AE BB DB Explorer


Action:
Author:
Search Terms (separate with commas, no spaces):


form_srcid: Joy

form_srcid: Joy

form_cmd: view_author

Your IP address is 54.224.158.39

View Author detected.

view author posts with search matches:

Retrieve source record and display it.

form_author:

form_srcid: Joy

q: SELECT AUTHOR, MEMBER_NAME, IP_ADDR, POST_DATE, TOPIC_ID, t1.FORUM_ID, POST, POST_ID, FORUM_VIEW_THREADS from ib_forum_posts AS t1 LEFT JOIN (ib_member_profiles AS t2, ib_forum_info AS t3) ON (t1.forum_id = t3.forum_id AND t1.author = t2.member_id) WHERE MEMBER_NAME like 'Joy%' and forum_view_threads LIKE '*' ORDER BY POST_DATE ASC

DB_err:

DB_result: Resource id #6

Date: 2007/09/23 17:17:58, Link
Author: Joy
Now, I ask you... Why in the world would I be disposed to take a new commenter to our blog at face value with this public sideshow going on? [Oy!] ...and you call US "idiots."

JAM was banned from TT for bad behavior once over a year ago, and every time since then for deception. As soon as we had confirmation that a new pseud was him, he was locked back out. What his discussion as the new pseud was to that point on any thread is completely irrelevant - we do not allow banned pseuds to come back as different pseuds.

If/when a commenter's behavior becomes frequently disruptive, off-topic or obsessive to the point of creepy, they're outta there. Among the few who have been banned from TT are both critics and ID supporters. You yourselves apparently banned someone [pseud: "Supersport"] just yesterday for being a troublemaker. If "Supersport" signs in with three or four new pseuds (and you catch him via his computer address info) in the next couple of months, would you count those in your total of "people" banned, or count him and all his pseuds as a single ban?

Point being that one person's personality clash with a commenter isn't enough to get someone banned at TT, and one person's forgiveness doesn't get a banned commenter back into the fold once he's gone. This is completely reasonable. Whether it seems reasonable or not to posters here seeking new and better 'creationists' to play with is not a consideration.

Good luck with your recruiting efforts. You'll need it.

Date: 2007/12/03 17:03:15, Link
Author: Joy
Frostman said...

"TT readers have not been informed of what truly occurred.  Some TT readers may also read AE, but many do not.  The honest course of action is to tell them."

"Your opinion of me and my position are unrelated to the ethical obligation in front of you.  You require nothing from me in order to fulfill that obligation."


LOL!!! Oh, goodness, Frosty! Why in the world do you think anyone at TT should be as attached to your typing as you are? There is no "ethical obligation." TT is a privately owned blog that doesn't have to let you participate at all, and may make decisions about moderation without consulting you. It's not an EEOC employer of yours, and isn't the government either. Unless you're getting paid by the post and have to produce links to them in order to get paid, you've no reason to complain.*

* And if you're getting paid per-post, we want half. §;o)

I knew the Hole was out of order, because I had to delete a post of Mark's just the week before (along with my reply). In a perfectly topical post to the subject of the thread he had inserted an accusation of sock-puppetry against a couple of our other participants, a serious no-no (as well as not true based on our stats info). Because the Hole was out of order - something about the server switchover - I simply deleted it after informing him why, then deleted that too. It didn't occur to me to make a copy to manually insert from Guts' end, so I didn't. The post simply had to go.

Mark wasn't upset about that action and didn't whine to high heaven about some non-existent "right" to have his typing etched into net-stone. He merely took up where he'd left off per the topic and there were no further issues and no hard feelings.

Get back to us when you grow up. Or not. No skin of our noses.

Date: 2008/02/27 11:03:07, Link
Author: Joy
This circus reminds me of what happened when Bobcat Goldthwait's "Shakes the Clown" was released. The COA, ISCA, SECA and all real or carpet clowns they could possibly enlist (yes, including the Shriners) set out to march in protest (in full dress dread complete with rubber noses and size 47 shoes). Seems they didn't much like the movie's sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll themes.

Which of course served to bring mass numbers of regular citizens and all their children right to the very door of the theater showing "Shakes," so they could watch the funny clown protest parade. Then most of 'em went on in to see the movie. Which, in case anyone missed it, is probably the funniest clown movie ever made. Just something about drunk, stoned, off-duty clowns stumbling out of the bar at 2 a.m. and piling into polka-dotted mini cars to drive home... or an impromptu mad rumble in the park, clowns vs. mimes ["Say uncle!"]...

Through it all (including Bad to the Bone clown make-over in a gas station bathroom on the way to the gig after a bizarre one night stand with Florence Henderson), Shakes proves again and again that he's the best clown ever. The movie did quite well at the box office thanks to all the free publicity the clown associations donated to the cause.

For "Expelled" I can't decide whether Stein's a Goldthwait-level marketing genius playing you all for free promo, or if you're on the kickback payroll. Either way it strikes me quite humorous. A whole heck of a lot more predictable (thus mostly ignore-able) than the "Shakes" spectacle, but semi-amusing in places just the same.

Date: 2008/07/09 16:23:24, Link
Author: Joy
Chatfield:
Quote
Joy would never do that on *her* mountain.


It *is* my mountain, Arden. This property didn't get confiscated for National Forest or State Park because it's right in the smack-dab middle of the NS railroad grade over the continental divide. We take care of it as if it were a national treasure.

I've lived on the beach. Nice except for the high-rises. I've lived in the Rockies. Spectacularly beautiful, not very friendly. But I grew up in these abundant mountains, and this is where I've retired. I take it seriously, will guard them with my life.

I've never lived in the swamps. I don't like swamps, even after I got my Florida Real Estate license to sell swampland to Yankees legally. Never did, because let's face it... it's swampland. You can screen in your porches, but if you go outside you're going to get equine encephalitis. Really. Had a co-worker who's father died of it - he couldn't afford a screened porch.

Cajuns, on the other hand, do like swamps. They live there, so that surely means something. I have no problem with Cajuns living in swamps if that's what they like, but I'd never choose it. I'm a Highlander. I presume they'd feel like space aliens here.

*My* mountain is Mitchell. Highest mountain east of the Mississippi, south slope off Heartbreak Ridge. At one time the tallest mountain on earth, a volcano. Now worn down to the Seven Black Brothers, actually the rim of the cauldera. I am here on purpose.

Date: 2008/07/09 19:06:46, Link
Author: Joy
silverspoon:
Quote
Hi Joy. Remember that guy who BROKE EVERY BONE IN HIS BODY? He retired last month.


You've been at North Anna for the past 35 years? Wow... what a waste of life. I probably know you... care to give a name? No doubt you also remember the Hinkles who 'toked up and decided to play with the hatch crane one night. Real casualties that time, and there are the poor guys who got skewered by the control rods... You're a Hinkle-Herder?

What's your point? Are you calling me a liar, right when I went ahead and signed-in? I can surely leave, you know. How many millions of curies of iodine went out the stack? I've got the release figures right here (hint: Kemeny reduced by a factor of 10). Stop playing macho games. I'm not buying it, been there and done that. It's way old news, honey.

Date: 2008/07/09 20:49:16, Link
Author: Joy
silverspoon:
 
Quote
The point of my post was to reinforce what type of people  you were dealing with during your time at TT. They are both dishonest, as in Guts case, or delusional as in Joys.


I've no problem dealing with trolls, jerks and liars in cyberspace, spoon. I have never been dishonest, as your own citations from DKos demonstrate graphically. That was a real, live episode in my life. Not all of us made it out alive. And it's haunted us ever since.

Would I do it again? I got asked that question after giving the 5-minute rundown this past Independence Day weekend by my 18-year old grandson by son who died too young. Yeah, I would. Because I could, and nobody else (in their right mind) would. I am as foolish today as I was when I was when I was an incredibly good-looking 27. Besides, I don't have to raise anybody's children anymore. My grandsons are 18, duly registered for the draft so they can go to college. We served during draft time, know what that means.

But then, I'm a brat. My Dad was a commander when I was born, in Olongapo. I hear it's the "asshole of the universe," and then Punatubo erupted and it went away. Where are YOU gonna go when the volcano blows?

Date: 2008/07/09 21:56:35, Link
Author: Joy
Quote
So I guess my question is this. Based on my readings at TT, it appears that both you and Nelson know next to nothing about biology. Yet this whole discussion is about biology, trying to distinguish between two explanations for the observed diversity of life on this planet.


I've never been a working biologist other than seriously applied bio-physics in action. But my elder sister (we shared a room for 17 years!) is a Ph.D. plant physiologist. And I grow ginseng, goldenseal and black cohosh (endangered all) right here that I can see out my window. That sister (unlike the other two, who went into medicine/programming instead) was once the world's foremost expert in American Mandrake as a treatment for cancer (now bioengineered into ridiculousness). We're planning a Materia Medica. Have been planning it for the past 40 years.

Why do you think they call it "Health Physics?"

Date: 2008/07/09 22:21:10, Link
Author: Joy
Oh, Oleg. I've known Matti for many more years than I've known you. Yeah, he's over-stretched. Have you ever attempted his math, or are you scared of it?

Mostly for the multi-sheeted spacetime, a manageable 8 dimensions rather than string's 11, 22 or infinities. You do recognize a new math may be afoot, don't you?

Yeah, my son's "Miracle" got a whole chapter in Matti's TGD [Consciousness] book. I think that's rather cool, but you can call it crazy if you like. I don't mind.

Date: 2008/07/09 22:46:07, Link
Author: Joy
Buh-bye.

Date: 2008/08/13 20:49:24, Link
Author: Joy
olegt:
 
Quote
At US universities, health physics programs are typically administered by medical schools and schools of public health (as at Colorado State) or by departments of nuclear engineering (as at Texas A&M).


I'm getting a window, this is a test...

Um... Guess you're not conversant with "Rickover's Navy." But that's neither here nor there. I have every right to follow the theories and the progress of experiments to test them, with whatever level of understanding I can or care to apply. I've seen evidence of stranger beasties than mere twin mini-holes, so I'm not scared.

Since they choose to take the risks in all our names (without asking, thanks), I might as well follow what they're looking for and why. I need no petty bullshit about my bona-fides on that level, nor do I need anyone's permission to follow my interest. Or the [public] money.

Quote
It's clear that you did your homework this time.  My hat is off to you.


Oh, give me a break. That information was out there all along, it's obvious I've been keeping up. The only 'new' thing here is the LHC. That background and overview was entirely superfluous to the Higgs analogy. Is still immaterial to the Higgs analogy, as offered. As if I'm somehow not "qualified" to offer such an analogy. That's bullshit, from Zach or from you.

You just thought you'd inject some snide asides (based on your dislike of me personally because I think life is intelligently designed) for Zach's benefit, since he tried so hard at TT to pretend to knowledge he doesn't own. Even I - who claims to be nobody at all - knew better than that.

/test

Date: 2008/08/13 21:45:14, Link
Author: Joy
stevestory:

Quote
...what do you think of the Discovery Institute Senior Fellow who said this last week:


Intelligent Design *is not* a theory, though I do think it's a compelling explanation. As yet not quite formulated in testable terms, but tending in that direction. Those will all still be sub-hypotheses to be tested, the question is what "ID" means as a challenge.

It can't "defeat" evolution because it's not in competition with evolution. I've got no problems with the idea that life forms change - and demonstrably complexify - over deep time. Never did have a problem with it. I know you've been told that it's the mechanisms of evolution at issue in these debates, so don't play dumb. Dripping stereotypes can't be any better than straw men, except that straw men absorb more moisture before it spills all over you. §;o)

Date: 2008/08/13 21:55:18, Link
Author: Joy
Um... haven't you guys been telling me for years that OOL isn't part of evolution?

Date: 2008/08/13 22:15:35, Link
Author: Joy
Erasmus:
 
Quote
 Joy isn't it clear to you that these guys are frauds?


You quote a creationist affirmation to me? I don't care about creationists. You shouldn't care either if that affirmation is any gauge. Honestly, y'all are such lily-livered landlubbers! Scared of your own shadows.

TT is not a DI construct or grantee. It has never pretended to be. Please don't bring your UD hangover if you care to address me. I represent nobody but myself (the TT crew often wishes it didn't know me), I've never claimed to represent anyone but myself, and I'm not answering for anybody who ever punched you in the nose. Because I don't have to.

Date: 2008/08/13 22:35:48, Link
Author: Joy
Erasmus:
Quote
the quote (apologies, i didn't provide link context) came from the DI post that steve had just linked to.


Oh. I didn't read it. I don't care what the DI says or does.

Quote
the recent issue with bilbo retracting his 'public letter' to dembski was very interesting.  at the very least, I suspect TT would do very well to find a new acronym or moniker to describe it's position, "Intelligent Design" has been coopted by a gang of atavist reactionaries that I find it hard to believe share your sensibilities.


LOL!!! Why in the world would we do that? It's "independent." Do you fathom the meaning of that word? Bilbo can be who he is. Believe what he believes. I don't care, so why should you?

Quote
no one has punched me in the nose, hon.  i don't go hanging around Sugar Hill.  Do you?  haven't i seen you at the volunteer fire department in Old Fort on Friday night?


Wow, 'ras. That looks a little bit like an inter-tube threat. Given that I am a woman and all, and you're busy trying to assert your macho-ness and all. Mods? I think this crosses the line. If you'd like to make that formal, I object to the term "hon."

Date: 2008/08/13 23:09:36, Link
Author: Joy
Oh, yeah. There's a reason I don't post here often enough to sign in between clarifications. Never mind.

