Monday, November 18, 2013

Another Example of IDiot Reasoning

My philosopher friend, Chris DiCarlo, and I are trying to teach our students how to think critically. We use the evolution/creation debate as an example of how to make valid arguments (and how not to make them). Two of the important points we emphasize are that you should try to avoid the strawman fallacy and you should try very hard not to misrepresent your opponent's point of view. (These are related.)

I tell my students that it's important to understand what your opponents are arguing—you must try and walk in their shoes, so to speak. This is crucial. You may decide that their arguments are completely wrong and ridiculous but you must make sure you interpret them correctly or you are guilty of several sins.

You might recall that I recently posted a comment about David Evans, Executive Director of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) [David Evans Says, "Teach What the Vast Majority of Scientists Affirm as Settled Science"]. I liked the idea that we should teach what the "vast majority of scientists affirm as settled science." When it comes to teaching, you have to make a decision about what is good science and what is bad science and it seems reasonable to NSTA (and to me) that the consensus among the experts is a good criterion to use. If you read the comments in that post you'll see that it's not always easy to decided what that consensus is, but that's not the main point.

I didn't like the idea that David Evans promoted evolution by natural selection as "the best and most complete scientific explanation we have for how life on Earth has changed and continues to change." I prefer to just say "evolution is the best explanation" since there's a lot more to evolution than just natural selection. I think the vast majority of experts in evolutionary theory will endorse the idea that random genetic drift plays an important role and so do things like extinctions.

For some strange reason, Vincent Joseph Torley (vjtorley) got all excited about my blog post. You might recall that Torley has a Ph.D. in Philosophy (University of Melbourne, Australia) so you might assume that he is fairly knowledgeable about logic and the major fallacies in debates and discussions. Let's see how he does in his post: Professor Larry Moran supports the use of ID-compatible science textbooks in Texas classrooms.

The title attracted my attention since I certainly DO NOT support the use of "ID-compatible" science textbooks. I wonder where I failed to make my position clear?

Hmmm .... I see that Torley has drawn attention to something I said in the comments to my post on David Evans. We were talking about "biological evolution" and someone mentioned that if you don't limit it by saying "by natural selection" then it opens up the possibility that evolution could be directed by God. I agreed that this is a possibility when you don't restrict evolution to a definition that specifies natural selection (or any other restricted set of mechanisms). This is a topic that's been discussed many times on Sandwalk and I've written a well-read post about it: What Is Evolution?.

Here's what I said in the comment,
You could specify "biological evolution" to make sure you're talking about real science. But there's no reason to eliminate the possibility of directed evolution. If the evidence supports the direct intervention of the Flying Spaghetti Monster then that's fine by me.
I think the point is obvious, if the vast majority of expert scientists agree that there's evidence for directed evolution then that's what we should teach in school.

Here's how Torley interprets my comment,
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Professor Larry Moran has written an astonishing post over on his Sandwalk blog, in which he rejects a proposal by David Evans, Executive Director of the National Science Teachers Association, that Texas students be taught “evolution by natural selection as a major unifying concept in science,” and suggests that they simply be taught “evolution” instead, adding in a comment that “there’s no reason to eliminate the possibility of directed evolution” – a term which is broad enough to include both “theologically-directed evolution” (as one commenter calls it) and “the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

Readers may be wondering what accounts for Professor Moran’s surprising latitude of opinion. It turns out that he’s a big fan of evolution by random genetic drift, and he thinks that the phrase “evolution by natural selection” is simply inaccurate: ...
Now, if you pay close attention, you'll notice that Torley does not quote me directly and does not explain to his audience that "evidence" is important in deciding what to teach. He describes my comment as "astonishing" and notes that "truth is stranger than fiction." This gives an entirely misleading picture of what I said. Torely has been reading my blog for years so I have to assume that he is deliberately misleading his readers. In other words, he has to be lying because he can't be that stupid.

Torley then quotes David Evans who said, "Decisions about what counts as science should not be a popularity contest. No matter how many people object, public schools must teach what the vast majority of scientists affirm as settled science." Torely decides that this represents a logical inconsistently that, presumably, negates the entire argument.
Am I the only one to notice that the last two sentences in Evans’ paragraph are mutually contradictory? If decisions about what counts as science “should not be a popularity contest,” then it is absurd to claim that “public schools must teach what the vast majority of scientists affirm as settled science.” (Apparently none of Professor Moran’s commenters picked up on that contradiction.)
Most people of even moderate intelligence will have no trouble understanding what David Evans meant. He meant that you don't teach bad science just because a majority of the general public believes it to be true. There has to be some way of deciding what counts as good science because surely we all agree that good science is what we should be teaching students. There's no logical inconsistency.

Is Torley confused about what counts as a logical inconsistency or is he deliberately trying to mislead his readers? You be the judge. (Remember that he has a Ph.D. in philosophy so he should know what real mutually contradictory statements should look like.)

Torley then pretends that he has discovered my position for the first time. Here's my position. I believe that almost all of the claims of Intelligent Design Creationists are scientific. I believe that those claims can be addressed by the scientific way of knowing. Most of the claims have been refuted or shown to be worthless. Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that Intelligent Design Creationism is bad science and should not be taught in schools. I've been saying this for years as Torley well knows because he links to one of my earlier posts: Is Intelligent Design Scientific?.

After a few quibbles about whether I misrepresent Intelligent Design Creationism (hint, I didn't) Torley says,
... I am heartened that Professor Moran regards the claims made by the Intelligent Design movements as scientific claims, even if he thinks they’re dead wrong.
You're welcome. It's my goal to convince all IDiots that that their scientific claims are dead wrong. I'm glad that I'm making a bit of progress.

Now, as most of you know I DEFINE evolution as "Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations" [What Is Evolution]. This definition deliberately avoids specifying a mechanism because there are at least two important mechanisms—and maybe more. It's the job of modern evolutionary theory to sort out how evolution occurs. Evolutionary theory encompasses everything from population genetics, to speciation, to extinctions, in order to explain the history of life. We need to teach modern evolutionary theory. It is based on the consensus view of the experts in the field.

Let's see how Torely deals with these relatively simple concepts that have been discussed and debated on this blog for years. They've also been widely debated and explained all over the internet and in many textbooks and publications. Recall that I didn't like it when David Evans said "evolution by natural selection" when he should have deleted the last three words and simply said "evolution."

Torely says,
But as we’ve seen, leaving out those three little words leaves evolution without a specified mechanism – which means that the course taught to Texas students would be compatible with intelligently guided evolution. It appears that Professor Moran is happy with that. I presume he believes that these science textbooks could also include proposed (unguided) mechanisms for generating systems exhibiting a high degree of specified complexity. Actually, ID proponents are fine with that – as long as the limitations and uncertainties of these explanations are also pointed out to students.
The definition of evolution doesn't specify a mechanism. However, modern evolutionary theory includes several mechanisms of evolution and they should be taught. There is no evidence for intelligently guided evolution and certainly no scientific evidence of any being or entity who could do the guiding. That should not be taught as something that the scientific community accepts. I believe that the evolution course taught to Texas students should emphasize good science and that students should be taught how to distinguish between good science and bad science (i.e. critical thinking). Ideally, Texas students will be taught proper science. Torely would be well advised to take such a course. He could then explain to his fellow creationists that "Darwinism" is not a synonym for modern evolutionary theory.

In an ideal world Texas students would graduate from high school knowing why Intelligent Design Creationism is wrong and why the views of experts scientists are far more likely to be correct. I would be very happy with that.

