Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Sophisticated Theologian Explains Why You Should Believe in God

Modern atheists are often accused of being ignorant of the most up-to-date arguments for the existence of god(s).1 We are told that there's a very sophisticated group of theologians out there who shouldn't be ignored.

Whenever we ask for those "sophisticated" arguments for the existence of god(s) we are directed to various Courtier's Replies discussing how to rationalize the properties of various gods. They all begin with the assumption that god(s) exist. As I pointed out earlier, there's no reason why an atheist should care about things like the problem of evil. It makes about as much sense as debating the cut of the Emperor's new clothes or the stylishness of his new hat.

Alvin Plantinga is one of these "sophisticated" theologians. Listen to him explain why atheists should believe in god(s). Is this really the best they can do?



1. The second most common complaint is that we don't even have good arguments for atheism—at least not as good as those thinkers of the 20th century who were full of angst over not having a god to believe in. Apparently modern atheists aren't very sophisticated unless they are contemplating suicide.

[Hat Tip: Jerry Coyne: Plantinga on why he believes in God, dislikes the New Atheists, and finds naturalism and evolution incompatible.]

251 comments :

  1. Hmmm...it's the "I can't prove that there is a past argument" that is recited by freshmen philosophy majors in pubs around the world. Very impressive.

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  2. Just listened to the whole thing, and my response is:

    Huh?

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  3. For a leading light in the philosophy of religion, that bulb is pretty dim.

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  4. "I just find myself convinced that there is such a person."

    !!!!!!

    So they have absolutely nothing.

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  5. In the words of Benny Hill as the Chinese Interpreter, "What a roada clap!"

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  6. I couldn't care less whether or not you believe in God. That's my argument.

    Plantinga isn't a theologian, is he? I thought he was a philosopher. And there is a difference. You think the "Courtier's Reply" is more sophisticated thinking? Really? It's just a variation of the false alternative fallacy.

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    1. TTC presents us with his best argument for God.

      TTC: I couldn't care less whether or not you believe in God. That's my argument.

      Little Timmy presents his argument for Santa Claus.

      Little Timmy: I couldn't care less whether or not you believe in Santa Claus. That's my argument.

      Matongo the shaman presents his evidence that his neighbor is a witch who must be killed.

      Matongo the shaman: I couldn't care less whether or not you believe my neighbor is a witch who must be killed.

      Vishnamurthi the high Brahmin presents his evidence for Ganesh the elephant-headed deity creating the universe.

      Vishnamurthi the high Brahmin: I couldn't care less whether or not you believe in Ganesh the elephant-headed deity creating the universe.

      As you can see, theological arguments for belief in God have grown in complexity and sophistication since the previous "best argument" for religion: "Kiss this crucifix or we'll shove a red-hot poker in your vagina."

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    2. Diogenes, you are clearly mentally disturbed so I will not indulge in making fun of you.

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    3. Since you believe in psychic powers, why don't you just go "Nnnn nnn, nnn nnn, nnn nnn" and zap me with super-powers like the psychics on South Park?

      I better not anger a dumbshit with Carrie-powers, who thinks that those who debunk his ESP powers are a "cult", who copies and pastes Ben Stein's quote mine of Darwin from "Expelled" over and over and over, and who explains his total lack of evidence for Darwin's support of eugenics by saying, well, the Darwin Project is conspiring to conceal the evidence that must, really must, be out there.

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    4. Wait? The Thought Criminal actually believes in ESP?

      No way. Ahahahahaha.

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    5. Hey, you believe Diogenes when it's obvious he's a mendacious crackpot. He couldn't win the argument on the other thread and he's out for blood. I can assure you. I'm shaking in my sneakers.

      I sometimes read reviewed research and wait to read any non-ideological critique of it. E

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    6. TTC got exposed as a pathetic liar and Darwin-quote miner in the other thread, where he copied and pasted Ben Stein's quote mine from "Expelled."

      Now he's here to pollute this one with his trolling, copying and pasting the same quotes over and over.

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  7. Larry, you’re missing the point. One doesn’t have to be sophisticated to believe in God, or make an argument for Him. What kind of god would require sophistication as a condition of faith? In fact, it’s often the sophisticated people that seem to have trouble with faith of any kind. As I have already noted, and many (sophisticated) Sandwalk fans replying to me agreed, the human race cannot even have faith in good old evolution-hosting Terra Firma continuing to host life indefinitely into the future. I think sophistication means to be wise in the ways of the world. Many (Maybe most) people never become sophisticated beyond their parochial world, which probably does not include the sophistication of biochemistry or the laws of physics. But, the unsophisticated can grasp God, because even they discern self – outside our physical molecules.

    We all know some very real things (grief, for example) cannot be proved, except by the symptoms of their existence. I have two friends who are dying, and suffering as they do so. I feel grief. I cannot measure or test grief. But, I know it is real. You may ‘think’ that mountains are an accidental inevitable result of suns producing the necessary elements. Others think that the suns took their orders from God. You heard Plantinga say that he thinks of God when he looks at mountains. I think you recently said that you saw nothing in nature giving evidence of God. God says His creation itself gives evidence of Himself.

    I think there’s a very simple argument to be made. That is that some really smart educated (sophisticated) people know a lot about what there is to know, and they have said there is no God. All the rest of us are simply IDiots. The argument between you and I may be a waste of time and effort, or maybe the argument may be between everyman and God.

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    1. Re Denny

      The problem that Mr. Denny refuses to face is that he is not being called an IDiot because he believes in god. Ken Miller believes in god and nobody here, including Prof. Moran, calls him an IDiot.

      Mr. Denny is an IDiot because of his scientific beliefs, which have no basis in reality. He cites Hugh Ross as an authority on biology. Prof. Ross is nothing of the sort, as Prof. Moran has pointed out on numerous posts and comments. Mr. Denny is pontificating on subjects of which he is almost totally ignorant and he has been called on it. If that offends him, tough bananas.

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    2. SLC, I don’t recall ever citing Hugh Ross on a matter relating to biology.

      On matters of biology, I have cited Fazale Rana: Ph.D, biochemistry. http://www.reasons.org/about/who-we-are/fazale-rana

      And, I have cited Patricia Fanning: "Patricia was a successful graduate student with a 4.0 GPA and won the Becton-Dickinson Award for the best graduate student research in her department and well as an award as the best graduate student teacher. She completed a B.S. in premed, a year of medical school (just like her professor, [Dr. Robert Horton, one of Larry’s "Principles of Biochemistry" coauthors], she decided after a year that she would prefer a Ph.D. in biochemistry to an M.D.) and a Ph.D. in biochemistry at NCSU. She also cross-trained in computer science, worked as a software industry consultant and applied her computer science training in her research, specializing in RNA structure and the E. coli ribosome using both laboratory and computational techniques."

      SLC said, “ ‘almost’ totally ignorant.” – Thank you.

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    3. You do science a disservice by labeling those beliefs as scientific.

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    4. When I read: "...the human race cannot even have faith in good old evolution-hosting Terra Firma continuing to host life indefinitely into the future." I know the person has a weak grasp of science. Of course, it is a certainty that earth will not support life indefinitely. The discourse gets only worse after that.

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    5. @Denny -

      In fact, it’s often the sophisticated people that seem to have trouble with faith of any kind.

      Ya think? With observational skills like that, you should work for Scotland Yard.

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    6. We all know some very real things (grief, for example) cannot be proved, except by the symptoms of their existence. I have two friends who are dying, and suffering as they do so. I feel grief. I cannot measure or test grief. But, I know it is real.

      This is a transparent obfuscation of the difference between subjective and objective.

      You've just equated the existence of God to a feeling. I feel creamy peanut butter tastes better than chunky peanut butter. You feel the reverse. Why should your feeling for chunky peanut butter be something I must feel? Why must my feeling for creamy peanut butter be something you must feel?

      Using evidence, we can demand that people believe in the Round Earth, heliocentrism, gravity, evolution, etc.

      Bu if the existence of God is an evidence-disconnected feeling analogous to a preference in peanut butter, you cannot expect that other people will, or should, share that feeling.



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    7. Pretty soon we will be able to MRI your brain to hell and back to measure how much grief you feel to accurate standards.

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    8. Re Denny

      I have a flash for Mr. Denny relative to academic credentials. Kurt Wise, a YEC who disagrees with the folks over at Reasons to Believe, has a BS in geology from the Un. of Chicago and a PhD in Palentology from Harvard, where his major professor was none other then Stephen Jay Gould. Clearly, his academic credentials are are least equal to the two that Mr. Denny cited.

      The fact that these two individuals associate themselves with Hugh Ross is reason enough to call them IDiots.

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    9. SLC. I sometimes get a kick out of you guys. I too know that a bona fide education does not mean much, when it comes to one's worldview. Jason Lysle, of AiG also has a Ph.D in astronomy, but never sees the obvious. However, before I start making the same claims about you or any other atheist/naturalist and your a priory views, I will simply say that your assessment of Hugh Ross is inaccurate. What I get a kick out of is,

      1) The presumed evolutionary certainty of all things scientific among Sandwalk fans. If you are simply tossing all creationist's views out the window, becasue of YEC'ers, fine, I can understand that. But your notion that only an atheist can properly interpret scientific data is wrong.
      2) Plus, let me quote Thought Criminal. “The Thought CriminalThursday, August 16, 2012 5:38:00 AM
      “Anonymous, you're only saying that because the chemicals in your brain make you say it. It doesn't mean anything. Nothing means anything, it's all just a product of chemical reactions. And since that's the case, whatever someone thinks is just another product of physical laws operating on molecules, one just as good as another. Science, religion, philosophy, theology, baseball, hockey.... all equal. That's the materialist position taken to its logical conclusion. Though, as I said, materialists don't want their rules to apply to them, they get to escape the materialist molecule maze that they want everyone else to be stuck in, by their rules. Only, we're not required to let them.” - I never heard the naturalist’s/materialist’s a priory lens described better. If you, SLC, are truly a naturalist or materialist, then indeed, your accidental (“random”, as Larry puts it) evolutionary brain biochemistry, such as it is in this era, is not on a quest for objective universal transcendental truth, but simply experiencing meaningless reactions – rendering this dialog and Larry’s blog also meaningless. That seems consistent with atheists’ presumed human meaninglessness and purposelessness. Doesn’t it? So, why do you all get so worked-up about creationists?

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    10. Re Denny

      But your notion that only an atheist can properly interpret scientific data is wrong.

      Where did I or Prof. Moran or any of the other commentors on this blog make such a statement? I don't think anyone here doubts that Ken Miller is perfectly capable of interpreting scientific data. Or does Mr. Denny consider that Roman Catholics are atheists?

      Just for Mr. Denny's information, my PhD thesis adviser was a born again Christian who was perfectly capable of interpreting scientific data, at least in physics.

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    11. Whether we are all 'just molecules', or are instances of supervening intelligence pushing molecules around, makes no fundamental difference to how one acts as a human being. That TTC should think there is some inherently illogical perspective to a 'physicalist' model of existence, and you should quote it with approval, just shows what a bizarre caricature of 'materialist' thought you carry around. It does the rounds, too, I have seen this kind of tripe many times. The fact that there is no logical basis for 'materialism' would explain why there is not so much as a single non-religious philosopher. Oh, hang on ...

      We ALL act as if our wills are free. It's that simple. They may not be - in either case, they may not be - but except when we are being sophomores after 3 or 4 joints, we simply carry on as if we have choices. I decide to raise my arm, I raise my arm. Whether that volition commences in some non-physical entity that pulls our physical molecular levers, or whether it arises from physics itself, does not alter the fact that our conscious minds experience the perception that 'we' can choose to do things.

      And the physical basis of consciousness certainly does not level all versions of concepts to relativism, with indistinguishable claims to 'truth' - a real state-of-affairs in the world! "You materialists have no right to an opinion on anything because your experience derives entirely from the physical? We spiritual creatures have some kind of access to Truth!"

      We are all the same kind of entity, whichever of us is right! We are either purely-physical, and you just think you're not, or we are some kind of spirit-physics symbiotic entity, and we just think we're not.

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  8. As far as I could see, he didn't provide a good reason for believing in a god. He gave a potted version of his argument about the unreliability of our cognitive faculties but that was answered pithily by Quine: "Creatures inveterately wrong in their inductions have a pathetic but praiseworthy tendency to die before reproducing their kind." If there is anything better we didn't get it there.

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    1. Yeah, his argument seems to simply be, 'if you REJECT the possibility that the universe is strictly materialistic, your belief holds up, but if you ACCEPT that as your presumption about the universe, you can't trust WHAT you believe, because beliefs are not shape-able by the laws natural selection?"

      WTF?

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    2. He running on the "natural selection would select for senses that make you good at surviving, not senses that necessarily give you accurate readings of existence" idea.

      Generally sensory information that will help you to survive is the same thing as sensory information that is accurate to the true nature of things, but there are in fact a variety of occasions where our senses are specifically tuned against reality because that's better for survival. Over identification of agency is a heck of a lot safer than under identification of agency when you're around stealthy predators, you think you're more attractive than you actually are (unless suffering from depression,) etc.

      Thing is we can actually set up tests to identify these goofy shortcuts our brains take. The way we do science is set up to factor out those biases and we make new sensing machines to detect things humans normally can't-

      But Plantinga wants to throw all of that out and pretend that there's good reason to think that practically everything coming into your eyes is fabricated so you can't even trust the numbers you seem to read off of a thermometer- that your belief will skew such basic perceptions in intricate and convoluted ways to lead you to all sorts of larger conclusions about how the world works.

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    3. "Creatures inveterately wrong in their inductions have a pathetic but praiseworthy tendency to die before reproducing their kind."

      In that case, since religious people tend to have more children and they tend to live longer, then natural selection would tend to confirm their inductions.

      Quine really said something that wacky?

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    4. No, that does not follow from Quine's quote. If you are occasionally wrong about things (as we all are), that does not seriously reduce your chance of survival. A theist can, in principle, be wrong about his theism but still be right about everything else he claims, such as when he criticizes another theist's rival brand of theism. Quine refers to the inveterately wrong, not the occasional wrong, and further qualifies it by saying there is tendency, not a certainty, toward reduced survivability.

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    5. TTC, mind giving me those scientific papers that confirmed which religion you have is tied to specific genes?

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    6. The Thought Criminal Wednesday, August 15, 2012 10:11:00 PM

      "Creatures inveterately wrong in their inductions have a pathetic but praiseworthy tendency to die before reproducing their kind."

      In that case, since religious people tend to have more children and they tend to live longer, then natural selection would tend to confirm their inductions.


      Not necessarily.

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    7. My question was if Quine really said something that wacky. From some of the following answers, it's at least clear the statement has the support of wacky.

      Al. The idea is incredibly stupid. I've gotten used to the "we're the all about evidence side" blowing off the need for evidence when it's an idea that supports their ideology. Given the evidence that religious folks tend to live longer and have more off spring have less alcoholism ... , that's the classic definition of a favorable adaptation. Only I don't believe religion is an adaptation anymore than atheism is.

      Quine. Maybe the person who called his branch of mathematics the equivalent of championship chess wasn't that far off.

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    8. No, the statement isn't wacky. If you think it's a good idea to drink bleach, stab yourself in the throat, and go stomp on several wasp nests, then you're not long for this world. If you thin Amway isn't a pyramid scheme and that mass purchases of scatch and win lotto tickets are a good way to make money then statistically you're probably going to have a hard time paying the bills.

      On the other hand if you sometimes go to church and leave some coins in the donation platter you're not nearly as wrong-in-general as the prior examples. Or in other words you're not inveterately wrong. Still a bit wrong here and there but that's not the same thing.


      Two things about religion being adaptive: you've got to be careful not to cherry pick evidence. The best way to do this is by attempting to disprove yourself, yourself. For example you could find that a majority of inmates in high security prisons are religious. This seems fairly maladaptive.

      Second is the issue of categories used here. It sounds like the categories here are religious and not-religious, which I would expect a study to determine by asking people if they go to church. It stands to reason that people who believe in Jesus and attend church will generally not be as depressed as people that also believe in Jesus but do not go through the motions (and thus likely feel guilty about it on a regular basis.)
      So instead can you show me a study that specifically identifies non-theistic rationalists/humanists before making these comparisons? That's right, even self identification as atheists isn't good enough here- I need to know something about what philosophy the people in these studies have, instead of just what they don't have.

      The truth of the matter is that individual studies about health are wrong more often than not. Nobody that actually cares about the evidence becomes convinced by a single study. What you have to do is watch and see if the results are confirmed by other researchers. This is unfortunately really boring and not the kind of breakthrough that grabs mass attention (so you'll basically never see it mentioned in new items.)

