Florida: This Year’s Antievolution Bill Appears

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As predicted by Joe Meert, Florida’s legislature is once again considering antievolution legislation. This particular attempt is done as a change to a law rather than as a standalone effort.

And the strategy in this one is to label it “critical analysis”, like Ohio did in 2002.

See the Florida Citizens for Science blog for further coverage and advice on activism.

(More at the Austringer.)

674 Comments

Critical analysis from people who can’t or won’t understand the critical analysis of their lame claims.

Ah yes, but they know it sounds all smart and sciency. What more could one want?

Glen Davidson

Glen Davidson said:

Critical analysis from people who can’t or won’t understand the critical analysis of their lame claims.

Ah yes, but they know it sounds all smart and sciency. What more could one want?

Glen Davidson

Just what you said. Demanding why they only want students to “critically analyze” evolution and not critically analyze (without the quotes) their lame claims. Let the voters see who the real censors are.

The proposed law requires (in part):

(a) A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution. (b) The history and content of the Declaration of Independence… (c)…the Constitution…

It’s revealing to see the sequential significance of what’s important to the christofascists.

How come they never critically analyze loop quantum gravity or something else that’s actually controversial?

No one stands up and says “under certain conditions Newton is flat out wrong, we MUST teach our kids general relativity for them to be educated”

It just shows the religious motivation for their work.

My thanks to OgreMV, Paul, Frank J and Glen Davidson for more of your terse, but right on the mark, comments with respect to this latest lamentable exercise in intellectual stupidity masquerading as “critical analysis”. I wonder whether, by their own rules, they would discount Thomas Jefferson’s importance in writing the Declaration of Independence simply for not being as religious or “politicaly correct” (in the sense of not being sufficiently Libertarian or Conservative) as some of the other Founding Fathers (whom, I might add, shared much of Jefferson’s philosophical outlook).

It’s too bad more Florida voters did not “critically analyze” Rick Scott’s criminal activities as CEO of a health insurance monster.

At least some variants on the theory of evolution suggest that evolution is more likely to occur in smaller, isolated communities undergoing evolutionary stress, while a large population is much less likely to evolve, as it is more difficult for a favorable mutation to propagate through the entire population.

If that is the case, is the Discovery Institute, the other creationist groups and their captive legislators fostering our evolution? The minority of us who understand that evolution occurs are under environmental stress, while the larger population remains ignorant and unevolved.

Mike Clinch said:

At least some variants on the theory of evolution suggest that evolution is more likely to occur in smaller, isolated communities undergoing evolutionary stress, while a large population is much less likely to evolve, as it is more difficult for a favorable mutation to propagate through the entire population.

If that is the case, is the Discovery Institute, the other creationist groups and their captive legislators fostering our evolution? The minority of us who understand that evolution occurs are under environmental stress, while the larger population remains ignorant and unevolved.

Well, when the environment changes, populations have three options; evolve, move, or go extinct.

I think science could evolve to meet these new challenges. Be more proactive in attacking this kind of thing (not as why are you teaching critical thinking, but as ‘why don’t you think critical thinking be taught anyway?’

On the other hand, my planned country to move to is Czechosolvakia. For a variety of reasons.

I could actually see science becoming extinct in this country. I don’t rate it as a likely scenario, but it is possible. What I see as slightly more possible is that the US becomes an innovation wasteland. We become users and consumers without producing or innovating. If that is the case, my ‘move’ plan will go into action.

A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution

Hmm. Doesn’t sound too scary to me. But then again, evolution isn’t my religion.

FL said:

A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution

Hmm. Doesn’t sound too scary to me. But then again, evolution isn’t my religion.

You never fail to be unimpressive.

FL said:

A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution

Hmm. Doesn’t sound too scary to me. But then again, evolution isn’t my religion.

Heh! Given that you’re the litmus test for what is actually the opposite of what you say (or write), this must be MOST DEFINITELY scary!

