Double-Take

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Well, it was nice while it lasted, which was far longer than we projected; the SUCKERED post was indeed a prank on you, dear PT readers, pretending to reveal a Discovery Institute prank at our expenses.

We’re not sure whether this is a success or a failure on our part. On one hand, our prank was better executed than the ones at Uncommon Descent and Telic Thoughts and received lots of praise. On the other hand, many of our readers need to work on their critical observation skills. Maybe we can blame it on our good reputation; our readers trust the quality of our work.

Of course, it wouldn’t have been possible without the DI acolytes providing us with seemingly inexhaustible involuntary parodies themselves. Indeed, just as our prank went online, Michael Egnor himself out-pranked us with a real post containing this philosophy gem:

Materialism is nonsense, because if matter and energy are all that exist, then truth doesn’t exist (it’s neither matter nor energy). If truth doesn’t exist, then materialism can’t be true.

Dude, that’s like, so deep.—Seriously, how can you beat these guys?

Anyway, it all started with us honestly wondering, after Egnor appeared on the scene a few weeks ago, whether he was actually real.—The sweet onomatopoeia of his name and style was just too good to be true.—Alas, it quickly became clear he was a real person and surgeon. As April 1st approached, we considered writing a post claiming that he was, in fact, a prank, but that seemed too direct and obvious. So the LeCarréan double-twist was conceived of trying to fool you pretending that the DI fooled us.

Andrea wrote the SUCKERED post, Reed made up the faux “Evolution Views & News” page with some pompous-sounding rewrites by Douglas, and the rest of the PT crew provided the usual slew of commentary, suggestions, nagging, doubt, and advice. The sciencebloggers amplified the effect by feigning dismay on their sites.

We thought most of you guys would see right through it, but it worked so well that it even fooled PT contributor PvM, who needs to read his e-mail more often. I guess years of contending with the absurdities emanating from the DI can make anyone confused between what is real and what is farce . …

[BOW]

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Now that it's been admitted that the apparent Discovery Institute prank, in which Dr. Michael Egnor posed as a parody of the most ignorant creationists there are, spouting truly inane and long-debunked canards about evolution for a month and a... Read More

If your institution has access, you can now read the story about me (and other bloggers) in this month’s the Scientist: “Scooped by a Blog.” If you can’t get access, drop me an email, and I can privately send... Read More

86 Comments

[cue standing ovation]

Bravo!

Well done. Odd enough that the penny should have dropped, delivered with a straight enough face that it didn’t.

Well, that’s nice…but do we get an answer on the open question of Steve Meyer’s alleged comment? Was it real, or the second April Fool’s prank?

In any case, that Egnor almost immediately paraphrased your post on Meyer makes it likely that Meyer did indeed utter what can only be described as “Mass Stupidity”! Where do these people get their “information”, anyway?

And, I guess you all get the clap for an interesting April Fools performance piece (although I wasn’t fooled for a second).

Materialism is nonsense, because if matter and energy are all that exist, then truth doesn’t exist (it’s neither matter nor energy).

Actually, “truth” exists only in relation to matter and energy (+ spacetime, information, etc.). “Truth” relates to information held in matter/energy, and without matter and energy there is nothing that can be said to be “true” or “false”, which is why ID is not even wrong, but is essentially nothing.

Of course materialism is nonsense, philosophically, and can only used sensibly as shorthand for a construct of our world. Egnor reveals a gross ignorance when he (and the rest of the IDiots) pretends that “materialism” underlies evolutionary theory (again, if it is understood as more than a shorthand notation for something more carefully considered).

If truth doesn’t exist, then materialism can’t be true.

Of course “materialism isn’t true”, nor is “true” something we say about the world in a philosophical sense. We assign the value of “true” to what has been well demonstrated, or indeed we might assign “truth” to something either meaningless or false (but in science the former practice is to prevail).

The fact is that Egnor is, unsurprisingly, bumbling around in areas in which he understands nothing. What’s more embarrassing is that Meyer is doing almost as badly in philosophy as Egnor is.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

[BOW]

APPLAUSE!

We thought most of you guys would see right through it …

As Alan Morgan said in talk.origins years ago, “Any sufficiently advanced parody is indistinguishable from a genuine kook.”

