regresses.

  315. Amphiox says

    All descriptions after that shift are related to the surface of the earh, and there it was completely dark because of the heavy dusty premordial athmosphere

    Even with the thickest imaginable early atmosphere consistent with the evidence, early earth would not be completely dark.

    Of course there is also the small factoid that early earth had volcanic activity, and the hot lava glowed with this thing we call black body radiation, which means even with an atmosphere of solid lead, there Luke STILL have been light on early earth.

    Your bible is wrong again.

    I gave the description of a day-age creation model in #309 on EnlightenmentLiberals request, where the sequence of the Biblical creation account perfectly fits with the astronomical and geological data, including fossil record. Please have again a look at it.

    One can look at it a million times, and it is still flat out wrong.

  316. Amphiox says

    . This makes it easier to deal with nasty data, which are so arrogant not the fit the predictions. With an axiom in place, you don’t need predictions, or you can reformulate it after the data.

    You’re projecting, you sad pitiful liar.

    The above statement perfectly describes everything you’ve puked out this thread so far.

    You “day age creationism” is precisely re formulating the data to fit back to your presupposed axiom of creation.

  317. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @didgeman

    Of course, there was already light 4.5 bya, but it was not yet visible on the earth.

    Day 3 is then plate tectonics and first land vegetation (about 1.2 to 0.8 bya) and day 4 is the atmosphere to become partially transparent, by increase of oxygen and reduction of CO2 by photosynthesis and rainfall on up-pushing land masses.

    I didn’t want to go into details earlier, but I have to ask … surface vegitation? Did it use photosynthesis? How did it manage that with this thick covering of gas which blocked out the light of the stars (and the sun)?

    I’m still curious of a reply to 320 and 322, if you have the time. Thanks for your time.

  318. didgeman says

    Amphiox @ 346:

    Of course there is also the small factoid that early earth had volcanic activity, and the hot lava glowed with this thing we call black body radiation, which means even with an atmosphere of solid lead, there Luke STILL have been light on early earth.
    Your bible is wrong again

    What are we arguing about here? I gave you the over 2500 year old literal description of the details of the primordial earh, which astronomers only found out during the last few years, and you claim, because of some glowing lava (which BTW is quite a realistic scenario, have a look to my collage image, where also lightning is shown), that this ancient description is plain wrong. For me, this is splitting hairs. I myself am more and more impressed, who precisely the scientific details of the universe are described in Scripture . Of course, This does not work with a YEC mind set. I am really surprised, that the general understanding here about Scripture is the YEC view, which is of course easy to attack and to replace by an agnostic or atheistic worldview. Again, this is not the only option, how to interprete Scripture.

  319. Maureen Brian says

    Goodness, didgeman @ 342, why are you confounded by this “macroevolution” thing?

    What you call macroevolution is the cumulative effect of the usual rate of “microevolution” over many, many millennia. Exactly the same process – just add time.

  320. didgeman says

    EnlightenmentLiberal @ 320:

    I’m still curious about taxonomy and cladistics in particular. I am still curious for a response to what I wrote earlier
    Here is an article, which composes some of the issue. Instead of attacking the author or the conclusion, rahter follow the links to the referenced original papers:
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/02/problem_6_molec091151.html

    BTW, I asked earlier, do have a look at the great collection of references to original papers about Cambrian explosion in the book “Darwin’s Doubt”. I did not ask to agree with the author or to like him. But the “qualification”, which Meyer got here by Hank_Says in # 187

    Anyway, in #167 didge invoked Stephen “not a biologist, not a palaentologist, not actually a fucking scientist or even a human with any integrity” Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt. That should tell us all we need to know about his level of understanding.

    does again take away the focus of the content and the message. Always the same game here: Play the man, not the ball. Please don’ t step in this trap when following the link above.

  321. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    he only change is, that “Evolution” has advanced to an axiom in the head of many biologists.

    Stupid sentence, using axiom wrongly. Evolution is scientific theory backed by a million or so scientific papers, directly and indirectly. It isn’t used without evidence, or a presupposition.
    An axiom is your presupposition that your imaginary deity exist, and your babble is inerrant. That is an axiom, presupposed without evidence. You go downhill from there. More lies and bullshit without a shred of evidence.
    Preacher, time for PZ to ban your ass. You are proselytizing.

  322. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Didgeman, we judge the content, and the evidence. But anything done by anybody presuming your imaginary deity is already bad content, unscientific unless they provide scientific evidence or their deity (NEVER DONE), and full of lies and bullshit, just like yourself. You embarrass yourself with every stupider and stupider post.

  323. didgeman says

    EnlightenmentLiberal @ 348:

    I didn’t want to go into details earlier, but I have to ask … surface vegitation? Did it use photosynthesis? How did it manage that with this thick covering of gas which blocked out the light of the stars (and the sun)?

    See day 1 in # 309 (about 4.5 to 3.8 bya), when the early atmosphere became translucent, but not yet transparent

  324. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    See day 1 in # 309 (about 4.5 to 3.8 bya), when the early atmosphere became translucent, but not yet transparent

    Link required to the peer reviewed scientific literature. No link, no evidence, claim dismissed as fuckwittery.

  325. didgeman says

    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls @ 354:

    Preacher, time for PZ to ban your ass. You are proselytizing.

    The main platform here is freethoughtblogs.com. Have you understood the name? Banning someone because of arguments, not because of personal attacks or vulgar language?
    To be honest, I do not find much “happiness” here among the followers of the “Happy Atheist” PZ :-). He should try harder.

  326. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The main platform here is freethoughtblogs.com. Have you understood the name? Banning someone because of arguments, not because of personal attacks or vulgar language?

    You are intellectually dishonest. You don’t have freethought, as you aren’t EMPIRICALLY EVIDENCED BASED.

  327. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dang, keyboard shortcuts posted my #357

    The main platform here is freethoughtblogs.com. Have you understood the name? Banning someone because of arguments, not because of personal attacks or vulgar language?

    You are intellectually dishonest. You don’t have freethought, as you aren’t EMPIRICALLY EVIDENCED BASED. Freethought rejects dogma like religion.
    You presuppose your imaginary deity, and that your babble is inerrant, like any godbot/creobot/IDot. Then imagufacuture alleged evidence (not scientific evidence) to try to make it sound sciency. And fail dramatically. What you have is theology attempting to be a science. Never, was, never will be, and you have nothing to make it work. Just you belief in a phantasm.
    I have tried to get you to put your arguments *snicker, theological drivel* into a true scientific argument. Only more science refutes science. Theology can’t, philosophy can’t, only more science. Your science is MIA. You are preaching your gospel of your take on your phantasm. That isn’t freethought. That is faith. That is religion. It ain’t science.
    One of PZ’S rule is no proselytizing. You are proselytizing. How do you stop proselytizing? You make the argument based on the peer reviewed scientific literature, rather than web site and books where your imaginary deity is presupposed. Not hard to do. But you have failed to do that.
    You have no scientific arguments. You have theology, which is proselytizing.

  328. Maureen Brian says

    didgeman,

    Listen to Nerd! He’s a scientist and had been trained to distinguish between science and bullshit. I totally back the recommendation of that Dover v. Kitzmiller link. Sit down, chew your pencil and watch the whole thing.

    By the way, here’s the definition of free thought from Wikipedia – “Freethought (also spelled free thought) is a philosophical viewpoint which holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, or other dogmas.” Nothing at all to do with obliging us to listen to whatever you decide to come up with.

    Most of us here have had a religious education, some in great depth. Just come up with an actual fact which you can support with evidence. Then we might have something to say to each other.

  329. opus says

    Has anyone else noticed the correlations between didgeman’s case for creationism and his alleged saviour?

    – His alleged saviour had five holes in him when he died, while his case for creationism has an almost-infinite number of holes.
    – His alleged saviour is still dead and his argument is DOA.
    – His alleged savior failed to return within a generation as he promised and didgeman has failed to deliver any scientific evidence for his beliefs.

    Coincidence??? I think not. . .

  330. consciousness razor says

    All descriptions after that shift are related to the surface of the earh, and there it was completely dark because of the heavy dusty premordial athmosphere. The big-bang and all the development of galaxies and stars, including sun and earth are covered in Genesis 1.1. Of course, there was already light 4.5 bya, but it was not yet visible on the earth.

    That’s a strange way of saying there was no Earth before that.

    But instead of what actually happened in reality, you apparently mean that according to your interpretation of the Bible, our solar system (including the Earth) had already formed by then, and you think the Bible is (incorrectly) talking about the dust in Earth’s atmosphere to explain why it was supposedly dark. It’ll be somewhat challenging for you to have literally no photons reach the surface however this is supposed to work, if there were a planet to even talk about prior to 4.5 Bya. And without any people or other animals at the time, what exactly is the word “visible” supposed to be doing here anyway? Of course, since this has nothing to do with reality, you are totally free to do anything you like.

    Anyway, planets don’t have atmospheres when they don’t exist, so could you explain that part in some more detail? Do you have any reason to think that the Earth existed for any amount of time before the figure which is actually supported by the science, of roughly 4.5 billion years ago? I mean, other than you think the Bible must be true, is there a good reason to think that? If you’re going to reject the whole big scientific picture about planet formation, star formation, galaxy formation, what kind of star we have, geological processes once things settle down, etc. (that is, being a science-denier just like a YEC, only concerning different sets of facts), then I think you would want to have something better than ignorant ramblings to support that.

  331. didgeman says

    The debate between PZ and the biochemist Fuz Rana, who works for Reasons to Beleive, is now online:

  332. Maureen Brian says

    Bad manners, didgeman! This is PZ Myers’ blog. He might well have been writing a piece to go with that video. He may have wanted to postpone the posting until he’s not so busy and has time to discuss it. He could have decided not to put it up at all.

    Whichever way, it’s PZ’s blog and PZ’s choice.

    No wonder you don’t grasp science. You don’t have the ability even to consider new information or respect an author’s right to decide what is done with his own work.

  333. Amphiox says

    The main platform here is freethoughtblogs.com. Have you understood the name? Banning someone because of arguments, not because of personal attacks or vulgar language?

    Read the blog rules, you poor dishonest fool. Derailing threads with endlessly repetitive arguments is a bannable offence. When someone does nothing but repeat the same discredited arguments over and over again, adding nothing new to the discourse for an extended period of time, and refuses to go away, PZ reserves the right to ban them, or restrict them to Thunderdome, at his discretion.

    They are typically given lots of rope, and the platform is certainly not denied, since they had already given the opportunity to make their arguments several times over earlier in the thread, but there is a limit.

