Saturday, October 25, 2014

Nature criticizes science hyperbole and bad science writing

There's a very interesting editorial in the Oct 14, 2014 issues of Nature [see here]. It's about a scientific paper that turned out to be misleading and the role of science writers and journals in promoting that story.

The editors of Nature remind us that ...
Extraordinary claims, as the saying almost goes, demand more scrutiny than usual to make sure they stand up. That is how science works. Claim and counter-claim: intellectual thrust and experimental parry.
They report on an upcoming meeting meeting of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing in Columbus Ohio. Apparently, this council is composed of scientists and journalists and the goal of the meeting is to search for "lessons learned by scientists and science writers" in light of their publicity campaign promoting the flawed paper.

The Nature editors note that ...
The first thing to highlight is that such a thing as the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing even exists. Too many scientists dismiss the media and journalists as sloppy and unwilling to engage in both detail and ambiguity. In fact, there can be no branch of journalism as self-scrutinizing and anxious about its performance as that which covers science. It is hard to imagine political and sports reporters taking the time to discuss so thoroughly what (if anything) they did wrong after one of their stories went belly-up.
Indeed, that's admirable, but it's another example of journalistic hyperbole. I do not believe that this branch of journalism (science writing) is as "self-scrutinizing" as they would have us believe. I do not believe that science writers usually debate and discuss what they did wrong when a story goes belly-up.

But it may be true that science writers are increasingly "anxious" about their performance. Why are they so "anxious"? It's because they are doing a very sloppy job characterized by parroting press releases written by amateurs whose main goal is to promote their institution or by science journals that want publicity.

Science writers (and journals) used to get away with this but now ...
The (welcome) rise of the science blogger has fuelled this navel-gazing. Some bloggers seem to spend most of their time criticizing other science writers, or at least debunking examples of what they regard as inferior science writing. But they do lots of good stuff too. Although traditionalists lament the decline of science coverage in the mainstream press, a terrific amount of analysis and comment, much of it very technical, is happening online under their noses.
There's an interesting slip of the tongue in that paragraph. If science writers are really interested in self-scrutiny then they should welcome the arrival of a group of bloggers who point out their errors. This should be a "good" thing but the Nature editors clearly contrast this role (criticizing science writers) with other "good stuff" that bloggers do. Apparently the criticism of science writing doesn't count as "good stuff." It just makes science writers anxious—which they weren't before science bloggers came on the scene and pointed out what a bad job they were doing.

Nature then admits its complicity in hyping the event and not doing a proper skeptical analysis of the findings. The editors then get to an important issue.
Some may question the timing of the announcement, made when the paper was released on the Internet, not accepted or published by a journal, but at least the evidence was there to examine. If the scientists and the media both largely acted properly, then what should be discussed at next week’s meeting? It could do worse than start by screening the celebratory online video produced by ... and released to accompany the announcement. Scientists and journalists can include as many academic caveats as they like, but the sounds and images of champagne corks popping tend to render such statements of caution just that — academic.

There is a deeper issue here: science not by press conference but presented as an event. What in reality is a long, messy and convoluted process of three steps forward and two steps back is too easily presented as giant leaps between states of confusion and blinding revelation. At the heart of this theatre is the artificial landmark of a peer-reviewed paper. Fixed print schedules and releases to journalists under embargo (with or without champagne videos) help to lend the impression that the publication of a paper is the final word on a question — the end-of-term report on a scientific project that details all that was achieved.
I bet you're thinking that this is all about the ENCODE publicity campaign and how Nature was totally at fault for misrepresenting the data and hyping the false claims of the ENCODE Consortium.

Nope. It's about the discovery of gravitational waves—a paper that turns out to have been wrong because scientists didn't do the proper controls.

Meanwhile, Nature, and science writers in general, have yet to admit that they failed massively in September 2012 and they have done little to convince us "bad" bloggers that they are capable of self-scrutiny. This is serious because in this case Nature and its editors were very active participants in the making of videos and holding press releases [see How does Nature deal with the ENCODE publicity hype that it created?]. Let me remind you of the video PRODUCED BY NATURE featuring Senior Editor Magdalena Skipper in which she promotes the idea that most of the human genome is functional. [Note: I'm getting error messages when I try to run this video.]

Maybe there are other things that the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing could be talking about? Maybe there are other examples of bad science journalism that the editors of Nature should be addressing?


  1. I remember that people were talking about the gravitational wave result being an artifact from the very beginning and expecting it to be overturned very soon. But I also heard it from people more knowledgeable than me that the theory of inflation was in no danger even if that turned out to be the case. So it's quite a different situation from other PR fiascos of the past - although they should certainly have not gone so far with the celebration as they did (especially given that that suspicion was there from the beginning).

    The way to fix the current mess is clear - have the scientists write the popular articles themselves, or at the very least in close collaboration with the journalists (as in scientists taking an active part in writing, with their name attached to it, the final text approved by them). That's the only way to ensure things are reported objectively and without errors. Of course, that is only going to work to the extent that the scientists themselves are objective about their own work and do not exaggerate and distort results.

    The problem is there are no incentives for anyone to go that route, and in the same time all the incentives are stacked in the direction of scientists having to exaggerate their results.

  2. There's an interesting slip of the tongue in that paragraph.

    Maybe there is a second slip of the tongue in that paragraph as well. Merriam-Webster defines navel-gazing as:

    : the activity of thinking too much or too deeply about yourself, your experiences, your feelings, etc.
    : useless or excessive self-contemplation

    and Oxford

    :Self-indulgent or excessive contemplation of oneself or a single issue, at the expense of a wider view

    Maybe that is being uncharitable to the editors who likely meant self-reflection

  3. I think that Nature piece really is about ENCODE, it's an encoded reference to ENCODE when they mention how science bloggers criticize bad science writing. They really have in mind T. Ryan Gregory, Dan Growl, Carl Zimmer, and Larry.

    But, they say, science writers are self-correcting. So no problem. All is well, go back to sleep.

  4. I haven't read the article there referring to but, is their conclusion 'wrong', or have that not provided robust enough evidence to support their conclusion?

    Funnily enough I don't think that is a fair comment about sports writers. There have been some sports writers who have been very self-scrutinising and take their responsibilities as a journalist very seriously- although his private conduct left a lot to be desired, Hunter S Thompson was a good example and took his sports writing as seriously as his political analysis.

  5. An important feature of the Junk DNA science reporting fiasco of late 2012 is that in that case the science reporters gave an accurate account of what Ewan Birney said. It was what was said in his press conference that was the problem (and he has never apologized for it, just said that things are complicated).

    The distortion of the meaning of the science could not be attributed simply to bad science reporting. When a science reporter gets fed a line of bullshit by a scientist, particularly one who was giving the official summary of work by a consortium of 400 serious scientists, the reporter is at a big disadvantage. And it doesn't help when Nature jumps on the bandwagon.

    1. A good science writer wll be skeptical of what scientists say about their own work, especially if they are making extraordinary claims. In this case, it would not have taken too much effort to find out how ENCODE's claims were received in the past when they reported on preliminary data. It would have been quite reasonable for a science writer to interview prominent defenders of junk DNA to get another perspective. The fact that there was IMMEDIATE opposition to the false ENCODE claims shows that science writers did not do their job properly.

    2. I agree with Joe that the scientists are often the ones fueling the hype in science. Ironically, the only case that I’m aware of a scientist condemning the hyping of their work is that by a ENCODE member.

      Here is what Anshul Kundaje, one of the top ENCODE researcher (second author of the ENCODE flagship paper in Nature: wrote about the ENCODE fiasco (see Lior Pachter’s post at:

      Anshul Kundaje: “You are judging an entire body of scientific analysis based on one statement/paragraph in the main ENCODE and the massive media hype (which I personally also agree was unnecessary and misdirected )…Criticize the media hype and the way the project was advertised as much as you like. I personally think that is absolutely justified.”

      Is anybody aware of any other cases of scientists condemning the hyping of their work by the science writers?

    3. @ Claudiu Bandea

      Not only interesting... but VERY ironic, to boot!

    4. Hi Claudiu
      Re: Is anybody aware of any other cases of scientists condemning the hyping of their work by the science writers?

      I reckoned that Darwin may have been one. I remember reading somewhere that Darwin was not a Social Darwinist… a controversial question, it turns out.

      It would appear that Darwin indeed was a Social Darwinist:

      That said, (and to the dismay of the devoutly religious gainsayers of Darwin) Darwin’s version of evolutionary theory was neither immoral nor amoral.

      Darwin himself believed that … morality was not just possible… but inevitable under certain conditions.”

      Hmmm… interesting yet again.

    5. @Claudiu Bandea: Alas, Kundaje's "condemnation" is of the "massive media hype". But the media were only reflecting what Ewan Birney said, and the result they were reacting to would be very big news (if true). It would be very legitimate for them to make a big deal of that finding, if it were a finding.

      I agree with Kundaje that the uproar over junk DNA is no reason to dismiss the bulk of ENCODE's work. But he sounds too much like he is trying to attribute the problem to the science journalists.

    6. All of the scientists in the ENCODE Consortium put their names on the summary paper that was published in Nature. including Anshul Kundaje. If he didn't agree with the main summary point of the entire project then he should have refused to put his name on the paper. None of those scientists can plead ignorance. They knew full well what the headlines would say.

      Ewan Birney has said repeatedly that the paper was discussed intensively among the project leaders and they reached a consensus over the amount of the genome that was functional. Several of the project leaders have made public statements supporting the claim that most of our genome is functional. Science writers did not make this up but they should have been more skeptical.

      The scientists who reviewed the paper didn't raise any objections either.

    7. Laurence A. MoranMonday, October 27, 2014 4:29:00 PM
      All of the scientists in the ENCODE Consortium put their names on the summary paper that was published in Nature. including Anshul Kundaje. If he didn't agree with the main summary point of the entire project then he should have refused to put his name on the paper. None of those scientists can plead ignorance. They knew full well what the headlines would say.

      You know very well that's not how consortium papers evolve into their final versions

    8. Georgi Marinov,

      I remember we have discussed the issue of papers with ludicrous numbers of authors before on this site. Isn't what you imply part of the problem too? People get to put their name on a prestigious Nature paper which will look very great on their CV - for having contributed 0.8% of the work and being unable to assess whether the conclusions are justified. Hooray.

    9. There is not fixed amount of work that goes into papers.

      These papers contain two to three orders of magnitude more work than a "regular" paper does. Thus people who may seem to you as if they have contributed 1/400th to the whole may have actually done more work than most people who get to be on "regular" papers have done.

      Are there people who did absolutely nothing and just hung around ("for the food", in the immortal words of PhD Comics) on these authors lists? Probably there are, and they might even be a substantial percentage. But that does not mean everyone's contribution was minimal. And it does not mean that everyone who has a substantial contribution gets to approve the final version of the text. These things would never get published if all authors had to agree with each revision - the process would take as long as the slowest person to respond every time a new version gets circulated. Parametrize that distribution whatever way you want, the more people you get, the more likely it is that someone will be unreachable for weeks or even months. The only way these things can get done is if only a small group of people works on the finishing.

    10. As I wrote, we have discussed this before, so there is probably little to be gained from repeating it. I was just hoping that the current context would shine an additional light onto the issue:

      This has nothing to do with agreeing to all minor changes to the manuscript text. If the conclusions of a paper turn out to be false or misleading or even, in other cases than this one, based on fraud or manipulation, and then one of eighty authors says, my authorship should not taint my resume because I did so little of it and couldn't really assess the validity of the whole, should we accept that? Your above comment made it sound somewhat as if that is what you would do.

      The same author was more than happy to wear laurels despite doing so little of it and not being able to notice that it was wrong or fraudulent, so this is trying to have it both ways. Reminds me of certain managers who justify their multimillion dollar salaries with the claim that the success of the company is largely thanks to their leadership and then defend themselves with the claim that they didn't really know what any of their subordinates were doing when the company goes belly-up.

    11. There is nothing wrong with the text of the paper. Read it carefully - everything it says is 100% correct. Internally.

      What was said outside of the paper is what caused problems.

    12. Redefining "function" in the abstract was a dick move, even though they give an (internally) consistent definition later, still, DICK MOVE THEN, DICK MOVE NOW. Ewan Barney, still a dick, though capable of shame. Stamatoyannopolis, GIANT DICK. $%&# you, John Stam.