Especially when they keep coming out with gems like Egnor’s on materialism. If a silly syllogism falls in the woods while there is no one around to hear …

It was a good one, guys, but please don’t do it again. I’m only reading PT very lightly these days, I don’t have the time I had months ago. A casual reader, who only drops by once in a great while, could easily be misled for a long time.

This whole Egnor business, even before the joke, has just been more confusing than enlightening. I’m starting to ignore all Egnor posts because they’re mostly retreads of old, bad arguments that were debunked when I first got interested in this debate. The only big mystery is how could someone in his position believe such obviously crazy things.

Materialism is nonsense, because if matter and energy are all that exist, then truth doesn’t exist (it’s neither matter nor energy). If truth doesn’t exist, then materialism can’t be true.

Math in neither Matter nor Energy. I guess you don’t need to know math, to be a surgeon.

OK, I’ll bite What critical observation skills would have told me that neither all of Egnor’s posts were a joke, nor that the “April fools post” was not an Egnor joke (other than noticing the URL). Well, the claim of some that they felt embarrassed to fall for it and the lack of critical analysis perhaps, but in the post itself?

Amazing how much, with just an added eyepatch, the icon looks like Maddox.

many of our readers need to work on their critical observation skills

Well, maybe. But the obvious response to “no one could be that stupid” is clearly “go look at Uncommon Descent!” Creationists come in a myriad of flavors, from roaring Bible-thumpers to coy IDists, and they are capable of saying just about anything, no matter how wrong-headed or vacuous.

ID is already a parody of science, so how can you satirize it? Who can blame anyone for taking the April Fool’s prank as a completely genuine statement by the Disco Institute types?

Re “Where do these people get their “information”, anyway?”

From non-materialistic sources, obviously. ;)

Henry

What critical observation skills would have told me that neither all of Egnor’s posts were a joke, nor that the “April fools post” was not an Egnor joke (other than noticing the URL).

What did it for me was the fact that I could not believe that the guys at the DI would be capable of pulling off such humor and subtle self-parody. I almost fell for it, but something in me knew that it had to be you guys! Sad but true!

If truth doesn’t exist, then materialism can’t be true.

Well, then, it also can’t be false then, right? Right? (I mean, really…that and the peanut butter…can a woman get a hernia from laughing?)

I’m sorry, normdoering, but I already can’t wait until next year!

“Seriously, how can you beat these guys?”

With a stick?

imagine having a guy who denies the obvious homology of our neural system to that of other vertebrates in charge of slicing off chunks of it in an operating room! Or someone who doesn’t believe bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics

Egnor never said or implied any of that. You haven’t even provided out-of-context misleading quotes, just your distorted misinterpretation.

You just can’t fathom that an intelligent MD could be skeptical about neo-Darwinism. So you twist his comments to make it sound like he denies evolution theory. When you know very well he believes in evolution, and that his skepticism only applies to the chance-and-selection extreme neo-Darwinist position.

If there’s anything worse than a liar, it’s a whiny liar like realpc, whose latest poof of brown fog is:

…When you know very well he believes in evolution, and that his skepticism only applies to the chance-and-selection extreme neo-Darwinist position.

Be honest, Skippy – did you even read ANY of the material? If you actually read Egnor’s rubbish before pretending to be his gallant – and unasked-for – defender, you would know that that is not what Egnor was going on about. In fact, you’re not even close: Egnor was not questioning any particular tenet of “Neo-Darwinism;” he was alleging that doctors such as himself did not use evolution at all. And yes, he used the word “evolution,” not “Neo-Darwinism” (not that you’ve ever told us the exact difference).

Posted by G. Shelley on April 2, 2007 12:39 PM (e)

OK, I’ll bite What critical observation skills would have told me that neither all of Egnor’s posts were a joke, nor that the “April fools post” was not an Egnor joke (other than noticing the URL). Well, the claim of some that they felt embarrassed to fall for it and the lack of critical analysis perhaps, but in the post itself?

