The Bathroom Wall

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With any tavern, one can expect that certain things that get said are out-of-place. But there is one place where almost any saying or scribble can find a home: the bathroom wall. This is where random thoughts and oddments that don’t follow the other entries at the Panda’s Thumb wind up. As with most bathroom walls, expect to sort through a lot of oyster guts before you locate any pearls of wisdom.

209 Comments

They covered these walls to stop my pen…

For a good time, call PZ.

Then I saw this post… now I’m a belieeever…

http://acs.ucsd.edu/~idea/miracles.htm

Really, I can’t think of a better symbol for ID than The Monkees. On many albums, they didn’t play their own instruments. They were a Beatles derivative, but ended up commercially successful.

“It would be foolish to pretend, however, that they were a band of serious significance, despite the occasional genuinely serious artistic aspirations of the members.”

Read more at http://www.vh1.com/artists/az/monkees/bio.jhtml

What’s the difference between hope and wishful thinking?

Until science produces the first living organism from nothing Intelligent Design will continue to be the theory of preference for your average human, though he or she will probably never have heard of ID. So it will be a hard slog to keep to the old curriculum. I don’t think it’s possible because the old curriculum is so full of holes and the “protesteth too much” approach is maybe an inevitable but still poor defense. We’re not talking about a revision of science on the order of a flat earth here, we’re talking about a valid debate. And kicking and screaming won’t make it go away.

Science claimed to have killed God but God wasn’t listening. Nor was most of the human race. Belief in God fulfills a deep human need. It’s so universal that it could almost be considered an instinct. Science is often portrayed as the opposite of myth but it’s really just another form of myth. Science’s claim to be the bastion of hard fact, unshifting truth, is an illusion. Very few scientific principles have proven immune to revision as more detail is uncovered about the world we live in. Even the limiting velocity of light has gone the way of all flesh. We garland Nature with facts but she still reigns supreme and mysterious. We took pride in the “human invention” of masers and lasers and now find that stars pump light in exactly the same way. We derided the “music of the spheres”, planetary harmonies, as medieval superstition and now we find out the Crab Nebula is singing away, a basso profundo in B flat and all the other stars, including our sun, join in the chorus. Science is ultimately just another belief system, and like every other belief system it does not have an infinite shelf-life. The glory days when people were willing to believe that science would cure all the world’s ills are gone. We have seen science create as much misery and devastation as it has created health and ease. It’s kind of amusing to see hard evolutionists suffering the same onslaughts on their precious beliefs as all the other great world religions have suffered. Science is doomed, like every other human endeavour, to the limits of being human. We’re not as intelligent as we think we are. We’re just scratching in the dust for clues.

Jack Shea wrote… a comment, I guess. But what did it have to do with the post it was supposed to be commenting on?

We derided the “music of the spheres”, planetary harmonies, as medieval superstition and now we find out the Crab Nebula is singing away, a basso profundo in B flat and all the other stars, including our sun, join in the chorus.

Jack, Does an Elizabethan concept of cosmological harmony represent the limit of what you want people to learn about the universe?

Science is doomed, like every other human endeavour, to the limits of being human.

I guess you’ve found your limit. The rest of us would like to try to learn more. The process of science as a means of discovery is not showing any signs of slowing down nor losing its ability to fascinate and enlighten.

The Panda’s Thumb is committed to defending science and science education against the claims of the anti-evolution movement. You seem to be supporting an anti-science (or possibly anti-education) movement. I don’t think you’ll find overt supporters for that view even in the ID movement.

Jack Shea: Until science produces the first living organism from nothing Intelligent Design will continue to be the theory of preference for your average human

I agree, for many an appeal to ignorance seems appealing and until science catches up with our knowledge people may find hope in the gaps of our knowledge. Personally, as a Christian I find more hope in what my Designer is showing me. The glory of His Creation through some exciting natural processes.

Science is ultimately just another belief system, and like every other belief system it does not have an infinite shelf-life.

There are so many things wrong with the previous post, it’s hard to know where to begin–or if beginning is worth the “slog.”

First up, though, hard pronouncements like the above cut both ways. Replace “science” with “every other belief system,” say, ID or Christianity, and what do we have? Nothing lasts. Jack Shea, nihilist in disguise?

And I thought the po-mo critique of science had gone out of style after the Sokal Hoax.

http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/

If the current scientific consensus were just another philosophy like Democritean atomism or Cartesian dualism, nobody would spend so much money and effort opposing it. But evolution is not just somebody’s opinion.

Modern skepticism differs drastically from ancient skepticism. People used to dispair that we could acquire reliable knowledge. Now they’re unhappy because we can. Hence the incredible displays of special pleading one regularly hears from Creationists and ID folks.