    And repeating decades-old arguments, already discredited and addressed by previous commenters in this very thread, is the only thing you’ve been doing for quite a while now.

  334. Amphiox says

    I gave you the over 2500 year old literal description of the details of the primordial earh, which astronomers only found out during the last few years, and you claim, because of some glowing lava (which BTW is quite a realistic scenario, have a look to my collage image, where also lightning is shown), that this ancient description is plain wrong. For me, this is splitting hairs.

    That is just one small example of why the description is plain wrong. The other, bigger example, which I also mentioned (first in the post in fact), but which you, in your typically dishonest way, chose to ignore, is the simple fact that some sunlight still reached earth’s surface even from the very beginning, so there was NO time, ever, in earth’s existence, when there was no light visible on its surface.

    In fact, in the VERY earliest period of earth’s formation, the planet had NO atmosphere, and sunlight reached the surface freely. The atmosphere outgassed from volcanic activity later during the planet’s formation, so no matter how thick you think the primordial atmosphere was, the earth, at its very beginning, had light.

    But the bigger point is that all you are doing is engaging in after-the-fact metaphor fitting, and it is just as easy to take the biblical text and metaphor it in the exact opposite direction. A text that can be interpreted to mean anything, explains nothing.

    Watch as didgeman dishonestly focuses on the small middle point, and ignores the larger more important first and third points, in his next response.

  335. Amphiox says

    Speaking of “splitting hairs”, the inerrant word of the omnipotent divine creator of everything should not have ANY hairs to split.

    The very need to “split hairs” demonstrates that the creator cannot be omniscient.

  336. didgeman says

    Maureen Brian @ 365:

    This is PZ Myers’ blog. He might well have been writing a piece to go with that video.

    He will certainly do that, as he announced. What I found a positive surprise, when listening to the debate, is the civilized behaviour and wording on both sides. So, in this case, PZ gave a good example, how a discussion should be, even if the viewpoints are completely different. My compliments!

  337. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    He will certainly do that, as he announced. What I found a positive surprise, when listening to the debate, is the civilized behaviour and wording on both sides. So, in this case, PZ gave a good example, how a discussion should be, even if the viewpoints are completely different. My compliments!

    PZ hides behind his disguise as a mild-mannered professor.
    This was never the discussion you hoped for. You are at an atheist blog (freethinker used to be term for atheist, and does describe a lot of atheists), and a science blog. So, for starters, the null hypothesis here is that your deity is imaginary, and science rules, religion drools. If you are going to come in an expect to be treated politely when you disrespect the null hypotheses, you are severely mistaken. Polite is never an argument, nor does one always win with politeness. On wins in science with evidence. You don’t understand what is meant by evidence, in particular, scientific evidence.
    Scientific papers are scientific evidence. Which is why people pester you for peer reviewed scientific citations. Dead silence, or look it up for ourselves. You lose with that attitude, as you must support your claims, not us. And that goes back to how science handles such things compared to religion. Religious folks often pretend they are right until disproved. Then make sure to dismiss anything that can disprove them. Science takes the other tack, of you are likely wrong until you provide supporting evidence for your claims. Your claims were missing the supporting evidence from the peer reviewed scientific literature. You put yourself behind an eight ball. At that point, we were laughing at you.
    Expert opinions by people in the field is usually scientific evidence.
    Science is not authoritarian in the sense that only a few important people are listened to. Although some are better at speaking to the general public than others.
    What isn’t scientific.
    Deities of any sort, unless they pass the concept of extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Typically, it requires evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers, as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. Equivalent to an eternally burning bush.
    Your bible needs to be shown to be inerrant. For example, you need third party scientific evidence to show that the exodus occurred with physical evidence from Egypt and the Sinai. Funny how there is no evidence either place. Another example is a all-continent-one-time-flood-extinction at the right point in history. Funny how the fossil record and geological columns show absolutely no such evidence, and those Chinese kept writing records during that period. If one thing is not literally true, and is just a myth tale, then all of genesis can be considered mythology until shown otherwise.
    These are tall hurdles for you even to start a scientific discussion about creationism/ID. Nobody has done so to date, and you failed miserably to start it, going immediately to religious presupposition and preaching the creationist gospel.

  338. consciousness razor says

    In fact, in the VERY earliest period of earth’s formation, the planet had NO atmosphere, and sunlight reached the surface freely. The atmosphere outgassed from volcanic activity later during the planet’s formation, so no matter how thick you think the primordial atmosphere was, the earth, at its very beginning, had light.

    But the bigger point is that all you are doing is engaging in after-the-fact metaphor fitting, and it is just as easy to take the biblical text and metaphor it in the exact opposite direction. A text that can be interpreted to mean anything, explains nothing.

    Exactly.

    If anybody thought the Biblical authors were interested in talking about the 8 or 9 billion years from the Big Bang to the Earth’s formation, it stands to reason they would’ve said something … well … interesting about it, instead of one or a few scattered, vague, pointless verses that could be interpreted numerous other ways.

    And if that’s what they were up to, you’d think they wouldn’t have bothered to mention (and get wrong) the atmospheric conditions on Earth when nobody was around. Who cares? If you were interested in telling some kind of interesting cosmic history that puts things into perspective (things like the rest of Bible stories or your people or whatever you want), you would presumably not worry much about whether it was kinda-sorta-dark on the surface of Earth when it had recently formed. Nobody gives a fuck — not me or you or Jebus or the Bible authors — literally nobody ever.

    You might instead want to say something that could be remotely interesting to anyone, like for example, what is going on with the rest of the entire fucking universe, which might have some relevance to how things got to be the way they are now — setting the stage for the rest of the action, as it were. If that’s the sort of thing you were doing, you simply would not care about photons hitting (or not hitting or not much) Earth’s surface, because it is an insignificant fucking detail (which you don’t even get right) about an insignificant speck in the big scheme of things, which doesn’t (or wouldn’t, even if it were true) help to explain anything about any of this at all.

    It’s just plain fucking stupid to interpret the Bible like that, much less insist that it must be “true” somehow, despite all evidence to the contrary. It’s simply unbelievable to me that anyone really does take this crap seriously for even a moment, or even that anyone like our friend didgeman might think this bullshit could somehow be useful in an argument even if they’re not arguing in good faith about what they sincerely believe. Nobody is buying your bullshit, didgeman. You aren’t, and neither are we.

  339. Amphiox says

    Speaking of black body radiation, at the moment of first formation the earth was problem hot enough that the *whole* thing glowed for a while, and continued to glow brightly in the infra-red for quite some time after that…. (And if you’re going to metaphor “Let there be light” to the creation of photons in the Big Bang, then infra-red counts as light. Particularly when there are species on this planet that can see in infra-red anyways).

  340. Menyambal says

    My digital camera can see in infrared. So can yours. Point your digital camera at the business end of a remote, and push a button on the remote. In the camera’s screen, you can see the LED light up. (See, didgeman, evidence!)

  341. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @didgeman
    You cite this paper:
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2015/02/problem_6_molec091151.html
    I literally skimmed it for about 30 seconds, and in that time I already found two blatant lies, which is pretty impressive. And taking another 30 seconds to read for context to make sure I’m right, I found a third.

    As the aforementioned Biological Theory paper explains, the main assumption underlying molecular trees “derives from interpreting molecular similarity (or dissimilarity) between taxa in the context of a Darwinian model of continual and gradual change.”101 So the theory is assumed to be true to construct a tree.

    That is a lie. You can construct these trees without an assumption that evolution is true.

    The basic problem is that one gene gives one version of the tree of life, while another gene gives a highly different, and conflicting, version of the tree.

    The paper acts as if this is an unexpected result on the evolutionary hypothesis, even though it is expected according to the evolutionary hypothesis. These people who authored this junk need to take a intro class to population genetics. Oh wait, this has already been explained to them, but they’re pretending they don’t know. This is another lie, because the paper’s authors do know better.

    Problems first arose when molecular biologists sequenced genes from the three basic domains of life — bacteria, archaea, and eukarya — but those genes did not allow these basic groups of life to be resolved into a treelike pattern. In 2009, the journal New Scientist published a cover story titled, “Why Darwin was wrong about the tree of life” which explained these quandaries:[…]Many evolutionists sometimes reply that these problems arise only when studying microorganisms like bacteria — organisms which can swap genes through a process called “horizontal gene transfer,” thereby muddying the signal of evolutionary relationships. But this objection isn’t quite true, since the tree of life is challenged even among higher organisms where such gene-swapping is not prevalent. Carl Woese, a pioneer of evolutionary molecular systematics, explains:

    I know about that issue of New Scientist. It is true that there is no tree of life in the conventional sense when we get to micro-organisms. Yet this paper pretends the New Scientist publication supports the general idea that there are significant problems even for animals, even though this New Scientist publication clearly and unequivocally endorses the facts that there is a tree of life for animals. The creationist authors have the gall to pretend otherwise. This is another example of grossly misrepresenting a source to the point of plain willful dishonesty. Quote mining one might say.

    Overall, this line of argument is a bait-and-switch. They use a seeming scientific source to make argument A, when it doesn’t support argument A, and actually argues against argument A. E.G. Quoting mining and dishonesty.

    I have no further interest to read that paper or its citations. I’ve already determined through literally less than 1 minute of skimming that it has grossly misrepresented one source, and it contains a further two lies. Thus I determine it likely that I will get nothing valuable out of the paper or its citations.

    You’re welcome to try again, including naming specific citations which you think I should read, but you’re going to have to do better than throwing this creationist crap at me.

    Especially, you should read up on some population genetics, to see why the creationist authors here are full of crap. I know this is going to be hard to grasp, but I want you to understand this: If the genetic trees constructed by looking at individual genes produced the exact same trees, no matter which gene you looked at, then this would be evidence against evolution by natural selection, not evidence for. The fact that some genes produce slightly different trees is expected as a consequence of evolutionary theory, i.e. population genetics. For an introduction appropriate to your level of understanding, I suggest this video:
    >Evolution, I Do the Kinky Stuff – PZ Myers – Skepticon 5
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdqYEq-7sM0

    I also strongly suggest watching the rest of the science talks that PZ Myers has up on youtube. They are very informative for someone without a college education in biology.

  342. says

    *rant warning*

    Didgeman (skip to the summary if you’re busy – I know it’s time-consuming to search for quotes to mis-use and apologetics to paste), if you think microevolution and macroevolution are separate things, you’ve disqualified yourself from the conversation yet again (BTW I can’t believe it took this long to tick the micro/macro square in my Creationist Troll Bingo card!). Artificially separating the two is like assuming a match is too small to start a bushfire.

