Wednesday, April 01, 2009

My 2nd encounter with ERV

I attended a debate this past Thursday between ERV and one Dr Charles Jackson because I spotted it on ERV. And of course, since I'm a creotard and a Trinity spawn, I thought it would be a good time. The topic was: “Does Molecular Genetics Support Human Evolution?” and it took place at a local evangelical church (or at least I'm pretty sure it's like an evangelical Bible church).

A few impressions:
-Charles Jackson is kind of a weird guy, but oh well. I would imagine extended exposure to studying these topics might mess one up a bit. I can feel it creeping into my own psyche as well. Plus, I can't say that any YEC creation-scientist type has ever come across to me as what I'd call "normal", for better or worse.
-ERV herself, in person, is quite personable, even courteous, even friendly. I have never, ever met someone whose online persona differs more from their real-life persona than ERV's does. It is absolutely amazing - one would never expect that the person who appeared at the debate was the same person who blogs at ERV. I can't help but ascribe that to a fair amount of intellectual dishonesty, really. I admit that I'm bolder behind the keyboard than I am in real life, but not much, and part of the difference in tone is the lack of vocal nuance and body language, etc, that is invisible through a screen.
-The initial presentations from both sides were garbage. Each side made, as far as I could tell, precisely 1 ½ points. I didn't know what to expect from Jackson; to be honest, I expected a bit of a Kent Hovind type. I suppose he fit that sort of, but Hovind is at least far slicker in his presentations. The weird thing is that ERV had a, if you will, captive audience, and 20 whole minutes to make her case to a group of fundies, myself, Vox Veritatis, and 2 other Bible-thumper friends included. ERV used perhaps 13 minutes of her initial presentation, and the main point (illustrated through an exposition of her research of endogenous retroviruses and suchlike) was "The genetic differences we see only make sense in an evolutionary paradigm." That's it? Really? Out of the mountains upon mountains of evidence you allegedly have, you were able to pare it down to that?
-The moderation was nonexistent, and that ended up being a good thing, because the structure was: 20 min initial presentation, 10 min rebuttal, audience Q&A. No cross-ex, which is the heart and soul of any good debate. But since the format was pretty open and audience members felt the freedom to stand up and speak to the debaters, which happened occasionally but not overwhelmingly, and since there was no time limit fixed, the debaters interacted sometimes with audience members and increasingly with each other as well. The nearly 2-hour Q&A period was thus by far the most enjoyable part of the debate. Jackson shined in this interaction period, repeatedly overturning points from ERV and even surprising me by shutting down an audience member with whom I'm quite familiar on a fairly obscure point about the Permian extinction or something. He didn't win them all, far from it, but he did far better than I'd expected and easily won the debate.
-Jackson is very evidentialist in his apologetic orientation. Numerous times my friends and I would feel him closing in on a great point and would prepare for jubilation as he closed the noose...only to lapse back into frustration as he veered aside from the jugular to snarl and tear at the opponent's shinbone again. Too bad.

I was able to ask ERV a set of questions not too far into the Q&A session. I know that live Q&A in debates like this generally turn to irrelevant and emotional diatribes, so I resolved to stick to the topic at hand and got my chance when ERV made her "The genetic differences we see only make sense in an evolutionary paradigm" point.
First question: I repeated her point back to her, then asked her to consider a different paradigm in which God created the world and humans good, but then humans fell into sin. Sin has a seriously deleterious (noetic) effect on the world as well as humans and leads to bad mutations, death, etc. Thus these genetic differences are accounted for by God's design and the subsequent effects of sin.
ERV responded that she agreed - that would account for the genetic differences.
What I should have then said was, "So, given that this was your main point and that you concede it, do you concede the debate?"
Without the audio of the debate, however, I can't recall exactly what occurred in between, unfortunately (edit: See the interaction here). It ended, however, by ERV saying something about not being able to take the miraculous or supernatural (or sthg like that) into acct in actual research in the lab.
I then said "Thank you. Final question, then - would you say that you have an a priori commitment to naturalism?" and gave the mic to someone else. She responded in a way that made me want to grab the mic back, actually - "Well, of course - in the lab I have to follow the evidence". (Edit: Apparently, some don't hear her answer that way, and I can kind of see where they're coming from, enough to concede partly that there's a good chance I heard wrong. See this comment for more information.) This doesn't answer the question at all, but it was a cute sidestep. Had I had the chance, I would have continued, "Oh, what is your evidence for naturalism?" and had a good time that way, but it was not to be. Again, too bad.

Further comment from me is found here.

38 comments:

agnostiChicagOkie said...

Sin has a seriously deleterious (noetic) effect on the world as well as humans and leads to bad mutations, death, etc. Thus these genetic differences are accounted for by God's design and the subsequent effects of sin.

If retroviral insertions at autologous parts of massively complex genomes in different primate species can be explained by the effects of sin in the world, I'd sure be interested in hearing how. The geneticists I've read are of the opinion that the odds of such insertions coincidentally occurring in the same part of different genomes in the absence of common ancestry are so small as to be considered negligible.

zilch said...

If retroviral insertions at autologous parts of massively complex genomes in different primate species can be explained by the effects of sin in the world, I'd sure be interested in hearing how.

agnostiChicagOkie- I can field that one for Rhology: "That's just the way that God wanted to do it. Prove that He didn't. End of story."

Sorry to be so blunt, Rho, but that's what your stock answer to evidence for evolution boils down to. Of course, such a position cannot be disproved. But that's no advantage if you are looking for useful information: there are an infinite number of such "answers", they are unfalsifiable, the add no knowledge about the way things work, and they have no evidence going for them.