Wesley:

Excuse me? “Off topic?” How so? Your topic is a current conflict between science and religion. My thoughts were perfectly in line with such a discussion. Your reaction sums up the problem you hard-Evs are going to have, are having with supporters of ID. You don’t make people go away by trying to throttle them. That attitude should be the antithesis of the scientific method. If you don’t let falsity die by its own hand it will snap back and bite you in the butt every time. But thank you for the honour of Bathroom Wall placement. I must have really struck a nerve. Russell didn’t even dare quote its innocuous, almost self-evident generalizations fer C—sakes. You certainly prove my attestations. This type of behaviour is a tea-cup rendering of the attitude of the Catholic Church to a heliocentric solar system. Again showing the rigidity of the scientific belief system. Check your mental mirror, Wes, before you pin this up on your Bathroom Wall, if you dare.

Sorry, Pim. We’ll have to continue this discussion in the toilet. Wes gave me a red card for kicking the ball with my left foot.

Yerz in incredulity, Jack

Jack Shea:

The “current topic” was Paul Nesselroade’s “Wedge Update” and how trying to make a distinction between “wedge strategy” and “wedge document” simply did not fit the facts. This is quite a bit more specific than “a current conflict between science and religion”.

I’m not throttling anybody. I’m simply keeping the comments associated with the entry post topical, and your more general remarks have been preserved in a more general area.

Raving (e.g., “I must have really struck a nerve.”) and wish-fulfillment fantasies (e.g., “You certainly prove my attestations.”) also aren’t topical to the original entry post, and thus Jack’s second comments joins his original off-topic comment. It is ironic, though, that Jack puts on such histrionics about not quoting his “self-evident conclusions” , given how thoroughly Jack avoided trying to make even a minimal defense of Paul Nesselroade’s “Wedge Update”. I guess Jack wasn’t up to quoting my self-evident conclusion that there is no distinction between “wedge strategy” and “wedge document”. Consistency is something that ID advocates are often found to lack.

Jims Everywhere:

First up, though, hard pronouncements like the above cut both ways. Replace “science” with “every other belief system,” say, ID or Christianity, and what do we have? Nothing lasts. Jack Shea, nihilist in disguise?

Was I indicating that science was unique? No, I was challenging science’s view of its own uniqueness. Is science unique? Yes, it is a belief system which bases its tenets on proven fact. Do the “proven facts” of science frequently suffer revision in light of new evidence? Every day m’dear. Surely a “proven fact” is an immutable truth? Not in a world where we are making better scientific instruments all the time. Truth, as Beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Thank you, Professors Heisenberg, Bohr, etc. for experimentally verifying this philosophical truth which has been understood for 2500 years by anyone familiar with Buddha’s Sutras.

Nihilism? Hardly. Second law of thermodynamics. Everything runs down. I am in love with Nature and everything in it. My only enemies are evil technologists and corporations threatening to destroy us all. Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist I am assuredly NOT saying all technologists and corporations are evil nor do I absolve myself from part of the blame. I own an electric guitar, a video camera and a computer. Several computers etc. But I do not own any atomic weapons and am not trying to clone animals.

Hence the incredible displays of special pleading one regularly hears from Creationists and ID folks.

And, I might add, scientists. I speak from the hard lesson of the Bathroom Wall!

Some primer questions:

1. What is the speed of light? 2. Is the Crab Nebula generating sound? 3. Are there stars emitting maser light?

Bonus question: Has science created misery and devastation alongside its benefits to humanity? Discuss Bhopal, Chernobyl, global warming, Cher’s facelift, hard AI and the history of 20th Century warfare in your answer.

Wesley:

The “current topic” was Paul Nesselroade’s “Wedge Update” and how trying to make a distinction between “wedge strategy” and “wedge document” simply did not fit the facts. This is quite a bit more specific than “a current conflict between science and religion”.

Bullshit. Here’s a snip from your intro:

I note that they did not suggest bringing along a copy of Futuyma’s “Evolutionary Biology”, though it is likely that the attendees (and, for that matter, the presenters) will be far less familiar with its contents than they are with those of the Bible.

In a single sentence you expose the base of the argument: science vs. religion. But then, in a technique sadly characteristic of hard-Evos, you post-facto define the terms of legitimate argument as “specificity”. If you choose to open a can of worms, Wesley, you are obliged to go fishing.

given how thoroughly Jack avoided trying to make even a minimal defense of Paul Nesselroade’s “Wedge Update”.