    13. Georgi Marinov,

      Sorry but it was not me who started putting it into the context of "how consortium papers evolve into their final versions".

    14. In his comment above, Georgi Marinov says: “There is nothing wrong with the text of the paper. Read it carefully - everything it says is 100% correct. Internally. What was said outside of the paper is what caused problems.”

      Just to remind readers, just like Anshul Kundaje, Georgi was one of the primary authors responsible for generating the ENCODE data and analysis. Therefore, their perspective on the ENCODE fiasco should be considered highly relevant.

      If I’m not mistaken, Georgi has made similar statements before and, apparently, has not been specifically challenged. If that is the case, he is right: “There is nothing wrong with the text of the paper. Read it carefully - everything it says is 100% correct.”

      Does anybody (specifically) challenge his statement?

    15. @Geogi and Claudiu

      I challenge the statement.

      The paper says that the ENCODE project "aims to delineate all functional elements encoded [sic] in the human genome." They then go on to define function as, "a discrete genome segment that encodes [sic] a defined product (for example, protein or non-coding RNA) or displays a biochemical signature (for example protein binding, or a specific chromatin structure)."

      Then the paper says, "The vast majority (80.4%) of the human genome participates in at least one biochemical RNA- and/or chromatin-associated event in at least one cell type."

      I would never, ever, put it that way and neither would any scientist who really understood the issue of junk DNA and the evidence supporting it.

      The entire paper is about function and why the "functional elements" they identified are important. There is no substantive discussion of artifacts or the possibility that most of the genome is junk. The word "junk" doesn't even appear in the paper. Some will argue that the paper is technically accurate even though they used a really stupid definition of "function" in order to hype their results. That would be like defining function as any base pair that's replicated and claiming that 100% of the genome is functional. When challenged you fall back on the claim that "everything it says is 100% correct" because that's how you define function. That's what we call "disingenuous." Nobody's buying it.

      The abstract says, "Many discovered candidate regulatory elements are physically associated with one another and with expressed genes, providing new insights into the mechanisms of gene regulation." That's simply not true unless you define "new insights" in as self-serving a manner as you define "function."

    16. Several ENCODE scientists seem uneasy with their first summary paper from September 2012 so they published another last April. They said ...

      "... the scale of the ENCODE Project survey of biochemical activity (across many more cell types and assays) led to a significant increase in genome coverage and thus accentuated the discrepancy between biochemical and evolutionary estimates [of function]. This discrepancy led to much debate both in the scientific literature and in online forums, resulting in a renewed need to clarify the challenges of defining function in the human genome and to understand the sources of the discrepancy.

      To address this need and provide a perspective by ENCODE scientists, we review genetic, evolutionary, and biochemical lines of evidence, discuss their strengths and limitations, and examine apparent discrepancies between the conclusions emanating from the different approaches."

      Does that sound like a group that's confident that everything they said in their first paper is 100% correct? Of course not. They know full well that they blew it in the first paper by not addressing the controversial nature of their claims and not mentioning junk DNA.

      In the second paper (April 2014) they say, "Although ENCODE has expended considerable effort to ensure the reproducibility of detecting biochemical activity, it is not at all simple to establish what fraction of the biochemically annotated genome should be regarded as functional."

      That's what they should have said in the first paper and that's why that paper is not 100% correct.

      Here's another statement from the second paper that should have been in the first one, "We believe that this public resource is far more important than any interim estimate of the fraction of the human genome that is functional."

    17. Claudiu BandeaThursday, October 30, 2014 8:41:00 AM

      If I’m not mistaken, Georgi has made similar statements before and, apparently, has not been specifically challenged. If that is the case, he is right: “There is nothing wrong with the text of the paper. Read it carefully - everything it says is 100% correct.”

      The discussion started when the subject of how all 500 authors on papers like this should have read and agreed on the final text was one again brought up, and I once again explained why that's not how things work in real life.

      However, even if it was the case that some people were aware of the presence of something they disagree with in the final version of the text, do I need to list all the reasons why they may not be in a position to object too vigorously? I don't think you have been inside today's top-level research infrastructure for sufficiently long (if you have spent any time in it) to be aware of all the constraints, many of which may have nothing to do with any of the names of the people listed as a authors. This is not the era of the self-sufficient gentleman-scientist anymore, it's not even the 1960s or 1970s. Keep that in mind.

    18. Laurence A. MoranThursday, October 30, 2014 4:49:00 PM
      @Geogi and Claudiu

      I challenge the statement.


      I would never, ever, put it that way and neither would any scientist who really understood the issue of junk DNA and the evidence supporting it.

      The statement I made above is correct. That it's irrelevant in the larger (and the only one that really matters) context (something I immediately acknowledged after making it) does not change that.

      I replied to the comment above about why people are not withdrawing their names from the paper - one very good reason for not doing that is that there is nothing technically wrong with it.

    19. So, Georgi, despite Larry’s scientific arguments (and Diogenes’ more colorful evaluation, see above) you see nothing wrong with the Nature paper?

      What about the presentation of ENCODE findings by Ewan Birney and other ENCODE leaders to science writers and media?

    20. Claudiu, Georgi said the exact opposite of "nothing wrong with the Nature paper." He said the fact that there is nothing technically wrong with it is "irrelevant in the larger...context," which is "the only one that really matters." In other words, where it really matters, the most publicized conclusions of the first ENCODE paper were wrong. (At least that is what I take from what Georgi says above, and ask that he correct me if I've misinterpreted his remarks.)

    21. I like how Georgi uses the word "technically."

      "Honey, are you cheating on me?"

      "Technically, no."

      That always goes over well!

    22. I think we should give Georgi the chance to address and clarifying his stance on these 2 issues:

      (1) Is there anything wrong with ENCODE’s flagship paper in Nature? If the answer is yes, please let us know what’s wrong with it.

      (2). Is there anything wrong with the presentation of ENCODE findings by Ewan Birney and other ENCODE leaders to science writers and media? If the answer is yes, please let us know what’s wrong with it.

      Again, Georgi was one of the primary authors responsible for generating the ENCODE data and analysis, and therefore his perspective on the ENCODE fiasco is highly relevant.

    23. Georgi Marinov says,

      You know very well that's not how consortium papers evolve into their final versions.

      Yes I do and I apologize. I misspoke. I was thinking only of the ENCODE leaders and not every scientist. I thought that Anshul Kundaje was a more important player but at the time he was only a research associate.

      However, somebody has to take responsibility for the summary paper. Who is it? Are you telling me that the major ENCODE leaders did not sign off on the paper even though it was their work that was being summarized?

      On the April 2014 paper there are five authors who are identified as writing the paper and 27 who "contributed to manuscript discussion and ideas." On the original Nature paper there are only six authors who are part of the "writing group." I wonder if they the only ones who approved the manuscript?

      Two of the authors, Michael P. Snyder and Bradley E. Bernstein, are writing authors on both papers. Three other authors from the original writing group have their names on the second paper; Ewan Birney, Ian Dunham, and Eric Green. The sixth writing group author on the Nature paper is Chris Gunther. She's a professional science writer and a former Nature editor. Her name doesn't appear on the PNAS paper.

      Georgi, there are 30 authors on the PNAS paper from last April. How many of them do you think are prepared to stand by everything that's in that paper and how many will claim that the paper may not represent their views because they never approved the draft that was sent to PNAS?

    24. I have said enough over the many threads on these subjects here for my position to be clear to anyone who has read my posts.

    25. No, that's the problem. Your position isn't clear. When you say the main Nature paper was "technically correct", that sounds to everyone like a way of avoiding the controversy by pedantic legalism. Larry's trying to pin you down here, and you keep squirming. Or that's how it looks to me and, I suspect, to other readers. An unequivocal statement would be nice.

  6. Isn't there a saying in English to describe situation like Nature complaining about hyperbole and sensationalism in science reporting? Something about pots, kettles and blackness? If only I could remember.

    But really the best part is this "Some bloggers seem to spend most of their time criticizing other science writers, or at least debunking examples of what they regard as inferior science writing. But they do lots of good stuff too." Didn't they read over their own draft and notice how that sounds?

  7. I like Sydney Brenner's response when asked if he was ready to make a "public confession" that he was wrong about junk : "I am prepared to reduce it from 96% to 95.8%" [S. de Chadarevian (2009) "Interview with Sydney Brenner", Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 40, 65-71]. As this was 2009 he wasn't specifically referring to the ENCODE nonsense, but no matter.

  8. It seems to me there is something like an inverse relationship between the amount of care taken on science that *claims* significance (think ENCODE), and the amount of care taken on science that actually *is* significant (think Lenski). Those science writers who want to sell newspapers, magazines, or books may tend to cultivate sources among the former sort of scientists; those who want to explain and inform may tend to cultivate the latter sort.

    As a lawyer I've worked with expert witnesses in at least one case involving fairly cutting edge engineering and technology (at least at the time - it was quite a while ago). Even as a layperson one nearly instantly gets a grasp on who is willing to leap to quick conclusions and who is willing to put in the time to do good careful work. So it seems to me quite possible those writers who publish sensational stories on the basis of their scientist sources, only to find the stories aren't true, may simply be getting what they bargained for.

  9. There has been bad reporting on origin issues. They present evolutionary biology as if it has biological scientific evidence behind it!
    It doesn't.!
    Complicated things are after all beyond ordinary general science writers and publishers.
    They are not smart enough to overcome their lack of speciality in science subjects.
    Thats why they don't give creationism criticisms its fair and square place in science publications.
    its simply part of a spectrum to have other subjects skrewed up as someone sees it.

  10. Larry,
    I know it is off the board but there is a huge debate going on among scientist in my former office... They are questioning the following issues:

    The flu shot....
    Cholesterol issue..
    1.Can you explain the flu shot issue..? A lot of people get sick after getting the shot..
    2.The cholesterol issue.....CBC is running a piece on stations that apparently some of your fans like...
    Can you comment after watching it...?

    Thank you

  11. Please forgive this off-topic post.

    I just wanted to convey my gratitude to many on board for their patience and their indulgence.

    I just finished teaching cladograms to my Grade 11 high school students and I had to pause and chuckle to consider how my lesson has so dramatically changed over the last couple of years.

    That would be because of naïve misconceptions on my part that required correction... corrections provided on this forum.

    As it turns out - I have occasionally pretended to play part of éminence grise on other fora (such as the ap biology teachers') by deflecting questions to answers found here.

    Courtesy demands public acknowledgement of gratitude.

    Thank you.

    1. Considering that comments are currently dominated by Quest and responses to Quest, off-topic would be a relief. But I don't think that was off-topic anyway.

  12. Hi John
    I am particularly delighted that you intercepted my post.

    If patience and indulgence could be quantified, yours would require a logarithmic scale!

    My students are in your debt.

  13. Quest said: and doing a better job than slough-ass-Joe with a comfortable jobs doing shit that contributes to the society....

    Prediction confirmed. 119.

    Whotta jerk!

    1. Joe, Quest had devolved into troll-only mode. He has given up any pretense of engaging in honest conversation. He has nothing to offer.

    2. I agree. Which is why I am going to drop back to reminding him "whotta jerk" he is only about once every 5 jerky troll postings of his.

    3. Chris B and Joe F the Chicken,

      In order to engage in a conversation with me both of you would have to present some experimental evidence for your so-called "scientific beliefs"....

      Axe, Behe and many others have been demanding from you to provide such, but you either say their claims that evolution is in a dead end have been refuted but no experimental evidence has ever been presented... I like speculation about ..."what if"... but in this cases, more than speculations is required...

      Poor Chris B can't make bacteria to evolve or repair a flagellum, Joe F the Chicken can't explain what he means by "active design"...

      I'm a troll... because I demand experimental evidence for so-called scientific beliefs that the whole "science of evolution" is based on...

      "Scientists" can't replicated what damn luck or a fluke has done supposedly over millions of years and that is the best refutation this sh..ty science has... and we are supposed to buy it...

      Yeah... you can call me all you want but this is the truth and you can't swallow it....

