Scientific American Throws in the Towel

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Scientific American, that venerable purveyor of mainstream science to the literate, has decided to change its dogmatic ways. From the April 2005 issue, just out:

In retrospect, this magazine’s coverage of so-called evolution has been hideously one-sided. For decades, we published articles in every issue that endorsed the ideas of Charles Darwin and his cronies.

Moreover, we shamefully mistreated the Intelligent Design (ID) theorists by lumping them in with creationists. Creationists believe that God designed all life, and that’s a somewhat religious idea. But ID theorists think that at unspecified times some unnamed superpowerful entity designed life, or maybe just some species, or maybe just some of the stuff in cells. That’s what makes ID a superior scientific theory: it doesn’t get bogged down in details.

Get ready for a new Scientific American. … This magazine will be dedicated purely to science, fair and balanced science, not just the science that scientists say is science. (All italics original)

Oh, and one more thing:

And it will start on April Fools’ Day.

RBH

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Scientific American Throws in the Towel: Scientific American, that venerable purveyor of mainstream science to the literate, has decided to change its dogmatic ways. From the April 2005 issue, just out: In retrospect, this magazine's coverage of so-ca... Read More

Disaster strikes -- Scientific American becomes creationist. Read More

73 Comments

jumping the gun there a little arent we?

snex wrote

jumping the gun there a little arent we?

Pardon? Did that mean something?

RBH

**** LMAO ****

In their annual April issue, SciAm used to publish letters they received from crank theorists, but they stopped. That’s unfortunate, because the crank theories can be quite entertaining.

Given what’s happening at IMAX theaters in science museums, SciAm may be forced to publish this editorial for real in 20 years or so.

h th scntfc mrts f mkng fn f yr ppnts whl stll nt mkng vrfbl prdctns.……

Th prblm s tht whl yr scm ws mkng fn f n rgmnt t ws nbl t ddrss th rl ss n fvrbl lght.

Fcts->cnclsns

Hwvr thr r sm cnclsns tht r cmpltly nspprtd by fcts.

Fr xml, D s bttr r wrs thry thn vltn wth n ntllgnt crtr. Snc nthr rlly mk prdctns thr thn t prdct prvsly dscvrd dt thy r bth qs-scnc/hstry.

Thr s n crrnt vdnc tht spprts thr sd. D ws dsgnd t b vltn wth dffrnt WHY. s sch snc vltn hs ptfl spprt n th why t s cnstnt thrn n yr sd…

Th fct tht fcd wth ths dlsm whr th vltnsts wth gd r rddcld by th vltnsts wtht gd tr scnc wld b ntrl.

Bt y rn’t bt scnc.….

Yep. You sure fooled me! I thought Sci Am was finally moving out of the dark ages. I guess we’ll just have to wait… I did find this rather interesting though: a battle between design by the unobservable designer(s?) and design by humans… battle of designed machines

DonkeyKong:

Here’s a small sample of the list of sources of predictions that the theory of evolution made, and were borne out:

http://wilstar.com/evolution/predictions.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/mod[…]olution.html

http://www.don;lindsay;archive.org/creation/evo_science.html (replace semicolons with hyphens) http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA210.html

http://www.ebonmusings.org/evolutio[…]vidence.html

http://www.nslij-genetics.org/dupli[…]/yanai00.pdf

http://www.botany.org/newsite/annou[…]volution.php

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/r[…]cuss_01.html

http://www.ncseweb.org/icons/icon2tol.html

So what does ID predict? What has it predicted that was borne out? Please stop littering this site with this “no predictions” garbage until you address this.

Russell: The problem with DK is that he muddles the meaning of “predictions” (intentionally??) He confounds predictions in the sense of the prophesies of Nostradamus – which turn out to mean anything – with predictions such as, “I predict that when I add 1 and 1, I will get the result of 2” with predictions of calculating the force of gravity and then testing that prediction experimentally, with the predictions actually used in evolution, that if a new species X is discovered, and it is found with properties A,B,C,D,… then it will be related to species Y, and if a fossil with properties E,F,G,H,… is found then it will be a transitional species between species L and species N…

DK intermixes all these types of “prediction” to make a mess of an argument, that in the end has no coherence or logic to it, and such that no facts presented to him will answer his challenge.