    And if you’re going to get snippy about me insulting Bill “not a fucking scientist” Dembski while deliberately ignoring 90% of what I’ve directly addressed to you – for example, the complete context of that quote by DMS Watson that you mangled (and which you should stop using immediately, if you’re at all honest) – and use that minor point to paint me and everyone else here as “playing the man, not the ball”, you need to understand something.

    Creationist trolls like you cop the occasional burst of abuse and sailor-talk, sure. But when you invite yourself into someone else’s conversation and do absolutely nothing but repeat the kind of shop-worn half-truths, misrepresentations, misquotes and conspiracy theories that have characterised your comments in this thread, people are going to get frustrated with you. The frustration only grows when you deliberately ignore people’s responses, or when you answer their questions with non-answers, or when you ignore disproofs and debunkings and just move on to your next stupid argument.

    If you can’t appreciate why some people might be getting frustrated to the point of dropping a few F-bombs (well-earned by Dembski, BTW, who’s made a career of using very poor mathematical arguments to support arguments he can’t make scientifically), perhaps you should look back at your participation in this thread. And if you’re going to continue to tone-troll about a few “fucks” while continuing to put your fingers in your ears and deny the actual arguments against you and keep pasting apologetics, you might as well leave. You won’t evangelise a single one of us and you won’t convince us that you’re serious enough about this conversation to actually listen to anyone better informed about it than you are. Lots of us are actual, practicing scientists, teachers, researchers or just well-read scientifically literate people – even those who aren’t know a metric shitload more about science than you. You’re out of your depth.

    The problem is that all of your alleged arguments against evolution – literally, all of them – have been used here before, repeatedly and they’ve all been destroyed, repeatedly. You’re nothing new and neither are your “show-stopper” critiques of evolution. We could swap your username with any number of creationists who’ve been here before and not be able to tell the difference. You all paste your information from the same evangelistic non-scientific sources – including the context-free quotes from scientists from the previous two centuries that I’m sure you guys all have huge databases of. Over the last decade and a half, the only difference I’ve ever seen between creationist commenters across the web, apart from their precise position on the YEC-IDiot Creationist spectrum – is the order in which they trot out the dessicated corpses of their arguments.

    There’s a reason Creationist Bingo is a thing – it’s because you lot have nothing to bring to the conversation but the same old tired, predictable shit. The world has moved on from “God did it” as an explanation, because as an explanation it explains absolutely nothing and generates far more questions than it answers – questions that trolls like you can’t answer.

    – – –

    SUMMARY: evolution is one of the most well-supported and well-understood scientific theories. Our understanding of it is not complete, but that’s true across all theories and scientific disciplines. Evolution is confirmed by every other related field of science, both directly and indirectly. It informs many other branches of science including medicine and pharmacology. If evolution was wrong it would become immediately self-evident as all the fields that biology currently informs would collapse. If it didn’t and evolution was some kind of clever scam, the rest of the scientific community (not semi-educated creationists) would be the first to find out and to take steps to remedy the situation.

    When creationists invite themselves into these conversations and repeat arguments that were as false when Darwin was alive as they are today, and misquote scientists, and invoke spooky conspiracies, and repeat the same old apologetics creationists have been sharing among themselves for 150 years, and ignore substantive points raised against them, and refuse to properly answer questions, and inevitably resort to proselytising and pasting fucking Bible quotes, people are going to get frustrated. And some of them will tell you to fuck off. Like I feel like doing, right now, having spent far too much time trying to explain things to you than you deserve (and I know I’m not alone).

    SUPER-SUMMARY: Your conduct here has been glib, ignorant and disrespectful (both toward individuals and the evidence), so forgive me if I can’t spare a single fuck about your feelings.

  343. didgeman says

    @Hank_Says
    thanks for the extensive summary. I think, you have to admit one point: You would not have discussed so long and hard , if I only had reused known YEC arguments. At least the “Korea-analogy” and some details of the Old Earth Creation Model were not known to all here in the forum (according to the reaction). You may be surprised, but I really learnt my lesson. I have to backup my arguments better in the future and to do more research, based on scientific papers. This will not change my worldview, but probably the way of reasoning. So your effort was not completely useless. :-)

  344. oualawouzou says

    This will not change my worldview,

    Humor us again and tell us that we’re the ones being dogmatic.

  345. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    . At least the “Korea-analogy” and some details of the Old Earth Creation Model were not known to all here in the forum (

    No, it’s just be a while for such stupidity to show up and make themselves laughable. You taught us nothing, other than you are a gullible fool, who believes in phantasm and other absurdities.

    This will not change my worldview, but probably the way of reasoning. So your effort was not completely useless. :-)

    Yep, you will end up like liberturds and other creobots who quotemine a paper for support, but when the entire paper is read, the conclusion and actual science refutes their sorry quotemines, making them look stupider than ever. Open your mind to learning. You don’t have to stop believing in your deity, just that creationism is a science, and science doesn’t listen. We listen, but you have no evidence, and it isn’t in the scientific literature. There is no support for creationism outside of religious circles. Which is why we kept telling you the scientific literature. You know, some place your they don’t presuppose your imaginary deity exists, and that your holy book is anything other than mythology/fiction. Which is what the evidence says.

  346. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @didgeman

    At least the “Korea-analogy” and some details of the Old Earth Creation Model were not known to all here in the forum (according to the reaction).

    Protip: It was known. It’s just there’s so many different variants of wrong, that we didn’t know which particular version of wrong you were.

    This will not change my worldview,

    Like Ken Ham and Bill Nye, Ken Ham is the one who says that no amount of evidence will ever change his mind, and Bill Nye says that good evidence can and would change his mind. How you you assert that “we’re being dogmatic” and pretend to be honest? Can you not see the obvious blatant dishonesty?

  347. says

    Didgeman, my effort was, as I suspected it would be from my first comment, completely useless if all you’re going to do is change your presentation but retain your flawed content. A dog in a suit is still going to eat shit. You’re simply wrong about evolution and everything you’ve said and every argument you’ve used demonstrates that. Until you take steps to educate yourself about the real state of evidence for evolution, all you’re going to do is present more and more sophisticated apologetics for creationism – and please note that sophistication is not the same thing as being right. You might have learned some kind of lesson through your time here, but it doesn’t appear to have been a very useful one.

    BTW, that equally silly & offensive North Korea analogy of yours has been used many times before – not specifically using North Korea, but the charge of biology being some kind of grand totalitarian conspiracy (something which you’re still yet to demonstrate) is almost as old as the theory of evolution itself. And, like every other creationist argument, it’s no truer today than when people first invented it.

    Please don’t try and kid yourself that you brought anything new to the table throughout this thread. You might not be a raving Young Earth moron like Ken Ham, but today’s Old Earth/Intelligent Design creationists have been around long enough that everybody can see their schtick a mile away. Citing Dembski as some kind of expert or authority is just one example – like I said, he uses demonstrably bad mathematics to support arguments that I suspect he knows, full-well, that he (and ID in general) cannot support scientifically.

    There simply isn’t any scientific evidence for Intelligent Design or any other creationist variant (which they know on some level, which is why they focus so much on PR and legal battles and inventing conspiracies, and not on doing any actual science). Not from biology, not from palaeontology or geology or any other field of inquiry. There just isn’t. It’s not an axiom or some scientific holy proclamation, it’s an easily-verifiable fact. It doesn’t matter how cleverly you present an argument or how subtly you fudge some maths or how slyly you quote some apparent authority; if you’re trying to argue against facts you may as well go to the beach and try and hold back the tide.

    And now we get to another thing about arguing with creationists that pisses me off: it turns me into a pompous wanker.

    Signing off.

  348. Menyambal says

    didgeman, there is a post over on a humor site today, of people with those awful orange spray tans. The tans truly do look terrible – godawful, as my grandpa used to say. But each of the individuals pictured has obviously spent time and money to get the tan, and presumably thinks that they look great. If you told them that they looked bad, they would disagree, and maybe even say that you were jealous.

    So is there a standard to say whether the tans look good or not? Well, we could go by majority rule, or we could say that taking some man-made chemical and artificially applying it to attempt to duplicate a natural process is wrong, and will probably look fake.

    didgeman, you are the person with the fake tan here. You look godawful, but you think you look great. (I am talking about your arguments, really.) And you are the one who has taken something man-made (your religion) and applied it all over the natural world.

    You assert that all other religionists are wrong, we agree, and add you to the list.

    So how can we determine who or what is true? Well, through Science. That is what Science is and does – it seeks truth, then tests it and never really trusts it.

    What, by contrast, is Religion? It asserts that it already has truth revealed to it, and trusts that it has the truth by blind faith, not by testing. The various religions are called “faiths”, even.

    Now, there really is only one worldview of Science. All the various sciences that Science is divided into are just specialties within the exploration of the universe. They do not disagree – biology and paleontology and geology all agree on what is underground, and we all use the oil and coal that used to be living things, long, long, ago, and the astronomers and nuclear physicists agree with them on ages and mechanisms.

    The religions, on the other hand, don’t agree on anything, except that believing is better than thinking, and that believing their particular religion is best of all. And there are many, many, many, religions, and each religious contains contradictions, and each religious person contradicts themselves constantly.

    So which seems more likely? That the particular religion that you happen to be involved with is the one with the truth? Or that all the careful science people with the testing procedures considering all the world, and who all agree, and who can show you their work, and who question even themselves, are on the right track?

    (Oh, and the science people have used their discoveries and cured diseases, increased food production and made rocks explode like stars. The religious people have taken money, fought wars and massacred unbelievers.)

    Religion: “He speaks God’s truth! Let us give him money and never doubt him.”

    Science: “He could be right or wrong. Let us check his work.”

  349. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Didgeman, there is one scene in Nova’s Judgement Day which highlights the abject lying and bullshitting done by creobots and IDots. Behe, a college biology professor for ID, is on the witness stand, and claims he has no knowledge of any books on evolution and the immune system *snicker, book reps are all over the place*. The lawyer questioning Behe then simply stacked about a dozen textbooks with evolution and immune system in their titles on the rail by Behe. No further questions. The actor playing Judge Jones looked at Behe like he was something bad he accidentally stepped in like dog poo, and now needed to clean his courtroom of obvious perjury. That is the intellectual honesty and integrity of the folks you consider authorities. I would look for authorities with better morals, like scientists.

  350. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, and Didgeman, another example of DI’s honesty and integrity. They try to get local school districts to be trial cases, and claim they will support the efforts with expert testimony. But once the local districts are in the discovery phase of the trial, they pull out for various reasons, leaving the local districts high and dry, with no expert witnesses. They refuse at the end of the day, to allow themselves to be shown as professional liars and bullshitters in court, where there may be consequences. They have no honesty and integrity.

