NewScientist Blog: Are ID proponents being silenced?

| 44 Comments

At the NewScientist blog, we find a posting which raises more questions than it answers

After confirming the news that the movie is without much of any scientific content, and makes ill chosen references to Nazis, Amanda Gefter, opinion editor, describes the Q&A that followed.

Amanda Gefter Wrote:

One woman said it was morally reprehensible to equate the death of six million Jews with Darwin. I clapped, and was astounded when nearly everyone else remained silent.

And then the Question

Amanda Gefter Wrote:

I shot my hand up to ask a question. “The intelligent design movement has gone to great lengths to argue that intelligent design is not religion, that it’s science. And you made a whole film arguing that it is religious. How do they react to that?”

“Well,” Mathis said, “I guess it makes them a little uncomfortable.”

onwards to more friendly questions from the ‘audience’

Amanda Gefter Wrote:

He began calling on others in the crowd, who asked friendlier questions. But Maggie and I quickly realised that we’d seen some of these people before - earlier that evening, in fact, working at the movie’s registration table. These friendly audience members worked for the film? Had Mathis planted questioners?

seems that expelling potential critics may not have been an isolated incident

Amanda Gefter Wrote:

When Mathis was responding, the guy asked another question, and the producer shot back, “How about you let me finish talking?” Then, a security guard for the film approached the calmly seated man and told him, “I may have to ask you to leave.”

“Does anyone else see how ironic this is?” the guy asked.

“Shut up!” someone shouted from the back.

Finally the question that we all ask our ID creationist friends, a question which has remained unanswered

Amanda Gefter Wrote:

I asked how ID explains the complexity, but he said, “I don’t have time for this,” and walked away.

Was anyone else there who can confirm that this all took place?

Update: The ‘not so’ Amused Muse.

44 Comments

Someone is getting expelled. Also beat up, fired, attempted to get fired, and threatened with death. They are evolutionary biologists and science supporters and the perpetrators are the usual. Members of the lie and violence fundie cults.

This is the movie that should have been made. Think Ruloff will bankroll a movie about the truth? Naw, me either.

There is a serious reign of terror by Xian fundie terrorists directed against the reality based academic community, specifically acceptors of evolution. I’m keeping a running informal tally, listed below. They include death threats, firings, attempted firings, assaults, and general persecution directed against at least 9 people.

The Expelled Liars have totally ignored the ugly truth of just who is persecuting who.

If anyone has more info add it. Also feel free to borrow or steal the list.

I thought I’d post all the firings of professors and state officials for teaching or accepting evolution.

2 professors fired, Bitterman (SW CC Iowa) and Bolyanatz (Wheaton)

1 persecuted unmercifully Richard Colling (Olivet)

1 attempted firing Murphy (Fuller Theological by Phillip Johnson IDist)

1 successful death threats, assaults harrasment Gwen Pearson (UT Permian)

1 state official fired Chris Comer (Texas)

1 assault, fired from dept. Chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

Death Threats Eric Pianka UT Austin and the Texas Academy of Science engineered by a hostile, bizarre IDist named Bill Dembski

Death Threats Michael Korn, fugitive from justice, towards the UC Boulder biology department and miscellaneous evolutionary biologists.

Up to 9 with little effort. Probably there are more. I turned up a new one with a simple internet search. Haven’t even gotten to the secondary science school teachers.

And the Liars of Expelled have the nerve to scream persecution. On body counts the creos are way ahead.

At one point, Amanda Gefter tells Mathis,

“Actually, it’s not - the theory of evolution never purported to touch on the issue of how life arose from non-life, it’s about how species arose from other species.”

Which means that Amanda Gefter really needs to go back and do some reading. She’s just plain ignorant on that one.

Organic molecules evolved by natural selection, ultimately giving rise to life—possibly in the “warm little pond” that Darwin envisioned in his famous letter to Joseph Hooker.”

–evolutionist John Oro, from Life’s Origins, ed. Wm. Schopf, c2002, p 26.

Notice that evolutionists posit the very same driving force for both prebiotic evolution and postbiotic evolution–natural selection. Hence prebiotic evolution is part and parcel of the overall theory of evolution.

(Gee, d’ya suppose that’s why they call it “prebiotic evolution” in the first place? Could that also explain why prebiotic evolution is taught in evolutionary biology textbooks like Freeman & Herron?)

So there’s honestly no use trying to suddenly pretend, as Gefter does, that “the theory of evolution never purported to touch on the issue”. (Unless, of course, Gefter is not honest.)

At any rate, there’s no rational way that she can claim what she’s claiming. Notice how evolutionary biologists Raven and Johnson put things…

(big banner page) “UNIT 3: Principles of Evolution”

(very next page, Origin of Life section) “Most scientists think life first evolved in these oeans and that the evolution of life occurred over hundeds of millions of years.”

–Holt Biology (c2004)

Seems clear enough. Prebiotic evolution IS evolution, period. It’s “a continuum”, as John Oro wrote in 2002. So Gefter is wrong. She better be glad Mathis didn’t have time to school her in front of everybody.

