Wednesday, December 19, 2012

IDiots at Evolution News & Views Defend Ann Gauger's Video

I few days ago I posted a video by Ann Gauger where she criticizes population genetics. Sandwalk readers recognized right away that she doesn't understand population genetics, or phylogenetics. Read the comments on: Ann Gauger Describes the Intelligent Design Creationist Version of Population Genetics.

I've been waiting for a response from Ann Gauger or any of the other IDiots. I've been waiting to see how they twist the meaning of "population genetics" to fit what she says in the video. I've been waiting to see how they defend her words on tree-making given the criticism on Sandwalk and elsewhere.

Incidentally, it turns out that the "laboratory" in the background of the video is a stock photo from Shutterstock and not an actual lab where Ann Gauger works. Here's the video so you can see what I'm talking about.


David Klinghoffer has finally responded to the criticism in a post on Evolution News & Views: Scandal! Gauger Filmed in Front of Green Screen. As you can see from the title, he is most upset about the use of a fake lab ... or rather he's upset about being discovered and exposed by Richard B. Hoppe at Panda's Thumb and Casey Johnston at Ars Technica.

But what about the scientific criticism of what Ann Gauger is actually saying in the video?

Klinghoffer has an answer ....
It's hard to believe that Miss Johnson, who writes for Ars Technica ("a trusted source for technology news, tech policy analysis, breakdowns of the latest scientific advancements"), is unaware of these things. So too Richard Hoppe. The most likely explanation for their posing at the game of "Gotcha!" is that they can't answer Dr. Gauger's arguments, which are given in full in a recent brief book co-authored by Gauger, Doug Axe and Casey Luskin, Science and Human Origins. We would be happy to send a review copy to Ars Technica.

Gauger, a PhD in developmental biology who was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard, has the science on her side. It's a typical Darwinist feint: When you don't have the arguments and you don't have the science, change the subject and pile on the red herrings. Casey Johnson, who dismisses our little video as a "nonsensical rant," can't reply to Dr. Gauger on the merits. If she could, she would.
David Klinghoffer reads Sandwalk so he knows how real scientists deal with the nonsense being spouted by Ann Gauger. I suspect he would rather focus on the "red herring" than defend the bad science in the video.


143 comments :

  1. They have pulled out all the stops to spin it back into place.

    They didn't want to disturb the real workers in the real lab, so they used the fake lab backdrop.

    Look, here's a picture of Richard Dawkins and he's not REALLY in front of a ferris wheel.

    And finally, the people who are complaining are the ones who are being dishonest, because as pros they HAVE to know how commonplace a practice it is.

    Wrong, wrong and wrong. What they need to do is admit that it was a bonehead move that makes them look ridiculous, and they may as well have gift-wrapped it as an early Christmas present to their opponents.

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    1. I would not have made anything about the backdrop picture and such. Agreed up to that point. But making such a scandal back that this was pointed out rather than check the science is much worse. After all, the post at P.T. starts with:

      This deserves its own post. Yesterday I pointed to a post at Larry Moran’s Sandwalk about a Discovery Institute video showing Ann Gauger, a “researcher” at the Disco ‘Tute’s BioLogic Institute, in which she mangles phylogenetics and population genetics [My emphasis].

      So, even though the P.T. post talks about the fake lab in the background, it starts with the problem with the science. Apparently, the ID goes for this distraction rather than deal with the science, which was quite a blunder. I mean, mistaking population genetics and phylogenetics? And they are supposed to be showing the problems with current evolutionary theory? So, if anything, the D.I. answer only confirms that they have no science to talk about. They just go for the green screen. Wouldn't it be much more elegant to go for the science and finish with a brief note about the green screen as "common practice"?

      Not that I truly expected better from the D.I.

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  2. klinghoffer must live under a rock. The "recent brief book co-authored by Gauger, Doug Axe and Casey Luskin, Science and Human Origins" has already been thoroughly examined and found to be a load of festering dung by knowledgeable scientists, science writers, and science supporters. There are none so blind and deaf as IDiot-creationists.

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  3. Wait - so now she is a "developmental biologist"?

    I thought she was a molecular biologist. Some sources call her a zoologist. I guess they use whichever superlatives they deem necessary at the time.

    Of course, the discussion of the Gauger-Luskin-Axe dumb-fest at Amazon.com exposed Gauger as a rube when it comes to the very things she wrote about.

    Par for the course.

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    1. Obviously she's a developmental molecular zoologist.

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    2. I think you meant
      developmental molecular zoological biologist

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  4. I'm checking the comments on your "analysis", as instructed, to see how real scientists deal with Gauger's points. I note the "analysis" you offered simply likened her video to a cartoon without further critical comment. Hmmn!
    So, on to the comments. The first three are, astonishingly, about the green screen and how scurrilous is their use of it. One commentator even suggests they stole it rather than paid for it. Real scientists, lol.
    Moving on, the next section, in response to someone who makes a similar point to mine above the "cartoon" criticism, actually deal with what Gauger says, but seems to me disingenuous, and missing the point. What Gauger seems to me to be saying, is that whole idea of population genetics is founded on the idea that when we see certain identical/similar genetic sequences we can take them to have been passed on rather than arising separately, and she is arguing that that assumption may be badly flawed. It is therefore no answer to simply say she doesn't understand what it's about and repeat the assumption as if it is a fact; she does understand and she simply disagrees with the foundational assumption. She is offering an argument as to why it is flawed. Thus she may be wrong, but she has not misunderstood.
    Then there's more stuff about the green screen, a few more insults, and more stating of the questioned assumption as a fact as if that addresses the objection.

    That's about as far as I got, but a quick check suggests the green screen is the most popular criticism. Good work real scientists.

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    1. So, Luther Flint, you didnt' get to the comment where Larry explains that Gauger isn't even talking about population genetics at all, even though she thinks she is? It's only the fifth comment down. You obviously really went into depth in your analysis of the comments. All the way to reading the first 4 out of 61 comments, and then dismissing the other 57 on that basis.

      Anyway, if you're that pressed for time, just focus on the comments by Joe Felsenstein if you want to appreciate the difference between a real scientist and a disingenuous liar for Jesus like Gauger.

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    2. Yes, I read it. I dealt with it. See above.

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    3. No you didn't, back to the thread and read.

      I even wrote this myself in that thread:
      Common descent is not in any way an assumption in population genetics.

      Common descend is not an assumption anywhere, it's a conclusion based on comparative anatomy and phylogenetic reconstruction.

      Imperfect inheritance of sequences of genes over generations PREDICTS that you'll get nested hierarchies (from which you can construct trees), they are not ASSUMED.

      Jesus fucking Christ this woman is just ultra-clueless.


      When I talk about "Imperfect inheritance of sequences of genes over generations", that's the subject dealt with in population genetics.

      So the 4'th post in the thread, not counting responses to the first 3 posts, already explain what's wrong with her statements. Interestingly, the only response I get is a comment about the use of the word "fuck".

      You've dealt with none of it, just regurgitated her uneducated position. Of course, for all I know she could be a world-class expert in both population genetics AND common descend, but that only makes her garbled conflation of the subjects all the more curious.

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    4. The question Rumraket asks of Steve below also applies to you, Luther Flint.

      Gauger's entire claim is based on the position that Population Genetics is based on a presumption of common ancestry.

      That claim is false. She provides no evidence for this claim in the video, for the simple reason that no evidence exists. She simply asserts the claim, either because she is not aware it is false, or because she knows that most people watching the video who agree with her position will not realize this is false and will be fooled, as you were. So she is either incredibly ignorant or incredibly dishonest.

      But, if you disagree, then simply prove us wrong by providing evidence that population genetics does, indeed, rely on the assumption of common descent in the form of a scientific reference.

      Delete
    5. @Rumraket
      I did deal with Larry's first criticism - reread my initial post.
      @Lutesuite
      I don't think you understand what Gauger is saying. Her point seems to be roughly that you can't talk about the frequency of Xs and draw the kind of conclusions from its supposed frequency that are drawn without the implicit assumption that all/most Xs came from a common X and are, indeed, an example of the same thing, ie, X, in the first place. I don't see that point being addressed.

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    6. No, Luther. I understand that is what she is saying. And she is partly right. You can't do that. So who is doing that? She says population geneticists are. They're not. (Neither are phylogeneticists, but that's beside the point since she is explicitly talking about population genetics. Says so in the title of the video).

      So as it stands, she is either liar, an incompetent or both. Or perhaps you could stop avoiding the question and provide the evidence that she is actually correctly representing the methods of population genetics.

