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Date: 2006/02/25 13:04:18, Link
Author: George
"Nothing in evolution makes sense except in the light of ecology."

I'm glad to see that plants were a focus of the study.  They seem to me to be neglected in most discussions of evolution in favour of charismatic megafauna.

Date: 2006/02/25 14:08:13, Link
Author: George

Therefore the Designer designed evolution,  seems logical to me.  Hmm, so I guess the "official" ID theory doesnt conflict with modern biology.

BS explained to me on UD (when I was fool enough to try and engage him in rational debate) that "macroevolution" is evolution of new cell types, tissues & body plans.  Apparently he has no problem with "microevolution", which by his definition encompasses most of the evolutionary change over biological history.  It seems to me he's backed himself into a corner where he only has a bacterial flagellum to shake on behalf of ID.  

And it's a tiny, wee flagellum at that.

Date: 2006/02/28 11:00:21, Link
Author: George
Over on UD they're now claiming that ID is parapsychology.


...Any study of mind and its relationship to causation is ID...

Comment by johnnyb — February 28, 2006 @ 2:29 pm

Date: 2006/03/01 01:38:53, Link
Author: George
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Feb. 28 2006,19:18)

The Designer did a bangup job with the Ebola virus, too, ya gotta admit.

I reckon the Ebola virus is a case of bad design.  Its problem is it kills too quickly.  There's not enough time for it to spread to lots of other people before its host dies.  That's why it only flares up occasionally.  I forget what its reservoir is, but the Hanta virus (similarly lethal) only breaks out when its rodent reservoir experiences big population peaks.

This is of course arguing from the point of view that "better" viruses are those than can spread more copies of their DNA/RNA about the place.

Now the common cold virus- that's the pinnacle of evolution.  Sorry.  Design.

Date: 2006/03/02 10:15:45, Link
Author: George
I think a big factor is simple obsession.  People develop or come across a beautiful theory and become so wedded to it that they become blind to the ugly facts.  They have invested so much intellectual and emotional capital in their idea that it becomes impossible for them to question it in any serious way.  

There have been more than a few single-theory maniacs in science.  The man who first fully developed the theory of protective colouration (camoflage) in animals in the 19th century ended up claiming that all animal colouration had a protective function.  (I forget his name, can anyone remind me?)  He went through some serious contortions explaining how male peacock plumage was camoflage (blue neck silhoutted against the sky, the pale eyes on the tail feathers resembling a sun-dappled forest floor, etc.).

There's also the loss of face that would come about by recanting after defending a losing theory so vigourously.

Date: 2006/03/02 10:38:24, Link
Author: George
Quote (Russell @ Mar. 02 2006,10:19)


Maybe he's trying to make himself look more worldly. In fact, we just imagine a dorkier young Dembski in prep school, imagining himself exposed to the underworld.

A little beside the point, but you remind me of a Gary Larson "Far Side" cartoon. It shows a pudgy dorky kid looking up at the night sky. The caption reads "Carl Sagan as a child", and the kid is saying "Look at all those stars... there must be hundreds and hundreds of them!"

I picture Dembski trying to convince his classmates of the existence of Santa Clause based on numerology. (Hey, 12 days of Christmas, 12 reindeer. Coincidence? I don't think so.)

I'm more reminded of the Far Side where the pudgy, dorky kid is pushing really hard at the door to the "Institute for the Gifted" labelled Pull.

Date: 2006/03/04 12:57:13, Link
Author: George
I really don't think eliminating public education is on the cards.  Emasculating it, yes, in the way the Bush administration and local governement are already doing it.  Starving it of funds.

The week after Dover, I read a newspaper piece by a conservative Christian commentator (Cal Thomas I think?), saying that it was probably the best thing for creationists.  His opinion was that they instead spend their money and energies in home-schooling and Christian schools and so forth, rather than trying to force their agenda onto public schools.

The idea of a large-scale fundamentalist education secession is really scary to me.  Right now, the fundamentalists are at least exposed to some outside influences.  In a little fundie, hothouse cocoon they'll really be indoctrinated to believe that they are God's chosen.  If you never meet or talk to anyone with a different point of view from yours, it becomes easy to demonise whatever groups you think are threatening you.  Or are vulnerable enough to pick on.  Get enough of them, and we'll really start seeing some Christian jihads.  

Maybe even a war with those godless, arrogant, liberal Europeans (once the Muslims have been finished off).  Probably over something like the proper thing to call chipped, fried potatoes.

Date: 2006/03/30 05:05:49, Link
Author: George
I'm not athy.  The toves that gyre and gimble in the wabe are athy.

Oh, no, sorry, that's slithy toves.

Date: 2006/03/30 05:26:08, Link
Author: George
Some clever wordsmith here needs to write a full-length version of Jabberwembski.

Line for line, more nonsense than Lewis Carroll.

Date: 2006/04/05 02:05:56, Link
Author: George
Please provide these "pathways."

Purely hypothetically, assume that the "gay gene" is X-linked.  A man in a hunter-gatherer society with a "pink X" chromosome has a sister with one pink X and one non-pink X.  Humans live(d) in family groups with a fair degree of cooperation.  The gay man has no offspring, but his sister has children, some of which carry the pink X.  If the efforts of the gay hunter improve the likelihood of his nephews' and nieces' survival relative to those children without a childless uncle to help care for them, then this means that there is postive selection for the pink X trait.

Not that I believe there is such a thing as a "pink X" gene.  If there is a genetic basis for homosexuality, it will be a more complex multi-gene trait or the byproduct of the actions of other genes regulating hormones, sexual behaviour, etc.  I think that many if not most gays are actually bisexual in varying degrees (though I'm open to correction), rather than simply 100% gay, which suggests that homosexuality is not controlled by a single gene.

Date: 2006/05/16 02:25:22, Link
Author: George
The idea is that the ancient polyploidy event was somehow responsible for the rapid proliferation of angiosperms.  From the article the mechanism isn't clear.  Neither is the role of co-evolution with pollinator species, which has been suggested as an important factor in angiosperm speciation.

Hybridisation + polyploidy is a not-too-uncommon method of "instant speciation" in plants.  Several species of ferns appear to have arisen this way.  But the best example is Spartina anglica which arose as a polyploid hybrid of two British species in the 1890s.  It's now dominant in much of coastal Britain, and still spreading (though humans also gave it a helping hand in its initial spread).

Date: 2006/05/23 00:12:36, Link
Author: George
Someone forgot to take the mirror from in front of their Window of Perception...


... By the time I’m an old man, I expect the people who so viciously attack ID today to be commonly likened to George Orwell’s Thought Police or the people who carried out the Inquisitions–They’ll go down in history as ideologues who tried to suppress free thought....

Comment by crandaddy — May 23, 2006 @ 1:54 am

Date: 2006/05/25 05:59:58, Link
Author: George
This is priceless.  


We need to keep reminding scientists that you can’t do science without faith. You have to believe the laws of physics are going to stay the same.

Comment by geoffrobinson — May 25, 2006 @ 7:24 am

Yes, I believe the sun will come up tomorrow solely based on faith.  The empirical observation that it came up each of the previous 12,953 days of my life has nothing to do with it.

Date: 2006/05/29 07:21:00, Link
Author: George
Bob O'H:

I think George (who may or may not be a pink hippo) is asking for a banning:

Bzzt, wrong.  I'm no pink hippo.

This is closer to the truth:

Not banned either.  I posted some follow-up questions just now, but forgot to save them for posterity.  Oh well, the thread's stale anyway.  Didn't have the time at the weekend.

Date: 2006/05/29 08:04:33, Link
Author: George
Let me put a name on "yada yada".  It's called ecology.


You can not ignore what is happening on the molecular level, that is where the fundamental changes are occurring, where variation is being favored or not favored, where new genetic material must be arising.

Nor can you ignore what's happening at the larger scales.  This is where variable traits are favoured or not favoured, not at the molecular scale (except for instantly lethal mutations, of course).

The molecular business provides the mutations, recombinations, the raw material that determines the phenotype of the organism.  The organism interacts with its environment, and it's this interaction that determines whether an organism lives or dies without reproducing.  Natural selection operates at the level of the individual, but is expressed at the level of the population as evolution, extinction or drift.

The reason why sharks and crocs haven't evolved much relative to other species is that they aren't coming under much directional selective pressure, as others have said.  Or rather, the selective pressure may be coming from both sides, reinforcing the central tendency of key traits.  In other words, it might be better to be the medium-sized shark rather than the small one or big one.  (It's this averaging effect in populations that results in a bell-curve distribution of traits, instead of a constant distribution.)

A very important thing to remember is that an organism's environment is multidimensional.  A species of shark will have to adapt to gradients in salinity, temperature, pressure, prey attributes (lots), competitor attributes (lots), mutualisms, etc. all at the same time.  And it seems to be impossible to do everything well at once, since there are no real super-species (except maybe rats.)

Date: 2006/05/30 03:53:08, Link
Author: George
Quote (skeptic @ May 29 2006,23:21)

But on the general premise, I disagree entirely, the mechanisms of mutation are not well understood.  In fact, currently we call them random and in chemistry there aren't really any random acts.  If a reaction is going to proceed, then it does, under certain conditions and in a repeatable fashion.  The evidence that mutations are occurring is proof that they will continue to occur and there are processes driving them.  Whatever initiates this process can be at the molecular level, the individual level, or the environment level but the end result occurs at the gene or genes at it is dictated by forces that are universal across all species.

I wasn't talking about mechanisms of mutation, but about mechanisms of natural selection.  I get the feeling you're confusing the two a bit.

Think of it as a two step process, like baking bread.  First comes the Dough of Mutations.  I have no idea how well understood the causes of mutations are.  Not my field.  But I would suppose they could be caused by both internal factors (i.e. what's going on in the cell at the time) and external factors (i.e. mutagenic agents like radiation).  

The second step towards the Bread of Evolution is the Oven of Natural Selection.  The settings of the oven (kind and intensity of selective pressure) act on the dough.  For a given mutation/trait, different selection pressures can result in either the survival or the death of the organism, with the result that the trait becomes more or less abundant in the population.


the end result occurs at the gene or genes at it is dictated by forces that are universal across all species.  

Not sure what you mean by the last bit.  But it makes me wonder if certain types of mutation are more common in some taxa than in others.  For e.g., polyploidy is a common enough way for new species (and cultivars) of plants to emerge, but not animals.  Is this because the actual polyploidy event is more common in plants, or is this because survival of polyploid animals is rare?  The latter if I had to guess.


The idea that sharks don't evolve because they're not under "directional selective pressure" is all well and good, but how does that really work?

This is where the ecology bit comes in.  But I get the impression that you're more interested in the molecular side of things, so I won't get into it unless you want to.

Date: 2006/06/07 00:01:38, Link
Author: George
I'm offended by the blatant distillism being displayed.  What about Scotch and Irish whisky/whiskey?

Date: 2006/06/09 04:58:46, Link
Author: George
Americano-English (native)
Hiberno-English (fluent, except in north Dublin dialect)
Spanish (fluentish)
Irish (enough to order a pint in the Gaeltacht)

Date: 2006/06/16 02:56:00, Link
Author: George

God wrote the Macarena...

Now THAT'S blasphemy.

Date: 2006/06/16 03:30:00, Link
Author: George


Can a person be a Christian and accept that the world is 4.5 billion years old?

Of course.  They would merely be a Christian who is misinformed about the age of the earth.

No, that would be an honest, well-informed Christian.

I've a follow-up question.  Can a person be a Christian and accept the theory of evolution?  In other words, can a person be like me?- I'm one of the 6 Christians in the poll.

Personally, I'm beginning to come to the conclusion that a YEC cannot be a real Christian, but can only be some sort of book-worshipping cultist.  The meat of God's message doesn't really matter to you does it?  Only the words actually written in your favourite translation (KJ?) of the Bible.  That's why, when confronted with scientific facts that conflict with the book, you and your fellow YECs can only respond with the most unChristian dishonesty:  hand-waving, ignoring opposing arguments, appeal to authorities you know are dubious, attempts to squirm through loopholes and even outright lies.

Even better, YECs are even hypocrites when it comes to Biblical literalism.  Or do you really get your medical advice from the Book of Leviticus, Dave?

Dave, people like you (and GWB, but that's another story) almost make me ashamed to call myself a Christian.

(Sorry about the outburst y'all, but I think Dave wears on everyone's patience.)

Date: 2006/06/23 02:35:51, Link
Author: George

But if I understand it correctly, this type of selection is completely independant of the mutation process.  Is that how we understand the random mutation + natural selection system to work?  Two seperate and unrelated processes that "work" together resulting in the evolution of the animal population?

This is what I tried to explain to you ages ago.  Mutation operates at the level of the genome and affects the genotype and possibly also the phenotype, whereas selection operates at the level of the organism and only interacts with the phenotype.  This is how recessive deleterious alleles can be passed on to future generations.


Anyway, I see these processes as much more interrelatd as opposed to the notion that they are independant.  I've got the specifics of an experiment in mind and I'll post a summary protocol when I get a chance later this evening.  It will make my position more clear.

Certainly the environment can affect the rate of mutations, but it's unclear to me the mechanism by which the environment can affect the kind of mutation.  For example, say an organism found itself in a much warmer climate than would be optimal for it.  How would the reproductive cell genes "know" to mutate in such a way that the organism's offspring would have features that would better enable it to survive and reproduce in the warmer climate?

Date: 2006/06/23 11:53:04, Link
Author: George

Date: 2006/06/26 03:58:13, Link
Author: George
The reason for this seems to be that some of the statements the authors make are disturbing in light of the current theory (past also, as some references are towards Darwin).  On the other hand, how about the substance of the paper

Back to the substance of the paper, what aspect of the research seems of low quality?

Uh, no.  Did you not see jeannot & qetzal's comments above?

I won't get into the paper myself because: 1) I've no expertise in the subject and 2) my lunch break's almost over.


no, what I'm saying is that not every journal has the best peer review process, nor is every article submitted for publication of the same quality.

One (admittedly flawed) objective way of judging a journal's quality is it's impact factor- the average frequency with which papers published in the journal are cited over a given timeframe.  For what it's worth, I just looked and Anatomical Record Part B isn't indexed in ISI Journal Citation Reports.  Anyone know why?  Maybe a new journal?

The Anatomical Record Part A- DISCOVERIES IN MOLECULAR CELLULAR AND EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY has an impact factor of 1.81.  ISI class it as an anatomical journal, where it ranks fifth.  If it were categorised with the evolutionary biology journals, it would rank 22nd.

Date: 2006/06/30 03:16:54, Link
Author: George
There followed 20 years of job hopping at ever higher salaries until in 1993 I landed a senior engineering position at Dell Computer Corporation in laptop R&D. Our laptops became the gold standard in reliability and battery life,

Bugger.  So that's why when my new Dell Inspiron laptop starts up it says

Welcome to Windows ID.  Homo.

Date: 2006/06/30 05:53:11, Link
Author: George
Quote (k.e @ June 30 2006,08:47)
George said:

Welcome to Windows ID.  Homo.

Give that man the AtBC gold miniature idiot award

Acceptance speech please George !!!

Thank you.  But with scriptwriters like GobScott*, it makes the job of the producers very easy.

* Gobshite + DaveScott

Date: 2006/09/18 12:58:38, Link
Author: George

Date: 2006/10/01 22:42:10, Link
Author: George
Overabundant Eejits

Date: 2006/10/02 22:47:53, Link
Author: George
I usually don't visit UD, relying on this "Best of" thread to provide the comedy highlights.  I'd strongly recommend other lurkers and semi-lurkers like me to read at least the latter parts of the Gil hasn't a clue thread in its entirety.  Priceless.

Tom English:  An evolutionary computation is an evolutionary process in the real world. If the computation does something, an evolutionary process in the real world has done it. If you cannot grasp this, then you are not grasping what much of evolutionary computation is about.

DS:  So by your logic a book of fairy tales are fairy tales in the real world.

TE:  Is this argumentum yo mama?

Not only does he know evolutionary computing, he knows his tards.

Date: 2006/10/05 10:27:26, Link
Author: George
Quote (Shirley Knott @ Oct. 05 2006,13:59)
Few things in life are more contemptible than Christian attempts at morality -- and how could it be otherwise for a religion explicitly founded on the acceptance of child abuse?

Whoa.  I'm pretty thick-skinned, but this is going too far even for me.  I think "founded on the acceptance of child abuse" is out of line.

Not all of us Christians are like AFDave or Dembski, lying for Jesus.  My only contribution to Dave's malicious thread was to say his deceitful behaviour was an embarrassment to real Christians.  People like them don't worship God, they worship the Bible or the idea of creationism.

Date: 2006/10/05 11:34:08, Link
Author: George
Quote (Shirley Knott @ Oct. 05 2006,15:31)
Is killing a child an instance of child abuse?
Is it not the central dogma of Christianity that "God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son so that others might live"?
Is it not a central dogma of Christianity that if Christ had not been killed we would not have been saved?

I believe this is QED...

no hugs for thugs,
Shirley Knott

What?  That's just silly.  Jesus was an adult when he died.  That's no more child abuse than Bush Snr smacking Junior upside the head.  Less in fact 'cause Junior has the mind of a cranky 4 year old.  If I realised that's all you meant, I wouldn't have gotten huffy.

Anyway, enough of that.  Sorry for the interruption to the regular schedule, Steve.  I don't want to come across as an uptight victim of persecution complex. I come here for the same reasons as everyone else- to laugh at fundies.  You see, I'm originally from Tennessee and I miss my fix of street-preachers.

Date: 2006/10/10 00:11:18, Link
Author: George
Quote (stevestory @ Oct. 10 2006,01:19)
Occam, I may have to borrow some of your oeuvre to comment on how goddam stupid this is:

(emphasis by me)

13. John A. Davison // Oct 9th 2006 at 12:55 pm


Since CO2 has been experimentally demonstrated to be the limiting factor for most plant growth, one obvious solution would be to plant enormous tracts of rapidly growing plants like corn to act as sinks for the CO2 and at the same time provide ethanol for fuel and human enjoyment. Brazil has already done as much.

“Ooooh - that is good booze.”
Jackie Gleason
Comment by John A. Davison — October 9, 2006 @ 12:55 pm

If anybody here doesn't understand how stupid the boldfaced part is I will smack the bejesus out of you.

I'll bite.

1) Terrestrial plant growth is usually limited by phosphorus, unless you apply fertilisers to counteract this.  (And the production of synthetic fertilisers produces CO2, by the way.)
2) Biofuels are carbon neutral, hence no long-term sequestration.
3) Where does Brazil get its land for "enormous tracts" of crops?  Hmm?
4) If JAD "enjoys" ethanol, that explains a lot.

Have I missed anything?

Date: 2006/10/12 02:41:25, Link
Author: George
Quote (Ichthyic @ Oct. 11 2006,23:01)
The Darwimpian gossips over at “After The Bar Closes” are ridiculing me these days for claiming that CO2 can be the limiting fact0r for plant growth. Since I am banned from posting there I will respond here. It has been EXPERIMENTALLY established that with sufficient light, water and mineral nutrients that CO2 IS the limiting factor for plant growth. How does that grab you? I bet it smarts some doesn’t it? I certainly hope so!

the problem with saying that CO2 can be limiting to plant growth is when he notes that it is only limiting IF NO OTHER ELEMENT IS LIMITED, which by and large, is not the case for 99.99% of plant growth in the world.  In most cases it is either nitrogen (soil nitrates) or phosphorous that is the limiting agent, sometimes trace minerals, and often water (but that's relative, of course).

Just so.

And in case anyone was wondering about my fourth point earlier, I'd forgotten ethanol was simply ethyl alcohol.  I must've been thinking about the effects of ethylene instead.  Oops.  I think I'll go do my bit for climate change now and have a nice foamy bottle of ethanol.

Date: 2006/10/16 11:23:57, Link
Author: George
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Oct. 16 2006,10:41)
"'Naturalists' ... drink to excess, and engage in casual, meaningless sex. They just don't realize it."

I just have to go on more Dublin Naturalists' Field Club outings, now that I know what they get up to in the mountains.

Date: 2006/10/20 02:36:33, Link
Author: George
Quote (stevestory @ Oct. 19 2006,20:27)
So much tard, so little time. (Deep breath) Okay away we go

"There is no limit to stupidity.  Space itself is said to be bounded by its own curvature, but stupidity continues beyond infinity."
- Gene Wolfe

Date: 2007/04/09 17:11:57, Link
Author: George
I was off work sick for the past week and dropped in a few times to catch up after an absence of months and see if anything new had happened in IDville.  Radical new experimental breakthroughs?  Fascinating new theoretical insights?  A half-assed chance of ramming something through the courts?


It seems the highlight is that DaveTard is on a diet.

Oh, and you finally got rid of AFDave.  Don't know how you put up with him for so long.  Very patient and masochistic people here.

All the best,


Date: 2007/04/09 17:38:30, Link
Author: George
Theistic evolutionist here.  And yes, I do base my belief in God purely on faith.  What else is there?  I'd be very curious to hear about concrete evidence about God.  I've yet to hear anything convincing to tell you the truth.  Philosophical attempts like Decartes's to try and prove the existence of God using purely rational means have been complete failures.

For me, faith and reason are two completely different tools for understanding life, the universe and everything.  Faith is the correct tool for the spiritual side of things and reason is the right one for the material.  Like apples and screwdrivers.

Apparently, you don't think that way.  Maybe this is this worldview of yours you've mentioned?  Perhaps your real resistance to understanding evolution better is that it will threaten your belief, that you have your rational and spiritual sides all in a tangle?  Like you've been trying to change the light sockets with a granny smith?

You say that evolution is simply illogical.  I can't think of anything more inevitable.  I'm an ecologist and I spend a lot of time out of doors, observing organisms in their environments.  The potential power of natural selection to change organisms is striking when you see, for example, the zonation of different plant species and different phenotypes of the same species at different levels in a transitory lakebed.

I used to spend more time here lurking.  There are a lot of sharp people here who would be more than happy to discuss the science with you.  They've done it before with much more unhinged types.  Give it a go.

Date: 2007/04/13 08:05:35, Link
Author: George
Quote (phonon @ April 11 2007,20:00)
If science is too narrow, does that mean Genesis is also too narrow? Maybe His Holiness can show where Genesis is lacking.

In the book, Benedict defended what is known as "theistic evolution," the view held by Roman Catholic, Orthodox and mainline Protestant churches that God created life through evolution and religion and science need not clash over this.
That's very interesting Mr. Pope. So what part of Genesis is wrong? I guess he's saying that Genesis is some sort of allegory? When it says "created Adam from dirt and breathed the breath of life into him," that's just a metaphor for evolution? When it says he created trees and grass before he created the sun and the moon, that's just a metaphor for being way off?

Yes he's saying that Genesis is something like an allegory.  That's nothing new, as the Catholic church isn't fundamentalist (in the sense of believing the Bible is literally true.)  Genesis is the creation myth for Catholics- not literally true but pointing to a "higher truth".

Quote (phonon @ April 11 2007,20:00)
"I would not depend on faith alone to explain the whole picture," he remarked during the discussion held at the papal summer palace in Castel Gandolfo outside Rome.
And by faith, you mean faith in the Bible. So basically he's saying that the Bible is unreliable as an explanation of the evolution of life.

Yes.  A complete explanation at least.  He seems to be advocating some sort of directed evolution:
"The process itself is rational despite the mistakes and confusion as it goes through a narrow corridor choosing a few positive mutations and using low probability," he said.

Some people seem surprised that the Pope's Catholic and is pushing his belief that God had a big hand in the evolution of life.  He's the Pope for heaven's sake!  But it's interesting that he provides little comfort for IDists and creationists.  And that's welcome- I was worried about the Pope's position after Cardinal Schoenborn's comments.

Date: 2007/05/03 08:23:38, Link
Author: George
Just popped in to catch up and thought I'd bring the converstation back to the really important matters.

Quote (stevestory @ April 26 2007,19:02)
Drinking a Smithwick's ale right now. I've gotta say, I'm not impressed.

My English lecturer in university (in Ireland) was going over Peer Gynt with us.  He was describing all the horrible trials the trolls made Peer go through in order to become one of them: rolling in shite, eating worms and drinking bull's urine.  Then: "Of course, some people drink Smithwick's."

Also note, it's pronounced smithix with a hard th like in that and those.  It'll help you avoid some slagging when you visit here.

Date: 2007/05/09 14:59:32, Link
Author: George
Catholic TE occasional lurker here popping his head up above the parapet.

I don't see any design in nature.  Why should there be?  As previously said, a really good designer would hide all the evidence.

The TE position is really quite easy to understand if you first ditch biblical literalism.  Render under science what is science's and render under God what is God's.  Where's the problem?

Date: 2007/05/09 15:11:23, Link
Author: George
As a forest ecologist, I'm really upset that I missed the tree-pun war.  Unfortunately I don't think that trying to resurrect it would be very poplar.

What's a nice ecologist like me doing hanging out in a place like this?  I grew up Catholic in the east Tennessee Bible belt.  I've always been fascinated by Biblical literalists and our own little Scopes trial.  Especially when as a MSc student in the Dept of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UT, when some candidates for student elections wanted to flag courses that taught evolution so that right-thinking people could avoid them.

Then I moved to Ireland.  My interest in evo-creo reawoke when the Dover trial got some coverage in the papers here.  I looked around to find out what this ID was and found Panda's Thumb and this dive.  (Nice scotch, pity about the decor.)  For the record, there's bugger all interest in ID over here.  I've seen two opinion pieces in the paper supporting ID: one from a religion correspondent and one from a gobshite who enjoys being arrogant and contrary.

Date: 2007/05/09 15:49:21, Link
Author: George
Trawling through some of the past thread, and I found this quote from FtK that I think you regulars let her off lightly on:


There are all kinds of articles in mainstream journals that point to the inference of ID, but they certainly aren’t written by ID advocates.  Although, the writers of those articles do not support design in nature (as IDers do)  due to the reigning fear of the implications of ID.  


OTOH, creationists are writing scientific papers and providing interesting peer reviewed articles all the time.  Of course creationists are all completely insane and delusional, so we won’t go there.