In short, they are religion, not science. Just keep such "answers" out of public school science classes, and there's no problem.

agnostiChicagOkie said...

If God wanted to create the deceptive appearance that humans and other primates share a common ancestor, He could harly do better than to insert strings of useless (or possibly harmful) DNA into autologous locations in all the relevant genomes. I trust, though, that God is not the author of such confusion.

zilch said...

We've pointed out to Rho numerous times that God mimicking naturalistic evolution so well, that He doesn't seem to exist, is tantamount to deception. Rho's reply thus far has simply been "God does not deceive". I guess by these standards that the perpetrators of Piltdown Man were not "deceitful" either.

justfinethanks said...

Charles Jackson is kind of a weird guy, but oh well. I would imagine extended exposure to studying these topics might mess one up a bit. I can feel it creeping into my own psyche as well. Plus, I can't say that any YEC creation-scientist type has ever come across to me as what I'd call "normal", for better or worse.

Rho, this is what cognitive dissonance can do to you. Jackson knows that evolution makes sense of the evidence, but he can't accept it because he has a deep emotional commitment to a literal Genesis. Being torn in these two opposing directions intellectually can totally mess you up. This is also what is "creeping into your psyche." If you think that you can never accept evolution no matter how much evidence is provided to you, then you should just stop studying evolution right now. You won't really learn anything, and it will only damage you psychologically. Understanding evolution but rejecting it anyways will turn you into Jackson in short time.

NAL said...

Rho:
"Oh, what is your evidence for naturalism?"

Reality exists.

Rhology said...

Hi all,

Agnostic said:
If retroviral insertions at autologous parts of massively complex genomes in different primate species can be explained by the effects of sin in the world

...OR by creation of God, remember. There are two things going on here. Usually ToE-ers forget one or the other. You forgot the one ToE-ers usually remember.
See what zilch said.


If God wanted to create the deceptive appearance that humans and other primates share a common ancestor, He could harly do better than to insert strings of useless (or possibly harmful) DNA into autologous locations in all the relevant genomes.

Not deceptive appearance. Rather, I contend that He made it so that sinful men who are suppressing the truth (and like zilch don't care about the truth), who are using limited methodology, limited instrumentation, limited observational powers, and limited knowledge, who dont' have a time machine, would see what they want to see. You set out to find evidence that the world is not as God said it is. Very well - you'll find some of the things you're looking for, b/c you want to find them and interpret them within an empty, crap worldview to form a conclusion that leads to epistemological suicide.
Yeah, that's really not that impressive, come to think of it.



zilch said
sorry to be so blunt, Rho, but that's what your stock answer to evidence for evolution boils down to

You expect me to be apologise for my position? :-) Sorry, buddy, not today.


such a position cannot be disproved.

1) Which is why I believe it.
2) The principle of falsification itself can't be disproved, but I don't hear you crying about that.


the add no knowledge about the way things work, and they have no evidence going for them.

Well I certainly don't agree with that. The Bible describes a great many true things about the world.


Just keep such "answers" out of public school science classes,

You yourself admitted recently that you're not concerned with what is true, but rather what conforms to a pre-conceived structure of ideas.
If you don't care about what's true, I wouldn't think you'd make a good teacher at all, actually. "OK class, do you want me to teach you the prevailing orthodoxy, or do you want me to teach you what's true?"


jft said:
Jackson knows that evolution makes sense of the evidence

What evidence? I keep asking and you keep bluffing.



NAL said:
Rho:
"Oh, what is your evidence for naturalism?"

Reality exists.


On Christianity, reality exists. So... what's your evidence that naturalism is true?

NAL said...

Rho:
So... what's your evidence that naturalism is true?

You. You are my evidence. When you're sick, who do you run to? That bastion of naturalism, modern medicine.

Rhology said...

True. Now, why is modern medicine not equally compatible with Christianity?

Dr Funkenstein said...

Rather, I contend that He made it so that sinful men who are suppressing the truth (and like zilch don't care about the truth), who are using limited methodology, limited instrumentation, limited observational powers, and limited knowledge, who dont' have a time machine, would see what they want to see.

Alternatively, we could ignore the fact the those exact 'limited' basic set of principles, limited equipment and the 'limited' know how of apparently all its practitioners have enabled us to travel to the moon, send telescopes beyond our solar system, underpin an oil industry, cure previously incurable diseases, run nuclear power plants and so on and so forth, and instead simply put our stock in one (or more like a few) unknown author's say-so.

On the other hand we could consider that its unlikely a person or small group of people 2500+ years ago would have had any access to the sort of knowledge we take for granted now, and simply made up a story that sounded reasonably plausible to them at the time. I'd also point out that ,for example, I can write down 'the Earth's core is made of warm cheese' - this however, does not make those claims a physical fact in reality, the same way that someone writing down 'the world and all living things were created in 6 days' does not suddenly make that true in reality just because they said so (or claimed that their god of choice said so).

if we go through the checklist:

Limited knowledge - would any of the biblical authors would have known Australia or America existed? Or been aware of animals in South American rainforests? Would they have known that living things are made up of cells?

Limited observational powers - could they have sequenced a genome, or measured radioactive decay rates?

Lack of time machine - I have a lack of time machine to between ~4000 BC to the first century AD - guess we can't say if anything from that era is true or not then! Unfortunately, that would include one fairly major world religion...Anyway, this is another one we've been over time and time again, and as usual the same stock argument gets rolled out - you are quite obviously aware that indirect observation is common practice in science for all manner of things you have no trouble accepting, so it beats me why this refrain gets repeated every time.