So, why did Vincent Joseph Torley misrepresent my position? Is it because he's too stupid to understand what I was talking about or is it because he deliberately wanted to mislead his readers? It's the classic conundrum, are they liars or IDiots? Or, is it possible that I'm creating a false dichotomy and there's a third option?

Next, Torely asks,
And while we’re on the subject of academic honesty, how does Professor Moran feel about Texas students being exposed to evolutionary biologist Dr. Eugene Koonin’s peer-reviewed article, The Cosmological Model of Eternal Inflation and the Transition from Chance to Biological Evolution in the History of Life (Biology Direct 2 (2007): 15, doi:10.1186/1745-6150-2-15)? In his article, Dr. Koonin claims that the emergence of even a basic replication-translation system on the primordial Earth is such an astronomically unlikely event that we would need to postulate a vast Vishnu number of universes, in which all possible scenarios are played out, in order to make its emergence likely.

How does Professor Moran feel about including Dr. Koonin’s article in the Texas school curriculum?
The origin of life is an interesting and complex issue. Once students have mastered to basic concepts of evolution, they can be taught what scientists currently think about the origin of life. In an ideal world, this would include a discussion about the typical creation myths of several cultures around the world. The teacher could then present scientific evidence that conflicts with, and refutes, most of these myths. This would include the Biblical version of creation as described in Genesis.

There have been several scientific hypotheses about the origin of life. Some of them have been discredited and it would be worthwhile, in an ideal world, to explain why the scientific community has moved on. I think students should be taught that we don't know how life originated even though there are many ideas that are compatible with an origin that obeys the laws of physics and chemistry. I think that students should be aware of the fact that the specific direction that life took on this particular planet is highly improbable, as is all or history. It would be wonderful if Texas high school students could be taught how to deal with probabilities and how to appreciate that a posterori argument is suspect.

They should also learn that just because we don't have a good naturalistic model for how life began, this should not be construed as evidence that Vishnu exists. It's important to teach students that this form of reasoning is false.

Torley also asks,
Or what about claims by paleontologists Douglas Erwin and James Valentine, that currently known evolutionary processes are utterly unable to account for the relatively sudden appearance of about 30 phyla of animals with different body plans, in the Cambrian period? Should Texas students get to hear about that too?
This would also be a good teaching moment. After showing students the overwhelming evidence of evolution in the fossil record, it would be fun to bring up the Cambrian explosion and teach students how scientists are approaching this question. You would need to show them how the molecular data confirms evolution then discuss the various explanations for phenotypic change over a period of 10 million years.

Then you could explain how some religious people want to use this scientific problem to promote their particular religion. You could show how it's just another version of a "god of the gaps" argument. You could also show your students how vacuous the religious "model" actually is since it is totally inconsistent with everything else we know about evolution.

This would be a marvelous opportunity to teach a lesson about "consistently." That's one of the most important issues in argument and logic according to my co-teacher, Chris DiCarlo. You can't just make up random ad hoc scenarios to explain particular problems. There has to be some consistency to your worldview. In this case we have a situation where the big picture demonstrates that the history of life is explained by evolution. It would be quite consistent to assume that evolution is also at work in a few cases where we don't have solid evidence that demonstrates evolution. This is how we behave in all aspects of our lives.

It would not be consistent to postulate that a supernatural being pops up and intervenes whenever we encounter a problem that can't easily be explained by the available data. That's not consistent with everything else we know. Such a model adds a whole extra level of complexity and a host of additional assumptions. For example, when, where, and why did some god make a bacterial flagellum? Why did some god decide to make all the strange animals of the Cambrian?

Students could learn a lot about scientific reasoning from discussing these issues.


71 comments :

  1. There is a third option: self-deception. You may quibble about whether self-deception counts as lying, but I think lying is saying what you know not to be true, while self-deception involves believing what you find convenient. Torley is, I think, reading you through a filter of what he would like you to have said. Of course, there are all sorts of possible mixed models; it may be easier to misunderstand what you read if you aren't very smart.

    Can anyone support Torley's claim about what Valentine & Erwin said? I don't have their book handy, but I certainly don't remember any such statements. And they certainly don't propose in their book that 30 phyla appeared suddenly. Perhaps he has Valentine & Erwin confused with Stephen Meyer?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is about as close as I can find with a none too thorough seach of Valentine and Erwins' The Cambrian Explosion:

      This problem of missing fossils is most acute for the phases of Metazoan evolution between the invention of the sponge body plan (i.e., the appearance of the first metazoan) and the Cambrian explosion, an interval when nearly all the fauna lacked hard parts. During that time, there were many important divergences in the tree of life, and characters accumulated along separate evolutionary pathways to produce distinctive body architectures recognized today as separate phyla. If, however, the ancestor is separated from two (or more) descendant clades by a significant morphological gap, it becomes difficult to decide whether common features are truly ancestral or are homoplasies. This situation is common when dealing with the early fossil record, where the gaps are long and encompass the key divergences that established major living groups of animals. By the time of the Cambrian explosion, there were more than thirty lineages with distinctive body architectures. Alas, the founding ancestors of most of those phyla were soft-bodied, whereas unique body plans appear suddenly as fossils and then disappear from the record, with no clear connection to any living clade.

      Delete
    2. Sorry, that's Ch. 4, "The Metazoan Tree of Life," p. 72.

      Delete
    3. That doesn't seem to have anything at all to do with Torley's major claim (the need for unknown mechanisms of evolution), though it could be egregiously quote-mined to support sudden appearance of 30 phyla, if you were sufficiently desperate and immoral.

      Delete
    4. As Monty Python would say 'And now for something completely different ...'

      If Meyer's notes are to be trusted, he doesn't refer much to the book (only three references and none of those involve evolutionary processes being unable to account for the relatively sudden appearance of about 30 phyla of animals). Of course, Erwin and Valentine have written any number of papers together and apart. I haven't tracked all references to Valentine in Darwin's Doubt.

      Delete
    5. The closest thing that I could find was in Darwin's Doubt, where Meyer says:

      "Notwithstanding, many leading biologists and paleontologists—Gerry Webster and Brian Goodwin, Günter Theissen, Marc Kirschner, and John Gerhart, Jeffrey Schwartz, Douglas Erwin, Eric Davidson, Eugene Koonin, Simon Conway Morris, Robert Carroll, Gunter Wagner, Heinz-Albert Becker and Wolf-Eckhart Lönnig, Stuart Newman and Gerd Müller, Stuart Kauffman, Peter Stadler, Heinz Saedler, James Valentine, Giuseppe Sermonti, James Shapiro and Michael Lynch, to name several—have raised questions about the adequacy of the standard neo-Darwinian mechanism, and/or the problem of evolutionary novelty in particular."

      In the notes, he cites the following references:

      Erwin, “Macroevolution Is More Than Repeated Rounds of Microevolution”
      Valentine and Erwin, “Interpreting Great Developmental Experiments”

      I could find the first reference online (see here), but unfortunately, the second one was more elusive. In the first reference, Meyer confusion (whether accidental or intentional) was perhaps derived from the following sentence:

      "Microevolution provides no satisfactory explanation for the extraordinary burst of novelty during the late Neoproterozic-Cambrian radiation, nor the rapid production of novel plant architectures associated with the origin of land plants during the Devonian, followed by the origination of most major insect groups."