FL said:

A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution

Hmm. Doesn’t sound too scary to me. But then again, evolution isn’t my religion.

Let’s see FL, do you REALLY, I mean REALLY, want people to learn to criticaly analyze things?

You really don’t. You think you do, but once you teach people to think, then you haave to answer all these hard questions. You can’t answer them in any way that makes sense, so all those people who can think critically laugh at you and your ideas and think you’re a complete moron.

Then they take it a step farther and realize that not can you not answer the hard questions, but your entire philosophical principle is a house of cards and it’s crashing. They will see that they have been lied to.

Then, those very same people, will start to wonder what else they have been lied to about. They will look for original sources for all materials and they will examine both sides of the argument. Then they will see that people who support a particular principle have no evidence that supports them, they make stuff up, they lie, they intimidate, they don’t follow their own rules, and they demand more from opponents than they are willing to provide for themselves.

Finally, those critically thinking individuals will walk away from the corruption and evil that is modern religion, for the simple reason that they realize they can be perfectly happy without it(and get to sleep in on Sunday).

So, you say you want critical thinking. But you really don’t. What you want is an uncritical review of the lies and other crap that you and people like you peddle and you want it put into middle and high schools where it will impact impressionable young minds to continue the lies and idiocy that is your believe system.

IANAL but many of the members of the Florida state legislature are - they MUST know that previous SCOTUS rulings make it unconstitutional to single out evolution in this manner - yet they put these bills forward anyway. Are they just pandering, knowing that the bill won’t go anywhere and planning to claim that they “tried”? Or, do they hope to pass the law and hope it is challenged (all the way up to the SCOTUS - so that the precedent changes?) - either way, for a party that claims they are in favor of eliminating government waste, this seems like a wasteful use of government resources. Way to go Republicans, the more you do this kind of crap, and lie on Fox News, the less likely anyone with 4 neurons in their heads to rub together will take you seriously.

Why do they keep trying? Aren’t most these bills pretty much doomed to fail, no matter how they are worded? Even if a bill passes, as in Louisiana, won’t there eventually be a court case?

How about critical analysis of high school sports? The rules are arbitrary, and shouldn’t be beyond questioning.

But then, football is not my religion.

Well, the bills support critical thinking, which makes one wonder if teachers don’t teach critical thinking without government influence. No one will argue that teaching critical thinking is a good thing (although the tendency to emphasize evolution, global wamring, cloning, stem cell research, the Constitution, and the history of the founding fathers does tend to show where these are heading).

As written, most of the bills are perfectly legal. It’s the execution of the bills that become problematic.

Someone with standing has to show harm. So I couldn’t sue regarding the Florida bill. I don’t live in Florida. Even if I lived in Florida, if I didn’t have kids in the school system, I still couldn’t sue.

Perhaps sending every legislator, teacher, school administrator and school board member a copy of the transcript of the Dover Trial would be helpful. And yes, it would be to frighten them into ignoring this law.

On the other hand, my planned country to move to is Czechosolvakia

Sorry Ogre, you’re about twenty years too late.

Czech Republic and Slovakia are probably both pretty nice places, though. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czechoslovakia

General comments I’ve heard about Czech Republic - attractive people, great lager beer, food not so great, incredible late Gothic architecture, language is a bitch unless you already speak it, weather is moderate but may seem cold to people from warm parts of the US.

On topic -

The reality is that for rank and file Tea Party/Fox News/Liberty University hard core right wing types, obsessive attempts to jam “religious” dogma into public school science is part of their agenda.

They just aren’t going to stop. There are going to be anti-evolution bills and Freshwaters constantly appearing for the foreseeable future.

The struggle against this stuff is like the struggle of public sanitation against widespread infectious disease. The pathogens will always be there and are super-opportunistic. Only by constant vigilance and timely action can the harm they do be minimized.

OgreMkV said:

Let’s see FL, do you REALLY, I mean REALLY, want people to learn to criticaly analyze things?

