Sunday, March 23, 2014

IDiots respond to the evidence for evolution of chimpanzees and humans

Last month I explained how the difference in DNA sequence between chimps and humans corresponds to what we would predict from evolutionary theory. I challenged the Intelligent Design Creationists to explain not only that the sequences are similar but that the degree of similarity is evidence of evolution.

None of the "scientists" on the creationist websites responded to my challenge but eventually—after being prodded—Vincent Torley (a philospher) picked up the challenge. I tried to explain why his response was inadequate.

Here are the three relevant posts.

Why are the human and chimpanzee/bonobo genomes so similar?
So, why are the human and chimpanzee/bonobo genomes so similar? A reply to Professor Larry Moran
An Intelligent Design Creationist explains why chimpanzees and humans are so similar

It's interesting to read the comments below Vincent Torley's post. You'd expect to see comments from the scientifically literate creationists pointing out that my calculations are basically correct and the IDiots better learn how to deal with it. After all, none of this is complicated stuff. It's the sort of evolution you would find in any introductory textbook.

Well, so far there haven't been any comments from IDiots who understand evolution.

One of the people who commented is Salvador Cordova (scordova) who teaches at George Mason University in Virginia (USA). He says,
As far as Moran’s numbers, of course they’ll match up! The circularly reasoned mutation rate is reasoned based on the divergence amount and the supposed time of a split. Because of Kimura’s formula highlighted here:

If not Rupe or Sanford

the number fixed will always agree with the circularly reasoned mutation rate. It’s circular reasoning pretending to make a prediction when in fact it’s a post diction. But this is all circular reasoning.
Or maybe the IDiots have a good explanation that they haven’t revealed?
No Moran, you’re the …… for not recognizing circular reasoning. You can take a tree and a frog, make up a timeline and you’ll never get inconsistent results as long as the mutation rates being used are the circularly reasoned ones and not the actual field-measured ones (which are too expensive for anyone to do right now)! The fixation rate will always match the circularly-reasoned mutation rate. The way to settle the issue is to use real-time mutation rates, but that is too expensive right now.
This is disappointing since I spent a lot of time and effort explaining mutation rates and I linked to these posts.

Estimating the Human Mutation Rate: Biochemical Method
Estimating the Human Mutation Rate: Direct Method
Estimating the Human Mutation Rate: Phylogenetic Method

The first one shows that the mutation rate can be estimated from the known properties of the DNA replication complex and repair mechanisms. The second one shows that the mutation rate from direct sequencing of the genomes of parents and children agrees pretty much with the biochemical estimate. The third one shows that the estimates from phylogeny agree with the mutation rates calculated independently from the other two methods. The phylogenetic estimate would only be circular if there were no other independent methods of estimating mutation rate.

The three posts also contain references to other methods of getting the human mutation rates. Some of them date back to the 1930s.

I don't understand why Sal Cordova didn't bother to read up on the subject before spouting off. Is he deliberately lying to the audience on Uncommon Descent because they can't handle the truth?

There aren't any other comments from IDiots that qualify as scientific. Here's a few for your amusement.
Joe says,

I don’t accept universal common descent because it cannot be scientifically tested.

Also, contra Moran, we don’t know anything about fixation rates. And similarities can easily be explained by a common design.
I think that what he meant to say is that HE doesn't know anything about fixation rates and he wouldn't know what "scientific testing" looks like if it bit him on the .....

Niward writes,
Larry Moran’s “proof” of the ape-like-ancestor to human evolution is based on a series of unsupported claims:

(1) actually there is no proof that DNA is the unique cause of the formation of a certain species. It is likely that many other factors play a role.

(2) also if #1 is ok, 98.6% genomic identity between chimp and human (= 22.4 million DNA bases) is highly debatable, because genomic comparison can be done in many different ways and depends on many presuppositions.

(3) also if #1,2 are ok, 130 mutations fixed in the human population in each generation is another highly debatable issue.

(4) also if #1,2,3 are ok, no one can prove that such 130 mutations fixed are exactly those necessary to the transformation.

(5) also if #1,2,3,4 are ok, no one has proved that natural selection passed along those mutations. Lab experiments show that natural selection passes along a beneficial mutation when it has at least a 10% fitness advantage.

(6) also if #1,2,3,4,5 are ok, it is again highly debatable and unproved that chimps and humans diverged five million years ago, based on fossils. Fossils tell nothing about the deep differences between man and apes. For example, can a fossil prove a difference in intellect?

As a consequence Moran’s claim about human evolution from ape-like-ancestor based on the very simple computation “130 x 185,200 = 22.4 million mutations” is ridiculous and gives a good idea of the lack of reliability of Darwinian biology.
This seems to be the very best that they can offer. Do you think there are Intellignet Design Creationists who are embarrassed by this display of ignorance? If so, why aren't they speaking up?

Where are you Michael Denton and Michael Behe? A village of IDiots needs you. Talk to Sal Cordova and give him a copy of your books.


105 comments :

  1. "And similarities can easily be explained by a common design."
    I'm always curious when I see this line of rhetoric. Are they looking for something that's unique to evolutionary theory that cannot also be "explained" by design? If that's the case, then wouldn't one need a falsifiable concept of design to make a valid comparison?

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    1. No, that's precisely why you do not have a falsifiable concept of design: you can claim anything is the result of design if you keep your ideas vague enough.

      Certainly your response is correct if you're treating them like serious disputants with scientific integrity, but they're really just denalists with no integrity at all, scientific or otherwise.

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    2. Common design explains beautifully why elephants are large, gray, and lumber about the savannah browsing on shrubs. Unfortunately it also explains why elephants and small, pink, and fly about the rain forest, pollinating flowers ...

      In either case the explanation is the same: "that's how the Designer wanted it". And of course we are not to try to figure out what the Designer's objectives are, or figure out any limits on her knowledge or powers.

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    3. typo: "... elephants are small, pink ..."

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    4. It's just something that confused me with design proponents online. If I ever brought up evidence in support of evolution, I'd get the response that it doesn't support evolution because design also explains it. So the only rationale I can take from such arguments is that they are playing them off to see which can explain the most evidence - to which it will always be design since design is an ad hoc hypothesis that can easily be retrofitted to any piece of data. As Joe says "that's how the designer wanted it".

      It just seems like a pretty pointless approach to take as it neither shows the flaws of evolution, nor gives any credence to design as a meaningful hypothesis.

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    5. Joe (G) has attempted to argue that even the SINE data in Cetartiodactyla can be explained as Common Design.

      It's the common part they are pushing there - they're not saying that Design can explain everything evolution can, but that similar species are 'bound' to have similar DNA. How this works for flanking sequence with and without SINEs in whales, hippos, deer and pigs is not explained. Joe also appeared to be insisting there is no such thing as nonfunctional DNA, because it would not be retained.

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  2. Hi. Sorry to go off topic.

    I have a Catholic theologian, Michael Flynn, who posts as Ye Olde Statistician on a variety of sites. He is saying things like:

    "If anything, the fossil evidence shows step-wise evolution: species appear pretty much full blown and then develop these features more or less, presumably by natural selection. But if gradualism is true, the fossil record should be stuffed to the gills with these "shades of gray" rather than showing sudden steps followed by gradual perfections."

    And citing James Shapiro as 'a 21st century geneticist who has overturned gradualism'.

    It's in the comments here, a thread about how Catholics believing in Adam and Eve isn't creationism, it's modern science. He thinks there was a 'first man'.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2014/03/a-reader-struggles-with-polygenism-and-genesis.html#comment-1297835126

    I've had my fun. I thought some people here might enjoy getting a good kick or twenty in.

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    1. Is itjust conincidence that Shapiro is cited in the new ENCODE defense by Germain et al? It should be noted that they also refer to the Altenberg 16.

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    2. For crying out loud – Catholics do NOT believe in a literal interpretation of ADAM & EVE!!!!!

      Neither do Jews - and given the Jewish unchallenged command of Biblical Hebrew, deference should be made to their interpretation!

      It boils down to the very first word in Genesis: “B’reshid”

      "In the beginning of God’s creation of Heb. בְּרֵאשִית בָּרָא. This verse calls for a midrashic interpretation because according Creationists’ simplistic interpretation, the vowelization of the word בָּרָא, should be different.

      Jewish scholars from time immemorial have realized that the sequence of the Creation as written is IMPOSSIBLE... and Genesis is NOT to be read literally!

      Many commentators (especially of kabbalistic bent) have long interpreted Genesis to be totally compatible with Evolution.

      Please – no more straw-man arguments.

      ITMT – some of the greatest minds in Evolutionary Theory were in fact Catholic priests. A case in point:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZH3mvJPqS8

      mregnor is an anomylous data-point - he is as "Catholic" as Hitler was Communist!

      As a matter of fact, the Vatican subscribes to evo devo!


      Check out EDWARD M. DE ROBERTIS' inaugural lecture on evodevo upon his admission into the Pontifical Academy of Sciences?

      http://www.hhmi.ucla.edu/derobertis/EDR_MS/Evo-Devo_page/EVO-DEVO.html

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    3. "For crying out loud – Catholics do NOT believe in a literal interpretation of ADAM & EVE!!!!!"

      As I say, click on the link for the discussion. No, they don't believe in 'Adam and Eve', but there's a Catholic theologian there who insists that there must have been a 'first man'.

      Modern Catholicism is all over the map on Adam and Eve. Not creationist, just utterly confused. The proposed solution on that thread, in all seriousness, is 'wait two hundred years, scientists will have changed their minds again'.

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    4. The official position of the Catholic Church is quite straight forward and not at all confused:

      The Catholic Church subscribes to

      - Evolution from single common ancestor: i.e. LUCA
      - Humankind’s common descent with other primates (i.e Chimpanzees are our evolutionary cousins)
      - Scientifically accepted age of our planet; i.e No global flood.
      - Scientifically accepted age of our universe; i.e Big Bang and all that…

      etc etc...

      Roman Catholics number among the most vocal opponents of “Intelligent Design”; dare I say moreso than perhaps even Laurence Moran and PZ Myers!

      A five-day conference, Biological Evolution: Facts and Theories, held in March 2009 by the Pontifical University in Rome, marking the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species, categorically and emphatically repudiated “Intelligent Design”

      case in point – the Vatican's former chief astronomer, Fr. George Coyne: "Intelligent Design isn't science even though it pretends to be. If you want to teach it in schools, intelligent design should be taught when religion or cultural history is taught, not science."

      Burnt once - Twice wise: The Vatican learned its lesson after the Galileo Affair, at least according to Cardinal Paul Poupard, another vocal opponent of Intelligent Design.

      Granted – the pope emeritus Benedict XVI recently seemed to want to impose a more retrograde interpretation of Theistic Evolution and God’s supernatural influence on the natural world. This was in fact a misunderstanding of subtleties and nuances the general public was in not position to appreciate.

      Catholic Theologians distinguish between Evolution as Theory and “Evolutionism” which extends evolution beyond the science and into reductionist judgements of human worth.

