For creationists, criticism = Nazism

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The folks at Uncommon Descent are accusing me of being a Nazi (“Nick Matzke - Book Burner?”, “Will Our Darwinist Friends Be Telling Us Next That ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’?”, It Gets Even Better) for using my free-speech rights to criticize the prestigious publisher Springer for publishing crypto-creationist/ID meeting held at Cornell (but not sponsored by Cornell) in 2011. They seem to think that I, single-handedly, with the mighty power of the Panda’s Thumb blog, crushed the otherwise inevitable publication by Springer.

The reality is: I initially assumed the publication was a done deal, so I was just criticizing, which except in fundamentalist la-la land, is an expression of free speech, not a repression of it. I laid out very clearly my sources of information, which were plenty strong indication that we just had the usual creationist/ID shenanigans going on, and the same old bogus arguments, and not a serious, rigorous scientific meeting. I furthermore laid out that this wasn’t primarily just an ID creationism meeting, but rather a Young-Earth Creationist meeting, with some ID particpation, and that John Sanford wasn’t just some serious scientist, but a total kook who thinks that plotting the ages of the generations in the Book of Genesis, and fitting a curve, is serious scientific analysis and evidence for his “genetic decay” idea.

Anyway, as it turns out, the publication must not have been a done deal, as the Springer announcement disappeared. The UD folks are convinced it was a done deal, but it’s not clear if they know any more than I did, which is very little, about what stage things were at. I imagine someone at Springer felt snookered once they realized what kinds of ridiculous creationist abuses of information theory, the second law of thermodynamics, and genetics were happening under the thin veneer of the meeting. Creationists who complain about Springer dropping the project should explain why creationist free-speech rights allow them to deny Springer’s free speech rights to publish what it wants.

Anyway, rather than any form of suppression taking place, the creationists succeeded in getting their volume published anyway with another publisher, World Scientific out of Singapore. This publisher is not as well-known as Springer, and it’s not clear if there was any serious peer-review – heck, it may have been a pay-to-publish arrangement, I don’t know – but in any case there is absolutely no censorship going on. You can read the papers right here if you like. From the ones I’ve looked at, all of my worst suspicions were confirmed. There are claims that require a young-earth view to be valid, Sewell’s epically bad Second Law of Thermodynamics stuff is in there, etc.

Here are my old posts on the topic from last year so that people can judge for themselves. Again, I’m busy and so won’t be able to pay super-close attention, but I’ll ban/close as necessary if things get impolite or off-topic.

Posts on Springer / “Cornell” YEC/ID meeting

Springer gets suckered by creationist pseudoscience

Update on Springer ‘Biological Information: New Perspectives’ Volume

Inside Higher Ed on creo/ID volume (includes the video / screenshot of Sanford’s “generations of Genesis up to Noah” plot)

Creationists covering tracks on Cornell meeting; and Fuller doesn’t get it

Note

While googling this, I came across a blog I hadn’t seen, “Letters to Creationists” which includes a detailed and, I think, well-researched evaluation of Sanford’s “genetic entropy” argument, which most of us haven’t bothered rebutting since it is so silly on its face. The blog is by a theistic evolutionist who is an enthusiastic proponent of miracles in traditional Christian settings (modern healings, Bible stories, etc.), but not in science, which is certainly an interesting combination. At the very least it means the author can’t be accused of bias against strong evangelical Christianity.

50 Comments

Two Godwin’s, one atop the other… might be some sort of record.

Of course the claim (lie) is that ID is really super-serious science and “Darwinism” is only so much atheism using science as a prop.

Since they have nothing to back up either of those delusions, and indeed there’s much evidence against, they really have nothing but a lot of braying over “censorship” when dreck apologetics isn’t treated as science.

Showing just what a clever boy he is, Barry ups the usual censorship at UD by not allowing comments on his swill. Driving home the charges of censorship, if in a not-entirely positive direction for UDites.

Glen Davidson

Darn you, Nick Matzke! You’re only showing how determined you are to suppress their scientifically worthless counter-factual legendarium, by including a hyperlink to their shitty but publicly available pseudoscience!

Can’t you see that providing hyperlinks their shitty pseudoscience is just another conspiracy to censor that same shitty pseudoscience freely available if you right click HERE?

Oh, Matzke, how vicious is your attempt to censor the shitty pseudoscience to which you have provided an easily available hyperlink RIGHT HERE!

Stop, Matzke, oh Stop your jack-booted attempts to suppress their shitty pseudoscience by making available easily clickable hyperlinks to it!

Hi Nick, I’m the proprietor of the Letters to Creationists blog. I appreciate all the sound science you and your fellow PTers provide. It is needed to counter the misleading half-truths put out by the ID advocates. You may be interested in another piece of mine on the ENCODE controversy, at http://letterstocreationists.wordpr[…]_dna_design/ ,where your name is taken in vain (by J Wells). This article grinds in detail through the claims of “80% functional human genome,” and also tries to explain from the inside why IDers do what they do. Bonus: watch for quote from The Vampire Lestat. Keep up the good work! -Scott Buchanan

The ID-creationists could easily convince me of the plot they are trying to put forward by publishing the correspondence in which Springer denied to publish BI:NP, the original reviews they claim were positive and the names of the reviewers.

The Uncommon Descent people (especially Barry Arrington) seem completely off their rockers. They can’t stand the fact that their creationist conference proceedings was recognized as worthless crap by a major publisher, and so they had to get them published by the third-rate World Scientific. So they have no choice to bring out the Nazi references. It would almost be funny, in a pathetic kind of way, if I hadn’t spent the last few days seeing the kind of destruction that real Nazis carried out. Arrington is beneath contempt.

By the way, I’ve looked over a few of the contributions in that volume. The ones I’ve read in detail so far are utter crap that could never be published in a real scientific journal. I wonder who the original “peer reviewers” were.

The Uncommon Descent people (especially Barry Arrington) seem completely off their rockers. They can’t stand the fact that their creationist conference proceedings was recognized as worthless crap by a major publisher, and so they had to get them published by the third-rate World Scientific. So they have no choice to bring out the Nazi references. It would almost be funny, in a pathetic kind of way, if I hadn’t spent the last few days seeing the kind of destruction that real Nazis carried out.

Ouch! Where the heck are you visiting?

Granville Sewell’s paper is the exact same one he tried to get through Elsevier, except it now includes the whining he did over at UD and on his own site about how horribly he is treated.

The paper “Information and Thermodynamics in Living Systems” by Andy C. McIntosh is best summarized by this caption under Fig. 7 on page 191 (page 13 in the PDF file):

All natural molecule formations are like magnets with the same pole facing each other such that if one lets the system ‘go’ they would pull apart: Δg < 0 (due to g ≡ h − Ts > 0 ). To set this system up — that is to keep the opposing magnets together work needs to be put in — the free energy change to bring them together is positive. In a similar way to bring the molecules together which form living polymers requires an initial input of ordered energy by another machine.