I don’t give a flying F about Nesselroad’s Wedgie Update. Nor should you. The broad parameters of this argument are much more interesting and, dare I say it, enlightening. We should be talking about the absolute nature of truth, not strategies for forcibly imposing one belief system on another. Enslavement by any name is still enslavement.

I’ve got plenty of toilet paper but the mirror needs cleaning.

Virge:

Meet me in the Bathroom.….

From me:

Science is doomed, like every other human endeavour, to the limits of being human.

From you: I guess you’ve found your limit. The rest of us would like to try to learn more. The process of science as a means of discovery is not showing any signs of slowing down nor losing its ability to fascinate and enlighten.

So I’ve found my human limitations but you and your pals are going to learn much more with your superhumanity? I thought “super” anything was off the scientific agenda? Science IS doomed to human limitations because all scientists are human. Though sometimes I have my doubts as sometimes they have their doubts.

I’m far from anti-science, its ability to fascinate and enlighten. I am very opposed to the suppression of truth, legitimate argument and free speech. This purportedly off-topic comment will have to give me pause. Got work to do.

Hey Wes, how come comments to my off-topic post don’t get shunted to the “Special Area”? It creates an interesting effect, people disagreeing with an invisible, silent, possibly supernatural entity. Curioser and curioser.

Pim:

…for many an appeal to ignorance seems appealing and until science catches up with our knowledge people may find hope in the gaps of our knowledge. Personally, as a Christian I find more hope in what my Designer is showing me. The glory of His Creation through some exciting natural processes.

I’m not a Christian but I couldn’t agree more. I go with the Einsteinian “everything is miracle”, including our fumbling in the dark trying to work it all out, in some ways the most fascinating miracle of all. We are defined by the limits of our capacity to know. Everything beyond that is God, Mind, The Final Solution, call it what you will. The Eternally Elusive Adorable Magnificently Beautiful Shapeshifter.…EEAMBS

Jack Shea tried desperately to put words into my mouth by saying:

So I’ve found my human limitations but you and your pals are going to learn much more with your superhumanity? I thought “super” anything was off the scientific agenda?

Jack, You were the one who introduced the “super” term. My claim was clear: science has not yet met the limits imposed by our humanity and isn’t showing signs of slowing.

BTW, I loved the way you spurt those classic lines like, “Yes, it is a belief system which bases its tenets on proven fact.” Your cuteness lies in the way you broadcast your complete ignorance of the philosophy of science.

Could someone please knock a hole in the bathroom ceiling so Jack can hear the stars singing to him?

I’m done feeding the troll now.

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Pim, You posted in reply to Jack Shea…

Jack Shea: Until science produces the first living organism from nothing Intelligent Design will continue to be the theory of preference for your average human I agree, for many an appeal to ignorance seems appealing and until science catches up with our knowledge people may find hope in the gaps of our knowledge. Personally, as a Christian I find more hope in what my Designer is showing me. The glory of His Creation through some exciting natural processes.

…Pim, as a Christian, I agree with you, ie. God created all things. That’s Intelligent Design, no matter what natural processes He used to do the Creating. I am assuming that you use the word “ignorance” to refer to some of the Creationists theories, and from some of what I have heard of these theories, that is fair. But the gist of the Creationists theories is this, God created all things. That is all that is important for anyone to know. I have no problem with anyone, scientist or not, trying to learn more about the natural processes involved. But like Jack says, Science (and men) must accept their human limitations. Science (and men) can never disprove the existence of a Creator. So the real ignorance is displayed by the (as Jack Shea called them in this thread) “hard-Evs” (which I am assuming stands for Hardline Evolutionists) who claim that their theory proves that God doesn’t exist. (What is that quote?…something like, “The theory of Evolution has made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.)

Pim, You posted in reply to Jack Shea…

Jack Shea: Until science produces the first living organism from nothing Intelligent Design will continue to be the theory of preference for your average human I agree, for many an appeal to ignorance seems appealing and until science catches up with our knowledge people may find hope in the gaps of our knowledge. Personally, as a Christian I find more hope in what my Designer is showing me. The glory of His Creation through some exciting natural processes.

…Pim, as a Christian, I agree with you, ie. God created all things. That’s Intelligent Design, no matter what natural processes He used to do the Creating. I am assuming that you use the word “ignorance” to refer to some of the Creationists theories, and from some of what I have heard of these theories, that is fair. But the gist of the Creationists theories is this, God created all things. That is all that is important for anyone to know. I have no problem with anyone, scientist or not, trying to learn more about the natural processes involved. But like Jack says, Science (and men) must accept their human limitations. Science (and men) can never disprove the existence of a Creator. So the real ignorance is displayed by the (as Jack Shea called them in this thread) “hard-Evs” (which I am assuming stands for Hardline Evolutionists) who claim that their theory proves that God doesn’t exist. (What is that quote?…something like, “The theory of Evolution has made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.)

john Wrote:

So the real ignorance is displayed by the (as Jack Shea called them in this thread) “hard-Evs” (which I am assuming stands for Hardline Evolutionists) who claim that their theory proves that God doesn’t exist.