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    7. If you check out Rumraket's post above you will see that her starting point is legitimate. That is, she talks of an implicit assumption and he (rumraket) talks of a conclusion. Thus, if it is a conclusion, then there is clearly a strong enough connection for someone to say, hold on, that conclusion is actually just an implicit assumption. That's her point. Is she right? I don't know. But there clearly is a connection.

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    8. Listen the most immediate IDiocy of Gauger's video was that she claimed she was criticising population genetics when in fact she was making a rather pathetic criticism of phylogenetics.

      That she can not know the difference between these two fields which are separate and distinct fields of genetics indicates that for all her wonderful credentials she has not the slightest grasp of modern biology.

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    9. So do you need us to explain to you the difference between an "assumption" and a "conclusion", Luther Flint?

      It seems you don't even understand the point Gauger is trying to make, never mind whether her point is legitimate. Thanks for confirming how creationism thrives on the ignorance of its acolytes.

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    10. No, I'm saying that when someone says X is a conclusion it is reasonable to argue that it's not really a conclusion, it's simply an assumption that has been applied to the data in advance and so of course it seems to generate that conclusion. And this is what Gauger seems to be saying.

      Perhaps, then, you should familiarise yourself with how people can often think they are arguing towards something (a conclusion) when they are actually arguing from it (an assumption). Plato made this point 2500 years ago.

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    11. Luther, one of the very early comments was mine, criticizing Gauger's hilarious statement that we should maybe look at the details of the human and chimp genomes before we jump to the conclusion of common descent. As if nobody thought of this before her! I mentioned that this had been done years ago. All details of such comparisons confirm common descent. For example, the theory of common descent predicted that the lower chromosome number in humans would be due to fusion of two chimp chromosomes. That was confirmed.

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    12. Yeah, but you're point just assumes exactly what she is saying you can no longer just assume. That's why I included your comment as a point-missing/restating assumptions one in my summary above.

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    13. Did you get down yet to my comment pointing out that there are papers that actually do test common descent? For example: Theobald, D. 2010. A formal test of the theory of universal common ancestry. Nature 465: 219–222.

      Gauger's claims are sleeping with the inner fishes.

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    14. No, I didn't get down to your point. Maybe you made a good point, but even if you did, my main point still stands: the vast majority of objections to what Gauger says are bollocks and many of them do indeed focus on the green screen.

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    15. Oh for fucks sake Luther this is embarassing to behold.

      A conclusion is derived from observations of the patterns displayed in comparative genetics, the conclusion of Common Ancestry. Because the observation is that there is a nested hierarchy.
      The reason this is concluded, is that a process of imperfect inheritance of genes over generations, with speciations, predicts such a pattern. So, the fact that we detect this pattern means common ancestry is most probably true. It would make the most sense, it would be the most likely explanation of the pattern of a nested hierarchy, if we evolved through common descent.

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    16. In population genetics, you can try to estimate changes in allele frequencies in populations, over generations. (That's why it's called population genetics).

      So, say you have experimental bacterial population, for example, and you track the evolution of the population through time. You can then go back and analyze the genome of the organism through time(provided you took samples at different stages) and use population genetics to estimate the strength of selective pressures operating on different loci in the genomes.
      You can estimate to what extend drift is operating and so forth. It can be used for many things, and yes, it can indeed even be used to estimate whether natural selection operated in the past on specific loci, IF you have a nested hierarchy. But it is not a fundamental requirement used in population genetics, that all of life shares common ancestry. You can do population genetics on a single population as it changes over time. It simply operates on the principle that the frequencies of alleles change in populations, over generations. And the specific rate of change in frequency, depends on factors such as selective pressure, drift and population size.

      Gauger is talking shit and it's manifest and obvious.

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    17. I know what a conclusion is. But often what appear to be conclusions are assumptions brought to bear on the data which then yield, surprise, surprise, those very conclusions. Something you have just demonstrated. Thus what Gauger is saying is that you don't really have nested hierarchies unless you ignore a lot of data - eg, identical sequences outside the hierarchy. The point being, I guess, that if you don't need common ancestry to produce identical sequences (in some places) then identical sequences (in other places) can't automatically be taken as evidence of common ancestry. And you're inability to grasp this point is indeed embarrassing to behold.

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    18. And you also miss the point. I'm not interested in whether Gauger is right. I'm interested in the quality of the objections. And the overall quality of the objections is shit.

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    19. Luther, your ignorance of biology is playing you false here. Gauger standing in front of a nice lab, green-screened or not, and armed with a PhD may make her credible to you, though I expect it's more that she's saying something you want to hear.

      But none of what she says is true. There are exceptions to the nested hierarchy of life, but there aren't many, and there are good explanations for them. The main point is that the hierarchy exists and has no other explanation than common descent. Squid and human eyes are obviously non-homologous if you look past surface appearance. Homoplasy is no embarrassing secret, just something phylogenetics has to contend with. When you get to human relationships to other apes, there isn't even much homoplasy. And no, common descent isn't just an assumption. Theobald tested it explicitly. But we test it implicitly ever time we come up with similar trees from different data. If there were no common descent we wouldn't expect that to happen.

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    20. I know what a conclusion is. But often what appear to be conclusions are assumptions brought to bear on the data which then yield, surprise, surprise, those very conclusions.

      Give specific examples instead of making blanket claims.

      Something you have just demonstrated.

      Explain how, in detail.

      Thus what Gauger is saying is that you don't really have nested hierarchies unless you ignore a lot of data - eg, identical sequences outside the hierarchy.
      Except that this isn't what she's saying, I just listened to the video a 3rd time and she mentions nothing of the sort. She simply casually dismisses population genetics on the basis that she declares common ancestry is used as an assumption therein. It's undeducated gibberish, or intentionally decieving, the verdict is still out on that.

      The point being, I guess, that if you don't need common ancestry to produce identical sequences (in some places) then identical sequences (in other places) can't automatically be taken as evidence of common ancestry.
      Give specific examples.

      And you're inability to grasp this point is indeed embarrassing to behold.
      I can't have failed to "get" a point that was only made just now by you in the post I'm responding to.

      At this stage this discussion can go no further until two things happen:
      1. You point out exactly where in the video Gauger is making your point about ignoring specific sequences "outside the hierarchy".
      2. You give specific examples from the scientific litterature where scientists do exactly that, in order to impose a nested hierarchy where none exists.

      I will make one testable prediction: I will get nothing of what I asked for.

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    21. I know what a conclusion is. But often what appear to be conclusions are assumptions brought to bear on the data which then yield, surprise, surprise, those very conclusions.

      Life could have multiple origins and it would make little difference to evolutionary theory. As John has repeatedly pointed out, the hypothesis of universal common ancestry is testable and has been tested. But take a different domain, like language. In historical linguistics we have evidence that large groups of languages derive from a common ancestor through a process in many ways analogous to biological evolution, but there is no compelling evidence to back up the hypothesis that all languages form one big family tree (despite some crackpot claims). Nor is there a definitive proof that they can't form such a tree. So instead of assuming anything either way about language monogenesis we regard it as an open question. Given the limitations of the evidence and the methods that we have, we may never know the right answer. But meanwhile we do what we can, and that includes the identification of numerous families -- some tiny, some vast (like Austronesian, Bantu or Indo-European, each with hundreds of members) -- for which common ancestry can be demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt (as opposed to "assumed").

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    22. It's really not difficult, Luther Flint.

      Gauger is making an accusation: That when evolutionary biologists are claiming that evidence conclusively supports common ancestry they are basing this conclusion on data that only works if one makes an a priori assumption of common ancestry, and that they have failed to consider the possibility of homoplasy. She provides no evidence to support this accusation. She just asserts it.

      OTOH, several people on the blog and elsewhere, many of them actual experts in the field (unlike Gauger) have detailed the process by which the conclusion is actually reached, and how the possibility of homoplasy is in fact routinely considered in this.

      This is apart from the fact that Gauger refers to the subject as "population genetics" when in fact what she is discussing has nothing whatsoever to do with population genetics.

      So when you say the "quality of the objections has been shit", I'm not sure what you are referring to. Do you think people are lying about how phylogenetic trees are constructed? Then why not research the topic on your own. Do you just not understand the answers? Then ask for clarifiction. Have you just not read the responses yet? Then STFU already and just read.

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    23. I couldn't care less. My point was that the arguments offered were shite. They were.

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    24. @Rumraket
      Your questions:
      1. I gave examples, you didn't understand them, your problem - read Plato.
      2. See above - you're not the judge.
      3. She does explain when she talks of identical sequences even you admit are not the result of common ancestry.
      4. See points 1. 2 & 3.

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    25. You and Gauger are two peas in a pod, Luther.

