New book on understanding evolution

| 68 Comments

I occasionally get books for review unsolicited, and many of them are not worth noticing. However, Kostas Kampourakis' Understanding Evolution is a wonderful resource for students of all kinds, including biology students.

9781107034914.jpg

Kampourakis, a philosopher at Geneva, has compiled and discussed sensibly a range of topics concerning evolution. He begins with the conceptual difficulties people have in understanding the evolutionary process, and why. In chapter 1, he discusses how we know about evolution, what questions it answers, and considers two cases that are close to home: domestication and epidemiology, the evolution of disease.

The evolutionary questions are about why living things evolved the way they did, about speciation, the process of evolving new species, and the hypotheses that these require. He talks about explanation (especially "inference to the best explanation") and the use of scientific method in evolutionary biology. The sections on domestication of animals and on epidemiology are satisfyingly complete.

Chapter 2 covers religious objections to evolution, including, of course, creationism and intelligent design. He discusses the arguments made by ID, especially in the context of atheism and agnosticism. Arguments from design in nature are expounded and given a thorough treatment, including "artifact thinking" and complexity.

The he discusses world views in conflict, especially relating to Richard Dawkins' views, and then more widely the views of both theist and atheist scientists. Gould's "nonoverlapping magisteria" and Simon Conway Morris' inevitability thesis are also reviewed. There is a nice discussion of the differences between knowing and believing and various kinds of methodological and metaphysical naturalisms.

Chapter 3 is titled "Conceptual difficulties to understanding evolution". Here he discusses psychological essentialism in detail, and the "design stance" that Dennett identified. The problems of conceptual change, which I have published on myself, are then discussed. An example he uses is the shift from geocentric thinking to heliocentric thinking, and it is a good case study. The discussion on essentialism and design thinking, especially of artifacts, appeals to the psychological literature in detail.

Chapter 4 gives a complete and up to date account of how Darwin himself came to his theories. In particular he discusses how Darwin thought varieties became species, and gives a nice timeline of Darwin's intellectual development. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how scientists and the religious reacted to the Origin.

Chapter 5 is about common ancestry. Usually books of this type focus upon natural selection, as if that were where Darwin's originality lay. Kampourakis knows that Darwin's true novelty lay in this idea instead. He explains how genealogical thinking allows us to reconstruct and classify the history of nature, and how thinking in terms of a historical tree of life made all the difference (and was Darwin's first and main problem to solve). There's a good discussion of molecular evolutionary biology here.

He gives an account of an often misunderstood notion in biology: homology. This is followed by phylogenetic classification and construction, and a discussion of the question of apparent similarities in biology: convergences (analogy, or homoplasy). Many clear and useful diagrams make the chapter even easier to follow. Then he considers the role of developmental thinking, and how evolution often modifies the timing of development.

Chapter 6 is titled "Evolutionary change". It discusses "deep time" and dating of taxa and their divergence. Here he notes that while selectionist accounts are important, much evolution is stochastic, that is, chance. He discusses the difference of within-species evolution (microevolution) and between-species evolution (macroevolution) and gives a good summary of scientific ideas about these, especially the "major transitions" literature. The "selection-against" and "selection-for" distinction is explained here. Speciation and extinction are also explained. Then he returns to the question of inference, in a historical science like evolution.

Finally, in his concluding remarks, he discusses what evolution does, and does not explain, especially with respect to ethical and religious questions.

Each chapter has a good reading list, and the material is up to date in both science, and philosophy and history. He takes stances throughout but does so explicitly, allowing the reader to decide what to think for themselves.

This is an excellent, and long-needed book. The education of evolution in schools is now so poor in many countries, that this can act as both a primer and as an invitation to think further, and I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone who wants to know what evolution really is and means. It is not cheap, but neither is it as expensive as many books of its kind. Buy a copy.

68 Comments

Sounds like an excellent book worth reading, but it’s awfully pricy ($81 HB, $31 PP). I’m sure the dishonesty institute will soon pan it.