Well, yes he does, if you define “critically analyze” as playing “pseudoskeptic”, throwing every conceivable objection at things you don’t like and giving everything you do like a free pass.

A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution

Technically I’m STRONGLY IN FAVOR of this. Here’s a brief critical analysis of the theory of evolution - initially proposed based on anatomy/observational botany/field biology/nested hierarchy and observation of the strong effects of selection in agriculture. Subsequently strongly supported and expanded by discoveries in basic biochemistry, microbiology, classical genetics, light microscopic histology, electron microscopy, protein biochemistry and molecular biology/genomics. No serious non-magical alternate explanation of the diversity and relatedness of life on earth has been proposed. “Opponents” of the theory of evolution have a strong track record of lying and acting for financial gain. Current “anti-evolution” activity has a strong political correlate that does not square with objective analysis of evidence.

However, I’m against the bill. Why? Because I recognize the language as actually being the standard coded language of the anti-evolution movement. Rather than actually encouraging a serious critical analysis such as I just presented, the bill seeks to induce teachers to violate constitutional rights by presenting factually false sectarian religious dogma as “science”.

JASONMITCHELL said: Are they just pandering, knowing that the bill won’t go anywhere and planning to claim that they “tried”? Or, do they hope to pass the law and hope it is challenged…

I don’t think this attempt or most attempts are the latter. If they wanted to create a challenge case for SCOTUS, they’d talk explicitly about teaching ID. This “stealth” approach, like all stealth approaches, implicitly assumes that teaching creationism will remain illegal - that’s why the bill doesn’t mention teaching it.

I would say that sometimes its pandering, and sometimes its something you haven’t mentioned - bad legal advice. They may think they’ve been given a bill that will make teaching creationism legal because the special interest group that handed them the bill told them it would be legal…and the politician believed them.

Representatives are not necessarily any more expert in legalities than they are in chemistry or history or any other subject. If/when they get bad advice from trusted advisors, it can cause them to put forward bills they think are constitutional but which aren’t.

Paul Burnett said:

The proposed law requires (in part):

(a) A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution. (b) The history and content of the Declaration of Independence… (c)…the Constitution…

It’s revealing to see the sequential significance of what’s important to the christofascists.

Entry b) is the old a). Passages in green are the proposed amendments to the existing legislation, red marks what’s being removed. So the history of those documents was already on the books, and not being “critically analyzed.”

However, further down in the bill there are sections from the old law concerning character development curriculum where subjects like racial, religious, and ethnic tolerance have been crossed out, and the new curriculum says nothing about them. Also, a clause specifying the secular nature of these values and the curriculum has been struck out. See lines 117-140:

117 (u)(s) A character-development program in kindergarten

118 through grade 12 the elementary schools, similar to Character

119 First or Character Counts, which is secular in nature. The

120 program must emphasize the core values of honesty, virtue, moral

121 courage, dignity of honest labor, patriotism, self-discipline,

122 self-respect, perseverance, duty, honor, compassion, charity,

123 conflict-resolution management, peer mediation, and other

124 qualities of character that better prepare students to recognize

125 and accept the responsibility for preserving the blessings of

126 liberty inherited from prior generations. The goal is for these

127 core values to be integrated into primary classroom instruction

128 for students in kindergarten through grade 5. Beginning in

129 school year 2004-2005, the character-development program shall

130 be required in kindergarten through grade 12. Each district

131 school board shall develop or adopt a curriculum for the

132 character-development program that shall be submitted to the

133 department for approval. Each school district shall inform its

134 principals, administrators, teachers, and any other appropriate

135 school personnel of this paragraph at the beginning of each

136 school year. The character-development curriculum shall stress

137 the qualities of patriotism; responsibility; citizenship;

138 kindness; respect for authority, life, liberty, and personal

139 property; honesty; charity; self-control; racial, ethnic, and

140 religious tolerance; and cooperation.

