The Unpublished Challenge

| 86 Comments

Late last month, Casey Luskin wrote an article advocating a positive case for ID creationism. Jack has already done a good job of refuting Casey’s wishful hand waving.

However, in the comments of the post, Casey and I had a little exchange in which I tried to get him to commit to developing a positive model of common design, and he just, well, assured me that his legal education prepared him to deal with the statistics that he was butchering left and right. Yeah, umm … anyways, my last comment was never published, and now enough time has passed that I feel I can share it with you and let you decide why it never showed up on the DI’s website.


Mr. Luskin, my counter to your article is a simple one. If ID is testable, where is the model that allows me to test its fit to molecular data? Until one exists, your article is nothing but spin. Evolution can do this, why can’t ID?

I am being intentionally conservative in how I respond because I don’t want to get side tracked into a long debate over Dr. Theobald’s paper. I mentioned him because I believe his methodology is the best way to test your claims of the utility of “common design.” Thus much of your responses on the quality of his paper are immaterial to the challenge, which is the main point of my argument. (I see them as being off topic. On topic criticisms would be related to the quality of Bayesian analyses.) My reason for bringing up his research is that he developed a robust statistical test for universal common ancestry and executed it. That is more than the fellows of the Discovery Institute have developed in two decades of trying to disprove common descent. His research isn’t perfect, but it is still better than hot air.

If you don’t like how Dr. Theobald constructed his models, his research provides a framework for doing what you see as a proper test. For instance, you criticize him for not using a proper model of “common design”, yet the Discovery Institute has yet to produce a model to of how molecular data should look under common design. In other words, you criticize him for not including a hypothesis that not been elucidated in either scientific or anti-evolution literature. In my professional opinion, I do believe that his independent origin models are a good approximation to “common design” and much more rigorous than anything you or your comrades have proposed. But you disagree, which is why I ask you to educate me on how molecular data should look under a ID-approved model of common design. (Which is another reason why I can’t develop such a model. It won’t be ID-approved.)

If I sound disingenuous, it is because I believe that neither your nor any other fellow of the Discovery Institute has any interest in doing any work to develop a positive model of ID and test whether molecular data fits it. (That doesn’t mean that I won’t encourage you to prove me wrong.) You’d rather complain about Dr. Theobald not including a model of common design approved by you, than actually showing us what that model should look like. This is why I’m trying to keep us on track. Because I want to see an alternative model, not complaints about what Dr. Theobald used.

While it is true that you don’t have to use Bayes-factor analysis for every hypothesis test, it is also true that the body of evolutionary research is rich enough and well developed enough to support such models. In other words, in evolution we have models that allow us to calculate “P(data | common descent)”. These models are core to our research and teaching programs. Despite all the rhetoric, ID lacks even rudimentary models for “P(data | common design)”. The gauntlet has been thrown down. Care to pick it up?

By challenging you to develop something that can be inserted into a Bayes-factor analyses, I’m challenging you to develop a new, positive approach to ID, one that doesn’t rely on negative argumentation. You seem rather confident on your statistical training from law school and before that, thus I think you should at least try to put something together for the community.

I find it ironic that you insist on citing Dr. Martin’s comments, and I suspect that you have failed to accurately parse his convoluted prose. Paraphrasing him: “Theobald’s paper is trivial because we already know that universal common descent is true. Thus it is not novel and should not have been published in Nature.” Despite claiming to be aligned with Dr. Martin, you clearly are not making the same argument as him, unless you are really willing to claim that universal common descent is so obviously true that statistical tests of it are not needed. I will note here that in my professional opinion, I disagree with Dr. Martin’s views on the novelty of Dr. Theobald’s research.

And finally, the point about “null hypotheses” is an important one. When I teach, it is an important criterion to distinguish those who understand the differences in statistical methodologies that those who don’t. This isn’t a semantic issue; it is a fundamental test to whether you understand what Dr. Theobald did or not. In Fisherian hypothesis testing, a null hypothesis is given special treatment, and picking the null is in reality a matter of taste and convention. In what Dr. Theobald did, there is no hypothesis that was given special treatment, all were treated equally. This is why criticisms that focus on his “null hypothesis” are completely off the mark.

The advantage of treating everything equally is that any critic can develop a better model than Dr. Theobald and test it alongside his models. Instead of criticizing what he did, it would be more productive if you could work on developing a model and show me how it can be done better.

86 Comments

Yeah, no wonder that never made it past Morton’s Demon.

‘one that doesn’t rely on negative argumentation.’?

And what prey, will ID have to fall back on if they cannot, mock,cast aspursions upon,ridicule,disseminate,mis-quote,quote-mine, or generally mangle when 75% of their case (?), ‘negative argumentation’ is removed? Their science?

robert van bakel said:

‘one that doesn’t rely on negative argumentation.’?

And what prey, will ID have to fall back on if they cannot, mock,cast aspursions upon,ridicule,disseminate,mis-quote,quote-mine, or generally mangle when 75% of their case (?), ‘negative argumentation’ is removed? Their science?

What about trumpeting “GODDIDIT”?

I mean “DESIGNERDIDIT”

Did Luskin really claim that his legal training gave him expertise in statistics? That seems…odd.

Funny. Law school statistics. Heh. (Ad homenim snark filter was off)

I think the ID folks are so far away from being able to develop anything resembling a model (let alone a properly constructed hypothesis… wait… theory… wait… ability to argue from logic and not rhetoric… wait, darn snark filter!), that while your comment is intelligent, compelling, and completely reasonable, it would just be ignored if it was even fully understood.

Off to get my snark filter fixed…

Thanks for the thoughtful laugh this AM!

Well, I guess it’s on par with his legal expertise in genetics, evolution, and thermodynamics.

To state the obvious…

Scientific hypotheses can be stated in a testable way, because the objective is to test hypotheses and see which one fits the data. Although individuals may emotionally favor and advocate for one hypothesis, that’s not really the objective, and that tends to randomize out anyway - for every scientist whose too stubbornly committed to one hypothesis, there are many who aren’t, and a few who are too stubbornly committed to a rival hypothesis.