      In the mean time you can tentatively accept the findings, but you can't make very strong statements about the implications of them. There just isn't enough evidence in a single study, or even several studies done by the same group.

      Plus these studies are almost always biased by be run on psychology students (middle class white young adults are even more the majority there than out in public in general,) so if religion actually is healthier for them that doesn't mean it's healthier for ALL HUMANS.

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    9. The studies on mortality and reproduction in religious vs non-religious people are population studies, sampled from the general population, not psychology students. At least the ones I've seen have been.

      I've never accused the new atheism of being like championship chess.

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    10. But you can understand how I don't have access to that information right?
      If you'd like to link me to some of the studies you are talking about I could give a more specific critique.

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  9. Actually, his argument isn't even about why you should believe in God. He makes no mention of whether you should believe in his god, or someone else's or the Loch Ness monster, even. He just argues that if you believe in evolution, then - well - you can't trust your own mind!!!!

    Maybe he needs to write a book called "The Reasoning Delusion"

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  10. So if his argument is, "natural selection would select for senses that make you good at surviving, not senses that necessarily give you accurate readings of existence", then doesn't that explain the existence of religion?

    Because religion is a perfect example of people having feelings and sensations that help the group, and certainly the idea itself, to survive, even when it is an inaccurate reflection of reality.

    If the idea, the belief, is the unit of selection, then isn't the idea "Believe in my God or you will go to Hell" a perfect example of a sensibility that would tend to be perpetuated in spite of being an inaccurate reflection reality?

    Isn't the idea "Kill and die for our religious beliefs, and you will have sex with 70 virgins in the afterlife" a perfect example of a sensibility that would tend to be perpetuated in spite of being an inaccurate reflection reality?

    Right now, perhaps the most fertile people in American are Mormons and ultra-orthodox Jews. It seems that their beliefs are correlated with high fertility.

    Assuming that you do not agree with Mormon beliefs, would you not agree that the spread of Mormon beliefs is conducive to fertility, but not an accurate perception of reality?

    Many ultra-orthodox Jews are super-creationists who believe Earth is 5,700 years old and that fossils are fakes put in the ground by the devil to trick us. Would you not agree that the spread of this set of beliefs is conducive to fertility, but not an accurate perception of reality?

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    1. yep, as far as that goes, I think you've made a good counter-argument. But his more salient point seems to be, "Theists don't HAVE to believe that belief in god, and various religious tenets, are carried on through a selection process, because theists reject the whole concept of natural selection as having shaped the human mind". He would probably argue that people believe in God because God planted that belief in them, or something like that. He only refers to the natural selection process from the point of view of a non-believer in it.

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    2. The thing is that's not exactly his argument. He's gone and muddied it up so that it's less approachable- more vague.

      Anyway these beliefs definitely boost fecundity. They don't necessarily maximize your reproductive fitness though. Generally an individual assesses their available resources and from that determines how many children to split it between. There's some nice math to show what investment gets you the most bang for your buck (obviously 10 malnourished and disease ridden children aren't as good as just 4 healthy and happy children.)
      *Interestingly just from looking at the math you can see that higher taxes should result in greater investment per child, but politicians generally prefer to just use it to show that giving the poor handouts lowers the threshold and encourages them to have more children who get less invested in them per head.

      But anyway the point is that throughout the tree of life organisms actually limit the number of children they have quite a bit. Closely following the equation results in the greatest reproductive fitness for them.

      These beliefs that result in more children currently damage individuals significantly. Because humans typically have small numbers of offspring we run this nasty risk of having our reproductive success drop to zero if all of the children are wiped out by disease or famine or such at around the age of 10. If they're only one year in then you can almost definitely pick up the pieces and give it another go but it's risky to wait until they're fully grown- a sort of putting all your eggs in one basket situation.

      Centuries ago giving a genuine effort to producing ten babies was much the sensible strategy anyway so back then these doctrines didn't really mean changing your behavior except if you already weren't abiding by the patriarchal rules of conduct.

      There is a belief worth bringing up here that has quite the opposite effect. The Shakers actually believed that you shouldn't have babies or get married at all. This sect actually did very well for quite awhile even with the cut off in fertility. They dwindled down to almost nothing after their other methods of gaining followers dried up and their way of life became harder to maintain but before that point they really thrived.

      I don't think that quiver full beliefs alone will have such a detrimental effect on people's reproductive success as to bring about an end of these contemporary memes, but it is a start. Moreover you actually have really high rates of deconversion in most of those groups- but I've already gone on for too long so I'll leave you to find out why that is for yourself.

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    3. I think it would be more accurate to say that the Shakers thought THEY shouldn't marry and have children. Given what the marriage laws were in the 18th century, when Ann Lee, stuck in a marriage to a brute, came up with that idea, it was an alternative that made sense.

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    4. Unfortunately, ultra orthodox Jews are also the most fertile people in Israel, a fact that is making that nation increasingly ungovernable. What's going on in Israel is a harbinger of what is in store for the US if the present trends in fertility continue.

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    5. I didn't mean to imply that they tried to stop anyone else from marrying, just that they personally flat-lined their fertility. Religious ideas clearly get around whether the followers have large families or not- they just need SOME strategy for getting new followers, and they really don't care about the genetics of their current flock.

      Most religions are closely tied to the traditions of their original ethnic group- it's trickier to come up with ideas that will ring true to mass audiences.

      So what it boils down to is that pre-medicine preferences for birth counts currently lead to really large families. In pre-industrial areas the increased headcount combined with relatively stable food supplies do give nations a lot of expendable soldiers (especially with the old British first son inheritance system- I'm not sure how that's generally handled in the middle east.)

      When it comes to the troubles in Palestine I'm inclined to say that the situation is more complicated than that. High rates of population growth could definitely play some part but I don't think they are even among the most important factors of the instability there.

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  11. If you are a materialist and believe that thinking is only the expression of chemistry working itself out, there is no way for any idea to be wrong, every idea would necessarily be the result of matter acting according to physical law, creating the result of that. You have to step outside of materialism to decide that one idea is wrong and another one is right. Eddington and William James both pointed that out.

    That would include science. You couldn't make a claim that any idea of science can transcend its physical foundations to tell you something generally true of the universe because it couldn't transcend it's particular chemical and physical causation, which would only produce its particular result, not a universal one.

    Of course, materialists never limit themselves to their ideological holdings, they always figure they're special, able to step in and out of the closed maze that they set up as universal.

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    1. well, that might be true, but religious people do the same thing. They figure out they're special and feel that their own beliefs make it possible to step in and out of the closed maze that they set up as universal, no?

      Personally, I think it's silly for people with profound beliefs to try to convince naturalists that they should be taken seriously. The naturalists always say the same thing. 'Your beliefs are subjective, no evidence, you can't prove it, I've just gone one god further, etc., etc." Why would a religious person even feel a need to try to get a naturalist to go beyond that stance? A.) they NEVER do, and B.) the religious person doesn't need the naturalist to validate his,/her beliefs.

      I also think it's silly for naturalists to reject religion outright. They never try to understand where a religious person's most deeply held beliefs come from, and they always end up playing on their home field. The closest they come is someone like Sam Harris who believes that there ARE such things as profound spiritual revelation-type moments, but that these can be reduced to nothing other than chemical reactions in the brain. People like Dawkins aren't even worth considering, because they refuse to even consider these types of revelatory experiences, see the whole spectrum of religion as arising out of nothing other than people being afraid of death ( a ridiculous assumption) and throw the whole thing out because their own worldview can't accommodate it.

      And so the debate goes on, endlessly and ad nauseum.

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    2. Some religious people do, there are universalists. But if every single religious person made that mistake it wouldn't make materialists who do it any more right. And, while you can have religious pluralists and universalists, materialism is an absolutist ideology. You can't have a universe in which there is only matter and energy and then have exceptions to that. Which is one of the reasons that they tend to get so worked up over people disagreeing with their ideology. Like a religious fundamentalist. Fundamentalism is another absolutist ideology.

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    3. You have to step outside of materialism to decide that one idea is wrong and another one is right.

      Translation: you have to believe spooks exist, otherwise you have no reason to believe 2+2 = 4.

      By "stepping outside of materialism" TTC means believing in spooks.

      Eddington and William James both pointed that out.

      Translation: we're not intellectually inferior, really. Because we didn't make this shit up, we're citing dead white guys who made this shit up. We're citing dead guys-- we're intellectuals too.

      If you are a materialist and believe that thinking is only the expression of chemistry working itself out, there is no way for any idea to be wrong

      Translation: you cannot be sure 2+5 = 9 is wrong unless you believe spooks influence human events.

      Pathetic. This is the best these morons have got.

      every idea would necessarily be the result of matter acting according to physical law

      All natural processes create information. Basic quantum mechanics. Why should a brain based on natural processes be unable to copy information from sensory input?

      It is certainly true that MOST brain processes are unreliable. Hence the popularity of religion, racism, tribalism, the notion that one's children are above average, and men in their 50's thinking they are still attractive to young women.

      The fact that MOST brain processes are unreliable is not proof that ALL brain processes are unreliable.

      But how does hypothesizing the existence of spooks affect the expected percentage of though processes that are reliable? If spooks are real, how do we know they're not tricking us?

      That's basic Christian theology. Martin Luther said very clearly that reason is a whore. We can't trust reason, we must pluck out the eyes of reason, because Adam ate an apple, so we inherited the Curse. The Curse means Reason is unreliable, and Reason always undermines Faith. As Martin Luther stated many times, specifically to reject the Copernican notion that the Earth goes around the Sun.

      If spooks are real, we cannot trust the conclusions of reason. That's traditional Christian theology, so eat it.

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    4. Well, I wouldn't agree that all materialists get worked up over people disagreeing with their ideology. I think that many just get worked up when someone challenges them on its most fundamental tenet; i.e. evidence and/or lack thereof.

      Other than that, there is a wide spectrum of naturalistic stances toward religious belief. Some think it's just silly. They think their friends who are religious are fooling themselves, but they don't doubt their friends' intelligence or sanity.
      Some think religious thoughts are not only silly, but are dangerous delusions. Even so, they might just leave the whole thing alone unless somebody challenges them to a debate.
      And then there are those who you describe. Just one type of materialist, just as a religious fundamentalist is one type of religious person.

      The way I look at it, if you're an atheist, there is a chance that at some point your life may be saved by a religious person. If you're a religious person, it is equally likely that an atheist may save your life. Should that happen, the only correct response will be to thank them from the bottom of your heart; not lecture them about how stupid their beliefs are. It is good to keep things like this in mind as we go on about our daily lives.

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    5. Andyboerger, I don't know what your experience with materialists is but mine is that they get angry at anything that can imply something more than their conception of material existence exists. I've gotten into arguments with them about whether or not inherent rights exist because the concept gets too close to the supernatural for them.

      Over and over again, on the atheist blogs they assert that anything that doesn't fit into their concept of materialism is not allowed, should be ridiculed and talking about it suppressed. You can read them say pretty much that, especially in the earlier years of the new atheism over the past decade.

      Materialism is an absolutist ideology, as absolutist as biblical fundamentalism.

      Diogenes, I don't intend to participate in your drooling all over another discussion. You need therapy. Your best friends won't tell you but I will.

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    7. TTC: Over and over again, on the atheist blogs they assert that anything that doesn't fit into their concept of materialism is not allowed, should be ridiculed and talking about it suppressed.

      I call bullshit on this lying fuckhole.

      Provide an actual example of an atheist saying that talking about supernaturalism should be "suppressed."

      Hyperlink or go fuck yourself.

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    8. TCC, we can all be brains in vats undergoing simulations. Until you can show that the possibility deserves any serious thought, I will ignore it.

      The materialist assumption is made because there is absolutely nothing to undermine it, nothing. That's why science works under the materialism assumption. Because it's completely impossible to do it any other way. When you can create your machine that tells us there's something beyond materialism, then you'll become the most famous person ever, and we can start exploring your spooks. Until then, entertaining your notions is as useful and as fun as pretending I'm a brain in a vat.


      Diogenes, your Martin Luther rabble was magnificent. I'm adding that to my favorite quotations.

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    9. Thought Criminal, if you are correct saying, “thinking is only the expression of chemistry working itself out …,” and “You couldn't make a claim that any idea of science can transcend its physical foundations to tell you something generally true, …” then how can materialists claim they’re “special”?

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    10. Thought Criminal, based on the first two paragraphs of your Wednesday, August 15, 2012 10:31:00 PM statement, why all the annoyance in this thread with the idea of God?

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    11. I think you don't get that I was presenting the materialist position so it was apparent what it was. I think it's hog wash, other people can make up their own minds, or maybe they'll just arrange their chemicals and neither truth nor falsity will result but just a bunch of chemical compounds created, with no truth value whatsoever. Which I think is hog wash but which is a necessary conclusion of materialism, which even the materialists don't like. I don't think they ever thought out their position that far, before.

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    12. andyboerger said, “The way I look at it, if you're an atheist, there is a chance that at some point your life may be saved by a religious person. If you're a religious person, it is equally likely that an atheist may save your life.” - andyboerger (I suspect you already know this.) Technically, from a Christian point of view, and in context with your statement, Christian people don’t “save” anybody. They simply interact with others out of purposeful motive. God is seen as the only one who has the transcendental capacity to save anyone from anything. Therefore, what would an atheist save a religious person from (someone specific like a Christian)?

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    13. Denny, just a wee bit of advice. Some day you may experience something very dangerous such as a traffic accident or a boating accident. A quick thinking paramedic/doctor/lifeguard, etc. may save your life. If that happens, and hopefully you will be spared any such situation, do NOT say to that person, "I sure am grateful to GOD for putting you in the right place to save my life!"

      That would be tacky.

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    14. (Repost - ended up against the wrong comment)

      Therefore, what would an atheist save a religious person from (someone specific like a Christian)?

      A burning building? A car wreck? An aggressive tumour? I think you are misunderstanding, perhaps deliberately, the word "[S]/[s]ave"! Help in the here-and-now is all the atheist has to offer, and to the apparent astonishment of the religious, you can't readily distinguish atheists by any unwillingness to do so.

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    15. andyboerger and Allan Miller. Re. atheists saving people, Christians or otherwise. In a strictly natural material evolutionary context, your use of the word “save” is not really saving. It’s merely postponing inevitable physical death. In your context, the individual is not really saved from anything. That’s why I asked what andyboerger meant by. “save.” In a Christian context (as I’m sure you all know), the word save typically means saved from death. Not a preservation of one’s aging molecules, but a saving of one’s ultimate essence, that which is not material, that which transcends molecules. Now that really is saving.

      Allan Miller said, “Help in the here-and-now is all the atheist has to offer, and to the apparent astonishment of the religious, you can't readily distinguish atheists by any unwillingness to do so.” – Yes. Of course. I agree. “One cannot readily distinguish atheists by any unwillingness to do so.” Your statement is consistent with the Christian notion that we are all created in God’s image. But, His image doesn’t stop at molecules. It goes beyond molecules. That’s why we need “saving” beyond physical molecules. You don’t have to believe that notion, but not believing it doesn’t disprove it.

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    16. That’s why we need “saving” beyond physical molecules. You don’t have to believe that notion, but not believing it doesn’t disprove it.

      No, of course it doesn't. But I still don't get why we would need saving beyond the physical molecules. An entity that sifts souls in the way Natural Selection (or a eugenicist, hahaha) might sift 'fitter' and 'less fit' organisms, dispensing in some way with the latter and retaining the former ... that seems an entity I might wish to keep on the right side of, but hardly one I could sincerely worship.

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  12. Anonymous, you're only saying that because the chemicals in your brain make you say it. It doesn't mean anything. Nothing means anything, it's all just a product of chemical reactions. And since that's the case, whatever someone thinks is just another product of physical laws operating on molecules, one just as good as another. Science, religion, philosophy, theology, baseball, hockey.... all equal. That's the materialist position taken to its logical conclusion. Though, as I said, materialists don't want their rules to apply to them, they get to escape the materialist molecule maze that they want everyone else to be stuck in, by their rules. Only, we're not required to let them.

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    1. Because all thoughts stem from a cascade of determinism it makes all thoughts equally accurate in reflecting the world around us?

      That's a non sequitur of universal proportions you've got there.

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    2. Oh, and how does taking a concept to its "logical conclusion" show that another concept is true?

      Did you take a class in Theistic Thinking 101: Disproving Evolution?

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    3. you're only saying that because the chemicals in your brain make you say it

      So the access of the molecular world of brains to a supervening metaphysical world somehow springs you from the trap of 'ultimate' determinism? You're only saying that because God made you do so.