The fact that this sentence is uttered AND it is uttered by an elected politician in the US, makes me really fucking sick of the US:

“If you’re going to teach evolution, then you have to teach the other side so you can have critical thinking,”

Oh, and whoops, I misread you there. Obviously you meant that beating down evolution takes precedence over the highest law of the land and the legal philosophy on which it’s based to these folks.

Wheels said:

Paul Burnett said:

The proposed law requires (in part):

(a) A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution. (b) The history and content of the Declaration of Independence… (c)…the Constitution…

It’s revealing to see the sequential significance of what’s important to the christofascists.

Entry b) is the old a). Passages in green are the proposed amendments to the existing legislation, red marks what’s being removed. So the history of those documents was already on the books, and not being “critically analyzed.”

However, further down in the bill there are sections from the old law concerning character development curriculum where subjects like racial, religious, and ethnic tolerance have been crossed out, and the new curriculum says nothing about them. Also, a clause specifying the secular nature of these values and the curriculum has been struck out. See lines 117-140:

117 (u)(s) A character-development program in kindergarten

118 through grade 12 the elementary schools, similar to Character

119 First or Character Counts, which is secular in nature. The

120 program must emphasize the core values of honesty, virtue, moral

121 courage, dignity of honest labor, patriotism, self-discipline,

122 self-respect, perseverance, duty, honor, compassion, charity,

123 conflict-resolution management, peer mediation, and other

124 qualities of character that better prepare students to recognize

125 and accept the responsibility for preserving the blessings of

126 liberty inherited from prior generations. The goal is for these

127 core values to be integrated into primary classroom instruction

128 for students in kindergarten through grade 5. Beginning in

129 school year 2004-2005, the character-development program shall

130 be required in kindergarten through grade 12. Each district

131 school board shall develop or adopt a curriculum for the

132 character-development program that shall be submitted to the

133 department for approval. Each school district shall inform its

134 principals, administrators, teachers, and any other appropriate

135 school personnel of this paragraph at the beginning of each

136 school year. The character-development curriculum shall stress

137 the qualities of patriotism; responsibility; citizenship;

138 kindness; respect for authority, life, liberty, and personal

139 property; honesty; charity; self-control; racial, ethnic, and

140 religious tolerance; and cooperation.

Good grief, I think I read this before… in Animal Farm. “Dignity of Honest Labor”?

And just strike out things like ‘honesty’ and ‘responsibility’.

Wow. That is the worst. Further, I don’t think government has any say in this kind of education.

The original text of the statute seems concerned with civics education, which is more than understandable. However, it makes the inclusion of anti-evolutionism (at the top of the list as Paul said) even more bizarre. The only time “science” is even mentioned is during the lead-in to the education standards in line 1. No specific science or math topics are covered.

“Critical analysis” all too often means rationalizing. To encourage improvement in science education legislation could replace “critical analysis” with “formal reasoning and analytical thinking skills”.

Les Lane said: To encourage improvement in science education legislation could replace “critical analysis” with “formal reasoning and analytical thinking skills”.

That will be the next iteration, after the current iteration of creationist bills fail. I can see it now: ‘Students will learn to apply formal reasoning and analytial thinking skills to subjects including evolution, global warming, and human cloning.’

eric said:

Les Lane said: To encourage improvement in science education legislation could replace “critical analysis” with “formal reasoning and analytical thinking skills”.

That will be the next iteration, after the current iteration of creationist bills fail. I can see it now: ‘Students will learn to apply formal reasoning and analytial thinking skills to subjects including evolution, global warming, and human cloning.’

The final iteration will be “It’s like this. Don’t question, just accept and move on with your pitiful excuse for a life, while I spend all of your taxes on my mistress and trips to Italy… oh wait, was I not supposed to put that in the bill?”

FL said:

A thorough presentation and critical analysis of the scientific theory of evolution

Hmm. Doesn’t sound too scary to me. But then again, evolution isn’t my religion.