An overt test of ID/creationism would be intolerable to its creators and followers. It would fail; we all know that, because it has already failed - there is no coherent hypothesis of ID/creationism, beyond the claim that magic is required for certain things that can be explained without magic.

There are very obvious tests of ID/creationism that can be carried out any time. Take a sterile environment and pray that the designer will make a novel macroscopic multicellular life form poof into it by magic within a certain amount of time. Pray that no more transitional fossils will be found. They could have been praying that Lenski’s E. coli never evolved a novel trait.

But no tests will ever be proposed or carried out.

Fake “predictions” will be common, but no actual workable test that clearly rules ID/creationism in or out will be suggested, and in fact, efforts will always be made to keep it to vague and obfuscatory to be tested.

Apologies for the whose/who’s typo

harold said:

To state the obvious…

Scientific hypotheses can be stated in a testable way, because the objective is to test hypotheses and see which one fits the data. Although individuals may emotionally favor and advocate for one hypothesis, that’s not really the objective, and that tends to randomize out anyway - for every scientist whose too stubbornly committed to one hypothesis, there are many who aren’t, and a few who are too stubbornly committed to a rival hypothesis.

An overt test of ID/creationism would be intolerable to its creators and followers. It would fail; we all know that, because it has already failed - there is no coherent hypothesis of ID/creationism, beyond the claim that magic is required for certain things that can be explained without magic.

There are very obvious tests of ID/creationism that can be carried out any time. Take a sterile environment and pray that the designer will make a novel macroscopic multicellular life form poof into it by magic within a certain amount of time. Pray that no more transitional fossils will be found. They could have been praying that Lenski’s E. coli never evolved a novel trait.

But no tests will ever be proposed or carried out.

Fake “predictions” will be common, but no actual workable test that clearly rules ID/creationism in or out will be suggested, and in fact, efforts will always be made to keep it to vague and obfuscatory to be tested.

But the designer doesn’t have to be a deity. It could be an alien cell biologist with a time travel and universe creation device that has since died.

Yeah, that was a poe.

As far as ID’s ‘predictions’, isn’t it funny how the ID predicitions are effectively the same as evolution/science predictions, they just come afterwards?

An historical note: Thomas Bayes, whose statistical method is now so useful, died 250 years ago last week. Without computers, it had little application. Thanks to a friend, a Mr. Price, who found the manuscript of the paper in Bayes’ effects after his death, it was read before the Royal Society and then published. Pretty amazing. And lucky for us Mr. Price was looking out for his friend’s legacy.

RBH -

To the best of my knowledge, Luskin’s training in geology never gave him a fundamental understanding of statistics, period, whether it is classical parametric statistics (based upon well-understood assumptions with regards to the Normal Distribution) or one based on Bayesian methodology.

The only Dishonesty Institute “savant” who has tried to offer any kind of test regarding “design” as it has been conceived by an “Intelligent Designer” is Stephen Meyer, especially in his chapter on using the fossil record to test for “deviations” from a “true” Design in his “Signature in the Cell”, but what he proposes is utterly simplistic and ignores constraints imposed by phylogenetic history. If Meyer can’t accomplish anything remotely akin to what you demanded from Luskin, I am reasonably confident that no one at the Dishonesty Institute - especially Luskin - will ever demonstrate a scientifically rigorous test for some aspect of Intelligent Design.

Chris Lawson said: Well, I guess it’s on par with his legal expertise in genetics, evolution, and thermodynamics.

I was always amused at Phil Johnson claiming that his intellectual training as a law professor gave him a good background for critiquing evo science. I thought of asking him if intellectual training as, say, a physicist gave a scientist a good background for critiquing law.

I was more puzzled at Johnson objecting to materialism in science, also wanting to ask him if he objected to materialism in a court of law – or equivalently if he thought advancing supernatural arguments in front of a judge would be a good idea.

John Kwok said:

RBH -

To the best of my knowledge, Luskin’s training in geology never gave him a fundamental understanding of statistics, period, whether it is classical parametric statistics (based upon well-understood assumptions with regards to the Normal Distribution) or one based on Bayesian methodology.

The only Dishonesty Institute “savant” who has tried to offer any kind of test regarding “design” as it has been conceived by an “Intelligent Designer” is Stephen Meyer, especially in his chapter on using the fossil record to test for “deviations” from a “true” Design in his “Signature in the Cell”, but what he proposes is utterly simplistic and ignores constraints imposed by phylogenetic history. If Meyer can’t accomplish anything remotely akin to what you demanded from Luskin, I am reasonably confident that no one at the Dishonesty Institute - especially Luskin - will ever demonstrate a scientifically rigorous test for some aspect of Intelligent Design.

Sorry Reed, I meant you, not RBH!

Questions for ID/creationism advocates -

I know you’re out there. Here are some questions.

1) If an ID/creationism advocate did design a test of prediction that legitimately tested ID versus the theory of evolution, and if ID failed, what would you do? Would you accept the theory of evolution? Could any evidence or test convince you? Can YOU give me an example of what such a test would be?

2) What is an example of something that is not intelligently designed?

3) Who is the designer? Do you secretly believe that the designer is Jehovah, but refuse to state that in order to to support the claim that “ID isn’t religious”? If so, is this behavior compatible with Christianity?

4) Exactly what did the designer do, in detail?

5) When did the designer do it?

6) How did the designer do it?

harold said:

6) How did the designer do it?

That actually should be a very interesting theological question. How do miracles work? But it isn’t an interesting theological question. But it should be. But nobody gives a crap. That says a lot. (Not exactly sure what it says, but it says a lot. ) Lol.

mrg said:

I was more puzzled at Johnson objecting to materialism in science, also wanting to ask him if he objected to materialism in a court of law – or equivalently if he thought advancing supernatural arguments in front of a judge would be a good idea.