It sounds interesting, but I think I’ll be hoping that the local libraries get a copy. Does it cover conceptual problems in interpreting cladograms? The apparent difficulty of tree-thinking has been a big topic in evolution education for a while, e.g. failing to understand that rotation around nodes makes no change in relationships.

As of today, Amazon says the book has not yet been released. Why the kindle version is $25 more than the paperback is a mystery.

i wonder if a deal could be struck with the publisher for a bulk run of this book at a reduced price point. It would be entertaining, and possibly educational, for some wealthy person or organization to get a lot of copies of this book and politely offer them for free to students at religous institutions.

i also think it’d be funny to show up at evangelical churches and politely offer them to the congregation as they enter or leave the church. I wonder how they’ll feel about the “both sides” argument in that context.

This is published by the Cambridge University Press, so I tried their website, and you can get some more information here

http://www.cambridge.org/us/academi[…]ng-evolution

You can download the illustrations in the book.

Is this philosopher a biological scientist? Has he done any science with accomplished results. Its okay to write books on evolution is not a scientist. many creationists write great debunking books on science. However its brought up in the bars about them being not scientists! The only thing that matters is proving your case. I would scan such a book, FIRST, for whether he provides biological scientific evidence , ENOUGH, to justify evolution as a theory of science as opposed to a hypothesis/hunch. He discredits himself right off if he calls opposition to evolution as coming from religious opinions. its not,. It comes from intellectual opinions with or without a prompting from other presumptions called religion. It seems like the same old stuff one would read in wiki. the times have passed for mere repeating of the a tired and failing old script. Prove your case like real sciences do. The Philistines are upon you.

Robert Byers said:

I would scan such a book, FIRST, for whether he provides biological scientific evidence , ENOUGH, to justify evolution as a theory of science as opposed to a hypothesis/hunch.

phhht said:

Robert Byers said:

Evolutionary biology has not shown why its a THEORY as opposed to a hypothesis.

The Theory of Evolution is a theory because it is vast, powerfully explanatory, and extremely well supported with observation and experiment. It explains everything from sickle cell anemia to why speckled moths change color in the presence of coal dust to why the beaks of the Galapagos finches change size to why bees are social insects. Those widely disparate facts, so evidently unrelated on their faces, are all explained by one Theory: the ToE.

And it is not only those facts. The ToE explains thousands of other facts which we observe in the real world. There is literally nothing known about living systems which is not illuminated by the ToE. It is a towering work of genius.

As always, the loons have nothing but denial. They don’t have a unified, self-consistent, testable explanation for anything at all. They can’t even say why they believe in gods. All they can do is to deny.

Robert, do yourself (and us) a favor, please buy the book! Instead of scanning, Will you read, really read and apply whatever intellect you may have to understanding what you read? Do you really have a sufficient background in general science making you capable of proper understanding and assimilation of what’s written?

Don’t read it only once, the bare minimum is two readings but my experience is that re-reading a book over an extended period of time, there is always something new to be learned. Learning takes an effort! It is your resistance to learning that does the work of teaching you what you read.

If you read with the premise that it is all crap, you are just augmenting the crap you already have far too much of instead of learning.

Robert, The place in heaven you have waiting for you won’t be jeopardized by making an effort to learn something you do not like and do not want to believe. Knowing your enemy makes you capable of making valid arguments.

Someday you may grow up an realize how silly you once were…

But that’s okay, I still have much more I should learn than what I already learned over 70 years of studying both evolution and creationism.

“It comes from intellectual opinions with or without a prompting from other presumptions called religion”

Your style of writing as displayed in this one sentence betrays the dearth of intellectual rigour in your thinking - if what you post here can be called thinking at all.

Please be so kind to link to any books by those criticizing evolutionary theory that are not based on religious beliefs. And ID does not count. They threw that cloak of lies away some time ago.