Breathtaking!

What more needs to be said?

Of course you were censoring, Nick!

They’ve accused me of it, too. Moving books in a bookstore to their rightly shelf is apparently vandalism and censorship. This was in 2010: http://thedispersalofdarwin.wordpre[…]-dictionary/

I wonder how Kauffman’s paper made it in – I do not think it means what they think it means.

Nick Matzke said: Ouch! Where the heck are you visiting?

You can look at my blog, recursed.blogspot.com, to see.

I don’t know who’s responsible for what not happening. The point is that its perceived a spirit of censorship was engaged in to stop the origin contentions going on. By the way its common usage to yell Nazi to indicate serious attempt to control and silence dissent. Fair and square to say it if one thinks thats going on. Its not about issues of unjust violence. To say its contemptible, or even below that, is just more of a spirit of censorship. From what I’ve seen on the internet chat things everybody calls everybody Nazi’s. Everybody complains about everybody doing this. in the end everyone accuses everyone’s moral motives . Everyone should care and watch about words. Words do matter.

Some questions from Timaeus at UD, which I have promised to pass on:

I would like you to ask him [Nick Matzke]:

1. Did he in fact honestly believe that Springer had accepted the papers without actually reading them?

2. If so, why did he believe this?

3. If he thought they *had* read them, why did he think they still needed his advice? Did he think this publishing house, one very competent by his own judgment, needed his correction?

4. Did he have any qualms at all about advising a publishing house not to publish papers he had not read, at least some of which were by authors about whom he knew nothing?

5. Did Nick, in his communication with Springer, make any direct *or veiled* threats of leading a boycott of the book if they went ahead with publication?

6. Did Nick do anything at Panda’s Thumb, or anywhere else, to encourage anyone to boycott the book if it were published?

7. Did others, because of Nick’s action, threaten any boycott of the book if it were published?

Elizabeth, I look forward to hearing back from you, and indirectly from Nick, on this matter.

I am not clear at this stage whether Nick even wrote to Springer, so I’d like to know that myself. I know Bob O’Hara did, because he posted his letter and the response at AtBC.

I know you are busy Nick, but if you have time to respond to these questions, I will relay your responses back to UD.

Thanks.

Robert Byers said:

I don’t know who’s responsible for what not happening. The point is that its perceived a spirit of censorship was engaged in to stop the origin contentions going on. By the way its common usage to yell Nazi to indicate serious attempt to control and silence dissent. Fair and square to say it if one thinks thats going on. Its not about issues of unjust violence.

Such name calling is usually the last resort for those who don’t really have a valid argument. This is the case here because criticism in not censorship. Furthermore unjustified censorship is just one part of what Nazis did and to tar someone with that brush is to associate them with everything the Nazis did. It makes mountains out of mole hills and, worst still, it makes mole hills out of mountains by cheaping the suffering of the victims of the Nazis.

To say its contemptible, or even below that, is just more of a spirit of censorship. From what I’ve seen on the internet chat things everybody calls everybody Nazi’s. Everybody complains about everybody doing this. in the end everyone accuses everyone’s moral motives.

It is contemptible. Nobody can stop you doing it but if you do don’t be surprised to be held in contempt.

Everyone should care and watch about words. Words do matter.

What about grammar?

“Nick Nazi” has a nice ring to it and makes a good slogan. Which is just what the creationists go for. Even if it is as far from the truth as could be.

“Censorship” is what peer review is all about. It is meant to “censor” the incompetent, the flawed, the deceitful, the dishonest, the biased and the unjustified. That’s what it’s for. That’s what it does. If you don’t like it, ask yourself why.

DS said:

“Censorship” is what peer review is all about. It is meant to “censor” the incompetent, the flawed, the deceitful, the dishonest, the biased and the unjustified. That’s what it’s for. That’s what it does. If you don’t like it, ask yourself why.

No, it isn’t. Censorship is when you try to suppress the words that people say so that other people can’t read them.

Peer review is about ensuring that papers that go out marked as “peer-reviewed” meet a minimum standard of scientific validity.

Nobody wants to see the ID papers suppressed. What I want (and I assumed all) is to see them properly reviewed if they are published as peer-reviewed.

Elizabeth Liddle said: Nobody wants to see the ID papers suppressed.

One might also mention “self-censorship”.

Is there a policy in the ID movement not to mention anything about “what happened and when”? Would it be embarrassing to admit what a “ID event” might be like, or how obvious it is that there is a long history to life on Earth?

Still yet another reminder:

Robert Byers,

What about finally giving us a full review of an evo-devo book like Sean B Carroll’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful (click here)? Remember, it’s a popular level book for the public. You could use this book to show how evo-devo and other evidence depends on fossils as you routinely parrot.……unless evo-devo really doesn’t depend on fossils.

Also,

When are you going to get around to fully discussing SINE insertions? You could use SINEs to tie in with your wild claim that “genetic researchers today are like alchemists of yesterday” and oh here’s a link to the post about SINEs that you have ignored: http://pandasthumb.org/bw/index.htm[…]mment-300136

Furthermore,

Are you ever going to address this Christian link about Christian scientists that accept and routinely use radiometric dating? You repeatedly look away and run from this (Byers, click here to see).

As this post is somewhat offtopic for this particular thread, it’s ok if this post and any reply by Byers are posted/moved to the BW.

Typing springer in the search box at upper right corner returns may PT entries. the earliest feb 27, 2012 seems to be Nick’s initial entry:

Note: The Springer webpage for the book was taken down about 24 hours after this post; see update post.

Robert Byers said: By the way its common usage to yell Nazi to indicate serious attempt to control and silence dissent.

Actually…Nazi references are generally an attempt at guilt by association and trying to shut down ones opponent by associating his statements and debate tactics as being tyrannical. It’s also usually an indication that the accuser knows full well that he has no argument on his side and is willing to use despicable tactics to “win”.

Nobody wants to see the ID papers suppressed. What I want (and I assumed all) is to see them properly reviewed if they are published as peer-reviewed.

I’ll get Sternberg right on that.

Glen Davidson

Elizabeth Liddle said:

DS said:

“Censorship” is what peer review is all about. It is meant to “censor” the incompetent, the flawed, the deceitful, the dishonest, the biased and the unjustified. That’s what it’s for. That’s what it does. If you don’t like it, ask yourself why.

No, it isn’t. Censorship is when you try to suppress the words that people say so that other people can’t read them.

Peer review is about ensuring that papers that go out marked as “peer-reviewed” meet a minimum standard of scientific validity.

Nobody wants to see the ID papers suppressed. What I want (and I assumed all) is to see them properly reviewed if they are published as peer-reviewed.

Hence the scare quotes.

Hey UD, please see the Wikipedia entry for Godwin’s Law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwins_law

Adolf Hitler, an enthusiastic follower of the WEL [Welteislehre, World Ice], theory, adopted it as the Nazi party’s official cosmology. He claimed that Hörbiger was not accepted by the scientific establishment because “the fact is, men do not wish to know.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welteislehre

See, forcing bogus theories into “science” is the epitome of anti-fascism.