The only specific person referred to by Jack as a “hard-Ev” in the above was me, and I believe God exists. So you either have the definition wrong or Jack misapplied the term. I will ask either of you to point out where I have *ever* claimed that evolutionary biology proves God does not exist. It should be quite amusing for you two to sort through the thousands of messages I’ve posted over the years and still come up empty. Such certainly was not present in the entry post at issue.

John: So the real ignorance is displayed by the … “hard-Evs” … who claim that their theory proves that God doesn’t exist.

Me: Hear, Hear! That would indeed be a ridiculous claim.

John: (What is that quote? … something like, “The theory of Evolution has made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.)

Me: Richard Dawkins wrote something like that. He is an outspoken atheist, but this hardly amounts to a claim that ToE disproves the existence of god. I’ll be surprised if anyone can show me a quote from him that does make that claim.

John: Science (and men) can never disprove the existence of a Creator. So the real ignorance is displayed by the (as Jack Shea called them in this thread) “hard-Evs” (which I am assuming stands for Hardline Evolutionists) who claim that their theory proves that God doesn’t exist.

Science can never claim that it disproves the existence of a God or deal with the supernatural. But perhaps you can quote some of these hard-Evs words to see what they are claiming?

Yahoo!!! 100,000 visitors

Pim and Wesley, From the www.talkorigins.com FAQ’s…

Philosophical Materialistic Evolution Philosophical materialism says that the supernatural does not exist. It says that not only is evolution a natural process, but so is everything else.

* Richard Dawkins

* William Provine

Now Pim and Wesley, I did not accuse either of you holding this view, in fact I acknowledged Pim’s claim to be a Christian. Here’s exactly what I said…

… Pim, as a Christian, I agree with you, ie. God created all things.  That’s Intelligent Design, no matter what natural processes He used to do the Creating. I am assuming that you use the word “ignorance” to  refer to some of the Creationists theories, and from some of what I have heard of these theories, that is fair.  But the gist of the Creationists theories is this, God created all things.  That is all that is important for anyone to know.  I have no problem with anyone, scientist or not, trying to learn more about the natural processes involved.  But like Jack says, Science (and men) must accept their human limitations.  Science (and men) can never disprove the existence of a Creator.  So the real ignorance is displayed by the (as Jack Shea called them in this thread) “hard-Evs” (which I am assuming stands for Hardline Evolutionists) who claim that their theory proves that God doesn’t exist.  (What is that quote? … something like, “The theory of Evolution has made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.)

And by the way, Pim, you never did acknowledge what you meant by the word “ignorance”, so I will assume that I was right in my assumption, that the word, ignorance, referred to Creationism. All I was asking you, Pim, was to also state that this view of evolution, which I mistakenly termed “Hardline Evolution”, but should be termed, “Philosophical Materialistic Evolution” and which does CLAIM that God does not exist, was the true ignorance.

So Pim and Wesley, you believe in both God and evolution, so I have no problem with you. Perhaps you’re not even aware that the theory of evolution is being taught in high schools and colleges all over this country, (probably all over the world), improperly, that is, it is being taught as a theory which at least eliminates the need for the existence of God, and at worst as a theory which “proves” to students that God does not exist. Of course in this country, to even mention God in school, is unconstitutional. I have a big problem with that. Evolution should be taught as the theory that it is; a theory that we all should be able to agree upon, can not disprove the existence of God the Creator. That is the truth; the way we are now teaching evolution is ignorant!

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Virge:

Does an Elizabethan concept of cosmological harmony represent the limit of what you want people to learn about the universe?

I wasn’t suggesting any such return. I was indicating that a cosmological belief which science “invalidated” for hundreds of years has now been returned to the fold by science. This is an illustration of my major point which is that science is a very moveable feast.

You seem to be supporting an anti-science (or possibly anti-education) movement.

Why do you think this? Because I suggest that science has limits (humanity, reason) and because it does bad things (nuclear weapons, poisoned water and air, etc)? I’m just stating obvious truths in the hope that some scientists might get the message that science is not omnipotent nor is it always beneficial. Science is the religion of our age and is filled with the same nonsense and knowledge, life-enhancements and life-destroyers, wisdom and folly as any other religion. My main argument is that science needs to learn to co-exist with other belief systems. Science is superior to other belief systems in some respects, inferior in others.