IIRC, in Reason in the Balance, Johnson argued for both what he called “theistic science” and what he called “theistic law”. (Another reason I despise the term “theistic evolution”.) So I suppose he should find the line of reasoning presented here compelling.

386sx said:

harold said:

6) How did the designer do it?

That actually should be a very interesting theological question. How do miracles work? But it isn’t an interesting theological question. But it should be. But nobody gives a crap. That says a lot. (Not exactly sure what it says, but it says a lot. ) Lol.

In particular, it’s quite telling that the proponents of Intelligent Design, the very people who are screaming, gnashing their teeth, and whining that everyone enshrine “GODDESIGNERDIDIT” as the alpha and omega of science, consistently refuse to explain how the Designer did it.

SWT said: IIRC, in Reason in the Balance, Johnson argued for both what he called “theistic science” and what he called “theistic law”.

I didn’t know that! He IS crazy! “The DEVIL made me do it!”

Well, there IS such a thing as theistic law. It’s called “sharia”.

harold, harold, harold! Stifle yourself! Have you forgotten the immortal words of the great Dr. Dr. Dembski, right up there with his Logos proclamation?

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.

Dembski clearly states that ID’s pathetic level of detail didn’t come from no ape!

Doc Bill said:

harold, harold, harold! Stifle yourself! Have you forgotten the immortal words of the great Dr. Dr. Dembski, right up there with his Logos proclamation?

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.

I crack up every time I see that quote (and I’ve seen it a fair number of times). Classic on some many levels.

Dembski clearly states that ID’s pathetic level of detail didn’t come from no ape!

harold said:

Doc Bill said:

harold, harold, harold! Stifle yourself! Have you forgotten the immortal words of the great Dr. Dr. Dembski, right up there with his Logos proclamation?

As for your example, I’m not going to take the bait. You’re asking me to play a game: “Provide as much detail in terms of possible causal mechanisms for your ID position as I do for my Darwinian position.” ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it’s not ID’s task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories. If ID is correct and an intelligence is responsible and indispensable for certain structures, then it makes no sense to try to ape your method of connecting the dots. True, there may be dots to be connected. But there may also be fundamental discontinuities, and with IC systems that is what ID is discovering.

I crack up every time I see that quote (and I’ve seen it a fair number of times). Classic on some many levels.

Dembski clearly states that ID’s pathetic level of detail didn’t come from no ape!

I am tempted to howl like a chimpanzee every time I see that absurd quote from my dear “buddy” Bill. Of course it is Intelligent Design’s obligation to demonstrate that it can tell quite persuasive “mechanistic stories” via well-established scientific methodology. But neither Bill nor Stephen Meyer nor any of their Dishonesty Institute colleagues and fellow travelers have done this. Nor, will they - I am quite confident of this - ever!

I keep wondering, “if it’s not mechanistic, what is it?”

The only answer I can think of is “magic”.

(Compare to JoeG’s “Design is a mechanism”.)

GIGO.

They could have been praying that Lenski’s E. coli never evolved a novel trait.

A major flaw of the ID hypothesis is that there is no way to prevent the designer from influencing experiments. For all we know the designer might be suppressing evolution! So perhaps an ID proponent could help me out here. How does one control for the designer? Is he still around and active? Inquiring minds would like to know!

I keep wondering, “if it’s not mechanistic, what is it?”

Isn’t it obvious? It’s Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo.

Stanton said:

What about trumpeting “GODDIDIT”?

I mean “DESIGNERDIDIT”

You mean GDesignerDDidIt.

386sx said:

harold said:

6) How did the designer do it?

That actually should be a very interesting theological question. How do miracles work? But it isn’t an interesting theological question. But it should be. But nobody gives a crap. That says a lot. (Not exactly sure what it says, but it says a lot. ) Lol.

I always liked Q’s answer to Geordi’s similar question about miracles: “Well, that’s easy. You just change the gravitational constant of the universe.”

How does one control for the designer? Is he still around and active? Inquiring minds would like to know!

This gets old. In fact, a lot of creationists are perfectly willing to say goddidit, to assert that scripture trumps reality, and that this is a non-negotiable article of religious faith. That may sound ignorant, but it’s honest.

Because ID is the political arm of creationism, created to finesse their way around current legal restrictions, they can’t say this. They have to phrase their theology in scientistical-sounding terminology, even though it is in practice impossible to implement in any scientific way.

In any case, these empty claims to be scientific aren’t really the thrust of ID action, which focuses more on getting the law changed. One more Scalia on the Supreme Court, the balance swings and creationists can preach as they please in public school classes.

And as we’ve seen repeatedly, once they’re in control, all of their specious appeals to balance and fairness will be forgotten. When you are armed with Absolute Truth, you do not and can not tolerate such things. God forbids it.

fnxtr said:

I keep wondering, “if it’s not mechanistic, what is it?”

The only answer I can think of is “magic”.

(Compare to JoeG’s “Design is a mechanism”.)

GIGO.

‘There was a lot more to magic, as Harry quickly found out, than waving your wand and saying a few funny words.’

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s [Sorcerer’s] Stone

harold said:

Questions for ID/creationism advocates -

I know you’re out there. Here are some questions.

1) If an ID/creationism advocate did design a test of prediction that legitimately tested ID versus the theory of evolution, and if ID failed, what would you do? Would you accept the theory of evolution? Could any evidence or test convince you? Can YOU give me an example of what such a test would be?

I’m not an ID/Creationist advocate, as my occasional postings here prove, but I’ve run across enough of them to answer for them and to prove that it’s ultimately fruitless to argue against them. There’s no proof that those of us who are scientists with either a secular or religious orientation can say that will convince them they are wrong until it dawns on them that they are being lied to. No testing of any model, and no amount of positive evidence for evolution will be sufficient.

2) What is an example of something that is not intelligently designed?

The sainted Steve Gould filled countless columns in “Natural History” with examples of improvised and improbable anatomy dictated by the limitations of past evolution and body plans. The name f this blog refers to one of them. A design proponent will argue that these “designs” are good enough to work, and therefore not a disproof of design.