Date: 2008/08/13 23:34:01, Link
Author: Joy
stevestory:

Quote
Too many biologists?


The subject of my posting here - now - was biology? Where is Higgs located in your cells, steve? You willing to get atomized and sent through the accelerator to find out?

I don't know if anyone has a biology degree, you'd have to ask them. I don't care. See ya... and the sheep you rode in on. Somewhere. Someday. Maybe. Or not...

Date: 2009/05/07 20:48:09, Link
Author: Joy
Well, I've gotta say I'm only slightly surprised that anyone in real life actually believes the sort of shit Beck, O'Reilly, et al. spew on the teevee. I don't watch teevee. Bradford's head is indeed in a very scary place, from what I can tell. The peanut gallery is even worse off, from all indications. Luckily they're chickenhawks, talk big but only when hiding behind a keyboard. Much like those on this wetland side of the equatorial belt...

I used to believe they were the underdogs. Their human and Constitutional rights at issue against actually politically powerful bullies like you. Now all I see are schoolyard bullies on all sides, overeager wannabe mind-tyrants that aren't merely pitiful for being so damned sociologically dumb. Some of them might be dangerous if I cared that much. Fortunately, I don't.

Meanwhile, the actual actually politically powerful bullies march on, unseen and unnoticed by practically all. I don't believe in magic - I know too many magicians. At this point I don't believe in evolution either, because if it meant anything we'd have evolved past this shit by now. A pox on both your houses - think I'll go prune the vineyard instead...

Date: 2009/05/07 21:06:54, Link
Author: Joy
"Telcic Tards?" What the hell are those? Some kind of fruit?

Yeah, it's me. Please don't call me a 'tard, it's a totally uncalled-for insult. Only insult I've lobbed is to pronounce a pox on your house as well as theirs. Sue Shakespeare if it bothers you, I didn't notice your Mama is fat. [grumble, grumble]

Date: 2009/05/07 21:25:13, Link
Author: Joy
Beware, Erasmus honey. I know the Mountain Music folks very well, thanks. Play a mean banjo myself, come to think of it! Everything's just hunky dory until somebody loses an eye (usually for saying the wrong thing to the wrong picker)... don't be impugning any issues my way personally, or I'll sic' our entire 2.5 person police force on you!

And exactly what am I supposed to take from your cryptic reference, pray tell?

Date: 2009/05/07 21:54:59, Link
Author: Joy
Richard asked:
 
Quote
"Are you big on government cover-ups and such like?


Only when there's a big gub'ment cover-up and such like. They've been known to happen, though you might not have been around (or aware) for the last really cool ones. Something about a hotel in D.C. and a third-rate burglary, some "freedom fighter" torture experts in Central America, and the utter demise of the U.S. Savings and Loan industry (which was the last time they robbed us blind)... never mind. We all know such things never occur, right?

Don't worry about it. I won't bring any such crazy shit up unless it fits the subject, I promise. You'll be glad to know the right wingers don't like me any better than you do.

Erasmus:
Quote
"...and nuclear mafia conspiracies, horatio."


You mean like this one?

Date: 2009/05/07 22:21:04, Link
Author: Joy
Thanks, Richard. One question - does this Erasmus fellow speak English? I find it very hard to follow his gist...

...and I don't know what anyone but Lou really looks like (if his current pic is any help, sort of cute), so I can't say who I'd rather make out with. I'm an eye person, if that helps. Don't care what color.

Date: 2009/05/07 22:30:44, Link
Author: Joy
SkatesEast, Erasmus. A truly serious amount of fun, about as much as is allowed by law and still manage to make some money. DogTown had the cover, those guys could flat fly! All we could do was be amazed, though hubby actually could do downhill slalom on his hands. Really. Got us all sorts of cool places in Joisey...

What's next? Gee... I dunno. Maybe I'll run for Mayor or something. Or not. Maybe I'll just tend the garden and orchard and vineyard. I am building a solar food dryer this year. Got really sick of canning in August. We don't have AC here on the mountain...

Date: 2009/05/07 22:47:08, Link
Author: Joy
What's a PoTW?

Date: 2009/05/07 22:55:30, Link
Author: Joy
If you've got any excess Mexicans, do send 'em my way, Erasmus. I'm really lucky if I can get my own kids and grandkids to weed the crops during growing season! Have plenty of room for tents, I won't turn 'em in or anything. Heck, I'll even cook 'em dinner and make lemonade and iced sun tea just like I do for the local VFD when the springtime fires come along. Burned the whole bottomland this year, closest it's ever gotten!

Contribute to the local economy? We indeed do, in a good many ways. Just love this place on the planet, of all places on the planet I've ever lived (and I was born where Mount Punatubo is now). Chose it on purpose. If you're gonna live in Florida, live at the beach (which we did). If you're gonna live in NC, live on a mountain. And we do. You got a problem with that?

Date: 2009/05/07 23:20:25, Link
Author: Joy
Quote
you tell me why.


Why? WHY???!!! My goodness, 'ras. Richard tells me you're a Pirate. Aaaarrr, matey. We be here before ye. Did you bring rum?

A host of hippies camping on the lawn is, like, my worst nightmare. We actually did stop off at The Farm on our way from Boston to Oklahoma in '81. Very strange place, though I sure didn't blame the Gaskins for that. I got to plant a full half-acre of sweet potatoes, I'd lay odds all of them died. Then they tried to make me do salad for dinner. They had no IDEA of my non-cooking skills, prob'ly sickened enough of 'em to warm the cockles of your teeny heart for sure!

We make our money however we can. Made really good money with the clown empire in Florida until #1 son died ugly. Suddenly the 'team' wasn't so popular, nobody wanted a sad clown. So we came here. Still clown, still use clowning as job experience whenever we're looking. Often, because jobs are always temporary here. We chose the place. Making it work is the secondary consideration.

Is that good enough for you?

Date: 2009/05/07 23:49:18, Link
Author: Joy
What's a "yurt?"

Date: 2009/05/08 00:08:10, Link
Author: Joy
Oh, truly cool. Had a friend in the Canyon who lived in a teepee (sp?) and sold beads to the In'juns. But I could actually live in that thing! Steppes Mongolian, right?

Answer: picks if I've got 'em. Fingernails if not. That's serious Tony Trishka pickin' versus claw-hammer old timey. Ever heard of the "Sons of Ralph?" How about the "Honky Dreads?" Derek Trucks? ...depends entirely on who I'm jammin' with.

Date: 2009/05/08 10:56:00, Link
Author: Joy
Hi, KCdgw. Yeah, WW is a cool school. Have had many students from there and Montreat volunteer for various youth programs on the redneck side of the divide. Have strong community service requirements, and many opportunities in an officially "depressed region."

What's her major?

Date: 2009/05/08 12:05:44, Link
Author: Joy
You haven't gotten around to cussing or calling me names yet, but that doesn't lend a false sense of security. Besides, I'm rather fond of snakes and large spiders. Not big on 'gators, though.

Just came by to blow off steam per the ridiculous riverdancing of the teabagger contingent (I can only take so much of that). They're just now figuring out that their so long hoped-for theocracy ended up a train wreck, and aren't sure who to blame. Can't blame Frat-Boy and The Dick because that would mean they got suckered by Satan's Own Cyborg. Proving yet again that Evil occasionally does accomplish something good in the end.

God works in mysterious ways, after all.

Date: 2009/05/08 14:15:39, Link
Author: Joy
Naw, didn't miss you much, keiths. Been busy lately doing other things. Checked in at Teliville only to find the usual suspects spinning like tops trying to justify torture of POWs their daddies executed war criminals for after the Big One. Holey hypocrisy, Batman! I do tend to expect a little ideological consistency even when dealing with the chewy chunks of degradation.

Lou - It's probably the goatee.

k.e. - yeah, train wreck. Of the off-the-rails and straight through the municipal building sort that'll go down in history as... something hysterical, at least.

Date: 2009/05/08 16:23:13, Link
Author: Joy
Naw, keiths. Just bored. I'd go mow the lawn but it's too wet. I'd prep the tomato bed, but that looks a whole lot like work. Could play the top nine of the disc course, but I lost my driver somewhere in the Chasm of Despair last weekend and don't care to climb down the mountain to look for it. Could'a gone to LEAF, but naked mud-hippies are boring too. Guess I could go coyote hunting in the bottomland if push comes to shove, but think I'll just plant squash instead.

Nice to see you haven't lost your charm.

Date: 2009/05/08 17:34:53, Link
Author: Joy
Went ahead and finished the 'mater bed and planted those puppies. Got the eggplants in too, we'll see how that works out. Went ahead and picked the new rush of asparagus and the ripe strawberries. Probably ought to pot up some of that mint, see if anybody's dumb enough to buy it at the tailgate market. Then pulled 8 gazillion more morning glory starts. Leeks, onions (red and white, bunching and bulb), carrots and celeriac doing well, peanuts in need of more mulch, potatoes getting eaten by some bug that doesn't know they're poison. Typical. Should probably just grow 'em in the compost, they like it fine in there.

Now I'm bored again. Hell's experiencing blackberry winter at the present time, TP.

Date: 2009/05/08 19:43:14, Link
Author: Joy
LOL!!! Yep. Mine are just extremely pesky invasive vines that are worse than kudzu (but prettier). Grow about a foot a day, swallow things whole. And no, I don't mean that thing...

Date: 2009/05/12 20:57:21, Link
Author: Joy
Erasmus:
Quote
joy i hope you aren't offended if i say that you are much more delightful here in the swamp than elsewhere.  why, we could get along just fine i reckon.  unless you start playing pete seeger tunes.


You're gonna hate this... I met Pete Seeger once during a layover at the Dallas airport in 1971. The Navy had flown me to Orlando (back when it was just a backwater with an airport that consisted of a few quonset huts) because hubby was getting a medal at boot camp graduation. We had four hours to kill in Dallas, not a quarter between us and couldn't even afford a soda to split.

Pete saw us sitting there looking bored (hubby in dress whites, it was a military hop), told us to follow him. He took us upstairs to the USO for sandwiches, drinks, pinball and pool. Didn't stay because he was on his way elsewhere, but it was really quite cool.

You'll be pleased to know that never caused me to buy any of his records or anything. My entire contribution to the folk/country art consisted of Mom's cousin John's stuff. Her maiden name was Cash...

Date: 2009/05/12 23:55:15, Link
Author: Joy
Sorry, 'Ras. Don't watch television. Have a set, lots of tapes and DVDs. It's not worth $75 a month to be assaulted with mindless garbage just so they can [try to] sell me things I don't want or need. I figure if it's all that important to keep me stupid, they can foot the bill. Since they don't, hypnotically induced stupidity isn't part of life here (though these 'toobs might be a contender).

John was a mess. The gifted seem to get into that mess too often, he managed to live through it (until he died, that is). Saw Hendricks' second-to-last show. Talk about strung out! And John Prine who fell off his stool at the first chord, didn't get up. It was a short set...

Date: 2009/05/13 08:22:20, Link
Author: Joy
Lou:
Quote
I'll dispute that on different grounds.


Well, since the subject came up, I will tell you that 'meddling' with posts is a strict no-no at TT - they may be holed in entirety or not at all, formatting corrected only upon request. Really. Yes, things sometimes get weirded out - I've lost whole or portions of posts occasionally, don't bother with the emoticons because they either don't show at all (just get the keystrokes) or turn out wrong. I don't know why, but shit happens.

I'd say those who can't handle the occasional glitch without going all CT [Conspiracy Theory] should probably stay here instead.

Quote
TT/UD/AIG/etc are all cut from the same cloth, each one a cesspool of lies and distortions, run by self-important Napoleon wannabes whose goal is to dictate science by fiat without ever having stepped into a lab or gone out to the field to do any actual science.


Truth is, it's mostly a matter of perception. Yes, most at TT are 'creationists' in that they do view biology and evolution as creations instead of accidents (with some caveats), with deity running the show. But insisting that their view boils down to "lies and distortions" because you have an opposite view makes about as much sense as defending torture because The Dick Can Do No Wrong. Frustrating, but not a matter of deliberate deception.

Quote
Creationists aim to usurp the mantle of science, wear the lab coat while destroying the microscope as it were.


I have more faith in science than that, I guess. So long as the true theocons are prevented from imposing religion as science in science classes (and they *are* so prevented, legally, just as it should be), it doesn't matter what they believe about creation or evolution. Science will eventually follow the evidence wherever it leads, or make itself useless. Since there's actual power involved, I'm guessing it won't choose ideological uselessness over what's real about life.

Whatever that turns out to be, on the level of what we can know or find out.

Date: 2009/05/13 08:41:22, Link
Author: Joy
Erasmus:
Quote
psst this happened about 30 something years ago


That's right around the time I tossed my TV down the basement stairs. Found myself watching "The Gong Show" at dinner with the kids one night, some obese woman burping the National Anthem. Grossed me out so bad it was like waking up in the middle of a nightmare and finding it was real. Now I've a grandson who is old enough to have voted last fall. Only time he's ever watched TV was at someone else's house, and he inevitably came home with a new appreciation for why we don't.

Though if he could just get Sci-Fi Channel 24-7 he'd be okay with it. Bad Zombie movies... btw, have you seen "Zombie Strippers" yet? May be the best Z-Cult Classic ever!

Quote
perhaps you'll youtoob it.  certainly is worth pointing and laughing watching


Maybe someday. If we ever get frustrated enough with dial-up to pay $75 a month for HughesNet (they're never ever going to run a cable half a mile up my driveway even if it ran along our road, which it doesn't).

