Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Dembski Affair-- Part 3-- The Undercover Agent has his say

On my way out of the auditorium, I got to talk to some fun people! Vic Hutchison, from OESE, some friends from Oklahoma Atheists, and some internet friends that I had never gotten to meet in person before (Dang you Golfvixen! I missed you!). Im afraid Im getting PZs Cthulhu-esk internet persona, as several people commented "Hey! Youre cute/actually nice/not sicking a pack of pit bulls on me!" ROFL!

So a fellow came up and wanted to talk about my HIV article. YAAAAAAAAAY! Sure it was late, but I will talk about my research ad nauseum, until whomever Im speaking with passes out with boredom. So we talked about HIV evolution... and then the conversation... *changed*.

"Youre blog is good when your talking about science, but not when your bashing Baptists. You dont know anything about theology."

The smile stayed on my face, but a furrow entered my brow "... I dont talk about theology on my blog." I can think of few topics that interest me less than theology. Tapdancing on a castle made of sand. So I shrugged it off, and tried to offer my point of view of Dembskis sermon. "I want you to understand the Baptist 'bashing' from my point of view. What I saw on Sunday, was a bunch of people praying for God to put the 'right' answers in Dembskis head to screw those evilutionists. Now, every morning I wake up, go to work, and try to eliminate AIDS. I try to help cancer patients. No god puts the cure to AIDS in my head. No god puts the cure for cancers in my head. No god put the idea in the head of a New Orleans engineer in, say, 2000-- 'Hey, lets reinforce the levees. Might come in handy.' Do you understand what Im saying? Do you understand why I find these arrogant and empty ceremonies repulsive?"

No, he did not understand me. He changed the subject. I kept the smile on my face, and I kept the furrow in my forehead as we continued our 'conversation.' At one point Ian remarked "I think you two are speaking different languages." He meant in the sense that this was a historian I was talking to, and historians view things differently than the people inside the activity being observed, but he was right in a different way. He would talk about a Kepler I had never heard of (well call it a more 'apologetic' version), while I was speaking of the Kepler I learned about in astronomy and from COSMOS. He was speaking about some philosopher named Koonin (Koons?), while I was talking about Koonin. Im sure it was either frustrating or hysterical to anyone watching.

But we were also speaking a different *language*. Like the out of place narration... something was... off. He used words that scientists dont use. He used words that Creationists use. Im not repeating them here, lest he learn from his mistakes, but my forehead furrow grew deeper. "Maybe its because hes a history student. He doesnt know any better-- be patient." At one point he is talking about how no one listens to ID-ers, to which I replied "I also dont listen to HIV Deniers. Or alien abductees. Or 9/11 conspiracy theorists." "THATS A FALLACY!" he tweaked. "Why? What have the IDers put forward thats worth looking into. Theyre exactly like Deniers." He threw on the cloak of Galileo... proving my point...

Change subject.

At another point, we were talking about Dawkins. "Dawkins hurts the cause," he stated firmly. Me "... What cause?" Him "Evolution! He knows as much about philosophy as a stegosaurus! You cant prove there is no god!"

Me "... Did you read 'The God Delusion'?"

Him "YEAH! It was so bad! He doesnt know anything about philosophy!"

Me "... He addresses your claim, specifically. He says hes only talking about very specific gods. You remember the scale of atheism-->theism... When religions make claims about the natural world...?"

Change subject.

This went on for a while. I was starving, I had to pee, and I was certain Arnie had pooped in the house, so I wanted to go home. He and I parted with potential plans of beer drinking. I think you need to be drunk to talk about something like theology, but I was planning on going.

Turns out this fellow was going 'undercover' for ID. He was the head of OUs (now defunct?) IDEA club. I dont know what his name is, as he gave us one, comments here under two other names, and supposedly his name is something else entirely.

ATTENTION DUDE: I dont care if you are an ID-er. We decided on the ride home that you were more fun than Dembski. But lying to us was kinda pathetic. And you didnt fool me. I mean were you trying to *trick me* into saying something? Im not a Creationist. When I talk about science, I talk about science as best as I know it, and if I dont know something, I say "I DONT KNOW." Dembski made a big deal about how if evilutionists didnt have Evilution, we would be lost. No, we wouldnt. We would say "I DONT KNOW" and go about trying to find the right answer. We dont 'need' any answer. We dont 'need' a Creation myth. We dont 'need' to make things up about science to support our world view.

The world supports itself quite nicely. *shrug*

133 comments:

Forthekids said...

Well, I'll agree that the two sides have a communication problem, and it often seems like we're speaking completely different languages. It's a weird deal really. It's as though we *can't* understand each other...like we're designed different...or we evolved differently...or something.

Oh, and I wish I could have made it to OK to hear the lecture and meet you Abbie. I have this picture in my mind of a wild eyed whirling fireball in combat boots spewing out whatever is on the tip of her tongue. I usually find that when I meet people from these forums or blogs they aren't as combative in person...in fact, I usually find that they're not all that bad.

Ian said...

I thought he was talking about Kuhn...though knowing nothing about Kepler, I did my best to shut up and hope I didn't look too dumb.

Tim said...

Dembski made a big deal about how if evilutionists didnt have Evilution, we would be lost. No, we wouldnt. We would say "I DONT KNOW" and go about trying to find the right answer. We dont 'need' any answer. We dont 'need' a Creation myth. We dont 'need' to make things up about science to support our world view

So you mean that if science did not support your (apparently a priori) rejection of God, you would still go searching for a way to vindicate it? You could never come to a point where you would see theism as a viable way of looking at the world, and what is beyond it?

If the science itself is not what convinces you that atheism is the only way of looking at the world, why have you so dug in your heels against theism? Why do you reject God before the conversation even gets started?

Tyler DiPietro said...

Looks like the idiot brigade is out in force today.

Unfortunately I must sleep, I'll be back get the requisite bukkake of stupid tomorrow.

Logan said...

Kuhn's the character who wrote "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions", which inspired a lot of relativistic ideas about scientific truths, forwarding the notion of "paradigms", which simply replace others by consensus.

I've heard non-relativist defenders of Kuhn say he wasn't as relativistic as some think, but I've yet to read his book.

Bob O'Hara said...

Kuhn? Let me reconstruct the argument - evilution is the current paradigm, but ID will create a scientific revolution that will lead to a paradigm shift. Right?

Kuhn was an eminently sensible philosopher of science. He described the advance of science as much as a social process, which is one reason why he was so criticised, and also why relativists like him. If you want the potted version, read Chalmers' 'What is this thing called science?'. It's also good for explaining why Popper was wrong (and also that Popper never said what most scientists think he said).

Bob

quantok said...

Lee Smolin has just written an excellent book (from a somewhat Feyerabend-ian viewpoint) about paradigms in contemporary physics and cosmology called 'The Trouble With Physics'.

It's such a frank piece of soul-searching that I'm amazed it isn't being heavily quote-mined for proof that science keeps revising its hypotheses and that therefore none of them are to be trusted.

Read it now before the Superduper Hadron Collider makes it obsolete!

Anonymous said...

Because, Tim, we know that your god is derived from a mythological pantheon of middle eastern tribal gods, and the claims that Christians/Muslims etc make about people and the universe on behalf of this god just don't stack up.

Also, with respect to science, this god of yours just doesn't add any explanatory power. It can be used as a short hand for "we don't know yet, but we'll keep looking into it", but this essentially makes it the old god of the gaps.

But you keep enjoying your mythological creatures.

Cheers,
KiwiInOz

Russell said...

Abbie,

This is Russell. What are you doing? I didn't lie to you. I told you plainly that I appreciated your objection to Behe's HIV Claim and that I thought it was a helpful post. I wanted to discuss whether the evolution which you proposed concerning HIV crossed Behe's "Edge of Evolution." I wasn't lying when I told you that I thought it possible that you may have caught Behe in an error. We also talked about whether Natural Selection working on naturally derived genetic variation could explain all biological form and function. I was very upfront with my skepticism of the proposition that NS has been the sole engine of creation, producing what I believe I said, "whales, butterflies, kangaroos, and human beings who discuss the abilities of natural selection in an auditorium."
I remember commenting on how I thought it was a bit strange how scientists felt so sure that NS was the “end all be all” of biological origination. I believe I expressed myself clearly about biologists putting all there eggs in a single basket, which I believed would undergo serious modifications over the next twenty years.

This led me to talking about Thomas Kuhn's ideas. I am not exactly sure what was said about Kuhn, other than my sighting him as a good source to read in order to gain an understanding of the changing nature of science over time. (for informational purposes, Yes, Kuhn was not a relativist, though some have read him this way.)

This is where I must have brought up the fact that I look at this debate with an historical eye. I wasn’t lying about this, I do. I study the history of science. I'm not sure what's wrong with this. I would recommend that others do the same. I’m not trying to be condescending here but, scientists, philosophers, and generally everyone, would benefit greatly from viewing the ways in which ideas have been produced and assessed throughout history. This is particularly helpful in this discussion.

I did express concerns about your posts which bashed the music played at a Baptist Church. (and other similar postings) I told you that I believed them to be deleterious to fruitful exchange, and yes, I told you that to argue against a speakers propositional statements by bringing up their religious affiliations or geographical locations (in a church) is fallacious.

As for our conversations about Dawkins, I do think he hurts "Evolutionists." He puts evolution up against theism. But evolution is not inherently atheistic. I think we can agree on this. And I made the claim that science is not able to “prove” that God does not exist due to its provisional nature. I believe I said that in order to prove scientifically that God did not exists, one would have to know everything. We discussed what Dawkins has to say about this in the God Delusion , and thought that we came to general agreement in our conversation on the main point I was trying to make. (I guess we didn’t) I do not deny that I said that Dawkins is a poor philosopher and historian of theology. I stand by that unashamedly knowing full well that many people, both secular and theistic, agree on this.

But what I am really confused about…
I definitely told you my name. In fact, your friend Ian, wrote my name down, asking me to spell it for him when I gave him my email address. (which is my first initial T followed by the name I go by, Russell, the @ou.edu.) Remember, I had to explain why I went by my middle name. And remember how you told me that you go by your middle name as well. Ian emailed me earlier today, before you put up your post about me.

Lastly,

I just don't understand why you are writing against me? Frankly, I am a little disappointed. I greatly enjoyed our discussion and wished that the whole event could have proceeded in like fashion. We were not yelling at one another, interrupting on another, or trying to humiliate one another.

The only thing that I can think of which might justify your thinking ill of me is the fact that I used to be the leader (or co-leader) of an IDEA Club. (as an aside for informational purposes… Yes, the IDEA Club at OU is defunct and has been for three years. I had no intention of continuing my part in the "movement" aspect of intelligent design, wanting rather to focus upon the intellectual question involved.)

But what’s the problem here? I have been interested with ID and Evolution and Creationism and other related topics for at least eight years now. I enjoy discussing them. That was what the IDEA Club (at least the IDEA club that I ran) was all about.

You enjoy discussing this topic as well. You have a blog highly devoted to it. I think that's great. This is an important conversation to be having. Just because Vic Hutchison has a problem with anyone wanting to discuss these things, doesn't mean you ought to write me off. (You should check out the Nature article which quotes Vic and I. Nature 28 April 2005. You will find my brief comments in Nature entirely consistent with the comments I made yesterday after the Dembski talk.)

I'm not an undercover agent. I came up to you and your friends and discussed some of my concerns. We all had smiles on our faces and I thought (sorry if I was wrong) that it was a beneficial exchange. I hoped it would not be the last. I still think you might have nailed Behe on his HIV claim. And I want to know more about it. Yet I still think you got Kepler wrong. (Maybe the Cosmos article got him wrong and you’ve accidentally relied on a poor source. It happens. Though I still think you should check out the Barker, Bernstien article which I have given you the link for elsewhere on your blog) And I still think your attacking me here, or representing me uncharitably is not right. Is this not what you have charged Dembski and the bloggers at UD with.

Sorry for the long reply. I am not trying to debate you or trick you. We should get together and talk this out, but if you don't want to, I understand.

T. Russell Hunter
(Skeptic of the proposition that our scientific understanding of the origination of biological systems today is totally correct and will never be undermined or significantly modified. And believer that the intellectual ideas proposed by ID theorists merit serious examination by critical minds.)

And

(T is for Thomas, but that's my Dads name and he is a generally despicable dude, so I go by my middle name, Russell) ;)

Chris Noble said...

I remember commenting on how I thought it was a bit strange how scientists felt so sure that NS was the “end all be all” of biological origination.

But scientists don't believe that NS is the "end and be all" of biological origination. Other mechanisms such as genetic drift also play a role.

If other mechanisms are discovered then they will be added. The only thing that is certain is that these mechanisms will not involve an unknowable supernatuiral identity.

I'll make some predictions about the future history of science: 1) the theory of evolution will be modified and enriched over time by a series of new discoveries, 2) ID proponents (or whatever name they use in the future) will retrospectively claim credit for these discoveries.

386sx said...

If the science itself is not what convinces you that atheism is the only way of looking at the world, why have you so dug in your heels against theism? Why do you reject God before the conversation even gets started?

So go pray for a cure for cancer or maybe some new technology or something. Big yippie hoo-ha.

386sx said...

I believe I expressed myself clearly about biologists putting all there eggs in a single basket, which I believed would undergo serious modifications over the next twenty years.

Yeah, biology will undergo serious modifications over the next twenty years. Wow, what an amazing revelation that is. No doubt creation science will be at the forefront of the major breakthroughs. :-)

SteveF said...

I remember commenting on how I thought it was a bit strange how scientists felt so sure that NS was the “end all be all” of biological origination

The fact that you stated this just goes to show that you don't know much about evolutionary biology.

Mrs Tilton said...

T is for Thomas, but that's my Dads name and he is a generally despicable dude, so I go by my middle name, Russell

Russell, Russell, Russell. As somebody once wrote, honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Seriously, though. Unlike Dembski, you come across as a nice enough fellow. But sorry: the "intellectual ideas proposed by ID theorists" merit no consideration whatever.

John Timmer said...

The confusion over this conversation sounds a bit like a discussion I'm having in response to an article I've written regarding pseudoscience, so perhaps I could clarify the situation (with the big caveat of not having been part of it).

Anyone who's paid attention to creationist literature and arguments can easily recognize them and the wording/terminology they use. The details range from subtle misunderstandings of actual science to simply false statements. In many cases, the misunderstandings focus on areas of science that are well understood, but people present claims that science has no ideas about them (the classic being variations on "no new information via mutation"). In many cases, those arguments are accompanied by claims that the person making them cares deeply about science, understands its nature, etc.

What often happens is that the speaker/writer comes away from this thinking "I've been reasonable, and presented a coherent group of persuasive arguments." The scientist, in contrast, comes away thinking "Here we go again - someone convinced that the lies they've read about science are true." And hearing the same flawed arguments over and over again is, frankly, annoying.

Same conversation, two completely different takes on it.

Tim said...

KiwiInOz,

Because, Tim, we know that your god is derived from a mythological pantheon of middle eastern tribal gods,

Really? You know this? Please tell me how you've come to so definitive a conclusion.

and the claims that Christians/Muslims etc make about people and the universe on behalf of this god just don't stack up.

Really? Which claims? Why don't they match up? How do you know?

