Here it comes…EuroScopes!

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Well, if you needed any more evidence that creationists are doing their best to drag Europe down to America’s level, here you go:

26 October 2006, 12:10

St. Petersburg, October 26, Interfax - Oktyabrsky district court started Wednesday considering a civil suit brought by a senior pupil who complained about the teaching of Darwin’s theory, a court source told Interfax.

After the sides listened to each other, the court requested opinion of experts in religion, theology and Marxist-Leninist ideology.

Experts from the St. Petersburg University will be asked to elucidate some problems.

The next court session will take place on December 13.

The suit against the teaching of Darwin’s theory in school was brought to the court by a senior pupil Maria Shraiber and her father, Kirill Shraiber. The Russian Ministry of Education and Science is named a defendant.

Maria is a minor, and her father represents her interests. The declaration says that the teaching of Darwin’s theory in school as the only correct teaching violates her right of choosing her philosophy of life and insults her religious feelings.

According to the plaintiffs, they seek restriction on the teaching of the theory of evolution and the indication in the curriculum that science has proved no theory of the origin of man.

Heck, if the court is going to call experts in Marxism/Leninism and theology, but no scientists, the Schraibers might have a shot. I hope somebody over there is paying attention.

I have heard that fundamentalist churches (usually started by American missionaries) have been taking off in Eastern Europe in the last decade or two. Whaddya wanna bet there is a connection? Google reveals no details of any sort, but my spidey sense is acting up.

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Russian Scopes Trial from The Panda's Thumb on January 3, 2007 1:40 PM

Today, the Baltimore Sun has the first detailed news article on Russia’s 21st-century Scopes Monkey Trial. It comes complete with monkeys: The Shraibers announced their plans for the lawsuit at a March news conference that featured free bananas.... Read More

77 Comments

After the sides listened to each other, the court requested opinion of experts in religion, theology and Marxist-Leninist ideology.

Marxists? whaaa?

no biologists, i note as well.

Let everyone be reminded that the past, and our origins are NOT true science. “Science” deals with things that are observable and repeatble. No one yet has found a way to observe or repeat the events that have happened in our past.

Let everyone be reminded that the past, and our origins are NOT true science. “Science” deals with things that are observable and repeatble. No one yet has found a way to observe or repeat the events that have happened in our past.

there is an extra ; in the link.

Let everyone be reminded that the past, and our origins are NOT true science. “Science” deals with things that are observable and repeatble. No one yet has found a way to observe or repeat the events that have happened in our past.

Dude, observe this: http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives[…]omini_1.html

How much clearer could it possibly be?

Let everyone be reminded that the past, and our origins are NOT true science. “Science” deals with things that are observable and repeatble. No one yet has found a way to observe or repeat the events that have happened in our past.

Beg to differ, sir. There are a lot of criminals who think your way…and they’re behind bars.

We go where the evidence leads.

greg Wrote:

Let everyone be reminded that the past, and our origins are NOT true science. “Science” deals with things that are observable and repeatble. No one yet has found a way to observe or repeat the events that have happened in our past.

Someone doesn’t watch CSI.

Posted by greg on October 30, 2006 5:05 PM (e)

Let everyone be reminded that the past, and our origins are NOT true science. “Science” deals with things that are observable and repeatble. No one yet has found a way to observe or repeat the events that have happened in our past.

Posted by oneguy on October 30, 2006 5:07 PM (e)

Let everyone be reminded that the past, and our origins are NOT true science. “Science” deals with things that are observable and repeatble. No one yet has found a way to observe or repeat the events that have happened in our past.

Well, if we needed any evidence that Greg and Oneguy are the same person, this should do. One more exact same post under a third name and we could make the assumption that he is a Trinity.

Oh, wait - the act of posting those comments happened in the past, so there is simply no way to observe or repeat experimentally the manner in which these posts were made. God himself must have posted these two comments!

so, when everyone is hooking themselves on the bait the troll left, does anybody have any thoughts on why experts on marxist ideology are being sought for this trial?

are they going back to Lysenko, or what?

[Oh, wait - the act of posting those comments happened in the past, so there is simply no way to observe or repeat experimentally the manner in which these posts were made. God himself must have posted these two comments!]

Oh, no! Creationism must be true after all! Proof of divine intervention.

But wait.…since there is no way to observe what happened in the past, we have no proof that divine intervention was involved.