May we then safely presume you would similarly support critical analysis in the public schools of claims of creation a few thousand years ago, a genocidal global flood, a talking snake and a talking donkey, stopping and re-starting the rotation of the earth, four-legged insects and a few other clearly mythological events?

I am stunned that Wise would introduce a bill with so much disingenuous rhetoric. It reveals a small glimps of what lurks behind his true intentions.

Dave Luckett said:

1)The sun is a system. Look up a dictionary. Your “challenge” is ludicrous. What, do you think that there’s a list of systems somewhere, and the sun is on it?

2) The sun converts energy into work, as three separate posts give above. You’ve ignored them. Why am I not surprised?

3) You concede.

4) I correctly characterise the sun as a system. Stevep’s definition of life is therefore shown to apply to non-living things, and is therefore shown to be incorrect.

5) You made an assertion that is not in evidence, not an answer.

6) Try explaining how the emergent effects of the systems of the sun and the Earth’s atmosphere, which include the wind systems of the Earth, are not themselves metasystems. I say they are, and I say your definition says the same, though excessively gnomically.

Work: energy transferred by a force acting over a distance. The transfer of energy from the sun to the atmosphere of the Earth results in work by non-living entitities as well as by living ones, and is therefore irrelevant to any definition of life.

Living things do not convert energy. They use energy in chemical reactions that produce chemical changes in molecules taken from their environment. Gazelles do that with molecules they take from grass. Lions do it with molecules they take from gazelles, but the lion is no more “complex” than the gazelle, so your “energy conversion cycle” makes no sense on two separate grounds.

1) Come on now. Just do it. Google it, Luckett. Just a click away. Enter ‘definition of sun’ or ‘sun, definition’ in the search window. Now see what pops up. How many entries define the sun as a system.

2). Of course I will ignore them.

3. Your ‘concede’ spin is noted. I was nice enough to be honest in noting that you describe the weather on our planet as a system. So what? It does not help your attempt to defeat the definition I put on the table.

4) Another simple google from a site for teachers supports my definition. Have a look at: http://www.ftexploring.com/energy/energy-1.htm. On the left hand column, about half way down, we see written: “All of the body processes, like digestion, pumping blood, breathing, are powered by cells converting the stored chemical energy into work and heat.” and ” Inside the muscle cells of the human (or any animal), the chemical energy is transformed (changed) into mechanical work and heat. and Some of the chemical energy has now been changed into the kenetic energy of a body flying up into the air.

Now how many of these types of energy conversions (chemical, mechanical kinetic) happen in a rock? Or a waterfall? Or a volcano?

1) Are you really so incapable of inductive reasoning that you can’t read a definition and conclude that a specific example meets that definition? The sun is a system by any reasonable general definition of the word “system”.

2) Yes, of course you will. They aren’t what you want to hear.

3) Your definition of life: “A set of systems and sub-systems which interact to convert energy into work as a means to sustain and function as part of a meta-system” is defeated by a single example of such a set of systems that is not living. I provided one.

4) All right, I’ll use “convert” in the loose sense you use it.

Meteors - which are rocks considered as bodies of mixed minerals - possess kinetic energy, which is converted into heat, light and mechanical energy. Waterfalls convert kinetic energy into work, such as moving sediments - whole boulders, for that matter - against resistance from friction, and they produce chemical changes in the strata they flow through. A volcano’s output of heat, reactants, gases, and kinetic energy from moving gases, solids and liquids does mechanical work, such as blowing its own cap off, produces light, and powers chemical changes in its own structure.

So the answer is, practically all of them. You don’t seriously mean to say that you think that only life can do “these types of energy conversions,” do you?

Dave Luckett said:

1) Are you really so incapable of inductive reasoning that you can’t read a definition and conclude that a specific example meets that definition? The sun is a system by any reasonable general definition of the word “system”.

2) Yes, of course you will. They aren’t what you want to hear.