  351. Amphiox says

    At least the “Korea-analogy” and some details of the Old Earth Creation Model were not known to all here in the forum (according to the reaction)

    You can rest assured that every aspect of the “old earth creation model” is known by the people on this forum (and of course it is not known by “all”, since people of all walks of life participate here, as if that was some kind of achievement of yours), and have been known, and debunked for over 50 years.

    Because creationism, in all its iterations of earths of any age, is an intellectually sterile and useless line of inquiry that has not produced a single useful new idea for at least 50 years.

  352. Amphiox says

    This will not change my worldview,

    If you are not willing to change your worldview, you are not intellectually honest and not worth anyone’s time.

    So one last chance to prove your honesty.

    Name one thing. Just one thing. One piece of evidence that is, at least in theory, practically observable, that will change your worldview.

    For evolutionary theory there are many such potential observations, multiple examples for every individual aspect of the theory. Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian is a rather famous example, just to name one.

  353. Tethys says

    Oh my, creationists are hilarious. I choked with laughter after reading this bit of silliness.

    In the meantime, If the evidence for evolution is so overwhelming, could you give me any concrtete, well documented, reprocduceable evidence, where accumulated adaptations of a species finally lead to a higher order species?

    As already noted, there is no such thing as a higher order species. As for concrete, well documented evidence, we have these things called fossils, which show changes in anatomy and development through time. The nautiloids that swam around in the Cambrian are clearly related to modern day nautiloids, but they aren’t anatomically identical. Also, squid and octopi are mollusks which do not even have external shells anymore, though their Cambrian ancestors did have external shells. Checkmate creationists!

  354. Amphiox says

    In Prothero’s book “Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters” he has a whole chapter describing multiple examples of sequences of Foraminiferan fossils gradually changing from one species to another found in ocean sediment cores. Unlike with larger animals where fossilization is sporadic and there are many gaps, these cores quite literally preserve millions of continuous years of foraminiferan skeletons falling to the ocean floor, so we have a long stretches or nearly unbroken sequences of fossils for that location.

  355. Christopher says

    Your opinions on this subject carry no more validity than those of a marine biologist who thinks himself qualified to critique how engineers guild skyscrapers.

    Nah, marine biologists are trained in basic fluid mechanics and physics. They are more than capable of critiquing something as simple as a skyscraper.

  356. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    In the meantime, If the evidence for evolution is so overwhelming, could you give me any concrtete, well documented, reprocduceable evidence, where accumulated adaptations of a species finally lead to a higher order species?

    Adding a few new responses in addition to the above.

    In this context, “reproducible” is a strawman. Plenty of science doesn’t deal in reproducibility in this meaning. It’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what science is. Geology is a science. Astronomy and cosmology are science. None of them involve reproducible experiments in a very similar way how evolutionary biology doesn’t involve reproducible experiments. All of these branches of science study things which cannot be reproduced in a lab in lab size and in human time scales. Of course, we can test lots of the little bit in all of these sciences.

    Repeating for emphasis that there is no such concept as “higher order species” in evolutionary theory. I don’t know what you mean the term. I don’t see a definition for that term in the Christian bible nor in any creationist literature.

    Third, we gave you some of the evidence already, including: 1- The near exact coincidence of the modern molecular genetic tree of life and the pre-Darwin Christian creationist morphological tree of life. 2- The geologic fossil record matches the tree of life.

    Those are my favorites for the novice. For a more full description of the evidence for your level of competence, I would suggest the books The Greatest Show On Earth by Richard Dawkins and Why Evolution Is True by Jerry Coyne.

    PZ Myer’s youtube videos are good too.

    I think the following is required watching for anyone without a college biology education.
    Aronra
    Video Title: Darwin’s Perennial Weed of Life
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0b9oe7qnGg
    I don’t think I fully appreciated evolution until I watched this talk.

  357. Tethys says

    Not really relevant to the OP, there is a contest to come up with a good scientific explanation for some ring structures that have been found in the Cambrian sandstones of Wisconsin. Rings Contest

  358. says

    Echoing EL @ 390: Aron Ra should be required viewing on the topic of evolution. His grasp of taxonomy, morphology, cladistics etc. and his skill at highlighting the glaring flaws of creationism are enviable.

  359. Al Dente says

    Menyambal @381

    What, by contrast, is Religion? It asserts that it already has truth revealed to it, and trusts that it has the truth by blind faith, not by testing. The various religions are called “faiths”, even.

    If religions had a killer argument to support their beliefs, they’d drop faith in an instant and use the argument. Since there isn’t such an argument (intelligent people have been fruitlessly looking for such an argument for millennia) and the more thoughtful theists know this, they fall back on faith. Another phrase for faith is “wishful thinking.”

  360. Christopher says

    If religions had a killer argument to support their beliefs, they’d drop faith in an instant and use the argument.

    They do have a killer argument to support their beliefs: belive what we tell you to believe or we will kill you. For some odd reason, that seems to have gone out of favor with normal people…

  361. PatrickG says

    Having finished reading this entire thread, I have two thoughts:
    (1) A lot of people here are really good at expressing complex concepts succinctly with informative links to background material.
    (2) didgeman gets a paycheck from reasons.com. He was just designed that way.

    Cheers.

  362. says

    Jesus, didgeman — You assert without support (of course, how could you? Ridiculous untruths tend not to have much support) that the whole field of biology is engaged in dissent-suppression equivalent to one of the most odious autocracies on the planet, and that this is an original contribution to an adult discussion? Granted, Stalin and Hitler are the usual go-to guys for that sort of invidious comparison, but I recall NK getting used, too (by David Ford on talk.origins, for one).

    That’s fucking pathetic. You suffer from delusions of intellectual competence.

  363. didgeman says

    Amphiox @ 385:

    Name one thing. Just one thing. One piece of evidence that is, at least in theory, practically observable, that will change your worldview.
    For evolutionary theory there are many such potential observations, multiple examples for every individual aspect of the theory. Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian is a rather famous example, just to name one.

    I am 100% sure, that a rabbit fossil in a precambrian rock layer would change nothing. I always doubted this example. There would be huge efforts to disprove the dating methods, or the authenticity of the findings or, if nothing helps, the credibility and honesty of the finder. How should a rabbit in a wrong rock layer change “the sperical shape of the earth”? I saw in the video debate, how PZ Meyers is opposing the results of the ENCODE project, which was done by some 400 serious biologists and biochemists, but the outcome does not fit the view of PZ, and therefore, it is wrong. The difference between 3% functional DNA in 2001 and 80% in 2012 is indeed a tough nut to crack.
    For me, it could happen, if the evidence for a credible mechanism for macroevolution and abiogenesis would become overwhelming, that I had to rethink my interpretation of the Biblical creation report. At the moment, the described discrete, punctual intervention of the Creator perfectly fits with the fossil record, which shows ( sorry to mention it again) a steady sequence of explosion, steady state, mass extinction, explosion…..
    To accept the concept of evolution as a whole does of course not mandarotily mean to abandon the faith in the God of the Bible. You may be aware of biologos.org from Francis Collins, who are devoted Christians, although they accept the mainstream evolutionary framework. Ar the moment, I think, their colclusion about evolution is wrong, but I am open to change my mind in this point.
    But to cancel the faith in God because scientists would find a purely naturalistic pathway for all living creatures? As said earlier, would a complete reverse-engineering of the iPhone disprove Apple’s exisitence?
    There’s a reason, why religous beliefs are called faith. It can never be proven by scientific arguments, because it lay outside scientific reasoning. This is true for the God of the Bible, for any other god, but also for your null hypothesis or any other atheistic belief system.

  364. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    @didgeman
    About the pre-Cambrian rabbit. You are right that a one-off rabbit would not be good enough. That’s a consequence of proper scientific thinking. It’s basically Hume’s standard for miracles – what is more miraculous? That the miracle actually happened? Or that someone lied, or made a mistake, or was lied to?

    In this case, what would be more miraculous? That a miracle actually happened and creationism is true? Or that someone made a mistake or someone lied regarding the pre-Cambrian rabbit.

    Almost never is a single piece of evidence going to change a well-established theory.

    However, suppose tomorrow for whatever reason, people all over the world started finding fossils in the wrong layer, where they could not possibly be according to evolution. That would destroy the theory of evolution. I also consider the (epistemic) probably of that happening to be about the same as the Sun not rising tomorrow, so don’t hold your breath.

    You just don’t appreciate how ridiculously well substantiated evolutionary theory is. It’s about as well supported as Newtonian gravity. Sure, it’s much more possible that one could make a minor correction to it, such as Einstein did to Newton with relativity. But overturning it completely? Completely ridiculous, and almost incomprehensible. A description of the evidence isn’t incomprehensible at all – but it is almost incomprehensible to actually ponder the scenario where we get that evidence. Imagine tomorrow when all hammers start “falling up” when released in normal household conditions, but nails keep falling down as normal.

  365. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS: Hume’s standard on miracles is basically another way of saying that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, which itself is just a consequence of proper Bayesian reasoning.

  366. azhael says

    Why did your sky wizard create mammals that lay eggs and have no defined nipples? Why did i have a yolk sac and genes to produce yolk, but no yolk whatsoever when i was an embryo? You see, hypothesis and theories must have explanatory power…evolutionary theory provides an excellent and extremely detailed explanation for this that fits and is fully consistent with ALL the available data. Your intelligent design, magical, make-belief fiction, on the other hand, explains nothing and provides no understanding for any of the evidence…none of it. All it can say is “god did it because…..he is god….”. And just in case you are wondering…”it just is” is not a superior theory….

    Anyway, fuck off didgeman….go away to continue dishonestly repeating blatant quote-mines, pretending that creationist dentist and mathematicians are qualified biologists and using just enough sciency words that you can trick others just as ignorant as you are into thinking that you know what you are talking about and that your lies and ignorant dribble is in any way remotely related to reality. You arseholes prey on the ignorant because they are the only ones gullible enough to not see that you are full of shit. It’s disgusting. I wish that every time you lied about biology you would feel a burning sensation on your balls…or at least the slightest twinge of guilt….but lying for Jesus and all that, right? You dishonest, intellectually bankrupt, willfully ignorant, horseshit peddling liar. And you…YOU have the gall to call others dishonest….*spits*

  367. didgeman says

    azhael @ 400:
    The last part of your post is full with very convincing, scietific arguments, great job! :-)
    Altough I do not agree with many of PZ Meyers’ statements in his debate with Fuz Rana, he presented it with coolness and respect. You could take his behaviour and his language in this specific debate as a good example. If you are convinced by your arguments, this should work.