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    4. Anonymous, you're only saying that because of the peculiar confluence of your constituent molecules. I think there's a deficiency there, that's what my constituent molecules are making me say. That, boy, is a perfectly acceptable conclusion of materialist ideology.

      Jeesh. Maybe someday a responsible adult on the science blogs will break it to you that the study of evolution didn't begin or end in 1859 and 1882. That is if the responsible adult who knows better isn't afraid to tell the truth on a science blog.

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    5. "I think there's a deficiency there"

      That's what I was thinking about your ability to make a coherent argument against materialism, much less a coherent one in favor of... your thing.

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    6. Allan Miller, as many religious traditions believe in free will, something that is frequently denied by materialists, you are leaving that important distinction out.

      Materialism, being absolute, "permitting nothing except material existence", there is no possibility of free will or free thought in materialism. A materialist has to temporarily abandon their ideology to even give themselves a temporary dispensation from their material straight jacket. I'd give you relevant quotes from a long stream of materialists going back to the classical period but the use of primary source material and complete quotes only seems to confuse you guys.

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    7. I'm perfectly capable of researching the history of philosophy for myself, ta.

      The fact that many religious traditions believe in free will is just bully-for-them. They have no way of determining whether their sense of free will derives from some entity that wishes them to retain that delusion, or whether they 'really' have it. Assertions of 'material straitjacket' can be replaced by a more general 'metaphysical straitjacket'.

      Free will exists for all practical purposes, and nobody, even the most ardent believer in Laplacian regularities, acts as if it doesn't. Having the so-called logical consequences of materialism pointed out says nothing about whether or not materialism is 'true'. As far as the AllanMiller3000 (TM) brain-in-a-jar is concerned, he can make decisions that seem, for all the world, like he is an immaterial entity inhabiting this body. The fact that some other entities believe they really are immaterial entities, shoving the molecules around rather than indulging a two-way relationship with those molecules, processing inputs and generating outputs, is a matter for them. But they are no more entitled to consider themselves 'truly' free, because of this meta-existence they claim, than I, even if they happen to be correct about the extra level.

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    8. the use of [...] complete quotes only seems to confuse you guys.

      Is that why you elide quotes without marking the elision? To avoid confusing us? You are thoughtful.

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    9. Allan Miller, don't you remember what happened last week when you lied about what I'd said? If anything, the discussion of materialism and free will contains far, far more documentation.

      How do you propose that something that is determined by physical laws can be free? I mean, while retaining the meanings of the words. Something that is determined can't be free at the same time, at least not within the realms of logical coherence.

      Materialism can't contain free will without stretching the meaning of words out of any coherence, in the manner of Daniel Dennett.

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    10. That's what I was thinking about your ability to make a coherent argument against materialism, much less a coherent one in favor of... your thing.

      I didn't make an argument against materialism, I was using it to draw logical conclusions about the impossibility of anything we think being anything but a chemical reaction, without truth or the possibility of deriving universal concepts out of the necessarily particular chemical reactions involved. I knew materialists wouldn't like it, even materialists don't want to live in their fantasy ideology, they want an exemption from it. In fact, they demand it, for themselves and their ideas. Materialism can't escape it being just a product of chemical reactions with no truth or universal validity on account of it's being just another chemical reaction, the result of random chemical and physical conditions at the time that reaction happened. It's just another physical phenomenon, by its own holdings.

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    11. But immaterialists don't even have a definition of free will. How can immaterialists say free will is necessary for science or logic, or that it is not permitted by materialism, when immaerialists refuse to give real definitions of their supposedly most important assertions?

      I asked the creationists at Uncommon Descent to define free will. The UDites are a bunch of egomaniacs like TTC, they think they're intellectuals but they're dumb as shit. I simply asked them to define free will. The clearest answer I got was that it involved using "reason" and was not deterministic.

      But that's circular logic, because the UDites couldn't define "determinism" except to say it's not free will.

      When I pointed out that they couldn't define their key beliefs, the UDites had no response excepts splurts of rage and ad hominems. You can't refine an idea with immaterial egomaniacs. If you point out that their ideas are gobbledygook, they don't improve their ideas, they just splurt rage and insults like crazed homeless people.

      It might be an interesting question to ask if natural laws are non-deterministic, because of quantum mechanics and chaos theory. You might find that an interesting discussion-- what does free will mean? What does determinism mean?

      But you can't have that discussion with anti-Darwinists because they're egomaniacs. If you say, "Your concept is poorly defined", they have no comeback but saliva-spewing rage, so there's no point discussing interesting questions with the witch doctors of anti-Darwinism. Ego always comes first with them.

      Likewise, you could ask the flip question: if we hypothesize that spooks exist, how does that show free will?

      A spook is basically an invisible, intangible computer that presumably exists in an alternate universe or something, and somehow influences matter in our universe.

      But how do you know spooks have free will? How do you know free will exists in that alternate universe? How do you know the invisible, intangible spook is not functioning deterministically, like a computer? What is the structure of a spook? What are the laws in the invisible alternate universe where it exists-- are they any such laws in that universe at all? Some laws? All laws? No laws?

      Since the spook is intangible, we cannot say whether it acts deterministically or indeterminately.

      Since the alternate universe the spook exists in is invisible, so we can't say whether the laws of that universe are or aren't deterministic.

      At least in this universe we have some reason to argue it's non-determinist, because of chaos theory and quantum mechanics. But for the Invisible World, as Cotton Mather called it, we can't say.

      All you've done is displace the problem to an alternate universe we can't see or do measurements in. That doesn't solve the problem.

      Bottom line: the key concepts of immaterialism have no clear definition and they're not working on the problem.

      All the immaterialist assertions boil down to, "There's no way you can assert X unless you acknowledge my spooks exist." Replace X by whatever you like, reason, math, science, all things which have never been improved at all by hypothesizing spooks.

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    12. Allan Miller, don't you remember what happened last week when you lied about what I'd said?

      As I don't recall lying about anything, I think a little specifics may help refresh my memory. I do recall saying you have a tendency to associate Darwin and Hitler, and you have demonstrated that amply over a couple of hundred subsequent posts. Weaselling out of the 'charge' by pointing out that the one died before the other was born does not quite cut it, since your subsequent posts are all Haeckel! Schallmeyer! Alfred Ploetz! And so forth.

      If anything, the discussion of materialism and free will contains far, far more documentation.

      What documentation do I require to support a personal contention on 'materialism'? I don't give a damn what any (other!) philosophers have said in this regard. You believe that you can somehow step outside the material, and gain 'free will' that way. You are mistaken, since you cannot show that your non-material free will is anything but an illusion.

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    13. The first thing I pointed out was that Darwin died years before Hitler was born and so he couldn't be responsible for Hitler. But there is absolutely no way to distance Darwin from Haeckel, Darwin corresponded with him, praised his books, cited them to support his contentions in Descent of Man and, I'm pretty sure, developed some of his ideas in that book. If you want to complain to someone for the association of Darwin with Haeckel, you've got to blame Darwin and Haeckel.

      It was Leonard Darwin who associated his father with Schallmeyer and Ploetz, as I noted. Oh, other than the associations that Schallmeyer and Ploetz made between their work and Charles Darwin. Again, if you want to complain about those, you can blame all three of them. I don't recall any citations of Schallmeyer by Charles Darwin... but I'd have to review my old notes on that point. I'm almost 100% certain there are none in his writing of Ploetz. For rather apparent reasons.

      You know, Allen Miller, I or anyone else is absolutely within their rights to note that Charles Darwin endorsed Haeckel, about as enthusiastically as he did Francis Galton. You may just hate that association but its one that Charles Darwin made all by himself, even if the reciprocal endorsement by Haeckel of Charles Darwin didn't exist, which it most certainly does.

      There is no honest way to separate Darwin from Haeckel. You have to lie to do that. And I won't lie to make his fans feel better.

      Wouldn't it have been better for YOU to have brought this up on the thread that discussion is on instead of here?

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    14. What a lying little shit! Do you think we'll miss this equivocation?

      TTC: I or anyone else is absolutely within their rights to note that Charles Darwin endorsed Haeckel

      Because Darwin cited Haeckel's work on embryos in the 1860's, that means Darwin "endorsed" Haeckel's political beliefs in the 1890's?

      Do you think we're too dumb to notice how cunningly you try to lie?

      In the previous thread TTC cited a letter where Darwin asks Haeckel about vestigial organs, and TTC tells us that proves Darwin supported infanticide. What a fucking idiot.

      No asshole, you need evidence of at least three things:

      1. Haeckel proposed eating babies, or something bad
      2. Darwin read it (if it's only in German, that's not possible)
      3. Darwin endorsed it.

      If you don't have 1, 2, and 3, then stop trying to lie to us.

      Now note this other lie from TTC.

      Charles Darwin endorsed Haeckel, about as enthusiastically as he did Francis Galton

      No asshole, you're lying. In the previous thread I quoted the letter to Gaskell where Darwin rejected Galton's ideas about eugenics.

      Do you think we forgot that detail? That you can just make shit up? Well, you can, but we're not fooled.

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    15. Read em and weep, Diogenes.

      - He who wishes to see what ingenuity and knowledge can effect, may consult Prof. Haeckel's works. (21. Elaborate tables are given in his 'Generelle Morphologie' (B. ii. s. cliii. and s. 425); and with more especial reference to man in his 'Naturliche Schopfungsgeschichte,' 1868.
      - (2. Prof. Haeckel was the only author who, at the time when this work first appeared, had discussed the subject of sexual selection, and had seen its full importance, since the publication of the 'Origin'; and this he did in a very able manner in his various works.)
      - I was directed to these figures by Prof. Huxley, from whose work, 'Man's Place in Nature,' the idea of giving them was taken. Haeckel has also given analogous drawings in his 'Schopfungsgeschichte
      - I am considerably indebted. Haeckel has given admirable discussions on this whole subject, under the title of Dysteleology, in his 'Generelle Morphologie' and 'Schopfungsgeschichte.
      - ("De l'Unite Organique," in 'Revue des Deux Mondes,' June 15, 1862, p. 16) and Haeckel ('Generelle Morphologie,' B. ii. s. 278), have both remarked on the singular fact of this rudiment sometimes causing death.)
      - In every large collection of human skulls some may be found, as Haeckel (43. 'Generelle Morphologie,' 1866, B. ii. s. clv.) observes, with the canine teeth projecting considerably beyond the others in the same manner as in the anthropomorphous apes, but in a less degree.
      - (74. Haeckel has an excellent discussion on the steps by which man became a biped: 'Naturliche Schopfungsgeschicte,' 1868, s. 507. Dr. Buchner ('Conferences sur la Theorie Darwinienne,' 1869, p. 135) has given good cases of the use of the foot as a prehensile organ
      - And as man from a genealogical point of view belongs to the Catarrhine or Old World stock, we must conclude, however much the conclusion may revolt our pride, that our early progenitors would have been properly thus designated. (16. Haeckel has come to this same conclusion. See 'Uber die Entstehung des Menschengeschlechts,' in Virchow's 'Sammlung. gemein. wissen. Vortrage,' 1868, s. 61. Also his 'Naturliche Schopfungsgeschicte,' 1868, in which he gives in detail his views on the genealogy of man.) But we must not fall into the error of supposing that the early progenitor of the whole Simian stock, including man, was identical with, or even closely resembled, any existing ape or monkey.
      - The Lemuridae stand below and near to the Simiadae, and constitute a very distinct family of the primates, or, according to Haeckel and others, a distinct Order.
      - Lastly, one single member of the immense and diversified class of fishes, namely, the lancelet or amphioxus, is so different from all other fishes, that Haeckel maintains that it ought to form a distinct class in the vertebrate kingdom.

      http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/2300/pg2300.html

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    16. Und so weiter

      Darwin to Haeckel, E. P. A.
      9 Mar 1864

      Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
      Mar 9. 1864

      Dear & Respected Sir

      You must permit me to thank you sincerely for the present of your paperf1 & for the Stettin Newspaper.f2 I am delighted that so distinguished a Naturalist should confirm & expound my views, and I can clearly see that you are one of the few who clearly understand Natural Selection.f3

      I feel sure that you do good service by boldly expressing how far you agree with me.

      Many men in this country & elsewhere really go nearly or quite as far as I do on the modification of Species, but are afraid openly to express such views. I have been particularly struck & interested by your remarks on the individual variability of Sapphirina. This sentence will be remembered by me & quoted hereafter.f4

      With sincere respect I remain dear Sir | yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin

      http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-4422

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    17. Diogenes:

      Because Darwin cited Haeckel's work on embryos in the 1860's, that means Darwin "endorsed" Haeckel's political beliefs in the 1890's?

      TTC:

      (A whole bunch of examples of Darwin citing Haeckel's work from the 1860's)


      LOL, TTC! Do you have a reading disorder, or are you just compulsively dishonest?

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    18. How stupid are the new atheists, when presented with example after example of Charles Darwin endorsing Haeckel's work, of praising it, of saying he is one of the few people who really understands natural selection, of using Haeckel's writing to support his own, they think their great hero didn't really mean it.

      Blog Atheism and illiteracy, now, that's a worth while research project.

      You know, I could give you Haeckel's citations of Darwin, only most of those are in German and you are definitely too stupid to get that. Even in those books that Charles Darwin praised and cited, himself.

      It doesn't matter if its true for the new atheists, it just has to go along with their mythology.

      And you wonder why you can't convince people who don't already share your ideology.

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    19. Wouldn't it have been better for YOU to have brought this up on the thread that discussion is on instead of here?

      You asked me if I recall what happened when I 'lied'. You brought it up here, so I replied here.

      And off you go again - here boy! Haeckel! Hitler! Darwin! Go fetch! I once endorsed my mate's guitar playing. His politics stink to high heaven. Does that make me a racist?

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    20. Therefore, what would an atheist save a religious person from (someone specific like a Christian)?

      A burning building? A car wreck? An aggressive tumour? I think you are misunderstanding, perhaps deliberately, the word "[S]/[s]ave"! Help in the here-and-now is all the atheist has to offer, and to the apparent astonishment of the religious, you can't readily distinguish atheists by any unwillingness to do so.

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    21. Allan Miller, From what you and your friends say, the fact that Charles Darwin endorsed Ernst Haeckel and cited his work in his scientific publication and private letters is FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE, not to be mentioned. You are saying that for ideological reasons it is required to falsify history, to present a false Charles Darwin who never did that.

      To which I say, I'm not required to lie about history to make you and the atheist chorus happy. Charles Darwin and Haeckle are, beyond any possible doubt associated, it was Charles Darwin and Ernst Haeckel who made that association by associating with each other. Haeckle visited Darwin at his home, Francis Darwin, one of C.D's sons, is my source for that:

      The earliest letter which I have seen from my father to Professor Haeckel, was written in 1865, and from that time forward they corresponded (though not, I think, with any regularity) up to the end of my father's life. His friendship with Haeckel was not nearly growth of correspondence, as was the case with some others, for instance, Fritz Muller. Haeckel paid more than one visit to Down, and these were thoroughly enjoyed by my father. The following letter will serve to show the strong feeling of regard which he entertained for his correspondent—a feeling which I have often heard him emphatically express, and which was warmly returned. The book referred to is Haeckel's 'Generelle Morphologie,' published in 1866, a copy of which my father received from the author in January 1867.

      http://www.gutenberg.org/files/2088/2088-h/2088-h.htm

      Francis Darwin knew his father better than any of the post WWII propagandists who you depend on for creating the phony, mythical Charles Darwin who wasn't associated with Ernst Haeckel. You want to believe that lie, I refuse to lie about it. That's the difference between us.

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    22. Allan Miller, From what you and your friends say, the fact that Charles Darwin endorsed Ernst Haeckel and cited his work in his scientific publication and private letters is FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE, not to be mentioned.

      Oh, is it bollocks! What I think must be transparent to everyone but you is that his having high regard for Haeckel as a scientist and a person in no way justifies extension to endorsement of his politics, particularly those expressed much later. Grief, one would almost think you had an axe to grind or something.

      With which of the many people I have entertained in my home and with whom I have socialised do you think I would wish to align my sympathies? The lefties? The righties? The somewhere-in-the-middlies? The homophobes? The misogynists? They cover the spectrum, and I don't agree with any individual on everything.

