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Date: 2004/09/21 22:20:32, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Salvador writes,

Quote
With the bio-reporting engineering, I doubt they will really even bother with doing probability calculations each time they make a detection, because the design inference in the bio-reporters is so obvious : novel traits like bio-reporter bio-luminesence would not arise via Darwinian evolution.  They can count on the fact that if such a critter is seen, it came from our labs and not purely Darwinian processes.


This is a total punt.  It's not a matter of them not "doing probability calculations each time they make a detection, because the design inference in the bio-reporters is so obvious," it's a matter of them never having done them at all!  That is a very simple fact that you consistently ignore.

Your example of 500 coins is irrelevant.  The issue is detecting design in biological organisms.  No one, ever, has even offered a methodology for showing that CSI exists in biology, must less attempted to implement a methodology, much less shown CSI that exists according to Dembski's definition.

Without going off on a tangent, Salvador, do you agree with these statements, and if not can you show evidence (not just arguements, but actual evidence) that they are not true?

Date: 2007/04/12 19:28:13, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Kristine wrote in an earlier post: "Big tent, small circus."

That's a great line, Kristine!  And I thought your whole letter was good.

Date: 2007/04/13 21:10:30, Link
Author: Jkrebs
FYI: I'm virtually certain FtK has never posted under other names, and she certainly is not Diana from the KCFS forums.

Date: 2007/05/14 22:47:13, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Very interesting discussion, and I wish I had more time to participate. but I'd like to say a few things about my understanding of TE.

Assume an omniscient, omnipotent omnipresent God of Christian theology.  This God already knows all that will ever happen because, in God's view, it has all already been created.  He created it all at once.  God is outside time.

All of these attempts to understand God as if he were a being that passes through time like we do are futile.  As we pass through time, each and every moment is a complete act of creation, not because it is being created moment by moment, but because it's already been holistically created as part of the entire creation of the universe throughout all space and time.

We cannot comprehend this.  Again, all these attempts that people make to somehow logically work out what God does and how and when he does it all miss the mark - they are hopeless anthropomorphisms that are really sort of spiritually arrogant in that they suppose that we can see the world as it looks to God.

From this point of view, every single event, from the most certain regularity to the most improbable coincidence, are all equally creative acts of God.  There are no "interventions", and no distinctions between things that happen "naturally" and things that happen because of God.  It's all a created whole.

This is entirely a faith position.  There is absolutely no evidence that it is true or not, anymore than there is evidence for similar mystical views that are part of other religions, because it is so comprehensive.  To the TE, every moment of the world "detects" the existence and nature of God.  The very idea of detecting some acts as special (supernatural, or interventions in nature) is antithetical to this comprehensive view of God's creative presence.

This is why TE are not special creationists.  They don't believe in a God that sometimes supernaturally intervenes.  They believe, if you will, in a God who never has to make a supernatural intervention because in fact he already completely "intervened" through his creation of the universe as a spatio-temporal whole.
Last point: "theistic evolutionists" is a misleading name, because it makes it sound like this is a position that focuses on evolution, and that is not the case.  TE is a theological position that applies to every sequence of events, from the events of a person's day to the whole history of the universe, and everything in between.  The fact that it applies to evolution is important only because the of the controversy caused by the anti-evolutionists.

Let me make it clear that I am not trying to argue for TE (even if such a thing were possible, because, as I said, it is entirely a faith position.)  What I am trying to do keep us from having misconceptions about TE.

Date: 2007/05/15 06:40:05, Link
Author: Jkrebs
My guess is that many TE's wouldn't articulate things as I did, but their general view is that God is involved in everything, and his involvement is in ways and through means that are beyond our comprehension.  I don't think TE is deism (which is a view that, in my opinion, doesn't "get" the time angle either), and I don't think that TE is a disguised interventionist oldmaninthesky view at the quantum level.

Date: 2007/06/03 09:58:04, Link
Author: Jkrebs
FYI:  JonF mentioned that we had a lot of discussions about Walt Brown back on the old KCFS forums - there's a lot of good stuff there, as well interminable support for Brown from ftk.  You can still see the old forums at http://www.kcfs.org/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi.  A search for Brown in the Public Discussion forum will bring up lots of threads.

Date: 2007/08/01 07:07:50, Link
Author: Jkrebs
ftk is complaining that she is being misrepresented here and can't reply because she is banned.

I'd like to point out that if she would adopt a different moderation policy on her blog and let all comments go through immediately, then she could discuss these issues there.  It's hard to be sympathetic with her complaints about being banned here when she has the extremely restrictive policy about other people participating on her own blog.

Date: 2007/08/07 21:05:19, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Some of us think that EE was written with the intent of fitting closely with the Kansas science standards of 2004.  The strategy in Kansas was to teach more evolution, the strengths and weaknesses of evolution, etc., and the standards mentioned many of the points being covered in EE.  If the creationists had kept control of the state BOE and the 2004 creationist standards had stayed in place, I am confident that the DI would be hawking EE to Kansas school districts and science teachers as we speak.

Date: 2007/08/20 22:10:51, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Sal doesn't understand that ad hominem refers to dismissing an argument because of some irrelevant characteristic of the arguer.  If I say that your ideas about ID are wrong because you are a jerk, that is an ad hominem argument.  If I just call you a jerk, that is not an ad hominem argument.  It may be rude and impolite, and it might be quite wrong (or not), but it is not ad hominem.

I'll also point out that Sal is not banned - his last foray at KCFS was sent to the Home for Wayward Comments, our version of the bathroom wall, but that is not the same as being banned

And the thing that Sal is most wrong about, and I am just sure he know this, is his statement that his post was moved because of its content, which was something about a quote from Lewontin.  His post was moved because of his outrageous quote-mine about Darwin beating a puppy, and his absolute refusal to apologize, or even admit any wrongdoing, when the context of the quote was pointed out.

Date: 2007/08/21 22:29:14, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Thanks, Hermagoras.  I appreciate the feedback.  I don't get involved online much these days, but this topic of respect for religious and philosophical diversity is the one that most draws me out.

Date: 2007/08/29 21:43:23, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Nice post, Kristine.

</cheerleading>

Date: 2007/09/26 15:07:11, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Reciprocating Bill's point is critical: the whole "either it was designed or it was an accident" dichotomy drives a great deal of anti-evolutionism, and it is, as Bill explained well, a category error that leads to a false dichotomy.

A friend of mine used to use the example "The ocean is proud: true or false?"  Well, obviously the ocean is neither: pride (and therefore the lack thereof) is not a property that applies to oceans.

Things that happen in the universe are not accidents.  They may (usually do) contain contingent events that are not directly related causally to each other, but this doesn't make them accidents: they happen for reasons that, however complex, are the result of regularities in the entities and forces present in the universe.

If we look at the universe as a whole, one can hold the belief that it was designed, but that is a philosophical or religious belief that is beyond the scope of science: once can just as validly hold that the universe is a product or manifestation of laws and principles that apply to universes, although this too is a philosophical belief.  To believe that if it was not designed the universe must be an accident   are two sides of one view: to someone who personifies the cause of the universe, properties of a person apply: that "person" either created the universe on purpose or by accident.  However, if you don't personify the cause of the universe, then that dichotomy is inappropriate.

As Bill explained much more succinctly

Date: 2007/09/27 07:00:10, Link
Author: Jkrebs
ftk writes,

Quote
Dave, Bill and Jack:

You've made very good points...many of which I agree with, but there are several things that you refuse to take into consideration, and I'm going to post a fairly lengthy post at my blog in this regard soon.  I'll try to address the main ideas of what you've put forth in this particular discussion.


I am quite interested in this view that "it was either designed or it was an accident," and I'm glad to hear that we made some very good points.  I would be interested in hearing a clear exposition of what points she does agree with, because finding some common ground is always useful in discussions.  

On the other hand, I don't know how ftk knows that there are things we "refuse[d] to take into consideration" as opposed to things we disagree with and/or things we didn't address because we were just making short posts on just one aspect of the situation.  I may very well have taken things into consideration that ftk thinks I am refusing to consider.

So my suggestion to ftk is that she also spell out clearly what other factors in this issue she thinks are relevant, and give her reasons why considering them might affect one's position on the "either it's designed or an accident" argument.

Date: 2007/09/27 08:31:16, Link
Author: Jkrebs
ftk writes,

Quote
Honestly, of all people, I believe *you* have taken many of the issues I will be blogging about in regard to MN into consideration.


The subject under discussion by Bill and me is about the fact that it is a category error to say that the universe was "either designed or it was an accident," and perhaps about the larger issue of the differences between events caused by a purposeful agent vs. events that happen in the natural world (and perhaps even about what are purposeful agents.)  

For instance, to use a slightly more mundane example than Bill's, it makes no sense to ask whether the rain that we had yesterday was - pick one - designed or an accident: did it rain on purpose, or did it rain accidentally?

As far as I can tell, this discussion is not about methodological naturalism, which is what ftk says she is going to blog about.  She may very well want to blog about Keith Miller's talk, which is fine, but that is quite different than the topic Bill and I are discussing.

Date: 2007/09/27 09:49:16, Link
Author: Jkrebs
ftk writes,

Quote
What it comes down to is this.  I understand all the mumbo jumbo science talk about what can or cannot be considered "design", what is or is not an "accident", whether the "rain that fell yesterday" was designed or not.  I get it.


I don't understand why ftk refers disparagingly to "mumbo-jumbo science talk" - for one thing, we are discussing philosophy here, not science.

And I'm not sure she "gets it," because she goes on to say,

Quote
Here's the bottom line though...99.9% of the people in the world at some point in their lives contemplate the origins of our universe.  

When you take all the information we've learned about science and consider the *first cause* of our magnificent complex existence, we have only two avenues in which to look toward.  Either there was a designer or there was not.  Simple as that.  If the universe was not the ultimate result of a designer, the only other option is an accidental event which resulted from nothing.  Nothing became that first something. [my emphasis]

So you can frame these topics in any way you wish, but you're not going to get around the ultimate question.


I agree that the origin of the universe is an interesting ultimate question, and that many people have thought about it.  But Bill and I are not trying to "get around" it - we are trying to discuss it.

And what we disagree with ftk about is the part I bolded above.  So let me be clearer.

1. ftk writes, "Either there was a designer or there was not."  This is a logical truth that could be stated about anything, from things that definitely exist (there are either trees, or there are not) to think that most assuredly don't exist (flying teacups around Mars.)  So let's move on to the next sentence.

2. ftk writes, "If the universe was not the ultimate result of a designer, the only other option is an accidental event which resulted from nothing.  Nothing became that first something."

This is what is wrong, and what ftk doesn't get: an "accidental event" is not the only other option.  One other option (out of several) is that there are metaphysical entities, forces and laws (analogous to what we find within our universe) that cause universes to happen (analogous to the forces which cause it to rain.)

More broadly, and this was the point I was making, there are two broad philosophical views about metaphysical reality.  One, the more-or-less Western monotheistic view, sees the the metaphysical background of the world as a "person" - a conscious, willful divine entity.  The other view (some parts of Eastern religions, various Platonic views, quite a few views in Western philosophy) is that the metaphysical background is a set of principles, laws, or abstract concepts that pervade the universe.  In this view, personhood is a result of the universe, but not a cause.

Now I know ftk is a theist and doesn't accept this second view, but that is not the point: we are not discussing which view is correct. The point is that it is another legitimate philosophical view, held deeply by millions of people and examined at length by many thoughtful people over the centuries.  This makes it clear that "the only other option is an accidental event" is definitely not true.

Date: 2007/09/27 10:45:36, Link
Author: Jkrebs
When I wrote, " One other option (out of several) is that there are metaphysical entities, forces and laws (analogous to what we find within our universe) that cause universes to happen (analogous to the forces which cause it to rain.)"

ftk replied,

Quote
I am well of aware that many people hold this belief, but ultimately how did these "forces and laws" originate?  You must be implying that they were ever present, which would conclude that there was no beginning to the universe...but, that these "forces" were swirling around other there until which time something purposefully sprang forth which led to our ultimate existence?  

Is that what you're saying?


Good questions.  Let me answer them in parts.

1.  "ultimately how did these "forces and laws" originate?"

There is always an unanswerable question about the ultimate nature of things: either you ask "but where did that come from," in which case you are led into an infinite regress of first causes, or you accept that something "just is."

This problem applies equally to theistic viewpoints, because the question of "where did God come from" is no more answerable than the question that ftk asks about a possible causes of metaphysical principles behind the arising of our universe.  It is as reasonable to say that these principles just are, uncaused, as it is to say that God just is, uncaused.

2.  ftk also asks, "You must be implying that they were ever present, which would conclude that there was no beginning to the universe...but, that these "forces" were swirling around other there until which time something purposefully sprang forth which led to our ultimate existence?"

First of all, yes I am saying that these forces might be considered "ever-present," just as God is considered ever-present by the theist, as I explained in section 1 above.

But I'm not saying what you think I'm saying in the rest of the quote.

The universe - the physical world in which we live, had a beginning about 14.5 billions years ago.  I am saying that it is a possible view, different than theism, that there are metaphysical realities (that is, realities beyond our physical universe) that caused our universe to come into existence (and perhaps have caused many other universes to come into existence, although there is absolutely no way to know whether that is true.)  I am saying that this metaphysical reality did not have a beginning (just like, to the theist, God has no beginning), but that is different than saying that our universe - our particular physical universe - had no beginning.

And last, ftk once again brings up the key issue of this discussion when she writes " until which time something purposefully sprang forth.

Does a rain storm "purposefully spring forth?"  No.  A rainstorm is a natural product of the world, springing forth from the natural world neither by design nor accident, but as a natural result of the world from which it arises.  Similarly, in the view I am describing, our universe sprang forth as a natural result of the metaphysical reality that underlines it: neither on purpose (because there is no "person" out there - no source of intentionality,) nor "by accident."

One of the difficulties in this discussion is this:  we, as human beings embedded in a world of time, and thus of cause-and-effect, project these notions onto our metaphysical notions.  However, just as Christian theology sees God as existing outside of time and as manifesting his Will in ways that are holistically present rather than as through fiddling around with proximate causes, so too does this view I am describing see these metaphysical principles as outside of notions of time-and-space causality.  Time and causality are properties of the universe we live in as we experience it, but there is no reason to believe that time and causality apply in the same way to metaphysical reality.

And finally, just to make this clear:  this is philosophy we are discussing, not science.

Date: 2007/09/27 11:42:07, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Here is a different way of addressing the question I am discussing with ftk.

Person A believes that an eternal divine entity (God) exists, that God exists outside of space and time, and that God has purposefully designed and created our universe, much as a person designs and creates a machine or a work of art.

Person B believes that an eternal set of metaphysical principles exists, that those principles exist outside of time and space, and that an effect of those principles is to cause universes such as ours to happen, much as physical forces in our world cause it to rain.

My claim is that these are two valid philosophical options, subject equally to the fact that neither is scientifically investigateable, and that both are subject to various further philosophical questions, such as the infinite regress problem and others.

So saying the only two options are "design or accident" is wrong.  If we are going to see two relatively oppositional options, I submit that the two options are between seeing metaphysical reality as a person, such as God, or seeing metaphysical reality more as a  "super-nature" of metaphysical principles that manifest themselves in the world we experience.

And let me once again point out that the discussion here is not which one of these is true.  It is that this is a much more valid possible dichotomy than the "design or accident" dichotomy that ftk claims is the only way to look at the situation.

Date: 2007/09/27 14:29:34, Link
Author: Jkrebs
To Reciprocating Bill: very nicely said, and an interesting point.

There is a bigger theme here that I have noticed in discussions on other topics: that person holding position A cannot really understand position B because they can't step out of their own framework: they can only understand the antithesis or denial of their own position, but not the existence of a different framework.  This seems to be why many strawman arguments arise: not because person A is deliberately trying to misrepresent position B, but rather because the only thing about position B that A can understand is a caricature of B's position based on A's framework.

Date: 2007/09/29 18:41:22, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I voted other, and agree with Henry J: as a current event in political science in regards to the larger "worldview war" being promulgated by many in the fundamentalist right.

Date: 2007/10/05 19:34:10, Link
Author: Jkrebs
From someone at UD:

"10^150 minus 10^9 equals 10^141"

Teach the controversy: I think 10^150 minus 10^9 is pretty damn close to 10^150, but being the open-minded math teacher I am, I'll start teaching both and let the students decide.  :)

Date: 2007/10/05 21:26:45, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Changing the subject:

Ftk has made a comment on her blog that I don't want to let go by.  

In a recent post, she wrote,

Quote
I've been in many on-line forums or blogs where posters are even irate over teachers wearing cross necklaces in their child's classroom!


As a long-time public educator, I am highly interested in the issue of religious freedoms in schools: what is appropriate for students and teachers, and what is not.  Virtually everyone who knows anything about this topic knows that it is perfectly acceptable and legal for a teacher to wear a cross on a necklace, or a Jewish star, yin/yang symbol or any other religious symbol.

I do not believe that ftk has been on "many on-line forums or blogs" where posters are irate about teachers wearing cross necklaces.  I seriously doubt that she can find one genuine example of this, and I definitely don't believe she has seen many.

This is, in my opinion, just another example of the radical right perpetuating urban myths about the godlessness of schools.  Instead of actually finding out what happens in schools, and looking at the broad situation, they focus on the occasional aberrant (and often non-existent) episode to falsely smear supporters of public education as anti-religious.

And I can guarantee you that if someone tried to sue a teacher for wearing a cross necklace, the ACLU would be there to defend the teacher.

Date: 2007/10/05 22:14:04, Link
Author: Jkrebs
ftk writes,

Quote
I'm not going to spend hours looking for those posts.


That's fine - I'm just going to let it stand that I don't believe you, and without any evidence I think I'm justified in sticking with that position.

Quote
BTW, Jack, you're teaching in the state of *Kansas*...somehow I doubt that many parents here are that terribly disgruntled about the freedom of religious expression.


I can't quite figure out what this sentence means.  On the one hand, Kansas is a pretty conservative state, and I teach in a conservative community, and I think a lot of Kansans are sensitive to the issue of being able to exercise their freedom of religious expression in school.  On the other hand, Kansas is actually a more varied place than the stereotypes of Kansas might lead one to believe, so there are lots of people here that are conversely concerned that the rights of religious expressions aren't taken to where they don't belong.

My experience has been that most of the non-religious people I know are strong supporters of the legitimate right of religious expression in schools (such as wearing cross necklaces) because they respect and support the laws that delineate both what is and what is not acceptable.

Date: 2007/10/06 07:20:46, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Ftk, I did not call you a liar.  I did not even accuse you of telling a lie.

I said I didn't believe you when you say you've been on "many" forums where posters are irate about necklace crosses.

There are many reasons besides lying that people believe things that are wrong.

There may even be evidence out there that in fact on many forums posters have been irate about necklace crosses: if that evidence arises I will readily acknowledge that you were right and I am wrong.

So saying I don't believe you, and saying I think you are wrong, is very different than accusing you of telling a lie, or worse yet, accusing you of being a liar.  I am doing the former - saying I don't believe you, and I am not doing the latter - I am not accusing you of being a liar.

This is an important distinction.  If and when I accuse someone of telling a lie, it will be when I am fairly certain that they know one thing and are deliberately saying something else - that is what a lie is.  I only accuse people of telling a lie when I can back up my claim with evidence about what the other person knows.

This is not the case here.  I just think you are wrong.

Date: 2007/10/06 08:59:21, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Above, I wrote "There are many reasons besides lying that people believe things that are wrong."

More accurately, "There are many reasons why people make statements that are wrong."

The issue here is what one says.  One of the reasons someone makes a statement that is wrong is that what they believe is wrong, and they are merely (and truthfully) stating what they believe.  I have students in class say things that are wrong every day, and that is useful because then I am able to explore what it is about what they understand, and thus believe, that is wrong.

The related question, and maybe the big one, is what establishes and maintains our beliefs.  There is always a tension between, on the one hand, the conservative nature of belief - preserving what we know in order to reduce uncertainty and thus help us live with some degree of confidence, and on the other hand, the "growth" nature of belief, by which we assimilate and integrate new information so that our beliefs change, presumably in ways which make us even more successful in interacting with the world.

This, of course, is where evidence comes in.  One of the great contributions of the scientific worldview is that we learn to look at evidence as a way of validating our beliefs, and that we not only learn to change when the evidence compels it, but more importantly, we learn to live with uncertainty when the evidence is inconclusive.

I am re-reading Danial Boorstin's book "The Discoverers", a great history of mankind's great discoveries: time, space, life, the body, etc.  Chapter 12, which is on the large loss of geographical knowledge during the Dark Ages, begins with this line:

Quote
More appealing than knowledge itself is the feeling of knowing.


This is true.  The goal of not believing wrong things is sometimes hindered by the strong appeal of the feeling of knowing.  This is one of the reasons that people sometimes state things that are wrong - even if questioned about whether the evidence supports their belief, it is more appealing to feel that one knows than it is to do the difficult work of actually seeking and verifying knowledge.

Date: 2007/10/06 18:17:16, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Yikes - long post ahead!

Way back on page 88 I got involved in my first discussion at this forum.  Ftk had made the statement that

Quote
If the universe was not ****initially**** the result of an accident, then you must believe that there was a purposeful designer.  Which is it?


Reciprocating Bill (henceforth Bill) made a very interesting reply to this, and in the subsequent discussion among Bill, ftk and me ftk said she would respond to some of our points at a later time.  However that discussion got waylaid by other topics.

Therefore, if we are listing questions for her to consider answering, I would like to vote for ftk to return to this topic, and to the discussion with Bill and me .

For the record, both for ftk's convenience and because I think this was a significant discussion to document, here is a recap.  (In the interest of brevity, all quotes are excerpts from the full posts.)

1.  On page 88, Bill wrote,

Quote
I would simply point out that to ascribe origins of the universe, the origins of life on earth, or the evolutionary directions taken by life over the last ~3.5 billion years either to "accident" or "not an accident" is a category error (or category mistake), pure and simple.

It is defensible to ascribe to persons and perhaps a few other higher organisms "intent" to engage in some behaviors. To do so is to ascribe to them the ability to represent behavioral options prior to behaving and hence "intend" a given behavior. As a component of this ascription, we say that for them it is possible to exhibit "accidental" behaviors or results. A person may "accidently" knock the cup from the table. Or may do so intentionally.

An earthquake, however, neither behaves intentionally nor causes results "by accident." It may cause many cups to fall from many tables, but these are neither accidents nor not accidents. They are not "acts" at all. Such an ascription is simply inappropriate for a natural event such as an earthquake, and represents a category error.

It is similarly inappropriate to ascribe either intention or lack of intention ("accidents") to other natural phenomena. Hence the course of evolution is neither accidental nor non-accidental.  Such an ascription is a category error. It is also a category error to describe the origins of the universe either as "accidental" or as "intentional." However universes originate, it is unlikely to be by means of "actions" analogous to human actions.

So there is no useful reply to "which is it?" The appropriate reply is, "your question contains a category error, and should be modified or discarded."


2.  I though Bill's post was great.  I replied on page 88,

Quote
If we look at the universe as a whole, one can hold the belief that it was designed, but that is a philosophical or religious belief that is beyond the scope of science: one can just as validly hold that the universe is a product or manifestation of laws and principles that apply to universes, although this too is a philosophical belief.  To believe that if it was not designed the universe must be an accident are two sides of one view: to someone who personifies the cause of the universe, properties of a person apply: that "person" either created the universe on purpose or by accident.  However, if you don't personify the cause of the universe, then that dichotomy is inappropriate.


3.  On page 89, ftk replied,

Quote
You've made very good points...many of which I agree with, but there are several things that you refuse to take into consideration, and I'm going to post a fairly lengthy post at my blog in this regard soon.  I'll try to address the main ideas of what you've put forth in this particular discussion.


This is the promised discussion that I would like to see continued - not by a lengthy post on her blog but simply by a reply here.

4.  On page 89, I replied

Quote
I'm glad to hear that we made some very good points.  I would be interested in hearing a clear exposition of what points she does agree with, because finding some common ground is always useful in discussions.  

On the other hand, I don't know how ftk knows that there are things we "refuse[d] to take into consideration" as opposed to things we disagree with and/or things we didn't address because we were just making short posts on just one aspect of the situation.  I may very well have taken things into consideration that ftk thinks I am refusing to consider.

So my suggestion to ftk is that she also spell out clearly what other factors in this issue she thinks are relevant, and give her reasons why considering them might affect one's position on the "either it's designed or an accident" argument.


My emphasis.  Here is an excellent opportunity for ftk to engage in a positive discussion.

5.  On page 89, ftk replied,

Quote
I appreciate the fact that you can treat your opposition with respect.  That really helps keep the lines of communication open.  Thanks.


Thanks.  My suggestion, then, is that instead of responding to those with whom you have uncivil conversations, you respond to those with whom you can have civil discussions, such as this one about the origin of the universe.

6.  On page 89, Bill wrote, in response to my suggestion that ftk "spell out clearly what other factors in this issue she thinks are relevant,"

Quote
To be more specific, why these factors would affect one's position on the assertion that "accidental" vs. "nonaccidental" is a category error vis these phenomena.  

Don't miss-read our statements as support for the "accidental." That is not the point of our posts. The assertion is that these things are neither "accidental" nor "not accidental."


7.  On page 90, ftk wrote,

Quote
What it comes down to is this.  I understand all the mumbo jumbo science talk about what can or cannot be considered "design", what is or is not an "accident", whether the "rain that fell yesterday" was designed or not.  I get it.

Here's the bottom line though...99.9% of the people in the world at some point in their lives contemplate the origins of our universe.  When you take all the information we've learned about science and consider the *first cause* of our magnificent complex existence, we have only two avenues in which to look toward. ([My emphaisis] Either there was a designer or there was not.  Simple as that.  If the universe was not the ultimate result of a designer, the only other option is an accidental event which resulted from nothing.  Nothing became that first something.