Also, with respect to science, this god of yours just doesn't add any explanatory power. It can be used as a short hand for "we don't know yet, but we'll keep looking into it", but this essentially makes it the old god of the gaps.

This statement merely reveals your a priori naturalism. You assume that we look at a 'natural' world, and then invoke God wherever we don't understand. But that is not the way that orthodox Christianity sees the world. We understand everything, from the grandest movements of the cosmos to the intricasies of molecular machinery and what is behind them are all revelatory of the concurrence of an omnipotent, creative God. It's not about 'god of the gaps'. It never has been.

The whole foundation of science, really, is based on the theistic worldview you so despise. You need the uniformity of the past to the present to do science in the present to the future, but you have no explanatory power to justify that uniformity. You, even though you build conceivably your entire life upon it, cannot justify it. You simply assume it and ignore the problem (note: I didn't come up with this argument. David Hume did, obviously no friend of Christianity). Not only do you have the problem of cause and effect in induction, but even the idea of relating particular facts to constant, universal laws is something your worldview cannot account for. Only theism can make any kind of unity out of the diversity of factual knowledge.

Hence, in doing science to try and defeat theism, you presuppose (unwittingly) that theism is true. You need it to do science. All the principles that the Christian worldview holds about the world, you simply borrow. Or, perhaps steal is the better term. The necessary preconditions for everything you do rest in the God you want so badly to not exist.

Anonymous said...

Dave S. said...

Russell says: Skeptic of the proposition that our scientific understanding of the origination of biological systems today is totally correct and will never be undermined or significantly modified.

Me too! But I'm also a skeptic that our scientific knowledge is "totally correct" for all other sciences too.

And believer that the intellectual ideas proposed by ID theorists merit serious examination by critical minds.

They've been examined and rejected. No scientists actually use these ideas to find anything new about nature. That includes William Dembski (not that I'd call him a scientist).

Now if they'd ever...ever produce some actual science in support of ID, maybe they'd be due some more consideration. Whailing on about some perceived insufficiencies in evolution won't cut it, especially when the evolution picture gets more clear all the time and ID remains content free.

Bill said...

Minor point for Russell regarding the theory of ID and ID theorists.

There is no theory if ID.

As stated by the Discovery Institute, intelligent design is the claim that:

"certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."

That is not a theory. It's not even close to being a theory. It is no different than this claim:

"certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by my cat."

Dembski's intellectual flim-flam is best demonstrated by the good Dr. Dr. himself; he never fails to deliver. According to Dembski himself, ID is not mechanistic, that is, it can't explain anything, and that religious conversion preceeds the data.

Just to belabour the point, if Dembski is the leading ID theorist and Dembski states that ID is a religious proposition, then ID is a religious proposition. Presenting ID in any other light is simply dishonest.

And in case you're wondering what intellligent design really is, it is this: intelligent design is a tool being used to attempt to introduce religion into public schools via creationism, and it's targeted at 9th and 10th grades to foster doubts about science, or as the creationists say "materialism."

As the term is currently used, intelligent design was born out of the 1987 Supreme Court ruling in Edwards v. Aguillard which declared creation science to be composed of religious tenets. This was reconfirmed in Kitzmiller vs Dover that intelligent design is not science, it is religion.

Spotted Owl said...

tim: kindly provide evidence that the existence of a god in any way guarantees the uniformity of the universe, or the consistency of cause and effect.

You don't even have to show that any god exists. You just have to show that B follows from A if and only if A is true.

Russell said...

Anonymous,

Yes. I am skeptical about the other sceinces as well. (I believe the example I used when talking with Abbie and Ian had to do with quantum physics and the future knowledge we will have concerning what everything is made of etc etc)
All science is provisional and open to new findings and ideas! This is one of the great things about Science.

And you're right. ID needs to produce some scientific research. This has been their movements greatest flaw. However I stand by my assertion that the questions they point to are worth serious consideration. Questions which point to difficulties in explianing the highly specific (not regularly ordered and syntactically informational, yad yada) sequences of nucleotide basis. And questions which highlight potential problems like the appearance of serious morphological diversity in animal forms (the so-called distinguishable Phyla) appearing very early on in geologic history.

But again, I have just posted above to explain my involvement, or I guess, my having a discussion with, Ian and Abbie after Dembski's talk, and how I intended no deception and only wanted to discuss some of the issues with informed people in the debate.

ERV said...

And under no uncertain terms, said you supported evolution and that you were a Gould-guy.

(readers-- This is another Gould-guy)

I thought your 'quirks' were a result of your role as a historian, and as an ID sympathizer-- not because you were an ID advocate.

Anonymous said...

Tim said: So you mean that if science did not support your (apparently a priori) rejection of God, you would still go searching for a way to vindicate it? You could never come to a point where you would see theism as a viable way of looking at the world, and what is beyond it?

Science is build upon finding explanations and showing them right by repeatable experiments.

NS, or science in general, is not a rejection of God. Rejection of God is the result of incoherent, inconsistent, ad-hoc stories that time and again turn out to be based on nothing, the result of juvenile fear-mongering that people want to cast aside, the result of it being an endless source of battle. Rejection of God, in short, has enough reasons for itself.
For me personally, atheism is much more recent then my love for science. And for me atheism is a direct response of the suffering that religions in it's many forms have hurt people and are still the cause of much suffering.

Embracing NS, or science in general, is not the result of grasping for an alternative for religion. It is the result of finding solutions for everyday problems, be it increasing stability of our food supply, reducing time and risks related to travel or decreasing suffering from illness. It has countless benefits for people individually or our society as a whole.

No guy in a dress and a pointy-hat has the right to decree people born differently (such as gays) to be worth of nothing but eternal suffering. No hord of self-deluded maniacs have the right to force people to live unsafe by denying protection against std's.

When delusion clashes with reality, there is a choice to be made. What is it going to be? Things we know to be true because we can show the facts and reasoning that let us to the conclusion? Or some story, nobody knows what it's origin is and for which there are countless contradictory alternatives? But remember what caused the clash! Reality isn't trying to prove delusion wrong. Reality is just trying to prove reality right. It is delusion, in many shapes and forms, that cause the clash.

Don't get me wrong, Tim. Nobody can prove there is no God and nobody will say that they can be 100% sure there isn't one. However, I, and many with me, say that the god as you portray does not exist. And for the simple reason that the stories that are told about that god or the claims that are made about that god are inconsistent or even plain wrong.

What many scientist do is find out how the world around us works. And I applaud them for it. Without many discoveries I would probably not have lived and I would certainly not have lived the way I do today. Trying to halt their progress because of one of many contradictory ancient texts is hurting our society.

Tim, for me, enjoying science and digging my heels ever deeper into atheism are separate from one another. Only on the cross-roads of these two, where religion tries to intersect with science, will they directly interfere. And each time such an intersection is being created does it become more apparent how devoid religion is of reality.

Please retract your notions of the nomads of yore from our modern day society.

Dave S. said...

tim writes:

This statement merely reveals your a priori naturalism. You assume that we look at a 'natural' world, and then invoke God wherever we don't understand. But that is not the way that orthodox Christianity sees the world. We understand everything, from the grandest movements of the cosmos to the intricasies of molecular machinery and what is behind them are all revelatory of the concurrence of an omnipotent, creative God. It's not about 'god of the gaps'. It never has been.

It is with intelligent design. It's nothing more than designer-of-the-gaps. Dembski is forever looking at the gaps between the islands, hoping they don't get filled. What you say not only makes ID bad science, but bad theology as well.

The whole foundation of science, really, is based on the theistic worldview you so despise. You need the uniformity of the past to the present to do science in the present to the future, but you have no explanatory power to justify that uniformity. You, even though you build conceivably your entire life upon it, cannot justify it. You simply assume it and ignore the problem (note: I didn't come up with this argument. David Hume did, obviously no friend of Christianity). Not only do you have the problem of cause and effect in induction, but even the idea of relating particular facts to constant, universal laws is something your worldview cannot account for. Only theism can make any kind of unity out of the diversity of factual knowledge.

Your "worldview" no more accounts for this order than does the atheist's. You've merely introduced another layer of complexity that is conveniently inscrutable.

Hence, in doing science to try and defeat theism ...

Some people do science because they like to learn stuff about nature.

... you presuppose (unwittingly) that theism is true.

It's only true if you can prove this new layer of complexity actually exists. Belief in God is not the same as God.

You need it to do science.

Not at all. You only need to have the order. It's irrelevant the 'cause' of the order, or even if the order needs a 'cause' at all.

Russell writes:

Yes. I am skeptical about the other sceinces as well. (I believe the example I used when talking with Abbie and Ian had to do with quantum physics and the future knowledge we will have concerning what everything is made of etc etc)
All science is provisional and open to new findings and ideas! This is one of the great things about Science.


On this we agree. Then why specifically point out only that one? No-one is saying that evolution is known to a metaphysical certainty.

And you're right. ID needs to produce some scientific research. This has been their movements greatest flaw.

A flaw which cannot be rectified since ID does not possess a theory from which to draw testable hypotheses. It relies exclusively on attacking the percieved weaknesses of evolution and the assumption that ID, somehow, explains these. Just like the old-time creationist arguments before them. Back when they still were willing to be called creationist.

However I stand by my assertion that the questions they point to are worth serious consideration.

And I by mine that they have been considered. Even ID advocates seem to reject ID as a scientific approach, since none use it.

Questions which point to difficulties in explianing the highly specific (not regularly ordered and syntactically informational, yad yada) sequences of nucleotide basis. And questions which highlight potential problems like the appearance of serious morphological diversity in animal forms (the so-called distinguishable Phyla) appearing very early on in geologic history.

Which highly specific sequences? Are you referring to the Cambrian Explosion? I understand a fair amount of evolution was going on then.

And how does ID explain these?

Russell said...

Abbie,

I do support evolution. I do think evolutionary processes explain a great deal. And I am not just talking about finches and moths, or simply what is labeled "micro-evolution". I support evolution because it is a facinating idea with great explanatory power. But my skeptical statements about NS being the cheif engine of biological origination stand. Being skeptical about aspects of the "mechanism" of evolution is okay right?

As opposed to being a "Dawkins-Guy" I am certainly a "Gould-guy". I am a huge fan of Gould. If you want some form of checking whether or not I was trying to decieve you about this, maybe you can access my facebook and track how long (since I registered) Gould has been listed as one of my favorite authors for years. (in fact I actually teared up a few years back when he died)

N-E-WAYS, I just think you have me wrong and my original long post abov e explains my actions sufficiently.

But i guess this post has kind of taken a turn with the comments posted by Tim. (which is okay. I really haven;t the time to be blogging this much.)

Best wishes with true sincerity,

Russell

rspurlin said...

For now I'll give Russell the benefit of the doubt and go along with the advancement of scientific knowledge he proposes. But it seems to me that ID proponents are quite free to engage in research, yet never can seem to actually publish anything that even remotely resembles science as the rest of us know it. How about starting by denouncing lies, mis characterization, quote mining and similar tactics as an obstacle to good science. Since you stated:
questions which highlight potential problems like the appearance of serious morphological diversity in animal forms (the so-called distinguishable Phyla) appearing very early on in geologic history.
It would appear that you would disagree with those who claim the Earth is 10,000 years old or less. Explain to them why they are wrong.

Unless of course you actually believe that every discipline of science is just so wrong that none of it can be trusted. Face it, most ID supporters want to believe that some deity poofed every living thing into existence only a few thousand years ago. Were this true, virtually every science we know would have such serious flaws that none of your modern technology would work at all. Get rid of the crackpots and crazies, then do some actual research and whatever respect your work is due will follow.

386sx said...

Questions which point to difficulties in explianing the highly specific (not regularly ordered and syntactically informational, yad yada) sequences of nucleotide basis. And questions which highlight potential problems like the appearance of serious morphological diversity in animal forms (the so-called distinguishable Phyla) appearing very early on in geologic history.

So let people look at that stuff?! Shrug! What's your point? What makes you think ID is the only thing "pointing" to questions like that? And the answer is... you're not being entirely honest. You want people to stop asking those questions. You want them to throw their hands up in the air and say, yep, those things were "poofed" by a miracle and Russell's god really does exist!!!

That's what you're really "pointing" at when you say ID "points" at something. You want science to stop and say that something, anything, was "poofed". Well sorry their isn't good enough evidence for your religion, but it isn't our freakin fault dude.

Rhology said...

I have to chime in and second Russell's contention that Dawkins' forays against theism are misguided and sometimes idiotic.

You can see a well-developed review of _The God Delusion_ by a Reformed blogger here.

May Dawkins stick to his sinking ship of evolution rather than bashing theism - the former is sinking more slowly than the latter.

Peace,
Rhology

Dave S. said...

May Dawkins stick to his sinking ship of evolution ...

Evolution has been "sinking" for 150 years now. That's one slow sinking ship!

...rather than bashing theism - the former is sinking more slowly than the latter.

Evolution is sinking more slowly?? Just how quick is theism sinking?

Anonymous said...

Great post!

windy said...

...potential problems like the appearance of serious morphological diversity in animal forms (the so-called distinguishable Phyla) appearing very early on in geologic history.

Really? Do you think that

"When the earth was four billion years old"

is the same as

"very early on in geologic history"
?

Torbjörn Larsson said...

Keep 'em coming, ERV! (Btw, gotta love your new icon. I assume the tongue goes out for the Dembski-lovers.)

Torbjörn Larsson said...

Ftk:

It's as though we *can't* understand each other...

Well, duh! In "The Dembski Affair -- Part 2" dochocson predicted exactly which script you would follow, yet you went along and commented thus, confirming your inability to understand.

Rhology said...

HI there,

Dave S. said:

Evolution has been "sinking" for 150 years now. That's one slow sinking ship!

Indeed. Lamentable, isn't it?

Just how quick is theism sinking?

I was of course referring to Dawkins' woeful arguments against theism. And most of them never broke the surface, they are so pathetic.

Peace,
Rhology

David Marjanović said...

Science is build upon finding explanations and showing them right by repeatable experiments.

Actually, it's built upon finding explanations and showing them wrong by repeatable observations. (It's easiest, but not required, if we know all circumstances of the observations and can repeat them whenever we want, which is the case when we set them up -- that's an experiment.)

When we have two competing explanations that are both capable of being disproven, and if we have failed to disprove either, we resort to the Principle of Parsimony: the explanation which requires the fewest additional assumptions is preferred.

----------

4 billion years ago was quite early in geologic history. But the Cambrian only began 0.542 ± 0.001 billion years ago (source) (and took some 40 million years). The Cambrian ended 0.4883 ± 0.0017 billion years ago.

Also keeping in mind how many close relatives of one or more "phyla" and "subphyla" (an entirely subjective term) we have from the Cambrian, the nature of the fossil record, and the fact that many clades evolved hard parts at that time, I can't find anything mysterious about the "Cambrian Explosion", and I'm a PhD student of paleobiology.

David Marjanović said...

Oops! Sorry. I managed to confuse "4 Ga ago" with "when the Earth was 4 Ga old".

Torbjörn Larsson said...

Tim:

So you mean that if science did not support your (apparently a priori) rejection of God, you would still go searching for a way to vindicate it?

You make an assumption not supported by the text. ERV was discussing the world view of scientists, evolutionary biologists to be exact.