Anyway, if you can believe that, you can believe ID.

Glen Davidson

Elizabeth Liddle said:

Some questions from Timaeus at UD, which I have promised to pass on:

I would like you to ask him [Nick Matzke]:

5. Did Nick, in his communication with Springer, make any direct *or veiled* threats of leading a boycott of the book if they went ahead with publication?

6. Did Nick do anything at Panda’s Thumb, or anywhere else, to encourage anyone to boycott the book if it were published?

7. Did others, because of Nick’s action, threaten any boycott of the book if it were published?

What do you think a ‘threat of a boycott’ constitutes? Is a bad review an incitement to boycott or a suggestion to those who find the reviewer credible not to waste their time and money?

Springer made a (belated) business decision, probably after a further review by more senior editors. We can only speculate about the basis for that decision but it seems highly likely that they determined that their audience (actual scientists) would not purchase this book because its content did not meet a reasonable standard of scientific rigor.

How can you possibly construe spirited debate about the content and credibility of a publication to equate in any meaningful way with a boycott?

Is a bad review of an electric toothbrush on Amazon an incitement to boycott?

Do you understand how such misuse of language further damages your (and Timaeus’) credibility?

Elizabeth Liddle said:

Some questions from Timaeus at UD, which I have promised to pass on:

I would like you to ask him [Nick Matzke]:

1. Did he in fact honestly believe that Springer had accepted the papers without actually reading them?

2. If so, why did he believe this?

3. If he thought they *had* read them, why did he think they still needed his advice? Did he think this publishing house, one very competent by his own judgment, needed his correction?

4. Did he have any qualms at all about advising a publishing house not to publish papers he had not read, at least some of which were by authors about whom he knew nothing?

5. Did Nick, in his communication with Springer, make any direct *or veiled* threats of leading a boycott of the book if they went ahead with publication?

6. Did Nick do anything at Panda’s Thumb, or anywhere else, to encourage anyone to boycott the book if it were published?

7. Did others, because of Nick’s action, threaten any boycott of the book if it were published?

Elizabeth, I look forward to hearing back from you, and indirectly from Nick, on this matter.

I am in no way Nick, nor do I speak for him, but…

1 & 2: Nick excerpts from a Springer Web Page that implies the book is already set for publication. For example, the Springer page says “Due: March 31, 2012 $179.00.” All of the commenters seem to take it for granted that the book is set for publication too. Timaeus could have checked this himself, because the link to Nick’s original (Feb 2012) article is right there at the bottom of this one.

3-6: Again, the link to Nick’s original article is right at the bottom of the page - Timaeus should just go read it and judge from him/herself! Now, if he wants my interpretation of Nick’s original article, I can give that: this article is typical Panda’s thumb reporting and editorializing on a current event. No message to Springer or boycott of Springer is either mentioned or implied. Stylistically, its no different from the many many “look how the media industry got it wrong again” type of articles PTers publish.

7: Another question Timaeus could’ve answered, by going to Nick’s article and checking the 150 comments it generated. Are there any calls for boycott? No. Did anyone interpret it as a call for a boycott? No. Did anyone respond that they were going to give Springer a piece of their mind? No.

Its unclear to me why Timaeus didn’t just look for the answers himself. The link’s right there.

eric said:

Its unclear to me why Timaeus didn’t just look for the answers himself. The link’s right there.

It’s unclear to me why Timaeus didn’t just stop over here and ask his questions himself. It’s not like people get banned for their opinions around here; even obvious trolls seem to keep their posting privileges.

SWT said:

eric said:

Its unclear to me why Timaeus didn’t just look for the answers himself. The link’s right there.

It’s unclear to me why Timaeus didn’t just stop over here and ask his questions himself. It’s not like people get banned for their opinions around here; even obvious trolls seem to keep their posting privileges.

Judging from the comments, he felt like he wouldn’t get any answers so it wasn’t worth his time. But apparently, just as “Design” is the default conclusion unless evolution proves otherwise in that case (and even despite the fact that it does, really), “there is strong reason to think that” the great and powerful Goliath that is Nick Matzke strong-armed timid, wavering David of Spring. Unless, of course, Matzke “clarifies” that this isn’t the case!

DS said:

“Censorship” is what peer review is all about. It is meant to “censor” the incompetent, the flawed, the deceitful, the dishonest, the biased and the unjustified. That’s what it’s for. That’s what it does. If you don’t like it, ask yourself why.

Peer review is not censorship by any definition, except for those of science-deniers. Peer review is a form of quality control to keep the applicants honest, in addition to competent.

“Censorship” is where you deliberately change the results to say something pleasing to the censor, i.e., A foulmouthed comic’s profanity getting bleeped out, or South Carolina legislature passing laws forbidding the mention of global warming, or oil executives hiring local law enforcement to arrest people for photographing the results of the Keystone Pipeline leaking, or BP Oil bribing the EPA to say that there are no harmful aftereffects of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

If “peer review” is a form of censorship, then so are sewer sluices, kitchen colanders, and the signs that say “You Must Be This Tall To Ride”

Timaeus’s questions aren’t genuine questions. If they were genuine questions arising from curiosity, he could have just e-mailed Matzke directly.

Instead, they’re just like push-polling: an attempt to create doubt about Matzke’s honesty in the minds of readers at Uncommon Descent.

It’s par for the course for the creationist movement.

air said:

Elizabeth Liddle said:

Some questions from Timaeus at UD, which I have promised to pass on:

I would like you to ask him [Nick Matzke]:

5. Did Nick, in his communication with Springer, make any direct *or veiled* threats of leading a boycott of the book if they went ahead with publication?

6. Did Nick do anything at Panda’s Thumb, or anywhere else, to encourage anyone to boycott the book if it were published?

7. Did others, because of Nick’s action, threaten any boycott of the book if it were published?

What do you think a ‘threat of a boycott’ constitutes? Is a bad review an incitement to boycott or a suggestion to those who find the reviewer credible not to waste their time and money?

Springer made a (belated) business decision, probably after a further review by more senior editors. We can only speculate about the basis for that decision but it seems highly likely that they determined that their audience (actual scientists) would not purchase this book because its content did not meet a reasonable standard of scientific rigor.

How can you possibly construe spirited debate about the content and credibility of a publication to equate in any meaningful way with a boycott?

Is a bad review of an electric toothbrush on Amazon an incitement to boycott?

Do you understand how such misuse of language further damages your (and Timaeus’) credibility?

I am merely relaying Timaeus’s questions, verbatim. It sounds like the answers to his question about a boycott is “no”. I shall pass that answer on.

Jeffrey Shallit said:

Timaeus’s questions aren’t genuine questions. If they were genuine questions arising from curiosity, he could have just e-mailed Matzke directly.

Instead, they’re just like push-polling: an attempt to create doubt about Matzke’s honesty in the minds of readers at Uncommon Descent.