3) Who is the designer? Do you secretly believe that the designer is Jehovah, but refuse to state that in order to to support the claim that “ID isn’t religious”? If so, is this behavior compatible with Christianity?

Of course the “designer” is God, and once the design proponents can get design put back into schools, they’ll start arguing that “fact”.

4) Exactly what did the designer do, in detail?

Since the designer is by definition supernatural, the process of creation and design is beyond our understanding. Therefore they don’t have to answer this question.

5) When did the designer do it?

Design proponents will temporarily accept their “old Earth Creationists” as useful (but idiotic) allies, but the real answer will eventually be that design has to be consistent with Scripture, and they will argue for a 6,000 to 10,000 year old Earth.

6) How did the designer do it?

See answer to question 4 above - it’s beyond our understanding. The Designer did do it with all of the geologic evidence of great age, and apparent fossil record, an apparent match between cladistics and divergence in DNA and all of the other evidence for evolution in place so that we too can show our “faith” by disbelieving in the plain evidence. In other words, believing in the Designer’s God, a liar.

Fortunately, my own church, and the religious faith that I believe allows me to believe in a Creator who would allow the ordinary processes of geology and biology to produce the wonderful world we can live in and study, without having to put on the creationist’s straighjacket.

Happy Easter to those of you who are also Christians.

Mike Clinch said:

harold said:

Questions for ID/creationism advocates -

I know you’re out there. Here are some questions.

1) If an ID/creationism advocate did design a test of prediction that legitimately tested ID versus the theory of evolution, and if ID failed, what would you do? Would you accept the theory of evolution? Could any evidence or test convince you? Can YOU give me an example of what such a test would be?

I’m not an ID/Creationist advocate, as my occasional postings here prove, but I’ve run across enough of them to answer for them and to prove that it’s ultimately fruitless to argue against them. There’s no proof that those of us who are scientists with either a secular or religious orientation can say that will convince them they are wrong until it dawns on them that they are being lied to. No testing of any model, and no amount of positive evidence for evolution will be sufficient.

2) What is an example of something that is not intelligently designed?

The sainted Steve Gould filled countless columns in “Natural History” with examples of improvised and improbable anatomy dictated by the limitations of past evolution and body plans. The name f this blog refers to one of them. A design proponent will argue that these “designs” are good enough to work, and therefore not a disproof of design.

3) Who is the designer? Do you secretly believe that the designer is Jehovah, but refuse to state that in order to to support the claim that “ID isn’t religious”? If so, is this behavior compatible with Christianity?

Of course the “designer” is God, and once the design proponents can get design put back into schools, they’ll start arguing that “fact”.

4) Exactly what did the designer do, in detail?

Since the designer is by definition supernatural, the process of creation and design is beyond our understanding. Therefore they don’t have to answer this question.

5) When did the designer do it?

Design proponents will temporarily accept their “old Earth Creationists” as useful (but idiotic) allies, but the real answer will eventually be that design has to be consistent with Scripture, and they will argue for a 6,000 to 10,000 year old Earth.

6) How did the designer do it?

See answer to question 4 above - it’s beyond our understanding. The Designer did do it with all of the geologic evidence of great age, and apparent fossil record, an apparent match between cladistics and divergence in DNA and all of the other evidence for evolution in place so that we too can show our “faith” by disbelieving in the plain evidence. In other words, believing in the Designer’s God, a liar.

Fortunately, my own church, and the religious faith that I believe allows me to believe in a Creator who would allow the ordinary processes of geology and biology to produce the wonderful world we can live in and study, without having to put on the creationist’s straighjacket.

Happy Easter to those of you who are also Christians.

Mike, I am not a Christian (a Deist), but I share your sentiment with respect to wishing Happy Easter to those who are Christians (including yourself).

I concur with your observations, but let me note that Dishonesty Institute mendacious intellectual pornographer Stephen Meyer has asserted in his book “Signature in the Cell” that one could test for “deviations” from a “perfect” Design by looking at the fossil record. Of course he ignores completely the phylogenetic constraints imposed on each and every metazoan (and metaphytan, protistan, etc.) lineage that is represented within the fossil record.

You’re referring: “He says the sheriff is near!” Yeah, let’s not go there.

Mike Clinch said:

harold said:

2) You gave an obvious answer from biology, but what’s a fundamentalist going to say? Jehovah designed everything in its present form 6000 years ago, and if earthquakes or lightening changed features within the time he can admit has passed, well, those were Jehovah’s will, too. Another more subtle problem for them here is that an answer would lead to “why is this designed and that not?” challenges, but the basic issue here is - “can’t say it was all designed by Jehovah, can’t say it wasn’t, either”.

Of course “Jehovah” is just as much evidence of textual evolution as “Cdesign proponentsISTS” is. Hebrew used to be written with only consonants, and the name of God given to Moses in Exodus was “YHWH”, often spoken as “Yahweh” or “I am who I am”. Pious Jews would not say that name, and would often substitute “Elohim” or “The Lord” in its place. Centuries later, Jews added accents (known as vowel points)above the consonants in written Hebrew to indicate the vowels. The vowel pointss for “Elohim” got written above YHWH, and Jews who knew the customs and traditions would be reminded by the vowels to substitute Elohim for Yahweh when reading aloud. The first English translators of the Bible didn’t know that custom, and combined the consonants for one name with the vowels of another to concoct the meaningless word “Jehovah”.

So “Jehovah” is analogous to a new species displacing an ancestral one in the same niche (after a mutation- adding the accesnts over “YHWH” and subsequent transcripion error)

facinating example of evolution OF the Bible

Karen S. said:

I keep wondering, “if it’s not mechanistic, what is it?”

Isn’t it obvious? It’s Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo.

That’s the magic of Disney. Similar to the magic of evolution. Both require great imagination, which are both on display in Disney’s EPCOT in Florida.

NoNick said:

henry said:

He is risen.