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    23. He cited books by Haeckel that contain his eugenics and race "sciene". I've found no place that Charles Darwin rejected those ideas or criticized them. Maybe you're so unaware of how thinking works that you don't realize that even a part of the available Charles Darwin - Ernst Haeckel record proves that Charles Darwin was fully associated with Ernst Haeckel, the absence of his criticism of those ideas in Haeckel's work AS HE CITED THOSE WORKS AND PRAISED THEM, is Charles Darwin endorsing those ideas. Charles Darwin telling Haeckel:

      I am delighted that so distinguished a Naturalist should confirm & expound my views, and I can clearly see that you are one of the few who clearly understand Natural Selection.

      confirms that Haeckel didn't misunderstand what Darwin meant by "natural selection". His endorsements of Haeckel's application of natural selection in those books, saying

      He who wishes to see what ingenuity and knowledge can effect, may consult Prof. Haeckel's works.

      is a continuing endorsement, in public, in one of Darwin's major science publications, absolutely confirms the case that Darwin associated himself with and endorsed Ernst Haeckel's statements in those books, using natural selection to make those statements in those books.

      That's the way thinking works, Allan Miller. Clearly, that is a novel concept to you and your friends here.

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    24. I suppose, since you're doing a side step to pretend that Darwin couldn't possibly have agreed with Haeckel's political assertions about Darwin's theories, here's what he said in a book we know, from Darwin's letter thanking Haeckel, which I believe I cited in the discussion we've been having, that Darwin had in the original German and which he said he looked forward to in reading in the forthcoming English translation:

      Besides, Darwinism, the theory of natural selection--which Virchow aimed at in his denunciation, much more especially than at transformation, the theory of descent--which is often confounded with it--Darwinism, I say, is anything rather than socialist! If this English hypothesis is to be compared to any definite political tendency--as is, no doubt, possible--that tendency can only be aristocratic, certainly not democratic, and least of all socialist. The theory of selection teaches that in human life, as in animal and plant life everywhere, and at all times, only a small and chosen minority can exist and flourish, while the enormous majority starve and perish miserably and more or less prematurely. The germs of every species of animal and plant and the young individuals which spring from them are innumerable, while the number of those fortunate individuals which develop to maturity and actually reach their
      hardly-won life's goal is out of all proportion trifling. The cruel and merciless struggle for existence which rages throughout all living nature, and in the course of nature _must_ rage, this unceasing and inexorable competition of all living creatures, is an incontestable fact; only the picked minority of the qualified "fittest" is in a position to resist it successfully, while the great majority of the
      competitors must necessarily perish miserably.

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    25. We may profoundly lament this tragical state of things, but we can neither controvert it nor alter it. "Many are called but few are chosen." The selection, the picking out of these "chosen ones," is inevitably connected with the arrest and destruction of the remaining majority. Another English
      naturalist, therefore, designates the kernel of Darwinism very frankly as the "survival of the fittest," as the "victory of the best." At any rate, this principle of selection is nothing less than democratic, on the contrary, it is aristocratic in the strictest sense of the word.
      If, therefore, Darwinism, logically carried out, has, according to Virchow, "an uncommonly suspicious aspect," this can only be found in the idea that it offers a helping hand to the efforts of the aristocrats. But how the socialism of the day can find any encouragement in these efforts, and how the horrors of the Paris Commune can be traced to them, is to me, I must frankly confess, absolutely incomprehensible.

      http://www.gutenberg.org/files/25711/25711-h/25711-h.htm


      Note that Thomas Huxley, Charles Darwin's "bulldog", his foremost scientific associate, the man who co-planned Darwin's funeral along with Francis Galton, wrote the introduction to the English edition, which was published during Charles Darwin's lifetime. I have found no place where Charles Darwin or Thomas Huxley renounced this interpretation of Darwin's ideas.

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    26. Sorry, forgot to put Haeckel's text in italics, it's the paragraph before the URL.

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    27. I'm afraid I find Haeckel's point rather incomprehensible - wortsalat. I'd have to read Virchow for context, I'd have to know what subtle nuances of the original German may bring to bear on the use of the phrase "'aristocratic' in the truest sense of the word".

      At any rate, this principle of selection is nothing less than democratic, on the contrary, it is aristocratic in the strictest sense of the word.

      Huh? It's entirely democratic, but on the contrary strictly aristocratic ...?

      How anyone can derive political 'ought's from the 'is' of Natural Selection is to me, I must frankly confess, absolutely incomprehensible. All I can see is Haeckel similarly failing to see how socialists can find anything helpful in Darwinism, nor how the excesses of revolution can be traced to a Darwinian principle.

      Either way, it is hardly a resounding cry for compulsory euthanasia or sterilisation. Darwin and Huxley may or may not have agreed with that snippet in giving a general approval of the work in question.

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    28. Allan Miller, I'm afraid that anyone who understands what he was talking about would understand what Ernst Haeckel said.
      I read Thomas Huxley's intro and found "word salad" nowhere to be seen.

      You claimed:
      What I think must be transparent to everyone but you is that his having high regard for Haeckel as a scientist and a person in no way justifies extension to endorsement of his politics, particularly those expressed much later.

      You could consult the books that Charles Darwin not only cited but endorsed, enthusiastically, to see that he was both aware of and had no objection to his work being interpreted politically. That is absolutely clear from Charles Darwin, it is confirmed by his own son, Leonard in stating, plainly, that he was carrying on his father's work in his eugenics activity, only makes the case absolutely solid.


      Allen, you are in the denial stage of grief at the death of your imaginary Charles Darwin. Perhaps you'll eventually reach the stage of resigned acceptance. He never existed, he's a post-war fantasy that was intentionally invented to lie about the real Charles Dawin. Anyone who read the documents I've presented to you and was emotionally able to admit what they mean would admit that, if pressed.

      Delete
    29. Here, to make it easy for you, Allen, in a book that Charles Darwin is on record as being aware of and thanking Haeckel for:

      Darwinism, I say, is anything rather than socialist! If this English hypothesis is to be compared to any definite political tendency--as is, no doubt, possible-- that tendency can only be aristocratic, certainly not democratic, and least of all socialist.

      In an English translation that Thomas Huxley wrote the introduction for, of a book that we know, from his own words, that Charles Darwin had and almost certainly read, if not in the German, in the English translation for which his "bulldog" wrote the introduction, during Charles Darwin's lifetime. "Darwinism" "can only be aristocratic, certainly not democratic, and least of all socialist".

      I'd go into the political implications re socialism, as a socialist, and what that means for the pseudo-socialism of the likes of Karl Pearson, but that would only confuse the already confused. But what Darwinism means for democracy was known and being expounded from the 1870s, during Darwin's life, by his intimate associates.

      Delete
    30. Allan Miller, I'm afraid that anyone who understands what he was talking about would understand what Ernst Haeckel said.

      Which is ... what's your reading, o person-who-understands-what-he's-talking-about?

      I read Thomas Huxley's intro and found "word salad" nowhere to be seen.

      Really? You read what I wrote and then went to check if Huxley had said 'word salad' in his intro?

      Allen, you are in the denial stage of grief at the death of your imaginary Charles Darwin.

      I think your own imagination is a little too vivid. I have said elsewhere that I don't deeply care about his character. On the evidence, reports are generally favourable, but he could just as easily have been a maid-rogering, Mr Hyde-potion-ingesting, Jack-the-Ripper-esque figure. But all you have succeeded in doing is gathering together a bunch of innuendo, selective quotation and linkage with numerous figures from the Establishment, the eugenic movement and German science, without any clear evidence that Darwin himself was in favour of anything approaching active 'improvement' of the human race - the weakest kind of eugenics that one could really start to take exception to. I care far less passionately about that than you seem to think, but the case is weak as dishwater.

      Perhaps you'll eventually reach the stage of resigned acceptance.

      Perhaps you'll make a coherent and convincing case. A notebook that says "STERILISE THE POOR!", perhaps?

      Anyone who read the documents I've presented to you and was emotionally able to admit what they mean would admit that, if pressed.

      Of course, because that is the only reason someone would not buy your case - emotional entrenchment!. Nothing whatever to do with the weakness of the case, or nothin'?

      Delete
    31. Darwinism, I say, is anything rather than socialist! If this English hypothesis is to be compared to any definite political tendency--as is, no doubt, possible-- that tendency can only be aristocratic, certainly not democratic, and least of all socialist.

      So, in giving his overall approval to a work that mentions it possible to draw political parallels from NS, Darwin is silently, and very obliquely, indicating that he might not be a socialist, and omitting to correct Mr Haeckel on the general inadvisability of drawing politics from the principle of NS. Got it. What an absolute bastard.

      Delete
    32. If I were a new atheist, I'd note you'd gone past merely quote mining but lying about what the text you're characterizing said.

      You've got it bad, Allen. This level of lying is something I've seldom seen outside of the most primitive of creationists and American Republicans.

      For any rational people reading this, how 'bout them new atheists.

      Delete
    33. TTC can only make his "points" by not describing or by lying about the context of people's words, as he does here with Haeckel's remarks re: aristocracy, democracy, and socialism.

      TTC conceals from the people on this thread the HISTORICAL CONTEXT of Haeckel's political remarks.

      Above, Alan Miller said that he can't understand what Haeckel is talking about-- of course he can't, because TTC concealed from his readers the political context of Haeckel's remarks. For real historians, context is everything, and if you conceal or misrepresent the contexts of a document, you're being dishonest and your career as a historian is dead.

      So what, then, was the context of Haeckel's remarks from 1879, "Freedom in Science and Teaching", linked to by TTC?

      First, a few weeks before Haeckel wrote that, there had been a couple of attempts to assassinate the Kaiser. Right wing newspapers blamed these assassination attempts on socialists [not actually true] and in turn blamed the popularity of socialist agitation on the spread of Darwin's theory, which they called "the ape theory."

      Right-wing militarist politicians, specifically von Treitschke, blamed Darwinism for the attempts on the Kaiser's life. Obviously, Haeckel had to dispute them.

      Indeed, from the moment that Darwin's theory was published in Germany, nearly everyone associated Darwinism with socialism and revolution. It was considered Staatsgefahrlich, dangerous to the state, and was effectively banned from being taught in German schools until the end of WWI.

      To be associated with revolution in a hereditary aristocracy is always dangerous, but it's especially dangerous right after attempts have been made to assassinate the Emperor.

      (For a modern analogy, consider that right after the 9/11 terror attacks, American creationists immediately associated Islam and terrorism with Darwinism-- some still do. If that connection is being made right after 9/11, wouldn't you argue that Darwinism has nothing to do with Islam or terrorism? Of course you would.)

      The most respected scientific opponent of Darwinism in Germany was Virchow, an embryologist. I emphasize that Virchow was a scientist and not just a politican. Virchow blamed the spread of socialism on Darwinian theory.

      Not only that, but after the assassination attempts on the Emperor, Virchow called for an end to freedom in teaching science, the reason being, that Darwinism led to socialism.

      (This wasn't an idle threat-- again, Darwinism was in fact effectively banned from being taught in German schools until the end of WWI.)

      So Haeckel didn't start associating Darwinism with politics. On the contrary, that connection was made by anti-Darwinists like von Treitschke, Virchow and many others, who didn't just associate Darwinism with politics-- they wanted to ban the teaching of Darwinism outright, because of their phony Darwinism-socialism-violence link.

      In 1879 Haeckel was threatened with the banning of Darwinism by the government, and with being labelled as a "revolutionary" (because he believed in Darwinism) who was Staatsgefahrlich, dangerous to the state.

      Continued below, I'll quote what Haeckel wrote that TTC doesn't want you to know about.

      Delete
    34. Continuing:

      Now that we know the context, let's read more of Haeckel's words, the part that quote miner TTC doesn't want you to read.

      Haeckel, 1879: "The two insane attempts which, within a few weeks, have been made by Social-democracy against the revered and reverend person of the German Emperor have raised a storm of righteous indignation of such violence that calm judgment is entirely overthrown, and that many even of the most liberal of liberal politicians not only impetuously urge us to the severest measures against the Utopian doctrines of social democracy but, far over-shooting the mark, demand that free-doctrine and free-thought, that freedom of the press and even freedom of conscience shall be thrown into the narrowest fetters. Can this reaction, lurking in the background, find any more welcome support than is afforded by the mere demand of such a man as Virchow for restriction of liberty in teaching? And if he makes our present doctrines of evolution in general and the theory of descent in particular responsible for the mad doctrines of social-democracy, it is but a natural and just consequence when the famous New-Prussian "Kreuz-Zeitung" throws all the blame of these treasonable attempts of the democrats Hödel and Nobiling—as in fact it quite lately did—directly on the theory of descent, and especially on the hated doctrine of the "descent of man from apes."

      And the danger which threatens us shows a still graver aspect when we consider how great an influence Virchow has at the present day as an advanced liberal, and how he is regarded in the Prussian diet as the highest practical authority, and at the same time as the most liberal critic when educational questions are under consideration. Now it is well known that one of the most important problems lying before the Prussian parliament is the consideration of a new education-law, which will probably exercise its restricting influence for a long time to come... throughout Germany; what can we expect of such an education-law if in the course of the deliberations... Virchow raises his voice as a leading authority, and brings forward the principles that he proclaimed in his speech... as the surest guarantees for the freedom of science...? Article XX. of the Prussian Charter, and § 152 of the Code of the German Empire, say, "Science and its doctrines are free." And Virchow's first step, according to the principles he now declares, must be a motion to abrogate this paragraph.


      So, in context, what Haeckel is saying is: Darwinists didn't try to assassinate the emperor, we are not dangerous to society, so don't ban our scientific ideas.

      But in fact, Darwinism was effectively banned anyway from Germany schools until the end of WWI.

      What anti-Darwinists did then is exactly analogous to what TTC is doing on this thread. TTC is, like von Treitschke and Virchow, defeated by the evidence for Darwinism, so his "Hail Mary play" is to associate Darwinism with violence.

      Delete
    35. Quote mining? I quoted the precise text you'd quoted from Haeckel, in full. I think you need to brush up on what the term means - I certainly doubt it applies to abstracting part of a post whose full text is visible to - and has probably just been read by - anyone with a scroll wheel!

      Nor can I really 'lie' about what amounts to my own interpretation of the facts, having snipped yours. Haeckel said it is possible to draw political parallels, but certainly not socialist ones. Darwin did not draw attention to this passage, for or against its sentiments. Are those statements in fact incorrect?

      The rest, of course, is just me mocking your credulity-stretching interpretation of the bare facts.

      For any rational people reading this, how 'bout them new atheists.

      ???

      Delete
    36. @Diogenes - thanks for the expansion of the context.

      I think I'm going to have to take a vow of silence from now on - I've been inadvertently reponsible for the derailment of two threads now, by innocently detonating the "H-bomb"!

      Delete
    37. @Allan Miller -

      You asked about the problem of historical context for Haeckel's remarks.

      In my comments above yours, I described the historical and political context of Haeckel's remarks in some detail, and how they show that TTC is bullshitting again.

      TTC has no evidence that Darwin supported eugenics, a word invented 3 years after Darwin was dead, or "Social Darwinism", a term invented 62 years after he was dead.

      Have you noticed how TTC leaves off the DATES on his quotes? He doesn't want us to know the DATES when people said things, because he is trying to claim cause-effect relationships between words and sentences said decades apart, in different contexts.

      The quote minder must conceal context and dating for his quotes.

      I like some scientists whose politics are horrible. I admire the science of Hans Bethe but it doesn't mean I agree with his right-wing politics.

      I admire the science of Freeman Dyson but it doesn't mean I agree with his anti-GW nonsense. I admire the physics of Isaac Newton but it doesn't mean I agree with his alchemy.

      In order to show that Darwin supported coercive eugenics, or something bad, a real historian would need at least three things:

      1. Haeckel proposed eating babies, or something bad

      2. Darwin read it (if it's only in German, that's not possible)

      3. Darwin endorsed it.

      A real historian would need all 3, but TTC has not provided evidence for any of them-- no evidence for (1), no evidence for (2), and no evidence for (3).

      Instead, what TTC has copies, over and over and over, is a dishonest simulacrum of (3) concocted by quote mining-- Darwin endorsed Haeckel's scientific statements of the 1860's.

      TTC tries to pass that off as support for Haeckel's political beliefs of the 1890's.

      But TTC copies, again and again and again, Darwin writing to Haeckel about vestigial structures, embryology etc. etc. and then TTC tells us that means Darwin approved of killing babies, and of eugenics, when the word wasn't invented until 3 years after he was dead.

      Pathetic. No wonder TTC must copy-and-paste his quote mines here-- this bullshit would never, ever, ever, get into the peer-reviewed historical journals. Real historians aren't that easy to trick.

      Delete
    38. You distorted its meaning and you didn't quote enough of what Haeckel said to represent it honestly. That's what "quote mining" is, what you did. Or is IOKIYAA?