I’m embarrassed to say that I missed both of the clues: the eyepatch on the DaVinci body-in-a-circle (which was odd and subtle but telling), and this, which I know I read because I was, in fact, skeptical:

Disclaimer at the bottom of the fake site:

The misreporting of the evolution issue is one key reason for this site. Unfortunately, much of the news coverage has been sloppy, inaccurate, and in some cases, overtly biased. Evolution Views & News presents analysis of that coverage, as well as original reporting that accurately delivers misinformation about the current state of the debate over Darwinian evolution. Click here to read more.

(my bold-face)

As far as knowing whether or not Egnor really means what he says, I refer to Poe’s Law:

“Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.”

(From urbandictionary.com - note that the Wikipedia page on Poe’s Law has been taken down. Anyone know why?)

The fake post could easily have been real: it wouldn’t be the first time that crowd have said, in effect, “just kidding” after being conclusively proven wrong. Ann Coulter’s pathetically insecure fans do it all the time.

Egnor: Materialism is nonsense, because if matter and energy are all that exist, then truth doesn’t exist (it’s neither matter nor energy). If truth doesn’t exist, then materialism can’t be true.

OK, materialism is nonsense. So what do the neocreationists believe? Meyers from yesterdays thread and Egnor seem to favor Plato with his theory of forms or universals. But this isn’t fundamental christianity either. Plato lived around 400 BC. Is this a sneaky attempt to inject Greek gods and Platonism into the school science classes?

The more I try to figure out what the IDist really mean, the more confused I get. This usually means they don’t know either.

From Wikipedia In Platonic realism, universals do not exist in the way that ordinary physical objects exist, but were originally thought to have a sort of ghostly or heavenly mode of existence. However, more modern versions of the theory do not apply such potentially misleading descriptions to universals. Instead, such versions maintain that it is meaningless (or a category mistake) to apply the categories of space and time to universals.

Regardless of their description, Platonic realism holds that universals do exist in a broad, abstract sense, although not at any spatial or temporal distance from people’s bodies. Thus, people cannot see or otherwise come into sensory contact with universals, but in order to conceive of universals, one must be able to conceive of these abstract forms. Most modern Platonists avoid the possible ambiguity by never claiming that universals exist, but “merely” that they are.

Egnor was not questioning any particular tenet of “Neo-Darwinism;” he was alleging that doctors such as himself did not use evolution at all. And yes, he used the word “evolution,” not “Neo-Darwinism”

Yes, he did use the word “evolution” as a synonym for “neo-Darwinism,” unfortunately. Lots of people are doing that. It’s sort of like calling a tissue a kleenex, becauase Kleenex is the most well-known brand. Neo-Darwinism is the currently popular – but certainly not the only – brand of evolution theory.

It’s very confusing when people say “evolution” when they mean “neo-Darwinism.” But it’s ridiculous to pretend you don’t know what he meant. It’s ridiculous to pretend an educated person like Egnor refuses to believe that bacteria adapt to antibiotics.

You know very well what you’re doing, so this is intentional deception. But no sensible non-extremist is going to fall for your silly accusations. No one is going to believe that Egnor doesn’t understand the basics of biology. Only an extreme materialist/atheist whose mind is utterly closed to criticisms of neo-Darwinism could believe there are successful brain surgeons who deny the most obvious truths of biology.

He obviously understands biology. He obviously means extreme dogmatic neo-Darwinism when he, unfortunately, uses the word “evolution.”

But it’s ridiculous to pretend you don’t know what he meant.

Coming from someone who misrepresents the substance of Egnor’s writings, and our criticisms thereof, as badly and blatantly as you have, that statement is a stunning bit of hypocricy. You’re talking out of more ends of your ass than most asses are known to have. And you needn’t make such an effort, since the “substance” – and the smell – of what’s coming out are the same.

But no sensible non-extremist is going to fall for your silly accusations.

Oh dear, this style sounds familiar even if the moniker isn’t. April Fools Day is over, love! Move on, trolly! Shouldn’t you be preparing for the War on Christmas?

But it’s ridiculous to pretend you don’t know what he meant.

We pretend that he meant what he wrote. We’ll rely on your translation next time.

.net versus .org was the giveaway, beyond the fact that it seemed a bit far fetched.