And speaking generally on atheists, they can become atheists at any time for any reason.

It's not about 'god of the gaps'. It never has been.

A common observation and complaint on religious individuals is the switch between gods-of-the-gaps ideas to support interventionism and rarefied non-interventionism when criticized. You yourself are interventionist ("creative"), but will likely pretend non-intervention in the areas where natural mechanisms are known to work.

The whole foundation of science, really, is based on the theistic worldview you so despise. You need the uniformity of the past to the present to do science in the present to the future, but you have no explanatory power to justify that uniformity.

You have a very confused view of science. It isn't based on philosophy or preconcieved dogmas of theism. Uniformity is an assumption that is tested and verified in experiments. For example, we can observe the finestructure constant throughout space and time, and IIRC it has varied less than 10^-12 parts in the last 10^9 years and over most of the observable universe.

You can think of assumptions as axioms. If the theory doesn't work out, you have to change the assumptions. But after 400 years of tests, uniformity is a robust observation. It is also supported by theory since all our theories are based on symmetries (uniformities) by neccessity.

in doing science to try and defeat theism

No one is doing science to attack religion. Science is a tool to understand our world.

And if religion doesn't align with our knowledge of the natural world, those fault is that?

Jacob said...

I was just recently referred to this blog by a friend, and I'm already quite hooked. Fan-freaking-tastic. It's almost enough to make me regret that my own field of study doesn't give me ammunition for this fight as smack on-target as yours.

I've had a similar experience to this one with an amateur philosopher acquaintance of mine. He doesn't understand why I think his insane theories should have some connection to observable reality, and I don't understand why he thinks "logic" alone is conclusive evidence.

I don't think he's a spy, though. Pity; it would make my workday much more interesting.

Jacob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Factician said...

ucAnd you're right. ID needs to produce some scientific research. This has been their movements greatest flaw.

Umm... dude? In science, we get data first. Then we formulate explanations for the data. Then we gather more data. Let's check to see if data fits the explanation. Yes? *Then* we teach the idea in high school.

Your movement's greatest flaw? It's a movement. Not science.

Blake Stacey said...

Lee Smolin has just written an excellent book (from a somewhat Feyerabend-ian viewpoint) about paradigms in contemporary physics and cosmology called 'The Trouble With Physics'.

Actually, from what I've read, Smolin has his own pet version of history which doesn't tally with what anyone else remembers from the 1990s (i.e., what actually happened), and he bungles the physics of topics like Maldacena duality and background independence. Yeah, yeah, that's some heavy technical baggage, but if you want to talk about physics, you can't treat it like words in a novel.

And Peter Woit has been making grandiose claims that not only is string theory unpredictive today, but it will necessarily be unpredictive tomorrow and forevermore. Well, if you know that, then you know something the rest of physics doesn't. And every damn pundit remark in the "String Wars" casually forgets to mention the active research in applying the AdS/CFT correspondence to nuclear physics and even superconductivity. Is it directly relevant to quantum gravity, the problem string theory was supposed to be solving ten years ago? No, not directly, but (a) it does give us an opportunity to check our math, and (b) it's damn relevant for understanding the sociology of the physics community.

So, to all the postmodernists who want to crow over the demise of physics: go deconstruct yourself.

robotaholic said...

Well I am a Normanite and I went to OU and I'm proud of you and OU in general regarding that ID speaker. I never would have imagined that the OU students would be so accurate and scientific. I so read PZ and Richarddawkins blogs and now I have a 3rd. :) - Oh, and i think studying hiv evolution would be absolutely fascinating. Good luck with that.

-john

Logan said...

Russell's ideas about Kuhnian paradigms overlooks the possibility that not all ideas may end up being overturned or modified. (I doubt that E will ever be discovered to equal mc cubed instead of mc squared)

All theories are tentative, but some have a lesser likelihood of being totally overthrown, especially once they've collected as much supporting data as evolution has.

In the same sort of way, the lack of evidence for God insists an empirically based atheism. Maybe he exists, but if we're agnostic about him that should justify agnosticism about everything. In this way we judge on probability and not strictly possibility.

But theism fails rationally almost as much as it does empirically. This business about atheism not being justified unless one knows everything mistakes a flying pig for a black swan.

Russell, if you're still around: WHY are you skeptical of natural selection as evolution's driving force? If you can't give a reason, then you're simply bowled over by the amount of time it took and the amount of complexity it achieved, and that's more of a gasp of credulity than a reason.

The Cambrian Explosion is an enigma, sure, but using it would only argue from ignorance. Countless times before, quirks like these were sorted out and found to support naturalistic evolution. See Orgel's Second Rule: "Evolution is cleverer than you are."

And (this comment goes out to everybody) I find that roughly 95 out of 100 people who diss Dawkins (especially his new book) either simply haven't read it or read it while drunk on cognitive dissonance (don't drink and read).

"Dawkinsh talks juz like tose fundamentalish, I zwear." *dook, dook, dook*

Dave S. said...

Rhology said...

Indeed. Lamentable, isn't it?

Indeed, its been sinking so slow that it looks like its not even sinking at all.

I was of course referring to Dawkins' woeful arguments against theism. And most of them never broke the surface, they are so pathetic.

Well if your opinion here is as solid as it is for evolution's sinking, then Dawkins can hope for a long time above the surface.

Live long and prosper.

Anonymous said...

This deserves big bold repetition
Torbjörn Larsson wrote:
No one is doing science to attack religion. Science is a tool to understand our world.

The idea that science and religion are two like things having what amounts to a sectarian argument is a common mistake (or often, deliberate misdirection) of the religious side of these arguments. Copernicus, Galileo, and Darwin didn't set out to cut down their respective Churches, and then go out looking for areas of science that could be manipulated to contradict to dogma. They followed the evidence, even when it posed troubling contradictions to their accepted beliefs. Feel free to compare and contrast this to approach taken by creationists and IDers.

Science damage to established dogma is largely collateral. Those attached to dogma may see it as a war, but from science perspective, it's simply a process that discards the irrational. If the dogma wasn't contrary to observation and reason, science wouldn't destroy it. Then again, the dogma wouldn't be dogma would it ? ;)

Tim said...

Torbjörn Larsson,

You make an assumption not supported by the text. ERV was discussing the world view of scientists, evolutionary biologists to be exact.

You're right. That's what she was talking about. I also am pretty sure she's said elsewhere that she thinks God to be a superfluous hypothesis because of what she knows of science. Because of this, I thought it interesting that she said she would still be an atheist if she didn't have a naturalistic story to cling to.

A common observation and complaint on religious individuals is the switch between gods-of-the-gaps ideas to support interventionism and rarefied non-interventionism when criticized. You yourself are interventionist ("creative"), but will likely pretend non-intervention in the areas where natural mechanisms are known to work.

Honestly, nope. I don't think there's any such thing as 'nature', really. The term itself is biased. I believe that God superintends absolutely every detail of this universe. The movement of the stars, the growth of your hair, the fertilization of an egg, all of it. The study of science is the study of how those things are accomplished. (note: I'm not saying nature is divine; I'm just getting rid of the notion that anything in existence exists and functions somehow independently of God)

Uniformity is an assumption that is tested and verified in experiments.

To restate:

1. In the past, the future has been like the past.
2. Therefore, in the future the future will be like the past.

You realize this begs the question, right? To argue for uniformity from observation, you have to assume uniformity itself.

You see the problem here? You know by experience that your experience will be uniform. How do you know it? You've learned it by experience. How do you know your past experience will hold true for the what you experience in the future? Because you have experienced it in the past. And round and round the circle goes. There's no necessary connection between cause and effect.

. It is also supported by theory since all our theories are based on symmetries (uniformities) by neccessity.

Exactly. And those uniformities are unaccounted for by your worldview. And mine is the only one that supplies them.

Tim said...

anonymous,

Copernicus, Galileo, and Darwin didn't set out to cut down their respective Churches, and then go out looking for areas of science that could be manipulated to contradict to dogma. They followed the evidence, even when it posed troubling contradictions to their accepted beliefs. Feel free to compare and contrast this to approach taken by creationists and IDers.

You're absolutely right. They all violated the established beliefs of the scientific establishment at that time. It wasn't about Galileo vs. the church. The church opposed Galileo because the church believed in the science of the time.

And, if I'm not mistaken, part of the reason Darwin was so successful (even though not peer-reviewed!!) was because the Christians in his day loved the idea of evolution; it gave them ammunition against the deists and their wind-up universe.

So, they followed the evidence where they thought it led, and in doing so they rocked the scientific paradigm of their day. You're right. That does sound like the project of ID.

Tim said...

(Other?) anonymous,

NS, or science in general, is not a rejection of God. ...

I'm not sure what this is about. Sifting out all the rhetoric of that first paragraph, this is basically what's left. And that doesn't really have anything to do with my paragraph that you quoted. The whole point of what I said is that ERV said she would find a way to explain away God even if evolution didn't work, but I thought I remembered her saying that the current way she understands science is the very reason she is an atheist. That's why I said what I did.

And for me atheism is a direct response of the suffering that religions in it's many forms have hurt people and are still the cause of much suffering.

So your assumption is "If something causes suffering, it cannot be true."

Well...the Nazis were atheists. Communism has always been atheistic. So if religion was ruled out already, and I've just ruled out atheism for you, what options do you have left?

No guy in a dress and a pointy-hat has the right to decree people born differently (such as gays) to be worth of nothing but eternal suffering.

You're right. No man has the right to decree that. I can think of someone who does, though.

No hord of self-deluded maniacs have the right to force people to live unsafe by denying protection against std's.

I could just as easily point the finger at a horde of deluded maniacs who think the best way to live is to hump like a rabbit. Well, if they listened to the wisdom of God, they would be safe, because they wouldn't be having sex with tons of people who have std's. Best way to not get one.

The real problem is your assumption of morality, or a lack of it. If our worldview is true, then we're doing the right thing, and the only thing that really makes sense. Telling people to keep their pants on really doesn't fit my definition of 'lunacy'.

I, and many with me, say that the god as you portray does not exist. And for the simple reason that the stories that are told about that god or the claims that are made about that god are inconsistent or even plain wrong.

Which stories? How are they wrong? How do you know?

Please retract your notions of the nomads of yore from our modern day society.

Please keep in mind that idiots with such notions were the ones who systematized much of what you now know as 'science'. Read some Francis Bacon.

Anonymous said...

There's no necessary connection between cause and effect.

Wow. I don't think I've ever seen such a strange solopsist argument for religion before.

Get back to me next time dropping a brick on your foot doesn't hurt.

Chris Noble said...

There's no necessary connection between cause and effect.

Yep, this ones aching for the "I refute it thus" with a kick up the backside.

Caravelle said...

Re being an atheist if there weren't any science :
Another point against a specific God being likely to exist, is the number of them that are around. This leads to the question of which ones are real ? And if that one isn't real, then what says the others are real ?

This is less of a problem for polytheist societies which may be a reason why atheism didn't (seem to ?) exist in Ancient Greece. But anyone exposed to multiple mutually exclusive religion could have reason to be an atheist even if they didn't have alternative explanations for natural phenomena.

Anonymous said...

tim said: You're absolutely right. They all violated the established beliefs of the scientific establishment at that time. It wasn't about Galileo vs. the church. The church opposed Galileo because the church believed in the science of the time.

You are claiming the Catholic church objected to Galileo's conclusions on scientific grounds ? Maybe their data didn't match his ?

Sorry, but they put him on trial for heresy, which is a theological crime. The basis for his conviction was not "your data is crap" or "your conclusions don't follow from your observation." Rather he was convicted of holding views contrary to scripture. It was the religious establishment that actively suppressed the heliocentric theory. Other natural philosophers had a range of opinions on the idea.

But thanks for demonstrating my point about people who like to pretend science and religion are the same kind of thing (the main point of the post you quoted.) Here's a hint... if scripture trumps observation it's not science. You do get bonus points for comparing the modern scientific establishment with the Inquisition, and IDer loonies to giants like Galileo and Darwin. I just wish they'd hurry up and stake frauds like Behe and Dembski.

Ian said...

Mmm, Tim - no, the Nazis weren't atheists. And they were actively supported by portions of the church in Germany. They were actively supported by some of the greatest theologians of the 20th century (including Gerhard Kittel). The antisemitism of Nazis drew justification from Martin Luther.

Anonymous said...

humans are aware that they will die, not a pleasant thing to know. Religion and god gives them a way not to really die, to go to heaven, a soul with no body goes to a place in the sky to laufg forever (not cry), the fountain of youth. all living creatures die, if denying that makes it easier for you to die, then go fot r it!

Reginal Selkirk said...

Russell: and yes, I told you that to argue against a speakers propositional statements by bringing up their religious affiliations or geographical locations (in a church) is fallacious.

Even when a speaker continually insists, whenever he is not preaching to the faithful in churches, that the content of his speech is all about science and not abour religion?

Russell: But my skeptical statements about NS being the chief engine of biological origination stand.

This after several posters have stated NS is not the sole mechanism of evolution, and have specifically mentioned neutral drift. It's too bad your long-term involvement in an "Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness" Club didn't lead to a fuller awareness of current evolutionary theory.

Rhology said...

Hi there,

caravelle said:
God being likely to exist, is the number of them that are around. This leads to the question of which ones are real ? And if that one isn't real, then what says the others are real ?

In order not to be paralysed by that question, and in order to avoid the false dilemma of, by virtue of that confusion, jumping into atheism (which is rationally indefensible), you have to simply examine each of those gods' systems.

This is less of a problem for polytheist societies

But they have their own huge problems, those entailed by finite godism. No explanation for the origin of the universe, for ex, like atheism. No ultimate grounds for intelligibility, like atheism.


Anonymous said:
Rather he was convicted of holding views contrary to scripture.

Well, he was making theological hay of his scientific discoveries. But I doubt Tim would, and I certainly won't, defend the actions of the Roman church at that time.

It was the religious establishment that actively suppressed the heliocentric theory.

At the time, the scientific establishment was the same people. They are more analogous to the Neo-Darwinists of today. I'd add that the neo-Darwinists are hardly less religious.



Ian said:
if scripture trumps observation it's not science.

Correct. But it's rationally indefensible to believe that science is the only way to discover truth.

And they were actively supported by portions of the church in Germany.

Much like neo-Darwinism is supported by some churches today. Big deal. Please read some Mein Kampf.

The antisemitism of Nazis drew justification from Martin Luther.

I don't see how it's Luther's fault that they ripped his writings out of context for their own purposes. That happens all the time, does it not?


Reginal said:
Even when a speaker continually insists, whenever he is not preaching to the faithful in churches, that the content of his speech is all about science and not abour religion?

1) That's the genetic fallacy.
2) A man is never permitted to talk about faith sometimes and work other times?
3) When do his lectures ever appeal to religion for argumentation? Seems you're just grasping at straws to discredit him by any means possible, and that's not inspiring of confidence for the neo-Darwinist side of things.

This after several posters have stated NS is not the sole mechanism of evolution,

Why would someone care about what some posters on a blog say when the big-shot authorities constantly appeal to NS?

Peace,
Rhology

Rev. BigDumbChimp said...


I don't see how it's Luther's fault that they ripped his writings out of context for their own purposes. That happens all the time, does it not?