      Here;s the entire passage that includes what you mined:

      "Many are called but few are chosen." The selection, the picking out of these "chosen ones," is inevitably connected with the arrest and destruction of the remaining majority. Another English naturalist, therefore, designates the kernel of Darwinism very frankly as the "survival of the fittest," as the "victory of the best." At any rate, this principle of selection is nothing less than democratic, on the contrary, it is aristocratic in the strictest sense of the word.

      So, Haeckel's contention was that "selection was nothing less than democratic" but he was equating that with "survival of the fittest". In other words, all of them would be subject to "selection", in all it's vast ambiguity of meaning, but "victory of the best." will be the result. That was what he was saying was "nothing less than democratic". Which is what American Republicans who want to destroy any kind of aid to the poor also call "democracy" as well as those who have been opposing civil rights laws since they started to be introduced. A phony substitute for real democracy. "Democracy" as aristocracy. The note that it was "another English naturalist" was a rather subtle tonal note on that count.

      Since neither Charles Darwin or Thomas Huxley seems to have complained with this part of that " Another English naturalist, therefore, designates the kernel of Darwinism very frankly as the "survival of the fittest," as the "victory of the best." and as anyone with any awareness would know that other "English naturalist" was Herbert Spencer, who is to Social Darwinism what Francis Galton is to eugenics, it would seem that neither of them objected to Darwinism being equated to Social Darwinism. And, as pointed out, Darwin had the book and his "bulldog" [his phrase, not mine], Thomas Huxley, had read it and written an introduction to its English edition. And why would Darwin object to being associated with Spencer, who he called "our great philosopher" in The Descent of Man?

      Diogenes, I'll just let you damage the intellectual status of your side by ignoring you.

      Delete
    39. I've got to say, in the context of the history of the next 60 years, this is a pretty chilling passage.

      "Many are called but few are chosen." The selection, the picking out of these "chosen ones," is inevitably connected with the arrest and destruction of the remaining majority.

      As German eugenicists, associated with Haeckel and Haeckel himself were already campaigning for people being treated as objects to be judged by their value to society, that the individual was nothing, and they were already talking about infanticide of the "unfit", where things were headed was obvious by the 1880s.

      Delete
    40. as anyone with any awareness would know that other "English naturalist" was Herbert Spencer,

      It's possible that means Spencer (though Spencer was a social scientist), but so what? They quote Spencer's useful catch-phrase for natural selection.

      So what? Eugenics is artifical selection, not natural selection. Who cares if they borrow someone's slogan about natural selection?

      Creationists also believe in natural selection, and also call it "survival of the fittest." That doesn't mean they believe in macroevolution.

      But all these people-- Darwin, Spencer, Haeckel-- had very different politics.

      The fact that they borrowed each other's phrasing doesn't prove they agreed with each other's politics. In practice, they didn't. Darwin quoted the Bible too, it doesn't mean he believed in Genesis.

      Spencer wanted no support for the poor, and no imperialism. Darwin believed in imperialism and support for the poor. Haeckel was liberal and pacifist; sometimes he was nationalist, sometimes internationalist. His ideas changed over time.

      They can't all have the same politics because they disagree with each other. This is the whole problem of talking about "Social Darwinism". "Social Darwinism" is not well-defined, except that each author agrees that it's what he's against. For big government types, "Social Darwinism" is small government, and for small government types, it's big government.

      TTC himself promotes on this thread presuppositional theology, which inspired Rushdoony's pro-eugenics, racist, fascist, totalitarian theology.

      All major American creationists from 1920 to 1970 supported eugenics, which followed from their anti-Darwinist beliefs.

      TTC copies their anti-Darwinist pseudohistory. Indeed, TTC even copies the quote mine from Darwin's Descent of Man, the same one used by Ben Stein! Since TTC agrees with their scientific and historical myths, TTC must share their politics and believe in eugenics too.

      If we applied TTC's (shitty) standards of evidence to TTC himself, we could prove TTC is more into eugenics, racism and mass murder than Darwin ever was. So the link from the Thought Criminal to eugenics, racism, fascism, and totalitarian theology is far more direct than any link from them to Charles Darwin.

      Delete
    41. I've been impressed at how skilled Charles Darwin was at sanitizing what he was saying, note how he seems to want to pretend that those "variations" weren't actually contained in the organisms that were what got "favored" or destroyed. Including "man" as that was what he talked about in this passage from the 5th edition of On the Origin of Species

      Can it, then, be thought improbable, seeing that variations useful to man have undoubtedly occurred, that other variations useful in some way to each being in the great and complex battle of life, should sometimes occur in the course of thousands of generations? If such do occur, can we doubt (remembering that many more individuals are born than can possibly survive) that individuals having any advantage, however slight, over others, would have the best chance of surviving and of procreating their kind? On the other hand, we may feel sure that any variation in the least degree injurious would be rigidly destroyed. This preservation of favourable variations, and the destruction of injurious variations, I call Natural Selection, or the Survival of the Fittest. Variations neither useful nor injurious would not be affected by natural selection, and would be left either a fluctuating element, as perhaps we see in certain polymorphic species, or would ultimately become fixed, owing to the nature of the organism and the nature of the conditions.

      http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?viewtype=side&itemID=F387&pageseq=121

      (5th ed.), London: John Murray, pp. 91–92, (1869)

      I'd like to have more information about the context in which Darwin adopted Herbert Spencer's most notorious phrase and think about his, perhaps, attempt to make the idea palatable by substituting "variations" for people.

      Now that the Social Darwinism phase has been entered, I figured I should open that notebook.

      Larry Moran, if you want this to stop I'd be willing to let things sit where they do but I feel obligated to present the actual record of what was said instead of allowing the myth to stand.

      Delete
    42. Holy shit! TTC has just proven that Charles Darwin believed in natural selection!

      No shit, Sherlock.

      No wonder Carrie here believes in telepathy. He sure needs telepathy to figure out Darwin believed in natural selection.

      Natural selection is not artificial selection. Coercive eugenics is a particular form of artificial selection.

      That coercive eugenics was supported by many anti-Darwinists, whose ideas are copied and pasted by TTC.

      All major American creationists from 1920 to 1970 supported eugenics, and all were racist until the mid-1980's. Some
      still are.

      TTC here copies the same quote mine from Darwin's "Descent of Man" that is popular with racist, eugenics-supporting creationists. So TTC is more closely linked to eugenics and racism than Charles Darwin.

      Certainly the major presuppositionalist theologian Rousas Rushdoony supported racism and eugenics, and TTC uses the same presuppositionalist theology to disprove Darwinism as that employed by Rushdoony.

      By his own (shitty) standard of evidence, TTC is linked to eugenics, racism and totalitarian politics, much more closely than Darwin is.

      Again: in order to show that Darwin supported coercive eugenics, or something bad, a real historian would need at least three things:

      1. Haeckel proposed eating babies, or something bad

      2. Darwin read it (if it's only in German, that's not possible)

      3. Darwin endorsed it.

      A real historian would need all 3, but TTC has not provided evidence for any of them-- no evidence for (1), no evidence for (2), and no evidence for (3).

      Instead, what TTC has copies, over and over and over, is a dishonest simulacrum of (3) concocted by quote mining-- Darwin endorsed Haeckel's scientific statements of the 1860's.

      TTC tries to pass that off as support for Haeckel's political beliefs of the 1890's.

      But TTC copies, again and again and again, Darwin writing to Haeckel about vestigial structures, embryology etc. etc. and then TTC tells us that means Darwin approved of killing babies, and of eugenics, when the word wasn't invented until 3 years after he was dead.

      Pathetic. No wonder TTC must copy-and-paste his quote mines here-- TTC's bullshit would never, ever, ever, get into the peer-reviewed historical journals.

      Delete
    43. You distorted its meaning and you didn't quote enough of what Haeckel said to represent it honestly. That's what "quote mining" is, what you did. Or is IOKIYAA?

      Don't be such a jackass. The post in which you accused me of quote-mining and lying, without saying what I'd mined or lied about, immediately followed one of mine. Naturally, I thought that was the post to which you were referring. But no, I'm supposed to guess.

      OK, instead, you are referring to one where I pulled out this sentence:

      At any rate, this principle of selection is nothing less than democratic, on the contrary, it is aristocratic in the strictest sense of the word.

      So, I stand accused of taking a sentence I found particularly confusing from within a passage I found generally confusing (accessible in full to anyone with a scroll-wheel) in order to illustrate that I found it confusing? That's a quote-mine? Riiiiight.

      Now, as Diogenes has eloquently illustrated, you omitted the wider context within which my supposed quote-mine of your quote-mine lay. Nested quote-mining, yet! Can you quote mine a quote mine? I guess you can, but my intention was certainly not to distort Haeckel's meaning - visible in its minor context a short scroll away - but simply to say I didn't follow it.

      As to your suggestion that his use of a Biblical phrase - "Many are called but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:14) - is "chilling" - ha, ha and indeed, ha. In the writings of a biologist, it is merely a florid expression of the inability of any environment to sustain all the offspring born within it. The implications of the original, however - now, they really are chilling. Survival of the fittest souls. What a bastard.

      Delete
    44. Oh, dear. After I had a long go round on these issues four years ago I posted this

      Note To New Readers by Anthony McCarthy

      These are words.

      To know what they mean you have to read all of them.

      Yes, this can be hard but it is how they work. They do not work if you won’t.

      You want to argue these issues, Allan Miller, and you are the one who started this, you'd better be prepared to argue with people who are prepared. That's why I researched Darwin's eugenics legacy before I wrote about it. That research was how I went from a naive believer in the eugenics-free Darwin to knowing that guy never existed. The slightest look at original documents instead of the post-war campaign of cover up showed that. I found a lot worse than I used then but I'm not as inhibited now.

      Delete
    45. Diogenes, eloquent. I hope someone who reads this notes the new atheist concepts of evidence, history, coherence and, now "eloquence" that is on display.

      The new atheism is a shallow, bigoted, dishonest intellectual fad that is way past its sell-by date. The can has corroded.

      Delete
    46. TTC has presented no evidence that Darwin supported coercive eugenics. He just copies shit where Darwin talks about science-- rudimentary structures, various species, embryology-- and tells us that the hidden meaning is, Darwin wanted to kill babies.

      But then, Carrie believes in ESP, so perhaps he's good at necromancy and reading the minds of the dead. He sure acts like it.

      Carrie: The slightest look at original documents instead of the post-war campaign of cover up showed that. I found a lot worse than I used then.

      Bullshit. "The slightest look"? If he'd had the evidence, he would've presented it. Carrie was asked for the evidence and he didn't produce it, because it doesn't exist.

      Scholars have gone through every note that Darwin wrote with a fine tooth comb, looking for bad things and political implications. They found some bad things-- he believed in imperialism, was borderline racist-- and some good things-- he was less racist than the creationist, and he opposed slavery.

      Meanwhile, who bothers to scan through old books written by creationists and anti-Darwinists? Very few people, because they don't contribute to science or society.

      A few people like me read old creationist books. If you read them, you find that creationists were always more racist than evolutionists in every historical era. Darwin opposed slavery, Captain Fitzroy (an anti-Darwinist) supported slavery.

      All major creationists were racist until the mid-1980's. All major American creationists were pro-eugenics from 1920 to 1980.

      Carrie just copies the same Darwin quote mines as those used by creationists who were pro-eugenics and racist.

      Carrie peddles, right here in this thread, the presuppositional theology that inspired the pro-eugenics, racist totalitarian Rushdoony.

      The link from anti-Darwinism to racism and eugenics is obvious.

      Delete
    47. Note To New Readers by Anthony McCarthy

      These are words.

      To know what they mean you have to read all of them.

      Yes, this can be hard but it is how they work. They do not work if you won’t.

      You want to argue these issues, Allan Miller, and you are the one who started this, you'd better be prepared to argue with people who are prepared.


      My word! You do think you're marvellous, don'tcha? I'll get right onto reading every word you ever wrote right away, Mr McCarthy sir! (Hey, with a name like McCarthy, aren't you ... oh, never mind).

      I have no doubt that you have a sackful of evidence that convinces you right down to your tippy-toes. The problem is, you toss out this supposed dynamite, and it just looks unconvincing. What you hear: "KERPOW!!! BOOOOOM!!!". What I hear: "pop.".

      I can find people all over the Internet similarly Convinced. And Prepared. Tin hats on, ready for the long haul, about 9/11, the moon landings, Bin Laden's death, etc etc etc. Arguing with any of them is a waste of time, because They Know, and Critics Would Say That.

      So ... if you think kinship, friendship and a slanted, jaundiced reading of passages within surviving writings are a solid guide to someone's fundamental beliefs, knock yourself out. You have said nothing to persuade me, either that it is true or that it matters, and you pepper your rhetorical style with sufficient pointless waspish insults and distortions to undermine much of what remains of your credibility.

      Write the book. Go on. Not everyone is as shallow, bigoted and dishonest as me.

      Delete
    48. I'm old enough so being able to read an entire document before pretending you knew what it said wasn't "marvelous" it was expected.

      You know, I know why you, Thomas, Diogenes, etc. keep pretending I accused Darwin of being a Nazi and bring in irrelevant stuff like 9-11, moon landings and Tin hats, it's because you can't refute the evidence that shows, conclusively that Charles Darwin was the inspiration of eugenics, that he closely associated himself with Ernst Haeckel and Francis Galton and endorsed their books in which they were developing their eugenics. You can't deny that eugenicists from Galton and Schallmayer up till after WWII cited Charles Darwin as the inspiration of their eugenics contentions.

      You can't present a case, you've presented none, you've tried to distort what Charles Darwin and the others said, you've denied those things mean what they do, etc.

      In other words, you've presented nothing and you've had more than a week to find something that could overcome the evidence presented by me in this argument. You haven't even shown any evidence that you've done the first thing you would have to do, read the relevant documents from Charles Darwin. Some of you great admirers of Charles Darwin don't seem to have ever gone to the bother of reading even one of his books.

      The scientific and intellectual integrity of the new atheism on full display.

      Delete
    49. IT'S TIME TO PUT AN END TO THIS NONSENSE. NOBODY EXCEPT ANTHONY McCARTHY REALLY CARES WHETHER CHARLES DARWIN WAS A FRIEND OF HAECKEL OR WHETHER HIS IDEAS INSPIRED EUGENICS.

      DARWIN DIED 130 YEARS AGO. MOVE ON.

      Delete
    50. I'm old enough so being able to read an entire document before pretending you knew what it said wasn't "marvelous" it was expected.

      My swipe wasn't at the document, but your self-aggrandising words as quoted.

      I didn't say you accused Darwin of being a Nazi, I said you draw an intellectual line from Darwin to Hitler. Different. And if people cited Darwin as their inspiration for murder or sterilisation, but Darwin never called for those practices, then that pretty much absolves him on that charge. And I have, indeed, seen that the case against Haeckel himself, one of the links in your chain of reasoning, may be grossly exaggerrated. I'm sure, great scholar that you are, you examine that case with total even-handedness.

      Still, I don't need to dig up anything new to refute you. Your case is built upon interpretation of agreed-upon facts. You say "this passage indicates X". I say "no it doesn't". Your opinion vs mine.

      Yes, he was Galton's half-cousin. Yes, they were on good terms. Yes, he was good friends with Haeckel. Yes, he enjoyed their books. Yes, his kids were prominent eugenicists. Yes, he wrote of Man as another species both subject to and capable of supplanting Natural Selection. But he clearly argued against coercive eugenics. That you interpret this as 'ass-covering' for having just blurted out sentiments that seem non-PC when read selectively does not change what that passage boils down to:

      1) All species, including Man, would be subject to decline where Natural Selection is prevented from weeding out the 'less fit'
      2) We should nevertheless resist the temptation to allow NS to do its worst, by withholding aid we could give [or doing our own 'worst', which possibility he does not even mention], as it would go against our 'better instincts'.

      If some of his words seem callous to your 20th-Century ears - 'imbecile', 'savage', and so on - these were common parlance in those days. Indeed, 'imbecile', 'moron', 'idiot' - these were all classifications of degrees of intellectual incapacity. Now they are non-pc, having all been appropriated as insults.

      And as for your constant resort to whining about 'new atheism' - grow up! My disbelief in God has nothing whatever to do with my opinion on the character and influence of a certain 19th-Century naturalist.

      For perhaps the last time - it would not bother me in the slightest if Darwin were a eugenicist. But I have seen no good evidence that he was.

      Delete
    51. OK, sorry ... didn't see the post from Larry before I posted! Just ignore me.

      Delete
  13. Just as a point of information, Larry Moran, is compulsive corprolalia within the rules here? It doesn't bother me, particularly, but it does drive down the tone and does nothing for the level of discussion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tone trolling?

      Seriously?

      If it does nothing for the level and merely changes the tone, there's no problem.