3) Your definition of life: “A set of systems and sub-systems which interact to convert energy into work as a means to sustain and function as part of a meta-system” is defeated by a single example of such a set of systems that is not living. I provided one.

4) All right, I’ll use “convert” in the loose sense you use it.

Meteors - which are rocks considered as bodies of mixed minerals - possess kinetic energy, which is converted into heat, light and mechanical energy. Waterfalls convert kinetic energy into work, such as moving sediments - whole boulders, for that matter - against resistance from friction, and they produce chemical changes in the strata they flow through. A volcano’s output of heat, reactants, gases, and kinetic energy from moving gases, solids and liquids does mechanical work, such as blowing its own cap off, produces light, and powers chemical changes in its own structure.

So the answer is, practically all of them. You don’t seriously mean to say that you think that only life can do “these types of energy conversions,” do you?

1)You’re reaching again. If the sun were a system, it would be defined as such. ‘nuff said.

2) Its not a matter of what I want to hear but what is. The sun is not doing work.

3) If only it were that easy. I understand you belief that refuting a person that accepts design should be a cinch. But in this case, I think a bit more effort is called for. To recap:

a. The sun is by no means considered a system.

b. You have conflated system with meta-system. A meta-system is not defined by a single-system, hence the prefix meta. I gave the definition of meta-system, which is pretty straight forward.

c. You have not described how the sun’s light interacts with the earth’s atmosphere to sustain (and function as part of)a meta-system.

4) the processes you describe are incidental. i.e. a straight line cascade.

Contrast that to living systems, where the energy conversion cascade is circular. The linear/circular distinction clearly supports the definition of ‘systems interacting to sustain a meta-system’.

Your examples in turn:

a. meteor - from your description, the energy produced is immediately dissipated, and is neither captured by nor utilized by another system.

b.waterfall - the action of the water displacing a boulder is incidental and does not create an interaction between the waterfall and the boulder for mutual support, which is implicit in interacting systems that convert energy to sustain a meta-system. The waterfall receives no energy from the boulder, as a means to keep water falling.

Contrast this to an animal, where the energy conversion cascade ultimately results in an appendage being extended out to grasp for nutrients, which are ingested and starts the whole energy conversion cascade again.

c.volcano - same as with the waterfall.

Before I returned to academe, I spent some time working for a multinational chemical manufacturing company. Nearly every one of this company’s manufacturing sites had multiple, interacting manufacturing units that took in raw materials, produced products (some of which were raw materials for other processes on-site or at other sites owned by the same organization).

Each manufacturing unit at a site was a set of systems and subsystems that converted energy to work (as Steve P. has defined it, as “something that has been produced or accomplished through the effort, activity, or agency of a person or thing”) as a means to sustain and function in a metasystem (the global manufacturing industry).

By Steve P.’s definition, every process unit was alive.

Remarkable.

I am not reaching, but you’re quibbling, and it’s getting you nowhere. The word “system” means a number of interconnected parts or processes which work together to produce a defined output. The sun is a system, and making like Humpty Dumpty doesn’t change the fact.

Meteors “dissipate” their energy by converting it into other energy, some part of which is “captured” and “utilised” by other systems. The atmosphere, for example, which you have agreed is a system. Waterfalls are actually sustained as falling bodies of water by their mechanical energy wearing away softer strata below the lip of the fall. The water actually gains energy from this, as the friction acting on it is decreased once it is falling free. Whether you think this is “incidental” is entirely irrelevant.

You now seem to be groping towards the idea that living things use energy and material taken from their environment to fuel chemical processes that, among other things, may create nutrients for themselves by chemical recombination, build their own tissues, store energy within them, convert that energy into movement and heat, and ultimately provide nutrients to other living things. Yes, so they do.

But although this is very, very complex chemistry, it is not different in principle from what a fire does, or a hurricane, or a geyser. All are systems that arise from the abstracted properties of various precursor systems, and which use energy and matter from the environment to release heat, produce kinetic energy and cause physical and chemical changes which in turn may provide energy for other systems.