Yes. Just look at what religious leaders do (falsely) with Darwin all the time. However with Luther he pretty much spells out exactly what he thinks about Jews. Its not taken out of context when someone writes "they are nothing but thieves and robbers who daily eat no morsel and wear no thread of clothing which they have not stolen and pilfered from us by means of their accursed usury. Thus they live from day to day, together with wife and child, by theft and robbery, as arch­thieves and robbers, in the most impenitent security."

Seems pretty cut and dry.

Correct. But it's rationally indefensible to believe that science is the only way to discover truth.

Sure if you look at science as a single entity, fine. However science is the all encompassing way of searching for answers to the questions posed in all things we see in our world. It is not some monolithic beast. It is composed of too many parts to be so myopically classified as something like that. Show me another way to come to evidence that provides us repeatable testable observations and I'll agree on that part. Science isn't a singular thing as many would like to nail it down and which appears you may be doing as well. It is a collection of ways to best record, describe, study and discover how the world around us operates and operated and will operate.

Rhology said...

Hi there,

Luther and the Jews

For a fair treatment on the subject, I refer you here.
And you don't know - what if all the Jews that Luther knew were like that? Doesn't mean he's anti-Semitic necessarily.

However science is the all encompassing way of searching for answers to the questions posed in all things we see in our world.

Yes, for answers, but not for all answers.

Show me another way to come to evidence that provides us repeatable testable observations

In other words, show me another scientific way besides science to provide us scientific results. Come on.
I'm talking about logical and metaphysical statements here, for example.

It is a collection of ways to best record, describe, study and discover how the world around us operates and operated and will operate.

I agree that it is an excellent way to do that, most of the time. When it knows its limitations, yes. Methodological naturalism ignores the limits.

Peace,
Rhology

Rhology said...

Oh, and you can't say "will operate", as Tim already mentioned. That's an assumption, that science can't make nor test. It's a metaphysical assumption, and proves my point that science is not the only way to discover truth.

Reginal Selkirk said...

But it's rationally indefensible to believe that science is the only way to discover truth.
...
I'm talking about logical and metaphysical statements here, for example.


OK, I'll accept deductive logic as another way to "discover truth." If you want to suggest some others, feel free to do so.

Scripture? Not reliable. Scriptures are known to contain scientific errors, historical errors and self-contradictions. Fraudulent scriptures are known to exist.

Revelation is known to be unreliable. Otherwise you would have to accept the revelation of Deanne Laney.

Reginal Selkirk said...

1) That's the genetic fallacy.
2) A man is never permitted to talk about faith sometimes and work other times?
3) When do his lectures ever appeal to religion for argumentation? Seems you're just grasping at straws to discredit him by any means possible, and that's not inspiring of confidence for the neo-Darwinist side of things.


We're talking about the author of Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science & Theology; the man who wrote, "Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John's Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory." So, by his own standard, when he talks about Intelligent Design he is preaching the Gospel.

If that's a straw, it's a rather substantial one.

Rhology said...

Hi REginal,

I'll accept deductive logic as another way to "discover truth."

Cool. And that's not science, just so we're clear.
Also, I'd add divine revelation and experience, but those are more subjective, so don't suit our discussion here well. So I'll leave them aside for the sake of argument.

Scripture? Not reliable.

You're not knowledgeable enough to make that call, I'd imagine.
Also, I don't use Scriptures as my arguments, so going after them is a little pointless here.

Scriptures are known to contain scientific errors, historical errors and self-contradictions.

I agree, except for the Bible.

Revelation is known to be unreliable.

If it comes from the One True God, it's the most reliable source of information possible, since it is communication from an omniscient being who can't lie.

So, by his own standard, when he talks about Intelligent Design he is preaching the Gospel.

Fine, fine, but when does he appeal to religion for his arguments?

Peace,
Rhology

Tyler DiPietro said...

"If it comes from the One True God, it's the most reliable source of information possible, since it is communication from an omniscient being who can't lie."

Holy circular logic, Batman!

Logan said...

Tim said, "Well...the Nazis were atheists. Communism has always been atheistic. So if religion was ruled out already, and I've just ruled out atheism for you, what options do you have left?"

The Nazis were Christians,

and a picture's worth a 1,000 words a pop:

http://nobeliefs.com/mementoes.htm
http://nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm

Using Stalinism is lame, too, although he was atheistic. But that's about the only thing he had in common with the science-based atheism of people like Dawkins and Myers and ERV. Ever heard of Lysenkoism? Not very science-based or rational. To broaden "atheism" so as to include Stalin and friends renders it useless as criticism against our kind of atheism. Stalin is a stain on atheism's reputation like Hitler is a stain on vegetarianism's reputation.

Rhology said...

Holy circular logic, Batman!

True, but just wait until an atheist tries to explain how he grounds intelligibility in the atheist worldview.

Nazis were Christians

You haven't read Mein Kampf either, apparently, where Hitler explicitly says he wants to destroy Christianity.
Just b/c the Nazis used religion to manipulate their society doesn't say anythg about what they really believed.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me Tim and Rho don't really know what to think. On one hand they want their deity to be in charge of everything, but on the other unable to do things they find objectionable. Why couldn't their deity spark the universe and just sit back and watch it unfold? How much power do they think humans have? If we wanted to stop the spread of a disease, could we? Or should we not worry because only their deity can stop it? If their deity is intervening all of the time, then why should any of us bother? Why the protestant work ethic? Is their deity telling them to rape the planet in search of profit?

Then we have Rho unable to defend catholics in the Galileo affair, but able to defend the excatholic Luther in initiating pogroms against Jews. What - you think Hitler was the only leader of a eurochristian country to systematically kill Jews. History not a strong point, eh?

Albatrossity said...

Rhology rhrwote, re Dembski and the Logos Theology quote: ,Fine, fine, but when does he appeal to religion for his arguments?

The better question might be, when doesn't he? The entire ID house of cards is built upon the designer-who-must-not-be-named, aka, the God of Abraham. I think that is a religious argument. Dr. Dr. D may not use the word God, but every time he uses the the euphemism "designer", he is making a religious argument.

Even if you accept Dr. Dr. D's disingenuous verbage in The Design Inference, and even if you accept his flawed mathematics about design, it makes no sense to talk about design without talking about the designer.

Rhology said...

Hi there,

Anonymous said:
Why couldn't their deity spark the universe and just sit back and watch it unfold?

He could. But didn't.

How much power do they think humans have? If we wanted to stop the spread of a disease, could we?

We could if we could figure out the vaccine. This is a strange question to me.

Or should we not worry because only their deity can stop it?

Why would we do that?

If their deity is intervening all of the time, then why should any of us bother?

Who said the deity is intervening "all the time"?

Is their deity telling them to rape the planet in search of profit?

No, and this is a little irrelevant. You sound like you really have a vendetta against Reformed faith.

then we have Rho unable to defend catholics in the Galileo affair, but able to defend the excatholic Luther in initiating pogroms against Jews.

I call 'em like they are, friend. Luther's not my Pope, but when he's unfairly accused, he's unfairly accused.



Albatrossity wrote (nice handle, BTW):
when doesn't he?

All the time.

The entire ID house of cards is built upon the designer-who-must-not-be-named, aka, the God of Abraham.

No, it's build on the inference of design, which implies a designer which is not necessarily God.
You're not reading their stuff, you're reading evolutionist caricatures of it, and that's not fair.

it makes no sense to talk about design without talking about the designer.

I agree, but the question of the designER is not a scientific one, and the ID guys are self-limiting to scientific argumentation.

Peace,
Rhology

Reginal Selkirk said...

Revelation is known to be unreliable.
.
If it comes from the One True God, it's the most reliable source of information possible, since it is communication from an omniscient being who can't lie.


That's a mighty big if. How does one decide whether a revelation is from the One True God (TM) or not? Since it's not scientifically verifiable?

Many revelations have turned out not to be true, for example the many end-of-the-world revelations of the Jehovah's Witnesses.

BTW, when God spoke to Deanne Laney, he told her to kill her children. So she did. How are we to determine whether that was the One True God (TM) speaking or not?

vhutchison said...

rhology: Hitler was supported by many of the Christian clergy. The Nazis burned many books, including Darwin. What did German soldiers have emossed on their belt buckles? 'Gott mit uns!' Your knowledge includes only those things that you think support your beliefs. Hitler appealed to God in his speeches and writings, etc.

Reginal Selkirk said...

Scriptures are known to contain scientific errors, historical errors and self-contradictions.

I agree, except for the Bible.


The scientific errors in the Bible are pretty well-known; i.e. insects with four legs, breeding striped animals by putting sticks in their water, etc. So are the historical errors, e.g. alleged baby-killing sprees and census.

So let's skip to a few self-contradictions.

A List of Biblical Contradictions
Jim Meritt

New Testament Contradictions
Paul Carlson

Bible Inconsistencies: Bible Contradictions?
Doonald Morgan

If you would rather concentrate on a single contradiction, how about hte question of salvation by faith alone, or by works alone? Both have textual support in the NT. Thomas Paine wrote about this ~ 200 years ago, so I'm sure you're familiar with the issue.

Reginal Selkirk said...

So, by his own standard, when he talks about Intelligent Design he is preaching the Gospel.

Fine, fine, but when does he appeal to religion for his arguments?



? You are saying that preaching the Gospel is not making a religious argument? Please clarify>

Rhology said...

Reginal,

How does one decide whether a revelation is from the One True God (TM) or not?

Test it for internal consistency, for one thing.

Many revelations have turned out not to be true, for example the many end-of-the-world revelations of the Jehovah's Witnesses.

I agree. But other revelation has turned out to be true, ie, biblical revelation.

How are we to determine whether that was the One True God (TM) speaking or not?

B/c the Bible commands people NOT to murder.

insects with four legs, breeding striped animals by putting sticks in their water, etc. S

I don't know what you mean by insects with 4 legs, but the striped animals thing is highly ridiculous.
Do you even know what that refers to?

contradictions

This usually involves a very wooden preconception of what constitutes accurate reportage. Some helpful correctives include C. Blomberg, "The Historical Reliability of the Gospels", and V. Long, "The Art of Biblical History".
A useful reference work is: G. Archer, "The Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties" or N. Geisler, "When Critics Ask".
I've seen virtually all of your 'contradictions' and found them all lame. But that's a bit off topic.
As for faith vs faith+works, I wonder if you have any idea what any of it means. But assuming you do, I invite you to read about its very simple resolution.

You are saying that preaching the Gospel is not making a religious argument?

Look, I'll just wait for your citation from Dembski in one of his ID books or articles where he appeals to religion for his argument. Until then I see no reason to take what you say seriously on that count.


Professor Emeritus Hutchinson said:
Your knowledge includes only those things that you think support your beliefs.

Pot, this is kettle.

Hitler appealed to God in his speeches and writings, etc.

I already dealt with that, sir.

Peace,
Rhology

michael f said...

Rho,
In your answer to Anonymous, you claim your deity is not intervening all the time, but did not just sit back after an initial creative event. Since you seem to know so much, how do you know when your deity is doing something? What if your deity didn't want us to stop a disease? With a vaccine or some other form of biological control could humans have stopped the plagues in Egypt?
The good folks at Bob Jones University believe HIV is their deity's revenge on homosexuality. The good people in Texas don't want a vaccine against HPV because it will encourage promiscuity. Are scientists developing vaccines against HIV and HPV wrong? Are the Christians who oppose these wrong?

Rhology said...

Hi Michael F,

how do you know when your deity is doing something?

There are a couple of ways.
-When it's miraculous. Example: Jesus rising from the dead.
-When it's doing what He said He would do. Example: changing someone's heart to follow Jesus who hated Jesus just a short time before
Maybe some others as well, but that comes up off the top of my head.

What if your deity didn't want us to stop a disease?

Well, then, we wouldn't be able to, if He were stopping it.
I don't know how we would find this out, though.

With a vaccine or some other form of biological control could humans have stopped the plagues in Egypt?

You'd probably need not only a vaccine but a time machine for that. :-D

Are scientists developing vaccines against HIV and HPV wrong? Are the Christians who oppose these wrong?

To the former, no (unless the money and effort is going disproportionately to STDs rather than to legitimately-contracted diseases like prostate cancer or sthg, since those who get HIV and HPV contracted them, in the vast majority, by irresponsible behavior). To the latter, yes.

Peace,
Rhology

Tyler DiPietro said...

You guys do realize that you are playing the rhetorical equivalent of a game of Calvin-ball with the Rhology fellow, right?

Rhology said...

Haha, Calvinball in more ways than one! Nice.

Tyler DiPietro said...

Hell yeah, so many ways that I may have to write a sorting algorithm just to list them properly.

Albatrossity said...

More Calvin curveballs from Rhology:
The entire ID house of cards is built upon the designer-who-must-not-be-named, aka, the God of Abraham.

No, it's build on the inference of design, which implies a designer which is not necessarily God.
You're not reading their stuff, you're reading evolutionist caricatures of it, and that's not fair.


Interesting accusation; as is standard for an IDist it is made on the basis of no evidence. Unfortunately for my remaining synapses, I have read Dr. Dr. D's original stuff. I have also read Phillip Johnson, who makes no bones about the designer's not-so-secret identity. As well as Pandas and the newest popgun in the DI's arsenal, Exploring Evolution. And as a working scientist, I have concluded that there is nothing scientific in any of it.

How many peer-reviewed scientific publications have you read? I could accuse you reciprocally of not reading any, but just for giggles, I thought I'd ask politely instead.

it makes no sense to talk about design without talking about the designer.

I agree, but the question of the designER is not a scientific one, and the ID guys are self-limiting to scientific argumentation.


Nice try. But if the math is flawed (and it is), and if the Explanatory Filter has never been applied to even one real-life situation where the results were published in a perr-reviewed journal, then ID is merely argumentation with the "scientific" modifier. Furthermore, if you do understand science, you would immediately understand that merely saying something "appears designed" is a dead end. What TESTABlE and FALSIFIABLE hypothesis can you generate from that inference without invoking a designer? Please specify only one, and you will have performed well beyond the capabilities of Dr. Dr. D et al. And if you can't generate a TESTABLE and FALSIFIABLE hypothesis from your inference, you can't call it science.

Gerald said...

rhology said:
-When it's miraculous. Example: Jesus rising from the dead.

The only account we have of this is the gospels, who clearly had a motive to promote their religion. No where else do we find this information, and even the gospels can't agree upon the exact details. You would think that such a momentous event would have been noticed by others, not just the gospel writers.

Evolution has been shown to be correct many times. ID/creationism rarely, if ever, does anything other than criticize evolution. Even if evolution were to be disproven, it wouldn't prove ID or any religion. The testable claims put forward in the Bible, like a global flood, can be proven wrong on so many levels. Many theists will then resort to "it's not to be taken literally" line of argument. That doesn't disprove any sort of god, but it is up to the ID supporters to make their case. And if a bunch of bloggers can disect their arguments I can understand why scientists don't take it seriously.

Reginal Selkirk said...

You are saying that preaching the Gospel is not making a religious argument?

Look, I'll just wait for your citation from Dembski in one of his ID books or articles where he appeals to religion for his argument. Until then I see no reason to take what you say seriously on that count.