What DK seems to want of evolution, is for scientists to say, “Ok, here is our evolutionary prediction: We predict that in ten years, some botanist will find a new species of plant that has precisely these characteristics, a,b,c,d,.…, lives only in this geological area, etc.” To DK, what he wants to to pretend that evolution is nothing more than a group of Nostradamuses…

Rssl

Frm yr frst lnk

“n scnc, “prdctn” ds nt ncssrly mn dscrbng ftr vnt. t s smply th lgcl rslt y wld xpct frm th dt y hv.”

Yr scnd lnk ss th wrd Gd 46 tms.

Yr thrd lnk ws dd

Frth lnk “ f vltn’s lw pwr t mk ftr prdctns kps t frm bng scnc, thn sm thr flds f stdy cs t b scncs, t, spclly rchlgy nd strnmy.” gr fr th mst prt rchlgy s nt scnc nd strnmy s ftn nt scnc n tht mny f ts thrs r mssvly nspprtd, spc thr, wrm hls tc.

Ffth lnk cntnd “n rcnt yrs, nw fld n cmptr scnc hs mrgd: s-clld “gntc lgrthms,” whch tk dvntg f th pwr f vltn t slv xtrmly dffclt prblms.” vltnry, slf rgnzng lgrthms hv fld msrbly. n gnrl th ttntn ndd t th nvrnmnt t gt thm t d ntrstng thngs wld rg fr n D xplntn f n wr nt bsd t th tst.

Th lst lnk cntnd “Wlls clms tht txtbks d nt cvr th “Cmbrn xplsn” nd fl t pnt t hw ths “tp-dwn” vltn pss srs chllng t cmmn dscnt nd vltn.” f tr ths s dmnng sttmnt rgrdng vltn n th clssrm bng frm f nt-rlgs brn wshng. Cmbrn xplsn hppnd hv t tch t.

rd yr lnks.…y rd mn…

http://www.nkrbrg.cm/rtcls/_PDFrchv[…]SC3W1199.pdf

http://www.nswrsngnss.rg/dcs2002/0228nt_scnc.sp

http://www.nswrsngnss.rg/dcs2002/0228nt_scnc.sp

http://www.crtnthry.rg/Yngrth/

fnd th lck f prmd lst shwng th fls prdctns f vltn trblng…

Fls prdctns f vltn ff th tp f my hd…

Sgn prdctns rgrdng vns, mrs, mn, Jptr.

Gntcs shwng mny prmtv rgnsms hv lrgr DN strnds thn hmns…Ths ws n nxpctd rslt.

Gntcs shwng mjr sss rgng gnst spctn bng s sy s vltn thry sggsts…Thr s n bsrvd vdnc fr chng n chrmsm strctr btwn p nd hmn whch rgs gnst th lnr prgrssn thry t th hrt f vltn.

Cmbrn xplsn ccrng n wy tht nvlvs mch fstr mttn rt nd spctn thn s prsntly bsrvd…

bgnss bng n-vrfd ftr 50+ yrs f ttmpts.

Th prdctn tht spcs drtn sms t b cmpltly rndm bng t dds wth srvvl f fttst Ntrl Slctn.

Flr t bsrv spctn r mcr-vltn t th rt ncssry t sstn vltn. rgbly flr t bsrv t t ll bt wll stck t th mr cnsrvtv ssrtn.

Gntc vdnc wll n r lftms prbbly slv/nd ths dbt n wy r th thr s DN ntrdcs mr dt thn ll th pln nd fssl dt cmbnd nd wll plc cnstrnts n vltn tht cnnt b shrggd ff nlss t s crrct.

Whn th dtls f wht vltn s skng y t blv r wll ndrstd s DN wll mk thm nd th gps n th lgc r clr vltn s w knw t tdy prbbly wll nt srvv jst s vltn n Drwns dy hs mstly nt srvvd.

Jff

Prdctns Lvls f scnc nvlvd.

1) Strngst clm t prdctng s whn y cn stt prdcts B n n nvrnmnt f C nd nt . ll thr mdfctns t th nvrnmnt wll nt ltr th prdctn whn y th scptc tst t ndr yr wn rls prvdd y bsrv th ,B,C,D sttd ssmptns. Grvty s lk ths. Prsnc f tw bjcts wll ttrct ch thr nlss cnnctd by rgd bdy tht hlds thm pprt tc.