      You need not be Catholic to appreciate such distinctions: The catastrophe of the 20th Century was presciently predicted by atheist philosophers such as Nietzsche, who correctly foresaw that the rise of rationalism and scientific thought (specifically Darwinism) would lead to “nihilism” a readiness to repudiate all previous theories of morality or religious belief. Voilà right-wing Social Darwinism (including its extreme, Nazism) together with the left-wing contrary, Neo-lamarcksim (including its extreme, Stalinism and Lysenkoism)

      Nietzsche did not delight in his aphorism “God was Dead”. When Nietzsche ruefully predicted (in Ecce Homo) that the twentieth century would be a century of "wars such as have never happened on earth", he offered a prophet’s alternative, the call to Humanity to rise to the level of Übermensch, to a will to create moral meaning in a modern world. Sadly, his message was coopted by the Nazis and Nietzsche has been generally misunderstood ever since. Segue to Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir's (and a host of others') attempt to search, retrieve and to create moral meaning in existential terms.

      Please do not conflate the ravings of mregnor with Catholic belief. Mregnor is about as Catholic as Hitler was Communist… i.e. not at all!

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    5. @ Jem

      In conclusion


      I respectfully submit the only confusion is yours; your foundaton in comparative religion is sorely lacking & Catholic Theology is sorely deficient.

      That's OK - Catholic Theology is should only interest a very narrow subset of academics and historians and really should play no part in this debate.

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    6. I'm afraid "confused" is exactly the correct word to describe the Catholic position on evolution. While you are correct it accepts most of the main principles of the theory, it runs into insurmountable problems when it tries to reconcile some of its basic beliefs with the findings of population genetics. I quote from the Humani Generis of Pius XII:

      36. For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter - for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However, this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faith. Some however, rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question.

      37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.


      Unless the Church has revised that position (which is entirely possible; I make no claims to being an expert here) there is no way to reconcile with what is known about human origins.

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    7. @Shay Gaetz

      You are so full of shit.

      I saw Father George Coyne (Jesuit Catholic priest, former head honcho asrtonomer at the Vatican observatory) on Bill Mahers film 'Religulous' and I thought he came across as one of the more rational of the religious interviewed by Bill Maher.

      This prompted me to see him in person at a lecture he gave in Toronto at the Newman Centre Chapel, Univerity of Toronto:

      Naming the Holy Lecture Series - The Dance of the Fertile Universe: Searching for God in a Scientific Culture, Prof. George V. Coyne, SJ, Astronomer, the Vatican Observatory, President, the Vatican Observatory Foundation, Adjunct Professor, University of Arizona, Wednesday Nov. 12, 2008, 7:30pm

      This was presented in the Catholic church to a (strangely enough) predominantly Catholic audience, and we got to see the real Fr. Coyne hidden under a (thin) veneer of rationality.

      After an hour or so of a very good review of why science is the best tool we have for understanding the universe, and a number of pot shots at creationists and intelligent designoids, we got to hear what he really thinks:

      Basically, living beings are organized as a tree, the tree appears to have a direction, and only god could have given it this direction. Really, he presented one of those tree of life diagrams, noted how it appeared to have a direction with humans near the apex, and that was his "proof". I shit you not.

      This is how the Catholic church "accepts" evolution.

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    8. ...who correctly foresaw that the rise of rationalism and scientific thought (specifically Darwinism) would lead to “nihilism” a readiness to repudiate all previous theories of morality or religious belief. Voilà right-wing Social Darwinism (including its extreme, Nazism)....

      Well, since most theories of morality involved some version of it being handed down from on high, it is difficult to imagine that rationalism and scientific thought would not have a degradative effect on the idea of morality as a gift from god.

      I have difficulty accepting the view however that this lead in any causal way to things like Nazism or genocide. Such activities involving power, control, class stratification and what we now call ethnic cleansing, hardly required the ideas of Charles Darwin, or any interpretation of his ideas, and have been very constant throughout recorded human history...even the bible shows us that much.

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    9. SRM

      ...Nazism or genocide. Such activities involving power, control, class stratification and what we now call ethnic cleansing, hardly required the ideas of Charles Darwin, or any interpretation of his ideas...

      How ironic, I remember stumbling across and reading a primer for the Hitlerjugend in a university library.

      How ironic, Its interpretation was just so!

      Newton’s phrased his Third Law: “For every action force there is an equal and opposite reaction force.” Newton’s third Law applies in Social Science no less than Physics! “For every revolutionary force challenging the status quo, there is an equal and opposite reactionary force.”

      The Reformation contended with the Counter-Reformation; the “Ancien Régime” with the French Revolution; the “Conservative Order” of nation states with “International Socialism”; and so on...

      History sometimes resembles an unending chaotic cascade of creation, destruction and rebirth evoking Robert Oppenheimer’s famous citation of the Hindu holy book, the Bhagavad Gita: "...now I am become Death [Shiva], the destroyer of worlds..."

      Food shortages in 1845; led to revolutions in 1848; followed by reactionary reprisals which in turn led to the Crimean War (an unresolved conflict); leading inescapably to WW I; all coupled to a series of unnecessary financial upheavals (including the Great Depression) and inexorably to WW II.

      The year 1845 heralded 100 years of unbridled bloody madness marking (to paraphrase Bernard Shaw) the last desperate death rattles of nineteenth-century empires punctuated by a tragic waste of innocent lives, all in thrall to opposing political ideologies.

      Genetics, misconceived and misbegotten, culminated in Scientific Racism and Social Darwinism climaxing in World War II and the Jewish Holocaust. The blood lust of “Social Lamarckism” was no less brutal and paced current events no less viciously! International Socialism was naïveté in extremis, a pipedream intended to create a brave new world devoid of borders and free of racism or oppression.

      To cite Karl Marx: “History always repeats itself; first as tragedy then again as farce!”

      Yet again; Genetics misconceived and misbegotten, culminated this time in Stalin’s (and later Mao’s) hijacking of a utopian dream, conjuring a nightmare more horrible than even Hitler’s New Order.

      “Soft Inheritance” (aka Lysenkoism) as pseudo-science, wreaked havoc no less heinously than the deterministic “Hard Inheritance” of Social Darwinism, i.e laissez-faire capitalism, eugenics, scientific racism, imperialism and Fascism/Nazism. .

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    10. Yet again; Genetics misconceived and misbegotten, culminated this time in Stalin’s (and later Mao’s) hijacking of a utopian dream...

      I appreciate your well-referenced comments. If I have doubts, they relate to your tendency to afford too much importance to the use of, or misuse of, genetics. Every megalomaniac in history has accomplished that for which history remembers by manipulating the circumstances of his time.

      Such people share a certain force of nature that make them the leaders of men, and they all share the ability to recognize the buttons to push that motivate their brethren. All of them exploit what they can according to their time.

      Any hypothetical version of Mao and Hitler would have accomplished what they did without a wisp of a notion of genetics if they existed in a time before this science, just as well as they did within the "genetic/evolution age" - if the same socioecomic and cultural situations be ambient. I think.

      Stupid policy may emanate from ignorance (you allude to examples above), but power emanates from understanding minds.

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    11. SRM - I repespectfully must disagree!

      Science is supposed to be apolitical, on this we both agree. But in the 19th & 20th Centuries Ideology trumped Empiricism?

      Scientific debate became confounded by cultural identity, patriotism or political ideology. Historical context goes far in explaining the perplexing peculiarities of scientific debate over a century ago. Neo-Darwinism was decidedly deterministic; fatalistic, in fact. Hard Inheritance apparently justified 19th century reactionary policies confirming Anglo-Saxon (or alternatively German) superiority and even justified 19th Century colonialism.

      The influential English Biometrician, Karl Pearson, took August Weismann's Germ Plasm theory to logical extremes. Tax revenue squandered on public education in misguided attempts to improve people “who come from poor stock” was simply wasted. The inequities of class structure were scientifically justifiable! New-fangled “social programs” were merely well-intentioned exercises in futility!

      Others, such as Friedrich Wurzbach, extended August Weismann's Germ Plasm Theory even further; by suggesting certain “racial” characteristics, temperaments and values are heritable. Preconceived notions justified the prejudice that Germans (Nordic Aryans) and Jews were biologically determined archetypes no differently than Wagner’s noble Teutonic heroes, forever in conflict with miserable crypto-Semitic dwarves. Art reflected scientific misconception. Wagner’s operas resonated as cultural leitmotifs to an emerging sense of German nationalism culminating in German reunification. Germany sold its cultural soul to a perverted misincarnation of Nietzsche’s “Übermensch“. August Heinrich Hoffmann’s "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles" was co-opted by this new Zeitgeist. Hoffmann’s initial romantic idealism was reduced to a jingoistic jingle.

      Such social and cultural ideals associated with Neo-Darwinism flew in the face of the contrary 19th Century Romantic revolutionary idealism extolling the Enlightenment’s “Brotherhood of Man”. (aka “Alle Menschen werden Brüder” –i.e. Germany’s anthem to the Enlightenment). Such ideals were summarized by the tripartite motto: “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité”.

      The American and French Revolutions presaged a series of bloody revolutionary aftershocks that reverberated though all Europe; including the Revolutions of 1830, 1848 and the Paris Commune of 1871.

      The “Conservative Order” of Metternich and Castlereagh responded with a reactionary hard-nosed realism diametrically opposed to the naïveté of revolutionary idealism. The “Conservative Order” invoked a “Hard Heredity”/neo-Darwinian justification for their cause. As a result, enlightened opposition to social injustice necessarily embraced Soft Heredity/neo-Lamarckian ideals.

      In this light, it is understandable how patriotic scientists from countries threatened by German expansionism (for example) would be inclined to discredit “hard heredity” and why the political left would grow to loathe Neo-Darwinism (Karl Marx’s initial enthusiasm notwithstanding).

      Political deliberations impeded scientific debate as conflicting "wide worldviews" or “Weltanschauungen” captured opposing allegiances.

      Ideological boundaries were clearly delineated as the Revolutionary Left locked in mortal combat with the Reactionary Right. On both sides of the Atlantic, the sequelae of scientific misconception were tragic.

      So as I opened above - I must respectfully disagree. The facts of history may have been contingent - science is supposed to be apolitical, Nonethelessm these facts of history no less real than I describe.

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    12. On the subject of ambient socioecomic and cultural situations

      Yiddish Proverb: "A half-truth is a whole lie"

      Historical incongruity boggles the imagination when considering how two milestones in scientific racism coincided with two contrary celebrations intended to herald a revolutionary new “American Dream”.

      Consider the efforts of farmers to improve livestock by artificial selection. Logic would seem to dictate that good government also obliges politicians to improve the nation’s “human-stock” no differently. Francis Galton first coined the phrase “Eugenics” even as the Statue of Liberty was being constructed. Galton advocated “Positive Eugenics” which advocated the manipulation of education and financial incentives (including preferential taxation) to encourage procreation among “superior” or “fitter” citizens, given social convention was circumventing the Natural Order. Such encouragement was supposed to prompt, otherwise disinclined, superior or “fitter” parents to have more children, improving thereby the nation’s gene pool.

