Monday, February 23, 2009

My first encounter with ERV, or lemmmMMMEEEE talk, lulz!

This past Friday night, the evil young-earth creationist society-in-disguise, the IDEA club at the University of Oklahoma, opponent of all things scholarly and scientific, invited two lecturers who are, as I understand it (being no great expert in things satanic, least of all in Discovery Institute treachery) affiliated with the Discovery Inst, a leading Intelligent Design thinktank. One John West was called to speak on "7 myths of Darwinian evolution" or something similar, and Casey Luskin to speak on Academic Freedom and the Kitzmiller vs Dover trial.

Before I begin my synopsis of the night's events, the blogger known as ERV apparently believes that my church is a cult. I stand firmly opposed to such an appellation. Just because we believe that my pastor is the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ, just because we are flogged in the baptistry for questioning him, just because we believe that everyone except for members in good standing (and who give at least 23.4% of their annual income to the church) are on their way to Hell, just because leaving the church whether for conscience' sake or because one's job was transferred out of town (or because one's parents were transferred out of town) means a death sentence to be carried out as soon as possible in the dead of night with a solid silver crucifix, just because most of our church's budget is spent towards stockpiling assault weapons and most of our Sunday School curriculum deals with proper utilisation of high explosives, just because we believe that Charles Darwin was THE Antichrist, in the flesh, and that Richard Dawkins is the Beast, doesn't mean we're a cult. So, I'm only too happy to sort that all out.

Anyway, I'd estimate the audience at around 120, probably a bare majority of whom were sympathetic to ID. After John West's opening lecture, which I found to be pretty good, actually, if a tad repetitive, ERV approached the mic to ask a few questions. She engaged in a several minute long debate with West about some alleged misrepresentation, and I, to be honest, lost track of the topic, partly b/c I was myself waiting in line to ask a question and was fairly nervous (as I usually get before asking questions in front of an audience). I don't think anyone begrudged her the lengthy amount of time she took to interact with West, though I do think most were disappointed that the organisers only thought they could allow time for 4 questions. I didn't get to ask mine but instead ceded my place in line for last question to someone who would challenge West, since I was going to ask a sympathetic question. It turned out that questioner had failed to understand what I thought was a fairly elementary point from West but stubbornly would not let it go that perhaps HE was the one who was confused, not West.

I talked briefly to Ms. Smith in person during the intermission. She was cordial enough and we agreed that non-moderated blogs are more fun and valuable. Like so many bloggers (not excluding myself), her online persona is quite a bit more strident than her real-life character, and like so many (excluding myself), the former is more profane than the latter.

Luskin stirred the pot when he was speaking on academic freedom. His session was also quite interesting and valuable, I thought. Then near the end he brought up, almost as an aside, ERV's blog as an example of the kind of "welcome" that ID receives in the scholarly/academic arena. He pointed out the treatment of a commenter on ERV's blog who apparently was treated with sexual discrimination (see here ERV's admission thereof as well as numerous commenters expressing their salacious approval) (sexual discrimination b/c, as my best friend the BlackBlogger pointed out, neither she nor her commenters posted a request for above-the-waist nudity to any male commenter) after what I guess was a substantial period of time spent commenting at ERV's blog and annoying her and her commenters. I thought Luskin's presentation was strong in most of its parts except this part. This part was unnecessary and weak for a few reasons, including the following:
1) I don't have a beef with ERV moderating her comments, actually, and no one should. If someone wants to cut off someone they consider a troll, it's their blog. Maybe said commenter should get their own blog (and in this case, I believe the commenter does). Shoot, I myself was notified of my being banned from an atheist blog just a few weeks ago. You don't see me crying about it, do you? Stuff happens.
2) ERV is not exactly a scholarly arena, so I didn't really see the relevance. ERV's reasoning is very often sloppy, she makes clumsy unsupported assertions when the whim strikes, and she links to irrelevant essays in answer to challenges, and she often stretches the limits of what can fairly be described as literacy in the English language, among other things (such as flipping Casey Luskin off when they dare ask her to step down off the mic - see further down). Further, I was recently told that some of her commenters are "practicing scientists", and at least one (Albatrossity) is a biology professor at a major state university in the Midwest, yet they can barely be troubled to engage elementary questions such as these or to answer other challenges closer to their fields of study/research with much more than invective and argumenta ad incredulum. Point is, Luskin could have easily found evidence of this kind of suppression over at Pharyngula or something else, plus (though it may seem difficult at first) even more outlandish and boorish behavior.
3) He seemed to be trying to throw a bone to OU students and/or take a swipe at a local Darwinian interest. I guess I can understand that, but as the extracurricular discussions afterwards showed, it's not like their side is all that skilled in arguing for their side anyway, which is not to say they're not good at childish insults.

Anyway, when Luskin's talk was complete, ERV got up first to take the first question. I wished I had jumped up there more quickly, but I was a little hesitant because I was obviously a sympathetic questioner rather than an opponent. The problem was that when ERV got up, she decided to make the entire question period about her and defending her actions on her blog. I wonder why bother, though? Was she unwilling to let her actions stand on their own? Was she desirous of taking up the entire time so that no more nefarious and evil ID information could be distributed to the hapless cultists of Trinity Baptist or the unwashed hoi polloi of the unconvinced that were there? Only God and ERV know. Once it became obvious that she wanted to dominate the entire Q&A session, of which time was obviously limited b/c the moderator had made it clear, the eminent BlackBlogger, who was standing directly behind ERV in line for the mic, decided to speak up. He asked, in order to be heard throughout the auditorium "Could we please let someone else ask a question?" The moderator also tried to intervene but was far too gentle, actually, to dissuade her, and she argued continually for around 90 more seconds, so that the talking ranged between Luskin's wanting to answer her challenge, ERV's insistence on more time to herself on the mic, the BlackBlogger's (and to a lesser extent, my) requests for her to step down, and the moderator becoming more and more stern. He finally did win out in the contest, but by no means did he, the BlackBlogger, or I ever "scream", as ERV would later put it.

As ERV returned to her seat, disgusted, my face was turned toward the stage, but after a wave of muttering, turned again to look at her, as Luskin said something like "Did she just flip me off? She did, she flipped me off. Well, OK." I don't know what else there is to say when such a high scholarly authority as ERV resorts to 3rd-grade expressions of disapproval. Luskin was mortally wounded, of course. Crowd opinion, which had been against her b/c of its high concentration of Trinity Baptist cultists and the skilled presentations by West and Luskin, was turned immediately! From then on, everyone was hostile to ID and clamored to join the nearest secular humanist and Darwinian campus organisation, so powerful was the rebuttal from ERV's single finger!

My turn was next, actually, and I prefaced my question by stating that I have been on her blog for a few weeks commenting and have not been moderated. ERV and her commenters have stated they consider that I acted honorably in this. I would agree and appreciate that statement, and at the same time I failed to mention pertinent information, and in this I regret that I unintentionally turned the tables on Luskin, who I thought had done a fine job. I should have said something more like, "I've been commenting on her blog for a couple of weeks and ERV has never moderated any of my comments. I have, however, been treated with gratuitous and fairly powerful derision, irrelevant and prejudicial insult, and abundant profanity while there." This would have been a fuller statement of the actual fact of my interaction there, and I apologise openly to Mr. Luskin for my less than fair statement, which served to obscure the actual issues at hand and to, as it were, throw him under the bus on account of a minor, peripheral part of his presentation which ERV hubristically inflated and in which inflation I unwittingly assisted.