So you can frame these topics in any way you wish, but you're not going to get around the ultimate question.



8.  On page 90, I wrote,

Quote
I don't understand why ftk refers disparagingly to "mumbo-jumbo science talk" - for one thing, we are discussing philosophy here, not science.

And I'm not sure she "gets it.

I agree that the origin of the universe is an interesting ultimate question, and that many people have thought about it.  But Bill and I are not trying to "get around" it - we are trying to discuss it.

And what we disagree with ftk about is the part I bolded above.  So let me be clearer.

1. ftk writes, "Either there was a designer or there was not."  This is a logical truth that could be stated about anything, from things that definitely exist (there are either trees, or there are not) to think that most assuredly don't exist (flying teacups around Mars.)  So let's move on to the next sentence.

2. ftk writes, "If the universe was not the ultimate result of a designer, the only other option is an accidental event which resulted from nothing.  Nothing became that first something."

This is what is wrong, and what ftk doesn't get: an "accidental event" is not the only other option.  One other option (out of several) is that there are metaphysical entities, forces and laws (analogous to what we find within our universe) that cause universes to happen (analogous to the forces which cause it to rain.)

More broadly, and this was the point I was making, there are two broad philosophical views about metaphysical reality.  One, the more-or-less Western monotheistic view, sees the the metaphysical background of the world as a "person" - a conscious, willful divine entity.  The other view (some parts of Eastern religions, various Platonic views, quite a few views in Western philosophy) is that the metaphysical background is a set of principles, laws, or abstract concepts that pervade the universe.  In this view, personhood is a result of the universe, but not a cause.

Now I know ftk is a theist and doesn't accept this second view, but that is not the point: we are not discussing which view is correct. The point is that it is another legitimate philosophical view, held deeply by millions of people and examined at length by many thoughtful people over the centuries.  This makes it clear that "the only other option is an accidental event" is definitely not true.


9.  On page 90, ftk wrote, in reply to my comment that "one other option is that there are metaphysical entities, forces and laws (analogous to what we find within our universe) that cause universes to happen (analogous to the forces which cause it to rain,)''

Quote
I am well of aware that many people hold this belief, but ultimately how did these "forces and laws" originate?  You must be implying that they were ever present, which would conclude that there was no beginning to the universe...but, that these "forces" were swirling around other there until which time something purposefully sprang forth which led to our ultimate existence?  

Is that what you're saying?


Note this last line: an indicator of positive discussion is when people show that they are trying to understand the other person's position.

Unfortunately, this is also the last post ftk made on the topic.

10.  On page 91, i replied,

Quote
Good questions.  Let me answer them in parts.

1.  "ultimately how did these "forces and laws" originate?"

There is always an unanswerable question about the ultimate nature of things: either you ask "but where did that come from," in which case you are led into an infinite regress of first causes, or you accept that something "just is."

This problem applies equally to theistic viewpoints, because the question of "where did God come from" is no more answerable than the question that ftk asks about a possible causes of metaphysical principles behind the arising of our universe.  It is as reasonable to say that these principles just are, uncaused, as it is to say that God just is, uncaused.

2.  ftk also asks, "You must be implying that they were ever present, which would conclude that there was no beginning to the universe...but, that these "forces" were swirling around other there until which time something purposefully sprang forth which led to our ultimate existence?"

First of all, yes I am saying that these forces might be considered "ever-present," just as God is considered ever-present by the theist, as I explained in section 1 above.

But I'm not saying what you think I'm saying in the rest of the quote.

The universe - the physical world in which we live, had a beginning about 14.5 billions years ago.  I am saying that it is a possible view, different than theism, that there are metaphysical realities (that is, realities beyond our physical universe) that caused our universe to come into existence (and perhaps have caused many other universes to come into existence, although there is absolutely no way to know whether that is true.)  I am saying that this metaphysical reality did not have a beginning (just like, to the theist, God has no beginning), but that is different than saying that our universe - our particular physical universe - had no beginning.

And last, ftk once again brings up the key issue of this discussion when she writes " until which time something purposefully sprang forth.

Does a rain storm "purposefully spring forth?"  No.  A rainstorm is a natural product of the world, springing forth from the natural world neither by design nor accident, but as a natural result of the world from which it arises.  Similarly, in the view I am describing, our universe sprang forth as a natural result of the metaphysical reality that underlines it: neither on purpose (because there is no "person" out there - no source of intentionality,) nor "by accident."

One of the difficulties in this discussion is this:  we, as human beings embedded in a world of time, and thus of cause-and-effect, project these notions onto our metaphysical notions.  However, just as Christian theology sees God as existing outside of time and as manifesting his Will in ways that are holistically present rather than as through fiddling around with proximate causes, so too does this view I am describing see these metaphysical principles as outside of notions of time-and-space causality.  Time and causality are properties of the universe we live in as we experience it, but there is no reason to believe that time and causality apply in the same way to metaphysical reality.

And finally, just to make this clear:  this is philosophy we are discussing, not science.


11  Also on page 91, i replied,

Quote
Here is a different way of addressing the question I am discussing with ftk.

Person A believes that an eternal divine entity (God) exists, that God exists outside of space and time, and that God has purposefully designed and created our universe, much as a person designs and creates a machine or a work of art.

Person B believes that an eternal set of metaphysical principles exists, that those principles exist outside of time and space, and that an effect of those principles is to cause universes such as ours to happen, much as physical forces in our world cause it to rain.

My claim is that these are two valid philosophical options, subject equally to the fact that neither is scientifically investigateable, and that both are subject to various further philosophical questions, such as the infinite regress problem and others.

So saying the only two options are "design or accident" is wrong.  If we are going to see two relatively oppositional options, I submit that the two options are between seeing metaphysical reality as a person, such as God, or seeing metaphysical reality more as a  "super-nature" of metaphysical principles that manifest themselves in the world we experience.

And let me once again point out that the discussion here is not which one of these is true.  It is that this is a much more valid possible dichotomy than the "design or accident" dichotomy that ftk claims is the only way to look at the situation.


12.  On page 91, Bill wrote,

Quote
Were one to adopt the option of an eternal divine entitity, then "accident" versus "not an accident" is, given that assumption, no longer a category error. An eternal divine entity possessed of agency may create universes deliberately - but as an intentional being may also enage in acts that have unintended consequences, and hence may be regarded as accidents. It is an interesting question for believers in such beings to contemplate: perhaps there is a God, but this universe is accidental. Could explain a lot, because the God of the bible seems such a bungler.

Absent such a being, the universe is neither accidental nor not accidental. The application of that dimension becomes a category error when the processes described are natural processes, absent agency.

In short, the only circumstance in which a universe can be "accidental" is if there IS a God, and only believers should be concerned with that possibility. To the rest, it just IS.


13.  On page 91, Bill also wrote,

Quote
FTK's response to the notion of natural origins regarding which the assignment of "accidental" vs. "intentional" is a category error is to attempt to push the question back, asking something like (I'm paraphrasing), "Yes, natural laws are well and good, but where did they come from? Either they were designed or were accidental." This is an attempt to push the question back onto familiar, intentional ground, the framework by means of which she thinks about these questions.


=================================
Well, that's it.  Hope you guys will forgive my indulgence in taking up so much screen real estate, but I thought this whole discussion was very interesting, and I found myself understanding and stating things that I had never understood so clearly before.  I thank Reciprocating Bill for the original stimulus concerning the question of "design or accident" being a category error, as well as all his other posts.

And to ftk: all of this was in response to your question: "If the universe was not ****initially**** the result of an accident, then you must believe that there was a purposeful designer.  Which is it?"

We spent a lot of time making thoughtful, extended responses explaining why we think that question is not appropriate and describing some other ways one can look at the question.  The topic was philosophical, not scientific: this is not a matter of "facts," but rather of careful and thoughtful thinking about abstract ideas.   Also, the whole conversation was civil, and for the most part (including all the parts I quoted) focused on ideas and not personalities.

So perhaps this is the question you should respond to.  We answered your questions - could you respond to us.  Go back through the discussion and find some points we made and reply: do you agree, or if you disagree, why?

I'd be interested in hearing what you have to say.  The topic is an important one, and deserves thoughtful discussion.

Date: 2007/10/06 19:41:00, Link
Author: Jkrebs
to ftk: there is a very simple way you can isolate the discussion with Bill (if he is interested) and me: post my entire summary at your blog, make it clear that comments will be limited to Bill (again, if he is interested,) me and you, and then let all our comments go through, immediately if that is possible, and without holding any comments back.

Date: 2007/10/08 13:56:37, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Supposedly from comedian George Carlin: "I'm an acrostic - the whole thing's a puzzle to me."

Date: 2007/10/08 15:40:02, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Militant agnostic: I don't know, and you don't know either.

Date: 2007/10/12 06:39:30, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Great, Wesley.  Have you actually made that bumper sticker, or is it just an idea?

Maybe we need some kind of internet version of a bumper sticker to pass around and plaster various places.

Date: 2007/10/13 07:39:04, Link
Author: Jkrebs
A combination of 2) and 3), but this quote from earlier is really the critical point for her and many others:

Quote
Design in nature is as obvious as the nose on your face. Wake up...  It's not a dream or an "illusion".  It's fact.  Live with it.


The larger idea here is that for IDists there just has to be a person behind it all - somebody who figures it all out and makes it happen.  This is so "obvious" to them, and is so important, that they cannot, in Bill's words, "abandon their commitment."

Date: 2007/10/13 10:07:36, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Here's that last part, with formatting cleaned up.

Quote
The only “bombshell,” however, is the towel thrown in on creationist convictions.  Larry Arnhart, a political scientist and advocate of “Darwinian conservatism,” writes for his blog: “[T]he most remarkable feature ofthe book is [Behe’s] attack on Biblical creationism. . . . Behe says that to treat the Bible as a ‘science textbook’ is ‘silly.’ . . .

In embracing Darwinian common descent, Behe accepts the idea that human beings evolved from primate ancestors shared with the Chimpanzees . . . so Behe agrees with Darwin’s declaration that the human species was ‘created from animals.’ . . . Behe also doubts the power and morality of the intelligent designer. . .”  The qualification seems to support Behe’s insistence that he is making [? text unclear] scientific, as distinct from religious or metaphysical, arguments.

Date: 2007/10/13 16:20:13, Link
Author: Jkrebs
<popping in>

I'm with Bill.

Hope to add my 2 cents later today.

</popping in>

Date: 2007/10/16 17:39:50, Link
Author: Jkrebs
ftk has finally posted, over at Young Cosmos, about Keith Miller's talk on methodological naturalism at KSU a few weeks back.  Unfortunately she didn't address any of the questions we were discussing a while back on the issue of the "either the universe is designed or it's an accident," as she said she might.

She starts by writing,

Quote
Miller provided what he believes to be an accurate definition of science (which is also the definition found in the current Kansas science standards for the public school system):

   “Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us”.

This definition holds to the scientific term “methodological naturalism” which is explained as follow:

   Many modern philosophers of science use the terms methodological naturalism or scientific naturalism to refer to the long standing convention in science of the scientific method, which makes the methodological assumption that observable events in nature are explained only by natural causes, without assuming the existence or non-existence of the supernatural, and so considers supernatural explanations for such events to be outside science. They contrast this with the approach known as ontological naturalism or metaphysical naturalism, which refers to the metaphysical belief that the natural world (including the universe) is all that exists, and therefore nothing supernatural exists.


Now the second quote is not attributed in her post, but it is from Wikipedia, although her post makes it look like it also was offered by Keith.  I am wondering about this? Did Keith offer that definition of MN - is it a quote he used in his talk - or did ftk add it but fail to make it clear that it was not from Keith?

This may not be important, and I may be wrong, but I sort of doubt that Keith would quote Wikipedia.  Just curious.

Date: 2007/10/16 18:19:34, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Thanks for clarifying about the quote.

Also, I see that you did address the question in which I am interested, so let me respond:

You write that the universe might be the result of a

 
Quote
form of pantheist view which lends to the notion that we can never know or understand the eternal “forces” that may have, in some unknowable sense, lent aid or direction in what is perceived as design in the world around us.


Now I not sure that pantheism lends itself to what you say it does.

Wikipedia says,

 
Quote
Pantheism is the view that everything is of an all-encompassing immanent abstract God; or that the Universe, or nature, and God are equivalent. More detailed definitions tend to emphasize the idea that natural law, existence, and the Universe (the sum total of all that is, was, and shall be) is represented in the theological principle of an abstract 'god' rather than a personal, creative deity or deities of any kind.


It seems to me that pantheism would support the idea that studying science was in fact a way to know God (given that he is embodied in natural law), and that the design we see in the world around us is therefore a product of natural forces as opposed to the actions of any personal creative deity.  In this sense, pantheists would say that we can know the forces responsible for the order and design of the universe.

Now of course pantheism, no more than theism, materialism, or any other -ism, can tell us why the world, or the force behind the world, is the particular way it is (an immanent God embedded in nature, an external personal God, no God whatsoever, etc.) - all such -isms are speculative metaphysics that, in order to avoid an infinite regress of explanation, have to start with saying "this just is."

Which brings me to the second part of what you wrote:

 
Quote
This last view in which we are left to ignore the question just because it is mysterious is a cop-out, and spells death to logic. We have to deal with the question by either explaining how intelligence arose spontaneously without an intelligent cause, or consider the alternatives honestly, without arrogance.


This is no more of a cop-out than any other -ism. : do you consider it a cop-out that you can't explain how God came to be?

Pantheism would hold that through reason and logic we can understand how the world works.  It makes our approach to God more accessible to reason, not less so, than, for instance, theism, which in many circles holds that indeed the nature of God and the nature of his interaction with the universe is in fact mysterious, incomprehensible, and outside the scope of human logic.

P.S., added in edit.  I want to make it clear that in my earlier posts on this subject I wasn't discussing pantheism.  However, since ftk has brought it up it adds another possibility besides "design or accident."

Date: 2007/10/16 21:58:49, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Over at Young Cosmos, Salvador has replied to ftk's post:

Quote
Great points, Ftk.

   Miller writes:

   “Science is the human activity of seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us”.

Miller is supposedly an Evangelical Christian. Who does he believe is the Author of the Natural World?

If there is a chance the Natural World has an origin from outside the Natural World, then science has no business ruling out such explanations.


Keith is not "supposedly" an Evangelical Christian, Keith is is an evangelical Christian.  As a theistic evolutionist, Keith not only believes that God is the creator of the universe, Keith believes that God's creative power is present in each and every moment.

Keith accepts the definition of science from the Kansas science standards because of two things:

a. he understands the limited scope of science, and
b. he understands that God's actions in the world can't be divided into those that can be revealed through science and those that can't: as Keith has written, if you can't see God in a rainbow, why do you think you can see him in a flagellum?  He understands that science can't, and doesn't, find little scattered bits of evidence of God's occasional miracles because that is not the way God interacts with the world.

Secondly, Sal's last sentence has nothing to do with the definition of science, as I am discussing with ftk.  Science doesn't rule out, or rule in, or address in any way,  the possibility that the natural world has a source outside the natural world, but science can't possibly investigate whether that is true or not.  Science starts by accepting the natural world as it is: asking how it got here is a metaphysical question, not a scientific question.

Date: 2007/10/17 07:04:24, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Some quick responses to ftk:

She writes,

Quote
Jack, that’s [pantheism] your opinion, and you really need to come to that realization.  *You* believe that a personal god is an unreasonable stance,


First of all, I'm not saying that I hold to pantheism as my personal philosophy.  I am not discussing my own personal philosophy (I never do) when I discuss pantheism, or theistic evolution, or anything else.  I am not trying to do convince anyone of a particular philosophical point of view: rather, I am trying to show that there are a variety of points of view.

I also don't "believe that a personal god is an unreasonable stance."  I often defend theistic evolution as a reasonable stance.

But I do think all these -isms (and remember, we are discussing the origin of the universe) are personal opinions.  They may be very well-reasoned and deeply held opinions, but opinions none-the-less.  Your beliefs are opinions also.  That's what we are discussing: possible opinions.

ftk also writes,

Quote
I’m merely saying that you are not the final authority as to what can and cannot be considered when contemplating ultimate truth.

Just because your philosophical beliefs lead you to disagree with this position, that doesn’t give you the right to stop honest scientific inquiry in this regard.


Of course not -whatever made you think I was holding myself up as a final authority?  And how in the world can I or anyone else stop honest scientific inquiry?

Inquire all you want, present your evidence, and make your case.  

But if you want to be discussing something more than opinion, than you have to put evidence on the table.

Last ftk writes,

Quote
I also don't think that it is up to the "scientific community" to dogmatically determine where that fine line between religion, philosophy and science falls.


It is up to the scientific community to draw this line of seeking natural explanation - not because of dogma but because it's proven to be a solid pragmatic choice that has led to vast amounts of knowledge.  Science began to progress in the modern sense some 500 years ago when people started separating science from religious and philosophical speculations.

If you or anyone else has better ideas, offer them up.  But if you offer up an idea that 99% of the people in the scientific community feel is not scientifically useful and is just disguised philosophy, don't go off feeling bad and crying about dogma.  You have a right to your ideas, but you don't have a right to expect others to agree with you.

Date: 2007/10/17 10:12:32, Link
Author: Jkrebs
oldmanintheskydidn'tdoit's point (omitsddi?) is critical: all metaphysical answers have to posit something that "just is" in order to avoid the infinite regress problem, and theism doesn't hold any privileged position in this regard.

If one holds that it is logically OK to posit that God has eternally existed, and that the question of who made God is irrelevant, then one must grant this same privilege to other metaphysical positions.  If one believes that there is a something out of which our universe arose, there is no reason why the argument that that something has always existed is any less compelling than the argument that God has always existed.

Date: 2007/10/17 11:21:42, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Over at ftk's blog, my friend Jeremy Mohn (a Christian and a high school biology teacher) has made some good points.

Jeremy writes,

Quote
Suppose we adopt your first definition. Let's imagine that supernatural explanations are now deemed acceptable in science. Are you with me?

Okay, now what? How do we proceed?

What kind of experiments do we perform now that one of our options is to invoke an ultimate cause that is not bound by natural law?

How can we determine that the "natural" causes we observe are not the result of supernatural action intentionally disguised to look natural?

Hmmm...can we even do experiments anymore?

Also, how does invoking a supernatural cause differ from simply admitting that we don't currently know the cause?

Finally, given that a supernatural being could act in opposition to and/or in conjuction with so-called "natural" causes, how would you differentiate between a "supernatural" explanation and a "natural" explanation?

Just some things to think about.


The sentences in bold are important, and well stated.

It is entirely possible, and is in fact one of the ways that theistic evolution can be interpreted, to think that the natural causes we observe are all intentional supernatural acts: the world is a manifestation of the mind of God, and that it exhibits the rational order and regularity we see because God, in his omni-everythingness, has a mind that is the epitome of rationality.

So if you open the door to supernatural explanations, then, as Jeremy asks, how do you differentiate between those supernatural "natural" events and those that are supernaturally supernatural?  This is the theological issue that has led many evangelical Christian to reject ID as bad theology.  ID and other creationist positions seem to be saying that when natural things happen, God isn't present, as if God was standing outside nature and only occasionally stepping in when supernatural action is needed.  I call this view "punctuated deism": most of the time God is just passively observing the wheels he set in motion, and only when he is supernaturally present does he introduce "design" into the world.

But as Keith Miller has pointed out, a view of God's occasional presence is a view of God's usual absence, and this is unacceptable Christian theology.  Jeremy is quite aware of this problem, and has pointed it out well.

It in facts supports good Christian theology to limit science to "seeking natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us," as the Kansas science standards state.

Date: 2007/10/19 22:03:47, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Denise O'Leary, in her introduction to the recent post about Jim Watson apologizing, writes,

Quote
According to the Guardian, following the row that erupted over his characterization of people of African origin as less intelligent (whatever that means, given that no one has ever defined “intelligence” in an empirically meaningful way)
[my emphasis]

The bolded part seems like a peculiarly interesting comment, coming from a supporter of Intelligent Design as it does.

Date: 2007/10/21 19:42:51, Link
Author: Jkrebs
ftk writes,

Quote
Why don't you pull out something specific from one of those posts I linked to and tell me specifically why it is incorrect.


I think the reason is that the same thing seems to happen every time someone tries that: people like RB, myself, and others, write fairly lengthy posts explaining and defending our position, but ftk does not return the favor by staying focused on the topic at hand, explaining what she does and does not agree with, offering her position, etc.  She thinks evolutionary science is a crock - which pretty sums up why it's not worth responding to her, and she has a jillion and one ways of slipsliding out of discussions about particular points.

I agree with Albatrossity about the waste of electrons, even though I just wasted some myself on the subject.

Date: 2007/10/21 20:01:22, Link
Author: Jkrebs
To ftk:

Earlier I wrote,

Quote
All metaphysical answers have to posit something that "just is" in order to avoid the infinite regress problem, and theism doesn't hold any privileged position in this regard.

If one holds that it is logically OK to posit that God has eternally existed, and that the question of who made God is irrelevant, then one must grant this same privilege to other metaphysical positions.  If one believes that there is a something out of which our universe arose, there is no reason why the argument that that something has always existed is any less compelling than the argument that God has always existed.


Therefore, to believe that there is a metaphysical reality out of which universes arise according to laws beyond our experience, much as rainstorms arise within our world, is a valid metaphysical view for which no further cause need to be posited.

Therefore saying that the universe has to have occurred either by design or by accident is wrong.

ftk: Do you agree or disagree with this?  If not, what part do you disagree with?

Date: 2007/10/21 21:59:03, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Thanks for the substantive response, ftk.

When I wrote, "Therefore saying that the universe has to have occurred either by design or by accident is wrong," you replied,

Quote
I think I indicated in my MN lecture review that your view is certainly a viable conclusion, but one that I disagree with.


Since you consider the metaphysical view I am describing a viable conclusion, I assume that means that we have agreed that "design or chance" are not the only possible options.  I'm glad we got that settled.

Note well: the issue in this discussion with you has never been which metaphysical view is right.  But I was not arguing that any one view was right - I was just arguing that other "viable conclusions" exist, and now we are agreed that they do.

You also wrote,

Quote
You might be right, and perhaps we can never concure *scientifically* that we are the product of design or chance because of this third option,


I'd like to point out that I have consistently made it clear throughout our discussion that I don't believe any of the options can be proven "scientifically."  We are talking about issues that are beyond science.  The existence of a third option (and actually there are many other options - I've just mentioned the one I did to get us past "design or accident") doesn't change the basic situation:  there will always be limits to what science can know.  At some point we will always run into a question as to why the world is the way it is and we'll just have to accept that it is that way.

And you write,

Quote
Your option on the other hand, would resign one to the notion that we are neither designed nor the product of chance.


Why is that something someone should be "resigned to?"  People who have metaphysical beliefs other than theistic ones are, in general, as content with their view as you are with yours.  They are not "resigned to" their view any more than you are "resigned to" a belief in God.

Date: 2007/10/22 20:47:42, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Ftk writes,

Quote
I thought that IC refered to something that cannot evolve.   In Darwin's Black Box, Behe defines it as this:

Quote Behe
Quote
By irreducibly complex I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning.


That is why I'm a bit confused here.  By his definition, it seems to me that the flagellum is IC.  Without all the parts, it ceases to function.

Am I wrong here?


This is a good question.

There are two parts to Behe's argument.  The first part is merely a definition, and you quoted it.  Being a definition, it is not subject to proof: it is just a name for a condition we commonly find in the world.

The second part of Behe's argument, which you did not quote, is that he claims that things that include a set of essential interacting functioning parts can't evolve.

That is a statement subject to investigation, and it has been shown to be false.  There are many ways that something can be built up in pieces so that it includes a part that is essential now but at one time was not essential, or served a different purpose.

Notice that I am not talking about any particular thing (for instance, a flagellum which arose billions of years ago.)  I am talking about the general argument: scientists have firm, clear examples in the present of systems evolving so that the final product is irreducibly complex according to Behe's definition.

Even non-living things can be irreducibly complex according to Beh'e definition.  For instance, the rain cycle, by which water evaporates, condenses, and then rains again.  Is the system IC.  Yes.  Take out any of the components (the clouds, the heat of the sun, etc.) and the system no longer works.  Does that mean the system is designed rather than a product of natural causes? No.

It was one thing to make a definition.  It is another to prove something about the real world.  Behe has conflated the two by incorporating an investigateable assertion into a definition, making it seemed liked he's proved something when he hasn't.

[Added in Edit: Albatrossity and RB gave much more thorough replies than I did while I was composing my post.  Good job, guys.]

Date: 2007/10/23 09:00:03, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Here is a short summary way of describing an issue that RB brings up:

Behe's definition of IC is a statement about the current structure of something.

But evolvibility is about the history of something, and current structure in and of itself doesn't reveal the history.  You can't deconstruct the history of something (anything, biological or not) by merely looking at the present moment.

So merely saying that something is, "by definition," IC, says nothing about how it got to be that way.

A bit more: the definition of IC implies that if you take away a part the system won't function.  But "taking away a part" does not reveal the history of the system, because (as RB amply demonstrated), "adding a part" to an otherwise functionless system is not how anything ever comes to be.

Date: 2007/10/23 10:42:07, Link
Author: Jkrebs
ftk wrote,

Quote
I think there are plenty of "right" things about your approach to the matter.  It's a matter of how one thinks about these issues.  IDists and evolutionists come at these issues from different angles.  One can't say whether the other is "right" or "wrong", but neither can they say that *my* approach is better than your approach.  We simply don't know that to be true.


and RB replied,

Quote
Yours is a shockingly relativistic, nihilistic, and even "new age" view of knowledge - essentially, "we create our own realities" and there is no real adjudication to be had regarding which picture is more accurate.


