“Retraining the Scientific Imagination…”

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Jay Richards recently stepped in it when he speculated that, because he didn’t find general relativity particularly intuitive, therefore Einstein might have been wrong. Now Sean Carroll calls out Paul Nelson on his interpretation of a supposedly ID-friendly essay by cosmologist George Ellis. “Nelson,” writes Carroll, “turns Ellis’s essay to his advantage via the venerable technique of ‘making shit up.’”

Biologists, astronomers, geologists, and now, increasingly, physicists: who’s next in line for a Discovery Institute-style “retraining”?

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Harmony of Faith and Science from Missourians Fired Up and Fighting Back! on June 19, 2005 10:30 AM

Midwest Center for American Values is helpin

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Ellis Wrote:

A simple statement of fact: there is no physics theory that explains the nature of, or even the existence of, football matches, teapots, or jumbo-jet aircraft.

An interesting list. Why would teapots be included?

Is There a God? by Bertrand Russell

Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is, of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time. It is customary to suppose that, if a belief is widespread, there must be something reasonable about it. I do not think this view can be held by anyone who has studied history. Practically all the beliefs of savages are absurd. In early civilizations there may be as much as one percent for which there is something to be said. In our own day.… But at this point I must be careful. We all know that there are absurd beliefs in Soviet Russia. If we are Protestants, we know that there are absurd beliefs among Catholics. If we are Catholics, we know that there are absurd beliefs among Protestants. If we are Conservatives, we are amazed by the superstitions to be found in the Labour Party. If we are Socialists, we are aghast at the credulity of Conservatives. I do not know, dear reader, what your beliefs may be, but whatever they may be, you must concede that nine-tenths of the beliefs of nine-tenths of mankind are totally irrational. The beliefs in question are, of course, those which you do not hold. I cannot, therefore, think it presumptuous to doubt something which has long been held to be true, especially when this opinion has only prevailed in certain geographical regions, as is the case with all theological opinions.

Is Ellis referring to Russell’s teapot?

It occurs to me that the “jumbo-jet aircraft” could be Fred Hoyle’s:

A junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing-747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that after its passage a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there?

I have no idea whether Hoyle’s 747 is the aircraft referred to by Ellis.

I also have no idea what a football match might be doing on the list, or even which version of football it might be, sports of that name having evolved separately on several continents.

Biologists, astronomers, geologists, and now, increasingly, physicists: who’s next in line for a Discovery Institute-style “retraining”?

Well, let’s ask the IDers . …

In the Wedge Document, we find:

Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.

Five Year Goals

* To see intelligent design theory as an accepted alternative in the sciences and scientific research being done from the perspective of design theory.

* To see the beginning of the influence of design theory in spheres other than natural science.

* To see major new debates in education, life issues, legal and personal responsibility pushed to the front of the national agenda.

Twenty Year Goals

* To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.

* To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its innuence in the fine arts.

* To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life.

Hmmm … it seems as if EVERYONE is next. ID wants not only our science, but also our “religious, cultural, moral and political life”.

I think that is spelled “t-h-e-o-c-r-a-c-y”.

Matt,

Here’s an email I sent yesterday to Sean, after reading his post:

Hey Sean,

Saw your post on Preposterous Universe about my IDTF commentary re Ellis. I think you misread me. I didn’t attribute irreducible complexity (Behe flavor) to Ellis: that would have been making shit up, as you put it.

Rather, I said Ellis was arguing for the reality of irreducible causation — genuine top-down causation — and he is. No, he didn’t use the word “irreducible,” but that’s a good shorthand for this:

“the higher levels in the hierarchy of complexity have autonomous causal powers that are functionally independent of lower-level processes.”

Put the entity “Paul Nelson” into a giant blender with really sharp blades, crank it to 10,000 rpm, and that entity’s abilities to write emails and drive a Honda Civic disappear. The lower-level (chemical) constituents are largely as before, of course, but the “autonomous causal power” to compose intelligible character strings is gone. In that respect that particular causal power is irreducible. Like the entity “Sean Carroll,” “Paul Nelson” produces real physical effects properly explained only by reference to the irreducible entity (agent) consuming his share of oxygen at a computer north of Chicago.