      If it doesn't bother you, are you just partaking in The Principle of the Thing?

      Delete
    2. Also, great job on making fun of an actual disorder, asshole.

      Delete
    3. I was just asking a question. I was under the impression that LM had rules about that, otherwise, why bother with comment approval.

      Are you saying that Diogenes is disordered?

      Delete
    4. Now you're JAQing off too?

      Yes, you were totally definitely 100% under the impression of that. Actually, that wouldn't be too surprising judging by the other stuff you manage to type.

      And seriously, stop being an asshole, you albeist pile of shit.

      Delete
    5. "albeist"

      I think you mean "ableist". Or is pointing that out being too "ableist"?

      You're the one who said it was "an actual disorder". I was asking a question.

      Delete
    6. Are you having fun trolling and being a complete shitbag?

      Have you never typed coprolalia into Wikipedia, or do you think "corprolalia" is a different thing, something that can apparently be voluntary based upon your redundant "compulsory" adjective?
      No seriously, fuck off.

      Delete
    7. I suspect that, like most people, "corprolalia" is a word I learned from a dictionary back when I was in about 8th grade, in the 1950s. Back then, before everything got turned into "disorders" so that shrinks could bill people three figures an hour to give them excuses for doing it, it just meant talking dirty a lot.

      Delete
    8. It appears that you never left the 8th grade.

      Delete
    9. It appears that you never left the 8th grade

      Nah, the thought criminal is suffering of a senile regression. You can show him point by point how he got something wrong, and he will still insist that he got it right. He cannot understand any new ideas, nor can he change what he understood out of his own biases into what was actually said.

      A note aside guys, materialism is not the same as determinism (besides materialism is no more, because it would be a misnomer. Its update is called physicalism). And of course, even with determinism it would not follow that the very fact that our brain works by biochemical reactions with no souls involved does not mean all minds are equally accurate. But that we know. Only imbeciles like TTC would think otherwise. That comes from training their thinking by attending apologetics. TTC is a creationist who does not like admitting that he is a creationist. Now observe how he misses the point(s) again. There is no thinking neurone left in his brain.

      Delete
    10. @The Thought Criminal,

      " ... is compulsive corprolalia within the rules here?"

      There are no rules except that I delete spam and the posts of one person who got too personal with his unjust insults and one other who threatened peoples' lives.

      I don't moderate the comments on recent posts, except on Monday's.

      I will not ban anyone just because they have a minor psychiatric problems. That should be obvious to anyone who calls themselves "The Thought Criminal" and who is obsessed with racism and eugenics.

      Delete
    11. Well, I figured you were in about the same age cohort as I am, though probably at the younger end. I've got really clear memories of the period during which the results of racism and eugenics were much on the mind in the post WWII period.

      I thought you welcomed arguments made on the basis of valid evidence, and that you held that historical methods, use of primary documents placed within the widest possible context, was a branch of science. That's what I did there. I was thinking that discussion was winding down when someone else brought up that topic.

      Delete
    12. I entirely agree with Prof. Moran that Mr. McCarthy does not merit banning. I was also opposed to banning John Kwok over at Panda's Thumb, despite our sometimes acerbic exchanges and considerable sentiment over there in favor.

      However, if I may make a suggestion, perhaps Prof. Moran might consider following the example of Prof. Jason Rosenhouse and restrict the number of comments from Mr. McCarthy to, say, not more then 2 per thread. He does seem to have a bug up his posterior orifice on the subject of Charles' Darwin's alleged racism and support for eugenics, in addition to bad mouthing other scientists (e.g. Jerry Coyne, Richard Feynman, etc.).

      By the way, I agree with giving the heave ho to the nudnik calling himself athiestoclast. There is no necessity for allowing anyone to come onto a blog and make personally insulting statements about the host.

      Delete
    13. I disagreed with the banning of Atheistoclast. It was useful to our side to catch him contradicting himself and trying to walk back statements made by ID authorities.

      It was actually kind of funny-- he wouldn't walk back a false statement until the ID authorities walked it back.

      At first he was all, 'Darwinists equated non-coding DNA = junk DNA. Wells proved it.' He defended that fiercely.

      When Jonathan M tried to walk that back at ENV, Atheistoclast likewise did an instra-rewrite: 'Wells never said scientists equated non-coding DNA.'

      I thought it was hilarious to watch him flop like a trout in a rowboat. I'll miss him.

      The worst troll I've ever seen was the dreaded BZ at the thread at Carl Zimmer's post on the Casey Luskin quote mine. That BZ guy was unbelievable. Worse than a troll-- a lamprey. That lamprey needed banning.

      Delete
    14. @SLC -

      You recently brought up the subject of TTC's psychic powers and abilities, far beyond those of mortal men.

      Is there a reference for these powers and abilities?

      Delete
    15. Re Diogenes

      Mr. McCarthy and I have had several exchanges on the subject of PK and ESP on this blog. I don't recall him claiming that he has any of these powers himself, only that there are studies out there that seem to indicate that they exist for certain individuals.

      The attitude of James Randi and Martin Gardner in particular, and the skeptics movement in general, which is extremely skeptical of PK and ESP, is the reason why Mr. McCarthy continually bad mouths them. In particular, I suspect that it was the very negative chapter in Gardner's book, Fads and Fallacies in Science on Joseph Rhine that has prompted Mr. McCarthy's ire. Gardner heavily criticized Rhine for poor protocols in his ESP experiments. The bug up Mr. McCarthy's posterior orifice about ESP and PK is similar to the bug he has about Charles Darwin.

      Delete
    16. About the only thing I've ever said about that topic is that Jessica Utts is correct, that the controlled research in the subject has fulfilled all of the normal requirements of science. If anyone wants to read what she said and the reasons she said it, they can read her papers at her U. of C, Irving website.

      http://www.ics.uci.edu/~jutts/

      Other than that I've only corrected the historical record that is regularly lied about. I always give citations when I do that. Though, citations don't seem to matter much to the regulars here.

      Gardner endorsed Hansel's verified lie about the physical set up of the Pratt-Price experiments and tried to pooh-pooh that when said lie was brought out [I'm old enough to have read the exchange in the NYT]. He also lied about other things. I'm surprised, considering his argument with Ruben Hersh, that he'd be as popular with SLC as he clearly is. But, then, the Kurtz club is all about PR and celebrity instead of evidence and scholarship.

      Delete
    17. Oh, and Rosenhouse. He was sore at me because I asked him, as a mathematician, to tell us if it was possible to analyze a hot button topic to ascertain the probability of it. It was obvious that it couldn't be done but he didn't want to admit that to his boys. At least that's how I remember it happening. I think I saved that comment thread somewhere.

      Delete
    18. Re Anthony McCarthy

      Mr. McCarthy cites Prof. Utts as his authority on the statistical significance of various experiments on ESP and PK. I am afraid that Prof. Utts is seriously in error. Not a single experiment performed on ESP and PK has produced a 5 standard effect. Mr. McCarthy may be unaware of it but, in physics, 5 standard deviations is now required to proclaim a statistically significant finding (it was 3 standard deviations when I was a graduate student). That's the rules in physics. If Prof. Utts doesn't like the rules, don't play the game.

      Delete
    19. I'll have to point out that Jessica Utts has never lied about me so I'm going to have to take her as more credible than SLC.

      I note that you phrase your claim very carefully, that "no single experiment" has produced a 5 standard effect.

      Knowing how you can split a phrase to produce a deceptive appearance, typical of the CSICOP style, I'll have to think about just what you mean in relationship to the literature and, as I'm looking through some of my old notebooks this week, I don't have time to test it just now.

      Did you like her paper about Ray Hyman stuffing Rosenthal's paper into the old file drawer and getting caught doing it?

      Delete
    20. Re Anthony McCarthy

      I will modify my statement about statistical significance to this extent. Technically, the 5 standard deviation rule applies only to PK experiments, all of which devolve into physics experiments. I don't know what the rules are in psychology, which, I presume, applies to ESP. Here's a link to a post by Physics Prof. Mano Singham of Case Western Reserve Un. citing the 5 standard deviation rule relative to the Higgs boson. For Mr. McCarthy's edification, this amounts to a probability that the result is not due to chance of 0.000028%

      http://freethoughtblogs.com/singham/2012/06/22/tentative-higgs-sightings/

      Delete
    21. Ah, and here I thought of a different avenue of slipperiness in your phrasing. Ah, well, I'm already involved in a discussion this week.

      How about Hyman's file drawer scandal. I liked her paper mentioning that.

      Delete
    22. I got around to reading your "Freethoughtblogs" (yea, right!) link, SLC, in line with my suspicions about your slippery phrasing, I see this:

      Two independent experiments at the LHC are seeking the Higgs. It is reported that each one is approaching the four-sigma (0.0032% chance) level and once they do, by combining the data to get a larger set and thus improving the statistics, we may reach the five-sigma level.

      "By combining the data" "thus improving the statistics, we may reach the five-sigma level.

      So, why did you specify "no single experiment" in trying to discredit what Jessica Utts said? I'd think you would realize by now, that I try to read every word when I'm reading.

      Delete
    23. Re Anthony McCarthy

      Just for Mr. McCarthy's edification, the two experiments performed at CERN for the purpose of looking for the Higgs Boson were the same experiment performed during two independent time periods. Thus, combining the data from the two experiments is perfectly legitimate because they are sampling from the same population. Mr. McCarthy apparently missed the word may in Prof. Singham's post. Such a combination may or may not "improve" the statistics via increasing the sample size. On the other hand, if the experiments are not the same, combining the data is not legitimate because it is sampling from different populations.

      As an example from standard ESP investigations, if I run a guess the card from a standard 52 card deck with subject X and then run the same experiment the next day with subject X, it is perfectly legitimate to combine the data from the two experiments. On the other hand, if the experiment from the next day is a guess the number on a thrown die with subject X, it is not legitimate to combine the data from the two experiments, as they are sampling from different populations.

      If Mr. McCarthy has evidence that PK investigators (or ESP investigators for that matter) have legitimately combined the data from independent experiments, let's hear about it. Certainly, as I understand it, that is not what Prof. Utts has done.

      Delete
    24. The two experiments performed at CERN for the purpose of looking for the Higgs Boson were the same experiment performed during two independent time periods.

      In other words, they were two different experiments combined to as YOUR CITATION said. "thus improving the statistics, we may reach the five-sigma level". And you slipped in Not a single experiment ...

      You are clearly aware of the discrepancy in your statement and the citation, by the phrasing you used.

      Perhaps I'll go over this more later, when I'm not involved in another argument (wish Miller had kept it confined to that other thread but he didn't) but you're off to a deceptive start, SLC. Call me something other than surprised.

      Delete
    25. @Carrie -

      I understand your rage because the other teenagers at the prom dumped pig blood on you. We understand why you used your powers to set the high school gymnasium on fire.

      But why don't you just use your telekinesis and make his head explode, or his car turn over?

      Delete
    26. The flower of new atheist intellectualism on display.

      Delete
    27. This from a dumbshit who believes in spooks and magic powers, too.

      Delete
    28. Re Anthony McCarthy

      In other words, they were two different experiments combined to as YOUR CITATION said. "thus improving the statistics, we may reach the five-sigma level". And you slipped in Not a single experiment

      Mr. McCarthy is a moron. From a statistical point of view, it's the same experiment, performed at different time periods, just as my ESP example was the same experiment performed at different time periods. Thus, they are not two different experiments, unlike the card and dice experiments in my 2nd hypothetical ESP example. By the way, in the hypothetical dice experiment, care must be taken in designing the experiment so as not to introduce the question as to whether a positive result is due to ESP or PK.

      Obviously, Mr. McCarthy in unfamiliar with the notion of sampling from a population. In the two Higgs experiments, the population being sampled is the same, therefore the experiments are not different. The same is true of the two hypothetical ESP experiments.

      Mr. McCarthy really should refrain from discussing subjects on which he doesn't know his posterior orifice from a hole in the ground.

      Delete
    29. SLC, I'll wait till the next time you bring this up some place, other than to point out that you are rather foolish to keep on as you started back tracking as soon as I noted the phrase in your contention that I suspected was the point of mendacity, only to see that was right when I finally read your link. Consider yourself as caught, again.

      Delete
    30. Since Mr. McCarthy is totally ignorant of the mathematics of sampling, statistical inference, and populations, it's no wonder that he is unable to respond with anything but word salads. I have to agree with Prof. Moran, Mr. McCarthy has mental problems.

      Delete
    31. Diosgenes, you keep on like this, I'll be reading your real name in a newspaper someday. You might be the most seriously disturbed of the new atheist stalkers I've experienced, and there are quite a few. You obviously need some kind of intensive mental health intervention. Your supposed buddies won't tell you that but I will.

      Delete
    32. "Word salads".

      The history of the Paul Kurtz inspired groups and movements could be written in the buzz words it supplies its faithful to substitute for thinking.

      "Word salad" really means "I don't understand that because I really don't know much about this but I know what I like and I don't like what you said". Consider how it was used above to dismiss the evidence that as great an atheist demigod as Thomas Huxley found coherent, enough so that he wrote an introduction to it.

      SLC, it's not my fault that the adherents of the new atheism are ignorant ideologues who can't handle the first responsibility of an educated person in a discussion, to know what they're talking about. But your dismissal of what I presented as "word salad" and the use of a myriad of other, phony slogans, only shows why they find a home in atheism.

      If Larry Moran or any or you had any evidence to counter what I presented, why didn't you present it?

      I told you in the beginning what that would have to be, primary source material supporting your contention from people more intimately associated with Charles Darwin than his own family and his closest contemporary associates. You failed to do that. I'm not surprised, I looked very hard for that material, myself. It doesn't seem to be there.

      Delete
    33. Oh, and thanks to Diogenes, I've gone and looked at some of Weikart's stuff that I'd never looked at. I find that letter that The Darwin Correspondence Project failed to transcribe, Darwin thanking Haeckel for his Freie Wissenschaft und freie Lehre, shows that Darwin read the English translation that I linked to and confirms what I'd only suspected yesterday.

      … you must let me have the pleasure of saying how much I admire the whole of it. It is a most interesting essay, and I agree with all of it.”

      Darwin to Haeckel 29 Aoruk 1870, Ernst-Haeckel-Haus

      http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-12017

      He admired "the whole of it" and agreed "with all of it". And the thing is nothing if full of political Darwinism, aristocratic, not democratic except in Haeckel's weird assertion asserting aristocracy to some other kind of "democracy". Darwin obviously didn't object to Haeckel's definition of Social Darwinism being equated with natural selection and Darwinism. I suspect that has something to do with why the part of the Darwin industry that is the Darwin Correspondence Project has failed to transcribe those letters.

      I don't know how Weikart can ally himself to the present day Social Darwinists of the Republican Party and write what he writes, one of the reasons I don't generally read or cite him.

      Delete
    34. Re Anthony McCarthy

      Mr. McCarthy seems to be hung up on the issue of whether the experiments looking for the Higgs boson were two separate and distinct experiments. If that, in fact, were the case, combining the data sets would be statistically wrong.

      Let's take the case of my hypothetical ESP experiment. Suppose that the experiment consisted of 200 trials of guess the card. I'm sure that Mr. McCarthy would agree that performing the trials continuously without a break would be one experiment. But suppose that after 100 trials, the participants took a potty break for 10 minutes and then resumed completing the other 100 trials. Is Mr. McCarthy going to claim that, because of the potty break, there are now 2 separate and distinct experiments? How about a 1/2 hour lunch break after the first 100 trials? How about doing the first 100 trials on Monday and the second 100 trials on Tuesday? Inquiring minds want to know.

      Delete
    35. Ah, you brought that up, I didn't. All I noted is that your statement, trying to discredit Jessica Utts, one of the most accomplished statisticians in the world in her own subject, was at odds with your citation from the, uh, "Free thought" blogs.

      I'm writing up the blog brawl, presenting my research into that question to date. I told you I was busy with that when you started on your Randian campaign of subject changing.

      http://zthoughtcriminal.blogspot.com/2012/08/notice-of-intent_18.html

      You'll probably be mentioned in the next part. Other's here certainly will.

      Delete
    36. Re Anthony McCarthy

      Note that Mr. McCarthy failed to answer the question I posed to him. That's because he lacks sufficient expertise in statistical probability and, in fact, doesn't know what he's talking about.

      Apparently, he is now going to add Prof. Mano Singham to his list of bad mouthed scientists, even though he knows absolutely nothing about the man. Apparently, the fact that Prof. Singham blogs for FTB is sufficient for him to join Mr. McCarthy's list. However, Mr. Singham didn't make up the 5 standard rule. That's the requirement of the physics community. Don't like it, don't do experimental physics.