FL

**********

PS.….a small side note for Raven:

1 assault, fired from dept. Chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

Unless you are attempting to seriously embarrass your fellow evolutionists, you will probably want to drop the Paul Mirecki case from your dubious laundry list there. That one made you guys look (and smell) rather badly amongst the general public; definitely the wrong poster boy.

:)

Evolution is separate from abiogensis in the sense that the evolution of cellular life can be tested indepently of theories of abiogensis. Evolution makes few predictions about the origin of life, as such it cannot be shown false by the failure of any specific theory of abiogenesis or the absence of any such theory.

That abiogensis researches may use evolutionary mechanisms in hypotheses is not at all surprising, but that doesn’t effect the veracity of evolution from the last common ancestor.

Did you get the evolutionist stabbed to death by the creationist?

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.a[…]2377,00.html

Why do you suppose it’s called prebiotic chemistry?

FL:

Unfortunately the Evolution has more than one meaning:

Main Entry: evo·lu·tion Listen to the pronunciation of evolution Pronunciation: \ˌe-və-ˈlü-shən, ˌē-və-\ Function: noun Etymology: Latin evolution-, evolutio unrolling, from evolvere Date: 1622

1: one of a set of prescribed movements

2 a: a process of change in a certain direction : unfolding b: the action or an instance of forming and giving something off : emission c (1): a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state : growth (2): a process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance d: something evolved

3: the process of working out or developing

4 a: the historical development of a biological group (as a race or species) : phylogeny b: a theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations; also : the process described by this theory

5: the extraction of a mathematical root6: a process in which the whole universe is a progression of interrelated phenomena

To give you the benefit of the doubt, I will assume you were unaware of this. You no longer have that excuse.

FL, lying as usual Wrote:

At one point, Amanda Gefter tells Mathis,

“Actually, it’s not - the theory of evolution never purported to touch on the issue of how life arose from non-life, it’s about how species arose from other species.”

Which means that Amanda Gefter really needs to go back and do some reading. She’s just plain ignorant on that one.

No, FL. She was quite correct. Abiogenesis is an entirely separate field of biological research, as has been pointed out to you many, many times. It has also been pointed out to you repeatedly that evolutionary theory can quite comfortably accommodate a single event of special creation. Evolutionary theory is about how life changes over time, not about how it arose initially.

fl: gravitational and electromagnetic forces have similar formulae. Therefore gravity is electricity.

Abiogenesis hypotheses are hypotheses, not theories. At the moment scientists believe that a kind of chemical natural selection is the most likely answer, but the evidence isn’t there. Even if it was, the matter of how life arose is not relevant to how it evolves. Watch:

(population a pops into existence inexplicably)

(population a reproduces, mutates, is selected)

(population a becomes populations b and c)

see that? evolution.

this is not difficult to grasp, but it slips through the paws of creationists every time. and they wonder why we reckon they’re lying.

FL, you should carefully note the distinction, so helpfully pointed out by Jeff Webber, between evolution as a generic phenomenon (i.e. the change of something over time) and evolution as detailed in evolutionary theory. Do not conflate the two again.

Did you get the evolutionist stabbed to death by the creationist?

Got it, thanks. Both were British.

Evolution vs creation row ends in stabbing By Adam Bennett | December 14, 2007

A FRUIT-picking trip to southern New South Wales ended in the death of a Scottish backpacker who became embroiled in a bizarre row about creationism and evolution.

English backpacker Alexander Christian York, 33, was today sentenced to a maximum of five years jail for the manslaughter of Scotsman Rudi Boa in January last year.

Mr Boa, 28, died on January 27 after being stabbed by York at the Blowering Holiday Park, near Tumut. continues

FL wrote: Notice that evolutionists posit the very same driving force for both prebiotic evolution and postbiotic evolution–natural selection. Hence prebiotic evolution is part and parcel of the overall theory of evolution.

Well, nature has a great many feedback processes. And any natural feedback process is by definition a process of natural selection.

But not all selective natural processes lead ultimately to what most biologists would regard as “life” (the definition of which, at the margin, is problematic). So I think FL has raised a very valid point here: IF selective natural processes among self-replicating molecules became by tiny degrees more complex, and the molecules more sophisticated, and increasingly shaped by these same feedback processes, then it’s impossible in principle to draw a bright line and say “On this side is abiogenesis, and on the other is life, and these are unrelated distinct processes.”

So hopefully what we’re trying to communicate to FL is that the biological processes we understand, had beginnings lost in a haze of what perhaps fewer and fewer biolgists would regard as “true biology” as you move back in time, and more and more would regard as a feedback selection among arbitrarily sophisticated but still lifeless organic molecules. It’s a continuum, not a sudden point in time when, with a quick phase change (with our without the assistance of some external magician), “life” sprang from “nonlife”.

At some point, these immensely complex organic molecules (or arrangements of such molecules) reached the point where they might qualify as “life” or at least “protolife” or whatever term we might wish to coin.