Spin, spin, spin. Dembski says ID is the Gospel, so when he talks about ID he is spreading the Gospel.

I don't know what you mean by insects with 4 legs, but the striped animals thing is highly ridiculous.
Do you even know what that refers to?


I do, but if you don't I'm obviously turning to the wrong source for Biblical expertise. I just figures that since you know the Bible to be without errors, that you must know the Bible. My mistake.

Lev 11:21-22
Gen 30:36-43
I'll also toss in Lev 11:19, bats are a type of fowl.

Lev 11:20 is a bit odd, forbidding the eating of fowl that creep on all fours; but since none exist I guess it's OK to forbid their consumption.

Biblical support for a flat earth and for pi = 3 are also pretty well-known.

There's also the plagues visited upon the Egyptians, in which their livestock are killed multiple times.

No point getting into the competing genealogies for Joseph in Matt 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38. That's been done to death.

P.S. I'm using the King James version.

Reginal Selkirk said...

Leviticus is quite the treasure trove of scientific knowledge! I forgot all about hares chewing their cuds, Lev 11:6

Torbjörn Larsson said...

Tim:

Okay, we can go through this once more, but it is really belaboring the obvious:

I don't think there's any such thing as 'nature', really.

We know by experience that observations can be repetable (lawful, without spurious 'intervention'). A sound definition of nature would then be "what we can observe".

The rest of your comment here is as I predicted, when we observe non-intervention you back down to non-intervention by a vacous 'superintention'. Unfortunately for religions, science works on evidence.

You realize this begs the question, right?

Read again: " tested and verified in experiments". You really don't get what experiments and facts are, do you.

And round and round the circle goes.

Infinite regress and uncertainty is a mystery in philosophy, but something we quantify in science.

If the fine-structure constant has varied less than 10^-12 parts in the last 10^9 years over most of the observable universe with 95 % confidence, we can predict that this is the maximum change in the next 10^9 years with 95 % confidence. It will take some time to test the hypothesis however.

And those uniformities are unaccounted for by your worldview.

And you say that right after I explained that the theories doesn't work otherwise? Amazing.

But the theories works and are tested, and we know they wouldn't work without these symmetries. So unless you can replace those theories the rest of us must conclude that symmetry and uniformity is a necessary property of nature.

Reginal Selkirk said...

I agree, but the question of the designER is not a scientific one, and the ID guys are self-limiting to scientific argumentation.

The question of designer is not a scientific one? Why on Earth isn't it?

Rhology said...

Hey there,

How many peer-reviewed scientific publications have you read?

Not many.
I'll be courteous and ask Why? rather than naming my suspicions in advance. ;-)

the results were published in a peer-reviewed journal

Can you give me a good reason to believe that such reviews would be fair?

if you do understand science, you would immediately understand that merely saying something "appears designed" is a dead end.

OK, but I also understand science to necessitate repeatable results of experiments, which can't be accomplished in favor of evolution either.

What TESTABlE and FALSIFIABLE hypothesis can you generate from that inference without invoking a designer?

One could ask the same about evolution.
What about finding a mechanism that can be reliably shown to increase the information in the genome under the following circumstances?
Looking for an example of a mutation that:

1. has been observed in an organism NOT IN A LAB (b/c that would inject intelligence into the equation, and I'm after full nature here),
2. has increased the USEFUL information in the genome,
3. has been BENEFICIAL for survival in the organism's natural habitat,
4. which occurred without ANY human intervention whatsoever,
5. and which has been observed repeatedly.

Find one and that would be a refutation of a major chunk of ID.


Gerald said:

The only account we have of this is the gospels, who clearly had a motive to promote their religion.

Wrong on both counts.
1) The Gospels are not the only accts of that.
2) Why would they have motive to give up all their (as they believed) God-given religion for sthg they would have KNOWN to be a LIE if Jesus hadn't really risen and they hadn't witnessed it, in favor of torturous deaths?

even the gospels can't agree upon the exact details.

B/c they're different people telling the stories. Telescoping is no big shakes - happens all the time.

The testable claims put forward in the Bible, like a global flood

I don't necessarily claim that the flood would be detectable to current "scientific" "detections", instrumentation, or natural methodologies. Even if evidence for it were detected, I have no faith in the scientific community to admit it.

Many theists will then resort to "it's not to be taken literally" line of argument.

Not me, so I'd join you in condemning that line of argumentation.

if a bunch of bloggers can disect their arguments I can understand why scientists don't take it seriously.

that is one of the most amazing things about the whole thing.
And it leads me to a fairly obvious conclusion that these scientists have a lot of investment and negative momentum against admitting chinks in the neo-Darwinian armor.


Reginal said:
I do, but if you don't I'm obviously turning to the wrong source for Biblical expertise.

If you knew the acct, you wouldn't have said what you said about the sticks in the water CAUSING the outcome.

Lev 11:21-22

And somehow you know that wasn't intended to express the idea that the insects crawl around like 4-legged animals, as opposed to walking on 2 legs.
That's a cool trick - I'd like to know how you know.

Lev 11:19 - bats are fowl

They fly. Many fowl fly.
Nobody's claiming the BIble is a taxonomy text. I claim that it is correct as to what the authors' original intent was.
I love the anachronistic judgments. If any of your writings survive to be so old, may future readers have more understanding of your context than you've displayed here.

Biblical support for a flat earth and for pi = 3 are also pretty well-known.

pi = 3 - unless you've never rounded off nor said "keep the change," come talk to me.
Flat earth - sorry, that's just poor understanding of the text.

plagues visited upon the Egyptians, in which their livestock are killed multiple times.

B/c they clearly couldn't have bought any more livestock from surrounding communities nor gotten some from the Israelites.

No point getting into the competing genealogies for Joseph in Matt 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38.

Yes, anyone who knows anythg should know that one's for Mary and one's for Joseph. Let's not.

I forgot all about hares chewing their cuds, Lev 11:6

They look like they do, right? Again, authorial intent and anachronism. Let's keep those in view here.
Is this a thread on biblical "contradictions" or ID?

The question of designer is not a scientific one?

I invite you to design an experiment whereby we might know the identity of the designer. I'll be happy to entertain your proposal.



Torbjörn Larsson said:
Unfortunately for religions, science works on evidence.

that's fine, as long as science realises its limitations, which these days are often superseded.

Read again: " tested and verified in experiments". You really don't get what experiments and facts are, do you.

either that or one of us doesn't know what begging the question is.
How do you know that the future will be like the past? Running experiments on what's happened tells us one thing - what happenED.

we can predict

only by ASSUMING uniformity. You have faith, much like a religionist.

But the theories works and are tested, and we know they wouldn't work without these symmetries.

And you have FAITH that it all won't change tomorrow. That's the point.
We're trying to help you get off your self-refuting worldview and embrace a better way of knowing truth, one that includes science as an aspect but not the whole.


Peace,
Rhology

michael f said...

Other kids' games are all such a bore!
They've gotta have rules and they gotta keep score!
Calvinball is better by far!
It's never the same! It's always bizarre!
You don't need a team or a referee!
You know that it's great, 'cause it's named after me!

OK - I can see the connection between Rhology comments and Calvinball.

Logan said...

Rhology:

To mince words, I said the Nazis were Christians. I didn't claim Hitler was. I could understand Hitler and other Nazi top brass feigning Christianity to get Germany's support, but why the hell would their entire nation pretend it, too?

And apparently you didn't look over the two links I provided. One beholds numerous photographs of Nazi memorabilia that juxtapose swastikas and crucifixes and other Christian symbolism in with hats, buckles, medals, etc. The second has photographs of Nazis rubbing elbows with clergymen.

Again:
http://nobeliefs.com/mementoes.htm
http://nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm
OK, I don't know to link on this style of blog, but that's no excuse :p

Notice that at the bottom of the first link there's 3 paintings done by Hitler which show Christian iconography in a positive, serene light, like something you'd find in a doctor's office. Why would a deranged atheist paint decent, non-blasphemous paintings of baby Jesus, Mary, the cross, and a church?

That you would use Mein Kampf to argue for Hitler's supposed atheism disregards the passages in the very same book where Hitler invoked God or thanked heaven with all his heart (his words).

When contrasted with Mein Kampf's anti-Christian passages, it would make more sense to think that Hitler was being sectarian rather than anti-religious. After all, he rejected the doctrine that Jesus was a Jew and instead believed him to be Aryan (blonde and all). Either that, or he was just scatterbrained.

Reginal Selkirk said...

Yes, anyone who knows anythg should know that one's for Mary and one's for Joseph. Let's not.

Which one is for Mary?

[Luke 3:23] And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,...

That's the one about Joseph, right?
So Matthew must be the one about Mary:

[Matt 1:16] ...And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

But wait, the Matthew lineage is also for Joseph.

I don't necessarily claim that the flood would be detectable to current "scientific" "detections", instrumentation, or natural methodologies. Even if evidence for it were detected, I have no faith in the scientific community to admit it.

The science of geology, when it reached a point where it could decipher such evidence, went looking for it. They expected to find it. Instead, by about 1840, the geological community admitted that the available evidence did not support a claim for a world-wide flood. Note that this was before Darwin published his theory of evolution through natural selection.

I invite you to design an experiment whereby we might know the identity of the designer. I'll be happy to entertain your proposal.

The designer of what? Paleontologists and archaelogists ask this question all the time. The might look for evidence about whether a certain set of stone tools was made by Neandertals or Homo sapiens, for instance. Forensic investigators also frequently ask whodunnit, and use scientific methods to address that question.

(RE the Gospels differing) B/c they're different people telling the stories.

Again, authorial intent and anachronism. Let's keep those in view here.
Is this a thread on biblical "contradictions" or ID?


Sorry, you asserted that the Bible did not contain the sort of scientific errors, historical errors, and self-contradictions that you admit are found in other scriptures. BTW, given the above comments, do you think the Bible was written by God, or by men? If by men, did God take any steps to ensure that there wouldn't be any errors?

2) Why would they have motive to give up all their (as they believed) God-given religion for sthg they would have KNOWN to be a LIE if Jesus hadn't really risen and they hadn't witnessed it, in favor of torturous deaths?

Couldn't I apply that same argument to Joseph Smith and the early Mormons who followed him across the country, facing persecution at every stop?

Albatrossity said...

Rho argues ex recto:

How many peer-reviewed scientific publications have you read?

Not many.
I'll be courteous and ask Why? rather than naming my suspicions in advance. ;-)


Just checking. Is it therefore possible that you are getting the bulk of your "information" from anti-evolution sources? Does that make you a hypocrite when you wrongly accuse me of reading "evolutionist caricatures" of ID? Is hypocrisy a sin in your book, or just a necessary evil?

the results were published in a peer-reviewed journal

Can you give me a good reason to believe that such reviews would be fair?


Only my personal experience as an author of over 50 peer-reviewed papers and as a reviewer of hundreds. I suspect that, given your admission above, your experience might be a tad shy of those numbers. But I'll listen to what you got.

if you do understand science, you would immediately understand that merely saying something "appears designed" is a dead end.

OK, but I also understand science to necessitate repeatable results of experiments, which can't be accomplished in favor of evolution either.


Interesting goal-post shifting. Besides the fact that you are ignoring literally millions of papers, summarizing more millions of experiments and repetitions thereof, this statement appears to agree with my previous conclusion that ID is not science. Hopefully you can see where you are headed for this, but you might need a plexiglass navel, since your head seems to be pretty far up your butt at the moment.

What TESTABLE and FALSIFIABLE hypothesis can you generate from that inference without invoking a designer?

One could ask the same about evolution.
What about finding a mechanism that can be reliably shown to increase the information in the genome under the following circumstances?


Define "information" so that we agree on this, and I'd be happy to give you an example that meets your stated criteria. Interestingly I am engaged in a similar conversation with another IDiot on another forum where he/she rapidly backtracked once the example was provided, providing yet another instance of goal-post relocation. I'd rather not have that happen to you again, so please define "information" and we can proceed.

Find one and that would be a refutation of a major chunk of ID.

Yep, it sure will be. Are you willing to change your mind when confronted with the evidence, or will you rationalize it away because it threatens your religious beliefs?

Tyler DiPietro said...

"What about finding a mechanism that can be reliably shown to increase the information in the genome under the following circumstances?"

Define information. If you don't have an actual defined metric, you're talking out of your ass.

"1. has been observed in an organism NOT IN A LAB (b/c that would inject intelligence into the equation, and I'm after full nature here"

See, you've erected a perfect mobius strip of logic here. If we show you an example observed in the lab, you dismiss it as being the result of "intelligence", if we show you a hypothetical example in nature, you can retreat into the "well you can prove that was due to evolutionary mechanisms." Calvin-Ball is a perfect analogy to your arguments.

Jacob said...

Rhology:

"How do you know that the future will be like the past? Running experiments on what's happened tells us one thing - what happenED."

So what if the future can't be precisely predicted? The nice thing about running all those experiments is it allows you to see causal relationships and say "based on past observations, when X happens, Y is likely follow." Some degree of probability is always tacked onto this, but nobody here is saying it is 100%.


"And you have FAITH that it all won't change tomorrow. That's the point."

No, he doesn't. He has stated that there is a low probability of it changing tomorrow. Not to put words in your mouth, Torbjörn, but I'm sure all of us here can agree that it could very well change tomorrow - but that is extremely unlikely.

So unless we stick to a prediction even after it has been shown to be incorrect, it can hardly be considered faith.

Bill said...

I'm always amused when I run across the Tim's and Rhology's of the world with their tabloid education complete with Nazis, atheists, conspiracies, magic crystals and aliens. What is astounding about the tabloid-mentalists is that their ignorance of science is eclipsed only by their ignorance of history.

Unfortunately, when these ignorant people get elected to school boards they have one vote just like the other members.

If Rhology had a sure-fire weight loss plan maybe I'd be interested.

I've been on both ends of peer review and it's not a cake walk. A piece of work is examined from all angles and it has to pass muster. Are all the equations correct? Is everything defined? Are the references accrurate? It's a fine-toothed comb process, but in the end it produces work that can be examined critically.

Dembski's work, all of it, has never stood up to critical evaluation, but Dembski never responds to his critics, he ignores them.

Dembski isn't being "silenced" because his ideas are dangerous, rather Dembski himself is silent because his work is wrong. And until he corrects the problems with his own mathematics it will remain wrong.

It was enlightening to see Dembski's intellectual charade unmasked at OU. He'll be more careful next time to ensure there are no art majors in the audience.

Chayanov said...

"No point getting into the competing genealogies for Joseph in Matt 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38.

Yes, anyone who knows anythg should know that one's for Mary and one's for Joseph."

This is the problem with people like rhology. They don't know the science literature, but they don't the bible either. They only have arguments that they've heard from others and then parrot those back. When pressed into a corner, they demonstrate their sheer ignorance over what's actually written in their most sacred book.

The Factician said...

Nobody's claiming the BIble is a taxonomy text. I claim that it is correct as to what the authors' original intent was.

I suppose it's easier to claim that their intent was to be inaccurate than to say that, in fact, they just screwed up and got it wrong...

By the way, who gets to judge their intent? You or me? (Please don't say God, because neither of us get to ask his intent and get a straight answer).

Rhology said...