After a few more unremarkable questions, we adjourned and security asked us to leave the building but that we could stand around outside the front door for awhile if we wished. My friends and I gathered there, and later ERV and a group of her friends arrived. I, not wishing to lose the opportunity to discuss, walked over to a few of them as they were discussing the Wedge document. I later had the opportunity to talk with Aseem, the President of the Center For Inquiry, and Scott, the VP. Both were very cordial, but neither equipped to deal with the questions we were asking. For example, I asked them to provide their strongest general line of evidence that the variety of life that we see today is best explained by unguided nat sel working on random mutations from one or a few common ancestors. Scott responded "the fossil record". I asked him about the arguments that Henry Gee has recently forwarded, to which he had no answer, and then explained the massive assumptions that must be brought to bear in the case of EACH AND EVERY fossil. It's not evidence at all. We discussed the nature of evidence, the impossibility that naturalism is true, and how we as Christians can know that other religions are false (ie, via internal critique). Aseem, for whatever reason, didn't stick around for the pummeling his worldview was taking, but Scott exhibited an astonishing (for a college-age Darwinian proponent) level of intellectual honesty and stuck around.

Meanwhile, the BlackBlogger (as he told me on the phone the next day) had asked one of ERV's friends, who apparently is a past President of the CFI, to define the steps of the scientific method, which had actually appeared on the screen during the presentations that night. Said gentlemen responded with "first you make a hypothesis, then you perform an experiment, then you submit it to a peer-reviewed journal". Wrong answer. The BlackBlogger rightly and patronisingly patted him on the shoulder with a "OK, maybe I should go find someone who knows what they're talking about", went to ERV and said something to the effect of "I think you should educate your betas about what the scientific method is". "Betas" meaning "beta males", as opposed to alpha males. Not a really nice thing to say, but that's sure how her posse looked to us, and I don't know too many who'd accuse ERV of excessive niceness. BB and ERV then began what looked to me to be a fairly heated antagonistic conversation, part of which she has apparently chronicled here (he's the "creationist law student" she refers to). Among other things, he asked her to name "the 5 amino acids". What he meant to request, and misspoke, was the 5 nucleotides. He also asked a few other fairly elementary (for a grad-level student in the sciences) questions. The reason for this was the astonishing ignorance of one of her fanboys about the basic scientific method; he had heard a little about ERV but found it hard to believe that she could actually be a real scientist, given her inability during the Q&A period to engage questions asked of her and her penchant rather to mock the speakers and defend her blogging. I later recommended that he *ask* such a person about their positions before engaging them, since you don't always know what you're going to get, and he agreed.

Overall, a good evening for ID and a just short of embarrassing performance on the part of campus Darwinians. One hopes for a more honest and better-equipped showing at the upcoming Dembski-Ruse debate.

74 comments:

windy said...

Said gentlemen responded with "first you make a hypothesis, then you perform an experiment, then you submit it to a peer-reviewed journal". Wrong answer. The BlackBlogger rightly and patronisingly patted him on the shoulder

Wrong? How is it wrong rather than just incomplete? It would be better if he had added something about theories and interpretation, but there is no one single correct way to list "the steps of the scientific method".

Among other things, he asked her to name "the 5 amino acids". What he meant to request, and misspoke, was the 5 nucleotides.

Yeah, right. Why is your friend allowed to "misspeak" on scientific matters but a single hasty statement from ERV's friend must be "astonishing ignorance"? Quite the double standard there.

Stacey said...

"first you make a hypothesis, then you perform an experiment, then you submit it to a peer-reviewed journal".

Hahaha... I'm sorry, but that's just silly. That's the problem with science these days anyway! People are more busy trying to get grants and get published than interested in doing proper science.

Rhology, I come from a science background (I don't know if you saw that in my comment thread) and although I am strongly theistic, as you know, I can't support the Intelligent Design movement. Digging through all the sarcasm (enjoyable stuff, but sometimes it's hard to tell which side you're on), I think you're an IDer? My problem with ID is that it invokes a "God of the holes" theory, which God should never be, and asks to be scientifically viable as such. Since the theory cannot be tested, it lies outside the realm of science. Science is only a method of investigation, and we can't ask more of it than it is able. We shouldn't need science's approval for our belief in God, and to ask for such is to give science more credit and power than it deserves, elevating science to something that can determine truth when it is not, it is only something to investigate physical and observable phenomenon.

Rhology said...

Hi Stacey,

No, I'm not an ID-er, and I appreciate you asking. Most people around here just launch into their tirades w/o even trying to figure out what I believe, what my position is, what I'm saying. I am on an ID kick right now b/c my mind is thinking this stuff over right now.
I'm performing an internal critique of naturalistic evolution in these discussions, taking on the worldview that THEY SAY is right and showing that the conclusions they claim don't follow.

You said:
Science is only a method of investigation, and we can't ask more of it than it is able

I agree 100%. I'm arguing that these broad, sweeping statements from Darwinians are not reasonably made, given the data we have to work with. Far better to ask the God Who was there at the beginning how it all went down, and I'm betting you'll agree with that. :-)

Stacey said...

Wooohooo! I'm so excited we agree :)

Want a rather slow backup on these debates? I'll join.

Rhology said...

My approach (and default position) is highly presuppositional, and I don't know if that's something you'll dig that much, but since I'm not operating on that level much in these recent debates, you're welcome to. I simply reserve the right to point out where we don't agree if indeed we don't. ;-)

And...let me warn you. Hopefully you don't think we've been *complete* jerks at your blog or at BA, but what you'll encounter at ERV if you post there has gone and will go way beyond that. Not trying to dissuade, just to prepare you.

Peace,
Rhology

Stacey said...

Noted.

Btw, do you hold to any particular creation beliefs besides God did it? Young Earth? 6-day creationist? No debate intended, but I don't want to assume things if/when I do post there.

Personally, I do not hold to the young Earth theory, perhaps because of my astronomy background. But I do think the Darwinians, and particularly those like Dawkins, mishandle science and abuse a theory full of holes to say whatever they want it to say (i.e. Darwinian evolution = theory full of holes).

Rhology said...

Most days I'm convinced of YEC, yes. A few days I figure OEC has a lot of merit.

Anyway, I don't really consider the age of the earth part of this debate, since I'm granting the naturalists so much ground before engaging in my critique. I even do them the unnecessary courtesy of not questioning them about the origin of life! I'm pretty much engaging in a gunfight with one hand tied behind my back and a BB gun.

Anonymous said...

No, I'm not an ID-er, and I appreciate you asking.

vs

Far better to ask the God Who was there at the beginning how it all went down, and I'm betting you'll agree with that.

You might not be an ID-er, but you're quite the philosopher. See if you can spot which one of those claims is inaccurate. Clue: both.

Paul C said...

I asked him about the arguments that Henry Gee has recently forwarded, to which he had no answer, and then explained the massive assumptions that must be brought to bear in the case of EACH AND EVERY fossil.

Just to remind everybody, this is what Henry Gee himself has to say on the subject:

I think I should make it clear, once and for all, and without fear of ambiguity or contradiction, that my book In Search of Deep Time is not written in support of creationism in any form, including intelligent design, and that none of the statements in that book should be read as evidence in support of creationism or intelligent design.

I urge everybody to read that blog post and the comments thread, where Gee explains exactly why Rhology is wrong to interpret his book as evidence against evolution by natural selection.

The rest of this post is similarly vacuous, but hey, you get what you pay for.

Rhology said...

1) Nowhere did I claim that Gee's book "supports" ID or creationism.

2) Make sure to check said link for Gee's explanation of the arguments he makes in the book. Sounds like he's in damage-control mode to me.

3) Check ANYwhere for arguments to disarm the force of what he said. I cite him in gratitude for bringing up the arguments. I don't cite him as some authority to which we all must bow. Explain away his arguments.

Rhology said...

The quotes to which I refer. And yes, I read the book in its entirety.

Paul C said...

1) Nowhere did I claim that Gee's book "supports" ID or creationism.

Nowhere did I claim that you did.

3) Check ANYwhere for arguments to disarm the force of what he said... Explain away his arguments.

I am merely pointing out that Gee asserts vigorously that people like you have and continue to misinterpret and misrepresent his discussion of deep time as evidence against the theory of evolution by natural selection. Again in Gee's own words:

Of course, I can’t stop people from reading into my book what they want. After all, some people see the images of the Virgin Mary in slices of toast, and if that’s what floats their boat, there’s nothing I can do to stop them, nor would I want to.