I’m voting with FL on this one. The feedback process started the instant some molecule was able to replicate, which necessarily was followed almost immediately (on these time scales) by their consumption of all relevant resources. Which again almost immediately necessarily rewarded those able to consume new resources, and/or existing resources more efficiently. All you need is a source of variation, combine it with this scarcity, and off you go. Life (as we know and understand it) is guaranteed to result in a couple hundred million years max. It’s evolution all the way down.

We know that evolution and abiogenesis are separate issues. Just because one biologist says that natural selection is a factor in both does not make them the same. No one would say a bicycle and a car are the same just because both use wheels.

Fundamantalist Creationist use quote mining to make their points because they mistakenly think of scientists who study evolution as “authority figures” that we blindly follow, just as they think of their own leadership as being such. I don’t. I can slam John Oro, Stephen Jay Gould, or even Charles Darwin himself for getting things wrong and still support evolution. People like FL don’t dare criticise anything in their own Bible, because it would destroy their narrow view. That is their greatest weakness!

FL:

PS.….a small side note for Raven:

1 assault, fired from dept. Chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

Unless you are attempting to seriously embarrass your fellow evolutionists, you will probably want to drop the Paul Mirecki case from your dubious laundry list there. That one made you guys look (and smell) rather badly amongst the general public; definitely the wrong poster boy.

:)

Why? Because FL says so? Sorry, not buying that. Insulting the dead, especially a murder victim, is not funny, no matter what the excuse!

I stand corrected. I got two cases of evolutionists (submitted earlier by Raven) being attacked by creationists mixed up! My apologies.

FL still needs to explain what’s wrong with this case:

FL:

PS.….a small side note for Raven:

1 assault, fired from dept. Chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

Unless you are attempting to seriously embarrass your fellow evolutionists, you will probably want to drop the Paul Mirecki case from your dubious laundry list there. That one made you guys look (and smell) rather badly amongst the general public; definitely the wrong poster boy.

:)

Until he explains it, I will dismiss FL’s comment as a cheap shot!

This is what I found on Mirecki …

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/d[…]ng/?breaking

We know that evolution and abiogenesis are separate issues.

Sorry, but no, we do not. We know that biological analytical techniques enable us to look into the biological past only so far before the trail becomes too hazy to follow. We can arbitrarily (almost whimsically) say “Here is where life started” but we know that we can’t really define that point in principle, much less locate it in practice.

Biological evolution requires imperfect replication of conserved characteristics in an environment scarce in at least one necessary resource. It does NOT require “life”. Eventually, it seems quite likely to result in something we might usefully agree is “alive”. But even this is not required.

Flint:

We know that evolution and abiogenesis are separate issues.

Sorry, but no, we do not. We know that biological analytical techniques enable us to look into the biological past only so far before the trail becomes too hazy to follow. We can arbitrarily (almost whimsically) say “Here is where life started” but we know that we can’t really define that point in principle, much less locate it in practice.

Certainly, abiogenesis and evolutionary biology are related topics, but, we don’t need to understand how Life, as we know it, came to be in order to understand the trends and changes seen in lineages of trilobites or orchids.

On the other hand, understanding the ideas and concepts of abiogenesis will do nothing but help us further understand how Life as we know it ticks.

FL still needs to explain what’s wrong with this (Paul Mirecki) case

Well, sure Dale. Here’s your explanation. Even KU, a super-fortress of evolution, had to suddenly switch to retreat mode, distancing itself from Mirecki’s stinky smell.

You think Mirecki was giving you evolutionists good Public Relations with media stories like this?

http://www.cjonline.com/stories/120[…]emails.shtml

Or this?

http://www.cjonline.com/stories/120[…]uclass.shtml

Or this?

Mirecki can’t remember where the incident took place, according to local law enforcement, and has offered only the vaguest of suspect descriptions.

There are conflicting accounts about Mirecki’s physical appearance the day of the attack. While a faculty colleague claimed that “big swollen spots” had “transformed” Mirecki’s face, Jesse Plous and Tiffany Jeffers, two of Mirecki’s students, told the campus newspaper they didn’t notice bruises or scratches when they met for his class six hours after the alleged attack.

Lindsay Mayer, another student in the class, “said injuries weren’t extremely noticeable.” Mirecki did not mention the alleged beating in class.

Now, a week after the alleged attack with the alleged assailants still at large, Mirecki is poised to take both his university and the local sheriff’s office to court for their insufficient support and investigation.

The fundies! Academia! The cops! They’re all in on it!

—Michelle Malkin http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f[…]540476/posts

********

There, I think that should explain things. But just in case it ain’t, here’s a spoonful of Verum Serum, containing extra information on Mirecki.

http://www.verumserum.com/?p=102

But hey, if you want Mirecki for your mascot, that’s A-okay by me. Please, PLEASE make Paul Mirecki the evolutionist poster boy for this alleged “serious reign of terror by Xian fundie terrorists” laundry list gig. By all means, sign his pre-cambrian patootie up!!!!

FL

Flint:

Biological evolution requires imperfect replication of conserved characteristics in an environment scarce in at least one necessary resource. It does NOT require “life”.