Darn it, there goes an evidence of creationism.

Let everyone be reminded that the past, and our origins are NOT true science. “Science” deals with things that are observable and repeatble. No one yet has found a way to observe or repeat the events that have happened in our past.

Let everyone be reminded that creationuts have been spouting out this “were you there?” crap for forty years now, and it’s just as idiotic now as it was way back then. (shrug)

so, when everyone is hooking themselves on the bait the troll left, does anybody have any thoughts on why experts on marxist ideology

Hang on there – they’re looking for LENINISTS. There’s a difference. ;)

are being sought for this trial?

They think 1991 never happened?

Will it be as entertaining as EuroDisney?

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

…creationuts have been spouting out this “were you there?” crap for forty years now…

I thought “were you there?” was traditionally an argument used against skeptics of the crucifiction/resurection. In other words, it can be an argument for or against an event that was claimed to have happened.

No one yet has found a way to observe or repeat the events that have happened in our past.

Looks like oneguy on October 30, 2006 5:07 PM repeated exactly what greg posted 2 minutes earlier.

Will it be as entertaining as EuroDisney?

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Let everyone be reminded that the past, and our origins are NOT true science. “Science” deals with things that are observable and repeatble. No one yet has found a way to observe or repeat the events that have happened in our past.

In the immortal words of Spock, “Fascinating.”

I rather suspect a number of archaeologists and paleontologists, among others, will soon be smacking their foreheads and saying, “NOW you tell us!”

greg Wrote:

Let everyone be reminded that the past, and our origins are NOT true science. “Science” deals with things that are observable and repeatble. No one yet has found a way to observe or repeat the events that have happened in our past.

Ah, but how can I tell that the past isn’t a fiction designed to account for the discrepancy between my immediate physical sensations and my state of mind?

Sir Toejam asked: [[ does anybody have any thoughts on why experts on marxist ideology are being sought for this trial? ]]

They may be trying to link Darwin to Marx. In a lot of Eastern Europe, there’s no better way to discredit somebody than to link them to communism. Especially in a religious dispute, because everybody over there knows how hostile communism was to organized religion.

Somewhere recently I saw an op-ed column about current trends in philosophy that said there were three great “isms” that came out of the 19th Century: Marxism, Freudism, and Darwinism. The first two are discredited; the third (the writer hoped) is soon to follow.

Somewhere recently I saw an op-ed column about current trends in philosophy that said there were three great “isms” that came out of the 19th Century: Marxism, Freudism, and Darwinism. The first two are discredited; the third (the writer hoped) is soon to follow.

yeah, we’ve been hearing the exact same thing for 40 years now. It’s not a “new” saying, and it’s no more accurate now than it was when it was first uttered.

I see there is some serious backward thinking over there, too.

I do hope this attempt to test creationism in european courts gets emphatically stomped on with all due alacrity.

If asked, you should always point out that even here in the US, where fundernutties graze the open prairies of politics, they have NEVER EVER won any federal court case they have tried.

the judicial system is literally the only thing that has kept the US from turning into an inbred backwater of Ann Coulter fans.

Somewhere recently I saw an op-ed column about current trends in philosophy that said there were three great “isms” that came out of the 19th Century: Marxism, Freudism, and Darwinism. The first two are discredited; the third (the writer hoped) is soon to follow.

This is standard creationist boilerplate. Henry Morris was writing the same thing decades ago.

As usual, it seems as if the Russian creationists are doing nothing more than parroting thirty-year-old ICR tracts.

They may be trying to link Darwin to Marx. In a lot of Eastern Europe, there’s no better way to discredit somebody than to link them to communism.

Of course, creationuts in the US try to do the very same thing.

Apparently they are unaware that the Soviet Union opposed Darwinian evolution as “bourgeois” and outlawed teaching it, in favor of the “proletarian” biology of Lysenko.

But then, fundies have never been ones to let silly little things like ‘facts’ get in the way of a good emotionally-based argument. (shrug)

Maria is a minor, and her father represents her interests.

Semantic Quibble: denying a kid the up-to-date science education he/she needs to get a decent job in today’s tough global economy is not “representing his/her interests.”

Not that Russia, as a whole, was ever all that interested in engaging, or keeping up with, the rest of the world anyway…

Raging Bee Wrote:

Semantic Quibble: denying a kid the up-to-date science education he/she needs to get a decent job in today’s tough global economy is not “representing his/her interests.”