I don't have to explain away his arguments because I don't necessarily disagree with them. You, on the other hand, have to explain why you accept his arguments when they suit you, but dismiss them when they don't. Good luck with that.

Rhology said...

You, on the other hand, have to explain why you accept his arguments when they suit you, but dismiss them when they don't.

Pfff. Everyone does that with everyone, unless we're talking RCs with the Pope or cultists with their leader.
When his arguments are good, I adopt them until seen to be not good. When they are faulty, I reject. Not that hard.

Paul C said...

When his arguments are good, I adopt them until seen to be not good. When they are faulty, I reject.

My point being that you agree with the concept of deep time because you believe it undermines claims about the fossil record. Unfortunately the concept of deep time destroys YEC (which you are convinced of "most days"), so you then reject it. Your head must be like a game of musical chairs.

Rhology said...

All this time and you're still unaware of the concept of an internal critique, eh? Kind of sad.

Dr Funkenstein said...

The quotes [from Triablogue link] to which I refer. And yes, I read the book in its entirety.

The problem with those quotes Rhology is that Steve has deliberately taken single lines or paragraphs that make his position look good. It would be as easy to make Christianity look terrible with a few choice and out of context selections from Exodus, Deuteronomy and Leviticus I'm sure you'd agree.

He's completely ignored substantial points in the book, such as the fact that lines between major taxa become extremely blurred based on the fossil record a position entirely at odds with what would be expected of a creationist fossil record. The major thesis of the book is to get away from the 'this turned into this' or 'this is the ancestor of this' style of thinking, back to hypothesis testing (eg such as the procedure used to discover Tiktaalik), not 'oh noes, these things lived ages ago so we can't draw any conclusions whatsoever about them'.

Steve's also not bothered to check up on points that are now out of date since the book was originally published (such as the lack of hominid fossils in the 5-10m year gap, which is no longer accurate) - of course, if someone were only really interested in simply digging up quotes to make an argument from authority for their position, then it's not too surprising that would be the case.

He also seems to find the quotes that show that scientific hypotheses/conclusions are at times not set in stone or tentative, or that there are certain limits to how much we can know about a fossil to be some sort of bombshell that will stun the world of science (of course the same goes for all science, including that which creationists appear to have no problem with) - this is likely not news to anyone who works with fossils on a regular basis.

Evolution is the totality of all the evidence we possess - not everything is known about the fossil record, and not everything will or can be known. However, everything thus far that has been observed (eg which strata which fossils are found in, the geographic distribution of fossils, the morphology of certain fossils showing mosaic features between major taxa etc etc) is consistent with the expectations of evolutionary theory. On the contrary, none of it is consistent with creationism without resorting to ad hoc miracles or 'trick from the devil' scenarios - which is of course indistinguishable from simply making something up.

I'd finally say, as I mentioned above, the constant citation of Gee by creationists has simply descended into an argument from authority - I don't think I've ever seen you quote from any other paleontologist (guys like Kevin Padian and Donald Prothero are worth a look - Padian's Dover slides are available online and are a very good overview of the study of paleontology), and likewise the only other paleontologists I see quoted from by creationists are guys who made supposedly damning statements about the ToE (eg Colin Patterson, who is mentioned in ISoDT), yet curiously enough when you dig a little deeper, such as in the case of the quotes from Patterson, you inevitably find out that what they actually said or were referring to was quite different to the portraits creationists paint of their words.

Rhology said...

Hi Dr Funk,

the fact that lines between major taxa become extremely blurred based on the fossil record a position entirely at odds with what would be expected of a creationist fossil record

Irrelevant - no one's using Gee to support creationism.


such as the lack of hominid fossils in the 5-10m year gap, which is no longer accurate

5 million yrs is still a freaking long time ago, and you don't have a time machine.


none of it is consistent with creationism without resorting to ad hoc miracles

"God created the world" is not ad hoc at all - it's the very central belief, the defining characteristic.


the constant citation of Gee by creationists has simply descended into an argument from authority

I specifically denied doing that in my post, quoting myself on Friday night.

Ace said...

Aseem here. 'Pummeling my worldview was taking' indeed. We were talking about why ID should or should not be taught in a science classroom. The conversation reached a point where you had to justify the teaching of ID by claiming that the world is not natural, but a metaphysical entity created by the God of the Bible. And when I asked you what evidence you had to that claim, you said that the onus of proving otherwise is on us? If you cannot realize which of the two claims is more absurd, we would just be talking past each other, which is why I let my more enthusiastic friend Scott, who was doing most of the talking anyway, continue talking to you while I stopped to hear Brett explain how science works to Charles and Paul.IDEA's speakers for the evening spent their time painstakingly trying to convince the audience that ID has nothing to do with a supernatural or metaphysical worldview, but deals with the natural world. And you refuted and undid all that in one moment by claiming that ID needs to be taught because the world is a supernatural and ID fits such a worldview! Do you even realize the irony?
Muslims believe, with as much conviction as yours, that the world is created by Allah. Hindus believe the creator is Brahma, Scientologists believe it is Xenu, and ancient Greeks believed the world was Zeus' gift. Do you have any more evidence to support your worldview than Muslims or Hindus or Scientlogists or the ancient Greeks? Should all these different worldviews be taught in a science classroom? If you want to teach kids your worldview, or teach ID because it fits your worldview, you may well, at home, in church, in a religious studies or maybe even a philosophy class. But the one place where it does not belong, is the science classroom. Because by definition, science deals with the natural world. In science, we work with what we have. If, according to you, the natural world is just an illusion, fine. Science is the study of this 'illusion' then.

Stacey said...

Rhology,

Hypothetical question for you: If at some point, the theory of Evolution were proved true (though "proved" it probably can never be) beyond any doubt, would this destroy your faith in God? Or merely reconstruct the view you have of how he created the world?

Question to the other side:

When you say "creationism" do you mean 6-day creationism in a "poof" sense of the word, or that God created the universe, regardless of how He may have done it?

Rhology said...

Hi Aseem!
I'll quote you and respond, as I usually do.
We were talking about why ID should or should not be taught in a science classroom.

That's where we started, yes, but then we got into bigger discussions on naturalism, and you started begging questions out the wazoo.


you had to justify the teaching of ID by claiming that the world is not natural, but a metaphysical entity created by the God of the Bible.

I'm sorry that I didn't explain myself well. The world is a natural world, but reality also includes a supernatural element. And I'm sure you'd agree that there is a metaphysical element to the universe. Laws of logic and math, thoughts, concepts, consciousness, numbers, etc are not material at all but are rather metaphys.
And yes, of course, the God of the Bible created it all.


when I asked you what evidence you had to that claim, you said that the onus of proving otherwise is on us

Well, the onus is on you to prove naturalism. There's no "default position".


while I stopped to hear Brett explain how science works to Charles and Paul

I see. Well, it's certainly possible for me to misinterpret actions. I just thought you left at a convenient time after you had been stymied on numerous arguments you'd made.


And you refuted and undid all that in one moment by claiming that ID needs to be taught because the world is a supernatural and ID fits such a worldview!

If you can quote me somewhere or think you remember sthg I said on Friday night that would lead you to believe that I agree 100% with these ID men or their methodology, I'd love to see it. I'm rather on record disagreeing with the extent of their arguments - they don't go far enough and that's a weakness for them, but other things they do, such as poking holes in Darwinism, are commendable.


Muslims believe, with as much conviction as yours, that the world is created by Allah. Hindus believe the creator is Brahma,

So? We discussed that on Friday.
It doesn't matter how hard one believes sthg to be true; the question is whether it IS true.


Do you have any more evidence to support your worldview than Muslims or Hindus or Scientlogists or the ancient Greeks?

Of course. That's why I'm still a Christian.


Should all these different worldviews be taught in a science classroom?