      Delete
    6. "This problem of missing fossils is most acute for...an interval when nearly all the fauna lacked hard parts."

      A benign quote mine of the Valentine and Erwin selection that shows just how astonishing (not) the "missing fossil problem" is.

      Delete
    7. So Torley wrote:

      "Or what about claims by paleontologists Douglas Erwin and James Valentine, that currently known evolutionary processes are utterly unable to account for the relatively sudden appearance of about 30 phyla of animals with different body plans, in the Cambrian period?"

      And Valentine and Erwin really wrote,

      "Microevolution provides no satisfactory explanation for the extraordinary burst of novelty during the late Neoproterozic-Cambrian radiation, nor the rapid production of novel plant architectures associated with the origin of land plants during the Devonian, followed by the origination of most major insect groups."

      So at a bare minimum, Torley replace "microevolution" in the original with the phrase "currently known evolutionary processes".

      That is a huge substitution, considering that the title of the article is, “Macroevolution Is More Than Repeated Rounds of Microevolution.” The title is the tip-off that you cannot simply replace "microevolution" with "currently known evolutionary processes".

      Of course, IDers have NO replacement theory involving "currently known supernatural processes." They have no evidence of invisible spooks or specters causing any mutation in any nucleotide of any genome from any species ever.

      Delete
  2. VJTorley misrepresents Eugene Koonin in this statement:
    "In his article, Dr. Koonin claims that the emergence of even a basic replication-translation system on the primordial Earth is such an astronomically unlikely event that we would need to postulate a vast Vishnu number of universes, in which all possible scenarios are played out, in order to make its emergence likely."

    This is what Koonin actually says:
    "However, the RNA world faces its own hard problems as ribozyme-catalyzed RNA replication remains a hypothesis and the selective pressures behind the origin of translation remain mysterious. Eternal inflation offers a viable alternative that is untenable in a finite universe, i.e., that a coupled system of translation and replication emerged by chance, and became the breakthrough stage from which biological evolution, centered around Darwinian selection, took off. A corollary of this hypothesis is that an RNA world, as a diverse population of replicating RNA molecules, might have never existed. In this model, the stage for Darwinian selection is set by anthropic selection of complex systems that rarely but inevitably emerge by chance in the infinite universe (multiverse)."

    In fact, he goes on to state in the paper "It remains possible that a compelling evolutionary scenario [for the origin of translation] is eventually developed and, perhaps, validated experimentally."

    So Koonin is simply proposing that an alternative scenario to the common ones(like RNA world), a blind chance scenario, is not just viable in light of the possibility of eternal inflation, but becomes inevitable, no matter how improbable.

    Koonin isn't arguing that the origin of life NEEDS eternal inflation to be plausible by definition, nor is he arguing that he believes life emerged by blind chance, he's simply suggesting that chance would easily explain it given, well, an eternity of physics and chemistry playing itself out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heroic catch there, Spacerocket. You win the internets today.

      I'm shocked to find that an ID proponent lied about the content of the scientific article he was citing. Shocked. I could have a heart attack from that surprise.

      In other news, the sun rose today and a dog barked.

      Delete
    2. Rumraket quotes Kooning saying: "In this model, the stage for Darwinian selection is set by anthropic selection of complex systems that rarely but inevitably emerge by chance in the infinite universe (multiverse)."

      He then elaborates: "Koonin isn't arguing that the origin of life NEEDS eternal inflation to be plausible by definition, nor is he arguing that he believes life emerged by blind chance, he's simply suggesting that chance would easily explain it given, well, an eternity of physics and chemistry playing itself out."

      Well is that so? Does not an infinite universe or a multiverse mean infinitely more possible events? Does not infinitely more events mean that not all inevitably will emerge by chance?

      It is an axiom that time started at the Big Bang, not because there was nothing before, but because nothing that happened before had any causal effect on our universe. In the same way you could say that if a RNA string would happen to appear by chance in another galaxy in our universe it would be of no consequence to us nor would it in any way interact with any other imaginary part of the RNA world that would happen to appear in our galaxy in the past, present or future.

      My point is, that like it or not, we are stuck with the probability resources of our own world. That is all that we have to explain what is going on on our planet. That's bad news of course for everybody that is hoping for spontaneous appearance of life, since not even all the particles in the Universe interacting at Planck time would have the probability resources needed for that.

      Delete
    3. I'm afraid you don't understand the anthropic principle. We are, by definition, in a place where life arose. If it happens only on one in a million planets, this is one of them. If it happens only on one of 10^200 planets, it happened here. If it happens on average only once in a universe, it happened on this planet. If it happens only once in 10^200 universes, this is that universe. Yes, infinitely more events does mean that all possible events will happen by chance. That's infinity for you. We have no way, just based on the presence of life here, of knowing how likely it is to have arisen here. But the probability of it arising at least once, somewhere, is a different and much larger number. And wherever it happens, here we are.

      Delete
    4. "Does not infinitely more events mean that not all inevitably will emerge by chance?"

      Not according to the probability courses I took. Mathematically, over an infinite number of independent events, all events which have a non-zero probability will occur multiple times. For example, if you toss a pair of dice randomly 100 times you may or may not get all 36 possible combinations (some of which have identical values), but if you toss the dice an infinite number of times you will.

      "It is an axiom that time started at the Big Bang, not because there was nothing before, but because nothing that happened before had any causal effect on our universe."

      According to my layman (/Bachelor of Science majoring in Physics} understanding, that is an unproven statement about matters of which the human race does not currently have sufficient knowledge to base an uncontroversial opinion.

      "In the same way you could say that if a RNA string would happen to appear by chance in another galaxy in our universe it would be of no consequence to us nor would it in any way interact with any other imaginary part of the RNA world that would happen to appear in our galaxy in the past, present or future."

      My point is, that like it or not, we are stuck with the probability resources of our own world."

      That neglects the possibility that life evolved on Mars or in some other place and traveled here on meteors ejected by a collision event, for one thing. Or that the RNA world evolved from some simpler chemical system, as the Szostak lab is investigating.

      The probability of our form of chemically-replicating life developing on a planet in our universe is the number of cases where it has happened (unknown, greater than or equal to one) divided by the number of planets (not known precisely but at least 10^23 by my estimate). It seems likely that the probability is very small, but not zero. In which case, as with the dice example, it was bound to occur.

      I have had three courses in Probability and Statistics, one at the graduate level, and still have a couple of textbooks. In none of those courses or books did the term "probability resources" occur. Given that quantum mechanics allows for random changes in location, momentum, and even existence, I suspect that such a quantity (if meaningful) would be infinite.

      Which is a very long-winded way of saying your statements did not compute for me at any level, sorry.

      Delete
    5. I wrote: "Well is that so? Does not an infinite universe or a multiverse mean infinitely more possible events? Does not infinitely more (possible) events mean that not all inevitably will emerge by chance?"

      JimV answered: "Not according to the probability courses I took. Mathematically, over an infinite number of independent events, all events which have a non-zero probability will occur multiple times. For example, if you toss a pair of dice randomly 100 times you may or may not get all 36 possible combinations (some of which have identical values), but if you toss the dice an infinite number of times you will."

      That's not really the issue at hand is it? Your example is infinite number of actual events acting on a limited number of possible events.

      My point is that it does not help to postulate another (or multiple) universes when you have a universe with an infinite number of possible events and a much lower finite amount of actual events. The upper boundary for actual events being all particles in the universe interacting at Planck time since the beginning of time, i.e. your probability resource. The number of possible events will grow proportionally to your increased probability resources when you add universes.