    4. Hey quest, since you obviously believe in a 'designer-creator-god' and since you are obviously asserting that exact replication of ancient processes and events is absolutely necessary in order to make credible claims or inferences about them, let's see you exactly replicate all of the processes and events of the following:

      1. The origin and existence of your chosen 'God'.
      2. Creation of the universe, life, and everything else throughout time by your chosen 'God', including how, when, and where.
      3. The biblical flood, if you're a christian.
      4. The garden of eden and a talking serpent, if you're a christian.
      5. Adam and Eve, if you're a christian.
      6. Jonah living inside a fish, if you're a christian.
      6. The exodus, if you're a christian.
      7. Baby jesus, adult jesus, crucified jesus, zombie jesus walking around, and zombie jesus flying up to heaven, if you're a christian.
      8. Every miracle that has ever been alleged.

    5. I'm sure you realize the importance of your childish requests...? I do...

      Let me inform you that the main reason why we are interacting here today is not because I claim that I can replicate what has obviously been designed by a SUPERIOR DESIGNER.... It is because people like you claim to have evidence FOR THE ORGINS OF LIFE that exclude the more superior than us DESIGNER....

      BTW: I can easily answer ALL OF your questions... but what's the point...?

    6. Pest: "I can easily answer ALL OF your questions"

      Then answer them. All. Easily.

      ""Scientists" can't replicated what damn luck or a fluke has done supposedly over millions of years

      Translation: no intelligent being has ever created anything like living organisms, therefore an intelligent being must have created ALL living organisms. Creationist logic...

    7. I would be really interested in the answer to 8, specifically the one where a biblical experiment tells you to scrape bark of a twig and put this twig into the ground in front of mating goats, Genesis 30:37-39. When the little goats are born, their colour is like the twig you scraped the bark off.
      You could use your chickens Q, tie a few down before they migrate to Russia, stick a twig into the ground in front of mating chickens and check after 4 weeks when the chicks start growing feathers to see if their colour is the same as the twig.
      Take a few pictures and within a month you can have your proof. To make the proof rock solid you'd have to use a few different chicken strains, like the Dutch Barnevelder, English Leghorn and Appenzeller, but the outcome should be the same for all these types of chickens.
      There you have it Q, an experiment to prove all those evilutionists wrong.

    8. Eddie,
      There is absolutely no need to answer this question because every logically thinking person without prejudice knows that everything that has a beginning had to have a cause…. Since the beginning of the universe is clearly associated with the beginning of time and space… the first cause of the beginning of the universe, time and space, could not have a beginning…. It is beyond time and space… It has no beginning… and... quite possibly no end....

      Some speculate that the first cause would have to have an unlimited number of dimensions to be infinite...

    9. Dino G,

      I can answer all of the questions... my brother is a bible scholar.. so I'm not worried there...
      Did you ever consider superior intelligence to your shifty brain...? What other explanation can you consider...? Your intelligence can't replicated damn luck, can you think of any other options...? Or is whatever of your reasonable thinking blocked by "a superior ID to ours is not allowed because we are gods..."

      Have you ever considered a possibility that you may be wrong...?

    10. Quest boasted:

      "BTW: I can easily answer ALL OF your questions... but what's the point...?"

      Your 'answers' must be actual replication of all the things I listed, and the point is that you should provide the same level of evidence for your religious claims as you demand for scientific claims.

    11. Some speculate that the first cause would have to have an unlimited number of dimensions to be infinite...

      Factually incorrect sloppy thinking. Cantor proved mathematically there are different-sized infinities in 1891. A line is infinite, as is a plane, as can be a 3, 4, or other finite-dimensioned object or universe.

    12. every logically thinking person without prejudice knows that everything that has a beginning had to have a cause….

      Sorry, once again sloppy thinking. There is nothing that says the present universe or any particle in it had to have a definite cause, or even a definite beginning. There is only a greater or lesser probability of existence. Stuff winks "in" and "out" of existence all the time. See for example

    13. If causality is not necessary, then could you please give a couple of examples of effect without cause?

    14. Virtual particles, matter and energy produced temporarily according to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, and the behavior of chaotic systems. Also quantum systems in general. If a particular element's average behavior is for 5 of 10 atoms to decay in an hour, and if you have ten such atoms, you might after an hour see 3 atoms decay, or 6, or 10. No cause known for the oobserved pattern.

    15. sez newbie: "If causality is not necessary, then could you please give a couple of examples of effect without cause?"
      One of the examples you're requesting was provided by Judmarc: Virtual particles. Is there some reason you declined to follow the pointer Judmarc provided, newbie?

    16. Diogenes: All fine except for "and the behavior of chaotic systems". Chaotic systems are entirely deterministic.

    17. Even a purely Newtonian "classical" model is inherently indeterministic (as opposed to just chaotic) and must allow for unpredictable events not triggered by anything. Examples upon request.

    18. Causality is prehistoric philosophy. Cause/effect is too ambiguous to be of much use, except for the ambiguity giving space for equivocations and for smuggling gods into arguments. Which is why creationists rather keep this way of thinking.

    19. Put me down for a request, too, Piotr. :)

    20. Piotr, I was with you up until "...not triggered by anything." Even the old "3 body problem" shows that "classical" systems are indeterministic. But in that case, the trigger would be gravitational action on the bodies. So yes, I'd be curious to know your examples of events "not triggered by anything" in classical mechanics.

    21. Pioter,

      Don't keep us breathless... Provide the examples of " something is cause by nothing..." and how "...nothing pulls the trigger ..." LMAO...!!!

    22. I'd also be interested in knowing how the 3-body problem shows that classical systems are indeterministic. Just because there is no exact mathematical solution? I don't see that as relevant. So what, then?

    23. Imagine a simple situation: a perfectly smooth hemispherical dome, and a billiard ball placed exactly on its top. (Remember that we are in an ideal Newtonian universe, where it makes sense to talk of exact locations and perfectly smooth surfaces). The ball can remain in rest for any time t and then roll down in any direction φ. We have an infinite family of solutions (with two free parameters), all of them compatible with Newton's laws. Newton's laws determine the motion of the ball once it starts rolling, but don't determine either t or φ. They don't even specify a proper probability distribution for t. If the ball "decides" to break its rest after, say, 17 miliseconds, seven months, or five quadrillion years, no trigger is necessary. Newton's laws don't prohibit the spontaneous breaking of the symmetry of the situation, so it can happen, but they don't cause it either. It's only when the balls starts accelerating that its behavior becomes deterministic.

      I owe this example to John D. Norton (2003, "Causation as folk science").

      Judmarc: The three-body situation is chaotic and cannot be solved analytically in the general case, but it's still deterministic.

    24. I confess to not understanding this. Wouldn't Newton's laws state that the ball will not move at all unless some directional force is applied to it? A change in velocity without applied force would seem to violate Newtonian physics.

    25. Brownian motion of air molecules batting on the ball would do it, but that would be a force, however tiny.

      Quantum mechanics would not require a force-- the ball's wavefunction could just tunnel to a lower free energy state, slightly farther down the slope, with the direction of tunneling being random and non-deterministic.

      As for chaotic systems, they're theoretically deterministic, in perfect mathematical models with no round-off error. In real physical systems, indefinitely small changes, too small to be observed, in the initial conditions result in totally different final states. If we can't observationally distinguish which small changes in initial conditions produced the big difference in final conditions, it's de facto a stochastic process.

      If you start 10 double pendulums, real ones, and try to start them all off with exactly the same angles, after a few swings some will go chaotic and some won't, and we have no way of deducing which changes in initial conditions made some go chaotic and others not. Eventually they'll all undergo chaotic motion, but it will start at very different times, and we can't explain the resulting pattern (2 seconds for pendulum A, 10 seconds for pendulum B, etc.) in terms of differences in initial conditions because they were identical as far as we could measure.

    26. No, because not only the velocity of the ball but also its acceleration in the direction of motion are infinitesimally small at first. In other words, when the ball starts rolling the accelerating force is almost zero (in an almost horizontal direction, at the top of the dome). Acceleration increases continuously from 0 to g.

    27. Diogenes: Of course you can make the model more complex. You can add a realistic-looking probability distribution like P(t) = exp(-t/τ), where τ is a physical constant (discussed by Norton in the linked article), which means that long resting times are less probable than shorter ones. The behaviour of the ball will still be unpredictable, but at least statistically regular. This, however, is no longer a pure Newtonian model (and we don't explain where the constant τ comes from -- we just postulate it).

      The fact that there are real-world factors that may precipitate the symmetry-breaking doesn't matter in the idealised Newtonian universe. My point is that even in such a world, no matter how carefully idealised, there will be plenty of room for untriggered events that happen "by themselves" for no particular reason.

    28. Sorry, my first reply was to John. Diogenes had posted his comments before I published it.

    29. Actually, this apparently only works (mathematically -- of course in real life it could never arise) for certain shapes, and a hemisphere isn't one of them, as your reference says. He uses reversibility as a proof, which seems convincing enough. Still, this is not a case of acausality in nature, because the situation is a purely mathematical construct. Let's be content with quantum mechanics.

    30. Again… it looks like the stubborn morons have not done their homework… Or... they have and still decided to deny the obvious…I’m going to go with the second option, because it took me 15 seconds to find out that their premise about so-called uncaused virtual particle is outright wrong… I had known this before I’ve begun looking for evidence, because 99.9% of times when atheo-morons claim something with 110 % certainty, I right away become suspicious… In this case is no different…
      I’m amazed at to what lengths some people are willing to go just to lie to themselves… and atheo-evolutio-moronists are not different from 99% of religious people I have encountered… They simply want their beliefs to be true no matter what the evidence shows…
      So, are so-called virtual particles uncaused and therefore they prove that the universe didn’t need a cause…?
      Anybody willing to bet…?
      To make the long story short virtual particles’ existence depends on that the quantum mechanical vacuum, which is something that had to have a cause… “The dynamical properties of vacuous space arise out of its interaction with matter and radiation fields, in the absence of which 'this dynamism of empty space is but a formal abstraction lacking physical reality. The quantum vacuum is a sea of fluctuating energy which gives rise to virtual particles. Thus, virtual particles can hardly be said to arise without a cause"…
      And another cheap attempt of the so-called science believers has been devoured… but that will not deter or change people who want to believe in what they want to believe…
      That… I don’t get…Aren’t scientist supposed to follow the evidence and not their preference…?
      I guess there are at least two types of scientist …. Those who follow the evidence and those who follow the evidence as long as it is what they want it to be….
      Well… can the latter scientists be really called scientists…? I wonder…

    31. Pest, you appear to be quoting a creationist website which falsely states that virtual particles have a cause. What, specifically, is their cause? The vacuum? So now you're admitting that something can come from nothing, right? If particles can be caused by the absence of particles (which is basically what you're saying), why can't a universe be caused by the absence of universes?

      You're saying the vacuum is the cause? What does the vacuum have in it? The absence of matter and energy causes matter and energy? You say so; why then cannot a universe be caused by the absence of universes?

      Or are you saying that quantum fields create virtual particles? Why do you think no physicist, not one, describes quantum fields as causes of particles? A quantum field is necesssary to mathematically describe the creation and destruction of particles. But "necessity" is not a cause.

      Your creationist website is redefining "cause" because they lost the argument. The number 10 is mathematically necessary to count your fingers. By your new creationist redefinition of "cause", your fingers would be "caused" by the number 10!

      A quantum field is not a particle nor a set of particles. It is a mathematical description of the *possibility* that particles of a certain type might exist.

      Your creationist source, which you did not cite because revealing that you learned ALL your science from creationist webpages would be embarrassing, appears to be absurdly claiming that virtual particles of type X are caused by the field, that is, particles of type X are "caused" by the possibility of particles of type X existing. Do you have any idea how stupid that argument is?

      The possibilty of X existing may be necessary for X to exist, but it does not cause X to exist. There are an infinite number of things which are possible (and each has its own quantum field), but if possibility is causation, why aren't all possible things caused to exist by their possibility? It's possible, though unlikely, Pest may someday understand science. If that ever happens, was it caused by its possibility? Ridiculous.

      Creationists redefined causality because they lost the argument. There is zero evidence for your god. Get over it.