This really gets to the heart of the meta-issue that looms over all these discussions: for ftk, there really seems to be no way to consensually work to actually determine what is right and what is not.  It's all viewpoint - neither logic nor evidence (or any combination thereof) can override the perspective of worldview.

This is in direct opposition to what science is all about: science, and this started at least 500 years ago, is a way of developing a consensus about certain aspects of reality despite differences in worldview.

Date: 2007/10/23 17:09:47, Link
Author: Jkrebs
to ftk: my hope is that you stick with the serious discussion and ignore the rest.  You might even go back and print out the posts that were on-topic so they don't get lost in all the distractions.

Date: 2007/10/23 20:27:43, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Very interesting.  I'd like to add a different slant to what RB is saying, building on some things I wrote earlier today.

Behe and his followers use two different definitions of IC, and by sliding between one and the other they make it seem like they have proved something when in fact they haven't.  The story with DaveScot illustrates this perfectly.

Here are two cases.

Case 1:

Definition: An IC structure is one which has a set of essential parts (essential meaning that without all of them, the system cannot function.)
Assertion: Such a structure cannot be produced naturally through a series of steps.

Case 2:  Definition:  An IC structure is one which has a set of essential interlocking parts and which cannot be produced naturally through a series of steps.

In case 1, the assertion can be investigated, and has been shown to be false, in theory, in computer simulations, and in the real world in both biological and non-biological situations.  The definition may or may not be useful, but it doesn't contain in and of itself any argument against evolution.

Case 2, which is merely a definition, leads us to conclude that whenever we find a structure which has a set of essential parts and has been produced naturally through a series of steps, we just can't call it IC.  This leaves open the question of whether there really is anything in existence that is IC, but it also voids whatever argument against evolution the concept is supposed to make.

Something like this is, I think, what RB was trying to explain to DaveScot.

[Added in edit]Conflating the two cases can lead to what looks like a logical argument that in fact a structure which has a set of essential parts can't evolve.

The fallacious bit of reasoning goes like this:

1.  Here is a system that has a set of essential parts, so I can call it IC. (Definition from Case 1)

2.  IC things can't evolve. (Definition from Case 2)

3.  Therefore this system can't have evolved (Assertion from Case 1)

Date: 2007/10/23 21:30:03, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Yep, those are the parts in DBB that got all this started.  The second quote adds the phrase "by definition" to make it clear that IC includes as part of its definition that IC things can't be produced in steps, but the original (and oft-quoted) definition doesn't actually say that.  The second part is sort of just snuck in there as if it were obvious (which is often what people mean when they use the phrase "by definition.")

Note also that the second quote shows that Behe makes another mistake we've been discussing today: that working backwards by subtracting a part actually retraces the history of the system.  That is, he is assuming that the precursor of the system is in fact all the other parts interacting just as they do now, and since the other parts wouldn't now function with a part missing, such a precursor state is impossible.

But this does what I mentioned before: it sneaks into the "definition" an investigateable assertion about the history of the system that is false.

So the two quotes Bill has offered really lay the problem out clearly on the table.

Date: 2007/10/24 22:03:07, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Uh, wading through the shit is what science is all about.  Concepts can be real easy if they are just simply abstractions: applying concepts to the real world and seeing if the concepts fit is dirty work, full of ambiguous details.  There is no way you can understand falsifiability, IC, MN or any other concepts in the sciences if you aren't willing to dig deep in the muddy waters.

Date: 2007/10/24 22:15:49, Link
Author: Jkrebs
At this point it is important to resurrect Dick Hoppe's Multiple Designer Theory (MDT) (I'm proud to say I played a small role in the discussion from which this came.)  I urge you all to read Dick's post on the Panda's Thumb, and if you are bold, explore ISCID, such as in this thread and this one.  (I was Evan at ISCID, back in the days when I posted under a pseudonym, and I posted as someone trying to push ID advocates to be more specific about ID)

We gave Dembski lots of good advice on this subject long ago: Bill however has taken this considerably further, introducing concepts which should make it easy for anyone to grasp the subject.

[Added in edit]Dick Hoppe is a Panda's Thumb member active in science activism in Ohio.  Dick has thought more specifically about the kinds of things that Dembski is now saying his supporters should think about than any ID advocate ever has, because the IDists purposely, I think, avoid trying to spell out the concrete details of their ideas.

Date: 2007/10/24 22:44:53, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I just finished reading the Multiple Designer Theory thread from ISCID from just over five years ago here, primarily among Dick Hoppe, Mike Gene, and me.  Pretty darned interesting, brought back lots of memories and brought up lots of interesting points, especially compared with the stuff that is at UD these days.

Date: 2007/11/03 12:57:04, Link
Author: Jkrebs
RB writes,

Quote
(Is this insanity by the above definition? Only were I expecting a different result. Which I am not.)


It is useful to others of us whenever someone makes some good points in response to creationist arguments - for instance, your comments here about marriage and about "free floating rationales."  Whether the person who actually brought up the creationist arguments "gets it" is probably best seen as irrelevant, especially if one wants to avoid "insanity by the above definition?."

Date: 2007/11/05 11:43:43, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I'm finding the level of un-understanding here about human culture more mind-boggling than that which we've seen about biology.  This is very instructive and eye-opening.

Date: 2007/11/05 13:00:11, Link
Author: Jkrebs
There is a huge amount of anthropological data starting from the time Western people encountered primitive peoples that shows that oral language can be quite sophisticated, with a long tradition of knowledge handed orally, and yet there is no written language.  Among other things, there is no technology (like material to write on and instruments to write with) present in these cultures.

There is also lots of evidence about how written language was invented, starting with simple pictographs.  Written language is one of the greatest of humankind's inventions, but many people in the past (both recent primitive societies and prehistoric people for tens of thousands of years) have lived without written language.

Date: 2007/11/05 14:08:57, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Quote
It just seems that if humans had been speaking for 100,000 years they'd have advanced a bit quicker in that area.  But, then again, perhaps they were actually more ape like all that time and just too dull to put much of anything together.


Joni Mitchell has a great song called "Sire of Sorrow - Job's Sad Song," and in it she uses the phrase "breath-taking ignorance."
'Nuff said.

Date: 2007/11/06 06:53:31, Link
Author: Jkrebs
This is a critical point.  Well said.

Date: 2007/11/06 12:14:33, Link
Author: Jkrebs
plus anthropology, the field in which I have a degree.

Date: 2007/11/06 18:01:55, Link
Author: Jkrebs
This is all so obvious that it's hardly worth pointing out (except that this is the DI we are talking about): there is absolutely nothing unconstitutional about PBS calling their document a Teacher's Guide, even if it was proselytizing.  For there to be any legal problem at all, some teacher would have to actually use the material in a classroom  and then someone would have to sue and then the DI would lose again.

They're just blowing smoke, as they usually do, to impress their constituents.

Date: 2007/11/07 21:19:08, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Sorry to interject with serious business, but did anyone happen to save the P.falciparum - No Black Swan Observed thread at UD before DaveScot purged all comments (well, almost all) having to do with religion?  Bornagain77 and quite a few others were making some interesting comments about how God interjects CSI into the world, etc., and about different Christian perspectives on the issue, as well as on BA77's ideas about an ID research project.

But without any warning, Dave deleted it all.  

So if any foresightful person saved it, let me know.

Thanks

Date: 2008/02/05 22:18:30, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I dropped by to read a bit, and found this about Genie Scott on the previous page, from ftk:

Quote
I heard the woman lecture at KU on how Darwinism and religion can work in harmony...blah, blah, blah...there are no conflicts or controversial issues....blah, blah, blah...but, then turns around and blasts anyone whose religion doesn't jive with her philosophical views.


I know Genie well, and I know that the bolded part above is not true.

Of course, I could ask for some evidence from ftk to support her statement, but I know that is entirely fruitless.  Nevertheless, I know ftk is wrong about this point.

Date: 2008/02/09 13:17:32, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Not a haiku, not January, and an illegal picture - sort of a bomb of a post.  :)

Date: 2008/02/11 13:07:11, Link
Author: Jkrebs
As long as we are pointing to places where ftk has said things for which she has no evidence, and should either substantiate or retract what she said, I'll point again to this from the Casey Luskin thread:

Quote
I heard the woman lecture at KU on how Darwinism and religion can work in harmony...blah, blah, blah...there are no conflicts or controversial issues....blah, blah, blah...but, then turns around and blasts anyone whose religion doesn't jive with her philosophical views.


Utterly false.  Genie doesn't "blast" anyone about their religious views.  

ftk should retract this statement, or show some evidence to support it.

Fat chance, though.

Date: 2008/02/11 17:18:56, Link
Author: Jkrebs
ftk writes,

Quote
Yes, I will sincerely apologize for this particular sentence where I used the word "blasts".  That was unfair, and I think I acknowledged that somewhere in our previous conversation...but, maybe not.  I simply can't remember.  The word "blasts" can be understood as publically ranting in a *harsh tone* about a particular religion, and no, that is not Eugenie's style.


I appreciate the apology.

I think the rest of the sentence is still trying to imply that even if Genie doesn't rant, she is intolerant of those whose religious beliefs are not* the same as Genie's philosophical position, and I don't think that is true either.

* The word "not" added later, because I left it out, after Wesley pointed that out in the post below - my bad.

Date: 2008/02/12 15:18:55, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Ken Miller writes, quoted above

[block]Not so fast. The biological account of lucky historical contingencies that led to our own appearance on this planet is surely accurate. What does not follow is that a perceived lack of inevitability translates into something that we should regard as incompatibility with a divine will. To do so seriously underestimates God, even as this God is understood by the most conventional of Western religions.

Yes, the explosive diversification of life on this planet was an unpredictable process. But so were the rise of Western civilization, the collapse of the Roman Empire, and the winning number in last night's lottery. We do not regard the indeterminate nature of any of these events in human history as antithetical to the existence of a Creator; why should we regard similar events in natural history any differently? There is, I would submit, no reason at all. If we can view the contingent events in the families that produced our individual lives as consistent with a Creator, then certainly we can do the same for the chain of circumstances that produced our species.[/quote]

This idea, especially the second paragraph, is critical.  Christians have no problem reconciling their idea of an active God with the presence of contingent events in regards to their own life or the history of humankind, but they then deny that same reconciliation in regards to the evolution of life.

This is inconsistent, and in my opinion, for those who ought to know better, hypocritical.

Date: 2008/02/12 17:18:47, Link
Author: Jkrebs
The paragraph I wrote above should be amended to

Quote
This idea, especially the second paragraph, is critical.  Christians have no problem reconciling their idea of an active God with the presence of contingent events in regards to their own life or the history of humankind, but some of them then deny that same reconciliation in regards to the evolution of life.


Obviously many Christians understand the point that Ken Miller is making.

Date: 2008/02/13 07:03:20, Link
Author: Jkrebs
What an excellent concept - here's the quote from the link:

Quote
   Fractal Wrongness:

   The state of being wrong at every conceivable scale of resolution. That is, from a distance, a fractally wrong person's worldview is incorrect; and furthermore, if you zoom in on any small part of that person's worldview, that part is just as wrong as the whole worldview.

   Debating with a person who is fractally wrong leads to infinite regress, as every refutation you make of that person's opinions will lead to a rejoinder, full of half-truths, leaps of logic, and outright lies, that requires just as much refutation to debunk as the first one. It is as impossible to convince a fractally wrong person of anything as it is to walk around the edge of the Mandelbrot set in finite time.

   If you ever get embroiled in a discussion with a fractally wrong person on the Internet — in mailing lists, newsgroups, or website forums — your best bet is to say your piece once and ignore any replies, thus saving yourself time.


We've all seen, and argued with, these people. (Salvador comes first to mind, but there have been quite a few others.)  In fact, I'll confess that in at times I've been perversely and somewhat obsessively attracted to such arguments.  In my partial defense, I think my goal was to try to push the wrongness to more and more specific levels in order to see where the core issues were, and to hone the specificity of my own arguments.  But at times I've just been fascinated, in a train wreck sort of way, to watch the contortions the fractally wrong person will go through to avoid any admission of error or any change of mind.

Date: 2008/02/18 12:36:13, Link
Author: Jkrebs
That's right where I live.  Looks like I can quit worrying about global warming because it isn't going to affect me!  :)

Date: 2008/02/25 21:57:14, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Quote
Le Brea Tard Pits


Wonderful - is there an award for phrase of the week?

Date: 2008/03/11 22:23:47, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I like N. Wells characterization.  It reminds me of a Dylan line I like from an early version of "Tight Connection to My Heart."

Quote
The roads are all crooked - they just wind around until they disappear.


The image is of things just dwindling away to an insignificant nothing, not only not going any place, but in fact slowly losing the quality of "going someplaceness" that usually characterizes roads - just disappearing into nothingness by fading out of existence.

Date: 2008/03/12 18:38:19, Link
Author: Jkrebs
A nice bit of candor by PannenbergOmega:

Quote
It’s too bad (in my opinion) that there is so much evidence for common ancestry. I don’t see how you can reconcile it with the Biblical account of creation.

What I’m saying is, I wish the data undeniably supported the Biblical account of creation.

Date: 2008/03/14 11:03:52, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Phrase of the Week!

Date: 2008/03/19 10:44:43, Link
Author: Jkrebs
On the thread about John Scotus, a poster named Al Kafir makes some good points that don't go over very well.  I take it P is a moderator.

Quote
21 Al Kafir 3/18/2008 3:06 pm

This post points out a significant difference between ID research and the methodology of evolutionary biological research. DLH finds evidence for intelligent design in a statement by a 9th-century authority. Biologists think of ID research as poor science, because the biologists rely upon observation and measurement of the natural world, and the analysis of facts. They should realize that ID research employs an entirely different process. ID research gathers evidence from statements of authorities, and proposes hypotheses based upon analysis and interpretation of those statements. This is foreign to mainstream biologists, and they unjustifiably denigrate it because it differs from their concept of research and the nature of evidence.

Heh, I was tempted to just zap this one but I thought you guys might have fun tearing this one apart. — P

Date: 2008/03/19 16:10:15, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I liked it when, in a subsequent post, congregate started a reply by writing "Mr. focus:".

Date: 2008/03/20 21:32:54, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Thanks, Hermagoras.  At least I think "thanks" - some may see what I'm doing as sort of perverse, like "why bother."  :)

But I'm on spring break, working in my office and watching basketball, and I've got drawn into that thread for both exercise and recreation, and because it's got some topics important to me.  I also consider it my duty to defend the Kansas science standards.

I find it useful and interesting to try to draw out the ideas of folks and see where it takes me.  If I'm patient and polite then the conversation doesn't degenerate (or if it does it's not my fault), and so I learn what ideas people have and I learn, by doing, what I have to say on the subject.

And maybe I influence someone, or give someone else some good ideas.

So hopefully I've had some useful things to say over there.

And I am particularly interested in how to counter the typical creationist idea that calculating simple combinations means something.  I teach simple stats to high school students, and even there we talk about probability trees and conditional probability.  The fact that these guys don't understand that figuring the probability of a chain of events is vastly harder and much more realistic than simple combinations is beyond me.

Date: 2008/03/20 22:39:51, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Excellent. Thanks.  The very basics of that idea is what I am trying to convey over at UD, but Van Till does a great job of explaining it more thoroughly, with quotes from No Free Lunch. I like other anti-ID stuff Van Till has written also.

By the way I went round and round about this with Sal Cordova and others over at ARN many years ago.  You can imagine how that went.

Date: 2008/03/22 23:12:39, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Oops - mistake - disregard.

Date: 2008/03/23 20:19:31, Link
Author: Jkrebs
FYI, and FWIW, I added a comment on Seelke, who I saw at the Kansas Science hearings.  I also routinely save threads in which I am participating.

Date: 2008/03/26 20:19:11, Link
Author: Jkrebs
John W writes, "You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into.'

That's a great line.

At my school I have a similar saying on the wall for my students to ponder: "You can't talk yourself out of something you've behaved yourself into."

Date: 2008/03/27 07:11:41, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Over the last week or so I did something I haven't done in a long time - I got involved in a long discussion with ID advocates over at UD here.  Some of you have paid some attention to this.

I got drawn in partially because they were discussing the Kansas science standards, and particularly its description of science of seeking natural explanations, and as a member of the committee who wrote those standards, I feel some responsibility to defend them.

There was some interesting discussion at times, although it became pretty clear that some of those folks really don't like me very much.  I quit posting yesterday - sort of by semi-mutual consent with some of the people who had best participated with me.

However, this morning two posters, kairosfocus and a guy named vividblue (who I haven't seen since years ago at ARN), decided to offer some parting, relatively venomous shots, full of inaccuracies and spin put out by Calvert et al.  The emotion and anger that these guys feel towards me and my defense of science is pretty deep.  See posts 564 and on if interested.

Date: 2008/03/27 09:53:46, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Bill writes, "All one really need do to make advocates of ID appear foolish is to insist upon making sense."

That's a good point.  Part of the reason that I get sucked in (it's my own fault) to these discussions sometimes is for the experience of experimenting with staying relentlessly on-topic and seeing where we get.

For instance, discussing the whole "pure chance" issue with Atom made me aware of how much the "pure chance-ists" don't understand the complex ways in which natural laws and contingent events play off of each other over time.  They are in thrall of the simple "pure chance" calculations that they know how to do, and they just can't see beyond that.

I also wondered about the banning.  I think I stayed well away from the overt kind of behavior that might lead to banning (and Allen certainly does), but I also think that at other times and with other people my (or someone else's) refusing to agree with and engage DaveScot over his "show me a pathway" argument might have led to a banning.  I think you're right that they are now sensitive to the "Expelled irony" factor.

Date: 2008/03/27 14:00:31, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Dogdidit writes,

Quote
but what the heck good is the EF? Can it's utility be illuminated by something better than these lame examples? And why doesn't it have an output somewhere labelled "don't know". (I'd put it on the one labelled "design" but that's just my gut feeling.)


This was one of the things I was trying to find out, and it seems to me that no one over there could show that it was good for anything other than trivial textbook situations that have no relationship with reality.

Date: 2008/03/28 19:42:30, Link
Author: Jkrebs
On the Tuatara thread:

Quote
41 JPCollado 03/28/2008 6:02 pm

jpcollado writes:
“just want to know what they mean by “high molecular evolutionary rate.” It can’t be mutations, since there is no such thing at the molecular level. You need genes for that.”

Jack Krebs:
“A small correction, as this statement is wrong. Genes are made of molecules, and it is specific DNA molecules within genes that mutate.”

Thank you Jack, I was careless here. What I really was referring to is the darwinian evolutionary process….there is no such thing at the molecular level…a point I tried to reiterate at post #23, viz., that a change in the sequence of nucleotides on a DNA molecule offers a defective framework for studying evolution.


I'm not interested in wading in over there again, but what could "a change in the sequence of nucleotides on a DNA molecule offers a defective framework for studying evolution" possibly mean?

Date: 2008/04/09 22:31:09, Link
Author: Jkrebs
For a while I was saving threads at UD that I was participating in, but then I got disgusted that Salvador had come back in my life, and I gave the whole thing up for a while.

Now I find that DaveScot deleted all that stuff about Darwin beating a puppy on the machine-video thread.  Did anyone save that before it got disappeared?  If so, could I arrange to get a copy?

Thanks

Date: 2008/04/11 13:19:08, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Wow, and cool - I just read that I won a prize for making the 100,000 post, and I didn't even know it.

I really don't deserve it - there are some of you here with many, many more posts than I'll ever make.

Thanks to Wesley for making it all possible.

P.S. - I'm afraid I must decline the opportunity to debate with kairosfocus - I find him a little, well, hard to focus on.

Date: 2008/04/12 20:57:08, Link
Author: Jkrebs
For ftk, her opinions are facts.  That's a major source of the problem.

Date: 2008/04/13 21:39:53, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I very seriously doubt that Ken "Miller has often stated that most of his colleagues are atheists."  I would like to see ftk back that statement up with some evidence.

Date: 2008/04/16 06:41:06, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Wow.  That will put a hole in some threads.  Unbelievable - except of course that it's not.

Date: 2008/04/16 18:44:16, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Someone just posted on the KCFS Discussion Forum that all the staff at his school (in the Kansas City area) received the following email from the Intelligent Design Network today.

Quote
ATTENTION Teachers, Principals, School Officials & Support Staff,

This Friday, April 18th, is FREEDOM FRIDAY!

You will no longer have to live in fear of the Darwinian Thought Police and their power to ruin your career! They are about to be 'publicly exposed' by the new documentary movie, "EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed"!

"EXPELLED," starring Ben Stein, is opening in 1,000 theaters nationwide. Smart students and their parents can't wait to see it! They have all heard the Darwinists' side in the debate over origins. Now they will determine if the Darwinists have acted properly by censoring the scientific data and evidence from students, teachers and parents that opposes Darwinian evolution and points to the reality of God!

Have you ever wondered about the scientific validity of the major proofs of evolution?

Have you ever wondered what the controversy over the teaching of origins science is really about?

Have you wondered why Darwinists will not allow origins science to be taught objectively?

Have you wondered if scientists have found evidence for God?

Have you ever fully understood why you have this fear of mentioning God in the classroom?

If your answer to any of these questions is 'yes', then this earth-shattering documentary will open your eyes to the cover-up of the century!

Students, teachers, and parents will now see and hear the other side of the story as they view "EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed". They will begin to draw new conclusions for themselves about the "thought police" as well as the most important question they will ever try to answer: Where did I come from?

Make plans now to SEE THIS MOVIE. You can be sure that your students will!

Check it out at: www.expelledthemovie.com

YOU ARE ALSO INVITED TO ATTEND!!~ a Conference in Overland Park, KS, on Saturday, April 19 * * "Darwin, Design, & Democracy VII" * *

At the conference you will meet a professor who is in the movie and was "expelled" for trying to present students with scientific data and evidence that opposed Darwinism. For more details please open the attached flyer, or go to: www.intelligentdesignnetwork.org

Thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to become more informed as to why teaching origins science OBJECTIVELY is critical for good [end chopped off.]


Note the line "opposes Darwinian evolution and points to the reality of God!"

It seems like they have abandoned entirely any effort to pretend that they can get by separation of church and state issues.

What a bunch of appalling propaganda.  I do, however, think that the more over-the-top they are (Freedom Friday, Darwinian Thought Police, cover-up of the century) the more obvious it will be to even those somewhat sympathetic that they have overplayed their hand (such as it is.)

Date: 2008/04/18 09:10:27, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Albatrossity writes,

Quote
I guess it is pretty easy to be cavalier about the intellectual property of others when you have no intellectual property of your own.


Sentence of the week!

Date: 2008/04/29 22:46:12, Link
Author: Jkrebs
bfast offers this here:

Quote
If there is a genetic twiddler that, using foresight, has guided the development of life from amoeba to man, even if the twiddler periodically injected huge chunks of data, if the twiddler twiddled with an existing species to get the new one, rather than creating ex-nihlo, then we have UCD.


This is exactly why many Christians who have taken the time to learn about ID reject it as bad theology (as well as bad science) - because it reduces God to a "genetic twiddler."  Thanks to bfast for both the candor and the nicely descriptive term.

Date: 2008/06/17 23:58:23, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I thought Poachy was brilliant.  Congratulations on an excellent alter ego.

Date: 2008/06/26 19:48:54, Link
Author: Jkrebs
In case anyone goes delving into the Langan threads at ARN, for the record I was "dayton" back then, and "evan" at ISCID.

Date: 2008/07/04 08:36:08, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Dave writes,

Quote
Forrest’s lecture, because it centers on creationism, even though critical of it, is still unconstitutional in public schools by current USSC decision. Any mention of creationism in the public schools, regardless of whether the mention is pro or con, is in fact the teaching of it.


That is so wrong.  Does he really believe this?

And, of course, it doesn't even apply because Forrest's speech was not going to be in a public school, but was rather going to be a public event.

Date: 2008/07/13 19:57:22, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Most dishonest quotemines, period. - Sal Cordova

Date: 2008/07/16 07:51:08, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Yes, good post by keiths.  I like the short, to-to-the-point way he addressed a lot of issues.  It would be interesting to take a few and wade in over at UD, but I've got to go to work.  :) (And, I'm trying to kick the habit.)

Date: 2008/07/17 07:05:23, Link
Author: Jkrebs
kairosfocus on education and politics:  (link):

Quote
What I did say on education is that we need to soberly recognise that “schooling” has now by and large become indoctrination in highly dubious — and destructively incoherent — evolutionary materialist secularism, and that this extends to the media, policy, courtrooms etc. I therefore put up that those who are concerned should by now have removed their children from the schools and colleges that are propagandising them [and this extends to for instance Global Warming etc too] and set up an alternative system.

Similarly, we should all remove our support from the propagandistic so-called mainstream media, and boycott those who put advertising money into supporting such systems.

By now there should be a comprehensive K - College alternative education system in place,and in effect a large scale, well-supported alternative economy and media. ...

On politics, I first of all spoke to the responsibility of all Christian citizens of the US to register and vote their biblically instructed consciences. That could in principle be enough to fix the rot, and peacefully. For the general election is in fact an institutionalised potential — thankfully, peaceful — revolution and point of accountability of officialdom before the people they serve under God.

But if, and when, such reforming actions are confronted with oppressive force and attempts to subvert or destroy the alternatives — totalitarians, historically, seldom yield power without fighting — then I pointed to the precedent set by the principles of interposition by lower magistrates, using the USD DOI of 1776 to make my point.