But he wasn’t the first, was he ?

Matthew 27:51-54

(Happy Easter anyway henry)

Thanks, He is risen indeed.

Regarding Matthew 27:51-54, my guess is the resurrection of these saints was temporary, like Lazarus. They aren’t alive today, but Christ’s resurrection is permanent and one day we will resurrect permanently as well.

henry said:Regarding Matthew 27:51-54, my guess is the resurrection of these saints was temporary, like Lazarus.

Well, I have to agree here. All faiths are really just a guess after all, aren’t they.

Better check with your fundie mentors, henry. You’re not allowed to “guess” about such articles of faith. You must have FAITH and KNOW.

And you’d better know the right thing, or you’re going to Hell.

OhMyGod, “temporary resurrection”… For what purpose? Besides, ‘resurrection’ is a common event in our day and time.

How come nobody is able to realize that in the context of religions, death and resurrection is a matter of spirit, the human soul; not something physical like a cold, decaying corpse coming alive.

Magic is not only defunct; it newer worked - except in people’s minds.

Death and resurrection was ‘invented’ by the Egyptians - but I believe they knew it for what it is: a symbol. The Easter holidays aren’t quite over yet here, so I offer this apt quote from Angelus Silesius:

If Christ were born in Bethlehem a thousand times and not in thee thyself; then art thou lost eternally.

Please excuse, I just couldn’t contain myself.

Hercules Grytpype-Thynne said:

It’s called archaism.

Archaic I am, I suppose, being now arrived at the magnificent age of sixty-four. I state firmly that I was taught in a US public school that verbs of motion in English properly take the auxiliary “to be”, recent innovations notwithstanding. This is not uncommon in various Indo-European language families.

Hi mrg, from a previous reply, I’ve been thinking about because it bothers me too. The illnesses you mentioned, you know there is relief and there are treatments for some illnesses that are not available to be given to people only because they live at the wrong side of town. There could possibly be cures for illnesses, cures that we don’t know about that for some reason are not distributed to people not only in the third world but in numerous places. The governing bodies in charge of such matters must have their reasons. Money could be one. Illnesses that are related to lifestyle could be another. Or just “don’t want to”. Alternative medicines and preventions can go along way to helping sufferers I don’t mean illegal or untried or unknown remedies.

Matt Young said: I thought that Jehovah used the vowels for Adonai (a euphemism for YHVH), not Elohim, but that is not important. I have, however, seen an argument that the correct pronunciation of YHVH (or YHWH) is Yahooah or Yehooah. Very close to Jehovah when you recognize that the vav was pronounced w. Made sense to me at the time, but I haven’t got a reference handy.

I remember hearing something similar, and it was explained to me that the part in Exodus where God says to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” is actually a pun/homonym of the correct pronunciation of his name.

God says, “Ehyeh asher ehyeh,” which is sorta hard to translate into English because ancient Hebrew had a very different conception of time (which I simply can’t internalize). It means something like “I am who I am,” but the implication is continuing action – “I will always be who I always am” perhaps? Anyway, the root YHVH looks like it might have the same root as the verb for “to be,” but as far as I know that is not certain, and YHVH is not a homonym.

Shebardigan said:

Hercules Grytpype-Thynne said:

It’s called archaism.

Archaic I am, I suppose, being now arrived at the magnificent age of sixty-four. I state firmly that I was taught in a US public school that verbs of motion in English properly take the auxiliary “to be”, recent innovations notwithstanding. This is not uncommon in various Indo-European language families.

You have a mere 11 years on me, but I wasn’t taught anything of the sort. Of course, my education began in the Sixties, which changed everything.

Regarding the question of “is risen” vs “has risen”: are we sure “risen” is a verb? I thought it was an adverb (or maybe an adjective - I get confused when “to be” is involved) describing the condition of being “risen”.

Consider the sentence “he is given to uncontrollable rages”. Clearly, changing “is given” to “has given” would produce nonsense (unless “uncontrollable rages” were the name of some charity …).

Regardless of one’s opinion of the Bible or the KJV, the translators were highly-regarded scholars at Oxford, Cambridge and Westminster, well-versed in English, Greek, Latin and Hebrew. It’s pretty unlikely they would have made a simple, bone-headed grammatical error.

“Risen” is here a gerund, a verb particle being used as an abstract noun, being the name of a condition which is the result of an act. “She is married” is another example.

I do not know why we are discussing this phrase, but I would have called “risen” or “married” participles functioning as predicate adjectives. Whatever you call it, there is no question that “he is risen” is correct, if archaic English.

Matt Young said:

I do not know why we are discussing this phrase…

Because I asked a silly tongue-in-cheek question in an attempt at humor. Fail, move on.

John_S said:

Regarding the question of “is risen” vs “has risen”: are we sure “risen” is a verb? I thought it was an adverb (or maybe an adjective - I get confused when “to be” is involved) describing the condition of being “risen”.

It’s a past participle, which can be used as either a noun or an adjective.

Dave Luckett said:

“Risen” is here a gerund, a verb particle being used as an abstract noun, being the name of a condition which is the result of an act. “She is married” is another example.

Isn’t a gerund a present participle being used as a noun? “I like swimming.” “Risen” is a past participle

I wonder whether Casey Luskin should consult with this “genius”, one Dennis Jones, a paralegal from California (that’s the extent of his education BTW), who has a Facebook page devoted to the “future” of Intelligent Design (It’s called “Intelligent Design: the future”.). Before he booted me off of his group, he whine and moaned:

John, I called you a liar already, and I’m going to call you a liar again now.

“Intelligent Design can’t do this.”

Strawman. ID doesn’t study fossils. ID is about biochemistry and bioinformatics, http://www.designinference.com/ and http://…www.evoinfo.org/.

“All it does is to say that some Intelligent Designer was responsible for the ‘Cambrian Explosion.’”

BULLSHIT, you fucking liar. ID has NOTHING to do with a designer. ID does observe the obvious fact that there was a higher degree of radiation present during the Cambrian and there are conjectures as to how information increased at that time.