Date: 2009/05/13 08:47:03, Link
Author: Joy
Richard:
Quote
Really, Joy? And yet it happens. Strict no-no's aren't what they used to be!


Well, I can tell you the 'edit' function hasn't worked at all in at least six months. So it would be pretty hard to edit a post instead of just click the 'hole' button. We have a 'delete' button too, which is how I've edited posts that didn't come out right. I sure don't know why anyone would bother to copy a post in full just to change an emoticon and then delete and re-post.

And since I also can't get the emoticons to work right, I would not automatically jump to nefarious conclusions. But whatever floats your boat...

Date: 2009/05/13 10:39:37, Link
Author: Joy
You like that "bullshit" word a lot, eh Louie?

Don't guess there's anything I could add to what I posted previously, in that those observations are in fact my observations. You could probably use the same word to describe my observational prowess, but it wouldn't change a thing about my observations.

I get a lot more frustrated with the political teabagging than with speculative flights of fancy regarding whether or not this or that biological process shows signs of design-like organization. But then again, Dueling Metaphysics isn't the primary reason I got involved in the first place. It was the bizarre assertions and misinformation coming from the scientific cadre that first caught my attention. Made me wonder what the hell was going on...

Date: 2009/05/13 11:23:30, Link
Author: Joy
Lou:
Quote
Again with unfounded conspiracy theories and scurrilous accusations, eh Joyfullyinsane?


Ah, well. I guess the "kinda cute" PotW only lasts so long before the insults and name-calling rise yet again to the fore. You didn't have a Mama who taught you better manners, did you?

Quote
I think we're all clear that you have no desire to actually discuss science.


I've seen no actual science discussed in this thread.

Quote
Would you care to give some examples of such?


Primarily claims to knowledge science doesn't really have, about things that science doesn't specialize in. Mostly metaphysics, which last I checked is the exclusive purview of philosophy, theology and/or New Agey scam artists who make it up as they go along.

There's also the ignorance of scientoid groupies who learned no more than the average high schooler about biological evolution years ago, who bought into the metaphysics of EAs pretending that science somehow 'proves' their metaphysics correct. Those who don't know the difference between statistical treatment of phenomena (probability) and the concept of causation. Things like that.

Erasmus:
Quote
...most of us here view ANY attempts to institutionalize such metaphysick as political teabagging.


Then I guess you have no problem with my view of attempts to do that very thing by the opposing 'metaphysick'-ally inclined combatants. Science education - which I suppose to be the institution you're concerned about - shouldn't be in the business of promulgating anybody's metaphysics. The religios have had precisely zero luck trying to get past Amendment #1. The other corner has enjoyed somewhat better luck until rather recently when textbooks were stripped of the theological arguments. Better late than never.

Quote
without having such discussion devolve into whether or not a bearded thunderer can do this or that, and you will have spooned the fork.  i don't think it will happen because i don't believe there is such a method.  i would love to be proven wrong.  i dare ya


Sorry to disappoint you yet again, 'ras. I've got no magician in this race. No sporks (or spooks) here...

Date: 2009/05/13 11:47:58, Link
Author: Joy
Just so you know, I've no problem with evolution. Never did have a problem with evolution, at least per most issues except universal common ancestor (I suspect there was more than one). I do have problems with strict Darwinism's "selection as creator of new information" thing, but so did science. Which is why they kept on seeking the mechanism of inheritance, since that is where new information arises for selection to act upon.

I also have a problem with the ridiculous assertion that all new information is caused by 'random', since random isn't a cause of anything. I expect new and incoming information about self-organization, non-linear processes, state dynamics, epigenetics, expression-suiting (chromatin and histone dynamics) and things at "the edge of chaos" on the biophysics end will eventually lead to a theory of evolution that doesn't look so accidental, concerning organisms with a very strong self-interest in surviving as long as possible (and being as sexy as possible).

I view life as a fairly efficient (i.e., "intelligent") designer of its own forms and functions, as well as systematic originator of all qualities and traits we see displayed in the biodiversity all around us. No one denies selection's input, since the Fickle Finger of Fate is a big player in the game of what does survive and reproduce for generations down the line. That's a caveat to what is often essentially accidental (in effect, not cause) rather than adaptively weeded-out by environmental challenges to this trait or that.

Date: 2009/05/13 12:28:08, Link
Author: Joy
OMitSDI:
Quote
And yet the quoted text above does not mention any such bizarre assertions or misinformation.


You want me to remember specifics from a decade ago? Geez... it's not like I have boxes and file cabinets stuffed full of painful details and documentary evidence (as I have for back when such detail and documentation was my job).

Best I can recall, it was some pseud on the CNN message boards who showed up spewing the usual crap about how "science proves" there's no God because life evolved instead of getting zapped into existence 6,000 years ago. Your basic unwarranted extrapolation from a logical fallacy (straw man). Struck me as an extremely odd thing to say from someone pretending to *be* a scientist (thus ought to know better).

Questioning the assertion earned a link from someone else to the ARN boards, which I audited for awhile before deciding what position I cared to weigh in on. I view the Creationist position as sadly misguided and very dumb, but at the same time I recognize that it's a serious minority contingent based on theological error their in-group doesn't view as theological error. First learned about the Hebraic mythology and pre-Judaic histories from my godparents, who were Jews. Always figured they knew more about it than the Bibolators did, since it's their mythology and histories and all.

However, I also believe strongly in the fundamental human and constitutional right to believe in what amounts to theological error. Thus I don't care what silliness other people choose to believe about things that can't ever really be known, so long as they aren't teaching it in public schools to other people's conscripted children disguised as science.

When I see silliness asserted by those pretending to speak for science, it does bug me. Because it's a dangerous corruption of the most powerful tool humanity ever invented for itself (for good or ill).  Also amazed that such things are not called out by real scientists more often. Though I'm also pretty sure real scientists don't spend a lot of time on obscure internet message boards and blogs correcting misconceptions and erroneous assertions.

In this particular 'controversy' (if there really is one) Dueling Metaphysics is the name of the game. Off in the distance science marches on, pretty soon the competing arguments will be moot. At which point the duelers will inevitably fall back on pure metaphysical assertions that convince no one, and the partisan politics that goes with. In fact, it looks to me like it's basically already there.

Date: 2009/05/13 12:41:07, Link
Author: Joy
k.e.:
Quote
Your use of the word random is an emotional plea.


No it's not. Sure, isotopes comprising molecules may spontaneously decay on occasion, replication 'mistakes' can occur, aa elements may 'flip' for no apparent reason, and ionizing radiation (as well as free radical ionization) can break strands or zap pieces-parts much smaller. Deal is, I do not view these events as contributory to evolution proper, just to selection of individuals and perhaps sub-populations. Like an unpredictable earthquake that wipes out an entire village, fit and unfit alike. That's the Fickle Finger of Fate, which can go forward into population dynamics on the evolutionary front, but *is* not the 'engine of evolution'.

Accumulated and inherited "damage" contributes more to disease than to evolution, I suspect.

Two-headed calves and cosmic billiard games are selective events. There is no species of two-headed bovines, you know. And cosmic billiards is a game of skill, not chance. Just because neither dinosaurs nor humans may see it coming doesn't mean it occurred at random or was caused by "randomness."

Date: 2009/05/13 13:38:13, Link
Author: Joy
And on the subject of 'random' SNPs in genes and associated genetic elements working with sub and super codes, there are still unsettled questions about what the "correct" sequences ought to be. Because real scientific research has focused on polymorphisms primarily as "disease genes" or "obesity genes" or whatever kind of "what ails you" genes, I think people trying to follow the science may often earn erroneous perceptions of what it all means in broader context.

Take as for instance the human prion gene(s). As of the year 2001 there were at least 42 variants identified. Reflective no doubt of past population exposures to TSEs, which served to select-out the susceptible to whatever the trigger is for that particular version of TSE. Leaving those less susceptible. For whatever reasons, either inherited or acquired - and exposure to pathogens has historically resulted in genetic rearrangements and/or insertions of borrowed material, epigenetic mechanisms can apparently pass some things on to offspring from somatic acquisitions.

Remember, all that counts for evolution's purposes are those variants that kill the young. Evolution cares not a whit about organisms that die in old age from bad meat they ate at any point along the way (death being as necessary as reproduction to the process). Thus the vCJD epidemic of the 1990s represented only a single genotype killing the healthy young (thus gaining widespread attention, research funding and public panic).

One of 42. Which are likely to represent genotypes more resistant, though not necessarily immune. One study from a medical research hospital (I forget which) that involved autopsies on people who died of Alzheimer's - who are not normally autopsied - discovered that up to 50% of them died of CJD instead. But since they were dealing with a late-life onset syndrome, no one seems to have cared. Heck, maybe it'll turn out that all amyloid diseases of the central nervous system involve prions or prion-like proteins that state-switch from some environmental trigger. Who knows?

Perhaps someday we'll have figured out what the function of 'normal' prion and prion-like proteins is, which should help a lot in prevention or treatment of amyloid diseases of late onset. No doubt governed per period of latency by whatever variant (or variant group) the person carries/belongs to.

I find things like this to be immensely interesting, do try to follow as best I can. In this example, things apparently went proprietary after Prusiner got the Nobel Prize. Not surprising, but I sure do wish things were less controlled by commercial interests. Just an opinion, of course. Not something I ever expect to see.

Date: 2009/05/13 13:49:05, Link
Author: Joy
Erasmus:
Quote
there is no such thing as random?


There is no such thing as random causation, 'ras. Unstable isotopes decay because they're unstable. We can't predict when any given atom will transmutate, but then again, we have no capability of observing any given atom to determine the precise state of its internals. So we treat massive amounts of like isotopes probablistically - half will decay in this amount of time, by these entirely predictable means. It's precise enough for gub'ment work.

Since radioactive decay is the 'gold standard' of random, that should suffice to illustrate that radioactive decay does indeed have cause(s). We just can't determine for any particular isotope when it will occur. Everything else has causes too, despite our woeful lack of ability to predict with precision. "Random" is not a cause, it's a statistical effect.

Date: 2009/05/13 14:41:48, Link
Author: Joy
<Sheesh!> You guys can dish it out plenty, should probably learn how to take it too. chunk's just being a Roman...</sheesh>

Another interesting development this week on that issue I previously mentioned about gene and 'junk' (associated elements, not necessarily junk) polymorphisms having much to do with disease, susceptibility to certain diseases, and resistance to certain diseases. My previous example was state-switching proteins as pathogens, and late-onset diseases as uninteresting for tracing particular past selective events or even the nature of what eventually kills old folks who don't die of something else first.

From ScienceDaily:
Study Reveals Significant Genetic Variation Between Mexico's Population and World's Other Known Genetic Subgroups

(Yeah, another interminable title from the wiz's of interminable titles). The question raised is pertinent to the unseemly death rate of the current chimeric version of H1N1 swine flu in Mexico compared to how deadly it hasn't been in the rest of the world despite rapid and unstoppable spread.

I of course ignore the implied pie-in-the-sky promise of "pharmacogenomics" and racial/personal medicines - never gonna happen in my lifetime. Hell, we don't even have flying cars yet! But it is interesting in the context of what I brought up earlier per the identified (publicly) variants of prion genes. Of course, for something like this they'd have to identify which other genes and elements in coordinated expression suiting lead to the cytokine 'storms' that so quickly killed younger, healthy Mexicans, and whether those healthy immune systems might not be particularly useful to their owners in the face of other types of health problems they DO NOT have that other genotypes get often (and often die of).

Rather fascinating. So while I still don't expect any miracles from this sort of research, I follow when I can. It sort of highlights how little we actually know, how much there is yet to discover. Putting to good use is a big shrug at this point in history. We should have a much better understanding of ourselves before we start really messing around with our genetics. But every little tidbit helps.

Date: 2009/05/13 15:00:53, Link
Author: Joy
k.e.:
Quote
I had a good friend die in Douala Cameroon Africa from a multidrug resistant Malaria in Febuary this year *was that the fickle finger of fate?* or was it to test the faith in god of his wife and children?


Wow, sorry to hear that. It's been a rough winter, I've lost some very old friends to what I figured should be curable by now. Helps to remind me not to be very hopeful for my own future, I guess.

Multidrug resistant malaria has a cause too, unfortunately. Several of 'em, in fact. I don't pretend to know if it was just to test his survivors' faith (though it most likely has tested it). At least he reproduced, so if multidrug resistant malaria susceptibility isn't heritable by his kids, they may still play a role in the evolution game. Whatever that is.

Sometimes it's a person's general fitness to fight disease that prevails, sometimes there's just no prevailing - the disease wins. Everybody dies of something eventually. That too is part of the evolutionary game.

Quote
However a child dies every 20 something seconds on this Earth from that disease.


Amazingly enough, it hasn't managed to slow the exponential rate of population increase that is so stressing the whole of our planet's fine-tuned ecological systems. And humans are among the least "reproductively fit" critters in existence - takes us nearly a year to produce a single offspring, mortality rate in infancy is high (higher here in the U.S. than in about 50 other nations), as is maternal mortality for biological design reasons. Go figure.

Quote
Evolution is not an abstract idea it is just a fact of life wether you like it or not.


No, life is life. Evolution is a deep-time phenomenon, an effect of a process. Every single individual life form (that qualifies) lives and dies in its time, quick or long relatively speaking. Not all of them contribute to evolution, but it doesn't matter at all to their experience of life and death on planet earth. All beings are the "crown of creation" in that, imo.

Not being contrary, being honest. Lots of things can test one's faith in gods/God. What does that have to do with science or evolution?

Date: 2009/05/13 16:25:24, Link
Author: Joy
OMitSDI:
Quote
Where is the telic part of evolution for you then?