Yikes - that's pretty radical, but I like it when these guys come right out and tell the truth about what they think.  Tear down the educational system and take over at the ballot box - where have I seen that before?  Oh yeah, Kansas.  This year, for instance, Kathy Martin, one of the creationists from the last science standards debacle, is running for BOE on a platform that includes continuing to fight materialism in the science curriculum and support for private and home schooling.

There are lots of people who think as kf does.  It's a bit scary.

Date: 2008/07/17 07:33:01, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Yes, I'm not worried that they overall will achieve a critical mass.  But they can disrupt things, as has been done here in Kansas the past decade.  If enough of these folks vote for Kathy Martin and her fellow radical conservatives, we could once again have a creationist BOE.  I think chances this will happen are not good, but even the possibility of being thrown back into a new round of fights over science education is worrisome - we just shouldn't have to be dealing with this, but we are.

Date: 2008/07/19 19:48:42, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I posted the following over at UD, on the Olivia Judson thread, and it was immediately deleted.

Quote
Dembski writes,

Quote
Could we please dispense with any patronizing nonsense about Darwin being less than the messiah of a materialistic religion that pretends to find its justification in science.


This is a bizarre position, in my opinion - more overblown rhetoric trying to dichotomize us into warring camps.  Darwin is not a messiah, and there is nothing religious about his role and place in the history of science. And, as has been pointed out countless times (consider the Clergy Project for one source), millions of people who are not materialists accept evolutionary theory.  Even if we accept "Darwinism" to mean modern evolutionary theory, the fact that, more or less, all materialists are "Darwinists" does not mean that all "Darwinists" are materialists.  This is simple logic.

And of course, even for the materialists, it is silly to say that Darwin is a "messiah" of a religion.


I would have been happy to defend my post, and my choice of language (bizarre and silly) was surely no worse than Dembski's ("patronizing nonsense" and "pretending to be science").

What is Dembski afraid of? - a little dialog about the controversy?

Date: 2008/07/20 21:37:54, Link
Author: Jkrebs
From the Olivia Judson thread, for whoever keeps track of these things:

Quote
jerry  07/20/2008  8:15 pm

Well it looks like Stephen Matheson has got his wish and got banned from here. While he seemed to be going out of his way to be negative, he did raise some interesting questions that would have been nice to debate with him.

For example, he suggested that everything that Olivia Judson said was right on and I went off to read the article and had some questions for him when I discovered his comments were deleted.

Date: 2008/07/23 21:30:56, Link
Author: Jkrebs
One of my former high school calculus students went on to get a physical anthropology degree from KU.  The summer before her senior year she worked on a project doing nothing but measurements of jawbones and teeth - if I recall correctly about 75 different measurements on over 100 specimens - and then doing data analysis in order to, among other things, learn how to distinguish various levels of variation.

Ftk has absolutely no comprehension whatsoever of this level of detail of measurement and analysis, even though it is essential to all scientific study.  When she says it "beats the heck out of me," she is confessing to both a deep lack of knowledge about and a deep lack of interest in the data and analytic methods that underlie scientific knowledge.

Date: 2008/07/23 22:15:37, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I am certain that no one here has any illusion about convincing ftk of anything - in fact, the fact that that is an impossibility is one of main conclusions people have come to.

More broadly, I think that many of us - I for one - have sort of a perverse fascination with belief systems that are so tightly protected that they are impervious to outside influence.  Exploring the contortions such people go through to avoid points that challenge their world view, and watching the ways they deflect issues in order to avoid cognitive dissonance, is a fascinating psychological study.

Date: 2008/07/24 21:13:09, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Very funny - got a laugh out of me.

Date: 2008/07/27 10:56:44, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Taken in my backyard in more-or-less the center of Lawrence, KS.  The doe and two fawns have been around all summer, and this is my best picture.

Date: 2008/07/29 22:39:27, Link
Author: Jkrebs
FYI.  I appear to have been silently banned at UD, or at least moderated into non-participation.  A few days ago I posted the first comment to a post by Demsbki, which was obviously not taken very well.  Since then none of my comments have gone through.  Today I asked, via a comment, for someone perhaps to email me and explain, but no word so far.

For the record, my last comment was to StephenB, and would have been comment 37 on the ID Award thread

Quote
StephenB writes,

Quote
A mainstream Darwinist is simply someone who believes that evolution is a purposeless, mindless, and non-teleological process. An IDer is someone who believes that evolution is a purposeful, mindful, and teleological process. A mainstream TE is someone is who tries to reconcile Darwinism with Christianity. These are perfectly good shorthand terms and they work very well to distinguish one camp from the other. I use the term to clarify, not to insult.


The reason these are not "perfectly good" terms is that they shoehorn the "camps" into groups that represent Stephen's, and the ID movement's in general, theological perspective rather than accurately representing the views of the people he is trying to describe.  

The correct name for someone who believes that evolution, or any other chain of material historical events, is a "purposeless, mindless, and non-teleological process" is <i>materialist,</i> which is a philosophical position.  Some evolutionary biologists are materialists, but many are not.

Second, defining a mainstream TE has someone who "tries to reconcile Darwinism with Christianity" clearly implies the mainstream ID position that TE is a flawed sellout to materialism, which is of course not what TE's think.

So these terms and their definitions may seem perfectly good to Stephen, because they support his perspective on things, but they are not perfectly good for general discourse because they do not neutrally nor fairly describe the positions of a lot of people as those people see themselves.

Date: 2008/07/30 07:05:59, Link
Author: Jkrebs
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. -Admin]

lcd says, "So why do they do it?  What's to gain?"

Do what? Teach?  I'm a high school teacher, not a professor, so I don't know about the Brandy sniffers, and I've stayed a teacher because I love knowledge and I love being involved in the growth of young people.  I can assure you that I didn't become a teacher to get rich.

Date: 2008/07/31 21:21:06, Link
Author: Jkrebs
StephenB at UD is one of he people that I've discussed issues with.  I always like it when people such as Stephen post things that reveal a background glimpse of where they are really coming from.  Here's a post from Stephen, in its entirety, for posterity:

Quote


Good grief, where is Bill Maher’s imagination? For an omnipotent God, handling a billion daily prayers is child’s play. What about the really big problems that require not only heavy quantitative lifting but also infinitely precise qualitative formulations and value judgments that cannot tolerate even the smallest margin of error.

Imagine the challenge of doing prophecy or deciding whether a given soul is to be saved or damned. Unless God understands and factors in all of our thoughts, words, deeds, and intentions in conjunction with everyone else’s thoughts, words, deeds, and intentions; unless he considers all mitigating factors, including biological, psychodynamic, environmental, and habitual influences; unless he can calculate the individual’s impact on the world and the world’s impact on the individual at every sociological level; and unless can tie it all together with a full awareness of all possible combinations and permutations, he could neither predict the future nor pass final judgment on even one soul. If God can miscalculate the severity of even one temptation or slightly overestimate an individual’s capacity to overcome it, he is liable to send some poor slob to hell by mistake.

As it turns out, God has already passed a test that is of a similar texture. The Old Testament offers some 459 prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah, all of which were fulfilled in time/space/history. All were independent events, including, among other things, forecasts about his place of birth, specific events in his life, and the conditions under which he would die. That requires a great deal more intellectual firepower that simply absorbing a few billion prayers. Bill Maher needs to raise the bar much higher.


Does God really do all that when he decides who is to be saved?  Does the Bible really contain 459 fulfilled prophecies.  Does anyone really believe this?  (Obviously StephenB does.)

It is no wonder that arguing about the nature of science, or about theological positions that accept science, is a lost cause with such people:  at the heart of their belief system is this conscious, calculating God whose main concern is this personal interactive relationship with mankind and ultimately this final judgment of eternal salavalion or damnation.  The rationality of science and the possibility of spiritual beliefs that are compatible with science are antithetical to the God that Stephen believes in.

Quite revealing.

Date: 2008/08/01 07:03:44, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Hmm. Given that a whole planet full of chemicals sitting there doing chemically things for quite a few million years probably contains quite a bit of "information" and a lot of opportunity for chance, I'd say cramming all that into a test tube in a laboratory would be quite a formidable task.

Date: 2008/08/02 14:23:18, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Quidam says,

Quote
A mathematical analysis is simply a model.  While models are extremely useful, it is important to remember that they are not the real thing and that if there is a discrepancy between the model and reality, it's unlikely that reality is wrong.


I like this way of saying this, and this is a key flaw of the creationists.  They think that if they have some math - any math - then they must be right, because math is truth!  The idea that maybe their math doesn't apply to the real world doesn't seem to occur to them.

Date: 2008/08/02 16:30:24, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I had forgotten about Jerry Don Bauer!  He is right up there with the best of the totally impenetrable creationists.

Date: 2008/08/03 08:57:45, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Yesterday we discussed the creationists tendency to be over-enamoured of math without regard to its relationship to reality.  Another thing they are over-enamoured of is analogies, and Daniel King's post at UD, with accompanying quote, is excellent.  Therefore, the IDists don't get it.

Here's the post, for posterity.

Quote
Daniel King  08/02/2008   4:46 pm

Paul Giem and kairosfocus,

I trust that you will take the following in the helpful way that I intend it: Your arguments by means of analogy suffer from a logical problem that I learned about as a stripling. Neither of you would have passed my first year college course in logic if you had tried to defend such arguments.

Here is a verbatim quote from my textbook, Monroe C Beardsley, Practical Logic, 1950, Prentice Hall, Inc., New York.

   
Quote
An analogy doesn’t prove anything; it merely calls to mind a possibility that might not have been thought of without the analogy. It’s the experiment that counts in the end. Bohr’s classic model of the atom is only a picture. It has clarified some points about the atom, it has hinted at some good hypotheses; but if you take it as proving anything about the atom, you are misusing the analogy. You can be fooled just as much by it as were those early inventors who tried to construct airplanes that flapped their wings, on the analogy with birds. Analogies illustrate, and they lead to hypotheses, but thinking in terms of analogy becomes fallacious when the analogy is used as a reason for a principle. This fallacy is called the argument from analogy.


   The form of the argument from analogy is pretty clear from this simple example:

   X has certain characteristics a, b, c
   Y has the characteristics a, b, c
   But Y also has other characteristics x, y, z.
   Therefore: X has the characteristics x, y, z.

This from a professional logician, not a scientist.

You are both entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own logic.

Date: 2008/08/04 15:47:07, Link
Author: Jkrebs
TomMH tries to clear up the confusion - will sparc get unbanned?

Here.

Date: 2008/08/04 22:21:39, Link
Author: Jkrebs
To be fair, sparc's unbanning should be duly noted here:

Quote
131 DaveScot 08/04/2008 9:18 pm

Sorry Sparc. You’re back.

KairosFocus: Stop complaining about people using your real name here. You link to your website constantly and your real name appears on it. Fix it yourself one way or the other but don’t expect us to waste our time on it anymore.

Date: 2008/08/05 08:05:43, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I'm voting in the same election ftk is.  Unfortunately, no moderate Republican ran for BOE, so my choices are an anti-evolution nut that has no chance of winning and an anti-evolution guy who could easily turn out to be a leader of a rejuvenated conservative majority should the conservatives when back control.

Needless to say I'm voting for the pro-science Democrat in November.

Date: 2008/08/06 13:34:46, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Good for bfast.  He is right on.  I saved the page as it is so far, because it could disappear at any moment.

Date: 2008/08/06 18:52:11, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Overblown rhetoric is alive and well in Kansas.  Here's an example, with some response from me.  

Quote
I know that Kansas Citizens for Science is working hard at snuffing out any potential board members that may be open minded to ID.  Witch hunts are alive and well here in the sunflower state.


Hmmm.  "Snuffing out" usually means killing someone, like the Mafia does.  I don't think that is a activity KCFS is interested in engaging in.

KCFS is not a partisan political organization.  In fact, what KCFS did do was help organize candidate forums in which the public could come and listen to and ask questions of all candidates.

KCFS does make it clear that we believe that public schools should teach nothing but mainstream evolutionary theory, that we believe ID is not valid science, and that those wishing to insert ID-influenced arguments into the public schools do so for political and religious reasons.  Last time I heard taking a position on an issue and working to educate the public on that issue so that the public might choose to elect people with a certain viewpoint is what democracy is all out.  Being accused of wanting to "snuff people out" and being on a "witch hunt" just because we advocate for a particular position on this issue is inflammatory, divisive rhetoric that demeans the democratic process.

Also, let me make it clear that individual KCFS members did advocate for particular candidates, which of course is also what democracy is all about

Quote
I don't think they could care less about anything else a person stands for other than which way they lean in the ID/evolution fiasco. It all boils done to whether a potential board member intends to support molecule to man as an absolute *fact*.


More excessive rhetoric.

I do care about more than just the science issue.  In Kansas the same people who changed the science standards to support ID also did other things which I think are detrimental to education involving such topics as sex ed, school vouchers, and history standards.  They hired Bob Corkins as commissioner even though he had no experience in education and had primarily worked as a lobbyist for vouchers and private schools.  Unfortunately these issues seem to come in a package - this is not just a one-issue situation, although evolution does seem to be at the heart of it for many of the creationists.

And last, nobody supports molecule to man as an absolute *fact*.  Scientific theories are different than facts, which many of us have argued interminably, to no avail, to the anti-science crowd.  And no one that I know of other than die-hard creationists uses the phrase "molecules to man" - which is a silly creationist phrase.

I'm not writing this because I expect to have any impact whatsoever on the author, but I do think it's instructive to see how unreasonable and excessive the judgments of some Kansans can be.

Date: 2008/08/11 20:42:56, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I don't know who Ted Davis is, but I like a lot of what he's written here.

Date: 2008/08/14 16:39:57, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I just posted the following at UD, but since I appear to be banned (which actually hasn't been acknowledged), I'll post it here (which probably adds to their reasons for thinking I should be banned.)

Anyway:

Quote
Dave writes,
Quote
Interesting that there are no reasons raised by critics for why we should not consider “intelligence comes from intelligence” as a law of nature.


Dave, at least in my case the reason you don't hear reasons raised by a critic is that you won't let me post.  It seems somewhat contradictory to me that you have banned so many people who offer substantial disagreements with the majority views on this board and then wonder why you don't hear from the critics.

Date: 2008/08/20 17:26:35, Link
Author: Jkrebs
An interesting post.

Quote
14 CEC09 08/20/2008 4:53 pm

O’Leary,

I find it interesting that someone who readily attributes patterns in nature to one or more entities with goals and intelligence should complain about anthropomorphism.

Personally, I’m more worried about those who make God into people (three in one) than those who make birds into people. Making too little of God is a much worse error than making too much of birds.



Link

I may respond over there if I have time, but I thought I'd archive this here.

Date: 2008/08/22 10:21:01, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Wow.  I thought CEC09 had some good things to say: he said them firmly and clearly and civilly.  I thought the following was good:

Quote
Show me a scientist who says, “ID has these strengths, but these weaknesses, and may one day be replaced by a better theory.” Then I will accept that there is such a thing as an ID scientist, rather than an ID believer.

I have not encountered a single ID advocate who considers ID a tenuous explanation of observations. In other words, I have not encountered a single advocate of ID as a scientific theory, rather than as a reality science must be made to acknowledge. There is disagreement among ID advocates as to what was designed when. The “your hypothesis is OK, my hypothesis is OK” state of affairs is embarrassing. What scientists do in such situations is to devise tests of vying hypotheses. They’re not worried about anyone leaving the little tent of science.

I have bent over backwards to make sense of ID without reference to religion. I would not say that ID is intrinsically religious, but I find its intellectual content unexplainable without reference to religion. The observation of complex material entities of apparently low probability does not force on us explanation in terms of non-material intelligence and purpose. ID makes plenty of sense if one regards it as constructed to square with the belief that humans, created in the image of God, are not merely material entities, but spiritual entities purposefully and intelligently altering the course of events in the material world by acts of free will (creation of information). And God of course created the universe and humankind with purpose.

In and of itself, ID is intellectually legitimate. What is illegitimate is to deny the origin of ID, which is clearly documented. It is also illegitimate to claim that ID scientists are engaged in legitimate research when it’s under wraps. The mathematical work of Dembski is not science. Behe’s interpretation of selected research results of other scientists is designed only to support ID theory, not to test it.

Date: 2008/08/23 15:41:18, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I'll point out that he just said that critics had to supply their real name.

But as has been pointed out, how can you enforce that on the internet?  It just isn't possible.

Date: 2008/08/23 21:31:31, Link
Author: Jkrebs
True, but it was Tom Willis working with a whole bunch of Kansans who wrote the creationist Kansas science standards of 1999.

Date: 2008/08/23 22:17:40, Link
Author: Jkrebs
We'll trade you John Calvert for Willis, and two creationists to be named later.

Date: 2008/08/29 08:53:50, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Uh, Jack's calculation took n = 4 because there are four bases to choose from.  Why would n be anything different?

Date: 2008/08/29 09:52:46, Link
Author: Jkrebs
You're right, dheddle.  My calculation is just for the number of ways of arranging 4 x's, 3 y's and 1 z, irrespective of the set from which the x, y and z were taken.  This doesn't change the fact that my calculation is correct for the situation as stated.

Date: 2008/08/31 09:50:58, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Damn science - always changing because there is new evidence!

When someone wrote, "I’ve been told by Darwinists they object to the term [Darwinism] because Darwin’s theory is 150 years old, there’s a lot that Darwin got wrong, and it implies there’s been no progress made since then. Neo-Darwinism or The Modern Synthesis is more acceptable",

StephenB replied,
Quote
Yes, when a theory is so fluid that it can add or delete certain features to accommodate new evidence, its earlier manifestations do have a way of becoming obsolete. So, finding the right label for it would seem to be an ongoing challenge. Can we settle on ECE (the ever-changing theory of evolution)?
Link

Date: 2008/09/01 10:12:40, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Thanks for the link to the program.  I needed a replacement for the old System 9 program I've used for years.  I always end my calculus class with a discussion of the Mandelbrot set (and also Euler's Identity) because they are so cool.

Date: 2008/09/01 15:06:38, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I have an old fractal generator (Fractal Designer) that not only can be used to explore the Mandelbrot set as the one Bill pointed me to, but allows you to enter your own equations and parameters to produce countless other fractal sets.  Does anyone know of anything like that, free and preferably for Mac?

Date: 2008/09/01 16:06:23, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Yay to Richardthughes.  We have a frontloader - my wife swears that they're the best for getting the clothes cleaner, too - and the important role it had played in evolutionary biology had never occurred to me. :-)

Date: 2008/09/01 16:44:00, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Quote
4

William Dembski

09/01/2008

4:10 pm

Liz Lizard is no longer with us.


It is generally not good to question Dembski on the very first comment on one of his posts.  He doesn't like that.

For the record, I had made the inference, based on past evidence, that Liz Lizard's comment wouldn't last long, so I thought I'd save it. Here is what she wrote that got her "no longer with us."

 
Quote
1
Liz Lizard
09/01/2008
3:16 pm
William Dembski:

It seems to me that Steve Fuller does not agree with you on some major points of ID. He emphasizes that religious belief in intelligently designed nature has served, and will serve, well as a heuristic guiding scientific exploration. He also emphasizes that belief in ID should be acknowledged openly as religiously motivated. He seems not to embrace the notion that empirical science can establish that aspects of nature have been designed by a non-material intelligence. If you have evidence that Fuller in fact agrees with you more than I have indicated, please point me to it.

Date: 2008/09/06 09:51:06, Link
Author: Jkrebs
An open letter to DaveScot, on the off-chance that he checks this site at times:

Hi Dave,

First of all, I'd like to say thanks for banning me.  I get a little obsessive sometimes about liking to discuss things with people who disagree with me: not only have I spent way too much time at UD lately, but I keep getting sucked in (it's my own fault) to further conversation despite my vows to myself to quit.

But now that I am banned I can quit thinking about posting, and maybe wean myself away from paying any attention to UD at all, freeing my time and mental energy for more productive uses.

Second, I can't believe that you not only banned Ted Davis and me, you also banned Timaeus, an articulate ID supporter, because

 
Quote
After reviewing Timaeus’ last several comments and finding the word “God” in them over 100 times (I stopped counting at 100) I decided he needs to take it to a site where the topic is God.


Dave, did you forgot that the topic of the thread, started by none other than yourself, was a video by AAAS represented the views of theistic evolutionists in response to "Expelled"?

So let me remind you how you opened the thread:

 
Quote
I see all these scientists and science teachers in this video proclaiming they see “God’s Hand” in the universe all day long then in the same breath they say design detection is bogus.

So what exactly do they “see” that convinces them that God’s hand is all over the place? ...

Personally I think these people are either liars who are not convinced they see God all over the place or they are being truthful in becoming convinced of things with no rational evidence  ....

Sorry if I’m offending anyone but these people disgust me. They’re all like “I believe in rational inquiry, science, and bearded thunderers who live in the sky and worry about my immortal soul”. Please. Choose one or the other but not both.


Dave - the topic of the whole frickin' thread was God - did you forget that?

And what did I get banned for?  Let's take a look.

You had written, at post 255,

 
Quote
The entire TE position against ID is that design is not unambiguously detectable in nature.


I replied, at 256,

 
Quote
I don’t believe the general TE position is “that design is not unambiguously detectable in nature” in the sense of there being no possibility of the type of thing you describe.


To which you replied, at 263, after four other people had posted with various comments about God,

 
Quote
The case I proposed to Ted required no supernatural intervention. The claim that ID is all about a supernatural designer is a straw man.


Dave, the remark I responded to was about theistic evolutionists - you know - people who believe in God.  You made a remark about the beliefs of TE's, and then castigate me for believing that maybe the role of God, and possibly supernatural intervention might be part of the topic.  Can you possibly see the contradiction in your behavior here?

So finally, you write, at 265,

 
Quote
Screw this.

Jack Krebs and Ted Davis are no longer with us. Arguing with TE’s is like beating your head against a brick wall.


"Screw this" - the cry of frustration.

I'm going to be blunt here, Dave: your response and actions come off as looking like a petulant little boy, not a mature adult.  Sure, UD is your and Dembski's blog and you can make it your own personal playground if you want.  But as representatives of a movement that preaches "teach the controversy" and "teach the strengths and weaknesses", and that wishes, theoretically, to be taken seriously, you appear to be pretty full-fledged hypocrites, wanting to dish it out but not willing or able to take it when people don't buy what you're selling.

Ted Davis had this to say to you, at 249:

 
Quote
If you folks want more conversations of the kind that have sometimes happened on a few of these threads, you’re going to have to stop “expelling” people who ask good questions and who do not accept the categorizations of their views that are made by some here. ID folks resent it when others miscategorize their own views, and with good reason. That works both ways.


Yep.  

So I'm glad to be gone from UD.  Your site is irrelevant.  The only people who get to post are the ID believers, so you all get to stand around and pat each other on the back about how right you are, protected from any "critical analysis" of your ideas (another ID buzzword that you don't really believe in).  This may be fun, but don't expect it to have anything but a negative impact on the larger world.

And last, a small disclaimer, which I made clear many times: my goal in the thread has been to describe the views of TE.  I am not personally a TE, and I have not been trying to convince anyone that they should be.  

I think the topic is important because, despite your disclaimers, the heart of the ID movement's strategy is to "wedge" people into two groups: those that will accept supernatural explanations as part of science and those that won't, and to throw all of the latter into the materialist-atheist basket.  TE's threaten the very heart of the wedge, and the leaders of the movement know that.

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.

One of my favorite sayings, posted on the wall of my classroom so that students will start to learn, is by Stephen Covey:

 
Quote
You can't talk yourself out of something you have behaved yourself into.


You, individually Dave, as well as UD and the ID movement in general, are judged by your behavior much more than your words.  You would benefit from at least practicing trying to see yourself as others see you (another adult trait): if you do, you might be able to start behaving yourself out of acting in the less-than-admirable ways that you regularly display at UD.

So thanks for kicking me out of the playground, Dave - I'm off to do more productive things with my life.

Jack

Date: 2008/09/06 17:03:55, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Yah-hoo - thanks for the PoTW sticker on my parting post to DaveScot.  I'll wear it proudly.

Date: 2008/09/08 08:15:53, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I predict that parlar won't last long because Dave will get irked at having to continue to "correct his mistakes."

Date: 2008/09/08 21:27:16, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Dave says,

Quote
DaveScot
09/08/2008
8:55 pm

Okay, y’all want a hypothetical mechanism a hypothetical designer used to used to insert complex specified information into the DNA of living organisms…

Retroviruses and phages.

Any questions other than wanting to know the address of the designer’s lab and the brand of lab equipment he/she/they used to assemble the viruses or the fuel economy of the aircraft used to disperse the CSI vectors?

If you want us to play the evolution game where anything we can imagine happening in the past, as long as it’s physically possible, is as good as experimental demonstration then we can play that game too. We’d prefer to rise above the fabrication of stories that our opponents call evolutionary biology but I suppose when in Rome we should do as the Romans do and just start making crap up that goes far beyond the actual evidence.



Winston Macchi treads on dangerous grounds by replying:

Quote
Winston Macchi
09/08/2008
9:05 pm

DaveScot,

I think that is a bit of a cop-out. First of all, the question wasn’t how is any CSI inserted, it was how was the flagellar motor inserted in particular, which is a very different question indeed.

Furthermore, your answer just begs the question of how the retroviruses or phages were made in the first place.

Now it’s fair enough to say we don’t know but I don’t think your answer flies.


Start the countdown? - assuming Winston sticks around and tries to play.
Link

Date: 2008/09/08 22:13:33, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Dave gets a little testy:

Quote


Winston Macchi

The retroviruses and phages were made in a lab on the dark side of the moon, packaged in cannisters for aerial dispersal, and boosted from the moon to the earth by magnetic rail guns. The genes that make up the parts of the flaggellar motor and control its assembly where inserted into existing bactreria by custom designed bacteriophages.