      "They arguments were shite." Why? Because you say so?

      "Population genetics assumes common ancestry." Any specific evidence or examples to support this accusation? No, just because she says so. And that's enough for a creationist, it seems.

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    26. I have answered you. And the arguments were shite because a green screen is a shite argument. See the fallacy of the green screen objection.

      Delete
    27. Hey, Lex, I mean, Luthur, you forgot your best argument, "Read My Book."

      Good-bye. You're done here.

      Delete
    28. Great argument - make a remark about someone's name and then waffle shite. You were never here enough to be done.

      Delete
    29. @Luther Flint
      1. I gave examples, you didn't understand them, your problem - read Plato.
      No you didn't, you just made shit up. To give an example is to provide evidence outside of your ability to make it up, I want an actual citation here, not just your fevered halluscinations.

      2. See above - you're not the judge.
      Meaningless statement, no context provided.

      3. She does explain when she talks of identical sequences even you admit are not the result of common ancestry.
      EXAMPLES LUTHER, I don't care about Gauger's mindless assertions, I want specific examples where scientists did what you claim they do, I want examples of scientists imposing nested hierarchies where none exist by intentionally ignoring identical sequences.

      So give me that, Luther. Give me examples of "Identical sequences" and refer me to studies where a nested Hierarchy was constructed by intentionally ignoring said "identical sequences".

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    30. Jeez, Rumraket. Can't you evolutionists do anything but rag about the green screen? ;-)

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    31. @rumraket
      I've given examples. And I'm not that interested in getting your approval for them because as I say in (2) above, you're not the judge.

      Delete
    32. @john harshman

      Your ignorance of logic is playing you false here. So much so that you still don't seem to understand what my point is.

      Delete
    33. Prediction: confirmed.

      My work here is done, you can't reach these people.

      Delete
    34. You're right, YOU can't, because you don't know enough. Thus you ask for a citation that a hidden/implicit assumption is an acknowledged assumption when acknowledging the assumption would mean it wasn't hidden/implicit in the first place.

      And what do mean "these people"? People who don't subscribe to your fanatical religious views and thus treat some of the articles of your faith with scepticism?

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    35. Oohhh, the assumption is hidden, and it takes a keen unbiased mind such as yourself to see it. Haha, of course, why didn't I see this? This is like it takes an "open mind" to hear god-voices, right? I love it.

      Also, well done on the "fanatical religious" and "faith" accusations, it doesn't get any better than when religionists attempts to belittle nonbelief by couching it in religious terms, thus implicitly conceding the undesirability of the concept of faith in it's various forms to begin with.

      Couldn't have done it better myself.

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    36. You clearly don't know what a hidden assumption is. Thus your asking for a reference where the implicit is made explicit thus rendering it no longer implicit. And thus now your treating this as some kind of mystery rather than a very common fact.

      Re me being a religionist - not at all. I have no particular religious views, unlike you, whose life is dominated by religion. So much so that you make a song and dance about green screens when someone questions one of the articles of your faith.

      Delete
    37. Luther: Are you claiming not to be ignorant of biology? Your point is apparently that a) some people mentioned a green screen, which lets you ignore everything else that anyone said and b) there is a hidden assumption of common descent somewhere. Let's assume we've already dealt with 1. In what way did I not deal with 2? There have been many tests of common descent, none of which require one to assume common descent in advance. Let me remind you again of Theobald 2010 and of any study in which multiple lines of evidence lead to the same tree.

      And I too would like to see examples of these sequences that are identical other than by descent. Gauger doesn't mention any, and you don't either. She does mention the cephalopod and vertebrate eyes, which may have confused you. Those are not DNA sequences. They're anatomical features. Now in fact some of the genes that build these features are similar (though not identical), but they're similar because they're descended from a common ancestor, and they do other things than make eyes in some other organisms. The convergence is in gross morphology and recruitment of signalling molecules, not DNA sequences.

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    38. No, my point is that the examples of comments I examined were shite. And I already said I didn't get to your point so maybe your point was a good one. I don't care, my point was that a quick examination of the comments revealed many of them to be shite.

      And since that's my main point, that's my main point. It matters not if you can summon up good objections now, if good objections they be, because my point was about Larry bigging up the bullshit that was written on the other page when it was heaviliy focused on the green screen despite his claim that it was real science.

      Delete
    39. Luther: That may be your point, but it's a silly point, since all you talked about was the green screen and ignored all the serious comments. You're putting your fingers in your ears and shouting "La la la, I can't hear you", and that doesn't make you look good.

      Larry wasn't focused on the green screen, of course. He didn't even notice it. "La la la, I can't hear you". I'm assuming that at some level, even you realize that any attempt on your part to talk about the science would end in humiliation.

      But in all that, where's the hidden assumption you keep mentioning but won't discuss?

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    40. No, I dealt with some of the supposed serious points. I said it was no use just restating the questioned assumptions as if Gauger didn't understand them when she did understand them and was questioning them.

      I also dealt specifically with the false claim that Gauger was saying nobody had checked human and chimp genomes when she was saying they maybe needed to look again.

      And I never said Larry was focused on the green screen - I said he asked people to go look at the fantastic criticisms real scientists make and the first thing there was stuff about the green screen, and the next few were just point missing nonsense. Thus I concluded that a significant proportion of the comments were shite.

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    41. @Harshman

      So why don't you go to the other page and tell us what percentage of the comments you find fall into the categories:
      Excellent
      Good
      Poor
      Shite

      Delete
    42. You clearly don't know what a hidden assumption is. Thus your asking for a reference where the implicit is made explicit thus rendering it no longer implicit. And thus now your treating this as some kind of mystery rather than a very common fact.
      Examples, Luther. Actual examples from the litterature. Specifically I'd like you to refer me these supposed identical sequences which are being ignored.

      Re me being a religionist - not at all. I have no particular religious views, unlike you, whose life is dominated by religion. So much so that you make a song and dance about green screens when someone questions one of the articles of your faith.
      Please cite these events here.

      Show me the song I made, and the dance I did about green screens, and show me where I express faith positions and deep religious convictions.

      Testable Prediction number 2: I will still not get any of what I ask for.

      Delete
    43. You have dealt with nothing. And one thing you suffer from is vagueness. Which questioned assumptions did anyone just restate? What exactly was it claimed Gauger didn't understand, and what evidence do you have that she did understand after all? (I have to say that her confusing population genetics with phylogenetics doesn't inspire confidence.)

      She never actually said we should look at the human and chimp genomes at all, but that's what she probably meant. What she actually said is that we should look at the details, but didn't specify what details. Still, that's enough to know she's wrong. We've already looked at the details, and quite carefully. We've already tested the hypothesis of common descent within hominids. She alludes to some kind of contrary evidence, but notice she never mentions any? That's because she can't.

      So, after looking at as many as four out of over 60 comments to one thread, you conclude that all the arguments are "shite"? Is this typical of the rigor of creationist research? And don't think I didn't notice your slide from "vast majority" to "a significant portion", you sly dog. Now if you want any respect, you will have to dealwith the small minority ,or perhaps the significant portion, or perhaps even the majority, that aren't "shite". Care to have a go?

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    44. So why don't you go to the other page and tell us what percentage of the comments you find fall into the categories:

      Why? A sensible person would ignore the useless comments and concentrate on refuting the serious arguments. Are you a sensible person?

      Delete
    45. @Rumraket

      You made a song and dance when you said, in response to the devastating green screen scientific critique, "That's simply hilarious" as opposed to, eg, so what, what does that have to do with anything".

      Delete
    46. But my purpose here was to examine Larry's claim that the comments there were what real scientists said - thus I checked a few sections and found them to be, to a significant extent, the same old shite - precisely what he said they weren't. Green screen, for example, seems to be the most popular single objection.

      Delete
    47. Holy shit, I said "that's simply hilarious"? Oh man, I guess we can just casually dismiss everything else I've said then.

      Anyway, I must concede my prediction has been at least partially falsified, well done Luther. Now on to the specific examples with respect to identical sequences which are being ignored. Got any of those?

      Oh and, the "faith"-snipes, what's up with that? Can you substantiate that accusation too?

      Delete
    48. It seems to me that if you want to check Larry's claim, which is that "Sandwalk readers recognized right away that she doesn't understand population genetics, or phylogenetics", you should look for any comments, no matter how few, that attempt to demonstrate her errors. Larry didn't say that every comment was a gem. Perhaps you should check a few more sections. And in fact the first substantive comment is only the fourth one down, from Larry himself; and then the fifth one, from Lou Jost, is also right on target. Ah, the rigor of creationist research.