Please point me to these papers!  I have yet to see a paper in a mainstream journal that was held up as supporting ID in which that support wasn't quickly rubbished.  UD often makes these claims, but when you actually read the paper (or usually just the abstract) you can see that any "design" being referred to has absolutely nothing to do with ID.  And as for peer-reviewed creationism (in quality journals!) I have yet to see any of that.

Have you honestly read these papers, read criticisms of them, and concluded that they still stand up?  Or are you simply taking the word of ID advocates that they are there and say what they do?  Really, I think you're being led up the garden path, and it doesn't lead to Eden.

Date: 2007/05/09 16:06:01, Link
Author: George
Musha, may the road rise to meet you, faith and begorrah, tiocfaidh ar la, etc, etc.

Thanks and make mine a pint.

Date: 2007/05/10 17:01:06, Link
Author: George
Quote (Ftk @ May 10 2007,14:01)

Why are TE's never pushed to explain where they draw the line between what is and what is not considered to be "literal" in scripture?  

I'll bite.

Whatever can be tested scientifically and is found to be false is not literally true.  E.g. the world was created in seven days; the world has four corners.  Anything after that is irrelevant to the evo-creo discussion.

Now will you explain why ID / creationism is scientifically valid?

Date: 2007/05/11 07:54:51, Link
Author: George
Quote (Ftk @ May 10 2007,21:58)
Edmund wrote:
You know, FTK, earlier today I was tempted to respond to you and politely explain exactly why I, as a theistic evolutionist, feel that TE is not only an appropriate stance to take scientifically, but makes a lot more sense theologically than Biblical literalism does. But I didn't have time at the moment, and another poster responded instead.

But, here is the problem I have.  What does Biblical literalism mean to a TE?  I assume you must believe that some parts of scripture are literal.  If you start cutting away the parts that we cannot prove scientifically, then you’re not left with much.  And, if you believe in some parts as supernatural or miraculous events, how do you determine what is miraculous and what is not?

You misunderstood what I said.  I'm saying that what distinguishes a TE from a creationist is that a TE rejects claims made by the Bible that can be tested scientifically and have been found false.  Very different than "cutting away parts we cannot prove."  

This is a very important point in science.  It's really, really hard to prove- in the strict sense- anything using scientific method.  For example, you have the hypothesis that all swans are white.  You can only prove that by looking at every swan in the world- really, really hard to do.  Science takes the easier route of proposing hypotheses and disproving them.  Your swan researcher samples swans from across Europe and finds that the data support his hypothesis.  Then some bugger discovers Australia and black swans.  Hypothesis disproved.

That's why ID is not science.  You cannot disprove the very broad hypothesis that an unnamed intelligent designer designed life at some point by some unspecified method.

Back to the Bible.  I reckon there are 3 kinds of statements in the Bible:
1) statements that can be disproved scientifically, e.g. the creation myth, Noah's flood.
2) statements that could theoretically be disproved, but are practically impossible to do so because of lack of evidence, e.g. Mary was literally a virgin, Jesus literally rose bodily from the dead.  Most (all?) of the miracles in the Bible fall into this category, as it's very hard to disprove a once-off out-of-the-ordinary event, which is what a miracle is.
3) statements which science cannot disprove because they are outside the realm of science, e.g. Jesus is the son of God, blessed are the peacemakers.

TEs reject the parts of the Bible that conform to 1) above, and that's all that's needed to be a TE (well, and "believing" evolution).  Those bits are really a very small part of the Bible.  Accepting or rejecting statements under 2) or 3) above are up to the individual and, I would suggest, are irrelevant to evo-creo discussions.

And, the biggest question would be why would one reject scripture for what they believe science has established as fact when scientific views are forever changing?

Constant change- refinement of theories and improving of our understanding of the physical world- is a fundamental part of science.  The alternative to rejecting parts of the Bible that have been disproven is to be a fundamentalist young-earth creationist.  Why would you want to be someone who clings to ancient dogma and superstition about things like why there are rainbows?  That's putting your fingers in your ears and yelling "la, la, la, I can't hear you!".

As an afterthought, I would also agree with other people here who have said that Biblical literalism is also just bad theology.

Date: 2007/05/11 09:38:08, Link
Author: George
Quote (Ftk @ May 11 2007,08:09)
Back to the Bible.  I reckon there are 3 kinds of statements in the Bible:
1) statements that can be disproved scientifically, e.g. the creation myth, Noah's flood.
2) statements that could theoretically be disproved, but are practically impossible to do so because of lack of evidence, e.g. Mary was literally a virgin, Jesus literally rose bodily from the dead.  Most (all?) of the miracles in the Bible fall into this category, as it's very hard to disprove a once-off out-of-the-ordinary event, which is what a miracle is.
3) statements which science cannot disprove because they are outside the realm of science, e.g. Jesus is the son of God, blessed are the peacemakers.

TEs reject the parts of the Bible that conform to 1) above, and that's all that's needed to be a TE (well, and "believing" evolution).  Those bits are really a very small part of the Bible.  Accepting or rejecting statements under 2) or 3) above are up to the individual and, I would suggest, are irrelevant to evo-creo discussions., given the fact that creation is a myth, I'd assume you write off Adam and Eve and the garden.  Now, obviously there is more to the story that a tree and a snake, but if you write off most of the beginning of Genesis, what exactly is it that Christ was sent to do?  Or, do you reject salvation as well?  How do you tie in Christ's work on earth?  What was his objective, and who was he really?  Did he literally rise rise from the dead or not?  If not, what's the point of Christianity?  

In other words *why* are you a Christian?I hope you'll answer these questions because up to now only one person has been willing to discuss these issues with me and they seemed a bit tentative as to what they believe.

I think I begin to see the root of things here, which is why I went down the road of trying to explain TE in the first place.

For you, Christ the Redeemer is a central part of your faith.  With no Adam and Eve and no original sin, there is no point to Jesus's ministry.  Am I close?  I can only say that for myself, I don't really subscribe to the concept of original sin.  Maybe that doesn't make me a Christian according to some criteria.  But I reckon that there was and still is a big point in Jesus's teaching.  Think of all the horrible things we do to each other like war, crime, hate and the Eurovision song contest.  We still haven't really got it, have we?

But at the end, if you require a real Adam and Eve as a cornerstone for your faith, then you're never going to understand or accept evolution.  And there's not much point in this discussion anymore, is there?

And to repeat what I and everyone else here has said.  It really doesn't matter what the motivation of ID is (no matter how plain it is).  It's not science and should not be taught in school, and that's the real heart of the matter.

Date: 2007/05/11 11:18:30, Link
Author: George
Thought I'd float something new and see what you all think.

It's election time here in Ireland.  One of the advantages of Irish elections over American ones is that they're much shorter and therefore less painful & boring.  The other is the proportional representation system.  It's complicated and took me a while to figure out, but I think I can explain it.

In a constituency you have more than one representative to parliament, 3-5 depending on population.  (FYI, in Ireland the parliament is called the Dail, pronounced "dahl" and members are "TD" instead of "MP".) When you vote, you rank all the candidates in order of preference.  All the votes are collected and 1st preferences tallied.  At this point any candidates who reach the quota- number of votes required to get a seat- are elected.  Then their surplus 1st preferences are collected and the 2nd preferences are reallocated to the other candidates.  Another check to see if anyone reaches the quota.  If at any stage no one reaches the quota, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and their votes are redistributed according to 2nd preferences.

This process goes on through as many stages and redistributions of preference as needed until the total number of seats in the constituency is filled.  That can mean days of counting, which also adds some drama and interest to the election.

The main advantage of this system over the first-past-the-post systems of the US and UK is that the members of the Dail who are elected are more representative of the views of the constituency.  If you have a constituency whose voters prefer party A (say 54%), party B (23%), party C (21%) and party D (4%) in a three-seat constituency.  Then you'll probably have 1 TD from each of parties A, B & C.  But depending on transfers, you may have 2 As and 1 B.  Smaller parties on the national scale are guaranteed at least a few seats and it's very hard for the system to break down into a US-style two-party oligarchy.  More democratic, I think.

Sorry for the messy post, but I'd be interested in opinions from back home in the States and also from those who have similar systems in their countries.

Date: 2007/05/11 12:26:14, Link
Author: George

I'm going to disappoint you and not answer your last question because:

1) it's private and personal- I'll talk about TE in general, but not my religion,
2) it's not relevant to the reason why I support evolution rather than creationism,
3) this board is about religion and science with respect to evolution, not just religion.

But maybe you can tell me why you fail to understand why someone can be a Christian and also accept evolution?  That's what I've been trying to explain.

Yeah, kinda like the way you must teach as a naturalist leaning towards materialism in order to keep from getting fired from teaching a public school science class

At least that's a good thing for the science of ecology...

Date: 2007/05/11 14:25:15, Link
Author: George
It's called single transferable vote I believe

Oh, yes, I think I've heard it called that as well, tho' it's usually just proportional representation over here.  I can't remember if they also use it for the Northern Ireland assembly, but I'd guess so- or maybe something even more complicated.

Speaking of NI, didja hear all the mutual backslapping at the assembly opening on monday going on between the Prime Ministers Blair and our Bertie Ahern, doubtless carefully designed to bolster the historical reputation of one and the electoral chances of the other.

Date: 2007/05/11 14:28:30, Link
Author: George
Quote (improvius @ May 11 2007,14:15)
Quote (Ftk @ May 11 2007,14:49)
Whatever...gotta go with what feels right and seems to jive with what one reads in scripture.


No, be fair.  Maybe she's the Christian equivalent of a whirling dervish.

Date: 2007/05/11 14:48:46, Link
Author: George

I have to pull you up on your assertion that Christian TEs have to reject 95% of what it means to be a Christian.  If you look back at my list, you'll see that very little of real significance in the Bible has been falsified by science, and nearly all of it in Genesis.  Off the top of my head I can only think of the creation myth, Adam & Eve and related bits and Noah's flood.  If you look hard there might be a few other things, like God as the creator of the behemoth in the Book of Job, as paleontology has not found any behemoth fossils.  What am I forgetting?

But these are just details.  Nearly all the really important bits in the NT are outside the realm of science altogether.  I've always thought it a pity that someone's faith could be shaken by mere facts.

You'll note that I put the Resurrection in as #2- something which is practically impossible to falsify, as that would require finding Jesus's body.  Which (really OT) was a key bit in Tom Robbins's mad but quite spiritual novel Another Roadside Attraction.  A highlight is Jesus's trial in the desert where he has conversations with Tarzan, rather than the devil.

Date: 2007/05/13 04:54:09, Link
Author: George
I'm disappointed.  I had hopes for her, but it seems that Lenny's right when he says some people can't distinguish between God / Book About God.  I think she ran away when she realised she couldn't even persuade herself anymore she was open-minded.

Date: 2007/05/15 16:39:52, Link
Author: George
My theobiological (ooo, scary) position would be very much like Jkrebs.  I don't know whether the majority of TEs would have the same conceptualisation, but I believe that most would have the idea of God being above and beyond piddly things like natural selection.

I also have to agree with Lenny that I think the main motivation behind PZ's threads is his dislike of theism entirely.

And Louis:
one doesn't scream and yell at the child for failing to complete a marathon on its first attempts at walking, but then one doesn't pick it for the England Rugby squad either.

Really?  Croke Park?  (Have to get in some dig as I've no one to support for the rest of the Heino <sob> and Leinster lost the Magner's league last weekend <double sob>.)

Date: 2007/05/15 16:56:54, Link
Author: George
First if you arguing that creationism does not belong in the science classroom then a scientists relgious views are irrelavent. The issue is to be decided on the scientific merits of evolution and creationism. If the purpose is to show to creationists that you can be a christian and accept evolution then it will not work. It will not work becuase the people who reject evolution will also refuse to accept the likes of Miller as being christian. (In Miller's case he is a catholic so that makes having him accepted as being christian by evangelicals even less likely).

I think the key word in "hearts and minds" is the second.  

The general public will not be persuaded, unless they are convinced of the scientific merits of evolution and also that they can retain the core of their faith.  The fundamentalist accusation of TEs not being "true Christians" is a sticking point, I'll grant, and I'm not sure how to get around it.  However, I think that the majority of those who do not "believe in" evolution, but are not active anti-evolutionists, have simply been duped.  They have the idea that somewhere in Origin of the Species and the textbooks is the phrase "and therefore God does not exist".  The alternative of a middle way does not come into their black and white minds.  That's the way they should be persuaded to go- where the scientific facts are and where they don't have to give up their faith.

I agree, Wes, that scientists should have greater incentives and opportunities to engage with society.  There are already plenty of difficulties finding an audience or a forum.  If the media in the US are like they are here (Ireland), then arts and humanities coverage completely overwhelms the attention paid to science.  Special events like science weeks or festivals can have their uses, but often are just preaching to the converted.

Date: 2007/05/15 17:00:30, Link
Author: George
The political repercussions of an England win in their first match at Croke Park don't bear thinking about.  Seriously.

P.S.  Here's one reason why the match was significant.

Date: 2007/05/19 07:53:28, Link
Author: George
I would expect the religious right's agenda on abortion (recently illegalised in Poland), homophobia and all the other sex-related stuff to sell well to conservative Catholics in Poland.  However, I doubt ID will be a winner.  It seems too rooted in American-style Protestantism to me.  The role of the Polish diaspora in this will be interesting.  Loads of Poles have moved to Ireland (a more liberal Catholic country) and Britain since unification.  In fact, if society and culture in Poland evolve the same way they did in Ireland, which was highly conservative socially up to the 70s or 80s and is now much more liberal, then any gains the religious right make over our eastern neighbours will be short-lived.

Any Poles hanging around here able to provide some insights?

Date: 2007/06/28 07:39:20, Link
Author: George
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ June 28 2007,07:20)
Quote (Ftk @ June 28 2007,07:12)
Btw, Dave, for a guy who doesn't want to bring up religion, you sure do get you jabs in about God alot.  I'm guessing you're into talk about religion as long as it's content free.  Again, the irony.

Re your edited addition - I don't want to give away trade secrets, but a long series of observations would suggest that making comments about god or religion is just about the only way to get you to respond here.

Now please answer the questions. It really isn't that painful

From my brief foray in from the sidelines a long while back, I would agree.  But sometimes talking about religion can reveal where someone really stands.  During our exchanges FtK showed that the literal truth of at least some of the creation myth- Adam & Eve and original sin- is central to her faith.  I don't think she will accept any scientific evidence that contradicts that.  Absence of answers to questions, especially the Egyptian one, is pretty good evidence.  Have to say I'm disappointed.

Date: 2007/06/28 07:42:51, Link
Author: George
Quote (Ftk @ June 28 2007,07:34)
I, OTOH, do not see any empirical evidence for common descent.


Date: 2007/06/28 08:24:30, Link
Author: George
Quote (Ftk @ June 28 2007,08:00)
The problem is, Oldman, that for every bit of inference or speculation you put forth that you feel supports common descent, there is also a mountain of evidence against the notion.

No, there isn't.  That's the whole problem.  What there are mountains of are claims that there are mountains of evidence.  And a lot of verbiage.

No one ever shows us the mountain.

Date: 2007/07/06 12:13:15, Link
Author: George
Critiquing art, music, film, television, and literature, interrupting mass media influence, and questioning the sanity of our consumerist lifestyle;

Countering destructive ideologies, replacing revisionist fictions with undeniable facts, and paring away political correctness;

I quite like the sound of the second and third objectives.  But not in the way they're thinking.  Do you reckon they include gay-bashing and abortion clinic bombing as products of "destructive ideologies"?

Date: 2007/07/10 01:42:49, Link
Author: George
Quote (stevestory @ July 09 2007,19:25)
Well, yeah. She can have her pity party all she wants, but she served our purpose, which was to show that creationists can't defend their terrible ideas. Although she was so particularly bad that I'm resolved to search and find us better-educated creationists. There's got to be some creationists graduates of Wheaton or Notre Dame or somewhere who would give us a little stimulation. We want it to be challenging enough to be fun, which FtK wasn't.

I went to Notre Dame.  Not too many creationists there that I was aware of.  Not many -ists of any description.  Whole lotta beer-drinking baby Republicans though.

I can pretend to be a creationist.  Would that be fun?

Where are the transitional animals, like catdogs?
Much easier to believe the Flood than living primordial slime.
Carbon-dating is bollox.

No.  Can't compete with the flavour of the Real Thing.  Maybe it's cause I can spell.

Date: 2007/08/10 08:49:48, Link
Author: George
Quote (Louis @ Aug. 10 2007,07:08)
... Aussies (convicts), Welsh (sheep shaggers), Kiwis (big sheep shaggers, best be a bit careful, also convicts), French (garlic smelling, easily conquered gallic ponces), Irish (thick, terrorists), Scots (skirt wearing ponces, possible sheep shagging), Italians (greasy), Argentinians (greasy, shag horses), South Africans (racists. Yes I am aware of the irony, that IS kind of the point)...

No offense taken.

By the way, what's your address?

(looks up number of nearest recently unemployed balaclava model and knee surgeon)

Date: 2007/08/10 08:56:08, Link
Author: George
My take on this subject, and maybe it's the middle point btwn Louis and Skeptic, is that religion and science should not come into conflict, but often do.  As Louis has said, they are based on two completely different ways of understanding the world and humanity.  Neither should try to answer questions that are best addressed by the other.  Religion can't usefully answer questions about the natural world and science can't usefully questions about what it means to be a human.  The problems arise when people forget this.  Usually creationists.

My €0.02.  Maybe not very enlightening or useful, but must dash now.

Date: 2007/08/10 11:38:08, Link
Author: George
Quote (Louis @ Aug. 10 2007,09:18)


Well as we know, I disagree on epistemological grounds. Reigion and science are the most notable uses of two very different mechanisms that we humans have developed for acquiring knowledge of the universe around us.

I'm happy to be pluralist about this and admit that there are aspects of religion and science that don't overlap or conflict in any way, but I really don't buy this Non Overlapping Magisteria stuff at all, for the reasons stated. I'd also disagree that science can't answer questions about what it means to be human. There's a huge swathe of psycholgical, philosophical and neurological data that is at least a fledgling attempt to answer just these sorts of questions. We can ask questions like "why do I feel this way?" or "why does this mean so much?" or "what is it to be human?" etc and get very rational answers based on reason and observation. What do faith and revelation offer in the way of answers to these questions that a) isn't actually reason, rational thought and observation in disguise or at it's root, or b) trite and dismissable on the basis that the identical answer can be provided by faith in anything or revelation of anything.

Back again.  You've expanded on my narrow ideas on science and religion to talk about faith and reason.  I was going to make the point that a lot of religion, although grounded in faith, actually uses reason and logic in developing theology.  But you've made that point for me.  We need to be careful not to conflate science with reason.

Certainly science and reason can answer some questions about being human, like the above "why do I feel this way"?  Prime candidate for the psych people.  What I meant were the big fluffy questions like "what is the meaning of life", "why am I here" and "how can I be a good person."  Reason can only go so far I think with these questions.  At the root of logical analysis of these are assumptions made using something else, philosophy, faith or something.  These are the questions I think are better addressed by religion or other disciplines like philosophy or art.

As for your point b), you'll have to explain in what sense triteness necessarily follows.


This is the thing with religion. I'd be singularly amazed if all relgious ideas from all religions over all time turned out to be totally useless. In fact it would be a staggering (and interesting) clue if they were. As it turns out, not all the ideas contained in religion are totally useless, some of them, many of them are quite useful. But a) how do we know they are useful, b) how did they develop, and c) how do we examine them and extract the useful bits? The answer to those three questions is not "faith and revelation". The answer is "by careful reasoning, rational examination of their claims and coherence, careful observation of their effects and basis, and scrutiny of the evidence they claim in support". The useful bits of religions are not only discernable by reason and observation, they are derived from them and can be reverse engineered on that basis. The fact that we have forgotten how they arose, or that their workings are hidden is no more significant than the fact that some part of our brain does very rapid and complex differential calculus when we catch a ball, or that we don't show the full proofs of number theory when we add two and two to get four.

A couple of thoughts here.  Sometimes it may not be possible to extract the useful "bits" as they lose their value when removed from other apparently useless bits of context, support, etc.  The Catholic mass comes to mind.  On its own, incense or responses by the congregation mightn't be very useful in isolation, but they can combine to benefit individuals and arguably society.  The definition of "useful" is also tricky in this context and its definition conditions the ability of reason to analyse religious beliefs and aspects.  Beliefs that are useful in producing a happy, productive society are easily analysed by logical, rational methods.  Certain practices or customs may not have any obvious utility, but may be good for an individual.  Often religion and "religious bits" may be useful or good for one person or in one context, but not others.  Can be a bit messy I think.

All that said, I'm in large agreement with you on heavy doses of reason and logic in religion.  A lot of religion can be understood with reason and logic, but fundamentally religion is irrational and illogical.  I'm not exactly sure how the non-overlapping magisteria idea is defined.  But I would agree that science in the strict sense and religion don't overlap if properly applied.  It's in the misapplication that the conflicts occur.

Date: 2007/09/10 07:47:56, Link
Author: George
Bloody hell.  I go away on some extended fieldwork for a few weeks and look at all the verbiage.  Anyone care to summarise for me where this discussion is in three lines or less?

Date: 2007/09/10 08:01:05, Link
Author: George
Quote (Peter Henderson @ Sep. 08 2007,16:05)
I am ashamed to say that Northern Ireland is an absolute hotbed of young Earth creationism. It's probably worse here than in the US. Every evangelical denomination (and I do mean all of them......the Brethren movement, Baptist, Elim, Congregational, Congregational Reformed, Free Presbyterian, Reformed Presbyterian, Evangelical Presbyterian, Free Methodist, Independant Methodist etc. etc. etc.) is heavily promoting YECism. It's even found it's way into the largest Protestant denomination in the province, the Presbyterian church in Ireland.

That's very worrying.  It still doesn't seem to have made much progress south of the border.  But with the increase in evangelicals here due to the big increases in immigration and with the decline of the Catholic church, there might be soon.

Has it become political yet, do you know?  Have the DUP (Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party, for those who don't read Irish alphabet soup) shown any interest in promoting creationism?

Date: 2007/09/11 07:17:29, Link
Author: George
Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Sep. 10 2007,09:07)

Skeptic:  Essences exist, you just can't see them.
Louis:  Show me how you know that.
Skeptic:  I imagine essences can exist, therefore they do, and you are dishonest.  And mean.  Lenny agrees.  Lenny?  Lennnnnny?  where'd you go?

<snipped a lot of peanut gallery heckling>

that help?

Thanks for the uber-summary!  Not sure if I want to dip my toes in this discussion again.  There's uncharted reefs and mudsharks in there.

Date: 2007/09/11 13:12:54, Link
Author: George
Quote (Peter Henderson @ Sep. 10 2007,17:08)
But then again, maybe the situation is the same as that in the Southern  Baptist states. This type of mindset has probably always been there. The YECs are merely tapping into it.

I'm originally from Tennessee, and from what you describe, it sound similar to the Southern Baptist situation.  What seemed most prevalent there is a few ringleader types selling the "evolution is atheism, evolution is evil" line to those who don't know any better.  They accept the lines fed by their leaders without questioning much.  

Or maybe susceptibility to creationism has a genetic component?  They say that a lot of the white settlers in east Tennessee and the Appalachians were from Ulster.  Can I get a grant to study the possibility of an "I ain't no monkey" gene, do you reckon?

Date: 2007/09/22 18:03:38, Link
Author: George
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Sep. 22 2007,14:26)
Gradualism is what one would expect to see if the mechanism for evolutionary change were random mutations and natural selection.  If you think that it must entail entire populations and their entire geographical range, then fine - show that by the evidence in the fossil record.

You would only expect to see gradualism if natural selection pressures were relatively constant or changed only slowly.  If  selective forces change abruptly, would you not also expect to see rapid evolutionary change (and lots of extinctions)?  For example, we know that the climate in the past has changed very quickly, for example during shifts between ice ages and interglacial periods.

Date: 2007/09/25 01:15:42, Link
Author: George
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Sep. 22 2007,18:51)
No, you'd also expect gradualism (i.e., non-saltational change) if any incremental evolutionary process is in play, which would include genetic drift.

Not much time to keep up here.  Just like to say that I'm obviously using the terminology incorrectly.  What I was trying to say is that rate of evolution under RM+NS is not necessarily slow and constant.  I was under the impression that this was the model of evolution Daniel was working under.  Periods of rapid gradualistic change might not be captured by the fossil record if resolution is poor, thus resulting in the appearance of saltation.

Date: 2007/09/26 08:02:44, Link
Author: George
Quote (Altabin @ Sep. 26 2007,05:47)
Quote (dochocson @ Sep. 26 2007,04:39)
I also like this gem:

"So a vast army rushes to aid Baylor’s quest to be the Protestant Notorious Dame, or whatever it wants to be (forgive me if I forget)."

So I assume she is no fan of Notre Dame.

Feh.  The Bears are 3-1 this season; the Irish are 0-4, without a win in sight.  No one's rushing to be Notre Dame.  (And Notre Dame just isn't rushing).

A mournful Domer.

She's probably annoyed they wouldn't let her near the door of the theology department.  Or the journalism school.  Or even the MBA programme.

George (class of '93)

You, Altabin?

Date: 2007/09/27 15:49:45, Link
Author: George
Quote (Richardthughes @ Sep. 27 2007,11:34)
Quote (Doc Bill @ Sep. 27 2007,11:27)
Tin comes from Bolivia is a fact.  

*some* Tin comes from Bolivia is a fact.  

Tings come from Jamaica, Mon.

Oi!  Some tings come from Dublin, ya bollix.

Date: 2007/09/28 01:27:01, Link
Author: George
This is extremely disappointing.  I'm particularly disgusted Catriona Ruane or someone from Education didn't tell him to get stuffed.  Playing the "we'll be science laughing-stocks and high tech businesses won't come here" card often works with politicians.  How can you set up a viable biotech industry if the young up and comings believe in "kinds"?