You think that’s a copout? Now you know how we feel about our opponents claiming that a random dance of atoms did the same thing. Chancedidit. Isn’t that just precious? It’s just so superior to Godidit. Somehow. I’m still trying to figure out the difference between chancedidit and godidit. Help me out there. Or how about if we both just forget about imaginary scenarios and focus on what can be demonstrated? As criminal investigator Sgt. Joe Friday on Dragnet famously said when interviewing witnesses, “Just the facts please.” We’re all waiting for an experimental demonstration that chance & necessity can build complex biological structures like the bacflag. Good luck with that. In the meantime we’ve already demonstrated that intelligent agents with expertise in biochemistry can purposely alter DNA with custom designed sequences - it’s called genetic engineering.

If you want to know who designed the designer we’ve figured that out too. Who designed the designer is the same agency that created the material in materialism. Isn’t this fun? It’s hard to believe evolutionary biologists get away with pretending their woolgathering isn’t fiction, getting paid to make it up as they go along, and teach it to the gullible like its proven fact just as well tested as gravity. What a joke.


Will Winston try to respond to this nonsense, or give it all up as a bad show?  Time will tell.

Date: 2008/09/09 21:30:28, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Over here  StephenB writes,

Quote
nullasalus: Excuse me, but I think you may have missed my question. Here it is again:

ID says that a DNA molecule contains empirically based, observable patterns that manifest themselves as functionally specified complex information FSCI. Under the circumstances, design is the best inference because our experience confirms that each time FSCI is present, intelligence is the cause.

You have stated many times that ID is not science. Please tell my why the above is not a scientific argument.


Fortunately, I'm not over at UD to answer, and I'm certain StephenB doesn't come here to read, but he has managed to succinctly offer the fundamental mistaken proposition of ID, and to ask the fundamental question of why is ID not science.

So here's my short response, just to get it out my system.

StephenB says, "Design is the best inference because our experience confirms that each time FSCI is present, intelligence is the cause."

Assuming that FSCI has any meaning at all, this statement is wrong because its premise is true ("our experience confirms each time FSCI is present, intelligence is the cause") only if its conclusion (that DNA has FSCI) is assumed to be true.

If in fact DNA arose by natural means, then it is false that "that each time FSCI is present, intelligence is the cause."  How DNA arose is precisely the empirical question at issue, and they can't use their assumption that it was designed as evidence for the premise that they use to conclude that it was indeed designed.  This is circular reasoning at its best.

Second, ignoring this issue, the statement that "design is the best inference" is not a scientific statement until it has some testable specifics concerning the implementation of the design, which necessarily leads to hypotheses about the nature of the skills and powers held by the designer - all areas in which ID refuses to tread.  If the designer has more or less any possible set of skills, and yet is unknowable as to those skills, then anything could be designed.

There is just nothing scientific about the design inference as they claim it, and their fundamental argument in support of it ("our experience confirms that each time FSCI is present, intelligence is the cause") is not scientific support at all, but rather a logically flawed argument with no empirical content.

There - now I feel better.

Date: 2008/09/09 21:48:31, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Aha - nullasalus brings up a good point in his response:

Quote
What are you defining ‘a scientific argument’ as here? I’m not arguing that you can’t make reference to scientific knowledge to bolster or attack a design claim, or even a philosophical claim for that matter. But I don’t think such arguments are themselves ’science’ - I guess you could say I go by the falsification standard. How do you falsify the claim that FSCI patterns don’t arise from non-intelligent sources? Watch one spontaneously develop in nature? But even if you did, how do you know you didn’t just witness an intelligence creating the FSCI, either in a front-loaded way or through some kind of intervention?


I asked Behe this same type of question at a conference one time, and got a side-step for answer:  what if we set up an experiment with lots of bacteria cultures, such as has been done by Lenski, and we found that a very novel pathway evolved.  How would we know that it hadn't been designed right there in our petri dishes?  In the absence of any knowledge whatsoever about any limitations of the designer, who is to say that he didn't step in and design the result in ways that just look like a plausible evolutionary set of genetic changes over multiple generations?

So nullasalus is right: there is no way to falsify the generic design inference because it has no empirical specifics.

Date: 2008/09/09 22:01:58, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Thanks for finding and adding that - I noticed when you wrote that and I liked how you said it.  This is a hard point to try to express, and it is useful to be able to point out the flaw in the reasoning when people like Dave, StephenB, and Behe et al make this type of argument.

Date: 2008/09/11 07:09:53, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Dave starts a new thread here.:

 
Quote
11 September 2008
Scientists Evolved to be Ignorant
DaveScot

I can’t make stuff like this up.

New Scientist reports:

 
Quote
Superstitions evolved to help us survive

   Darwin never warned against crossing black cats, walking under ladders or stepping on cracks in the pavement, but his theory of natural selection explains why people believe in such nonsense.


Typical chance worshipper bore-me-to-tears opening. But this gets really good at the end:

   
Quote
However, Wolfgang Forstmeier, an evolutionary biologist at the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology in Starnberg, Germany, argues that by linking cause and effect – often falsely – science is a simply dogmatic form of superstition.

   “You have to find the trade off between being superstitious and being ignorant,” he says. By ignoring building evidence that contradicts their long-held ideas, “quite a lot of scientists tend to be ignorant quite often,” he says.


I repeat, I can’t make up stuff this good.


Actually parts of this is very solid, in my opinion.  My original college degree, long ago, was in anthropology, and one of my main interests has always been the role of religion, and belief in general.  I think that a central aspect of human nature is that we can ask more questions than we can answer.  Early people's ability to formalize their understanding about cause-and-effect relationships was a powerful new tool, but of course it was bound to be wrong about a whole bunch of stuff.  However, believing something, especially when it is communally shared and helps structure activity, is much better than not believing anything and not having any idea what to do.

It would be fun to think and write about this some more, but I'm off to work.  For a nice literary exposition about this problem of belief, check out the Electric Monk in Douglas Adam's "Dirk Gently and the Holistic Detective Agency" - one of the more unique characters in literature.

Date: 2008/09/11 19:53:21, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Here StephenB says,

 
Quote
The point is that science is not needed to determine is something is logically impossible. You stated,-“But the bacterial flagellum could still be the result of design even if such a pathway could be found.” It is not logically possible that a Darwinian pathway to evolution could be designed, because a Darwinian evolutionary pathway by definition is one that was not associated with an intelligent agency. If a Darwinian pathway to an organism was found, then that organism could not have been designed. That is why finding one would falsify claims about “irreducible complexity” I press the issue not to be irksome, which I fear is happening, but because this is what all the fuss is about.


Don't you just love arguing with tautologies.  Things which are IC are "by definition" designed, so if something were to arise by an evolutionary pathway it would not by IC, again by definition.

So "finding one would falsify claims about “irreducible complexity.”

How the hell can you falsify a definition?

I'm sorry Stephen, but you are being irksome.

Date: 2008/09/11 20:13:57, Link
Author: Jkrebs
What a beautiful fractal - is it from the Mandelbrot set, or do you know?

Date: 2008/09/11 21:56:10, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Ridiculing StephenB's point:

I define a "gorkle" to be "a green creature."

I challenge you to find a red gorkle and prove me wrong.

Date: 2008/09/11 22:03:46, Link
Author: Jkrebs
On a more serious note, I'd like to pass on my congratulations to nullasalus for the way he's handled the discussion with StephenB.  I like a lot of what nullasalus has had to say, the skill with which he's said it, and the civil yet firm tone in which he has made his disagreements with StephenB known.

Date: 2008/09/14 18:06:04, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I, and I imagine others, have saved the fantomarks page on the grounds that it might suddenly disappear: Dembski ought to be profoundly embarrassed by even posting about it in the first place.

Date: 2008/09/15 13:27:08, Link
Author: Jkrebs
In the fantomarks thread, DaveScot writes,

Quote
Let’s give alternate representations of reality weight commensurate with physical evidence in support of it. In the case of fantomarks that’s not equal time it’s zero time.


Let's remember that one!  

I can think of some other words that would substitute well here for "fantomarks."

Date: 2008/09/15 20:19:07, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I just dropped into this thread somewhat accidentally, and found this by Ceiling Cat:

Quote
Wesley, that puts a whole new slant on things.  6 billion bits translated into decimal is only a 1 with 1,806,179,974 zeros after it (approximately).

If I remember right, the Bible runs to around 4 million characters, so using DaveScot's trusty Microsoft calculator, we discover that you could write that decimal number down in only 451 and a half Bibles.  Waterloo!


That's not right. The number 1,806,179,974 ÷ 4,000,000 = approximately 451, but the number 1,806,179,974 is not at all the same as 10 ^ 1,806,179,974.  In fact, 1,806,179,974 is only 1.8 x 10^9, so it's just a bit smaller than 10 ^ 1,806,179,974.

Also you don't need Wesley's fabulous calculator (which is very handy for other things at times) to figure out that 2 ^ 6 billion = 10 ^ 1.8 billion (approximately), because the log of 2 is about 0.3, and 0.3 x 6 billion = 1.8 billion.

Over and out.

Date: 2008/09/18 21:14:40, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Oh, is that how science works?  People disagree, offer new ideas which eventually gain credence, find and then analyze evidence, and so on.  I'll be darned! :-)

Date: 2008/09/18 21:44:57, Link
Author: Jkrebs
And here was Ftk's reply to your questions:

Quote
Oh, well shit.  Now, you're going to go and make me think again.  The rest of these bozos are easy prey, but you post lengthy crap that I have to dissect and actually do a little bit of thinking.


Lengthy crap - you know, a dozen paragraphs full of stuff that looks suspiciously like evidence to me.

Date: 2008/09/19 07:54:17, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Bill wrote,

Quote
The request was for you to defend your assertion that "neither theory is any more beneficial to science than the other" by showing how this research, the resulting discoveries, and the consequential improved understanding of human evolution could possibly have arisen from within the ID framework - the framework of "common design."


Can you explain briefly and specifically what opinions on what issues you need to have before you can respond to that?

Date: 2008/09/19 13:45:50, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Dave has been throwing people out of UD today - too liberal, "potty mouth", etc.

Date: 2008/09/19 22:11:39, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Gil Dodgen speaks, wrapping science, politics and religion into one big happy bundle.  For the record:

Quote


GilDodgen

09/19/2008

9:42 pm

I find the following interesting: the difference between the worldviews of chance worshipers and those who have concluded that the universe and life were designed for a purpose.

The big surprise is that modern science has provided virtually irrefutable evidence that the universe and life were designed, and not the product of chance and necessity. This was a major factor in my conversion from militant atheism to Christianity in 1994.

The U.S., with its Judeo-Christian values, has done more for the world in promoting freedom and justice than any other civilization in the history of the world, and at a great cost.

I follow the evidence where it leads, and the evidence is that chance-and-necessity materialism is completely bankrupt on many levels, and that Judeo-Christian values — when taken seriously and implemented in one’s life and the culture in general — produce the most good. I’m an engineer. When I figure out what works I don’t argue with the results.

I am incredibly humbled by those who have gone before me and have made so many sacrifices to give me the freedom and opportunities I enjoy. This debt cannot be repaid, but its payment by another can be appreciated, and that is the Gospel of Christianity.



Link

Date: 2008/09/20 07:55:00, Link
Author: Jkrebs
It appears that Gil Dodgen's post, quoted above, "is no longer with us" at UD.  Perhaps it was a little too clear?

And I see that Trimbach's comment quoted above by PTaylor is gone also.  Seems like Dave wants to post political stuff, but he doesn't want anyone to comment that he doesn't agree with.  Surprise!

Date: 2008/09/20 14:01:28, Link
Author: Jkrebs
William Wallace asks,

Quote


William Wallace

09/20/2008

1:48 pm

What happened to the comments? Server malfunction?


He's got to be kidding - right?  What we have here is Dave malfunctioning - well, actually he is functioning more or less as normal, which appears to the rest of us as malfunctioning.

Date: 2008/09/21 08:45:39, Link
Author: Jkrebs
You can't fire me - I quit!

Quote
7 RichardOwen  09/21/2008 8:24 am

It looks like the comment I made was erased.


and

Quote
12 RichardOwen 09/21/2008 8:33 am

This website is waaaay too right-wing for me. I’m leaving.


Does this count as a banning?


Link and Link

Date: 2008/09/21 09:06:21, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Yep - looks like a guy can't even have the opportunity to voluntarily leave over there.

Date: 2008/09/21 11:58:21, Link
Author: Jkrebs
RichardOwen's last comment is now gone, also.  His comments have seemed to have had a lifespan of about an hour or so before extinction.

Date: 2008/09/21 13:50:35, Link
Author: Jkrebs
For the record, as it is undoubtedly short-lived:

Quote


sxussd13

09/21/2008

1:17 pm

Russ: If you are not sharing DaveScot’s political perspective you might mark down not to upset him cause you will be banned otherwise. That TB guy is already gone along with GodsiPod or so. Why are people being banned around here?

What would be really great though would be a nice banner on top of the UD site saying “Vote McCain/Palin ticket … the real change America needs!” or so.


Link

Date: 2008/09/21 16:43:18, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Robbie points out the truth about the Obama video, and throws in an editorial comment.  How will Dave take this?

Quote

4
Robbie
09/21/2008
4:36 pm

This is a video from JohnMcCain.com… not the Obama campaign or, fwiw, PZ’s site.

Propaganda much?



Link

Date: 2008/09/21 17:18:22, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Dave's tells it like it is:

Quote


17

DaveScot

09/21/2008

4:54 pm

sparc

Try to keep up. Allen MacNeil isn’t banned here. Jack Krebs doesn’t know his ass from his elbow in either biology or theology yet consumed vast quantities of bandwidth expressing his opinions in both. He simply took up too much time and space in correction. BobOH’s banning wasn’t my doing. As I recall he was snarky with Denyse one time too many and Bill Dembski’s chivalrous instinct got the better of him. In my experience Denyse has a thick enough skin to qualify for being “tough as nails” and doesn’t need protection. Snark rolls off her like water off a duck’s back. For the record I regret the loss of BobOH. He’s two faced, snarky, and not very bright but still represents the cream of the crop amongst our critics and I’d welcome him back.


What do you think Bob - Dave seems to have a pretty high opinion of you!


Link :)

Date: 2008/09/21 17:28:20, Link
Author: Jkrebs
The next post from Dave:

Quote


DaveScot

09/21/2008

5:12 pm

sparc

As a matter of fact, now that I’m thinking about it, Bill owes me one for unbanning Ted Davis. So I’m going to unban BobOH with same caveat:

BobOH - you’re unbanned but Bill Dembski has the last word so if you can’t keep him happy if he bans you again that’s it.


First of all, I didn't know Ted was unbanned.  Second, I've thought a bit about what would happen if Dave offered to unban me (which seems unlikely given the above post), but I think my considered response would be something along the line of a polite version of "Screw you."

And I don't usually have crude and rude responses like that.  But what Dave giveth Dave can taketh away, and I would have no interest in making myself again subject to the vicissitudes of his whimsical ego.  He has established himself as a little despotic tyrant in his playground, and he made a mockery of some of the central slogans the ID movement pretends to support - you know, teach the controversy, critically analyze ideas, look at both strengths and weaknesses - as well as some of the basic principles of civil discourse.

So I've thrown in my lot with the banned, and burned my bridges with UD - not that that makes any difference to Dave.

Date: 2008/09/21 19:23:25, Link
Author: Jkrebs
The rebellion continues:

Quote

8
GCUGreyArea
09/21/2008
6:26 pm

“…have lost the intellectual battle.”

!

I’d laugh if it wasn’t so tragic.

“Where do they find these clueless chuckleheads and how do they possibly get advanced degrees?”

Here is your answer DaveScot, you find them on Uncommon descent.

Well I guess that’s me expelled. No dissent allowed on uncommon descent.



Link

Date: 2008/09/21 20:11:15, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Dembski himself banishs GCUGreyArea:

Quote


William Dembski

09/21/2008

7:58 pm

GCUGreyArea: I think you’ll be happier elsewhere, so you have your wish. I didn’t delete your post, however, because it is instructive. The contempt you feel toward ID is the contempt I feel toward Darwinian materialism, only more so. What I find so offensive about that viewpoint is that it bills itself as the antidote to superstition, the only way to enlightenment, and therefore as justified in using any means whatsoever to advance itself.

Date: 2008/09/21 21:38:53, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Denyse speaks, but what does she mean?  Materialists can do no better than the story of Adam and Eve for explaining the origin of people because "people are people"?

Quote
Case in point: Apes are not people. Computers are not people. Cave men are not half people; they are just people with miserably basic, early technology. Only people are people.

Believe/don’t believe in Adam and Eve … but don’t anyone try telling me that there is a better materialist explanation out there. It just isn’t true.

I will have more to say on this.


Link

Date: 2008/09/22 20:29:33, Link
Author: Jkrebs
StephenB writes at UD:

Quote
If ID is committed to following where the evidence leads, it can’t make a prior commitment to an old earth.


Quoted here.

One of the things that gets me about StephenB is how - this is hard to describe - enamored he is of his belief that logic, "self-evident truths", and other bits of abstract reasoning can just impose themselves on reality.

Witness the above statement, to which I'd like to reply:

Stephen, no one has a "prior commitment" to an old earth.  The vast, vast majority of the world's scientists who know anything about this, including those from the past couple of centuries, believe that the earth is old because of the evidence!  For you to argue that the ID movement can't or shouldn't whole-heartedly accept this fact because, conceivably, the YEC's might be right, is stupid.

Date: 2008/09/23 16:30:20, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I think it's worth archiving this:

 
Quote

23 September 2008
Presidential Politics on Uncommon Descent
DaveScot

Many of you are wondering why the UD adminstration decided to take an aggressive stand promoting the McCain/Palin presidential ticket.

There are two reasons.

The first is that both Senator McCain and Governor Palin are on record supporting “teach the controversy”. Senator Obama is on the record against it. Our goal is not to vanquish the Darwinian narrative by legal chicanery. That’s a tactic our opponents employ. Our goal is to let young people in public schools hear both sides of the argument in a religiously neutral manner and thus stop the early indoctrination into the Darwinian narrative by presenting it in a vacuum devoid of criticism or alternative hypotheses.

The second reason is that our opponents in the academic halls of science are working very hard to promote the candidate sympathetic with their views and denigrate those who are not. We’ve simply decided that in this case our best interest lies in engaging the Darwinian science lobby under the rules of engagement they themselves have established.


Uh, perhaps you are referring to democracy, Dave?  Damn those people that have the audacity to work for the candidate of their choice because they like those candidates' positions on important subjects such as supporting mainstream science in the classroom.

Link

Date: 2008/09/24 19:23:19, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Rowan speaks up.  Will he last?

Quote
Get a grip. I’ve got lots of Obama supporting, Christian, moral friends, who care as much about life as you do. That’s like saying all Republicans are pro-death because they don’t support gun control laws.

At the end of the day, we all want to see ID get a fair hearing. We want to see the scientific mainstream wrestling with the scientific challenges of ID. So what’s going to make that happen? Is it going to be the endorsement of politicians like Bush and Palin who they have already dismissed as uninformed, religious fundamentalists. I really doubt it.

I think instead of demonizing one side of the polital spectrum, we need to be engaging with those who feel threatened by the ID camp’s apparent religious and political affiliations. Engaging only with the right, is pretty much preaching to the converted.

Date: 2008/09/24 21:59:29, Link
Author: Jkrebs
"I. should. have. flounced."

Or you could have ignored everyone else and focused on replying to Tom.

Your choice.

Date: 2008/09/27 19:05:47, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Over here, on a thread entitled ID is Not Science Because ..., DaveScot, after quoting Ernst Mayr about how Darwin's work contradicted the creationism of his time, says,

Quote
Huh. It appears like Darwin was testing scientific creationism and found evidence contrary to it.

So what is it. Is ID science or not science? It seems our opponents want to have their cake and eat it too by saying:

“ID is not science because it cannot be falsified or verified. And by the way, ID has been repeatedly tested and shown to be false.”


So what is it, Dave? Is ID the same as scientific creationism, or not?  Do you see that you just considered the two equivalent?  

Your last sentence continues the confusion.

Positive statements about what ID is, few as they are, are untestable - at least no one has been able to articulate such testable propositions and show how those tests are to be done.  The arguments for ID are flawed philosophical arguments, not testable scientific propositions.

Negative arguments against evolution, which are the bulk of what ID offers, are merely warmed over creationist arguments, and these arguments have been tested and been shown to be false.

So Dave's post seems a confused mess.  He first identifies scientific creationism with  ID (a position everyone over there works hard to deny), and then confuses arguments for ID with arguments against evolution.  The former are untestable and the latter are wrong.

I wonder if anyone over there will point out to him this equivalence of scientific creationism and ID, and I wonder if this post will stand as written.  We'll see.

Date: 2008/09/28 11:48:39, Link
Author: Jkrebs
From BarryA.  Is he serious?

Quote

94
BarryA
09/28/2008
11:13 am

DaveScot, I agree that God did a perfect job of making the universe appear to be very old, and that is my point. I can see no purpose in arguing with people who deny this fact or try to explain it away.



Link

Date: 2008/09/28 21:03:55, Link
Author: Jkrebs
This is a good point.  McCain should be profoundly embarrassed about choosing Palin, and yet he continues to defend her.  That's what's scary.

Date: 2008/10/01 21:22:44, Link
Author: Jkrebs
And his explanation.  This has nothing to with "indoctrination in Darwinism."  It has to do with hundreds and thousands of examples (virtually none of which ftk is even familiar with) in which traits exist within a nested hierarchy - something which is explained well by common descent and not explained at all by common design (other than perhaps the designer just wanted to do it that way.)

It's a simple point, and one supported by lots of evidence.

Date: 2008/10/02 11:41:20, Link
Author: Jkrebs
That's excellent.  Phrase of the Week!

Date: 2008/10/06 06:46:25, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Glad to see Sal taking the high road here, as always.  Kansas Center for Sewage - that's cute, Sal.  Is this an example of your scientific literacy - the kind of thing you learn how to say after having three (God willing, four) science degrees?

Date: 2008/10/06 10:05:46, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Hmmm.  Deleting one post and "is blocking my comments" seem like two different things to me.  Having done the former is not equivalent to doing the latter.

Date: 2008/10/06 11:56:48, Link
Author: Jkrebs
It seems to me obvious that if FtK wants Blipey off her blog all she has to do is not let any of his posts, ever, go though.  Declare him banned and be done with it.  Why is this so hard?

She can do this by moderating all posts to her blog - it's not like she gets hundreds per day.  If she doesn't have a way to ban him automatically, like though an ip address ... well, she just has to make a decision based on the resources she has at hand - that's the way life works for all of us.

So I don't understanding all the whining that is going on over here.  Why doesn't FtK just act and get this over with?

In psychology class we learn that intermittent conditioning is the strongest.  FtK, by sometimes moderating and sometimes not, sometimes not letting posts go through and sometimes not, she teaches everyone involved that moderation policies are erratic and whimsical, and thus people (Blipey included)  keep trying.  If she would just come to a decision and stick with it with consistency she could have things the way she says she wants them.

This is not hard to understand, I don't think.

Date: 2008/10/06 13:19:33, Link
Author: Jkrebs
But, FtK, there's no use whining and shouting about what can't be changed.  Whether you hate it or not is not the issue - whether you can solve the problem is the issue.  You either have to moderate everything, or let everything go through even though you don't like to, or use some different software that gives you more control, or not have a blog, or something. There is no perfect solution, so you have to decide where you priorities lie, and then decide what you want to do.  Yelling over here about Blipey's behavior is really not very pertinent.

Date: 2008/10/06 15:42:43, Link
Author: Jkrebs
FtK writes - and I think this is pretty hilarious -

Quote
I said I don't know yet if I accept common design.  I DON'T KNOW...ANY EVERYONE HERE SHOULD KNOW THAT BY NOW.  I TEND TO THINK IT'S A CROCK OF SHIT, BUT I'M NOT ENTIRELY CONVINCED OF THAT YET...HENCE ALL THE QUESTIONS.


Actually I think she is confused about whether she means common design or common descent in this paragraph, but I think "I TEND TO THINK IT'S A CROCK OF SHIT, BUT I'M NOT ENTIRELY CONVINCED OF THAT YET..." pretty adequately sums up what is so empty about her point of view.  This is one of those statements that sort of defies rational analysis, so it certainly puts the lie to her claims about being "open-minded" and "wanting to learn."  If you are tending towards thinking that something is a "crock of shit" it's pretty certain that you are not very open to any evidence or arguments that the something is in fact solid science.

Date: 2008/10/06 21:18:24, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I am curious about the fact that some people don't have an edit button.  Is this something that is actually activated on a case-by-case basis?  Are there criteria upon which this is based?  Is this a reasonable public question, or would someone like to explain via PM?

Thanks

Date: 2008/10/06 21:36:01, Link
Author: Jkrebs
FtK says,

Quote
it's perfectly acceptable to think something is a crock of shit and still look into every aspect of that friggin crock.


I find this more perverse and bizarre than "perfectly acceptable."  If one thinks something is a "crock of shit"*, then, as is amply demonstrated by FtK, one's investigation is likely to be nothing more than a continual discovery of more shit.  She doesn't really "look into" the friggin' crock with the intent of really understanding it, but rather merely with the intent of continually reinforcing her existing judgment.  She is a radical skeptic in respect to the issues we discuss, and no amount of evidence or argument is going to put a dent in her beliefs.  It's a crock of shit, and she knows it.  "Looking into it" is a disingenuous facade.

* I don't usually use crude language such as this, but the metaphor is such an apt expression for her attitude that I stuck with it.