  368. Lofty says

    Didgeman, tone troll and IDiot:

    PZ Meyers

    What a dip stick, can’t even get your host’s name right, what hope have you got with the rest of your crap.

  369. azhael says

    Ah yes, again with the tone trolling, you are so original.
    Look, liar, you don’t deserve to be treated with respect and “coolness” because you have been extremely disrespectful from the very beginning. Just because we use “rude” words it doesn’t mean our arguments are not valid, just like the fact that you don’t use them does, most emphatically, not mean that you are reasonable or that you are treating us with respect.
    You have insulted us and now you are whining because we are insulting you back.
    PZ’s debate was a public affair with norms of conduct agreed to in advance. This is a rude blog, it says so in the rules, if you don’t like it because you think words are magical, fuck off. I don’t need to use vocabulary that you aprove of. We are not children, and words are not magic.
    The last part of my post was not meant to contain any scientific argument, although even if it had, the use of expletives wouldn’t have affected it in any way whatsoever and we all know that you would have ignored them completely anyway, as you have ignored every other argument presented to you. That’s because you have zero interest in learning and you have zero intellectual honesty.
    You need to give respect if you want to expect respect back…and you haven’t…so fuck off. I may use a lot of expletives, but you are the one that should be deeply ashamed by your conduct….

  370. Amphiox says

    I am 100% sure, that a rabbit fossil in a precambrian rock layer would change nothing. I always doubted this example. There would be huge efforts to disprove the dating methods, or the authenticity of the findings or, if nothing helps, the credibility and honesty of the finder.

    “Precambrian rabbit” has always been shorthand for a fossil that is fully and properly authenticated, with the dating method undisputable, multiply verified, and the credibility of the finder fully vetted by peer review.

    As would be the standard for ALL scientific discoveries before they are considered credible.

    How typical of your dishonesty, to insist on a word-for-word strictly literal interpretation of an argument against your position, while simultaneously promoting the flimsiest of metaphorical thinking for YOUR positions.

    For me, it could happen, if the evidence for a credible mechanism for macroevolution and abiogenesis would become overwhelming, that I had to rethink my interpretation of the Biblical creation report.

    The evidence for a credible mechanism for macroevolution already IS overwhelming, so this is yet another lie from you.

    But “credible” and “overwhelming” are judgment words, that can mean anything to anybody, and thus fails my requirement for a PRACTICALLY OBSERVABLE piece of evidence.

    So try again, didgeman, and this time give a SPECIFIC example, just like that of the “precambrian rabbit”.

    At the moment, the described discrete, punctual intervention of the Creator perfectly fits with the fossil record, which shows ( sorry to mention it again) a steady sequence of explosion, steady state, mass extinction, explosion…..

    “Discrete, punctual intervention of the Creator” is a scenario 100% incompatible with the bible. A steady sequence of explosion, steady state, mass extinction, explosion, even if true*, is 100% incompatible with the bible. It does fit with a certain kind of creator-hypothesis, but does not fit with what the bible describes. If you claim biblical inerrancy then you cannot also claim “discrete, punctual intervention of the Creator”.

    Mass extinctions in particular are absolutely incompatible with the biblical account.

    So once more you are exposed as a lie.

    *It is not, in fact true. There is no steady state, ever, in the fossil record. Only gaps where fossils are missing. In every instance where we actually have a CONTINUOUS sequence in the fossil record, like with the fossil microorganisms in ocean sediment cores, there is NEVER a steady state. There are just periods of more rapid change and periods of slower change. But change, ie evolution, is always present.

  371. Amphiox says

    re didgeman @400;

    Snarking about the other side’s tone is the resort of desperate and dishonest people who know they have already lost the argument.

  372. Amphiox says

    A living or fossil species of unequivocal mammal that had feathers, identical to those of birds, and whose development is mediated by the exact same genes as the feathers of birds, would be another potential finding that would serious shake, if not outright falsify, existing modern evolutionary theory.

  373. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I wouldn’t mind if didgeman continued. I’m still curious and looking for some answers.

    @didgeman
    You still haven’t answered my questions regarding Carl Linnaeus. If we went to the actual work of Carl Linnaeus, and looked at his tree of life data, and if we compared that to the tree of life indicated by the average genetic distance over all genetic data, what do you expect to find? I expect to find the following.

    I expect to find that the genetic data actually produces a tree. It’s possible for it to be otherwise. It’s possible that we could find some species whose genetics puts it equally close to snakes and to weasels and more distant to all other sub-trees. That result was (epistemically) possible. There’s nothing in the procedure which prevents this result. It’s just that the genetic data of actual animal species simply doesn’t do this. It could have been otherwise, but it’s not.

    We could also define a formal mathematical measure of similarity between two trees, to measure the degree of similarity. I expect that the similarity between Linnaeus’s tree of life and the modern tree of life by considering the average over all genetic data to be the same, to a very high degree of similarity. The degree of similarity will be much much higher than the degree of similarity of two randomly generated trees. This is just a formal way of saying that I expect that cats will be together in a bucket, and dogs will be together in a bucket, and the dog bucket and cat bucket and weasel bucket and bear bucket will be together in the bigger bucket of carnivoria, and all buckets of mammals will be in the mammal bucket, etc.

    What do you expect to find? Do you have expectations which are inconsistent with my expectations described above? How so?

  374. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    didgeman the stupid

    I am 100% sure, that a rabbit fossil in a precambrian rock layer would change nothing.

    Why wouldn’t it? Science follows the evidence. You don’t. You follow your predetermined answers, and expect science does the same. You need to do some learning, and you can’t find it in your babble.

    ow PZ Meyers is opposing the results of the ENCODE project, which was done by some 400 serious biologists and biochemists, but the outcome does not fit the view of PZ, and therefore, it is wrong. T

    You don’t understand the arguments, because you have no idea of what was done and what it means. You just accept on authority. Scientists don’t. I don’t accept the ENCODE results either? Why? The test they used turned up too many false positives. Also, there is good empirical evidence that most of what they claim is active isn’t. There is a difference between potentially active and active. Any scientist knows that, and is why ENCODE, which like you was a bit presuppositional, isn’t well regarded by the scientific community.

    he difference between 3% functional DNA in 2001 and 80% in 2012 is indeed a tough nut to crack.

    Only to you. Who gives a shit about your ignorant and stupid views? You have a problem. Science doesn’t. And it will be explained, although many of us point to the oversensitive test they use to claim activity. ENCODE knew it, they just poo-poo it.

    There’s a reason, why religous beliefs are called faith. It can never be proven by scientific arguments, because it lay outside scientific reasoning.

    It is outside of all reasoning, and simply emotional. It feels good to have a phantasm looking after you. You are one stupid person, unable to use reason.

    You could take his behaviour and his language in this specific debate as a good example.

    You are being deliberately stupid, and being called out for it tone troll. Being polite never works with creationists or other proselytizers, they keep talking since they fallaciously think people are listening to them. They need to understand what they say is dismissed as fuckwittery and why. You are dismissed as you have nothing to offer. Your religion is your delusional thinking. We don’t deal in delusions, only reality. The reality is your deity exists only only your mind, nowhere else.

  375. chris61 says

    @408 Nerd & @397 didgeman

    Nerd rejects ENCODE because he believes it is evidence against evolution and didgeman accepts it for the same reason.

    If either of you understood ENCODE you’d realize that the results of the project aren’t evidence against evolution at all.

  376. Amphiox says

    he difference between 3% functional DNA in 2001 and 80% in 2012 is indeed a tough nut to crack.

    The two numbers are obtained using two entirely different definitions for the term “functional”.

    You trying to make a point out if this is like someone having watched a game between Manchester United and Liverpool in 2001, and then a game between New England and Seattle in 2014, and then saying “holy cow man, this game of football sure has changed in the last 13 years! This mus mean something significant!”

    No one is actually disputing the results of ENCODE. What is being disputed is the authors’ interpretation of those results and their use of definitions.

  377. Amphiox says

    There’s a reason, why religous beliefs are called faith. It can never be proven by scientific arguments, because it lay outside scientific reasoning.

    What we are talking about here is an explanation for an observed phenomenon in the real world. This is science, not faith. That you draw inspiration for your hypothesis from your faith is irrelevant. The moment you try to claim that you have an explanation for an observable real world phenomenon, the moment you claim that the account In genesis is an accurate description of the real universe, you are in the realm of science, not faith, and are bound by the rules of science. Ie the need for evidence and the requirement to prefer the most parsimonious explanations.

  378. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Chris61 lying and bullshitting

    Nerd rejects ENCODE because he believes it is evidence against evolution and didgeman accepts it for the same reason.

    Sorry, your method for determining activity is too nonspecific, giving false positives. I’m a chemist. I know about chemical interactions. That is why I don’t accept ENCODE’s conclusions.

    You didn’t even know what a false positive was. Not very perceptive.

  379. Amphiox says

    The ENCODE authors used a definition of “functional” that essentially equates to chemical activity. A protein binding to DNA was all it took for that segment of DNA to count as having “function” per ENCODE’s definition.

    But the definition of functional DNA in nearly all the previous literature refers to phenotypic function. It is phenotypic function that has significance in evolutionary terms.

    How much of the “function” identified in ENCODE is nonspecific binding, “wasted” transcription on nonfunctional RNA, or other biochemical noise is unknown, but we have multiple other lines of evidence that suggest that majority of it is phenotypically irrelevant. For one thing, if 80% of the human genome is phenotypically functional, the background mutation rate would be high enough to trigger a mutational meltdown and the human species should have gone extinct….

  380. chris61 says

    Amphiox

    The ENCODE authors used a definition of “functional” that essentially equates to chemical activity. A protein binding to DNA was all it took for that segment of DNA to count as having “function” per ENCODE’s definition.

    Not just protein binding to DNA. But yes, what ENCODE was describing was biochemical activity.

    But the definition of functional DNA in nearly all the previous literature refers to phenotypic function. It is phenotypic function that has significance in evolutionary terms.

    Don’t agree with this. There are numerous examples in the literature where functional DNA referred to DNA that encodes a protein. Mutation that inactivates that protein may or may not have a phenotype. Moreover not all phenotypic function has significance in evolutionary terms since evolution defines function in terms of how it affects reproductive fitness.

    but we have multiple other lines of evidence that suggest that majority of it is phenotypically irrelevant. For one thing, if 80% of the human genome is phenotypically functional, the background mutation rate would be high enough to trigger a mutational meltdown and the human species should have gone extinct….