      In short each possible event will remain just as unlikely to actually happen.

      Delete
    6. John wrote: "I'm afraid you don't understand the anthropic principle."

      Well, the anthropic principle is a truism, isn't it? I.e the conclusion is identical to the premise, and therefore a meaningless statement.

      Delete
    7. Rumraket quotes Kooning saying: "In this model, the stage for Darwinian selection is set by anthropic selection of complex systems that rarely but inevitably emerge by chance in the infinite universe (multiverse)."
      Yes, that is Koonin's proposal in this paper. Given eternal inflation, life becomes an inevitability simply through chance.

      The great irony here is that theistic proponents of eternal inflation need it to argue that time must have had a beginning. That's why apologists like Bill Craig are hellbent on insisting that the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem is true, because it entails a finite past. But the corollary of the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem is eternal inflation, and there's no requirement that the big bang that resulted in our local cosmic expansion was the first big bang or inflation event. There could be 10^40.000 big-bangs and subsequent inflationary events preceding ours. All the theorem says is that many big bangs will happen, and time must have had a beginning. That is all.

      This leaves people like you in a huge conondrum, because you want to simultaneously argue that life can't have emerged by chance AND that time had a beginning.

      You can't have your cake and eat it too.

      Here, read this straight from Alan Guth himself:
      http://www.astro.caltech.edu/~george/ay21/readings/guth.pdf

      First we get the thing about the finitude of the past:
      "I will describe a theorem by Borde, Vilenkin, and me (Borde, Guth, & Vilenkin 2003), which shows under mild assumptions that inflation cannot be eternal into the past, and thus some new physics will be necessary to explain the ultimate origin of the universe."

      But here's the corollary that fucks up the "divine miracle needed" claim:
      "Since the rate at which pocket universes form is proportional to the volume of false vacuum, this rate is increasing exponentially with the same time constant. This means that for every universe in the sample of age t, there are approximately exp 10^37 universes with age t−(1
      s).
      "

      Here Alan Guth is essentially saying that if their theorem is right, by now on the observation of our single "universe", we can be pretty sure there's at least 10^37'th power more universes out there.

      Looks like game over from where I'm sitting. What's your solution Andy? Either you dismiss the very theorem you need to argue the past isn't infinite, or you accept it but simultaneously lose your basis for arguing agaist a natural origin of life. What's it gonna be?

      Delete
    8. Andy wrote:
      My point is that it does not help to postulate another (or multiple) universes when you have a universe with an infinite number of possible events and a much lower finite amount of actual events. The upper boundary for actual events being all particles in the universe interacting at Planck time since the beginning of time, i.e. your probability resource. The number of possible events will grow proportionally to your increased probability resources when you add universes.


      You're essentially saying that because dealing a specific hand is unlikely in a single event, having many multiple card-dealings won't make it any more likely that someone will be dealt that hand.

      Or, it's unlikely for a single specific guy to win the lottery, so we won't get any lottery winners.

      That's just plain dumb. You need to go back and think on this for a while, this time without a foregone conclusion in your mind.

      Delete
    9. Andy,

      I'm afraid you really, really don't understand the anthropic principle.

      Delete
    10. Rumraket writes: "This leaves people like you in a huge conondrum, because you want to simultaneously argue that life can't have emerged by chance AND that time had a beginning."

      First of all I never supported an inflationary model to start with. I'm with Roger Penrose here, quote: "In order to work, inflation requires extremely specific initial conditions of its own, so that the problem (or pseudoproblem) of initial conditions is not solved: “There is something fundamentally misconceived about trying to explain the uniformity of the early universe as resulting from a thermalization process. […] For, if the thermalization is actually doing anything […] then it represents a definite increasing of the entropy. Thus, the universe would have been even more special before the thermalization than after.” The problem of specific or “fine-tuned” initial conditions would not have been solved; it would have gotten worse."

      Secondly, could you explain how this in anyway is leading up to a contradiction between a Beginning of the Universe and the implausibility of spontaneous emergence of life? It's precisely the other way around. If there were no Beginning of time then it would be more difficult to argue that the available probability resources are inadequate to explain the emergence of life.

      Delete
    11. Rumraket writes: "You're essentially saying that because dealing a specific hand is unlikely in a single event, having many multiple card-dealings won't make it any more likely that someone will be dealt that hand.
      Or, it's unlikely for a single specific guy to win the lottery, so we won't get any lottery winners."

      I cannot see that that has any connection to what I wrote. Give it one more shot Rumraket, this isn't exactly Rocket Science.

      Delete
    12. John wrote: "Andy,I'm afraid you really, really don't understand the anthropic principle."
      Well your at least partly right. I really do not see what explanation the anthropic principle bring for the existence of life nor by which means it came to be.

      Delete
    13. I'm at least completely right. The anthropic principle doesn't attempt to explain the existence of life or its mechanism. It only explains that you were wrong when you said we should consider only the probability of life arising on earth specifically. Suppose the probability were very, very low, and suppose we run the experiment again. This time, no life on earth. But on some planet in some universe, intelligent life arises, just because there are so many trials. And they too wonder how life could have arisen there. What makes their planet so special? And the answer would be "nothing; it's just that the only ones who ask the question are the rare winners". Somebody wins the lottery, and we don't have to ask why it was that person rather than some other person.

      Delete
    14. John, sure there is likely many more than one "world" (one could even speculate billions) in our universe capable of sustaining life. Each one is an isolated system depending only on its own probability resources. Most of the universe is a wasteland unable to sustain life. The sum of the probability resources for the isolated areas able to sustain life is a tiny fraction of the upper limit of the probability resources for the universe seen as one system.

      Delete
    15. Secondly, could you explain how this in anyway is leading up to a contradiction between a Beginning of the Universe and the implausibility of spontaneous emergence of life? It's precisely the other way around. If there were no Beginning of time then it would be more difficult to argue that the available probability resources are inadequate to explain the emergence of life.
      Apparently you're very confused because I actually agree.

      Simply, if life was to have emerged by chance in some grand lucky accident, then for that to be plausible, we would need to establish that there would have been many, many "trials".
      In a multiverse model, such as eternal inflation ala BGV, there are exactly that: many, many trials.

      Good, now some typical theist ID proponent comes along and says "silly atheist, it's absurd to believe life emerged by chance - also, the fact that time had a beginning proves god made the universe". I have seen countless IDiots argue these propositions: Life can't have emerged by chance, and god made the universe because the past cannot be finite.

      The problem is, of course, that you can't actually argue both those propositions by appealing to the BGV theorem, because if you want to argue time had a beginning by appealing to the BGV theorem, then as a corollary you're arguing for a multiverse. Which means the spontaneous emergence of life is not implausible at all, but an inevitability.

      That's it. You're telling me you don't accept inflationary models, well good for you Andy, but why the fuck did you then argue earlier that "It is an axiom that time started at the Big Bang".

      Let's get something straight: it is by no means an axiom that time started at the big bang.

      Delete
    16. You also wrote, Andy:
      "My point is, that like it or not, we are stuck with the probability resources of our own world. That is all that we have to explain what is going on on our planet. That's bad news of course for everybody that is hoping for spontaneous appearance of life, since not even all the particles in the Universe interacting at Planck time would have the probability resources needed for that."

      First, I'd like to see your math for that. Show your work, because it looks like blind bullshit assertion to me.