Date: 2008/10/06 22:20:07, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Then why oh why do you keep interacting with him?  If you really want to bring this to an end,

1.  Quit posting here about and with him.

2.  Start throwing out every single one of his posts at your blog.

3.  Don't bother coming back over here to read what he has to say or to to see the posts that you block or delete at your blog.

Take responsibility for your own actions and quit trying to change someone else.

Now I will take my own advice and bow out of this situation.

Date: 2008/10/07 06:49:18, Link
Author: Jkrebs
FtK is a real person - some of us know who she is - and she isn't a Loki troll.

Date: 2008/10/07 06:52:27, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Thanks for the explanation about the edit button.

Date: 2008/10/08 13:10:16, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I'm in agreement with FtK here, for the most part.  FWIW and YMMV.

Date: 2008/10/08 15:12:38, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I should make it clear that I'm not for cutting science funding, but I do agree that there is a lot of stuff that could be/should be cut from the federal budget.  (I'm thinking of a war or two right off the top of my head.)

I also agree that teachers are way underpaid, and that NCLB has been a detriment to education. I also agree that some programs, like the spelling stuff that Ftk mentioned, are excessive and not well-balanced: there are times when you want to encourage fluency in young writers and therefore can tolerate inventive spelling, but you also need a solid strand of instruction in conventional spelling, and you need times when correct spelling in a finished product is expected.

However, I also know that the right wing often (usually?) exaggerates the flaws of public education and fails to put both our efforts and the challenges we face from the broader society into perspective. (IAAPSE, by the way - I am a public school educator.)

So I'm sure I'm not in total agreement with FtK concerning the post in question above, and I'm sure that we would differ on what parts of he budget we should cut.  I'm for education, health, and social services, for instance, and against war.

Date: 2008/10/09 07:03:18, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Dave tries to be funny:

Quote
Political Humor Contest
DaveScot

The contest is based on the old joke line “What do you get if you cross X with Y?”

Here’s my stab at it.

Q: What do you get when you cross Martin Luther King with John Fitzgerald Kennedy?
A: The person Barack Obama pretends to be.

Q:What do you get when you cross Jeremiah Wright with Bill Ayers?
A: The person Barack Obama really is.

Let me see some others in the same vein.

Date: 2008/10/12 08:20:46, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Probably ought to record this for posterity:

Quote


15

KeithDP

10/12/2008

1:26 am

Dave

I’ve never posted here before and I hesitate to do so now. I’m a supporter and fan of the I.D movement. I read the works of Denyse (whom I’ve met more than once) and Bill Dembski with great interest and promote them to friends.

But lately I regret that this site has become so blatantly political. Now I’m Canadian and I won’t be voting in your election, but naturally I’m interested in what the neigbours are doing.

Have you really banned Terry Fillups for his posts on this thread? That seems thin skinned in the extreme. I don’t think the ABC link disproves what he said which was,

“The question you are ignoring is the Palins association with the secessionist AIP.”

Now it is true that Sarah Palin was never a member but her husband was for six years (1995-2001), even if only a casual member. He is half of the Palins.

But what is not true is that the Alaska Independence Party is as you say:

“a native American party whose goal is to govern their own native lands”

Absolutely not true. You’ve been misinformed. The founder of the party (Google him)named Joe Vogler was a died in the wool secessionist. He is buried in Canada because he refused to be buried under the American flag and wished his corpse removed to Alaska only at such time as it is independant. He was certainly not just opposed to certain American institutions. In fact he died three weeks before he was to speak to the United Nations (1993)on the subject of Alaskan Independance, a speech sponsored by that bastion of free expression, the Mullahocracy of Iran.

Today while not every member of the AIP is a sessionist it seems clear that many of the rank and file are.

Try to find anything regarding native rights on their website:

http://www.akip.org/index.html

So suggesting that Terry Fillups (whom I don’t know from Adam) may be, “some sort of anti-Native American bigot” was baseless and unjust.

I can’t wait until this site rediscovers Intelligent Design and the study of Design in nature, or as I think of it: Creation.

With respect,

KeithDP



Link

Date: 2008/10/12 18:36:54, Link
Author: Jkrebs
At The Atlantic, Andrew Sullivan has this item:

Quote
The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin XIX: Abuse Of Power

The legislative report is very clear. Shall we review its findings in its own language? Finding Number One, released Friday afternoon:

   
Quote
For the reasons explained in section IV of this report, I find that Governor Sarah Palin abused her power by violating Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) of the Alaska Executive Branch Ethics Act. Alaska Statute 39.52.110(a) provides The legislature reaffirms that each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust.


Here is what vice-presdential nominee Sarah Palin said yesterday:

   
Quote
“There was no abuse of authority at all in trying to get Officer Wooten fired.

   In fact, remember, Officer Wooten is still an Alaska state trooper, which is up to the commissioner and the personnel top brass in the Department of Public Safety that decides who is worthy of a badge and carryin’ a gun in the state of Alaska. If they think that Trooper Wooten is worthy of that, that’s their decision. I don’t micromanage my commissioners and ask them to hire or fire anyone. And thankfully the truth was revealed there in that report that showed there was no unlawful or unethical activity on my part.”


At some point, the McCain campaign will realize that their veep candidate is a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic.

Again: this is the clear pattern with Palin: she publicly denies reality, insists on repeating that denial and is unable to deal with real world the way psychologically healthy people do. That's why I called her lies "odd lies." They are not the lies of a devious politician. They are much more troubling than that. They reflect a psyche unable to process fact when it conflicts with a delusional self-image. She is even worse in this psychotic denialism than Bush. She is a politician who can only survive in a propaganda state.

Link

Note the parts that I bolded.  They are a good description that I think apply to others in the creationist camp.

Date: 2008/10/13 08:45:14, Link
Author: Jkrebs
On the other hand, right-wing apologistas are A-OK, I'm sure.

But of course we're for strengths and weaknesses, critical thinking, teaching the controversy, etc.

Except when we aren't.

Hypocrites.

Date: 2008/10/19 09:15:58, Link
Author: Jkrebs
They appear to be gone already.  Dave is hard at work this morning.

Date: 2008/10/20 16:58:56, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Jerry writes,

Quote
When Jack Krebs was allowed to roam here, I would constantly pepper him with the “fact” that Darwinian macro evolution failed the Kansas science standards. He finally admitted that the only thing supporting Darwinian macro evolution was the opinion of experts and that he could not provide any scientific evidence to support it.


That's a nice phrase - "allowed to roam" - as if I were a buffalo or something, but a badly mixed metaphor, as the peppering is usually done after the buffalo is dead and therefore no longer roaming.

But anyway, I think it's pretty cheap of him to keep invoking his misunderstandings without me being there to reply.


http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelli....-296987

(Does any one know why the http:// button isn't working?)

Date: 2008/10/20 20:58:07, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Denyse's latest post: "Liberal fascism: What it is and why you should care?"

So much for too much politics.

Date: 2008/10/22 16:34:24, Link
Author: Jkrebs
William Wallace is good for a laugh:

Quote


William Wallace

10/22/2008

12:30 pm

We have many reasons to not vote for Obama/Biden. They are un-American in their views, as Michele Bachmann rightly noted. (She is getting so beat up lately that she has since backed down. It’s a shame).

Now I need a reason to vote for McCain/Palin. I have plenty of reasons to vote for Palin.

McCain should do the honorable thing, the one thing that would be best for our county, and fall on a grenade–figuratively speaking–that is, he should announce a few days before the election that he plans to resign 15 minutes after he is inaugurated. That will build some real excitement among the silent majority.


Yeah, Palin for President will really turn the campaign around.  Her campaign slogan could be "Four more years of Tina Fey!"

Date: 2008/10/22 21:41:20, Link
Author: Jkrebs
More politics at UD:

1  Apollos:

Quote
I’m predicting a McCain/Palin victory — that Americans awake, and show up in record numbers to prevent a domestic tragedy....  

We’ll wake up and recognize that we absolutely don’t want an anti-American, socialist, elitist in the White House.

I believe this, at least in part, because I believe that the office is established by God, and that the United States will stay on top until He’s ready to let Israel fall, more fully, victim to the Jew hatred that besets it.


2.  On the other hand, truthseeker, replying to Apollos, thinks God will let Obama win, saying

Quote
Apollos - I pray that God opens the eyes of U.S. citizens around the world to see that Obama is not what our nation needs. I hope that when people are finally alone – not being blinded by the media, friends, family, etc. that they will see McCain is the best option of the two.

The only way I have come to terms with the fact that Obama may win is because it would be a greater act of mercy on God’s part. Not that I could ever predict or interpret the heart of God, but in my opinion, that seems to be the only reason that Obama could win. The Bible clearly states that mankind chooses darkness over light, evil over good, sin over righteousness. If Obama wins by the vote of the people, I think it would bring those who still possess soft hearts to their knees BEFORE Christ returns rather than regret it afterwards.


3.  And, on another topics, StephenB tells us,

Quote
At this very moment, he [Obama] is headed for Hawaii to legitimize his illegitimate birth certificate under the pretext of visiting his grandmother. Naturally, the press, comprised both of the brainwashers and the brainwashed, will provide the requisite cover.


Who knows how God feels about this.

Anyway, I find all this rather astounding, but it's actually helping me understand the mindset of these IDists - if they genuinely think their God is busy paying attention to our elections, and that He will soon let Israel fall and Christ will return, etc., then it's no wonder they believe that "God did it" is a better explanation than evolutionary theory.

Date: 2008/10/23 14:45:24, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Borneagain77 waxes eloquent:

Quote
bornagain77

10/23/2008

1:49 pm

Dr. Dembski,
Since “Information”, in its pure form, has been conclusively shown to be transcendent, dom^in^ate, and “specific” of/to any energy/material basis by quantum teleportation experiments, and is also inferred, by contrasting to the first law, to be above destruction (or creation for that matter), should not the focus of science proper be to ascertain whether this “primal and specific” information of the universe was implemented onto a energy/matter basis by the willful disposition of a transcendent Being (God) or by the careless whim of a chance driven information basis..i.e. Given the overwhelming evidence against mutations ever generating CSI, should not the proper fight in science between evolution and ID be over whether this primal information, is alive or  de^ad ?


I love that: de^ad!  Why in the world does his nanny filter care about "dead."  And what's the point of the ^'s anyway?

And who said ID was about God? - why would Borneagain think that?, and why are the only two choices "God" and "careless whim"?

What a mess of thought?

Date: 2008/10/23 15:04:53, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Hmmm.  All of a sudden I can't edit.  The previous post was supposed to end with an "!", not a "?".

Date: 2008/10/23 17:01:07, Link
Author: Jkrebs
No more politics at UD.  Let's see if this works:

Quote
Focusing on ID at UD
William Dembski

The presidential election has loomed large here at UD over the past several weeks. After discussion with key UD administrators, we’ve agreed to set the election aside and put the focus here back on ID (and on topics directly pertinent to ID). Short of the presidential candidates raising ID, the election will no longer be a topic of discussion on this forum.

Date: 2008/10/30 10:40:38, Link
Author: Jkrebs
So after Dembski declared politics off limits, and said the site needed to get back on ID and things related to ID, Dave posts on global warming.  Good work, Dave.

Date: 2008/10/31 09:27:15, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Don't dare not think what Dave thinks:

Quote

19
DaveScot
10/31/2008
9:04 am

Frost

You have just about zero understanding of the carbon cycle. Don’t post anymore in this thread.

Date: 2008/11/01 08:33:56, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Here's a job for some of you with free time (and no need to get paid for your work.)

Quote
[Administrative:] Need Webmaster
William Dembski

Dear UD Community:

We need webmaster with the following skill set:

(1) Can move UD to new server.

(2) Can transfer the domain name.

(3) Can reconfigure some of the pages and layout.

(4) Can restore full WordPress functionality.

(5) Can remove old ads and install new ones.

For someone who knows what s/he is doing, it shouldn’t take more than a day and subsequent maintenance should be absolutely minimal. We need this free of charge or at cut-rate prices. Please contact me (I’m easily tracked down on the web).

–WmAD

Date: 2008/11/01 10:43:51, Link
Author: Jkrebs
If all those facts are true, that a pretty strong statement.

Date: 2008/11/02 07:34:53, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Sorry to get serious here, but in one of the three comments at UD yesterday, crandaddy links to a pretty interesting article, IMO, about the consciousness/materialism issue by someone named David Chalmers (who may be well known, but who I haven't heard of.)  This is short and succinct, so here's the whole thing:

Quote
The problem of consciousness meets "Intelligent Design"

It had to happen eventually.  The "hard problem" of consciousness is being invoked in favor of anti-Darwinist ideas such as "Intelligent Design".  Here's a key quote from an already infamous New Scientist article:

"According to proponents of ID, the "hard problem" of consciousness - how our subjective experiences arise from the objective world of neurons - is the Achilles heel not just of Darwinism but of scientific materialism. This fits with the Discovery Institute's mission as outlined in its "wedge document", which seeks "nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies", to replace the scientific world view with a Christian one."

The reporter contacted me to ask for a comment when she was writing the article.  I told her that like many other scientists and philosophers (even people like Steven Pinker!), I have serious doubts about the possibility of a materialist explanation of consciousness, but that those doubts do little to support a religious agenda or intelligent design.  I declined to be quoted on the record, though, because of the danger of being taken out of context as supporting the movement.  Perhaps this was a mistake, as the article doesn't do a good job of separating the issues.  I'd hate to see the consciousness/materialism issue and the design/theism issue run together in the popular imagination.  As Peter Hankin says amusingly at Conscious Entities:

"Oh boy: if there was one thing the qualia debate didn't need, it was a large-scale theological intervention. Dan Dennett must be feeling rather the way Guy Crouchback felt when he heard about the Nazi-Soviet pact: the forces of darkness have drawn together and the enemy stands clear at last!"

Anyway, let's get things straight.  The problem of consciousness is indeed a serious challenge for materialism.  In fact, I think it's a fatal problem for materialism, as I've argued at length here and there.  But it simply isn't a problem for Darwinism in the same way. Even if one rejects materialism about consciousness, Darwinism can accommodate the resulting view straightforwardly.

The simplest way to see this is to note that the "hard problem" does nothing to suggest that consciousness doesn't lawfully depend on physical processes, at least in the sense that certain physical states are reliably associated with certain states of consciousness in our world.  Even if materialism is rejected, there is still good reason to believe that there is such a dependence, via laws of nature that connect physical processes and consciousness.  But if so, there is no problem at all with the idea that evolution can select certain physical states, which yield certain states of consciousness.  If interactionist dualism (on which consciousness has a causal role) is true, evolution might even select for certain states of consciousness because of their beneficial effects. And if epiphenomenalism (on which consciousness has no causal role) is true, consciousness can still arise by evolution as a byproduct.  Perhaps the thought that consciousness is a byproduct is unattractive, but if so the problem lies with epiphenomenalism, not with evolution.

So I think there is very little support for anti-Darwinist ideas to be found here. I think there's also not much support for theist ideas: of course traditional theism requires that materialism be false, but the falsity of materialism does little to positively suggest that theism is true.  As for intelligent design, I'm on the record as saying that I can't rule out the hypothesis that we're living in a computer simulation, so I suppose that it follows that I can't rule out the hypothesis that our world is designed.  But there's not much here to support traditional theism or to oppose Darwinism, and whatever support there is doesn't come from the problem of consciousness.  In any case, I hope that these issues remain firmly separated, as they should.



Link

Date: 2008/11/02 07:38:29, Link
Author: Jkrebs
And P.S., Dembski has found his new tech guy for UD, so you all can quit polishing your resumes.

Date: 2008/11/02 07:49:05, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Bad news for the right-wing anti-Obama conspiricists: Obama has a valid birth certificate

Quote
Obama's Birth Certificate Verified By Hawaii Officials
Health Department Receives Multiple Requests For Copies

HONOLULU -- Hawaii's state's Department of Health director on Friday released a statement verifying the legitimacy of Sen. Barack Obama birth certificate, KITV reported.

The state has received multiple requests for a copy of Obama's birth certificate. State law does not allow officials to release the birth certificate of a person to someone outside of the family.

There were rumors that Obama was born in Kenya, where his father is from. The Constitution requires that the president be a natural born citizen of the U.S.

While many sites and news organizations have released copies provided by the Obama campaign, the rumors have persisted.

"There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate. State law (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes §338-18) prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record," DOH Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said.

State officials said Saturday they have personally verified that the health department holds Obama's original birth certificate.

"Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai‘i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai‘i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures," Fukino said.

Multiple lawsuits were filed in several states to try and force Obama to provide proof of citizenship.


Link

Date: 2008/11/05 07:07:49, Link
Author: Jkrebs
The advertisements are all Dembski and O'Leary's books, not those wacko novels that have been there for so long.  And the logo just says "Serving the ID Community."

Date: 2008/11/07 06:49:10, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Denyse writes,

Quote
Changes at Uncommon Descent
O'Leary

Some kind readers may have noticed that we have been changing things around a bit here at Uncommon Descent.

We are retooling the blog to serve you, our community, better, and will let you know of key developments as they come on stream.


Yes, we've noticed that it no longer says it's Dembski and O'Leary's blog but all the ads are now just for their books, that no one is commenting on anything, that DaveScot has disappeared, and that some of the most egregious anti-Obama posts seems to have disappeared also.  Just exactly how this will all serve the ID community better remains to be seen.

Date: 2008/11/07 19:48:59, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Quote-mining in action.  idnet.com.au starts a quote from a post in the Guardian thusly:

Quote
“The Muslim holy book is the Qur’an, Christians have the Bible. My atheist eyes are … inspired to return to the book that forms the basis of all subsequent study of life, and altered the position of man in the universe for ever.


What did the author actually write?

Quote
Comment is free has been running an intriguing series in recent weeks, called Blogging the Qur'an. In it, Ziauddin Sardar writes about the contemporary meaning of the Muslim holy book. Blogging the Qur'an itself was inspired by David Plotz Blogging the Bible in the online magazine Slate. Although I am familiar with the Bible, the Qur'an remains cryptic and confusing to my atheist eyes, so it is enlightening to learn about this text. But it has inspired me to return to the book that forms the basis of all subsequent study of life, and altered the position of man in the universe for ever.


Note that part of what was quoted by idnet was not even in the regular article, and note that ellipsis bizarrely distorts the way the phrase "atheist eyes" was used by the author.

This is intellectual dishonesty via quote-mining

The article goes on to make a strong statement about the strength of evolutionary theory.

So what is the first comment?

Quote


1

FtK

11/07/2008
7:08 pm
Some things never change…

The Greeks and Roman heathen also boasted of their wisdom and held the rest of the world in contempt, but at the same time their idolatry showed their utter folly.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”

~Romans 1:18-23


Glad to see UD back to having good constructive discussions about science.  :-)

Date: 2008/11/11 06:46:27, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Excellent point.

Date: 2008/11/11 12:36:46, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Things are picking up - Dave seems determined to rock the boat, posting on "Would you want your daughter to marry a Branch Davidian."  Allanius responds:

Quote


allanius
11/11/2008
1:20 pm

Would you want your child to marry Dave Scott?

As a doting parent, please rank the following in terms of marriage eligibility:

Matt Damon
Eli Manning
Richard Dawkins
Bill Gates
Dave Scott
Adolph Hitler
Boy George
Barack Obama
George W. Bush
Andrew Sullivan
Kurt Cobain
Charles Darwin (what’s in that beard??)


And over on the "Would you want your child to marry an atheist thread, Dave responds to Barry with this:

Quote


30

DaveScot
11/11/2008
12:48 pm

Barry

Would you be a bad person if you didn’t believe God wanted you to be a good person?

If forgiveness and everlasting life is available through Christ even for miscreants who rape, torture, and kill children where’s the disincentive in your religion for raping, torturing, and killing children? It seems to me that secular law is the source of the disincentives and your concept of universal forgiveness acts as an incentive.

How do you handle the cognitive dissonance in that?


I think we better be saving these threads before they disappear.

Date: 2008/11/11 15:09:10, Link
Author: Jkrebs
For the record, as the thread lasted barely an hour.  There may have been more.

Quote
Would you want your child to marry a Branch Davidian?
DaveScot

Personally, I’d rather my child married an atheist than quite a large number of alternatives.

Feel free to suggest other less savory alternatives in the comments.

This entry was posted Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 at 12:12 pm and is filed under Eyes Rolling, Religion. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

6 Responses
1
tragicmishap
11/11/2008
12:13 pm
Dogs.  


2
Collin
11/11/2008
12:34 pm
what is this referring too?

3
faithandshadow
11/11/2008
12:49 pm
DaveScot = bigot.

4
DaveScot
11/11/2008
12:55 pm
faithandshadow: Less so than you, to be sure.

5
tragicmishap
11/11/2008
1:16 pm
Chickens?

6
allanius
11/11/2008
1:20 pm
Would you want your child to marry Dave Scott?

As a doting parent, please rank the following in terms of marriage eligibility:

Matt Damon
Eli Manning
Richard Dawkins
Bill Gates
Dave Scott
Adolph Hitler
Boy George
Barack Obama
George W. Bush
Andrew Sullivan
Kurt Cobain
Charles Darwin (what’s in that beard??)

Date: 2008/11/11 15:11:22, Link
Author: Jkrebs
And Dave has a nice retort to Barry:

Quote


38

DaveScot
11/11/2008
3:48 pm

Barry

Yeah, I’ve yet to run into anyone who had the time to explain to me how the “strawman” of universal forgiveness works to discourage behavior that most theists and atheists alike find abhorrent. Buddhists have a great explanation. If you act like a worm in this life you come back as a worm in the next life.

Let me know when you have more time.

Date: 2008/11/14 09:40:07, Link
Author: Jkrebs
And will there be a bannination button?  I don't think Dave and Barry got along very well - will all Dave's bannations be unbanned?  And does bannation have two n's?  And what is Barry going to do to increase readership and better serve the community?  Will right-wing politics now be OK to write about?  So many questions.

Date: 2008/11/16 08:30:43, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Quote
No atheist/theist slugfests here
DaveScot

I deleted a recent post by Bill Dembski, another by Gil Dodgen, and another by IDNET that appeared to serve no purpose other than antagonizing atheists. This is not “serving the ID community”.

Theism and atheism are bound to come up in discussion here but the science (or art if you don’t believe it’s science) of design detection is not informed by theistic or atheistic belief so these should come up infrequently and when they do, if the conversation becomes disrespectful or proselytizing or antagonistic, the material is going to disappear.


Wow - so much for a looser moderation policy.  Dave just wiped out three whole threads, some of which had some pretty interesting discussion.

Ironically, the first three comments and other places now have a Google Ads line on them, and currently the five ads are for Atheist God, The Atheist, Argument, Religion, and Atheist Men.  What's Dave going to do - ban Google?

Added in Edit: and there is now a bunch of Google ads above the recent comments.  Looks like "serving the ID Community" means "make more money."

Date: 2008/11/16 09:45:04, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Yep - looser moderation policy.  Looks like the same ol', same ol' to me.

Date: 2008/11/16 11:30:22, Link
Author: Jkrebs
So now Barry has stepped in and corrected Dave about whether atheism/theism discussions are OK:

Dave

Quote
Theism and atheism are bound to come up in discussion here but the science (or art if you don’t believe it’s science) of design detection is not informed by theistic or atheistic belief so these should come up infrequently


Barry

Quote
As long as the discussion is intellectual and not a personal “slugfest,” an analysis of the implications of ID and materialist Darwinism for theism/atheism will not only be allowed but encouraged.


And on the other hand, we (and Dave) are informed that global warming is off limits as a topic:

Quote
But we have decided that global warming discussions are not within our mission, and we will no longer post on that topic.


Looks like two strikes against Dave this morning.

Date: 2008/11/17 10:18:50, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Any bets on whether Dave comes back or not?  Is the shakeup really over?

Date: 2008/11/17 13:12:02, Link
Author: Jkrebs
For the record:

Quote
9

DaveScot

11/17/2008

1:56 pm

This was essentially a decision on my part that it would take up too much of my time to continue effective moderation of the site under relaxed rules.

The “crisis” I warned about by mimicing Joe Biden’s infamous “test the mettle of the new guy” gaffe was anticipation of a rush by gratuitous religion bashers and design deniers to see what disruption and inflammatory comments they could get away with. Keeping the current polite dialog going in such an environment is more work than I’m prepared to take on. Under the previous rules it was only taking a few minutes of targeted intervention each day. That’s solely, IMO, a result of the ruthless moderation policy established by Bill Dembski in the first months of UD and carried on by me in the subsequent few years with his almost constant approval, support, and trust in my judgement.

Bill is an extraordinary person who has earned my utmost respect and loyalty over the years and with me respect and loyalty like that isn’t given easily. I wish him and everyone else here success and fulfillment in everything they choose to pursue.

I’ll be restricting my outward participation here to an occasional science blog and will continue behind the scenes in an advisory capacity as time permits.

Date: 2008/11/17 16:03:24, Link
Author: Jkrebs
The ultimate ID argument from that epitome of logical thinking, StephenB.  We can close up shop because ID has won.

Quote


27

StephenB

11/17/2008

2:35 pm

[A] walked into a room with [B] and both observed a red ball on a table.

[A] Asks the question: “Look! There is a red ball on the table, how did it get there?

[B] responds, “What do you mean, how did it get there? Obviously, someone put it there.” Case closed.

Now, blow up the ball the size of a basketball, and ask the question again. How did it get there? Nothing has changed, of course, except the size of the ball. The argument is no less compelling. In fact, it is unassailable.

Now blow the ball up to the size of a room, then to the size of the earth, then to the size of the Sun. Has anything changed other than the size of the ball? No.