Date: 2007/09/28 07:44:06, Link
Author: George
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Sep. 28 2007,03:31)
However, in the formulation of this view, not enough consideration has been given to the fact that the evolutionary trend of reduction in the number of toes had already been introduced long before the plains were occupied in the early Tertiary by the precursors of the horse; these inhabited dense scrub, meaning that they lived in an environment where the reduction of the primitive five-toed protoungulate foot was not an advantage at all. In the descendants, then, the rest of the lateral toes degenerated and the teeth grew longer step by step... regardless of the mode of life, which... fluctuated repeatedly, with habitats switching around among forests, savannas, shrubby plains, tundra, and so on.
If selection alone were decisive in this specialization trend, we would have to ascribe to it a completely incomprehensible purposefulness...
Basic Questions in Paleontology pp. 358-359, (emphasis his)

So basically Schindewolf is saying that horses developed single-toed hooves regardless of the selection pressures applied?  How does he know what those pressures were?  How does he know the scrub was dense?  Paleoecologists today can identify what species were present in the landscape at a point in time, but have much more difficulty in determining vegetation structure.  This has led to disagreements over what the European landscape of most of the Holocene was.  Yes there were lots of oak trees present, but was it closed forest?  Was it patches of scrub interspersed with grassy plains?  Was it widely spaced parkland-like trees?

In other words, what was the quality of his data and how far is he spreading it with rhetoric?

Date: 2007/10/01 07:22:11, Link
Author: George
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Sep. 30 2007,16:56)
Quote (George @ Sep. 28 2007,07:44)
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Sep. 28 2007,03:31)
However, in the formulation of this view, not enough consideration has been given to the fact that the evolutionary trend of reduction in the number of toes had already been introduced long before the plains were occupied in the early Tertiary by the precursors of the horse; these inhabited dense scrub, meaning that they lived in an environment where the reduction of the primitive five-toed protoungulate foot was not an advantage at all. In the descendants, then, the rest of the lateral toes degenerated and the teeth grew longer step by step... regardless of the mode of life, which... fluctuated repeatedly, with habitats switching around among forests, savannas, shrubby plains, tundra, and so on.
If selection alone were decisive in this specialization trend, we would have to ascribe to it a completely incomprehensible purposefulness...
Basic Questions in Paleontology pp. 358-359, (emphasis his)

So basically Schindewolf is saying that horses developed single-toed hooves regardless of the selection pressures applied?  How does he know what those pressures were?  How does he know the scrub was dense?  Paleoecologists today can identify what species were present in the landscape at a point in time, but have much more difficulty in determining vegetation structure.  This has led to disagreements over what the European landscape of most of the Holocene was.  Yes there were lots of oak trees present, but was it closed forest?  Was it patches of scrub interspersed with grassy plains?  Was it widely spaced parkland-like trees?

In other words, what was the quality of his data and how far is he spreading it with rhetoric?

He doesn't go into any details (in this book at least - he may have in others or in one of his papers) about how he knew the environmental conditions were such as he described, so I can't tell you how he determined that.

I'm assuming that the man described in 1965 by Stephen Jay Gould's advisor, Dr. Norman Newell as "the greatest living paleontologist", used the scientific method and the accepted evidence of his day to determine these factors.

You might be in a position to show that he made a false claim, but you must base that on evidence from that time period.

You misunderstand me.  I'm not saying he was lying.  I'm questioning how he knew what Tertiary environmental conditions were like and how good were the data he based his conclusions on.  As I said before, it is difficult enough for today's paleoecologists to reconstruct past vegetation.  It would have been much more difficult and imprecise for the ecologists of a century ago.  Palynology, one of the more powerful tools, was only in its infancy.

To summarise:  he may have based his theories on the understanding of the day, but if that understanding is wrong, his ideas crumble.

Date: 2007/10/01 07:59:25, Link
Author: George
Quote (Ftk @ Sep. 30 2007,19:49)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Sep. 30 2007,19:29)

working together to find middle ground.

I find it difficult to take that seriously.

And, coming from you, I don't doubt that for even one second.  You're all about us & them.  You, sir, are a detriment to science, this debate, and world peace.

Carry on....I realize there is no stopping you.

I'm in the middle ground, too.  Could you also call me a detriment to world peace?  Please?  That would be so cool.

But seriously, how can you hold onto your Evil Materialist Conspiracy Theory when confronted by theistic evolutionists?

Date: 2007/10/02 07:57:03, Link
Author: George
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Oct. 01 2007,19:37)
Schindewolf's book was published (originally - in German) in 1950.  While technically that was in the last century, (so was 1999), it wasn't "a century ago".

My mistake.  I thought you said he worked and wrote in the 1920s.

I wasn't questioning this statement:

Since in the later Tertiary, an expansion of plains at the expense of forests has been observed, this change in environmental conditions and the consequent change in the mode of life has been represented as the cause of linear, progressive selection leading up to the modern horse.

I was questioning this one:

However, in the formulation of this view, not enough consideration has been given to the fact that the evolutionary trend of reduction in the number of toes had already been introduced long before the plains were occupied in the early Tertiary by the precursors of the horse; these inhabited dense scrub, meaning that they lived in an environment where the reduction of the primitive five-toed protoungulate foot was not an advantage at all.
(emphasis mine)

My question is how did he know the environment at the time was entirely comprised of dense scrub?  If I were to guess, this statement is based on finds of macrofossils or pollen of scrub species coupled with other proxy data that gave clues about climate.  This may have been the prevailing view at the time.  Don't know.  Doesn't matter.  But I suspect hand-waving.

My point is that knowledge of what species were present at the time doesn't give an accurate picture of what the vegetation structure was at the time, especially over large areas.  I presume the ancestors of horses were widely distributed and not confined to a small isolated valley or two.

As you can see as you walk around in "the wild", vegetation structure varies considerably depending on climate, soil and other things, including the activities of grazing animals.  It is extremely unlikely that the landscape where the ancestors of horses evolved was completely dominated by "dense scrub".  It is extremely likely that there were some more open areas where having fewer toes increased fitness.

Schindewolf was overstating the case that the environment required to select for single-toedness was not present in the early Tertiary.  Because of this, he has no grounds for claiming that development of the trait preceeded selection pressure.

Date: 2007/10/02 07:58:19, Link
Author: George
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Oct. 02 2007,06:52)
"An omniscient supernatural being (an all knowing God) with foreknowledge of every environmental shift in every inhabited environment on earth over 3.8 billion years (shifts that resulted from everything from chaotic fluctuations in the sun's output to the Yucatan asteroid) front-loaded into the first prokaryotic life appropriate preplanned sequences of evolutionary transitions (adaptations, speciations, extinction events) for every one of the countless lineages of organisms that would descend from those first organism over those ensuing billions of years."

'Course if you agree with this sentiment, I'm clearly wasting my time.

Date: 2007/10/02 16:48:55, Link
Author: George
I never really understand Biblical literalists.  Let me ask you, you say:

I believe and trust with all my core being that the Bible is what it claims to be...the very Word of God (see I Thess. 2:13) - the Supreme Being who alone is God and there is no other.

I also trust, believe, etc. that it is 100% true in the big picture of things.

And more to the point:

Therefore, where the Scriptures declare things in historical narrative format, these things are 100% true, Like when Jesus said that "No one comes to the Father but through Me."  (John 14 :6b) He meant that there is no other way to be saved. not buddah, allah, space aliens, that there is no god(god) so it doesn't matter, etc.

Therefore, since Genesis 1 is written in historical narrative form, you believe that it is 100% true that the world was created in 7 days, right?

Then do you believe that the medical advice contained in Leviticus 13 is 100% true?  Or is this a not-literally true strawman?  If so, then how do you distinguish?

Date: 2007/10/03 07:33:14, Link
Author: George
Quote (Alan Fox @ Oct. 03 2007,07:13)
Well, peut-être vous avez deviné que je suis anglais still gets a laugh, :)


We'll see at Cardiff on Saturday.[/quote]
Hell (or purgatory?) for Ireland, anyway.  :angry:

Date: 2007/10/03 08:02:44, Link
Author: George
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Oct. 03 2007,02:22)

So, after admitting that you "don't know" what evidence Schindewolf based his argument on, you say that it "doesn't matter", because you "suspect hand-waving".  Is this how science is done?

It doesn't matter whether Schindewolf's views on the Tertiary environment were widely accepted at the time, because my later points hold regardless.  And I don't know what evidence Schindewolf based his argument on because you haven't said what it is yet.


So based on your experience 'walking around in the wild' @ you've now decided that Schindewolf,one of the premier paleontologists in all of Europe, overstated his case? (a case which, I'm sure, was based on slightly more research than that

Well, I would like to think that I will one day be one of Europe's premier ecologists.  Schindewolf may have been a good paleontologist, but how was he on ecology or paleoecology? What was his research?


It's amazing to me how you can delude yourself into thinking you have actually refuted his arguments while presenting no evidence to the contrary from the Tertiary period at all!

No,I haven't presented any evidence from the Tertiary.  However, I'm not the one proposing a radical departure from evolutionary theory.  You/Schindewolf need to present your evidence that the Tertiary environment was such that there was no selection for single-toedness in ancestral horses.  Invoking a thus-far speculative "dense scrub" engulfing all of Europe isn't evidence.  Without this evidence, your assertion of evolution anticipating selection can't stand.

Date: 2007/10/12 09:12:24, Link
Author: George
Quote (Altabin @ Oct. 12 2007,07:32)
Quote (guthrie @ Oct. 12 2007,11:55)
I'll see your pens and raise you 2 black pens, a red pen, a permanent marker, masking tape, latex gloves, sample bags and measuring tape.

What, no wetsuit?

Phht.  Real men do their science in an anorak and wellies.

Date: 2007/11/07 07:32:11, Link
Author: George
Quote (VMartin @ Nov. 06 2007,16:03)
Whats more such concepts are unscientific. Such concepts spoils the perception of beauty of living world, where "struggle for life" and "natural selection" obviously play no main role, but creativeness of life itself.

You don't get out of the TardCave much, do you?

Date: 2007/11/14 07:33:47, Link
Author: George
I wonder what's the correlation between Zappa appreciation and Church Burnin'.  Seems pretty high.  Likewise, how many hands would be required to count the number of creationist Zappa fans?

Me, my favourite lineup varies by week.  Lately I find I prefer the high Statistical Density Zappa.

But for something completely different, I'm now listening to Hampton Colisseum, 9 Oct '89.  The band?  Man, if you have to ask, you just ain't hip.

Date: 2007/11/29 16:45:42, Link
Author: George
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Nov. 29 2007,11:59)

The fact of the matter is that it is assumed, without being written down anywhere, that publication requires money to conduct the research which is being published. In other words the proof of the pudding is in the tasting not the expense of making it. That is why no minimum amount of grant funding is written in the tenure track guidelines. Indeed, if the record of published research is extraordinary with little cost that is considered a good thing. Better results at lower cost is something to be strived for not something to be shunned. Anyone with any financial sense at all should know that.

Part of the silliness in this is the assumption that university administrations value low-grant-money research as much as the big ticket work.

Date: 2007/11/30 13:41:19, Link
Author: George
I like to think of denialists of all kinds in three groups:

1) the followers
2) the masters
3) the activists

Type 1 are the people who deny really on a superficial level.  They don't know a whole lot about the subject, including the more detailed denialist arguments.  They might follow the denialist line because it fits in with their politics or because a friend is denialist or because of some funny quote or something they heard on talk radio.  These are the sort of people that wouldn't really comment on blogs, though they might lurk a bit.  They might be your brother-in-law.

Type 2 are the ID leaders, the oil magnates that fund the anti-climate change or the tobacco is good for you research.  They probably don't even believe their own denialist position.  They're the ones making money from it.  They're evil scum.

Type 3 are the cheerleaders of a denialist movement, the evangelisers who've completely bought the line.  They're talk radio hosts, revival meeting organisers, wingnut journalists, and probably most of the commenters at UD (the non-trolls anyway.)

I think the way to deal with a denialist is to find out what group they belong to.  Quickly and efficiently if possible.  The masters and activists will never be persuaded except under exceptional circumstances.

It seems that Louis is talking mostly about the activist type, which we can now see includes FtK.  Yeah, we spent too long on her.  But at first I thought she was just a follower, with a real interest in learning more.  Three strikes might be a good rule of thumb, but what counts as a strike?  Some people don't respond very well to direct challenging and dissection of the technicalities.  They just aren't very persuaded.  I reckon before giving up on a denialist, you should try different angles of persuasion (besides flamethrowers).  If you try a few different kinds of arguments against them, and they're impervious to them all, then yeah, they're types 2 or 3 and are a lost cause.

Really, that's what we did with FtK.  We tried "here's all the evidence", "explain to us what your evidence is", "how's there a conspiracy if there are so many Christians who believe in evolution [the one I thought would win]" and "your masters are either dumb or deceitful."  None worked.  That's at least four strikes and I'm sure I missed lots.

Date: 2007/11/30 13:58:06, Link
Author: George
Quote (Bob O'H @ Nov. 30 2007,13:50)
Please, George.  The image of activist Sal waving his pom-poms about is not one I want in my head just before I go to sleep.

How 'bout Louis?  He's the one who started this team thing.

Date: 2007/12/04 01:57:16, Link
Author: George

Science: Ovis aries juvenile.
FtK:  Cute!

Science: Austropotamobius pallipes
FtK:  Icky!

A wee quiz:
One of the above species is endangered and legally protected.  One of the above species is a valuable part of natural ecosystems while another is responsible for large scale environmental degradation.
Please discuss the relationship between cuteness and the conservation value of species, and how these relate to the ethics of killing them.

Extra credit:  Discuss how this illustrates to why emotional considerations make for crap science.

Extra extra credit:  Provide your favourite recipe for lamb.

Date: 2007/12/06 14:32:47, Link
Author: George
I'm surprised we haven't seen Sal or some other IDist mine this quote from a contemporary newspaper account:

"Darwin has been arrested on suspicion of fraud, police said today.  The 57-year-old... was picked up in Basingstoke last night and will today be taken back to Cleveland for questioning."

Maybe along with a suitably hysterical title like First Darwin, then Piltdown Man.  What con job will the dastardly evolutionists pull next??!!??!

Date: 2007/12/12 16:26:05, Link
Author: George
I'd just like to point out that since we've reached the Blessed Page 777 that we're obviously more Holy Than Them over there on UD.  Also everyone posting on this page gets 7 free purgatory points.

Doubtless hero/zero, renowned numerical dadaist, can come up with something more profound.

Date: 2007/12/18 08:09:50, Link
Author: George
I've not posted on this thread since near the beginning as I'm no gene jockey and not as patient as others.  But I found this an interesting argument:

The fact that Life is still here after all these eons is testament to the ingenuity of the designer.  Think about it:  The "god" of the atheist - Natural Selection - has no stake in the matter.  It could care less if genomes get corrupted and unravel.  What does Natural Selection care if life ceases to exist?  Why does every epoch throughout history show an incredible balance of lifeforms - in spite of all variations of environmental conditions? Natural Selection could care less about this.  Again, it has no stake in the matter.  If the earth were to become a dead, uninhabitable planet, Natural Selection would not know the difference.  No, there's something else in play here.  Something is keeping this balance we see.  Something much greater than you and me.

This is exactly the argument that bolsters climate change deniers - the feeling that someone trustworthy is in charge and that everything will be ok.  But this argument is entirely unfounded.

Daniel:  I've news.  There is no Balance of Nature.  The only people who believe in it anymore are those who write really bad dialogue for nature documentaries.  There is a flux of nature.  Everything changes, nothing stays the same.  Populations of organisms increase, decrease and move around the place.  In the northern hemisphere we're still recovering from the last glaciation.  Sometimes there's variation around a mean population size, but often not.  Many years of ecological research have shown that.

All those variations in environmental conditions you refer to resulted in extinctions.  Lots of them.  Who was looking out for those plants and animals?  Three mass extinctions in geological history, and Homo sapiens are causing the fourth.  These should suggest to you that Natural Selection is in charge of life on this planet and that if a really big, friendly comet comes along or if we banjax the climate, no one is coming to our rescue.

A "balance of nature" is not an argument for teleology, because it doesn't exist.

And by the way, I'm also a Christian and I do science just fine without needing a Designer tugging the strings.  It's bad religion, too.


Date: 2007/12/18 11:45:22, Link
Author: George
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Dec. 18 2007,10:49)
I think Taner Edis is missing an obvious explanation for the 'blinkered confidence': it's basically normal religious rhetoric. Try and imagine that the IDers weren't trying to peddle pseudoscience, and instead they were talking about some missionary efforts they were undertaking in the Third World. This kind of bubbly optimism no matter what's actually happening is completely normal in conservative Protestant churches when Advancing The Lord's Work, where there's a dominant idea that success depends mostly on one's 'attitude'. There are already so many ways in which ordinary religious rhetoric works its way into ID -- such as 'disproving' evolution based on the supposed wickedness of people who believe in it -- that you kind of get this explanation for free, I think.

I think this is too narrow of an explanation.  Here's mine: they're selling something.

Brash exuberance, overconfidence and product hyping is the trademark of salespeople and spin doctors everywhere.  They may believe in their product, they might not.  But by God, they'll do their damnedest to sell it.

Unfortunately for them, normal sales techniques don't work in science.  (Though they might work on scientists- how else do those annoying flashy yet sub-par gizmos wind up in the corners of labs all over the world?)

Date: 2007/12/18 12:06:53, Link
Author: George
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Dec. 18 2007,11:52)
But I would maintain that that's the motive for this attitude in churches, too.

However, I think JohnW is also completely right when he points out that people like us are simply not ID's target audience.

Oh, yes.  I was just pointing out that it's not exclusive to religion.  But I'll grant you the absolute certainty that comes from fundamentalism does put an extra shine in the proselytiser's eye.

And absolutely yes on point two.

Date: 2007/12/18 18:47:02, Link
Author: George
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Dec. 18 2007,18:40)
There's a difference between balance and stasis.  It's true that there is no stasis in nature.  There is balance however.  If there weren't we'd be overrun by cockroaches by now.  Extinctions are a part of that balance.  When climate conditions change radically, species that once thrived die out and new ones take their place - all the while maintaining the balance that sustains this planet for life.

Then please explain to me what you mean by "balance".  And how it relates to cockroaches.  I don't know what you're getting at.

Date: 2007/12/20 08:01:32, Link
Author: George
Quote (Amadan @ Dec. 19 2007,08:45)
I Am the Very Model of a C-Design-Proponentsist

Any ID response to this work of art?

"Down With This Sort of Thing!" would be apt.

Date: 2007/12/20 08:08:59, Link
Author: George
Tard bridges all cultural divides.

Date: 2007/12/21 01:25:22, Link
Author: George
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Dec. 20 2007,18:26)
Quote (George @ Dec. 18 2007,18:47)
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Dec. 18 2007,18:40)

There's a difference between balance and stasis.  It's true that there is no stasis in nature.  There is balance however.  If there weren't we'd be overrun by cockroaches by now.  Extinctions are a part of that balance.  When climate conditions change radically, species that once thrived die out and new ones take their place - all the while maintaining the balance that sustains this planet for life.

Then please explain to me what you mean by "balance".  And how it relates to cockroaches.  I don't know what you're getting at.

I mean that the world always has exactly the right mixture of species to keep life going (even though the players are in a constant state of flux).  

There's no reason - from an unthinking, uncaring natural selection standpoint - for it to be thus.  If it truly is "the survival of the fittest", cockroaches would win out, take over the world, then die out too when their food sources ran out.  The planet would then be dead - like every other planet we know of.  (Of course, this is just an imaginary scenario where cockroaches just happen to win - you can substitute any "fit", rapidly reproducing species - it doesn't matter, one species should overtake all the others if there's no balance in nature).

That's what I mean by balance.

Ok.  Now I've three more questions for you, if you'll be so kind, to make sure I know where you're coming from:

Do you think God actively tweaks or toggles the various ecological mechanisms that keep population sizes in check?  Or is it more of a case that the mechanisms have been set up ahead of time to ensure that no one species can outcompete all others?

What do you mean by "fit" species?  Could you explain what characteristics they have?  Or maybe give some examples of fit species that perhaps should take over the world but don't?

Have you ever thought that we are the cockroaches in your example above, and that since we've taken over the world and are now making a huge mess of it, our downfall is at hand?  Didn't think so.

Date: 2007/12/22 15:05:04, Link
Author: George
Fantastic.  Very addictive.  And good for biologists too.  I got "eft" and "waptiti".  And knowing latin-based jargon helps with some of the words I didn't know.

Date: 2007/12/22 15:07:37, Link
Author: George
Actually in the photo, they all look Indian to me.  Of course the healer has to wear white.  How else do you know he's the good guy.

Date: 2008/01/09 07:21:07, Link
Author: George
Quote (Lou FCD @ Jan. 09 2008,06:34)
Quote (1of63 @ Jan. 09 2008,00:32)
If ID takes off in Florida, could give a whole new meaning to CSI: Miami.  Can't you just see the Complex Sweater Idiot snapping off the cool shades and talking sideways at people?

They'd have to change the soundtrack, though.

ID has nothing to say about The Who.

Anyone think of a less appropriate theme song for ID than Won't Get Fooled Again?

Date: 2008/01/11 02:42:22, Link
Author: George
Quote (skeptic @ Jan. 11 2008,00:43)
Anyhow, I would think that the fact that mutations occur fairly regularly is in itself evidence of randomness. Planned mutations would seem to me to be more likely to occur in batches when needed, with long stretches in between of nothing much happening in that regard.

Sounds a lot like the fossil record, doesn't it?

The fossil record is the result of random mutation and natural selection (and other mechanisms).

You seem to be confusing/conflating the roles of RM and NS in some of the things you say.  RM is neutral as regards fitness.  NS is where the fitness part comes in.  It's a two-stage process.

Your personal disbelief isn't a valid argument against the adequacy of RM+NS (and other mechanisms) to develop biological complexity.  Perhaps you don't fully appreciate how complex the environment is, how many different selection pressures there are, and how they change in relative importance over widely varying time scales.

Date: 2008/01/22 07:44:21, Link
Author: George

There's a difference between a "simulation" and a "model".  A simulation tries to be a more or less faithful mathematical copy of a system or a part of a system.  A model is a simplified representation of one or a limited number of features of a system.  It doesn't try to be an exact replicate of the system it models.  Rather it is a tool to help us understand certain aspects of a system.  

For example, you can come up with a hypothesis that natural selection will work in a certain way in a given situation.  You can then make a model of your hypothesis and compare its results with reality.  If they don't match, your hypothesis is wrong; if they do match, then the model supports your hypothesis.

Because of the complexity of ecology, there has never been a good simulation of ecological processes, including natural selection, in a real-world ecosystem (except maybe some extremely simplified ones I'm not aware of).  I'm not aware that anyone's really tried.  The closest ones I'm aware of are some spatially explicit single-tree models of forest dynamics.  However, there have been all sorts of very useful models that have provided insights into ecological and evolutionary processes.  You don't need to see the whole picture at once to begin to understand large parts of it.

Date: 2008/01/23 12:06:44, Link
Author: George
Hey man.  Peace and love on your birthday, fellow Aquarian.

Date: 2008/01/24 07:20:02, Link
Author: George
Ahhh, baseball.  The pasttime that makes association football / soccer look like high-paced gripping drama...

*ducks behind umpire, then falls asleep*

Date: 2008/03/02 12:21:36, Link
Author: George
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Mar. 02 2008,07:08)
I think DS might be having some sort of brain-fart

Shu-Kun Lin’s statement about interchanging thermal order for other kinds of order being non-sensicial described my immediate reaction to the “canned” response from Darwinists that the earth is an open system. That it’s nonsense to willy-nilly exchange thermal order from the sun into chemical order in living systems should be obvious. It isn’t obvious to them and it’s frustrating when careful explanation fails to get the concept across.

a) non-sensicial? Is that some sort of Japanese wine?
b) DS' "I violate SLOT" comment obviously still burns him up.

Someone should tell the tomatoes so they stop relying on photosynthesis.

Date: 2008/04/02 07:34:53, Link
Author: George
I always carry a Swiss army knife.  Essential for a field botanist and useful at parties for disarming bottles of wine.

Date: 2008/04/13 06:55:13, Link
Author: George
Trying to bring home some reality.

Do you have any clue how tiring it is to constantly be called a liar when you aren't one?

It's far less tiring than watching all the intentionally misleading statements, quotemines and so forth produced by creationists. It all serves to denigrate Christians and Christianity itself. Do you realise that you and your fellow travellers are making more atheists than you are "saving"?

Date: 2008/04/14 07:53:38, Link
Author: George
Quote (skeptic @ April 13 2008,13:30)
If that's not the biggest load of "political" crap I've ever heard then I don't know what is.  There's one simple fact that is lost on almost everyone spewing this end-of-the-world rhetoric and is that sixty millions years ago the CO2 content of the atmosphere was 3 times what it is now and, surprisingly enough the world did not end.  Life was not exterminated and there was no "global warming tipping point."  The sooner we get past the finger-pointing and fear-mongering (oh yeah, I said it) then the sooner we can start applying real solutions to energy and environmental concerns jointly.

For skeptic and others who might doubt the existence of tipping points and other climate thresholds, consider the hurricane.  Hurricanes need water temperatures of greater than 26.5 deg to form.  Imagine we lived in a cooler world than we currently do, but climate change then increased ocean temperatures beyond this point.  All of a sudden, we would be experiencing these monster storms that no one had ever experienced and no one anticipated (or at least took seriously).

Makes me wonder if there are similar surprises around the climatic corner.

Date: 2008/04/14 07:56:56, Link
Author: George
Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ April 12 2008,11:07)
I've been suspicious of bandwagon movements for longer than i have been following this particular movement.

The 'Stop Global Warming' movement is in my view a successful industry re-spinning of a much more pressing issue.

Stop building houses in my ramp patches.

Stop putting roads into my speckled trout creeks.  

If we don't get the mexicans out of the woods then there will be no galax nor ginseng left around here.

Those are issues worth getting all het up over.

Stop Global Warming is stupid.

I'm familiar with 'sang poaching, but I hadn't heard there was a problem with Galax.  Is it a big problem?  What's it used for?

Date: 2008/04/14 15:35:11, Link
Author: George
Quote (skeptic @ April 14 2008,11:41)
George, I think the actual contribution of short term temperature change and long term climate effects is largely in dispute.  Just over the last two years we've seen multiple opinions as to what impact GW has had in hurricane formation.  Funny thing is those discussions came in the wake of Katrina which screams of opportunism and not science.