He obviously means extreme dogmatic neo-Darwinism when he, unfortunately, uses the word “evolution.”

See, it’s all that shorthand ID advocates use that confuses us. If you mean “extreme dogmatic neo-Darwinism” say so, not “evolution”. And if you mean “repackaged crypto-Creationism expurgated of its most obvious religious connotations following the 1987 US Supreme Court decision in Edwards v. Aguillard”, say so, not “Intelligent Design”. Makes things so much simpler.

“Materialism is nonsense, because if matter and energy are all that exist, then truth doesn’t exist (it’s neither matter nor energy). If truth doesn’t exist, then materialism can’t be true.”

This is not entirely a nonsense argument. Truth, beauty, virtue, morality are value judgments. As such it is difficult to see any of them as absolutes. From a secular viewpoint (I consider myself a pretty secular Xn Humanist)we really end up with at best (and its a ‘pretty good’ at best) argument that truth is what coheres in human experience. From that point of view you can construct an ethic, and aesthetics, and a true view of the world.

Those using the quoted argument against secularists are not willing to acknowledge the provisional nature of their own truth.

From a scientific point of view with causation, time (read Einstein and Godel, A World without Time), consciousness (innumerable top rate scientists), the universe as we know it (what is it, 4-6% of the world is matter, the rest dark matter and even more dark energy, the world is profoundly unknown, and perhaps unknowable.

Humbleness before the mystery is much in order.

The PT prank was outstanding!!! We desperately wanted to believe that a real clinician had a basic understanding of evolution, which is needed to truly understand biology. When I read the post, I sighed “sanity”. I really wanted to believe it was true. The prank also pointed out the illogic and inconsistency of the ‘Big Tent’ cause that is ID. How can Michael Behe believe in common descent and still be accepted by the rest of the ID crowd. The SUCKERED post still looks like the real thing even after the confession.

Realpc dissembled thusly:

Neo-Darwinism is the currently popular — but certainly not the only — brand of evolution theory.

Popular? Leave it to His Trollness to make science sound like American Idol.

… no sensible non-extremist is going to fall for your silly accusations.

Add “extremist” to the red flag list of terms that give away cranks.

No one is going to believe that Egnor doesn’t understand the basics of biology. Only an extreme materialist/atheist whose mind is utterly closed to criticisms of neo-Darwinism could believe there are successful brain surgeons who deny the most obvious truths of biology.

So by your own assumptions, no one is an extreme materialist/atheist whose mind is utterly closed to criticisms of neo-Darwinism. QED

He obviously understands biology. He obviously means extreme dogmatic neo-Darwinism when he, unfortunately, uses the word “evolution.”

When one is consistently alone in what one sees as “obvious”, it is time for some personal reflection.

This is a quote from Egnor:

I have no problem with evolution, understood as change in living things over time. I have no problem with the view that some of the changes were caused by random events.

Could that be spelled out any more clearly? Why do you have so much trouble understanding his point?

Those who claim that randomness can generate biological complexity seem to lack an understanding of the vastness of what statisticians call “combinatorial space.”

Egnor is not promoting religion; he is promoting common sense and mathematical reasoning.

No theory of evolution has been proven yet, so no one can claim to have the answer. There is nothing in any of Egnor’s statements that I have read so far that seems narrow-minded or biased. His opinions are reasonable and educated, and do not even vaguely resemble the ridiculous misinterpretations that have been posted here.

PT pretends that Egnor is an evolution denier who can’t even see the similarities between different species.

Well, that’s nice…but do we get an answer on the open question of Steve Meyer’s alleged comment? Was it real, or the second April Fool’s prank?

Both. That is, it is another reverse. Meyer said it, but it ought to be another April Fools joke in any sane society. The idea was both to expose more silliness and to catch people thinking it had to be a joke. It matters beyond the day because Meyer’s writing a book of such nonsense.

So realpc, back again? Maybe this time you will answer my questions. Have you read the Genetics paper I recommended yet? Can you refute it’s findings? Do you have any evidence for “nonrandom” mutations yet? Do you have any plausible mechanism for “nonrandom” mutations yet. Perhsps you can explain your “Law of Complexity” to us and provide some evidence for that. (Remember to explain why bacteria don’t seem to know about it). You and Egnor can choose not to believe anything you want but you won’t convince anyone without evidence. Exactly what is it you think than “random” mutations cannot produce given enough time?