2) Wkr clm. ->B hwvr fr whtvr rsn th nvrnmnt cnnt b ltrd s tht w hv n wy t tst tht C s rlly th cs nd y cn’t tst t yrslf. t ts bst vltn clms t prdct ths lvl.

3) ->B whr B s s vg tht t cn mn nythng. Nstrdms sd ths s dd Drwn. Ntrl Slctn cnnt b dsprvn s ts dfntn f B r whn ->B r vn r t vg t b tstd nd fnd fls n ny mgnd snr.

4) mltpl gss clm. ->B r C r D r r F r .….…Z h lk ws rght ->D. vltn s cmmnly glty f ths s th scntsts wh prdct fls tcms dn’t pblsh thr thrs gn ftr bng prvn fls. T gn th crdblty f thry tht xplns thngs y hv t prdct mltpl nknwn vnts wth th SM NLTRD thry.

5) bltntly fls ->B h lk ->D nd nt ->B nd my thry s stll vld. Cmplxty f DN bng nlnkd t cmplxty f prcptn f Blgy s xmpl f ths. Tht trs r mr cmplx gntclly thn y ws shck…nd ndrmns th whl prms f vltn.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 1, column 266, byte 266 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

DK: I even went to the trouble of looking up your links. Again - totally nonresponsive to the question at hand. As to your list of “false predictions of evolution” - so far as I can tell at first glance, not one of them really holds up as such. I don’t suppose you have a reputable link for each of those do you?

Let’s get back to the original topic, shall we? Please don’t let this thread get de-railed by DonkeyKong’s empty barrels.

Scientific American’s announcemnt is especially humorous because it comes so close to the language actually used by ID promoters.

Examples:

“ID theorists” “unspecified” “fair and balanced”

The ID camp’s prolific wordsmithing is definitely making it more and more difficult to recognize authentic satire. Sadly, I’m sure some readers of SciAm will be fooled.

Jeremy Mohn: Let’s get back to the original topic, shall we? Please don’t let this thread get de-railed by DonkeyKong’s empty barrels.

Good point. An appropriate place to respond to my remarks, Donkey, if, and only if you have a response as opposed to empty slogans, might be “How to piss off a scientist”.

Rssl.

Th whl pnt f D s tht t s vltn wth dffrnt why bt n nw prdctns.

t dds nthng. Bt t sbtrcts nthng. t s yr clm tht t mks D nt scnc bt pnt t tht D sts n ll th vltn spprt.

Why vltn fllws th nlkly pth tht t ds s prt f th ntrstng prt.

Ds t d s v n nflsfbl Ntrl Slctn r v n nflsfbl ntllgnt Dsgn?

Dsn’t mttr t m bt nthr s scntfc thry.

Th scntfc thry tht hs spprt s tht lf sd t b mr smpl thn t s nw.

n tht w gr. ccpt th fssl vdnc. ccpt th DN vdnc. Lf s smlr. Lf sd t b mr smpl. nd y r t f ctl spprt fr vltn s th rsn WHY th thngs w rgr n r tr s srly lckng.

ts ll th why tht w dsgr nd n tht yr scntfc spprt s nt bttr thn th D crwd.

Y cn’t mk thngs vlv, y cn’t s thngs vlv s y rsrt t tryng t brnwsh kds. n dng s y scrm nd cry bt nyn ls prsntng thr why thry bcs y knw y dn’t hv dt tht spprts yr why nd dsn’t spprt thr why.

BTW lvd yr s f th wrd prdctn t mn bsrvtn ftr th fct.

Rssl

yr nblty t rd my lnks s tllng…

s t tht y dn’t wnt t fc tht dffrncs btwn frwrd lkng nd bckwrd lkng “scnc”.

Fr m scnc s bt th blty t prdct nd cntrl r nvrs.

Ths “scncs” tht fl n thr blty t d tht nd nthr nm s thy trly r dffrnt thng frm tr scnc.

myb qs-scnc? bg-scnc? vltn?

s t tht y dn’t wnt t dmt tht th rsn vltnsts r tryng t brnwsh kds s bcs vltn fls th mst bsc tsts f scnc?