Your cuteness lies in the way you broadcast your complete ignorance of the philosophy of science. Could someone please knock a hole in the bathroom ceiling so Jack can hear the stars singing to him?

Gee Virge, I thought we were all friends here? If you want to discuss something I’ve said then please try to understand it first before you decide to just kick it out of your way. You haven’t targeted anything I’ve said with argument, you’ve resorted to puerile name-calling and ad hominems. That gets us nowhere.

Yes, someone please knock a hole in the ghetto ceiling so we can all hear some stars. I don’t hear you deny that they’re singing, Virge.

Wesley:

The only specific person referred to by Jack as a “hard-Ev” in the above was me, and I believe God exists.

I can see I’ve made some incorrect basic assumptions about neodarwinists. Learning all the time.

John,

So the real ignorance is displayed by the (as Jack Shea called them in this thread) “hard-Evs” (which I am assuming stands for Hardline Evolutionists) who claim that their theory proves that God doesn’t exist. (What is that quote? … something like, “The theory of Evolution has made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.)

Who has made this claim? I am an atheist, but I am hardly under the impression that God has been proven not to exist. Such proof is, in principle, impossible. What I do believe, and what the quote you cite means, is that the theory of evolution by natural selection has made God unnecessary, at least as an explanatory mechanism for life. Evolutionary theory has rendered the teleological argument for the existence of god null and void.

I will join Jack Krebs in asking you to document any cases in which high school biology teachers are teaching that evolutionary theory has any implications whatsoever to the existence or non-existence of God/god.

Smokey: I will join Jack Krebs in asking you to document any cases in which high school biology teachers are teaching that evolutionary theory has any implications whatsoever to the existence or non-existence of God/god.

Me too. Even more - when you find examples of such misdeeds, I will sign a petition demanding that they cease and desist.

Not yet, but about to go there. Kevin Drum rocks.

Okay. Just read it. It seems deliberately obtuse, only because I can’t believe adults can think that stupidly. I’m sure the hard right will be linking to it en masse over the next several hours.

“What is a religion, then? Simply, a system of beliefs based on stories that explain where life comes from, what life means, and what we, as living beings, are supposed to be doing with our few allotted years”

No, no it isn’t. But, it’s not really anything new. Creationists have been calling “Darwinism” a religion for years now. Try as they might, they don’t succeed in dragging us down to their level. I guess misery loves company.

I did a search and went to Charlie’s website this afternoon.I only wish I’d met him before PandasThumb. Nice guy, wide ranging and frequently congruent interests. I think I’d probably enjoy kicking back and having a few beers (preferably highly hopped)and some off the cuff conversation with him. Thanks for the dialogue, Charlie.

Bob

Wow, this Bathroom Wall seems to have both expanded and evolved since I last was here.

However, there does appear to be at least one constant: at the end of the day, a fruit fly is still a fruit fly, despite its fast gestation times and decades of artificially mondo-accelerated mutation rates. And there doesn’t appear to be anything concerning “deep time” that’s been shown to be able to change that situation.

Looked at several websites, and also looked at Futuyma and Freemon Herron’s textbooks. Couldn’t find anything that changes the situation.

Point mutation exists, as GWW pointed out, but that doesn’t appear to change the situation either.

Furthermore, for GWW, Point Mutation doesn’t answer Well’s question, either, in the specific case of fruit flies.

Other than perhaps resistance to DDT, mutations simply haven’t been beneficial to fruit flies, AFAIK. You’ve got some that are either trivial and microevolutionary at best (a leg made to grow on a poor fly’s head, a la Frankenstein) or deleterious and sickness-inducing. Or both microevolutionary and deleterious.

Hox genes? Most interesting development for sure. Still, nothing’s come of it yet that actually evidences how a fruit fly is other than a fruit fly at the end of the day, year, 5 million years.

Not trying to move this thread away from the interesting direction it’s been moving in recently, no, not at all. Nor can I add to what Jack Shea has said. I’m just pointing out, after an absence of several days and some extra looking around, that this does appear to be the situation as it stands, despite evolutionist “hand-waving”, to borrow Jack Shea’s phrase.

In response to GWW, if he or she specifically has evidence located in PubMed that would change this situation, I would in fact like to see it. Go right ahead.

Further, if GWW has something on PubMed that specifically answers Well’s question I mentioned, for the case of fruit flies specifically, I’d like to see that too.

Like I said, other than possibly insecticide resistance, I’m not yet aware of any particularly beneficial mutation involving fruit flies.