No, b/c they're not true.
By the same token, neither should Darwinism be taught in the science classroom, b/c it's full of horsecrap.


Because by definition, science deals with the natural world.

You'll find little argument from me.
And as Matt and I explained to you and Scott, Christianity posits a God who created the world with natural processes that are in operation virtually all of the time. It is the naturalist, ironically, who has no justification to expect that natural processes WILL remain the same in even one second from now, and no reason to be certain that said processes were in place 200 years ago.

Nice talking to you.

Peace,
Rhology

Rhology said...

Stacey,

Man, that's a tough hypothetical, really. My disbelief in evolution begins and ends with God's acct of how it all went down in Genesis. There's no "proof" to be found in the natural world over and against the Word of the infallible God.

Dr Funkenstein said...

"God created the world" is not ad hoc at all - it's the very central belief, the defining characteristic.

I know that (from a theistic point of view at least)that God created the world is not - but God just wanted the fossils that way/God planted them to deceive unbelievers is pretty ad hoc.

When you say "creationism" do you mean 6-day creationism in a "poof" sense of the word, or that God created the universe, regardless of how He may have done it?

Generally I mean it to refer to the Young Earth/6 days/no macroevolution version. If I was referring to old earth I always prefix it with old earth before the creationism

ID I consider to be a mini version of creationism (same arguments, almost entirely Christian following, wedge doc, cdesign proponentsists etc) but I refer to it as ID usually so it's clear which people are being referred to (eg Behe, Demsbki, Wells etc).

For those who believe pretty much the same as I do as regards evolutionary biology + believe in a God time I'd say theistic evolutionists.

I think that covers most of the bases!

It is the naturalist, ironically, who has no justification to expect that natural processes WILL remain the same in even one second from now, and no reason to be certain that said processes were in place 200 years ago.

Even though you believe in disruptions to such things in the way of miracles as well as in supernatural beings such as the devil, evil spirits and angels that can also interfere with the natural order of things, as well as subscribing to the Omphalos hypothesis and the idea that facts about the world only obtain because God wishes them to do so at any given time and may alter them according to his plan/will should he so wish?

Given the boatloads of subjectivism you're heaping on there as regards the nature of reality from that little lot, theism simply seems to add even more to deal with to the long standing problems faced in philosophy, rather than helping to solve them ;-D

Rhology said...

God just wanted the fossils that way/God planted them to deceive unbelievers is pretty ad hoc.

Given that the Bible is at least 2000 yrs old, that's stretching the limits of "ad hoc" pretty far, my friend.

Dr Funkenstein said...

Irrelevant - no one's using Gee to support creationism.

Perhaps not directly - however, he was being used to throw doubt on the ToE. It's also notable that it seems to be only various stripes of creationists that quote the book or make a huge deal out of it - I hadn't heard of it until you got me to read it after mentioning it on here.

So when he says something that clearly is supportive of the evolutionary hypothesis (which he does numerous times in the book), it's fairly conspicuous by its absence amongst the quotes from the Triabloggers and suchlike. Now, I wonder why that would be?

Dr Funkenstein said...

Given that the Bible is at least 2000 yrs old, that's stretching the limits of "ad hoc" pretty far, my friend.

I'm well aware of that - and guess what, nowhere does it mention the protagonist messing around with the fossil record, macroevolution, comparative genomics, the speed of light or rats of radioactive decay!

Stacey said...

Wow, it's obvious that I'm jumping in the middle of a lengthy ongoing discussion. But heck, why not?

To let everyone know, my faith would not be destroyed should the Theory of Evolution be proved true. Genesis can be the infallible parable of God to tell us ever so truthfully about the beginning of our natures. I guess I'm somewhere right along with C.S. Lewis on this one.

However, I do not think it's a very good theory. Maybe this is what Gee's book is about? People have gotten so excited about something that they think is an "alternative" to God that they take it as a given prerequisite to all their scientific thoughts.

Funkenstein, do you admit problems with evolution from a purely scientific viewpoint? As a physicist, I object to it based on the second law of thermodynamics. I've heard people whine that the entropy of the entire system goes up, as somewhere out there more heat or something has been created when organisms arose on Earth. However, there is absolutely no good reason to believe that the entropy in any given portion of a system could go up without a Maxwell's demon.

My knowledge of biology is rather pathetic, but I can remember a course in college in which an evolutionary biologist spoke. I asked him a question about exactly how such useful mutations can occur and survive and he could not answer. I know this doesn't mean there isn't an answer, but it is a problem I see. Do you admit any? And the possibility that the ToE is not true?

Paul C said...

LAll this time and you're still unaware of the concept of an internal critique, eh?

Unfortunately, misinterpreting somebody's arguments doesn't count as an "internal critique".

Given that the Bible is at least 2000 yrs old, that's stretching the limits of "ad hoc" pretty far, my friend.

As well as the definition of "internal critique", can I also suggest that you look up the definition of "ad hoc" as well?

Anonymous said...

Stacy:

"My knowledge of biology is rather pathetic"

Then maybe you should leave the discourse to scientists who are experts in the field, which as "someone with a background in physics" (whatever that means) you aren't.

Rhology said...

Yeah, "Stacy". Obviously you don't even know how to spell your name right, much less as much about evolution as an Anonymous commenter on some third-rate fundy blog.

Stacey said...

Geeze, I guess my questions must be completely irrelevant since I know absolutely nothing about the scientific method, being from a different field and all. I totally forgot that cross-field critique is completely unimportant!

Oh, what I really forgot was that you can't believe anything without the stamp of approval from your self-made god of academia. In that case, maybe you'll think that my thought processes may contribute something if I tell you that I had a double major in mathematics and physics, interned with NASA, and turned down a full fellowship and stipend from Yale's astronomy PhD program for my higher calling of being a mother? At least they had some faith in my critical thinking skills.

However that may be, I'm sure I won't be applauded as intellectually capable in the least unless I agree with you whole-heartedly, right?

Probably not Rhology said...

That's correct. You're an idiot. Affirm evolution and alluvasudden, however, you'll be purty smart.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, none of those fields are biology.

NAL said...

Stacey:
... interned with NASA ...

Yawn. If you had interned at JPL, then ... wow.

Stacey:
... turned down a full fellowship and stipend from Yale's astronomy PhD program ...

What area of astornomy were you thinking of investigating?

Stacey said...

NAL,

I worked in asteroseismology for two years observing subdwarf B stars to determine stellar structure, and was thinking of studying theoretical astrophysics, in particular, helioseismology, at Yale. However, if I had gone to grad school, I probably would have gone to Ohio State and studied theoretical cosmology. I liked that professor better. It's all about who you work with.

But it's a moot point. Now I study psychology and the best method of wrangling two toddlers into a car or keep them out of the fireplace or off the tv.

Paul C said...

As a physicist, I object to it based on the second law of thermodynamics... there is absolutely no good reason to believe that the entropy in any given portion of a system could go up without a Maxwell's demon.

I was under the impression that the second law of thermodynamics states that entropy tends to increase in any closed system. If that is indeed the case, then I find this statement quite strange - coming as it does from a physicist. Why exactly do you feel that the second law provides grounds for objecting to evolution?

Stacey said...

Paul,

Yeah, I was typing too fast. The rise of organisms shows entropy going down, and organization increasing, which shouldn't happen without an outside cause. Thanks for the correction. Any explanation?

Stacey said...

Rhology,

Wow, I haven't even posted at ERV's blog and all I did was ask a couple questions (not pretending to be an expert!) and my intelligence has been insulted, my qualifications debased, and my typos hawked out. Maybe I'm a bit too soft for this crowd.

neil said...

Stacey,

Consider your own children for minute. They started as a single cell, a zygote. As they have grown they have increased in complexity, they are far more organised.
Does this violate the second law of thermodynamics?
If evolution does then so does being alive. Of course neither does as we are not dealing with isolated systems.

p.s yes I know I couldn't stay away.

Paul C said...