You're missing my point.  My point is that climate change can result in thresholds being crossed that can have sudden, extreme effects.  You scoffed earlier at "tipping points".  Hurricane formation is an example of one of those thresholds.  I'm not saying there's a long-term trend of increasing hurricanes.  There may be - we don't have the data yet.  But when we do have all of the data, will it be too late.

That's where the politics comes in.  I prefer to apply the precautionary priniciple.  If a lot of experts think it's likely we could be seriously fucked in the future, but maybe not, then I reckon we should try to avert the long term fucking and take the short term pain.

I heard the hurricane increase discussions at least a couple of years before Katrina.  Maybe you just weren't paying attention?

Erasmus:  I'm definitely not Serious George.  Maybe Querelous George.

Date: 2008/04/16 13:31:09, Link
Author: George
Politicisation of science is inevitable where the topic under scientific research affects a large number of people, economically, religiously or otherwise.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing - otherwise, how can science influence public policy?  When science is discussed by non-specialists in the media, in committees and in the pub, it's inevitable that things will be misunderstood.  Or purposely twisted by those with agendas.  It's up to the scientists and scientifically literate to engage with the process, provide accurate information and provide rational recommendations to policy makers.  

Which perhaps brings us back to the topic of how best to do this.  I'm a professional ecologist and I work in a big office surrounded by engineers.  They don't give a rat's arse, really, about ecology.  So when I try to explain why it's not a good idea to build a road over that wetland or that we need to stump up more money for a snail survey, the best argument is the law.  It's a habitat or protected species at the European level, so it's illegal to drive your diggers there.  Where this doesn't apply, or for the rare engineer who's genuinely curious (or indignant) and wants more info, I've found the ecosystem function argument is best.  I explain what species and ecosystems do for us: water purification, flood control, pest control, tourism revenue, whatever.

In the evocreo arena, the best positive argument may be what evolutionary theory does for us.  Spinoffs for medical research, agricultural innovations, that sort of thing.  Better and more fun to point out where the creos are lying, but that's a negative argument against creationism, and sometimes positive support for evolutionary science is what's needed in a given situation.

Date: 2008/04/17 09:10:44, Link
Author: George
Quote (skeptic @ April 17 2008,07:55)
If food supply is the number one challenge facing the species, which I happen to agree with, then how could a slightly warming environment have a net negative impact on that?  :D I'm sure you guys will go to town on that one.

Go to town?  How about Dhaka?  Greater metropolitan population 12.5 million.  Elevation 4 m asl.

Two answer your question, I have five words:

rising sea levels

rice paddies.

Date: 2008/04/17 09:37:02, Link
Author: George
Quote (skeptic @ April 17 2008,07:55)
Quote (Richard Simons @ April 16 2008,20:49)
Quote (skeptic @ April 16 2008,19:22)
Here's my point, there's a complete difference between examining the mechanisms of climate change and trying to learn how they interact to produce the observed results and extrapolating a predetermined outcome and evaluating how that disproportionately affects the haves and the have nots.  One of those discussions is science and the other is politics, IMO.

I disagree. I would argue that determining the effects of climate change falls under the remit of science. Where politics comes in is in deciding what to do about the effects and determining the relative importance to give to curbing the production of greenhouse gasses by wealthy people versus poor people, the balance between the costs and benefits of different options, the relative importance of wildlife and people in different areas, what to do about international migration resulting from climate change and so on.

I would counter that determining the effects socially, politically, culturally, economically, etc are matters for politicians, sociologists, economists, etc.  There is a big risk of bias if the scientists extracting core samples is also called on (or offers himself) to decry the effects of global warming on impoverished populations.

Isn't it odd that every single significant impact of GW is negative?  The changing climate is a neutral occurrence and yet we can only see the downside.  I believe this is a product of psychology and resistance or fear of change more than actual science.  If food supply is the number one challenge facing the species, which I happen to agree with, then how could a slightly warming environment have a net negative impact on that?  :D I'm sure you guys will go to town on that one.

A couple more things.  Richard and you are defining science and scientists in this context differently.  You're restricting yourself to climatologists.  But don't you think that climate change research that deals with impacts in detail includes scientists and other professionals from a broad range of disciplines?  Or are you against multidisciplinary collaboration?

Take a team of climatologists and agronomists that collaborate to come up with predictions of crop yields under climate change.  They point out that in the worst case scenario, they predict massive crop failures.  Is this conflating science with politics?  What if they explicitly state that there is the potential for large-scale famine?  Would that be conflating science with politics?

As for the neutrality of climate change, it would be so if we and the natural systems we depend on could react rapidly enough to climate change.  Unfortunately, we can't react fast enough to the predicted changes.  Human reactions would have to include moving large populations out of flooded or desertified areas.  Also developing better coastal defenses, flood prevention measures, water conservation and distribution systems, breed new crops, etc.

As for the speckled trout, they're just screwed.  Doubt they can evolve to survive in warmer, less oxygenated water in time.

Date: 2008/04/18 19:37:52, Link
Author: George
Quote (skeptic @ April 17 2008,20:46)
George, ever been to Vienna?

Yes.  Why?

And while we're discussing questions, care to address these?
don't you think that climate change research that deals with impacts in detail includes scientists and other professionals from a broad range of disciplines?  Or are you against multidisciplinary collaboration?

Take a team of climatologists and agronomists that collaborate to come up with predictions of crop yields under climate change.  They point out that in the worst case scenario, they predict massive crop failures.  Is this conflating science with politics?  What if they explicitly state that there is the potential for large-scale famine?  Would that be conflating science with politics?

Which was the original topic at hand, was it not?

Date: 2008/04/20 12:36:07, Link
Author: George
Any word on Expelled getting international release?  From the initial figures, it seems like it would be lucky to show up straight to dvd outside the US.

Date: 2008/04/21 16:43:20, Link
Author: George
Quote (me @ )
don't you think that climate change research that deals with impacts in detail includes scientists and other professionals from a broad range of disciplines?  Or are you against multidisciplinary collaboration?

Take a team of climatologists and agronomists that collaborate to come up with predictions of crop yields under climate change.  They point out that in the worst case scenario, they predict massive crop failures.  Is this conflating science with politics?  What if they explicitly state that there is the potential for large-scale famine?  Would that be conflating science with politics?

To which you replied:

Quote (skeptic @ April 20 2008,14:23)
no George, I don't think that the scientists involved in the primary research of climate change should be a part do creating solutions in relation to predicted impacts.  The potential for bias is too great.  Consider if the drug companies also ran the, maybe that is actually the perfect example.

So you agree that climatologists and agronomists, in my example, should not collaborate to try to predict changes in agricultural productivity under different climate change scenarios?  This is an example of "political manipulation of science to achieve an agenda"?  You're either completely mad or, more likely, failing basic reading comprehension again.

As for your drug company / FDA analogy, it's not very apt.  Drug companies would stand to make a huge profit.  How would climate change scientists, unless they were big shareholders in renewable energy or carbon trading companies?  Your analogy would better fit a hypothetical situation where politicians beholden to big oil changed the results of scientific reports.  Oh, wait, that really happened.

As for tipping points, how about my (really) hypothetical hurricane argument on the previous page?  I gave it to you as an example of a tipping point.  Please tell me how I'm wrong.

And you'll have plenty of time to read this properly as I'll be out in the field for the next few days.

Date: 2008/04/21 16:50:26, Link
Author: George
Quote (midwifetoad @ April 21 2008,11:21)
From the political angle, the only technology that can substitute for fossil fuel in the next fifty years is nuclear, and the various energy transmission and storage technologies it enables. (Hydrogen, for example)

If anyone can run the numbers and demonstrate this to be wrong, I'd like to be proved wrong.

Not necessarily in all places.  Ireland for example has the potential to supply all its power needs with plenty left to export using currently available wind technology (and a hell of a lot of turbines).  I think it's to do with some crazy synergy between politicians and playwrights generating all the air.

On the global scale, I'd like to prove you wrong, but unfortunately I can't.

Date: 2008/05/11 14:15:24, Link
Author: George
Quote (Lou FCD @ May 11 2008,10:33)
For the love of all things unholy, could we please not goad William into going down that road again?


toilet door, by Queen of the desert

The only reason I'm reading this thread is the fascinating bathroom photos you're digging up.

Date: 2008/05/19 07:18:18, Link
Author: George
Quote (Richardthughes @ May 19 2008,01:18)
Oh. has evolved!

I think it was designed.  And from it I can infer that the Designer has an inordinate fondness for mustard.  Or maybe those little artificial cheese flavoured crackers.

Date: 2008/05/20 14:11:39, Link
Author: George
Formerly Knoxville, Tennessee.

Presently Dublin, frighteningly close to a certain Eurotrash-singing turkey puppet.

*peers cautiously through heavy curtains*

ETA: For the faint of stomach, I didn't post the link to the actual song.  But I've just noticed that himself has no modesty

Date: 2008/05/20 14:21:56, Link
Author: George
Quote (Amadan @ May 20 2008,08:05)
Europe approaches its cultural perigee on Saturday evening in Belgrade.

Those of youse who have a vote are expected to use it (repeatedly, you all know how) the right way, or I shall be obliged to make use(*) of these most interesting negatives that have (ahem) somehow come into my possession.

Animal husbandry indeed . . .

(*) subject to permission of the goat's parents or guardians

Ah, you must be talking about our referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.  Very commendable European civic sense.  Very civilised.

Date: 2008/05/21 01:15:42, Link
Author: George
Quote (guthrie @ May 20 2008,15:51)
Surely that entry you linked to can't be worse than "My loverly horse".

Apparently it was.  Our feathered friend's performance was so fowl, he was plucked and stuffed last night.  No song in the final for Ireland again.  Douche points.

From that article: "Ireland’s glorious history in the Eurovision has taken a battering in recent years."  How can anyone put glorious and Eurovision in the same sentence.  

Shoulda gone for "My Lovely Horse".  The Divine Comedy version.

(edited for needless clarity)

Date: 2008/05/22 15:57:54, Link
Author: George
Speaking of the most appalling collection of noise that calls itself music, I was bored this morning stuck in traffic on the M50, and I got to thinking that Billy and the Evolanders would make a pretty good name for a band.

And if AtBC were to form a band, it would have to be called The Banned and cover the old classic The Night They Drove Old Dembski Down

Na na na na na na na na naaa.

Date: 2008/07/14 12:52:20, Link
Author: George
My $0.02 as a Catholic environmental scientist.  Desecrating the communion host is rude and offensive to me and to other Catholics.  Not because God is somehow threatened, but because it shows disrespect to me.  Is this illegal? No. Is it a hate crime? No.  Should people be allowed to do or say such offensive things?  Of course, and I'll defend their right to do so while criticising their choice to do so.  In my opinion, people who threaten violence on the offensive person have the lower moral ground.

Should people be highly offensive in ridiculing religious beliefs?  Depends on what you want to achieve.  If you only want to entertain yourself and like minded readers, fire ahead.  But I think highly offensive ridiculing of beliefs is not the best way to convince people about evolutionary biology.  Emphasis on *highly offensive*, as some mild ridicule can be a good thing I reckon.  Also caveats on the convinceability of people - some are just lost causes.

I suppose my main point is on tactics.  PZ and others often acts like assholes on religious matters, which is sometimes funny and perfectly fine up to a point.  But I don't think they're winning us any friends.

PS I've only been really offended by another poster once in my time in this place, and that was a misunderstanding.

PPS  As a native of Tennessee, I also thought "kick the cracker" referred to Georgians before I started reading the content of this thread.

Date: 2008/07/14 14:13:14, Link
Author: George
Quote (Louis @ July 14 2008,13:26)
Well as an atheist, chemical scientist there isn't really much of your $0.02 that I would disagree with.

At least not too strongly, and even then I reckon it would be an "ironing out of details" rather than a disagreement. ;-)

Although the tendancy to claim that you have been personally insulted by someone not cherishing the ideas and things you do in the manner you do is, to be blunt, a very destructive error however heartfelt. An error we ALL are liable to commit (myself included) but nonetheless, to some extent, an error.

Like I said above, the thing that interested me was/is the hyperbole, poor argumentation and strawmen being chucked about. Whosoever is chucking it about. Ascribing positions to people that they simply do not hold, and dogmatically insisting on adhering to that misattribution is the hallmark of intellectual dishonesty.

Do I sympathise with PZ's comments? Perhaps in some instances. Would I do the same thing the same way? Perhaps in some instances. It rather depends on whether or not it needs to be done. Does this mean I agree with every word and nuance. NO! And I suppose that is the crux of it all.

One of the things that PZ has 100% correct though is that there is a carapace of protection surrounding religious ideas and claims. The cry of "offense" is terribly easy to make and so often made that any power it has is lost on those of us who have sussed the trick. Is such protection needed? Will revealing the Emperor's nudity cause cataclysmic social decoherence? I'm not sure. But what I AM sure of is that that protection, and those ideas, demand challenge like any other idea. They need to evolve. No pun intended.


To clarify, it's not the "not cherishing" that's insulting, it's the action or the words coupled with intent.  And really, if someone's intent is to insult, then in one sense, the "incorrect" one, it's definitely not an error to feel insulted.  But in the "mistake" sense, I would agree that it's best not to take things personally.  I've thick enough skin in that way.

I'd agree with your and PZ's view of the privileged position of religion wrt the defense of "offense".  I'd widen it to say that those claiming moral offense without explicitly bringing religion into it are similarly privileged.  Why is it that the most prudish and squeamish members of society get to make the rules on things like "foul" language and "indecent" dress?  Goes without saying here at least that any religious based empirical claims should be examined just as rigourously as secular ones.

Date: 2008/07/14 14:36:07, Link
Author: George
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,July 14 2008,13:28)
I like it George.

The questions in my mind are "Is it alright to kick the lost cause"

Depends on who the lost cause is, where you kick 'em and what your footwear of choice is.  For those like DaveScot and Sal, the metaphorical steel-toed Doc to the wobblies is called for.

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,July 14 2008,13:28)
and "Does kicking the lost cause lose you any friends".

Depends on who's watching.

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,July 14 2008,13:28)
Of course "Who needs friends like those" is also a valid question.

I would suggest that these are all questions that are asked in particular contexts and in no way are generalized robust deductions may be made from their answers.

I knew this question would come up.  This is the question that the "honey" and "vinegar" factions always fall out on.  For e.g.,PZ has argued that we don't need the help of the theistic evolutionists.  I think the answer to that depends on who the we is.  Are you fighting for atheism?  For evolutionary biology free of religion? Different goals mean different friends can be useful.  I reckon some of the more committed atheists forget or disregard this point.  

Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,July 14 2008,13:28)
In this case, although PZ has a rhetorical style that I may find abrasive (actually, it is the braying den of squid that I usually ignore, just like Tony Rice is awesome but his disciples I wish to never meet another), I think pointing out the absurdity of cracker worship (in the theological sense, and not in the personal sense of "Haha, george worships a cracker) is an activity with desired ends not orthogonal to the desired ends of pointing out the absurdity of the claims made by anti-evolutionists.

The social context of consecrated communion may have other benefits real or perceived, but at the intersection of the faith claim and empirical reality we should not obscure reason behind warm fuzzy feelings about place and family or whatever is comforting.  

The wafer either is or is not God (although there has been some interesting dualist theology waffling about on the internetz since this event).  To me it seems obvious that there is a connection between this sort of compartmentalization and the sort that goes with the argument regarding design.

ETA negatives

I know what you're saying wrt compartmentalization above.  However, I reckon a problem common to creationists is a lack of compartmentalisation of a sort.  The inability to recognise that faith has absolutely nothing to say in certain spheres, like natural science.  I like the NOMA framework, though granted it may not be perfect.

[Edited to sort out quotes]

Date: 2008/07/14 14:37:08, Link
Author: George
(Edited to delete duplicate msg.)

Date: 2008/07/17 14:51:12, Link
Author: George
On behalf of all us lazy folks, I'd like to say

ETA:  *shiver* my first LOLcat feels strangely exciting in a crack whore sort of way

Date: 2008/08/10 09:14:29, Link
Author: George
Though DUP backbenchers and ministers' wives are making all sorts of silly calls for teaching creationism and other reactionary rubbish, I seriously doubt that this will filter up to government, even DUP cabinet, policy.  Not being hopefully naive here.  I think the top DUP politicians are hard-headed enough to think of the money.  If the establishment gives real support to creationism, that will be a clear signal to biotech and similar companies to invest south of the border (where there are already plenty of financial goodies waiting for them).

Also, the time NI politicians spend spouting creationist rubbish is time they aren't spending spouting political sectarian rubbish, which is far more dangerous.  Creationism is a symptom of political normalisation in the north, and therefore to be almost welcomed, ironically.

Date: 2008/09/07 05:40:20, Link
Author: George
I work with children every day, and it is common to find children who will blatantly lie about something even when presented with direct evidence to the contrary.  It's not so much that they are inherently dishonest, but rather that they are still immature enough to think that if they pretend that they can't see the evidence others can't also.  They have not yet fully learned that adults are not stupid.

The ID movement is like that.  You guys make all these arguments that ID is really about science, and the designers could be space aliens, and yet the bulk of the actions of those in the movement belie that.  No matter how many times you say it is otherwise you can't make it so.

Excellent post, Jack, and spot-on characterisation.

Date: 2008/09/27 14:04:23, Link
Author: George
The common descent framework is an important tool in drug discovery earlier than in the testing phase.  Looking for families of pharmaceutically useful compounds in plant species is informed by knowledge of the relationships among plant species.  Common design can't tell us where to look as related plant species often look quite different and less-closely related species often look very similar.  How many common plant names have "false-" as part of them?  Molecular techniques have been radically changing plant systematics in the last 10-20 years as we find that phylogenies based on morphological characters - structural similarity - are inadequate.  Which is a pain in the ass to the rest of us who have to keep up with the name changes.

Date: 2008/09/29 07:22:48, Link
Author: George
Not to be confused with a "whorde".

Date: 2008/10/02 12:27:50, Link
Author: George
Quote (Louis @ Sep. 30 2008,12:40)
Share and enjoy!


Correlation does not imply causation.   :angry:

Love your nasturtiums.

Date: 2008/10/10 07:59:20, Link
Author: George
Quote (stevestory @ Oct. 08 2008,21:32)
Dropping G's is not wholly evil. I was certainly dropping mine today as I explained why surface area = 2b + perimeter*height. Bein' southern doesn't have any necessary contradiction with math...

Droppin' Gs is about the only trace of a southern accent I have left after years in the midwest and more years in Yurrp.  I've also retained the word "reckon" as it's in common use here as well as back home.  But my accent is now from about 36degN, 37degW.  Confuses everyone no matter where I am.

Reckon it's gettin' to be time for a cupan tae.

Date: 2008/10/17 08:03:31, Link
Author: George
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Oct. 16 2008,12:42)
Well, the explanation for this is clear to ME -- the Irish now control America's elections. Paddy bastids.

Please welcome your new overlord.

Jackie Healy-Rae, TD (member of parliament) for South Kerry.

Date: 2008/10/22 13:03:21, Link
Author: George
I've only had time to read the beginning couple of sections, but based on those and the comments above, I think I can guess where he's going.  

I don't think any of us [sensible] people here disagree with one of the main contentions of the article that overpopulation is a serious potential or actual problem.  Whether you consider the planet currently overpopulated or not, depends on certain assumptions you make, most importantly how you derive an estimation of global human carrying capacity (K) relative to standard of living.  If everyone on earth had a very underdeveloped nation's standard of living, then we would have enough resources for probably billions more people.  However, if everyone on earth enjoyed a western standard of living, then we would already be above K.

One of the author's earlier points is that more intensive agriculture permitted a steeper increase in population over time relative to hunter-gatherer societies.  Assuming the same lag-time between crossing the K threshold and a downward population correction, more people would be lost from an agricultural population than a hunter-gatherer population.  This makes sense I think.  This is what he's talking about wrt "overshoot".

What really annoys me about the article is the nature documentary rubbish about "living in harmony" with the "delicate balance of nature."  Three main reasons why:
1) As Zach has pointed out, ecosystems are rarely if ever in equilibrium and only then for a relatively short time.  Climate changes, species invade, species go extinct, soil/geological conditions change.  Hell, even ecological theory changes, and we've long since dumped the "balance of nature" paradigm.
2) Over-romanticizing hunter-gatherer interactions with non-human nature.  How is burning large swathes of forest or tundra in harmony with ecosystems?  How about species introductions?  Large-scale slaughtering of prey?  Lest you think I'm down on our palaeo-brothers, see #1 above for the reality of natural harmony.
3) It's smarmy, cheesy, fluffy crap.

Overall, the idea of depleting soil reserves limiting human population is interesting from an academic point of view.  However, applying Liebeg's Law of the Minimum, other factors will limit food production before soil nutrients: water and politics.  Clean, fresh water will run out long before soil phosphorus.  And can anyone remember the last famine not partly caused by politics?

Finally, is he really advocating a return to hunter-gatherer lifestyles?  Can't happen.  I don't think we'd be willing to give up modern medical care and other things that make life less literally painful and short.

(End rant.  Go back to silent mode.)

Date: 2008/10/24 07:35:43, Link
Author: George
I posted off my absentee ballot yesterday.  You might like to know that I voted for truth, freedom and the American way.

YES on the county liquor referendum.

Date: 2008/11/14 17:46:21, Link
Author: George
Barry says:

Nevertheless, we hope our readers – if they find this site valuable – will help us financially so that we can improve the quality of the product we deliver to the internet ID community.  We will use the funds not to get rich (it is after all, a “non-profit” corporation)


, but to make further technical improvements to the site and (this is the exciting part to me) to commission scholarly articles for original publication right here at UD!

Who will they ever find to write these articles?  The PT Barnum of Design Theory, who else?

But when he calls us
St. Charles’ disciples

he's got us pegged.  I really need some relics to unsanctify my black altar.

Date: 2008/12/02 15:48:43, Link
Author: George
Hey, Daniel.  You reckon that God is amenable to scientific investigation?  Here's a perfect chance to put your money where your faith is.

Paddy Power is offering odds of 4:1 that scientific proof of His omnipresence will be found by 31st Dec 2009.  Whaddya say Daniel?

... and for the real risk-takers, their odds that Russell Brand is God are 500:1.

Think I'll give that one a miss.

Date: 2008/12/13 13:46:40, Link
Author: George
Borne said:
Bio-informatics, semantic biology, systems biology…
These are all sounding the death knell of Darwinism.

What is this?  The biology of making meaningless shit up?

Date: 2009/02/15 11:48:58, Link
Author: George
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Feb. 14 2009,10:10)
Evolution Weekend: Over 11,000 Christian clergy in the USA say RFJE's dichotomy is false.


2009 Evolution Weekend

This year represents the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin (12 February 1809) and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work On the Origin of Species in 1859. This backdrop provides a rich opportunity to demonstrate that religion and science have much to offer one another. Please join us and congregations all around the world iin celebrating Evolution Weekend 2009!

13 -15 February 2009 -- Evolution Weekend

Evolution Weekend is an opportunity for serious discussion and reflection on the relationship between religion and science. One important goal is to elevate the quality of the discussion on this critical topic - to move beyond sound bites. A second critical goal is to demonstrate that religious people from many faiths and locations understand that evolution is sound science and poses no problems for their faith. Finally, as with The Clergy Letter itself, which has now been signed by more than 11,000 members of the Christian clergy in the United States, Evolution Weekend makes it clear that those claiming that people must choose between religion and science are creating a false dichotomy.

Through sermons, discussion groups, meaningful conversations and seminars, the leaders listed below will show that religion and science are not adversaries.  

RFJE, I would really like you to address Wesley's contribution.  Can you understand it?

Date: 2009/02/19 02:22:17, Link
Author: George
Quote (RFJE @ Feb. 18 2009,23:52)
What difference does it make anyway?  The point is that water can break down protein which would make abiogenes with water present impossible.

This could also explain why you don't see anyone barbecuing in the rain.  Hickory-smoked aa soup anyone?

Date: 2009/03/18 13:40:03, Link
Author: George
Quote (Amadan @ Mar. 17 2009,14:20)
St Patrick's Day was, unusually, dry and mild in Dublin. As is usual, the parade is attended by parents unable to dump their kids at school, and by hordes of foreigners (pronounced 'fardners' in the local dialect) who expect the day to be an orgy of green-tinged Riverdancery and are bemused by the general uninterest of the natives.

But I had a pleasant walk down the South Bull Wall, so all's well with the world.

Carry on.

Glad you had a good St. Patrick's Day.  I suffered watching the brutal Goliath of Blackrock beating the brave Davids of Terenure in the Leinster schools senior rugby championship. Roll on Grand Slam saturday

Date: 2009/03/24 09:08:38, Link
Author: George
Quote (Richardthughes @ Mar. 24 2009,08:43)
More from the demented cheerleader:

Measuring Information/ specified complexity
When discussing information some people want to know how much information does something contain?

If it is something straight-forward such as a definition, we can count the number of bits in that definition to find out how much information it contains.

For example:

aardvark: a large burrowing nocturnal mammal (Orycteropus afer) of sub-Saharan Africa that has a long snout, extensible tongue, powerful claws, large ears, and heavy tail and feeds especially on termites and ants

A simple character count reveals 202 characters which translates into 1010 bits of information/ specified complexity..


human:  a human being.  

13 characters with spaces

Sphagnum: any soft moss of the genus Sphagnum, occurring chiefly in bogs, used for potting and packing plants, for dressing wounds, etc.

126 characters with spaces

Therefore moss is more intelligently designed than man.  At least some men.

Date: 2009/03/27 09:43:16, Link
Author: George
Quote (clamboy @ Mar. 26 2009,18:35)
I find it hard to believe that no one...NO ONE, I say...has pointed out that Joe G's cake recipe calls for:

1) adding the WET ingredients to the DRY ingredients

AND.....(dear lord! *choke*).....

2) adding them ONE  AT  A  TIME!!!!!

This is supposed to be a cake! A CAKE, DAMN YOUR EYES!!! NOT.....MUFFINS!!!!!!!

Excellent point.  Joe's no cakeboy.  He's... the Muffin Man!  Hard at work in the laboratory of his Unintelligent Muffin Research Kitchen.