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    49. @Luther: For someone who is not averse to dumping stinking shit on his own blog, you are amazingly strict when judging other people's style. Can't you just skip the "shite" part and focus on the serious arguments?

      Delete
    50. Yeah, ok, she said population genetics when she should have said phylogenetics - that's embarrassing I grant you. More so, however, is the fact that this wasn't picked up and the video was released. That aside, if we treat her claim as being about phylogenetics, as it should have been treated,then that critcism is more of a clarification and the argument would then need to be addressed on that basis.

      So, we have green screen, then a point that is right but perhaps trivial, then a whole heap of abuse, then some unrelated irrelevant stuff, then more about the green screen and some insults and so on. Unimpressive stuff.

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    51. Not just embarrassing. It shows a severe lack of understanding of the field. Nobody with any knowledge of phylogenetics would have made such a mistake. It's a good demonstration of her ignorance, not just a quibble. But onward.

      All right, now you've dealt with the first 4 comments. Progress. Now, here's what a person who was really serious about addressing Larry's claim would do: search through all the comments, toss out the trivial stuff, and consider the remainder. No, you can't just stop at 3 or even 4. I suggest going on to Lou Jost, rumraket's first comment, and hey, even mine.

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    52. I didn't just go through 4 comments. I went through a good number of sections and then scrolled about at random. That was more than enough to confirm my suspicion that a significant portion of the comments were shite. I should point out that I have no interest in whether Gauger is right or not, my interest here is simply about the quality of the responses in light of the criticism Larry makes above. And on that point, given that a number of other websites focused on the green screen, as were many of the comments on Larry's page, it seems reasonable that that was addressed by ENV. After all, nobody forced these people to focus on such an irrelevant point, and Gauger is not duty bound to wade through shite to find a worthwwhile objection. That being said, presumably the actual objections have now been made and we shall see if they are dealt with in time.

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    53. It was not a slip of the tongue. The question she was supposed to be answering was "Question #4: How accurate are the models used in population genetics?" (O:11). Did she misunderstand the question? Didn't she have a look at the video before it was released? Are all the other "scholars" at the Biologic Institute blind, ignorant, or both? Even assuming mercifully that she knows the difference between phylogenetics and population genetics but her mind went blank just as she was video'd, her criticism of phylogenetics only revealed her profound ignorance of the subject, as you can learn from some of the comments.

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    54. @Piotr - what do you find wrong with the short piece you call stinking shit? I think it nicely captures an important point about the inadequacy of science in providing a foundation for morality

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    55. Luther: OK, no problem. Your only point was that a few of the comments didn't cover important objections to Gauger's claims. I agree that a few of them didn't. I had mistakenly thought you had something more to say. My apologies.

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    56. @Piotr

      re your last point. I don't care. My analysis was of the quality of the objections. Your objection, fwiw, were green screen (shite), cargo cult waffling (shite), irrelevant musings about Gauger's academic background (shite), then green screen again and an irrelevant aside about peer-review (shite and shite). I guess it wasn't you Larry had in mind when he talked of real scientists.

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    57. Feel free to ignore me, then, and concentrate on the real scientists. And do clean your own fucking place before you express disgust at the shite you see elsewhere. If you can't see yourself what's wrong with your attempt at wit involving a Birkenau gas chamber, what can I say?

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    58. It was less an attempt at wit and more a deadly serious point. No reason to beat around the bush.

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    59. Luther, in another thread I made some criticism about your use of the same flawed arguments that Behe uses regarding molecular evolution. You replied that you didn't know enough about the subject to see who is right and who is wrong and that you didn't know who to trust because the discussion seemed falwed on both sides. But then one comes to your blog and you don't have any problems using the creotard arguments and spreading shit about current theory of evolution, like a pompous fool who doesn't understand shit what he's talking about. Isn't this dishonest? Why don't you simply state in your blog that you don't know enough and criticize instead what in your opinion is a flawed discussion between both parts? Why don't you retract that pathetic article about molecular evolution? I may disagree with your opinions in general regarding the whole discussion between ID and Science but at least it would be a honest one. You seem to want to play the laymen who is criticizing the whole discussion process here at Sandwalk but in your own blog you play the knowledgeable guy who knows what he's talking about and is convinced people like Behe is right. Although I think the ID/creationist movement have been making fool of themselves for decades, at least I could understand that a laymen may feel frustrated that the discussion isn't clear and who makes comments from that point of view. But you play two different roles, one here and one in your blog that are not compatible. I did have a modicum of respect for you until now since our previous discussions, even though I didn't agree in the slightest with your views. But right now you're striking me as a dishonest individual. Right now I have far more respect for Byers and his honest unshakeable faith in the bible than I have for you.

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    60. You're misrepresenting what I said. I know enough to stand by what I said in my blog. I know enough, eg, to know that nobody has a clue how life arose; nobody has a clue how mutation could produce what we see; nobody knows how animals work; and nobody has a clue what consciousness is. And I know enough to know that that means the kind of fanatical devotion to the theory of evolution that you have is misplaced.

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    61. I'm not misrepresenting anything.

      "I know enough, eg, to know that nobody has a clue how life arose"

      I agree. I fail to see what it has to do with the theory of evolution, though. You could just as well say that God created the first cells and that wouldn't change anything regarding evolutionary theory.



      "nobody has a clue how mutation could produce what we see"

      Sorry, but that's bullshit. In your article you just parrot what Behe said. That has been shown to be wrong countless times. Behe would only be correct if there were pre-determined outcomes (otherwise his probabilities are irrelevant), if there was a need for every mutation to be positively selected (there isn't because of genetic drift) and if most mutations were deleterious, and if there was no gene duplication. It's wrong. Either learn statistics and molecular evolution and do the calculations yourself or stop parroting Behe. You're just repeating his crap because you don't understand it and for some reason you like it.



      "nobody knows how animals work"

      I don't even understand what this is supposed to mean.


      "and nobody has a clue what consciousness is".

      I agree to a certain extent. But do you have a better explanation beyond physico-chemistry or just metaphysical bable?












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    62. If you don't understand why the origin of life is a problem for evolution then perhaps you should read my blog.

      Re mutation, it's not bullshit - see below. And consider that we don't yet know how the genome even works, nor whether "genome" is the most inappropriate name in history. So while you might think things are a done deal, that's just the misplaced faith you have nurtured for religious reasons.

      If you don't know what "how animals work" means then think about a television, and our knowledge of how it works, then think about animals and how different our knowledge is there.

      Re consciousness, the problem being that until we understand a little bit about it we have no idea what evolution is supposed to produce, let alone whether the mechanisms are adequate to the mystery task.

      And you did misrepresent what I said - as the above shows. That is, I know enough to say that, and that's all I said on my blog.

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    63. Do you have any actual arguments, Luther?

      "If you don't understand why the origin of life is a problem for evolution then perhaps you should read my blog."

      I did, and I cried.

      "Re mutation, it's not bullshit - see below."

      Where?

      "So while you might think things are a done deal..."

      I never said that, nor anyone.


      "If you don't know what "how animals work" means then think about a television, and our knowledge of how it works, then think about animals and how different our knowledge is there."

      Arguments, Luther, arguments. This is just bla bla bla. Go read some textbooks on anatomy, physiology and biochemistry. Maybe you'll actually learn something instead of reading Denton or Behe. And no, we don't know everything about the workings of cells and tissues. That's why researchers exist.

      "Re consciousness, the problem being that until we understand a little bit about it we have no idea what evolution is supposed to produce, let alone whether the mechanisms are adequate to the mystery task."

      So you start from the assumption that there is a "task" or "final purpose" to evolution. Now it's clear why you are so quick to play the game of ID.


      "as the above shows. That is, I know enough to say that, and that's all I said on my blog."

      The above just shows that you have no arguments, just rhetorical nonsense.










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    64. Those are arguments. The main argument is that the theory of evolution has no non-self-refuting starting point, a mechanism that has not been shown to be adequate for more than a tiny fraction of the job, and a job that is itself not even yet close to being understood. In such cases it's premature demand allegiance to the theory in anything like the manner you do.


      Thus when you claim these aren't problem you are claiming stuff is a done deal when it's a million miles (years) from being a done deal.

      And no I'm not saying there is final purpose or task for evolution - I'm saying there is a task for evolutionary theory, which is to explain how you get this (eg, conscious old me) using only the stuff in theory - one problem being that you haven't the foggiest what conscious old me is, so you're in no position to claim you have a solid theory of what produced this mysterious entity. So again you misunderstand in your desperation to label my objections religiously motivated. They're not, but your advocacy of the theory is.