The rise of organisms shows entropy going down, and organization increasing, which shouldn't happen without an outside cause. Thanks for the correction. Any explanation?

The sun. You may be confusing "cause" and "source".

freelunch said...

"God created the world" is not ad hoc at all - it's the very central belief, the defining characteristic.

Sure, but it's completely unsupported by any evidence.

There's no "proof" to be found in the natural world over and against the Word of the infallible God.

The question is not whether God is infallible, it is whether your interpretation of Genesis is. Ignoring that there is no evidence at all for God, why should I believe that God had anything to do with Genesis when Genesis is so full of mistakes? Aren't you just blaming God for those errors?

windy said...

Stacey:

"I guess my questions must be completely irrelevant since I know absolutely nothing about the scientific method"

No, they're irrelevant because you are painfully ignorant about biology, as revealed by your thermodynamics comment alone.

"I totally forgot that cross-field critique is completely unimportant!"

Yet you said:

"Personally, I do not hold to the young Earth theory, perhaps because of my astronomy background"

So you apparently feel that your expertise in your field is relevant when judging the YEC. But those of us with a biology background should not do the same when judging your claims? Would you be interested in getting "cross-field critique" from someone with a pathetic knowledge in astronomy?

Stacey said...

Damn, people, where's the good will?

All I did was ask a couple questions. I said I thought evolution was plausible, stated I don't have a fundamentalist attitude wherein my whole faith is staked on the issue, and gave one reason that I had to doubt the theory in general.

I am making no claims to having expert knowledge, am not in fact trying to argue against evolution at all. Do you have to be a friggin' expert to ask someone if they have any problems with the theory on a purely scientific basis and then give an example of what such a problem would be?

I was just asking questions.

Paul C said...

Do you have to be a friggin' expert to ask someone if they have any problems with the theory on a purely scientific basis and then give an example of what such a problem would be?

Not at all. However you have to bear in mind the context in which you're posting your question - the sort of people likely to be coming here from ERV are unlikely to have any time for theism at all, precisely because they most often encounter Christians like Rhology, rather than Christians like yourself. Stay in the discussion; show them that it is possible to have a reasonable discussion with a Christian about these issues.

So, I mentioned the sun?

Stacey said...

Paul,

Okay, the sun... but first, please be nice to me? I'm quite willing to have my objection based on thermodynamics taken away from me, just as long as people are civil.

Yes, the sun can be said to input energy into the system of Earth. However, I have two issues to deal with here. One is shakier than the other. My first problem is that we live in a universe with such a high energy potential in the first place. You have to be crazy not to wonder about that, and the second is the shaky one:

When you consider the system and all the organisms in it, it just doesn't make sense. I'm staring at my son right now, this marvelously complicated and beautiful piece of work. To say that he and all of us are some weird spontaneous decrease of entropy based on radiation emitted from the sun and a bunch of chemicals is horrendously insufficient. The amount of order we see challenges my mind when considering the natural laws of physics. Does it not you that there is such a huge spike in order when the rest of the universe is combusting and dissipating into its heat death?

So I think that if evolution is true, then it points to God's existence. I think Darwin even said something like that, didn't he?

That said, Paul, do you have admit any problems with Evolution, or do you violently defend it as a perfect theory? ;)

neil,

Yes, I think being alive violates the
Second Law of Thermodynamics. That's kind of my point. Every change in entropy occurs as the result of an already high potential to do work. Something must have created that potential.

NAL said...

windy:
No, they're irrelevant because you are painfully ignorant about biology, as revealed by your thermodynamics comment alone.

I, also being painfully ignorant about biology, appreciate the substantive responses given by Paul C and neil on Stacey's thermodynamics comment. Do you have anything to add to their comments?

Paul C said...

My first problem is that we live in a universe with such a high energy potential in the first place. You have to be crazy not to wonder about that

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be wondering about?

To say that he and all of us are some weird spontaneous decrease of entropy based on radiation emitted from the sun and a bunch of chemicals is horrendously insufficient.

I have the sense that here you're not talking about the theory of evolution at all - you're talking about the origins of life in toto, which is a different discussion altogether. Evolution has nothing to say about how life began; only how it reached its current point after it began.

I should also say that if we were able to establish that life originated in a purely accidental and material manner, I wouldn't find it horrendously insufficient. That's a value judgment rather than a statement of fact, surely?

Does it not you that there is such a huge spike in order when the rest of the universe is combusting and dissipating into its heat death?

In the context of the energy content of the entire universe, is it such a huge spike? I always assumed that it was a fairly tiny blip, to be honest, but I'm not an expert.

So I think that if evolution is true, then it points to God's existence.

It might point to a God's existence, possibly even to your God's existence, but it doesn't point to Rhology's God's existence.

That said, Paul, do you have admit any problems with Evolution, or do you violently defend it as a perfect theory? ;)

I don't think the phrase "perfect theory" is meaningful. Do I personally have any problems with evolution? No, although I think it has its limits in cases such as e.g. evolutionary psychology.

windy said...

Okay, the sun... but first, please be nice to me? I'm quite willing to have my objection based on thermodynamics taken away from me, just as long as people are civil.

I sympathize with your request but I'd just like to point out that your earlier post appeared more uncivil than anything that has been directed at you:
"I do think the Darwinians, and particularly those like Dawkins, mishandle science and abuse a theory full of holes to say whatever they want it to say (i.e. Darwinian evolution = theory full of holes)."

If you don't want to accuse evolutionary biologists in general of mishandling science, you might want to be more careful with statements like this (and define what you mean by "Darwinian".)

windy said...

NAL:
I, also being painfully ignorant about biology, appreciate the substantive responses given by Paul C and neil on Stacey's thermodynamics comment. Do you have anything to add to their comments?

Not much, but if Stacey thinks that life violates the laws of physics, wouldn't that suggest that she should look for the "holes" in her physics and not in biology? Since life obviously happens.

Freezing is another example of a local decrease in entropy. Is that against the laws of thermodynamics too?

Stacey:
Every change in entropy occurs as the result of an already high potential to do work. Something must have created that potential.

When the solar system formed in accordance of the laws of physics and fusion ignited in the Sun, an energy gradient was formed where radiation flows from the Sun to the planets. There's your potential. If you want to say that something must have created the laws of physics that enabled this, that's your call, but that's no longer a biology problem!

Rhology said...

all I did was ask a couple questions (not pretending to be an expert!) and my intelligence has been insulted, my qualifications debased, and my typos hawked out.

Yeah, welcome to my world. Imagine how it would be if you were like me and didn't have those qualifications! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I am rather impressed with how ERV is patient and willing to allow annoying concern trolls and the rest to comment one her blog. Having wasted an hour reading the comments of her last few posts, as well as reviewing this blog, don’t think you are actually open to learning.

Yes Abbie/Erv can get rude and snarky. And how she reacted to little attack mouse was petty , but the whole thing, and by the whole thing I mean her on going attempts at rational discussion, humorous discussion, and pointing out how IDiots lie and refuse to learn, she eventually gets frustrated. The exact same way when my 3 year old asks for the 15th time in a row why she has to go to bed….eventually you just get tired of the same question being asked without the questioner listening to the answer. In my daughters defense she is 3. Casie, Behe, and the rest, don’t have that excuse.

And Rhology….neither do you. Stop demanding people explain everything to you and stop creating petty tasks to prove their competence. You want to know if Abby knows her stuff… maybe you should look to see if she has been published. You could read some of her posts on her research. You could do a little work yourself rather then demanding everything be handed to you so you can dismiss it..

If you want an honest debate come prepared with a strong understanding of your opponents position and arguments.
And please provide more in support of your position, then one book. The bible is no more valid then Aesop’s Fables. Actually that is not fair, for the bible actually gives numerous methods of testing if a God exists, such as starting wood soaked in water on fire at the request of his devout followers. Try the experiment. It’s nicely set out in your precious bible. And if your god fails to perform…then like the other god who failed to do so…it proves he does not exist. Go ahead.. be a scientist, follow the well documented methodology from the bible for testing for the existence of a god. And if after multiple attempts at having god create that special fire just for you fail…Accept the evidence.