“random” mutation and natural selection is the null hypothesis

In other words, if we don’t have an explanation for something, we assume it has no cause?

We don’t know what causes embryos to develop, for example. So should we assume, as the null hypothesis, that development is caused by a series of accidents, plus some kind of selection mechanism?

And no one has a plausible theory for the origin of life. So should we assume that life was first created by a series of accidents with, again, some kind of selection mechanism?

We don’t assume chance plus selection as an explanation for the development of embryos, or for the origin of life. So why is it assumed for the origin of species?

If chance plus selection is the null hypothesis for the origin of species, it should be the null hypothesis for many other things we don’t understand. But it isn’t.

Why?

So now, realpc, when your ignorance is exposed for all to see, you cover for it by insisting that “no one really knows” anything about anything? Sorry, boy, but someone as ignorant as you is not in any position to talk about what others may or may not know.

If chance plus selection is the null hypothesis for the origin of species, it should be the null hypothesis for many other things we don’t understand. But it isn’t.

Actually, it is. If the system has certain characteristics which we know are sufficient for evolution (germ line replicator, imperfect duplication, selection, etc., I don’t remember off the top of my head) we can make certain predictions based on this null-hypothesis. The same thing can be said of many a competing hypothesis, but not of design.

The standard argument is that since materialism must be true, the theory that supports materialism must be true.

That’s absolute baloney. You accuse us of being uncharitable for taking Egnor’s words by their literal meaning, and not as what some dyslexic non-native speaker with a rudimentary education may have intended by them, and then you come up with this shameless poppycock about evolutionary biology. And you expect to be taken seriously?

FYI, the “standard argument” for evolutionary theory could go something like this: 1. Biological organisms have unarguably changed and adapted in a multitude of forms over the course of Earth’s history, and continue to do so; 2. all the phenotypic differences and adaptations of organisms that we have studied are due to genetic changes (plus what seem at this point to be exceptionally rare instances of heritable epigenetic modifications); 3. these genetic differences (point mutations, deletions/duplications, recombination, rearrangements, aneuploidy etc) are similar in nature and pattern to those that routinely occur in experimentally observable situations; 4. in these observable situations, when appropriately tested the changes in question have always been found to be random with regard to fitness; 5. natural selection represents a demonstrably (theoretically and empirically) efficient method to turn random variation into contingently directional changes and adaptations; 6. nothing in our understanding of biology or in the existing paleontological, genetic and molecular evidence indicates the existence of teleological variation; 7. regardless of point 6, there is no independent evidence whatsoever of teleological agents or mechanisms that may have acted to externally impart directionality to life on Earth as it evolved during the 3+ billion years of its history, with the notable exception of human activity in the last few thousand years; and therefore 8. at this stage the only scientifically supported model we have for the evolution of life on earth is one based primarily on the principles of random (wrt fitness) genetic variation and selection (and accessory mechanisms such as drift etc).

Philosophical materialism has nothing to do with any of the facts above. However, materialists can make of them what they want, and so can theists/supernaturalists. Indeed, both groups do.

As anything in science, modern evolutionary theory is not, and does not claim to be definitive and unchangeable, but any changes, updates and modifications need to be based on evidence, not speculation and wishful thinking.

realpc said:

“We don’t know what causes embryos to develop, for example. So should we assume, as the null hypothesis, that development is caused by a series of accidents, plus some kind of selection mechanism?”

PZ will sure be surprised by this one. After centuries of careful study we still have no idea at all how embryos develop. Man, I guess all the molecular developmental biology I teach is somehow mistaken. So I guess evolutionary development is also not a real field either. Talk about ignoring evidence!

Of course this is really just a straw man argument, since no one ever claimed that “random” mutation and natural selection were responsible for the development of an individual embryo. The developmental pathway however is demonstrably the result of such processes.