I usually agree with Flint, but in this case, I don’t think I do. I am thinking of some of the evolutionary phenomena unique to small populations (founder effect, genetic drift, inbreeding depression) that are dependent on sexual reproduction and, most specifically, DNA. These aspects of “biological evolution” most certainly require “life”. Thus, I still believe we should make a distinction between evolution of living organisms and whatever processes or phenomena may have operated in prebiotic chemistry. For brevity, we call the latter “abiogenesis”.

FL-babbling

Notice that evolutionists posit the very same driving force for both prebiotic evolution and postbiotic evolution–natural selection. Hence prebiotic evolution is part and parcel of the overall theory of evolution.

Evolutionists posit - OK - that must be your imagination. Biologists don’t claim there is any “driving force” behind evolution. That may be good literature, but scientifically nonsense - explains why you shd hang on to such a poorly defined term such as “driving force” wrt evolution. Mark Mathis knows even less about evolution than his own cheesy disaster of a movie. The term “Abiogenesis” is little better than a placeholder. “Life from non-life” is a creationist term and again scientifically nonsense. Get your terminology in order before you attempt to argue.

FL babbled:

Notice that evolutionists posit the very same driving force for both prebiotic evolution and postbiotic evolution–natural selection. Hence prebiotic evolution is part and parcel of the overall theory of evolution.

FL is so cute in a profoundly pathetic, childishly vulgar sort of way when he makes up pseudo-scientific terms to support his flimsy arguments. I mean, does he think he impresses us when he uses the term “prebiotic evolution”? Exactly how can things evolve before there was anything alive to begin evolving in the first place?

And anyone else notice how he conveniently neglects why it is so dreadfully necessary to understand “prebiotic evolution,” (or is he trying to say “abiogenesis?”) in order to understand the evolutionary trends that appear in lineages of living and fossil organisms such as oysters, trilobites, brachiopods, orchids, dogs or pigeons?

FL being a bigoted @$$:

Unless you are attempting to seriously embarrass your fellow evolutionists, you will probably want to drop the Paul Mirecki case from your dubious laundry list there. That one made you guys look (and smell) rather badly amongst the general public; definitely the wrong poster boy.

:)

Even KU, a super-fortress of evolution, had to suddenly switch to retreat mode, distancing itself from Mirecki’s stinky smell.

Since when is making anti-Catholic statements anything like smelling bad? That sounds like grade school style insults, making you, FL, no better than the one you criticise.

Seriously, if Mirecki was a fundamentalist Protestant and a Creationist (many of whom are also vehemently anti-Catholic), would you be so eagar to smear him? I think not!

Funny when it comes to Sternberg or other ‘martyrs’ for the cause, creationists are quick to jump to conclusions that suggest that they were indeed ill treated. However when it comes to others less relevant to the cause, somehow these same creationists take a very different stance.

What’s the word that I am looking for here. Ah, hypocrisy.

1 assault, fired from dept. Chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

Yep, FL and the other cretobots are right in line with the likes of Ed Brayton, and Jack Krebs- Mirecki beat-up himself. (Maybe now that PZ has seen a uniformed goon up close, he would defend Mirecki. Maybe)?

FL:

Organic molecules evolved by natural selection, ultimately giving rise to life—possibly in the “warm little pond” that Darwin envisioned in his famous letter to Joseph Hooker.”

–evolutionist John Oro, from Life’s Origins, ed. Wm. Schopf, c2002, p 26.

Notice that evolutionists posit the very same driving force for both prebiotic evolution and postbiotic evolution–natural selection. Hence prebiotic evolution is part and parcel of the overall theory of evolution.

(big banner page) “UNIT 3: Principles of Evolution”

(very next page, Origin of Life section) “Most scientists think life first evolved in these oeans and that the evolution of life occurred over hundeds of millions of years.”

–Holt Biology (c2004)

Seems clear enough. Prebiotic evolution IS evolution, period. It’s “a continuum”, as John Oro wrote in 2002. FL

Oh my boy, why so desperate to construct evidence that the theory of evolution, common descent et cetera also include and relies upon a theory about abiogenesis? It is so darn pathetic and just reveals how stuck you are for real, valid arguments against the theory of evolution as it stands today.

Are you familiar with the term quote mining? It seems to me that that is what you are engaging in here, triumphantly declaring that abiogenesis - whether effected by divine intervention or natural processes - is integrated within evolutionary theory, choosing a few carefully selected words to prove your point. Is it really that difficult to understand that whatever opinion any one individual may happen to put to paper does not automatically make it part of a scientific theory?

I want to state as a fact that the theory of evolution is the theory of how life as we find it on this planet evolved from the first single celled life. Nothing more, nothing less. How life got here, neither I nor anyone else knows. No evidence either way. But mind you, that doesn’t mean that science, scientists, (and me too) speculate about how life could have arisen through natural processes, without divine intervention. I do hope, however, that you someday may realize the meaning of what I have written here. With English a foreign language to me, it isn’t always (i.e. almost never) possible for me to express my opinion as clearly as I would like, and I am always conscious that I may be expressing the exact opposite of what I actually want to say. I am however doing my very best to avoid confusion. And, as a layman I do not pretend to speak for science; I just present my opinion – and it happens to be the exact opposite of yours.