    Again, only true if functional is equated to reproductive fitness and assuming that function requires primary sequence conservation.

  381. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So remind me, Nerd, how you would identify a false positive in the ENCODE data?

    A claimed “active” sequence that is never used during the development/lifetime of the organism. Like degrading retroviruses, and degrading copies of previously used genes that are no longer activated in vivo. Silly question, as you should know that. Your deliberate play of ignorance says a lot about your presuppositions, not about the science.

  382. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Chris, remember PZ’s thread where he discusses exactly what Amphiox is saying? You don’t. No memory evidently. Unless you have something new to add, why are you even posting?

    More threads about ENCODE in case you are interested. But I doubt it. You don’t seem to want to learn.

  383. Amphiox says

    Don’t agree with this. There are numerous examples in the literature where functional DNA referred to DNA that encodes a protein. Mutation that inactivates that protein may or may not have a phenotype. Moreover not all phenotypic function has significance in evolutionary terms since evolution defines function in terms of how it affects reproductive fitness.

    If DNA encodes a protein, then it has phenotypic function, unless the protein is never translated. A cell that contains protein A is measurably different from a cell that does not contain protein A, and that is a difference in phenotype.

    Phenotypic differences do not have to have affects on reproductive fitness at the present moment. Do people with brown hair have measurable differences in reproductive fitness than people with blonde hair, today? I am pretty sure that no one would claim that the genes that create beige rent hair colours are not phenotypically functional. But one can readily say that it is possible either in the future or the past, in specific environmental circumstances, that different hair colour could have impact on reproductive fitness. Thus it is significant on evolutionary terms.

    Perhaps you are using a different definition of phenotype than I am, but at any given moment a population contains lots of variation that has no impact on reproductive fitness at that particular moment in time. But some of that variation has the potential to have impact on reproductive fitness in different environmental circumstances, which may occur at another time. All of that is certainly of evolutionary significance, and that is what I mean by phenotype.

  384. chris61 says

    @418 Amphiox

    If DNA encodes a protein, then it has phenotypic function, unless the protein is never translated. A cell that contains protein A is measurably different from a cell that does not contain protein A, and that is a difference in phenotype.

    What about heterozygous mutations (which after all is more common than homozygous mutations.) In some cases the amount of protein the cell synthesizes will differ from a wild type but depending upon how the gene is regulated one copy may produce as much protein as two does. Is that a functional mutation?

  385. Amphiox says

    Again, only true if functional is equated to reproductive fitness and assuming that function requires primary sequence conservation.

    No. It remains true so long as SOME function requires primary sequence conservation. Surely you’re not trying to claim that there are NO functions that require primary sequence conservation.

  386. chris61 says

    @ 418 Amphiox

    Perhaps you are using a different definition of phenotype than I am, but at any given moment a population contains lots of variation that has no impact on reproductive fitness at that particular moment in time. But some of that variation has the potential to have impact on reproductive fitness in different environmental circumstances, which may occur at another time. All of that is certainly of evolutionary significance, and that is what I mean by phenotype.

    Variation doesn’t have to affect reproductive fitness to be medically significant. Mutations that affects human health (including causing or predisposing to late onset diseases) are of interest to medical science.

  387. chris61 says

    @420 Amphiox

    Surely you’re not trying to claim that there are NO functions that require primary sequence conservation.

    Of course not. But some functions don’t require primary sequence conservation. Evolutionary theory as far as I can tell bases it’s estimates of the proportion of the genome that is functional on sequence conservation.

  388. consciousness razor says

    There would be huge efforts to disprove the dating methods, or the authenticity of the findings or, if nothing helps, the credibility and honesty of the finder.

    You’re missing the point. Unfortunately, incompetent/confused/misguided/dishonest people will do what they do. Nevertheless, no matter what such people are doing, a fossil rabbit from the Precambrian is clearly a definite piece of evidence that would be in contradiction with the predictions. That is the point. The question is essentially about reality and whether your idea has anything in particular to say about it, not what numerous (incompetent/dishonest/etc.) people might in practice do about that.

    If there were a creator god, the kind you have in mind (if you really have one in mind), there would be some definite thing about the world we could identify, since this god by hypothesis interacts somehow with the world. That thing we could identify would be in some way noticeably different than if it were not the case that this god exists.

    Perhaps nobody does in practice notice such things, or maybe they don’t have technology good enough, they botch the crucial experiment, they misinterpret the data, they lie about it, they kill the people who find out, and so forth. People, with all their failings and all of our reasons to criticize them, can do literally whatever you like here, since as I said it’s irrelevant. It’s true even then that there is something about the world which somebody could in principle find out. It’s simply in cases like that where people don’t know the truth, don’t admit it, kill off their competitors, whatever…. The people do whatever, and they do such things despite the facts being what they are. Which means that the facts about the world are some definite way, not some other way. You cannot coherently reject this; you either understand it or you don’t.

    It’s a difference that makes a difference. That’s what claims about the nature of reality are like: their being true or false would have some sort of consequences for what there is or what happens in reality, even if nobody happens to know or happens to believe that such things are the case. The reality of the situation, it hardly needs to be said, simply does not depend on whether or not you believe in the thing, are honest about it, kill the people who find out, manage to do the crucial experiment correctly right this moment, have the right technologies to do such things, etc. That reality is what we are attempting to pin down to something definite, by making sure there is something like that in reality that determines whether claims about it are true or false.

    It isn’t determined by, for example, you demanding that it must be true no matter what, while we are all terrified of what you might do to us if there is any doubt about that or any questions are raised. That would not be even vaguely resemble a method of determining what is true or false. Instead, this thing, whatever it may be, if we’re going to say it’s a real thing in reality, is determined by stuff that somebody could conceivably know about the world.

  389. chris61 says

    @ 417 Nerd

    A claimed “active” sequence that is never used during the development/lifetime of the organism. Like degrading retroviruses, and degrading copies of previously used genes that are no longer activated in vivo.

    And how exactly do you know that any specific degrading retrovirus or pseudogene sequence isn’t ‘used’ during the development/lifetime of the organism? As happened the last time we had this discussion it isn’t clear to me that you have a clear idea of what activated means in the context of non coding DNA? And if you do, kudos to you because geneticists don’t. That’s the purpose of ENCODE.

  390. Amphiox says

    What about heterozygous mutations (which after all is more common than homozygous mutations.) In some cases the amount of protein the cell synthesizes will differ from a wild type but depending upon how the gene is regulated one copy may produce as much protein as two does. Is that a functional mutation?

    That does indeed have phenotypic functional significance, because the regulatory factors are part of the environment, which may change. And indeed part of the environment for the heterozygous mutant is the presence or absence of the wild type gene in the same individual.

    The offspring of an organism with a heterozygous mutant will have a chance of being homozygous for the mutant, and thus not produce the wild type protein, while the homozygous wild type individual will never, barring another mutation, have an offspring that is homozygous for the mutant.

    And that most definitely is a difference of phenotype that has evolutionary significance.

    When we talk about the evolutionary significance of a mutation we have to look at the effect the gene has in the entire population, not just one specific individual. The heterozygous mutant is just one example of a gene that contributes to a certain phenotype in some cases, depending on the what other genes are also present, and no one claims that those genes do not have phenotypic function.

    Furthermore, the regulatory regime that makes the levels of protein produced the same between homozygous and heterozygous individuals is itself subject to change, either by future mutation of one of the regulatory genes, or a change in the signals that those genes respond to, which opens the potential for a future change in protein expression between heterozygous and homozygous states that may be evolutionarily significant.

    As a common and simple example, there are many tumor suppressor genes that in the heterozygous state produce the same level of protein as the homozygous state, but the heterozygous individuals are at a much higher risk for developing cancer later in life. Surely you would not say that this mutation has no phenotypic functional consequence?

  391. Amphiox says

    And how exactly do you know that any specific degrading retrovirus or pseudogene sequence isn’t ‘used’ during the development/lifetime of the organism? As happened the last time we had this discussion it isn’t clear to me that you have a clear idea of what activated means in the context of non coding DNA? And if you do, kudos to you because geneticists don’t. That’s the purpose of ENCODE.

    And no one would have a problem with ENCODE if the authors had been clear that this was the limit of what their findings imply. If they had for example, used the term “biochemical activity” exclusively and avoided the use of the term “functional”, no one would have a problem with their results.

  392. Menyambal says

    Yeah, didgeman, if a pre-Cambrian rabbit showed up there would indeed be massive efforts to disprove it. That is part of how science works. Scientists would not just blindly trust the alleged discoverer, discard all their work, and go running off to whatever church has spawned you. They would test everything – that is what science does.

    Testing everything is also a command in your holy book (no, I will not tell you where – you should already know where). There is also a command to stay away from false sciences – you don’t get to decide what is false science, science decides that. (A hint: If you believe in it, it is probably false.)

    didgeman, when you wrote about testing the pre-Cambrian rabbit, you wrote an accusation that scientists would dishonestly attempt to cover up the truth. To a scientist, that is a far greater insult than you realize, and you meant it to be insulting. You also claim that all of Biology is a masive fraud. In addition to your written insults, you are a Christian, which means that you think that all of us burning in Hell is the divine purpose of the universe, and not worth a moment’s thought.

    didgeman, you hold the most contemptuous, the most hate-filled, attitudes that are possible. You are truly a terrible person. Yet you get snarky when someone insults you. Would you be polite to someone who was running amok in your church, crushing and killing while screaming hate? You have such disregard for us that you can’t even spell Professor Myers’s name right, while you are using his blog to insult and devalue his life work.

    didgeman, from some things that you have written, I suspect that you are from India (or somewhere similar) and that you may have travelled to Australia for engineering school. My point is that the Christianity that you have been exposed to may well have been that of missionaries, not that of mainstream, settled churches. See, to most Christians, the Creationist crap that you are all worked up about is just not important – YEC is the vague assumption for the few who care. Worrying about it is for the crazies who go off and bother people in other countries. You have been indoctrinated in the fanatic fringe of Christianity, and all your efforts are really trying to justify an untenable set of beliefs.

    didgeman, you keep ignoring anything that you don’t want to know. Well, know this: You are wasting your time, and you are making your cause, your case, and your community look even worse. (And that is a spot on the Bingo card.)