By the way, the default hypothesis for all kinds of things, including plagues, lightning, hurricanes and development used to be God or magic. That really didn’t work so well, so now yes, natural explanantions are the starting point for most things we don’t yet understand. If you don’t like it you are always free to use God or magic as your null hypothesis. No one can stop you from doing that. Let me know how that works out for you.

David Stanton,

You may be able to describe in detail how an embryo develops, but you cannot explain it in terms of the known laws of physics. There is nothing to orchestrate the process. The DNA in individual cells can’t possibly know the whole picture, so how can it coordinate all the complex spatial relationships?

You teach that the known laws of physics and DNA are adequate to explain the process. How do you know? Well, because that is the only materialist explanation, and we “know” that materialism is true.

Realpc said:

“You teach that the known laws of physics and DNA are adequate to explain the process. How do you know? Well, because that is the only materialist explanation, and we “know” that materialism is true.”

I teach nothing of the sort, nor did I claim to. I simply present the experimental evidence we have for our current understanding of the processes that we have so far discovered. If anyone thinks the explanations are not sufficient they are perfectly free to demonstrate any other mechanisms that may exist.

You don’t know how an embryo develops. Therefore you reject that natural causes are sufficient. I am perfectly willing to accept any evidence that you have of any other causes but you have provided none. You have not read any of the scientific literature regarding development, yet you claim that DNA could not possibly “orchestrate the process.” I will leave it to the impartial observer to decide which one of ous is committed to a preconceived philosophical position.

Comment #167980 Posted by Robin Luethe on April 2, 2007 5:38 PM

Those using the quoted argument against secularists are not willing to acknowledge the provisional nature of their own truth.

Mr. Luethe, Could you expand on that idea please? I am interested in understanding it better.Sincerely,Paul

Taking a pretty skeptical view on the naive view of reality (i.e. time, consciousness, causation, cosmology) I assume we work with models that seems to work. Hence my admiration for Newton, Darwin (high point of London trip was seeing their burial places in Westminster Abbey), and all the rest of the Pantheon - Einstein et al. Through them we have vastly increased our scope of understanding a glimpse of what reality and truth are.

From a anthropological view every tribe and culture have their models for understanding the world as they operate in it. The Amish, for example, have their model of understanding, including their folkways. I find their understanding limited compared to the scientific one. But as a value judgment I do not believe I can say they are worse (or better) than my understandings. The Amish don’t go around trashing other peoples’ understandings, so it is easier to be tolerant of them than of some other religious groups.

Any group which chooses to come up with an apology of their understanding of the world must begin to apply critical tools to that understanding. Once that is done in any serious and intellectually respectable way the provisional nature of their understanding will be obvious.

This could be a start, offer some comments and I would be interested in continuing the conversation.

“You don’t know how an embryo develops. Therefore you reject that natural causes are sufficient.”

No, I think the causes are natural. But I do not think they are natural in the sense of being already understood by science. An organism’s development cannot be explained in terms of the known laws of physics.

realpc,

I don’t understand who this “we” is you keep referring to.

Clearly, you are not part of the “we” who understand science.

I would appreciate it if you would refrain from insulting us by referring to “we” when you really mean “you.” When you refer to “we” you are referring to the men and women who have established the frontiers of science, and knowledge and what “we” know about the Universe as a species.

You’re not part of our “we,” realpc. You are an outsider. So, please stop referring to “we” when discussing your childish, barbaric, primitive, mythic notions.

We understand science; you do not.

Thank you for participating. You may go home now.

realpc Wrote:

An organism’s development cannot be explained in terms of the known laws of physics.

What a bizarre statement. Do you not think the “known laws of physics” underlie chemistry? I suggest further study in this area.

Realpc,

“An organism’s development cannot be explained in terms of the known laws of physics.”

What process specifically breaks the laws of physics? Which law and how? Come on show the math, or a detailed explanation. For Pete’s sake give details supported by observations and evidence. Don’t give a weak answer by saying it breaks the second law because it gets more complex. If you think it breaks the second law, describe the specific chemical react that does break it.

If you think that chemical gradates can’t cause a differential express of genes, then give the mechanism that does? Do you think it is the hand of God, some supernatural being that has to interfere with every embryo? Think of many arthropod embryos that develop every single day, does the supernatural intelligent designer have to interfere every time.