      As for Prof. Utts, I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she is unaware of the 5 standard deviation requirement in physics, which applies to any test of PK. Not surprising as I don't know whether she has ever acted as a statistical consultant on any physic projects.

      As for Prof. Utts being one of the most accomplished statisticians, that doesn't mean she knows jack sh*t about physics.

      Delete
    37. I didn't badmouth Mano Sighham, I noted that you had cited him. Here is the part of what you said to try to discredit Jessica Utts that I indicated I was suspicious of:

      Not a single experiment performed on ESP and PK has produced a 5 standard effect.

      Then you gave a link to a so-called "Freethoughtblog". When I got around to reading it I saw:

      Two independent experiments at the LHC are seeking the Higgs. It is reported that each one is approaching the four-sigma (0.0032% chance) level and once they do, by combining the data to get a larger set and thus improving the statistics, we may reach the five-sigma level.

      You specified "no single experiment" in one case and linked to a post about the Higgs search that noted that the result would be based on a combination of "Two independent experiments", and the reason they were combining experiments was by combining the data to get a larger set and thus improving the statistics, we may reach the five-sigma level.

      So, what is it, SLC, did Mano Sighham, whose name I didn't even use, make an error in describing what they were doing to get to five-sigma or are you demanding two different standards of proof? You seem to be faulting his description THAT YOU CITED.

      I'll note that the highest figure I've seen for the Hadron adventure has been more than ten billion dollars, employing thousands of researchers, who knows how many support and highly trained maintenance people. I wonder how that compares to the cost of the research Utts analyzed.

      I know because I did a blog post about the guy who whined that the auditorium was too small and they should have built a bigger one just for this occasion. I wish I could have asked my sister-in-law, the research biologist what she thought of that whine from The Lords of Creation. She hates whiny physicists.

      I'm still going to go with Jessica Utts. As I said, she's never been caught in a lie or in an obvious deception. She's never gotten hauled in by the cops to explain their role in a decades long identity theft, that the record proves she would have known about and exploited for fame and, maybe, profit.

      I just came back to mine the fools gold for my series I'm working on.

      Delete
    38. Oh, and just for review, as soon as I indicated that your "not a single experiment" phrase aroused my suspicion, you started doing a two-step.

      Delete
    39. I'll add, SLC, that I know why you are so desperately upset when someone goes and reads the controlled research into psi. It's because, if they do, they might find something that's credible.

      As soon as one thing in that research is found to be credible, the entire edifice of the "Skepticism" industry cracks. The entire effort of Paul Kurtz (who along with Randi and Phil Klass defended themselves during the sTARBABY scandal by pleading complete ignorance of statistic) the professional nags that are pretty much identical to the new atheist thought police of the blogs, the whole thing is discredited. The "skeptics" whose claim to fame is what passes as their credibility to people who have never looked at that research, would be discredited, just as Ray Hyman should be for trying to get Rosenthal to withdraw his analysis, that Hyamn commissioned, because it endangered his claim to fame. And when he couldn't get him to withdraw it, Hyman stuffed it into a file drawer as he and the "skeptics" are always, on the basis of no evidence, accusing other people of doing.

      Well, I came across Utts paper while I was researching the standards of research in psychology and the so-called sciences, that led me to looking at some of what she was talking about. In every way, in just about everything I read, the controlled research into psi is conducted with more rigor, with more care, to entirely more scientific standards than that of psychology, Ray Hyman's branch of "science". In fact, the only completely sloppy, truly badly designed research I looked at was the junk that got Susan Blackmore her PhD. I didn't analyze it to see if she even got her analysis of her "results" right, as some asserted, but it was such crap that it should never have been found acceptable.

      Psi, though isn't a major area of interest for me, I was just researching some blog posts, But I do know a total sham when I see one and organised "skepticism" like its alter-ego the new atheism is a total sham. And I don't go along with shams and lies.

      Delete
    40. Re Anthony McCarthy

      What Mr. McCarthy is doing is analogous to the actions of the octopus when it is threatened. It spews out black ink to mask its presence. That's what Mr. McCarthy is engaging, spreading the black ink like the octopus to mask the fact that he doesn't have an an answer to the question I raised. The issue of multiple independent experiments is nothing but the black ink of the octopus, an attempt to obscure the issue. So let's put it this way. Has Prof. Utts or anyone else ever reported in the peer reviewed technical literature a 5 sigma effect for PK. That's a yes or a no. If so, provide a citation.

      By the way, my prediction is that Mr. McCarthy will not answer the question but instead will raise extraneous issues such as Ray Hyman which have no relevance to the question. We will see nothing but the black ink of the octopus.

      Delete
    41. As I pointed out to you, when you tried to change the subject, that I'm busy writing up this blog brawl. Now you complain that I mention Ray Hyman as having "no relevance" when you are the one who tried to change the subject by introducing THE REASON I MENTIONED RAY HYMAN. Is my bringing up Randi's identity theft scandal, someone I believe you first mentioned in this thread, also of "no relevance"?

      You know damned well that a statistics brawl would take an enormous number of comments. Having followed one of the recent ones in which Utts was involved, I think it's gone to three papers, at this point, I don't think Larry Moran would welcome that kind of thing here. I was trying to cut it off early by pointing out your introduction of a double standard.

      Black ink, well that could be a good metaphor for what you did in bringing up this subject, which I hadn't mentioned.

      I've written the third post in my series. I think it's going to be a long one.

      What Would It Take for Charles Darwin To Beat the Eugenics Charge Part 1: Galton

      http://zthoughtcriminal.blogspot.com/

      Delete
    42. As I pointed out to you, when you tried to change the subject, that I'm busy writing up this blog brawl.

      Please don't. You lack the skills to write up anything effectively. You lack objectivity. You lack the ability to read and understand. You lack logic.

      You might perhaps do well at polemics, though. You display an instinct for guessing at ways to phrase things to generate emotional reactions in people who aren't thinking.

      Delete
    43. How would you know? You never read anything on the subject. I gave you more than a week to name even one boo you'd read on the subject and you couldn't do it. If you looked at my post, you'd see, I have. You thought Karl Pearson's putrid eugenics tract was just swell. You remember, the one I had to advise you read to see that Pearson attributed his eugenics to Darwin as well. I didn't expect you'd approve of his depraved "science".

      I would like to know, that name at the trail that can be found by clicking on "H Thomas", is that your real name or are you using someone elses identity, a la Randi.

      I'd not gone much into the pretense that economics is now a branch of biology that seems to be current, but, call me skeptical of the idea that that alone could make you competent to judge what someone else writes on these topics without having read anything about it.

      I forget, did I challenge you to name a single one of Darwin's books you'd read?

      Delete
    44. How would you know?

      I have watched your attempts at logic etc. You do not know how to make an argument. You have no concept of proof. I would try to help you figure this stuff out, but you are not receptive. You seem to have the opinion that you already know how to think and have nothing to learn.

      Consider your arguments about Darwin. You argue that he is known to have associated with people who later became important eugenicists, and he even seemed to be friends with some of them! Clearly he was a communist. People who are friendly to known communists are at least communist sympathizers, right?

      Also he said that there were real problems with free enterprise that communism attempted to solve. Only a communist would say that free enterprise can have any flaws.

      Sure, he said in print that communism was bad and we shouldn't do it. But that just proves how sneaky he was. He always knew the right thing to say so he could weasel his way out of attempts to prove he was a communist. That proves he was a communist right there.

      You see the similarities in your arguments and McCarthy's arguments? No, of course you don't. You will inevitably argue that there is no similarity, and any place I can show a similarity it will turn out that McCarthy was right.

      If your standard for scientific evidence was like your standard for evidence that Darwin was a eugenicist, you would fervently believe in natural selection to the point you would not even look at evidence which seemed not to fit it. But you don't apply the same standards to ideas you don't like ahead of time, because you are biased.

      It's if anything typical that when you get presented with evidence you cannot deal with, you attack the other guys personally rather than make any attempt to consider the evidence itself.

      I hope you will understand that I intend no insult when I say that you reason like a creationist. Also I mean no insult when I say that you should be insulted to be you.

      It isn't too late. Repent, and sin no more.

      Delete
    45. If you knew anything about Darwin you'd know he was a capitalist. He disdained socialism, or didn't you catch that passage from Haeckel's book that he said he entirely agreed with, at least twice. Pearson's "socialism" was a dead end that hurt real socialism that begins by believing people are more than just objects but beings with inherent rights. That is something that materialism will always end up denying, always.

      If I knew which species of natural selection you meant I might be able to tell you if I believe it. Darwin's is certainly not current anymore, neither is Pearson's or Galton's. And I'm certainly not buying Dennett's deranged version of it. I don't think there is any one thing that is natural selection, I think it's an amalgam of ideas and notions that add up to a habit of thought that changes with time. Of course, if I was a materialist I'd hold it was no more than the product of chemical reactions, and, brains being what they are, there are different molecules in different physical conditions that effect what the result of that chemical reaction would be in different people, perhaps no two alike.

      I don't expect you to follow that because you don't seem to be able to read.

      So, is that your real name or isn't it?

      Delete
    46. ??? TTC If I knew which species of natural selection you meant I might be able to tell you if I believe it. Darwin's is certainly not current anymore, neither is Pearson's or Galton's.

      Natural selection in its present formulation is due to Russ Lande. It is the slope of the regression line of relative fitness on phenotypic value of the trait one might happen to be interested in, the selection gradient. That is: the selection gradient on a phenotypic trait equals the covariance of phenotypic value and relative fitness divided by the variance in the phenotypic values of the trait in the populaion. The selection response equals the selection gradient times the genetic variance. This tallies with John Endler's verbal description of selection in his 1986 book, 'Natural selection in the wild'. Endler's book might be a good place foor TTC to begin if he is really interested in the subject.

      There is nothing that is even remotely controversial about that.

      Delete
    47. Heleen, I was responding to this, from "J Tomas"

      If your standard for scientific evidence was like your standard for evidence that Darwin was a eugenicist, you would fervently believe in natural selection to the point you would not even look at evidence which seemed not to fit it.

      As we've been discussing the fact (see the post at my blog today)

      http://zthoughtcriminal.blogspot.com/

      that Charles Darwin inspired eugenics, a longer range of the many versions of "natural selection" was relevant to the discussion.

      How much do you want to bet that any version of natural selection as articulated in 1986 won't last long?

      How many versions have there been since Wallace and Darwin invented the idea?

      How many times does a theory get to be changed while still remaining the same theory?

      How much unanimity would there be among legitimate representatives of evolutionary biology, I mean the real stuff, not the psychology pretending to be biology, would there be today?

      As to the man, who has never read a single book by Darwin, I know, I asked him and he wouldn't answer, and his accusation that I'm a creationist, I agree with Jerry Coyne that Evolution is true, I agree with Larry Moran that evolution is a fact but that doesn't mean that I can't read the historical record and admit that says what it does.

      I am a thought criminal, after all. I have lots of forbidden ideas.

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    48. How many versions have there been since Wallace and Darwin invented the idea?

      In a 'sound-bite' response, none. All share the same fundamental character of heritable variation in reproductive output, and its effect on representation of traits in a population. There was a synthesis with Mendel's inheritance, there is an extensive mathematical theory, and NS has been recognised as a bias within a more general framework of fixation of alleles due to the iteratively distortive effects of population sampling, which takes place regardless of any selective component.

      Debates surface from time to time as to its relative importance, but NS is still in essence heritable variation in output.

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    49. Oh, it's considerably more than heritable variation. If you read just Darwin there's quite a bit about organisms dying before they can reproduce, differences in fitness, that kind of stuff.

      And, since you don't seem to know, Darwin would seem to have left Mendel's paper unread and it seems to have needed to be "rediscovered" in Britain, at least, till c. 1900. Your description is certainly not natural selection as Darwin knew it or as Galton knew it as he invented eugenics. Not to mention Schallmeyer and Haeckel and myriad other figures in the early history of Darwinism. Not to mention that things have hardly stood still since the synthesis was arrived at in the 30s.

      Natural selection today is not the same as natural selection in 1859. I doubt it will be the same in 2112, if they're still using the idea. If there are still people to study evolution or if the idea hasn't been superseded by something based in knowledge of evolution we don't have now.

      And I've been nice and not talk about what it means when Daniel Dennett gets through with it. Divorcing it from its "substrate" in not only Mendelism but in biology.

      I still suspect it's a relic of Victorian thinking that is far more cultural than it is a real thing in the world. I doubt that all those many trillions of different circumstances add up to something that can be covered by one theory invented in the 1850s.

      You'll just hate the next section of my series.

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    50. If you knew anything about Darwin you'd know he was a capitalist.

      You are no fun because you do not know how to think outside your own little box.

      So, is that your real name or isn't it?

      http://www.unc.edu/depts/jomc/academics/dri/idog.html

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    51. You are really stupid J Thomas, you've cited nothing in this argument, anyone who doubts that can see who provided whatever citations and links on the Origin of Life thread a couple of weeks ago. And here's another one:

      Charlotte Bront¨e wrote: My Shares are in the York & North Midland Railway. ... The original price of Shares
      in this Railway was £50. At one time they rose to 120; and for some years gave a dividend of 10 per cent; they are now down at 20, and it is doubtful whether any dividend will be declared this half-year.
      1
      Charles Darwin, who later in life claimed to be very good at investing money, while at the same time being very modest about his scientific ability, did better His main personal
      railway holdings during the Railway Mania were in the London and North Western Railway.

      http://www.dtc.umn.edu/~odlyzko/doc/hallucinations.pdf

      You might want to read it, Darwin's financial activities are quite interesting to read about and give me a lot of insight into his Olympian view of "savages" and "imbiciles" and the such. You might want to read what it says about his income in the 1840s. I will be noting that in a post I'm planning about the Irish as treated by your hero. Though I'll not guarantee you'll find any of those women dying from birthing babies with rickets you found so "funny" in the Pearson tract I suggested you read last week. I didn't think you'd think such things were funny.

      Come on, admit to your name, let me make you famous.





      You want to list the books on this subject that you've read? A question I started asking you about a week ago.

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    52. TTC
      How much do you want to bet that any version of natural selection as articulated in 1986 won't last long?
      Given that Lande's formulation is mathematically correct, it will stand forever. It is a more general formulation for a mathematical formulation that is about a hundred years old, and mathematically correct. The formulation does capture the verbal descriptions - and it works.

      How many versions have there been since Wallace and Darwin invented the idea?
      One. The formulation might have changed from words about advantage to math about fitness, but that is the way science works. However, no version of natural selection will have anything to do with TTC's hang-up.

      How many times does a theory get to be changed while still remaining the same theory?
      Depends on the type of change, of course. Better mathematical description does not change the content of any theory.

      How much unanimity would there be among legitimate representatives of evolutionary biology,......... would there be today?
      About the formulation of selection? Total unanimity: it is standard stuff. Compare a few textbooks.

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    53. Given that Lande's formulation is mathematically correct, it will stand forever. It is a more general formulation for a mathematical formulation that is about a hundred years old, and mathematically correct. The formulation does capture the verbal descriptions - and it works. Helen,

      Well, that's just swell. For a mathematical forumla. But, you see, natural selection isn't about a mathematical form, it's about organisms living in a myriad of actual physical conditions of effectively infinite variety.

      I say effectively infinite because over the more than 3 billion years in which evolution has been happening, the vast majority of those organisms and those conditions under which they became alive, behaved in different manners under different conditions and reacted in different ways to different situations, continuously during their lives survived or died till they could reproduce varied offspring that behaved variably in variable conditions, etc.

      And, you see, the vast majority of that information is entirely unavailable to us because it is either lost to all time or so varied that we can't document it. And, in the case of many animals, such as us, it's really not possible to document it in all of its detail, in all of its enormous variety, even within the possibility of partially documenting it.

      A mathematical formula is about the most radical of reductions. That might work for making generalized statements about non-living physical objects but, you see, as soon as you start talking about life, you're talking about something that is not really going to fit into that kind of radically reduced particle of thought. And, least anyone forget, you're not talking about some thing, you're talking about many trillions of living organisms.

      The idea that natural selection has meant the same thing to Darwin and Wallace is certainly open to question. You can start with Wallace being reluctant to use that name because he thought, correctly, that it would be misconstrued. In the question of eugenics, an application of the concept of natural selection, they certainly diverged, even as Darwin was citing Wallace. Darwin's line of natural selection developed in ways that Wallace vehemently objected to late in life.