In the life forms struggling to adapt and survive, and self-organizing toward that end. It's not just teenage humans who think they're immortal, you know.

Quote
Fine tuned by what? Evolution acting alone or with some telic help?


What sort of "thing" is evolution that it can "act," alone or in concert with other things? I see a process over multi-generational time, not a "thing" with physical existence or life of its own in time.

Quote
And yet there are billions of us and billions more on the way. In what way do you mean?


Yeah, it is quite odd in evolutionary terms that we are so apparently 'successful'. Of course, we could always commit collective suicide (even have developed the means, busy developing newer, better means), take enough of the rest of life with us to qualify as a "Mass Extinction Event." I wouldn't be inclined to think of that as random happenstance, either. Perhaps if we had other examples of evolution on other planets, we'd have some idea of how common it is for the process to begin, work its way to "intelligence," then have the intelligence make the whole process moot. Looks pretty damned stupid to me that a natural process would produce anything as unnatural as us, but that's again just an opinion. Evolution may be suicidal at heart if it's a "thing" (as you've described).

Quote
Designed by what? Evolution or some entity?


Designed by all entities, through which the process manifests. The process designs nothing, since it's not a "thing" with goals, and never a done deal. Until it manages to produce life forms intelligent enough to end it on purpose, that is.

Quote
What life form could possibly not qualify for evolution?


Another meaningless question. What life form "evolves?" Answer: none. What we've got is evidence for past life forms that are no longer here, and different life forms around right now. The assumption is that those past life forms 'evolved' over millions of generations to become the life forms we see now. You know, sort of like the dino-to-dove thing. The process of evolution requires descent with modification. None of us gives birth to ourselves in our own lifetimes. Bacteria maybe do (if you consider simple division to qualify), and even then there are eventual modifications. But no, e.coli doesn't give magical 'birth' to nematodes. They reproduce more e.coli's, sometimes with new metabolic abilities. Still e.coli.

Quote
But your monkey is jumping around throwing shit at the walls and people are starting to throw shit back and so, before it gets too bad in here, I'd like to just find out your position.


Yes, I can see that the poo-flinging is winning this round. Must be quite difficult to keep up with such divergent sub-discussions, but I've been quite clear about my position. Let me respond to k.e. and then I'll let you apes get back to the poo-flinging.

Date: 2009/05/13 16:30:04, Link
Author: Joy
k.e.:
Quote
I think you confuse the words random and accident.


In what way? Did your friend get malaria at random, or because he got bit by a mosquito bearing the drug resistant pathogen? Did the mosquito choose him at random or accidentally, or because he was a warm body with red blood who was available? I hear they're drawn by the CO2 in our exhalation, but there could be other factors that draw a mosquito to lite and bite. Not being mosquitoes, we may be entirely ignorant of them, but it's not like people haven't known for ages that mosquitoes like human blood and spread diseases. For the mosquito it may not have been the least bit random. Does development of resistance have no traceable causes?

Sorry, but I can't see mosquito bites as "accidental," since mosquitoes are known to like biting humans and sucking their blood. That they spread diseases in the process is also part of their modus, something the pathogens they carry have overtaken for their own purposes of gaining new hosts and successfully reproducing to use the same vector for that purpose. Hardly "accidental," and certainly not "random."

Quote
The theory of evolution through natural selection does not mean "the crown of creation" was an accident, a fluke maybe but not like a car crash.


Shit happens to the fit and unfit alike. I don't think selection is the be-all and end-all of the process of evolution. It plays a role, but it designs nothing. Mere Fickle Finger of Fate. Your friend wasn't "selected out" of the gene pool, his contribution to evolution is still alive and growing. They may or may not reproduce, their children and children's children may or may not reproduce. Nobody expects any of them to ever magically give birth to a new species, though they might give birth to some monstrous failures. That happens too. How many of his possibly unique genetic contributions get into whatever new species might come along in a million years is definitely a crap-shoot. But then again, there may well be no new species in a million years. Shouldn't matter to anyone living and dying today. Sexual reproduction tends to stabilize species more than it changes them into something else. Come to think of it, so does asexual reproduction. Go figure.

Quote
Plasmodium falciparum is evolving right under our noses so it is incorrect to say evolution is some deep time woo.


What's it evolving into? A drug resistant strain of bacteria isn't a new species of life, it's an adaptive development in an existing species of life. It's still Plasmodium falciparum the protozoa that causes malignant malaria. Its adaptability may well be the justification for the title "malignant." All life feeds on other life, one way or the other. Death is part of the process that results in evolution, as well as the excuse for reproduction with modification.

That's like saying I've "evolved" because I got a smallpox vaccination (and in some cases of immune system developments I can indeed pass that to my offspring, so it can be heritable). I've [artificially, but does that matter?] developed resistance! Am I not still human? Are the 42 variants of the prion genes representative of different species of humans? This makes no sense. To the smallpox virus (if it were a considerable life form), I'd still be a desirable host that frustratingly developed defenses.

Quote
And you seem to have some limited ideas on how evolution through natural selection works.


I don't think evolution works exclusively or even primarily via natural selection. I explained that already, my interest is with the 'engine' and inherent self-organizational capabilities, not the Fickle Finger of Fate.

Date: 2009/05/13 21:35:54, Link
Author: Joy
Erasmus:
Quote
doubleteam trollery?


I have no control over what anybody else does if they aren't living in my house. I am not feeling welcome at TT of late, there's some political issues they're having trouble accepting gracefully (like losing an election to a black guy, finding out their chickenhawk heroes sold America down the morality river and robbed us blind, etc.). A shame, but not surprising.

Quote
shes all "aw shucks duh duh yup i play the banjer and i'm tarred of bibblologists ruining my woo by god.


Yeah, Asheville's the "New Age Capital of America" ever since John McCain ruined Sedona. The same old Hipper Than Thou crowd. Luckily, we don't live in A-ville. It's nice enough to visit, has good brewhouses and veggie restaurants, great markets for organic goodies. Sometimes work there. And it's not too big.

If by "bibblologists" you mean biologists, I like 'em just fine. Sort of was one myself once, in an applied science colored with a little physics. Know some biologists personally, am even related to one. Specialized post-grad in isolating the alkaloids of American Mandrake and Pacific Yew - cancer research, for whatever that was worth (not much, apparently).

Quote
if this is just semantics about what is meant by "random" then I'm sure you could find something of substance to bitch about closer to home.


I was asked what claims were being made that got me interested in the debate, I responded. I don't buy the deceptively exclusive focus on selection as an explanation for evolution, while waving away the more important source ['engine'] of biological innovation with spurious appeals to randomness. Nor do I buy any claims that science [outside mathematics] deals in proofs, much less that it 'proves' any negatives in the metaphysical realm. If you don't like my point of view, tough titty. I never expected you to.

It was just boredom. I can see that things here still inevitably end in the same sewer they always did, and I've honestly got better things to do.

Date: 2009/05/13 21:41:19, Link
Author: Joy
deadman:
Quote
Is chunkdz's tale intended, in your opinion, as a homoerotic jab? Be honest now, Jesus is watching you.


I don't know. Must have missed the original. Don't care either. What stumps me is why you guys (who toss homosexual insults at each other constantly) care. You got something against gays?

Erasmus:
Quote
perhaps this is one of those coincidences that actually is random...


I doubt it. There are no coincidences...

Quote
but the concern trollery, nah...  what a repressed loser


Huh. In my experience a "concern troll" must actually display some believable concern for the impressions some disinterested 'public' might garner from the material at issue. No one here or at TT is disinterested in anything being presented or commented upon. He's just pushing your buttons. Because he can, must think it's fun because the reactions are so completely predictable.

Date: 2009/05/14 10:57:11, Link
Author: Joy
deadman:
Quote
BUT, this was merely about chunkdz's claim to innocence regarding something that is clearly intended as a hit-piece (however short and meaningless it may be).


I read the tale (thnx for the link). Actually, it made me laugh out loud. Of course, as a clown I might have more appreciation for such things than the targets would. Given the amount of money made by comedians over the years poking irreverent fun at likely targets (usually the pompous 'white face' character), there's definitely a market for it.

Obviously a mockery, something you guys should be intimately familiar with given the many cruder examples of the same sort of thing flowing through the peanut gallery threads here. Perhaps I'm in error for lumping you in with "you guys," I am not that familiar with all participants here. Still, the feigned insult seems overblown, all things considered. It's pretty difficult to offensively "hit" someone whose stock-in-trade is being offensive.

Sort of like having a front row seat when Don Rickles gets a serious roasting.

I'd say "lighten up," but that's completely unlikely. Everybody these days seems to be taking themselves way too seriously. Something in the water?

Date: 2009/05/14 16:08:28, Link
Author: Joy
deadman:
Quote
See the George Bush regime for the results of that.


I hear you there, deadman. From a pov more tied to this end of the life-curve than to the court jester's handy bauble, I do have to observe that when people are comfortably complacent - or unreasonably scared - things have to get really, really bad before they can be made better. Americans these days are both. The more religious they are, the more greedy and easily frightened that they'll lose their hoard of Caesar's coins. I think it qualifies as a mental illness.

I was sort of hoping last September's sudden panic over the nation's lax bookkeeping (brought on by scheduled IMF audit beginning September 30) would finally sink the system so deep we'd actually have a chance to re-make it into something that might last awhile. Instead, what we got was the "opportunity" to pay off gambler's crooked debts with our lives and livelihoods for the next hundred years just to keep the crap shoot going. I now accept that it's never going to change, we'll make ourselves extinct first.

Quote
However, my point is simply that I don't know many scientists that are striving for political power -- but when I see it, I feel free to mock it. What I do see is a whole lot of religious folks using pseudoscience as a pretext for theistic political power (as in the Wedge Document), so they get the majority of my mockery, and I don't bullshit about being "innocent" when I use it.


chunk's not innocent, but I seriously doubt he ever believed he could convince anybody here that he is. It's just button-pushing, looks to me like his success rate is near 100%. As for the theocons, they lost. Their Beast and his pet antichrist plus all their demonic little henchmen have been unmasked. They will all, justice willing and the tide don't tarry, soon be living out their worthless lives in tiny prison cells or toasting their buns in hell with their old buddy Saddam for crimes against humanity.

Again, sometimes things have to literally peg the Evil-meter before people can be shaken awake. Many have indulged in the opium so liberally (haha) that they're still dreaming. Perhaps some cold water, vicious dogs, electric shocks and/or "stress positions" will bring 'em around. The lawsuits have been filed, the pictures of tortured-to-death POWs and child rapes will be released. I can't wait to see the Beast's chalky face on MtP trying to justify that once America has seen the results in living color on tee-vee.

Date: 2009/05/14 17:46:01, Link
Author: Joy
deadman:
 
Quote
There's a similarly interesting tale about mocking Christianity (as Hopi clowns are wont to do with their own beliefs as well) -- but you might not find it funny, so I won't bother.


Actually (again, just so there's no confusion on the issue), I stopped calling myself "Christian" back when the bid for my generation's modicum of political power got started, and that was before every medium-sized town in America had its own megachurch in ugly acre-sized metal buildings. I am a mere follower of the man called Jesus. Funny is funny. I don't take myself too seriously, you probably shouldn't take me too seriously either.

One of the most prescient things Jesus had to say for posterity was about the "End Times" (notice the plural tense) - something that, history demonstrates rather well, comes about every few generations when the church(es) manage to destroy themselves with greed, lust for worldly power, and a strong penchant for Absolute Evil. At first it took a thousand years because church and state were one, complete with blanket license to kill the naysayers. It's been coming more often this last thousand years as church-state liaisons became less universal. Ours occurred just as our Principality (world hegemony) was busily being sold piecemeal to petty tyrants all over the world, but primarily in the Middle East.

Things get so bad that, "...were it possible, even the Elect would be fooled." Deal is, the term "Elect" in these passages (all referent to a single source or borrowed from each other so probably as accurate a communication as we'll ever get from the Son of Man) is more obscure than it appears.

The recurrent theme of Judgment throughout the Judaic traditions and histories as often refers to the people (the tribe) as to the nations. Jesus was a Jew, perhaps even the rightful King of Jews. This was his tradition and history, the prophesies he said he came to fulfill.

And because these traditions, histories and prophesies are all about multiple Judgments through millennia, the Bibolators' readings of a single "End Time" is, imo, erroneous. The "Elect" Jesus speaks of are not those pride-filled Pharisees in Armani suits (purple robes) who wield earthly power and hoard earthly riches, the ones who pray so loudly on our television screens and claim to *be* "Elect." Jesus said he does not know them - calls them hypocrites to their face.

In the end - and everyone has an end - it is "the least of these" who will gain peace. The poor, the humble, the powerless, the sorrowing, the prisoners whom Christians are commanded to love and compassionately tend. Even their enemies. It is impossible for these Elect to be fooled, since they know they're not worthy of mercy in the first place.

The message gets lost in a cyclical manner. Then Judgment comes. It has been thus from the early days of Mesopotamian Ur - from whence came Abraham - back when humans first built mighty city-states and civilizations of power. It has been thus ever since. Fear is the weapon of the Beast, its rising is the bell that rings...

Fear leads to anger.
Anger leads to hate.
Hatred leads to suffering.