      “Negative Eugenics” sought to limit “unfit” procreation through immigration restriction, marriage restriction (miscegenation laws), segregation, forced abortion, forced pregnancy, sexual sterilization, and even euthanasia. Irony again boggles with historical hindsight: the very same year Emma Lazarus’ poem was inscribed in bronze on the statue of Liberty was also the very same year the American Breeders Association published their first endorsement of Eugenics to justify anti-immigration and anti-miscegenation laws. In 1924, a decade later, America’s Immigration Restriction Act limited total immigration to 165,000 — about 15-20% of previous peak years. Worse yet, quotas restricted immigration from southern and eastern European countries to only 9% of the total thereby slamming shut the doors of Ellis Island and ending the great heyday of American immigration.

      The United States was the first country to pass laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage providing for compulsory sterilization programs to ostensibly protect America’s superior “Nordic Races” [sic] from contamination by inferior races (supposedly more prone to “defect”). Various state laws invoked Eugenics as a scientific basis to target the mentally retarded and the mentally ill; not to mention the deaf, the blind, epileptics, and the physically deformed. Before 1930 there were 200-600 State government mandated sterilizations per year which jumped to 2,000-4,000 per year in the 1930s. When Oregon performed the last legal forced sterilization in 1981; over 65,000 individuals had been sterilized in 33 states under state compulsory sterilization programs in the United States.

      These numbers even fail to include the sterilizations of Native Americans and Medicaid-funded sterilization of low-income Americans (primarily Americans of color) up to and including the 1970s, which led to sterilization rates (according to some accounts) of more than 25% among women of child-bearing age in affected ethnic groups. Such sterilizations were supposed to be “voluntary” but were often as not were quite otherwise, given the blatant absence of “informed consent”.

      Genetics misconceived and misbegotten - I hope you and I finally agree!

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    13. You suggest that any hypothetical version of Mao and Hitler would have accomplished what they did without a wisp of a notion of genetics...

      Hilter's evil was predicated on Social Darwinism and its perversion of Genetics while Stalin and Mao's incarnation of political evil was precisely an antithesis to Hitler - a Soviet man not bound by bourgeois notions of determinism, not even Mendelian genetics.

      Racial Hygiene as an effort to protect the genetic integrity of “America’s Nordic Races” was by no means a Nazi invention; and Canada’s record is no less shameful. The United Farmers of Alberta rise to power permitted passage of the Alberta Sexual Sterilization Act of 1928. British Columbia followed in 1933.

      As in America, women's suffrage and temperance groups played leading roles in the eugenics movement. Canada’s National Council of Women endorsed sterilization as a means of preventing “defective mothers from filling the cradles with degenerate babies."

      According to psychiatrist Charles Kirk Clarke, the immigration of Jewish and Slavic "defectives" from Central and Eastern Europe was increasing the burden of "feeble-mindedness" in Canada.

      Such opinion was endorsed by celebrated Canadian feminists (heroines such as Alberta’s Emily Murphy, Louise McKinney and Nellie McClung) who championed women’s rights while singing from the same eugenic hymnal as America’s great feminist Margaret Sanger.

      The British feminist Marie Stopes was influenced by Sanger’s work and had a huge following in Canada. (Stopes was a rabid anti-Semite and enthusiastic cheerleader for Hitler’s eugenics/race laws.) Compulsory sterilization continued in Alberta until the law was repealed in 1972. British Columbia followed suit in 1973.

      All this ;ater co-opted by Hilter's Nazism - and opposed by Stalin's Lysenkoism

      So I will ask one last time:

      Do you still dispute my thesis of Genetics misconceived and misbegotten ???

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    14. Wir stehen nicht allein: "We do not stand alone".

      Nazi propaganda poster from 1936, supporting Nazi Germany's 1933 Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring (their compulsory sterilization law). The couple is in front of a map of Germany, surrounded by the flags of nations which had enacted (to the left) or were considering (bottom and to the right) similar legislation.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wir_stehen_nicht_allein.png

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    15. Do you still dispute my thesis of Genetics misconceived and misbegotten ???

      Well, no, not exactly, but this is slightly divergent from what appeared to be your original thesis, that the rise in rational thinking and scientific thought would have predictably degrading effects on morality, I suppose because a moral code would be decreasingly viewed as an absolute input from an outside agency:

      ...who correctly foresaw that the rise of rationalism and scientific thought (specifically Darwinism) would lead to “nihilism” a readiness to repudiate all previous theories of morality or religious belief. Voilà right-wing Social Darwinism (including its extreme, Nazism)....

      Perhaps this is too narrow a reading of your overall point.
      I have no doubt genetics misconceived and misbegotten has been used and abused. My point is something akin to: there is nothing new under the sun.
      These actions, and the logical consequences of these actions, have at their core something that never depended upon an emerging scientific understanding or even misunderstanding of genetics and evolution. The notion of ethnic purity for example has been going on forever in the form of selective breeding. Tribalism can take many forms I suppose, and will incorporate new information when it becomes available. Some Nazis made mention of concepts of genetics and darwinism but had these concepts not been available, the easily observable phenotypes of blue eyes and blonde hair and a general awareness of heredity would have sufficed. It seems to me that an intellectual awareness of modern genetics and evolution is used more as a post hoc rationalization rather than it leading to novel behaviour.

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    16. steve oberski:
      Basically, living beings are organized as a tree, the tree appears to have a direction, and only god could have given it this direction. Really, he presented one of those tree of life diagrams, noted how it appeared to have a direction with humans near the apex, and that was his "proof". I shit you not.

      I'm dying to know if anybody pointed out to him that the choice of nodes is entirely arbitrary and you can just as easily make a phylogenetic tree that appears to have acorn worms or starfish or terns as the "apex"?

      I can't think he really understands or accepts common descent if he thinks that this is a cosmically meaningful arrangement.

      Delete
    17. SRM - I have no doubt genetics misconceived and misbegotten has been used and abused. My point is something akin to: there is nothing new under the sun.

      Hmmm – Modern Genetics and Darwinism were new and revolutionary and indeed had quite a NOVEL impact on society. So you have to admit that Nietzsche’s predictions were uncanny!

      SRM - These actions, and the logical consequences of these actions, have at their core something that never depended upon an emerging scientific understanding or even misunderstanding of genetics and evolution.

      Maybe so - maybe if 1845 had not witnessed those crop failures, history would have taken a different course - maybe no Crimean War, no WW I, no WW II… maybe maybe maybe…

      The fact remains, the cascade of cause/effect events of all these historical sequence of dominos falling one after the other is indisputable. The fact also remains that “an emerging scientific understanding or even misunderstanding of genetics and evolution” did have tragic sequellae in human affairs and these tragic events.

      We may need to evoke the terms “contingent” vs. “necessary” here. (Tip of the hat to Stephan Jay Gould). Even if I concede that Neitzsche’s prophesy may have been a fluke and that these tragic events were a contingent outcome as opposed to necessary (in the sense of inevitable) outcome of scientific advances…

      The fact still remains, that these scientific advances were indeed co-opted by revolutions in social thinking and that these very revolutions did result in unprecedented bloodshed: in fact, something very very new under the sun!

      Delete
  3. Professor Moran, this is what Michael Denton and Michael Behe WANTS. They have ZERO interest in correcting any of these "mistakes".

    I will not be proven wrong. We will not see corrections on UD setting scordova and niwrad's crap straight by any of the more "knowledgeable" higher-ups in the IDiot movement. What we see is the goal they are aiming for, why would they suddenly start contradicting that?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Its technical beyond my usual interest but...
    Its still a rate as a premise, not witnessed as a fact in real time.
    Then its a extrapolation , still, that likeness in genetic results of the two parties is from common descent.
    YEC would teach that at the fall some, 6000 years ago, creatures changed for a new type of death world. There is no reason that primates and man , having the same type of body, would not change instantly for the need to have these changes. Yet not from common descent and common problems behind the need for genetic changes. Just a like problem from unrelated beings.
    However the point here is about genetic scientific evidence.
    The host is asking that only the option for common descent proves it is common descent. This is still just a line of reasoning even if it was all true. Its not scientifically demonstrated. Just a careful guess.
    Other options mean there is no genetic evidence.
    the case here ACTUALLY is just that there is only one option. Yet thats not scientific proof. Even if all true.
    This is the logical flaw in evolutionary biology.
    I think I'm right.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Robert, all you have to do is to solve your problem: If everyone thinks like you do: "I think I'm right", how do you determine that you are the only one thinking right - and everyone else is thinking wrong?

    I think I am right, and I also think that you are wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, that's just a line of reasoning, even if it is all true ;-)

      Delete
  6. I think this is the most unbelievable, astounding and phantasmagorical thing Moran has ever written:

    " Salvador Cordova (scordova) who teaches at George Mason University in Virginia "

    Seriously? My poor Google Fu skills weren't good enough for me to confirm this disturbing allegation. If true I could loose all faith in the future of mankind!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. " Salvador Cordova (scordova) who teaches at George Mason University in Virginia " Seriously?

      He appears (or appeared) to "teach" a students club:

      Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Salvador Cordova scordova@gmu.edu

      From page 4 of:
      http://www.docstoc.com/docs/32958786/RECOGNIZED-STUDENT-ORGANIZATIONS

      On the other hand he does have an "@gmu.edu" how difficult are those to come by?

      Delete
    2. Indeed, he doesn't seem to have any kind of university position. He is a GMU alumnus and founder of the local chapter of IDEA (one of thirdy-odd such at university campuses nationwide) -- not what one normally recognises as an academic affiliation. It looks more like parasitic activity.

      Delete
    3. I seem to vaguely recall that Slimy Sal, who it was my information was in computer science, graduated and left GMU to go to graduate school in Delaware. However, that was at least 2 years ago.

      Delete
    4. So Sal is the equivalent of the guy who graduates high school but keeps hanging around in the parking lot in his Camaro?

      Delete
    5. ... and lets people get the impression that he "teaches" there (while all he actually does is disseminate creationist propaganda through a students' club).

      Delete
    6. Sal wrote a rather remarkable piece, "Reflections from the Whiting School Class of 2013" at Uncommon Descent back in 2013. Some selections, not especially quote-mined:

      "I am a finance person by trade. I am a mediocre student of science and engineering at best and never progressed very far in my disciplines (relative to those in my circles), but I am curious about many things, and I love internet debates."

      "To meet this need for retraining engineers in physics, the Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) offered classes specifically geared to retrain engineers in physics. The Whiting School has a modest ranking of #26 overall in the US, but #1 in Biomedical Engineering. Being a former engineer, I decided I’d enroll in the WSE’s Master of Science Applied Physics program which was usually taught at the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL)."

      "In 2007, I decided to enroll in the Whiting School’s program of Applied Physics. Only a few months before, Robert Marks invited me get a Master’s degree and work as his assistant at the Evolution Informatics Lab in Baylor. I had degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, and Math, so I was supposedly qualified. The Baylor Darwinists shut Marks lab down, while that same week I got an acceptance letter from the Whiting School. Happily the evolution informatics lab was reopened, and instead Winston Ewert succeeded where I did not. Marks’ plight was featured in the movie Explelled, the Baylor president who shut down the lab was fired, and Baylor issued an apology. Score one for ID!…." [NOTE - This is a Sal's eye view of the Evolution Informatics Lab story. It is not guaranteed to comply with reality in all respects.]