Nmly vltn fls t fllw th scntfc mthd fr th mjrty f ts clms.

Wht r y rnnng frm Rssl?

BTW loved your use of the word prediction to mean observation after the fact.

In science, a prediction is a logical consequence of some hypothetical explanation of an observation. Predictions about what we should observe about some past event are just that, predictions.

Donkey Kong-

Evolution predicts that the amino acid sequence of hemoglobin A of humans will be similar to that of chimpanzee, less similar to that of the Gibbon, and still less similar to that of the mouse. Retrieve the sequences (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Database/index.html) and check the prediction.

The Sci Am article makes an important point. As scientists, we can’t ignore that there are those who have, do, and will manipulate science and the scientific process. Good journalism should not ignore the subjectivist’s threats and distortions of science. An informed and educated citizenry is essential to a free nation.

Jelly

Please, please, please! Do what Mario would do!

There are two options:

1. You can jump over the barrels (ignore DonkeyKong’s attempts to de-rail this thread) 2. You can smash the barrels with a hammer (attempt to obliterate DonkeyKong’s “arguments”)

I suggest option 1 because it is easier and wastes less of everyone’s time. The problem with option 2 is that, although it can be amusing, the ape apparently has an unlimited supply of barrels.

Donkey - you’ll find my response on the Bathroom Wall, where I suggest all your sloganeering belongs.

I have decided to implement a comment control policy similar to PZ’s: disemvowelment of trolling derailments and jerky comments in general. The general guidelines are similar to those used on Infidels, interpreted as I damn well feel like interpreting them depending on my mood when I read the comment. Complaints about comment control in comment threads appended to my posts will be summarily deleted.

RBH

Jeremy,

You make a very good point. Engaging in a pissing contest will get you nothing more than wet shoes and yellow socks. There are plenty of people with open minds that are willing to engage in an honest conversation. Allowing the trolls to feed at will is bound to drag the blog down.

On a related note, what is the general opinion about encouraging the blog master to build a “troll feeding zone” where open season could be encouraged?

Jelly

Very nice.

Jelly-

There is a place where “troll feeding” is allowed, The Bathroom Wall.

Earlier, Jelly Wrote:

An informed and educated citizenry is essential to a free nation.

I certainly agree. The problem is, how do we decide what “informed” and “educated” mean? More importantly, who gets to decide?

In Kansas, we have some members of the State Board of Education claiming that they have the qualifications necessary to judge what should be taught in public school science classrooms.

When asked what these supposed qualifications are, you know what they said?

Being a member of the State Board of Education, of course.

I’m not kidding. That’s really what they said.

Earlier, Jelly wrote:

An informed and educated citizenry is essential to a free nation.

Which is why I question the motives of those who work so hard to prevent people from becoming informed and educated.

Who wins when the kids don’t learn the facts?

Jeremy and Ed,

Indeed, it is a challenging issue. My response is to say that I get to decided what is informed and educated…at least with my children. Of course, parents with an alternative perspective will also make the same claim. The difference is that I expect that my children (and all children attending a public school) will be taught about science that is unbiased by religious opinion. God and spirituality are things that my wife and I will teach our children at home and in our church. Can you imagine how insane a government sanctioned and school board approved curriculum on God would be like. Please, stop the insanity! So, while all might not agree on “informed and educated,” science should not be so difficult to define. Unfortunately, the challenge is that it’s easy to mislead the uninformed about what is and what is not science. It is my guess that this is our best point of defense.

Jelly

OT serious question –

Musing about the possible forces that led to the evolution of this or that feature is a fun past time for me, but something has me stumped.

Humans have 23 chromosome pairs, while chimps have 24. The way I understand it, any offspring between two animals with different numbers of chromosomes will be sterile. This is why mules are sterile.

So, presumably the common ancestor species of chimps and humans had some number of pairs, then either two chromosomes fused in humans, or one split into two in chimps.

Yet how could this happen? Unless it somehow happened to a big chunk of the population all at once, wouldn’t anyone with a different number of chromosomes end up with no grandkids?