      Second, you don't seem to get the idea that with enough multiple simultaneous trials, there will be a lottery winner.

      That lottery winner happened to be Earth.

      John Harshman is right, you simply don't understand the athropic principle.

      Delete
    17. I wrote: "...not even all the particles in the Universe interacting at Planck time would have the probability resources needed for that."

      Rumraket responded: "First, I'd like to see your math for that. Show your work, because it looks like blind bullshit assertion to me."

      Fred Hoyle has calculated the probability for the proteins in a minimally complex cell being generated by chance to 1E40,000, see Hoyle and Wickramasinghe "Evolution from Space". This has later been verified by eg Douglas Axe. You could of course imagine a more basic self replicating unit, but the properties of that unit is still an enigma.

      The probabilistic resources of the universe, i.e. the all atoms in the observable universe interacting at Planck time since the beginning of time is: 1E80 x 1,34E10 x 1,85E43 x 3,15E7 = 7,8E140

      P.S. I noticed that you misspelled the anthropic principle, which you assert that you understand.

      Delete
    18. Let me put this in a way Andy can understand.

      Fly theologians have long believed that the piece of shit they live on must have been "fine-tuned" by an infinite, fly-like mind to precisely fit the needs of the flies on the shit.

      The shit itself has just the right nutrients to nourish a fly. What are the odds that a pile of shit should happen to have just the nutrients that a fly could digest? The odds against that are astronomical! Let's not consider the possibility that the flies adapted to the shit via evolution. Oh nooo, that would be ridiculous! Clearly the shit was fine-tuned to match the flies; a "design" that could only have come from an infinite, invisible, yet fly-like mind, all of whose "plans" totally center around flies.

      The fly theologian, call him William Lane Fly, observes that there are 17 flies on the shit-- the number of flies on the shit is "just right." See, if there were 30 flies on our shit, that would be too many, but if there were 2 flies on our shit that would be too few, and the actual number is 17, which is just right. What are the odds of that happening by blind chance? Clearly, a fly-like mind arranged it so.

      Another fly theologian, call him Alvin Flytinga, points out that flies can understand shit: they know shit is good to eat. What are the odds of that? There can't be any rational explanation, no scientific explanation is possible, which could ever explain how flies just know shit tastes good.

      The only explanation must be that be flies were created in the image of an infinite, yet strangely invisible being, which must be fly-like, thus explaining why flies... have the properties of flies. Yeah. Clearly, flies had to be magically given the properties of a thing that itself must have the properties of a fly... except it's invisible, and infinite, and created the shit they live on. What other explanation could there be for flies having the properties of flies?

      But Richard Flykins objects: is it possible maybe flies evolved to like eating shit, because liking to eat shit is advantageous in producing more flies? Noooo! That's forbidden by uh, "probability."

      Now another fly theologian, call him Andy Wilberfly, in computing what he calls the "probability resources" of life on shit, insists that we must tot up only the "probability resources" of the particular turd on which he lives. We must not ever, no never, tot up the "probability resources" of the many other turds around (and in the time of the dinosaurs, turds were big indeed.) After all, he was born on this turd, see? It wouldn't be possible for him to be born on another, because he wasn't, so he couln't. Checkmate, Richard Flykins!

      Delete
    19. Andy says: Fred Hoyle has calculated the probability for the proteins in a minimally complex cell being generated by chance to 1E40,000, see Hoyle and Wickramasinghe "Evolution from Space". This has later been verified by eg Douglas Axe.

      Yes Andy, all of us here are familiar with Hoyle's and Wickramasinghe's bogus calculation. It's been around for 40 years. This probability calculation is a classic example of several fallacies in statistics. If Doug Axe has "verified" this bullprob, then Doug Axe deserves no respect.

      Hoyle & Wickramasinghe basically took a typical protein, in which there are ~250 amino acids, and each amino acid could be one of 20 types of amino acids, and they computed the probability of a tornado randomly scrambling amino acids and arriving at that precise sequence. Since they assumed the probability of each amino acid type is 1/20 (for 20 possible types), the probability for one protein is like 1 over 20^250. Then they repeated that for many proteins.

      Ugh, so many fallacies and errors.

      Fallacy 1. Lottery winner fallacy. e.g. If the lottery sells 10 million tickets and one person wins, the odds of that person winning are 10 million to one, therefore it could not happen naturally, therefore it was supernatural, so God had to make the winner win. No. To put it in everyday speech: there is more than one way to skin a cat; and to use classical statistics properly, you must sum up the probabilities of all the different ways to skin the cat.

      In the particular case of proteins, for each biochemical function there are trillions of protein sequences that can perform that function. Hoyle and Wickramasinghe computed the probability only of the lottery winner, that is, "the one true sequence"-- but there isn't one true sequence, there are trillions (and by the way, even if there were, their probability calculation has other, major errors on top of that.) Moreover, for a given biological function (e.g. communication within a cell) there are many biochemical processes that can perform that function (e.g. communication within a cell can be by protease enzymes, or kinase enzymes, etc.) You have to add up the probabilities for all possible biochemical reactions AND, for each of function, add up the probabilities of all possible genetics sequences that code for all possible protein sequences that facilitate or catalyze each biochemical reaction.

      Needless to say, Hoyle & Wickramasinghe did not get within a trillion miles of that.

      In technical terms: the odds of Juan Garcia winning the lottery is technically called a "probability density"; the problem is, it is not "probability mass." To correctly use Fisherian inference in classical statistics, you must sum up the probability densities for all conceivable observations that could reasonably support your hypothesis. That summation is a probability mass, not a probability density. In classical statistics, only a probability mass calculation, not probability density, can refute a hypothesis.

      Fallacy #1 introduces an error of astronomical size.

      Fallacy 2. They assume the probability of evolution = the tornado probability, that is, the probability of forming a biological structure by randomly scrambling all parts. Non-random natural processes, like evolution, are not tornadoes, and the probabilities are astronomically different.

      Fallacy #2 introduces an error of astronomical size.

      Delete
    20. Fallacy # 3. Even if we were to ignore the probabilities given above, and focus on just the "one true sequence", Hoyle and Wickramasinghe even computed that wrong. They assumed that all 20 types of amino acids have equal probability = 1/20. Every molecular biologist knows that different amino acid types have very different probabilities, e.g. glycine has probability more than 1/20 and tryptophan has probability less than 1/20. The correction for this error is a huge factor. There is a name for this: it is called the Shannon–McMillan–Breiman Theorem.

      According to Shannon–McMillan–Breiman, the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe bullprob of 1 in 20^L (where L is length of sequence) should be replaced by 1 in 2^NH, where N = 20 for 20 amino acid types, and H is the Shannon entropy of protein sequences, which depends on L and on the differing probabilities of each type of amino acid.

      Hubert Yockey points this out, and here he does a calculation showing about how big the correction is: for the protein 1-isocytochrome c, which has 113 amino acids, the correction is 6.2×10^−36 = 1 over 1.613 x 10^35, that is, 1 followed by 35 zeroes. That's one correction for just one protein.

      Fallacy #3 introduces an error of astronomical size.

      Delete
    21. So Diogenes, what would you say that the chance is for a rudimentary self replicating unit coming into existence?

      Delete
    22. I should have said that the order of magnitude for the probability was verified by Axe, not the calculation.

      Delete
    23. It's not computable just from a structure alone-- probabilities are properties of processes, not structures. No one can compute the probability of any structure existing. We can only compute the probability of processes which could make the structure, and those processes must be well-defined.