Seeing what they want to see - of course, no member of a religious organisation or cult has a. ever promoted their own agenda or b. declared that anyone who doesn't agree with whatever series of (often obscure or bizarre) beliefs they hold is merely 'suppressing the truth'. The guys from the flat Earth society or the folk who think 9/11 was an inside job make this argument too. It's got no substance whatsoever.


You set out to find evidence that the world is not as God said it is.

Guys like Hutton and Lyall set out to find evidence that the world is as god (or more accurately, his spokesmen) said it was ie approximately 10K years old and shaped by a worldwide flood. Part of the reason Darwin began to investigate and study the natural world was because he wondered why God had hidden so many amazing creatures out of sight.

Of course, all of them ended up with conclusions not aligned with the Genesis myth, despite having at least some pro-biblical bias to begin with - they were just honest enough to conclude the biblical authors had got it wrong. Not really surprising, as I wouldn't have expected people 2500+ years ago to have all the right answers to life's questions.

This argument can easily be turned round to point out that organisations like AIG openly admit as a starting assumption they will not countenance anything the disproves any part of the bible. Makes you wonder why they even bother to get involved in scientific argument if they do that.

Very well - you'll find some of the things you're looking for, b/c you want to find them and interpret them within an empty, crap worldview to form a conclusion that leads to epistemological suicide.

On the other hand, it might well be that large chunks of the bible simply aren't true, hence the reason we find so much evidence to the contrary or absence of support for a lot of its stories - this argument is as easily turned round and declared as 'you just have a supernatural bias, and will ignore anything that doesn't fit the arbitrary presupposition you've chosen to align your views with'.

For example, when I read the seemingly never ending list of problems with a global flood

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-noahs-ark.html

I conclude its simply far more likely that a GF never happened, as I would in any other situation where a view so clearly at odds with reality is being promoted. No doubt you would too for any non-biblical idea with this many holes in it. At the very, very least (and I feel even saying this is being far too generous to the biblical position), the naturalist has very plausible reasons to reject the idea of a GF.

On the latter part, noone has any reason to take that seriously - presuppositional Christianity essentially takes the same assumptions/axioms we all make or use, subsumes them into the God character then declares itself the winner, minus any real reason we need to actually add on that extra assumption (other than maybe because guys like SyeTenB like to create 2000 replies on blog posts perhaps?).

On Christianity, reality exists. So... what's your evidence that naturalism is true?

I think NAL's point may be that we are all in agreement that the natural world exists (after all, we're in it now, having this conversation) - Christians claim something exists in addition to that. So the burden of proof is on the theist to show either by evidence or logical proof that supernatural beings do in fact exist.

You. You are my evidence. When you're sick, who do you run to? That bastion of naturalism, modern medicine.

This is quite correct - supernatural explanations are wanted simply for arbitrarily chosen phenomena that suit the supernaturalist's own preferences (eg that 2 each of all the world's animals could fit in a wooden boat not big enough to contain them). Special pleading at it's finest really.

NAL said...

Rho:
Now, why is modern medicine not equally compatible with Christianity?

Because modern medicine uses natural explanations to explain natural phenomenon, not supernatural explanations to explain natural phenomenon.

zilch said...

You yourself admitted recently that you're not concerned with what is true, but rather what conforms to a pre-conceived structure of ideas.
If you don't care about what's true, I wouldn't think you'd make a good teacher at all, actually.


Now, now, Rho- that's not what I said. I pointed out the difference between capital T "Truth", that is, absolute Truth, and lower case t "truth", which is empirical truth. As I said, without any argument from you, absolute Truth only obtains in systems of formal logic such as mathematics; empirical truth, while it can be so certain that we can and do bet our lives on it (for instance, the truth that the Sun will rise tomorrow morning), is not provable.

You have implied that the existence of God is in the realm of absolute Truth, but have not given any evidence for this claim so far. So unless you think teachers should only teach formal logic and nothing else, then your criticism of my abilities as a teacher are meaningless.

And where do you get this "pre-conceived structure of ideas" from? I don't recall saying anything of the sort. I'm concerned with (among other things) making my model of the Universe as good a fit as possible, not in finding things that "conform" to what I think already. That's rather a specialty of the religious viewpoint, which has an unalterable text to which the world must conform, willy-nilly.

You set out to find evidence that the world is not as God said it is. Very well - you'll find some of the things you're looking for, b/c you want to find them and interpret them within an empty, crap worldview to form a conclusion that leads to epistemological suicide.

I'm perfectly open to finding evidence that the world is as God (whichever God) says it is. So far, I haven't found any such evidence, but I've found a lot of evidence that people make up religions all the time. Surely, you must find this too, or are all religions true? I just think that one more religion is made up than you do.

And as far as our worldview being empty, crap, and epistemological suicide goes, how would you know? I don't find my worldview to be empty or crap, and its epistemological status is meaningless to me, as I find that epistemology, like religion itself, has no subject matter.

cheers from springy Vienna, zilch

justfinethanks said...

He made it so that sinful men who are suppressing the truth ...

In the 1950's Dr. Robert Jay Lifton studied thought control techniques employed by Chinese Communists. He came up with eight methods one can use to totally control a group's thoughts. One of them is called the "sacred science." The "sacred science" is a belief system which is made out to be either impossible or terribly wrong to deviate from.

Here's what he had to say about this brain control technique:

The totalist milieu maintains an aura of sacredness around its basic dogma, holding it out as an ultimate moral vision for the ordering of human existence. This sacredness is evident in the prohibition (whether or not explicit) against the questioning of basic assumptions, and in the reverence which is demanded for the originators of the Word, the present bearers of the Word, and the Word itself.

Thus the ultimate moral vision becomes an ultimate science; and the man who dares to criticize it, or to harbor even unspoken alternative ideas, becomes not only immoral and irreverent, but also "unscientific."