Hi all,

The author of this blog complained about mistreatment at Dembski's blog while questioning him at OU. I wonder if she met as much invective as has appeared here this afternoon and evening. Not that I mind, but hopefully she can get a better idea of how it sometimes is (for better or worse) to blog about controversial stuff.

Also, I love how I'm just so very obviously an idiot and blowhard b/c I believe the Bible to be true. That kind of stuff makes me chuckle.

These same old stock "contradictions" in the Bible have stock answers. I could recite them to you one by one or I can return the favor of bringing up old, boring things by referring you to the books I mentioned. I don't believe that, under scrutiny, these "contradictions" hold up. Just to clarify 2 things; 1) I believe the Bible was written by men and breathed out by God, both. Yes, God did take steps to ensure the originals were without error. 2) The genealogy for Mary is the Luke 3 one; notice it says "(as was supposed)". That's the textual clue. But I doubt you'll allow for any possible harmonisation - no, as long as it looks bad TO YOU, it's bad!

Y'all have yet to make any headway against the contention that the Nazis **USED** the church to further their schemes. Part of the way they did that was by incorporating Christian symbolism and the Crusader-esque Deus volte terminology. Hitler explicitly said he wanted to destroy Christianity, and yet y'all for some reason claim he was a Christian. Sounds like a rhetorical song-and-dance to me. And what better way to destroy the church, which has shown great resilience in times past to brutal repression, than to subvert it under the aegis of a murderous, racist regime?

Christ's apostles' situation is not analogous to the early LDS church b/c only Joseph Smith was in a position to KNOW that he was lying. 100s of people saw Christ risen and died for that msg. Why die a horrible death and experience terrible persecution for sthg you KNOW is wrong? Not sthg you THINK is right.

by about 1840, the geological community admitted that the available evidence did not support a claim for a world-wide flood.

You know, if *I* came in here and started bruiting about some data from 1840, you'd laugh even harder at me than you are now.

The designer of what?

The complex information-bearing design we see in organisms. I thought that was obvious.

If you believe I'm caricaturing evolution (rather than just disagreeing), let me know. That's what I've done for you and ID, so I'm hoping you'll return the favor but also that you'll accept the corrections, where offered, like a gentleman.

Can you give me a good reason to believe that such reviews would be fair?
Only my personal experience as an author of over 50 peer-reviewed papers and as a reviewer of hundreds.


Oh, and you've submitted analogous papers to an idea that is widely despised and met with vitriolic attacks by the people who are supposed to be doing the peer review? When was that? On what subject? If not, then how is this relevant?

You seem to be telling me that true science does NOT entail repeatability of experimentation. I'd like to know why you say that.

"Information" (as in the statement "What about finding a mechanism that can be reliably shown to increase the information in the genome under the following circumstances?"), for the purposes of this discussion would, I believe, be sthg like this: the sequences of useful genetic coding that lead to complexity of advantageous and life-aiding structures in organisms. Ie, the codes that are found in DNA that lead to the formation of my eye cells, my hair cells, my skin cells, my liver cells, my gall bladder cells, etc. They are remarkably diverse and complex, but evolution claims they arose thru mutations and NS acting, and from one simple, common ancestor. Where did all this good stuff come from?

If you're able to answer the question (and I don't feel like my knowledge is so strong on this issue, so I'm asking mostly openly here), then I'll change my mind on this part of it barring any subsequent convincing answer found.

If you show me an example obtained in the lab, give me a good reason why I SHOULDN'T suspect that it's tainted by intelligence, since that's the very question at hand. Maybe you can help me understand.
At the same time, your limp-wristed objection makes me suspect that you don't have any examples of the type requested. But somehow I'm the one playing Calvinball.

I'm not asking you to be able to predict the future, I'm asking you to admit that you ASSUME the uniformity of nature. That applies not only to the future but also to the past when you have no direct way to observe whether the same natural processes applied 1000 years ago as do today.

I missed the part where Tim or I mentioned magic crystals or aliens, actually.

Dembski's work, all of it, has never stood up to critical evaluation, but Dembski never responds to his critics, he ignores them.

That must be why he has a really busy blog and goes to college campuses to endure 2 hours of hostile questions from rude college students, grad students, and professors.

He'll be more careful next time to ensure there are no art majors in the audience.

Oh yes, b/c that art major certainly made an impressive show with his juvenile crack about
1) sthg Dembski had already explicitly denied at least twice
2) magic grape juice
Lemme tell you, I was quaking in my boots, hoping that guy wouldn't ask me about my faith on the way out. I'm sure I would have been defenseless against his onslaught of wisecracks. But he could ask Forrest how he liked explaining himself to me afterwards, when he found himself able neither to sustain his acting like he was the 2nd Coming of Christ nor to sustain his own empiricist worldview, nor even to follow the argument very well. Probably those OU Atheist club guys could profit from spending some time talking to some people who exercise presuppositional apologetics...you'd be welcome to talk to us at Trinity Baptist.

they demonstrate their sheer ignorance over what's actually written in their most sacred book.

Ah, OK, you disagree with me, so you just assert that I don't know what I'm talking about. And this after Bill said of Dembski that he doesn't respond to his critics but rather ignores them. The irony is palpable.

Peace,
Rhology

Rhology said...

Factician,

One discovers intent of the biblical authors the same way one discovers intent of ANY written work. Context, grammar, vocabulary. Kind of a strange question, if you think about it.

Anonymous said...

by about 1840, the geological community admitted that the available evidence did not support a claim for a world-wide flood.

You know, if *I* came in here and started bruiting about some data from 1840, you'd laugh even harder at me than you are now.


Wow you really shut that argument down!

Bill said...

As you know, Rhology, Dembski doesn't discuss ID on his blog with critics, he simply bans them. Here's an example of a guy asking a question and Dembski's reply:

Rob:
Given the often-repeated claim that ID is not a religious belief, is based on science instead of religion, and does not start from religious premises, why would Walt Ruloff - or anyone - expect ID to receive more support from a Christian institution than from anywhere else?

Dembski:
Rob, Your question betrays an insensitivity to the sensibilities of our group. One more strike and you’re out. –WmAD


I'm sorry but giving a paid talk is not responding to critics. Banning commenters on a blog is not responding to critics. Scientific debate is conducted in the literature, a place where Dembski is conspicuously absent. Dembski's math is broken and he knows it's broken and he also knows there's no way to fix it. But, rather than admit it and move on his response is: silence.

In 2003 Dembski was challenged to provide a rigorous mathematical definition of "complex specified information", the very term Dembski proposed. To date: silence.

You, Rhology, have no support for your argument on this point. Simply, you are quite wrong.

dochocson said...

Say now, rhology sounds like a watered down version of supersport over at AtBC

Brian said...

Rhology, you crack me up. You say the Bible is accurate, inspired by God and made 100% internally consistent, but hey, when it comes to the different accounts of the resurrection, there were different people writing it!

Wow, man. Thanks for doing the work for all of us.

Albatrossity said...

Rho digs a another shallow hole for the goalposts:
Oh, and you've submitted analogous papers to an idea that is widely despised and met with vitriolic attacks by the people who are supposed to be doing the peer review? When was that? On what subject? If not, then how is this relevant?

Let me spell this out for you. You claim that peer review is unfair and biased, based on no visible evidence other than your opinion. I respond with personal experiences that contradict your notion. You have no experiences, so you respond with a hypothetical example of something that might (or might not) prove unfairness and bias. Sorry, but the onus is on you to provide EVIDENCE for your claim that peer review is unfair and biased. I provided evidence for mine; peer review is harsh, conservative, and painful in my experience, but it is ultimately fair, and it does keep unsupported notions from getting into the published literature. That latter characteristic has a lot more to do with the lack of peer-reviewed ID papers than any bias or unfairness.

The ball is in your court. What EVIDENCE can you bring that supports your accusation that peer review is biased and unfair. Bring those goalposts back here, please.

You seem to be telling me that true science does NOT entail repeatability of experimentation. I'd like to know why you say that.

I'd like to know where, in anything I wrote, you found those words. In fact, I did say that ID was not science mostly because it could not generate testable and falsifiable hypotheses. The words that you are putting into my mouth are not mine.

"Information" (as in the statement "What about finding a mechanism that can be reliably shown to increase the information in the genome under the following circumstances?"), for the purposes of this discussion would, I believe, be sthg like this: the sequences of useful genetic coding that lead to complexity of advantageous and life-aiding structures in organisms. Ie, the codes that are found in DNA that lead to the formation of my eye cells, my hair cells, my skin cells, my liver cells, my gall bladder cells, etc. They are remarkably diverse and complex, but evolution claims they arose thru mutations and NS acting, and from one simple, common ancestor. Where did all this good stuff come from?

I can probably work with that ill-formed definition. But I do have to point out to you, contrary to what you read in your book, that humans are not the only organisms worth studying. It is not coincidental that your list includes YOUR body parts; you believe that you are the pinnacle of creation. My examples will involve other (not lesser) organisms like bacteria and fruit flies.

One example obviously would be the bacteria that can digest nylon. The New Mexicans for Science and Reason have an excellent summary here. It includes a list of objections from your typical sources like AiG, and refutation of those onjections. Take a peek at it and let me know what you think.

Another example would be the mutation in a regulatory sequence that generates modified spots in Drosophila wings. The most accessible form of this story (one that does not involve reading the peer-reviewed papers, with lots of repeated and controlled experiments) is in Sean Carroll's Endless Forms Most Beautiful Check it out from your library. There you will read about exactly what you asked for. Gene sequence changes that led to modifications in the wings of flies, where the modifications are important in reproduction and survival (male flies use their wings in a "dance" to attract females), where similar (but not identical) genetic sequence changes occurred several times in a lineage of related fly species, over time, not in a laboratory. The evidence is there, it is powerful, and it is exactly what you wanted.

Please read these two examples and let me know what you think. If you have trouble understanding the biology, let me know and I'll make more "limp-wristed" attempts to get you educated about the realities of the world you live in.

I'm not bluffing, and I hope you are serious about changing your mind.

The Factician said...

One discovers intent of the biblical authors the same way one discovers intent of ANY written work. Context, grammar, vocabulary. Kind of a strange question, if you think about it.

I think you will find that kind of answer not very satisfactory to your average scientist. You are inferring intent. Your inference is based on your belief that the bible is inerrant. And you use your inferences to prove the innerency (sp?) of the bible. Do you see a logical problem with that?

I aplogize, but I've lost track of who is who here. Aren't you the historian? If so, you should realize that belief in the innerency of the bible is a relatively new thing. The folks who put together the bible knew it was just a bunch of books of their own accounts of stuff.

Reginal Selkirk said...

These same old stock "contradictions" in the Bible have stock answers. I could recite them to you one by one or I can return the favor of bringing up old, boring things by referring you to the books I mentioned. I don't believe that, under scrutiny, these "contradictions" hold up. Just to clarify 2 things; 1) I believe the Bible was written by men and breathed out by God, both. Yes, God did take steps to ensure the originals were without error. 2) The genealogy for Mary is the Luke 3 one; notice it says "(as was supposed)". That's the textual clue. But I doubt you'll allow for any possible harmonisation - no, as long as it looks bad TO YOU, it's bad!

Those stock answers lack credibility. Yes, I notice that it says "as was supposed." Here's the KJV:

"
[22] And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
[23] And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,
[24] Which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, which was the son of Melchi, which was the son of Janna, which was the son of Joseph,...
"

It appears to me that the phrase as was supposed refers to the Jesus not really being Joseph's son, since Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit. It does not even mention Mary! I think you'd be better off if you would actually read the Bible, rather than relying on stock apologetics which you haven't checked out for yourself.


100s of people saw Christ risen and died for that msg.

As reported in the Bible. Therefore the Bible is true because there are 100s of witnesses to its key events. Time for a circularity check.



You know, if *I* came in here and started bruiting about some data from 1840, you'd laugh even harder at me than you are now.

Only if the data had been contradicted by later, more accurate data. That is not the case here.


The designer of what?

The complex information-bearing design we see in organisms. I thought that was obvious.


OK. If you had included cosmological fine-tuning, then it would have to be a designer with the capability of creating a universe. Not many candidates for that job. Since you're going to stick to biology on planet Earth, that narrows it down to the last 4 billion years or so. Since many of what you call the "complex information-bearing designs" (Have you defined "information" yet? And here you are tossing in the word "complex" to boot.) have been around for hundreds of millions, or even billions, of years, you are talking about a "designer" with the capability to do advanced genetic engineering at a time when we have no evidence of any technologically-advanced civilization. We do, however, have plenty of evidence for evolution (e.g. Rag1/2 precursors of immune system molecules), so whoever/whatever that designer may have been, He apparently tried to set us up to think it happened through evolution.

Reginal Selkirk said...

Russell: I did express concerns about your posts which bashed the music played at a Baptist Church. (and other similar postings) I told you that I believed them to be deleterious to fruitful exchange, and yes, I told you that to argue against a speakers propositional statements by bringing up their religious affiliations or geographical locations (in a church) is fallacious.

rhology: 1) That's the genetic fallacy.
2) A man is never permitted to talk about faith sometimes and work other times?


I think you're wrong about this, and here's why:

Wikipedia:

The genetic fallacy is a fallacy of irrelevance where a conclusion is suggested based solely on something or someone's origin rather than its current meaning or context...


ERV is not dismissing Dembski's arguments based on their location and setting, she is attempting to characterise those arguments. Are they religious or scientific? If Dembski's presentation is given in a church and is accompanied by church music, then it certainly has the appearance of a religious argument. This need not follow with deductive certainty.

Also, this is not the sole criterion by which Dembski's presentation is judged. The definitive judgment is based on the content of the argument, which is a religious argument with a long history. The context also matters though, because a scientific argument must be subjected to peer review. This is not empty ornamentation, but a vital part of the scientific enterprise. Rather than publish in the peer review literature, Dembski gives his presentation in a church, to a gathering of people without the necessary educational background to evaluate its alleged scientific content, and no record of interest in other scientific topics.

Yes, a man may talk about faith sometimes and work at other times, but what are the differences in these circumstances? If a man got up in church and spoke at length about work, with no reference to faith, I suspect the audience would become confused and impatient.

Reginal Selkirk said...

rhology: no, as long as it looks bad TO YOU, it's bad!

That is correct. I would not accept that black is white, or night is day, based on the voice of authority.

Caravelle said...

Rhodology said:

"God being likely to exist, is the number of them that are around. This leads to the question of which ones are real ? And if that one isn't real, then what says the others are real ?"

In order not to be paralysed by that question, and in order to avoid the false dilemma of, by virtue of that confusion, jumping into atheism (which is rationally indefensible), you have to simply examine each of those gods' systems.


Because one of them is more rooted in evidence than the others ? One of them contains no internal contradictions ? Could you give me an example of such a system ?


"This is less of a problem for polytheist societies"

But they have their own huge problems, those entailed by finite godism. No explanation for the origin of the universe, for ex, like atheism. No ultimate grounds for intelligibility, like atheism.


What are you talking about ? Just because you have many gods doesn't mean one of them, or several of them, couldn't have created the world. In fact polytheist societies have waaaay more interesting creation myths than the Hebrew one.

Oh, and I'll bite. What's an "ultimate ground for intelligibility" and why should I want one ?

Rhology said...