      "I came from that little old creationist factory known as George Mason (yes, at least 4 PhD biologists associated with George Mason are creationists or pro-ID). Regrettably I dropped out for a few years to mend my financial business, and it looked like I would never return to school, but I returned. Thus it is with incredible embarrassment that I admit, after a shaky start, several times dropping out, I maintained an A- GPA and completed my MS degree August 2012 and was invited as part of the 2013 commencement. Yay!"

      "A science degree from the Whiting School was a detour from my current line of work in finance, but it was an important detour to bring me closer to understanding the world. And that detour was my journey to the class of 2013."

      It should be remembered that "financial business" ranges from hedge funds to clerking at a payday loan shop. Sal is a little vague about just what his "financial business" is.

      http://www.uncommondescent.com/education/reflections-from-whiting-school-class-of-2013/

      Delete
  7. Yes, Yes and one more time yes Larry ..:

    "Gene regulation differences between humans, chimpanzees very complex

    Date:

    October 17, 2013


    Source:

    University of Chicago Medical Center






    The study raises questions over why mRNA expression levels differ between species if they do not necessarily cause protein differences. Although further study is needed, Gilad believes this study suggests that protein expression levels evolve under greater evolutionary constraint than mRNA levels, via a yet-uncharacterized compensation or buffering mechanism.

    Credit: © Kitch Bain / Fotolia




    Changes in gene regulation have been used to study the evolutionary chasm that exists between humans and chimpanzees despite their largely identical DNA. However, scientists from the University of Chicago have discovered that mRNA expression levels, long considered a barometer for differences in gene regulation, often do not reflect differences in protein expression -- and, therefore, biological function -- between humans and chimpanzees. The work was published Oct. 17 in Science.

    "We thought that we knew how to identify patterns of mRNA expression level differences between humans and chimpanzees that would be good candidates to be of functional importance," said Yoav Gilad, PhD, Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago. "Now we see that even such mRNA patterns are not translated to the protein level. Which means that it is unlikely that they can affect a functional phenotypic difference."

    For genes to be expressed, DNA must be transcribed into messenger RNA (mRNA), which then code for proteins, the biological building blocks and engines that drive cellular function. Although humans and chimpanzees share highly similar genomes, previous studies have shown that the species evolved major differences in mRNA expression levels. Many of these differences were thought to indicate areas of evolutionary divergence, thus pointing to genes important for human-specific traits.

    To test this, Gilad, Jonathan Pritchard, PhD, currently at Stanford University, and their team, spearheaded by postdoctoral fellow Zia Khan, PhD, used high-resolution mass spectrometry to compare the expression levels of thousands of proteins with corresponding mRNA expression data in human and chimpanzee cell lines.

    The team found 815 genes with differing mRNA expression levels but only 571 genes that differed in protein expression. In total, they identified an estimated 266 genes with mRNA differences that did not lead to changes in protein levels. They found similar results in rhesus macaque cell lines when compared to both chimpanzees and humans, confirming the trend.

    "Some of these patterns of mRNA regulation have previously been thought of as evidence of natural selection for important genes in humans, but this can no longer be assumed," Gilad said.

    The study raises questions over why mRNA expression levels differ between species if they do not necessarily cause protein differences. Although further study is needed, Gilad believes this study suggests that protein expression levels evolve under greater evolutionary constraint than mRNA levels, via a yet-uncharacterized compensation or buffering mechanism.

    For now, research that uses mRNA expression levels as a measure of the functional importance of a gene requires reassessment, and not just in studies on evolution.

    "We've gained insight into complex diseases by studying mRNA transcripts, but we also have a lot of gaping holes in our knowledge. Perhaps some of them are because of this disparity," Gilad said.


    Story Source:

    The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


    Journal Reference:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Plus:

      "Humans, chimpanzees and monkeys share DNA but not gene regulatory mechanisms

      Date:

      November 6, 2012


      Source:

      American Society of Human Genetics






      Chimpanzee. Humans share over 90% of their DNA with their primate cousins. The expression or activity patterns of genes differ across species in ways that help explain each species' distinct biology and behavior.

      Credit: © davemhuntphoto / Fotolia




      Humans share over 90% of their DNA with their primate cousins. The expression or activity patterns of genes differ across species in ways that help explain each species' distinct biology and behavior.

      DNA factors that contribute to the differences were described on Nov. 6 at the American Society of Human Genetics 2012 meeting in a presentation by Yoav Gilad, Ph.D., associate professor of human genetics at the University of Chicago.

      Dr. Gilad reported that up to 40% of the differences in the expression or activity patterns of genes between humans, chimpanzees and rhesus monkeys can be explained by regulatory mechanisms that determine whether and how a gene's recipe for a protein is transcribed to the RNA molecule that carries the recipe instructions to the sites in cells where proteins are manufactured.

      In addition to improving scientific understanding of the uniqueness of humans, studies such as the investigation conducted by Dr. Gilad and colleagues could have relevance to human health and disease.

      "Through inter-species' comparisons at the DNA sequence and expression levels, we hope to identify the genetic basis of human specific traits and in particular the genetic variations underlying the higher susceptibility to certain diseases such as malaria and cancer in humans than in non-human primates," said Dr. Gilad.

      Dr. Gilad and his colleagues studied gene expression in lymphoblastoid cell lines, laboratory cultures of immortalized white blood cells, from eight humans, eight chimpanzees and eight rhesus monkeys.

      They found that the distinct gene expression patterns of the three species can be explained by corresponding changes in genetic and epigenetic regulatory mechanisms that determine when and how a gene's DNA code is transcribed to a messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule.

      Dr. Gilad also determined that the epigenetics process known as histone modification also differs in the three species. The presence of histone marks during gene transcription indicates that the process is being prevented or modified.

      "These data allowed us to identify both conserved and species-specific enhancer and repressor regulatory elements, as well as characterize similarities and differences across species in transcription factor binding to these regulatory elements," Dr. Gilad said.

      Among the similarities among the three species were the promoter regions of DNA that initiated transcription of a particular gene.

      In all three species, Dr. Gilad's lab found that transcription factor binding and histone modifications were identical in over 67% of regulatory elements in DNA segments that are regarded as promoter regions.

      The researchers presentation is titled, "Genome-wide comparison of genetic and epigenetic regulatory mechanisms in primates."

      Delete
  8. And:

    "'Junk DNA' defines differences between humans and chimps

    Date:

    October 25, 2011


    Source:

    Georgia Institute of Technology






    Chimpanzee.

    Credit: © Kitch Bain / Fotolia




    For years, scientists believed the vast phenotypic differences between humans and chimpanzees would be easily explained -- the two species must have significantly different genetic makeups. However, when their genomes were later sequenced, researchers were surprised to learn that the DNA sequences of human and chimpanzee genes are nearly identical. What then is responsible for the many morphological and behavioral differences between the two species?

    Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have now determined that the insertion and deletion of large pieces of DNA near genes are highly variable between humans and chimpanzees and may account for major differences between the two species.

    The research team lead by Georgia Tech Professor of Biology John McDonald has verified that while the DNA sequence of genes between humans and chimpanzees is nearly identical, there are large genomic "gaps" in areas adjacent to genes that can affect the extent to which genes are "turned on" and "turned off." The research shows that these genomic "gaps" between the two species are predominantly due to the insertion or deletion (INDEL) of viral-like sequences called retrotransposons that are known to comprise about half of the genomes of both species. The findings are reported in the most recent issue of the online, open-access journal Mobile DNA.

    "These genetic gaps have primarily been caused by the activity of retroviral-like transposable element sequences," said McDonald. "Transposable elements were once considered 'junk DNA' with little or no function. Now it appears that they may be one of the major reasons why we are so different from chimpanzees."

    McDonald's research team, composed of graduate students Nalini Polavarapu, Gaurav Arora and Vinay Mittal, examined the genomic gaps in both species and determined that they are significantly correlated with differences in gene expression reported previously by researchers at the Max Plank Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany.

    "Our findings are generally consistent with the notion that the morphological and behavioral differences between humans and chimpanzees are predominately due to differences in the regulation of genes rather than to differences in the sequence of the genes themselves," said McDonald.

    The current analysis of the genetic differences between humans and chimpanzees was motivated by the group's previously published findings (2009) that the higher propensity for cancer in humans vs. chimpanzees may have been a by-product of selection for increased brain size in humans.


    Story Source:

    The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


    Journal Reference:
    1.Nalini Polavarapu, Gaurav Arora, Vinay K Mittal, John F McDonald. Characterization and potential functional significance of human-chimpanzee large INDEL variation. Mobile DNA, 2011; 2: 13 DOI: 10.1186/1759-8753-2-13"

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you to "Quest", for your references to evidence for evo-devo and common descent between chimpanzees and homo sapiens.

    You're doing our work for us, well done. *facepalm*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mackerel + Rum+ Rice-Mousse,

      Since you have not provided any news from the "live creating hydrothermal vents" I would like to let you know, that some serious scientist have recently conducted some real experiments down there... One of the scientists fell into the vent along with his equipment and his assistant is almost 100 % sure that the victims equipment was almost instantaneously turned into some kind of life form, which would definitely prove the serious theory of abiogenesis advocated by you....

      However, the vents have tuned out NOT to be very friendly to the life that has already created by itself :(

      Let evolution rest the sole and the shoes that belonged to the scientist's who fell in to the vent... lol

      Delete
  10. @Lutesuite – you are citing Humani generis by Pope Pius XII, the church’s last medieval Pope. (well maybe Benedict XVI holds that distinction)

    I understand that Pope John Paul II completely put that silliness to rest.

    https://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP961022.HTM

    Here is another link: http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/vaticanview.html

    Note Richard Dawkin’s clear disdain for the Church’s evolution on evolution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can only take so much of the turgid obscurantism in John Paul's wretchedly written article. But, as far as I can tell, it did not address the problem I noted in Pius XII's writing. Let me quote if for you again:

      37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.

      What he is in effect saying is that "original sin" (LOL!) entered into Adam in much the manner of a novel mutation, and that after this not a single human being has ever existed who did not inherit that mutation. (Well, OK, there were two exceptions).

      That is simply not compatible with what is known about human origins. "Ensoulment" is one matter, "Original Sin" quite another. So either you can show where subsequent Pope's have renounced this theological position, or you must admit that one of the core principles of Catholicism is completely incompatible with evolution.

      Delete
    2. To clarify a possible source of misunderstanding in the above: It is, of course, quite possible the the "Original Sin mutation" could be fixed in a population over a series of generations, but not immediately in the generation directly following Adam's. This would require that he and Eve were the only humans alive, which again contradicts what is known about the origin of the human species. Also, please don't take the analogy to a mutation too literally. The issue is more one of direct lineage, and how long it would take for Adam to become a common ancestor to all humans living. There would have to be a period of many generations in which some, but not all, humans would be descended from Adam.

      Delete
    3. @lutesuite

      Genesis is all about the allegory and metaphor of mythology and that is not a bad thing.

      I think you are confusing faith with dogma

      Some of the greatest contributors to evolutionary theory were men of faith.