Other than that - your willful ignorance, your opinions based on nothing but misunderstood, half digested information and untruth soaked up with the willingness of one who is too lazy to read and understand the literature that provides simply overwhelming evidence for the process of evolution gets really tiresome. You are nothing but the ghost of denial…in the face of over one-hundred fifty years of still accumulating evidence from palaeontology, genetics, comparative anatomy, physiology etc. one can only hope that the the thin gruel that supports your existence in the interweb eventually will lead to a vanishing act as in Charles Dickens story.

In your own words, Robert,

the times have passed for your mere repeating of your tired and failing old script. Prove your case like real sciences do.

John Harshman said:

It sounds interesting, but I think I’ll be hoping that the local libraries get a copy. Does it cover conceptual problems in interpreting cladograms? The apparent difficulty of tree-thinking has been a big topic in evolution education for a while, e.g. failing to understand that rotation around nodes makes no change in relationships.

Yes, he does. In figure 5.12 he shows the same phylogeny in different arrangements as being equivalent, so that apparent progressions are not to be inferred from one representation. As TomS noted, you can download the figures fromt he website.

phhht said:

Robert Byers said:

I would scan such a book, FIRST, for whether he provides biological scientific evidence , ENOUGH, to justify evolution as a theory of science as opposed to a hypothesis/hunch.

phhht said:

Robert Byers said:

Evolutionary biology has not shown why its a THEORY as opposed to a hypothesis.

The Theory of Evolution is a theory because it is vast, powerfully explanatory, and extremely well supported with observation and experiment. It explains everything from sickle cell anemia to why speckled moths change color in the presence of coal dust to why the beaks of the Galapagos finches change size to why bees are social insects. Those widely disparate facts, so evidently unrelated on their faces, are all explained by one Theory: the ToE.

And it is not only those facts. The ToE explains thousands of other facts which we observe in the real world. There is literally nothing known about living systems which is not illuminated by the ToE. It is a towering work of genius.

As always, the loons have nothing but denial. They don’t have a unified, self-consistent, testable explanation for anything at all. They can’t even say why they believe in gods. All they can do is to deny.

You said nothing but what I’ve seen said a trillion times. its about evidence for saying evolution is a theory of science. Your just repeating it is a theory backed up with good evidences. first things first. why is evolution a theory of science ? Whats your top three evidences, se excellent, as to qualify evolution as a theory and not just a hypothesis dreamt up in the old days?! Wiki doesn’t say either!

Rolf said:

Robert, do yourself (and us) a favor, please buy the book! Instead of scanning, Will you read, really read and apply whatever intellect you may have to understanding what you read? Do you really have a sufficient background in general science making you capable of proper understanding and assimilation of what’s written?

Don’t read it only once, the bare minimum is two readings but my experience is that re-reading a book over an extended period of time, there is always something new to be learned. Learning takes an effort! It is your resistance to learning that does the work of teaching you what you read.

If you read with the premise that it is all crap, you are just augmenting the crap you already have far too much of instead of learning.

Robert, The place in heaven you have waiting for you won’t be jeopardized by making an effort to learn something you do not like and do not want to believe. Knowing your enemy makes you capable of making valid arguments.

Someday you may grow up an realize how silly you once were…

But that’s okay, I still have much more I should learn than what I already learned over 70 years of studying both evolution and creationism.

I have read heaps from articulate and otherwise evolutionists on forums galore. I know all this stuff. thats why I hit at deeper assumptions behind it and not just the usual list of proofs. I hit them too. No more philosophers but lets see real science in these fantastic claims of bugs to buffalos or fish to people with fish gills by their ears.

Three “evidences” says Robert, in his version of English.

One. All living things reproduce with variation, and the variations are themselves heritable. Observed fact. Two. All variations, however slight, are neutral, advantageous, or disadvantageous. Logically necessary, but also observed fact. Three. Advantageous variations tend to be selected by the environment (and sometimes by other factors), while neutral ones are not selected and disadvantageous ones tend to be culled. Logically necessary, but also observed fact, confirmed by countless field studies.

The emergent effect of these confirmed, reconfirmed, endlessly repeated observations is necessarily the theory of evolution. That was the evidence that Darwin saw and led, and the necessary logical deduction he made. It was good science then, and still is.