...Master Yoda

I am not afraid, for I am a professional fool - a clown from a long line of clowns, going so far back into the mists of prehistory that some say the Fool was created first when Man Maker the Magician decided one fine day to create human beings... §;o)

Date: 2009/05/14 19:40:32, Link
Author: Joy
Erasmus:
Quote
drunkchz homosexual fantasies about antiantievolutionists is the crux of the matter


It's YOUR issue, obviously. I asked yesterday if you guys have something against gays, just trying to parse the psychology here where homo jokes and innuendoes are endemic (I'm fairly used to the reverse psychology on the other 'side'). I got some blanket denials, were you in that company?

Deal is, I don't have anything against gays. Know many personally, am related to some. Hubby's even officiated at a gay wedding (cowboy theme, quite sweet even though comedically ripe). If it were true that chunk were harboring gay tendencies - closeted as they may be - would that really be the best avenue of ridicule to take with him? I mean, if you were inclined to see the apparent situation compassionately and all.

Just askin', because I don't see it as the "crux of the matter" in this thread.

Date: 2009/05/14 20:48:34, Link
Author: Joy
Erasmus:
 
Quote
ps joy i think blipey is a funnier clown.  you are a sad clown.  that's ok too.  i just don't like the It clown.


Shakes is more my style...

Date: 2009/05/14 21:39:05, Link
Author: Joy


More like this.

Give us Your Kids, we'll turn 'em into...



...this. Scary.

Date: 2009/05/14 23:43:56, Link
Author: Joy
Erasmus:
Quote
but i went over just for gits and shiggles because we have been getting these nice visits from Joy and her pet squirrel.


Thanks, 'ras. Somehow I just knew that would be your fall-back position. Why do you guys never surprise me?

Date: 2009/05/15 00:13:29, Link
Author: Joy
Erasmus:
Quote
you don't seem to be interested in commenting on the tardery in that thread i linked to.  why not?


Didn't go there. "'tardery'" is SOP by the definition I've been given, I already know the scripts by heart. As I mentioned, it wasn't until they lost the last election that things got out of hand. They'll get over it in time (or not). Nothing new, only slightly dangerous given reality as-it-is.

I'm not here to bash TT or any participants therein (though they probably think I've done so). I'm here because I'm bored. With the lot of 'em, pro and con. Just trying for a psych profile on the last hold-outs, denizens of The [infamous] Swamp. To round out the research. That's all.

So far I sense a not-so-secret code I'm not privy to. It's a little difficult to separate the snark from the body blows sometimes. If you want to whine about being "misunderstood," a little bit of intentional consistency wouldn't hurt. Just an observation, of course.

Date: 2009/05/15 12:01:30, Link
Author: Joy
'Ras:
Quote
round heah weuns chew with our mouths full


Yup. Discovered some time ago that if you chew with your mouth empty it leads to ground molars and TMJ. Funny how that works...

Off to a wedding on the Parkway, where it's about 50ş and most likely drizzle in a pea soup fog. This works out rather well, since I refuse to wear an actual dress (pants to a fancy sari instead, plain shirt, tartan poncho). Celtic knot thing, very ugly plaids - we who got ours by marriage to a Scotsman have better colors.

At least I won't have to put any big shot-stones (the Irish would rather drink instead, fine with me since it comes with trout and 'taters on the side) or have to deal with funny-legged guys in skirts or gawd-awful bagpipes I'd be sorely tempted to push off the cliff just because there's one handy...

See ya.

Date: 2009/05/19 23:01:16, Link
Author: Joy
Richardthughes:
 
Quote
You must be mistaken, Zach. Joy was assuring me this doesn't happen...


Guess Bradford changed the rules. Odd that you're surprised, while I am not. Those rules were mere "agreed-upons" in the first place. It's a private website, not the US government. So they can censor as they wish.

I've never been able to quite figure out why you guys think any ID sites have to tolerate your presence or play your games. Some have, others stopped tolerating sockpuppets years ago. Eventually the haves get to the intolerance point when the games have been played so many times they're boring to one and all. Not more or less boring than any 'amen' site on either side, so why bother?

Date: 2009/07/08 20:20:46, Link
Author: Joy
Did you call? Sorry, I've been busy with real life recently. I will say it's true Bradford has made TT unwelcoming to those of us who aren't amen-ers to participate in, and that's why I left.

But I'd ask you why you still care. Seems pretty obsessive to me, and not very healthy. Do you honestly believe that people who are ID supporters and have found themselves on the left side of wannabe mind-tyrants like Brad will suddenly become something they're not, just because Bradford's an ass?

Maybe when you grow up you'll realize things aren't so neatly black and white. Took grandson the Nordic-type to visit the Heavner Runestone last week, on a visit to try and convince great-grandma to check herself into an assisted living situation before she falls and breaks something serious enough to remove her choices. No luck with that, she's in the hospital now with minor heart attack. Probably because we visited.

He wanted to be a paleontologist, all his life. Worked hard, did well in sciences, starred in biology. But we're poor, nobody's going to pay for him to go and daughter still owes so much for her student loans she'll never see black. So now he wants to be just another starving artist. Biology's loss, starvation's gain. I think that's extremely sad. He jokes that the creos made it all too weird, fun when it was tens of millions of years, no fun when it's just a few thou. I guess if you can't go to college because the whole economy fell apart and didn't care one whit for you, you might as well make a joke out of it.

Wake me up whenever y'all figure out this is a dead-end game. Then maybe we can talk.

Date: 2009/07/08 21:02:47, Link
Author: Joy
He's just 19, A. Trying to get his undergrad degree, not much likely to get there. They do have scholarships here, he just doesn't qualify because of dreadlocks. Go figure. He'll do fine whatever he ends up doing. I figure his will be the generation that gets stiffed across the board for Goldman-Sachs' bonuses. Maybe his kids will have more opportunities.

Date: 2009/07/08 21:10:32, Link
Author: Joy
Deal works like this - Pell grant will pay the entire tuition at the local community college, we just have to come up with about $500 a semester for books. Which we can maybe swing if we don't visit grandma again any time soon. He has some credits taking on line courses, we'll still pay for some more for fall. Pell must be full time, we must pay up front, he might get it next semester. If there's still a community college, since too many would-be students here are in the same situation.

Daughter's a UNC grad, we were hoping to get him there when he gets his 2 years in, maybe be in line for all sorts of help. But now that's looking dim as well. He's always been a great artist. He can make a meager living here sculpting and painting. Other than professional camp counselor, it's pretty much all there is. It's okay. He's impressive on all fronts.

Date: 2009/07/09 01:50:28, Link
Author: Joy
deadman, they've got a whole serious scam going with textbooks. If he takes the online course, he MUST buy the new book, so he can get the code for the online course. It's quite the bullshit, we've found, but we live 40 miles from the CCs, no matter which direction we go. The books cost more than tuition. Which we struggle to pay. Put both our kids through college, but one died two years in, the other developed epilepsy and can't work in her field. Still owing student loans, we're not going there this time.

I understand that colleges need money to function. But we're SOL these days. Our region is "depressed" in the best of times, we're flirting 30% unemployment right now. It will get worse. We could maybe move to a city, but won't. Grandson whom we've raised since birth probably won't either. You're much better off here if you can work on engines. But in the meantime, I'm thinking of getting a few horses or mules.

Most of our friends and daughter's friends are college profs. They're hurting as much as we are right now, it's circular. I'm really not too concerned about the grandson(s) - yes, I've more than one - they'll do okay. Just as we will. But damn. I've never seen anything like this. So I ask grandma, who did live through a similar situation. Rodeo queen, barrel racer. You just have to get right back on that horse.

Date: 2009/07/09 01:59:40, Link
Author: Joy
Ras, let me get all the togethers together, we've been family-ing for a few weeks and now she's hospitalized and we may have to go back to Indian Territory soon. That's a serious hold on fall semester. For which we're really trying for Pell. I'll PM you, I know CCs near WCU are good, but so is AB-Tech (where he is now, and where we know the faculty). Arts and sciences. Have already exchanged emails with the geo-paleo prof at UNC-Chappel Hill, who wants him badly. But nobody's got any money right now. Bad timing, I guess.

Date: 2009/07/09 02:24:46, Link
Author: Joy
By the way, did I bother to link to my past life?

Just so you know, and all. I'm looking for a literary agent, maybe it's time.

Date: 2009/07/09 13:49:18, Link
Author: Joy
I hear you, Wesley. Guess the most important thing is for HIM to decide his own future, because if he isn't willing to work hard to make it happen, there's no point. He's quite brilliant, aced calculus in his advanced high school classes, which is much better than I did and I graduated #2 of 364. He's also very artistically gifted, started replacing his broken dino's limbs with clay at the age of 2, by the time he was 5 he was drawing crowds with his on-the-spot dragons and dinosaurs made from the handful of clay he always carried around. Has every version of Godzilla toy ever invented (his Dad owns a stable of collectible/comic shops in Florida), and he knows all the dinosaur names by heart. Was the only 3-year old to stand on the seat when Jurassic Park was released cheering on that T-rex to eat 'em all!

Always thought if he did go into paleontology he could dig up the bones and then sculpt the critter perfectly. Maybe make maques for animation, a job that probably pays much better. But being that smart and talented, I really am not too worried about his future. He's adaptable, will do whatever he'll do with it. I am so done raising kids! My own and other people's, too many to count at this point. Now I can be concerned about my own future, the SS and Medicare taxes we paid faithfully since we were 16, that they now tell us the three generations behind us can't afford. Bullshit!

Of my kids (2 of my own, 3 adopted, many strays), I can boast a dozen grandchildren. I can't afford to make their paths easy. Besides, it wouldn't be doing them any favors even if I could. This world is changing fast, they have to figure it out for themselves. Maybe one or more of them will get rich (though God knows money has never been one of our obsessions). Then they can take care of us for a change! §;o)

Date: 2009/07/09 15:19:16, Link
Author: Joy
Quote (Joy @ July 09 2009,15:16)
I hear you, Wesley. Guess the most important thing is for HIM to decide his own future, because if he isn't willing to work hard to make it happen, there's no point. He's quite brilliant, aced calculus in his advanced high school classes, which is much better than I did and I graduated #2 of 364. He's also very artistically gifted, started replacing his broken dino's limbs with clay at the age of 2, by the time he was 5 he was drawing crowds with his on-the-spot dragons and dinosaurs made from the handful of clay he always carried around. Has every version of Godzilla toy ever invented (his Dad owns a stable of collectible/comic shops in Florida), and he knows all the dinosaur names by heart. Was the only 3-year old to stand on the seat when Jurassic Park was released cheering on that T-rex to eat 'em all!

Always thought if he did go into paleontology he could dig up the bones and then sculpt the critter perfectly. Maybe make maques for animation, a job that probably pays much better. But being that smart and talented, I really am not too worried about his future. He's adaptable, will do whatever he'll do with it. I am so done raising kids! My own and other people's, too many to count at this point. Now I can be concerned about my own future, the SS and Medicare taxes we paid faithfully since we were 16, that they now tell us the three generations behind us can't afford. Bullshit!

Of my kids (2 of my own, 3 adopted, many strays), I can boast a dozen grandchildren. I can't afford to make their paths easy. Besides, it wouldn't be doing them any favors even if I could. This world is changing fast, they have to figure it out for themselves. Maybe one or more of them will get rich (though God knows money has never been one of our obsessions). Then they can take care of us for a change! §;o)

hmmm... how do I edit to remove the double?

Date: 2009/07/09 21:33:24, Link
Author: Joy
Quote (deadman_932 @ July 09 2009,17:30)
The tougher roads can be more gratifying in the long run, in my experience; I like to think it made me into a pretty decent human bean. Anyways, I sincerely wish you and yours the best, Joy. And good luck on the book.
Cheers, Joseph.

Thanks, Joseph. We all want the best and most promising opportunities for our offspring (and theirs). But I've got only one delineated goal in life. I want to dance at my great-grandwhatever's wedding.

Anything after that is gravy! §;o)

Date: 2010/02/08 17:15:08, Link
Author: Joy
Wow, Ut. I've been following your sojourn, am not the least bit surprised by the results.

All anybody need accept is that the questions for which telic design is 'the' answer are mostly philosophical and/or metaphysical. They are not questions that science can ever answer definitively, nor can religion offer anything that could compete in the scientific arena with objective physical evidence.

A matter of belief. We are free to choose what we will believe, based on what evidence fits into our worldviews or helps to shape them. Science doesn't deal in metaphysical "proofs," religion doesn't deal in physical "proofs." Debates like these are usually sideshow attractions, mere distractions from real life. Dueling Metaphysics, I like to call them. It's a perennial human pastime.

Make up your own mind. Nobody will ever "prove" you wrong!

Date: 2010/02/08 18:03:08, Link
Author: Joy
What, Lou? Are we not free to believe as we choose about metaphysical questions of final causation and/or meaning?

I've never had a problem with evolution. Seems entirely evident to me, even not being a biologist or microbiologist. I also see a continuum of relative consciousness in all living beings, from the meanest to the finest. To me, "alive" means more than some particular arrangement of atoms. I do not believe there is any such thing as "living matter."

No scientific finding of means or mechanisms will convince me that life is some sort of accidental 'poof' of magical matter. No religious belief will convince me there's tiny angels dancing on nuclear membranes to make it happen. All this back and forth is mostly sideshow to me, and I never pay good money to see freaks. They're way too common in real life, thanks... §;o)

Date: 2010/02/08 20:56:44, Link
Author: Joy
And what do you "know," Hammer guy?

I'm pretty old, relatively speaking. All I "know" is what I've personally experienced [i.e., 'seen', figurative]. My conclusions about what I've experienced - how things fit into what I believe about life and the nature of It All - are shaped by my cultural milieu and education within it. But my choices are my own. As are yours. And everyone else's. A crossbeam here, a strut there, sometimes just a pile of sand to support the arch until there's a keystone...