The assumption here is not so much that man can be God, but rather that man's ideas can be God: that an absolute science of ideas (and implicitly, an absolute science of man) exists, or is at least very close to being attained; that this science can be combined with an equally absolute body of moral principles; and that the resulting doctrine is true for all men at all times. Although no ideology goes quite this far in overt statement, such assumptions are implicit in totalist practice.


It's funny that Dr. Lifton thought he had to add that last sentence, because he couldn't have predicted the rise of presuppositionalism at the time. Presuppers actually DO think that a belief in God is "true for all men at all times." They also think that to have a different belief is not just wrong, but also "immoral and irreverent, {and} unscientific."

These are nonsense opinions to hold, and if you actually believe that "unbelievers believe" or that "all worldviews presuppose Christian theism" then you have been stone cold brainwashed through the "sacred science" technique. And thus your beliefs are as meaningful as your average Moonie, Branch davidian, or Heaven's Gate member.

If I were you I would pick up a copy of "Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of 'Brainwashing' in China." by Dr. Robert Jay Lifton. You might discover that the reason you think the things you do is for the same reason that American POWs became communist sympathizers: powerful thought reform techniques designed to weaken your ego and force you to accept the "sacred science" of Christianity

You expect me to be apologise for my position? :-) Sorry, buddy, not today.

Your entire argument is "God did it. Prove me wrong!" Not even Answers in Genesis attempts this intellectually bankrupt nonsense. Besides, as I've pointed out repteadly, the "God did it. Prove me wrong!" position is also the "I think science is a pointless and fruitless exercise" position. Which, coming from someone who thinks that they posses the only worldview from which science is possible, is basically a concession of defeat.


What evidence? I keep asking and you keep bluffing.

Well, I have yet to hear your explanation of how it is that Paleontologists were able to successfully predict where a perfect transitional between lobe finned fishes and tetrapods would be. And your response to all of genetic related information is just a wholly scientifically illiterate "God did it that way."
I also don't think you have explained your personal take on biostratiography, i.e. why it is that you never, ever see a Great Dane and a trilobite next to each other in the geologic column. Nor have I heard your explanation on why there are atavisms (genetic throwbacks like human babies with tails, birds with teeth, and whales and dolphins with hind legs).

Come to think of it, you have been offered plenty of evidence, and have yet to offer anything that even comes close to an intelligible rebuttal to them. In fact, I defy you to make BEAR 3: “The Order of Fossils in the Geologic Strata Provides Overwhelming Evidence that Different Kinds of Organisms Lived and Became Extinct in Different Eras throughout the History of the Earth (rather than all being created simultaneously), and that Human Beings Only Appeared on this Planet within the last 200,000 Years.” It will be an interesting project, and you’ll be forced to do some real, actual scientific research.

Rhology said...

DF said:
we could ignore the fact the those exact 'limited' basic set of principles, limited equipment and the 'limited' know how of apparently all its practitioners have enabled us to travel

1) All of which are unchanged under Christianity.
2) Who's denying these are beyond our power? Time travel is. The point is that you can't observe what happened. And yet the testimony of an observer is available, and you scrabble around in the dust in an attempt to discredit it.


its unlikely a person or small group of people 2500+ years ago would have had any access to the sort of knowledge we take for granted now

External critique. God spoke to them - it's not the case that they "had access" in and of themselves.


I have a lack of time machine to between ~4000 BC to the first century AD - guess we can't say if anything from that era is true or not then!

This is YOUR self-created problem, not mine. You're the one discounting eyewitness testimony, acting like you have some untainted evidence for ToE's accounting for life as we see it today.


the naturalist has very plausible reasons to reject the idea of a GF.

You also have very plausible reasons to reject naturalism. Your refusal to do so doesn't do wonders for my confidence in your independent thinking.


presuppositional Christianity essentially takes the same assumptions/axioms we all make or use

How so? Christianity came first, you know. Science grew straight out of the Christian worldview. Isaac Newton was a theist, Mendel was a Christian.
I didn't realise Christianity utilises unquestioned methodological naturalism. You must know sthg I don't. Do you think you could let me define my own position, please?


guys like SyeTenB like to create 2000 replies on blog posts perhaps?

Given the dogpile I experienced at ERV, I'm not going to shed too many tears for you poor outnumbered atheists.



NAL said:
Because modern medicine uses natural explanations to explain natural phenomenon, not supernatural explanations to explain natural phenomenon.

So does a Christian view of science. Thanks, next?


zilch said:
empirical truth, while it can be so certain that we can and do bet our lives on it (for instance, the truth that the Sun will rise tomorrow morning), is not provable.

On naturalism, fine. Not so on Christianity. The promise of an infallible and all-powerful God is sufficient proof for anything.


You have implied that the existence of God is in the realm of absolute Truth, but have not given any evidence for this claim so far

You mean that the question of His existence is not empirically verifiable or falsifiable? Much like the principle of falsification itself? True enough.
The utter failure of alternative worldviews is sufficient evidence of His existence in the "realm" of absolute Truth.


And where do you get this "pre-conceived structure of ideas" from? I don't recall saying anything of the sort.

You have repeatedly informed me that you are a materialistic naturalist. that's what I mean. You reject facts that don't fit that grid as imagination or fanciful or whatever. Your commitment to MN is more powerful than your commitment to the truth, and that is seen clearly in your discussions about the nature of science.


And as far as our worldview being empty, crap, and epistemological suicide goes, how would you know?

B/c I used to be an atheist, and I've studied your worldview and talked to many others like you, that's how. Come now, don't be upset by that - rather, show me where I'm wrong if I'm wrong. that's what *I* do when people misstate my position.



jft said:
They also think that to have a different belief is not just wrong, but also "immoral and irreverent, {and} unscientific."