Is this the same as current hypotheses of intelligent design, which argue not only for irreducible causation, but irreducible complexity in organisms? No, which is why I said “a day’s walk,” which by my estimate — 3 miles per hour, 8 hour day — is about the distance from Glenview (where I live) to Hyde Park. That’s a long way on a hot June day.

But, with respect to physicalism, and the causal closedness of the universe (articles of faith for Dawkins, Dennett, and Jerry Coyne, not to mention most philosophers of science), Ellis and Behe are in the same county, and the distance between them isn’t occupied by the city of Chicago, it’s a pleasant stroll through the English countryside. Ellis’s thesis is a lot more radical than you grant. I’ve watched Jerry Coyne climb the stairs of the U of C zoology building, reading a NY Review of Books article on ID (by Frederick Crews) – Jerry almost ran into me, he was so consumed by his reading – and Ellis’s arguments, fully grasped, are not the sort of thesis to make him happy.

I enjoy Preposterous Universe: visit every day!

Best,

Paul

Hey Paul, I’ve never seen any ID theory. All I ever see is “Such and such scientific theory is inadequate.” I’ve never once seen an actual testable theory about how things arose via ID. Why is that?

Perhaps you guys should rename it “ID Evolution Denial”

Mr. Nelson –

On the website of your parent organization, in a section entitled “Top Questions About Intelligent Design”, the assertion is made that there exists a theory of ID.

http://www.discovery.org/csc/topQue[…]ligentDesign

And yet, you are on record as admitting that there is no such theory.

In your opinion, would Jesus consider this to be an ethical practice?

I take that back. I just reread the Wedge Document. It outlines the Discovery Institute’s goals. It says publish a lot of books, and scientific articles, and then move on to “Publicity & Opinion-making” and then “Cultural Confrontation & Renewal”. It never says “Create a viable scientific theory in opposition to evolution.” I shouldn’t have criticised you for not having a scientific theory–you aren’t really trying to create one.

Rather, I said Ellis was arguing for the reality of irreducible causation — genuine top-down causation — and he is. No, he didn’t use the word “irreducible,” but that’s a good shorthand for this:

“the higher levels in the hierarchy of complexity have autonomous causal powers that are functionally independent of lower-level processes.”

Irreducibility of causation at a higher level to causes at a lower level (what Ellis is saying) does not necessitate “top-down” causation. And even the existence of top-down causation at one point in time does not mean that particular cause was necessary from the beginning…you folks are trying to argue “ultimate unbuildability” from “proximate irreducibility”.

A system can be built with scaffolding, and still become proximally irreducible if the scaffolding is lost. I have yet to see you or Behe, or anyone else demonstrate how a sort of immdediate irreducibility necessarily implies the kind of ultimate non-buildability you want to proscribe to it. Yet ID absolutely requires this.

Put the entity “Paul Nelson” into a giant blender with really sharp blades, crank it to 10,000 rpm, and that entity’s abilities to write emails and drive a Honda Civic disappear. The lower-level (chemical) constituents are largely as before, of course, but the “autonomous causal power” to compose intelligible character strings is gone. In that respect that particular causal power is irreducible. Like the entity “Sean Carroll,” “Paul Nelson” produces real physical effects properly explained only by reference to the irreducible entity (agent) consuming his share of oxygen at a computer north of Chicago.

OK, so Paul Nelson exhibits proximal causal irreducibility at this point in time. None of this rules out Paul Nelson’s ultimate step-by-step buildability.

Put water molecules in a fusion reactor, and zap it with a superhot laser until it turns into a plasma of constituent particles. The resulting entities no longer have the ability to form ice, dissolve ions, participate in this planet’s meterological systems, or facilitate biochemical reactions in an organism. Does chemistry and physics need ID more desperately than biology?

Ellis disproved Des Cartes. So what? Ellis was dealing with a universe that contained intelligent designers not own created by one.

Nelson failed to note that a number of scientists quoted by the previous Nature news articles were not reductionists either. If Nelson truly wants to build a robust theory of design he needs to go down a different English country path.

Ellis disproved Des Cartes. So what? Ellis was dealing with a universe that contained intelligent designers not own created by one.

What language is that? Esperanto?

Put the entity “Paul Nelson” into a giant blender with really sharp blades, crank it to 10,000 rpm, and that entity’s abilities to write emails and drive a Honda Civic disappear.