If you can’t give details, then you are just pissing in the wind.

Realpc, you wrote:

This is a quote from Egnor:

I have no problem with evolution, understood as change in living things over time. I have no problem with the view that some of the changes were caused by random events.

Could that be spelled out any more clearly? Why do you have so much trouble understanding his point?

The problem is that Egnor states that, and then proceeds to discuss the exact opposite. He has a problem with evolution. He in effect denies common descent. He claims that evolution isn’t at the heart of taxonomy and classification, which describes the change in living things over time. He praises population biology with one breath and then denies it in the next under a different name. It’s like saying I love apples but hate the fruit of Malus domestica. That quote doesn’t show that he has no problem with evolution; it shows that he is logically inconstant and hasn’t a clue.

Re #168063 “FYI, the “standard argument” for evolutionary theory could go something like this: [Items 1 through 8]”

Add #9:

Absence of any serious unrefuted counterarguments.

Henry

Realpc said:

“No, I think the causes are natural. But I do not think they are natural in the sense of being already understood by science.”

Time for a summary. Apparently, after all the discussion of medicine, genetics and developmental biology, the argument put forward by realpc comes down to this: you don’t know everything. Dude, why didn’t you just say so in the first place. You’re absolutely right. I totally agree. Guilty as charged.

I guess this was Egnor’s point all along as well. If we don’t know everything, how can we possibly teach anything of value to medical students?

Those of you who have followed the creationist movement will recognize this tactic. Science is always open to this criticism and always will be. The argument goes like this: you can’t explain everything to my satisfaction so I don’t have to accept anything you say. It is basically the same argument used by Behe, Dembski, Wells, etc.

Well, only one thing to do. Got to get back in the lab and discover more stuff. I’m sure that everyone will be convinced if I make just one more discovery.

“An organism’s development cannot be explained in terms of the known laws of physics.” What process specifically breaks the laws of physics?

Nothing breaks the laws of physics, obviously. I said the “known” laws. Scientists do not understand how the laws of physics can lead to the origin and evolution of life, or the development of an individual organism. Biology cannot be reduced to physics at this time. Claiming that it will be eventually is simply materialist faith.

And since someone just accused me of being unscientific – it’s true that I don’t have a PhD in biology, but I am a computer scientist. I think that’s an advantage in the evolution debate. Furthermore, I am capable of reading and I have a decent understanding of biology.

I just don’t have the detailed knowledge of a specialist – which may be a disadvantage anyhow. You drown in the details and may lose your perspective.

realpc says: I think …

That’s debatable.

I just don’t have the detailed knowledge of a specialist

Yet you claim to “know” such counterfactual nonsense as

Biology cannot be reduced to physics at this time. Claiming that it will be eventually is simply materialist faith.

…which is like saying an Excel spreadsheet cannot be reduced to 1s and 0s in computer hardware. Since I can’t describe every high bit and low bit in every component at every point in time, the idea that a program “reduces” to 1s and 0s in my hardware is just “materialistic faith,” right?

Seriously. Get some help. Then read a damn textbook.

More brownish bubbles from the realpc unreality:

Nothing breaks the laws of physics, obviously. I said the “known” laws.

As per your standard evasions (let’s call it Complex Unspecified Disinformation, or is that name taken?), you didn’t answer the question that was posed directly to you, in plain English: WHICH known laws of physics, specifically, fail to explain WHICH specific life processes?

(Not that your current insistence that “We don’t know anything about anything” does anything to prove your General “Theory” of Unspecified Complexity and Stuff.)

Furthermore, I am capable of reading and I have a decent understanding of biology.

No, you clearly do not have ANY understanding of biology – your own blithering know-nothingism has proven that repeatedly. And while you may be able to read, that talent is wasted on you, because you have proven yourself incapable of discussing what you claim to have read with anything resembling intelligence or honesty.

There’s really no point in debating any subject with someone who has proven himself to be as consistently stupid and dishonest as you have. You have completely failed to answer direct questions put to you, and your most recent posts aren’t even coherent. Even the loopiest Dionysian would agree with the strictest Apollonian that there’s no “there” there.