I might disagree with the unscientific part - that would have to be qualified. But in general, yes.


as I've pointed out repteadly, the "God did it. Prove me wrong!" position is also the "I think science is a pointless and fruitless exercise" position.

No, it's merely pointing out the manifest failure of the current scientific 'consensus' to acct for the questions I'm raising. This is a strawman.


I have yet to hear your explanation of how it is that Paleontologists were able to successfully predict where a perfect transitional between lobe finned fishes and tetrapods would be.

That's a good question that I don't have the answer to, actually.
Again, however, it fits perfectly into my worldview, which means it's not evidence for (or against) your worldview or against mine, since both can acct for it just fine.
I'd say that said paleontologists have identified patterns that God has placed/God used the flood to place in the strata, etc, and mislabeled them. That whole mislabeling thing happens a lot.


just a wholly scientifically illiterate "God did it that way."

Naked assertion.
1) Why scientifically illiterate?
2) Does that necessarily mean false? How do you know?


I defy you to make BEAR 3

that's hardly my field! I know next to nothing about such. I prefer to hit y'all where it hurts in these posts anyway, and I just think my posts are better.

justfinethanks said...

No, it's merely pointing out the manifest failure of the current scientific 'consensus' to acct for the questions I'm raising. This is a strawman.

"Hey, maybe God did it that way!" explains and accounts for nothing in science. You are actually arguing that despite the fact that all known scientific evidence in the genome screams for descent with modification, that conclusion is nonetheless false. This is no strawman. This is you saying that science is fruitless, since positive scientific evidence for evolution in the genome means nothing. Positive evidence for special creation in the genome might include things like genomic size correlating to biological complexity, or "kinds" being totally genetically unique from each other. But we don't see this.

I'd say that said paleontologists have identified patterns that God has placed/God used the flood to place in the strata, etc, and mislabeled them. That whole mislabeling thing happens a lot.

Rho, I wish you could be an evolutionist, or even just an Old Earth creationist, at least for a few moments, just so you could appreciate how funny this explanation is with the rest of us.

Why scientifically illiterate?

Because "God did it that way" doesn't actually account for the data. It's just a, as you say, "naked assertion," without really any evidence to show that there was an intelligence who made these evolutionary-pointing genomic differnces and similarities on purpose. Other creationists at least try to make weak cases as to why ERV insertions aren't actually random or some nonsense. You are actually the first creationist over the age of 13 I have ever heard of who thinks that "That's just the way God did it" means anyhing when handling the evidence for evolution.

that's hardly my field! I know next to nothing about such. I prefer to hit y'all where it hurts in these posts anyway, and I just think my posts are better.

Fair enough. But perhaps you should add a subtitle to Bad Evolutionary Arguments Refued: "And Strong Evolutionary Arguments Studiously Ignored, Because Really, I've Got Nothing on Them."

Rhology said...

You're not following me, it would appear. But you are getting more and more shrill, which is not a good sign for your arguments.
The facts of the genome scream just as loudly for IDH, b/c IDH also fits the facts. There is no evidence here in ToE's favor, since IDH can explain it just as well. You don't like the explanation; that's your problem.


Positive evidence for special creation in the genome might include things like genomic size correlating to biological complexity, or "kinds" being totally genetically unique from each other.

Shrug. Or it could be the way the genome is today. Since IDH accts for it just as well, I could just as rationally and with just as much warrant say that you are stealing my stuff! And I'd be just as wrong as you.
You need to find some facts that DO NOT fit IDH and do fit ToE. Then you'd actually have some evidence in your favor.


"God did it that way" doesn't actually account for the data

Oh, b/c you say so? Give an argument why not.
My position: God exists. He is very very powerful and sometimes acts in His creation.
Now, why doesn't my position account for a given datum? If you want, be specific and give a specific reason why my position doesn't acct for it. It's fairly easy to do with ToE; do it, just once, for my position.

justfinethanks said...

But you are getting more and more shrill, which is not a good sign for your arguments.

Yeah, I know a lot of people who try to save face by calling their opponents "shrill" whenever they get spanked by their intellectual betters. I hope the same strategy makes you feel better.

The facts of the genome scream just as loudly for IDH, b/c IDH also fits the facts.

Only in your feeble, uneducated, and brainwashed mind.

Imagine for a moment that you are a police officer who turns a corner to see a dead body on the floor with blood trickling from it. Ten feet away there is a man with a gun with smoke coming out if it. The man with the gun mumbles "God controls all matter. Maybe God put the dead body there and a smoking gun in my hand on purpose. This explanation accounts for the data just as well as your 'I murdered that guy' theory." If you would arrest him anyway, then you understand why your Goddidit hypothesis stumbles out of the gate.

Oh, b/c you say so? Give an argument why not.

Uh, ok. Lets take ERV insertion between humans and apes for example. ERV insertion is random and and we can see a multitude of ERVs inserted in the exact same place in the Chimp and Human genome. This makes sense in the evolutionary paradigm, because since humans and chimps shared a common ancestor, that ancestor had ERVs that were accumulated, and simply stayed in the genome when the species split between humans, gorllias, chimps, orangutans, macaques, etc. In other words, evolution can explain WHY (common descent) and HOW (reverse transcription of ERVs)the genome appears that way.

And just because I'm feeling frisky, here is a genuine, bonafide, scientific peer reviewed article to back up my claim.