"Girl you thought he was a man
But he was a muffin
He hung around till you found
That he didnt know nuthin"
- F. Zappa

Date: 2009/06/02 08:06:36, Link
Author: George
A couple of photos from last week of Neottia nidus-avis, bird's-nest orchid near St. John's Wood on the shores of Lough Ree (Ireland).  Bird's-nest orchid is a chlorophyll-less, saprophytic plant characteristic of old woodlands on base-rich soils.

Not bad for a mobile phone camera I reckon.

Date: 2009/06/09 07:43:27, Link
Author: George
Quote (afarensis @ June 09 2009,06:17)
Quote (Richardthughes @ June 09 2009,00:32)
Quote (sledgehammer @ June 08 2009,23:40)
Quote (afarensis @ June 08 2009,20:45)
Quote (Henry J @ June 08 2009,21:04)

Hey, did you know:

Folks from Dubai don't like the Flintstones.

But those from Abu Dhabi do!

I hope that theory is build on bedrock and not on loose sand...

Would Pebbles do instead of bedrock?

Bett(y)er on Rubble?

OR FRED! oh..wait...  :angry:

Wilma building still stand if it is on rubble?

Y'all are going to the punitentiary if you keep this up.   :angry:

Date: 2009/07/20 16:35:53, Link
Author: George
Quote (rossum @ July 20 2009,08:47)
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,July 20 2009,07:54)
O bama?  WTF

Make that "O'Bama".  He is Irish, which is why he can't find his birth certificate - he is looking in Hawaii or Kenya when he should be looking in Dublin.  :D


Try Moneygall, Co. Offaly.  Could be a distant relation to this big, handsome fellow politician from Offaly:

(I can hang this art on the bathroom wall, can't I?)

Date: 2009/07/20 18:14:25, Link
Author: George
Denyse combats the "big bazooms theory of human evolution" with the bigger bazooms theory of human creation.

Apparently submissive fetishes are central to her theory.

Date: 2009/07/23 07:44:10, Link
Author: George
Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ July 22 2009,14:56)
hilarious tard from the luciferians.  or poes...  not sure. which.


I am afraid you are wrong on this. There will be a 2nd star and are solar system will be modeled after the 13 bloodlines ancestral home world Draco... (rest of madness snipped)


wow there is some more good tard in there on the next page *4

Candace Subscriber
Paradise Citizen
User ID: 272605
7/21/2009 5:10 PM

Re: IMPACT JUPITER!!! ... (more insanity snipped)

how can we get these people here or UD?

Send them to UD please!! I would pay good money to watch those two debate ba^77, joseph and jehu.

Date: 2009/08/11 12:43:44, Link
Author: George
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Aug. 11 2009,08:33)
We could provide a useful service by classifying each proffered IDC apologetic.

"This IDC apologetic is:

A. Tired
B. Wretched
C. Poor
D. Tired and Wretched
E. Tired and Poor
F. Wretched and Poor
G. Tired and Wretched and Poor"

Everybody make sure to replace your "G" keys regularly so that they are kept in good condition.

Love the banner!  But I'm confused over the differences between "wretched" arguments and "poor" arguments.  Is there a difference?  Can anyone tell?  Anyone care?

Date: 2009/09/18 02:43:35, Link
Author: George
Amadan is a gosh darn hypocrite who's going to burn in Hell-Fire for his sins!  How can he be posting here in SuPPoRt of evilution when he doesn't even understand it himself!!1!!1!  Proof!? You want proof he doesn't understand evilution?  I'll give you proof!!1!

IDA would be marketing Ireland as the innovation island -- "like Einstein explaining his theory of evolution".

Mary Coughlan, Tanaiste of Ireland, 17th September, 2009

This published quote demonstrates that Irish people do not understand evilution.  

Amadan is Irish.  

Therefore Christianity and Evolution are incompatible. QED.


Date: 2009/09/18 09:46:09, Link
Author: George
Floyd, you have yet to address Dan's argument (via Deadman @ his second post on this thread), which is directly relevant to what you consider a Christian to be:

Quote (deadman_932 @ Sep. 14 2009,05:07)
On that note, I'm going to post the syllogistic argument Dan set forward in the "Peanut Gallery" :

1. The Pope is a Christian.

2. The Pope holds that evolution happens.

3. Therefore, Evolution is compatible with Christianity.

A simple three-line proof.

FL now has only five options:

A -- Contend that statement 1 is false.

B -- Contend that statement 2 is false.

C -- Contend that the reasoning deriving statement 3 from statements 1 and 2 is wrong.

D -- Accept that statement 3 is true.


E -- Change the subject by saying something irrelevant like "Some of you boys have already experienced either the LOSS of your Christian faith, or at least a SERIOUS EROSION of your Christian faith. And your slide (your back-slide, that is) is partly or indirectly due to the impact of evolution-claims on your own beliefs."

I think all of us here would like to hear your answer to this problem, which seems to cut straight through the haze of your big four arguments.

Date: 2009/09/21 07:47:09, Link
Author: George
Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 19 2009,16:38)
We keep these Pitcher Plants in both purple and yellow (Sarracenia flava)varieties:

(snip image)

You might be interested to hear that North American pitcher plants (S. purpurea) have been introduced to Irish bogs, where they are highly invasive.  One ecosystem's pretty plant is another's plague!

Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 19 2009,16:38)
Who says Biologists are serious all the time?

(snip image)

That's a live Carolina Anole (Anolis carolinensis) hanging from his ear. That's why Coastal pays him the big bucks. To entertain us. (Also maybe because he's almost a Dr.)

When I was on staff at Boy Scout camp I'd hang live skinks from my ear to amaze the kids for peanuts.  Had no idea there was a big market for it.

Date: 2009/10/06 07:48:42, Link
Author: George
Any discussion with any religious person of any religion about the tenets of their personal faith will eventually hits on at least one example of "Well in our scriptures god/the gods wrote this but I think he meant....". Or words to that effect.

'I think it was "Blessed are the cheesemakers".'
'What's so special about the cheesemakers?'
'Well, obviously it's not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.'

Date: 2009/10/08 17:18:13, Link
Author: George
Quote (Constant Mews @ Oct. 08 2009,17:11)
My apologies: a poor spell-checker.

Floyd, you may now concede.  My existence as a Christian, a scientist, and one who accepts evolution conclusively proves you are wrong.

You're welcome.

Me too.  Floyd, go home or change the subject.

At least AFDave had the sense of theatre (and slightly more dignity) to change his arguments before they became old, stale and beaten.

Date: 2009/11/11 01:20:43, Link
Author: George
Quote (fnxtr @ Nov. 10 2009,21:23)
1. As a Canadian, Bubba Byers embarasses the hell out of me.  (Shouldn't you be in Alabama, Bubba?)

2. Maybe he's "George".

No.  I'm Bubba from Tennessee.

Date: 2009/11/11 07:26:43, Link
Author: George
Happy birthday to the gorilla brothers!

Date: 2009/12/13 08:54:17, Link
Author: George
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Dec. 13 2009,08:12)
Ray Comfort and plagiarism

I hope Stan whoops his ass.  No better man and few bigger boots.

Date: 2009/12/13 09:28:46, Link
Author: George
Robert, while I'm here, I'll add that your arguments make baraminologists look like freaking geniuses.  At least they try to crunch a few numbers to justify their definitions of a "kind".  Have a look at Creation Science Quarterly (can't be arsed to provide you with the link).  There's a paper there by Todd Woods who identifies the family Canidae as a "kind" with no inclusion of Tasmanian wolves or any other marsupial.  This was based on analysis of a number of morphological characters, not just the "'cause it looks like one" and "it's got 'wolf' in the name" criteria.

Now don't get me wrong, baraminology and created "kinds" are just so much rubbish.  But your brand of rubbish makes theirs smell oh-so-sweet.  If you want to do anything other than display your own foolishness, such as having a coherent discussion, you'll need to step up the level of your argumentation and the evidence you provide.

Date: 2009/12/15 07:35:29, Link
Author: George
Quote (Robert Byers @ Dec. 15 2009,03:05)
These creationists would be wrong. not right about everything although farther along then 'others".
I wrote a essay and made my case there.
Remember its not about words but about rejecting the conclusion of evolutionists...

You would do well to heed your own advice.  No, it's not about words.  It's about data.
My evidence is excellent. In fact convergent concepts are my evidence. I then put in a twist.

(All bolding mine.)

You keep using that word.  I don't think it means what you think it means.  
Concepts are not evidence.  Evidence is data.  Where are your data?  Where is your analysis?  Have you numerically compared the characteristics of Tasmanian wolves, living and fossil canids, and fossil marsupials to come up with an objective evaluation of similarities?  Have you been able to trace these similarities through the fossil record?

Until you do, no one will listen to you.  Except to make fun of you.

Date: 2010/01/21 01:18:37, Link
Author: George
Have to pop up and say, fantastic job Rich!  I never suspected.

Does this mean that UD isn't as stupid as I thought, or more?

Date: 2010/02/17 06:38:23, Link
Author: George
I would really, really suggest reading Pratchett's Nation, a non-Discworld book for younger readers.  There's very extended treatment of science and religion, amongst culture clashes and other themes.  "That nice Professor Dawkins" even gets a mention at the end.

Date: 2010/02/24 07:34:34, Link
Author: George
Quote (OgreMkV @ Feb. 23 2010,15:48)
I hope you lurkers are realizing something important from this.

Yes, Professor Ogre.  Thank you, Professor Ogre.

</singsong> </unison>

I can has GEV degree now?

Date: 2010/03/16 19:39:03, Link
Author: George
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Mar. 16 2010,19:06)
Quote (Amadan @ Mar. 16 2010,14:56)
TP, you are mistaken!

Allow me to quote from Dembski's testimony at Dover:




(Sung to the tune of 4:33 by John Cage)

Comparable to Zappa's The Black Page in every way but one.

Does this mean BJray is the Easy Teenage New York version?

Date: 2010/03/16 19:51:57, Link
Author: George
Quote (Louis @ Mar. 15 2010,18:09)
The first rule of Fight Club a lacklustre England performance is that we don't talk about Fight Club a lacklustre England performance.

It is in the memory hole, it didn't happen. Sadly it has been not happening rather a lot recently. I blame immigrants/gays/liberals/single mothers/scientists (delete as applicable).


Sincere thanks to England.  I won €161.40 on the back of that draw.  And France's eviseration of Italy.

Date: 2010/04/20 07:52:45, Link
Author: George
Quote (REC @ April 18 2010,20:40)
Is the designer an intelligent alien, a computional simulator (a la THE MATRIX), a Platonic demiurge, a Stoic seminal reason, an impersonal telic process, …, or the infinite personal transcendent creator God of Christianity? The empirical data of nature simply can’t decide. But that’s not to say the designer is anonymous. I’m a Christian, so the designer’s identity is clear, at least to me. But even to identify the designer with the Christian God is not to say that any particular instance of design in nature is directly the work of his hands. We humans use surrogate intelligences to do work for us (e.g., computer algorithms). God could likewise use surrogate intelligences (Aristotelian final causes?) to produce the sorts of designs that ID theorists focus on (such as the bacterial flagellum).

F me. What a fucking cop out. So now every time we demonstrate something irreducibly complex could have evolved-ID can point to its evolution, or whatever they want, as the product of a natural 'surrogate intelligence.' A vital cause is "is that for the sake of which a thing exists or is done, including both purposeful and instrumental actions and activities. Ascribe needs and motives to the existence of the flagellum.

Pure unadulterated Christian vitalism BS.

This seems to imply the Designer is actually a committee.  Which would explain a lot.

Date: 2010/04/22 07:52:48, Link
Author: George
I've a kind of linguistics question:

Should people who use "data" as a singular be boiled in oil, have their fingernails forcibly extracted, or have their tongues nailed to the roofs of their mouths?

Date: 2010/05/14 09:37:54, Link
Author: George
I predict that this thread will either be very short, mirroring the output of the new journal, or will turn into a UD-thread-esque monster complete with LOLcats if the journal proves to be rich new vein of tard.  Middle ground highly unlikely.  At this point, I'd have to put my money on option one.

Date: 2010/05/26 08:10:36, Link
Author: George
Like others here, I'm tentatively dipping a toe in the thick soup of UD to look at the Adam's bellybutton thread directly.  Did anyone else spot this little gem from BA77 about the wedding at Cana?

Shoot I would hold that the wine was the best wine to ever touch the face of earth (My apologies to Mogan David 20/20 and Nighttrain)

(bolding mine)

Nighttrain?  (European equivalent = Buckfast) Could this explain a lot about him?  Does BA77 use a paper bag to cover his bottle or pour into a pint glass first?

I'm reminded of the Bond film (maybe Octopussy?) where Bond identifies the bad guy because he had red wine with fish.  So my next question is what Bond villain (or henchman, more likely) does BA77 most resemble?

Date: 2010/09/14 13:48:21, Link
Author: George
Quote (Amadan @ Sep. 14 2010,09:06)
It is with deep sadness* that I inform my friends and colleagues that Ireland's contribution to The Academic Riposte to Darwin will not be graced by Minister Lenihan's presence. The author and promoter of the book launch withdrew their invitation in light of the "scurrilous" attacks on the Minister on the web.

The Minister is pleased to note that the headlines have now moved away from his contribution to Things Argued Really Deeply. The small matter of our Taoiseach being almost contagiously sub-meteorological on the radio this morning has distracted the proto-simians of the press like a shiny metal object.

* Really

Heard the author on Newstalk radio this afternoon and had fun playing wrong-spurious-and-downright-stupid-argument bingo.  All your favourite claims were there: only enough human fossils to fill a coffin, how can you prove archaeological site x is over 6000 yrs old, cosmic fine tuning and OMG! It's soooo complex!

The host, Sean Moncrieff, usually only mildly questions his loonier guests with maybe a few subtle digs, but today he was more openly critical and didn't do a bad job for a non-specialist.  Audio here at about 34:22.

(Those of you with slightly different interests may be interested in the preceeding interview of the Sexual Healer.)

Date: 2010/11/12 07:23:10, Link
Author: George
Quote (Louis @ Nov. 12 2010,05:44)
AtBC is founded on mockery. And puns. And the occasional few you'd never really notice it. And mockery. And occasional seriousness. And mockery.  There may be mockery.

Succinctly sums up why I lurk here.  A nice blend of mockery, intelligent science discussion, and foul-mouthed taunting of JoeG.

Though more LOLcats are always welcome.

Thanks, all.

Date: 2010/12/20 08:14:54, Link
Author: George
Quote (dvunkannon @ Dec. 20 2010,07:52)
Quote (Amadan @ Dec. 20 2010,04:58)

THE FACT that dawn sunlight will beam into the passage grave at Newgrange tomorrow at the very moment that a full moon begins to pass out of a total lunar eclipse is a remarkable and rare coincidence, according to Prof Tom Ray, an astronomer at the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

“It is the first time it has happened in about 450 years so that is a coincidence enough. The Tudors were in power in England at the time,” he said.

It is even more remarkable that light from the sun and the moon will appear together, with the first sunbeams at dawn coming just as the moon emerges from eclipse.

“That will happen at exactly eight minutes to nine. The two happen to coincide to within a minute.”

This kind of connection is unbelievably rare, Prof Ray said. “It would not have occurred since Newgrange was built.”

Of course, we all know that this was prophesised in thuh Babble

I'm not getting the distinction in rarities that the professor is making.

Newgrange * dawn * solstice * lunar eclipse  = once in 450 yrs

?? = not since Newgrange was built

Plus, exactly what is the force of  
light from the sun and the moon will appear together, with the first sunbeams at dawn coming just as the moon emerges from eclipse

If you were in the Newgrange chamber, you wouldn't see the moon. It would be setting behind you, with tons of rock and dirt between you and that horizon.

I take it that precession of the equinoxes does not affect sites such as Newgrange. The solstice dawn hapens at the same point on the horizon, no matter what day the solstice happens to be.

What I think is really cool, if my last tour guide there is to be believed, is that sunlight doesn't hit the back wall of Newgrange, but lands on the floor a little in front.  However, when first constructed, it did hit the back wall, but the position of the Earth relative to the sun has changed in the intervening 6000 years.

Date: 2011/02/03 07:36:51, Link
Author: George
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. - Lou FCD]

As an ecologist, I'd agree that this is a purely overhyped press release.  I've never heard of this so-called "abundant-centre" hypothesis, and it would be only the truly lazy that would make that assumption.  Many, many plants and lots of animals are oceanic in their distribution, i.e. more abundant near the ocean, largely because of climatic factors.  Clearly they're not going to be more abundant in the centre.  All this is old news, but still worthwhile publishing the hard facts.  Note that TREE is a review journal.

As for use of the assumption of an abundant centre distribution in modelling, I'm not aware this assumption's been used widely.  Modelling species responses to climate change is done by looking at the ecological niche of the species and predicting changes in the geographic distribution of where niche requirements are fulfilled.

And Bob, even if this were a widely held assumption, you're overlooking the key word, assumption.  The authors used the scientific method to overturn this assumption.  What's your problem?

Date: 2011/02/03 07:38:13, Link
Author: George
While I'm here, I have to add the pitcher plant - bat mutualism story is way cool.

Date: 2011/02/24 15:08:43, Link
Author: George
Happy birthday to the most mis-named poster here.

Date: 2011/03/09 01:37:12, Link
Author: George
This Sistine Chapel business is so good, it's gotten me out of my back seat in the theatre.

Joe, there are two possible reasons why you're not admitting you're wrong.  One, Richard et al. are overestimating your intelligence.  I'll try to break it into little pieces for you:

Fact 1) The Creation of Adam is an extremely well known painting.  Lots and lots of people know what it depicts.

Fact 2) It's entirely irrelevant whether it really depicts what God and/or Adam look like.

Fact 3) The DI, knowing Fact 1, design their logo to allude to this painting.

Why would they do this?  Could it be to draw on the idea of God creating man?  Could it be to ally the DI with the idea of divine creation?  Or could it be to completely divorce themselves from any religious context entirely?

Of course, option 2 for you not admitting your error is that you realise it after the fact and you're now trying hopelessly to wiggle out of it like a worm in a robin's beak.  

Note that these 2 options aren't mutually exclusive.  I know which one(s) I'm going for.

Hope this helps.  Now where'd I leave my popcorn?

Date: 2011/03/11 01:34:00, Link
Author: George
A two-sample ANOVA and a t-test are equivalent.

Date: 2011/03/11 07:15:52, Link
Author: George
Another thought: counts data are often Poisson distributed and not suitable for t-tests / ANOVA.  However, a simple transformation should work the trick.  IIRC, a square root transformation is often best for counts data.

Date: 2011/03/21 19:30:35, Link
Author: George
Quote (Amadan @ Mar. 21 2011,18:04)
All this national self-effacement must not go unmatched!

Ladies and CBEBs, I give you

The Irish National Debt Clock!

(definitely not for the faint-hearted)

Oh, holy God.  I wish I hadn't seen that.  Why doesn't pressing ESC repeatedly, really hard MAKE THE DAMN THING STOP?

Date: 2011/04/06 07:32:15, Link
Author: George
Quote (Badger3k @ April 06 2011,01:26)
Quote (dvunkannon @ April 05 2011,13:49)
Quote (Henry J @ April 05 2011,14:23)
I think I'd rather wait for the liquid water. Besides, gaseous water isn't really water, you know?  :O  :p

Only to Joe G!

To be clearer, I should have said standing water. The aerosols do contain bacteria sized drops of water (liquid), which can float around for quite a while, especially if we allow for a higher temperature and pressure in the early atmoshere. The surfaces of the drops add up to an enormous area for concentrated organic chemistry.

You're researching the formation of proteins (or whatever it might be) in vapor in the atmosphere?


(wait, does that mean that if we introduced some water vapor into the peanut butter jar, then we might have life?)

(also, [or is it pps now?], I am not sure how "gas to you" will sound.  "Airborne goo to you"?  We'll have to work on it)

"The goo that flew to you"

Date: 2011/04/07 07:51:39, Link
Author: George
Quote (CeilingCat @ April 06 2011,23:23)
Quote (noncarborundum @ April 06 2011,16:48)
Quote (Kristine @ April 06 2011,15:55)
Quote (Ptaylor @ April 05 2011,23:45)
Gil displays a little irritation at the way the “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs” comments are heading:

...because he wants to say something he hasn't said before...
I just got back from a rehearsal at our church playing piano with the many talented musicians in our worship team, in preparation for next Sunday’s service. This is such a joyful and life-enriching experience (which the atheist will never comprehend or experience), not just for the praise music but for the fellowship among us. At every rehearsal we have a time of prayer and share our personal lives and struggles with each other.

As a former Dawkins-style atheist I can offer the following observations: Atheism is hopelessly irrational and illogical. It is soul destroying.

...for at least a week.

Yeah, right. Because as a former pianist myself who, like Dawkins, sang in choir, and as a dancer who started at age practically zero singing in my crib (according to witnesses), I hate music about as much as the St.-Matthews-Passion-enjoying Dawkins does.

What a childish comment, even for Gilligan.

I just got back from a solo recital, singing with the many talented musicians in my voice teacher's studio. This is such a joyful and life-enriching experience, not just for the music but for the fellowship among us. After every recital we have a time of wine and cheese and sharing our personal lives and struggles with each other.

As a former C.S. Lewis-style Christian I can offer the following observation: Gil Dodgen is a git.

I thought we atheists had all the songs that don't mention God.

No.  But the upside is you do get Sympathy for the Devil

Date: 2011/04/20 07:35:01, Link
Author: George
From yesterday's Irish Sun.  Not birds, definitely wildlife.

Date: 2011/05/13 18:38:27, Link
Author: George
Where's Peter Henderson?  Oi Peter!  You need to answer for your province!  Drico, Strauss, Boss and Ross visiting the surgeons the week before the Heineken Cup final.  Isn't that cruel and unusual punishment for losing to Leinster in the league?  Ok, I can understand getting Isaac Boss after defecting from Ulster, but come on man!

Date: 2011/05/21 02:34:01, Link
Author: George
Quote (Ptaylor @ May 21 2011,02:06)
7:05 - Starting to wonder if it might have been a mistake selling up everything and sending the proceeds to that nice Mr Camping.

That's a relief.  I'd hate for the Heinken Cup final to be disrupted mid-match by loads of players vanishing or floating into the air or something.

On second thoughts, I think the likelihood of mean, nasty, ear-bitin', eye-gougin' rugby players being raptured is slim to none.  Except BOD of course.

[Edited to remove icon of Saint Brian]

Date: 2011/05/21 05:08:55, Link
Author: George
Quote (Amadan @ May 21 2011,04:00)
But I thought BOD was God?????

(Head explodes messily)

No.  But he's only one point mutation away.

Or 80 minutes.

Date: 2011/05/21 14:52:15, Link
Author: George
Quote (OgreMkV @ May 21 2011,11:53)
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ May 21 2011,11:40)
6:42 pm here, and still no earthquake.

Mabus, ar u disapoint?

boom goes the dynamite

The dynamite went off in Cardiff.  One word:


Date: 2011/05/21 14:54:56, Link
Author: George

Yes, duplication does add more information in this case.

Date: 2011/05/24 02:21:29, Link
Author: George
Quote (OgreMkV @ May 23 2011,12:22)
The classical use of niche may have been only habitat, but the more modern version is the role a species plays in a community, rather than a habitat.

Hutchinson went farther and stated that niche is a very specific part of the ecospace that is only occupied by one species.

In the case of symbiosis (including lichens), the two organisms are not eating the same thing.  While they are indeed occupying the same area, they have very different effects on the other organisms in the area.

So, the algae (photosynthesizing, sharing energy) part of the lichen is not in the same niche as the fungus (lithovoric or predatory on another species, sharing minerals).

What he said.  I'll also point out that realised (vs. ideal) niches are highly flexible.  Niche expansion, for example, is a well recognised phenomenon when a new species colonises an area, like an island, or when a species previously occupying a niche becomes extinct.

For example, Leinster rugby occupying the vacant niche left by the departure of the saints of old from the island of Ireland.

Date: 2011/05/24 14:12:49, Link
Author: George
Quote (dvunkannon @ May 24 2011,11:58)
In other words, the competitive exclusion principle is wrong, or does not apply in some cases. Got it, thanks.

A bit glib really.  I've refreshed my memory with my old copy of Begon, Harper and Townsend (2nd ed. if you're keeping score), which was thankfully on my bookshelf rather than my attic as I thought.  According to them, the classic definition of niche is the n-dimensional hypervolume in environmental space occupied by a species.  The dimensions are environmental conditions, resource requirements*, etc.  Considering a species' environmental tolerances and requirements in isolation gives you the fundamental or ideal niche.  In the real competitive world**, it generally occupies a smaller ecological space, the realised niche.

I'm not aware that Hutchinson or anyone else defined niche in terms of the species itself, as Ogre stated above.

According to the competitive exclusion principle, in a stable environment, if two species*** with completely overlapping niches are to coexist, then they must exhibit niche differentiation.  I.e. their realised niches must contract so they don't overlap.  This has been demonstrated in the lab (including in my undergrad ecology class with zooplankton in fish tanks).  

A stable environment is a critical caveat - disturbance mediated coexistence of species has been reasonably well studied.  It seems that the Hydrobiologia paper quoted above could be an example of this.  The authors cite "various competition and predation models", and predation can be considered a disturbance on populations predated.  Eating more abundant or larger species or whatever.

A homogeneous environment is also important, as patchy resources in space and/or time can allow coexistence of competitors.

So yes, it doesn't apply in some cases, but it isn't wrong.  Competitive exclusion**** an extreme on a continuum of niche differentiation reactions to competition.  

* Like requirements for the Heineken Cup.
** Like the rugby pitch.
*** Say Leinster and Northampton.
**** Like what happened last Saturday, if you hadn't heard.

Date: 2011/05/24 16:07:16, Link
Author: George
Quote (KCdgw @ May 24 2011,15:57)
A homogeneous environment is also important, as patchy resources in space and/or time can allow coexistence of competitors.

Overlapping species with similar ecological requirements can also coexist by "niche-partitioning". Diet specialization is one way. We see this in some species of Darwin's Finches, who, when food is abundant, are seed generalists. During drought, however, as the food supply dwindles, the different species avoid competition by specializing-- those with larger beaks seek the harder seeds, leaving the softer ones to the smaller birds.

Exactly.  This is what I meant by "niche differentiation" above.

As for the gripes from the kitten lovers - remember, Louis started it.