ID is not a contemplation of the supernatural. You are imposing a false strawman caricature upon ID. ID is a study of information in the genome of a population, how DNA originates and how the information increases towards greater complexity. However information might be sequenced, and compartmentalized into genes or other quantifiable purpose for measurement, we do know that the information we are seeking results in the formation of an original biochemical structure.

1. MECHANISM: ID as a mechanism in and of itself – Intelligent Design is the action and result of artificial intervention interrupting undirected natural processes, such as natural selection. Examples include genetic engineering and selective breeding.

2. HYPOTHESIS: ID as a scientific hypothesis in biology – Intelligent Design is the proposition that evolution requires an artificial intervention in addition to natural selection and mutations.

3. SCIENTIFIC THEORY: Intelligent Design Theory in Biology is the scientific theory that artificial intervention is a universally necessary condition of the first initiation of life, development of the first cell, and increasing information in the genome of a population leading to greater complexity evidenced by the generation of original biochemical structures.

If you peruse the proposition statements you will see there is no reference to a designer whatsoever. I would greatly appreciate it if you never reference a condescending “Designer” references again in a message thread I originate again. I have never expressed ID Theory in terms of the supernatural, nor have any of the fellows of the Discovery Institute. If you ever push that absurdity in a thread of mine again, you better have some documentation to back up your unfounded rhetoric, or I’ll delete your bullshit in a heartbeat.

I already told you several times now that ID is not about the supernatural, and you are not listening or paying attention.

The news article I posted to open this thread is currently in the news right now, and the original press release straight from the researchers at UC Davis. Regards.

John Kwok said:

Mike Clinch said:

harold said:

Questions for ID/creationism advocates -

I know you’re out there. Here are some questions.

1) If an ID/creationism advocate did design a test of prediction that legitimately tested ID versus the theory of evolution, and if ID failed, what would you do? Would you accept the theory of evolution? Could any evidence or test convince you? Can YOU give me an example of what such a test would be?

I’m not an ID/Creationist advocate, as my occasional postings here prove, but I’ve run across enough of them to answer for them and to prove that it’s ultimately fruitless to argue against them. There’s no proof that those of us who are scientists with either a secular or religious orientation can say that will convince them they are wrong until it dawns on them that they are being lied to. No testing of any model, and no amount of positive evidence for evolution will be sufficient.

2) What is an example of something that is not intelligently designed?

The sainted Steve Gould filled countless columns in “Natural History” with examples of improvised and improbable anatomy dictated by the limitations of past evolution and body plans. The name f this blog refers to one of them. A design proponent will argue that these “designs” are good enough to work, and therefore not a disproof of design.

3) Who is the designer? Do you secretly believe that the designer is Jehovah, but refuse to state that in order to to support the claim that “ID isn’t religious”? If so, is this behavior compatible with Christianity?

Of course the “designer” is God, and once the design proponents can get design put back into schools, they’ll start arguing that “fact”.

4) Exactly what did the designer do, in detail?

Since the designer is by definition supernatural, the process of creation and design is beyond our understanding. Therefore they don’t have to answer this question.

5) When did the designer do it?

Design proponents will temporarily accept their “old Earth Creationists” as useful (but idiotic) allies, but the real answer will eventually be that design has to be consistent with Scripture, and they will argue for a 6,000 to 10,000 year old Earth.

6) How did the designer do it?

See answer to question 4 above - it’s beyond our understanding. The Designer did do it with all of the geologic evidence of great age, and apparent fossil record, an apparent match between cladistics and divergence in DNA and all of the other evidence for evolution in place so that we too can show our “faith” by disbelieving in the plain evidence. In other words, believing in the Designer’s God, a liar.

Fortunately, my own church, and the religious faith that I believe allows me to believe in a Creator who would allow the ordinary processes of geology and biology to produce the wonderful world we can live in and study, without having to put on the creationist’s straighjacket.

Happy Easter to those of you who are also Christians.

Mike, I am not a Christian (a Deist), but I share your sentiment with respect to wishing Happy Easter to those who are Christians (including yourself).

I concur with your observations, but let me note that Dishonesty Institute mendacious intellectual pornographer Stephen Meyer has asserted in his book “Signature in the Cell” that one could test for “deviations” from a “perfect” Design by looking at the fossil record. Of course he ignores completely the phylogenetic constraints imposed on each and every metazoan (and metaphytan, protistan, etc.) lineage that is represented within the fossil record.

It looks like “phylogenetic constraints… within the fossil record.” contradicts your claim that evolution is a fact.

Yawn.

henry said:

It looks like “phylogenetic constraints… within the fossil record.” contradicts your claim that evolution is a fact.

No, it does not: your pathetic attempt at word-lawyering and epic reading comprehension failure contradict your pompous claim, henry.

henry said:

John Kwok said:

Mike Clinch said:

harold said:

Questions for ID/creationism advocates -

I know you’re out there. Here are some questions.

1) If an ID/creationism advocate did design a test of prediction that legitimately tested ID versus the theory of evolution, and if ID failed, what would you do? Would you accept the theory of evolution? Could any evidence or test convince you? Can YOU give me an example of what such a test would be?

I’m not an ID/Creationist advocate, as my occasional postings here prove, but I’ve run across enough of them to answer for them and to prove that it’s ultimately fruitless to argue against them. There’s no proof that those of us who are scientists with either a secular or religious orientation can say that will convince them they are wrong until it dawns on them that they are being lied to. No testing of any model, and no amount of positive evidence for evolution will be sufficient.

2) What is an example of something that is not intelligently designed?

The sainted Steve Gould filled countless columns in “Natural History” with examples of improvised and improbable anatomy dictated by the limitations of past evolution and body plans. The name f this blog refers to one of them. A design proponent will argue that these “designs” are good enough to work, and therefore not a disproof of design.

3) Who is the designer? Do you secretly believe that the designer is Jehovah, but refuse to state that in order to to support the claim that “ID isn’t religious”? If so, is this behavior compatible with Christianity?