This is somewhat like the Rabbi Hillel’s reply when asked to explain the Torah while “he stood on one foot”. He said, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to another. The rest is commentary”, but he added, “Now go and study”.

If Byers actually wanted to know, he’d go and study. He doesn’t and he won’t, of course.

It’s a textbook, which is why it’s expensive.

Richard B. Hoppe said:

It’s a textbook, which is why it’s expensive.

I’ve never understood this argument. It has a limited print run, it’s printed on vellum, the publisher invested a shedload in a bunch of expensive books that haven’t washed their faces and is repeating the mistake; all seem a more reasonable explanations by comparison.

iSTM that the evidence for evolutionary biology is more accessible to the ordinary person than is the evidence for the heliocentric model of the Solar System. Or the atomic theory of matter.

I also recommend another textbook, Tree Thinking, by D.A. Baum and S.D. Smith. Roberts and Company Publishers. ISBN 9781936221165. It would appear to overlap somewhat in subject and treatment, but is focused on teaching phylogenetic systematics. It has quite a bit on how to understand phylogenetic trees, including what can cause people not to understand them.

Robert Byers said:

I have read heaps from articulate and otherwise evolutionists on forums galore. I know all this stuff.

Excellent that you finally “know all this stuff” as you yourself say.

Now you can finally get around to answering all the questions that you have run away from. Including questions you have avoided for over a year in a half, despite you repeatedly being asked.

Click here and here, Byers.

Robert Byers said:

The Philistines are upon you.

The first true thing Byers ever said.

How are you coming along with learning Hieroglyphs Bobby? that’s what you would have to do before you can make claims that only someone who can read hieroglyphs could make. I understand they have good programs at Brown and Yale if you are in new England.

Dave Luckett said:

Three “evidences” says Robert, in his version of English.

One. All living things reproduce with variation, and the variations are themselves heritable. Observed fact. Two. All variations, however slight, are neutral, advantageous, or disadvantageous. Logically necessary, but also observed fact. Three. Advantageous variations tend to be selected by the environment (and sometimes by other factors), while neutral ones are not selected and disadvantageous ones tend to be culled. Logically necessary, but also observed fact, confirmed by countless field studies.

The emergent effect of these confirmed, reconfirmed, endlessly repeated observations is necessarily the theory of evolution. That was the evidence that Darwin saw and led, and the necessary logical deduction he made. It was good science then, and still is.

This is somewhat like the Rabbi Hillel’s reply when asked to explain the Torah while “he stood on one foot”. He said, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to another. The rest is commentary”, but he added, “Now go and study”.

If Byers actually wanted to know, he’d go and study. He doesn’t and he won’t, of course.

No, No!. That doesn’t answer Byers at all. You provided three reasons Evolution is a fact. He wants to know why its a theory.

Try this, Bobby:

1. It explains all the observed facts of evolution.

2. It makes testable predictions.

3. It is consonantly being modified as new evidence is discovered.

Next unanswerable question, Bobby?

Robert Byers said:

Your just repeating it is a theory backed up with good evidences. first things first. why is evolution a theory of science ?

Because it is a comprehensive explanation of an aspect of nature (biology) that is supported by a vast body of empirical evidence.

That is what we mean by a theory in science.

Whats your top three evidences, se excellent, as to qualify evolution as a theory and not just a hypothesis dreamt up in the old days?! Wiki doesn’t say either!

There are no “top three” pieces of evidence which qualify the Theory of Evolution for its designation as a theory of science.

Instead there are hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of such observations. Each and every one is explained by the ToE.

One reason the ToE is regarded as a work of genius is because it explains phenomena which appear to be entirely unrelated. Examples include fossil hominid skulls, sickle cell anemia, why speckled moths change color in the presence of coal dust, why the beaks of the Galapagos finches change size, molecular evidence for common ancestry, and myriad other such facts of nature. The ToE explains them.