Now blow the ball up to the size of the universe, and spackle it with stars, clusters, and galaxies. Has the argument changed? No. The ball has just gotten larger and more decorative, that’s all. Obviously, someone put it there. Anyone who cannot grasp this is either logically or psychologically challenged.


Added in edit: I kid you not - this is for real.  I'm not sure I would write something this dumb if I were trying to make up dumb stuff to make fun of ID arguments.

Date: 2008/11/17 16:22:12, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Quote
The post in which DS announced that he had deleted some posts has been deleted.


The irony is astounding.  Did I already mention that the Friday meltdown seems to have come early and often this week.

Date: 2008/11/18 21:37:12, Link
Author: Jkrebs
On the Change at UD thread, an Ode to Dembski:

Quote


22
DougieBear
11/18/2008
10:08 pm

Even if I swim in the sea.
Or decide to plant some peas.

You will always be # 1
By me.

Dougie.


Where is moderation when we need it.

Date: 2008/11/19 17:57:33, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Even with the new looser moderation policy, I don't think DougieBear is long for this world.

Quote


2
DougieBear
11/19/2008
6:37 pm

The fact that Dr. Dembski has jumped ship is very disturbing.

What is happening to us Dr. Nelson?

I thought Expelled was supposed to help us.

- Doug

3

DougieBear
11/19/2008
6:39 pm

Since the liberals run congress maybe they will put all us ID’rs into concentration camps.

4

DougieBear
11/19/2008
6:49 pm

Why don’t we organize a touch football game with some of the pro-gay marriage protesters out in California?

Date: 2008/11/21 17:17:15, Link
Author: Jkrebs
StephenB has this to say about scientists.  Just thought all you scientists out there might like to know what he thinks about you all.

Quote
It is the vital few scientists, the minority, that drive most of the new discoveries. The others are just dutiful little worker bees that cling to the status quo and use the power of inert institutions to justify their existence.

Date: 2008/11/24 11:44:27, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Nooooo - kairosfocus is back!

Date: 2008/11/24 11:54:11, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Barry tries to be funny, I guess, or sarcastic, or something:

Quote


How about:

“Some readers might be tempted to infer from the data we have presented that an intelligent agent somehow played a role in [insert as appropriate "bringing about the irreducibly complex system described herein” or “creating the highly complex and specified information investigated herein”]. The authors hereby certify that creating this temptation was not their purpose in writing the [article, book, etc.]. Any such temptation is a wholly unintended side effect of the work, and it is devoutly to be wished that all who read it will be sensible enough to resist the siren’s song of nasty unscientific “design-ism.” We do not subscribe to “design-ist” views and consider all who do to be ignorant rubes.

“The authors further wish to assure their employers (and any future prospective employers) and government agencies/private foundations considering making grants to fund our research, that we have strived mightily to hew as closely as possible to the materialist orthodoxy which is at the core of the received wisdom we venerate so much. If we expressed an original or independent thought, we apologize profusely and assure one and all that it will not happen again. We are content in our serfdom. Indeed, each of us has erected a shrine to materialism in our home, where daily we prostrate ourselves before a framed 8X10 glossy photograph of the smiling visage of our great Overlord, Master, and Munificent Benefactor Richard Dawkins, and fortnightly we light a candle to venerate the memory of St. Charles.”

Date: 2008/11/26 08:28:51, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Retired non-moderator Dave steps in and moderates.  I knew this couldn't last.

Quote
gpuccio & kairosfocus

I’m sorry but I deleted your very long comments. When I have to scroll through pages and pages and pages of a single comment to get to the next one that comment is not going to survive. Next time you need that much space figure out a way to link to the bulk of it offsite. Thanks.


Link

Date: 2008/11/26 09:30:37, Link
Author: Jkrebs
gpuccio is not pleased.  I'd be pissed.

Quote


gpuccio
11/26/2008
10:15 am
Dave,

I hope you have not deleted my review of that paper permanently, because I did not have a copy. If it still exists on the serve, could you please send me a copy of the text by e-mail?

Please notice that I have never been aware of any guideline against long comments. I would have appreciated if you had informed me before deleting the text.

Date: 2008/11/26 10:32:13, Link
Author: Jkrebs
If Dave just unpublished the comment he should still have it, but whether he will be so kind as to find it for gpuccio remains to to be seen.

Date: 2008/11/26 16:30:43, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Dan Hicks lives!

Date: 2008/11/27 09:08:44, Link
Author: Jkrebs
It probably comes as no surprise, but now Barry's post banning Jack is gone.

Date: 2008/11/27 09:47:58, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I took a look at KF's website that he linked to, and there are no comments to any of his posts.  The guy exists in a self-indulgent vacuum.

Date: 2008/11/27 10:39:58, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Is there any way to get either this site or Uncommon Descent to do the RSS feed thing (which I know nothing about) so I would get notified of new posts?  Any help explaining how RSS feeds work would be much appreciated.

Date: 2008/11/27 15:27:08, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Thanks, JLT.  That's exactly what I wanted to know.  I'm using my email client, Mail on a Mac, and I needed the URL you rpovided for UD comments.  It all got setup easily and in moments.

Date: 2008/11/27 15:41:43, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Oops - spoke too soon.  New posts are being made here and yet my RSS feed reader doesn't see them even when I update manually.  Should they be immediately available from this site?

Date: 2008/11/27 16:24:53, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Things are coming in now.  I set my RSS to check every five minutes.  This is quite handy, as I have my email open all the time.  Thanks to all for the help.

Date: 2009/03/15 15:33:19, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Quote

Note to UD Contributors
Barry Arrington

The moderation policy does not apply to you; you are held to a higher standard. I expect your posts to have at least some tangential relationship to Darwinism, ID, or the metaphysical or moral implications of each. The purpose of this site is not to provide a place for you to jump up and rant on one of your pet peeves.  DaveScot will no longer be posting at UD.


And a comment which is no longer there.

Quote

2
David Kellogg
03/15/2009
3:15 pm
I’d really like to understand what “higher standard” is met by the recent posts smearing Darwin and insinuating that evolutionary biology is racist and/or that evolutionary biologists are probably racists if they don’t respond to Denyse’s ultimatum.

Date: 2009/03/15 19:59:11, Link
Author: Jkrebs
From Allen MacNeill, on the grounds that Barry isn't going to like it very well, so it might need a permanent home:

Quote

Allen_MacNeill
03/15/2009
7:31 pm
Darwin also wrote this about the human “races”:

“Although the existing races of man differ in many respects, as in colour, hair, shape of skull, proportions of the body, &c., yet if their whole organisation be taken into consideration they are found to resemble each other closely in a multitude of points. Many of these points are of so unimportant or of so singular a nature, that it is extremely improbable that they should have been independently acquired by aboriginally distinct species or races. The same remark holds good with equal or greater force with respect to the numerous points of mental similarity between the most distinct races of man. The American aborigines, Negroes and Europeans differ as much from each other in mind as any three races that can be named; yet I was incessantly struck, whilst living with the Fuegians on board the “Beagle,” with the many little traits of character, shewing how similar their minds were to ours; and so it was with a full-blooded negro with whom I happened once to be intimate.” (http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?itemID=F937.1&viewtype=side&pageseq=244)

And this:

“Now when naturalists observe a close agreement in numerous small details of habits, tastes and dispositions between two or more domestic races, or between nearly-allied natural forms, they use this fact as an argument that all are descended from a common progenitor who was thus endowed; and consequently that all should be classed under the same species. The same argument may be applied with much force to the races of man.” (http://darwin-online.org.uk/content/frameset?itemID=F937.1&viewtype=side&pageseq=244)

Most evolutionary biologists today freely admit that Darwin was a racist by today’s standards, although even by 19th century standards, his racism was very mild. But that hasn’t been acknowledged by Arrington and O’Leary. Instead, they keep on posting the same idea over and over again, without ever responding to evidence that shows unequivocally that evolutionary biologists today are not racists, nor does the modern theory of evolution contain anything that might be used to support racist ideologies.

It’s kind of like tag-team wrestling: O’Leary keeps posting until the opposition gets too tough, and then she tags Arrington, who posts the same old same old over again. So, once more into the breach, good friends, once more:

At this year’s Darwin Bicentennial Celebration at Cornell the department of ecology and evolutionary biology co-sponsored a panel discussion on “Evolution and Racism”. All four of the panelists, two of whom were African Americans (three were evolutionary biologists and one was a sociologist) agreed that by today’s standards Darwin and most of his contemporaries were racists. And they also pointed out that evolutionary biologists today – people like Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin, Will Provine, and Robert Trivers – are among the strongest and most vocal opponents of racism, especially “scientific racism”. You can read about it here:

http://www.google.com/calendar.....a/New_York

Two years ago I served on a panel at the Cornell Darwin Day Celebration that dealt with “Evolution and Eugenics”. All four of the panelists (three evolutionary biologists and a Tallman Prize winner) agreed that Darwin’s ideas were used by eugenicists to justify their heinous policies. They also pointed out that prominent evolutionary biologists were among the members of the UNESCO panel that issued the United Nations’ 1950 statement on eugenics and race, which condemned both in the strongest of terms, and that virtually no evolutionary biologist has actively supported eugenics since 1945. You can read about it here:

http://www.news.cornell.edu/st.....n.lgk.html

Now admittedly, the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell is not “a world association of evolutionary biologists”. However, it is widely recognized as one of the premier institutions of its kind in the world. We’ve done what O’Leary has asked for. Why hasn’t she acknowledged this?

How about this statement:

“The simple fact remains: there is no “inferior” race; the genetic differences between races are trivial.”

This statement comes from the National Center for Science Education, as part of a report on “Racism and the Public’s Perception of Evolution”, available online here:

http://ncseweb.org/rncse/22/3/.....-evolution

(paragraph 31, second sentence)

Even ID supporters might be willing to admit that the NCSE is a “world-recognized organization of evolutionary biologists”. After all, they complain about the immense political power of the NCSE, and the fact that virtually all evolutionary biologists agree with their organization’s views, including the one quoted above. Seems pretty definitive to me. Apparently not so to Arrington and O’Leary. Why not?

There have also been multiple sessions at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meetings on this and related subjects, which have condemned the use of evolutionary biology to support racism.

Last, but not least, one could also read The Mismeasure of Man, perhaps the strongest indictment of “scientific racism” published in the second half of the 20th century, by Stephen Jay Gould, one of the premier evolutionary biologists of the 20th century, and a tireless opponent of racism and the perversion of evolutionary science for political means.

I made a prediction in O’Leary’s last thread on this subject: that she would not acknowledge any of the evidence I posted to support the assertion that evolutionary biologists today are no more racists than, say, physicists or chemists today.

But that’s clearly not the point, is it? The point is to assert over and over again (without supporting evidence) that evolutionary theory leads directly and inevitably toward racism, eugenics, and the Nazi holocaust. This, despite the fact that even some of the partisans on their side have pointed out that this clearly isn’t the case, and that their incessant harping on this subject isn’t advancing the science of ID one iota.

So, when responding to this kind of ad hominem “guilt by association” argument in past threads, I’ve challenged them to name ten contemporary evolutionary biologists who are racists (and I’ve even given them one to get them started). But, to be fair, I’ve also pointed out on numerous occasions that their favorite world view (i.e. Christianity) has also been perverted by evil people for evil ends.

So, in the interests of fairness, here’s just a few examples (sorry about the Godwin, but I guess it’s inevitable):

While Hitler uses the word “evolution” in Mein Kampf, it is clear that he is not referring to Darwin’s theory. Indeed, he never mentions Darwin at all. In fact, a look at his writings reveals his sentiments on the subject to be those of an orthodox creationist.

Like a creationist, Hitler asserts fixity of kinds:

“The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger.” - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. xi.

Like a creationist, Hitler claims that God made man:

“For it was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties.” - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. x.

Like a creationist, Hitler affirms that humans existed “from the very beginning”, and could not have evolved from apes:

“From where do we get the right to believe, that from the very beginning Man was not what he is today? Looking at Nature tells us, that in the realm of plants and animals changes and developments happen. But nowhere inside a kind shows such a development as the breadth of the jump , as Man must supposedly have made, if he has developed from an ape-like state to what he is today.” - Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Tabletalk (Tischgesprache im Fuhrerhauptquartier).

Like a creationist, Hitler believes that man was made in God’s image, and in the expulsion from Eden:

“Whoever would dare to raise a profane hand against that highest image of God among His creatures would sin against the bountiful Creator of this marvel and would collaborate in the expulsion from Paradise.” - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol ii, ch. i.

Like a creationist, Hitler believes that:

“God … sent [us] into this world with the commission to struggle for our daily bread.” - Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, vol ii, ch. xiv.

Like a creationist, Hitler claims Jesus as his inspiration:

“My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them.” - Adolf Hitler, speech, April 12 1922, published in My New Order.

Like a creationist, Hitler despises secular schooling:

“Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith . . . we need believing people.” - Adolf Hitler, Speech, April 26, 1933.

Hitler even goes so far as to claim that Creationism is what sets humans apart from the animals:

“The most marvelous proof of the superiority of Man, which puts man ahead of the animals, is the fact that he understands that there must be a Creator.” - Adolf Hitler, Hitler’s Tabletalk (Tischgesprache im Fuhrerhauptquartier).

Hitler does not mention evolution explicitly anywhere in Mein Kampf. However, after declaring the fixity of the fox, goose, and tiger, as quoted above, he goes on to talk of differences within species:

“[T]he various degrees of structural strength and active power, in the intelligence, efficiency, endurance, etc., with which the individual specimens are endowed.” Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. xi.

So, like a creationist and ID supporter, there is some evolution he is prepared to concede — evolution within species, or “microevolution”, to which people like Phillip Johnson and Michael Behe have no objection. It is on the basis of the one part of evolutionary theory which creationists accept that Hitler tried to find a scientific basis for his racism and his program of eugenics.

Ergo, Hitler did not base his eugenic and genocidal policies on evolutionary theory, but rather on views that are very similar to those held by most creationists and many ID supporters.

Date: 2009/03/16 19:19:44, Link
Author: Jkrebs
This is great.  

Quote


68

R. Martinez

03/16/2009

7:04 pm

Sparc (#51): “I will miss DaveScot who has been banned from here just because he tried to keep UD connected with reality.”

Once again, you have misunderstood.

I am sorry to have to tell you that DaveScot was a double agent who forgot his mission (misrepresent ID). His intellectual inferiority caused him to lose composure and lash out against his Christian opponents with very ugly slander.

Ray


Link

Date: 2009/03/19 20:48:42, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Good job, RB, even though Joe won't get it.

Date: 2009/03/22 07:33:55, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Quote
Onlookers:

It is now sadly evident that the much over-used evolutionary materialist advocate selective hypersketicism threadjacking tactic of red herrings led out to ad hominem soaked strawmen and onward to ignition that clouds and poisons the rtmopsphere for sertious discussion has reached the stage of turnabout accusations in this thread.


This must be self-parody. That guy is nuts.

Link

Date: 2009/03/22 22:18:57, Link
Author: Jkrebs
As hazel points out in her disclaimer, yes the real situation is more complicated because you have all 28 slots subject to change each time, and she just focused on one letter.  And yes, I think if you chucked out all the probabilities for all 28 letters each generation, the case would be stronger - but the math would be horrendous, and certainly not lead itself to a blog post meant to convince everyone why latching isn't necessary to account for the evidence in Dawkin's book.  However by focusing on just one letter she was able to make a case that clearly gets the point across.

Date: 2009/03/23 20:08:39, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Someone named Sal gal, who appears to be knowledgeable, takes the risk of calling out Dembski directly - note the last line.  Here it is, just in case.

Quote


Dawkins evidently did not know, almost 25 years ago, that he had implemented an evolution strategy (ES). This does not give us license to ignore today that the Weasel program is an instance of an ES.

The shortcoming in the Weasel program is not in the ES, but in the fitness function. No evolutionist believes that the (un-)fitness of an organism is its distance in some space from a target.

The ES itself knows nothing about targets. It knows only that the solution space is the set of all length-28 sequences of uppercase letters and blanks. The ES passes candidate solutions to the fitness function, in which the details of the problem are hidden from the ES proper. The Weasel fitness function may be written

w(s) = 28 - Hamming(s, T),

where s is the candidate solution (a sentence of 28 letters and blanks), T is the target sentence, and Hamming(s, T) is the Hamming distance — the number of mismatches — between s and T. The ES uses the fitness values w(s) of progeny s to select the parent of the next generation, but has no “idea” how w(s) is computed.

In short, you get Dawkins’ Weasel program by plugging a particular fitness function into a generic ES. I can see only propaganda purposes in attacking the Weasel program instead of the combination of generic ES and fitness function. Do Dembski and Marks really want to make scholarly contributions to evolutionary informatics, or do they seek instead to make a big show of setting up and knocking over an ancient straw man?

The Weasel fitness function is very similar to one of the more heavily studied functions in the theory of evolutionary computation. The only difference between the Weasel function and the ONEMAX function is that ONEMAX restricts the characters to 0’s and 1’s, and the target is all 1’s. It’s a fair guess that some, if not most, ONEMAX analyses generalize easily to non-binary alphabets. In other words, there is quite body of theory to draw upon in analysis of an ES operating with the Weasel fitness function.

I believe that Dembski and Marks have known for quite some time that the Weasel program is an ES. So what game is Dembski playing? If you are a legitimate scholar and you know that you are analyzing an ES, you go to the ES literature to find prior analyses. You certainly do not conceal the prior work by making up new terminology like “proximity search” and “locking.”

I call shenanigans.


Link

Date: 2009/03/24 10:30:25, Link
Author: Jkrebs
PotDay, so far, at least.  Very good.

Date: 2009/03/25 13:24:29, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Ah, John Davison ...

Quote
I came here to Uncommon Descent specifically to offer an antidote to the atheist inspired Darwinian mysticism being presented by Allen MacNeill. So what does MacNeill do? He promptly disappears. I will let others interpret his departure as they choose. I ssy he didn’t have the stomach for a confrontation. I will continue my pursuit of Allen MacNeill at his weblog - “The Evolution List” as I recently linked.

I thank Uncommon Descent for giving me the opportunity to evoke this expected reaction.

Why don’t you now invite P.Z. Myers or Richard Dawkins to present their versions of the great mystery of phylogeny? I am itching to take them on as well. Only by inviting them can you have the pleasure of seeing them decline.

It doesn’t get any better than this.


What an addition to UD.


Link

Date: 2009/03/25 15:53:26, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Hi.

Date: 2009/03/26 22:20:27, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Wonderful.  What is there not to get?

Date: 2009/03/29 14:07:38, Link
Author: Jkrebs
For the record, and the irony:

After another typical kairosfocus post, hazel wrote,
   
Quote
KF, you are incorrigibly long-winded, verbose, convoluted, and unable to stay on any one topic.

Kairos, be a gem and focus. :)

Link

This apparently was too much for Patrick, who wrote,
   
Quote
In any case, this thread is degenerating into a mud-slinging contest so I’m ending it.

Thus endeth the thread.

However the thread lives on: Over here Jerry writes, “Hey, we have a new form of evolution. The Weasel program discussion keeps morphing from thread to thread.”

I’ll point out that all the discussion about Weasel is taking place on threads that Dembski himself started.  This hasn’t been evolution, it’s been intelligent [?] design!

Date: 2009/03/30 14:14:59, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Clive stands up to Davison:

Quote
No childish name calling will be tolerated here John. I’m serious. And secondly, the merits of the arguments stand or don’t stand on their own. You’re welcome to demand no anonymity on your own blog, you’re not welcome to demand it here as a prerequisite to commenting. Let this be a warning.

Link

Date: 2009/03/30 20:07:39, Link
Author: Jkrebs
This is all just fancier versions of stuff Calvert has been saying for years: it's verbose and worthless.

And why are comments closed?  That's very unusual.

Date: 2009/04/02 13:31:47, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Absolutist clears things up:

Quote
There are things in this world we simply know to be true without knowing how we know them. Knowing that I exist for example, that I want a Nutella Crêpe or desire to hug my son right now, is a fact I do know, and I do not need to know how I know it. There is no scientific data necessary. I simply know it. I can look at a giraffe and simply know that it is not the result of chance. Trying to tell us that we cannot know things without empirical evidence is a lie.


Link

Date: 2009/04/04 13:48:15, Link
Author: Jkrebs
His obsequiousness hides his inner slimey, snarky self.  I have no respect for Sal.

Date: 2009/04/04 14:00:38, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Sal tells Davison to go away, and once again offers to build a website for "qualified" people such as Allen macNeil and David Kellogg so they can discuss away from the confines of UD.

Sal - the gift that keeps on giving.

Date: 2009/04/04 20:08:58, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Skeech plus seems to rather authoritatively point out that Abel doesn't know what he is talking about in the paper Sal Cordova posted about here.

I don'y know much about this topic of Shannon information and Kolmogorov information.

Can anyone enlighten me.  Is skeech plus right about Abels' confusion?

Date: 2009/04/05 21:09:07, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Ah, the new, open moderation policy:

JayM writes, “Being subject to moderation here means that it is nearly impossible to participate in the discussions. When posts don’t appear for 12 to 24 hours, the discussion has moved on. “Moderation” here and “censorship” are distinctions without a difference.”

And Clive responds

Quote
There is a difference between being banned and moderated. I can show you the difference if you would like to see it.


Ooh - tough guy with the veiled threats.

JayM writes, “This type of behavior gives the impression that the “new, open” moderation policy discussed earlier is a sham and that UD does not, in fact, support real debate about the issues. What are the moderators afraid of?”

And Clive writes,

Quote
‘This type of behavior” is in “reaction” to other types of behavior that justify the moderation to begin with. There are lots of people that aren’t moderated because they’ve never done anything to earn it. This type of behavior is in reaction, not pro-action, please remember that. UD is an open dialogue for folks that don’t have to be moderated because of their past behavior.

I’m not afraid of anything.


Translation:  It’s all your fault - we have open discussion except when we don’t like something about you, and then we don’t.

Hypocrites.

Link

Date: 2009/04/06 09:26:57, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Incredible.

Joseph writes,

Quote
eintown,

Shermer holds a mischaracterization of ID.

Therefor anyone agreeing with him also holds that mischaracterization.

Now you understand the moderation policy.

It is close to impossible to have a discussion with people who choose willfull mischaracterization of the alternative PoV.


This is even more explicit than Clive.  They have an open forum, dedicated to discussing the issues (ala Barry), except that if you don't agree with their characterization of ID, then it is impossible to have a conversation with you, so you will be subject to delay by moderation, which effectively closes discussion.

Short version: we have an open forum as long as you agree with us.

Date: 2009/04/06 11:51:07, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Sal Cordoba is now a "financial engineer"!

Quote
I’m a trader. My professional evolution is as follows:

Music Student
Software Developer
Electrical Engineer
Systems Engineer
Financial Engineer and Physics Student

I’m studying physics partly because it is very applicable to modern finance.

Link

Date: 2009/04/07 15:13:47, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Excellent analogy!

Date: 2009/04/08 06:58:46, Link
Author: Jkrebs
A lulu from Denyse, on the earthquake thread.

Quote
I believe in evidence, not vague speculation or reports prepared by people with an obvious interest in misrepresentation. If that makes a person a materialist, then you can call me one.

Date: 2009/04/08 19:29:16, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Somebody - I don't know where the post is - nicely asked him to put his vast expertise to work and actually present some of the evidence for his assertions.  Fat chance.  As far as I can tell the only evidence he ever presents is quotes from his heroes, most of whose works are 50 to 100 years old.

Date: 2009/04/08 20:42:08, Link
Author: Jkrebs
iskim labmildew - it's been a long time since I've seen that name.  Hi iskim.

Date: 2009/04/10 09:24:00, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Whoa - way to up the ante by pointing out the elephant in the room (to badly mix metaphors)>

Date: 2009/04/14 11:04:58, Link
Author: Jkrebs
The creationists will love this:



New photographs released by NASA have captured images of a vast stellar formation resembling a human hand reaching across space.
NASA's Chandra Observatory captured this hand-shaped image of an X-ray nebula.

NASA's Chandra Observatory captured this hand-shaped image of an X-ray nebula.

The image, taken by NASA's space-based Chandra Observatory telescope, shows an X-ray nebula 150 light years across.

It shows what appear to be ghostly blue fingers -- thumb and pinky clearly discernible from index, ring and middle digits -- reaching into a sparkling cloud of fiery red.

NASA says the display is caused by a young and powerful pulsar, known by the rather prosaic name of PSR B1509-58.

"The pulsar is a rapidly spinning neutron star which is spewing energy out into the space around it to create complex and intriguing structures, including one that resembles a large cosmic hand," NASA says.

The space agency says B1509 -- created by a collapsed star -- is one of the most powerful electromaginetic generators in the Galaxy. The nebula is formed by a torrent of electrons and ions emitted by the 1,700-year-old phenomenon.

The finger-like structures are apparently caused by "energizing knots of material in a neighboring gas cloud,"
Link

Date: 2009/04/16 10:25:03, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I think this last explanation is brilliant - if he just types enough words he'll wind up being right about something.

Or maybe he just admitted defeat and quit.  Hah!

Date: 2009/04/17 16:10:48, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Yep. Very good.

Maybe they were just trying to shut kairosfocus up.

Date: 2009/04/20 19:10:21, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Oops - mistake.  Sorry

Date: 2009/04/23 22:06:43, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I've posted this before on other forums, but I think it's quite relevant to the BarryA thread about whether atheists can have any morals.

This is Bob Dylan's version of a poem written by the hip poet Lord Buckley.  Let me know if you'd like to know more about the actual Dylan performance, which is quite powerful.

So, food for thought:

 
Quote
Hezekiah Jones (Black Cross)
Twas a man called Hezekiah Jones once,
And he never had much, except a farm and some land -

He ate what he raised,
But in the cupboard, he kept there in the cupboard what,
what he called for the rainy season.