What I can’t understand is why, in all this wordy groping in the dark, you haven’t stumbled over the one most significant defining property of living things: that they self-replicate with variation. Could it be that you are trying to avoid that fact, and its implications?

Dave Luckett said: I am not reaching, but you’re quibbling, and it’s getting you nowhere.

Getting him nowhere? He was nowhere to begin with: “How can you be in two places at once, if you’re not anywhere at all?”

SWT said:

Before I returned to academe, I spent some time working for a multinational chemical manufacturing company. Nearly every one of this company’s manufacturing sites had multiple, interacting manufacturing units that took in raw materials, produced products (some of which were raw materials for other processes on-site or at other sites owned by the same organization).

Each manufacturing unit at a site was a set of systems and subsystems that converted energy to work (as Steve P. has defined it, as “something that has been produced or accomplished through the effort, activity, or agency of a person or thing”) as a means to sustain and function in a metasystem (the global manufacturing industry).

By Steve P.’s definition, every process unit was alive.

Remarkable.

What is interesting here is that you, like Luckett, seem only able to choose examples of things that are related to human activity. Why is that? If a rock is essentially the same as a rabbit, a waterfall the same as a watermelon, why not choose such examples to falsify the definition I proposed?

Rather, observation and experimentation easily supports the notion that organisms are fundamentally different than non-living entities. It would seem only a heavy investment is a philosophical position would preclude you (pl) from admitting the obvious.

Hunkering down in a counter-intuitive bunker won’t do much more than give you an intellectual backache.

steve piss the idiot said:

1)You’re reaching again. If the sun were a system, it would be defined as such. ‘nuff said.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/system sys·tem (sstm) n. 1. A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements forming a complex whole.

2) Its not a matter of what I want to hear but what is. The sun is not doing work.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/work work (wûrk) 5. a. Something that has been produced or accomplished through the effort, activity, or agency of a person or thing: This story is the work of an active imagination. Erosion is the work of wind, water, and time.

3) If only it were that easy. I understand you belief that refuting a person that accepts design should be a cinch. But in this case, I think a bit more effort is called for. To recap:

a. The sun is by no means considered a system.

You just lied outright.

b. You have conflated system with meta-system. A meta-system is not defined by a single-system, hence the prefix meta. I gave the definition of meta-system, which is pretty straight forward.

c. You have not described how the sun’s light interacts with the earth’s atmosphere to sustain (and function as part of)a meta-system.

4) the processes you describe are incidental. i.e. a straight line cascade.

Contrast that to living systems, where the energy conversion cascade is circular. The linear/circular distinction clearly supports the definition of ‘systems interacting to sustain a meta-system’.

Your examples in turn:

a. meteor - from your description, the energy produced is immediately dissipated, and is neither captured by nor utilized by another system.

Isn’t the Earth’s atmosphere a system?

b.waterfall - the action of the water displacing a boulder is incidental and does not create an interaction between the waterfall and the boulder for mutual support, which is implicit in interacting systems that convert energy to sustain a meta-system. The waterfall receives no energy from the boulder, as a means to keep water falling.

Contrast this to an animal, where the energy conversion cascade ultimately results in an appendage being extended out to grasp for nutrients, which are ingested and starts the whole energy conversion cascade again.

c.volcano - same as with the waterfall.

You are playing phony word games, nothing more.

steve p. said:

What is interesting here is that you, like Luckett, seem only able to choose examples of things that are related to human activity. Why is that? If a rock is essentially the same as a rabbit, a waterfall the same as a watermelon, why not choose such examples to falsify the definition I proposed?

Are you crazy??? How can you ask such strange questions?

Rather, observation and experimentation easily supports the notion that organisms are fundamentally different than non-living entities. It would seem only a heavy investment is a philosophical position would preclude you (pl) from admitting the obvious.