      So define the process that is your model for making the first life form. A tornado? Random scramble of all parts? We all agree that's unlikely, but that's your model, not ours.

      But if you find that unsatisfactory-- perhaps you believe we should compute the probability for each object by assuming its parts were arranged that way by a tornado.

      OK, now consider Yahweh. Under this assumption, the probability of Yahweh existing = the probability of a tornado randomly assembling a genocidal, sex-terrified Middle Eastern war deity who creates an intelligent species with an irresistible urge to engage in sex acts that he, the deity, finds horribly disgusting and wishes to punish them for, eternally; a species whose male is designed with a built-in foreskin, which for some reason offends the deity, whose first command to them is, "Now snip off the end of your penis"; a species whose female is designed with an anus two inches from her tiny, tiny birth canal, through which she must force an an infant with a skull the size of a cantaloupe, or else the species perishes.

      I could go on: but the odds of that are pretty small, it seems to me. Perhaps you will now reject using the tornado probability by default.

      Delete
    24. Andy says: "I should have said that the order of magnitude for the probability was verified by Axe, not the calculation."

      Understood.

      Delete
    25. Diogenes writes: "It's not computable just from a structure alone-- probabilities are properties of processes, not structures. No one can compute the probability of any structure existing. We can only compute the probability of processes which could make the structure, and those processes must be well-defined."
      Well that sounds like a constructive starting point. Could you give an example of a process generating structures with specific complexity without the input of information?

      Delete
    26. Andy: "Without the input of information" sounds like equivocation to me. You need to define "information" before I can give examples that don't have any in the initial state.

      e.g. If I talk about Australopithecus evolving to Homo erecutus you can say, "but Australopithecus had information"; if I talk about gene duplication, you can say "The original gene had information"; if I talk about Rodhocetus evolving to Dorudon (cetacean) you can say "but Rodhocetus had information", etc.

      So I would ask what's your equation for "information" in the initial state, but I know ID proponents never answer that question. People like Meyer & Dembski are infinitely vague so they can leave themselves escape routes to evade falsification.

      The refusal to cough up a closed-form equation means that ID claims such as "natural processes cannot create information" are just equivocation.

      Schneider's ev program certainly produced functional information from scratch, defined as information that's functional and computed via Shannon's equation for mutual information. Dembski hates it.

      Delete
    27. DNA of course is an example of information.

      I could grant that random mutations and natural selection and even neutral genetic drift could increase the information content in the DNA within the limits for the probibalistic reasources. The randomly generated mutations that worked are kept and past on to future generations. In the case of generating the first self replicating unit you don't have the luxury of a prexicting mechanism for information storage, translation and replication.

      Delete
    28. Diogenes: The fly theologian, call him William Lane Fly.

      Wasn't it William Crane Fly?

      A perfect fable, by the way!

      Delete
    29. I think it's almost impossible for theists to understand the anthropic principle. The concept is so completely foreign to their way of thinking that they just can't conceive of the idea that we might be the result of a lucky but highly improbable naturalistic event.

      Delete
    30. Larry wrote: "the idea that we might be the result of a lucky but highly improbable naturalistic event."
      I'm starting to think that it is impossible for atheists to understand probabilities...

      Delete
    31. An atheist faced with a firing squad that after the gun smoke settles find that he is still alive and unharmed would not be the least surprised, after all that is the only result that he would be able to observe.

      Delete
    32. "Atheists" this, "atheists" that... and then they claim the argument is all about "design", not about a deity magically creating things.

      Delete
    33. It was a tit-for-tat response to Larry. He was the first one to bring theism into the discussion by saying: "I think it's almost impossible for theists to understand the anthropic principle."

      Delete
    34. Besides, the atheist would be surprised, as the number of firing squads in the sample would be small enough that the probability of being missed in at least one of that sample would also be small. Yep, Andy doesn't understand the anthropic principle. Or probability. By the way, the probability that something surprising will happen to you today is much greater than the probability that any particular surprising thing will happen. You really need to think about what the distribution from which results are drawn may be when you're computing those probabilities.

      Delete
    35. An atheist faced with a firing squad that after the gun smoke settles find that he is still alive and unharmed would not be the least surprised, after all that is the only result that he would be able to observe.
      This analogy commits the fallacy of begging the question. In your example we know beforehand that the firing squad are all, presumably, aiming for a specific target.

      We don't know that this is the case with universes and life.

      Back to the drawing board Andy.

      Delete
    36. P.S. I noticed that you misspelled the anthropic principle, which you assert that you understand.
      That's great Andy, actually I just mistyped because apparently I didn't hit "n". Clearly we now have grounds to believe I don't understand the anthropic principle.

      Delete
    37. @MRR

      It's interesting that many of us saw the typo and just ignored it. Andy saw it and immediately assumed that you don't know how to spell "anthropic."

      Is he really that stupid? I'm beginning to think so.

      Delete
    38. As an example of the logic in the anthropic principle I wrote: "An atheist faced with a firing squad that after the gun smoke settles find that he is still alive and unharmed would not be the least surprised, after all that is the only result that he would be able to observe."
      My point being the same as what I wrote to John earlier that the anthropic principle is a truism, i.e. the conclusion is identical to the premise, and therefore a meaningless statement.

      To which Rumraket responded: "This analogy commits the fallacy of begging the question."

      Well, Rumraket for once we agree...

      Delete
    39. Rumraket writes: " In your example we know beforehand that the firing squad are all, presumably, aiming for a specific target. We don't know that this is the case with universes and life."
      The analogy does not lie there. The AP simply means that conditions observed in the universe must be such that they allow the observer to exist. In my example the conditions of the firing squad were such that the unsurprised atheist could exist and observe it. If those conditions were that all in the squad were blind or firing blanks is not explained nor does whoever applies the logic care. The AP is usually invoked when a good theory is missing.

      Delete
    40. John wrote: "Besides, the atheist would be surprised, as the number of firing squads in the sample would be small enough that the probability of being missed in at least one of that sample would also be small. Yep, Andy doesn't understand the anthropic principle."

      John, see my explanation to Rumraket above.

      John wrote: "By the way, the probability that something surprising will happen to you today is much greater than the probability that any particular surprising thing will happen"
      At least you got that part right, I spent several days trying to explain that to Rumraket in a previous post.

      Delete
  3. I love the notion of the inevitability of life. Seeing as the origins are simply the sum of chemical laws played out over enough time and in the right circumstances, it makes it seem that life could be more common throughout the universe than we ever thought. It's quite comforting to think that there will always be life and biology occurring even after that on Earth is gone.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Amen to thinking critically. this just means investigate proposed conclusions.
    Creationism is today the great critical thinking movement.
    We question conclusions on origins and offer better ones.
    Are evolutionist researchers CRITICAL about what they learn in school??
    It seems they accept without question settled conclusions.

    What is settled science? Isn't it all settled until a smarter dude overthrows the paradigm.?
    This gut said scientists and science and so invoking armies of such folks.
    The host here said EXPERTS. A smaller elite within the army of scientists.
    I say few people ever got paid to study origin subjects or paid to only do that as opposed to teaching in schools.
    its a small crowd and so its easy for creationist thinkers to challenge it.
    Dismissing the public because of their ignorance therefore must include the vast majority of card carrying scientists.
    Its not their bag. Foot and rocket scientists don't know better then regular folk.
    Its an appeal to authority over democracy.
    Thats why they went into Vietnam. They knew better.
    Then also its an attack on Christianity.
    Telling the public to mind its own business will not work.
    On the merits and thats how creationism(s) have recently become so famous.
    We are fighting a few ideas/conclusions defended by small numbers of actual experts.
    WE are the new experts.
    so creationism should be taught on equal levels even if the public didn't agree.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My favorite line is "Foot and rocket scientists don't know better than regular folk." How about you?