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    65. So by your "reasoning", Luther Flint, since physicists don't yet fully understand the nature of gravity, or how it originated, we should dismiss all those who accept the theory of gravity as deluded religious zealots, right? I expect you will now demonstrate your faith in your reasoning by jumping off the nearest cliff.

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    66. When you say we should reject the theory of gravity do you mean we should reject the brute fact that things fall or the theory of how it is they come to fall? It's clear that one thing is a brute fact while the other is not understood. In addition, the term "gravity" is conceptually neutral as regards the final explanation whereas "evolution" is not. Moreover, the theory of evolution is absolutely intertwined with the origin of life inasmuch as one starts precisely where the other ends and this point can be moved about along the continuum. And finally, there is nothing else depending on the origin of life except evolution in the way many things rely on acknowledging gravity without understanding exactly how it works. Thus I reject your disanalogy as ill-conceived.

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    67. Luther,

      Evolution is also a brute fact. It is what is behind it that makes the theory. How much is natural selection, how much is random genetic drift. But it is a fact that life has changed through the history of the planet, it is a fact that we share ancestry with the other apes, et cetera. What makes evolution hard t understand to some, actually, is that unlike gravitation, which seems to be a single phenomenon, evolution is the result of the way things work. Not a single phenomenon, but the result of several phenomena. Even then, you demonstrated that the analogy to gravitation is better conceived than I had previously thought (because of what I just said, that evolution is not a process itself, but a result from how things work, example, the mere fact that life forms don't reproduce with 100% fidelity):

      When you say we should reject the theory of evolution do you mean we should reject the brute facts that life changes and that species share common ancestries or the theories about how come life forms change and share common ancestry? It is clear that the ones are brute facts, while the others are still under evaluation.

      The term "evolution" is conceptually neutral in regards to final explanations. The theory explains how things evolve. But the final word about the particular histories of each and every feature are another story. Just like gravitation alone explains how the planets, for example, orbit the Sun, it does not explain the particular distances of each planet to the Sun, or the age of the solar system. Gravity explains what it explains. The particular histories behind the existing planets, and the necessary time for their formation, and such, are that, histories. But gravity is neutral about that, just like evolution is about the mechanisms, but each history is a different problem.

      The theory of evolution is not "absolutely intertwined with the origin of life" other than "inasmuch as one starts precisely where the other ends" and you should understand what this means. It means that no matter how life started, evolution can be happily accepted for the facts that demonstrate it. Just like whether we know if/how the universe began, gravitation is still a brute fact.

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    68. "The theory of evolution is not "absolutely intertwined with the origin of life" other than "inasmuch as one starts precisely where the other ends" and you should understand what this means. It means that no matter how life started, evolution can be happily accepted for the facts that demonstrate it."

      We could add that even if the first cells had been created by a designer (god, aliens, whatever) it still would be irrelevant for how evolution as a process works. Evolution as in Theory of Evolution is about how life changes (i.e. evolves), not how independent molecules assemble into living cells from a pre-biotic soup or whatever speculation one fancies. For Theory of Evolution what matters are the characteristics that life possesses and how the mechanisms of evolution work upon it, regardless of origin. If that was by design or not is irrelevant in that context.

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    69. Good point. I know there are some "theistic evolutionists" who think god created life, but then let evolution do the rest. There's nothing logically contradictory about this statement, so it would seem equally logical to postulate that a chemical process created the fist lifeforms, which subsequently evolved.

      You can't use abiogenesis to reject evolution. It's like saying you can't have developed from a single fertilized egg because a story of your developmental history doesn't include details of what took place in your parents bedroom.

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    70. @negativeentropy I'm not disputing the fact of evolution, and certainly not rejecting it. I'm saying it's premature to claim that the current theory of how such a thing happened is anything other than wild speculation. Thus if you want, as you do, to make grand theological claims you had better have something better to offer than the fluff you currently put up.

      @Pedro The current theory of evolution is intertwined with the origin of life inasmuch as you have no idea when one ends and the other starts. Indeed you claim not to care. Thus evolution would be just as true, according to you, if the Genesis account was literally true, and all evolution explained was slight differences in the height of humans and similar things. Can you see why someone would regard your fanatical anti-religious views, and the relationship you claim exists between them and the theory of evolution, as somewhat disingenuous when all you are prepared to defend is the my-dad-to-me transition.

      @rumraket I'm not rejecting evolution, I'm rejecting the idea that your explanation of how it happened must be treated with anything other than scepticism.

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    71. Luther,

      You did not make a lot of sense there. Evolution as in species share common ancestries is fact. It is a fact that we and the other apes share common ancestry. No way around it. Too many lines of evidence. To many facts support this fact. So many that denying it cannot be due but to ignorance. As per the theory, it is not "mere speculation." A lot of the processes involved have been tested and they work. We have observed many of these processes in nature and they do what they have been proposed to do. So, I see no point where there's any speculation in the sense that you call them speculation. It is like saying that because now gravitation is thought to be due to space-time deformation, now that it had something to do with mass was mere speculation. It was not. Scientists observed a relationship between mass and gravitation, but there was a step they were missing. Exactly like that, we miss some process here and there perhaps, but evolutionary theory is no more speculation than the relationship between mass and gravitation. Except that there's many things going on that result in evolution, so we have a hard time deciding which processes might be more or less involved. That's about it. But you said that you are a lay man. I get that. Therefore, if you want to call any of it speculation, you better learn what you are talking about. It would also be a bit more consistent, and I would take your ideas more seriously, were it not because of the irony that you seem to prefer magic as an explanation, while calling scientific propositions "mere speculation."

      I did not make any theological inferences in my previous comment, let alone because of evolution. Can you show me where you think that I did? I do not know what you believe about gods. I don't believe in them. From what you say you believe in a version of the Christian god (you mentioned Genesis). If you believe that we were all puffed into existence, then it is your problem to infer or not anything about theology in the face of evolution. Evolution will remain a fact (properly a lot of facts) whether you like it or not. If that means that the particular god you believe does not exist, well, that's hardly my problem. I do not care one bit. If you think that it's proper to hold to lack of knowledge as to how life began, then it is your theology you are worried about. That would be the only thing that would explain why you think that we should reject evolution because we do not know how life started. It does not make sense unless you want a whole scientific package to substitute each and all "explanations" you find in your god. But that's you. If you want to discuss logically against those who do not share your beliefs, you have to provide something better than "you don't know how life started" in order to reject a robust and well established theory and the facts that it explains.

      But otherwise, sure, be skeptical. But be logically and informedly skeptical. Don't take my word for any of it. Only make sure you know what you are talking about before trying such faulty logic (pretending to debunk a robust theory because we don't know something else), or faulty knowledge (the misinformation you take for true from such things as the D.I.).

      Enjoy your festivities.

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    72. @Luther -- Many of the phenomena accompanying evolution are the necessary consequences of "the way things are". They fall out from the model and don't have to be independently assumed. Adaptation is a side-effect of the differential survival of variant replicators in a constrained-size population. Fixation by random drift happens just because the population is finite, and drift may also cause geographical variation if there are relatively isolated local subpopulations. Mutations must happen because replication isn't 100% error-free. Genome complexity is increased by familiar mechanisms like gene duplication and divergence.

      All that would necessarily happen to any type of imperfectly self-replicating entities forming finite populations in a finite environment. You can see clear evidence of those processes in the DNA sequences of all living things. Molecular and phenotypic change is a constantly ongoing process, observable in a laboratory.

      Speciation and macroevolution take more time, so you wouldn't be able to see much evidence of them if the living world had been created 6000 years ago. But the evidence is there. It is totally incompatible with the Genesis story and proves that life on Earth has universal shared ancestry and is more than a couple billion years old. So macroevolution is a brute fact too. The underlying mechanisms, described by modern evolutionary theory, are quite well understood. If you call them "wild speculation", please explain what is so speculative about them. Otherwise your attitude is one of ignorant negationism, not informed scepticism.

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    73. @Luther:

      You made quite a lot of wrong assumptions there.


      "Indeed you claim not to care."

      Wrong. What I say is that the origin of the first cells has no impact on the current Theory of Evolution. I never said I didn't care about the origin of life. Were did you get that idea from?!?



      "Thus evolution would be just as true, according to you, if the Genesis account was literally true, and all evolution explained was slight differences in the height of humans and similar things."

      Completely wrong. You're putting words in my mouth. What I said is that it would not matter if a god or alien or whatever you fancy created the first cells; that would not change anything regarding how evolution works from that point on. You're confusing me with Behe, who apparently needs god to intervene at multiple steps to guide evolution. I say precisely the opposite: regardless of design or no design of the original cells, evolutionary theory would be the same as now.