That is when he’d have something left over
He'd spend it and he’d buy books.And he’d read his books -
he kept ‘em there in the cupboard

White folks around the county said,
"Well, he's harmless enough I suppose, but the way I look at it
He better put down them God damn books.
Reading ain’t no good for an ignorant nigger."

Reverend Green of the white man’s church came around that year,
Knocking on doors, he knocked on Hezekiah's door.

He says, "Hezekiah, you believe in the Lord?"

Hezekiah says, "Well, I never seen the Lord, I can't say as I do.
Can’t believe in nothin' you don't see."

He says, "Hezekiah, you believe in the church?"
Hezekiah says, "Well, uh, churches’ divided ain't they?

They can't make up their minds, I,I just like them, you know I,
I can’t make up mine either."

Reverend says, "Hezekiah, you believe in, that if a man is good,
Heaven is his last reward?"

Hezekiah says, "I'm good.
I'm good. I'm as good as my neighbor."

"You don't believe in nothin'" says the white man's preacher."

Oh, Oh yes I do" says Hezekiah.

"I believe that a man should be beholden to his neighbor,
not for the reward of Heaven or the fear of hell fire."

"But you don’t understand," says the white man’s preacher,
"there's a lot of good ways for a man to be wicked.

"And they hung Hezekiah
as high up as a pigeon.

White folks around said, uh,
"Well, he had it comin', ...
the son of a bitch never had no religion"

Date: 2009/04/24 13:17:01, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Looks like Barry closed the Bleak Conclusions thread.  I think he didn't like the way things went there at the end, starting with his deleting Allen's post about the Tao.

Date: 2009/04/25 13:49:09, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Biblical creationism is explicit creationism.  ID is, we might say, implicit creationism, or perhaps even quasi-creationism.

But the result is the same.

Date: 2009/04/25 20:04:17, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Quote
110

Barry Arrington
04/25/2009
7:53 pm

Nakashima is no longer with us.


Barry's patience is weighing thin - he's had a tough week.  Maybe someone has the post that did Nakashima in.

Date: 2009/04/26 08:11:56, Link
Author: Jkrebs
On Gil's goodbye thread - this won't last long:

Quote

23
Mirrortothesun
04/26/2009
7:57 am

Someone’s widdle feelings get hurt? Maybe this is for the best then.

Date: 2009/04/26 09:13:35, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Nakashima is resurrected!

Quote

131
Barry Arrington
04/26/2009
9:02 am

I will bow to vox populi from both sides in regard to Nakashima. Nakashima you are un-banned, but be careful to keep your comments on the non-personal level. You will be watched closely.


Link

Date: 2009/04/26 17:38:16, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Hey Keiths - where's the poem from?

Date: 2009/04/26 17:56:20, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Ah.  I have a wonderful old t-shirt from a They Might Be Giants concert that my son went to that shows a snowman warming his hands over a pile of burning money.  They Might Be Giants had a quirky outlook that I liked.

Date: 2009/04/26 20:50:57, Link
Author: Jkrebs
It's so entertaining to have bornagain77 back.  I'm certain he's for real, but as we often point out, a parody would be no different.

Quote
Gil, You are tops in my book. A genuine scientist, with a earnest desire to seek and know the truth. You definitely honor God sincerely in your life through such a spirit to know the truth. I believe Jesus said God seeks as such to worship Him. I honestly respect you and hate to see UD give atheists with no respect for truth, nor any desire to find it, such freedom to disrupt this site as they do. I will miss you on this site, and I definitely miss the old UD too. The old UD where greater levels of understanding were encouraged and sought after, instead of the petty arguing over mundane points that atheists have turned UD into.


Link.

Date: 2009/05/01 10:27:53, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Methodological testability?

Date: 2009/05/07 12:30:15, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Borges has some really interesting stuff: I use a metaphor of his from "The Parable of the Palace" to describe the slow pace of evolutionary change.  It turns out this story is online, so here's the exact quote:

Quote
Every hundred steps a tower cut the air; to the eye, their color was identical, but the first of them was yellow and the last was scarlet; that was how delicate the gradations were and how long the series.

Date: 2009/05/07 22:16:08, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Madsen at 158

 
Quote
Wow—”Hazel the Hypocrite”, an “intolerant bigot”, being admonished for name calling? Now I’ve seen everything.


Barry at 162:

 
Quote
madsen is no longer with us.


Talk about a thin skin.

And note the obvious: Barry admonishes hazel for name calling by calling her names.

Date: 2009/05/10 08:01:42, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Hey JLT, I really like the picture of the evolved vs. designed penguins.

Date: 2009/05/11 08:34:36, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I liked the preceding paragraph of Nakashima's:

Quote
However, it has to be recognized that the FTA is something that has moved from analogy, parable, and bignum arguments into the scientific arena. So I will only be really interested in scientific evidence. Otherwise we start wandering about asking silly questions like “If the Marskman is God, what is the fly? How does the fly know the local wall is empty, and what does that mean? Perhaps the universe is really the bullet? Have you ever looked at your hand, I mean really looked at it?”

Date: 2009/05/11 10:50:10, Link
Author: Jkrebs
"Martinez is to rational discussion as Kairosfocus is to succinct prose. "

Another great line.

Date: 2009/05/13 11:05:54, Link
Author: Jkrebs
For unknown reasons, Barry stepped in and closed the "Is Belief in God Reasonable" thread.  Hazel got in the last word.

Date: 2010/01/03 09:28:54, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Heraclitus - "you can't step in the same river twice."

Date: 2010/01/03 09:37:16, Link
Author: Jkrebs
On a related note, I highly recommend Borges' "Parable of the Palace," which can be found on the internet - it's quite short.

Some quotes from it:

Quote
They crossed many gleam­ing rivers–or per­haps a sin­gle river many times.


 
Quote
Every hun­dred steps a tower cut the air; to the eye, their color was iden­ti­cal, but the first of them was yel­low and the last was scar­let; that was how del­i­cate the gra­da­tions were and how long the series.


 
Quote
What we do know–however incred­i­ble it may be–is that within the poem lay the entire enor­mous palace, whole and to the least detail, ... with every ven­er­a­ble porce­lain it con­tained and every scene on every porce­lain, all the lights and shad­ows of its twi­lights, and every for­lorn or happy moment of the glo­ri­ous dynas­ties of mor­tals, gods, and drag­ons that had lived within it through all its end­less past. Every­one fell silent; then the emperor spoke: “You have stolen my palace!” he cried, and the executioner’s iron scythe mowed down the poet’s life.

Oth­ers tell the story dif­fer­ently. The world can­not con­tain two things that are iden­ti­cal; no sooner, they say, had the poet uttered his poem than the palace dis­ap­peared, as though in a puff of smoke, wiped from the face of the earth by the final syl­la­ble.


Happy New Year to you all.

Date: 2010/01/07 12:27:23, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Perhaps we better save this, also, before Barry lays down the hammer (disguised as a gavel.)

Quote


Yes, my remark was removed. I should have saved a copy, I guess – this has never happened to me here before.

My point, which I will now save so I don’t lose it, was not about the paper itself (which I haven’t read), but a mere point of logic: “if p then q” and its inverse “if not p then not q” are not logically equivalent and don’t necessarily have the same truth value.

So when Barry wrote “I have posted the passages in which Cochrane clearly states that one of the effects of the dignity criterion is to prevent medical experimentation, and then he goes on to argue against that criterion,” my first thought was that the implied conclusion that Barry’s statement was meant to lead to was that Cochrane was therefore, logically, for medical experimentation.

That struck me as a logic error: being against the dignity criterion did not necessarily imply that Cochrane was for medical experimentation. I was not saying that Cochrane might have argued for medical experimentation on other grounds (again, I haven’t read the paper), but merely being against the dignity criterion is not in and of itself logical grounds for saying that he would therefore be for medical experimentation.

This is a point of logic which one may or may not agree with, but I don’t understand why it is a comment that should be removed.

Thanks,
Hazel

Date: 2010/01/07 13:35:12, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Get it while it's hot:  

Barry:

 
Quote
01/07/2010  2:23 pm

Editor: Hazel, your posting privileges on this blog are on thin ice.


Hazel

 
Quote
01/07/2010  2:29 pm

Your a coward, a bully, and a hypocrite, Barry. I’ve made a reasonable point, and despite all your blustering about the value of dialog and discussion, you can’t handle it.

And I’m saving this for posterity – delete and ban away.


More: "And honestly, why would anyone who doesn't agree with you want to bother posting here?  It's like a junior high chat room, not a place for adults. "

And,

Quote
And last, how can you guys go on and on about objective morals, and yet fail so badly to be upright.  Don't you see the faintest bit of irony and hypocrisy in failing to apply the Golden Rule, and in treating those who come here as if they, and their opinions, despite your disagreement, had some inherent dignity, and were not someone and something to reject because you did not like them?


Hazel is irked.

Date: 2010/01/07 14:09:19, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Hazel piles on, as a departing gift:

Quote
Irony quote from the OP, from Barry:

"For Nietzsche, “good” does not mean adherence to a moral standard.  Instead, it is more or less a synonym for “strong.”  


Seems like Barry likes playing the little Nietzsche here - no standards, just power.

Date: 2010/01/07 14:23:56, Link
Author: Jkrebs
He does that too, I'm sure. :)

Date: 2010/01/07 15:24:52, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Would the powers that be here (Recip. Bill, I imagine) make a note of the demise of Hazel and Dave Wisker at the hand of (under the hammer of) Barry.

Date: 2010/01/07 16:17:31, Link
Author: Jkrebs
dvunkannon writes, "Barry links to First Things and if you scroll back a few entries you can find him discussing the Cochrane article, sans banhammer. I recommend a visit and comment by anyone affected by the recent ban frenzy by Herr Dr. Arrington. "

Could you be more specific, please?  What post?

Date: 2010/01/07 16:27:36, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I saw this, but I don't see any mention of the Cochrane article - I think dvunkannon is talking about a previous post, although I may be mistaken.

Date: 2010/01/09 14:47:34, Link
Author: Jkrebs
This is good: more Chesterton from Barry:

Quote
All the terms used in the science books, “law,” “necessity,” “order,” “tendency,” and so on, are really unintellectual, because they assume an inner synthesis, which we do not possess. The only words that ever satisfied me as describing Nature are the terms used in the fairy books, “charm,” “spell,” “enchantment.” They express the arbitrariness of the fact and its mystery. A tree grows fruit because it is a MAGIC tree. Water runs downhill because it is bewitched.


So there you have it: it's all magic that things happen as they do - no science needed with it's tedious and erroneous explanations.

ID, on the other hand ...

Date: 2010/01/10 09:29:43, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Yep, no more comments about Signature in the Cell.  They win again, by taking their ball and going home.

Date: 2010/01/17 15:19:54, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I wonder how Clive has matched up the old and new socks?  ID detection?

Date: 2010/01/19 09:53:13, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Quote
Tonight my friend Frank Turek will be interviewing me as well as other Christian apologists (such as William Lane Craig and Josh McDowell).


Notice that Dembski identifies himself as Christian apologist.  He doesn't want comments because this has nothing to do with ID. Right?

Date: 2010/04/20 08:24:23, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Dembski has not only mentioned that surrogate intelligences could be the causes of design, but that one possibility was angels.

Seriously.

Date: 2010/04/20 09:41:36, Link
Author: Jkrebs
He mentioned surrogate intelligences in response to a question I asked him at a speech - I might have documentation somewhere, and I think angels in set of speeches that he gave at the Waco Baptist Church, which somehow I got a copy of.  All this stuff is buried deep in my archives, which I don't get into much anymore.  I might do a quick search tonight at home to see if I can find anything.

Date: 2010/04/20 13:28:16, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Well, there you go.

As you guys as so fond of saying, "All science so far."

I just don't understand how science has missed the angels, though.

Seriously, if this is the worldview we are competing against, it's hard for me to imagine common ground.

Date: 2010/04/21 12:42:41, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Kudos to JohnW - that got a lol out of me.

Date: 2010/05/05 21:20:53, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Stephen finally adds some explanation to his assertion that life isn't "present in the cause" and therefore couldn't emerge naturally.  Here, for the record, is his reasoning:

 
Quote
Life was certainly present “as” a cause in the sense that the first cause is life itself, [the uncaused cause (God)] and, to be sure, that same uncaused cause could, if He chose, program “into” a secondary cause a potential for life built into matter that could later unfold into actual life. On the other hand, that secondary cause, as a process, cannot, on its own, be the sole cause for the life that unfolds because the first cause had to once establish and must continually sustain that same process. Processes, conditions, and laws cannot be their own cause, as I have pointed out many times. Further, the primary cause, [the conceiver and sustaining force] is always nobler than the secondary cause and its derivative effects [the proposed process out of which life is said to “emerge.”] Further still, the first cause cannot itself be an impersonal process, condition, or law, because it must, through an act of the will, choose to create.

   So, if some groups want to corrupt science and hypothesize that the life “emerged” from the material process ALONE, without reference to the logically necessary program and sustaining power required for its development and final maturation, or to even deny that it is a maturation process at all, as Darwinists [and some TEs] do, such an initiative cannot be a rational scientific enterprise because it denies and even forbids the application of the law of causality [life can only come from life], [processes unfold according to a plan], [plans cannot create themselves]. If they try to take it one step further, as Darwinists [and some TEs] do, and restrict science to their one irrational hypothesis, forbidding any investigation into the program that informs the ways in which matter [allegedly] achieved its end, or the power that sustains the program, or any design patterns imbedded in the mix, or any possibility that information was front loaded, that is intellectual tyranny. Oh yes, and did I forget to say that it is also irrational.


Everybody get that?

Here.

Date: 2010/05/05 21:40:56, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Bill, I think Stephen is at least as good of a parody of himself as you are of him.  He's a tough act to follow.

And by the way, in a surprising turn of events, bornagain has suddenly moved the thread to the virtues of Christianity, the atrocities of atheists, and the relationship between Darwinism and the holocaust. Of course.

Date: 2010/05/07 12:47:21, Link
Author: Jkrebs
What I don't get is how people like Phaedros don't get that we don't get it, and that there is no reason that we should.  Standing back from a different, unbelieving point of view, it just doesn't make sense that this is the way their omni-everything deity has chosen to relate to the world.

Date: 2010/05/11 06:54:40, Link
Author: Jkrebs
A new kairosfocusism:

Quote
It is rather clear that ET is acting in the role of a distractive troll, having injected a matter form another thread here, and then proceeded to –now explicitly (with personalities) — refuse to address mattrers on the merits, instead seeking to play the crocodile lurking in a lab coat that tres to drag the unwary down into the secular humanist evolutionary materialist fever swamp of distraction, distortion and denigration, trying to turn serious discussion into polarising quarrels.
(my emphasis)

Here.

Date: 2010/05/12 11:17:21, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I think that was Voldemort, in Harry Potter.

Date: 2010/05/12 21:07:09, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Yes, obviously.  "Who has never figured out that adorning a preconception with formalism is not mathematics" gives it away.

Added in edit: Hermagoras's post intervened between mine and the post I was referring to - the comment gives away who SE is talking about, not who SE is.

Date: 2010/05/12 22:00:47, Link
Author: Jkrebs
efren ts is doing nice work at UD, also:

 
Quote
STephenB: "activity does not equal accomplishment. The issue is less about whether Darwinists spend a lot of time in the lab and more about the fact that nothing significant ever comes of it."

When it comes to scientific experimentation, there is knowledge even in failure. That notwithstanding, even if professional scientists never completely unravel abiogenesis they are still adding to the canon of scientific knowledge. If you wish to consider that insignificant, so be it. You are entitled to your opinion. But, as a person who’s sole interaction with the scientific world is to criticize it from behind the skirt of moderation on a blog, you would do well to ponder your own activity vs accomplishment balance sheet.

[StephenB]: "In keeping with that point, many government employees spend a lot of time on the computer watching porn, but that doesn’t mean that they accomplish anything."

And some folks spend large amounts of time commenting throughout the day on intelligent design blogs. Do you think their employer would be any less disturbed at the misuse of organization assets merely because it doesn’t involve images of naughty bits?


This is, of course, assuming that Stephen actually has a job.

Date: 2010/05/13 09:45:44, Link
Author: Jkrebs
from some guy named jon bailey good:
Quote


StephenB at 165:

I mostly lurk on the sidelines in this controversy. But, I get awfully tired of the Darwinists claiming ID advocates don’t ever publish anything. Uncommon Descent has to be the intellectual center of the ID universe because here, not only the contributors like Dr. Dembski are prolific authors, but many of the commenters, like you. I’d love to check out your book and place it up there on the shelf with Dr. Dembski and Dr. Behe’s works. What is it’s title?


I call Poe.

Date: 2010/05/13 11:03:45, Link
Author: Jkrebs
StephenB explains his book:

Quote
jbg, my book is an extension of a thesis, though it has not yet been edited or even finalized. In any case, it is more about communication theory in general and less about intelligent design in particular.


So didymos above was mostly right when he wrote, "Hell, it may not even mean "written"."

Date: 2010/05/14 20:48:09, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Special from our friends at the DI:

 
Quote
Special Advance Notice to Our Subscribers:
Get Signature of Controversy First, for Free!
We're making Signature of Controversy, the new digital book responding to the critics of Stephen Meyer's revolutionary Signature in the Cell, available online for free download, and we want you to see it first.  You are receiving this special pre-publication, advance notice because you have subscribed to one of our lists (Academic Freedom Update, Nota Bene, Faith + Science Update, or another Center for Science & Culture sponsored newsletter).

The 105-page digital book features a collection of essays from David Berlinski, David Klinghoffer, Casey Luskin, Paul Nelson, Jay Richards, Richard Sternberg, and of course, Stephen Meyer himself, showing the impact of his argument for intelligent design and providing an in-depth analysis of his critics' responses.

From the Introduction:
Published in 2009, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design is recognized as establishing one of the strongest pillars underlying the argument for intelligent design.  To call the book fascinating and important is an understatement. No less interesting in its way, however, was the critical response and it is with that this book is concerned. For the fact is that despite SITC  being written about in print and online by numerous friends and foes of intelligent-design theory, few - if any - of the critics really grappled with the substance of Meyer's argument.  This is remarkable and telling.  In this digital book which includes live links to the critics' own writings, defenders of SITC analyze the hostile response.
This is a limited-time offer: this link to download the book expires on May 19, so grab your copy today!

DOWNLOAD Signature of Controversy HERE
Download here

Date: 2010/05/15 08:42:22, Link
Author: Jkrebs
After a semi-lengthy post by Kairofocus starting with "Pardon a few remarks", Ilion (an ID supporter) replies,

     
Quote
KairosFucus: “… key foundational worldview ...
(my emphasis)

Now there's a Freudian slip for you.

Link

Added in edit: and a point mutation that added information.

Date: 2010/05/17 10:41:26, Link
Author: Jkrebs
From wikipedia:

Quote
James Burnett, Lord Monboddo (25 October 1714 – 26 May 1799) was a Scottish  judge, scholar of linguistic evolution, philosopher and deist. He is most famous today as a founder of modern comparative historical linguistics  (Hobbs 1992). In 1767 he became a judge in the Court of Session. As such, Burnett adopted an honorary title based on his father's estate, Monboddo House. Monboddo was one of a number of scholars involved at the time in development of early concepts of evolution. Some credit him with anticipating in principle the idea of natural selection that was developed into a scientific theory by Charles Darwin (Watt 1985; Bailey 2005; Cloyd 1972), and others do not.[1]


So that's why he's there, despite the fact that nobody (maybe) has ever heard of him.

Date: 2010/05/17 14:00:44, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Excellent research.  The tower thingy is a much simpler explanation.

Date: 2010/05/20 22:23:47, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Congrats to Nakashima, if this story about a ring on June 4th is true, and to any and all alter egos he may have.

Date: 2010/06/02 15:38:21, Link
Author: Jkrebs
The "myth" of competition for resources???  What the hell does he mean by that?

Date: 2010/09/25 09:17:07, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Sheldon's reply to Aleta (on his blog, not at UD) makes absolutely no sense, but he refers her to this other guy, Sheldon's advisor at seminary, so I went there, and found this gem, explaining why 2+2=4:

Quote
Yes, non-Christians can do mathematics, but only because God enables them to do so. Only because the Christian God exists and sustains them and teaches them are they able to do mathematics, and to act as if God didn't exist.


Well, it's hard to argue with that.

What breathtaking arrogance.

Date: 2010/09/25 09:39:34, Link
Author: Jkrebs
The remark to Aleta is at Sheldon's blog: http://procrustes.blogtownhall.com/2010/09/24/fibonacci_forever.thtml

He links to a real winner: http://www.frame-poythress.org/poythress_articles/1974Creation.html, which is an article, not a blog

Date: 2010/09/25 13:25:26, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Yes, and then what difference does it make?  The math still works, and my life goes on.  Of course, "when I meet my Creator" (if he exists) it might make a difference, but that a Pascal's wager I'm willing to take.

Date: 2010/09/30 09:59:43, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I believe that Stephen has to amend his law of causality now to exclude human acts of free will.  I wonder why he hadn't thought of that before?

Date: 2010/10/16 10:17:37, Link
Author: Jkrebs
KF would stick around and say more if he wasn't in the middle of a constitutional crisis - what would Jamaica (or wherever he's from) do without him.

Date: 2010/10/18 13:40:54, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Very good, Henry - for some folks here, doing things in moderation is their only choice.

Date: 2010/10/18 17:27:18, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Bill writes, "IOW the application of causality in this context is an empirical question. Checkmate."

I do believe that has been Aleta's point also, but Stephen won't go there.  What about following the evidence wherever it leads, Stephen?

Date: 2010/10/19 09:31:11, Link
Author: Jkrebs
OMG.  Kairosfocus now has posting privileges, and has his inaugural post up - topic is that, surprise, evo-mat is self-refuting.

Date: 2010/10/19 10:52:39, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Doesn't Barry mean line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon line upon ...

Date: 2010/10/19 18:13:43, Link
Author: Jkrebs
76 times! What fabulous research.  I'm almost tempted to delurk over there to post this.

Date: 2010/10/20 14:25:16, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Interesting news: I just found out the Dembski has pretty unequivocably stated that he is a Biblical inerrantist, that he believes in a six day creation, the universal flood, and no common descent between humans and other creatures.  He has been non-committal and or waffled on these positions in the past.

In a statement called "Clarification Regarding My Book The End of Christianity", quoted in "A Reply to Tom Nettles’ Review of William A. Dembski’s The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World," by Dr. David L. Allen, The Center for Theological Research February 2010, Dembski has written,

Quote
In writing The End of Christianity today, I would also underscore three points: (1) As a biblical inerrantist, I accept the full verbal inspiration of the Bible and the conventional authorship of the books of the Bible. Thus, in particular, I accept Mosaic authorship of Genesis (and of the Pentateuch) and reject the Documentary Hypothesis. (2) Even though I introduce in the book a distinction between kairos (God’s time) and chronos (the world’s time), the two are not mutually exclusive. In particular, I accept that the events described in Genesis 1– 11 happened in ordinary space-time, and thus that these chapters are as historical as the rest of the Pentateuch. (3) I believe that Adam and Eve were real people, that as the initial pair of humans they were the progenitors of the whole human race, that they were specially created by God, and thus that they were not the result of an evolutionary process from primate or hominid ancestors. (William A. Dembski)"


Might be interesting, if the opportunity arise, for someone to mention this over at UD.

Links:

http://www.sbts.edu/resourc....er-2009

http://www.baptisttheology.org/documen....ity.pdf

P.S - or maybe this is old news?

Date: 2010/10/20 14:58:11, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Hi Keith - I posted a bit before you because you actually read stuff, and I just passed on the news: maybe we got this from the same source?

Anyway, it's pretty interesting - follow the evidence wherever it leads. Yeah, right.

Date: 2010/10/20 18:07:36, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Dr. "I bow to the text" Demsbki.  That says it all.

Date: 2010/10/20 20:54:03, Link
Author: Jkrebs
I've come out of retirement as a Panda's Thumb contributor to blog about Dembski.  He, Phillip Johnson (and John Calvert) were the people who I got most invested in arguing with, and about, in my years as an activist.

See here if interested.

I'm sure a little off-topic (OT, as bornagain would say) comment at UD would arouse the denizens, but I don't think I want to be the one to do it.  Anyone with a sock to spare might try it and see what happens.

Date: 2012/02/14 20:13:35, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Stephen, the absolute height (or depth) of arrogance.  Amazing.

Quote
Unfortunately, most of our critics have been brainwashed in post-modern anti-intellectualism to the point where their mental health has been seriously compromised. By any objective standard, they are incapable of rational thought, a clumsy fact of life that presents us with a dilemma: Do we [a] humor them as we have been doing, [b] ban them, which will drastically reduce participation (we are talking about the vast majority), or [c] offer them probation while we introduce them to reason’s rules and explain how they inform evidence. While the last option appeals to me at some level, I acknowledge the drawbacks to offering formal seminars in remedial education: those who need it most are the ones least likely to accept it. There is little one can do with those who choose to remain uneducable.

Date: 2012/02/27 06:55:10, Link
Author: Jkrebs
Barry parenthetically added, on the rape thread, "or, like Jack, try to change the subject", but there is no Jack that has posted in the thread.  Any idea what this is about?  Did someone post and then get unposted???

Date: 2012/03/08 12:10:34, Link
Author: Jkrebs
And they tried to use the "Kansas Science Standards Hearings" as a way to get equal time with mainstream science in a high profile venue.  Real scientists refused to play the game, and so the results (the transcripts were published by the state of Kansas) mainly served to highlight the positions (mostly YEC, and/or deniers of common descent) of the ID advocates who came.

 

 

 

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