Hi all,

Be back later, hopefully today, to resume reception of beatings. :-D

Rev. BigDumbChimp said...

I'll accept deductive logic as another way to "discover truth."

Cool. And that's not science, just so we're clear.
Also, I'd add divine revelation and experience, but those are more subjective, so don't suit our discussion here well. So I'll leave them aside for the sake of argument.


Ok deductive reasoning, granted. However your following statement lacks honesty. There is little reason involved with faith and religion. The suspension of reason is needed to accept all those fanciful tales involved.

Rhology said...

Hi all,

Brian said:
when it comes to the different accounts of the resurrection, there were different people writing it!

Well, there were. What do you want? For your claim of contradiction to stick, you'd have to produce a contradiction, not proof of differing perspective that would result from a different person writing the acct. Nobody disputes that, after all.

Albatrossity said:
You claim that peer review is unfair and biased

I was suggesting it. I asked you for proof that it is fair. It's a bit of a difficult question to solve on a blog, so it might be best just for both of us to drop it. The ID guys say there's an unjustifiable bias against their stuff, the other side denies, and on and on.

I respond with personal experiences that contradict your notion.

Yes, from an anonymous blogger on a blog from Oklahoma.

I'd like to know where, in anything I wrote, you found those words.

I said this: OK, but I also understand science to necessitate repeatable results of experiments, which can't be accomplished in favor of evolution either.
You responded with: Interesting goal-post shifting. Besides the fact that you are ignoring literally millions of papers, summarizing more millions of experiments and repetitions thereof, this statement appears to agree with my previous conclusion that ID is not science.

Perhaps I misunderstood you. If so, I apologise and invite you to correct me on your meaning when you said that.

I can probably work with that ill-formed definition.

Well, at least that's sthg. I'm just a layman, after all. :-)

contrary to what you read in your book, that humans are not the only organisms worth studying.

A strange thing to say. "My book" has nothing to say on the matter one way or the other.

It is not coincidental that your list includes YOUR body parts; you believe that you are the pinnacle of creation.

Now you're acting like you can read minds. I picked the most obvious example. Any specified cells of any organism will suffice for my example.

Nylonase bacteria

OK, a few things I note:
1) They don't work at all on the bacterium's original food - carbohydrates. -- This would appear to violate #3 of my 5 questions on mutations.
2) They also developed this capacity in a man-made environment, which would be a factor of intelligent design. This would appear to violate #4. Not that these 5 questions are given from On High or anythg, but to me they appear reasonable to demand if the overwhelming evidence really is on the evolution side.
3) However, this inefficiency would certainly not be expected in the work of an intelligent designer. -- This statement is ludicrous and appears often in evolutionary polemics. I thought this was science - they're injecting subjective metaphysical value judgments into it. It's almost like evolutionists can't help themselves.
4) The genetic mutation that produced this particular irreducibly-complex enzyme probably occurred countless times in the past, and probably was always lethal, until the environment changed, and nylon was introduced. -- ie, until a man-made material was introduced.
5) Whether or not these bacteria retain enzymes to digest their former food source -- It's unclear whether this violates question #3.
6) Creationists usually counter this example by claiming that the bacterium is, after all, "still a bacterium." -- I agree that this would be an example of shifting the goalposts. But that's not my argument.
7) Therefore, this organism could not have existed before 1935. Where did it come from? Why, it evolved. -- It is still this bacterium. I don't cease to be human b/c I start eating meat rather than being a strict vegetarian. Nor do I cease being human b/c sthg is messed up in my brain and I have Tourette's Syndrome.

So, an interesting article, but with some serious problems from my perspective.

Gene sequence changes that led to modifications in the wings of flies

And those lead to the flies' OVERALL FITNESS? They're beneficial OVERALL for the mutated flies? In their natural environment (ie, not a lab)? In competition with the control group and under danger from predators, etc, just like normal? As I recall from that study, most of the flies ended up losing out to the control group b/c they were slightly to seriously jacked up by the mutated phenotypes.


The Factician said:
I think you will find that kind of answer not very satisfactory to your average scientist.

Why would I ask a "scientist" a question about textual hermeneutics? That's not his field.

You are inferring intent. Your inference is based on your belief that the bible is inerrant.

You are seriously mistaking me. Every text's author had some intent in writing what s/he wrote.
For example, I have discovered thru the context of your post that you intend to convince me that my points are wrong and that evolution is factually correct. Neither you nor I would claim that your post is inerrant in some supernatural sense; this is just hermeneutics.

you should realize that belief in the innerency of the bible is a relatively new thing.

What is your argument for that? The earliest authors, disciples of Jesus, and early fathers of the Christian church prove this statement ignorant.

The folks who put together the bible knew it was just a bunch of books of their own accounts of stuff.

Maybe you could create a post on your own blog and let me know you did so, so we can discuss it. This is just naked, ignorant assertion.


Reginal said:
the phrase as was supposed refers to the Jesus not really being Joseph's son, since Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit. It does not even mention Mary!

Jesus was born from Mary who was a virgin. It was supposed that He was Joseph's son, but He wasn't. Luke was a Gentile; the Gentiles were more interested in actual genealogies than the Jews, who preferred paternal lineages (thus Matthew's genealogy from Joseph).

I think you'd be better off if you would actually read the Bible, rather than relying on stock apologetics which you haven't checked out for yourself.

Yes, it's clear to everyone that I have no idea what I'm talking about and you are much better-versed in what the Bible says.

this is not the sole criterion by which Dembski's presentation is judged.

Well, then mention the relevant criteria and stop wasting people's time.

Rather than publish in the peer review literature, Dembski gives his presentation in a church

Just a rehash of old ground.

to a gathering of people without the necessary educational background to evaluate its alleged scientific content, and no record of interest in other scientific topics.

The only thing Dembski talked about in his sermon at Trinity Baptist was the Cross of Christ, a theological topic. In no way did his sermon involve any substantive interaction with the subject of ID. But saying what you say sure makes it easier to demonise the man. I'm not saying you're trying to do so intentionally, but you have to realise that's the outcome.


Caravelle said:
Because one of them is more rooted in evidence than the others ?

Yes, exactly.

One of them contains no internal contradictions ?

Yes, exactly.

Could you give me an example of such a system ?

You mean of an examination of such a god's system?
Take Islam. The Qur'an commands Muslims to follow the Bible's teaching. It also teaches that Christ was not even crucified. This is an example of an internal inconsistency.

Just because you have many gods doesn't mean one of them, or several of them, couldn't have created the world.

I am unaware of any polytheistic system where the gods are said to be outside of and independent of the universe.

What's an "ultimate ground for intelligibility" and why should I want one ?

It is the justification for logic, reason, and induction. You want one b/c you have no justification for holding to or using logic as an atheist. You just assume they are available to you and use them, but in doing so you borrow from the Christian worldview, which CAN account for their existence, their function as a foundational standard, and their usefulness to people. Without such, ice cream has 42 hornswaggle and the further 6 fly the much.


Rev. BigDumbChimp said:
There is little reason involved with faith and religion.

I would agree for all religions except Christianity. Related to Christianity, you're just making a naked assertion here. Where's the argument? You can start by answering the questions I posed just above about an atheistic justification for the grounds of logic, reason, and induction.

Peace,
Rhology

Billy said...

Anybody that's visited Rhology's blog will realise that he's a big fan of presuppositional apologetics, a tedious argument that he appears to think makes us all look stupid. To wit, he believes that the "Christian worldview":

"is the justification for logic, reason, and induction. You want one b/c you have no justification for holding to or using logic as an atheist. You just assume they are available to you and use them, but in doing so you borrow from the Christian worldview, which CAN account for their existence""

He has so far failed to define the "atheist worldview" anywhere on his blog, or anywhere else.

I am sure that this argument would come as a surprise to the writers of the Rig Veda in India (written at the latest around 1100BC), the Chinese philosopher Mozi (died around 390BC) and Aristotle (died around 322BC) all of whom developed logical systems. Apparently they managed to "borrow from the Christian worldview" several hundred years before Jesus was born.

Rhology, perhaps you could explain to us how this was possible?

Albatrossity said...

Rhology blundered:

And those lead to the flies' OVERALL FITNESS? They're beneficial OVERALL for the mutated flies? In their natural environment (ie, not a lab)? In competition with the control group and under danger from predators, etc, just like normal? As I recall from that study, most of the flies ended up losing out to the control group b/c they were slightly to seriously jacked up by the mutated phenotypes.

Please explain to me how it is possible to answer a question that assumes two mutually incompatible things. Are these critters supposed to be in the wild (the original supposition), or in the lab? The second supposition comes because, as you would know if you had taken a 6th grade science class, CONTROL GROUPS are laboratory constructions! This is not just goal-post shifting; this is goal-post invisibility! And when you write "As I recall from that study, most of the flies ended up losing out to the control group b/c they were slightly to seriously jacked up by the mutated phenotypes", it makes it very clear that you have not managed to read Carroll's book. There were many studies (both lab and phylogenetic) involved; he summarizes them, and also makes the point that all it takes in this situation is that ONE fly with the mutant phenotype finds a mate and reproduces. Read the book. Don't bullshit. Please.

More ridiculously, it appears that you don't understand fitness, as used in this context. That in itself is not unusual, but I was hoping to finally find a creationist who knew a little biology. No such luck. Look it up, and see if you can understand why it is hilarious that you ask the question about whether or not a mutation affecting a character involved in mating rituals can possibly be linked to fitness.

Thirdly, your quibblings about the "man-made environment" that produced the nylon-digesting bacteria are laughable. This was a waste pond, and you imply that some sort of man-made intelligence might have been operating there, thus the experiment is tainted as per your criteria. That is a pathetic rationalization, and, like the quibbling above about lab vs natural environment vs both at the same time(!), implies a serious tendency to warp or ignore facts in order to accommodate your preconceived notions. Indeed there as some intelligence operating there. Unfortunately for your perspective, that intelligence is called natural selection, and it is not man-made. But it is capable of making intelligent choices, given the opportunity.

Fourthly, your claim that the nylon-digesting bacterial example violates your third criteria (has been BENEFICIAL for survival in the organism's natural habitat) is also ludicrous. The bacteria has access to a new carbon source (nylon). Other bacteria in the pond (its competitors) cannot use this carbon source. This is known as niche partitoning or resource partitoning; get a high school biology book, look in the index, read about this, and see if you can understand why your notion is laughable, from a biologist's perspective.

Finally, if you want to know my credentials vis-a-vis commenting on peer review, you can look at my faculty web page here.

Torbjörn Larsson said...

Rhology:

Hmm. Different handles, same man.

One could ask the same about evolution.

29 + evidences for macroevolution, by test of predictions.

Information is not a part of the description of evolution of its mechanism. If you want it to be, provide the necessary research.

which these days are often superseded

False. Science is growing.

How do you know that the future will be like the past? ... only by ASSUMING uniformity.

Bu making predictions and verify them. Predictions tells us what happened (postdictions) and what will happen (predictions). It does the same with uniformity.

But as I say, you don't get this. Someone once provided you with a dogma ("science can't tell the future or observe what happened in the past") and you are happy to accept its lie.

Fine, but don't come to a science blog and pretend that this is science. We can describe science for you, and you can go out and check what we tell you. Sticking your fingers in your ear and go "la-la-la" desn't do you good.

And you have FAITH that it all won't change tomorrow.

Again, slowly: those ... descriptions ... only ... work ... with ... symmetries.

If you can find a competing theory that doesn't need symmetry, against all laws such as Noether's theorem, you are welcome.

PS. We don't use faith in science, we trust our methods and results. Why? Because they can successfully predict what will happen.

We're

"You" aren't scientists. Come back when you have some facts to contribute.

Torbjörn Larsson said...

Jacob:

Not to put words in your mouth, Torbjörn, but I'm sure all of us here can agree that it could very well change tomorrow - but that is extremely unlikely.

Exactly. I mentioned above a measurement with an uncertainty, but I didn't point this out exactly because of the Gish gallop.

We can quantify our uncertainties in measurement and in description (theory). And 10^9 years worth of observation arriving to our eyes now means that the unlikely outcomes (like a sun passing our solar system and wreak havoc) are extremely unlikely.

Rhology:

I wonder if she met as much invective as has appeared here this afternoon and evening.

Not invective, fair assessment. You are relying on dogmas and repeating falsehoods given to you, instead of finding out the facts for yourself.

The rest of your comment doesn't contribute anything new. Dembski can't do science, the caped crusader described in the post is confused (by him and others) and so are you.

The question we would like to have answered is, are you willing to find out what science says?

Bill said...

One final comment on peer-review.

In order to get reviewed, whether your work is accepted or rejected, you have to submit something.

To my knowledge Dembski has never submitted a paper on the explanatory filter or complex specified information or intellegent design to any scientific or mathematical publication. Thus, he has not a single example of "bias" to hold up.

Here's what Dembski says about publishing in journals:

"I've just gotten kind of blasé about submitting things to journals where you often wait two years to get things into print," he says. "And I find I can actually get the turnaround faster by writing a book and getting the ideas expressed there. My books sell well. I get a royalty. And the material gets read more."

So, let's not hear any more nonsense about the good Dr. Dr. not publishing because of bias. He doesn't submit anything in the first place.

Rhology said...

Hi all,

Billy, welcome over here. Unfortunately, you're hijacking this thread a bit, and to top it off you still don't understand my argument.
Feel free to ask me that question over at my place. I already answered it anyway.
Sorry you find how I argue tedious; it would help if you'd stop running around the obvious conclusions of my questions.


Albatrossity said:
Are these critters supposed to be in the wild (the original supposition), or in the lab?

In their natural environment. Wouldn't you agree that, for the NATURAL part of natural selection to be legitimately present, and for the INTELLIGENT part of intelligent design to be NOT present, we'd need to make sure possible elements of intelligence not taint the scenario?

CONTROL GROUPS are laboratory constructions!

Well then, that would make it really hard for you to construct a valid experiment, wouldn't it?

This is not just goal-post shifting; this is goal-post invisibility!

Only I'm not the one claiming that evidence for evolution is available thru experimentation. That's your argument. You need to try to keep up with whose argument is whose here.

it makes it very clear that you have not managed to read Carroll's book

'Course not; I'm a layman with limited interest in this topic. The funny thing is that I, with limited experience, have so far had little trouble seeing the huge cracks in the evolutionary edifice. Why y'all don't is strange to me.

all it takes in this situation is that ONE fly with the mutant phenotype finds a mate and reproduces.

But what does that tell us about whether those mutations were beneficial to the organism, so as to be more probably naturally selected for survival when it has that trait? How one out of millions of fruitflies tells us much of value escapes me.

Don't bullshit. Please.

That's up to you to prove. But remember, this is just a blog. I'm just a layman. The blogger is just a grad student at Univ of Okla. This is not the end of the world.

why it is hilarious that you ask the question about whether or not a mutation affecting a character involved in mating rituals can possibly be linked to fitness.

Yes, I caught that part. You may remember that my question also included an inquiry into how those different-phenotyped fruitflies did...
1) in their natural environment
2) in competition with other, "normal" phenotype flies
3) for food
4) not just for mates
5) in danger from predators, etc.

So now instead of me moving the goalposts, you're resorting to moving them FOR me and then running away screaming, "he moved the goalposts! Stupid fundy!!!"