NAL said...

More regarding the 2nd law of Thermodynamics:

Entropy and Evolution

Presumably the entropy of the Earth’s biosphere is indeed decreasing by a tiny amount due to evolution, and the entropy of the cosmic microwave background is increasing by an even greater amount to compensate for that decrease. But the decrease in entropy required for evolution is so small compared to the entropy throughput that would occur even if the Earth were a dead planet, or if life on Earth were not evolving, that no measurement would ever detect it.

Rhology said...

That's not to say I consider the entropy argument any good, sorry. I used to use it but came to understand its fatal flaw, which I think has been pointed out here. It's no biggie; there are plenty of excellent arguments out there, but sometimes getting better can hurt a little.

Stacey said...

Paul,

But the problem I stated is a common sense problem when applying the physical concept of thermodynamics to the biological system, because the potential energy of an organism cannot be described by thermodynamics in any meaningful way. If you just think about the heat they create and the food that they burn as their potential, then it is rather scant. But anyone who witnesses life, especially human life, knows that the potential for work is immeasurable since we can act and set things into motion.

windy,

I'll clarify for you. When speaking of Darwinians like Dawkins, I was talking about those who overstep the bounds of science and declare that God does not exist based on evolutionary biology. Dawkins even then goes on to say that all the evils in the world are the fault of "religion". Is this not mishandling science? For some reason, because of the mentioning of ERV and staunch atheism combined with evolutionary debates, I thought this is the school of thought we were dealing with here. I do believe I'm qualified to comment on the bounds of science and the scientific method. I was not intending to debate anyone on thermodynamics or attack biologists other than to say they're rather confident in something that cannot be tested as a normal scientific theory should be. (Before you get all upset, can you agree that you cannot perform an experiment to prove that the origin of species is through evolutionary biology?). I find it strange that people defend evolution so fiercely, as if their lives depended on it.

Do you really compare a change in state from liquid to solid to random beneficial mutations occurring over millions of years leading to the type of complex organisms we see here on Earth? Like an eye? Really? I guess there's a lot more to it than temperature and kinetic energy. Windy, I'm surprised you can so easily brush aside something like the increase of organization in a system, and not just the organization described by physics, but the biological increase in organization. Assuming evolution is true, the organic complexity that has built up is illogical. That the sun inputs energy into the system is a given, but that the energy is used to produce mutations that in turn create complex organisms is just not natural.

NAL,

Presumably the entropy of the Earth’s biosphere is indeed decreasing by a tiny amount due to evolution, and the entropy of the cosmic microwave background is increasing by an even greater amount to compensate for that decrease. But the decrease in entropy required for evolution is so small compared to the entropy throughput that would occur even if the Earth were a dead planet, or if life on Earth were not evolving, that no measurement would ever detect it.

I'm sorry, that's kind of funny. The entropy of the cosmic microwave background is increasing to compensate for it? I'd be interested to know how he thought that life on Earth could affect the entropy of the cosmic microwave background. Also, he is taking the term entropy in the physical sense of the word rather than applying the concept to the biological system.

Look, guys, I do not want to start an all out debate about evolutionary biology. I'm not exactly sure how this thread devolved into such a thing. I will bow out. Consider this a win if you will, or consider it that I'd rather chill out this evening with my husband than debate where I'm not wanted.

windy said...

Too many misconceptions in Stacey's post about Dawkins, evolutionary biology, et cetera, to deal all in one go.

Do you really compare a change in state from liquid to solid to random beneficial mutations occurring over millions of years leading to the type of complex organisms we see here on Earth? Like an eye? Really?

No, I wanted to know whether you felt all natural decreases in entropy were against the 2LoT.

Look, guys, I do not want to start an all out debate about evolutionary biology. I'm not exactly sure how this thread devolved into such a thing.

Could it have been that someone wanted to do cross-field critique and ask a bunch of questions about evolutionary biology? I guess you didn't like the answers.

Anonymous said...

Windy,

Are you honestly going to tell everyone that you knew the difference between amino acids and nucleotide bases, because if you are, I would like to hear you expound on it?
Yes, I am allowed to mispeak. I freely admit that I made a mistake. I have not studied organic chem in detail since the 11th grade. I was fortunate enough to test out of all college chem needed for my degree. Shame on me, but my, or Abby's, not knowing some orgo is not really the material point, which you seemed to have forgotten.

BTW I had to ask the crony who did not know the scientific method 5 + times, I could tell he did not know and realized he should have. Then seeing he was looking like a moron for saying something was "not science" when he did not know the scientific method, he hazarded an obvious guess, spacing each element out with a lot of babble. I know he was faking it. You can ask him yourself if he knew the method. I am sure he will be at least as honest with you than he was with me. Shame on me for rubbing his nose in it, but since you all are trying to do the same, regarding the amino acid thing with me, I do not feel terrible. (though I have been taught not to rub noses)
The difference between me and the crony is that I did not try to pretend like I knew after I realized I had forgotten the correct nomenclature (for G-A-T-C-(U)). That is the problem you people have. You can't be honest about the weak points in your own arguments, or even in yourselves. That is what is known as intellectual integrity. I don't know you, so I will not assume you don't have any, but you should consider that most people (not all but most) know when you have an agenda that takes priority over being straight with them. No one sitting on the fence wondering if there is in fact a god/God is going to be convinced one way or another because someone forgot a few irrelevant facts, but they will certainly not listen to someone who they can tell is faking it. If I were you, I would do some soul searching and ask myself how much I would have cared if someone who shared my views had mistated a fact. I think that will help you.

-BlackBlogger

P.S. - I am a real piece of work.

Dr Funkenstein said...

Funkenstein, do you admit problems with evolution from a purely scientific viewpoint?

Depends what you mean by problems - there are definitely still loads of questions to be asked and to attempt to solve, and there are certainly some things about it we'll never be able to know, I would never deny that. There are also still debates over which mechanisms dominate in which situations eg drift vs selection, that kind of thing. Certain applications of the theory are considered a bit dubious (eg as Paul C points out, evolutionary psychology is a good example), and there will inevitably a lot of studies that will be disproven with further research. However, you could say the exact same thing about any aspect of science that you can think of, the ToE just gets a lot of press due to the challenge it poses to certain religious beliefs - I've never understood why so many people expect scientific theories to provide them with answers they expect or want to hear (it's the same scenario with global warming denialists, the vaccines-cause-autism brigade, HIV denialists ect etc).

But in terms of what evidence there is, the general idea that life arose from one or very few ancestral populations is about as close to a fact as you are ever likely to get in the sciences - in principle there are observations that it definitely could not accommodate, whether they are discovered in the future or if past researchers had found them, but thus far noone has found anything that would put a serious dent in the theory.

Alternative ideas that have been offered up (such as creationism, Lamarckian progression or the ideas of Senapathy or Schwabe, for example) simply don't describe the data that exists, or are so vague in the nature of their claims that there's no hypotheses that can be generated from them.

As a physicist, I object to it based on the second law of thermodynamics.

That's one of the oldest objections in the book :-D

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF001.html - this explains why it is not a barrier to evolution

I think even a biblical literalist creationist group such as Answers in Genesis admit that it's a faulty argument and shouldn't be used.


My knowledge of biology is rather pathetic, but I can remember a course in college in which an evolutionary biologist spoke. I asked him a question about exactly how such useful mutations can occur and survive and he could not answer.

I'm not sure what you mean by this - when a mutation arises, it will generally be neutral/near neutral (ie have no obvious effect/minimal +ve or -ve effect on the organism's ability to survive and reproduce). Some mutations can be negative (there are a lot of disorders that are due to point mutations that you probably know of), and will reduce the organism's ability to survive and reproduce, meaning that the more negative the effects of a given mutation the less likely it is eventually become fixed in a population. On the other hand any mutation that has a +ve selective effect will on average have a better chance of being preserved in a population.