Anyway, that’s mostly all I wanted to say on this one. I close with Dean Kenyon’s words:

As the central mechanism of evolution, mutations have been studied intensively for the past half century. The fruit fly has been the subject of many experiments because its short life span allows scientists to observe many generations. In addition, the flies have been bombarded with radiation to increase the rate of mutations. Scientists now have a pretty clear idea what kind of mutations can occur.

There is no evidence mutations create new structures. They merely alter existing ones. Mutations have produced, for example, crumpled, oversized, and undersized wings. They have produced double sets of wings. But they have not created a new kind of wing. Nor have they transformed the fruit fly into a new kind of insect. Experiments have simply produced variations of fruit flies.

Pandas, pg 11-12

FL

So I just came from Wired magazine:

Breeding Race Cars to Win Jun. 18, 2004 Horse breeders do it, so why can’t car designers? A team of British researchers is using genetic algorithms run inside computers to “evolve” better race-car designs to win Formula One races. In simulations the cars kick ass, but what about on real tracks? By Michelle Delio.

Man, how dumb are those engineers? Somebody with a HS education should clue them in–evolution’s a bunch of crap. Nobody’s ever, in history, seen a Formula-1 car turn into a jet airplane. And evolution’s incapable of adding information. This isn’t cutting-edge engineering, it’s a secular religion that’s been disproved over and over. I’d like to quote from the magnificent book Icons of Autoracing:

There is no evidence genetic algorithms create new auto structures. They merely alter existing ones. Mutations have produced, for example, crumpled, oversized, and undersized spoiler wings. They have produced double sets of spoiler wings. But they have not created a new kind of wing. Nor have they transformed the F-1 car into a new kind of car. Experiments have simply produced variations of F-1 cars.

If anyone has info from PubMed which specifically proves that an F-1 car turned into the Condorde one day, I’ll consider my point refuted.

Sorry Steve, I’m in the dark here. What exacty ia your point?

Dave Mullinex wrote

Steve,

As RBH has mentioned, run the Designer through the Explanitory Filter and He comes up as designed.

I repeated that somewhere or other (ARN, probably) because I like it, but it’s not original with me. I stole it somewhere, but don’t remember where now.

RBH

Hmm…what exactly is my point above…? I don’t have a point there. Just operating under a metapoint, which is that creationists are so corrosive and destructive, that it’s fun to blow off steam by recasting their claims in ways that make them even more ridiculous. Makes it a little easier to tolerate this horde of people who are wasting everyone’s time and their own potential.

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I think you are partly correct on this one, steve. You “don’t have a point there”.

FL :-)

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FL: If you won’t do the math, there’s nothing to discuss.

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“Like I said, other than possibly insecticide resistance, I’m not yet aware of any particularly beneficial mutation involving fruit flies.”

FL – did you search PubMed for articles containing the terms “Drosophila melanogaster” and “beneficial mutation” and NOT “insecticide resistance”?

Give it a shot.

Oh, and while you’re at it, two simple questions for you: if I collect 100,000 wild Drosophila melanogaster flies and sequence their genomes, do you expect they will have 100% identical sequences? What makes you think that Drosophila are any different from humans? Or do you deny that some humans have particular DNA sequences which allow them to smell, taste, hear and see better than other humans?

Also, for the record, I did answer Well’s question, point blank. The fact that you won’t recognize that fact only proves what we already know: you’re an ass.

Sure, GWW, I’ll be checking PubMed anyway, off and on. If the overall fruit fly situation ~ever~ changes in terms of macroevolutionary evidence, I’m sure something will pop up there.

I’m sure you sincerely believe you “answered Well’s question point blank.” I have to disagree, but I’m willing to leave it at that and continue my own searching regarding that question.

FL

“If the overall fruit fly situation ~ever~ changes in terms of macroevolutionary evidence, I’m sure something will pop up there.”

When Drosophila melanogaster is photographed giving birth to a grasshopper, it’ll probably be reported on your local TV news channels, FL.

Please note, FL, that I didn’t ask you if you’d be “checking PubMed … off and on.” I could care less how often you check PubMed, as long as you don’t pop off here about the lack of any evidence supporting the evolution of species.

Did you, in fact, do the search I recommended (or the similar searches which would occur to the average high school student trained in performing PubMed searches)?

And why haven’t you bothered to answer the questions I asked you? Are you afraid of where those answers might lead?

Don’t worry. You wouldn’t be the first charlatan exposed as a bald-faced liar here (and, as I recall, it wouldn’t be the first time that you were caught in a sticky trap of your own design).