Helena Constantine said:

Dave Luckett said:

Three “evidences” says Robert, in his version of English.

One. All living things reproduce with variation, and the variations are themselves heritable. Observed fact. Two. All variations, however slight, are neutral, advantageous, or disadvantageous. Logically necessary, but also observed fact. Three. Advantageous variations tend to be selected by the environment (and sometimes by other factors), while neutral ones are not selected and disadvantageous ones tend to be culled. Logically necessary, but also observed fact, confirmed by countless field studies.

The emergent effect of these confirmed, reconfirmed, endlessly repeated observations is necessarily the theory of evolution. That was the evidence that Darwin saw and led, and the necessary logical deduction he made. It was good science then, and still is.

This is somewhat like the Rabbi Hillel’s reply when asked to explain the Torah while “he stood on one foot”. He said, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to another. The rest is commentary”, but he added, “Now go and study”.

If Byers actually wanted to know, he’d go and study. He doesn’t and he won’t, of course.

No, No!. That doesn’t answer Byers at all. You provided three reasons Evolution is a fact. He wants to know why its a theory.

Try this, Bobby:

1. It explains all the observed facts of evolution.

2. It makes testable predictions.

3. It is consonantly being modified as new evidence is discovered.

Next unanswerable question, Bobby?

You didn’t give three reasons why its a theory. Those were categories and not reasons for why evolutionary biology is to be classified as a scientific theory as they classify them. Name one and remember the great claims of the “theory”.

phhht said:

Robert Byers said:

Your just repeating it is a theory backed up with good evidences. first things first. why is evolution a theory of science ?

Because it is a comprehensive explanation of an aspect of nature (biology) that is supported by a vast body of empirical evidence.

That is what we mean by a theory in science.

Whats your top three evidences, se excellent, as to qualify evolution as a theory and not just a hypothesis dreamt up in the old days?! Wiki doesn’t say either!

There are no “top three” pieces of evidence which qualify the Theory of Evolution for its designation as a theory of science.

Instead there are hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of such observations. Each and every one is explained by the ToE.

One reason the ToE is regarded as a work of genius is because it explains phenomena which appear to be entirely unrelated. Examples include fossil hominid skulls, sickle cell anemia, why speckled moths change color in the presence of coal dust, why the beaks of the Galapagos finches change size, molecular evidence for common ancestry, and myriad other such facts of nature. The ToE explains them.

if its a work of genius then it shouldn’t be hard to name three or one TO JUSIFY it as a scientific theory. A theory of biology requires substantive material to back up its a theory. not just a hypothesis claiming to join bits of data. Genesis joins bits of data but we don’t call it a theory of science. Although its the truth.

Since this thread already is contaminated beyond salvation;

Robert: Evolution is the only viable explantation of the evidence. Call it whatever you like, science, heresy or whatever.

Now tell us how and why Genesis is - not true - but “the truth”?

The “bits of data” joined sounds interesting, tell us more about them!

Robert Byers said:

phhht said:

Robert Byers said:

Your just repeating it is a theory backed up with good evidences. first things first. why is evolution a theory of science ?

Because it is a comprehensive explanation of an aspect of nature (biology) that is supported by a vast body of empirical evidence.

That is what we mean by a theory in science.

Whats your top three evidences, se excellent, as to qualify evolution as a theory and not just a hypothesis dreamt up in the old days?! Wiki doesn’t say either!

There are no “top three” pieces of evidence which qualify the Theory of Evolution for its designation as a theory of science.

Instead there are hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of such observations. Each and every one is explained by the ToE.

One reason the ToE is regarded as a work of genius is because it explains phenomena which appear to be entirely unrelated. Examples include fossil hominid skulls, sickle cell anemia, why speckled moths change color in the presence of coal dust, why the beaks of the Galapagos finches change size, molecular evidence for common ancestry, and myriad other such facts of nature. The ToE explains them.

if its a work of genius then it shouldn’t be hard to name three or one TO JUSIFY it as a scientific theory. A theory of biology requires substantive material to back up its a theory. not just a hypothesis claiming to join bits of data. Genesis joins bits of data but we don’t call it a theory of science. Although its the truth.