Yes Rolf this artificial barrier between how the first cell evolved and how the rest of live evolved is blatantly deceptive. It really shows there is a lot to hide in Dawinism.

I usually agree with Flint, but in this case, I don’t think I do. I am thinking of some of the evolutionary phenomena unique to small populations (founder effect, genetic drift, inbreeding depression) that are dependent on sexual reproduction and, most specifically, DNA. These aspects of “biological evolution” most certainly require “life”. Thus, I still believe we should make a distinction between evolution of living organisms and whatever processes or phenomena may have operated in prebiotic chemistry. For brevity, we call the latter “abiogenesis”.

I don’t know, maybe this discussion belongs elsewhere. After reading Rolf’s simpleminded blather, I’m wondering if FL isn’t so repulsive that people reject what he says because he said it, even if they have to misrepresent or misunderstand to do so.

Vaughn here argues that sexual reproduction requires sex (which it does, generally but not always), and therefore abiogenesis couldn’t have been an evolutionary process. But this is a non sequitur. Yes, of course evolutionary processes continue even after the advent of what we’d all consider “life”, and variations of this process beyond that point are clearly variations involving life. We SAID so.

I think the conceptual error lies in the term “prebiotic chemistry”. But as I wrote (and nobody has really addressed), at what point can we deem some arrangement of organic molecules “biotic”? It’s not as though these appeared by magic one day (unless FL’s god poofed it so, of course). Instead, evolutionary feedback processes based on replication, variation, and conserved characteristics in an environment of some scarcity simply leads in this direction. It can’t be avoided.

Yes Rolf this artificial barrier between how the first cell evolved and how the rest of live evolved is blatantly deceptive. It really shows there is a lot to hide in Dawinism.

But this might also be misleading. I agree with FL’s argument, and cityfreedom’s, that it’s evolution all the way down, and the “first cell” (whatever that might have been) becomes an artificial barrier simply because we have created a word (“cell”) and we think it has eternal meaning. But this certainly doesn’t mean “Darwinism” is hiding anything, only that our current array of biological techniques are limited to working with the biology available to us today (after 4 billion years of evolution), and our insight into the initial complex chemical processes is limited.

In other words, our study is limited to what we CAN study, and our theories are limited to the scope our studies cover. Presumably, very early in the planet’s history, the various chemicals and energy sources, climate and weather, full chaotic variation represented literally billions of concurrent “chem labs”, only one of which, one time, needed to hit on a pattern of stable but imperfect molecular replication.

We can’t study this in any way; we don’t have good enough data. Everything today is highly indirect and speculative. The notion of “first cell” is much like “first life” - undefined, and perhaps impossible to identify even if we had a time machine. Without sufficient conceptual structure, we’d be unable to know what we were looking at. And in this sense, there IS an artificial barrier, between what we CAN know today, and what we can’t.

But giving all the evolutionary history preceding what we can know today a different name than what our research indicates subsequently probably occurred, is indeed arbitrary and artificial. The processes were the same. The cumulative results of those processes, gradually snowballing over hundreds of millions of years, finally culminates in “life” - something so hazy at that point that if we had a time machine, we’d have nice active debates among biologists looking at a period of tens of millions of years, about whether something is sufficiently lifelike to qualify as life.

Bottom line: Evolution is a process. Life is a result of that process. Life changing over time is simply the continuation of that process. There is no magic “poof-point” with abiogenesis on one side and evolution on the other. There is instead some LONG period of time before which we have evolution leading up to it, and evolution occuring identically afterward, during which “life as we know it” emerged through a very gradual evolutionary transition. It’s still evolution all the way down.

I think I should mention that I’m not comfortable with the position some people here have taken, that since we do not know exactly how life got started, magical gods poofing it into existence are as good an explanation as any. This takes ignorance a little too literally - like meeting someone in Cleveland one week, and then meeting him in Dallas the next week. We may in principle be unable to determine how he got there, but we do NOT conclude that teleportation (or some magical spell) is as likely as conventional means of transportation.

If we have a solid, extensive understanding of a process that moves us from point A to point B, and no indications whatsoever of any competing process, why generate fiction?

1 assault, fired from dept. Chair Paul Mirecki (U. of Kansas)

Yep, FL and the other cretobots are right in line with the likes of Ed Brayton, and Jack Krebs- Mirecki beat-up himself. (Maybe now that PZ has seen a uniformed goon up close, he would defend Mirecki. Maybe)?

Mirecki was before my time but I did research what info was available.

1. Accusations of self assault is just a case of blaming the victim. It is reprehensible.

2. It is very hard for humans to beat themselves up, a hard wired aversion. We use this to determine level of consciousness in patients.

The pictures I saw indicated a severe beating.