It’s par for the course for the creationist movement.

Timaeus asked me to contact Nick, as, rightly or wrongly, he thought I’d be more likely to get answers. I don’t think it’s push-polling - I think he wanted to know.

And as I didn’t know the answers myself, I posted them here.

I didn’t know if there’d been a call to boycott. It wouldn’t be unheard of (nor, in my view, unreasonable).

Elizabeth Liddle said:

air said:

Elizabeth Liddle said:

Some questions from Timaeus at UD, which I have promised to pass on:

I would like you to ask him [Nick Matzke]:

5. Did Nick, in his communication with Springer, make any direct *or veiled* threats of leading a boycott of the book if they went ahead with publication?

6. Did Nick do anything at Panda’s Thumb, or anywhere else, to encourage anyone to boycott the book if it were published?

7. Did others, because of Nick’s action, threaten any boycott of the book if it were published?

What do you think a ‘threat of a boycott’ constitutes? Is a bad review an incitement to boycott or a suggestion to those who find the reviewer credible not to waste their time and money?

Springer made a (belated) business decision, probably after a further review by more senior editors. We can only speculate about the basis for that decision but it seems highly likely that they determined that their audience (actual scientists) would not purchase this book because its content did not meet a reasonable standard of scientific rigor.

How can you possibly construe spirited debate about the content and credibility of a publication to equate in any meaningful way with a boycott?

Is a bad review of an electric toothbrush on Amazon an incitement to boycott?

Do you understand how such misuse of language further damages your (and Timaeus’) credibility?

I am merely relaying Timaeus’s questions, verbatim. It sounds like the answers to his question about a boycott is “no”. I shall pass that answer on.

More advice - don’t let people use you like this.

air said:

Elizabeth Liddle said:

air said:

Elizabeth Liddle said:

Some questions from Timaeus at UD, which I have promised to pass on:

I would like you to ask him [Nick Matzke]:

5. Did Nick, in his communication with Springer, make any direct *or veiled* threats of leading a boycott of the book if they went ahead with publication?

6. Did Nick do anything at Panda’s Thumb, or anywhere else, to encourage anyone to boycott the book if it were published?

7. Did others, because of Nick’s action, threaten any boycott of the book if it were published?

What do you think a ‘threat of a boycott’ constitutes? Is a bad review an incitement to boycott or a suggestion to those who find the reviewer credible not to waste their time and money?

Springer made a (belated) business decision, probably after a further review by more senior editors. We can only speculate about the basis for that decision but it seems highly likely that they determined that their audience (actual scientists) would not purchase this book because its content did not meet a reasonable standard of scientific rigor.

How can you possibly construe spirited debate about the content and credibility of a publication to equate in any meaningful way with a boycott?

Is a bad review of an electric toothbrush on Amazon an incitement to boycott?

Do you understand how such misuse of language further damages your (and Timaeus’) credibility?

I am merely relaying Timaeus’s questions, verbatim. It sounds like the answers to his question about a boycott is “no”. I shall pass that answer on.

More advice - don’t let people use you like this.

Why not? I am in favour of disseminating information, not suppressing it. If someone asks me a question, and I don’t know the answer, I am happy to try to find out the answer and tell them.

Timaeus at UD said: I would like you to ask him [Nick Matzke]:

Since Nick is busy, I will undertake to answer all of Timaeus’ questions.

1. Did he in fact honestly believe that Springer had accepted the papers without actually reading them?

Your answer: Do not change the subject, witch-doctor. Here is the subject: several authors of this volume are guilty of scientific fraud and must retract their claims– in particular by claiming for two decades now that no natural process can create “information”, and these authors have suppressed or falsified counter-evidence of natural processes creating information, which is scientific fraud, for which these authors and the publisher of this volume must apologize and ISSUE AN IMMEDIATE RETRACTION, which in real science traditionally means that the word “RETRACTED” is written in GIANT RED LETTERS diagonally across each and every page. At least two authors of this volume have promoted Andrew Wakefield’s SCIENTIFIC FRAUD of vaccines causing autism, to be specific, William Dembski and John Oller. Oller has further falsified his scientific credentials. William Dembski and Doug Axe have for a decade lied repeatedly about Axe’s results in his 2000 JMB paper, with Dembski repeatedly saying that Axe 2000 proved “any slight modification” of a protein would “not merely destroy the system’s existing function, but also destroys the possibility of any function of the system whatsoever” and repeating this over and over even after it was pointed out to Dembski (as well as to Axe) that to the contrary, Axe 2000 really showed you need to make up to 30 random mutations to beta-lactamase TEM-1 before its function is disabled. Dembski and Robert Marks have for a decade lied outright about the easily-verifiable properties of ALL publicly accessible evolutionary algorithms [GA’s] including Schneider’s ev, Tierra, Avida, and Dawkins’ weasel, insisting that all genetic algorithms BY DEFINTION have pre-programmed targets (most don’t, as can be verified just by reading the code, you moron), that the authors of these programs cheated and “smuggled in” an ectoplasmic mystic quantity called “complex specified information” (an accusation backed up by no CSI calculations) and that Dawkins’ weasel “latched” onto correct sequence letters, even after this was disproven by historical video of weasel’s operation. When will offending authors apologize and RETRACT their counter-factual statements?

2. If so, why did he believe this?

Your answer: Do not change the subject, witch-doctor. Here is the subject: several authors of this volume are guilty of scientific fraud and must retract their claims– in particular by claiming for two decades now that no natural process can create “information”, and these authors have suppressed or falsified counter-evidence of natural processes creating information, which is scientific fraud, for which these authors and the publisher of this volume must apologize and ISSUE AN IMMEDIATE RETRACTION, which in real science traditionally means that the word “RETRACTED” is written in GIANT RED LETTERS diagonally across each and every page. At least two authors of this volume have promoted Andrew Wakefield’s SCIENTIFIC FRAUD of vaccines causing autism, to be specific, William Dembski and John Oller. Oller has further falsified his scientific credentials. William Dembski and Doug Axe have for a decade lied repeatedly about Axe’s results in his 2000 JMB paper, with Dembski repeatedly saying that Axe 2000 proved “any slight modification” of a protein would “not merely destroy the system’s existing function, but also destroys the possibility of any function of the system whatsoever” and repeating this over and over even after it was pointed out to Dembski (as well as to Axe) that to the contrary, Axe 2000 really showed you need to make up to 30 random mutations to beta-lactamase TEM-1 before its function is disabled. Dembski and Robert Marks have for a decade lied outright about the easily-verifiable properties of ALL publicly accessible evolutionary algorithms [GA’s] including Schneider’s ev, Tierra, Avida, and Dawkins’ weasel, insisting that all genetic algorithms BY DEFINTION have pre-programmed targets (most don’t, as can be verified just by reading the code, you moron), that the authors of these programs cheated and “smuggled in” an ectoplasmic mystic quantity called “complex specified information” (an accusation backed up by no CSI calculations) and that Dawkins’ weasel “latched” onto correct sequence letters, even after this was disproven by historical video of weasel’s operation. When will offending authors apologize and RETRACT their counter-factual statements?