Booby, give one reason to justify the Standard Model as a scientific theory. Or, do you contend that it is not a scientific theory? Then do the same for quantum chromodynamics and field theory. Just one reason each why they should or should not qualify as scientific theories. Now, demonstrate again why evolution does not qualify as a scientific theory. Explain what definition criteria evolution fails to meet that the others do (that is, if you even consider the SM, QCD, and QFT scientific theories).

Robert Byers said:

if its a work of genius then it shouldn’t be hard to name three or one TO JUSIFY it as a scientific theory. A theory of biology requires substantive material to back up its a theory. not just a hypothesis claiming to join bits of data. Genesis joins bits of data but we don’t call it a theory of science. Although its the truth.

Look, stupid, the ToE is NOT JUSTIFIED AS A SCIENTIFIC THEORY BY PIECES OF EVIDENCE. It is justified by its extremely powerful EXPLANATORY POWER. The hundreds of thousands of pieces of evidence are ALL EXPLAINED BY THE SAME ToE.

And if you think Genesis is the truth, you’re a delusional loon.

There’s no point shouting at Bobby. He’s intellectually deaf.

fnxtr said:

There’s no point shouting at Bobby. He’s intellectually deaf.

Hard of thinking.

Glen Davidson

https://me.yahoo.com/a/JxVN0eQFqtmg[…]X_Zhn8#57cad said:

fnxtr said:

There’s no point shouting at Bobby. He’s intellectually deaf.

Hard of thinking.

Glen Davidson

The natural consequence of being soft-headed.

One counter-example destroys the hypothesis. Consider Alchemy (turning lead into gold). Thousands of practitioners, throughout the centuries, sought the magic formula to transform lead into gold.

Science undiscovered? Nay. Alchemy is magic that can never become real science, nuclear reactors notwithstanding. Although it may be possible to transmute lead into gold inside a nuclear reactor, the economics and the yield are prohibitive. No science will ever make abundant gold out of lead. (And if it did, gold would become almost worthless, about like lead.)

So our new friend is wrong. Magic is not science undiscovered - as history shows us so abundantly. And neither is creationism science - as every test has found it wanting.

shjcpr said:

Scott F,

I hope hou dont realyy believe he stuff in that video you linked to. Geez. His own little talk went right over his head.

Does he think that anything that resides in his mind is not real??? Were the Wright brothers imagining of human flight fantasy. They simply actualized the reality that was formerly residing between their ears.

Tribbles of course exist. They are currently residing between that guy’s ears. Who knows, with a little help from some creative scientists, they’ll come out of their noodly residence and pay you a visit.

So yeah, the number 2 is quite real and lives in lots of places. Viva le 2.

Well, I’m glad you listened to the video. I’m sorry that you didn’t understand a word of it.

I’m no philosopher myself, but if you had understood anything he was saying, you would understand that it doesn’t matter whether I or you believe what he said or not. As I understand it, Epistemology is a matter of agreed-upon definitions and rules. If you don’t like his definitions of words like “reality”, if you don’t like his rules for evaluating “truth” statements, feel free to invent some of your own.

But, as I understand the author’s definition of Pragmatism, you then have to defend your chosen Epistemology. Are your definitions practical? Do they provide useful processes for judging the effectiveness of actions?

You ask:

“Does he think that anything that resides in his mind not real??”

In fact, that is his very first axiom: Anything in his mind is real, by definition, because there is no way to judge it otherwise. It’s what he calls an “internal reality”. Does everything in his mind correspond to an “external reality”? That’s a different question.

“Tribbles” of course, do not exist in any known “external reality”. I may be the POTUS in my “internal reality”, but that doesn’t mean it has any correspondence to the known “external reality”. And simply believing that I’m POTUS, or Jesus does not help me.

I suggest that you go back and listen again for comprehension. You seem to have missed the first time every critical point that he was trying to make.