I understand perfectly if you’re reluctant to debate me. I’m not going to coddle you and throw extraneous evidence at you so you can twist it into knots and lob it back at me. If you’re patient, I’m sure someone will come along who enjoys playing that sort of game with you. I’ll watch you play, until I get bored.

FL

I’ll be checking PubMed anyway, off and on.

In other words, you have not performed the search I recommended (or similar searches which could be imagined by any high schooler trained on PubMed’s search engine).

I also note that you haven’t responded to my other questions. The likely explanation is that you’re afraid that your answers will end up trapping you. That is what has happened previously every time you’ve argued with anyone here.

I understand your refusal to debate me, FL. Unlike a few others around here, I’m not going to throw extraneous evidence your way just so you can twist it around and toss it back at me. That is a rather boring game, I think. If you want to play such games, be patient and I’m sure someone will take your bait eventually.

If you’re not the chickenshxt bullshxt artist that I think you are, please let me know which part of Wells’ idiotic question I failed to answer directly.

Argghghgh!!!!

It took 15 minutes for that first post to appear!!! What gives?

Sigh.

In any event, for those interested in such things, here is an opportunity for an extensive analysis of how my brain works when crafting my magnificent and unforgettable posts. ;)

As always, FL, you are free to reply to either of my posts above or, if you are feeling especially confident, you can reply to both!

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On the Origin of Species is a classic, and old, and goes mostly unread. Several of the detail things Darwin said were later shown to be wrong, and in general it’s more efficient to read the newest treatments if you’re just learning biology–I was exploring it for broader reasons.

If you read OTOOS, you’ll be in awe of how he fought his way through the noisy and confusing data. In spite of so little evidence, and what appeared to be some mild contradictory evidence, around 1850 Darwin figured out how species change because he was both patient and brilliant. AR Wallace also figured it out, because he too was brilliant.

In 1950 there was so much more evidence and understanding both of the fossil record and molecular and cellular biology that if you knew anything about it and didn’t accept the theory of evolution you were just a little unusual.

In 2004, with thousands of journal articles supporting it, more evidence than you could read in your lifetime, 154 more years of discovery after discovery after discovery consistent with the theory, the total failure of every known competitor, and the algorithm of evolution being exported to fields like engineering to improve bridges and traffic flow, if you know anything about it and you don’t accept the theory you’re just delusional.

So Russel, GWW, and others, don’t feel too bad when these guys don’t get it. They aren’t the type to get things, and don’t let that get to you. I commend you for sincerely trying.

Some thoughts …

DNA is an information system. Large portions of its content are essential to an animal’s survival. Hox genes control these systems and any damage done to them, alterations, mutations, whatever, is repaired. It’s a neat little survival trick which Nature has up its sleeve. Effectively the genetic system has awareness of itself. I don’t mean conscious awareness, I mean that all changes to an animal’s genetic system are referenced to a master system. You can find numberous bona fide publications documenting both hox genes and genetic repair systems. An organism’s genetic system is crudely divisible into two areas: (a) locked (b) open to experiment. Within locked systems, where interference would be fatal, there can be no “evolution” because evolution could/would spell death. Within open systems nearly anything goes, although even here the genetic code likes to keep certain control measures, sexual reproduction being one of them.

Fruit flies in Shallow Time indicate this principle.

If Deep Time is evolution’s essential ingredient why did Gould feel it necessary to propose his “punctuated equilibrium” theory? All major phyla emerged in the Cambrian. How? We’re not talking deep time here. We’re talking -relative to DT- a sudden explosion in very shallow time.

I’m not disputing evolution. That it exists in many forms is obvious. But random mutation as the cause of the innumerable species populating the earth? No way. There is no evidence for it. The evidence indicates that organisms possess master genetic templates against which all change is referred. Genetic systems which stray, for whatever reason, beyond a certain mean, are corrected, repaired, brought back to type. Genetic repair systems are well documented. As an example, grossly mutated Drosophila always revert, over generations, to the wild type (see Dobzhansky et al). Outside the lab, of course, the mutated flies would not even survive to produce subsequent generations.

Organisms are built to survive. They are coded to survive. The genetic system of every living creature is programmed to limit variation which strays outside certain parameters. The permissible variations are within the area of superficial attributes -size, shape, colour, etc. Impermissible variations are those which would affect any of the systems fundamental to an organism’s survival. Because fundamental systems are, for reasons of survival, protected from alteration, it is impossible for one species to evolve into another…unless we propose a suspension of the self-referential master genetic template for reasons of evolution. But we are then suggesting another order of genetic master system, or some kind of clocking mechanism within an animal’s genetics, which occasionally opens the door and invites a free-for-all. But of course this doesn’t happen because a high level of genetic constancy is essential for survival and the raison d’etre of every animal’s genetic system is survival. “Free for all” spells death and genes are designed to prevent death. The first principle of every genetic system is “the organism must live”.