3. The police who were not sympathetic to Mirecki investigated and found no evidence of a hoax.

4. Fundie Xians are known to be violent and murderous. The toll from the MD campaign so far is 7 assassinated docs, 17 attempted murders, and 200 wounded, some seriously.

Mirecki wasn’t the only one beaten up. Gwen Pearson left Permian UT after an assault and other harassment. Boas was knifed to death.

Claims require proof. There is no evidence that Mirecki was anything but a victim of fundie thugs. They had motive, means, and opportunity.

FWIW, Mirecki has a wikipedia entry. He seems to be a more than competent and well known scholar.

Abiogenesis is a separate subject from evolution. The trend in biology is to separate them and most scientists now do so.

1. Evolution is life changing through time.

2. Abiogenesis is life from nonlife.

You can study evolution without knowing the details of abiogenesis. We’ve been doing so for several hundred years with great success.

We know less about abiogenesis but more and more every year. It is possible to produce complex organic chemicals including DNA bases abiogenically using plausible conditions. Someone has a primordial replicator duplicated that can copy itself up to 20 bases now, a ribozyme I believe. Not enough to self replicate completely but a few years ago they were only up to 1 or 2 bases.

Science doesn’t know everything and never will. An endless frontier. The reason we don’t live in caves is because we can find out, all it takes is money, time, minds, and will.

It’s not that all abiogenesis scenarios are equally likely, but more that they don’t really matter. The evolution of life happens as long as life reproduces and mutates.

Remember that, lacking any kind of valid criticism, creationists always have to fall back on other attacks, like projection (example - well, the GREAT BIG MOTION PICTURE WHICH IS HITTING CINEMAS LIKE NOW), which results in honest scientists being accused of dogmatic adherence - when, if anyone has taken any time to learn about science, they will know that this is very far from the truth. It’d be comical if it wasn’t so deadly serious.

What this means is that ‘we don’t know how life began, but we have a good feeling it was like this’ is about as strong a statement as you’re gonna get on a hypothesis. Any more, and they’d be leaning toward a side without the evidence to back it up - which is, ironically, exactly what they’re being accused of anyway.

How creationists manage to spin this humbly tentative philosophy into the immutable dogma more recognisable in their own circles, well, that’s the mystery.

cityfreedom:

Yes Rolf this artificial barrier between how the first cell evolved and how the rest of live evolved is blatantly deceptive. It really shows there is a lot to hide in Dawinism.

“live”? “Dawinism”??? Do you need a dictionary or spell checker?

Venus:

It’s not that all abiogenesis scenarios are equally likely, but more that they don’t really matter. The evolution of life happens as long as life reproduces and mutates

But of course, the problem is that at the margin, we have no good definition of “life”. To the best of my knowledge, not one definition of life has been proposed that (a) includes everything we all agree is alive, without (b) ALSO including things we agree are NOT alive.

So what I’ve been trying to do is argue that evolution began to occur long before ultimately (and cumulatively) producing what we would today agree is “life”, and the term “life” is itself meaningless or misleading at the margin.

raven:

I can’t parse your claims. First, you make the (unsupported, simplistic) statement that

Abiogenesis is a separate subject from evolution.

THEN you go on to argue that the more we learn about the possible behaviors of complex organic molecules, the further we push back what we regard as biological. In other words, if these ARE “separate subjects”, the line between them is hazy, flexible, and dynamic! What USED to be part of abiogensis is, as we’ve learned more and more, NOW part of evolution!

You have semantically tied yourself up, and you don’t seem to realize it. Each year, what YOU consider “evolution” will have taken yet another bite out of what YOU consider “abiogenesis”, and that hazy dividing line will continue to shift. Perhaps within your lifetime, it will have shifted so far that “abiogenesis” will have become an obsolete term, which once represented no more than a tacit admission that our understanding of evolution was limited.

And so your claim that

You can study evolution without knowing the details of abiogenesis

mocks itself. When we study evolution, we are ipso facto studying mechanisms which eventually produced what we’d consider the “first life”. We study evolution without knowing the details of evolution - that’s why we study it! “Abiogenesis” is simply a term we use to mean “evolution under conditions where our knowledge is more limited than we’d prefer.”

Flint:

And so your claim that

You can study evolution without knowing the details of abiogenesis

mocks itself. When we study evolution, we are ipso facto studying mechanisms which eventually produced what we’d consider the “first life”. We study evolution without knowing the details of evolution - that’s why we study it! “Abiogenesis” is simply a term we use to mean “evolution under conditions where our knowledge is more limited than we’d prefer.”

In the broadest sense, yes, “Abiogenesis,” the various hypotheses concerning how Life as we know (and think we know) started is a part of Evolutionary Biology.

On the one hand, it is not necessary to understand the nitty-gritty of abiogenesis to understand evolution as it occurs today, but on the other hand, like I said earlier, understanding abiogenesis will help us understand the various biological systems.

We don’t need to understand every angle of the Urey-Miller experiment to document the lineage and pedigree of the orchid Phalaenopsis “Dusty Miller,” but, studying how life might have arose as an organic film on pyrite crystals in clay would certainly give us insights on how life began using metallic ions (such as iron) as prosthetic groups in proteins.