I do not know what you believe. I don't know what your experience of life and death on planet earth has been. What I've said is that I do not believe in the existence of some crazy sh*t best described as "living matter." I've spent a lifetime around magicians and illusionists and mentalists and puppeteers and... clowns. I don't believe in that kind of magic, know too much about how it's done. So sue me.

Date: 2010/02/08 21:27:18, Link
Author: Joy
And because I haven't seen you much around here, let me elucidate a bit...

I have some scientific 'knowledge' and experience. Not only did I pass advanced biology in high school (while concurrently taking physics-II and chemistry-III) back when advanced biology was the only way you'd get introduced to Darwinism, I was privileged in college to take an undergrad course in genetics under guest lecturer Isaac Asimov. Got to take it because I was then current in crystallography, but I didn't learn too much about genetics (it was the '70s. Who knew very much?). I did have a delightful time, though. Learned some other things... §;o)

Date: 2010/02/09 10:49:46, Link
Author: Joy
oldmanintheskydidntdoit:
Quote
Nonetheless, best evidence is that normal matter became alive.


Exactly what is the difference between 'normal' matter and 'alive' matter? What is the physical difference between a carbon atom in a rock and a carbon atom in your femur? What is the physical difference between a molecule of water in a raindrop and a molecule of water in your liver?

Where does 'alive' matter go when it dies? How does its form or nature change?

Not to worry, oldman. I already know there is no physical difference between 'normal' matter and 'alive' matter, because matter is neither alive nor dead. It is just matter.

Date: 2010/02/09 11:35:07, Link
Author: Joy
Ut:
Quote
All that being said, I did not come here to proselatize my religious point of view, but only to verify if there is any scientific merit to the Behe's arguments in the edge of evolution.


The weaknesses of the version of Darwinism promulgated by EA [Evangelical Atheist] culture warriors are many, and often require more faith than most normally held religious beliefs. It seems quite reasonable to me that something more is going on in the existence and evolution of life than accidental magical matter-poofs. But science needn't accept the direct intervention of deities, fairies, angels or any other disembodied tinkerer outside of life itself. That isn't science's purpose, and science has no means of demonstrating such things anyway.

I subscribe to a version of EAM [Endogenous Adaptive Mutation], though I'm not sure if that is an adequate descriptive title for it. I am fairly supportive of the theory that consciousness (of some description) is a fundamental parameter of our 4-D universe of manifestation, thus that manifestation naturally seeks greater concentration and expression of this quality. Life would be the most effective form of manifestation for this purpose, and evolution toward greater complexity and expression of consciousness would be its natural proclivity.

I do not consider the nuclear genome to be the whole story of life, inheritance and evolution, as there are other factors involved and of more immediate affect in the process than the static historical record contained in the genetic library. There are forms of life that can operate just fine without their nuclear templates, the handicap of that condition being merely an inability to reproduce. There is a mammal evolving so rapidly that all species display genetic/chromosomal chaos that even has males and females of the SAME species with different numbers of chromosomes! Yet they [voles] all look alike...

It is the anomalous in the living world which tends to point to more going on. I'm fond of anomalies - can't help it. There is a telic impetus across all forms of life that spurs living organisms to seek continuation of life, thus to adapt if possible to the changing conditions of its existence. I suspect that this is something biology (all pertinent fields) will eventually quantify and begin to understand. They are never going to quantify gods, angels, demons, etc.

Quote
By the way, are you Christian?


What my metaphysical beliefs may be is not relevant to what I strongly suspect about the nature of life and evolution. But FYI, I call myself a "Follower of Christ."

Date: 2010/02/09 11:46:37, Link
Author: Joy
oldman:
 
Quote
The arrangement is what's important, not the component pieces.


The arrangement of matter is obviously important to the process of living, but the mere arrangement of matter is not life. New forms of life do not spontaneously poof into existence from rotting meat or hay, nor in mud puddles or peat bogs or anywhere else on earth where matter is concentrated in arrangements that once functioned for some organism in its process of living.

You won't magically poof a life form into existence in your test tube either, no matter what pre-arranged matter you add to the stew. It is always a source of amusement to me how many self-professed scientists stubbornly cling to the idea of spontaneous generation more than a hundred years after it was demonstrated false by science/scientists.

Keep trying, though. If indeed life can spontaneously poof into existence from raw or prearranged matter, you may luck out someday.

Date: 2010/02/09 11:49:51, Link
Author: Joy
ARGH! no edit function.

EAM = Endogenous Adaptive Mutagenesis

Date: 2010/02/09 12:13:34, Link
Author: Joy
Yes, Ut. That's the general gist of it.

oldman:
Quote
Don't they? How do you know? Got a microscope on every rotting meat pile have you?


LOL!!! Actually, I tend to accept the scientific evidence that spontaneous generation does not occur. Though I can see that your faith is strong regardless of the scientific evidence. As I said, keep on trying. You just might luck out someday and demonstrate Pasteur, et al. wrong.

Quote
No, magically poofing life into existence requires an old bearded man in the sky.


Really? Have you tried talking the old bearded man in the sky into helping you out with your spontaneous generation experiments?

Quote
No, instead you stubbornly cling to ideas created by sheepherders thousands of years ago.


So... you're a mind-reader too? Wow. There's a lot of talent around here!

Quote
If everybody believe what you are saying here nobody would even look. Science stopper or what!


Oh, I imagine that curious people would still attempt to quantify and understand the natural world even if they did believe that consciousness is a natural parameter that seeks concentration and expression. But not to worry. I know some Ph.D.s who have made fine lives for themselves driving ski shuttles and/or tending bar. Enjoying life can be an adequate substitution for sleeping on cold concrete behind the shield wall in the accelerator target zone when the budgets are tight... §;o)

Date: 2010/02/09 12:39:29, Link
Author: Joy
oldman:
Quote
The "mere" arrangement of matter *is* life. If not, what *is* Joy?


If you were ever to meet me, you might believe that the skin and bones you see at that moment *is* me. Though I've noticed quite a lot of rearrangement of skin and bones over the course of my decades of life, and am not all that delighted with their condition at present (it was all in much better shape when I was 18). If I live a good while longer, though, I'll probably look back on the wrinkles and sags of 'now' wistfully...

I, like most other people, am constantly replacing pieces-parts of cells and organs, even while wearing some entire layers of already dead cells around. I ingest some pre-arranged organic matter that used to be alive, digest it into pieces-parts, and use those for replacement and to power the various dynamic processes of life that allow me this fairly functional body. When I'm done with it the pieces-parts will be left in this universe of manifestation and may even be recycled into pieces-parts for some other life forms in a future I won't be living in. Matter is cheap - all around us all the time.

It's kind of funny how I don't seem to myself to be much different than I was when I was four (or eighteen, or thirty, or...). I constantly add to my store of experience, I learn new things fairly regularly, I think new thoughts quite often. But it's still the same *me* even if that reflection in the mirror doesn't fit my self-image very well these days. Mostly I just avoid mirrors...

I like to think I am my consciousness - my awareness and sensory abilities and experience of life on planet earth, my thoughts and beliefs,  my several abilities to work with the materials of the world and shape them to my desires, my understandings of what I experience and what I do with my time in time. Small as that understanding may be.

I do not know why you'd want to believe that you're just a collection of cells and chemicals. But since that appears to be so, I'll just wish you the best of luck keeping it all together for as long as possible before you have to leave parts or all of it behind for someone else to use for awhile.

Date: 2010/02/09 13:59:36, Link
Author: Joy
oldman:
   
Quote
I think we both know to what we are really taking about.


I think this conversation would proceed much smoother if you stopped pretending to be some kind of mentalist or psychic and just dealt with what I actually write.

   
Quote
Life arose from non-life at least once.


Where? When? How? Please do tell...

   
Quote
No, that's because it does not exist. And I don't find it productive to talk to things that don't exist.


Me either. You're the one who brought it up, I just made a suggestion as to how you might use your knowledge to demonstrate the veracity of your belief. Perhaps you could avoid asserting things you 'know' to be untrue or nonexistent while not pretending to skills and talents you don't have. It would help a lot to avoid pointless sidetracks.

   
Quote
Having fun under that pyramid are you? What on earth does "natural parameter" mean?


Actually, the roof here is plainly pitched rather than pyramidal. I would have thought you have some conception of what is meant by a "natural parameter." Your basic forces of the universe, the number of dimensions we observe and/or experience directly or which affect the actions/interactions of forces, physical constants and their constructs, etc.

   
Quote
As you seem to know what consciousness is please do explain to us precisely what it is and how exactly you know that?


If you do not experience consciousness there is no way anybody can explain to you what it is. If you do experience consciousness then you don't need anyone to explain to you what it is. There are some basic concepts and definitions out there that you could access if you were conscious and able to use a computer to search on "consciousness," look around at the ongoing scientific projects to quantify it and philosophical projects to authoritatively define what they're attempting to quantify.

All we 'know' is that which we perceive and/or experience. We have developed symbolic communicative technologies that allow us to share what we 'know' with other conscious human beings, even to accumulating knowledge over generations so that everything doesn't have to be learned from scratch as generations pass into history. Very handy. But when you tell me you 'know' that life spontaneously generates from non-organic matter, I get to weigh that against my own experience and observations of the world, what others in history who have tested that supposition say about it, and choose whether or not I believe you actually 'know' what you claim to know.

Thus far I remain unconvinced. You'll have this from time to time. A pertinent question I can ask that will help me figure out how certain concepts can best be communicated to you would be how many dimensions you suspect exist in the totality of "reality." Not just the ones our physical equipment has evolved to perceive and/or experience directly, but as many as you think may exist in toto.

Care to offer your guess?

Date: 2010/02/09 15:17:17, Link
Author: Joy
oldman:
 
Quote
The where and when is ongoing. Some specific details are missing. I realise that's not as satisfying as the first few chapters of your book, but...


So you believe that life arose from non-life at least once, but do not know where or when or precisely how. That's what I suspected. You are in the same boat as everybody else, it seems.

It's somewhat amazing that you have read the first few chapters of my book, since it was never published and made generally available to the public. Though there were a few copies making the rounds. Quite exciting, wasn't it? Perhaps one of these years it finally will be published...

 
Quote
Any evidence that consciousness is not a product of "just cells and chemicals"?


Cells and chemicals (and biophysical processes) are of course surmised to be the means and mechanisms for the operations of consciousness, at least for so long as it is embodied in physical, organic form. I simply do not misconstrue the phenomenon itself with the physical correlates of its mechanical operation. And before you ask or offer yet another inane insult, yes. I do know that there are people who do equate phenomena with the physical processes of their operation. I am not one of them. You apparently are.

 
Quote
Why are they bothering eh? If they are looking at the "cells and chemical" level they'll never find what they are looking for, right?


What they are mostly looking for are the physical correlates of consciousness' expression in living organisms. The physical components, the mechanics and the processes. Originally the primary motivation was to determine if information technologists could hope to create an artificial machine-based consciousness. I don't know how many of those individuals with lots of money to invest in the projects may be transhumanists. There are no doubt some who would simply like to have a conscious machine. For whatever reason.

 
Quote
Yet you claim to 'know' that life did not have a natural origin on what basis?


Where did I claim that? Nowhere have I asserted that life's origin was not entirely natural, even if it was a singular event. Again you are making things up out of whole cloth and projecting them onto me. Please stop it.

 
Quote
Yes, the intense scientific research into abiogenesis can't compete with an old book written by goat herders. I can see why you believe that case is far more convincing.


Oh, THAT's the book you're referring to. I've read it a few times. Good for what it is, and reliable as what it is (considering the care exerted to keep it accurate over many generations, which is what the treatment of such things as 'holy' is particularly good for). I find the slightly differing accounts of ancient Hebraic creation mythologies - no doubt regionally specific - as interesting as I've found the creation mythologies of the Pima and Tewa, the Inuit, the Chinese, the Norse and the several others I've investigated. Also interesting that they use a ceramic model, as do several other cultural origin stories. Probably indicating some common sociocultural development(s) undergirding the particular metaphors.

 
Quote
So lets split the difference and say eight.


Interesting that you'd pick that number. One of my current favorite models is 8-dimensional. I'd say it's 'easier' than 11, 22 or infinite dimensions, but it's really not. The mathematics is quite different from the current string models, difficult to grok. Thanks for the response.

 
Quote
What possible difference would it make to anything you might say to me?


I'd hoped that some grasp of the likely fact that there is more to reality than just what we have evolved to easily perceive, observe/measure and/or quantify would suggest to you that things may not be so cut and dried as your simplistic metaphysical belief system would have it.

 
Quote
And the "experts" all agree (with some notable exceptions) that unassisted abiogenesis is at least possible, and perhaps even likely given the right conditions.


"Unassisted" meaning what, exactly?

Quote
No serious "expert" is making any sort of case for "god did it". Are they?


Far as I know, only god-experts are attempting to make such a case. Though how 'expert' anyone can really be about gods is certainly debatable. Science is not trying to make that case and will not. That realm of speculation is outside its job description.

Date: 2010/02/09 15:39:19, Link
Author: Joy
Quote
So, Joy, please do tell me about how *you* believe life originated.


I have no clue how, where or when life originated, so I don't worry about it. I'm here now, so there's plenty of other things to concern myself with. I do kind of like the 'seeding' scenario, given that I'm not naturally inclined to believe life is exclusive to this obscure chunk of rock in a universe as huge and full of wonders as ours appears to be. But that's just a preference among speculative scenarios, not all the way to being what you could call "belief."