    Given the way the world is, right now, evolution must occur – unless you can show some mechanism that prevents it, you haven’t a case. Given that 99% of even your own religion disagrees with you, and that all other religions must be wrong, and that all biologists must be in a conspiracy, for you to be right, and that all of science – all the sciences united together – disagrees with you, you are most probably wrong. And given that you read poorly, and ignore anything that you don’t like, we can see how you went wrong, and how you continue to be wrong. And given your strutting ego and snarling contempt, we can see why you went wrong.

    didgeman, you are wrong.

  393. Amphiox says

    And since by your own own report, chris61, the ENCODE authors themselves also ddo not know if any of those sequences are used during the development/lifetime of the organism, how can you justify them calling those sequences “functional.”?

    I mean the best that anyone can really say is that “these are sequences with biochemical activity that should be investigated for potential function”. But by choosing to call them all “functional” from the very beginning, the ENCODE authors are basically advancing a hypothesis that they are ALL used during the development or lifetime of the organism, and that is a hypothesis that, based on pre-existing evidence, simply untenable.

  394. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    And how exactly do you know that any specific degrading retrovirus or pseudogene sequence isn’t ‘used’ during the development/lifetime of the organism?

    Not MY problem. That is for ENCODE to show that all their “functional” genes are turned on during the development/lifetime of the organism. They make the claim of functional, they supply the evidence that is does function. That is good science. Instead they inflate their claims of what they did see. That is bad science, which they did.

  395. Amphiox says

    @427

    This is a good point about didgeman. He came in here, from the start, accusing biologists of not understanding their own discipline and ignoring/falsifying evidence, which is the single most severe academic crime any scientist can commit. It is equivalent to storming into a church and calling everyone there an idiot AND accusing them all of blasphemy.

    It is about the rudest imaginable thing that anyone can do.

    And he has the nerve to complain about politeness of tone.

    He is a disgusting individual in every respect.

  396. chris61 says

    @ 428 Amphiox

    I mean the best that anyone can really say is that “these are sequences with biochemical activity that should be investigated for potential function”. But by choosing to call them all “functional” from the very beginning, the ENCODE authors are basically advancing a hypothesis that they are ALL used during the development or lifetime of the organism, and that is a hypothesis that, based on pre-existing evidence, simply untenable.

    As you yourself pointed out above, ENCODE authors defined functional as ‘having biochemical activity’. That is very clear from the papers. No where do they say or even imply that by functional they mean what evolutionary biologists mean by the term or even what a medical doctor might mean by the term.

  397. chris61 says

    @429 Nerd

    Not MY problem. That is for ENCODE to show that all their “functional” genes are turned on during the development/lifetime of the organism. They make the claim of functional, they supply the evidence that is does function. That is good science. Instead they inflate their claims of what they did see. That is bad science, which they did.

    So a ‘false positive’ is any sequence that isn’t ‘turned on” during the development/lifetime of the organism. ‘Turned on’ in molecular biology speak means transcribed. In fact that’s what ENCODE showed – that much of the genome is ‘turned on’. Their data makes it very clear what they mean by functional and they supply the evidence that it functions by their clearly defined criteria. The problem here is not their science but your reading comprehension.

  398. David Marjanović says

    …I will need to catch up with this thread. Till that happens, I’ll just leave the microphone to my good friend, Captain Obvious.

    Cpt. Obvious: So! Two things surely everybody knows!
    – The transcription machinery (a cluster of proteins) binds to DNA, almost without regard to its sequence. It binds very strongly to promoters, enhancers, TATA boxes and whatnot; it binds strongly to strong enhancers, more weakly to weaker enhancers, and so on, but to some extent it simply binds to DNA. Therefore, transcription can be initiated almost everywhere, and we make useless RNA all the time. The ENCODE project used methods that were sensitive enough to detect this useless RNA. Surprise! Surprise! Almost the entire genome is transcribed to some extent at some point! Of course it is. There’s no way to stop this from happening, no matter how useless it is. That’s just how chemistry works. It’s mostly a matter of Brownian motion – and even quantum uncertainty figures into it when nucleobases flip around and back at random.
    – When a scientist is found to have made shit up in a paper, their career is over. They can’t publish anywhere anymore, because no editor wants to taint their journal with the name of a known fraudster; they’ll be fired and can’t be employed anywhere in academia anymore, because no academic institution wants to be tainted with the name of a known fraudster; in at some countries even their academic titles will be revoked, because the institutions that granted the titles don’t want to be tainted with the name of a known fraudster. Making up data and publishing them is not only completely unforgivable, it’s even worse than plagiarism.

    Me: Thank you, Captain! And now I’ll go back to working on the origin of the modern amphibians – the evolutionary origin, Captain. :-)

  399. dadsen says

    Well, you tried didgeman. You are not hateful, not on a fringe. There are millions of the bretheren with you.

    These FTB people are the underbelly of willful ignorance, walking around in the dark with iron kettles on their heads chanting NO GOD, NO GOD despite the obvious that “the heavens declare the glory of God.”

    They say you wasted your time but you did not. You found out for yourself that when people make up their minds there is no changing it. Remember the man who went to hades and begged Abraham to send someone back to tell his brothers to avoid the horrible place. Jesus said “Even if one came back from the dead they would not believe it”.

    Well done, didgeman!

  400. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    These FTB people are the underbelly of willful ignorance, walking around in the dark with iron kettles on their heads chanting NO GOD, NO GOD despite the obvious that “the heavens declare the glory of God.”

    Until you provide conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity, it doesn’t exist except in your delusional mind. You can’t comprehend that your deity doesn’t exist. I pity you.

  401. oualawouzou says

    Remember the man who went to hades and begged Abraham to send someone back to tell his brothers to avoid the horrible place. Jesus said “Even if one came back from the dead they would not believe it”.

    So, so true! Hell, Heracles rescued Theseus from the Underworld, and today, Olympus is deserted. It was all for naught! The True Faith has been forgotten…

  402. chris61 says

    @433 David

    The transcription machinery (a cluster of proteins) binds to DNA, almost without regard to its sequence.

    No it doesnt. At least it doesn’t bind to chromatin that way.

    Therefore, transcription can be initiated almost everywhere

    No it can’t – or at least it isn’t. It’s initiated at promoters which can be identified by the presence of certain biochemical marks.

  403. Amphiox says

    No it can’t – or at least it isn’t. It’s initiated at promoters which can be identified by the presence of certain biochemical marks.

    If you are taking issue with David M’s post, then you are claiming that transcription can ONLY be initiated at promoters and nothing else, and that it binds ONLY at promoters and enhancers and nothing else, because David M states that it binds strongly to promoters but weakly to DNA in general.

    Is that what you are claiming?

    Because that claim simply flies in the face of sensibility. Pretty much all proteins bind nonspecifically to DNA to some small degree with some low affinity.

    Are you claiming that chromatin excludes such binding 100% of the time, without fail? Because that too flies in the face of biochemical sensibility.

  404. Amphiox says

    Their data makes it very clear what they mean by functional and they supply the evidence that it functions by their clearly defined criteria. The problem here is not their science but your reading comprehension.

    The problem is less their science and more in their communication.

    You can make your own definitions and criteria and have your data “make it very clear” what you mean as much as you want, but that doesn’t mean you should do so, or that doing so is good science communication.

    I could write a paper, and, from the beginning use the word “magic” to mean “descent with heritable modification”. I can make this definition explicitly clear from the beginning of my paper, clearly defined criteria for my use of the term “magic” and I can have all my data clearly support the criteria that I so defined. And then I can publish a paper and make the claim from it that evolution occurs by “magic”.

    And that is exactly what the ENCODE people did with their usage and definition of the term “functional”.

  405. chris61 says

    @439 & 440 Amphiox

    Pretty much all proteins bind nonspecifically to DNA to some small degree with some low affinity.

    In a test tube under low salt conditions pretty much all proteins will bind non specifically to naked DNA. That is certainly true but will pretty much all proteins bind to chromatin in a cell with an affinity high enough to be considered a positive signal by the criteria imposed by the ENCODE project? That is the relevant question.

    The problem is less their science and more in their communication.

    If you mean their communication as it got reported in the press, that may be true. If you mean the papers published in science journals and the information available at the ENCODE website then I think their communication was pretty specific.

  406. Menyambal says

    dadsen @ 434 says:

    Well, you tried didgeman.

    Tried what? All didgeman has done is to keep ranting the same things over and over as if words are magic – a right religious thing to do. Just like you, dadsen, pop in here and say some goofy things with nothing to back them up. Neither of you have put in a lick of effort.

    You are not hateful, …

    Yes, yes he is hate-filled. As long as he subscribes to any part of the Christian beliefs, he
    is implicit in the existence of Hell, and he is happy to see people burn. If you have a better definition of hate, trot it out. If you think he is not hateful, offer evidence. If he will renounce Hell, he can get on with apologizing to all the biologists.

    You are not hateful, not on a fringe.

    See, you think the fringe is the only hateful part? The whole boiling of Christianity is filled with hellish hate, hate so quietly taken for granted that they think they are the nicest of peoples. Damnation to Hell for the lot of you – you wish for it, you deserve it, so says your
    book.

    There are millions of the bretheren with you.

    Are there? He has admitted that his OEC beliefs are fringe. If he is right, why are not all the billion of Christians with him?

    And is he doing this only for the sense of belonging, to have millions of brethren? Where is truth in his priorities?

    These FTB people are the underbelly of willful ignorance, walking around in the dark with iron kettles on their heads chanting NO GOD, NO GOD despite the obvious that “the heavens declare the glory of God.”

    Nice projection there, asshole. (Ooo, did I just insult you? Well, only in fewer words than you used.)

    Willful ignorance? The whole point of science is to explore and to seek truth. Thete are people in this thread discussing DNA transcriptase – are they ignorant? Your buddy didgeman has ignored almost everything that we have said – things that we know and
    that he is ignorant of – and he has done so willfully.

    And we don’t chant “No God”. Don’t flatter yourself, your religion is not the focus of our lives. You may be scrambling about fulltime to keep your delusions from crumbling, but
    most people give not a fig for your problems, and have gotten on with their lives.

    As for the heavens, they plainly are not a dome with lights in it, so your god is pretty much done. The science of astronomy plainly shows a nearly-empty universe of unimaginable age and dimensions, and of very natural shapes. There are no created aspects at all, and no reason to think that this particular bit at this particular time is any more special than any other.

    Seriously, if you think that the heavens proclaim your god, and that saying so here was useful, you have your head so far in the dark that we need a whole new analogy.

    What is the glory of god anyway? Is it his hair, like for the Bible says for women?

    They say you wasted your time but you did not.

    Yes, yes he did.

    You found out for yourself that when people make up their minds there is no changing it.

    So he wasted all our time so he could learn something?

