Paul Nelson Day

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A few days ago I teased another upcoming ID anniversary. It’s Paul Nelson Day, the anniversary of Nelson’s so far unfulfilled promise to provide a detailed exposition of “ontogenetic depth.” PZ has the details on Pharyngula.

Added in edit: John Lynch also notes the anniversary, and points out that Nelson is aware of it. Nelson also provides the toy model that he thinks shows that developmental biologists are incapable of accounting for cell differentiation. Nelson’s misconception is encapsulated in this sentence:

We need to know the minimal instruction (or command) set, which must be present in the starting cell, for this to happen reliably.

15 Comments

For additional details I recommend John Lynch’s On Evolutionary Monographs [repost] originally posted back in April 2005.

As somebody once said (or perhaps bellowed?), “One of these days, Dr. Nelson. One of these days.”

I’m celebrating by listening to 2 versions of Miles Davis’ “Half Nelson,” the 1947 original with Charlie Parker, and the 1956 version with John Coltrane.

Richard B. Hoppe Wrote:

Nelson’s misconception is encapsulated in this sentence:

Looks more like a deliberate bait-and-switch between evolution and abiogenesis. But Nelson is free to correct me by challenging Michael Behe directly with his “evidence” that certain new cells require individual assembly from nonliving matter.

Did you notice the “more tomorrow” closing line in Nelson’s little essay at Evolution News linked in the OP? Kind of funny, you have to admit.

But Lowell, you will be there to watch for the ‘more tomorrow’ tomorrow, right?

Just to see if it’s there or not. Out of curiosity, of course.

You know there won’t be anything there, but who knows. Don’t want to be caught off guard.

Lowell said:

Did you notice the “more tomorrow” closing line in Nelson’s little essay at Evolution News linked in the OP? Kind of funny, you have to admit.

BTW, at least Nelson has the balls to admit he was wrong but that being wrong is not such a bad thing.

More than I can say for some folks.

www.evolutionnews.org/2010/04/ontogenetic_depth_20_the_prequ.html#more

Steve P. said:

BTW, at least Nelson has the balls to admit he was wrong but that being wrong is not such a bad thing.

More than I can say for some folks.

www.evolutionnews.org/2010/04/ontogenetic_depth_20_the_prequ.html#more

He would have been honest if he acknowledged that he wasn’t even wrong.

Steve P. said:

BTW, at least Nelson has the balls to admit he was wrong but that being wrong is not such a bad thing.

More than I can say for some folks.

www.evolutionnews.org/2010/04/ontogenetic_depth_20_the_prequ.html#more

Paul Nelson writes:

Rather, building animals de novo by known biological (evolutionary) processes is an evolutionary problem. Common descent by natural selection is the main theory on the table in 2010. It’s the theory that, in this OD 2.0 series, I hope to show does not work.

ARGH, that’s not how you go about formulating a hypothesis! It just repurposes the argument from incredulity. Oh well; garbage in, garbage out.

Steve P. said:

BTW, at least Nelson has the balls to admit he was wrong but that being wrong is not such a bad thing.

More than I can say for some folks.

www.evolutionnews.org/2010/04/ontogenetic_depth_20_the_prequ.html#more

Like the time when you scolded me for trusting what scientists say about science, rather than what the frauds at the Discovery Institute say lie about science?

Rather, building animals de novo by known biological…

If Paul starts on such a low note, he’s going to be hitting rock bottom very hard and very soon. Anyone who imagines/deludes/cons himself that “Building animals” de novo poses no explanatory problem for a cdesign proponetist, while it does for an “evolutionist” is probably had one drink too many and totalled his frontal lobes. What is this about building animals? This is not even 19th century science talk, we talk today of metazoans etc., Paul is talking as if it is a matter of cutting and pasting or riveting some body parts together. Paul, if you are listening, we mammals are a very insignificant part of the biosphere. Get serious.

It’s hysterical Paul Nelson came up with the term “ontogenetic depth” when he himself is a YEC. Wonder how he could explain the “rapidity” of ontogenetic depth if the Earth is a mere tens of thousands of years old.

Ontogenetic depth is only an illusion. In reality, Paul Nelson’s statements have no depth.

Maybe it’s taking so long as he’s integrating graph theory, landscape genetics and modifying concepts such as ecological nodes into his new version? Maybe he’ll be the Deepak Chopra* of YEC? That does take a certain amount of effort and time, you know.

*for those not familiar, Chopra regularly mangles, folds, spindles and mutilates quantum mechanics, and strings together sentences composed of sciency words but which sound like they might mean something, but careful parsing reveals they’re gibberish.

John Kwok said:

It’s hysterical Paul Nelson came up with the term “ontogenetic depth” when he himself is a YEC. Wonder how he could explain the “rapidity” of ontogenetic depth if the Earth is a mere tens of thousands of years old.

If I truly thought I had evidence that the Earth was several orders of magnitudes younger than science has concluded, I would not be wasting my time with a concept that apparently doesn’t even falsify common descent, let alone provide radically younger ages of the biosphere and its planet. Think about it, after 6 years Nelson has not changed Michael Behe’s mind on common descent or the chronology of life. And surely Nelson has discussed his ideas in much more detail with his DI colleagues than with critics.

On another blog, Nelson’s “answer” to the age-of-the-Earth question was “read my book.” Note: I’m not sure if the question was asked the way I would ask, which not what he believes the age is, but what he thinks the age is based on all the evidence.

Frank J said:

On another blog, Nelson’s “answer” to the age-of-the-Earth question was “read my book.” Note: I’m not sure if the question was asked the way I would ask, which not what he believes the age is, but what he thinks the age is based on all the evidence.

If a person answers evades an important question by saying “buy my book,” that person is a useless, shameless con artist who can not answer anything.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on April 7, 2010 10:36 AM.

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