I do not believe in abiogenesis (spontaneous generation) here on this planet, though if science ever demonstrates such a thing can occur (and is likely to occur in nature) I'm willing to accept it. Doesn't look like that's going to happen during my lifetime, so I'm not investing any energy into a belief that means precisely zip.

Quote
Is your chosen deity sufficiently powerful that it is capable of creating a universe where life can originate via "chance" alone?


I don't know. Though I would be inclined more toward belief that a deity sufficiently powerful to create an entire universe and populate it with life forms would not need to rely upon "chance" alone, nor (given intent) be particularly inclined to rely upon "chance" alone. But there's no way to be sure of any such speculation either way from here inside of space-time. So the question is not of much serious concern to me. It looks to be of more serious concern to you.

Date: 2010/02/09 16:30:33, Link
Author: Joy
Quote
So you have no thoughts whatsoever on abiogenesis then? Not even to say telic intervention was required? What was your original purpose over at TT then? To argue against TT?


My only thought on abiogenesis is that I would like to believe life is intentional rather than accidental. It struggles too mightily to stay alive - even when it knows it's doomed, at this end of the scale - as if it had purpose. A reason to be. That fits nicely into my metaphysical views. But I do not claim to 'know' anything about it that you would consider objective, big-t Truth. Nor am I here to convince you to subscribe to any metaphysical belief system other than your own.

I participated at TT because Mike Gene asked me to participate at TT. It was quite a fun pastime before he moved on to other things and it became Bradford's personal political blog. I still follow on occasion if there is an interesting subject.

My interest in the debates exists on a couple of levels. The first scientific - I find accumulated and incoming knowledge and evidence via research to be fascinating. Life is quite the amazing phenomenon, it would be a good thing (I believe) for humanity to understand much more about it. That kind of knowledge might to a long way towards helping us make life a more enjoyable experience overall.

The second level is sociocultural, colored by politics. I see this grand "Culture War" and a lot of senseless bravado, and some serious overtones of authoritarianism on both sides that conflicts with my views about things like freedom and liberty and democracy and the sanctity of individual human rights. It often seems like there are a lot of wannabe mind-tyrants abroad in the "Land of the Free," and too little courage in the "Home of the Brave." I am interested in how this works, and why it seems to be more prevalent of late. It doesn't seem like a very hopeful indication that humanity can evolve past its strong suicidal tendencies, and that would be a shame.

Date: 2010/02/09 18:44:09, Link
Author: Joy
Schroedinger's Dog:
 
Quote
please answer carefuly...


Carefully? I actually quite like Tolkien's concept of "the infinite 'potential variety' of God." Though his hierarchal model is nothing new - many cultural mythologies include 'levels' of creation and creative impulse - gods, demigods, powers, principalities and such. Due to Catholicism's warm embrace (and outright usurpation) of entire systems of Pagan metaphysics, it doesn't seem so strange that the scenario would appeal to someone as gifted a storyteller/mythmaker as Tolkien.

As for Osyrhia, I'm not all that fond of terminal complexity in metaphysics, though I will certainly admit that things on that level may indeed be terminally complex. I'm often amazed at how twisty and unfathomable people can make their metaphysical belief systems - a reflection of their minds, I'm pretty sure, as well as a way to provide cover for obvious and endemic personal failings. If I could get the pages in English I might be able to figure out if this is an elder system or just another New Age construct. But it doesn't really matter. Again, 'ages' of progression and/or regression ruled by different powers is nothing new. Aldous Huxley's documentation of common themes and concepts across cultures and systems amounts to what he termed the "Perennial Philosophy." Looks to me like certain classes of direct experience come quite naturally to the human animal. Our propensity to turn them into authoritative, sociopolitical constructs called Religions can lead to lamentable results.

For myself, I choose the "Simple Answer" because I don't seek too much knowledge of the furniture of heaven or the temperature of hell, nor to I wish to claim such [h/t Reinhold Niebuhr]. Of all the systems of belief I've encountered and examined, I've chosen the one with the best advice on how to live. Here, and now, since that is my concern while I live in the here and now.

In that system Love is the Answer. I honestly and reasonably doubt that any avatar or holy man/woman will ever impart to us a better or more complete Answer to the suffering of this world. And I believe very, very strongly that if we could just abide by that one commandment - to Love One Another - life on planet earth would be as good as it gets here and now. Alas, love is not something so easily commanded, is it? Judging by the obvious difficulty that humans have with so simple an Answer, it seems a mighty Fool's Errand to go seeking after anything more obscure or occulted. I'm just doing the best I can, figure that if I someday wake up dead, I'll deal with 'reality' there and then as I find it to be.

YMMV.

Date: 2010/02/09 22:27:04, Link
Author: Joy
Badger3k:
   
Quote
So Joy, if Love is the Answer (good song, by the way, even if that may not be the title, I forget, forgive my digression), does that apply between consenting adults of the same sex?  What about between species?  Between kingdoms (animal and vegetable, for example)?


Love is not just about sex. There seem to be increasing numbers of ambivigendered folks these days, and it does not appear to be a choice (for those I know) as much as it is nature. Something the haters don't want to consider, but may have to accept one of these days. Given intersex epidemics in fish and amphibians from agricultural pollution - ALL the fish examined in a surprising number of systems - it could be yet another thing we've visited upon our children through unbridled greed, apathy, and/or endless stupidity. There are enough humans in the world, it is not important on any level for anyone to be forced to reproduce, nor is it reasonable to enforce lifelong celibacy because someone else doesn't 'approve' of who a person loves. Interspecies crosses a relative power and consent line, but if you're into loufas you and Bill O'Reilly would have something in common.

   
Quote
Why pick a philosophy that gives advice on how to live here and now if it includes (or you include) things about some other life for which there is no evidence?


No evidence you would consider, obviously. But it would be a mistake to extrapolate and project your own beliefs (or lack thereof) universally. I have encountered some evidence that consciousness is separable from body and may survive death. Enough to lend hope, for what it's worth - to me. Others have no power to eliminate my experiences or to dictate what I must believe about them. So I couldn't imagine why in the world anybody'd bother to try.

   
Quote
 Why not do that and leave the non-evidence based crap behind?


Because I don't have any desire to reject what I don't consider to be "crap." You of course can believe or not believe whatever you like.

Date: 2010/02/09 23:20:38, Link
Author: Joy
Reciprocating Bill:
 
Quote
It strikes me that to ascribe the origins of life on earth, and/or the evolutionary directions taken by life over the last ~3.5 billion years either to "intent" or "accident," is a category error (or category mistake).


Perhaps so. I'd suspect it would be dependent upon how life originated on earth, and whether or not the evolutionary directions followed a telic impetus or were front-loaded. I seem to recall that quite a few researchers in recent years have subscribed to the 'seeding' scenario in one way or another (accidental or intentional), for reasons of shortcomings they perceive in models of abiogenesis, time frames and other issues with strict Darwinism.

Thus while it would be a category error to ascribe intent to an earthquake, it may not be a category error to ascribe intent to either the appearance of life on this planet or its directional evolution. You never know. Maybe we'll meet ET one of these days and he'll give us his lab notes. §;o)

Date: 2010/02/09 23:35:43, Link
Author: Joy
qetzal:
Quote
Note: I'm not claiming this as evidence against a purpose to life. Only that it's not evidence for a purpose.


That's why I qualified the statement to "this end of the scale." While all life forms we know of act/react to stimulus (process information) and display some signs of volition - jury's still out on viruses as life forms - not all life forms are 'conscious'. According to the Hameroff-Penrose model, there is a numerical quantification for the appearance of that phenomenon.

I'd argue in favor of all conscious life forms having 'purpose' (to include self-purpose), even if it seems trivial to us.

Quote
Quote
That fits nicely into my metaphysical views.


Do you consider that a reason to believe it?


"It" what? That conscious beings have purpose or act upon telic impetus, or my metaphysical views? Doesn't really matter, of course. I believe what I believe for my own reasons, about both.

Date: 2010/02/10 10:02:59, Link
Author: Joy
Thanks, TP. Just have to chuckle sometimes at the stubborn refusal of biologists to credit anything to physics. Ah, well. Around and around it goes, don't guess it'll ever stop... §;o)

Date: 2010/02/10 12:25:00, Link
Author: Joy
Albatrossity2:
 
Quote
And you just have to guffaw at physicist wannabes who refuse to learn enough biology to comment on it sensibly.


I haven't seen too many of those, but then, I don't hang out around here much. I find biophysics theory and applications quite fascinating. But that's hardly surprising, since my field was applied biophysics. Discovered rather quickly that I have little patience for scientific 'orthodoxies' and no patience at all for corporate hijackings, political smoke and mirrors, dangerous lies or premeditated 'random' murder.

My guess is that one of these days you guys may want to graduate from Dueling Metaphysics on the midway, see if they'll let you into the main arena to face real lions.  But you're gonna need more sensible arguments, fewer juvenile insults.

Good luck with that. Judging from the number of dumb assumptions and inane assertions I've seen so far in this thread, you're going to need it if you ever hope to be more than mere shills for the Freak Show.

Date: 2010/02/10 16:05:06, Link
Author: Joy
qetzal:
 
Quote
As I already noted, the 'purpose' of surviving and reproducing can be readily explained without supposing that the first life arose through intentional agency.


Survival and reproduction are trivial considerations of 'purpose' beyond any given individual's ability to contribute to the gene pool (intentionally or not). Possibly pertinent to the process of evolution, not necessarily pertinent to the 'purpose' of life itself.

Once more, I don't know how "first life" arose and honestly don't give a shit because it affects my life not at all. In fact, that unanswerable question affects no one's life in the here and now (except a handful of abiogenesis researchers). So I sure don't know why any of you believe it's some sort of effective religion-slayer. Mere Dueling Metaphysics. Ho, hum.

 
Quote
Weren't you the one arguing that life requires more than just a specific arrangement of atoms? Seems to me that's the ultimate refusal to credit physics.


There is more to physics than the specific arrangement of atoms. I admit to a form of natural vitalism. I don't think either biology or physics are in possession of all the pieces to the puzzle. I can say with some confidence that science won't be approaching completion of the picture during my lifetime. Or my grandchildren's lifetimes. There will still be work for researchers as far into the future as any of us cares to look.

 
Quote
I'm not aware that they've developed any significant evidence to support such ideas.* If they ever do, I'm confident that biologists will take more notice.


Since you're uninterested in research on PCCs [MTs/MAPs*] I guess you'll just have to wait on something that grabs your attention. And much of the active research is in the proprietary realm these days anyway. Guess Big Pharma knows a promising direction when it sees one. Lord knows we've all been waiting on the "Really Good Drugs" all our adult lives... §;o)
___

* i.e., Gravitational symmetry breaking leads to polar liquid crystal phase of microtubules in vitro

Transitions in Microtubule C-termini Conformations as a Possible Dendritic Signaling Phenomenon

Date: 2010/02/10 16:33:59, Link
Author: Joy
Albatrossity2:
 
Quote
In what I have read here that you have written, I've found no "sensible argument" for your notion that your consciousness exists independent of your body. I have seen plenty of wishful thinking and general woo that might pass for "sensible argument" in your world, but it won't get you much more than derision here. Sorry, but I save my sensible arguments for those who seem sensible.


It's not surprising that you haven't seen a "sensible argument" in favor of consciousness being separable from matter. I haven't offered an argument on that and don't plan to. I have merely mentioned in passing that I have encountered some evidence in that direction. I find it intriguing, but certainly know better than to offer it here as some kind of "argument." So I didn't bother. I was asked a personal question, answered the question honestly and without elaboration. That is ALL I did.

If you wish to see something "sensible" you'll need to work a bit on your reading comprehension skills so you'll be able to recognize the difference between an argument and a simple response to a personal question.

Date: 2010/02/10 22:02:25, Link
Author: Joy
Badger3k:
 
Quote
Thanks for the replies.  It's interesting to see what others believe and why.  This probably isn't the place for it, but I'd be interested to know (or see) what you consider evidence for a consciousness that survives brain death.  I've done a bit of research into it and can find nothing with anything solid behind it.  Speculative, perhaps, but nothing that would give me cause to believe in it.


Thanks for being forthright and not insulting. Always a rarity around here.

This isn't the place for a discussion of consciousness. But note I qualified my response. The evidence I find intriguing is for separability - the extrapolation to anything beyond death is much shakier. The only evidence that is compiled and documented is NDE. Which is of course ultimately subjective no matter how much commonality they describe. NDE is usually waved away by simply claiming the experiencer was hallucinating. It never convinces the experiencer, but it makes insecure nay-sayers feel good about themselves. Everybody else gets to decide for themselves what to believe or hope for about that.

In something like this it is necessary to make a distinction between belief in something and direct experience of that thing. Those who subscribe to religions, philosophies or metaphysical systems promising an afterlife can be said to "believe in" the continuation of consciousness beyond death. Accounts I have seen from people who have experienced NDE share a different quality, one of 'knowing'. I used the word hope in my response to you for a reason. I am intrigued, I'd sure like to know. But I don't expect to know unless I "wake up dead," and if that happens you're not likely to get a report from me.

 
Quote
Why not tell us of one of these "premeditated 'random' murders" in the field of orthodox and/or corporate biophysics.  Such a tale would be fascinating.


Oh, it's it's a very old tale about things no one ever really wanted to know. Any more than they want to know what's happening now or how such things become inevitable. It's a genuine Sacred Cow that has always owed its soul to lies (not to mention the Zombie that fathered it).

Besides, "everybody knows" that Templars and the CIA are one and the same... §;o)

Date: 2010/02/11 11:25:35, Link
Author: Joy
Ut:
Quote
I was wondering what your opinion is on the works of Behe specifically, and also on Dembski and Meyers?


