Saturday, November 07, 2015

You should know the basics of a theory before you attack it

Turn off your irony meters. Really ... I'm not kidding. They will never survive if you leave them on and follow the link to this post by Barry Arrington on Uncommon Descent.

Don't say I didn't warn you!

You Should Know the Basics of a Theory Before You Attack It
The answer, of course, is “nothing.” Having studied Darwinism for over 20 years, I can tell you what it posits. Therefore, when I attack it, I am attacking the actual thing, not some distortion of the thing that exists nowhere but my own mind.


21 comments :

  1. I turned my meter off and it still overloaded. Maybe it is a miracle.

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  2. Not only that, but Arrington's post is a distortion of the person he's replying to. Arrington is a pathological liar, isn't he?

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    1. Well, he is that. But here I think he's just being stupid.

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    2. Anyone remember Barry's "obviously random" text he manifestly typed out on his keyboard? The subsequent spanking he recieved on all matters relating to information theory will not soon be forgotten. A constant source of entertaintment his bloviations remain.

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  3. My meter sizzled and exploded before I followed the link. The text in the box was enough.

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  4. Barry Arrington, the dumbest lawyer in the US not named Larry Klayman, Orly Taitz, or Matt Staver.

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  5. Here's something related to certain features of the universe and of living things that are best explained by an intelligent cause, from a specimen that was collected from my trace-fossil site by someone I knew right out of high school (now a Ph.D. working at UConn):

    Ancient larvae built predator-thwarting mazes
    Zigs and zags of ancient insect architect hindered invaders, researchers propose
    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/ancient-larvae-built-predator-thwarting-mazes

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    1. 'Best explained' by a premium attaching to not-being-eaten in the natural world.

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    2. Allan Miller believes: 'Best explained' by a premium attaching to not-being-eaten in the natural world.

      That does not explain the origin of intelligence or how intelligence works. To someone who actually studies cognition these generalizations are only childish answers that change the subject to something else.

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  6. Well, I think there's a very easy way to ascertain if CPA Barry understands evolution. Nearly every university has a course in evolutionary biology. Have Barry take a final exam in that course under equivalent conditions. If he passes, I'd believe him. But, of course, there's no way that he would pass.

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    1. Barry seems willing to demonstrate the effects of his twenty-year-long study of "Darwinism":

      OK, Larry. I assume you mean to say that I do not understand the basics of Darwinism. I challenge you, therefore, to demonstrate your claim.

      Larry Moran's Irony Meter

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    2. I saw people reacting to the missile launch off the coast of California as if the government is trying to cover up an alien conspiracy X-files style. I thought that was going to top the bar for facpalming for the day.

      Then I see this blog post and Piotr's follow-up on the IDiots.

      Holy shit, I can't even.

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    3. You also won't find the question "how many atoms does it take to form a continent?" on a geology test, I guess we don't have a theory of plate tectonics or any for formation of geological features.

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    4. Funny response to Arrington's reply thread from "bornagain" (You just need read the first sentence):

      http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/larry-morans-irony-meter/#comment-586937

      He seems to think Larry is saying that evolution is too complicated for anyone but trained experts to understand, rather simply that Barry does not understand it.

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  7. After 20 years studying Law from my armchair, I reckon I'd be really good at it. I don't know what it takes 3 years to get. Details, I suppose. Unfortunately, I am restrained from practice by some kind of Anti-Ignoramus conspiracy.

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    1. Unfortunately, your argument is undermined if you can demonstrate you understand law as well as Barry. Because you just might.

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  8. And this admission by Gordon Mullings (comment 25) will fry your irony meter even if it is hardened against EMP bursts.

    "Oops, mangled a sentence:"

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  9. What worries me more isn't the people tearing at Evolution who know little about it, it's the ones who may or may not know about Evolution and simply don't care. Tear down Evolution is nothing but a tactic to push their religion or get elected. (http://sciencestandards.blogspot.com/2015/11/should-you-understand-something-before.html)

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    1. What worries me the most are all the enablers on the other side who have their own religious and political reasons to avoid a real scientific debate, which would have the controversy over real quick.

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    2. Step one in putting a quick end to the ID controversy is to memorize the brief one sentence premise of the theory that all in the ID movement are supposed to be defending, which is quote:

      The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

      The phenomenon to explain in scientific context is "intelligent cause", only. The variable from another theory called "natural selection" is out of bounds of what the theory covers and a waste of time to argue over.

      Both the "we see design" arguments and the arguments against them are equally a diversion away from what the "theory of intelligent design" was actually premised to explain. Endlessly going back and forth about another theory is simply a bad example.

      Valid topics pertain to how any intelligence works and can be computer modeled. Those most qualified to judge that are experts in cognitive science, not evolutionary biology. As it turns out a very simple cognitive model applies to how the brain, single cells, and genetic systems work.

      With a "theory of intelligent design" and its computer models being science fun in other fora it's either set a good example and likewise follow the evidence wherever it leads or stay lost behind. Such a thing is working just fine in a relatively new area of science that just happened to need theory that begins with that premise.

      It's remarkable how the Discovery Institute found just the right starting point. But it is unfortunate they were not prepared to develop theory that then has to pertain to what makes things "intelligent" and their origins by "intelligent cause". Arguing over evolutionary theory is the same thing as running in circles while thinking you are getting somewhere.

      What matters is what happens in all the rest of the areas of science, from something as simple as others having no problem at all with a new way to model the origin of all in biology that goes with learning the basics of how our brain works. The weird story about where the premise came from and all the fuss it's now causing in evolutionary biology is just a fun surprise to those who learned from the ID theory that goes with a computer model.

      All the arguing over religion and another theory looks silly to someone who has no problem with the concept of "intelligent cause" as it applies to cognitive science. What evolutionary biologists think of that is irrelevant, it's not their field to judge.

      The ridicule aimed at engineers who sensed that much was missing from the looking at things from the Darwinian "natural selection" point of view makes helping to incubate what's new in science to explain the origin of intelligence is the ultimate revenge for them too. In their field they have to model the intelligent virtual worlds the Darwinian evolutionary theory branch only afterwards will point at and say "selection" when they think they see it but that does not help make such a behaviorally complete model possible. What matter are the reasons why engineers who have to do all the hard work have for not finding the Darwinian based view overly helpful. The reasons Barry Arrington or someone else at UD has for not being satisfied with it are diversions away from what is really happening in science. Blaming that too on not understanding the first couple of dozen times through the NS+RM routine can make the thought of a wedge chopping off a certain branch of the science tree where that comes from look tempting.

      In any event: the premise of the theory that is supposed to be under discussion is vital to know by heart and not stray from, or you're on your own wasting time talking about something else.

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  10. Barry's methods are the typical 'shout your opponent down' political tactics that work remarkably well. Whenever questions are asked that they can't answer, out comes the military solution. The sad thing is that this sort of thinking may one day end up in classrooms if these crazies ever get their way.

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