I had a joke here, but I deleted it. That fruit hangs too low.

Greetings fellow Intelligent Design Theorist! Isn’t it exhilirating to be leading a scientific revolution? Since it’s based on a lie, modern biology hasn’t made any progress in 150 years.

Paul, while you’re at it, could you get Jay Richards to write more about how “Einstein’s argument seems to mistake epistemology for ontology.” This ID Physics is every bit as fascinating and valid as ID Biology. Truly amazing, what you DI guys are capable of doing from your armchairs.

Last year in Boston, at this ISSR conference

George Ellis said: From science to religion, the problem is religion claiming absolute truth. Science can temper these beliefs. The crucial battle is against fundamentalism - or a partial truth proclaimed as a whole truth.

The orgs that sponsored ISSR conferences all are extremely skeptical of or oppose ID as it is formulated by the DI.

Twenty Year Goals

(snip)

* To see design theory application in specific fields, including (snip) … ethics .…

So fairly soon we should see “a growing number” of ethicists claiming that it’s morally proper to engage in lies and sleaze to promote ignorance. Come to think of it, didn’t the Germans try that a while back ?

Despite growing up in the Deep South (Baton Rouge) and currently residing in Colorado Springs, last night on PBS I just learned a word I have never in my life heard before : Dominionism.

It’s quite shocking, actually, but it refers to what many of us would generically (and perhaps misguidedly) refer to as “right wing” christians or “fundamentalists”. According to journalist John F. Sugg of Tampa’s Weekly Planet,

Dominion theologians … preached … that it was Christians’ job to take over the world and impose biblical rule. Christ would not return, they said, until the church had claimed dominion over all of the world’s governments and institutions …

They’re committed, effective, and very literal. And judging by their success in our (US) government, off to a very good start. So, the answer to the original question for this thread (“Who’s next in line for … retraining?”) is : nobody. We don’t need to be retrained, just replaced !

Since the ploy of creationists is to obfuscate facts and create doubts in the minds of policy-makers and the general public, maybe we should react by bringing increased clarity to the table; i.e., switch from terms like “fundamentalist” or “religious right”, which refer to peoples’ beliefs, to the term Dominionist, which clearly reflects their unsavory, anti-domocratic intentions. I believe that there is a huge number of evangelicals, fundamentalists, conservative christians, etc. who would cringe at being associated with the Dominionists, and very few Dominionists who are brave/honest enough to state their agenda publicly. Perhaps we help bring them out of the closet…

If your stomach is strong enough, you might want to check out www.theocracywatch.org

Is this the same as current hypotheses of intelligent design

ID has a scientific hypothesis? Can I see it, please?

I enjoy Preposterous Universe: visit every day!

Indeed, IDer *live* in Preposterous Universe. (shrug)

But hey, Paul, last time you were here, you ran away without answering two simple questions from me:

1. when has Ahmanson publicly retracted any of his extremist views — which ones has he retracted and why, and which ones has he NOT retracted and why NOT?

2. If there is no scientific theory of ID, as you yourself have stated, then why does the ID movement call itself … well … the ID movement? Is that just an attempt to gain all the benefits of claiming to have a “scientific alternative” without any of the liabilities of actually having to *produce* any? Or are IDers just flat-out lying to us when they claim to have a scientific theory of ID instead of just religious objections to evolution? If ID has no theory, why do so many IDers keep claiming it does? Are they deliberately lying to us, or are they just too dumb to realize that they DON’T have any theory after all . … . ?

For extra credit, Paul, you can answer the question that your pal Sal runs away from — how, exactly, is evolution any more “materialistic” or “naturalistic” than is weather forecasting or accident investigation or medical practice? Why is “materialism” and “naturalism” acceptable to you in some areas, but not in others?

Naturally, Paul, I don’t expect you to answer.

And that is a quite eloquent answer all by itself.

If your stomach is strong enough, you might want to check out www.theocracywatch.org

Um, if you REALLY want to lose your lunch, do a Google for “Howard Ahmanson”, who for 20 years has been one of the primary funders of the Reconstructionist/Dominionist movement.

Then look up the name of the guy who is the primary funder for the Discovery Institute.

Notice anything . … .?