Of course the “designer” is God, and once the design proponents can get design put back into schools, they’ll start arguing that “fact”.

4) Exactly what did the designer do, in detail?

Since the designer is by definition supernatural, the process of creation and design is beyond our understanding. Therefore they don’t have to answer this question.

5) When did the designer do it?

Design proponents will temporarily accept their “old Earth Creationists” as useful (but idiotic) allies, but the real answer will eventually be that design has to be consistent with Scripture, and they will argue for a 6,000 to 10,000 year old Earth.

6) How did the designer do it?

See answer to question 4 above - it’s beyond our understanding. The Designer did do it with all of the geologic evidence of great age, and apparent fossil record, an apparent match between cladistics and divergence in DNA and all of the other evidence for evolution in place so that we too can show our “faith” by disbelieving in the plain evidence. In other words, believing in the Designer’s God, a liar.

Fortunately, my own church, and the religious faith that I believe allows me to believe in a Creator who would allow the ordinary processes of geology and biology to produce the wonderful world we can live in and study, without having to put on the creationist’s straighjacket.

Happy Easter to those of you who are also Christians.

Mike, I am not a Christian (a Deist), but I share your sentiment with respect to wishing Happy Easter to those who are Christians (including yourself).

I concur with your observations, but let me note that Dishonesty Institute mendacious intellectual pornographer Stephen Meyer has asserted in his book “Signature in the Cell” that one could test for “deviations” from a “perfect” Design by looking at the fossil record. Of course he ignores completely the phylogenetic constraints imposed on each and every metazoan (and metaphytan, protistan, etc.) lineage that is represented within the fossil record.

It looks like “phylogenetic constraints… within the fossil record.” contradicts your claim that evolution is a fact.

Sorry henry, you’ve missed it as much as the equally delusional Dennis Jones with whom I have tangled with over at Facebook. When I speak of “phylogenetic constraints”, I am refering to “genealogy”. Human genealogies are constrained by the ethnic and religious background of ancestors; thus for example, one would not expect to find in an indigenous East Asian population of, for example, Chinese or Japanese, anyone who resembled a Black African simply because until quite recently - thanks to frequent supersonic jet travel - there was no chance of potential breeding between African and East Asian populations.

In a similar vein, one would not expect to have cat species within a phylogenetic lineage (“geneaological family tree”) of dogs, coyotes, wolves and their ancestors. This is an important distinction lost on you and your fellow creationists - whether they are Dennis Jones, Ken Ham, Bill Dembski, or Stephen Meyer - since they ignore the existence of a prior history - of a prior “geneaology” - that exists for any given fossil lineage.

John Kwok said:

henry said:

John Kwok said:

Mike Clinch said:

harold said:

Questions for ID/creationism advocates -

I know you’re out there. Here are some questions.

1) If an ID/creationism advocate did design a test of prediction that legitimately tested ID versus the theory of evolution, and if ID failed, what would you do? Would you accept the theory of evolution? Could any evidence or test convince you? Can YOU give me an example of what such a test would be?

I’m not an ID/Creationist advocate, as my occasional postings here prove, but I’ve run across enough of them to answer for them and to prove that it’s ultimately fruitless to argue against them. There’s no proof that those of us who are scientists with either a secular or religious orientation can say that will convince them they are wrong until it dawns on them that they are being lied to. No testing of any model, and no amount of positive evidence for evolution will be sufficient.

2) What is an example of something that is not intelligently designed?

The sainted Steve Gould filled countless columns in “Natural History” with examples of improvised and improbable anatomy dictated by the limitations of past evolution and body plans. The name f this blog refers to one of them. A design proponent will argue that these “designs” are good enough to work, and therefore not a disproof of design.

3) Who is the designer? Do you secretly believe that the designer is Jehovah, but refuse to state that in order to to support the claim that “ID isn’t religious”? If so, is this behavior compatible with Christianity?

Of course the “designer” is God, and once the design proponents can get design put back into schools, they’ll start arguing that “fact”.

4) Exactly what did the designer do, in detail?

Since the designer is by definition supernatural, the process of creation and design is beyond our understanding. Therefore they don’t have to answer this question.

5) When did the designer do it?

Design proponents will temporarily accept their “old Earth Creationists” as useful (but idiotic) allies, but the real answer will eventually be that design has to be consistent with Scripture, and they will argue for a 6,000 to 10,000 year old Earth.

6) How did the designer do it?

See answer to question 4 above - it’s beyond our understanding. The Designer did do it with all of the geologic evidence of great age, and apparent fossil record, an apparent match between cladistics and divergence in DNA and all of the other evidence for evolution in place so that we too can show our “faith” by disbelieving in the plain evidence. In other words, believing in the Designer’s God, a liar.

Fortunately, my own church, and the religious faith that I believe allows me to believe in a Creator who would allow the ordinary processes of geology and biology to produce the wonderful world we can live in and study, without having to put on the creationist’s straighjacket.

Happy Easter to those of you who are also Christians.

Mike, I am not a Christian (a Deist), but I share your sentiment with respect to wishing Happy Easter to those who are Christians (including yourself).

I concur with your observations, but let me note that Dishonesty Institute mendacious intellectual pornographer Stephen Meyer has asserted in his book “Signature in the Cell” that one could test for “deviations” from a “perfect” Design by looking at the fossil record. Of course he ignores completely the phylogenetic constraints imposed on each and every metazoan (and metaphytan, protistan, etc.) lineage that is represented within the fossil record.

It looks like “phylogenetic constraints… within the fossil record.” contradicts your claim that evolution is a fact.

Sorry henry, you’ve missed it as much as the equally delusional Dennis Jones with whom I have tangled with over at Facebook. When I speak of “phylogenetic constraints”, I am refering to “genealogy”. Human genealogies are constrained by the ethnic and religious background of ancestors; thus for example, one would not expect to find in an indigenous East Asian population of, for example, Chinese or Japanese, anyone who resembled a Black African simply because until quite recently - thanks to frequent supersonic jet travel - there was no chance of potential breeding between African and East Asian populations.