But where is the evidence?

Flint:

So what I’ve been trying to do is argue that evolution began to occur long before ultimately (and cumulatively) producing what we would today agree is “life”, and the term “life” is itself meaningless or misleading at the margin.

Are you familiar with the term quote mining?,

Yes. In order to prove quote mining (as opposed to blindly asserting it), you have to have access to the original source and be able to show that the CONTEXT of the given quotation actually negates the position that the given quotation seems to make.

I’ve got access to Schopf 2002 and Oro’s quote and its context, if you wish to compare notes out loud regarding the accusation of quote mining.

******

I’m wondering if FL isn’t so repulsive that people reject what he says because he said it, even if they have to misrepresent or misunderstand to do so.

Problem is, in this particular forum, the only requirements for being viewed as “repulsive” is to: (1) openly express a belief that the Bible is historically true including Genesis, OR (2) openly express a belief in favor of the intelligent design hypothesis, OR (3) openly express repeated doubts about pre-biotic or macro-evolutionary claims.

Hence, I am genuinely indifferent to adverse PT labels, and find myself mischievously smiling a lot these days.

******

pseudo-scientific terms to support his flimsy arguments. I mean, does he think he impresses us when he uses the term “prebiotic evolution”?

The idea is not to impress, but to be accurate. There is absolutely nothing “pseudo-scientific” about the phrase “pre-biotic evolution”. Please check out this NASA snippet:

Research is focused on tracing the pathways taken by the biogenic elements, leading from the origin of the universe through the major epochs in the evolution of living systems and their precursors. These epochs are 1) The cosmic evolution of the biogenic compounds, 2) prebiotic evolution, 3) the early evolution of life, and 4) the evolution of advanced life.

http://exobiology.nasa.gov/ssx/exobiology.html

Okay, that’s all for now!

FL

raven:

I can’t parse your claims. First, you make the (unsupported, simplistic) statement that

Abiogenesis is a separate subject from evolution.

THEN you go on to argue that the more we learn about the possible behaviors of complex organic molecules, the further we push back what we regard as biological. In other words, if these ARE “separate subjects”, the line between them is hazy, flexible, and dynamic! What USED to be part of abiogensis is, as we’ve learned more and more, NOW part of evolution!

We will have to agree to disagree but this is more semantics than anything.

1. Evolution is how and why life changes through time.

2. Abiogeneis is life from nonlife.

Seems like separate subject to me. In fact, most biologists these days separate the two subjects.

They are clearly linked. But we have been studying evolution for hundreds of years with great success while knowing a lot less about abiogenesis.

In other words, if these ARE “separate subjects”, the line between them is hazy, flexible, and dynamic!

Sure, what is wrong with a hazy, flexible, and dynamic line? All science is provisional and changes as new information is gathered. We are never done.

The current model hypothesizes that a primordial replicator was subject to RM + NS, evolution. I don’t have a better idea.

Another for the persecution files: Threats against Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, biologists:

Threats by religious group spark probe at CU-Boulder: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_6336193

CU biologists get death threats: http://www.coloradodaily.com/articl[…]er/news1.txt

Threatening letters rattle evolutionary biologists: http://www.nature.com/nature/journa[…]448237a.html (subscription req’d)

American Taliban on the warpath against evolution: http://www.salon.com/tech/htww/2007[…]n/index.html

Re the Colorado threats. Michael is still around. He has toned it down a bit. Now he just wants an inquisition and deportation hearings. From the PZ board, note the dates.

A tortured soul IMO, who would be far happier with some professional help. BWTHDIK.

Dear Prof. Myers,

Thank you for posting my poem. Although it is not the most eloquent piece of literature, it does come from the heart, which is what counts. I guess you sensed that and wanted to share it with your friends!

I recently read through the Ameican Declaration of Independence. I was surprised to see three references to a Creator God: (1) “When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.” (2) “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights;” (3) “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

Now considering that the Declaration declares God, our money is inscribed with “In God We Trust”, our songs sing out “God Bless America”, and our Pledge of Allegiance affirms that we are “One Nation Under God”, it seems that people who hold to atheistic views like Darwinian Naturalism (that nature created itself) are not only foolish scientists, but they are unpatriotic Americans as well!

I am looking forward to the day when Congress will convene an American Inquisition to force scientists who believe in Devilution either to recant their views and to be properly reeducated or to forfeit their citizenship and to be deported to a place like Communist China, which will appreciate your atheism and hatred of God. Of course, it would be preferable for these scientists to willingly subject themselves to reeducation without resort to an Inquisition. But rest assured that the day is coming when the stubborn arrogance of the Darwinists, who hold themselves above normal scientific accountability, will force our society to take firm action to protect itself from their dangerous prevarications.

But you can relax: unlike the Roman Catholic Inquisition, the American Inquisition will not burn recalcitrant sinners against true scientific reason at the stake; it will merely strip them of their citizenship and expel them from these sacred shores!