Not to be too difficult; but in what way is “Darwin’s theory” relevant to “get a decent job in today’s tough global economy”?

Many rich people are creationists, so job-and-economy-wise Darwin’s theory is hardly needed.

Raging Bee Wrote:

Not that Russia, as a whole, was ever all that interested in engaging, or keeping up with, the rest of the world anyway…

Ooh, it was claimed that the revolution started in Russia, because it was the most backward country - Marx had expected it would happen in the most adcanced country, Germany.

Many rich people are creationists, so job-and-economy-wise Darwin’s theory is hardly needed.

True enough. For most people, knowledge of ToE is like the ability to read musical notation - absolutely critical for a tiny minority, irrelevant to the rest.

Given the astounding degree to which humans can compartmentalize, one has to wonder just how much religious idiocy (see Kent Hovind for an illustration) one can partition off and still function competently in the economy. Seems to me Hovind is right on the borderline. He displays an enviable ability to make money and live comfortably, but the law gives him some problems for what appear to be reasons rooted in the same soft of questionable sanity as his creationism. Maybe Hovind’s compartment is just a little too big…

But for AFDave, and Sal Cordova, and maybe even Dembski (though his delusions have had important career impact), these people get by quite successfully, and sometimes actually accomplish a great deal of real utility outside the boundaries of their internal nuthouse.

Well, if you needed any more evidence that creationists are doing their best to drag Europe down to America’s level, here you go:

Sorry professor, Russia is not part of Europe.

Sorry professor, Russia is not part of Europe.

According to the peer-reviewed journal of geography known as Wikipedia, 23% of Russia’s territory and 74% of its population are in Europe

That editorial was in the Wall Street Journal. (The one about -isms)

Also, Western Russia IS part of Europe.

Sorry professor, Russia is not part of Europe.

Sorry, ‘geography lesson’, a good portion of Russia, including Moscow, is in Europe. “West of the Urals” is the accepted definition for continental Europe.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/b8ykm

Let everyone be reminded that the past, and our origins are NOT true science. “Science” deals with things that are observable and repeatble. No one yet has found a way to observe or repeat the events that have happened in our past.

Now, where have I heard that one before ? Ken Ham, AIG president of course. Either Greg is being sarcastic, or he’s read/listened to AIG’s material.

Perhaps the court case is a result of this: http://www.answersingenesis.org/doc[…]20russia.asp

ID fails in America because of the US Constitution, not because it is really really stupid.

it’s a happy coindidence then, that it both fails constitutional muster AND is really, really stupid.

maybe the really, really stupid aspect will weigh more in european courts?

If Torbjorn is looking for an effective antifundal agent he should try flimflamisil.

If Torbjorn is looking for an effective antifundal agent he should try flimflamisil.

Posted by Peter Henderson on November 1, 2006 5:58 AM (e)

Am I right in thinking Guy, that plate tectonics is no longer a theory but an observable fact ? Even Ken Ham has accepted this one although his interpretation of it is complete nonsense.

Plate tectonic theory is indeed a fact; it is repeatedly observed, can make useful predictions (measurable movement verified by GPS, sediment thicknesses on the ocean floor, similar fossils, rocks, minerals, and other geological features on different continents, and many, many others). It however is a scientific theory: it is an explanation for previous observations (a hypothesis), well-tested and accepted by consensus, and, it is still, after all this time, falsifiable.

How does this differ from evolution?

GuyeFaux Wrote:

So far as I can tell, Paley’s hypothesis is, “Living organisms contain structures and systems too perfectly suited to their lifestyle to be the work of any natural process.” How would you test that?

Test all the natural causes that you know of, and if you come up empty…

…then you know it wasn’t one of those. But there remain an infinite number of possible natural causes you haven’t tested yet. Many of them could explain adaptation–heck, you could simply define an “Adapting Force” into existence, as some “progressive evolution” advocates did, without identifying that force with the supernatural creator of the universe. And post-Paley, various other testable theories were developed, such as Lamarck’s and of course Darwin’s. Paley’s not responsible for foreseeing their development, but he had no good reason to rule out that possibility.

Paley’s hypothesis is the worst kind of universal negative, because it applies not only to the universe but to every conceivable set of laws governing the universe. It says that none of those laws, whatever they are, can possibly produce the phenomena we see, thus we should conclude that something outside those laws is responsible for them. That’s not even theoretically testable.