What an empty statement.

Hunkering down in a counter-intuitive bunker won’t do much more than give you an intellectual backache.

Look who is talking! LOL!

This steve p. character is either jerking people’s chains or is, in fact, so bat shit loopy that no one can possibly get a concept across to him.

That allows him to smugly declare that nobody can answer his “profound” questions.

The untruth of your first sentence is plain to anyone who reads the thread.

We are not arguing that a rock is the same as a rabbit. We are arguing that your definition of living things does not distinguish between the two, and hence fails.

You have done no experiments and reported no observations. Your implication that you have done so is untruthful.

Your intuition is neither useful nor can it stand in place of evidence. It is also, in this case, false.

Wheels said:

OgreMkVYou don’t want evolution taught, then give us something else to teach. We have to explain diversity of life. My 4-year-old understands that the diersity exists. So what should I teach him?

I made the mistake of trying to point Casey Luskin at a statement about ID written by a researcher whose paper he cited a couple of years ago (see this post from a few pages back). In responding to his reply (he very considerately sent me a draft an E:N&V post he was going to make about it) I asked him how ID could explain diversity in light of invasive organisms…

Slight update, I did hear back from Casey but pushed the argument aside to let it simmer on the back burner; of course I eventually forgot about it entirely. However, earlier today (March 31st) he emailed me again out of the blue to ask if I’m John Farrell. Apparently the draft post Luskin made for ENV just went up on the 30th, and Farrell posted a pretty smashing response via his blog at Forbes.com.
One of the things I had suggested to Luskin about his draft was that he get in touch with Mark McPeek to go over some issues before putting the post up, and one of the things John Farrell did was… getting in touch with Mark McPeek about issues in Luskin’s posts. Since Casey doesn’t know me, he put 2 and 2 together to get 9: this “Wheels” fellow might have been John Farrell the whole time!
Sadly I’m not an (apparently accomplished) science author/blogger. :(

Mike Elzinga said:

This steve p. character is either jerking people’s chains or is, in fact, so bat shit loopy that no one can possibly get a concept across to him.

That allows him to smugly declare that nobody can answer his “profound” questions.

Remember, this is the same yahoo who refused to admit that competition is real. Even after being provided with dozens of examples. Even after being provided with scientific references. The only conclusion is that he is so deluded that he can deny any reality, or that he just likes to play word games to prove how stupid he can be. Either way, it’s worthless to argue with someone so deliberately obtuse.

Steve, IBIGOT, FL and Byers should all be permanently banned to the bathroom wall at the very least. Playing whack a creationist there might be more appropriate.

steve p. said:

SWT said:

Before I returned to academe, I spent some time working for a multinational chemical manufacturing company. Nearly every one of this company’s manufacturing sites had multiple, interacting manufacturing units that took in raw materials, produced products (some of which were raw materials for other processes on-site or at other sites owned by the same organization).

Each manufacturing unit at a site was a set of systems and subsystems that converted energy to work (as Steve P. has defined it, as “something that has been produced or accomplished through the effort, activity, or agency of a person or thing”) as a means to sustain and function in a metasystem (the global manufacturing industry).

By Steve P.’s definition, every process unit was alive.

Remarkable.

What is interesting here is that you, like Luckett, seem only able to choose examples of things that are related to human activity. Why is that? If a rock is essentially the same as a rabbit, a waterfall the same as a watermelon, why not choose such examples to falsify the definition I proposed?

Rather, observation and experimentation easily supports the notion that organisms are fundamentally different than non-living entities. It would seem only a heavy investment is a philosophical position would preclude you (pl) from admitting the obvious.

Hunkering down in a counter-intuitive bunker won’t do much more than give you an intellectual backache.

This should be obvious, but you seem to have missed it:

Dave Luckett and I are not the ones who proposed a definition of life that puts existing chemical manufacturing facilites in the category of living things.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on March 7, 2011 10:19 PM.

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