3. If he thought they *had* read them, why did he think they still needed his advice? Did he think this publishing house, one very competent by his own judgment, needed his correction?

Your answer: Do not change the subject, witch-doctor. Here is the subject: several authors of this volume are guilty of scientific fraud and must retract their claims– in particular by claiming for two decades now that no natural process can create “information”, and these authors have suppressed or falsified counter-evidence of natural processes creating information, which is scientific fraud, for which these authors and the publisher of this volume must apologize and ISSUE AN IMMEDIATE RETRACTION, which in real science traditionally means that the word “RETRACTED” is written in GIANT RED LETTERS diagonally across each and every page. At least two authors of this volume have promoted Andrew Wakefield’s SCIENTIFIC FRAUD of vaccines causing autism, to be specific, William Dembski and John Oller. Oller has further falsified his scientific credentials. William Dembski and Doug Axe have for a decade lied repeatedly about Axe’s results in his 2000 JMB paper, with Dembski repeatedly saying that Axe 2000 proved “any slight modification” of a protein would “not merely destroy the system’s existing function, but also destroys the possibility of any function of the system whatsoever” and repeating this over and over even after it was pointed out to Dembski (as well as to Axe) that to the contrary, Axe 2000 really showed you need to make up to 30 random mutations to beta-lactamase TEM-1 before its function is disabled. Dembski and Robert Marks have for a decade lied outright about the easily-verifiable properties of ALL publicly accessible evolutionary algorithms [GA’s] including Schneider’s ev, Tierra, Avida, and Dawkins’ weasel, insisting that all genetic algorithms BY DEFINTION have pre-programmed targets (most don’t, as can be verified just by reading the code, you moron), that the authors of these programs cheated and “smuggled in” an ectoplasmic mystic quantity called “complex specified information” (an accusation backed up by no CSI calculations) and that Dawkins’ weasel “latched” onto correct sequence letters, even after this was disproven by historical video of weasel’s operation. When will offending authors apologize and RETRACT their counter-factual statements?

4. Did he have any qualms at all about advising a publishing house not to publish papers he had not read, at least some of which were by authors about whom he knew nothing?

Your answer: Do not change the subject, witch-doctor. Here is the subject: several authors of this volume are guilty of scientific fraud and must retract their claims– in particular by claiming for two decades now that no natural process can create “information”, and these authors have suppressed or falsified counter-evidence of natural processes creating information, which is scientific fraud, for which these authors and the publisher of this volume must apologize and ISSUE AN IMMEDIATE RETRACTION, which in real science traditionally means that the word “RETRACTED” is written in GIANT RED LETTERS diagonally across each and every page. At least two authors of this volume have promoted Andrew Wakefield’s SCIENTIFIC FRAUD of vaccines causing autism, to be specific, William Dembski and John Oller. Oller has further falsified his scientific credentials. William Dembski and Doug Axe have for a decade lied repeatedly about Axe’s results in his 2000 JMB paper, with Dembski repeatedly saying that Axe 2000 proved “any slight modification” of a protein would “not merely destroy the system’s existing function, but also destroys the possibility of any function of the system whatsoever” and repeating this over and over even after it was pointed out to Dembski (as well as to Axe) that to the contrary, Axe 2000 really showed you need to make up to 30 random mutations to beta-lactamase TEM-1 before its function is disabled. Dembski and Robert Marks have for a decade lied outright about the easily-verifiable properties of ALL publicly accessible evolutionary algorithms [GA’s] including Schneider’s ev, Tierra, Avida, and Dawkins’ weasel, insisting that all genetic algorithms BY DEFINTION have pre-programmed targets (most don’t, as can be verified just by reading the code, you moron), that the authors of these programs cheated and “smuggled in” an ectoplasmic mystic quantity called “complex specified information” (an accusation backed up by no CSI calculations) and that Dawkins’ weasel “latched” onto correct sequence letters, even after this was disproven by historical video of weasel’s operation. When will offending authors apologize and RETRACT their counter-factual statements?

5. Did Nick, in his communication with Springer, make any direct *or veiled* threats of leading a boycott of the book if they went ahead with publication?

Your answer: Do not change the subject, witch-doctor. Here is the subject: several authors of this volume are guilty of scientific fraud and must retract their claims– in particular by claiming for two decades now that no natural process can create “information”, and these authors have suppressed or falsified counter-evidence of natural processes creating information, which is scientific fraud, for which these authors and the publisher of this volume must apologize and ISSUE AN IMMEDIATE RETRACTION, which in real science traditionally means that the word “RETRACTED” is written in GIANT RED LETTERS diagonally across each and every page. At least two authors of this volume have promoted Andrew Wakefield’s SCIENTIFIC FRAUD of vaccines causing autism, to be specific, William Dembski and John Oller. Oller has further falsified his scientific credentials. William Dembski and Doug Axe have for a decade lied repeatedly about Axe’s results in his 2000 JMB paper, with Dembski repeatedly saying that Axe 2000 proved “any slight modification” of a protein would “not merely destroy the system’s existing function, but also destroys the possibility of any function of the system whatsoever” and repeating this over and over even after it was pointed out to Dembski (as well as to Axe) that to the contrary, Axe 2000 really showed you need to make up to 30 random mutations to beta-lactamase TEM-1 before its function is disabled. Dembski and Robert Marks have for a decade lied outright about the easily-verifiable properties of ALL publicly accessible evolutionary algorithms [GA’s] including Schneider’s ev, Tierra, Avida, and Dawkins’ weasel, insisting that all genetic algorithms BY DEFINTION have pre-programmed targets (most don’t, as can be verified just by reading the code, you moron), that the authors of these programs cheated and “smuggled in” an ectoplasmic mystic quantity called “complex specified information” (an accusation backed up by no CSI calculations) and that Dawkins’ weasel “latched” onto correct sequence letters, even after this was disproven by historical video of weasel’s operation. When will offending authors apologize and RETRACT their counter-factual statements?

6. Did Nick do anything at Panda’s Thumb, or anywhere else, to encourage anyone to boycott the book if it were published?