      Pest, stop grovelling before the creationist authorities you worship and trust. Tell us in your own words

      1 what a quantum field is,

      2.what a "cause" is, and

      3. What is the evidence the quantum field "causes" virtual particles.

      You can't and won't answer these questions because virtual particles have no cause. But your god exists in a sense: you worship creationist authorities.

    32. John: Sorry, I read the article some time ago and forgot the important part about the shape of the dome. Anyway, it works for some shapes. In the real world, there is much more opportunity for indeterminacy, starting from the fundamental, quantum level, so this "Newtonian indeterminacy" will not even have a chance to manifest itself. The whole point is that it's something that you cannot get rid of, even in an idealised "classical" world. The model is not completely deterministic for purely mathematical reasons.

    33. Diogenes: The fragment cited by Quest is a ruthlessly mangled quotation from a 1952 article by Alexadder W. Stern, an American physicist who worked at Bohr's Institute for Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen in the 1950s. His article has been quote-mined by W.L. Craig, who lifted a few phrases and sewed them together to fabricate a monster that is now living a life of its own in cyberspace (of course creationists can't be bothered to consult the source and just copy and paste WLC's stuff, sometimes with further embellishments). As you can see if you compare the original with what WLC did to it, Stern can't be held responsible for the added conclusion.

    34. @Josh Harshman: These types of situations - acausality in deterministic systems - arises when you can describe the system by a function f(x) = grad F(x), where x is a vector in the phase space for the system. Essentially you have a landscape for the various states, and the system moves through state space along the slope of that Landscape. At local extrema and saddle points it ends up at a position, where the slope is 0. But an infinitissimal pertubation would set it off in some direction, leading to a situation where staying in that state for any amount of time is consistent with the system, but there are some additional solutions.

      Relevant to evolution, because deterministic approximations in phenotype space describe selection this way. You end up with a large number of potential states in a fitness landscape where the system is both indeterminate and does not provide a probabilistic description either. If you include drift, you do get a solution that does include probabilities for various paths.

    35. In the deterministic system, it needs to be said that if you are at the peak you stay there forever. Not an indeterminate amount of time, but forever. That is because in that system there is no Brownian motion, and no perturbation of the system by trucks driving by, or by people sneezing or by light breezes blowing.

      Everyone is trying too hard to be realistic. Knowing the properties of models like this is helpful, and for this model once you are at the peak you stay there forever. There is also no quantum mechanics in the deterministic model. Stop trying to be real, folks.

    36. On causes and effects: You may be interested in Bertrand Russel's essay "On the Notion of Cause", in which he argues that "Causality is a relic of a bygone age".

      Here's my take: Before Newton, you might have talked about how object A hit object B hit object C so that A caused B caused C to move. However after Newton (and Lagrange) our physical models are better described as "A, B and C are a system which evolve together in time". A good example of this is gravitation: Objects A and B in empty space attract each other gravitationally. Is it object A that causes object B to move, or vice versa? The reason there is no good answer to this question is because it does not make sense to talk in terms of causes and effects, you have to talk about time-evolution of a system.

      Re: indeterminacy in QM and statistical mechanics: In fact statistical mechanics and CM/QM (classical/quantum mechanics) are fundamentally different models of the world. CM/QM are deterministic (for these purposes) in the sense that if you know the system/wavefunction at one point in time, you can predict it perfectly in the future. Stat mech relies on a contradictory assumption known as the 'Ergodic hypothesis' which is in some sense unjustified: Even though in CM/QM we know that the current position of gas particles in a box can be determined from their positions in the past, in thermodynamics we make the (unjustified) assumption that their positions are actually random and independent of their previous positions. In other words, stat mech's model for the world is inherently probabilistic, which contradicts our more fundamental models of the world which say it is deterministic. Reconciling these two models is a major 'foundations' problem in physics. In fact, one of the winners of the fields medal this year won it for his work in understanding how chaos arises in deterministic systems.

      In my opinion, 'causality' can be forgotten even without getting into indeterminacy, which is somewhat poorly understood anyway.

    37. Pest is copying and pasting from a dishonest creationist website with bungled or mangled quotes on it, as Piotr has pointed out. In fact, Pest's authority quote is a creationist confection of creationist William Lane "Kill da Canaanite Babies" Craig and real physicist Alexander Stern. Note that Pest or the creo source he copied from uses an open quote mark ', which switches from Captain Genocide's words to Stern's words, but no close quote, so Craig's falsifications are mixed up with Stern's physics.

      As quoted by Pest: “The dynamical properties of vacuous space arise out of its interaction with matter and radiation fields, in the absence of which 'this dynamism of empty space is but a formal abstraction lacking physical reality. The quantum vacuum is a sea of fluctuating energy which gives rise to virtual particles. Thus, virtual particles can hardly be said to arise without a cause"

      Stern's words begin with "this dynamism" and end with "physical reality." The rest of the words are Craig's, so Pest's source is deceptive, because Craig, not Stern, is the one asserting that virtual particles have a cause.


      Craig, not Stern, actually says that "vacuous space" has an "interaction with matter and energy fields"! News to me! And likewise he says vacuum "gives rise to virtual particles"! So William Lane Craig says nothing can create something!

      Captain Genocide really shot himself in the foot with that one.

      When the quotes are weird
      And they don't look real
      Who ya gonna call?
      Quote Busters!

    38. Hi Diongene,

      Let's start with this:

      As a scientist, using the scientific method, provide evidence that virtual particles exist...

      For the sake of discussion involving all, I provide the general outline of the scientific method:

      The scientific method has four steps

      1. Observation and description of a phenomenon. The observations are made visually or with the aid of scientific equipment.

      2.Formulation of a hypothesis to explain the phenomenon in the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.

      3. Test the hypothesis by analyzing the results of observations or by predicting and observing the existence of new phenomena that follow from the hypothesis. If experiments do not confirm the hypothesis, the hypothesis must be rejected or modified (Go back to Step 2).

      4. Establish a theory based on repeated verification of the results.

      Now, let's watch how our Dino is going to go around, and around and back peddling... When it is all said and done...there will be only one thing left:

      Nothing... no evidence...

      Have a good day, if you can LMAO!!!!

    39. Pest,

      You are such fun to read. Your "description of the scientific method" is apparently taken from this site:

      They plagiarised sombody else's description, but never mind. They modified and partly scrambled the original text, and you have copied it together with all the modifications. The site in question has a lot to say about such scientific disciplines as:

      Tarot Reading
      ESP Testing
      Palm Reading
      Psychic Chat

    40. And your evidence for virtual particles is...?

      And your acceptable scientific method is non-existent...

      We will just wait a while until profeszor Gegajacy produces one... which we can be sure he will, because if he doesn't.. we all know what that would mean... LMAO!!!

      You and Dinogene make me laugh so much with your overconfidence without evidence that I turn down an offer to go to a comedy club...
      You are just more laughable then Jerry Seinfeld... lol

    41. Pest, your previous argument was that virtual particles exist, and they have a cause, which is the vacuum when it contains no matter nor energy. You copied and pasted this from a Christian apologist, not a scientist, William Lane Craig, but you conveniently didn't tell us who you were copying and pasting, and you copied incorrectly, dropping a quote mark telling us where physicist Stern left off and Christian Craig picked up.

      We pointed out your falsehoods. Now your new argument is virtual particles don't exist, which contradicts your previous argument.

      If virtual particles don't exist, why were you just arguing they had a cause-- the vacuum? If virtual particles don't exist, doesn't that make the trusted authority, Christian apologist William Lane Craig, whom you just copied from, look kind of ignorant? If virtual particles don't exist, as you now claim, doesn't that mean Craig is ignorant of basic physics? Yes or no, Pest.

      This is what Freud called kettle logic: A man returned to his neighbor a borrowed kettle, but in a damaged condition. He did not want to reimburse his neighbor for the damage, so he argued: 1. the kettle was already damaged when he borrowed it, 2. the kettle was undamaged when he returned it, and 3. he never borrowed the kettle to begin with!

    42. Well... it looks like the best evidence the boys have come up with for existence of virtual particles is that I said that they had to have a cause...Well... what do you must be desperation...

      Obviously... as usual... the boys forgot to look up why the virtual particles are called "virtual"...

      Anybody has an idea why they are called virtual particles...?

      I will tell you because those stubborn boneheads will never mention it or admit that there is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE--I'm not going to even mention EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE --that virtual particles actually exist...

      Their existence is speculated to fill the gaps of the theory of quantum fields... The theory is only right... if virtual particles exist... If they don't... then the theory is worth shit...

      So... in short, the atheo-evolu-morons believe in something that is not only uncaused but also there is not scientific evidence it exists...

      Doesn't that sound a bit familiar...? It does to me... Hypocrisy...

      They don't believe God could be uncaused and they demand scientific evidence for God's existence and yet they themselves are willing to accept the same premise... whatever that is... as long as it doesn't have immaterial implications...

      Does anybody have any doubts what atheism is all about...? Hypocrisy...

    43. Quest: "I will tell you because those stubborn boneheads will never mention it or admit that there is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE--I'm not going to even mention EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE --that virtual particles actually exist..."

      Quest, do you ever tire of being demonstrably wrong?

    44. Rum,

      Do you ever tire out...? How about your ventilogy shit...? You Got no results there but you still believe this nonsense.... why....? Give me one reasonable explanation and I will try not to laugh... which is hard... fyi...

    45. This is how Quest admits he has been proven wrong: By changing the subject and thinking no one will notice. LOL!

    46. And I repeat: If virtual particles don't exist, as you later began to claim (contradicting your earlier claim that virtual particles are real and caused by the vacuum), doesn't that mean William Lane Craig, the authority you trusted, is ignorant of basic physics? Yes or no, Pest. Yes or no.

      You quoted William Lane Craig. You trusted him as your authority, and expected us to be scared by your authority quote about physics from a non-physicist. Why don't you say the name, "William Lane Craig"? Is there a reason you're afraid to say his name, "William Lane Craig"? Say his name, Pest. Say his name. Either defend his statements about physics, or concede that you were wrong to cite him as an authority on physics. But say his name.

    47. Morons,

      Why do you insist on your god/creator of universe virtual particle's existence…? Can’t you read the critics…? Why do you still insist to embarr-ass your-ass in public…?

      Virtual particles are NOT REAL YOU MORONOS… even if they were, they would require a cause…

      Their POSSIBLE existence is dependent on other factors that had to have a cause…
      So… in the end… it is a theory that is supposed to back up another theory so that the brainless could be happy for a while...

      Let me use an analogy that can possible penetrate whatever you use instead of a brain…
      You think that macroevolution is real and you speculate on it a lot… but you do admit that the origins of life has not been explained… What you are saying is pretty much the same thing what we have been talking about virtual particles… If the origins of life turns out to be an issue requiring a transcendent agent, your other theories now and then would have to be adshitsted as well…Right…?
      Let’s begin…
      What is a virtual particle…? Virtual particle is not real… Well…let’s see.
      In reality a virtual particle is just a physical interpretation of an intermediate stage of a calculation which is APPROXIMATE…The perturbation theory is used to fill the gaps of the field theory to fill the gaps of God…

      I comment on it this way… We (THE PROUD) don’t want immaterial interpretation… We will find as many theories as we want but we will not accept reality over our theories, that interpret other theories to satisfy our blind needs… This is science... you're welcome morons..

    48. Hey quest, have you replicated your chosen, so-called 'God' yet? How about the other stuff I listed? Shouldn't you be busy doing that in your immaterial, transcendent laboratory?

      And while you're at it, let's see you replicate the cause of the cause of the cause of the cause of the cause that caused the required cause of your chosen, so-called 'God'. It should be easy to do by a brilliant scientist like you.

    49. Quest, please click this link:

      - And then watch the video. Now you no longer have to embarrass yourself by claiming there is no experimental evidence of virtual particles.

    50. Strangely, Pest will not say the name of his expert and authority, WILLIAM LANE CRAIG, a Christian apologist and non-physicist from whom Pest learned what he thinks is physics.

      Pest knows no physics, so why does he keep making up things about physics that are not true? All for god god goddy god:

      even if they [virtual particles] were, they would require a cause…

      Begging the question. Pest presents as evidence that virtual particles have a cause his personal belief they have cause. What is the cause then, the vacuum? Empty space causes things?

      Their POSSIBLE existence is dependent on other factors that had to have a cause…

      Begging the question again. Assuming facts not in evidence. Your religious beliefs are not evidence.