      "Can you see why someone would regard your fanatical anti-religious views, and the relationship you claim exists between them and the theory of evolution, as somewhat disingenuous when all you are prepared to defend is the my-dad-to-me transition."

      What "fanatical anti-religious views" did I EVER express? What relashionship did I ever claimed for anti-religion and TE?

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    74. @Piotr
      I'm not asking if you believe the Genesis story, or if you can tell a story that is inconsistent with it, I'm asking if the theory of evolution is inconsistent with it. And I'm asking because Pedro, and others, seem to have adopted a version of it - the only version of it they are willing to defend - that is consistent with the Genesis account.

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    75. @NegativeEntropy

      Universal common ancestry may be a fact, but it is not a brute fact anything like gravity. And even if UCA is true, it is far from clear that we have anything like a good understanding of the mechanisms that underlie it. Thus the question is whether the theory of evolution (construed as the thesis that the universal common ancestor led to all of life via the mechanisms we currently accept or mechanisms roughly like them) demands allegiance or is appropriately treated with scepticism and a wry smile - I think the latter.

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    76. @Pedro If you can get a cell for free, you might as well help yourself to a cat for free. And if you can get a cat for free you might as well help yourself to any other life form for free as well. As Phil Collins and Genesis said: no evolution, or jacket, required.

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    77. @ FWIW, here's my main argument that forms the basis of for this discussion
      http://all-ontologies-blazing.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/evolution-i-view-from-wicked.html

      and here's an additional point about one of the points

      http://all-ontologies-blazing.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/why-origin-of-life-is-problem-for.html

      and another one about another one

      http://all-ontologies-blazing.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/a-different-problem-for-evolution.html

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    78. "If you can get a cell for free, you might as well help yourself to a cat for free. And if you can get a cat for free you might as well help yourself to any other life form for free as well."

      Maybe that is how you see evolution, not me. You completely missed the point of what I said. Or maybe you're just avoiding making any meaningful and relevant comment for the points raised. Are you going to reply with real answers to the questions I made above or should I stop wasting my time with you?

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    79. @It is a real answer whether you understand why or not (see my second link above). And no, don't stay on my account; I find you quite a tedious individual with a penchant for point missing on a par with the prick Piotr.

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    80. @Luther: The Genesis story is inconsistent with the evidence. If life as we know it arose as a result of many separate acts of creation, there would be no reason for it to show clear evidence of common descent and previous evolutionary change (unless God is some kind of malicious trickster, but if so, he may just as well have created the whole Universe last Thursday). But even so the mechanism of evolution would operate normally, affecting living populations just as it does in the real world. The theory of evolution is one thing, the fact of evolution as a concrete historical process happening on Earth is another.

      Your points are easy to miss, since they are practically weightless and hardly visible.

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    81. The feeling is mutual. Have a nice Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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    82. Luther,

      Again putting words into my mouth. I did not say anything about universal common ancestry being a brute fact. What is a brute fact is that there's a lot of common ancestry among species, such as ours and those of other apes, all the way to primates, and all the way to vertabrates, with no possible objection to it being a brute fact. Further relationships are not brute facts. They seem to be true. Lots of evidence point to it being true. But the facts supporting that idea are not as evident as those supporting our common ancestry with other apes and primates, for example. Though it is curious that the evidence has problems where the theory would predict it to have problems ... anyway, we share ancestry with the other apes.

      As per your theology. It's up to you if you want to believe that Genesis is compatible with evolution. Whatever you do with your theology does not concern me. It's mere fantasy, so feel free to make it compatible with evolution, and with our common ancestry with the rest of the apes, and with the rest of primates, and so on. I don't care. Why? Because I could not care less how you fantasize about your gods. I insist, trying to mock evolution while bastardizing your fantasies in order to accommodate the undeniable facts is your prerogative. Contradicting yourself in the ways you have done so far is your prerogative. But, again, don't expect me to take your complains against evolution seriously if all you have as alternatives is magic and plasticity about the fantasies you want to mix with the scientific soup.

      You have done nothing but confirm that you have no idea what you are talking about. Neither in the sciences, nor in the logic, let alone in the theology. All you do is give priority to your fantasies, while calling them theology, at the time you deny yourself the opportunity to show that you can understand anything about science. So be it.

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    83. Piotr,

      I completely agree that genesis is not compatible with any level of evolutionary facts. But you would be surprised at how much believers are able to find "meanings" that are "compatible" with, for example, the true age of the universe, or even with evolution. Of course, they are free to do as they wish. That does not mean that we have to take them seriously. That's, I think my main point with this guy. He can do with his fantasies as he wishes. that does not mean I will take them seriously, let alone accept them as problems for evolutionary brute facts, or for evolutionary theory.

      Best my friend. I always learn a hell of a lot from your clean and clear comments.

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    84. @Negative entropy

      Common ancestry is nothing like a brute fact in the way gravity is. It is hard, eg, to even come up with a scenario under which gravity would not exist, whereas it is child's play to come up with scenarios under which almost all common ancestry claims would be false.

      And who's talking about magic? You people seem incapable of dealing with objections without inventing nonsense. My point is simply that the current theory that all life evolved from a common ancestor via mechanisms like those currently included in the ToE is not even close to being established to the extent that we have to accept it. It's not even close - at present we have a metaphysical framework with a few details, when what you need, to make the kinds of claims for the theory that are made, is much, much more than that.

      And I know I've done nothing to confirm that I have no idea what I'm talking about because I've confirmed quite clearly that I do know what I'm talking about.

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    85. General point: I don't believe the Genesis account, and I don't think the theory of evolution is consistent with the Genesis account. Larry, on the other hand, is only prepared to defend a definition of evolution that is consistent with the Genesis account. (See his 'What is Evolution' page.) My objections are against the stronger version and not the watered down version that is wheeled out when objections are in the air.

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    86. Luther,

      I did not give you any watered down version. I am more than able to defend evolution's brute facts, as well as the evidence that links most if not all living forms by common ancestry. Still, the brute fact parts are already incompatible with a literal Genesis. If you don't believe in Genesis, then why pretend that origin of life has anything to do with whether evolution is true or not? I suspect you are being dishonest here, but please show me if otherwise. Because so far you were defending a position that made no sense: if we don't know how life started, you seem to say, then evolution is false. If that's not what you meant then what the hell were you pretending to achieve?

      As for Larry, I can't speak for him, but I doubt that he is only prepared to defend a version of evolution that is "compatible with Genesis." You might be misreading that post to mean something it does not mean (just like you read theology in a comment of mine that had no theology at all, or "universal" when I talked about undeniable common ancestries). Not only that, you seem to therefore ignore every other comment ever posted by Larry.

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    87. Luther,

      Don't be ridiculous, your "is child's play to come up with scenarios under which almost all common ancestry claims would be false" are identical to coming with scenarios where gravitational events would be the works of invisible little fairies or such shit. It's child play to come up with that. That does not mean that those scenarios are even plausible.

      It's the same with the brute facts of evolution. You can imagine gods making things appear and undeniable evidence planted by these gods, from any angle. Yet, as you described, they are precisely child's play, and nothing more.

      Maybe you really have to go study some logic, some science, and some evolution from reputable sources. Reading creationist propaganda won't help you much.

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    88. Luther,

      And I know I've done nothing to confirm that I have no idea what I'm talking about because I've confirmed quite clearly that I do know what I'm talking about.

      Yes you have shown not to know what you are talking about. You think that not knowing how life began is a problem for evolution. It obviously is not. Then you claim that not knowing what consciousness is, is a problem for evolution. It is not. All you are doing is adding particular problems that you think to be unsurmountable to be "solved" (note the I quote because I am sure that solving these problems is more of a philosophical bullshit in your mind, than what solving the problem would be in the real world) via natural processes, because you think that natural processes cannot give rise to such "mystical" and "unexplainable" phenomena as consciousness. You take refuge, or your mysticism takes refuge, out of the natural explanations of reality, behind a mere mix of an argument from incredulity, an argument from ignorance, and a god-of-the-gaps, all matched to some mystic ideas about the origin of life and of consciousness.

      Unless you can explain clearly why your ignorance of what consciousness is means that evolution is in trouble. Unless you can explain well what your solution to the problem might be. Do you have any?

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    89. Yeah, but if gravitational effects were the work of little fairies they would still be gravitation effects - that is, gravitational effects would turn out to be the work of fairies. Maybe you should go do some studying instead of endlessly prattling nonsense. The brute fact is that things fall - and we call that, whatever it is, gravity - a term with no theoretical baggage at all. There is nothing similar in evolution. The closest thing is the fact that organisms exist - and nobody doubts that. But the idea that organisms came about via such and such a process from such and such an common ancestor is still in the realm of wild speculation. Parts of it may be true and may look secure, but other parts, which may be false, may have implications for the parts that look secure.