      Theodosius Dobzhansky and Francisco José Ayala for example

      Science is neutral on faith. How could it be otherwise?

      At least according to better minds than mine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZH3mvJPqS8

      Delete
    4. Very nice. Any chance you might answer my question?

      Delete
    5. To put things into terms you might find easier to follow, Shay Gaetz:

      Many people take it as a matter of 'faith" that the earth is 6000 years old. Science show this to be clearly false. Does this mean the earth could nontheless still be only 6000 years old. because "science is neutral on faith"?

      If you answer "Yes", then you are hopelessly muddled on this topic.

      If you answer "No", then, again, please show me how the Catholic doctrine on original sin can be reconciled with the scientific conclusions regarding human origins and ancestry.

      Delete
    6. Re Shay Gaetz

      Some of the greatest contributors to evolutionary theory were men of faith.
      Theodosius Dobzhansky and Francisco José Ayala for example


      I have read that the religiosity of Dobzhansky was exaggerated. In the case of Ayala, it is alleged that he gave an interview to a Spanish newspaper in 2000 in which he admitted to being a non-believer. In any case, he steadfastly refuses to discuss his religious views.

      Delete
    7. colnago80

      re: Ayala seadfastly refusing to discuss his religious views

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZH3mvJPqS8

      re: the exagerated religiosity of Dobzhansky... there seems to be some dispute on that score.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodosius_Dobzhansky#Religious_beliefs

      From what I can gather by checking out the references is that at a minimum Dobzhansky retained some loyalty to his religious heritage in a manner no different than the Greek philosophers and Roman Stoics maintained some version of loyalty to the mythology of the Olympian gods and goddesses.

      Delete
    8. lutesuite - we are wasting time and bandwidth!

      I did answer your question! Your overly simplistic dichotomy is a paltry strawman!

      You do not seem to understand that there exist many many versions of Creationsim/Intelligent design all (as Larry Moran phrased it) under "one tent".

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creationism#Types_of_creationism

      The Catholic Church espouses a version of Theistic Evolution maintaining the book of Genesis should be read only metaphorically. There was no literal Adam & Eve.

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

      The more mystical traditions of JudeoChristianity are particularly intelligent by describing ensoulment as an emergent property of an ever increasingly complex universe. So in fact - your dilema Lutesuite - isn't!

      Listen - I am no defender of the faith. Frankly, I am an agnostic leaning to atheism. Dawkins makes more sense to me than Coyne. I can still respect Coyne - just as much as Dawkins apparently respects Coyne.

      I also respect other intelligent individuals (such as Francisco Ayala) who as scientists also happen to subscribe to a Theistic POV. Science is neutral on questions theological. How could it be otherwise?

      You want to focus on the more hardline Christian Creationists that want to read Genesis literally. Well, I will not defend those morons who have no command of Biblical Hebrew. I did discuss this question once with an Orthodox Rabbi (holding a PhD in physics as well). His understanding was remarkably similar to those of Bishop George Berkely.

      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/berkeley/

      Briefly, Berkeley subscribed to Subjective Idealism, aka empirical idealism which is the very antithesis of reductive materialism (a version of which Larry Moran champions).

      Is Subjective Idealism nothing but incoherent superstation?!

      Not at all!

      It turns out that some of Berkeley’s views were perspicacious and prescient precursors to the views of Mach and Einstein. Ironically, recent breakthroughs in Theoretical Physics represent modern a rendition of Berkeley’s debates with John Locke:

      Is our Universe a Hologram? http://www.nature.com/news/simulations-back-up-theory-that-universe-is-a-hologram-1.14328

      So let’s be clear here. Many Creationists are moronic idiots – yes I agree! That said; many Creationists are some of the most intelligent philosophers I have ever had the pleasure to study.

      Wow ! Talk about a trip down memory lane! I now recall my undergraduate years reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, The Dancing Masters, Alan Watts’ The Way of Zen, Gödel, Escher, Bach and similar such books which permitted me to think along such lines long forgotten.

      In many ways, I am grateful for this diversion.

      Still I am losing my patience with all this silly distraction and senseless ad hominema. We should be focusing our efforts!

      The battle against IDiots is challenging enough without insulting and alienating at the outset anybody and everybody who has any modicum of loyalty to JudeoChristianity yet not a subscriber to dogma.

      A distinct angry tone and lack of respect alienates those who should be our allies and hurts our common cause.

      Delete
    9. Shay Gaetz,

      You have not answered my question, and it is clear you are not going to. If you are so interested in not wasting time and bandwidth, you could just admit to that instead of spewing a ream of accomodationist drivel.

      Anyone else familiar with current Catholic doctrine want to try answer my question?

      Delete
    10. @lutesuite

      Yes I did answer your question... You just did not get it!

      I will spell it out for you yet one more time!

      You asked about Adam, Eve & original sin.

      The problem is - The Catholic Church does not believe in any simplistic creationist version of Adam & Eve as you propose.

      You should be directing such questions to other non-Theistic Creationists other than Catholics.

      The question as you phrased it simply doesn't apply to Catholics.

      You may as well ask Catholics about nirvana and their concept of release from the cycle of rebirth... that question also does not apply to them.

      Do Catholics have a concept of "original sin"? Yes

      Googlewhack that yourself. Modern Catholic Theology does not provide answers by refering to Adam and Eve as historical figures.

      The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: “In order to discover the sacred authors’ intention, the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking and narrating then current” (#110).

      Applying this principle, Scripture scholars today are taking a new look at this story. We realize more clearly now that the story of Adam and Eve is rather something like a parable. The truth is in the message of sinfulness rather than in factual history.


      http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0507.asp

      I am no authority on Theology in general, much less Catholic Theology in particular.

      Still this much is clear, Catholic Theology is not unchanging - it too is evolving.

      It would seem that Catholic Theology is beginning to converge with kaballah... at least that is how I read it.

      But as I mentioned before - I am agnostic learning towards atheism and really have no training or background to identify myself in a position to provide an authoritative answer.

      But if it is about the Catholic understanding of original sin you want - here is another quote from that same link:

      Was there then an historical Adam and Eve? Cain and Abel? Noah and the flood generation? Builders of the tower of Babel? Not in a literal sense. These are stories composed with figurative language; they do not give us that kind of historical information.

      But we can ask our question differently: Are there an Adam and Eve? Cain and Abel? Noah and the flood generation? Builders of the Tower of Babel? Here the answer is a definite Yes.

      If you ask, Where, then, are Adam and Eve?, the answer is: We find them when we look in the mirror. We are Adam, and we are Eve; we are Cain and Abel; we are the flood generation who spread injustice over the earth; we ignore God and build towers to make great names for ourselves. The man and woman of Genesis 2—3, as well as the other characters of the primal stories, are intended to represent an Everyman and Everywoman. They are paradigms, figurative equivalents, of human conduct in the face of temptation, not lessons in biology or history. The Bible is teaching religion, not science or literalistic history!


      Re: your specious contention:You have not answered my question, ...just admit to that instead of spewing a ream of accomodationist drivel.

      So I did answer your question and again we are rehashing...

      Regarding accomodationism, frankly I prefer the company of intelligent theists such as Coyne - not to mention inntelligent dissenters such as Dawkins who demonstrably show respect for Coyne... to your company.

      Please pester me no further and vent your anti-accomodationist spleen elsewhere. I have never showed you any disrespect but your bellicose surliness is beggining to wear my patience.



      Delete
    11. Shay Gaetz continues to spew verbiage rather than answer my question.

      I again ask anyone interested in actually answering: Has the Catholic Church repudiated the statements of Pius XII regarding the unacceptability of polygeny and its relationship to "original sin", or is this still current Catholic doctrine?

      Delete
    12. lutesuite -

      I take it you did not bother to read the link I just provided nor the salient quotes. http://www.americancatholic.org/Newsletters/CU/ac0507.asp

      I will attempt to keep this as short as a tweet:

      re Catholic understanding of "original sin" It is about the concrete situation of human life and society rather than about some kind of taint or blot passed on biologically throughout human history.

      OK - that was 26 words and 129 characters.

      What part of that did you not understand!?

      If you want to construct an easy strawman to knock down and mock... you are barking up wrong tree and you will need to bait the nonTheistic Creationists.

      So sorry to disapoint you.

      Delete
    13. That's an article by one priest on some website. I can find you individual priests who argue in favour of the ordination of women. Does that mean this is official Church doctrine?

      Delete
    14. @lutesuite

      I think that part of the problem is the deliberate "turgid obscurantism" (your words) present papal in encyclicals.

      Popes are loath to explicitly contradict other popes and are deliberately obscure. Frankly it is not clear at all what Pope Pius XII intended in Humani generis.. Most Theologians interpret his stand on creation as deliberately vague regarding creationism, on the understanding the Church learned its lesson with Galileo and did not want to repeat past mistakes.

      Pope Pius XII seems to reject polygenism whereas Pope Paul II appears to embrace polygenism. That may not be so cut and dry.

      No matter: a growing number of Catholic theologians are begining to follow Hans Küng and question papal infallibility given the obvious: Catholic Theology is itself clearly evolving. So any distinction would be moot.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humani_generis#Evolution

      That all said - I did in fact repeatedly answer your question regarding the Church's CURRENT stand on "original sin".

      Like I said - you will need to construct your strawman arguments elsewhere

      Can we please start discussing science again?

      Delete
    15. @ lutesuite
      re:
      That's an article by one priest on some website. I can find you individual priests who argue in favour of the ordination of women. Does that mean this is official Church doctrine?


      The website is an official organ of the Franciscan Order. It is not a rogue operation. It appears to be affiliated with America’s foremost Catholic Theological Institution (Loyola University).

      The author is a professor of Old Testament, Semitic languages and biblical spirituality at the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley.

      So unlike Hans Küng he is considered a Catholic Theologian in good standing and his writing as subject to ecclesiastical nihil obstat.

      I draw your attention to one quote:

      The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: “In order to discover the sacred authors’ intention, the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking and narrating then current” (#110).

      The number #110 is a direct reference to an official document i.e. The Catechism of the Catholic Church

      So in fact – the interpretation I am offering you is Catholic mainstream; i.e. official Church doctrine.

      I fear you (and others on this forum) may have been misled and decieved by rogues such as mregnor who do not know what they are talking about.

      Ps – thank you for continuing with civility. Much appreciated.

      Delete
    16. OK, well thanks. That does help answer my question.

      It certainly throws into question your previous claim that Catholic thought on the matter is "not at all confused," however.

      And, of course, this raises an even more fundamental question: If "original sin" is only supposed to be some metaphorical or allegorical description of the human condition, then what of Jesus? Would it still be necessary for him to exist as the actual, physical manifestation of God and to literally die a physical death, if the point of all that was to merely redeem humankind from something that is no more than a metaphor?

      I bet no Church official is going to touch that one with a barge pole....

      Delete
    17. @ Lutesuite

      The two video links (one to Ayala and one to Coyne) do in fact adress just that!

      I think the problem here is that you are far too acustomed to debating stupid people who also happen to be religious.

      A religious POV is not necessarily stupid. For example,You and I may not agree with Coyne (neither does Dawkins) but we can all respect Coyne's intelligence and his intellectual integrity (just like Dawkins).