Yes, it’s the argument from ignorance. But it’s still testable.

The argument from ignorance only makes testable claims about our ignorance.

So far as I can tell, Paley’s hypothesis is, “Living organisms contain structures and systems too perfectly suited to their lifestyle to be the work of any natural process.” How would you test that?

Maybe statistically - make one list of the features that are “perfectly suited”, and another list of the features that are only marginally suited or that are way inefficient at what they do. Would there be a way to calculate what fraction of features would be expected to be “perfect” (or nearly so) under the current theory vs how many would be wasteful, risky, or only barely effective?

Henry

Is this the right room for a Euroscopy?

“And there were some real problems left over after Maxwell came up with his equations, notably the apparent need for an absolute frame of reference for the velocity of light.”

Excellent point. One can also note that when applied to elementary particles, singularities in field and selfenergy cropped up too. Also famously solved since then.

“Fossils are not found only one each, not in the sense of “scientific repeatability”.”

Another excellent point. It is also a predictive, causally ordered material (as you note), with measurable quantities such as dimensions of features. Social sciences including history can hardly become like natural sciences since they often see singular, complex, hard to predict events and becomes mostly descriptive instead. Like the strawman IDists surrect around evolution and what they like to call ‘just-so’ theories.

Peter: “As for String Theory, the last I heard was, that it was verging on philosophy with no hard evidence. I think cosmologists were looking for a sub-atomic which would confirm the theory as being fact.”

It would be more appropriate to call it a mathematical subject, as long as its predictions can’t be falsified. So far its math has systematised and connected theories while being consistent with older results.

The latest I heard is that string theory has made a low energy prediction on particle jets that deviates from earlier methods and may be seen in the LHC accelerator in a few years.

pro: :-) Actually I’m looking for a taxative, since I don’t like being reamed every year.

“Fossils are not found only one each, not in the sense of “scientific repeatability”.”

Another excellent point. It is also a predictive, causally ordered material (as you note), with measurable quantities such as dimensions of features.

I realize this; and the points about plate tectonics are well taken.

However, to me there’s still a pretty big difference between 10 fossils of archaeopteryx (all of them slightly different) versus the nth confirmation of Gauss’s Law. The differences are: 1) Accessibility. Anybody can test Maxwell’s laws, anywhere. It’s another matter entirely to find that rabbit in pre-cambrian strata. 2) Accuracy. Even when good transitional fossils are found, we’re still a bit fuzzy on direct ancestry. Also, organisms come in all shapes, sizes, and ages, so there’s simply a lot of variability which is not found with electromagnitism.

Somewhere recently I saw an op-ed column about current trends in philosophy that said there were three great “isms” that came out of the 19th Century: Marxism, Freudism, and Darwinism. The first two are discredited; the third (the writer hoped) is soon to follow.

Freudianism was a 20th century phenomenum. ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ was first published in 1900.

Incidentally it is said that Marx wished to dedicate the first edition of ‘Das Kapital’ to Darwin, but Darwin declined the honor. There was a lot of intellectual permeability between economics and evolutionary theory; Smith to Malthus to Darwin to Marx.

It’s another matter entirely to find that rabbit in pre-cambrian strata.

please, please tell me you aren’t seriously postulating the “rabbit in the pre-cambrian” to be a viable (and only???) method of falsifying any specific aspect of the ToE?

Re “It would be more appropriate to call it [string theory] a mathematical subject, as long as its predictions can’t be falsified.”

I’d call string theory a proposal for a new theory. Or maybe “hypothesis” might be better there. It’s not technically a theory - calling it that is using the colloquial meaning of the term rather than the scientific, which is a nuisance when an antievolutionist brings that up during a discussion of the meaning of the word “theory” in science.

Henry

Henry J Wrote:

“So far as I can tell, Paley’s hypothesis is, “Living organisms contain structures and systems too perfectly suited to their lifestyle to be the work of any natural process.” How would you test that?”

Maybe statistically - make one list of the features that are “perfectly suited”, and another list of the features that are only marginally suited or that are way inefficient at what they do.

How would you quantify degrees of perfection, though? How much more suited to our lifestyle is the human eye than a snail’s or an eagle’s eye to their lifestyle? How perfect could a human eye be–could we have Superman-like vision if we hit the mutation jackpot? How more or less effcient is our eye than our kidney?