Posted by: Michael Korn | March 14, 2008 11:03 AM

#90THIS IS A PROMISE, NOT A THREAT!

Posted by: Michael Korn | March 14, 2008 11:30 AM

i am out of your country. i don’t live in the polluted fatuous bubble that you call home. i was born here and it is my country too. may the best man win… try arguing the science next time, big boy. see this: http://scienceagainstevolution.org/pogge.htm he is a military scientist and veteran who isn’t afraid to write the truth about the drop headed darwinist traitors to america. you are contaminating our country with vile english heresies. you are a lobster back red coat torry and unwelcome on these sacred shores.

Posted by: Michael Korn | March 14, 2008 5:57 PM

#96YAY! More crazy!

Posted by: MAJeff, OM | March 14, 2008 5:59 PM

#97PS i didnt say we have to be mandated as a Christian nation. just a God-fearing one. and if you dont like that go suck some commie bottom in beijing. where you and other traitors belong.

Posted by: Michael Korn | March 14, 2008 6:00 PM

Flint:

Vaughn here argues that sexual reproduction requires sex (which it does, generally but not always), and therefore abiogenesis couldn’t have been an evolutionary process.

What I actually wrote was that some evolutionary phenomena require sex. Since “sex” is not the method used by molecules to reproduce, I don’t believe we can make the logical leap that

The processes were the same.

All phenomena placed under the umbrella name “evolution” are things observable today. We assume similar phenomena occurred in the earth’s past to things that could be considered alive, but we cannot make that assumption about things that we know were not alive, like pre-biotic molecules. What would be the “founder effect” for a “population” of molecules? What would constitute an “adaptation increasing fitness” for a molecule? Of what relevance is genetic drift to a molecule? These are evolutionary processes that clearly do not apply to pre-biotic molecules.

Bottom line: Evolution is a process. Life is a result of that process. Life changing over time is simply the continuation of that process.

This is the conclusion I disagree with, because we can never know if the processes of change that resulted in life are the same as the changes that occur in present life. Thus, I find utility in maintaining the semantic separation encoded in “abiogenesis” and “evolution”.

The feedback process started the instant some molecule was able to replicate, which necessarily was followed almost immediately (on these time scales) by their consumption of all relevant resources.

There are nuances, certainly.

In some respects evolution is separate from abiogenesis. The important distinction is that it is a different area of research, as it involves different events and/or mechanisms. The hereditary mechanisms, for one.

Other important distinctions is that evolution as a theory is independent of abiogenesis, as a description of already existing populations. In that manner it doesn’t differ from other theories.

For example, we don’t say that cosmology is “part and parcel” of gravitation theory or electrodynamics because it explains the origin of massenergy and charges. One wish creationists thought through their ideas before opening their mouth, yet we always observe a foot being placed therein.

This follows of course ultimately from very basic properties of the simplest dynamic systems. If we can specify the differential equations describing the process and the boundary conditions including initial conditions specifying the individual system, we can predict the systems trajectory.

And in the usual comical turn of the world, this analogy is among the closest to a mathematical or logical “proof” demand of theological creationists that a description in science can come, as the mathematical model can be proved to yield solutions - yet they won’t accept it.

One can certainly demand a regress for the sake of knowledge, but it is also perfectly all right to say that we know the initial conditions but not how they come about. As we know enough for the theory to be consistent.

One should note - “FL” is also “Mellotron” at the CARM internet creationist haven where the censorship/ione-sided moderation is just afew steps behind Springer. He excels at digging up dubious quotes and is quite ignorant of science, preferring to ‘argue’ via quote and hero worship.

He believes that abiogenesis is a major part of evolution because - get this - some biology textbooks mention or have chapters on the subject.

FL/Mellotron yammers: “Please, PLEASE make Paul Mirecki the evolutionist poster boy for this alleged “serious reign of terror by Xian fundie terrorists” laundry list gig. By all means, sign his pre-cambrian patootie up!!!!

FL”

Sure - just like you made incomeptent liar for christ Crocker a ‘martyr’ for IDiotism in your little creationist movie! I can smell her dishonest stench form here, and the associated stench of the stupidity of those who actually buy her story.

Crocker is incompetent at best and might be crazy.

I saw one of her slides. She claimed that Archaeopteryx, the most famous fossil in the world was:

1. Not a reptobird. 2. Known from only 1 specimen 3. found in the same stata as modern birds 4. Might be a fake.

1. Wikipedia says it is a dino bird. Toothed jaws, no beak, claws on the wing, and a dinosarian tail and skeleton.

2. There are 10 specimens collected from over 150 years.

3. It is not found with modern birds. In fact it predates modern birds by 80 million years.

4. Allegations by Hoyle that it was a fake never had any proof, were investigated and dismissed.

Her slide would get her flunked in a freshman class. She hasn’t heard of wikipedia I gather.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on March 25, 2008 9:58 AM.

Richard Dawkins: Lying for Jesus? was the previous entry in this blog.

Expelled!: A spoiler is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.361

Site Meter