      What is a virtual particle…?

      A thing Pest said existed and had a cause, quoting as his authority WILLIAM LANE CRAIG, and which he later said never existed, and which he later later said if it did exist, it would require a cause, because Craig's Christian apologetics require it to, although physics doesn't.

      In reality a virtual particle is just a physical interpretation of an intermediate stage of a calculation which is APPROXIMATE…

      No, that is not what a virtual particle is, and quantum field theory is not approximate. Read up on the measurement of the anomalous magnetic moment of the muon-- the calculation is accurate to one part on a billion, the most precise prediction in the history of science.

      The perturbation theory is used to fill the gaps of the field theory to fill the gaps of God…

      No no NO. Field theory has no gaps. Gaps are invented by religionists to insert their Gop therein. Perturbation theory is an approximation to an exact theory.

      To sum up: Pest has no idea what a virtual particle is, it exists and must have a cause because his religion says so, also it doesn't exist and has no cause.

    51. Piotr, didn't you hear about the US midterm elections? GOP does equal God now. Forevermore, or at least until 2016.

    52. Look like Rum the Ventologist and other boys here think that they dropped a bomb... Well... let's see...

      If you think this experiment (Rums link to a video of BBC) provides credible and experimental evidence for the existence of your uncaused god, let's see if you would be willing to put any money on it... Pioter is the only one in the group with his reputation on line.... so.... I suggest we put monetary value on your beliefs... Since you claim I'm no scientist... and you not only have faith in your beliefs... now you claim you have scientific and experimental proof... So it should be no problem for each one of you to bet at least $100 on it....

      If I'm not able to refute this experiment, each one of you will only collect $20-30...But, if I succeed, I collect all the money from you...
      I see that It may not be fair deal FOR YOU....but you guys claim to have the answers to all the question all civilizations have been yearning for... So... it should be no problem... Should it...?


    53. B
      I LOVE THE
      I LOVE

    54. Quest, you're in a hole and sinking rapidly - maybe it's time to stop digging?

      Quest: I will tell you because those stubborn boneheads will never mention it or admit that there is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE--I'm not going to even mention EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE --that virtual particles actually exist...

      Here's Wikipedia regarding the Casimir effect caused by virtual particles:

      Wikipedia: It was not until 1997, however, that a direct experiment, by S. Lamoreaux, described above, quantitatively measured the force (to within 15% of the value predicted by the theory),[6] although previous work [e.g. van Blockland and Overbeek (1978)] had observed the force qualitatively, and indirect validation of the predicted Casimir energy had been made by measuring the thickness of liquid helium films by Sabisky and Anderson in 1972. Subsequent experiments approach an accuracy of a few percent.

      There you go, Quest, scientific, experimental, repeated verification of what you say does not and cannot exist.

      After you do the usual incoherent response (perhaps with various words in all caps, random ellipses, non sequiturs, etc.), I doubt I'll bother to respond further. Anyone honest would long ago have conceded that proof of the incorrectness of your fundamental proposition (that anything with a beginning must have a cause) has been satisfactorily furnished.

    55. The Van der Waals force has basically the same origin as the Casimir effect. Those little geckos Quest admires so much -- y' know, they walk on vertical glass panes as miraculously as Jesus walks on water -- makes use of the van der Waals force, and therefore of the non-existent virtual particles. If there ain't no vurchal particles, can Jesus walk on water?

    56. Pioter,

      You make me laugh each time I read your brednie....

      Here is an example: What are you trying to say....?

      The way I see it is that Jesus could have used virtual particles to walk on the water... but you don't accept it because... other lizards actually walk on water that are called Jesus Christ Lizards...

      Make up your freaking mind, because to me you are selectively contradicting yourself...

      There are definitely two issue here let me point out to you
      1. Are virtual particles real?
      2. If virtual particles are real, are they uncaused?

      As you can probably deduce, one issue doesn't have much to do with each other in this case... So...make up your freaking mind you moron...!

    57. As if we haven't already given this guy enough rope. It is telling that zero of the other ID acolytes is here to defend him.

      Quest, if virtual particles (vacuum fluctuations) aren't "real", then what is causing the electron wobble in the experiment? What is causing the casimir effect?

      You claimed there was zero "experimental or scientific" evidence for the existence of virtual particles. Then how do you explain the experiment in the video, or the casimir effect?

    58. ealloc,

      Thanks for your comment. I did not know that Russell was among those who wrote about cause/effect being prehistoric thinking.

  14. Q says: "There is absolutely no need to answer this question because every logically thinking person without prejudice knows that everything that has a beginning had to have a cause…."

    Uhm, the experiment mentioned above was about chickens, not about beginnings. But hey, please go ahead and answer question 2 from the above mentioned list if you want to discuss beginnings. I'll copy/ paste it below:

    2. Creation of the universe, life, and everything else throughout time by your chosen 'God', including how, when, and where.

    Back to the experiment:
    The cause was a stripped piece of tree, which led to the effect of coloured goats, as
    mentioned in Genesis 30:37-39.
    Since your brother is a bible scholar, he should be able to find the specfied verse in the bible. He also should be able to give the play by play instructions to get the experiment going. So, what are you waiting for?

    Regarding the other bits of your post, it can be summarized as every logically thinking person without prejudice knows, as:

    1. In Genesis 30:37-39

      Jacob started off tending only sheep of normal color and goats with no markings. However, he worked hard and did what he thought would increase the number of off-colored animals. He took green sapling staffs of the storax, almond, and plane trees, and peeled the barks of these in such a way as to give them a striped, spotty appearance. These he placed in the gutters of the animals’ drinking troughs, apparently with the idea that if the animals looked at the stripes when in heat there would be a prenatal influence that would make the offspring mottled or abnormal in color. Jacob also took care to place the sticks in the troughs only when the stronger robust animals were in heat.

      What were the results?

      The offspring abnormally marked or colored, and therefore Jacob’s wages, proved to be more numerous than those of normal solid color, which were to be Laban’s. Since the desired results were obtained, Jacob probably thought his stratagem with the striped sticks was responsible. In this he no doubt shared the same misconception commonly held by many people, namely, that such things can have an effect on the offspring. However, in a dream his Creator instructed him otherwise.

      In his dream Jacob learned that certain principles of genetics, and not the sticks, were responsible for his success. Whereas Jacob was tending only solid-colored animals, yet the vision revealed that the male goats were striped, speckled, and spotty. How could this be? Apparently they were hybrids even though of uniform color, the result of crossbreeding in Laban’s flock before Jacob began being paid. So certain of these animals carried in their reproductive cells the hereditary factors for spotting and speckling future generations, according to the laws of heredity discovered by Gregor Mendel in the 19th century.—Ge 31:10-12.

      Click here for more information

    2. So your story is that God was playing a little joke on Jacob, making him perform a meaningless task when all he had to do was wait? Quite a sense of humor, seldom revealed in this particular deity. I can think of only one other joke, when he first demands that Abraham sacrifice Isaac, but lets on at the last minute that he was only kidding.

    3. By the way, your (JW) interpretation of that dream is nonsense. God is merely telling Jacob that his breeding program with the sticks has been such a success that all the male goats and sheep are now his. He's taken over Laban's flock. Nothing like this: "And yea, the F2 offspring were striped to solid as 1 is to 3, for verily the striped coat is recessive, like unto a wrinkled pea".

    4. Newby,

      First of all ; What side are you on...? I'm a bit confused...but not as much as Johnny Harsh it seems you know... unlike me... he know the bible very well... can you believe it...?

    5. Johnny Harsh,

      You are finally making some sense...

    6. Hi Newbie,

      I've been looking at quite some references regarding genesis 30:39, but not one reference speaks about 'In his dream Jacob learned that certain principles of genetics, and not the sticks, were responsible for his success." .
      Even your own watchtower link doesn't specifically mention genetics. Is this some kind of personal interpretation? Genesis also doesn't proficise Mendel, so where do you get the idea that Genesis 30:39 in some way points to Mendels discoveries about peas?

      Further more, from Wikipedia:
      "Mendel explained inheritance in terms of discrete factors—genes—that are passed along from generation to generation according to the rules of probability. Mendel's laws are valid for all sexually reproducing organisms, including garden peas and human beings. However, Mendel's laws stop short of explaining some patterns of genetic inheritance"

      Yo Quest, are you paying attention, here's a bit which should interest you:

      "A similar situation arises from codominance, in which the phenotypes produced by both alleles are clearly expressed. For example, in certain varieties of chicken, the allele for black feathers is codominant with the allele for white feathers. Heterozygous chickens have a color described as "erminette," speckled with black and white feathers. Unlike the blending of red and white colors in heterozygous four o'clocks, black and white colors appear separately in chickens. "

      So, Genesis 30:39 looks to describe non-Mendelian heritage, something Mendel's laws doesn't cover. So, how can Jacob have learned about Mendelian heritage and genetics, when coat color is a non-Mendelian trait?

      It seems to me that coat color, ie genesis 30:39, has nothing to do with Mendel and genetics, but rather with divine intervention changing the goats to different colors.

      Does anyone have a clue? Or should we wait for the results from Quest's chicken/ stick/ genesis 30:39 experiment?

    7. I am constantly amazed at the persistence of idiots with zero command of Biblical Hebrew pretending to interpret what is written in Genesis.

      Given the Jewish unchallenged authority of Biblical Hebrew, perhaps deference should be made to their interpretation!

    8. But seriously - is it possible to have faith and simultaneously be intelligent?

      Contentious question!

      I contend "yes of course"... but exemplars such as Quest need to be disregarded.

      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.

    9. Jacob’s dream where it is explained to him how the changes in appearance of goats happened

      Genesis 31

      “10 Once when the flock got into heat, I raised my eyes and saw in a dream that the he-goats mating with the flock were striped, speckled, and spotty. 11 Then the angel of the true God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob!’ to which I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12 And he continued, ‘Raise your eyes, please, and see that all the he-goats mating with the flock are striped, speckled, and spotty, for I have seen all that La′ban is doing to you.”

    10. Quest, I'm on the side of the truth, which it seems you only claim to be.
      Unlike you, I do it in polite manner because of this command;

      2 Corinthians 6:

      "3 In no way are we giving any cause for stumbling, so that no fault may be found with our ministry; 4 but in every way we recommend ourselves as God’s ministers, by the endurance of much, by tribulations, by times of need, by difficulties, 5 by beatings, by imprisonments, by riots, by hard work, by sleepless nights, by times without food; 6 by purity, by knowledge, by patience, by kindness, by holy spirit, by love free from hypocrisy, 7 by truthful speech, by God’s power; through the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left"


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

      Tom, there are many Jewish interpretations of Genesis and its various passages (though Lewis Black's has got to be my favorite - thank you). Fundamentalist Jewish interpretations are just as literalist and asinine as any fundamentalist sect of Christianity. When an Israeli yogurt manufacturer dared to put dinosaurs on its labels in connection with Jurassic Park (no mention of dinos in Genesis), fundamentalist Orthodox Jews persuaded the rabbinate to refuse to certify their products were kosher.

    12. A posteriori "interpretations" can be bent in any way that suits the exegete. The Scandinavian origins myths, Hesiod's theogony, the hymns of the Rigveda -- you name it, and I'll show you it's compatible with modern cosmology, astrophysics, and evolutionary biology.

    13. Quest does he standard rant... but he seems to forget the burden of proof of Genesis 30:39 is still his.
      You know, TWT asked you to recreate a specific list of biblical miracles or else they didn't happen. In your own words:
      "Please provide us with scientific and experimental evidence for the origins of life..." where I'll exchange 'origins of life' with 'biblical miracles': And I'll be nice and trim down TWT's list of miracles to Genesis 30:39 only, because this miracle has to do with genetics.

      Here you go Quest:
      "Please provide us with scientific and experimental evidence for the genesis 30:39 miracle..."

      Recreation of the genesis 30:39 miracle using you're flying chickens should be a piece of cake. Unlike goats, chickens breed faster and have more offspring.

      So Quest, either put up and do the experiment or shut up.

    14. "Well what else can I say...?"

      How about 'goodbye'?

    15. "Well what else can I say...?"

      You could try: I'll be back in 4 weeks with my Nature paper on chickens, sticks and Genesis 30:39.