Date: 2011/05/25 09:32:16, Link
Author: George
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ May 25 2011,08:56)
And a happy Towel Day to everyone!

By remarkable coincidence, it's also Geek Pride Day.

Date: 2011/06/02 02:32:07, Link
Author: George
Quote (fnxtr @ June 01 2011,16:48)
Quote (Henry J @ June 01 2011,14:39)

There was a whole herd/flock/pod/gaggle of the little transparent ones yesterday around the marine site I've been working at.  Reminded me of those lines from Coleridge ...

And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

No, I don't get the connection.  Sounds more like a Welshman than jellyfish.

Date: 2011/06/20 14:33:29, Link
Author: George
Quote (OgreMkV @ June 20 2011,09:45)
Quote (DaveH @ June 20 2011,09:25)
Quote (Richardthughes @ June 14 2011,09:29)
Joe caught in another lie shocker:

Perhaps Richard or Oldman might like to point out to Joeturd that there is indeed a good hypothesis about planetary formation. Currently being investigated by someLeicester Uni post-grads. You know, Joe...experiments...perhaps he could disprove the hypothesis in his Super-dooper basement lab.
Just have to move those smelly melon rinds out the way  :p

Nope, if Joe wasn't there during the formation of the Earth, then he won't believe the X-pier-ments.

Unless you have an Earth sized mass of material and let it move through the gravity well of a mid-sized star for several hundred thousand years, it's a 'just so' story.

Of course, Joe, being a sooper-genius™ and all, can easily dispense with such difficult concepts as defining compexity or putting a value on the age of the Earth, by running the entire simulation... IN HIS MIND.

Of course, transferring that information to others will cost you $10,000 and a twelve pack of Shlitz Malt Beer.  Otherwise, you aren't worth the time it would take to write it up.

But, you can be assured, that the mental simulation is accurate, complete, and totally discredits the mainstream scientific opinion.  And you better believe him or he'll publish your real name on the interwebs.


Got him in one.

Date: 2011/06/24 07:46:43, Link
Author: George
In for a few euro.  Would have liked to donate more, but I'm recently un- self-employed.

Date: 2011/07/03 13:23:47, Link
Author: George
Happy Birthday, Rich!

Date: 2011/07/03 13:31:39, Link
Author: George
Quote (fnxtr @ July 03 2011,12:50)
Quote (Quack @ July 03 2011,07:52)
Quote (Kristine @ July 02 2011,18:34)
Folks (okay, second post - made a liar out of me) this is all about the blackest and whitest crayons in the box, okay? :D

All right. I know I am off topic and I am not very serious about this, but unless we are dealing with a specific box of crayons, my problem is that according to my understanding of the spectrum of radiation, 'black' is just our name for what we perceive as black while in reality the 'color' may be any shade of infrared. Or maybe ultraviolet?

Maybe we'd need Goethe to sort it out for us.

yeah, black is lack of visible light. White is the porridge of all frequencies between infrared and ultraviolet.  Some whites are whiter than others, depending on the constitution of the porridge.

I find that if you put sultanas in the porridge, the oaty bits in between seem even whiter.

Hope this is a useful submission for the topic at hand.

Date: 2011/07/11 15:11:10, Link
Author: George
Quote (Patrick @ July 11 2011,10:13)
Elizabeth Liddle has the patience of a . . . well, a phenomenally patient thing.  She continues to engage with Upright BiPed despite his clear lack of either interest in clarifying his statements.

It's painfully obvious that neither Upright BiPed nor any other UD denizen wants to make their claims testable.  Dr. Liddle's continued efforts to extract meaning from their maunderings is admirable.  While I'm almost certain that she won't be successful, the thread will serve as yet more documentation of the scientific vacuity of intelligent design creationism and the lack of intellectual integrity of its supporters.

I continue to be shocked that Dembski has failed to participate in any of these discussions of information.  One would expect the Newton (Isaac, Fig, or Oliva/John) of information theory to be willing to clear up any misunderstandings of his work.

Elizabeth Liddle's sterling work over there and your fantastic avatar (whence the lambda?) put me in mind of the classic line from Dark Star Tard:

"Search light casting
For thoughts
In the clouds of delusion."

Date: 2011/07/14 16:04:07, Link
Author: George
Quote (damitall @ July 14 2011,15:43)
Quote (Freddie @ July 14 2011,14:48)
Quote (keiths @ July 14 2011,14:05)
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ July 14 2011,04:45)
Unpleasant Blowhard, wordsmith:
It seems as though you asked for an operational definition, then got one, then later found out what kind of dynamic structure would be required for such a phenomenon to exist, and have since gone on a rant to eviscerate yourself from the position you are in.

Apparently, it wasn't clear to her what his argument entrails.

That's my gut feeling as well.

Is that colon intentional?

I hope there's not going to be another nested pun-fest. I couldn't stomach that

An appendix would be a great place for nested puns.  Whenever we wanted to reread them, we could caecum there.

Edited for more better.

Date: 2011/07/14 16:13:43, Link
Author: George
Quote (Henry J @ July 14 2011,15:42)
If that's the prize, what happens if Louis wins?

He only has to walk up the stairs to collect his date.

Date: 2011/07/25 11:40:41, Link
Author: George
Quote (Louis @ July 25 2011,11:25)
Quote (Henry J @ July 25 2011,16:17)
Well that was elementy.

Element-Ar-y surely?


Please tell me this isn't going to be another one of those 244Pu cascades.

Date: 2011/08/11 02:32:34, Link
Author: George
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ Aug. 11 2011,02:19)
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ Aug. 11 2011,08:17)
Quote (Henry J @ Aug. 11 2011,06:07)
So is he still the breadwinner of his family?

Aaaaw, that's so s'wheat!

Sorry, that was a very corny pun...

So you hate this thread so much you triticale it with another punfest?

Date: 2011/08/18 16:33:34, Link
Author: George
Quote (Patrick @ Aug. 18 2011,15:59)
That's a great link they provided.  From the Biologos article:
Before I had finished Edge of Evolution, I was done with ID. I would lose my faith in ID not by comparing it to the science of evolution, but by reading one of its leading proponents and evaluating his work on its own merits. ID, I decided, was an argument from analogy, ignorance and incredulity.

(Emphasis mine.) Followed by:
Having rejected ID, I began to look into the evidence for evolution. I can also clearly recall this transition, and, if memory serves, it happened on the same day I rejected ID. This transition, however, required only ten or fifteen minutes - just as long as I needed to read the first research article on my reading list: the 2005 Nature paper comparing the human and chimpanzee genomes. I put the finished paper down on my desk, said “well, that’s that, then” out loud to my empty office, and sat back in my chair. The contrast with ID could hardly have been starker: here was nothing but argument from evidence.

I've just read that piece at BioLogos and the previous three installations.  It's a very interesting account of Dennis Venema's "conversion".  Most telling quote:
Due to an interesting set of circumstances, I was able to read Behe both as a credulous lay reader (G: Darwin's Black Box as an undergrad) and as a skeptical trained scientist. Behe, I realized, hadn’t changed: I had changed, and what a difference it had made.

How many at UD absolutely refuse to make that transition from credulous lay reader to scientifically literate?  All except the snake oil salesmen I think.

Date: 2011/08/20 18:57:12, Link
Author: George
Poe Zoe needs to dial it down a bit.

Date: 2011/08/22 08:55:18, Link
Author: George
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ Aug. 22 2011,08:25)
Quote (Amadan @ Aug. 22 2011,14:16)
Culchure Time!

The Museum of Bad Art

The (ummmmmm) catalogue notes are particularly helpful.

I wouldn't call most of these pieces "bad art". They remind me a lot of the Art Naïf movement. There's a museum dedicated to it only 5 minutes away from my place, and there are fascinating pieces there. The Anatole Jakovsky Museum of Art Naïf.

Call me naive, but doesn't "Art Naïf" mean "bad art" in Ponce?

Date: 2011/08/22 09:12:07, Link
Author: George
Quote (Ftk @ Aug. 19 2011,17:22)
The point being is that people who do not accept universal common descent do so for scientific reasons. Deal with it.

Plainly untrue! YECs clearly don't accept it for religious reasons. Joseph, you are stupid and dishonest and cowardly. If It wasn't for the fact you looked so pathetic in real life I'd have no sympathy for you at all.

Another example of emotionally jumping the gun with the "stupid, dishonest and cowardly".

FtK, if you even have a quick glance through this thread and Joe's blog, you'll soon see why that characterisation is far from jumping the gun.  More like richly earned.  And I'm one of the quiet, nice guys here.  

With some people, a very, very few, all they're worth is insults and ridicule.  Joe's one of them.

Quote (Ftk @ Aug. 19 2011,17:22)
Joe did not say "ALL" <as in every single person> YEC/ID supporter on earth rejects universal common descent for scientific reasons.

I suspect he believes, as I do, that most people who question common descent do so for scientific reasons rather than purely taking a religious stance on the topic.  

Rich said:
Plainly untrue! YECs clearly don't accept it for religious reasons.

You made a blanket statement just like Joe.  Should I consider you "stupid, dishonest and cowardly"?  Certainly not ALL (and I seriously doubt there are many) YEC's reject common descent for purely religious reasons.

If It wasn't for the fact you looked so pathetic in real life I'd have no sympathy for you at all.


Does the non-scientific argument "My grandpa wasn't no monkey" count as number 6?  Or is it a special case of Henry's number 5 above?

Date: 2011/09/05 03:37:35, Link
Author: George
Some other guy called George:  

I think you are right.

I just want to note that the George over at VD's place is a different one.

I feel grubby now.

Date: 2011/09/08 01:17:02, Link
Author: George
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Sep. 07 2011,17:38)
Quote (Henry J @ Sep. 07 2011,16:08)
dare show your face in WoW and I will so flag myself for PvP and kick your sorry ass all the way across Azeroth.  I'll even put my pet on passive so you'll die slower.  Mebbe I won't even frost trap you.

But what's that in English?

Translation: Create a virtual avatar and play World of Warcraft for 100+ hours to level yourself to the maximum level.

Then, when we are both online, I will set my status to "enemy player can engage me" which will allow you to attack me. At which point I'll kick your sorry ass all the way across a place in an expansive virtual world called Azeroth. While doing this my pet, a secondary avatar which can engage in combat, will be standing there and watching. Probably laughing.

I probably won't even surround you with a icy cage, u r that lame-0 I won't need to even though it's my basic move.

You mean they have RPGs on computers these days?

Date: 2011/09/08 01:38:44, Link
Author: George
Quote (Louis @ Sep. 07 2011,05:32)
Dear Ladies, Gentlemen, sundry creationists and Joe,

I was thinking about something last night, it took about 30 seconds and was almost serious.* I had to go for a lie down afterwards. It's been done before I'm sure, but I think a productive use of this thread would be to develop a taxonomy (if we're feeling complicated) or a simple hierarchy of creationist correspondents and the category of reply best suited to them. This basic hierarchy is formed from AtBC experiences. Feel free to add/modify at your leisure.

Excellent work!  One thing I notice is that motivation features prominently in your taxonomy.  What does the creationist want to get out of posting?  Take Joe.  It's obvious that he doesn't want to listen, learn or even persuade.  He just wants to pound his chest, whether it's through his tough guy act or his repetitive pro-ID, anti-evolution assertions (which he really thinks are pithy, sharp-witted observations).

I was thinking about a taxonomy where motivation forms a higher level classification with sub-classes based on levels intelligence or knowledge.  So you'd wind up with the chest-thumper, the snake-oil salesman, the proselytiser, the seeker of understanding, etc.  But then I realised it's often hard to really identify someone's basic motivation.  Even the creationist himself might have mixed motivations or change their motivation frequently.  FtK for example I think is a mixed bag of motivations that changes post-by-post.  Sometimes she seems to want to convert us all, sometimes to try and understand something, sometimes just to vent.

So Louis's scheme, messy as it is, is probably best.  Messy taxonomies are more biological anyway, aren't they?

Date: 2011/09/15 15:11:22, Link
Author: George
Quote (OgreMkV @ Sep. 15 2011,14:32)
Take a good long look at the reference list.

You mean?
Tolkien, J. R. R. 1954. The lord of the rings. George Allen and Unwin, London.

I thought I was doing well to cite LoTR in my PhD thesis.  But a journal paper?  Well done that man!

Date: 2011/09/15 15:47:28, Link
Author: George
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Sep. 15 2011,13:31)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Sep. 15 2011,05:33)
Is anyone besides me amused that the proposed and the existing space telescopes are named Webb and Hubble?

what do phylogenetic dispersion and the neutral theory ecology have to do with astronomy?

I think you mean, what do Irish botany and biogeography have to do with astronomy?

Oh, what tangled webbs...

Date: 2011/09/15 15:55:58, Link
Author: George
Ogre on the Muppet Joe thread said:

All I know is that both teams are engaged in a game with some kind of ball.  I prefer not to watch adult men get paid obscene amounts of money to play catch with each other.  It's embarrassing to thinking members of the species.

And I would agree, which is why I follow rugby.

I'm shocked, shocked, that no one has brought up the USA's mighty victory over fellow superpower Russia in the Rugby World Cup today (yesterday New Zealand time)!  C'mon guys, where's the mindless jingoism that I've come to depend on and love at this site?

And why has no one offered Welsh Louis commiserations on his nation's one point defeat to South Africa?  

Date: 2011/09/16 06:57:34, Link
Author: George
Quote (carlsonjok @ Sep. 15 2011,22:00)
Quote (George @ Sep. 15 2011,15:55)
Ogre on the Muppet Joe thread said:

All I know is that both teams are engaged in a game with some kind of ball.  I prefer not to watch adult men get paid obscene amounts of money to play catch with each other.  It's embarrassing to thinking members of the species.

And I would agree, which is why I follow rugby.

Rugby is that sport where a bunch of hyper-testosterone men run around without protective equipment holding balls, tackling each other, and gathering together into a big ole pile, isn't it?

Or is that gay porn I am thinking of?

Rugby has gum shields.  Key difference.

Date: 2011/09/19 02:20:13, Link
Author: George
Quote (CeilingCat @ Sep. 18 2011,16:32)
Quote (George @ May 14 2010,09:37)
I predict that this thread will either be very short, mirroring the output of the new journal, or will turn into a UD-thread-esque monster complete with LOLcats if the journal proves to be rich new vein of tard.  Middle ground highly unlikely.  At this point, I'd have to put my money on option one.

So far, option one is winning big.

I can has magic 8-ball?

Date: 2011/09/20 09:01:08, Link
Author: George
Quote (Amadan @ Sep. 19 2011,15:25)
Contratulations to Wes for making the Big Time


Dang, Wes.  Have you been working out?

Date: 2011/09/21 01:22:35, Link
Author: George
ID is totally not religious:

hate speech against conservative, traditional Christians, both Catholic and Protestant, is never targeted by the authorities.

What does this have to do with Darwinism and ID? If you can’t figure it out, there is no point in trying to explain it.

Date: 2011/10/08 05:05:37, Link
Author: George
Quote (Amadan @ Oct. 08 2011,04:57)
Agreed, we were well beaten by a better team. Cymru ar gyfer y cwpan!


It's going to make it difficult to get up at 5:30 AM again tomorrow to watch the southsiders.  At least there's a gripping presidential election to take the place of the RWC in Irish hearts and minds...

Time for a nap I think.

Date: 2011/10/14 09:01:31, Link
Author: George
I made the mistake of direct tard contact and must now report for decontamination.  While there, I saw that the mouth breathers are out in force on the whale evolution thread.

“Those earlier proto-whales were amphibians, able to live on land as well as sea.”

So their early ancestors were some sort of mammal wolf/deer-like creature(whatever – choose your favourite fable) which I assume already had mammal reproductive systems, mammary glands, etc. But then it turned back into an Amphibian which would include the previous vestigial sex froggy/salamandish/toady reproduction systems which I assume includes egg laying, etc, but then morphed back to a mammal of the whale/dolphin variety with fully functional mammalian componants once again ???

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ???

Darwin’s theory cannot predict a tree because it is silent on the origin of life and the origin of life is what determines how many trees there will be.

Also tiktaalik can’t be a transitional because it was found in the wrong strata to be a transitional.

The entire whale lineage story is flight of fancy.

Also, the ‘chart’ – never fails to amuse!

“Nested hierarchy, Nested hierarchy” “Clade , Clade, clade”

You made a chart, and you placed some animals on it, some of them imaginary – Overwhelming evidence that.

I'll now return to the regularly scheduled consumption of tard first filtered by experienced miners.

Date: 2011/10/24 02:23:21, Link
Author: George
Quote (OgreMkV @ Oct. 23 2011,17:50)

You still haven't touched on anything on my list, except the definition of robust.
as well as the rest of the work you have
define homozygous
define heterozygous
describe the Cambrian explosion
define symmetry breaking (as relates to the begining of the universe)
define hyper-inflation
describe the endocrine notion of phenotype selection
define phenotype (include the other common -type and define that as well)
explain why you insist that evolution requires something that no scientist requires (fruit flies to dogs)
explain why you insist that evolution explain a process which cannot be affected by evolution (i.e. Origins of Life)
define species
show that mutation always results in the loss of genetic information (show the math and define information while you are at it)
evidence that the four fundamental forces of our universe change over time
Evidence that you understand when nucleosynthesis occurs with respect to the early universe.
Evidence that the magnetic field is weakening
Evidence that fruits and vegetables of today have lost large percentages of their mineral content over the last 50 years
Evidence that bones are becoming less dense.
[strike]Define robust in terms of early man.[/strike]
Show evidence that fossil man (define and give examples of) are less robust than modern man
Show evidence of any other species that is less robust now than the same species in pre-historical time

Oh, and you wanted an example where the modern form is more robust that the primitive form

Don't distract him!  I think I speak for everyone here (well, ok, maybe just 'Ras) when I want to hear more about his theory that coprophagy proves design.
There are designs and derivatives of design but even the derivatives are implemented into the grand scheme of things. Poopoo for instance is a derivative but one that both abides by the laws of the designer and enhances his cycles

Date: 2011/10/24 15:52:38, Link
Author: George
Quote (Amadan @ Oct. 24 2011,15:13)
Quote (Ra-Úl @ Oct. 24 2011,20:05)
'Forastero means 'stranger' or 'foreigner' in Spanish. From a Catalan word. I was trying to find a Portuguese cognate for a weak pun, but no luck. I like how Forastero use 'y'all' and other Americanisms. Foreigners find other foreigner's English very amusing.

Maybe 'Forastero' is just a misspelling of 'For Hysterics'?

Apropos nothing in particular, in Dublin, the English word for someone of a different nationality is pronounced fardn.

(Similarly, the local newspaper published during the afternoon is termed the Eden Heddle.)

Thank you for your attention during this short digression.

No wooddies, mistah.

(Edited for more hanging out at the Square in Tallaght on a wet Tuesday night -ness.)

Date: 2011/10/25 01:33:57, Link
Author: George
Hmm..actually poo is important for many food chains and cycles. In fact, I used to use guano and worm poo by the tons in some very elaborate gardens.

Absolutely.  But your point is?  How does this demonstrate design?  Is it to do with the detritus component underpinning complex ecosystems?

Bet you've got great watermelons this year.

Date: 2011/10/25 02:00:40, Link
Author: George
Quote (forastero @ Oct. 25 2011,01:43)
Quote (George @ Oct. 25 2011,01:33)
Hmm..actually poo is important for many food chains and cycles. In fact, I used to use guano and worm poo by the tons in some very elaborate gardens.

Absolutely.  But your point is?  How does this demonstrate design?  Is it to do with the detritus component underpinning complex ecosystems?

Bet you've got great watermelons this year.

Ogre asked me to give an example of a derivative of a design

You might care to elaborate on how you know poo is a "derivative of design" rather than designed itself.  Given the Designers inordinate fondness for beetles, creating a rich and varied supply of poo may be the central focus of design effort.  The engineering specification, as it were.

Date: 2011/10/26 02:11:29, Link
Author: George
Quote (Freddie @ Oct. 25 2011,16:27)
kellyholmes (I heart kellyholmes - which one of you is he/she?) posts a link to this new blog.  One for the bookmarks ...

Child Burning Deviants

Pretty fun stuff:

Quote (kairosfocus @ sometime, somewhere)
An examination of the past few years. Nor have things got better since or that of Dawkins et al. Try here as a part of the biblical stories must be recognized that assessment of timelines often presented as though those who differed with him are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked” slanderous talking point. And, of course, those who dare differ with him. That is poisonous slander, and it is thus self-refuting]. . . ,” that simply underscores how the maximum reasonable Planck time, quantum state resources of the evolutionary materialist ideology hiding in the face of the ribosome, where the scope of events that can ground oughtness in a context where the example came from. Its message is simple and direct. Trial and error/success backed up by any reasonable level of warrant that an opinion piece is one’s personal opinion, but in presenting an ideology, the dominant elites.

He's got a point you know.

Date: 2011/11/08 09:40:45, Link
Author: George
Quote (Southstar @ Nov. 08 2011,09:00)
Quote (Woodbine @ Nov. 08 2011,08:05)
Southstar could you post a link to the Italian forum you mentioned?


Here is the link

If you need some translating let me know.

There is mainly alot of rubish that I can handle the posts by
Ioseb-Bassebet however are the ones that are giving me hassels.
He works in a lab and has a degree in something or other (how the hell did he get it?!! mysteries of italy)

My posts are Southstar87


I speak no Italian, but I had a quick peek over there and noted that one of Ioseb-Bassebet's posts totaled 6731 words.

He didn't use any phrases like "oil-soaked strawman sprinkled with red herrings" did he?

Date: 2011/11/09 04:45:46, Link
Author: George
Quote (Dr.GH @ Nov. 08 2011,12:23)
Quote (Southstar @ Nov. 08 2011,09:39)

Concerning you first example. The italian Sparrow, it derives from a hybridization of two other spieces.

To be a good point should it derive form internal mutation and not hybridization?

I'm shure that if I post it someone will come up with: well dogs have been crosed alot of times and obviuosly their jeans are mixed?

This might sound like a realy stupid question to you but please bear in mind that last time I looked at genetics was at school 8 years ago.


Why should hybrids be excluded?  They are merely a way of combining genes, and gene variants. When this results in a self reproducing population with restricted out-breeding, it is 'macroevolution."

If creationshits start redefining "species," "evolution," and what ever else shows them to be fools, just bust them on their inconsistency.

But, there were dozens of other examples, use them if you prefer.

I've just finished reading a paper in the New Journal of Botany on the evolution and taxonomy of the narrow-leaved marsh orchid complex (within Dactylorhiza) in Britain, Ireland and the rest of Europe.  These have all originated as allopolyploids of the same two diploid species in apparently four separate episodes.  In other words, two species hybridise and the hybrid undergoes genome duplication, which results in instant reproductive isolation (more or less).  Biogeographical and molecular evidence suggests that three species evolved after the last glacial maximum, whereas the fourth predates it.  What's really interesting are the differences in ecological (habitat) preferences shown by these four species, which serves to further isolate each species from the others, setting them on separate evolutionary trajectories.

Date: 2011/11/09 07:55:28, Link
Author: George
Quote (Southstar @ Nov. 09 2011,06:39)
[quote=George,Nov. 09 2011,04:45][quote=Dr.GH,Nov. 08 2011,12:23]  
Quote (Southstar @ Nov. 08 2011,09:39)

I've just finished reading a paper in the New Journal of Botany on the evolution and taxonomy of the narrow-leaved marsh orchid complex (within Dactylorhiza) in Britain, Ireland and the rest of Europe.  These have all originated as allopolyploids of the same two diploid species in apparently four separate episodes.  In other words, two species hybridise and the hybrid undergoes genome duplication, which results in instant reproductive isolation (more or less).  Biogeographical and molecular evidence suggests that three species evolved after the last glacial maximum, whereas the fourth predates it.  What's really interesting are the differences in ecological (habitat) preferences shown by these four species, which serves to further isolate each species from the others, setting them on separate evolutionary trajectories.


Could you give me a link to the paper.

Marty should work.  If not, let me know and I'll see what I can do.

Date: 2011/11/09 15:11:39, Link
Author: George
[quote=Southstar,Nov. 09 2011,08:01][quote=George,Nov. 09 2011,07:55]
Quote (Southstar @ Nov. 09 2011,06:39)
Quote (George @ Nov. 09 2011,04:45)
Quote (Dr.GH @ Nov. 08 2011,12:23)
Quote (Southstar @ Nov. 08 2011,09:39)

I've just finished reading a paper in the New Journal of Botany on the evolution and taxonomy of the narrow-leaved marsh orchid complex (within Dactylorhiza) in Britain, Ireland and the rest of Europe.  These have all originated as allopolyploids of the same two diploid species in apparently four separate episodes.  In other words, two species hybridise and the hybrid undergoes genome duplication, which results in instant reproductive isolation (more or less).  Biogeographical and molecular evidence suggests that three species evolved after the last glacial maximum, whereas the fourth predates it.  What's really interesting are the differences in ecological (habitat) preferences shown by these four species, which serves to further isolate each species from the others, setting them on separate evolutionary trajectories.


Could you give me a link to the paper.

Marty should work.  If not, let me know and I'll see what I can do.


I was about to post it then i read the first line of the study "This subjective and highly personal commentary critically reviews..."

They, the dims, have a thing for picking stuff like this out of even well written papers and with that saying something stupid like... See even the people writing it call it a personal whim "see she's puting out rubbish" ha ha ha. I really need to stay a step or two ahead of them.

Thanks anyway

I understand and it's unfortunate for your purposes that he prefaces the abstract with those words.  For what it's worth, there's a lot of "critical review" before he gets to the personal opinions.  His review is a good summary of the methods used and issues involved in plant speciation.  Very accessible to the non-molecular specialist, like me.

It also illustrates one of the reasons why the biological species concept is less useful when applied to plants than vertebrates.  Another reason is the presence within some species of reproductive barriers that serve to promote outcrossing.  For example, primroses have flowers in two forms, pin and thrum, differentiated by relative length of stamens and styles.  Plants with pin flowers pollinate those with thrum flowers or vice versa.  Pin to pin or thrum to thrum generally doesn't work.  Are primroses one species or two under the biological species concept?

Edited for more caveatness.