      Re your question about why the origin of life is important, I have answered that numerous times. The fact that you don't understand the answer is of no interest to me.

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    90. So in fewer words you don't believe in gods and distrust evolution because you can invoke magic to explain common ancestry, therefore evolution is false?

      No, you have not answered why not knowing the origin of life would be important for evolution. All you gave was some rant about theological deductions and hatred for religion. That's far from being a logic reason to deny evolution on the basis of the knowledge, or lack thereof, of the origin of life.

      As I don't expect you to start making sense. I leave you with a happy festivities.

      Ciao.

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    91. And I never said natural phenomena can't give rise to life. I said that you have no idea how it could and until you do your in no position to say what mechanisms are central to life as we know it.

      Plus, there's no such thing as an "argument from incredulity". Dawkins just made it up. Thus my argument which you call an argument from incredulity is simply the demand that the extraordinary tale you believe in with all your heart needs a bit more behind it before a rational thinker, not in the grip of religious fervour, need subscribe to it. And my argument can hardly be a God of the gaps since God doesn't come into it at all. That is, I'm not saying, nobody knows how X happened therefore God did it. I'm saying nobody knows who X happened therefore at the moment it's reasonable to doubt current speculative accounts of how X happened. And it's not an argument from ignorance for the same reason - it lacks a "is false" conclusion - go study some logic (as I already have). And finally, it's not my ignorance about consciousness, it's the total absence of even a way of thinking about it that causes trouble for evolution because until we have some idea what it is we won't even know what evolution has to explain, let alone whether it can explain it.

      Anyway, your post pretty much boils down to the fallacy of the fallacious fallacy accusation and is, as such, as empty as your head.

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    92. Hear ye hear ye - I'm not saying evolution is false. I'm saying there is, as yet, insufficient reason to believe it is true. That being said, the only place where I would say evolution is false, is on a very narrow biological construal of evolution, and only with regards humanity.But that's more of a corrective than a claim I would defend on its own merits.

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    93. Luther,

      Since I had not gone before you posted:

      You are then a simple sophist. Something of a troll. You come and defend creationist arguments, like the cosmological argument. Defend "arguments" against evolution via your incredulity that the natural processes proposed could give rise to consciousness, only to deny later that this was an argument from incredulity. But it is. That you did not say therefore it's false is but a stupid technicality. A way out you left there to "win" any arguments that might be raised against your sophistry. So, I see that you play innocence by being ambiguous. That only comes to confirm what I said. You come with arguments from incredulity, arguments from ignorance, and god-of-the-gaps, only to deny them later because you did not say "therefore it's false" or you did not mention "God." Despite you undeniably mentioned hatred to religion and theological implications that neither of us even hinted at. What for those if not to invest yourself of religiosity? What for would you think so highly of a cosmological argument if not because you have this "God" as your preferred explanation? Why, I ask, the hypocrisy?

      In any event. I doubt that you can defend that evolution is false in regards to humanity. But I will not stay to see. It's simply nonsensical to say that it is true elsewhere, but not for humans. Pure sophistry I bet. And I bet that your arguments will have the same escape clauses that you display on this one. But it won't work. Your fallacies stay for what they are regardless of your denial. Study some logic better. Arguing from a few semi-semantic details won;t make the appeal to incredulity or to ignorance any less so. You don;t believe that natural processes could "account" for this or that. That you fail to say "therefore it's false" and instead you say "therefore I'm skeptical" makes no difference.

      Again, happy festivities.

      Delete
    94. it's not my ignorance about consciousness, it's the total absence of even a way of thinking about it

      That's an argument from ignorance. Whether you claim that the ignorance is humanity's ignorance or yours does not make it any different. I we don't know "X," then we can doubt "Y"

      As per the claim itself. here your Christmas gift (if you celebrate Christmas): there's plenty of ways of thinking, often quite precisely, about it. You just don't know about them. Up to you to investigate though.

      Happy festivities!

      Delete
    95. It's not an argument from ignorance. Go look up what an argument from ignorance is. An argument from ignorance needs the conclusion "and therefore X is false". Eg, nobody knows how evolution can explain conciousness therefore evolution can't explain consciousness (or, more formally, the claim evolution can explain consciousness is false). But I'm not saying that. I'm saying that since we don't know what conciousness is we don't yet know if evolution, as currently construed, can account for it. Thus it's premature to say we know evolution to be true, or even possible as an account of consciousness.

      As I said, your committing the fallacy of the fallacious fallacy accusation. Go read some stuff about logic and then you won't have to use terms you don't understand.

      Delete
    96. Luther, there's no good reason to think that only human beings are concious.

      My mother's dog shows all the signs, the only thing it lacks is the ability to directly tell me. In that way, it's sort of like a child before speaking age. Am I to believe my 1 year old niece is an automaton because she can't say "I'm conscious"?. Of course not. She shows all the signs one would expect of a conscious animal. Curiosity about the world, aversion to painful experiences, joy and happiness etc. all of which I can also clearly see in many other animals, though in varying degrees of clarity.
      Could it be consciousness itself can exist in degrees, that it's not just either on or off? That you can be conscious about some things, but not others? Being observant, having experiences of certain incoming sensory information, to varying extends depending on the type and situation?
      Take a blind man for example, significantly more conscious about smell, touch and hearing because he lost the sense of sight. Already here we can acknowledge that you can be conscious of certain input in degrees, it's not just fully on or fully off.
      And if my dog is also conscious, because it show many of the same signs of being it my niece does, then probably my cat is too, and a parrot, or rat etc. etc. Maybe consciousness is something that gradually evolved, and maybe not just limited to degree of experience?
      This is not an argument that's supposed to demonstrate that therefore evolution produced it, but it's supposed to stall the claim that somehow humans are different and apart from the rest of the animal kingdom on the basis that we alone are conscious. I simply don't believe that's the case, and I think there are good arguments against the proposition.

      Delete
    97. I never said only humans were conscious. And I never said humans were different and set apart from the rest of the animal kingdom (which we obviously are) merely because we are conscious.

      Delete
    98. luther, in what way(s) are humans "set apart from the rest of the animal kingdom"?

      If humans are members of the animal kingdom (consider what "the rest of" means) how can humans be "set apart"?

      Who or what "set" humans "apart"?

      Does "set apart" mean exceptional and superior to you? Does it mean specially created?

      You said:

      "Hear ye hear ye - I'm not saying evolution is false."

      Actually, you spew plenty of derogatory remarks (both here and on your website) against evolution and the theory of evolution in general (which does come across very strongly as you asserting that both are false) but then you try to hide from all that by denying that you're saying that evolution is false, and you're also now trying to hide from your in general derogatory remarks by saying "That being said, the only place where I would say evolution is false, is on a very narrow biological construal of evolution, and only with regards humanity."

      So, luther, rather than just bashing evolution and the ToE, tell me what you think is true about evolution and the ToE, and why you think that "humanity" should get separate "regards". Don't skimp on the details.

      Will you also elaborate on what the "very narrow biological construal of evolution" is that you think is false, and on what you think a 'wider' construal of evolution should include?

      Don't forget what you've said about evolution and the ToE here and/or on your website including what you've said about evolution and what you think its connection is to the origin of life and before. If you think that evolution is false "on a very narrow biological construal of evolution, and only with regards humanity" then why do you make a fuss about evolution's connection to the origin of life and before unless you think that humans were around (specially created?) at the origin of life or before, or that humans were specially created later, or that humanity's ancestors came about (were specially created?) differently/separately at the origin of life and have evolved along a separate line than all other life forms?

      Delete
  5. It's a typical ... feint: When you don't have the arguments and you don't have the science, change the subject and pile on the red herrings.

    A strategy with which Klinghoffer is very familiar.

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  6. In fact, Klinghoffer has put paid to the fake science allegation by putting up a pic of Ann in her actual lab.

    As Coyne would say Larry, you've just been pwned!

    So....how about replying to Ann's criticisms that your fundamental assumptions are hardly beyond reproach but in fact may very well be wrong?

    All you need to do is focus, focus, focus.

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    Replies
    1. how about replying to Ann's criticisms that your fundamental assumptions are hardly beyond reproach

      Where is that criticism?

      Delete
    2. ... you've just been pwned

      You may have noticed that I did not express an opinion on the use of a fake lab in the background. In fact, I don't see that it's a problem given the stupidity of her remarks. It's actually consist to put a fake lab behind someone spouting fake science.