Since the ploy of creationists is to obfuscate facts and create doubts in the minds of policy-makers and the general public, maybe we should react by bringing increased clarity to the table; i.e., switch from terms like “fundamentalist” or “religious right”, which refer to peoples’ beliefs, to the term Dominionist, which clearly reflects their unsavory, anti-domocratic intentions.

Here’s some more light reading for you:

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/fundies.htm

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/diagenda.html

http://www.geocities.com/lflank/wedge.html

Ellis disproved Des Cartes. So what? Ellis was dealing with a universe that contained intelligent designers not own created by one.

What language is that? Esperanto?

No, it is English. Cartesian reductionism is found in Descartes’ Rules for Direction of the Mind, Rule V:

Method consists entirely in the order and arrangement of those things upon which the power of the mind is to be concentrated in order to discover some truth. And we will follow this method exactly if we reduce complex and obscure propositions step by step to simpler ones and then try to advance by the same gradual process from the intuitive understanding of the very simplest to the knowledge of all the rest.

Ellis referred to this here:

In the hierarchy of complexity, each level links to the one above: chemistry links to biochemistry, to cell biology, physiology, psychology, to sociology, economics, and politics. Particle physics is the foundational subject underlying — and so in some sense explaining — all the others. In a reductionist world view, physics is all there is. The cartesian picture of man as a machine seems to be vindicated. [Emphasis mine]

But this view omits important aspects of the world that physics has yet to come to terms with. Our environment is dominated by objects that embody the outcomes of intentional design (buildings, books, computers, teaspoons). Today’s physics has nothing to say about the intentionality that has resulted in the existence of such objects, even though this intentionality is clearly causally effective.

My point was the intelligent designers referred to here were part of the Universe not creators of it.

Hey, Timmy, do you call youself that because on South Park Timmy is always saying “Livingalie, livingalie, Timmy!”?

JRQ Wrote:

OK, so Paul Nelson exhibits proximal causal irreducibility at this point in time. None of this rules out Paul Nelson’s ultimate step-by-step buildability.

So, what’s the difference, effectively/practically, between saying Paul Nelson was built on a “scaffold” that has now DISAPPEARED and is so beyond our ability to IMAGINE what it might look like as to be unfathomable, and saying, “God made the scaffold”? Effectively, what’s the difference?

So, what’s the difference, effectively/practically, between saying Paul Nelson was built on a “scaffold” that has now DISAPPEARED and is so beyond our ability to IMAGINE what it might look like as to be unfathomable, and saying, “God made the scaffold”? Effectively, what’s the difference?

What on earth makes you think that the “scaffold” “is so beyond our ability to IMAGINE what it might look like as to be unfathomable”?

And I’m a little puzzled why you are saying things like “God made the scaffold”. Isn’t ID supposed to be science and not religion? So why are you dragging God into it?

Or are IDers just lying to us when they cliam that ID is science and not religion? After all, I notice that YOU seem quite unable to give us any scientific theory of ID. IS that because there isn’t any, or because there is one but you’re too dumb to know what it is, or because there is one but you don’t want anyone else to know about it?

On Dominionism

The Infidel Guy has an interview with one of the principles of Theocracywatch. She is very on top of this stuff.

Infidel Guy thinks this is important enough to have as a free download - tou don’t have to be a paying member for a few, including this, recordings. (Massimo Pigliucci’s is another, and fun for the entertainment value of the dead on ignorant opponent - yep, another preacher.)

You can get this at

http://www.infidelguy.com

The free ones are in the middle of the first page. MP3 at arounf 15 megs.

Comment #34783

Posted by Harq al-Ada on June 11, 2005 07:15 PM (e) (s)

Hey, Timmy, do you call youself that because on South Park Timmy is always saying “Livingalie, livingalie, Timmy!”?

Ha-Ha Mister Harq Al-qaeda. I call myself that because I have as many scientific publications explaining and detailing ID theory as any of the other ID luminaries. That currently happens to be zero, but it’s only been 15-20 years. Any day now we will come up with a theory I PROMISE YOU. Then you will Roo the Day.

Comment #34783

Posted by Harq al-Ada on June 11, 2005 07:15 PM (e) (s)

Hey, Timmy, do you call youself that because on South Park Timmy is always saying “Livingalie, livingalie, Timmy!”?