      Just becasue Genesis is a parable, it is not devoid of "truth"... it has a message! That message happens to be theological and cannot be addressed by science.

      That's all - nothing more.

      I respect Larry's materialistic reductionism... I just happen to disagree with him. I think that often the whole is more than the sum of its parts... I apologise for the all too brief quick sound bite rebutal.

      That doesn't make either Larry nor myself stupid. And neither Larry nor I insult each other's intelligence as a consequence.

      I think the same consideration should be accorded to those who have a religious POV

      Why not? ... as long as they are intelligent.

      Belief in "rational materialism" whatever that means does not mean we are obliged to engage in a secular crusade and subject society to secular "gleichshaltung".

      How terrible would that be!!!

      I gotta go. I will leave the last word to you.

      best regards

      Delete
    18. Tom says,

      Just becasue Genesis is a parable, it is not devoid of "truth".

      What "truth" are you referring to? Does it have anything to do with the creation of the universe or a world-wide flood? I think you have to work really, really, hard to extract any "truth" from Genesis that doesn't conflict with science.

      What have you got?

      That message happens to be theological and cannot be addressed by science.

      I don't know of any theological messages that can't be addressed by the scientific way of knowing. Give me an example.

      Delete
    19. Re Shay Gaetz

      It would appear that Dobzhansky is what might be referred to as a cultural Christian. As for Ayala, I have seen a number of presentations by him in which he declined to discuss his own religious views.

      Delete
    20. Dobzhansky, by all reports, was a highly devout member of the Russian Orthodox church. Ayala is a former Dominican priest, which might give a clue regarding his religious views.

      Delete
    21. Re John Harshman

      From the description that follows, it would appear that Dobzhansky's religious views differed not a great deal from those of Einstein. Einstein also rejected a personal god and an afterlife.

      http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Theodosius_Dobzhansky.aspx

      Money quote:

      Dobzhansky was a religious man, although he apparently rejected fundamental beliefs of traditional religion, such as the existence of a personal God and of life beyond physical death.

      As for Ayala, I can't find the reference to the alleged interview in a Spanish newspaper where he allegedly said he was not a believer. I recall it occurred, if at all, in 2000. The fact that he was at one time a Dominican priest is of dubious relevance. He would not be the first priest/minister/rabbi to lose his belief.

      Delete
    22. Colnago80

      Are you being deliberately obtuse on this question in a futile event to cherry-pick your data?

      In a post above I provided you a link to an interview with Ayala who made his religious views perfectly clear:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZH3mvJPqS8

      ITMT – If you had bothered to type the words francisco ayala faith religion into google (which I presume you must have done) provides the following:
      http://tinyurl.com/mdz5szk

      The very first link therein is particularly interesting – which answers many of Larry Moran’s posed questions
      http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2010/may/28/religion-science-richard-dawkins

      I wonder whether you are being most disingenuous here!

      Regarding Dobzhansky - punching Dobzhansky faith religion into google also provides some very interesting hits.

      Dobzhansky’s book The Biology of Ultimate Concern – is remarkable. Until now, I was unaware of its existence. I never realized how intensely spiritual the man was! His views are not at all like Einstein’s rather far more like Albert Schweitzer’s!
      http://www.scholardarity.com/?page_id=901

      Delete
    23. The very first link therein is particularly interesting – which answers many of Larry Moran’s posed questions
      http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2010/may/28/religion-science-richard-dawkins


      I'm willing to bet that Larry will disagree with you that that answers his questions. Ayala is using a definition of "science" with which Larry disagrees.

      Delete
    24. @ colnago

      I need to thank you for making me revisit this topic in more detail.

      It would appear that Dobzhansky was far mor intense a spiritual man than Albert Schweitzer.

      http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1834

      best regards,

      Delete
    25. Having gone thru some of those links about Ayala, albeit admittedly not exhaustively, I have been unable to find a single instance where he explicitly states that he is still a theist, but several references to the fact that he refuses to discuss his personal views on religion.

      I did find clear evidence of his fervent commitment to promoting the understanding and acceptance of evolution. And I also found that one of his main strategies is to argue that religious belief is not incompatible acceptance of science. He also bemoans the fact that evolution is often associated with atheism and sees this as one of the obstacles to the wider acceptance of the theory.

      Think I can put two and two together.....

      Delete
    26. @lutesuite

      re: The very first link therein is particularly interesting – which answers many of Larry Moran’s posed questions
      http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2010/may/28/religion-science-richard-dawkins


      Your response
      I'm willing to bet that Larry will disagree with you that that answers his questions. Ayala is using a definition of "science" with which Larry disagrees.


      Of course!!! Larry subscribes to a reductionist version of materialism. Of course Larry will continue to disagree with Ayala. You missed my point. I suggested that Ayala could provide an answer to Larry's questions.

      Granted Ayala's answers are based on premises that Larry will not concede, but the point remains that Ayala's POV does not represent silly superstition and deserves respect, even from Reductionists.

      Delete
  11. steve oberski

    You have made Coyne to sound no less teleological than Teilhard de Chardin!

    I am very surprised so I did some google-whacking and stumbled across an interview with Fr. George Coyne and Richard Dawkins (no less)!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkS1B0huWX4

    Hmmm – Coyne does in fact cite de Chardin about 50 min mark… but not along the terms you describe.

    I suggest that you first scroll to 48:30.

    You are confusing Coyne’s theological views with his scientific views which Coyne is able to compartmentalize very well. He is not confused, he is in fact very subtle.

    He is very clear on the chance processes working in the universe and is not at all teleological as you describe.

    One point Coyne makes clearer than I did above, there is no unanimous Catholic voice on evolution. There does exist some diversity of opinion that accommodate the likes of mregnor. Imagine my surprise!

    I had no idea.

    But again, I never pretended to be an authority on the Roman Catholic Church and its tenets.

    That said, I repeat what I said before:
    The official position of the Catholic Church remains:

    - Evolution from single common ancestor: i.e. LUCA
    - Humankind’s common descent with other primates (i.e Chimpanzees are our evolutionary cousins)
    - Scientifically accepted age of our planet; i.e No global flood.
    - Scientifically accepted age of our universe; i.e Big Bang and all that…

    None of the above is in dispute.

    Note Richard Dawkin’s obvious respect for Fr. Coyne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you want to waste your life playing vatican wack a mole, have at it.

      There is no "official" position of the Catholic Church, it's an old paedophile in room pretending to hear voices in his head and convincing a bunch of other idiots he's got a handle on the truth when in reality all he's got a handle on is their money and children.

      The "official" position of the catholic church is exactly the position of the Fr. Coynes's, Michael Egnor's, Bill O’Reilly's and every other pious fraud who hides behind a veneer of sanctity while espousing one of the most anti-human ideologies going.

      Unlike you, I have actually heard Fr. Coyne speak in person. This is first hand evidence, something I suspect you are complete stranger to. By all means continue to regurgitate pre-digested pap excreted with apologists like you in mind.


      Delete
  12. @ Steve,
    Given your obvious antagonism against anything and everything Catholic, I need to take your subjective reassurances with a grain of salt.

    I prefer to rely on a more scientific and objective approach by examining hard data first-hand.

    Ergo the hour-long interview with Richard Dawkins who treats Fr. Coyne with great deference and respect… we are talking Richard Dawkins here!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkS1B0huWX4

    Our exchange is beyond futile. Let others watch the video and make up their own minds, if they are so inclined. The suggestion that Coyne and mregnor are in the same camp is beyond risible.

    You hold an opinion that any form of accommodationism is wrong.

    I disagree. I would prefer not to conflate materialism with empiricism. ITMT, the battle against IDiots is challenging enough without insulting and alienating at the outset anybody and everybody who has any modicum of loyalty to JudeoChristianity yet not a subscriber to dogma.

    I (like Dawkins) am no man of faith. But I like Dawkins, I can respect the views of Coyne even if I do not share them, just like I understand and respect your point of view even though I again disagree.

    Sadly, your emotion prevents reciprocation.

    ‘nuff said.

    Vaya con Dios

    ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  13. On the subject of rehasing - I have a general question for other participants here:

    I feel like a lonely prophet crying in the wilderness!

    Am I alone here regarding what is dismissively denigrated by many as "accomodationism"?

    The battle against IDiots is challenging enough without insulting and alienating at the outset anybody and everybody who has any modicum of loyalty to JudeoChristianity yet not a subscriber to dogma.

    A distinct angry tone and lack of respect alienates those who should be our allies and hurts our common cause.

    Or am I wasting my breath and should I seek out other fora?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm interested in the question, "Do gods exist?" If you answer "yes," then I'm interested in debating the issue because I believe strongly that there's no evidence of gods.

      I'm also interested in the question of whether science is compatible with belief in supernatural beings that interact with the universe and makes themselves known to some people. I don't think science is compatible with such beliefs so I debate and disagree with people who say otherwise.

      Why do you have a problem with that? Why should I be an "ally" of someone who holds a position that I think is wrong and indefensible?

      If a religious person wants to join me in improving the teaching of evolution, I'm more than willing. Just don't ask me to pretend that science and religion are compatible and that belief in gods is reasonable. I won't "accommodate" their beliefs in that way just to form an alliance over something else.

      Delete
    2. @ Larry

      I'm interested in the question, "Do gods exist?" If you answer "yes," then I'm interested in debating the issue because I believe strongly that there's no evidence of gods.

      Debate is impossible. By definition there can be no material reductionist justification for religious belief. So if you exclude any rationale other than your premises, the conversation has ended before it has started

      I'm also interested in the question of whether science is compatible with belief in supernatural beings that interact with the universe and makes themselves known to some people. I don't think science is compatible with such beliefs so I debate and disagree with people who say otherwise.

      If all premises must correspond to a reductionist version of materialism – again, the conversation has ended before it has started.

      Why do you have a problem with that? Why should I be an "ally" of someone who holds a position that I think is wrong and indefensible?

      I dunno – assuming you are a Liberal; can you not have Conservative or NDP friends?

      I think it was Neil Shubin who recently accepted some Humanist award or other somewhere recently and expressed his amazement at the zealotry of secular New Age atheists and their desperate (pathetic actually) propensity to proselytization. I can understand where he is coming from. I call it secular gleichshaltung.

      If a religious person wants to join me in improving the teaching of evolution, I'm more than willing. Just don't ask me to pretend that science and religion are compatible and that belief in gods is reasonable. I won't "accommodate" their beliefs in that way just to form an alliance over something else.

      Nobody is asking you to convert to a set of beliefs you disagree with. Just don’t call anybody and everybody who happens to disagree with your BELIEFS an idiot or pedophile or worse. Why not accord those who differ with you the same respect you deserve - the same deference that Dawkins accords Coyne, for example? That’s all!

      Delete
    3. When I asked Tom Mueller to describe his evidence for gods, he said ...

      Debate is impossible. By definition there can be no material reductionist justification for religious belief. So if you exclude any rationale other than your premises, the conversation has ended before it has started.

      I don't know any "material reductionist" who categorically excludes the possibility that gods exist. But that's not really relevant since I don't think of myself as a material reductionist.

      Answer the question.