In a similar vein, one would not expect to have cat species within a phylogenetic lineage (“geneaological family tree”) of dogs, coyotes, wolves and their ancestors. This is an important distinction lost on you and your fellow creationists - whether they are Dennis Jones, Ken Ham, Bill Dembski, or Stephen Meyer - since they ignore the existence of a prior history - of a prior “geneaology” - that exists for any given fossil lineage.

I think your analogy fails because Asians can intermarry with Africans or anybody else and have offspring. Cats and dogs cannot.

Not only aren’t cats found in dogs lineage as you’ve stated, but only dogs are in it’s lineage. We don’t find anything nor expect to find anything but dogs, wolves, coyotes, etc. It’s been that way from the beginning and will always be that way.

henry, since you appear to be ignorant of canid evolution - and why not? - “the beginning”, as you put it, is about 60 million years back, when the ancestors of the mammalian carnivores began to diverge. Canidae were among the first to emerge as a distinct line. The earliest members of the group were small and apparently partly aboreal. Though skeletal and dental evidence makes it clear that they were already evolving towards the modern canid, they looked more like martens, but less adapted to climbing. That is, if you go far back enough, we do find forms that are something other than “dogs, wolves, etc”. It hasn’t been that way from the beginning, and it will not necessarily always be that way.

Sorry, henry, but your ignorance is not an argument. It is only evidence of itself.

henry said:

John Kwok said:

henry said:

John Kwok said:

Mike Clinch said:

harold said:

Questions for ID/creationism advocates -

I know you’re out there. Here are some questions.

1) If an ID/creationism advocate did design a test of prediction that legitimately tested ID versus the theory of evolution, and if ID failed, what would you do? Would you accept the theory of evolution? Could any evidence or test convince you? Can YOU give me an example of what such a test would be?

I’m not an ID/Creationist advocate, as my occasional postings here prove, but I’ve run across enough of them to answer for them and to prove that it’s ultimately fruitless to argue against them. There’s no proof that those of us who are scientists with either a secular or religious orientation can say that will convince them they are wrong until it dawns on them that they are being lied to. No testing of any model, and no amount of positive evidence for evolution will be sufficient.

2) What is an example of something that is not intelligently designed?

The sainted Steve Gould filled countless columns in “Natural History” with examples of improvised and improbable anatomy dictated by the limitations of past evolution and body plans. The name f this blog refers to one of them. A design proponent will argue that these “designs” are good enough to work, and therefore not a disproof of design.

3) Who is the designer? Do you secretly believe that the designer is Jehovah, but refuse to state that in order to to support the claim that “ID isn’t religious”? If so, is this behavior compatible with Christianity?

Of course the “designer” is God, and once the design proponents can get design put back into schools, they’ll start arguing that “fact”.

4) Exactly what did the designer do, in detail?

Since the designer is by definition supernatural, the process of creation and design is beyond our understanding. Therefore they don’t have to answer this question.

5) When did the designer do it?

Design proponents will temporarily accept their “old Earth Creationists” as useful (but idiotic) allies, but the real answer will eventually be that design has to be consistent with Scripture, and they will argue for a 6,000 to 10,000 year old Earth.

6) How did the designer do it?

See answer to question 4 above - it’s beyond our understanding. The Designer did do it with all of the geologic evidence of great age, and apparent fossil record, an apparent match between cladistics and divergence in DNA and all of the other evidence for evolution in place so that we too can show our “faith” by disbelieving in the plain evidence. In other words, believing in the Designer’s God, a liar.

Fortunately, my own church, and the religious faith that I believe allows me to believe in a Creator who would allow the ordinary processes of geology and biology to produce the wonderful world we can live in and study, without having to put on the creationist’s straighjacket.

Happy Easter to those of you who are also Christians.

Mike, I am not a Christian (a Deist), but I share your sentiment with respect to wishing Happy Easter to those who are Christians (including yourself).

I concur with your observations, but let me note that Dishonesty Institute mendacious intellectual pornographer Stephen Meyer has asserted in his book “Signature in the Cell” that one could test for “deviations” from a “perfect” Design by looking at the fossil record. Of course he ignores completely the phylogenetic constraints imposed on each and every metazoan (and metaphytan, protistan, etc.) lineage that is represented within the fossil record.

It looks like “phylogenetic constraints… within the fossil record.” contradicts your claim that evolution is a fact.

Sorry henry, you’ve missed it as much as the equally delusional Dennis Jones with whom I have tangled with over at Facebook. When I speak of “phylogenetic constraints”, I am refering to “genealogy”. Human genealogies are constrained by the ethnic and religious background of ancestors; thus for example, one would not expect to find in an indigenous East Asian population of, for example, Chinese or Japanese, anyone who resembled a Black African simply because until quite recently - thanks to frequent supersonic jet travel - there was no chance of potential breeding between African and East Asian populations.

In a similar vein, one would not expect to have cat species within a phylogenetic lineage (“geneaological family tree”) of dogs, coyotes, wolves and their ancestors. This is an important distinction lost on you and your fellow creationists - whether they are Dennis Jones, Ken Ham, Bill Dembski, or Stephen Meyer - since they ignore the existence of a prior history - of a prior “geneaology” - that exists for any given fossil lineage.

I think your analogy fails because Asians can intermarry with Africans or anybody else and have offspring. Cats and dogs cannot.

Not only aren’t cats found in dogs lineage as you’ve stated, but only dogs are in it’s lineage. We don’t find anything nor expect to find anything but dogs, wolves, coyotes, etc. It’s been that way from the beginning and will always be that way.

Dave Luckett has offered a most lucid answer regarding the phylogenetic history of the Canidae so I won’t elaborate. But you missed my key point that prior to the advent of supersonic air travel that it was virtually impossible for Black Africans to mate with East Asians because of geographic isolation.

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