Ha-Ha Mister Harq Al-qaeda. I call myself that because I have as many scientific publications explaining and detailing ID theory as any of the other ID luminaries. That currently happens to be zero, but it’s only been 15-20 years. Any day now we will come up with a theory.

RDLFlank Wrote:

What on earth makes you think that the “scaffold” “is so beyond our ability to IMAGINE what it might look like as to be unfathomable”?

Because Ellis is more or less saying that in his article and JRQ doesn’t seem to say anything that makes the “scaffold” sound so simple–or else he would have told us all about it, don’t you think?

RDLFlank Wrote:

And I’m a little puzzled why you are saying things like “God made the scaffold”. Isn’t ID supposed to be science and not religion? So why are you dragging God into it?

But, Lenny, surely you should have figured that out by now: I did it to irritate you!

But, Lenny, surely you should have figured that out by now: I did it to irritate you!

That’s nice.

Irritate me further, and do what you told me you would do:

YOU are the one who wrote:

Goldschmidt noted that the total amount of DNA within cells of lower and higher animals is roughly the same, and he speculated that all of the information for all of the proteins that organisms need are to be found in this DNA material—it just simply gets shifted about. I think the implications for ID are rather clear . ….but, of course, if I am forced to spell it all out for you, I can.

*I* called your loudmouthed bluff by responding:

Please do. In as much detail as possible. Dont’ skip any steps.

I very much prefer it whehn IDers make specific statements that can be tested, rather than waving their arms about vague assertions such as “transpeciation” and “chromosomal changes”.

Please tell us precisely what you think happens during speciation, and precisely why it indicates that there is a designer at work in any stage of the process. Please be as precise, detailed and complete as possible.

What does the designer do, precisely, in your view.

What mechanisms does it use to do whatever the heck you think it does.

Where can we see these mechanisms in action today.

I’ve been asking for DAYS now to see a scientific theory of ID. here’s your chance. Right in front of the whole world.

The floor is all yours.

Well, Blast, what’s the problem here. YOU offered to tell em all about it; *I* took you up on your offer.

Wassamatter, is your mouth just bigger than your balls?

Any time you are ready to live up to your own words and “spell it out for me”, I’m waiting.

Why won’t you tell me what this theory of ID is, Blast? Is it because: (1) there isn’y any, and youn were just lying to me when you claimed there is, or (2) there is one, but you’re too dumb to know what it is, or (3) there is one, but you don’t want anyone ELSE to know about it.

What seems to be the problem, Blast?

Even though I am just an ignorant physicist, I like to post on this site to help to fight the good fight against the myrmidons of creationism. I see biologists as being on the front line of a war against science.

Lenny keeps hitting it on the head when he asks “how, exactly, is evolution any more “materialistic” or “naturalistic” than is weather forecasting or accident investigation or medical practice? Why is “materialism” and “naturalism” acceptable to you in some areas, but not in others?”. Here’s the nub: creationists wish to subject all of science to their own interpretations of the Bible. (The Young Earthers are the most consistent: whatever goes to suggest an old earth is wrong, and that includes a lot of physics. Other types of creationists have to explain why they accept that the earth is old in violation of a literalist reading of some parts of the Bible, but insist on such a reading of other parts. )

One problem creationists are not asked to face on this site is how to do science at all if they are right. If all science has to be consistent with interpretation of the Bible, and there are multiple such interpretations even on issues directly related to science (e.g. the age of the earth), then we would have what are now purely scientific issues being decided by theologians/believers on purely religious grounds and we would have different groups of theologians/believers disagreeing on scientific questions.

Jeff S: … maybe we should react by bringing increased clarity to the table; i.e., switch from terms like “fundamentalist” or “religious right”, which refer to peoples’ beliefs, to the term Dominionist, which clearly reflects their unsavory, anti-domocratic intentions.