"man-made environment" that produced the nylon-digesting bacteria are laughable.

I'm glad you find me funny; perhaps you can point to an environment similar to this one that was produced WITHOUT man's intervention. Remember, man's intervention = intelligence has been injected into the equation. You have to avoid that for your stuff to be consistent.

like the quibbling above about lab vs natural environment vs both at the same time(!),

Which, again, has to do with YOUR argument, not mine. I'm the guy arguing FOR intelligence, remember? Let's try to keep that straight.

natural selection, and it is not man-made. But it is capable of making intelligent choices

Hardly a question of biology, that. And I find the notion that an undirected, blind process such as nat sel could be described as "intelligent" a bit laughable myself.

The bacteria has access to a new carbon source (nylon). Other bacteria in the pond (its competitors) cannot use this carbon source.

Good, you made it halfway to answering my question. With a little time we'll get there.
Now I'd like to know how these nylon-eating bacteria did OUTSIDE the waste pond, back where their cousins, out of whom they evolved, live.
Obviously it was beneficial in this intelligently-produced environment, so that they could eat intelligently-produced synthetic food. But these waste ponds won't last forever. Like the Galapagos finches, the rain will return and the beak size will return to the way it was before.

you can look at my faculty web page here.

Well, honestly, kudos for not hiding behind anonymity as many on the Internet do.

Torbjörn Larsson said:
Different handles, same man.

I use no other handle. Just to make that clear. But you might be just cracking a smart-aleck remark, so if so, that's OK.

Information is not a part of the description of evolution of its mechanism.

If that is the case, it misses a critical part of the argument for ID and against evolution.

Predictions tells us what happened (postdictions) and what will happen (predictions). It does the same with uniformity.

Congratulations - you've told me that you made a prediction and that it CAME (past tense) true. You can know it's probable that certain predictions will come true tomorrow. You can't know stuff WILL stay the same; you can only know it's PROBABLE it will, and you certainly can't know it scientifically, since you can't observe the future until it's the past. This is child's play, seriously. I am dumbfounded.

"science can't tell the future or observe what happened in the past"

This is just silly - where did I say that science can't observe what happened in the past?
And I was unaware that science includes the attribute of prophecy. Cool, I thought only guys like Nostradamus did that. Fairy tales indeed!

We don't use faith in science, we trust our methods and results.

with only probability (most of the time, sometimes not even that) that your methodology will be valid the next time you try the experiment. This is faith.

Not invective, fair assessment.

Yes, you're right, there have been 0 insults tossed my way. My mistake.

You are relying on dogmas and repeating falsehoods given to you

oh wow, you can play the naked assertion game too. Lots of people around here are good at that, it seems.


Bill said:
To my knowledge Dembski has never submitted a paper on the explanatory filter or complex specified information or intellegent design to any scientific or mathematical publication.

OK, I don't know.
I do know that other ID guys have submitted numerous (yes, some even more than our beloved Albatrossity) peer-reviewed articles... So I don't see how this argument holds any water.

My books sell well. I get a royalty. And the material gets read more.

Haha, sounds like a plan to me, actually. :-D

Peace,
Rhology

Albatrossity said...

Rho

Congrats on a first class attempt to derail the conversation. Looks like we have to back up again. I'll try to keep it simple.

1) The example of the fruit fly eye-spot mutation, given in Carrol's book (which you haven't read, yet somehow "recall") is supported (as I noted in the first post mentioning this example) by lab experiments (with proper controls) as well as observations in the field, as well as phylogenetic studies indicating that this type of mutation arose independently a few times in a particular lineage. Unless you have valid and specific concerns about those multiple studies, I still maintain that the example gives you exactly what you asked for. Naturally, you can continue to ignore this complex reality, and even ignore the simpler reality laid out in Carroll's book, but that would be willful ignorance on your part. Or you can dig in, do your homework, and engage in an honest discussion.

Then there is this statement The funny thing is that I, with limited experience, have so far had little trouble seeing the huge cracks in the evolutionary edifice. Why y'all don't is strange to me. One has to open one's eyes in order to see "huge cracks". Your eyes, as noted above, seem to be tightly squeezed shut when you are confronted with factual evidence that contradicts your preconceived notions. Your baseline knowledge (e.g. about fitness, about the role of "information" in evolutionary theory, etc) is fragmentary at best. In order to understand the arguments, you need to undersatn the words. You don't bother. Funny how almost all the biological scientists in the entire world can see the truth, but you are somehow smarter than all of us. Good luck with that delusion, and with all of the other delusions that support your ignorance.

Next, this gem.

perhaps you can point to an environment similar to this one that was produced WITHOUT man's intervention. Remember, man's intervention = intelligence has been injected into the equation. You have to avoid that for your stuff to be consistent.

You seem to be the one for whom intelligence is some sort of potent toxin that can contaminate an experiment. I frankly don't care. But it is incredibly disingenous to demand a) a pristine environment, unsullied by human "intelligence", and b) controls and other hallmarks of the scientific enterprise, in one study. I suppose it is not unusual for you to expect the impossible in your world (miracles, ressurrections, people having babies that turn out to be themselves, etc.), but in the real world, if you ask the impossible, you just get what you deserve. Ridicule.

Finally, this pleading: Good, you made it halfway to answering my question. With a little time we'll get there.
Now I'd like to know how these nylon-eating bacteria did OUTSIDE the waste pond, back where their cousins, out of whom they evolved, live.
Obviously it was beneficial in this intelligently-produced environment, so that they could eat intelligently-produced synthetic food. But these waste ponds won't last forever. Like the Galapagos finches, the rain will return and the beak size will return to the way it was before.


Did you ever hear of extinction? Do you understand that 99% of all the species that ever existed are extinct? Do you understand that environments change? Again, do you understand fitness, and the concept that it is RELATIVE, and that it depends upon the environment?

I think it is clear that you are ignorant about a topic that you seem willing to discuss as if you were an expert (see above), a hypocrite (expecting me to read Dembski but refusing to read past your own creationist caricatures of evolution), a liar (saying that you "recall" the fruit fly studies but later admitting you hadn't read anything about them at all), and a weasel (moving the goal posts). Frankly there is no reason to believe that you will engagein an honest dialogue, or change your mind when confronted with evidence; you are just like every other creationist parrot on these boards. If you do read Carroll, and if you do get over the tendency to shut your eyes and claim that you see "huge cracks", I'd be happy to discuss this with you again. You know who I am.

Good luck with keeping reality away from your door.

Rhology said...

Well I'd have to say that if that's the best you have to offer this conversation, Albatrossity, then I'm more than happy to leave this right where it is.

Peace,
Rhology

John Morales said...

Poor Rhology.

It's pretty clear from his blog he knows as much about logic as he does about evolution.

... I'm a layman with limited interest in this topic. The funny thing is that I, with limited experience, have so far had little trouble seeing the huge cracks in the evolutionary edifice. Why y'all don't is strange to me.

I don't understand how he can, as an admitted layman, tell working scientists they misunderstand their own field, and not consider himself arrogant.

PS I'm a layman too, but I at least have some inkling of how much I don't know.

Albatrossity said...

Rho

Yep, that the best I can offer. Facts, logic, and a laundry list of things you can't. or won't, address.

Reginal Selkirk said...

Jesus was born from Mary who was a virgin. It was supposed that He was Joseph's son, but He wasn't. Luke was a Gentile; the Gentiles were more interested in actual genealogies than the Jews, who preferred paternal lineages (thus Matthew's genealogy from Joseph).


You failed completely to address the fact that the Luke genealogy also claims to be a genealogy of Joseph, not Mary. This has nothing to do with Luke's status as a Jew or non-Jew.

Yes, it's clear to everyone that I have no idea what I'm talking about and you are much better-versed in what the Bible says.

Finally, something we can agree on! Just to add that, considering your inadequate knowledge of the Bible, you have no business proclaiming it to be free of errors and contradictions.

Albatrossity said...

John Morales wrote:

Poor Rhology.

It's pretty clear from his blog he knows as much about logic as he does about evolution.

... I'm a layman with limited interest in this topic. The funny thing is that I, with limited experience, have so far had little trouble seeing the huge cracks in the evolutionary edifice. Why y'all don't is strange to me.

I don't understand how he can, as an admitted layman, tell working scientists they misunderstand their own field, and not consider himself arrogant.


Yeah, I missed arrogant in my list, but that sentence was getting long already with all those parentheticals. I even passed up an opportunity to point out that his view of "huge cracks" might change if he put his head further up his butt (or removed it entirely). I refrained because the owner of this blog is known to use colorful language about cottage cheese etc., and I figured it was better to let her do the honors.

ERV said...

Albatrossity-- No, my eyes glazed over long ago. I said, there is nothing that bored me more than theology, especially Abrahamic. Ugh.

Even Google is annoyed. Gmail isolates Rhos comments into their own threads. I have no idea why its doing it, but its funny.

John Morales said...

In the spirit of human charity, I submit Rhology is only functionally a troll.

Somewhere in there is a self-chained intellect, and exposure to cogency might be what sets it free.

Billy said...

"Unfortunately, you're hijacking this thread a bit,"

Well, no, I'm not. It was Tim that introduced presuppositional apologetics, which you then pursued. I was merely informing people of your fixation with this particular topic so that they can read up on it if they wish. That's what some people do, you see - when they don't understand something, they try to learn about it before pretending that they're an expert.

"Feel free to ask me that question over at my place. I already answered it anyway."

No, you didn't. I'll apologise to the readers here in advance for continuing this line, but I think it's important to understand where you're coming from. In the discussion thread you linked to, you said,

"I'm not inclined to morph my vocabulary to the extent that I'd use "logical" and such correctly... I don't understand the subject [logic] well enough - better the devil I know than the one I don't."

What you were saying, Rhology, is that you see no need to be accurate in your arguments or to have any knowledge of what you're talking about. Given that this is your attitude - which presumably you find entirely "logical" - it is up to everybody else to decide whether it is worth debating with you here.

Rhology said...

Yup, it sure is.
Thanks, all - I had a good time. Hope you did too.

Peace,
Rhology

Artfulskeptic said...

Hello everyone:

This is my first post here. In order that no one should be left in doubt, I stand on the atheist/scientist side of the philosophical divide.

There's one statement in this conversation to which, as a logical thinker, I feel I ought to respond.

Rhology said:
"I'm not asking you to be able to predict the future, I'm asking you to admit that you ASSUME the uniformity of nature. That applies not only to the future but also to the past when you have no direct way to observe whether the same natural processes applied 1000 years ago as do today"

There are only two options. Either the laws of nature are consistent, or they are not.

Even mathematics relies upon axioms. (i.e. every number is equal to itself, etc.) Perhaps not everyone here will agree with me, but for my money, science does accept as an axiom that the laws of nature are consistent.

Why? Because the alternative is to assume that the laws of nature are not consistent, and if the laws of nature are not consistent, nothing can be known.

It would, for example, be impossible to know that a water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms because, if the laws of nature are inconsistent, that would not always be the case. If the laws of nature are inconsistent gravity must somewhere repel instead of attract, likewise like poles of a magnet must somewhere attract instead of repel, elephants must occasionally be something other than elephants, and the Earth must occasionally spin backward.

I say MUST instead of MIGHT because an inconsistent universe MUST be inconsistent. It is not enough for it to merely have the possibility of being inconsitent. Unless it is inconsistent, it isn't.

If the universe was inconsistent, one would expect to find inconsistencies everywhere, not just in the remotest and most inaccessible corners of history, but right there in the bathtub.

In such a universe one would not be able to build anything as complex as a wheel(we're sorry but the value of pi keeps changing), much less a pyramid (whoops, the golden mean just jumped three decimal points), or a computer.

Thankfully, all data collected so far suggests a consitent universe.

Does this mean the laws of nature are not subject to change? Let us
assume for a moment that they might, at some unknowable future point suddenly change. What difference does that make to people here an now? Shall we desist making predictions using current and historical data for fear that the rules that have held so far will suddenly and inexplicably change?

Of course not.

Even if one assumes that the universe will someday suddenly become inconsistent, we can't make predictions on data we don't possess, so there there is no rational or practical alternative to making predictions on the data that we do possess.

Generally speaking, people who subscribe to a religious viewpoint prefer to think of the universe as inconsistent, full of miracles and other events that cannot be described by science.

If these people are correct then there is no point in pursuing any sort of knowledge whatsoever, because what is true today may not be true tomorrow.

Personally I prefer consistency.

Sayonara,
Artfulskeptic

Torbjörn Larsson said...

Rhology:

Only I'm not the one claiming that evidence for evolution is available thru experimentation.

Of course experiments that test evolution are available. So avail yourself of them. (When you don't, a suitable description is indeed of vanishing goalposts...)

I use no other handle.

Thanks. The similarity between you and Tim was striking. But of course the old and oft repeated yet debunked arguments makes it difficult to tell creationists apart.

If that is the case, it misses a critical part of the argument for ID and against evolution.

Bullshit. If information isn't part of the description, yet evolution is tested and verified, it means it is superfluous.

Also, if information is superfluous and yet is a critical part of ID creationism, that doesn't bode well for IDC ability to complement or contradict evolution.

you can only know it's PROBABLE it will, and you certainly can't know it scientifically

Say what? It was predicted by the scientific theory, so it is scientific knowledge.

Your qualification between absolute certainty and science certainty beyond reasonable doubt is not operative. You yourself can never do better in support of your speculations of creators.

where did I say that science can't observe what happened in the past?

When you said that we assume uniformity instead of observing it. You do like chasing around in circles, don't you?

only probability

Quantifiable probability gives trust. Unquantifiable dogma gives faith.

But you didn't answer my question of course: are you willing to find out what science says? So we must conclude: apparently not.

ERV said...

Actually, Rho, I know of three screen names you use, so you might not want to be so smart-alecally yourself.

Great comment, Artful! Glad you delurked!

Bill said...

It should be noted that the creationists aren't so much interested in science as they are in science education.

If the creationists were interested in the science they would be pestering the universities, research institutions and journals. Clearly the creationists are not doing that.

Rather, the creationists are targeting 9th and 10th grade science education in public schools in an attempt to create doubts about science in the minds of high school students.

Rho's playbook is right in line with this strategy. None of Rho's arguments hold up to even the most superficial examination, but to the layman it might be worth a vote on a school board.

So, thank you, ERV, for demonstrating through the very words of the Newton of Information, William Dembski, that intelligent design is not science but it's religion. And thank you Dr. Dr. Dembski for providing the proof.

It's a wrap.

Reginal Selkirk said...

Actually, Rho, I know of three screen names you use, so you might not want to be so smart-alecally yourself.

I am SHOCKED! SHOCKED! I say, to discover that rhology has said things things that are not 100% accurate.

Rhology said...

[Cocks head to side]

ERV, what screennames would those be?

Let them be known to the world, please. Seriously, I have no idea what you're talking about. I'd also like to warn those poor saps who are being mistaken for me.

Rhology said...

::Crickets chirping::

Unsubstantiated assertion alert!

Mono said...

Phew. I read most of the comments, and just want to thank all those who did a rather good job of eviscerating Rhology, Tim, et al.

Rho, you must be "baking some mental pretzels" to maintain your belief in that plagiarised bronze age superstitious mumbo jumbo.

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