This effect varies a lot with population size though - in small populations drift (effects due to random chance in simple terms) has very significant effects, and advantageous mutations are more likely to be lost due to what is referred to as 'sampling error', while neutral or even slightly deleterious mutations become very likely to become fixed - it's kind of analgous to flipping coins: if you only flip 6 coins you might easily get 5 heads even though the probability expectation is 3 heads and 3 tails as each coin flip is 50-50 heads/tails. If you flipped 10,000 coins it would be far closer to an even split. This is similar to the effect of mutations in large or small populations with each successive round of reproduction.

Is this the sort of thing you meant, or did you have something else in mind?

Rhology said...

Anonymous said:
Stop demanding people explain everything to you and stop creating petty tasks to prove their competence.

You might be confusing me with the BlackBlogger. Please reread that section of the post.

Stacey said...

Thank you all for correcting my erroneous assertion with the 2nd law. Again, though, I was not intending to argue against evolution. I consider it irrelevant to living my life and faith. God created the world however He did it, and I just have to deal with the fact that we are here. I don't want to spend my time arguing something that I'm not sure about myself. I was intending to defend the faith in view of evolution, but that's apparently not the discussion I jumped into. That said, as a private citizen, regardless of my knowledge base, you can't deny me the privilege to think what I will about Evolution and care little about investigating it. I will refrain from making further assertions on the issue, given my lack of knowledge. But I will never refrain from defending the Faith in light of science, because they do not contradict each other.

And thank you, Funkenstein, for responding coherently. It's somewhat refreshing to hear someone discussing evolution as a working scientific theory rather than a perfectly sorted out in every way theory.

there are definitely still loads of questions to be asked and to attempt to solve, and there are certainly some things about it we'll never be able to know... There are also still debates over which mechanisms dominate in which situations eg drift vs selection, that kind of thing... and there will inevitably a lot of studies that will be disproven with further research... I've never understood why so many people expect scientific theories to provide them with answers they expect or want to hear

*sigh* Such a to do over such a little thing. Thanks again. I have a big problem with people treating evolution as a more perfect theory than something like the working theory of the structure of stars. There are some crackpots out there that still think the sun has an iron core, though they probably push the issue to keep everyone on their toes. That's really all I ask of the scientific community - that they stay on their toes. So many have gotten completely comfortable with this all encompassing, solves all our problems theory of Evolution that they have lost any creative or critical thoughts on the subject.

Rhology,

I'm not sure why you interact with a group like that from ERV's blog that bears so much ill-will toward theists or anyone who says evolution may not be true. But as for me, I think I'm not cut out for hostile discussion. I much prefer having raging debates with you over justification and what the Catholic Church does or does not teach ;)

Rhology said...

Stacey,

Ah, but the lurkers!

Stacey said...

Rhology,

Hehe... I know what you mean :oP That's why the Catholics persist at BA.

Paul C said...

That's really all I ask of the scientific community - that they stay on their toes. So many have gotten completely comfortable with this all encompassing, solves all our problems theory of Evolution that they have lost any creative or critical thoughts on the subject.

"So many" in the scientific community? I'd be fascinated to see the examples that you're thinking of, if you can provide us with quotes or links. Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Rhology said...
Anonymous said:
Stop demanding people explain everything to you and stop creating petty tasks to prove their competence.

You might be confusing me with the BlackBlogger. Please reread that section of the post.

3. Please explain how a great deal of "evidence for evolution" is not actually evidence for ID in that many experiments entail intelligent manipulation of events to produce microevolutionary change. A great deal of interaction has gone down in the aaaaaaaaaaants thread, so you might want to refresh yourself there first.
#108 - "Modern organisms are the genetic descendants of one original species or communal gene pool."
Same problem remains. How do you get from "they share similar genes" to "they are descendants from past organisms"?

HOX genes……Since you cited this as one of your 2 strongest lines of evidence for your position, please explain how specifically this supports the idea that there *WAS* a common ancestor many billions of yrs ago and please explain without recourse to argumenta ad incredulum or preconceived ideas of what you think a Designer's characteristics might be, how a Designer could not account for these data?
Thanks!
Posted by: Rhology | February 24, 2009 9:51 AM

There all your words

While Blackblogger is definitely an ass with his butane question, you are constantly demanding people explain EVERYTHING to you.

So for 3—it’s called experimental design, in that you limit the number of variables so that you can determine if there is a statistically valid change caused. Also explore animal husbandry. Again look up the answers yourself.

#108 – decent with modification, maybe you have heard of it. Do some research into genetics, you’ll find the reason why for yourself.

Last one…. You are putting forth the concept that a designer is involved, YOU have to show evidence that the Designer was required and that the process could not have arisen though natural means which have been shown to make these changes. Again learn some genetics and you will learn how such a complex series of base pairs tends to remain unchanged though descendents. When changes occur in a series of base pairs it is possible to estimate the frequency of such changes based on known rates of mutation, thus allowing for an understanding of approximately how long ago you get differentiation between two species lines. This matches up with palaeontological evidence. This is verified though experimental evidence. This is why there is confidence in a purely naturalistic cause for evolution and life.

No I am not confusing you for blackblogger... hes questions are just more asinine

Anonymous said...

also consider ERVs.. not the blog(er) but her area of interest. learn about how we share 40 of 42 ERVs with chimpanzees, and how this does provide really strong evidence for common decent.- but go look it up for yourself don’t expect us to do your homework.

Rhology said...

you are constantly demanding people explain EVERYTHING to you.

Not EVERYTHING. Just the things that I think hold water against your position.


it’s called experimental design, in that you limit the number of variables so that you can determine if there is a statistically valid change caused. Also explore animal husbandry.

And how exactly are those examples of NATURAL selection? UNGUIDED?
They're not. They're intelligent design. Next!


Do some research into genetics, you’ll find the reason why for yourself.

Way to avoid the question.


YOU have to show evidence that the Designer was required

I did.


the process could not have arisen though natural means which have been shown to make these changes.

I'm more concerned with whether they DID arise that way. Evidence, please.


learn some genetics and you will learn how such a complex series of base pairs tends to remain unchanged though descendents.

You must have forgotten the points of contention between Darwinism and ID.


This matches up with palaeontological evidence.

Unargued-for assertion. Argue for it.


This is verified though experimental evidence.

Not until you answer my first challenge and this one. Don't use assumptions as evidence. Prove it.

Rhology said...

Justify your extrapolating into what happenED from what you see now. And then make sure to say why an omnipotent Designer couldn't have done it that way, w/o engaging in hypotheticals about why He would do that.

Anonymous said...

because your designer is a magical being you can never argue against what he, or the FSM or Russle’s teapot or the IPU or Thor, or Isis can do.

By showing it can occur without them you show they are irrelevant. If however it could only occur because of a magical interaction, they you have to accept ID.

So how about proving that the FSM isn’t actually the grand designer you are arguing for???

Or maybe you could finally answer that burning question about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Demanding proof that non existent things couldn’t exist, that the designer..who by your definition can do anything… could not have designed life is impossible. Proving a designer isn’t required has been done.

If the designer isn’t required, and if he can never be known or seen…he doesn’t exist until proof, verifiable proof of his noodley appendage is obtained.


Thanks you've been exactly like every other thiest troll.

windy said...

Are you honestly going to tell everyone that you knew the difference between amino acids and nucleotide bases, because if you are, I would like to hear you expound on it?

:D :D I'm a biologist...

Nucleotide bases are the building blocks of nucleic acids - DNA and RNA. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins.

Shame on me for rubbing his nose in it, but since you all are trying to do the same, regarding the amino acid thing with me, I do not feel terrible. (though I have been taught not to rub noses)

I wasn't trying to rub your nose in anything, I was asking Rho how he justified the double standard in the post.