“Fundamentalist” means something more specific to church-goers than to the rest of us, and research has shown many people think “religious right” means the right to freedom of religion, so they, quite reasonably, start off hostile to those apparently antagonistic to it. It’s hard to get a 5-syllable word like Dominionist to catch on as a buzzphrase in modern politics. Personally, I suspect that since the flop of the “Moral Majority”, the organizers of the crusade for theocracy in the US have deliberately chosen not to allow their movement to be pinned down by a single rubric. However, the movement itself has at last generated an even better sobriquet:

From The Dallas Morning News (found on catch.com circa 5/21/05): In Ohio, the Rev. Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church said at a gathering of 1,000 Patriot Pastors last week that the issues underscoring the filibuster fight transcend partisan politics. “We’re not Democrats. We’re not Republicans. We’re Christocrats,” he declared. …

I used to call them superChristians, to emphasize their differences with garden-variety well-meaning believers, and I still use that name in some circumstances, but “Christocrat” as a label for the raw power-grabbers (such as the blatantly political Patriot Pastors) is simply a term made in heaven.

Jeff S Wrote:

Despite growing up in the Deep South (Baton Rouge) and currently residing in Colorado Springs, last night on PBS I just learned a word I have never in my life heard before : Dominionism.

When you’re ready to scare yourself some more, google on “red heifer”.

Yes, Christocrat’s a telling label - though theocrat is still required for the more general case of religious fundamentalist.

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What are you/he calling lower and higher animals though? For example, monkeys are not lower than humans apart from on purely prejudiced human grounds. Is this more a prokaryotes vs eukaryotes thing? As an early branching, the differences are bound to be seen as more significant than recent tweaks on the same branch. Everything around today is just as evolved as everything else in terms of the time it has had though.

Lenny: I thought you might like this…

I wonder if the source of the quote offered by Blast is any more credible than Blast himself? Hard to say, since he decided not to share the source with us.

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Lenny: I thought you might like this.

What I’d like MORE is for you to just answer my goddamn questions. Forget them already? No problem:

*ahem*

YOU are the one who wrote:

Goldschmidt noted that the total amount of DNA within cells of lower and higher animals is roughly the same, and he speculated that all of the information for all of the proteins that organisms need are to be found in this DNA material—it just simply gets shifted about. I think the implications for ID are rather clear . ….but, of course, if I am forced to spell it all out for you, I can.

*I* called your loudmouthed bluff by responding:

Please do. In as much detail as possible. Dont’ skip any steps.

I very much prefer it whehn IDers make specific statements that can be tested, rather than waving their arms about vague assertions such as “transpeciation” and “chromosomal changes”.

Please tell us precisely what you think happens during speciation, and precisely why it indicates that there is a designer at work in any stage of the process. Please be as precise, detailed and complete as possible.

What does the designer do, precisely, in your view.

What mechanisms does it use to do whatever the heck you think it does.

Where can we see these mechanisms in action today.

I’ve been asking for DAYS now to see a scientific theory of ID. here’s your chance. Right in front of the whole world.

The floor is all yours.

Well, Blast, what’s the problem here. YOU offered to tell em all about it; *I* took you up on your offer.

Wassamatter, is your mouth just bigger than your balls?

Any time you are ready to live up to your own words and “spell it out for me”, I’m waiting.

Why won’t you tell me what this theory of ID is, Blast? Is it because: (1) there isn’y any, and youn were just lying to me when you claimed there is, or (2) there is one, but you’re too dumb to know what it is, or (3) there is one, but you don’t want anyone ELSE to know about it.

I’ll just keep on asking, Blast, as many times as I need to, until you either answer or run away. You, of course, can simply continue to refuse to answer, and thus demonstrate to all the lurkers that your mouth is, indeed, bigger than your balls.

C. H. Waddington takes this view very much more seriously

No need to thank me for telling you about Waddington, Blast. I already knew that you’d never heard of him until I brought his name up. Apparently that wasn’t part of your, uh, extensive study of evolutionary biology, huh. (snicker) (giggle)

Now go ahead and tell me that Waddington supported ID too . … . .

We may, in fact, be on the verge of a general paradigm shift

(yawn) “This will be evolution’s Waterloo.” – Big Bill Dumbski

I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard some fundie nutjob pronouncing the imminent death of evolutionary biology.

o, if the number of genes stays the same (remember monkeys and humans are “genetically” almost the same—even though the “genetic” DNA is only 3% of the total) then no NEW information is being provided

Reeaaalllyyyyyyy. Then why aren’t the genes all the same. Why don’t any animals have a gene for chlorophyll production. Why don’t any mammals have a gene for snake venom production. Why don’t any amphibians have a gene for mammalian hair production.