Demographic Histories of ERV-K in Humans, Chimpanzees and Rhesus Monkeys


If you want your pathetic theory to compete, you have to give specific reasons WHY (i.e. what were god's intentions) god chose to create the genome in this manner and HOW (i.e. what methods he used) he did it, and how these explanations make sense with the assumption that humans and chimps were made whole. And if you want to compete with ME, maybe you should try scanning the peer reveiwed literature to come up with some REAL science to back up your assertions. If you are unable to come up with an answer that doesn't involve pulling one from your ass, you are more than welcome to sit down, shut up, and suck on the long fat schlong of science.

Rhology said...

The man with the gun mumbles "God controls all matter. Maybe God put the dead body there and a smoking gun in my hand on purpose. This explanation accounts for the data just as well as your 'I murdered that guy' theory."

1) True, sorta. Now we would ask whether anyone seriously maintains that such a God exists and go from there. You're learning!
2) It's disingenuous to compare a few-seconds-ago event to sthg like macroevol, which has never been observed but which is supposed to be evidenced by million-year-old fossils. not quite the same.
3) OTOH, this example is in answer to my challenge along genetic lines. Rework your analogy - this doesn't fly.


ERV insertion is random

Begging the question.


here is a genuine, bonafide, scientific peer reviewed article to back up my claim.

Thanks, but I don't recall denying that your paradigm can make sense of this. I merely contend that mine can do so equally as well.



you have to give specific reasons WHY (i.e. what were god's intentions)

1) God does everythg for the same reason - to glorify Himself.
2) In another sense, the answer is not too different from the evolutionary paradigm - stuff happens. Hooray - the ERVs inserted. Now, why does this strike a blow against IDH?


HOW (i.e. what methods he used) he did it

I'm not actually sure, but that's hardly my concern at this point. If it was part of creation, He did so supernaturally. If not, He allowed them to insert thru natural processes.
The point is that you are assuming that these ERVs were in place before the human/chimp split, but this is supposed to be where you're offering EVIDENCE. See the difference? Between assumption and evidence?

Finally, your manners are increasingly poor. If profanity = intellectual superiority as you seem to claim, I am glad to admit you've got me beat by a long shot.

Dr Funkenstein said...

I have a query that relates to this and a previous point regarding Steve's critique of Richard Carrier's claim that the fact quite a number of gospel passages are word for word the same (or close enough) is evidence they were copied from a common source. You reply was words to the effect that god could have independently made them read exactly the same without the writers copying each other/a shared source.

When we mark student essays, we put their work into a program that searches the web and other essays for matching or highly similar passages - when there is substantial match up between passages in the essay and passages in other sources, the student is charged with plagiarism. Since a large percent of the students are non-Christians, and as you have said that eg in Thessalonians God will send deceptions on non believers, do you think that a hypothetical student accused of plagiarism would have a reasonable defense if they quoted that passage and said God beamed the exact same words as in web sources or another student's essay into their head, and the fact they match up is sheer coincidence?

Relating to your point above and your 'God just did it that way theory here, this is essentially the view you are promoting in both cases (historical and biological, respectively). Do you think we should reasonably excuse students from what appears to be cases of extensive plagiarism because we can't differentiate between copying and a supernatural being just making it happen that way, just as we should accept what appears to be common ancestry as being equally in favour of a designer who likes to make things look like common ancestry? If you don't agree with this, could you explain why not?

Dr Funkenstein said...

Begging the question.

There's a hypothesis for creationists to test then - show us how ERVs can insert in a clearly non-random fashion, to the point where we can see them inserting with regularity at the same places in the genomes of distinct species

The point is that you are assuming that these ERVs were in place before the human/chimp split, but this is supposed to be where you're offering EVIDENCE. See the difference? Between assumption and evidence?

This is remarkably simple:

If ERVs insert randomly (and it appears that they do as far as I am aware), then it is unlikely that two species that had no relationship via ancestry would have any shared ERV insertions never mind several

If they shared no ancestry, it is doubtful that we would ever see any insertions at the same locations in the chimp vs human genomes.

So if we do see this, it's reasonable enough based on the simplified overview of ERVs above that if they did show several shared ERV insertions, it's likely because they got there via a common ancestor, since the odds of random insertions occurring at the exact same locations several times in two unrelated species, are so astronomically unlikely as to not be worth considering. If a common ancestor had them, then we would expect that both lineages would have them.

If you resort to the God just did it hypothesis, you still have to ask why he's making it look like common ancestry, especially since it's not unreasonable based on Genesis that we should not find anything that even looks like common ancestry - since on problem with this is that you've said humans and chimps etc are separate kinds - even with the appearance of common ancestry hypothesis, we'd still be forced to categorise them as the same kinds based on the data! Which is a big problem for the idea that the biblical God is the designer...

justfinethanks said...

1) God does everythg for the same reason - to glorify Himself.

"No, officer, my god placed a smoking gun in my hand and a body in front of me to glorify himself."

You tried to handwave it away, but you continue to show just how apt the analogy is in showing how abusurd this "explanation" is.

I'm not actually sure

Sweet, then you concede that the evoltionary explanation has superior explanitory power. Thank you.


The point is that you are assuming that these ERVs were in place before the human/chimp split, but this is supposed to be where you're offering EVIDENCE. See the difference? Between assumption and evidence?

Proof #56268 that Rho doesn't know a lick about what he is thinks he is debunking. Did you even READ the article I linked to? Do you understand how reverse transcription works? The ERV placements IS evidence of common descent, and IS evidence that the ERVs were settled into the genome before the specition. It's not a bald assumption, its what the evidence points to.

Incidentally, I saw your nasally self on youtube. Abbie's answer to your question of whether or not she had a commitment to a naturalistic worldview was NOT "Well, of course," it was "Oh, I'm not," you damned liar.