Your answer: Do not change the subject, witch-doctor. Here is the subject: several authors of this volume are guilty of scientific fraud and must retract their claims– in particular by claiming for two decades now that no natural process can create “information”, and these authors have suppressed or falsified counter-evidence of natural processes creating information, which is scientific fraud, for which these authors and the publisher of this volume must apologize and ISSUE AN IMMEDIATE RETRACTION, which in real science traditionally means that the word “RETRACTED” is written in GIANT RED LETTERS diagonally across each and every page. At least two authors of this volume have promoted Andrew Wakefield’s SCIENTIFIC FRAUD of vaccines causing autism, to be specific, William Dembski and John Oller. Oller has further falsified his scientific credentials. William Dembski and Doug Axe have for a decade lied repeatedly about Axe’s results in his 2000 JMB paper, with Dembski repeatedly saying that Axe 2000 proved “any slight modification” of a protein would “not merely destroy the system’s existing function, but also destroys the possibility of any function of the system whatsoever” and repeating this over and over even after it was pointed out to Dembski (as well as to Axe) that to the contrary, Axe 2000 really showed you need to make up to 30 random mutations to beta-lactamase TEM-1 before its function is disabled. Dembski and Robert Marks have for a decade lied outright about the easily-verifiable properties of ALL publicly accessible evolutionary algorithms [GA’s] including Schneider’s ev, Tierra, Avida, and Dawkins’ weasel, insisting that all genetic algorithms BY DEFINTION have pre-programmed targets (most don’t, as can be verified just by reading the code, you moron), that the authors of these programs cheated and “smuggled in” an ectoplasmic mystic quantity called “complex specified information” (an accusation backed up by no CSI calculations) and that Dawkins’ weasel “latched” onto correct sequence letters, even after this was disproven by historical video of weasel’s operation. When will offending authors apologize and RETRACT their counter-factual statements?

7. Did others, because of Nick’s action, threaten any boycott of the book if it were published?

Your answer: Do not change the subject, witch-doctor. Here is the subject: several authors of this volume are guilty of scientific fraud and must retract their claims– in particular by claiming for two decades now that no natural process can create “information”, and these authors have suppressed or falsified counter-evidence of natural processes creating information, which is scientific fraud, for which these authors and the publisher of this volume must apologize and ISSUE AN IMMEDIATE RETRACTION, which in real science traditionally means that the word “RETRACTED” is written in GIANT RED LETTERS diagonally across each and every page. At least two authors of this volume have promoted Andrew Wakefield’s SCIENTIFIC FRAUD of vaccines causing autism, to be specific, William Dembski and John Oller. Oller has further falsified his scientific credentials. William Dembski and Doug Axe have for a decade lied repeatedly about Axe’s results in his 2000 JMB paper, with Dembski repeatedly saying that Axe 2000 proved “any slight modification” of a protein would “not merely destroy the system’s existing function, but also destroys the possibility of any function of the system whatsoever” and repeating this over and over even after it was pointed out to Dembski (as well as to Axe) that to the contrary, Axe 2000 really showed you need to make up to 30 random mutations to beta-lactamase TEM-1 before its function is disabled. Dembski and Robert Marks have for a decade lied outright about the easily-verifiable properties of ALL publicly accessible evolutionary algorithms [GA’s] including Schneider’s ev, Tierra, Avida, and Dawkins’ weasel, insisting that all genetic algorithms BY DEFINTION have pre-programmed targets (most don’t, as can be verified just by reading the code, you moron), that the authors of these programs cheated and “smuggled in” an ectoplasmic mystic quantity called “complex specified information” (an accusation backed up by no CSI calculations) and that Dawkins’ weasel “latched” onto correct sequence letters, even after this was disproven by historical video of weasel’s operation. When will offending authors apologize and RETRACT their counter-factual statements?

Elizabeth, I look forward to hearing back from you, and indirectly from Nick, on this matter.

Speaking on behalf of science: you’re welcome.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/72fFvmEFwPVT[…]uXioPYvQgJvQ–#822a0 said:

Hi Nick, I’m the proprietor of the Letters to Creationists blog. I appreciate all the sound science you and your fellow PTers provide. It is needed to counter the misleading half-truths put out by the ID advocates. You may be interested in another piece of mine on the ENCODE controversy, at http://letterstocreationists.wordpr[…]_dna_design/ ,where your name is taken in vain (by J Wells). This article grinds in detail through the claims of “80% functional human genome,” and also tries to explain from the inside why IDers do what they do. Bonus: watch for quote from The Vampire Lestat. Keep up the good work! -Scott Buchanan

Scott,

thank you for your website. I think this is by far the most detailed refutation of Sanford’s “Genetic Entropy” we’ve seen so far. I appreciate all the references on beneficial mutations.

Two criticisms:

1. What’s with the obscure titles? Your blog posts have titles like “Stan 4” which appear to have no relation to science. “Stan 4” sounds like the fourth country visited by a tourist in Central Asia.

2. No comments allowed?

I am yet another person who is not Nick, but I can’t help but respond at least the questions dealing with the concept of a boycott.

Elizabeth, I’m familiar with your “assume the other party is arguing in good faith” policy, and while I find it interesting, I think it’s leading you astray here. The boycott questions in particular seem to have been made by someone that was either being disingenuous, or who didn’t know what the word boycott even means.

Assuming that Timaeus understands the meaning of the words that he’s using, this was not a question, it was an accusation intended to create a negative association.

I prefer demonstrating what I mean by way of example or analogy. I am boycotting Chick-fil-a. I find their policy of using their profits to support such things as the Uganda death to gays bill downright evil, and refuse to let any of my money go to such ends. I am not avoiding their fried fast food products because of their unhealthy nature, nor do I personally dislike the taste. I once had one of their sandwiches and found it reasonably tasty, but then I found out what they were doing with some of the money they made off that sandwich. I am boycotting them because I do not wish to support a corporation that behaves in the way that that one has. That is what a boycott is.

I avoid eating at McDonalds whenever I can. There is no particular corporate policy of theirs that I object to, it is simply that I do not enjoy their food. That is not a boycott, it is simply my not purchasing things that I do not want.

I’m really baffled that Timaeus could think that the term boycott could apply to anything involving this overpriced collection of fake science. Regardless of what Timaeus thinks it is, Nick seems to have clearly expressed his views about the book. So why would Timaeus think that he would normally have purchased it, but was avoiding it in order to carry out a boycott? Who is Timaeus insinuating that Nick may have pressured to not purchase the book who would have otherwise likely wanted to own it?

Of course he is not here to explain himself. Which is the real reason why he used you as the messenger. Someone who regularly posts on a forum which practices extreme suppression of dissent, censorship, if you will, avoids posting his own questions on a forum that has a record of only banning posters in extreme situations. He asks leading questions, seemingly in bad faith, and intentionally does so in a way that allows him to avoid any actual presence so that questions could be asked of him in return.

He knows what the word boycott means. He’s just hoping that other people don’t. And if they do, he doesn’t want to be anywhere near here to face the music.

Nomad said:

I am yet another person who is not Nick, but I can’t help but respond at least the questions dealing with the concept of a boycott.

Elizabeth, I’m familiar with your “assume the other party is arguing in good faith” policy, and while I find it interesting, I think it’s leading you astray here. The boycott questions in particular seem to have been made by someone that was either being disingenuous, or who didn’t know what the word boycott even means.

Assuming that Timaeus understands the meaning of the words that he’s using, this was not a question, it was an accusation intended to create a negative association.