    16. OCD or Schizophrenia are unfortunately not my areas of expertise... So... you should ACT QUICKLY accordingly...

      Before you "go" and turn on other another sock puppet of yours, why don't you support RUM with his virtual particle experiment... I know that I made you ALL so uncomfortable with the bet.... but that is what your faith is based

    17. Larry is well and enjoys his beautiful family which one can only admire... I do... considering Larry's background and beliefs I think in this department he is doing rather well... I'm a huge family man so I can always sense this "bond" between people who would do special/extraordinary things and make sacrifices due to this amazing relationship...

  15. Is it just me?

    ... or

    Is Quest consistently managing to fail the Turing test?

  16. “Everyone in life has a purpose, even if it's to serve as a bad example”. ― Carroll Bryant.

    Along those lines, I actually manage to cite Quest in my classroom...
    ... but enough is enough already!

    On that note, can we please move on?

  17. Joe Felsenstein: In the deterministic system, it needs to be said that if you are at the peak you stay there forever. Not an indeterminate amount of time, but forever. That is because in that system there is no Brownian motion, and no perturbation of the system by trucks driving by, or by people sneezing or by light breezes blowing.

    Excuse me, but isn't this just another way of saying that the ball can't move because there is nothing to cause it to start moving by nudging it delicately? Norton's point, however, is precisely that the kind of system he discusses can evolve without an external stimulus, and it can do so in many different ways without violating Newton's laws. It may be counterintuitive, but after all QM is way more counterintuitive.

    1. Sure, as a model of reality. It then does have an external stimulus -- say, vibrations from a passing truck. And it magnifies those almost trivial stimuli and gets a result that you couldn't predict unless you knew all the details of the stimulus.

      But as a a theoretical model it does not have those tiny stimuli at all. So the ball sites on top of the dome forever. All the time derivatives of the changes in position are zero, and they stay that way.

      If you made a physical model out of, say, wood, to which this mathematical model was an approximation, you'd be right to expect unpredictable changes. But if you made a mathematical model and waited for the ball to move, I'd bet against it moving before any finite time. Once we reached that time, I'd collect my winnings.

    2. So the ball sits on top of the dome forever. All the time derivatives of the changes in position are zero, and they stay that way.

      Well, that's one solution of the differential equation describing the behaviour of the system in Norton's thought-experiment:

      r(t) = 0,

      where r is the horizontal distance from the axis of the dome. But there is a whole 'nother class of solutions:

      r(t) = 0 for t ≤ T,
      r(t) = (1/144)(t – T)^4 for t ≥ T,

      for any arbitrary T. No external stimulus is needed to set the mass moving. Newton's laws are observed when the mass remains at rest, when it slides down the dome, and even for t=T (all the time derivatives of its position are continuous and equal zero at T). There's no reason why solution [1] should be privileged unless you assume that motion can't start spontaneously without a cause, thus begging the question (since the possibility of uncaused events is what's being discussed).

    3. Fascinating. You are way ahead of me. Of course we are both now thinking of the abstract model, so we can't be invoking Brownian motion or passing trucks.

      So if you are watching the ball for t ≤ T, how can we tell whether it will follow solution (1) or solution (2) after T?

    4. Newtonian mechanics alone can't even assign a probability to each solution. It only says that neither is prohibited. You can extend the model in various ways, e.g by introducing a universal time constant determining the "decay rates" of unstable equilibria. In a Newtonian universe with such a constant, the position of the mass at time t will be described by a probability density function f(t), and the initial equilibrium will have a certain expected mean life.

    5. For you physicists, the key point of Piotr's solution [2] is that

      all the time derivatives of its position are continuous and equal [to] zero at T

      This means acceleration is zero at t=T, and since F=ma is what we're arguing about, force is zero at t=T. As Piotr stated, this does not violate Newton's laws, so he gets a moving body with zero force.

      To which I would reply: then why is it so hard for me to get out of bed in the morning?

      (Note to self: patent this idea: hemispherical bed.)

    6. Shh... I was wrong, actually (I have this regrettable tendency to press "Publish" before I finish thinking). The fourth derivative is equal to 1/6, which doesn't matter, as far as Newton is concerned.

      As John Harshman pointed out above, a hemisphere may not work -- the equilibrium won't "decay" spontaneously in a finite time. But there's a large class of domes to choose from. Norton uses one that you get if you rotate a curve like f(x) = -x^(3/2) about the x=0 vertical axis. The problem is that it's a blunt-pointed kind of dome (which is why you can't sleep on it forever).

  18. sez quest: "And your evidence for virtual particles is...?"
    Casimir effect. Next ignorant question?

    1. Pest has posted his next ignorant question above:

      there is NO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE--I'm not going to even mention EXPERIMENTAL EVIDENCE --that virtual particles actually exist...

      Pest posted this after you said "Casimir effect."

  19. Professor Moran, are you there? I am getting worried.

    1. I get worried that Larry spends so much time here, not that he is absent for periods. He has courses to give and a major textbook on biochemistry that is continually in revision.

    2. I'm in Vancouver visiting my son and daughter-in-law. Today we're going shopping. Tomorrow I'm having dinner with a high school friend who we haven't seen for 47 years. (He's a professor of computer science at UBC and sometimes comments on Sandwalk.) On Tuesday we meet one of my colleagues from Toronto who happens to be in Vancouver.

      I'm also playing the beta version of my son's new game.

      All my spare time is taken up with preparing exam questions and collating data from the student lab experiments. I'll be back to blogging soon. Tell Quest that I have the answers to all his questions!

    3. Larry... we both know you are bluffing... why would you think you can all of the sudden turn your bluff into science...? You must possess some transcendent powers to make a claim like that...

      I know the reality of your beliefs.. ?They mean nothing.... and they belong nothing ...

    4. Hey Q, how is your experiment coming along with the sticks and the chickens? Your hens should be sitting on top of *the ultimate* proof right now to prove evilutionists wrong. Can't you imagine how famous you'll be, actually giving proof that Genesis 30:39 is in fact true!
      Wow, instant Nobel prize and thousands and thousands of evolutionary scientists gnawing their teeth and having to admit in public, they were wrong all along...

  20. Ed,

    What are you talking about...? Have you lost your mind...?

    I'm trying to make the chickens evolve into flying, migrating birds... but some have already warned me that it may be an issue for the chickens not only to evolve into migrating birds... but most of all for them to evolve a navigation system...

    Some suggested that it would be easier to evolve them into ducks; or even a cow into a whale, than a chicken into migrating bird...Any suggestions...?

    BTW: Where did you get this Genesis 30:39 idea...? It talks about lambs not chickens...unless you have an "atheistic" version of the

  21. "I'm trying to make the chickens evolve into flying, migrating birds... "

    Many people here have already pointed this fact out to you, you're trying to gather proof for Lamarckian evolutionary theory. Not Darwinism/ natural selection. Lamarck has been refuted = fail mr Q.

    Genesis 30:39 is about goats actually, mating goats in front of stripped sticks. The offspring takes to the coloring of the sticks. If it works for goats, should work fine for mating chickens. They do that every day, chicks hatch after 3 weeks, within a month you have definite proof.

    I would expect you'd be eager to do this experiment, because genesis 30:39 says divine intervention colours the goat/ chicken/ sheep/ what ever, based on the colour of the stick. If the chickens change colour to the sticks, a god intervened. If not, it would seem that it was genes >> deity.

  22. Ed,

    Here is a quote from Wikipedia:

    "...Later, Mendelian genetics supplanted the notion of inheritance of acquired traits, eventually leading to the development of the modern evolutionary synthesis, and the general abandonment of the Lamarckian theory of evolution in biology. Despite this abandonment, interest in Lamarckism has continued (2009) as studies in the field of epigenetics have highlighted the possible inheritance of behavioral traits acquired by the previous generation.[1][2][3][4]..."

    4. Bonduriansky, R. (2012). Rethinking heredity, again. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 27: 330-336.

    This is another perfect example how chaotic and inconsistent the modern evolutionary theory is....

    Barbara, who claimed to be a geneticist who have tried to refute my claims here many times assured me that the least I could accomplish by my experiment with the chickens was to make the chickens fly again...

    Now... it seems... some evolutionist disagree... What's new...?

    A theory and a fact that nobody understands and can't agree on the mechanism or what it can accomplish...

    1. Yes, it's possible for chickens to fly, basically almost all chickens, except the egg factories in small metal cages and the nugget meat chickens, can fly (short distances).
      And yes, epigenetics make use of Lamarck. And yes, it's known there are some traits passed on through non-Darwinian evolution. Do epigenetics in some way invalidate Darwinian evolution? If yes, please provide evidence.

      Anyway, lets focus on Genesis 30:39. The Whole Truth asked you to exactly recreate a choice of biblical miracles. You expect scientists to recreate everything in testtubes or else it's not true. Thus, if we apply the same burden of proof to your personal god, it's up to you to do the same. Cool isn't it, it's like a trial in a courtroom, both sides have to deliver conclusive evidence, not only the defendant.

      Anyway, TWT's first one on the biblical miracle list was rather tricky, recreate your personal god. While you're busy doing that, genesis 30:39 should be a piece of cake.
      I'd expect the evilutionists will accept the experimental setup if you exchange the goats for chickens.
      Stick a (haha) stick into the ground with pieces of bark removed, in front of mating chickens. The chicks will inherit the coloring pattern of the stick through divine intervention. Chickens mate every day, 3 weeks after fertilization chicks are born. Once they start to grow feathers --> there's you proof.

      I did propose you use a few different chicken strains with different starting colors. Perhaps you can find a biochemist, who knows maybe Larry will lend you a student, who can help you do the Western blots to check expression of specific proteins which lead to different coloring. Perhaps there's a geneticist who can help you sequence the genes for feather color. The change in DNA should be startling, way beyond anything Darwnian evolution can predict.

      So, what are you waiting for?

    2. Yeah Quest, what are you waiting for?

      By the way, I don't remember you saying anything about migration and a navigation system before. Seems to me that you only talked about flying chickens, and as Ed and others, including me, have pointed out, chickens can fly. Maybe not for long distances, but I also don't remember you talking about long distances before.

      It really doesn't matter if chickens can fly and migrate and have a navigation system or not. Your questions, demands, and assertions are just trollish BS.

      Hey, I know how you can make us evilutionists look bad. Get a chicken to lay an egg that hatches out an exact replication of jesus and then have that baby jesus turn a loaf of bread into a lamb with a navigation system that migrates to Jupiter and back.

    3. By the way, I don't remember you saying anything about migration and a navigation system before. Seems to me that you only talked about flying chickens,

      Q did mention flying chickens, then Q moved the goalposts once people told Q chickens can indeed fly, maybe not far, but yes they can fly.

      After this first move, Q moved the posts even further, now the requirement was flying ánd migrating to Afrika.

      Finally, in the last desperate move by Q to make the analogy end up in the realms of the absurd, it became a Gish like analogy, the requirements changed once again, it had to include a GPS.
      Gish's WhaleCow... with airbottle attached to it's back. Hot damn, check mate evilutionists...

    4. Quest, the initial concept for your chicken "experiment" was a Lamarkian approach. You did seem to accept my explanation that a more genetic approach (allowing only the best flyers each generation to breed) would indeed produce chickens that can fly well, and immediately pointed out that I hadn't answered your question (a question you hadn't asked, and a foolish question too, I might add). Now you're back complaining that in answering your initial question you weren't provided a way to produce a migratory chicken population.

      Whenever you're in danger of learning something, you move on to complain that something else hasn't been answered. Not cool.

    5. Dear Barbara,

      Thank you for not answering my question again... I know that my question is not foolish...It is simply too difficult to answer not only for you... If it were foolish, a lot of people here, including you I'm sure... would love to provide evidence to refute my claims, that not only life, but a cell itself is irreducibly complex... I know that your didn't answer it because you were in danger of learning something you just refused to accept as real... You might suspect it to be so... but you just don't want it to be true... Well... that is nothing new...

      When it comes to flying chickens, my intention right from the beginning was always, always to make the chickens fly again and long distances...
      Some on this forum objected that my experiment was not needed because chicken's relative fowl already can fly, but not very well and not very far...