Rho asking the question, and the REAL answer


If you seriously believe the crap you say you do you better ask forgiveness for that pretty blatent 9th commandment violation. She went on to explain that she is a slave to evidence to a point that goes beyond her personal beliefs. And if there was evidence that went against evolution, she would follow that, and be heavily rewarded for it.

The fact that your little mind somehow spun Abbie's words into the EXACT OPPOSITE of what she said goes a long way in explaining how it is you filter the world and why you hold onto your beliefs.

Dr. Funk said:
If ERVs insert randomly (and it appears that they do as far as I am aware), then it is unlikely that two species that had no relationship via ancestry would have any shared ERV insertions never mind several

That was all very well explained. But it's all probably for naught, as I'm starting to realize that you can't reason someone out of a belief that they were never reasoned into.

Rhology said...

Dr Funk,
When you say "Steve", do you mean Steve Hays of Triablogue? That's the only Steve I can think of here...

do you think that a hypothetical student accused of plagiarism ...match up is sheer coincidence?

No.
The Bible is a pretty special case of literature.


Do you think we should reasonably excuse students ...look like common ancestry?

There's no reason to think that a supernatural being "made it happen that way", so that's why one should reject such.
It's not a good analogy b/c of
1) the evidence for the Bible's inspiration thru prophecy and power to change lives
2) the evidence for the Bible's accuracy thru correct recording of events, and moreover
3) the terrible consequences for epistemology if the Bible is not actually God speaking.
But such is not the case for a term paper.
And again, I don't agree that He "likes to make things look like common ancestry". The similarities you see are partly your misreading of the facts, your naturalistically influenced forced imposition of your worldview on the facts, and the fact that your theory is itself creating the glove to fit the hand and then calling it by some other name. One example of this is the very common occurrence of looking at events of microevol and then jumping around and yelling "See?!?!? CREOTARDS!!! You are clueless! Evol happens!" As if we deny that. And you groundlessly extrapolate out to macroevol, which IS under debate.



show us how ERVs can insert in a clearly non-random fashion

Someone may well do that one day. Did you forget the lesson from "junk DNA"?
Your side makes "we don't know but we WILL" promissory statements all the time. Maybe I'll just copycat you here.
Further, the reason it's begging the q is b/c I don't grant naturalism, and on Christianity God is in control of every event. Nothing is strictly speaking random.


it is doubtful that we would ever see any insertions at the same locations in the chimp vs human genomes.

B/c wacky coincidences never happen.
And you're just sure that there's no other mechanism at work here that simply hasn't been discovered yet. I mean, as long as you're speculating, I'll join in the fun.
At any rate, fine, have your assumptions, but don't act like it's proof, K?


you still have to ask why he's making it look like common ancestry

B/c YOU made the glove to fit the hand. I don't see why this should be blamed on God.


since it's not unreasonable based on Genesis that we should not find anything that even looks like common ancestry

There's nothing one way or the other therein.



jft said:

Did you even READ the article I linked to? Do you understand how reverse transcription works?

No and yes.


The ERV placements IS evidence of common descent

Prove it. See the comment to Dr Funk above.


I saw your nasally self on youtube.

You have my sympathy. I'm not the prettiest face.


Abbie's answer to your question of whether or not she had a commitment to a naturalistic worldview was NOT "Well, of course," it was "Oh, I'm not," you damned liar.

Pff, anyone can listen to it and I thank you for saving me the trouble of linking to it. You're just a bucket o' hate this week.
Here's the transcript.
Me: Final question - This, I guess is, would you say that this is because you are invested and 100% committed to a naturalistic worldview, a priori before you come to the lab?
ERV: Oh, bar none! On Dawkins' scale I'm on the same location he is, 6.999. Scientists, we are abslutely slaves to evidence. If you give us evidence we have to believe it, or we fight tooth and nail to disprove it and then we get to be the head honchos in the field and it feels really good. So if there's an inherent flaw in evol, it should be one of my main goals to overthrow it.

I don't see anywhere in there where she said the exact opposite of how I characterised her statement. I don't understand what would drive you to make such a blatant mistake.


She went on to explain that she is a slave to evidence to a point that goes beyond her personal beliefs.

And as I said above, she neglected to give any evidence for naturalism. So I have trouble believing that she is a slave to evidence, when she can't even give evidence for her overriding worldview presupposition. I've asked her multiple times on her own blog, after all.

justfinethanks said...

Prove it.

The funny thing is that it already has been. You're just too dim to grasp it.

Here's some more reading for you regarding primate ERVs.

Constructing primate phylogenies from ancient retrovirus sequences

Identification, characterization and comparative genomics of
chimpanzee endogenous retroviruses


If you don't understand it, well, science is hard.

ERV: Oh, bar none!

She didn't say this at all. She said "Oh, I'm not." Listen again closely, and this time try turning off the filter that tunes out any facts that hurt your fragile ego.

I don't see anywhere in there where she said the exact opposite of how I characterised her statement.

Well, let me help you. First you claimed she said "Of course" to your question, then you claimed that she said "Bar none," both of which are POSITIVE answers to your question. What she actually said was "I'm not," which is a NEGATIVE answer. The words "Bar none" or "Of Course" never left her lips. So, when asked if she as an a priori commitment to naturalism she said NO, when you have twice claimed that she said YES.

In fact, given that she said NO to whether or not she is committed to naturalism, your "What's your evidence for naturalism, then" zinger (which you seemed to think was so clever it was worth repeating here, the youtube video, AND Abbie's blog) doesn't even make any sense.

I actually don't think this is you lying any more. It's just that you, in your weak willed brainwashed state are incapable of imagining anything outside of your particular "sacred science." You believe that people like Abbie are committed naturalists, and if they say otherwise, then your brain just sort of twists their words into what you think is true.