I prefer demonstrating what I mean by way of example or analogy. I am boycotting Chick-fil-a. I find their policy of using their profits to support such things as the Uganda death to gays bill downright evil, and refuse to let any of my money go to such ends. I am not avoiding their fried fast food products because of their unhealthy nature, nor do I personally dislike the taste. I once had one of their sandwiches and found it reasonably tasty, but then I found out what they were doing with some of the money they made off that sandwich. I am boycotting them because I do not wish to support a corporation that behaves in the way that that one has. That is what a boycott is.

I avoid eating at McDonalds whenever I can. There is no particular corporate policy of theirs that I object to, it is simply that I do not enjoy their food. That is not a boycott, it is simply my not purchasing things that I do not want.

I’m really baffled that Timaeus could think that the term boycott could apply to anything involving this overpriced collection of fake science. Regardless of what Timaeus thinks it is, Nick seems to have clearly expressed his views about the book. So why would Timaeus think that he would normally have purchased it, but was avoiding it in order to carry out a boycott? Who is Timaeus insinuating that Nick may have pressured to not purchase the book who would have otherwise likely wanted to own it?

Of course he is not here to explain himself. Which is the real reason why he used you as the messenger. Someone who regularly posts on a forum which practices extreme suppression of dissent, censorship, if you will, avoids posting his own questions on a forum that has a record of only banning posters in extreme situations. He asks leading questions, seemingly in bad faith, and intentionally does so in a way that allows him to avoid any actual presence so that questions could be asked of him in return.

He knows what the word boycott means. He’s just hoping that other people don’t. And if they do, he doesn’t want to be anywhere near here to face the music.

I’m glad you made this comment, it reminds me to make a point.

Authoritarians are obsessed with “boycotts”, and not just with regard to creationism. Mention a boycott of anything and they start barking uncontrollably.

Let’s think about what that means. As you illustrate, a boycott occurs when someone chooses not to spend their own money on something, for some principle. The term “boycott” may also imply trying to convince others not to spend their money on a product, in order to support some shared principle. For example, I also don’t eat at Chik-Fil-A, for the same reason.

Since this is a free society, we have a right to boycott anything for any reason. Right wing post modern fundamentalists boycott numerous things, explicitly and implicitly.

If someone tells me I can’t or shouldn’t boycott something, it follows logically that they must think that I am obliged to buy it, whether I want it or not.

That may sound strange to the mind that is capable of recognizing the humanity of others, but it is a very common impulse among authoritarians. They hear words like “boycott” or “censor”, but they can’t understand them. Asking them to would be like asking dogs to understand calculus. They instantly frame everything in completely narcissistic terms. Any response to them other than fearful groveling and mealy-mouthed ass-kissing adulation is perceived as “censorship”, “oppression”, and so on. Meanwhile, there is literally nothing they could do to anyone else that they would not consider justified. It’s well beyond mere calculating selfishness.

So yes, you are dealing with people who are enraged that you would dare to dream of not buying the book. The book is stamped with the approval of their ideological leaders; therefore everyone should be obliged to buy it. That’s the only perspective they are capable of.

Why not? I am in favour of disseminating information, not suppressing it. If someone asks me a question, and I don’t know the answer, I am happy to try to find out the answer and tell them.

I am sorry that you do not seem to understand that you are being abused as a stalking horse.

Something similar happened in climate science. When the journal Climate Research was apparently taken over by denialists on the editorial board, they suddenly started publishing really sloppy papers. One paper was so bad that its publication eventually resulted in the resignations of half the board and the editor-in-chief.

While this was going on, some climate scientists at the Climate Research Unit in the UK and their collaborators discussed taking the issue up with the publisher and ‘boycotting’ the journal by not submitting papers to it, until the mess was cleaned up. They didn’t want to be associated with a journal that would rubber-stamp terrible papers instead of subject them to genuine peer-review. Unfortunately they discussed this perfectly valid and reasonable idea in emails that were later stolen and leaked to the public out of context. Their discussion of a boycott became one harped-on element in “climategate.” Instantly, a private conversation about which journals they would submit their own papers to was spun into a conspiracy of suppression and stifling of “skeptical” researchers. It was played up as evidence that some kind of shadowy cabal of extreme Warmistas was pulling the strings behind major scientific journals to keep dissenting opinions from being published.

Of course it was nothing of the sort. I suspect any published scientist here could understand the trouble and the reaction of the CRU researchers. Pulling out of a failed journal until it cleans its house of bad actors? That’s just good sense, if you want your own work to be taken seriously going forward. But for those looking to find any scrap of information that could be added to their mental construct of a conspiracy, it was easy pickings. That’s how talk of boycotts, real or imagined, implies undue pressure and insidious back-room influence to some people. What represents one of the most powerful tools in the free market of ideas instead becomes fuel for authoritarian characterizations. Nick never said anything about a boycott of Springer, but the mere accusation that he might have when nobody was looking is apparently enough to set some people off down that trail of thought.

Sadly, this type of derailed thinking isn’t unique among climate and evolution denialists.

diogeneslamp0 said:

https://me.yahoo.com/a/72fFvmEFwPVT[…]uXioPYvQgJvQ–#822a0 said:

Hi Nick, I’m the proprietor of the Letters to Creationists blog. I appreciate all the sound science you and your fellow PTers provide. It is needed to counter the misleading half-truths put out by the ID advocates. You may be interested in another piece of mine on the ENCODE controversy, at http://letterstocreationists.wordpr[…]_dna_design/ ,where your name is taken in vain (by J Wells). This article grinds in detail through the claims of “80% functional human genome,” and also tries to explain from the inside why IDers do what they do. Bonus: watch for quote from The Vampire Lestat. Keep up the good work! -Scott Buchanan

Scott,

thank you for your website. I think this is by far the most detailed refutation of Sanford’s “Genetic Entropy” we’ve seen so far. I appreciate all the references on beneficial mutations.

Two criticisms:

1. What’s with the obscure titles? Your blog posts have titles like “Stan 4” which appear to have no relation to science. “Stan 4” sounds like the fourth country visited by a tourist in Central Asia.

2. No comments allowed?

Hi Diogenes, I didn’t plan originally to set up an extensive blog. The background is that a YE creationist acquaintance, knowing I am a PhD researcher (chemical engineering; heterogeneous catalysis) and believing that if I saw the light I could be a useful ally, tried to get me on board with YE creationism and of course anti-evolution. He gave me some multi-page handouts on the subject, which set off escalating rounds of correspondence between us.

It was not hard to refute the YE geology stuff, but I was a complete blank on the bio. The only formal training I had was a high school biology class way back in 1970 - -this was before we knew of introns in the genes, etc. So I had to bootstrap myself up by reading the back/forth/back/forth arguments here at PT and Sandwalk and PZ Myers (including your contributions), and over at ID sites. I found that I had to dig down to the primary articles to be sure I was cutting through the potential spin on either side. To help me be sure of the subject, I wrote it all out in a semi-formal style with references.