(And don’t even try to appeal to the Gardnerians or Alexandrians – they’ve been doing woo-woo metaphysics longer than you’ve been alive, and they at least know how to make it sound meaningful. And they don’t pretend it’s science, either.)

I just don’t have the detailed knowledge of a specialist — which may be a disadvantage anyhow. You drown in the details and may lose your perspective.

This is the standard excuse of someone who couldn’t handle new knowledge, didn’t want to study, flunked the final exam, and then retreats, wounded and resentful, into his own reality, where the stuff he already “knows” constitutes the whole body of useful knowledge. “I didn’t wanna graduate from your stinking school anyway…you’re all…godless! Yeah, that’s it, you’re godless! That’s my excuse and I’m stickin’ to it!”

Ok, Raging, I did not flunk any exams. I have a PhD, just not in biology.

I probably should not have said that about specialized knowledge – I have it, just not in biology. What I should have said is, I have the advantage of not having been indoctrinated into a particular philosophy, which is what happens in formal biology education.

Biology cannot be reduced to physics at this time. Claiming that it will be eventually is simply materialist faith. …which is like saying an Excel spreadsheet cannot be reduced to 1s and 0s in computer hardware.

The 1s and 0s of Excel are the result of a higher-order organizing process. There is nothing about a system containing only 1s and 0s that would make it evolve into Excel.

Yes, living things are made of molecules, which are made of atoms, which are made of subatomic particles (which are made of … ?). But that tells us nothing about how or why these molecules are organized in a living system.

The laws of physics cannot account for the organization of living things, because it is a higher order of organization. That would be like trying to explain the organization of Excel in terms of the laws governing electricity in computer hardware.

If you’ve never had a “formal biology education,” then you can’t possibly know what goes in one. So once again, you pretend to know something you clearly don’t, then say it is something we all know it’s not.

Not only are you a liar and a fool, but you’re such an incompetent liar that you can’t even organize your lies to serve any discernable purpose.

What Dizzy said – get help!

We don’t know what causes embryos to develop, for example. So should we assume, as the null hypothesis, that development is caused by a series of accidents, plus some kind of selection mechanism?

You mean you don’t know how embryos develop and have no intention of educating yourself on the subject. You will, however, tell us that because of your ignorance of the subject that there is no literature out there that explains it because you’re just not aware of any; Kinda like Behe at Dover. Even if others point out that there is relevant literature that addresses your objections you will just ignore it and continue with your objections. Am I right so far?

And no one has a plausible theory for the origin of life. So should we assume that life was first created by a series of accidents with, again, some kind of selection mechanism?

And of course we all know that evolution is the prevailing theory for the origin of life.

We don’t assume chance plus selection as an explanation for the development of embryos, or for the origin of life. So why is it assumed for the origin of species?

Excellent, I see your point. Embryology and Evolution are exactly the same and therefore descent with modification, mutation and selection, drift, endosymbiosis, etc, etc… must apply directly to embryology otherwise evolution is worthless.

If chance plus selection is the null hypothesis for the origin of species, it should be the null hypothesis for many other things we don’t understand. But it isn’t.

Brilliant, the null hypothesis has to be the same for every scientific discipline. Why didn’t I think of that?

In other words, if we don’t have an explanation for something, we assume it has no cause?

No, only you and the other IDiot-like buffoons assume that it has no cause. Using a term like “law of increasing complexity” which is based upon nothing but fantasy supplies no “cause”.

And we have no more reason to believe that you have a Ph.D than we had to believe that “Michael Martin” had one (only PvM fell for that one). Nothing you write betrays either intelligence or learning, you don’t give us your real name (though we have a pretty good idea, troll), and you have contempt for the knowledge spoonfed to you. Meaning that even if you have a Ph.D, it matters not one whit in these discussions, you’re just a maundering idiot.

Glen D http://tinyurl.com/35s39o

The comments have gone way off topic. Comments are now closed.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Guest Contributor published on April 2, 2007 11:34 AM.

The Silliest Thing Yet, or Sheer Genius? was the previous entry in this blog.

Wells’ flagrantly false commentary on Hox complex structure is the next entry in this blog.

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