And relax, you just happened to say something that was unintentionally very funny to very many people. It's not some conspiracy to make you feel bad.

P.S. - I am a real piece of work.

I wasn't referring to you, actually.

Stacey said...

Rhology,

I was talking with a friend about this thread and he recommended I pass to you a link. I haven't read through the whole thing, but just a cursory view makes me believe that there is a lot more to this stuff than I ever thought.

If others would like to give me "homework" on the Evolutionist side, I welcome reading material. I don't wish to defend the link I posted, since I haven't read it and don't know what it contains. I won't be engaging in arguments on it.

Rhology said...

Thanks Stacey.
And I recommend you read Henry Gee's _In Search of Deep Time_. It is quite good and he's an evolutionary scientist (but not an atheist).

Stacey said...

Ooowuh! There's a link to Belloc's "Modern Mind" essay on there. That's one of my absolute favorites.

Dr Funkenstein said...

YOU have to show evidence that the Designer was required

I did.


except you didn't - you showed that if we accept your criteria, your conclusion is at best that a. you can prove humans do lab experiments and b. that you have no idea what natural processes can or can't do, because the mere fact that humans exist invalidates every study they conduct into the matter, in your opinion.

Obviously I don't accept your criteria, but were I to do so that's as much as they would allow me to conclude. There's nothing that enables me to then make the jump to 'therefore natural processes are incapable of doing X, Y and Z' or 'therefore a supernatural designer exists and is responsible for X, Y and Z'.

Ace said...

Aseem again. Sorry for the late response. I'll quote you and reply as well, as you have.

...and you started begging questions out the wazoo.., you had been stymied on numerous arguments you'd made..
My my! Hubris much, Rho? Or are you mistaking yourself for me? As far as I can recall, chronologically, this is what occurred: Rho sees the Wedge document copy in Brett's hands and a flurry of questions follows - What is the big deal with the Wedge document?, How does it prove ID is religiously motivated?, (after Brett points out how the reasons for pushing ID as stated in the document are clearly religious) So what if it is religiously motivated? (Wow! Isn't that exactly what West and Luskin had spent the last 3 hours struggling to refute?), (turns to me and introduces himself, questions continue) say I am a freaky fundie, how will you prove to me that evolution is true (Scott takes over), more questions from Rho finally veer the conversation to a point where Scott explains that scientists always work on the assumption that laws of nature, as observed, do not change with time. Rho - 'Ha ha! Caught you there! See? Assumptions! Evolution refuted!!!!' (I shall address this 'assumption' later in my comment, as you've brought up this point elsewhere in yours.) Who was the one asking question after question, Rho?

Laws of logic and math, thoughts, concepts, consciousness, numbers, etc are not material at all but are rather metaphys.
And yes, of course, the God of the Bible created it all.

Logic and mathematics are concepts created by man to ease life up a bit. Like language, mathematics is a way of using numbers to describe things quantitatively. It is a tool. And has so far worked beautifully for us. Consciousness, stimulus etc are functions linked to the brain. If I am not mistaken, consciousness, abstraction, feeling, morality etc. are currently hot research topics in neuroscience and psychology. Why can't we take our eyes off a beautiful painting, and why are we drawn away from the sight of an overfilled trash can? Why does music appeal to us? I concur that a neuroscientist might be able to explain the nature of conscience better than I can.

the onus is on you to prove naturalism. There's no "default position".
This is an old argument and has been refuted numerous times in its various forms. I show you the natural world and you ask me to prove it is exclusively natural. I cannot. But because I see no evidence of there being any supernatural element, I conclude it safe to assume a natural world till somebody provides evidence to prove otherwise. You are the one making the positive assertion of there being a conscious,living, metaphysical element to the world beyond the natural world that we perceive and observe. So, the onus of providing evidence for your assertion is your shoulders. If I claim that there is gold in Oklahoma and you disagree, it is not your burden to dig up all of Oklahoma and show me that there is no gold. The burden is mine to dig and show you the presence of gold. Similarly, I can't scour the universe and tell you there is nothing supernatural. You need to demonstrate an instance of a supernatural occurrence (just one will do), one that defies the known laws of physics, chemistry or biology, to provide evidence to back up your claim. Till you do that, naturalism is the default position.

of course, the God of the Bible created it all.
Again, evidence, please. And claiming that we cannot have evidence because the evidence for something supernatural would not be natural, and hence would be be able to be perceived through natural means, sounds like nothing but a cop-out! You're going to have to do better than that.And please do not use circular logic.

I just thought you left..
You thought wrong. I was standing only a couple of inches behind you, with Brett, Paul and Charles, while you continued your conversation with Scott.

If you can quote me somewhere or think you remember sthg I said on Friday night that would lead you to believe that I agree 100% with these ID men..
I am sorry. You were so anti-evolution, I thought you were an IDer. I apologize. I see now that I was wrong. You are not an IDer; you are a creationist. Sigh! Atleast you are honest enough to not disguise creationism in a cheap tuxedo and try to sell it as ID.

No, b/c they're not true.
By the same token, neither should Darwinism be taught in the science classroom..

Just how is yours any 'truer' than the rest? And if by 'Darwinism' you mean 'biological evolution', it is not a worldview. It is science. A person can be Christian, atheist, agnostic, Muslim, Rastafarian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jew, Jain and still be 'Darwinist'.

b/c it's full of horsecrap.
(I'm still assuming that by 'Darwinism', you mean 'biological evolution')Correct. Years of observed, tested, consistent, scientific, peer reviewed and published data is utterly full of horsecrap.

no reason to be certain that said processes were in place 200 years ago.
Here is where I address' the assumption' that Scott spoke about I mentioned earlier in this comment. Scientists work on the premise that observed laws of nature remain consistent over time, which is an observation itself. Call it an assumption if you will. But it is working with this very 'assumption' that has led scientists to explore and discover so many things about the world we didn't know, resulting in the scientific and technological advancement we have today. Literally everything you use today, from the clothes we wear, to the field of medicine, everything is a result of working with that assumption. If that were not to be the case, why would be bother studying the world and trying to make sense of it at all? If apples that fell off trees, hit the ground one day, flew into outer space on some other day, and just vanished into thin air, on any other day, all depending on the unpredictable mood of a supernatural deity, why would anybody bother studying gravity? There would be no theory of gravity. And hence no designing or building spacecraft, or calculating the escape velocity etc. If that 'assumption' were not true Rho, we would not be able to apply it.But we have. Without it, there is no end to the number of fantasies you can make up, without having to justify any of them. If the 'assumption' is your argument against evolution, it should also be your argument against gravity, plate tectonics, thermodynamics, Doppler effect etc. But you have no problems accepting those, do you?

Nice talking to you too.

Peace,
Aseem.

Rhology said...

Aseem,

Please see here.

Anonymous said...

Though this thread is probably stale, I have to say "nice dodge" to Windy. She answered my irrelevant scientific trivia (though I had forgotten DNA and RNA were collectively known as nucleic acids - so thanks), and did not address the relevant philosophical issue: Why did the anti-ID guy, an austensible "Defender-of-science" (insert corny hero music) not know what science actually is?

The answer is simple: He does not care about science. He is an ideologue who thinks the world will be better if people come to the same secular philosophical conclusions that he has, and will use any argument to prosthelatize his viewpoint. If one scientist in world simply says, "ID is not science," that will be good enough for him, and he will be playing playstation rather than reading an the 50 page scientific paper supporting the opinion. This is a relevant point because it connects the tide of "scientific" criticism to ID with blind, irrational, unscientific secular humanism (for one person).
That is a material point.
Another material point I raised that is unaddressed is the fact that he tried to fake it. He could not just say "OK, ya got me, I'm not a scientist, I don't even have a science degree, and I divide my spare time between video games and porn."
Add the points up:
Person who does wants us to teach secular humanism exclusively + does not know/care about science + does not always tell the truth about what he knows = your typical ID critic.

and I am a piece of work even if you don't say it.
-BB