Where did all those genes come from, Blast.

Oh, I forgot —- you don’t have the ping-pongs to answer direct questions, do you . … . …

Goldschmidt’s idea that the ‘corpuscular gene’ does not exist, is, on the other hand, difficult to maintain in the light of the deciphering of the genetic code by Francis Crick and James Watson.

THIS passage is interesting, since it demonstrates pretty celarly to me that Blast not only doesn’t know what HE is talking about, but he doesn’t understand an y of these big long regurgiquotes that he is brainlessly vomiting up at me, either. If he did, he wouldn’t have posted this. It shows not only THAT Goldschmidt was wrong, but shows precisely WHY.

Goldschmidt thought that genes were not individual units, nor “corpuscular”, but were sort of a continuum. He thought it was possible to take a quarter-slice of one gene, combine it with quarter-slices of three other genes, and get a completely new gene as a result.

He was wrong. Genes ARE particulate (“corpuscular”), and it is NOT possible to combine half of this gene with half of that one and get a brand new gene as a result. (Incidentally, the fact that genes are particulate is also another strike – strike five, I think — against Blast/Behe’s silly “genetic PKzip” hypothesis. If all genetic information was available in the original organism, that means it had to have a copy of EACH AND EVERY ALLELE, since there is no way to make any new allele by combining parts of existing ones. Alas for “PKZip”, no organism has ever been found with more than two different copies of any gene, one on each chromosome.)

Goldschmidt (and Blast) seem to be confused by the fact that *chromsomes*, unlike genes, CAN split pieces off and recombine them to form new chromosomes – they can also break in two, fuse, or double themselves. Alas for Goldshmidt (and Blast) these chromosomal processes CANNOT FORM ANY NEW ALLELES. All they do is re-arrange the alleles that are already there into a different order. And alas for Goldschmidt (and Blast), although this can lead to a gene breaking and “shutting off”, it cannot produce any new alleles or “new genetic information” (however the heck they want to define that term). It is simply impossible to take a cobra genotype, move its chromosomeal parts around, and get a gene that produces hemotoxic rattlesnake venom instead of neurotoxic cobra venom. The best one can do is double the gene, which produces twice as much cobra venom, or break it, which produces NO cobra venom.

Since this is what Blast/Behe’s “PKZip hypothesis” depends upon (at least as far as I can tell from Blast’s rather incoherent and uninformed attempts at description), the whole idea is a non-starter. It is simply impossible to get new genes by re-arranging existing genes or chromosomal parts.

Of course, through gene doubling, it IS possible to duplicate a gene, and then have the duplicate altered by point mutation to produce a different protein, such as, say, a hemotoxin component. How that helps ID or hinders evolutionary biology, I don’t know. And Blast seems reluctant to explain it to me. I suspect it’s because Blast really doesn’t have any idea at all what he (or Goldschmidt) are talking about.

Goldschmidt, of course, was writing in the 1940’s, when very little was known about genes, what they are, or how they work. So even though he was wrong, he has the excuse of having been limited by the knowledge available in his time. Blast, on the other hand, does NOT have that excuse. He is either deliberately dishonest, appallingly ignorant of the topic (despite his loudmouthed bragging of his “extensive study”), or both.

Perhaps THAT is why Blast is so reluctant to tell me just what the hell his “hypothesis” is and how it works . … Perhaps is is a combination of two of my possible reasons —– not only is there no such workable theory, but Blast is too dumb and uninformed to know that there isn’t, or why.

Lenny, I’ve answered your questions. The second post is from a website that I googled concerning Waddington and “genetic assimilation.”

You’re a very obnoxious person. If I don’t respond to your posts, you’ll understand.

SEF: … theocrat is still required for the more general case of religious fundamentalist.

A careful taxonomy is called for here, though the relevant cladistics are clouded by multiple malignant meme mutations. A very large number of “fundamentalists” (whether defined as particular denominations or as devotees to the literal truth of their chosen texts) do not necessarily seek political power (except perhaps enough to secure their own perceived autonomy). Nor is it that all those theocrats - those who seek to rule in the name of their gods - are members of “fundamentalist” sects, nor are they all extreme literalists (though they do tend to other kinds of extremism).