Would there be a way to calculate what fraction of features would be expected to be “perfect” (or nearly so) under the current theory vs how many would be wasteful, risky, or only barely effective?

I don’t think so, even if you did manage to quantify perfection–not without knowing the total space of all possible genomes, then computing the likelihood of each evolutionary path.

Moreover, even if you could build the galaxy-sized computer to do that, you’d still only be addressing the current theory; you wouldn’t have touched the question of what other natural theories could provide. You’d never get to Paley’s conclusion that it must be something supernatural.

GuyeFaux Wrote:

However, to me there’s still a pretty big difference between 10 fossils of archaeopteryx (all of them slightly different) versus the nth confirmation of Gauss’s Law. The differences are: 1) Accessibility. Anybody can test Maxwell’s laws, anywhere. It’s another matter entirely to find that rabbit in pre-cambrian strata.

Methinks that’s not so much a difference between physics and biology, as between testing claims about the past and present. Evolutionary theory makes lots of present predictions that can be tested almost as easily as Maxwell’s laws–Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, the random distribution of mutations, and so forth. Conversely, if you had to prove that Maxwell’s laws were the same a billion years ago, your standard university physics lab wouldn’t do the trick.

Certainly there’ve been quite a few papers on whether or not the fine-structure constant has changed over the history of the universe, and the reasoning required there is IMO just as tricky and indirect as that used by paleontologists. But most creationists either don’t know what the fine-structure constant is, or find physicists too intimidating (after all, they speak in funny European accents and have funky hair and make lasers and nukes and things) or irrelevant (quantum theory doesn’t say my grandpa’s a monkey!) to attack.

“Accessibility. Anybody can test Maxwell’s laws, anywhere. It’s another matter entirely to find that rabbit in pre-cambrian strata.”

This is called setting up an experiment. There is only one LHC accelerator, only one Hubble, et cetera, and you need large groups of people and computer resources. While you can test and falsify evolution in an ordinary lab, with a few people and no computers. Which is hardest to set up?

“Accuracy. Even when good transitional fossils are found, we’re still a bit fuzzy on direct ancestry. Also, organisms come in all shapes, sizes, and ages, so there’s simply a lot of variability which is not found with electromagnitism.”

True, mostly. But this goes for any biological science, and there is certainly fuzzy and variable aspects of physics as well. Solid state or fluid physics can be a mess.

We don’t refuse medical science and the treatments because they can’t achieve 13 digits precision.

We don’t refuse to do science because it is hard - on the contrary, the successes of evolution and its predictions in spite of variability is so much more awesome and sweeter.

Henry:

“I’d call string theory a proposal for a new theory. Or maybe “hypothesis” might be better there.”

Hmm. I was parroting what some string physicists said somewhere a while ago - that if it doesn’t make predictions it is still useful to calculate unpredictive stuff that other methods can’t. It is in my usage of words beyond being a proposal, since it has been shown to be compatible with old physics, for example giving the same black hole entropy as semiclassical methods.

A hypothesis is more of an isolated idea or prediction. “The scientific method requires that one can test a scientific hypothesis. Scientists generally base such hypotheses on previous observations or on extensions of scientific theories.” (Wikipedia)

A theory is more of a larger description for a set of phenomena. It doesn’t need to be verified yet, it only needs to be predictive and testable. (Earlier I have seen the term “prototheory”, but it has been dropped.) String theory is both. But the energy demanded is usually too high yet.

“It’s not technically a theory - calling it that is using the colloquial meaning of the term rather than the scientific, which is a nuisance when an antievolutionist brings that up during a discussion of the meaning of the word “theory” in science.””

Wikipedia isn’t the best material, but this is what I can do in a haste: “In science, a theory is a proposed description, explanation, or model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena, capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being tested through experiment or otherwise falsified through empirical observation. … The term theory is occasionally stretched to refer to theoretical speculation that is currently unverifiable. Examples are string theory and various theories of everything.”

About calling it a theory, I don’t get your idea of colloquiality. It is the physicists that call it string/M-theory.

Such wellgrounded (meshes with other theory) and wellresearched (much work since it looks promising) theoretical methods (math) and speculations (physics) are still a far cry from the colloquial meaning of an unsupported or (probably) unpredictive isolated ad hoc or sets of ad hocs.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on October 30, 2006 3:22 PM.

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