    But yeah, that not changing minds bit is exactly how it works in your world.

    Seriously, both of you tell us how you are open-minded.

    Remember the man who went to hades and begged Abraham to send someone back to tell his brothers to avoid the horrible place. Jesus said “Even if one came back from the dead they would not believe it”.

    Erm, that’s a story, even in your mythology. But yes, if somebody came back from the dead, I would not just simply believe it happened – I would want strong evidence, a good account, and some method, before I would assign it a fair probability and still be ready to discount it on further evidence. As for believing the account of someone who has had a near-death experience . . . no, I don’t trust them any more than I trust anyone whose brain has been addled, whether by drugs, alcohol, Fox News or religion.

    Well done, didgeman!

    Well done, how, exactly? He has set Christianity even further back in our estimation (for which he will go to Hell (it’s in the book)).

    If you think that he has advanced Christianity among Christians, for the glory of God, I know a lot of Christians who will disagree. Some are literal YECs, who hate OECs for diluting the Bible, while most are intelligent Christians who don’t take Genesis as literal, and who would take didgeman for a raving idiot.

    Well done, dadsen!

  407. Amphiox says

    That is certainly true but will pretty much all proteins bind to chromatin in a cell with an affinity high enough to be considered a positive signal by the criteria imposed by the ENCODE project? That is the relevant question.

    Strikes me that this is a question that the ENCODE authors should have answered themselves before publishing their papers.

  408. chris61 says

    @443 Amphiox

    Their data does answer that question. If all proteins bound non specifically to all DNA then ENCODE results would show the same binding pattern detected for every protein in every cell line tested. They don’t. There is clear protein and cell type specificity observed.

  409. says

    I see didgeman’s contributions since my last comment are cut from the same cloth as all the others: deny, misunderstand, misrepresent, complain about tone, rinse, repeat.

    Didge, the fact that you avoid certain four-letter words doesn’t mean you haven’t been disrespectful and dishonest during your time here. In fact, some of your (still unsupported) claims about the totalitarian nature of science (when it happens to disagree with your sect’s interpretation of scripture, at least) and your blatant misquoting (and subsequent lack of contrition when provided with necessary context) were bordering on offensive. You don’t get to invite yourself into a conversation and present the kind of impotent lies you have over the last couple of days – and deny, talk around or flatly ignore anything you can’t properly answer – and then claim some kind of moral high ground when people get frustrated.

    And the presence of your No. 1 fan (in this thread), dadsen, just underscores what I and others have said or implied here: you and your ID/creationist brethren are engaging in a pretentious, cynical game and you give not a single fuck for science except when it can be beaten into a theologically convenient shape. Your goal is not to discover truth or gain a better understanding of reality, it is to reaffirm your belief, to evangelise others (which are often one and the same thing) and to reconcile – by any means necessary, however creatively ludicrous – the clear and obvious disconnect between the science you accept and the science that makes you uncomfortable.

    If you truly were concerned with scientific fact you would not be here playing word-games, ignoring real science, misquoting people from ninety years ago (decades before DNA was even confirmed to be the core mechanism of heredity) as some kind of biological authority and invoking laughable conspiracies to explain why biology – and biology alone – has pulled a fast one on the entire world. This kind of behaviour would be beneath any reasonable person.

    TL;DR: stop whining about tone. You’ve been told more than once why people are getting frustrated, so improve your arguments, stop trotting out the flyblown corpses of creationist copy-paste tracts or just, once and for all, fuck off.

  410. dadsen says

    #435 Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Until you provide conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity, it doesn’t exist except in your delusional mind. You can’t comprehend that your deity doesn’t exist. I pity you.

    Nerd, first off, you have my sympathy in what you are going through with Mrs. Redhead. My aunt (deceased) had Lou Gehrig’s disease so I have an idea of the burden you bear. I am with you, man. I understand. My heart goes out to you.

    Second, there can be no convincing you of God. Your mind is, figuratively speaking, hermetically sealed from allowing the truth of God’s existence into your mind. You have willfully chosen, with the excuse of “there are no peer-reviewed papers proving it” to determine your choice concerning the existence of God. No argument will persuade you, even if there were some kind of miracle that appeared in front of you and a loud voice boomed out “I AM”. You would rationalize away the experience, chalking it up to a dream, your medication (if any), or whatever. You will find an excuse to not believe.

    You pity me for believing in God and I pity you for not believing. Fortunately, our beliefs are not a prerequisite to function in this world. Both of us acquire food, shelter, clothing; we do our things in our daily human existence until the time comes when we cease to exist. After our time of existence we will know for certain which choice was correct.

    I will give you 3 examples for the existence of God. Both of us have the same evidence for the existence of these 3 things. I say God created, you will say carbon arranged itself together through various means and with other substances over uncountable lengths of time to produce them:

    #1) A samara (winged seedling) from the the sugar maple tree (Acer saccharum)

    Here we have a seedling *specifically designed* to be dispersed by the wind. A tree has no mind so it has no concept of aerodynamics which is required to create an aerodynamically designed seedling to travel by wind. The tree does not know about wind or gravity; therefore, an outside force had to cause the tree to be able to form such seedlings.

    To say evolution did it is absurd, the same as looking at an airplane thinking “wow, what a fortuitous accident for that to occur!” One can accept a few accidents by chance happening but the millions if not trillions of “accidents” for all the amazing variations of life on this planet, no. It is not possible.

    Say it with me, Nerd, with a happy Kumbaya face: no tree, nor any mindless, non-intelligent force, can produce an aerodynamically designed seedling to float on the breeze. A seedling such as that is indeed intelligently designed.

    A liar would would say it has the “illusion” of design in order to disavow the obvious.

    #2) Bird nests
    Who taught the bird to build a nest? From whence comes the knowledge to build it? The baby bird is not taught to build. Even when raised in captivity without parents and released into the wild, the bird will build a nest all on its own.
    How could its tiny brain know how to do this? Please don’t give me the bird-brained (pun intended) drivel that millions of years, time and lucky chance, caused it to happen.

    http://www.conservationevidence.com/actions/630:
    All 12 birds (ten female, two male) monitored during the breeding season had active nests

    The conservationists did not teach these baby birds hatched from incubated eggs to build nests so where did the knowledge come from?
    Evolution? Really? No. An intelligent being, i.e. God, had to implant that information into the bird.

    You could also say, without the instinct to mate, a bird has not the brains to know it needs to join with a member of the opposite sex to produce offspring. It has to be “programmed” to do so via the mating instinct.

    #3 Spider webs
    Who taught the yellow garden spider (Argiope aurantia) to spin a web? When it hatches from its egg the mother and father are dead so they cannot teach the spiderling how to spin a web. The spider knows automatically what to do. From whence comes this knowlege? Having this knowlege but without spinnarets, and feet with oil glands so as not to get stuck, would be of no use. It would be like giving a crocodile toenail clippers expecting it to find a away to use them. Absolutely useless.

    Furthermore, how would a spider with its tiny brain “know” that using a web would enable it to capture insects? You mean to say for “millions & million of years” the spider chased down its prey and then a mutation caused spinnarets to form, and then oily combed feet, and then it had a Eureka moment where it said to itself, “Chasing down bugs is tough….wait, I have this thingy on my abdomen that squirts out silk. I’ll build a web and catch bugs!”

    No. Its brain is not capable of such a thing, no more than an infant human would know about how to make gunpowder. Furthermore, even should a spider come up with the idea to use a web to catch its prey, how would it impart that information into its DNA so that its offspring would know it too?

    So there you go, Nerd. These are just 3 reasons why I believe in God. I’m sure you can come up with any number of reasons as to why this is not evidence but I say it is indeed evidence for God.

  411. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    My heart goes out to you.

    Who gives a shit about your pity. I don’t.

    Second, there can be no convincing you of God.

    Actually yes, there is. You need to provide conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity. Evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers, as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. Equivalent to the eternally burning bush. Nobody has done that to date. What doesn’t work is philosophical or theological bullshit, like you and didgeman present. Which is presuppositional. If you don’t presuppose a god, you can’t get to one without evidence.

    Your three sample are theological and presuppositional bullshit. Not one iota of evidence not explained by science and evolution. As is usual, you have your delusions about said evidence, like your delusions for your imaginary deity, but it doesn’ t convince me. Point to the enternally burning bush, or shut the fuck up. But that requires honesty and integrity which you lack. Funny how many athesists, skeptics, and scientists have that honesty and integrity which is so lacking in those of faith in phantasms.

  412. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    I know this isn’t directed at me, but…

    @dadsen

    Second, there can be no convincing you of God. Your mind is, figuratively speaking, hermetically sealed from allowing the truth of God’s existence into your mind. You have willfully chosen, with the excuse of “there are no peer-reviewed papers proving it” to determine your choice concerning the existence of God. No argument will persuade you, even if there were some kind of miracle that appeared in front of you and a loud voice boomed out “I AM”. You would rationalize away the experience, chalking it up to a dream, your medication (if any), or whatever. You will find an excuse to not believe.

    This is simply a grossly false characterization of most atheists. I strongly suspect this is grossly false w.r.t. Nerd. We would change our mind if there was any compelling evidence. There simply isn’t.

    As for your evidence: Evolution by natural selection can explain without difficulty why that particular seedling has an aerodynamic shape. Evolution by natural selection can explain without difficulty instinctual behavior, such as birds building nests and spiders building spider webs.

    In fact, your explanations are confusing Lamarckian evolution with actual evolutionary theory. You are simply not attacking actual evolutionary theory. You are attacking a strawman of it which exists only in your mind. I suggest that you educate yourself as to what evolutionists actually believe, rather than attacking figments of your imagination. For your level of competence, I suggest the books The Greatest Show On Earth by Richard Dawkins and Why Evolution Is True by Jerry Coyne.

  413. EnlightenmentLiberal says

    PS:

    So there you go, Nerd. These are just 3 reasons why I believe in God. I’m sure you can come up with any number of reasons as to why this is not evidence but I say it is indeed evidence for God.

    This form of argument is fallacious. It has a formal name “argument by ignorance”. Even if you could show that evolution is false, that would be of effectively zero help to show that the Christian god exists. You have not yet demonstrated that the only two choices on the table are “1- evolution”, “2- Christian god”, so even if you show #1 is wrong, it doesn’t show #2 is right.

  414. Travis Odom says

    I will give you 3 examples for the existence of God.

    Your subjective impressions of various facets of biology that you do not personally understand do not count as evidence for anything.

    I really don’t know why you would expect anyone to find them persuasive, especially anyone who actually knows the biology.

  415. Travis Odom says