      So... making the long story short... one of evolutionary biologist told me that for the chickens to fly further than their relative fowl, the chickens would have to evolve a navigation system... which neither chickens nor fowls have.. and according to him was pretty much rather impossible to happen...When I asked why, I got the usual answer evolutionist give when they are clueless....

    6. Ed,

      Did I miss your answer on my Lamarckism link...? I guess you either don't like or know nothing about
      Either way, you made a moron of yourself and now you pretend it never happen...

      Reg. chickens, see my answer to Barbara...

    7. Pest, anti-evolutionists claim that common design implies common designer.

      Do the chicken and the goat have a common designer? Yes or no. (I'm aware that Pest never, ever answers my yes-or-no questions, no matter how simple I make them.)

      If chickens and goats have a common designer, then showing some striped wood sticks to chickens ought to affect the morphology of their offspring, as clearly happens to goats as described in the Book of Genesis. Unless you think Genesis is bunk, in which case you should go off and challenge Ken Ham to a debate or infest anti-evolution blogs and call out the creationists for their bunkum.

      If chickens and goats don't have a common designer, oh, how many designers are there? One for each atom?

    8. Q, you clearly have trouble reading, or else you should've noticed my remarks regarding Lamarckism.

      Further more, thanks for reminding me that I need to be very specific about what I write when addressing creationists.
      I typed:
      Lamarck has been refuted = fail mr Q.
      What I should've typed:
      Lamarck has been refuted as leading mechanism for evolution = fail mr Q.

      Anyway, lets get back to chickens, sticks and genesis 30:39. Easy experiment to perform, quick results possible and a very high chance of humiliation once the results come in.
      Your answer to Barbara doesn't cover the genesis experiment, hence why I'm asking you about this experiment again. When can we expect results? They could be in before christmas...

  23. Oy vey. I don't thinking meeting hype (press conferences before peer reviews) are best done with more hype:

    "It's about the discovery of gravitational waves—a paper that turns out to have been wrong because scientists didn't do the proper controls."

    The BICEP2 papers (they are sereval) are not known to be "wrong" and the scientists did the proper controls best as they could. A followup work of Planck implies some or all of teh signal can be dust, but it has problems of its own since all of its claims could be beased on noise as uncovered by followup works. Et cetera.

    TL;DR: We will have to wait and see if anything was wrong.

  24. Quest: “OCD or Schizophrenia are unfortunately not my areas of expertise...”

    That much I can believe, but what ARE your areas of expertise? Nothing you’ve said here suggests that you have any. Maybe you could enlighten us.

  25. Mrs. Conrnichon,
    There are some areas that I feel comfortable with... as I have demonstrated many times on this blog...
    I'm not naïve... and I don't buy bullshit because it is wrapped in the science wrapping as most do... I demand proof...

    ...however there is a flip side to this coin....
    If let's ...say I'm a scientific moron... and I barely finished the middle school or less...
    How does that help you...? An uneducated moron has defeated an entire scientific blog... he must be Satan or something...
    Can you see the logic or the lack of it in your reasoning...?

    BTW: Who's sock puppet are you...? I don't even wish to guess anymore...

    Present some experimental evidence if you wish to defeat me... which I'm sure you will and disappear and reappear as a new sock puppet...

    1. Pest: "say I'm a scientific moron"

      OK... You are a scientific moron. Any more requests?

      "and I barely finished the middle school or less"

      Uh, OK. You barely finished middle school or less.

      "How does that help you...?"

      Uh, did we need help from an unscientific moron?

      "Present some experimental evidence if you wish to defeat me"

      Done and doner! My next and more difficult mission: tie my shoelaces. Oh wait, already tied.

      "An uneducated moron has defeated an entire scientific blog"

      Oh yes, Pest, you defeated us the day pigs flew out of my ass. And that was the day after you defeated the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

      Any way Pest, we don't care if you "defeat a blog" in your dreams. You have to address the peer-reviewed scientific literature. Step 1: Read some of it. Any of it...

    2. Could everyone just start ignoring him? He lacks even amusement value.

    3. Please listen to John!!!

      I don't want to ban anyone for just making stupid comments but I'm seriously thinking of it. That doesn't just include Quest and buszz but lots of people who respond to them.

    4. Larry,

      Thanks... and welcome back... You must've enjoyed your beautiful family... but now it is time to get back to "business"... I assume...

      BTW: If you decided to ban me, under what category of your banning rules would I fit...? I would like to improve and make changes, so that I don't get banned... I hope that asking difficult questions is not one of the reasons you ban people for... is it...? I'm just curious...

    5. Well... You have asked for it... Here it goes...
      Dr. Axe claims you morons can't defeat not him... but his scientific experiment... So... since ALL of you agree that scientific experiments are the way to go, let's start with #1 out of 10:

      "The Case Against a Darwinian Origin of Protein Folds

      Douglas D. Axe


      Four decades ago, several scientists suggested that the impossibility of any evolutionary process sampling anything but a miniscule fraction of the possible protein sequences posed a problem for the evolution of new proteins. This potential problem-the sampling problem-was largely ignored, in part because those who raised it had to rely on guesswork to fill some key gaps in their understanding of proteins. The huge advances since that time call for a careful reassessment of the issue they raised. Focusing specifically on the origin of new protein folds, I argue here that the sampling problem remains. The difficulty stems from the fact that new protein functions, when analyzed at the level of new beneficial phenotypes, typically require multiple new protein folds, which in turn require long stretches of new protein sequence. Two conceivable ways for this not to pose an insurmountable barrier to Darwinian searches exist. One is that protein function might generally be largely indifferent to protein sequence. The other is that relatively simple manipulations of existing genes, such as shuffling of genetic modules, might be able to produce the necessary new folds. I argue that these ideas now stand at odds both with known principles of protein structure and with direct experimental evidence. If this is correct, the sampling problem is here to stay, and we should be looking well outside the Darwinian framework for an adequate explanation of fold origins."

      ALL I want is experimental evidence that refutes this experiment... I don't want shitty calculations or bullshit manipulations to omit the subject... Larry and others claimed on this blog they have experimental evidence to refute this experiment... So let us all finally see it now...

      Let your light shine now...

    6. Hey... Biga boys srry... but... it is about time... targosh will tear you apart... if you no answer no nothing..

      BTW: I have a feeling that targosh could be the frustrated and drunk Bob Buyers... I may be wrong about that... it is just the "pilipinia" overtones that make me sense the similarities...

  26. @Dio Any way Pest, we don't care if you "defeat a blog" in your dreams. You have to address the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

    peer-reviewed scientific literature???

    What a joke....

    1. Translation: I learned all my science from creationist websites.

      Explain how you can prove scientifically that peer-reviewed scientific literature is "a joke." By what scientific method do you prove that? Is it a scientific claim, yes or no?

      If no, why should scientists care?

      If yes, it's a scientific claim, what experiment proves it?

      You want it to be no to evade presenting experimental proof, and yes when you expect scientists to care.

      And another SQCW2E&CS (Simple Question Creationists Want to Evade & Change Subject): Does the peer-reviewed scientific literature describe evidence against evolution? YES OR NO.

      If yes, how it why would creationists cite such results and then call their own source a "joke"?

      If no, peer-reviewed literature has no evidence against evolution, why do creationists lie & claim it does?

      Simple yes or no questions creationists will never answer nor attempt to answer.

    2. Peer review is a infallible system.. huh...?

      Wrong.. peer review is a joke...

      Quote- Anonymous peer review – Peer review is a core building block of formal science publishing. In reality, anonymous review is not effective in fulfilling the intended purpose of assuring accuracy and credibility; its nature promotes fraud and is an excuse for delay. Authors must know who is evaluating their work and what they have said. Peer reviewers must be forced to stand up before the community with the same bravery as the author. Peer review makes science better with openness and by promoting dialog. Being reviewed in the open, subjected to a public critique is hard. Reviewing someone when you know THEY know who you are is also difficult, but it is the only way that there can be a true dialog in science.


    3. @Dio - Does the peer-reviewed scientific literature describe evidence
      for evolution? YES OR NO.


      If Yes.... Give me ONE... just one


    4. Buzz,

      I agree with you on one issue called "peer reviewed bullshit..."
      Hardcore hellvolutionists are reviewing another hardcore evolutionists' papers... They both know that they will not get paid if the paper doesn't go through...

      What I mean by that is a peer reviewing the paper knows that one day he will need to rely on his peer to review his bullshit... So... he can't make a name for himself like "Dr. No" or others will become "Drs. No" to him...

      And that is how the Darwinian carousel is revolving or evolving...

    5. Quest

      Precisely , the fact is that why evolutiontheory can persist is due to the peer review system run by evolutionists. Untestable etc etc ...

      The only genius of Darwin was that his unscientific theory has managed to provide a numerous of pseudoscientists a thick paid job

    6. Yo Quest, you write:
      " I agree with you on one issue called "peer reviewed bullshit..." "

      but a few posts above you link to an article in Biocomplexity, which is desparately trying to behave like a scientific journal, and the editorial board uses... peer review.
      Check out:

      Feel free to check out the bits where 'review' is mentioned, in particular "Submission Preparation Checklist" bullit 4:
      "Names and email addresses of four people qualified to review the manuscript are ready to be entered."

      Hmm, this distinctly has a 'peer review' feel to it...

      To quote Meat Loaf:
      So, what's it going to be boy? Yes or No?

      Is peer review evil? Or do the same double standards apply as usual, and is peer review acceptable only when used to lie for jezus?

  27. @Ed- Anyway, lets get back to chickens, sticks and genesis 30:39. Easy experiment to perform, quick results possible and a very high chance of humiliation once the results come in.

    Experiments? Are you serious? What about experiments to prove evolution? Where are they?

    And read the bible in it's context. The results were not caused by Jacob's experiment as later shown to him a dream.

    Ge 31:10-12. And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled..

    Simple a case of hybridezation

    1. Topgoose,

      Quest uses his common sense and he applies logic to say 'it (evolution) can only be proven if someone can recreate abiogenese in a testtube'.
      The same logic and common sense obviously also applies to biblical miracles, 'it (the bible) can only be true if Quest (or you) can recreate all biblical miracles'.
      Thus we ask Quest, but if you would like to try it be my guest, to recreate the genesis 30:39 miracle or else it didn't happen.
      Genesis 30:39 is about genetics, Newbie above writes, that genesis 30:39 in time will lead to (and even seems to proficize) Mendel and his discoveries about inheritance of genes in peas. The problem with this profecy is that coat colour is a non-Mendilian trait.

      Anyway, back to chickens, genesis 30:39 and sticks, the proof is yours to deliver (the bible can only be true if you can recreate all biblical miracles) or are the same double standards as I show regarding peer review also applicable here? Ie, only scientists need to show proof, while religious fanatics can sit on their behinds in governmentally subsidized churches, enjoying their tax free religion?

    2. Ed,

      For the first time you got my attention about your issue ... I had no idea what you were even referring to at first few weeks ago... but this time... you got my attention... For real...

      So, here it goes:

      State clearly, (even for illiterates like me, Larry, Joe, Johnny H, Jeff S, and others who read and fail to post on this blog... what your issue is... I finally put it together but I doubt most people reading your comments did..

      So... go a head... now... and... only this time.. you will be able to finally demoralize the "quest"... and I can personally tell you... he needs it badly...

    3. Ed

      Another weak attempt.. asking to repeat Gods miracles... tsss.. How desperate.

      Genetics? Evolved? Are you insane? Blind random processes can't even create one single gene. Experiments proves it's simply Impossible. You know why? It's all about information/codes.. As you know... a code always comes from a mind. The code of LIFE is only known by the creator.

      Information is a powerfull tool. Information is the source of every living thing.
      Where are the evolution processes/mechanisms to create NEW information?
      Show me ONE experiment of a evolutionary proces that was able to create new information.

      And Gen. 30:39 is a result of hybridzation as shown to Jacob in a dream and not a miracle at all.

      Asking God to reveal his secrets...

      Think McFly Think!!!

    4. How... amusing, you *once again* confirmed the double standard.

    5. Topgoosz.. you could have pick a much easier nickname to spell... You are like witton... he picked some impossible to spell nickname for evolutionists.... I complained to him about and even stopped using it.. it was worst than yours though...