“Christocrat” nonetheless strikes me as a clear & useful catchall for the particular religio-political threat now looming over America; this week’s related verbal variant is “Gulag W. Bush”…

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Reeaaalllyyyyyyy. Then why aren’t the genes all the same. Why don’t any animals have a gene for chlorophyll production. Why don’t any mammals have a gene for snake venom production. Why don’t any amphibians have a gene for mammalian hair production.

Where did all those genes come from, Blast.

Oh, I forgot —— you don’t have the ping-pongs to answer direct questions, do you . … . …

Well, Blast? I’m waiting . …

What seems to be the problem?

Can someone ask Blast to please please pretty please with sugar on it tell us what the scientific theory of ID is and how it explains the appearence of “genetic information”?

Speaking of which, what happened to the Noble Foot Fungus? He always made an effective Good Cop to my Bad Cop . … . :>

Important characteristics tend to be determined by whole constellations of different genes (polygeny) while each gene is now also seen as contributing to the characteristics of many different traits in the individual. This suggests that evolutionary change cannot be explained in terms of changes occurring to individual genes.

I missed this before —— apparently Blast’s, uh, extensive study of evolution didn’t teach him anything about “regulatory genes”.

‘Fess up, Blast — you really don’t have the vaguest idea what all these big words mean that you are brainlessly cutting-and-pasting, do you. Not the remotest clue.

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From a website by someone named Edward Goldsmith

Hey, check THIS out, from Godlsmith’s website section about “evolution”:

Intelligence is universal in life - a synthesis of chapters 31, 32 and 33 of The Way: an ecological world view. Published in Rivista di Biologia / Biology Forum Vol. 93 No. 3, 2000. Goldsmith argues that intelligence is no exclusive preserve of humankind.

http://www.edwardgoldsmith.com/key30.html

Hmmm, I think I’ve heard of this “Rivista di Biologia” thingie . …

(snicker) (giggle) (howls of laughter)

It’s almost enough to pique my curiosity as to what else, other than humans, Goldsmith thinks is intelligent. Maybe he buys the fabled Hoyle/Wickramasinghe idea that insects are more intelligent than humans, but conspire amongst themselves to conceal that fact …

BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Gee, Blast, with “research” like this, I can understand now why you don’t want to answer any questions from me.

(snicker) (giggle)

More from Blast’s, uh, “science source”:

Evolution, neo-Darwinism and the paradigm of science - “Neo-Darwinism does not provide a satisfactory explanation for evolution and however resilient it may prove to criticism, it must eventually give way to a more realistic theory …” Published in The Ecologist Vol. 20 No. 2, March / April 1990. http://www.edwardgoldsmith.com/page82.html

Some excerpts:

Decades ago, Haldane predicted that facts would soon emerge which would show that natural selection was not an adequate explanation of evolution. Waddington had similar thoughts. As he said at the 1969 Beyond Reductionism Anspach Symposium, “I think that we are going to see extraordinary changes in our ideas about evolution quite soon.” [1]

Yet, although the deficiencies of neo-Darwinism have become increasingly apparent in recent years, and criticism has mounted on almost every front, it remains the official scientific explanation for evolution.

There appear to be two reasons for its continued dominance. The first is that it is the only theory of evolution that is, or appears to be fully consistent with the ‘paradigm of science’. The second is that the critics have not yet provided a coherent alternative to neo-Darwinism but have rather sought to modify it in different ways so that it might incorporate their various criticisms.

Until recently, it has only been in France, to my knowledge, that we find a few critics who are willing to abandon neo-Darwinism and even to trace the ancestry of their ideas on evolution to Lamarck. In the English-speaking world, few scientists have openly supported Lamarckism for fear of ridicule, or worse still, of being hounded out of the scientific community.

My feeling, indeed my conviction, is that a realistic and coherent theory of evolution will be proposed and accepted only once a clean break is made, not only with neo-Darwinism, but also with the sacrosanct ‘paradigm of science’, which paints a very distorted view of the world.

Sounds, uh, sort of familiar, doesn’t it . …

Proof positive that the New Age tree-huggers can be just as utterly nutty as the foaming fundies can.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Brauer published on June 10, 2005 2:23 PM.

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