      And Darwin's natural selection certainly isn't the same as natural selection after the synthesis with genetics. You can pretend that it is but only by pretending. One biologist I heard, pretty much thought that it was reasonable to include neutral adaptation within natural selection, something I believe Darwin, himself would have said wasn't covered by natural selection. I didn't see it but they were the one with a PhD. As I asked, how much can a theory change and still be the same theory, it could also be asked how can a theory be the same theory if it contains such various and even contradictory definitions?

      I'd really like to see your belief that there would be total unanimity about what natural selection means, if the test could be effectively drawn to take in the full range of responses and if the question was asked cold. I asked about a half dozen people with degrees in biology who I know, a mix of researchers and biology teachers to define natural selection and I got quite a variety of answers, one of them contradicted another.

      Living, especially behaving, beings aren't subatomic particles. You can pretend they are, you can pretend that those "variations" aren't actually just aspects of living beings, some which can think and behave in entirely unpredicatable ways reacting to unpredictable situations, but that doesn't make it so. And I doubt any formula that does will prove adequate as a definition of it for long. Though, as the history of Darwinism may prove, pretending that can drive a science of something so complex into a sealed off cul de sac that is a very partial view, at best.

      Delete
  14. Sorry, I can't resist.

    I entirely agree with Prof. Moran that Mr. McCarthy does not merit banning.

    Well, that's mighty Bright of you, SLC.

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    1. Having earned a PhD in elementary particle physics a million years ago, I thought I was pretty bright back then. Probably less so as the years have rolled by.

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    2. I said "Bright" not "bright". The rest of it, I bow to your superior self-knowledge.

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  15. It's always amusing to hear someone claim, while typing into a computer or speaking into a camera, objects ultimately born of the thoughts of human brains, that the thoughts of human brains can't be trusted. Sometimes the easiest disproof of one's views to miss is the one that's ubiquitous.

    And scientific progress continues, while philosophical hacks gibber.

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    1. You mean it being pointed out that materialism can't account for any thought being anything but the typical outcome of the chemical and physical conditions that arrived at that thought, and that you have to step outside of materialism to arrive at a judgement of its quality? That was merely following the necessary conclusions that materialism produces. Materialism is hogwash, so I didn't have any illusions that that was what was happening.

      As I mentioned, I pretty much took that idea from Eddington and William James and applied it to what some of the others here said.

      Materialism can't account for how a thought which is merely the result of chemistry and physics acting on the molecules present at the time the thought is arrived at, in other words, a very particular result also being a universal result. Another brain with different chemistry would, as well, be working out its chemistry when it addressed the same problem and a different result would be as accurate a chemical reaction, only with different chemicals and physical conditions. Materialism couldn't judge one better than the other. Though materialists have no problem making believe that their preferences are in line with their ideology.

      I'm always amused to hear a materialist thinking they're being consistent with their faith.

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    3. (I erased my answer to you TTC because you are so mentally challenged that it was no use.)

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    5. Negative Entropy, save it for another day when Diogenes and J Thomson haven't both already encouraged me that I must be on to something, in that way.

      I've been trying out arguments here to see if they hold up. Hard to know as you boys have got nothing.

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    6. TTC: Hard to know as you boys have got nothing.

      Nothing but contempt for TTC, in blurting out his superstitious beliefs in spooks and such, and then bizarrely bleating that we can't trust the results of modern science, unless we believe his spooks exist and make offerings to them.

      TTC's religious belief is that we can't trust scientific theories, which are mathematically well-defined and make testable predictions about observable phenomena, unless we make sacrifices and offerings to his spooks, which cannot be mathematically defined, and do not lead to any testable predictions about observable phenomena, except those which have been falsified.

      How, how could hypothesizing the existence of TTC's spooks ever, ever, increase our confidence in scientific inferences?

      If spooks are real, how do we know they're not tricking us? Fooling our senses? We can't investigate TTC's invisible spook-world, so who knows what rules govern his spook-world?

      Traditional Christian theology says that their spooks are real, so we cannot trust the use of human reason.

      Consider Martin Luther, who said very clearly that reason is a whore. We can't trust reason, we must pluck out the eyes of reason, because Adam ate an apple, so we inherited the Curse. The Curse means Reason is unreliable, and Reason always undermines Faith. As Martin Luther stated many times, specifically to reject the Copernican notion that the Earth goes around the Sun.

      If spooks are real, we cannot trust the conclusions of reason. That's traditional Christian theology, so eat it.

      Next, consider Cornelius Van Til, one of the two or three most important American theologians of the twentieth century (Van Til is much more important than Plantinga, and inspired the pro-eugenics, super-fascist, totalitarian, racist Reconstructionist Rousas Rushdoony.)

      Van Til said that the Bible can contradict itself an unlimited number of times, and be apparently illogical, but we still have to believe every word of it anyway. Why? Because human logic and God's logic are different. So contradictions that cannot be resolved by human logic (e.g. Problem of Evil) are resolved in God's logic.

      That is, God's Logic != Human logic. God's logic has no contradictions and cannot be trusted, but human logic has contradictions and can't be trusted.

      The trouble, of course, is that we can't access God's logic. But supposedly they have "solved" the problem by asserting that God has the solution to their contradictions, but the solution is hidden in the spook-world, which is invisible.

      Again: if the spooks of Christianity exist, you cannot trust human reason. But, we have to make offerings to them anyway. The Bible can contradict itself an unlimited number of times, and be apparently illogical, but we still have to believe every word of it anyway.

      That philosophy is called PRESUPPOSITIONALISM, and both Alvin Plantinga and The Thought Criminal are simply peddling dumbed down version of presuppositionalism.

      I'll reiterate that presuppositionalism inspired the theology of pro-eugenics, racist, fascist, totalitarian Rousas Rushdoony.

      So TTC here is touting a theology that inspired pro-eugenics, racist, totalitarian political theologians, and still does today.

      If we applied the same (shitty) standard of historical evidence to TTC that he applies to Charles Darwin, we would have to conclude that the link from The Thought Criminal to eugenics, racism, fascism and totalitarianism is far more direct any of their alleged links to Charles Darwin.

      Face it, TTC. By your own (shitty) standard of evidence, you're more directly linked to eugenics, racism, fascism and totalitarianism than Charles Darwin is.

      Delete
    7. Only someone as stupid as TTC would think that he is on to something when holding to such obvious non-sequiturs (and shown so). Contradictory non-sequiturs besides.

      Delete
    8. Negative Entropy, I thought I told you to stop encouraging me that I was right. The combination of you and Diogenes, well, that's pretty much of a confirmation of it. Getting attacked by a total crackpot plus a pathological liar = confirmation. I might get smug if you keep it up.

      And I thought Larry Moran called quits on the subject. Something I tried to get him to do a week ago Sunday and since then.

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    9. I thought I told you to stop encouraging me that I was right. [...] And I thought Larry Moran called quits on the subject. Something I tried to get him to do a week ago Sunday and since then.

      You've tried to get other people to stop *you* talking???

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    10. The record is there on the "Origin of Life" thread. Not that atheists seem to be interested in what the actual record, as compared with their phonied up, ideological history, that is. As I have been pointing out, new atheism is pretty much like biblical fundamentalism in that regard. The real record blows their faith to pieces.

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    11. TTC,

      All I have seen from you is this kind of stupidity. Obvious stupidity. So, unless you could show me how your stupidity translates into confirmation other than in your mind, in ways different to those misunderstandings that you keep holding regardless of patient (and often not so patient) explanations, almost step by step, and even with puppets, then I think that I can live with you thinking that you "got us." Any person with a couple more neuronal connections than you would notice the obvious flaws of your contradictory claims about "materialism."

      I am not trying to stop you from writing. I do wonder though how you manage to ignore answers even when written quite clearly. That's what truly gets me curious. Maybe I should just shrug and conclude that it is all about trolling. That would be too easy an explanation though.

      See ya later.

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    12. That's what I mean, NE, don't encourage me that I'm right, skepticism is essential for a life of the mind and I don't want to lapse into the lazy, ideological certainty that is the hallmark of pseudo-skepticism and the new atheism.

      "A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees".

      "Listen to the fool's reproach! it is a kingly title!"

      William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

      But there's hope for you:

      "If a fool would persist in his folly he would become wise."

      I wouldn't advise you to wait up nights for that to happen to you, though.

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    13. Nice try TTC, but it is very hard for me to take your attempt at insulting me too seriously. After all, I have shown you exactly how and why you are mentally challenged, thus when I insult you it becomes a precise and delightful description of your condition. When you insult me it is either your incompetence talking, or else, if you are not as incompetent as you portray yourself to be, then your insults are attempts at relieving your frustration that I just don't fall for your obfuscation techniques.

      Ironic too that you would cite "A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees." It might be the thing that explains your contradictory conclusions about "materialism," and your complete incapacity to notice the non-sequitur nature of your claims.

      But I am fascinated and curious. Let's try something.

      First you say that under materialism everything should be the very same:
      ... If you are a materialist and believe that thinking is only the expression of chemistry working itself out, there is no way for any idea to be wrong ...

      But then you contradict yourself and say that everything should be different:
      ... which would only produce its particular result, not a universal one.

      Can you decide for one and then explain why, under "materialism," the one you have chosen holds and then what non-physical thing is necessary to get out of this "problem"? After all, if "materialism" cannot provide such thing, then what is that thing and what does provide it? You can't claim that "materialism" does not provide it without saying what that thing, or "not-a-thing," is.

      See ya later.

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    14. If the audience here didn't think Diogenes was brilliant and eloquent, I might go to the bother of insulting you. But there's a verse I remember from somewhere about throwing pearls to swine.

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    15. Oh! So you suffer of authentic mental incompetence! Thanks for letting us all know TTC. Maybe now people will feel less disdain for you. After all, it's not your fault.

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    16. Stop it, NE, you've turned my head.

      Given the display this week, atheists like J Thomas, Allen Miller, etc. gassing on and on about Darwin's eugenics while obviously never having read a single one of the relevant books or documents, not being able to name one they've read when challenged to produce those titles, over and over, again, of having the one or two people here who obviously knew the new atheist line on that topic was obviously refuted remain silent or to try to change the subject, over a week of their side not being able to produce a single thing that stood up to analysis (the phony "assistance" paragraph out of a book of depravity and the completely misrepresented Gaskell letters) , etc.

      Your respect is not high on my list of desiderata.

      I am just conducting research at this point.

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    17. You'll probably be mentioned in the next part. Other's here certainly will.

      Oh no! Say it ain't so! Be sure not to say something that will make me cry.

      You know this subject that you tried to get stopped days ago? The one that was perpetuated solely by the ongoing responses of your interlocuters, until Larry's patience finally snapped? Why are you still going on about it?

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    18. TTC,
      I didn't say anything about you having my respect, nor did I say anything about ... Wait! Of course! That was just another display of your mental incompetence.

      Delete
    19. Allan Miller, imagine how LM would welcome SLC and me going at it over statistics. It could go on for weeks, statistics brawls being what those are. And, as I don't know the html for it, I'd have to present it in ascii. It would be a tiny bit like reading George Berkeley's great book, The Analyst, in which he pointed out that Newton's calculus was anything but firmly established in proof. The great idealist philosopher was nothing if not a fine mathematician. It took anywhere from decades to more than a century to fill in the points he brought up against your spiritual ancestors.

      The part that mentions you, Miller, will probably be posted next week. I'm attributing the brawl to your original false charge, as you started it. Is that your real name?

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    20. The part that mentions you, Miller, will probably be posted next week. I'm attributing the brawl to your original false charge, as you started it. Is that your real name?

      Yes, it is. You have, at least, learnt to spell it.

      Lemme see ... the 'false charge' was that you draw a line from Darwin to Hitler? Yes, I am guilty of that very misdemeanour. A few hundred posts that pretty much amount to Exhibit A on that charge later, here we are ... I was, naively, trying to head off the very derail that occurred, by gentle mockery. You snapped at it as at a nice shiny lure. Ah well, publish and be damned.

      Will you also be telling your audience, as you have here, that Natural Selection is a "theory of violence", and that "races" in the "preservation of favoured races" of Origin's title must mean the different variants in humanity?

      I hope your audience does not contain any biologists.

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    21. Ah, I think you'll have to wait to see what I say.

      I think it's time for biologists to have the underside of their history presented to them. It used to be considered respectable, many of the biggest names in biology up through WWII were true believers in eugenics. I'll be writing a short post about the dangers of maintaining heroes. No matter what their qualifications in science might be, they can't change the historical record, if they've even bothered to look at it.

      Like it or not, what Darwin et al wrote is there to be read, cited and used.

      Now, don't you feel sorry you lied about what I was saying?

      I'd like to see your mascot die a natural death and have his ideas treated like any other idea in science instead of as infallible doctrine. Stand or fall on the evidence. In any case, evolution happened but I doubt they nailed the key to it on the basis of information available in the 1850s.

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  16. This Plantinga is one of those imbecilic philosophers who declared that Dawkins should not have made philosophical claims in "the god delusion" without being a philosopher. Yet, this Plantinga imbecile goes and tries his hands into "evolution" and "materialism" without understanding one bit about biology, not one bit about evolution, and not even that materialism upgraded to physicalism (so the imbecile does not even know philosophy). I want to call this ironic, but seems much worse than that. Maybe an ironical display of stupidity?

    The worst part of this is that I have seen atheist philosophers take this imbecile, and this arguments (among them this about evolution versus materialism) seriously (as if it would be hard to know where the argument fails-hint: everywhere from the premises on). That tells me that there's good reason why some scientists are declaring that philosophy is dead.

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  17. Allan Miller said, “Help in the here-and-now is all the atheist has to offer,” – Allan, I suspect that one cannot make a case for atheism without comparison to one’s own view of theism from whatever one’s personal theistic experience is. However, I wonder how you would make the case for all that atheism has to offer “in the here-and-now”, and also, how would that apply to the apparent human longings that seem to reach for something beyond the “here-and-now.” Keeping in mind that it is a relatively small elite (elite = positive context) group of people who have the benefit of detailed broad scientific knowledge with which they can logically think about one’s origins and develop a worldview (and purpose as a living creature). Would you make the case? My motive is that I am trying to see an atheist’s way of addressing issues that seem to be uniquely human. Especially if one (the audience) does not have the advantage of using evolutionary logic as a support for one’s views.

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  18. Herman Philipse wrote 'God in the Age of Science?', a critical examination of strategies for the philosophical defense of religious belief. Philipse makes mincemeat of those strategies. Part of the book is devoted to Plantinga (as is not mentioned on Amazon).

    http://www.amazon.com/God-Age-Science-Critique-Religious/dp/0199697531/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1345299654&sr=1-1&keywords=herman+philipse

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  19. Re Anthony McCarthy @ 11:39
    AM

    As expected, Mr. McCarthy fails to respond to the questions I posed to him, instead throwing up more ink of the octopus. Ray Hyman and James Randi are completely irrelevant to those questions. So I'll ask it again. Has there ever been a publication by Prof. Utts or anyone else in the peer reviewed technical literature reporting a 5 standard deviation result for PK. Again, Mr. McCarthy will not answer the question and instead will throw up more irrelevancies in a futile attempt to obscure the fact that he doesn't have a clue.

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  20. SLC, you brought up James Randi, you brought up Martin Gardner, you brought up "ESP" you introduced a double standard between your demand and the example you cited.

    And you brought them up because you didn't like what I was saying about what you would have to conclude from really applying the dogma of materialism to ideas about science and about materialism, itself. There is no way out of that maze, materialism is an absolutist theory, there is no place in it for any transcendence. Including the belief that a particular chemical reaction will produce a universally true result because other physical bodies, other brains will produce other results depending on the chemical constituents present and the physical conditions present at any time. In every case the resultant chemical will be a necessary physical result of the particular chemistry under the particular physical conditions present. There is no way, IN MATERIALISM, to choose a "right" one among them. You have to exit your ideological maze in order to do that and that isn't allowed in materialism.

    That's what you didn't like me saying, that's why you started sending out the ink in the form of James Randi and ESP.

    I told you when you started doing it that I didn't have time for another major brawl, just now, as I'm writing up the last one. I've got to say, every single time I look at new primary sources they support my contentions in that matter. I'm going to try to blow a hole in your mascot.

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    1. And again, Mr. McCarthy brings up Ray Hyman and James Randi, who are entirely irrelevant to the question I posed. Perhaps Mr. McCarthy should consider the first law of holes. When one is in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging.

      Now I'll ask yet again, expecting that Mr. McCarthy will again refuse to answer the question. Has Prof. Utts or anyone else published a paper in the peer reviewed literature claiming a 5 sigma effect for PK? That's a yes or a no. Bringing up Randi and Hyman yet again is just another way of avoiding the issue.

      And every time Mr. McCarthy avoids the issue, I'm going to ask the same question until Prof. Moran calls a halt.

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