Having put a great deal of work in the letters on my end, I thought I might post them on the web to be a resource for others. My daughter set me up with a Wordpress blog, and I hung my four main letters out there as STAN1.…STAN4. I used “Stan” instead of my correspondent’s real name. No good reason for picking “Stan”. All this background is given in the preface to STAN1. Once I had a blog, I started adding other articles over time. If I had had a wider vision of where it was going, I would have picked a less-specific blog name.

re “No Comments” : It looks like the first several “pages” [in Wordpress-speak] at the top of the blog window (README through STAN4) do not permit comments. I don’t know why not - it was not intentional, maybe was a artifact of Wordpress “pages” back in 2010 when these were put up. The later pages do allow comments, as do the “posts” running down the main window. -Scott Buchanan

Scott Buchanan said:

It was not hard to refute the YE geology stuff, but I was a complete blank on the bio. The only formal training I had was a high school biology class way back in 1970 - -this was before we knew of introns in the genes, etc. So I had to bootstrap myself up by reading the back/forth/back/forth arguments here at PT and Sandwalk and PZ Myers (including your contributions), and over at ID sites. I found that I had to dig down to the primary articles to be sure I was cutting through the potential spin on either side. To help me be sure of the subject, I wrote it all out in a semi-formal style with references.

Well, how about that! Someone who took up the challenge and with no biology background to speak of took the initiative to find out what he didn’t know, to educate himself, to look into both sides, to dig into the primary sources(!!!), and to keep digging and cross checking until he was able to explain it well enough to a friend.

That’s the whole point about “science”. It *can* be accessible by anyone. (Okay, having a PhD isn’t exactly “anyone”, but still.) The point is it does not require miraculous intervention nor divine revelation to the Select Few. If you want to confirm or deny the validity of a “scientific” claim, you really can check it out for yourself. It may take more or less work, depending on where you’re starting from, but it can be done.

In contrast, how would one even begin to try to confirm or deny the validity of a theological claim, “That’s the way God wanted to do it”, or “It’s a miracle”, or “The Designer did it”?

Great job, Scott.

It may sound silly or mushy, but it’s a really inspirational story.

Thanks.

Hi Scott,

Oops! My previous comment was based solely on your comment here (and the response from diogeneslamp0), about your approach to the challenges of YEC. I had not actually visited your web site yet.

I hope the comments about divine revelation and miracles did not offend. My intent was to point out how, by way of your example, that science is “comprehensible” without the need of divine intervention, while miracles simply are incomprehensible in a scientific sense. There just isn’t anything that one can study to learn or better understand how miracles happen.

Scott F said:

Scott Buchanan said:

It was not hard to refute the YE geology stuff, but I was a complete blank on the bio. The only formal training I had was a high school biology class way back in 1970 - -this was before we knew of introns in the genes, etc. So I had to bootstrap myself up by reading the back/forth/back/forth arguments here at PT and Sandwalk and PZ Myers (including your contributions), and over at ID sites. I found that I had to dig down to the primary articles to be sure I was cutting through the potential spin on either side. To help me be sure of the subject, I wrote it all out in a semi-formal style with references.

Well, how about that! Someone who took up the challenge and with no biology background to speak of took the initiative to find out what he didn’t know, to educate himself, to look into both sides, to dig into the primary sources(!!!), and to keep digging and cross checking until he was able to explain it well enough to a friend.

That’s the whole point about “science”. It *can* be accessible by anyone. (Okay, having a PhD isn’t exactly “anyone”, but still.) The point is it does not require miraculous intervention nor divine revelation to the Select Few. If you want to confirm or deny the validity of a “scientific” claim, you really can check it out for yourself. It may take more or less work, depending on where you’re starting from, but it can be done.

In contrast, how would one even begin to try to confirm or deny the validity of a theological claim, “That’s the way God wanted to do it”, or “It’s a miracle”, or “The Designer did it”?

Great job, Scott.

It may sound silly or mushy, but it’s a really inspirational story.

Thanks.

I can’t say I go to such lengths, but whenever I am in doubt or want to learn a little more, I try to dig into the primary sources. But I am afraid I don’t se much (i.e. none) of a similar attitude from creationists. Any creationist here, speak up and tell us we are wrong.

I can’t say I go to such lengths, but whenever I am in doubt or want to learn a little more, I try to dig into the primary sources. But I am afraid I don’t se much (i.e. none) of a similar attitude from creationists. Any creationist here, speak up and tell us we are wrong.

I’m just guessing here, but I suspect the reason one doesn’t see that attitude from Creationists is because somebody who follows through on that attitude ceases to be a creationist. Some of the regulars on this blog are examples of that having happened.

Henry

Scott F said:

Hi Scott,

Oops! My previous comment was based solely on your comment here (and the response from diogeneslamp0), about your approach to the challenges of YEC. I had not actually visited your web site yet.

I hope the comments about divine revelation and miracles did not offend. My intent was to point out how, by way of your example, that science is “comprehensible” without the need of divine intervention, while miracles simply are incomprehensible in a scientific sense. There just isn’t anything that one can study to learn or better understand how miracles happen.

Hi Scott F, re: “ I hope the comments about divine revelation and miracles did not offend” - - - No offense taken. You make a good point about theological claims being not subject to the usual scientific investigation. I see a number of problems involved with alleged miracles: ( a) One is whether some event actually occurred that is inexplicable in terms of the known regularities of nature. That fact that many of our medical problems are psychosomatic complicates things. For instance, a friend of mine who is a neurologist told me he treated a man who whose left arm was paralyzed, but for no known organic cause. My friend put him under hypnosis, made the right suggestions, and shazzam, the man could use his arm again. My friend (originally from India) jokingly remarked to me that in some cultures he would be considered a miracle-worker for this feat. ( b) Even if that test (a) is met, how do we know that this is just an indication that our knowledge of the physical world is incomplete, i.e. this event could be explained at some later date? (c) And even if the most outrageous physical miracle were performed on camera, how do we know for sure what is the spiritual significance of it?

I think this is why the New Testament treatment of miracles is somewhat nuanced, calling them “signs” rather than proofs, and stressing the need for inner enlightenment. In poking around this subject, as with evolution, I have tried to be open-minded and let the data speak.

And never forget intentional deception by charlatans.

I feel that Scott’s refutation of Sanford’s “Genetic Entropy” is important and should be the topic of an OP at Panda’s Thumb. It should not be just buried as a footnote in an unrelated thread, like it is here.

We have many refutations of Dembski, Behe etc. but no detailed anti-Sanford refutations. The references on beneficial mutations, and on antibiotic adaptations that DO NOT involve loss of fitness, are important.

Unfortunately, I don’t have authority to post at PT. Could Nick or RBH do something to raise the profile of Scott’s anti-Genetic Entropy page?

I second that recommendation.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on July 1, 2013 1:58 PM.

KEEP CALM and ASK ABOUT ONIONS was the previous entry in this blog.

Darwin’s Doubt to be on Times bestseller list is the next entry in this blog.

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