To sum up: effective error correction is a necessary part of science.

shjcpr said:

Helena, why would you think God ‘speaking and it was so’ is some sort of magic. Is this an attempt to ridicule a reality you have trouble conceptualizing?

Is not magic just undiscovered science? It seems airplanes were magic until they were not. Smart phones were magic until they were not. I dont think “God spoke and it was so “ will stay magic for too much longer. After all, He did stay that there was nothing that would not be revealed.

All magic needs is a little patience. Give magic a chance, would you?

You wont regret it.

Nonsense. Cell phones never was magic except maybe they might have appeared like that to some obscure tribes deep in the still uncharted (any left?) spots on the globe. Are you a tribe-man?

The history of magic is as follows:

There was a time when man didn’t know squat about the world around him. But thing did happen, and man therefore quite reasonably reasoned that things that happen must have an explanation. All the things man knew like beating your kids make them cry or killing a snake made it dead taught him the relationship between cause and effect. But nature itself in all its manifestations didn’t manifest any causes. To solve that obvious discrepancy, man invented gods. A god for this, another god for that. When the universal god was invented, he took on all the chores previously attributed to lesser gods.

It wasn’t until man had amassed enough knowledge and insight that he slowly began to realize that the causes are built-in in nature. Nature contains all it’s own causes. Rains are not sent by a benevolent - or sometimes angry, rain-god. The rains are just a natural part of the water cycle.

We have as per this writing yet not detected the existence of any magician operating in the world; what we have learned is that even invisible particles move by natural forces. What’s more, the law of action and reaction tells us that a mover always will feel the reverse force of what he’s doing. How could God absorb the recoil from all his more or less terrible deeds? The bottom line is of course that magic is nonsense, you’d have to wait at least for a million years for magic to move your car.

Now you know what to do with your magic, don’t you?

I thought Robert Byers was only allowed one comment on a blog entry and that we were forbidden to respond to him because that would be feeding the troll.

In any case, he, like all other Creationist bigots who come here, is a pathological liar. He lies because that is what he does for entertainment here. Most normal people play computer games like World of Warcraft for that.

Dale Husband, the Honorable Skeptic

Hmm. Curious where my last post went. It was posted but is no where to be found. Evidence of its existence has been recorded, however.

Is this what we should descrive as a form of “benign censorship”? Plausible deniability?

ah, must be a case of “quota filled”. No extensions? No gimmies? No bonus time?

Catcha later, people.

shjcpr said:

Hmm. Curious where my last post went.

Sigh. There are a couple of informal rules of the internet I really wish people would learn.

1. A post being lost/unposted does not imply malice. Computer systems are not perfect - and neither are you. Either could have made an error resulting in a non-post.

2. A poster being away does not imply rudeness, cowardice, or that you ‘won.’ Everyone has a life. Blog posting may be a part of it, but for 99% of us its not a big part of it.

3. Don’t whine about site advertisements, they are largely out of the control of the blogger.

4. Don’t whine about blog topic choice, that is wholly in the control of the blogger…and it should be, because it’s his/her site, not yours.

5. Practice dialogue rather than monologue. This means, among other things…

5a. Don’t drive-by. If you start a conversation, try and be responsive to those who participate in it.

5b. Don’t spam or use someone else’s blog as your own personal advertisement space.

5c. Your pet peeve is not our pet peeve. Don’t bring it up unless its relevant to the post.

If we all follow these simple rules, our contributions to the net will sound a lot more reasonable and a lot less like the narcissism of a 14-year-old drama king/queen.

fnxtr said:

Dave Luckett said:

I think shjcpr is mainlining from here: http://sebpearce.com/bullshit/

Either that, or it’s an uncannily accurate recapitulation of his concepts.

THIS is delicious.

That site makes my head hurt.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by John S. Wilkins published on April 15, 2014 12:30 AM.

Once again, desperately dissing Avida was the previous entry in this blog.

Postdoc Openings in Genomics/Bioinformatics is the next entry in this blog.

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

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.381

Site Meter