      Delete
    3. Steve, would you please care to point out exactly how, in detail, common descent is a fundamental assumption in Population Genetics?

      Give references.

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    4. Well, it's a fundamental assumption in population genetics that no de novo ex nihilo creation of individuals occurs in the population during the period under consideration.* But how the initial conditions got to be that way isn't relevant.

      *Then again, couldn't you just treat that as migration?

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    5. Um... I guess you missed the parts where it was explained that Gauger's claims themselves are idiotic and/or dishonest?

      Delete
    6. It's very easy to reply to her directly, she responds regularly on Facebook page> http://www.facebook.com/BiologicInstitute

      I'll make a prediction, crickets. Much easier to hide out here behind Larry's skirt tails.

      Delete
    7. I'll make a prediction, too. She's wrong anyway.

      Delete
    8. I'll make a prediction, crickets. Much easier to hide out here behind Larry's skirt tails.

      Says the anonymous poster.

      Delete
    9. Well, I've added a comment to Gauger's facebook page, and notice that links to Sandwalk's previous discussion have already been provided there. No response yet from Ann, though....

      Delete
    10. I've been reading a few comments on that page, they regard freedom of speech as 'freedom of speech as long as you agree with us, otherwise we'll delete your comments'.
      I reckon Robert B will be outraged at such blatant disregard of freedom of speech... (not)

      There was also mentioned a so-called scientific journal, with 2 (yes count 'm 2!) reviewers of which some where in favor of ID and some people at the magazine (probably the janitors) were against ID.

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    11. Elle,

      I'll make a prediction, too. She's wrong anyway.

      That's hardly a prediction. It's a tautology.

      :)

      Delete
  7. Gauger, a PhD in developmental biology who was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard, has the science on her side.

    Let's see, YEC "Prof." Kurt Wise has a PhD degree in paleontology from Harvard (thesis adviser Stephen Jay Gould!) so that means that his "scientific" nonsense must be right. The argument from credentials.

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  8. Similarity at the sequence level could be ancestral, the product of either adaptive convergence or could be the result of homoplasious mutations. It is only by looking at these sequences in a phylogenetic context that we can begin to tease these possibilities apart.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have to chuckle and say the Darwin Cult are all comedians!. I'm very confident to say that you seem to be of a lesser evolved type, Natural selection and random mutation has failed you! what to do with you? mmmmmmm.......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know taking what we've learnt fron evolutionary biology we can screen for the defective gene and give the parents the choice to abort the defective ones! Yes they already imply that we should do that if you're gay!
      Might as well apply that to natural selection defects too!

      http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Lawyer-suggests-abortion-if-a-test-could-prove-3073561.php

      Seriously who cares god does not exist so he is certainly not watching! And since its all relative and all subjective lets also remove any kid that might have red hair, freckles and anyone ugly enough to not cut the grade! Why hell we don't even stop there when we see a religious gene zap em!

      Delete
    2. Seriously who cares god does not exist so he is certainly not watching!

      Seriously, this is your concern isn't it...that god does exist and is watching. Probably, he is too much of a gentleman to intervene at the moment.

      Guess some people do get their sense of right and wrong from god. And these are stupid, dangerous people.

      Delete
    3. Obvious trolling. Hmmm, looks like fun, think I'll give it a whirl ... so, you religious nuts ... carried out any good Inquisitions lately?

      Delete
  10. Yeah we do, its called praying for you!!!!

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  11. sorry for the typos... hard to type when in RAGE

    THE MAYAN SKEPTIC APOCALYPSE 12/21/2012

    we really enjoy your atheist forum

    do a search on youtube for skepticality

    a little souvenir

    it is the video about the PIGS

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, you forgot the "Y".

      Now it makes much more sense.

      0_o

      Delete
    2. Huh, sounds like Dennis Markuze. Wasn't 'skepticality' on YouTube his thing?

      Delete
  12. Here is the response to the pop-gen/phylogenetics criticism andothers. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/12/fast_furious_an067691.html

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    Replies
    1. Well, it's a response of sorts. On the misunderstanding of population genetics vs. phylogenetics, she just weasels. "Oh, I was speaking informally, and I was talking about both." Informality is no excuse for using the wrong term, and no, she was just talking about common descent of humans and other apes.

      On the subject of homoplasy, she does nothing more than define it -- correctly, at least. But she provides no reasons that it might invalidate phylogenetic studies. There is in fact very little homoplasy within hominids -- hasn't been time.

      Then she switches topics from hominids to phyla, which incidentally her video never mentioned at all, and never manages to point out a single problem resulting from homoplasy there either.

      Delete
    2. But you're assuming, John, that she is actually attempting to answer the question to the satisfaction of a scientifically literate reader. She's not. She just has to weasel and obfuscate a lot, write a bunch of sciencey-sounding stuff, and her minions of creotards will just lap it up. You doubt me? Just watch how Luther Flint will respond.

      Delete
  13. The response is shite, shite and shite, to borrow your favourite term. I'd love to accept Klinghoffer's invitation: "Go ahead and take a look, gentlemen. Let us know what you think." Unfortunately, Evolution News has no comments section.

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    Replies
    1. He says to do it by email. Odd that he doesn't seem to have noticed the detailed reviews of the book by Paul McBride.

      Delete
    2. He did notice it:

      Paul McBride, Darwinist Hero of the Hour

      But who the hell is "the hitherto obscure" Paul McBride, a mere PhD cadidate and "a previously unknown reviewer", writing "at his blog that no one before ever heard of", that the great David Klinghoffer should pay attention to anything he actually says? So Klinghoffer only gave a little vent to his irritation, shrugged and moved on.

      Delete
  14. I like your comment, Bayesian Bouffant.:)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Larry, just wondering if you're satisfied with Gauger's reply:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/12/fast_furious_an067691.html

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    Replies
    1. "And both fields depend on the idea that lineages of common descent exist."

      Well, population genetics depends on the assumption that all members of the same species are related. Is the DI about to dispute that?

      Ann asks whether

      "the basic premise of descent with modification as the explanation for the evolution of phyla is false?"

      Yes, that is indeed false. Descent with modification is the conclusion arrived at from studying the patterns in evolutionary diversification.

      "New molecular characters may provide no relief, ----"

      Correct. In theory, they might just confuse the issue. Strange, then, that every new molecular character confirms the same general pattern (despite the fact that us mere morphologists might confuse humans and octopi --- but it's a long while since I went on that kind of date). So, despite the problems of homplasy, the evidence for common descent is strengthened with each new molecular character examined.

      How do the DI explain the fact that mitochondrial DNA, which is completely independent from the host DNA, shows the same hierarchical patterns of branching?

      CJ

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    2. Ann also seems to completely miss the fact that, by making reference to many of the discussions of homplasy in the real scientific literature (as opposed to the ID Creationist pseudoscientific publications), she is effectively admitting that she lied when she intially claimed that this is a "dark secret" that evolutionary biologists are trying to ignore or hide.

      I can't believe she is so stupid as to say that, because some people talk about both population genetics and phylogenetics, this then makes it acceptable for her to discuss them as if they are one and the same subject. But creationists have surprised me before when I've underestimated their stupidity.

      I'll also note the hypocrisy of her pleading that the video is only meant to be viewed in the context of the fuller discussion in her book, while accusing Dawkins of hiding the importance of homoplasy when he has, in fact, devoted entire chapters of some of his books to the subject of convergent evolution.

      Delete
    3. She seems to be insinuating now that while homoplasy is widely discussed in the scientific literature, it's kept secret from non-specialists. As a non-biologist I can testify that the insinuation is false. Anyone who is not illiterate, has an interest in biology and knows where to look can learn all about homoplasy as well as other fancy Greek-language terms. There are whole monographs devoted specially to homoplasy and its various aspects, such as Sanderson and Hufford (1996). An interested lay person can understand most of the discussion therein. Indeed, Dr. Gauger might personally benefit from having a look at them to refresh her memory.

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    4. Anyway, I'm not sure why the topic of common descent even comes up. Intelligent design proponents are supposed to accept common descent. Micheal Behe goes so far as to say that the truth of common descent is so obvious as to be "trivial". It's the creationists who deny common descent. And Intelligent design, as the IDiots keep trying to remind us, is not creationism. Right?

      Another point: Why does the DI have to trot out Ann Gauger, who has no expertise in the fields, to talk about population genetics or phylogenetics. Is there not a single person who is expert in these fields and accepts ID? That tells you something right there, doesn't it?

      Delete
  16. CJ:
    "How do the DI explain the fact that mitochondrial DNA, which is completely independent from the host DNA, shows the same hierarchical patterns of branching?"

    Design?

    ReplyDelete