I hate because I love. And I seriously hope you someday gain the ability to think for yourself. This doesn't mean you won't be a Christian. It just means that you will stop tuning out the facts that might pose a serious threat to how you see things, and address them honestly.

Rhology said...

You're a weird person.
What is Abbie saying when she refers to Dawkins' scale, then?
Here, this might help -
"On a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 is certitude that God exists and 7 is certitude that God does not exist, Dawkins rates himself a 6: 'I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.'"

And Abbie answers "6.99". And you think she's NOT a naturalist. To what end? Seriously, stop. Anyone can listen, it's plain to hear.
You're wasting my time with this idiocy, so this is my last word on this topic.

justfinethanks said...

And you think she's NOT a naturalist.

"Are you a naturalist?" wasn't the question you asked, so its not really relevant. Nice dodge attempt, though. The question you asked was whether or not she was a priori COMMITTED to naturalism before she went into the lab. And said "I'm not," you fool. Which is the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you claimed she said. (Where the hell did you even GET "Bar none" from "I'm not"?)

You're wasting my time with this idiocy, so this is my last word on this topic.

I'm sorry I embarrassed you by exposing that your claims in this blog post don't mesh with the facts. But maybe you should take this as a learning opportunity. Ask yourself "Why did I hear what wanted to hear in this case? Do I do this more often?" If you ask honestly, I'm sure you will find that the answer is most certainly "yes."

zilch said...

I listened to the statement in question several times, and I'm quite certain that Abbie is saying "Oh, but I'm not". Listen for yourselves.

Rhology said...

Hmm, zilch may be right.
So, you're suggesting she says "Oh...but I'm not", rather than "Oh...bar none." OK, I can see that. This whole time I had thought she said "bar none", from the time it happened up to now. But it is true that would be a strange expression to use in answering.
If that's the case, I guess it's good I didn't follow up further, since it would have been based on my mis-hearing her response.
I have to say that if she starts with "Oh but I'm not", her going on to cite the Dawkins scale is weird.

Rhology said...

Please see the body of the post for edits I've just made.

Anonymous said...

"If that's the case, I guess it's good I didn't follow up further, since it would have been based on my mis-hearing her response."

Since your blogging career so far has been pretty much entirely based on misunderstanding other people, I'm not entirely sure why this prospect bothers you.

Rhology said...

Feel free to demonstrate such anytime.

And come to think of it, I wrote that statement in a bit of a rush of embarrassment. Now that I've considered a bit, whether ERV affirms or disaffirms my question, the follow-up I was considering is relevant, specifically: "What evidence, then, do you have that naturalism is true?"

Anonymous said...

"Feel free to demonstrate such anytime."

Seriously? Have you not noticed the huge number of times that your debating partners have pointed out that your claims about their position don't actually bear any resemblance to their actual position?

Damion said...

since rho keeps asking what the evidence is for naturalism, I thought I'd put in a shameless (but relevant) plug for a recent post on my blog

justfinethanks said...

You surprised me a bit by correcting yourself, Rho. But since we have a documented case of someone saying one thing and you reporting that they said the opposite (your "I misheard" defense is awfully weak, especially since you "misheard" in a way that coincidentally made her look bad and you look good) I think its fair to give sufficient warrant to two things.

1) Skepticism to any and all future personal interactions that you report, especially ones in which you are portrayed as the reasonable inquisitor and other people are made to seem irrational and dogmatic.

2) Chalking up any future accusations you make of people interpreting the world in a way that supports their particular worldview as classic psychological projection. Everyone does "filter" the world for their beliefs to an extent, but very few do it in as an egregious manner as you have, so it will be a wholly hypocritical charge if you try it again.

If you are like most egotists, you have assigned this to a minor and petty (or perhaps even unavoidable) slip up in order to maintain your unwarrantedly high self image of your intellect and belief system. But perhaps it would be better to take this as a chance to evaluate your own assumptions.

Damion said...

"What evidence, then, do you have that naturalism is true?"

I've given several lines of evidence, but the question you have to ask is what sort of evidence you would accept as indicative of the truth of naturalism. It is rather easy for me to think of proofs for theism, heck, I've read allegations of quite a few possible demonstrations in various holy books.

Suppose the elders of my Mom and Dad church followed the advice of James 5:14 and the result was a complete cure of his cancer. At that point, I'd have to seriously reconsider the feasibility of unbelief. What might make you reconsider the feasibility of religious faith?

neil said...

"Feel free to demonstrate such anytime."

Well apparently I believe a designer is just as likely as ToE, Zilch does not care about what is true and now this buisness.

A pattern is starting to emerge ;p

P.S Hello from North Africa (Tunis) where it is raining and bloomin' cold, what's that all about?

Rhology said...

jft,

Sure, fine, whatever. As I said, whether ERV said "Bar none" or "But I'm not", the question I was going to ask next would be helpful and relevant either way.


Damion,

Funny you should ask, we were just discussing that recently.


neil,

Showing that your statements lead to that conclusion is not the same as claiming that I know your beliefs better than you know them. Fortunately for my contentions, I've been engaging in the former, not the latter.
You should probably concern yourself with showing why my contention is wrong rather than poking fun.

Damion said...

Fair enough, I'll have a read through. From what I've seen, though, you've not yet shown that inconsistent propositions X & Y may be derived from naturalism. Did you do this somewhere else?

Your arguments against naturalism were none too convincing. EAAN, for example, was thoroughly rebutted by Fitelson and Sober long ago. I replied to a couple of your other arguments against naturalism here.

Rhology said...

Thanks Damion.
I do plan to respond to that post of yours and your comments, but I don't have time right now. Taxes, tea party, kids, all that. You know how it is.
See you.