      Delete
    2. Mine is:

      its a small crowd and so its easy for creationist thinkers to challenge it..

      The cacophony, the oxymoron, the ...

      Delete
    3. It seems they accept without question settled conclusions.

      And yet, most of the creationist bafflegab consists of quote mines "showing" that scientists don't agree.

      My favorite line is "Foot and rocket scientists don't know better than regular folk." How about you?

      I look forward to the day that Byers lets "regular folk" perform brain surgery on him. Come to think of it, it might not make that big a difference.

      I suppose geocentrism will also be the "great critical thinking movement" of tomorrow. Open mindedness has much to recommend it ... until your brains start to fall out.

      Delete
    4. IIRC, Robert had mentioned elsewhere that he had in fact suffered a traumatic brain injury that required surgical treatment. Am I correct on that, Robert?

      Delete
    5. Here is my brief translation of Byers:

      "Scientists accepted evolution without questioning it. Creationists have assembled a dozen quotes of scientists questioning evolution."

      At least that's my hypothesis that that's what he's saying. I'll admit that I have no translation for the following quote:

      "Foot and rocket scientists don't know better than regular folk."

      I have no idea what that means. No idea.

      But just wait until Byers gets flat arches or a bunyon. He'll go running to those smarty-pants foot scientists begging for their help. Then he'll have to eat his words.

      Delete
    6. And I have yet to see spacecraft flown by regular folk. But if Byers builds a launch pad in his backyard, and a rocket to take him to orbit -- bon voyage, Bob!

      Delete
    7. It's true. I have never met a single foot and rocket scientist who knew better than regular folk.

      My favourite is "Thats why they went into Vietnam. They knew better." ("They" refers either to the foot and rocket scientists, or the card-carrying scientists, or the evolutionist researchers - either way, their presence in Vietnam has to be something even Edward Lear wouldn't have guessed at.)

      Delete
    8. You guys have taken all the best lines, but one is still left: WE are the new experts. That's the way empires are built.

      Delete
    9. Its a urban myth that I ever had, or said I had, brain trauma or surgery. Not yet at least!

      my point about foot and rocket scientists is that they only know their own job and should not be included in the SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY agreeing with evolution, even if they do, as IF it matters that they agree anymore then anyone else.
      Evolutionism should only say EXPERTS in origin research are to be listened to regarding these matters.
      Instead they invoke all card carrying scientists as to be a authority on evolution truth. In fact its a small crowd relative to the scientific community. Thats why there is the present revolution. ID/YEC researchers are only correcting small numbers of "scientists" and not armies.
      A very different perception. Creationism is not fighting informed armies of scientists. Just a officer corp in one arm of the service.
      Thats why creationists are so effective.
      Yes our side has experts and when there are experts on both sides of a issue it means the former settled conclusion is no longer settled. A scientific theory must be settled to be a theory as opposed to a hypothesis. Indeed thats why they have to insist ID/YEC researchers are NOT scientists. otherwise the mere existence of contrary scientists ends a settled scientific theory being a theory. Its already over for evolution, as a theory, just by the existence of scientific opposition.

      Delete
    10. Byers is either lying or, alas, his authorities have him hornswoggled pretty good. In fact, 99.9% of all SCIENTISTS believe in evolution. Despite much huffing and puffing from the creationists, they have never gotten their fraction of the SCIENTISTS above 0.1%.

      Consequently, they have to lie by various means-- often by giving themselves fake Ph.D.'s, misrepresenting/exaggerating their credentials, exaggerating each other's credentials, or very often, by redefining who's a scientist. Creationists redefine "scientist" to include philosophers (Stephen Meyer, Dembski, Berlinski), engineers (Henry Morris), medical doctors (Egnor, Wieland), computer network adminstrators (Coppedge and half the people at UD), schoolteachers (Ken Ham), English teachers (John Oller), random cranks, or whoever supports creationism.

      The creationist definition of scientist is anyone who believes in creationism.

      Byers: Instead they invoke all card carrying scientists as to be a authority on evolution truth. In fact its a small crowd relative to the scientific community. Thats why there is the present revolution.

      Creationists have been lying about "a revolution" for 110 years. If there were a revolution, your lying shit would be published in peer-reviewed science journals. It's not so you're lying.

      ID/YEC researchers are only correcting small numbers of "scientists" and not armies.

      ID/YEC people are not "researchers", they don't do research, they never "correct" any scientists because ID and YEC are based on lying about every branch of science (genetics, paleontology, information theory, etc. etc. etc.) and they are opposed by a vast army, 99.9% of all real scientists.

      Creationism is not fighting informed armies of scientists.

      Yes, creationism is fighting vast armies, hundreds of thousands of scientists: geneticists, molecular biologists, paleontologists, geologists, physicists, astronomers, chemists-- everybody. There is no branch of science on your side-- that's why ID is full of lawyers, philosophers, and computer administrators. You are vastly outnumbered among scientists and, to the degree they give you any thought, they know you're psychotic liars.

      Just a officer corp in one arm of the service. Thats why creationists are so effective.

      Effective at what? Curing diseases? Discovering things? You can't list any real achievements of ID supporters or YEC liars in the last 120 years. Not one.

      Yes our side has experts

      Bullshit. Who are your "experts"? Philosopher Meyer? Science teacher Ken Ham? No, your side has NO experts.

      and when there are experts on both sides of a issue it means the former settled conclusion is no longer settled. A scientific theory must be settled to be a theory as opposed to a hypothesis.

      Ugh, you're too ignorant to know the difference between theory and hypothesis. What a moron.

      Indeed thats why they have to insist ID/YEC researchers are NOT scientists.

      Again: ID and YEC people are NOT "researchers", they don't do research, you're lying. We say they are not scientists because so many fake their Ph.D.'s and falsify or exaggerate their credentials.

      Also, they don't discover anything. What have they discovered? You can't list any discoveries, so &!$# off.

      Its already over for evolution, as a theory, just by the existence of scientific opposition.

      There is no scientific opposition. The opposition is 100% religious, including you.

      You lying creationist assholes have been saying "evolution is dead" for 120 years. You were lying in the 1900's, lying in the 1920's, lying in the 1940's, lying in the 1960's, lying in the 1980's, lying in the 2000's and lying today.

      Are creationists scientists many or few? If there are few, there is no controversy. If there are many, list their inventions and discoveries RIGHT NOW. You can't.

      Delete
    11. Robert:

      Evolutionism should only say EXPERTS in origin research are to be listened to regarding these matters.

      WTF are "experts in origin research"? Most importantly, how do "ID/YEC researchers" (researchers?) qualify?

      There are, at least, hundreds of thousands of biologists who are experts in the origin of species ... not to mention paleontologists, ethologists and dozens of other subspecialists, who are more than capable of assessing the overall evidence for evolution and have recognised it as the best explanation for the diversity of life that we observe presently. Against that, you have YEC "experts" in the hundreds who not only fail to make any good arguments against biology but also have to argue against multiple hundreds of thousands of physicists, astronomers, geologists and numerous other subspecialties. YECs like you, Robert are, in fact, facing, not armies, but hordes of scientists.