Date: 2011/11/10 01:44:52, Link
Author: George
Quote (Freddie @ Nov. 09 2011,14:47)
And, for my 100th post (Ta-Da!) I present you the following:

Whoa!  Take it easy, speedy, and don't overdo it.  I think I was 3 years here before my 100th post.  After my burst of posting on the Southstar thread yesterday, I had to lie down in a darkened room for a while to recover.  Let that be a warning.

Date: 2011/11/15 01:24:42, Link
Author: George
Very late Happy Birthday!

Date: 2011/11/16 03:35:08, Link
Author: George
(Misplaced post deleted)

Date: 2011/11/16 03:37:28, Link
Author: George
Although O'Leary frames this as the "Darwinist" perspective:
And when Christians embrace Darwinism, Darwin typically becomes a rival to Christ

This really explains clearly to me her and others' venom towards evolution and especially theistic evolution.  The latter must make her tiny brain explode.  It's not just a matter of betraying the side for them.  It's idolatry!

Date: 2011/11/16 15:48:17, Link
Author: George
Quote (Amadan @ Nov. 16 2011,07:01)
Quote (Quack @ Nov. 16 2011,11:38)
the Big Tent holds a lot of clowns.

Right, When you go to UcD you know you are in a circus.

Oi! That's my alma mater you're talking about!

Mind you, it was a bit of a circus alright....

Never mind, just pretend I didn't say anything.

Quote (graffiti @ over the loo roll, ground floor toilets, Hamilton Building, Trinity College Dublin)
UCD Arts Degrees.  Please Take One.

Date: 2011/11/18 10:30:09, Link
Author: George
I hope no one minds me using this unhallowed ground to make a serious request.  I need some advice on good citations software - something to index and organise my references, both pdf and paper, and interface with the word processor (MS Word 2010) to insert in text citations.  I used to use EndNote back in the day and found it to be very good, but my copy is now well out of date.  I'm guessing the current version of EndNote is still very good, but I'm wondering if there are alternatives.  Cheap or free is good!  Thanks in advance.

Date: 2011/11/18 12:48:44, Link
Author: George
Quote (OgreMkV @ Nov. 18 2011,12:28)
Quote (blipey @ Nov. 18 2011,11:57)
I wonder where they are?



My understanding is that majority live in the hollow interior of the Earth (that used to be filled with water until the Great Flood).  They do evil experiments on cats and keep the Earth warm with their fusion reactors.

Go ahead forastero, prove me wrong.

They're in the strawberry tart.

Date: 2011/11/25 00:51:32, Link
Author: George
What the hairy fuck do you think PZ has done? He might have done it in a way you or I don't like, but he has highlighted the discrimination by confronting it, and his refusal to accept an apology is a precise illustration of the power imbalance of religious privilege. It drives the point home and, well he has a lot of support.

I really wonder how effective he and his tactics are in getting real change?  He has a big choir that he preaches to, but are his methods effective in highlighting discrimination to the right audience, the religious majority?  It strikes me that his approach might be counterproductive.  Yes, I'm going on about tone, shoot me.

Date: 2011/11/25 06:27:13, Link
Author: George
I absolutely take your point on a plurality of tactics being a generally good and useful thing.  I think every movement needs a lunatic fringe to grab attention and drive their own middle ground forward.  However, when the lunatic fringe is or appear to be no longer the fringe, but the main body of the movement, I think you wind up with serious problems in getting your message across.  I think this has happened with environmentalism to some extent, where a large part of the public had (at least in the past, I think it's changing now) the impression that all environmentalists were EarthFirst ecoterrorists.  Whether that's the case with atheism now, I don't know, but the risk is there.

Sometimes it's hard to separate tone from substance, when they're part of the same thing.  I'm referring to the second and longer part of PZ's post where he berates other atheists for wanting him to impose "self-censorship" on his views on Christians and Christianity.  He wants complete freedom to ridicule religious beliefs and not to have them protected and privileged in a "walled garden".  In this case, the substance is whether or not he should use that tone.  

I reckon that attacks on religious belief (a la the "cracker"/communion wafer incident a while back) are foolishly counterproductive if you're trying to eliminate atheist discrimination or trying to argue against creationism.  (But personally, I think that PZ is more interested in ridiculing religion for an audience and so isn't too fussed about entrenching opinions.)  Does he have the right to ridicule religion?  Absolutely - he's doing it right now.  Is it a smart thing to do?  Depends on the context, I guess.  If he's preaching to the faithful, it might be useful and amusing.  If trying to persuade Christians to stop discriminating against atheists or to see the errors in their beliefs, maybe not.  

It might be argued that ridiculing religion is like civil rights movement confrontations - sit ins, occupying whites-only sections of restaurants and buses.  But it's not really.  It's not defense of rights, but pure offense.  That's where I think your MLK analogy breaks down.  When applied to attacking anti-atheism, yes it fits.  But when applied to publicly attacking religious belief itself, that approach is more like the Nation of Islam.  (Treading close to Godwin territory?)

Anyway, I hate to comment and run, but I'm off for the weekend here shortly and away from the machine, so I won't be able to respond to anything directly for a while.

Date: 2011/11/27 12:21:28, Link
Author: George
Hey, where'd everyone go?

For what it's worth, I didn't mean to compare pz with ecoterrorists or any violence or anything violent.  The ecoterrorist thing was only about how some of the louder, less pleasant parts of a movement can set the whole movement back.

Date: 2011/11/28 03:40:35, Link
Author: George
Quote (Badger3k @ Nov. 27 2011,14:00)
Well, I think mockery has it's place - but it depends on what you want to achieve (do you want to change someone's mind, "convert" them, or just do it for the lawlz).

Absolutely, and that's what I've been trying to say.  Not that religion is special and shouldn't be subjected to teh mean.  I'm querying the usefulness of that approach in most situations.  In the post BWE refers to at the beginning, PZ spends a little time on the ice cream guy's apology, but much more berating other bloggers for suggesting honey be used rather than vinegar.  It seems mockery is more important for him than changing people's minds.  

The point isn't "PZ is teh mean" the point is "what are the results of teh meanness?"  He seems to be happy with a cheering choir at the expense of real engagement.

Date: 2011/11/28 03:43:29, Link
Author: George
Quote (BWE @ Nov. 27 2011,22:30)
PZ is Dembski.

Not really.  Dembski is slippery and devious, never says what he means, and gets others to do his dirty work.  PZ is always up front with what he says.

Date: 2011/11/28 03:56:19, Link
Author: George
Quote (sparc @ Nov. 27 2011,23:22)
Regarding the Coppedge case  
a grandmother of seven
who likes  
to garden, read, study the Bible, and spend time with family
who is  
not very politically active, but very interested in who is elected to lead our country
is running a poll:  
Is Intelligent Design A Religion?  
Yes, It implies a Creator. Religion is belief in the existence of and worship of a deity, divine involvement in the universe. This means ID is religion.
No - The theory takes a strictly scientific approach and is not based upon any religious argument.
This is unclear. I do not know.

Since my vote changed the results from 40/40/20 to 50/33.33/16.67 I must have been the sixth person to reply.

Now 85.71% yes.

Granny obviously didn't read the memo about not letting the sheep speak out.

Date: 2011/11/28 08:00:50, Link
Author: George
Quote (midwifetoad @ Nov. 28 2011,07:45)
Muslim students, including trainee doctors on one of Britain's leading medical courses, are walking out of lectures on evolution claiming it conflicts with creationist ideas established in the Koran.
Professors at University College London have expressed concern over the increasing number of biology students boycotting lectures on Darwinist theory, which form an important part of the syllabus, citing their religion.
Similar to the beliefs expressed by fundamentalist Christians, Muslim opponents to Darwinism maintain that Allah created the world, mankind and all known species in a single act.

Read more: [URL=

From the comments:  
Sorry but, Darwin's theory of evolution dose work with the evolution of man.... Go to Youtube and look up, Ancient coneheads, also, Ancient giant skeletons. If you have a bible, read Genesis chapter 6 verse 4. I'm not religious, but, this certainly fits with the story of Noah.

- CJ, Ireland, 27/11/2011 11:41

C'mon, Amadan.  Coneheads?  You can do better than that!

Date: 2011/11/29 01:38:39, Link
Author: George
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ Nov. 28 2011,09:06)
Quote (OgreMkV @ Nov. 27 2011,21:53)
Fine, the experiment was designed.  What part of the results were designed by the experimenters.  Was the final RNA sequence designed?  Was each mutation designed?  etc. etc.

Surely it is impossible to conduct an undesigned experiment, is it not?

Using "natural experiments" is common enough in ecology.

Date: 2011/11/29 06:21:47, Link
Author: George

You're saying that most everyone here is engaged merely in tone trolling.  In the Sam Brownback post, PZ says:
While we’re all laughing at Governor Crybaby, you might also take a moment to write (politely!) to Principal Krawitz and let him know...

(Emphasis mine.)

Now why do you think he's asking for politeness?  Is it because PZ is a pearl-clutching tone policeman?  Of course not.  It's because PZ recognises (for a change) that in many situations (not all of course), being polite pays.  It gets people to listen to your points and not get turned off by ranting and insults.  

Tone sometimes matters.  And when you're a high profile atheist and evolutionary biologist and you frequently act like an asshole on your blog and happily associate with assholes, you run the risk of alienating people that you could either convert or make allies with to help forward your aims.  (That assumes that these aims are promoting equality for atheists and understanding of evolutionary science, and not just having fun with your gang.)

D'you see what I'm saying?

Date: 2011/11/29 06:34:35, Link
Author: George
Heh, went looking for a succinct definition of "tone trolling" and what did I find?

Date: 2011/12/02 01:22:51, Link
Author: George
Quote (Robin @ Dec. 01 2011,14:08)
Quote (fnxtr @ Dec. 01 2011,13:20)
Okay, so why do hunting and meat have higher status?

Because hunting and attaining meat is generally more risky than gathering, requires skills that usually require more practice and teaching, and had a low enough success rate that those who were successful were often celebrated.

I'd think that it's because hunting provides high protein food that gathering can't supply (except when nuts & legumes are in season).

There's also fishing of course, but maybe that was a also male role in hunter gatherer societies.  On the other hand, that role might have waited until after the invention of beer.

Date: 2011/12/02 01:48:18, Link
Author: George
Well that was all very interesting and entertaining.  BWE, fantastic work there trying to get them to see things clearly.  It's interesting that in the face of being hammered by the fact that "Skepticon attendees" doesn't equal "atheist", they just didn't get it.  Or want to get it.  PZ even started trying to rewrite his OP.  Victimhood means that much to them - it seems like a central component of the hive mind there.  They absolutely have to have the cache of being an oppressed minority.  I wonder what's the prime motivation for that?  Justification to do what they really want - attack theists?  The status of civil rights agitators?  Guilt at their privileged western middle-class backgrounds?

Date: 2011/12/02 08:53:49, Link
Author: George
Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Dec. 02 2011,07:02)
Quote (George @ Dec. 02 2011,02:48)
Well that was all very interesting and entertaining.  BWE, fantastic work there trying to get them to see things clearly.  It's interesting that in the face of being hammered by the fact that "Skepticon attendees" doesn't equal "atheist", they just didn't get it.  Or want to get it.  PZ even started trying to rewrite his OP.  Victimhood means that much to them - it seems like a central component of the hive mind there.  They absolutely have to have the cache of being an oppressed minority.  I wonder what's the prime motivation for that?  Justification to do what they really want - attack theists?  The status of civil rights agitators?  Guilt at their privileged western middle-class backgrounds?

it's a sexual fetish, an evolutionary stable strategy for neckbeards with a zero life time fitness in any other environment

Neckbeards?  Do I want to know?

Date: 2011/12/02 19:21:40, Link
Author: George
Sorry, just stopped in looking for the Feminism thread.  Where did it go?

Date: 2011/12/02 19:28:16, Link
Author: George
Quote (carlsonjok @ Dec. 02 2011,09:00)
Quote (George @ Dec. 02 2011,08:53)
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Dec. 02 2011,07:02)
Quote (George @ Dec. 02 2011,02:48)
Well that was all very interesting and entertaining.  BWE, fantastic work there trying to get them to see things clearly.  It's interesting that in the face of being hammered by the fact that "Skepticon attendees" doesn't equal "atheist", they just didn't get it.  Or want to get it.  PZ even started trying to rewrite his OP.  Victimhood means that much to them - it seems like a central component of the hive mind there.  They absolutely have to have the cache of being an oppressed minority.  I wonder what's the prime motivation for that?  Justification to do what they really want - attack theists?  The status of civil rights agitators?  Guilt at their privileged western middle-class backgrounds?

it's a sexual fetish, an evolutionary stable strategy for neckbeards with a zero life time fitness in any other environment

Neckbeards?  Do I want to know?

Yes. Definitely SFW.

Thanks.  I was afraid it was Rasspeak for something that lives under his front porch next to the empty Schlitz cans.

Date: 2012/01/24 07:08:01, Link
Author: George
I used to get all sorts of conference advertising spam from Wessex IT before I blacklisted their email domain.  Noodling on their website, they appear to have a thriving conference farm and several dodgy journals.

Date: 2012/02/14 02:53:58, Link
Author: George
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 12 2012,17:16)
Quote (paragwinn @ Feb. 12 2012,18:04)
Apparently, some onlookers such as myself have been banned as well since Friday.

eta: well, okay, maybe i said something or two.

Its what you both did and didn't say that counts.

Yes.  I missed the meltdown by being away over the weekend.  But I've been informed that Prof. FX Gumby has also been silently banned.  He wasn't a very active or effective commenter, but couldn't resist going after Barry on his outing of Dr REC.

Do we have a final casualty figure yet?

Date: 2012/02/15 03:44:07, Link
Author: George
Yesterday I was going to suggest calling the bonfire of the socks the St. Valentine's Weekend Massacre.  Now it's the St. Valentine's Week Massacre.

Will this extend to a fortnight?

Date: 2012/02/22 10:45:40, Link
Author: George
Quote (Henry J @ Feb. 21 2012,21:08)
32,000-Year-Old Plant Reborn From Ancient Fruit Found in Siberian Ice
By Sarah Frier - Feb 20, 2012 1:00 PM MT

Researchers in Russia have revived a fertile plant from the remains of 32,000-year-old fruit that was found buried within the fossilized burrows of ancient squirrels deep in the Siberian ice.

Now that's a seed bank with a great long-term interest rate.

Date: 2012/02/23 16:17:51, Link
Author: George
Quote (Freddie @ Feb. 23 2012,10:38)
Some great, almost poetical stuff from KF further up that thread too:
What I am thinking is that what is really going on here is that we are in an era where ultra-modernism, aka post- modernism, is the conventional wisdom of the day in circles influenced by the sort of elites Santorum was fingering as dupes of the prince of darkness grim.

They've been playing Santorum's "Satan's out to get us and he's already gotten the snooty academics" speech on the radio here in Ireland.  All us good Catholics have been having a great laugh at that.  And here we thought fervently religious Dana, former Eurovision Song Contest winner, running for Irish president was a national embarrassment.

Then we remember Santorum might actually get elected and have the nuke launch codes...

Date: 2012/02/23 16:23:01, Link
Author: George
While Kattarina's thread title makes me cringe and her image will probably make me wake up screaming later tonight (wasn't there a B-horror flick about leprechauns a while back?), I agree with the sentiment whole-heartedly.

Breithla shona duit! to the most misnamed barfly here.

Date: 2012/02/24 14:25:56, Link
Author: George
Quote (CeilingCat @ Feb. 24 2012,04:25)
Science all the way Part 74:    
If you want lions, you have to have lambs. Those who condemn God for animal suffering are saying that God should have created in a world in which all animals were vegetarian and there were no parasites. But why should he have done so? Perhaps he wanted a world in which the plenitude of being could be expressed. Who are we to say what God should desire or execute?

And maybe He's a Sadist.

All science so far.



Date: 2012/02/24 17:43:07, Link
Author: George
Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 24 2012,15:32)
I'm registered and still can't edit. I get an edit button, but it just grays the whole page.

Try right clicking and opening in a new tab.  It (sort of) worked for me.

Date: 2012/02/24 17:49:02, Link
Author: George
Ok, who else when they saw this oh-so-helpful diagram in Gregory's guest post

thought of the basic concepts of Small and Far Away?

Date: 2012/02/25 02:47:14, Link
Author: George
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Feb. 24 2012,21:17)
i like this one

A classic!  I remember it well. :)

Date: 2012/02/28 03:53:59, Link
Author: George
Quote (Lou FCD @ Feb. 27 2012,19:47)
It's just fun to some people to poke the little moron with a stick and watch it get mad. Personally, I find the exercise rather boring.

I found at least the first two pages amusing.

I think it probably makes me a bad person.

Date: 2012/02/28 08:52:04, Link
Author: George
Barry outs himself as the biggest hypocrite on the planet by complaining about vanishing posts on another blog.  I'm gobsmacked.  Really.  I had no idea anyone could lack self-awareness completely and utterly.

Date: 2012/03/08 01:30:56, Link
Author: George
Happy Birthday, Elizabeth!

Date: 2012/03/13 15:17:54, Link
Author: George
'Ras, I didn't know you lived in Elmhurst, IL?

(Low hanging fruit, I plucks it.)

Date: 2012/03/26 15:53:13, Link
Author: George
A couple of seasonal non-birdy photos.

Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) in flower:

Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna):

Uploaded with

Date: 2012/04/26 07:14:40, Link
Author: George
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 26 2012,06:19)
Quote (Kattarina98 @ April 26 2012,03:49)
Over at Joe's thread they are still trying to explain to WJM that the use of "natural" and "artificial" selection was just Darwin's shorthand for "made by a breeder" versus "not man-made" selection - even Joe seems to have grasped that basically it's the same thing.

I'm wondering if the boundary between "artifical" and "natural" isn't actually quite blurry: For instance, global warming is man-made; so in a changing climate we might find some species die off, others thrive, others develop new features. Would you call this process "natural" or "artificial"?

We wrangled with this question last week in my senior seminar on hybridization. It's kind of sticky, but bears on things like conservation policy.

Near as I can tell, in a Venn diagram of artificial and natural, the former lies in some sense entirely within the latter. The distinction itself is completely artificial (ha! see what I did there?), and arbitrary. It's context-dependent. To me it seems that the boundary lies wherever you choose to place it in a given discussion, but where you place it should be very clear to everyone involved in that particular discussion to facilitate clear communication.

My tuppence, worth exactly what you just paid for it.

Absolutely it's blurry and context dependent.  Arguably even more so in Europe and other places with a long history of intensive human meddling in nature than in North America. These are the sorts of issues I thrash about with in my work.  Those lovely species-rich grasslands that aren't plowed, herbicided or fertilised, they're natural aren't they?  But wait, wouldn't they be forests if you got rid of the cattle?  Or would the deer keep the grasslands open?  And what about the now-extinct wolves?

These sorts of arguments are why we use the term "semi-natural" a lot!

Date: 2012/04/26 07:54:16, Link
Author: George
Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ April 26 2012,07:30)
first nature is a myth

The birds will be so disappointed.

Date: 2012/05/01 07:44:39, Link
Author: George
Quote (Dr.GH @ April 30 2012,21:47)
Am I to understand you have all fallen off the anti-creatotard wagon and are hitting the strong UD stuff again?

And can I ask all of you who supply links to UD as tinyurls to somehow flag them as UD links?  I mistakenly clicked on one the other day, and it was like someone had switched my sweeties with candy-coated, M&M-labelled meth.

I'm still twitching.

Date: 2012/05/03 08:30:36, Link
Author: George
Quote (Robin @ May 03 2012,07:49)
In a tribute to Kattarina and my brief jaunt to Munich, I give you:

[clipped image]

The Bavarian breakfast! Yum!

Is that thing on top a sausage, marzipan, or a frightening hybrid of the two?

Date: 2012/05/03 14:55:06, Link
Author: George
Quote (Kattarina98 @ May 03 2012,13:11)
And now I give you a thing of rare beauty:

Joe G:
Evidence- no one cares what any “theory” says. People care about the evidence. And to date there isn’t any evidence for a self-replicator and no evidence tat a self-replicator can become a living organism.

Joe, living organisms are self-replicators.

Joe G:
Humans are living organisms and we are not self-replicators.

Quote (blipey @ May 01 2012,13:25)
I agree; Joe's run his course and has become boring.

In fairness, Joe's just refuted blipey.  Who would've thought?

Date: 2012/05/07 14:19:13, Link
Author: George
Quote (Kattarina98 @ May 07 2012,10:45)
Quote (Amadan @ May 06 2012,19:16)
The solution is to link to any fluffy bunny you can find. If poor little Pinkie above is shy, who are we to interfere?

Greyhound? What greyh . ..  oh, ah, nothing, just, ah, taking it for a walk before dinne . .  for a walk. Yeah.

I just wanted you to know that the links leads to AtBC - wasn't sure if it's meant to.

It was meant to.  As a reminder not to feed the troll.

Date: 2012/05/14 07:28:43, Link
Author: George
Where I was last week:

Date: 2012/05/16 08:37:17, Link
Author: George
Quote (SLP @ April 26 2012,08:46)
So whatever happened to Upright Douchebag and his* 'semiotic' argument?  I note that after his unnecessarily lengthy bafflegab posts riddled with analogies and nonsense, he sort of split.

*Which is to say Abel the resume-padder's...

Just checked in again on the semiotic argument thread.  Upright has a very special creationist aroma doesn't he?  So pungent, so cock-sure, so completely unable to get the flipping point.  His most recent best is his refusal to understand the difference between logical arguments and empirically-based arguments.

Date: 2012/05/17 08:09:17, Link
Author: George
Quote (Quack @ May 17 2012,07:01)
Quote (CeilingCat @ May 16 2012,20:49)
the surgery she had as a child (brain transplant?)


O'Leary:  My... brain... hurts!

Dr. Black:  It will have to come out.

[Chaos with oversized wooden mallets and rusty saws ensues.]

Documentary evidence.

Date: 2012/05/25 08:23:01, Link
Author: George
Now we're seeing the true effects of Barry's ban-hammer at UD and our own boycott: the godless evilutionists turning on each other and consuming each other in an atheistic rage totally lacking in objective moral standards.  I bet it's a clever plot by the DI.  In fact, I bet "Louis" and "Schroedinger's Dog" are really cleverly constructed deep-cover socks operated by crack agents KF and BA77.

Date: 2012/06/03 12:32:52, Link
Author: George
Quote (The whole truth @ June 03 2012,05:33)
So, a woman ALLEGES that a guy in an elevator asked her if she'd like to come to his room for coffee. PZ Meyers and a lot of other people made a GIGANTIC stink about it, and are still making a stink, for how long now??

I don't think that what I said is an exaggeration, a distortion, or dishonest at all. If anything it's an understatement of the way that many people think and have acted (and are still acting).

Maybe what amazes me the most is that you and some other women don't understand how making such a GIGANTIC stink (or any stink at all, and especially very publicly on the internet) about a NON-incident (in every sense of the word) reinforces the perception that women are helpless, fragile, inferior weaklings who are unable to take care of themselves and need to be protected from men even talking to them.

Yeah, you've come a long way baby. Not.

I'd just like to say a couple of words on this subject on behalf of all the lurkers and quasi-lurkers here.

Grow up.

Date: 2012/06/04 12:56:25, Link
Author: George
Quote (Robin @ June 04 2012,12:11)
Quote (JLT @ June 04 2012,10:59)
Which means that according to Dembski's EF Jesus himself designed this:

Praise be the Lord!

I don't know why the UD folks don't agree with me here. I'm pretty sure I followed the approved "How to calculate shit to arrive at some meaningless number with a lot of zeros to impress the rubes" method of ID math.

Uhhh...that's not Jesus. It's Tommy Iommi from Black Sabbath. The image even shows his iconic left-handed Fender. Here's a pic that's nearly identical to the mold image:

Now THAT'S scary coincodink! So...uhh...what the heck are they doing in that shower anyway?

I think this saintly, bearded gentleman a much more likely candidate to appear on a shower wall in mildew.  

Shall I quote scripture?

In the dark
Where all the fevers grow
Under the water
Where the shark bubbles blow
In the mornin'
By yer radio
Do the walls close in t' suffocate ya
You ain't got no friends . . .
An' all the others: they hate ya
Does the life you been livin' gotta go?

-- Stinkfoot

Is that not suggestive of water and morning routines, small enclosed spaces and hygiene problems?

Date: 2012/06/17 15:42:23, Link
Author: George
Quote (Amadan @ June 16 2012,09:56)
Methuselah he lived to a great ape indeed but for all his many sons he was no moonkey he. What a piece of work is Man, how infinitesimal in faculties I knew poor Bill'd never make tenure poor divil can't even eat kidneys with the faint scent of yourdesign. Moved from hallowed halls to hollowed hulls he did showing the crowds around the arkpark a summer treat for the family with Grandma and her brain was immaterial as well as her mind compost mentis she was and she asked me Will you buy me buke and I said Yes Yes Yes.

Happy Bloomsday all.

The small chance that I would actually try to read Ulysses has now gone beyond the universal probability bound.  D'leary as Molly Bloom??!?!  Some would consider that heresy.

Date: 2012/06/23 18:24:52, Link
Author: George
Quote (Dr. Jammer @ June 23 2012,17:54)
I love watching Upright Biped and kairosfocus just annihilate the trolls who pollute U.D. It's such a joy. kairosfocus is especially brilliant. It's no wonder he's so hated here. He's like LeBron James -- so brilliant at what he does that it's almost scary.

Every single one of you who have had the balls to face kairosfocus in the debating circle  have been severely trounced. Every one of your claims have been demolished. He is a one-man, Darwinist-destroying machine.

How many of you wake up in the middle of the night with cold sweats after having nightmares of kairosfocus? Be honest. His superior intellect scares you.

'Ras, PM yourself you magnificent bastard.  No UD dweller could ever pull off such a perfect balance of sneering arrogance and complete reversal of reality.

Date: 2012/06/24 12:34:08, Link
Author: George
Well, if Dr Jammer isn't a Poe, then he might be Max Andrews, philosophy grad student studying the fine-tuning cosmology argument.  That's where the flowchart is from, but looking at the trackbacks, it was also posted on UD from where anyone could have gotten it.

I still think Dr J is 'Ras, though.  PM yourself!