      You have nailed the issue just as well as I would have done...

      1. I have never claimed that I was able to replicate God's miracles... Chris B has just assumed it... for some reason...
      2. I do think that Jacob was doing selective breeding but he got the info about it in the dream... I think Newby posted something about that here and you seem to have confirmed that...

      I personally think that Ed is just desperate because his hellvolution shit has nothing to hang on to... but who cares about shitty theories that some morons turned into their gods...?

      BTW: My kids and I absolutely love "Back to the Future" series... :-)
      "Think McFly! Think!" ... is one of our favorite sayings when we do something simple really wrong... like forgetting to double knot our shoelaces for the soccer practice...

      You seem too familiar to me... you are giving me too many hints...

  28. Sorry.. accidently logged in with the wrong account....

    Buszz = Topgoosz...

    1. And you're Buszter Buszter on Twitter, correct?

    2. For those who thought Quest was the bottom of the barrel, meet buszz....

    3. Darwin-followers and cliché's.... boring

    4. Buszz,

      I'm not sure if you are aware of it but very soon... if it hasn't happened yet somewhere on this blog... you are going to be named witton's sock puppet... or alternatively mine... which to some regular visitors of this blog is pretty much the same person...
      At this point I couldn't care less because we both know you are not me and I'm not you... You could be witton but I have my doubts because you lack his charisma... He can't hide it even if he wants it because that's who he is... he always leaves a mark I'm usually able to detect even if he pretends to be me or Dinogene...or someone else...

      You don't got it mon....

      BTW: I noticed you have made the adjustment to your "writing" and you use 3 ellipses instead of 4... Just like me...

    5. Quest

      Just mind your own business. It just strikes me that they so often deviated from the actual subject . They try to put you at work while it is quite simple. Provide irrefutable evidence for evolution and it is done. The way they talk about evolution bothers me.... all those complex terms as if evolutionary process is some kind of god..

    6. Buzz,

      I didn't understand your last comment at all... or vaguely.. at best... I hope you do better next time...

    7. Why evolutionists always have problems to stay on-topic, for, in my opinion, clear reasons..

    8. Well... all you have to do is ask EVOLUTIONISTS why they are so reluctant to stay on the topic... as you probably had concluded... I'm not one of them... and have no idea why they do that....

    9. Well, that doesn't work .. It's part of their nature... that nasty habit by putting you at work with the most absurd questions which how they try to shift the burden of proof.

    10. And Quest, o already noticed you are not one of them.. You are able to use your common sense.

      btw... what do you mean with same ellipses?

    11. Hey Quest, How are you going to defeat evolution if you can't even win an argument against yourself ?

    12. Steve,
      Don't tell buzz... but you have never... ever....posted anything related to science proving your beliefs... you're always like a hyena who survives on others misfortunes...try to confirm your beliefs rather than using ALL YOU HAVE-the sarcastic comments after some people made the point clear for you to step in... Well.. you must be a real sucker to believe in what your Made UP YOUR MIND TO BELIVE...

  29. Please forgive this off topic post… but it does pertain to “hyperbole & bad science writing”

    I am currently covering Hardy Weinberg in class and want to extend the concept to Neutral Theory & Macroevolution.

    I am not confident that I have mastered all the nuances and subtleties of these concepts, given my reading of many previous threads on this blog.

    Here are two links I intend to share in class:

    Where I am unclear is exactly how the Modern Synthesis can be considered “dead” or “defunct”. Am I correct in assuming the initial incarnation of the Modern Synthesis was somewhat naïve and its modern version is more sophisticated but for all intents and purposes still stands?

    Of course – that would contradict the hubris and misplaced vanity of many scientists already castigated in previous threads on this blog (Gerd Muller jumps to mind)

    In broad strokes (before I inflict this upon my students) am I in the ballpark and do these links garner your nihil obstat?

  30. Thanks in advance to any and all for your patience and your indulgence.

    As always, I (together with my students) remain grateful for your intercessions.

  31. Tom, here, copied from the Rants and Diatribes page at my website is my take on why we should not consider the Modern Synthesis to be dead:

    "Rant #5: The Modern Synthesis has not been replaced. Sure, all sorts of new phenomena have come along since the 1940s: neutral mutation, lateral gene transfer, symbiosis, evo-devo, epigenetics, etc. And we could declare the death of the current Synthesis each time one came along. But here's why we shouldn't do that:

    Otherwise every time John Blotz came along with a new phenomenon he could strut around publicizing the fact that he, the great Blotz, had invalidated the evolutionary synthesis, and now we had (ta-da!) the Blotzian Synthesis. But he would be shocked a year or two later when Jane Schmerz came along and invalidated the Blotzian Synthesis in favor of the new Schmerzian Synthesis. And so it would go, synthesis after synthesis, until everyone was totally confused, and most people were several syntheses behind.

    Meanwhile the public would be continually told that all that stuff they learned in secondary school, about mutation and natural selection and some other evolutionary forces, was all wrong, because now we had the Blotzian (er, oops, actually the Schmerzian) Synthesis instead.

    It would be (temporarily) great for Blotz's and Schmerz's careers and egos, but a disaster for everyone else."

    1. Hi Joe,

      Thank you so much for your response! I am delighted to peruse your website and love your rendition of “It’s a Long Way from Amphioxus”.

      I am reminded that Darwin himself clearly understood that Natural Selection was not end-all-and-be-all to Evolution. Darwin cited Sexual Selection as one exception and frequently commented on evolution’s capriciousness that we today in retrospect label genetic drift. Example, not all differences between Galapagos tortoises are adaptive.

      Darwin’s intuition regarding the importance of developmental processes in evolution (eg. snake embryo limb buds) presciently foreshadowed today’s evo-devo.

      To paraphrase Alfred North Whitehead, all evolutionary theory is but a footnote to Darwin.

      OK OK… enough with my own hubris and hyperbole! I recognize Darwin’s lack of Genetics’ understanding required the Modern Synthesis later on. There, I hope I did not make a hash of things.

      Joe, your explanation makes eminent good sense to me, Thank you!

      As an aside – I need to let you know that on more than one occasion I have cited you and directed AP Biology teachers to your comments found on this blog. Larry is already a member of the community. I was hoping you too would consider joining so your welcome contributions could be delivered first-hand

      Of course, this invitation extends to others present to whom I also owe a debt of gratitude.

  32. My take is somewhat different. If the core concepts of evolutionary theory changed in the late 1960s (as they did) and if the previous version emphasizing natural selection was called "The Modern Synthesis," then it's very confusing to be a supporter of Neutral Theory/random genetic drift and still claim to believe that your views represent the Modern Synthesis.

    What that means is that views as different as Michael Lynch and Richard Dawkins are still called the Modern Synthesis. That doesn't make a lot of sense.

    I agree that we don't need to change the major concepts of evolutionary theory every few years but I maintain that the current textbook concepts are sufficiently different form what Julian Huxley proposed 70 years ago that it makes no sense to continue using his term (Modern Synthesis) to refer to evolutionary theory.

    As for the general public (and most scientists like those in the ENCODE Consortium), maybe they need to be shaken up a bit by being told that the stuff they learned in high school was wrong or incomplete. A good way to begin is to declare that the Modern Synthesis is dead.

    1. Hi Larry
      I am delighted you responded.

      Your answer left me scratching my head.

      … I maintain that the current textbook concepts are sufficiently different form what Julian Huxley proposed 70 years ago that it makes no sense to continue using his term (Modern Synthesis) to refer to evolutionary theory.

      You say that… yet your message comes across quite differently in other posts, such as when you criticize Muller, Shapiro and Rosenberg (as just three examples).

      Reading these posts causes pause to ponder: exactly how is your position different than Joe’s? I remain unclear and somewhat confused.

      Here is a quote from the Berkeley link I cited above:

      The neutral theory is easily misinterpreted. It does NOT suggest:
      • That organisms are not adapted to their environments
      • That all morphological variation is neutral
      • That ALL genetic variation is neutral
      • That natural selection is unimportant in shaping genomes

      The main point of the neutral theory is simply that when we see several versions of a gene in a population, it is likely that their frequencies are simply drifting around. The data supporting and refuting the neutral theory are complicated. Figuring out how widely the neutral theory applies is still the topic of much research.

      I fail to see how this explanation of “Neutral Theory” constitutes an invalidation in any way of the Modern Synthesis.

      Bringing me back to my original query:

      Where I am unclear is exactly how the Modern Synthesis can be considered “dead” or “defunct”. Am I correct in assuming the initial incarnation of the Modern Synthesis was somewhat naïve and its modern version is more sophisticated but for all intents and purposes still stands?

      Thanks in advance for your patience and your indulgence.

      p.s... your contributions would be greatly appreciated on the AP forum as well.

  33. Anything with the term 'modern' is likely to have a limited shelf life. But the operative word seems to me to be 'synthesis' - genetic change allied to competition as a driver of longer-term change. Yet 'competition' does not necessarily invoke selection, being due more to the finite world than to universally-operating bias. Recognising that selective differentials need not be in operation in order for evolution to occur - the differential essentially generates a gradient which can take the value zero - is a vital, but hardly fatal, refinement to the pre-war view.

    As far as selection is concerned - that most often in invoked as a 'failing' of the synthesis - it seems to hinge on whether one views selection and drift as dichotomous or continuous. But the neutral case - even if it is more prevalent than the pioneers imagined - is simply s taking one of its possible values.

  34. I agree with the implicit point that calling anything "modern" is not great terminology (nor is calling a sequencing technology "next generation").

    But if there was a Newer Synthesis that replaced the Modern Synthesis, when did that happen? If in the 1960s, shouldn't that synthesis be dead by now? And replaced by the Even Newer Than Newer Synthesis in the 1990s or so? And be about to be replaced soon by the Really Newer Newer Synthesis? (Not counting some role for punctuated equilibrium in about 1980, though there is not universal agreement on that).

    And how, through all these trumpeted name changes, can we convey to outsiders the central role of natural selection as the explanation of why organisms are so well adapted? Won't they say that they heard that this was an old-fashioned view now?

    (As it is there are far too many popular-science articles announcing that some new insight has led scientists to finally understand evolution, which was a mystery until now).

    1. I propose The (Indefinitely) Extended Synthesis ...

      I'm certainly not of the view that evolution needs rewiring in any significant way. Mutational bias, the role of probability, LGT, junk DNA, transposition, developmental (ie colonial) factors, coalescence, multilevel selection, meiotic drive - none of these more recent factors appears to be at odds with Huxley's original conception. Selection and gradualism are not dogmas, but remain real and significant parts of the process.

      The main pedagological switch I might make is to start with the neutral case and then move onto biased transmission. There is essentially one process: population resampling; starting with the biased component is historic.

    2. Koonin (2009) proposed "postmodern synthesis", which unfortunately evokes the vision of a brave new world in which a Sokal-style hoax is indistinguishable from a research paper.

    3. ... in which we can't tell Alan Sokal from Robert Sokal, in effect.

  35. A proposed resolution to the conflict:

    We must distinguish between complexity and adaptive complexity. Adaptive complexity is a subset of all complexity.

    The modern synthesis

    1. Observed & computed that NS could produce all adaptive complexity

    2. Assumed all biological complexity was adaptive complexity

    3. Concluded that NS produced all complexity.

    Neutral theory showed 2 was wrong but did not challenge 1, therefore 3 is false.

    However, creationists challenge 1, and they misrepresent the argument about 2 and 3 and present it to church audiences as disproof of 1: that is, "scientists admit evolution can't make adaptive complexity." NO, that is not the conclusion because we dispute 2, thus adaptive complexity is just a SUBSET of all complexity.

    Thus modern evolutionary theory says, post-Neutral Theory,

    1. DO NOT assume all complexity is adaptive complexity

    2. Most complexity is non-adaptive, and most of THAT is observed to be caused by neutral evolution

    3. A subset of complexity is adaptive complexity, and observation and computation show that ALL ADAPTIVE COMPLEXITY CAN BE EXPLAINED BY RM + NS, but not all complexity in general.

    Conclusion: whether or not the Modern Synthesis is the same as modern evolutionary theory depends on whether we're talking about all complexity, or just adaptive complexity. If all complexity, the MS is dead. If just adaptive complexity, the MS was right all along.