      Tom Mueller then asks another silly question ...

      I dunno – assuming you are a Liberal; can you not have Conservative or NDP friends?

      Yes. And your point is?

      Nobody is asking you to convert to a set of beliefs you disagree with. Just don’t call anybody and everybody who happens to disagree with your BELIEFS an idiot or pedophile or worse.

      I have never, ever, done this. You disagree with me on lots of things and I've never called you an idiot or a pedophile. Although, I must admit that right now I'm tilting toward "idiot" in light of some of your responses.

      Why not accord those who differ with you the same respect you deserve - the same deference that Dawkins accords Coyne, for example? That’s all!

      I respect those who deserve it. I respect lots of people who disagree with me. I start to lose respect when they accuse me of calling them pedophiles or of lying about whether I'm willing to engage in a debate about the existence of gods.

      Delete
    4. My apologies to Larry!!!

      I should have better proofread before hitting send. I was distracted at the time…

      Meanwhile, I was thinking more of the efforts of your groupies (not to mention PZ Myers') who take such delight in insulting those with theistic viewpoints. I stand by my contention that such deliberate argumentum ad hominem is unprofessional, unnecessary, undeserved and counter-productive!

      I had Lutesuite (an alias?) and others in mind when I made the remarks you understandably are reacting to. In fact, I was not directing my comments directly to you personally but to the too frequent insults generated by your groupies in general (although I can understand your misunderstanding) mea culpa – my sincerest apologies

      FTR - Yes you indeed do present yourself as a "material reductionist"
      Check out http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/2014/02/the-real-war-is-between-rationalism-and.html

      That all said – I do still get the distinct impression that you do conflate all versions of Theistic belief with IDiots .
      http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/2014/03/what-do-intelligent-design-creationists.html

      So in fact, you seem to demonstrate far less respect than you let on. In fact, you protest too much, methinks.

      I am sorely disappointed that I am undeserving of your respect – so I guess we have nothing more to say to each other and I have nothing left to contribute to your forum.

      So again, my sincerest apologies and best regards.
      Adieu

      Delete
    5. Shay Gaetz said to me in an earlier comment ....

      Nobody is asking you to convert to a set of beliefs you disagree with. Just don’t call anybody and everybody who happens to disagree with your BELIEFS an idiot or pedophile or worse.

      Now he says ....

      In fact, I was not directing my comments directly to you personally but to the too frequent insults generated by your groupies in general ...

      Do you understand why I consider statements like that to be insulting, "unprofessional, unnecessary, undeserved and counter-productive!"?

      Do you understand why some of the intelligent people who post comments on this blog might object to being called "groupies"?

      Delete
    6. кто кого ?!

      SG: In fact, I was not directing my comments directly to you personally but to the too frequent insults generated by your groupies in general ...

      LM: Do you understand why I consider statements like that to be insulting, "unprofessional, unnecessary, undeserved and counter-productive!"?

      Do you understand why some of the intelligent people [sic] who post comments on this blog might object to being called "groupies"?

      I see – so Larry, tell us please your reaction to on a post above on this very thread!

      steve oberski Wednesday, March 26, 2014 8:47:00 PM

      There is no "official" position of the Catholic Church, it's an old paedophile in room pretending to hear voices in his head and convincing a bunch of other idiots he's got a handle on the truth when in reality all he's got a handle on is their money and children.

      Frankly, “groupie” was the kindest word I could come up with on the understanding I would never insult your intelligence by ascribing any such view to you!

      So you see? - my post that initially provoked you – was not about you after all.

      You still don’t get it do you? You still don’t under understand my indignation!?

      But of course, it is your blog and you have the last word…

      You dislike the word "groupie"? Really?! Let's be clear on this point - I make no apologies in disparaging Oberski’s post above.


      Basta!

      Delete
    7. But of course, it is your blog and you have the last word…

      If only.

      Point out one thing that was factually incorrect in my post.

      Or was it too subtle for you ?

      Delete
    8. @Steve

      re
      Point out one thing that was factually incorrect in my post.


      uhmm... there is no way of verifying what memories you actually have, so frankly there is no way of contradicting you: which explains why I suggested anybody so interested could decide for themselves by examining the data first hand by listening to the Dawkins interview with Coyne on their own.

      Empirical objective examination of evidence dontchya know...

      Or was it too subtle for you ?

      Oh no - by all means – we understand each other perfectly! Let no one ever accuse you of "subtlety"! I take it your following summation declares your POV most succinctly:

      Re: Oberski quote : Catholic Church, it's an old paedophile in room pretending to hear voices in his head and convincing a bunch of other idiots he's got a handle on the truth when in reality all he's got a handle on is their money and children. end Oberski quote

      How is it that I appear to be the only dissenting voice in this forum challenging your slanderous summary? Is tacit acceptance on the part of others a possibility? I sure hope not!

      Mind you, on occasion - silence does speak volumes!

      Let's say no more for fear others may accuse me yet again of putting words into their mouths.

      Delete
    9. @Shay Gaetz

      I'll make it simple enough so that even you can understand.

      old - true or false ?

      paedophile - true or false (see last question before answering) ?

      hears voices in his head - true or false ?

      has convinced others that the voices he hears in his head have some bearing on reality, in areas such as denying women and homosexuals equal treatment under the law and a genocidal opposition to birth control and sexual prophylaxis - true or false ?

      has convinced credulous idiots to give money to his criminal organization - true or false ?

      continues to aid and abet paedophiles in his organization who prey on the children of his credulous, idiotic adherents - true or false ?

      Delete
    10. Hi Steve,

      Listen,

      ... I signed off shut down my computer to prepare a snack.

      I considered my reply to you and regretted it greatly. I especially regret any implication that silence on the part of others implied complicity with what you wrote.

      I signed back on to delete it, only to discover you had already responded.

      Steve, this exchange is sinking to new all-time lows. I have no intention of pursuing this with you any further.

      I worry that I may be inadvertently causing you (or others present) much pain – I have no idea of your (or others') history is or if in fact you are even the victim of abuse. So, I had no right to reply as I did.

      So please accept my public apology.

      For what it’s worth – please accept this peace offering in the spirit intended:

      http://www.amazon.ca/Pedophiles-Priests-Anatomy-Contemporary-Crisis/dp/0195145976

      Prof. Philip Jenkins—a former Catholic turned Protestant happens to be an expert in the subject of pedophilia cites a survey of sexual problems among Protestant clergy indicating a rate equal or higher than that suggested for Catholic priests! Other studies indicate similar numbers for other professionals as having always been higher than for the Catholic clergy.

      That all said, any and all who criticize the Catholic Church for cover-ups are justified. Yes, Christian (not just Catholic) leadership has failed the victims. Violence against the young under the auspices of any denomination is despicable.

      I hope you and I are reconciled.

      Delete
    11. @Shay Gaetz

      Apparently there is no degree of simple that is simple enough for you.

      About the only thing you are capable of causing in others, inadvertently or otherwise, is pity and disgust.

      I attribute this to either a complete lack of willingness or ability to honestly engage with an argument or, even by the standards of the religious, a stunningly narcissistic and vastly overinflated sense of your rhetorical abilities. And given your competition on this blog, what with the redoubtable Byers, mregnor and Wilberforce, that's saying a lot.



      Delete
    12. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

      Delete
    13. Steve wrote: "...with the redoubtable Byers, mregnor and Wilberforce"

      Steve seriously, am I only #3 on your list of redoubtable opponents? I obviously have to find time to write more on this blog.

      Delete
    14. Be assured Andy, that in your race to the bottom you are all pretty much neck to neck.

      Your skills at cut and paste and vomiting back creotard pap will not, I think, improve with more practice.

      Delete
  14. @ Larry

    Re: “Just because Genesis is a parable, it is not devoid of "truth".”

    What "truth" are you referring to? Does it have anything to do with the creation of the universe or a world-wide flood? I think you have to work really, really, hard to extract any "truth" from Genesis that doesn't conflict with science.

    Please refer to my replies to Lutesuite above – I am no apologist for Creationist Morons ignorant of Biblical Hebrew who insist on reading Genesis literally.

    That said; I can appreciate the cogency of some versions of Theistic Evolution as coherent and intelligent although I do not necessarily subscribe to them. Faith may not contradict Reason – but alas, I lack faith.

    Re: I don't know of any theological messages that can't be addressed by the scientific way of knowing. Give me an example.

    Example - What should our response to others’ pain and suffering? Why?

    I am surprised you would even address this question to me. You can enjoy a drink in the faculty club of one of Canada’s leading academic institutions in the company of academic experts far more knowledgeable than I to pose such questions.

    In any case – we already know at the outset that I would never be able to provide you an answer that you would find satisfactory. We already addressed that here:
    http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/2014/02/the-real-war-is-between-rationalism-and.html

    Your complete and total embrace of materialism aka reductionism makes further attempts at a meeting of minds impossible. (refer to my discussion of Berkeley & Subjective Idealism above). My only goal here is to convince you that Subjective Idealism (as an example of just one rebutal to materialism) is not incoherent superstition.

    OK – I agree with you - some versions of religious belief constitute incoherent superstition – but Coyne, Ayala, Schweitzer and Dobzhansky do not fall under that rubric! A little well deserved respect is all I am suggesting.

    In any case – Ayala provides a far better answer than I could.

    Are religion and science incompatible?
    Some scientists assert that valid knowledge can only come from science. They hold that religious beliefs are the remains of pre-scientific explanations of the world and amount to nothing more than superstition.

    On the other side, some people of faith believe that science conveys a materialistic view of the world that denies the existence of any reality outside the material world. Science, they think, is incompatible with their religious faith.

    I contend that both – scientists denying religion and believers rejecting science – are wrong. Science and religious beliefs need not be in contradiction. If they are properly understood, they cannot be in contradiction because science and religion concern different matters.


    For a more detailed answer that I can provide -
    http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2010/may/28/religion-science-richard-dawkins

    and here:
    http://www.templetonprize.org/ayalaprelease.html

    and much more

    http://tinyurl.com/p7dla79

    best regards

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shay, I just looked up Subjective Idealism and it sure is incoherent to me.

      I have a couple of questions for you: Are mental things (e.g. thoughts/feelings) possible without material brains (or at least some sort of material nervous system)? Aren't mental things the interactions of material things?

      Delete
    2. Tom Mueller said there were theological messages in Genesis that cannot be addressed by the scientific way of knowing. I asked for an example and he replied.

      Example - What should our response to others’ pain and suffering? Why?

      Are you trying to tell me that an atheist is totally incapable of answering this question or are you claiming that atheists can come up with an answer but it's something other than the scientific way of knowing?

      In any case. you didn't give me an "answer" (theological message).

      I will answer the question based on what I think might be the greatest good for the society in which I live. I will base my decision on as much evidence as I can find.

      In any case – we already know at the outset that I would never be able to provide you an answer that you would find satisfactory.

      I think that's likely to be true but it's not the point. You claim was not that you have a defensible answer but that you can't even have an answer if you rely only on evidence-based logic.

      Your complete and total embrace of materialism aka reductionism makes further attempts at a meeting of minds impossible.