ETA:  Bugger.  Scooped.

Date: 2012/06/24 15:50:37, Link
Author: George
I've been out surveying sand dunes the past few weeks and last week was a winner for some really nice plants.  Maybe not so nice photos, but I had to share.

First, the tiny and quite rare small adder's-tongue fern (Ophioglossum azoricum).  It was impossible to get both the leaf blade and the spore-bearing blade in focus with my compact camera.

The much duller, but even more rare hoary whitlow-grass (Draba incana).

The not-so-rare, but ever beautiful bee orchid (Ophrys apifera).

Lastly, the lady interfering with my work by confusing my camera with lunch.

Date: 2012/06/25 00:24:40, Link
Author: George
Quote (Lou FCD @ June 24 2012,22:19)
Quote (Woodbine @ June 24 2012,03:09)
Jammer candidates so far....

1) Lou FCD

2) Kristine (the shimmying witch)

3) Louis

Not I. My socks have brains.

<HenryJ> Of course they do.  If they didn't have olfactory bulbs, how would they smell? </HenryJ>

Date: 2012/06/27 17:14:03, Link
Author: George
Quote (Robin @ June 25 2012,07:33)
Neat plant shots George. Well...except that last one...not a very attractive plant that one.  :p

Thanks!  I'm really a much better botanist than photographer.  Really.  But it's always nice to take some pretty pictures.

Date: 2012/07/05 12:06:15, Link
Author: George
Love the dragonflies, Robin.

Date: 2012/07/05 12:17:08, Link
Author: George
Quote (Richardthughes @ July 05 2012,11:51)
I've got him at a decent 8/10 meltdown on his blog right now.   :p

That's either tantamount to child-like-person abuse or enabling his masochistic tendencies.  Not sure which.

Date: 2012/09/12 01:00:55, Link
Author: George
Quote (midwifetoad @ Sep. 11 2012,18:46)
Every technology seems to have its enemies. Wind turbines are ugly and kill birds. Everyone wants them but not nearby.

Personally I'm interested in thorium. China seems to be going in that direction. I assume we'll be buying their reactors in ten years.

My point is that opposition to solutions comes from so many directions. I don't think it coincides with the antievolution crowd.

The psych research didn't find correlations between opposition to alternative energy solutions and anti-science attitudes, it was about correlations between climate change denialism in the first place and anti-science.  Opposition to different solutions does come from different directions, but opposition to the idea that there's a problem in the first place seems to be closely associated with the anti-evolution and conspiracy theorist crowd.

As to wind turbines, they do kill some birds (and bats), but so do living room windows.  Where it becomes ecologically significant is where wind farms are sited along migratory paths or where there are populations of rare raptors.  There is also the scarecrow effect of turbines frightening away birds from an area, but this depends on the species involved as some become more acclimatised to others.  A good EIA system and a good planning framework should (!) sort this out.  Visual impact issues are certainly an issue, and many people are vehemently opposed to them.  Personally I like the look of wind farms in the right places, but as I earn part of my living from wind farm EIAs, I might be biased.

Date: 2012/09/17 07:43:36, Link
Author: George
I also voted for AFDave.  One of his most tardilicious qualities was not just his arrogance, but his unshakeable belief that he was right and he had to school us poor deluded souls.  Joe, KF and his ilk often put up a front of arrogance, but you can tell that half the time it's hollow.  They know deep down they're peddling shite.  Not AFDave!  He had the Truth by God!

And the speed with which the threads went by!  If you were to read them in detail, for a while there you would've needed to quit your day job to find the time.  It's gotten real slow around here now.

Stevestory was a class act.  Winner of the Most Spot-On-est Avatar award, in my opinion.

Date: 2012/11/05 16:49:31, Link
Author: George
Quote (stevestory @ Nov. 05 2012,10:38)
Quote (olegt @ Nov. 05 2012,09:07)
The sad truth, Gary, is that you simply can't express yourself. Your writing is so bad that it reminds me of Vogon poetry.

Vogon poetry is cogent. Gary is not.

More like Neal Casady's stream of consciousness rambling at a Ken Kesey Acid Test.

Date: 2012/11/16 08:01:11, Link
Author: George
Quote (Jim_Wynne @ Nov. 16 2012,07:08)
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Nov. 15 2012,23:19)
Modern day in the name of science invading your forum like this, then makes our forefathers proud.

Here's an apropos quote in response to an unintelligible statement:     
Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them... (Thomas Jefferson)

Whatever your "theory" might be, it can't be parsed on any level. This is not because we're all big meanies; it's because *you* are a horseshit writer.  There are times when dense and anfractuous language is deliberately used to mask a writer's true intentions, but in your case it's simple incompetence in articulation.   When someone of reasonable intelligence tells you that you're not being understood, it's not because your "theory" is so advanced that only an enlightened few can grasp its concepts; it's because it's unintelligible on any level, including your own, I suspect.


Date: 2012/11/22 01:31:42, Link
Author: George
Another example of the predictive power of rock 'n' roll:

NOTICE: A few corrective remarks for some hostile scrutinisers from Anti Evo etc.

I have noticed that the usual hostile scrutinisers at some objector sites are back on their Saul Alinsky,dismissive mockery and well-poisoning tactics.


I strongly suggest, too, that such need to check a good legal dictionary before presuming ignorance on the part of design thinkers, and that they need to acquaint themselves with current legal trends before spouting off their ill-informed contempt.

-- KairosFocus in UD

This is the CENTRAL is my responsibility to enforce all the laws that haven't been passed yet. It is also my responsibility to alert each and every one of you to the potential consequences of various ordinary everyday activities you might be performing which could eventually lead to *The Death Penalty* (or affect your parents' credit rating).

-- Frank Zappa in Joe's Garage

Date: 2012/11/27 01:38:18, Link
Author: George
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Nov. 27 2012,01:08)
What really sticks my craw are condescending noodle-heads who think they know-it-all. The least you can do is use the proper phrasing "molecular intelligence" or "cellular intelligence" instead of the usual grade school generalizations that make me wonder if I'm talking to children.

Date: 2012/11/30 01:22:16, Link
Author: George
I for one think that Gary has made a significant contribution to this thread.  I think that we should now give Jerry plenty of space and opportunity, free of distraction, to respond to Gary's eloquently stated position.

Lurking in anticipation...

Date: 2012/12/05 02:45:19, Link
Author: George
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Dec. 04 2012,19:07)
i guess all those fishery managers who enforce catch limits on walleyes and saugers are just being assholes. since they can interbreed, according to Jimmy Ray Humpsniff, they aren't different species after all.  and he has obviously never met a fucking botanist

Tell me Cletus why haven't you straightened all these poor deluded people out, since you obviously know more about speciation than the people who wrote the damned book?

Somebody called for a botanist?

Jerry, ever heard of hybrid swarms?  What about heterostyly* (e.g. dimorphic pin and thrum flowers) in vascular plants that leads to breeding incompatibility between morphs in the same species.  Can you explain how these observations fit into your definition of a species and speciation?

* When reminding myself of the proper term via a bit of googling, I came across the following reference:

Darwin, Charles 1862. On the two forms, or dimorphic condition, in the species of Primula, and on their remarkable sexual relations. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnaean Society (Botany) 6, 77–96.

Is there anything that guy didn't know at least something about?

Date: 2012/12/05 17:06:13, Link
Author: George
Quote (Jerry Don Bauer @ Dec. 05 2012,14:23)
Quote (George @ Dec. 05 2012,02:45)
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Dec. 04 2012,19:07)
i guess all those fishery managers who enforce catch limits on walleyes and saugers are just being assholes. since they can interbreed, according to Jimmy Ray Humpsniff, they aren't different species after all.  and he has obviously never met a fucking botanist

Tell me Cletus why haven't you straightened all these poor deluded people out, since you obviously know more about speciation than the people who wrote the damned book?

Somebody called for a botanist?

Jerry, ever heard of hybrid swarms?  What about heterostyly* (e.g. dimorphic pin and thrum flowers) in vascular plants that leads to breeding incompatibility between morphs in the same species.  Can you explain how these observations fit into your definition of a species and speciation?

* When reminding myself of the proper term via a bit of googling, I came across the following reference:

Darwin, Charles 1862. On the two forms, or dimorphic condition, in the species of Primula, and on their remarkable sexual relations. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnaean Society (Botany) 6, 77–96.

Is there anything that guy didn't know at least something about?

No, sorry...I'm not familiar with those concepts.

Perhaps you could explain them and elucidate how you feel they might negatively affect my musings thus far.

IOW, what have I said that those concepts show to be wrong? I've got an open mind.......

Yes.  You said:
It arises when the definition of Earnt Mayr's (did I spell it right this time?) definition FOR a given sexual species is met:

organisms which can interbreed and produce viable, fertile offspring.

"Scientists have a pretty good handle on what constitutes a species for sexually reproducing animals: the biological-species concept. According to this concept, a species is a group of organisms that can interbreed and produce viable and fertile offspring."

Plants that exhibit heterostyly have different flower morphs.  For example, in Primula some individuals have flowers that have stamens and style arranged in one manner (pin).  Other individuals have flowers with reproductive parts arranged in another fashion (thrum).  Pin to pin fertilisation is ineffective, as is thrum to thrum.  
So in Primula and other plants that exhibit heterostyly, would pin and thrum morphs be the same species under your definition?  Given that under your definition, members of the same species must be able to freely interbreed?

Date: 2012/12/05 17:15:51, Link
Author: George
Quote (Jerry Don Bauer @ Dec. 05 2012,14:23)
Quote (George @ Dec. 05 2012,02:45)

Somebody called for a botanist?

Jerry, ever heard of hybrid swarms?  What about heterostyly* (e.g. dimorphic pin and thrum flowers) in vascular plants that leads to breeding incompatibility between morphs in the same species.  Can you explain how these observations fit into your definition of a species and speciation?

* When reminding myself of the proper term via a bit of googling, I came across the following reference:

Darwin, Charles 1862. On the two forms, or dimorphic condition, in the species of Primula, and on their remarkable sexual relations. Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnaean Society (Botany) 6, 77–96.

Is there anything that guy didn't know at least something about?

No, sorry...I'm not familiar with those concepts.

Perhaps you could explain them and elucidate how you feel they might negatively affect my musings thus far.

IOW, what have I said that those concepts show to be wrong? I've got an open mind.......

Part two.  You said:
Experimentation shows that when a hybred IS produced that might meet the criteria, the offspring is ALWAY non-viable (it doesn't live) or it is infertile like mules and ligars.

Dude.  Really.  Look up hybrid swarms, as JohnW and others have told you to.  These are clear contradictions of your "species" (or kinds?) concepts.  

I've just opened up Stace's New Flora of the British Isles to the genus Salix.  Willows, that is.  Let me quote:
"Identification is often made difficult by the extensive degree of hybridisation (68 combinations at present known in BI [British Isles], of which 20 are hybrids between 3 spp.)."

Please do answer Blipey.  When does green become blue?

Date: 2012/12/05 17:25:55, Link
Author: George
Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Dec. 05 2012,17:09)
Quote (stevestory @ Dec. 05 2012,17:50)

How it's going that less than successful efforts (I know from helping her own efforts in KCFS to be sure) than were to be had to get, much to the National Academies chagrin, sentences structured to not conform to the biased scientists so called definitions of what it means to be a sentence in a non-fucked up so to speak way.

Actually, rereading, that's still too coherent. I think I would have to study to learn how Gary makes such a hash of it. He makes it look so easy.

here's what you do.

hit yourself right in the temple with the small end of a ballpeen hammer

then drink a liter of vodka

smoke salvia

tape your thumb and middle finger together

you are now ready to type something like Giggles

Salvia?  Would that be Salvia x sylvestris or hybrid clary, which Stace reports as "partially fertile" contrary to Jerry's dogma?

Oh, didn't think so.

Lucky I got the first part of your advice right.  Allowing for substitution of two parts wine (in honour of today's €1 tax on a buideal of vino in Noonan's budget) that is.

I hate vodka.

Date: 2012/12/06 01:16:24, Link
Author: George
Quote (Amadan @ Dec. 05 2012,18:13)
Quote (George @ Dec. 05 2012,23:25)
Oh, didn't think so.

Lucky I got the first part of your advice right.  Allowing for substitution of two parts wine (in honour of today's €1 tax on a buideal of vino in Noonan's budget) that is.

I hate vodka.

Jaysus that is some Budget

[snip Joan Burton footage]

Happily, yr Hmbl Corrspt had the foresight to lay in the Solstice Stock last week.

In fact, some of it is still left.

I think the €1 per bottle of wine vs only 10 cent on a pint of beer was meant to be the token nod to progressive taxation.  My head hurts.

Date: 2012/12/10 02:06:19, Link
Author: George
There's a special issue of the journal Ecology on integrating phylogenetics and ecology.  I don't know why it says it's an August issue - I only got the email notification today.

All papers open access!

Ecological Society of America Issue Alert
Volume: 93, Number: sp8 (August) Phylogenetics

A new issue is now available online from the Ecological Society of America at:

Date: 2012/12/12 00:39:35, Link
Author: George
I've had police clearance and child clearance checks in different jurisdictions, and only one required fingerprints.  Obviously records checks don't require fingerprints, which makes me wonder why they want them?  Would they be run against prints collected in unsolved cases?  If your prints did show up at some old crime scene, what then?

Date: 2013/05/31 02:05:58, Link
Author: George
Quote (GaryGaulin @ May 31 2013,00:57)
Quote (blipey @ May 31 2013,00:31)
No shit?  You're still on about PBS being the cutting edge of scientific research?  Are you angling for some sort of dumbest person on the internet award?

The best way to undermine your anti-scientific agenda is to go underground and dig-up the truth that you need to stay buried.

I just had to pop up for this bit of stupid.

So you had to go underground and dig up the truth at the Public Broadcasting Service?  What will be your next top-secret science source, Nickleodeon?

Date: 2013/06/20 03:01:48, Link
Author: George
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 20 2013,00:44)
Quote (didymos @ June 19 2013,22:22)
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 19 2013,19:09)
Considering how it's no secret that your goal has been to mock and ridicule people who question your motives to total madness and/or suicide...

That's what we call a "lie" Gary.

Joking about driving people over the edge while doing your best to get them there will most likely only get you what you asked for, then you wish you didn't do that.

You need to be thankful I'm here to make a score in their honor that puts the fun back in science with a Theory of Intelligent Design this forum is united to defeat. This diffuses your explosive situation by their personally experiencing the thrill of something scientifically turning out in their favor for a change.

Also, it was someone from CARM with a snake name and their gang that almost kicked my wife off the bed, and I talked in my sleep at Boba from Talk Rational who posted pop-art posts that no kidding in the end helped make the “BobaBot” in the Intelligence Design Lab what it is today, where I’m now doing my best to make never look like a prick but even with bright indicator stripes on them they still look like one.

Compared to what I’m used to, this forum is now therapeutic tranquility. Now have the first Lab on Planet Source Code, with a second on the way that’s looking good. My biggest problem right now, is when the feeder size is large you get large green nipples, and going crazy with indicator stripes all over the critter makes it hard to later add a digestive system like I planned for the future. And when all indicator stripes go to white (confidence level 3 memory was stored) they don’t help the BobaBot look much different. It’s too easy to Step to a frame with the right colors. So it’s like there has to be a digestive system that of course has to poop every once in a while to make it cool in a way that makes it hard to confuse it with where only liquids can pass through. Next problem is what to do with their poop. Best thing I can think of is to grow another bite to eat there, as big as the poop that does not look like a giant nipple just the food inside, where the BobaBot can instead just eat the whole thing. This all gets me into more than I planned to add, but gets me out of the most major at this time problem to be solved.

I’m far from mostly kiddingly speaking of course sucking the tailpipe. My most major problem with my wife and I is how academia would have a million bucks on a project this socially significant and not ever turn out as good, while we get squat and financially suffering in a conflict that I sure did not start yet get to go down in too. So I better get back to work doing what I can, with what I still have left to give, while this forum pontificates instead of helping like it should.

Dude.  I suggest you stay off the internet.  You'll feel much better.

Date: 2013/07/25 08:07:36, Link
Author: George
Quote (J-Dog @ July 24 2013,16:27)
Royals name future King after ATBC Poster Louis...

Look like Louis was actually NOT diddling those Welsh sheep after all!

I beg to disagree.

On both counts.

Date: 2013/09/06 11:07:28, Link
Author: George
Quote (Amadan @ Sep. 06 2013,09:41)
Biodiversity in Co. Mayo:

<snip frightening image>

Thank God it's not Enda Kennys.

Date: 2013/09/27 01:24:19, Link
Author: George
Quote (k.e.. @ Sep. 27 2013,00:31)
Quote (sparc @ Sep. 27 2013,05:57)
Quote (Woodbine @ Sep. 26 2013,19:17)

Or at similar length you could read....

Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray - 78,462 words.
George Orwell - Nineteen Eighty-Four - 88,942 words.
J.D. Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye - 73,404 words.
Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse-Five - 49,459 words.
Nathaniel Hawthorne - The Scarlet Letter - 63,604 words.
Ray Bradbury - The Martian Chronicles - 64,768 words.
William Golding - Lord of the Flies - 59,900 words.

Tough choice I know.

An intellectually self-contained fundamentalist life in a remote place on Montserrat leaves a lot of idle time.

Indeed but I'll bet he's never read any of those books.

I suspect he's read The Scarlet Letter, but for very different reasons than most.  And he took notes.

Date: 2013/09/30 03:08:05, Link
Author: George
Quote (Quack @ Sep. 29 2013,15:51)
Isn't it quite absurd when you consder that God created man with a, to all intents and purposes, distinctly animal body? A body with so many features clearly borrowed from the animal kingdom, to host the immortal soul of the one created in 'his image'?

Absolutely.  If special creation were true, we would obviously all be plant people.  Much more suitable frames for immortal souls than mere meat.

Date: 2013/10/14 12:39:40, Link
Author: George
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Oct. 14 2013,01:33)
The communication blackout was in a way a blessing

The first true thing I think you've said here.

Date: 2013/10/19 12:00:12, Link
Author: George
Quote (Woodbine @ Oct. 19 2013,11:38)

Wow.  Where does that categorisation come from?  Is it related to other searches by UD visitors?

Date: 2013/12/04 01:43:47, Link
Author: George
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Dec. 01 2013,02:17)
Science journals are for lab papers, not for getting code published online in a community of science minded programmers for that language. Thinking that the Theory of Intelligent Design has to first be published in a major journal is an unrealistic expectation from an academia that assumed such a thing would have to come from a biology lab, which led to not planning for the possibility it would become needed in software for explaining the basics of how intelligence and intelligent cause/causation works.

Hey Gary.  Why don't you try publishing in Methods in Ecology and Evolution?  According to the scope of the journal:
Methods in Ecology and Evolution (MEE) promotes the development of new methods in ecology and evolution, and facilitates their dissemination and uptake by the research community. MEE brings together papers from previously disparate sub-disciplines to provide a single forum for tracking methodological developments in all areas.

MEE publishes methodological papers in any area of ecology and evolution, including:
   • Phylogenetic analysis
   • Statistical methods
   • Conservation & management
   • Theoretical methods
   • Practical methods, including lab and field
This list is not exhaustive, and we welcome enquiries about possible submissions. Methods are defined in the widest terms and may be analytical, practical or conceptual.

You can even put the code in an archive for all eternity.  Imagine!  Immortality!  And publishing there is free, unless you want the paper to be Open Access.  At worst, you'll get a pdf of the published paper that you can  circulate to the movers and shakers in the Real Science world.

Date: 2013/12/05 01:22:27, Link
Author: George
Quote (NoName @ Dec. 04 2013,07:11)
A significant difficulty for the attempt to get Gary to publish in MEE is that neither his 'theory' nor his software has anything to do with evolution.  There is no reproduction with variation, there are no changing fitness landscapes.
We don't need to delve into the massive category error(s) he commits when he shoplifts cognitive science's conception of 'learning' and attempts to force-fit it onto single molecules.  He attempts to conflate this 'self-learning' of/by molecules into a replacement for reproduction with variation, but that rocket explods on the launch pad.
To all intents and purposes, there is no ecology, even in his software, which has a static, extrinsically determined 'environment'.
Having no science, Gary has nothing publishable in a scientific venue.  He might, however, provide a number of psychology grad students with source material for PhD studies in various cognitive and affective disorders.

True, but I think a more significant obstacle is that MEE requires the paper to be written in English.

Date: 2013/12/05 01:24:47, Link
Author: George
Quote (Bob O'H @ Dec. 04 2013,10:51)
Oi! Leave me out of this! I expect to get some creationist/ID submissions at some point, but when we do; I want it to be good creationist/ID rubbish!

(more seriously, such a submission would receive the same attention as any other manuscript. But we probably reject about 50% without sending to reviewers)

On the editorial board?  Thanks for helping make it a great journal.  I've never seen one take off so quickly.  It obviously found an unoccupied niche in the journal ecosystem.

Date: 2013/12/10 10:09:40, Link
Author: George
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Dec. 09 2013,14:02)
Quote (jeffox @ Dec. 09 2013,13:22)
ATBC:  Your theory has never been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.  

What would ATBC expect it to specifically focus on? There being several thousand ways of going has to be narrowed down to what you need, but I'm not sure what that is.

At least the NGSS has a logical construct to cover life science, which is much easier for the theory to communicate with.

My last long post has ideas that might work, for you to select from. Maybe that will help describe what you want, need. Once I know, the rest might be easy. I honestly otherwise do not know where to begin, on that project.

I couldn't quite follow your last long post, but from the above it seems that you now see that there are potentially suitable journals out there for publishing revolutionary new theories supported by the results of computer modelling.  Now you wonder how to frame your theory in a paper?  

I'd suggest that you first specify the elements of current evolutionary theory that are undermined by your theory.  State what behaviour would be expected from, say, a foraging invertebrate under the evolutionary paradigm and contrast that with what behaviour would be expected under Gaulin's theory.  Then describe the results from your validated computer model that support Gaulin's theory and contradict evolutionary theory.  You could try outlining this in 2-3 brief paragraphs for us as a trial.

You have validated your IDLab, haven't you?

Date: 2013/12/12 03:26:58, Link
Author: George
Quote (REC @ Dec. 11 2013,21:43)
Feel free to cross-post wherever.

TLDR version: the quote is in there, on another page, and to me, a VERY out of context quote-mine that uses a quote about change within a species against others about transitional fossils.

I am slightly hesitant to write this. On two accounts, It might be too charitable to Barry. First, the Barry-like thing to do would be to scan the two pages he cited, post them, and accuse him of fraud. Let him buy the book, read it, and prove it false when he gets to the citation, if he finds it.

Hell, he might learn something in the process.

I’m also more inclined to sit back and laugh at the remnants of ID than engage at this point. Barry et al. are not kind people on a search for truth. They don't try to educate themselves. It was once interesting to debate, and educate there. But they now want “gotcha” moments, spin, and frequently seem out to draw blood. A few of them literally tried to have me fired in letters to my employer. I believe Barry’s underling TsErik in this recent exchange, when he says: “But don’t worry Nickie-boy, I’ve already sent out your exchanges to quite a few hungry eyes and there are many, many more. Your side of the story will be read, though you probably shouldn’t relish that thought. Perhaps even future employers would love to see how you conduct yourself.” This behavior doesn’t draw any comment there. I do not think they know their threats are minimized by the fact that they can't actually harm Nick and me. They do mean it.

And what are we engaging with Barry about? Is it scholarly to pair a quote stripped of context, from a book written as I was learning to read (before genomics matured, before many key paleontological finds, before experimental tests of the Red Queen Hypothesis--key here) against a quote from a text that was 4 or 5 editions old before the US made it illegal for one human to own another? Replying gives him too much credit, makes it seem like we're on the same level of scholarship--the second account of charity.

As for context:

Darwin’s prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.

Is found in: Niles Eldredge and Ian Tattersall, The Myths of Human Evolution, p. 48 in a section titled: “What are species?” where Eldredge and Tattersall aren’t considering transitional fossils. Note the words: “affecting all lineages” and “tremendous anatomical conservatism.” Makes more sense for species vs. the whole fossil record or transitional fossils? Yeah. Some species* show remarkable *apparent* conservation over time. The authors contrast this with Darwin’s expectation of universal inexorable progress, as per Victorian ideals of an expanding empire, the betterment of society, capital-P Progress.

The preceding sentences are:
“There is frequently more variation through the geographic spread of a species at any one time than will be accrued through a span of 5 million or 10 million years. This observation has two simple consequences, both of enormous importance to evolutionary theory.

First…..”(quoted material)Darwin’s prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record. (end quoted material)

“The second simple consequence is the observation that species are stable and remain discreet….. they have beginnings, histories, and ultimately ends. During their lifespans, they may or may not give rise to one of more descendant species, just as humans may or may not give rise to children during their lifespans…And it is these spatiotemporally discreet units, which are the ancestors and descendants in evolution."

That ALL lineages haven’t experienced gradual evolution in the fossil record does not establish the fossil record doesn’t, at times, show gradualism, as per Alan Fox’s suggestion that he was mocked for, and this section appears to make NO comment on the presence of absence of transitional species in the fossil record.

To establish quote-mining, let us compare Barry’s use of the quote:

Here, Barry pairs the quote (again cited as The Myth_ of Human Evolution) with a quote from Origin, Chapter 6:

“He who rejects this view of the imperfection of the geological record, will rightly reject the whole theory. For he may ask in vain where are the numberless transitional links“

And again the same sort of pairing here:

Origin: ”Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links?”

Here Barry's own words reveal what he thinks, as he uses the quote from Myths to mock Elsberry:

In the article he links Elsberry says that we don’t need no steenkin’ “finely graduated organic chain.” No sir. Three transitional fossils out of 250,000 are good enough for him.

Transitional fossils and intermediates—paired with an interpretation of Darwin’s opinion on the phenotypic stability of a species. Apples and hamsters.

The book strongly supports evolution, free of Victorian, Creationist, and scientific mythologies. I’d encourage a second edition, aimed at teachers.

I’m sure this will be well-spun shortly. And a thousand other mis-quotes will replace it.

ETA: *Eldredge and Tattersall take some effort in laying out their definition of species, and consider the ability to  discern closely related species in the fossil record.

Even more betterer PoTW.