      The only reason that the armies facing IDers might be somewhat smaller is that they lie and pretend that they are challenging a smaller subset of science. Within those subsets they are still encountering the same percetage of resistence from the knowledgeable scientific community.

      If you want to argue about the origin of life, it's true we don't presently have a good scientific explantion for that ... but "poof" is no better explantion.

      Yes our side has experts and when there are experts on both sides of a issue it means the former settled conclusion is no longer settled.

      Geocentrists also claim to have "experts." Is it no longer a settled conclusion that the Earth orbits the sun rather than vice versa? You don't get to create a real scientific controversy just by proclaiming yourself to be a scientist and then saying "I disagree!"

      Its already over for evolution, as a theory, just by the existence of scientific opposition.

      Welcome to the 150 year+ line of people who are predicting the imminent death of the science of evolution. While you're here would you also like to join the 2,000+ year old line of people predicting the imminent end of the Earth? Harold Camping might need an assistent.

      Delete
    12. Analyses of Byers' posts that are longer than Byers' posts are even more a waste of bandwidth than Byers' posts.

      Delete
    13. Dingenes,

      "In fact, 99.9% of all SCIENTISTS believe in evolution."

      There must be something wrong with 0.1% of scientist who don't, unless you specify what you mean by "evolution"....

      BTW: You also forgot to mention that 4 in 10 scientist believe a creator "guided" evolution....I don't know how to call this kind of evolution though....Creative or intelligently designed perhaps.?

      Even if 99.9999999% of scientists "BELIEVED" in "your evolution", does it make it a fact? Einstein was the only scientist in the world who envisioned spacetime and as one...etc

      Delete
    14. @Robert Byers

      Its a urban myth that I ever had, or said I had, brain trauma or surgery. Not yet at least!

      My apologies. I could swear you mentioned this on the old Richard Dawkins Foundation forum or at RationalSkepticism.org, but I guess I was mistaken. Again, my apologies.

      Delete
  5. Torley's not completely stupid; he's just a propagandist. Spin, not truth, is the highest priority for a propagandist. Torley uses all the usual tricks: credential inflation, applauding the quote fabrication of others, etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jeff has referenced an infamous episode in which ethically challenged lawyer Barry Arrington printed an inflammatory, made-up, fictional quote that allegedly showed Margaret Sanger to be a racist, murderous eugenicist (such myths are necessary, because all major creationists were racist until ~1980 and almost all major creationists were pro-eugenics from 1920 to ~1970.)

      When Arrington was called out as a liar, he replaced his first fake quote from Sanger with... ANOTHER, DIFFERENT FAKE QUOTE FROM SANGER. Creationists sink in a sea of shit, and when they need to grab onto something to keep them from drowning, the only thing they have to grab onto is more shit.

      VJ Torley applauded Arrington for printing the fake quote.

      Torley: "It’s high time someone exposed this wickedness. I’m glad Barry Arrington took the time and trouble to expose it on this Website."

      The "exposure" meaning copying and pasting fake quotes invented by Christian liars.

      How can any creationist like Arrington or Torley denounce racism or eugenics? All the founders of creationism were racist and almost all were pro-eugenics. On what basis can they oppose such things?

      UD regular Kairos "Hocus Pocus" Focus chimes in to support fake quoting:

      Hocus Pocus: "Dr Torley’s remarks at [comment #] 13 above take on a pointed relevance that we need to think about very carefully indeed. This issue, sadly, is not quite dead."

      Agreed, it's not dead-- a lot of creationists today are still as racist as shit.

      "In short,there are some very troubling issues that need to be faced fair and square and resolved on the merits, not the rhetorical stunts such as we have been seeing. "

      Oh. Rhetorical stunts-- you mean like inventing fake quotes to conceal creationism's miserable history of racism and support for eugenics?

      Delete
  6. John Pieret.
    Its not hordes or hundreds of thousands. Thats a absurd number on behalf of tax payers everywhere.
    Biologists are not researchers in evolutionary biology. You make my point.
    Evolutionism invokes armies of scientists when in fact its few people, relative, that get paid to research in real ways evolution or other subjects concerning origins.
    I don't know numbers but , maybe, just a few tens of thousands or just a few thousand of any not at all.
    Geologists largely look for oil. Very few study the origins of earth as opposed to those working upon concepts for modern needs.
    This is a common error in these issues . To be a origin scientist one must be app;lying ones mind to the principals of the subject in origin research. Not just presuming it in a preface to other research.
    Creationists in fact face small numbers of "scientists" and our scientists easily hold up well as any revolution in science ever did.
    Its funny about why evolutionists need to invoke numbers as opposed to arguments and then , crazy wild, raise the numbers.
    If it was small numbers would it matter to your side??
    Is indeed evolution and company being sustained by tiny numbers of people and the rest of the scientific or anyone communities just trusting their authority?
    ID or YEC researchers always see the opposition as very few thinkers or doers in science.
    The host here would be one because of teaching and writing textbooks on the subject and generally applying his mind to the subject.
    Thats one but not many more relative to the "scientific" community.
    OH YES they do invoke the herd when in fact its just a leadership and heading for a cliff of embarrassment of error , i think, within 15 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Byers says: "Creationists in fact face small numbers of "scientists" and our scientists easily hold up well as any revolution in science ever did."

      Byers, creationists make up less than 0.1% of all real scientists, not counting the many fake Ph.Ds on your side.

      Creationist scientists must be many or they are few. Are creationist scientists many or few? If they are few, there is no controversy. If they are many, where are their achievements, where are their discoveries?

      They have none for 120 years. I asked Byers to list their discoveries; he listed nothing. He conceded.

      If there are many creation scientists-- tens of thousands?-- then it is even WORSE for your side, because they are clearly intellectually inferior, ten of thousands who work in science full-time (?) yet have discovered nothing in 120 years.

      Are creationist scientists many or few? If they are few, there is no controversy. If they are many, where are their achievements? List their discoveries.

      Delete
  7. Sorry, but in the end it just isn't gonna matter.

    There is a reason why half the people in the US alone wont accept evolution--and most of those numbers are not because they are creationists who think the universe is not old.

    Its because they clearly see design in every aspect of the universe. Its because they know they have freewill and its not a self refuting illusion. They know love is real and not just an equation on paper. They know there are objective morals even though the atheists--who are a minuscule percent of all the humans that have ever lived, hence are technically abnormal--who are socially awkward--many even sociopaths, serial killers, skinheads, heroin addicts, pron moguls, and homicidal dictators ...oh and yes..and those who entered the fields of Origins to prove their worldview and found the world doesn't just "appear" designed, the math now shows our universe is probabilistically impossible and even with that--these atheist reject their own data and make up a Magical Everything Maker Machine to explain away what they found.

    And they know God exists because they have Not blocked his goodness out their minds and become blind to him--seeing no purpose in life.

    Soooo, NO.....the atheist scientists who entered these fields have revealed themselves through their books and articles spewing out their bad philosophy and now no one trusts what they say. Heck, polls show people wouldn't even trust an atheist to watch their cat for goodness sake, much less answers regarding creation. These guys got what they deserved. They aimed too high and they missed...huge... and even though there is certainly many truths in the development of Darwin's theory--its is grossly deficient and assumes too much, If we want students to accept the raw data--the atheists have to go or shut up about their lame sophomoric philosophy

    ReplyDelete