Given that (a) the major phyla emerged without any evidence of incremental stages leading up to their emergence, and (b) genetic systems are evidentially not unrestrictedly open to alterations, and (c) evidence indicates that mutated organisms revert over generations to their original “wild” type, it seems clear that random mutation and natural selection over Deep Time is not the answer we are looking for to explain evolution. There is a Genus barrier and it is dictated by the conditions which genetic systems place upon themselves, conditions which are entirely predicated upon a genetic “understanding” of what is required for an organism’s survival. The major part of an organism’s genetic system is locked. Those areas which are not locked produce immense variety, but it is variety of an essentially superficial sort.

How do different species emerge? I honestly have no idea. Nor does anyone. This is why neodarwinism, like creationism, is a fundamentally religious/philosophical position, not a scientific one.

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Jack, a few comments.

Given that (a) the major phyla emerged without any evidence of incremental always revert, over generations, to the wild type (senetic , and (generations. I’m not genes ems are well documented. As an example, grossly mutated ee .of survival, genetic system is “the organism must live”.Genetic r master genetic templateprotected from alteration, it is the earth?are designed to prevent death. The first principle of every s against which imal’s genetic system is survival.

“Free for all” spells c) evidence indicates that mutated organisms revert over generations to impossible for one species to evolve into another … unless we propose a suspension of the self-referential master genetic template for reasons of evolution.Organisms are builstages leading up to their emergence, and (b) gDrosuggesting another order of genetic master al). Outside t to survive. They are coded to survive. Impermissibthe lab, of course, the mutated flies would not sophila le variations are those which would for reasons But we are thethe cause of the innumerable species populating their origientirely predicated upon a genetic “understanding” of what is required for an organism’s system, or some kind of and the raison d’etre of every anrepaired, brought back to typeDobzhan The eviattributes -size, shape, colourchansuperficial every living creature is programmed to limit variation which strays outside certain parameters.

The ism within an animal’s genetics, which level of genetic constancy is essendispusubsequent death and tial for sur. The genetic systover themselves, conditions whichsystDeep em ofdence indicates that organisms possesswhatever reasonsky et survival. The maaffect any of the systems fundamental to an organism’s survival. Because fundamental systems are, jor nal “wild” type, it seemssuperficial sort systems ting evolution. That it exists in many forms is evidence for it. , beyond a certainobvious. But random mutation as is referred. Genetic systems which stray, for epair syst No way barrier and it is dictated by the conditions which.

There is no mean, are corrected, all Those chance answer occasionally opens the door and invites a free-for-not unrestrictedly nge n even survive to produce place upon thealterat clear that ranclocall. But of course this doesn’t hapopen to geneticety, but it is There is a areas which are not locked produce immense vari. pen because a high we are looking for to explain evolutionems are evidentially king methe area of permissible variations are within , etc vivaldom mvariety of an essentially ions are part of an organism’s genetic system is lockedutation and natural selection. Time is not the Genus.

I’m not disputing precipitation. That it exists in many forms is obvious. But random condensation as the cause of the innumerable raindrops falling on the earth? No way. There is no evidence for it.

I’m not disputing currency. That it exists in many forms is obvious. But random coins and bills as the cause of the innumerable economic transactions populating the earth? No way. There is no evidence for it.

I’m not disputing the beach. That it exists in many forms is obvious. But random sand grains as the cause of the innumerable dunes populating the earth? No way. There is no evidence for it.

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Brion,

Could you translate your post? All I’m seeing is incomprehensible gibberish.

Bob Maurus:

Brion, Could you translate your post? All I’m seeing is incomprehensible gibberish.

aT th erisk of p ytting wrrds iN brIo’ns mouuuth i thInnkhewas shhowig uss w hutt afewm ilLiionn yreaRs o franddomizzzzation wloud doto a geneetci msseage.

Russell,

To quote the apparently departed Navy Davy - thanks, I think.

Brion:

Time is not the Genus

Well, it was almost perfect. If it had come up “Time is not the Genius”, in what I assume was a random text scrambler, I would have gone the way of Dawkins and become a true believer.

As it is it’s a good illustration of the problem organisms would face if random mutation was the mechanism of evolution. William Burroughs would never have been born.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on May 27, 2004 3:23 AM.

Ancient Wings: A cool phylogeny visualization was the previous entry in this blog.

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