      I do not totally "embrace" materialism and reductionism so your response is meaningless. Unless, of course you intend it as an insult to my intelligence and my honesty.

      My only goal here is to convince you that Subjective Idealism (as an example of just one rebutal to materialism) is not incoherent superstition.

      Then why are you trying to avoid the attempt by claiming in advance that I will not listen to you?

      In any case – Ayala provides a far better answer than I could.

      Well, if that's the best you have to offer then you are right to avoid debating the issue.

      Delete
  15. @The Whole Truth

    I suggest you pose your question to someone who is actually qualified to answer it.

    The thrust of my argument is that there are philosophical standpoints other than reductionist materialism that are completely compatible with modern science. and that in fact many scientists subscribe to such alternates.

    Its not even a question of "rationalism and superstition " another false dichotomy!

    Many scientists are no les atheist than Larry but do not subscribe to his version of reductionism.

    There are other options besides Subjective Idealism.

    We are rehasing
    http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/2014/02/the-real-war-is-between-rationalism-and.html

    ReplyDelete
  16. Many scientists are no les atheist than Larry but do not subscribe to his version of reductionism.

    I'm never sure what people mean when they talk about reductionism but it almost always seems like an insult.

    Tom probably won't tell me why he thinks I am a reductionist so I looked in up on Wikipedia [Reductionism].

    Reductionism is a philosophical position which holds that a complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts, and that an account of it can be reduced to accounts of individual constituents.

    Nope. That's not me. Tom must have another definition in mind. I hope he shares it.

    Its not even a question of "rationalism and superstition " another false dichotomy!

    I'm just a simple Canadian who tries to work things out based on evidence and rational thinking. If there's an example of nonrational thinking that can't be classified as superstition then I want to hear about it. Tom? What's the third leg of your trichotomy?

    ReplyDelete
  17. No Larry - again, I never intended any insult.

    I suggest you looked up the wrong article on Wikipedia

    I refer you to Scientific materialists - See also: Physicalism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Materialism#Scientific_materialists

    "Scientific "Materialism" is often synonymous with, and has so far been described, as being a reductive materialism."

    Read the article and you should discover that in fact labels can be misleading and confusing.

    I repeat - I never intended any insult!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Can "types" of mental states be meaningfully described by "types" of physical events? (type physicalism)

      That is how I interpreted your gedankenexperiment in http://sandwalk.blogspot.ca/2014/02/the-real-war-is-between-rationalism-and.html

      I repeat - I never intended any insult!

      Delete
  18. If there's an example of nonrational thinking that can't be classified as superstition then I want to hear about it. What's the third leg of your trichotomy?

    Coyne, Ayala, Dobzhansky hold/held theistic beliefs - I suggest these are not silly superstition even though they are not based on empirical evidence.

    I suggest you take a look at Alan Watts Way of Zen - just the first chapter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coyne, Ayala, Dobzhansky hold/held theistic beliefs - I suggest these are not silly superstition even though they are not based on empirical evidence.

      You may see a difference between the beliefs of Christians and those of the Vikings and the ancient Greeks but you'll have to defend that position because it's not obvious to me.

      The ancient Greeks believed that Hercules was the son of a god (Zeus). Can you imagine that? He is raised up to the home of the gods when dies. Sounds like a superstition to me. What does it sound like to you?

      BTW, I didn't say that all superstitious beliefs are "silly."

      Delete
    2. @ Larry

      OK - that’s better. reductio ad absurdum is better than ad hominem.

      You are still begging the question!

      There are those who hold that evidence-based knowledge can still be rational even though not necessarily empirical.

      Of course, you disagree.

      Vive la différence "Let a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend!"

      So we seem to agree? … that Schweitzer, Coyne, Ayala and Dobzhansky do not subscribe to “ silly superstition”.

      Great - we are making progress.

      That said,many also earnestly maintain neither do they subscribe to “superstition” even.

      In a sound-bite – there are those who earnestly and intelligently maintain that it need not be “empirically evidence-based” to still be a rational belief.

      Yes – of course, you believe otherwise… so again, let a hundred flowers bloom!

      Again, I really think you should have a quick look at Alan Watt’s first chapter in Way of Zen.

      Such thinking is more coherent and cogent than you credit.

      p.s. regarding Hecules... check out the references to myth and allegory when discussing Genesis above. Greek philosophy and Roman Stoicism was little different.

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    3. Shay Gaetz says,

      You are still begging the question!

      Let me remind you what the question was. You claimed that "rationalism vs superstition" is a false dichotomy. That must mean there's a third position. I asked you what it was.

      In a sound-bite – there are those who earnestly and intelligently maintain that it need not be “empirically evidence-based” to still be a rational belief.

      That falls under "rational." We can debate whether it's really rational but that's not the point. The point is that many believers think their beliefs are rational.

      I asked you for your definition of something that was neither rational nor superstition but still worthy of consideration.

      In a sound-bite – there are those who earnestly and intelligently maintain that it need not be “empirically evidence-based” to still be a rational belief.

      This is just a flowerly way of saying that everyone is entitled to their beliefs without having to defend them.

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    4. Ghee Whiz Larry/lutesuite !!!

      I am flattered, but why are you wasting so much time & bandwidth on an adversary you publically labeled an “idiot”?


      ITMT – I note that you correctly took umbrage at having words thrust into your mouth and you do not desire views to be ascribed to you that in fact you do not hold. Could you please pay me the same courtesy?

      Let’s go back to the original question:

      I suggested that certain kinds of questions are not really amenable to evidence based analysis restricted to an evidence-based objective empirical method. I offered an example - What should be our response to others’ pain and suffering? Why?


      You answered

      LM I will answer the question based on what I think might be the greatest good for the society in which I live. I will base my decision on as much evidence as I can find.

      I take it, you must subscribe either to some version of Act Utilitarianism or to Rule Utilitarianism; no matter, you still missed the intent and thrust of my original question, so I will disregard the plethora of ignoratio elenchis implicit in either of those two theses.

      I was thinking more along the lines of Siddhartha Gautama’s great insights.

      You asked what can be the third leg of a dichotomy.

      [large sigh - do I really need to resort to spelling everything out in quick tweets ]

      Well here is one possibility (from a large repertoire of many) to slip through the horns of all these non-dilemmas you/lutesuite persistently insist on posing.

      Buddha’s philosophy was neither atheist nor theist – his thinking was non-theist (i.e. a "third leg", in case you missed it).

      Derivative versions of Buddhism (both atheist and theist) deviated from his original non-Theism, so let’s just focus on his original message.

      Buddha did not act as a medium between G-d and man. His ideas were arrived through reason not revelation. Buddha maintained he (together with the rest of us) could discover truths by subjective introspection.

      I always likened Buddha to the world’s first and greatest existentialist; not to mention simultaneously the world’s first and greatest psychoanalyst (please refer to remarks about Nietzsche, Sartre and de Beauvoir above).

      Meanwhile, Freud, Jung and Buddha had some very remarkable insights that can only really be addressed in a subjective i.e. decidedly non-objective manner. I particularly appreciate Buddha’s reaction to human suffering; which is why I posed the question to begin with; and also why referred you to Alan Watts.

      Curiously enough, neuroscience may be swinging away from a complete and totally restrictive embrace of objective empirical evidence-based science and may be embarking on a new path of re-evaluating the “utility” (pun intended) of the subjectivity of psychoanalysis.

      Check out the emerging field of neuropsychoanalysis - (I reckon the great Buddha would smile most serenely!)
      http://discovermagazine.com/2014/april/14-the-second-coming-of-sigmund-freud

      Listen – I think we are really wasting our time here. I can smile at your zealotry and your urgent desire to convert everybody to your way of thinking. But frankly, I have better things to do with my precious time. I just ask you to pose no more false dichotomies in preposterous attempts to put words into my mouth. I refuse to fall into your deliberate and transparent traps of reductio ad absurdum.

      That said, I do thank you for refraining from further ad hominems.
      Be well.

      Adieu!

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    5. I don't recall calling you an "idiot", Shay Gaetz. The worst I can recall saying about you was that you are a bit more verbose than you need to be.....

      Anyway, this is about the most concise and eloquent description I know of the failing of religion/theology/superstition as an explanatory method, courtesy of writer Lance Parkin:

      http://lanceparkin.wordpress.com/2011/12/31/above-us-only-sky/

      A quote:

      I may be wrong about this, but I think there is a theological issue that, when we consider the whole sweep of human history, troubled a far higher proportion of the human population from far earlier and for far longer than any single other question. It’s not a question we ask today.

      It’s not ‘does God exist?’.... We know it was a question that was still being seriously considered by at least one major culture until about five hundred years ago. The symbolism survives today, in both Western and Eastern religious belief.... The ultimate theological question is: ‘Where does the Sun go at night?’.....

      We know where the Sun goes at night. It’s settled law, now. There will be people who say it doesn’t count as a theological question. But understanding that it was a theological question – for at least three, possibly five, times longer than we’ve had any Christian theology – is important to bear in mind. It’s easy to dismiss the Solar Chariot as primitive superstition borne from ignorance, and to say that it doesn’t need to be studied in any great depth … well, yes. But isn’t that what the Courtier’s Reply says about modern theology? I admire the people who came up with the story of the Sun Chariot. They were trying to explain the world, and their explanation made sense of the empirical evidence. They were extrapolating what they knew and saw. These were not stupid people, they were extremely smart people tackling huge, huge problem. It’s amazing they even worked out where they might begin to try answering. I don’t hesitate to call them wrong, I don’t take the view that they were right in their own way, but they were wrong for the right reasons. They were thinking in what we’d arrogantly call a ‘modern’ way – looking at the evidence. They were wrong.

      I admire the people who dismantled the Sun Chariot more. They had the courage to continue asking the questions, and to ask new and reframed questions. It took many thousands of years, but we got to what we now see is inarguably ‘the right answer’....


      So that's what I would like to see from those, like you, who claim religion offers a different form of knowledge from science: I would like a single example of a question that science has struggled to answer that religion has been able to answer, with the same degree of conclusiveness and certainty, as science was able to answer the theological question of "Where does the Sun go at night?"


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  19. My final word

    ... Unless, of course you intend it as an insult to my intelligence and my honesty.

    That was never my intent.

    Adieu

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  20. Replies
    1. @ Andy

      Thank you! Baruch Tihiye

      ITMT - Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof!

      ;-)

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    2. Yasher koach, Shay!

      Why, was he called to the Torah? That's what that phrase is traditionally used for, to congratulate someone who has been honored by being called to the Torah.

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    3. Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof!

      In this context, that is an extremely interesting and somewhat ironic remark. The translation is "Righteousness, righteousness shalt thou pursue." Here's an excerpt of a rabbi's discussion of the meaning we should take from those words:

      Many times we pursue that which is righteous and fair. Our goal is to ensure that what is right prevails. We are often tempted to let the ends justify the means. We may overlook the fact that we have to step on a few laws here and there as long as in the end "righteousness will prevail."

      I would say it is quite ironic to use that phrase at the end of a discussion in which Larry is saying one should be "righteous" (factually and evidentially rigorous) in seeking knowledge, while you are saying as long as one supports evolution, in effect the ends justify the means.

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