Boronx,

You say that you understand that “any offspring between two animals with different numbers of chromosomes will be sterile. This is why mules are sterile.”

Well, not all mules are sterile.

Jelly

“Well, not all mules are sterile.”

True. But I understand that’s the source of sterility in mules. I’m guessing an odd number of chromosomes generally confounds meiosis. Maybe most mules are fertile at some very low probability.

Forgive the suggestion, but has anyone tried crossing a human with a chimp?

Davison, did I miss your explanation of apple maggots?

Johnny, I have read your ‘manifesto’ to the end and, I think, you deserve a new nicname : Davison, the cranky quote miner

JAD offers:

“You can lead a man to the literature but you cannot make him read or comprehend it.”

To which the only possible rejoinder is Dorothy Parker’s discussion of the plant sciences:

You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.

Does anyone have the heart to tell Travis? The creationists can’t even get it wrong, right: There are three planets with retrograde spin, and another with an axis tilt of about 90 degrees … maybe Hovind’s creationist optics system can’t see to Uranus?

Wikipedia says: Some significant examples of retrograde motion in the solar system:

Venus rotates slowly in the retrograde direction. The moons Ananke, Carme, Pasiphaë and Sinope all orbit Jupiter in a retrograde direction, and are thought to be fragments of a single body that Jupiter captured long ago. Many other minor moons of Jupiter orbit retrograde. The moon Phoebe orbits Saturn in a retrograde direction, and is thought to be a captured Kuiper belt object. The moon Triton orbits Neptune in a retrograde direction, and is also thought to be a captured Kuiper belt object. The planet Uranus has an axial tilt which is very near to 90°, and can be considered to be rotating in a retrograde direction depending on one’s interpretation.

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

I warn you: Somebody is going to take the headline on this thread to heart! Scientific American will either get a flock of new subscriptions, or a lot of cancellations (geeze – what if they get both?)

My Manifesto was specifically designed to inflame devout Darwimpians wherever they may be found. That is why I have never attempted to publish it in hard copy. Have a nice random, pointless, aimless, gradualist and Godless Darwinian day. Apparently I have been quite successful in producing my desired result. Thanks for the verification.

John A. Davison

Oh, johnny, my verification of darwinism ( one of several this year, because I habitually employ genetic algorithms in my work, once the problem gets too hairy ) finished at 18:01 this evening with just an other success. I had to implement arccosine comptutation on a processor which lacks anything like Intel’s “acos” instruction under truly draconian requirements for speed and memory use. After dwo days-or-so of futile tries, I’ve given up and instead have writen a simple genetic algorithm to search usefull approximations instead of me. And, after a couple of hours running, it has found a approximation which one can’t outperform no matter how hard he would try… just because it is giving *exact* number, precise to the very last bit. ( and with 20 times the speed of original code )

Jhn . Dvsn Wrote:

Apparently I have been quite successful in producing my desired result.

Apparently you mistake irritation with your abrasive and monotonously repetitious personal style for an emotional reaction to your writings. This is a common error amongst trolls and flamers.

In any event, I may now safely assume that you have revealed that your entire purpose in participating here is to cause upset. My apologies to the general public for providing you a pretext for continuing this ignoble endeavor. I shan’t repeat this mistake in future (except for this here p’ticlar instance).

Why do you feed the troll of a weak and little faith?

Michael,

CalTech’s DLife web server is wonky. They’re working on it.

With that I’m closing comments on this thread.

RBH

RBH Wrote:

CalTech’s DLife web server is wonky. They’re working on it.

I noticed earlier today that it was reachable, but not answering on port 80. I imagine somebody is rebuilding something…

I have tried all my adult life to reason with Darwinians. It simply can’t be done. Their condition is genetic, no question about it. I have secret reasons to believe their malaise is localized on human chromosome number 12 right next to the liberal and atheist loci. Their genetic formula then is DDLLAA. Being very closely linked these genes tend to remain together as is obvious to anyone with half a brain. That is why its very difficult finding an atheist who isn’t also a political liberal and a Darwimp.

John A. Davison

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“And I think I just wrote the Dover ACLU’s opening brief for it. :>”

Err, nice work there Rev. Perhaps you should submit this to be used in Dover. :) Seriously.

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