I don't have an opinion on the works of Behe, Dembski or Meyers because I've not read their works. I have read discussions, excerpts and other people's re-wordings in blog posts. The impression is that all three are qualified to question aspects of current theory and offer their own thoughts about what else may be going on. Qualification coming from earned credentials, which is how all scientists and whatnot get qualifications. Whether or not they are right is not something I am not qualified to determine. Do watch the show.

Having read Dembski's blog on occasion, I am not impressed with his ability to debate forthrightly with his opponents even when they aren't just slinging mud. Too much censorship. I have issues with the DI's role in the culture war. It looks to me like they have less concern for truth (whatever that turns out to be) than for imposing another orthodoxy. I never liked orthodoxies in science, education or philosophy.

Date: 2010/02/11 23:01:32, Link
Author: Joy
Zach, I can't speak to the popularity of thread-banning at TT these days. Heck, I didn't know chunk had the power to ban, but then, I haven't been around enough lately to know who's 'in' and who's 'out'.

But I can speak a little about the concept of endogenous evolution. That would include mechanisms of creative genetic expression suiting to adapt or overcome internal and environmental stress, as well as mechanisms for frame reading (moving over, substituting, piecing together) of genetic elements for the purpose of either tweaking product sequences (thus binding proclivities, configurations, etc.) or trying out new products. In the EAM model adaptation generally comes first in the process of living, and if successful adaptations are found (and 'marked' epigenetically), only later get encoded into the nuclear genome. This of course means there would have to be a write mechanism (genomes couldn't be read-only).

And there may also be a whole different form of recordkeeping that documents past adaptations and trials which could help guide present dynamics or provide a reversion to a previous version if one becomes necessary. Arabidopsis has demonstrated this capability of reversion to genes/gene expression suites of past generations NOT contained in the present generation. I haven't done the lab work, but I see the same sort of ability in some local plants stressed by kudzu. They're quite creative in altering their life cycle to get around the competition, even to changing color and size of blooms to attract alternative pollenators. Move them back to an unstressed environment and they revert at a significant rate in the next generation.

This is not to say accidents don't happen to genes and genomes, in the several ways already documented. Expression suites can get messed up by such accidents ('random' mutations), toxins and other environmental stresses, etc. During gestation these lead to developmental issues, during life they cause disease. One need only look at our immune system and ability to heal to see that the system continually attempts to right wrongs, though in the end it always fails from one thing or another. And it's no surprise that creative trial and error is fallible. Some solutions work, many don't. Life does usually put in a good effort, though.

An endogenous model would credit endogenous mechanisms for virtually all significant evolutionary developments over time. Which is reasonable, since so many systems are connected and highly coordinated. Consider something like big brains, which require changes in not just in the individual's morphology (skull), but the morphology (pelvic bones) and gestational period (neonateny) of the mother in order to happen at all. A coordination NOT confined to a single "hopeful monster," but to its mother as well. Worse, the genes for big brains came from the father. Looks to be a well coordinated development from a certain point of view...

You could find examples of this sort of thing if you looked. It would thus lend evolution a telic quality, at least as telic as life itself. And it would consider 'random' genetic damage a detriment to life and evolution - the cause of disease and suffering and death. Any 'random' accident that might prove useful (if indeed there are any that weren't really generated endogenously) would be so vanishingly rare as to be a non-consideration in the overall process of evolution.

I don't see this as so unreasonable. Don't even see it as unscientific, considering how complex the systems are and how little science really knows about them at this point in time. New discoveries are coming in at a quickening pace as our tools get more sophisticated, we're learning a lot. Will no doubt learn much more. Trying to force all of it into the RM-NS model just won't work if that's not where it belongs.

If an endogenous, teleologically oriented view of evolution allows some religious people to believe that their God/gods are guiding the process, what's it to you? Haven't we grown past the infantile stage where someone like Harlow Shapely can exert all his considerable "orthodox" clout to argue against letting the public know about the evidence that the universe had a beginning, just because it sounds too much like "Let There Be Light"? Isn't science risking its value to humanity with that kind of corruption and deception?

Can't we all just get along?

Date: 2010/02/12 09:14:17, Link
Author: Joy
Albatrossity2:
 
Quote
Joy, this comment is exactly why physicist wannabes who don't understand evolutionary theory are guffaw-worthy.


You know, I find it rather self-defeating (for wannabe mind-tyrants) to appeal to the esoteric complexity of evolutionary theory every time someone suspects that 'random' accidents sifted by the conditions of life in time isn't a good enough explanation for evolution. Given that RM-NS is precisely what the public has been taught for many decades as sufficient explanation for the evolution of life.

But do keep it up. It works very well to ensure the public continues to distrust "scientific elites." Which, I must presume, is your intent. Helps to keep science safely distanced from the Power business, where it has always done way more harm than good.

Date: 2010/02/12 10:39:18, Link
Author: Joy
Zach:
Quote
There are epigenetic mechanisms that have evolved to provide a suite of adaptations that can be called upon depending on a changeable environment. This is no more surprising that cell differentiation, and uses a similar mechanism.


I know.

Quote
Of course, the source of the epigenetic variations would presumably still be random with respect to fitness, though capable of faster evolution than genome evolution, and determining 'successful adaptations' would apparently still be through natural selection, i.e. success breeds success. In other words, it would still be consistent with Darwin's Theory of Evolution which didn't posit a mechanism of inheritance.


It's this presumption that is at issue. Apart from SNPs, damage and errors, adaptive and evolutionary genomic developments may not be so random with regard to fitness (or anything else).

Quote
None of this is evidence for Intelligent Design, of course.


How "intelligent" design may be is eternally arguable, like any metaphysical, philosophical or theological argument. Teleology does not require intelligence, depending upon how that word is defined, of course. For the most part, biologists have been adamant about restricting it to higher mammals. Though some birds are starting to encroach on the idea, which makes mincemeat of the also prevalent scientific notion that it takes a human-like brain in order to qualify.

Teleology merely indicates purpose. It takes some sophistication to add conscious intent to the mix, and even then you may not be all the way to intelligence. The label "Intelligent Design" is primarily a theological construct, to suggest a superior - and exterior - intelligence imposing design top-down. "Telic Design" can more easily be used to describe endogenous bottom-up design.

Date: 2010/02/12 11:01:12, Link
Author: Joy
Albatrossity2:
 
Quote
And it is completely self-defeating for folks who want to claim that they have new insights into biology to fail completely at understanding how their insights are, well, not.


I don't claim any 'new' insights. I'm just not buying the "dogma" [h/t midwifetoad]. Fortunately for me and every other member of the general public - you know, those 99+% of the population who are not practicing biologists - there is no legal, ethical or existential requirement that knees must bend to that dogma. All we have to do is regurgitate the requisite "RM-NS" for the test on that chapter, then we get to worry about the next chapter's requisite test answers.

 
Quote
Moreover it is difficult to generate sympathy for someone who erects a strawman (RM+NS is sufficient) and seemingly refuses to consider the breadth of evolutionary mechanisms now known.


Oh, heavens! I surely don't want or need your sympathy, Al. Unlike a majority of other people who had a week or two of RM-NS in high school and never bothered with it again, I have followed developments in evolutionary research so as to keep myself generally up on this fascinating subject. For a non-biologist I've got a fair grasp of how things are going. And am looking forward to new developments as they come in. Including theoretical developments, since there's some increasing dissent in the ranks of late against the dogma of orthodoxy. Fun to keep track of, as are such in-house challenges to orthodoxy in other scientific fields. Science being an adversarial construct, after all.

 
Quote
But don't feign surprise or disappointment when you are challenged by someone who actually knows as much or more than you do. That's how science works. Deal with it rather than claiming persecution or invoking some conspiracy of the "scientific elites".


LOL!!! You're quite the fine example. Love the circular, multi-fallacious argumentation!

I am not surprised, I am not disappointed, and I am certainly not jealous of your ever-so superior intelligence and absolute knowledge. I'm dealing just fine, thanks. Neither persecuted nor paranoid, merely amused.

Date: 2010/02/12 11:27:43, Link
Author: Joy
nmgirl:
 
Quote
1. why do so many discussions about ID vs TOE turn into discussions about philosophy? I''m obviously naive to think that science is about observable evidence and experimentation.


Hi, nmgirl. I'll take a crack at your questions, but all it'll be is my opinion.

IMO, the reason ID vs TOE discussions turn to philosophy is because the root issue is metaphysical [philosophical]. That's why I am prone to describe these sort of discussions as "Dueling Metaphysics." Which is far as I can tell a favorite perennial human pastime.

 
Quote
2. WTF is methodologic naturalism? and why is it used as a cuss word by the IDiota?


Methodological naturalism is the guiding axiom of scientific inquiry. It is the baseline presumption that all phenomena subject to scientific examination and quantification are natural. IOW, science can't investigate and quantify things like ghosts, pixies, angels or gods because such things are by definition not natural. Science can investigate and quantify biological phenomena because life is natural. IDers often conflate methodological naturalism with philosophical naturalism. Philosophical naturalism holds that all phenomena (known and unknown) must be entirely natural, not just the phenomena science can investigate.

 
Quote
3. can anyone explain what the IDiota mean by information?


Sorry, no. The definition seems to vary quite a bit depending on who is doing the defining in any given discussion/debate. IMO, "information" is data (in any form) that can be processed by a receiver to provide some kind of knowledge/understanding of what is being transmitted. A receiver may or may not act upon processed information, action is not required in order for information to be transmitted, processed and known/understood.

I'm pretty sure there are at least a dozen people here (and among the ranks of ID supporters) who would offer an entirely different definition, so don't put too much stock in mine.

What's your definition?

Date: 2010/02/12 13:03:37, Link
Author: Joy
Albatrossity2:
 
Quote
And your reasons for "just not buying" are not scientific, just so you know.


Of course my motivations aren't scientific, Al. I'm not a scientist hoping to convince my colleagues that I know more than them, nor am I vying for a Nobel Prize. I'm just a schmuck out here in the real world watching the show with great interest, because I find it fascinating. I believe I've mentioned this several times in the past few days.

 
Quote
As is the case in all modern science, the dogma will bend to the data. You have no data, so you rail against the dogma as if that was a useful way to change anything.


Of course the dogma will fall to reality and new information. In the end, it always does. Though this has been known to take centuries or many decades, depending on how entrenched the dogma being challenged happens to be. The Darwinian dogma is deeply entrenched due to its accompanying philosophical and political baggage, so it's taking many decades even as new and challenging discoveries are coming in at an amazing rate. That's what makes this particular field's revolution so fascinating.

 
Quote
You're looking for things to jibe with your presuppositions, and ignoring just about everything else. That's not a "fair grasp"; it's just cherry-picking.


Of course it's cherry-picking to preconceived notions. Though my notions have been known to change on occasion with new evidence. Isn't that what's supposed to happen? I'm not ignoring the dogma, though. I'm rooting for it to be overturned by sheer accumulation of anomalies. I like anomalies. I believe I've mentioned that at least once in the last few days as well.

 
Quote
No, there isn't anything of the sort [dissent in the ranks]. There is expansion of our knowledge (particularly with regard to mechanisms), but absolutely none of it remotely challenges the basic principles laid down by Darwin. It merely enhances it.


Gee, that's funny. A simple Google search on the keywords "challenge central dogma darwinism" returns nearly 40,000 sources. Many of those are from the creationist/id and Teabagger contingents, but many more are from scientific literature or press coverage of that. Allain Bussard writing in Nature calls the discovery that prions encode hereditary information a "scientific revolution". Philip Ball in Seed mentions the Arabidopsis anomaly in the context of recent discoveries about RNA also calls it a "revolution". Susan Mazur's piece on the Altenberg Summit describes the situation of increasing dissent thusly:

 
Quote
Evolutionary science is as much about the posturing, salesmanship, stonewalling and bullying that goes on as it is about actual scientific theory. It is a social discourse involving hypotheses of staggering complexity with scientists, recipients of the biggest grants of any intellectuals, assuming the power of politicians while engaged in Animal House pie-throwing and name-calling: "ham-fisted", "looney Marxist hangover", "secular creationist", "philosopher" (a scientist who can't get grants anymore), "quack", "crackpot"...


Good description of what passes for discussion around here, for sure! Seems it's happening in-house as well. Mazur is no slouch herself, calling evolution an "industry of greed," she claims the scientific community has known for some time that natural selection has nothing to do with evolution, and that self-assembly is real. She labels the endeavor an "evolution remix." But the conference was held last summer and I've seen no announcement of what this revolutionary remix looks like. Have you?

Perhaps you don't consider Animal House tactics engaged by a scientific industry of greed and oversized egos to amount to dissent. And maybe you don't consider scientific revolutions to be the least bit revolutionary. But some other scientists obviously don't agree. It all looks like a good knock-down drag-out to me, and I've got plenty of popcorn. §;o)

Date: 2010/02/12 13:19:09, Link
Author: Joy
Tom Ames:
 
Quote
Well, that's not good enough. This is a technical field, and the intuitions of 99.9% of the population do not counter the evidence that is found by people who do the research. It may not be PC to recognize the fact, but expertise matters. And if someone proposes a world-changing concept, it's incumbent upon them to figure out how to test it. Not to shout "elitism" and pretend that they're being suppressed.


Hi, Tom. I vaguely recall some of your back and forth with Mike, mostly as being somewhat civil. Here you express much the same problem with the idea of endogenously generated adaptation and evolution - it's not "scientific" enough for your tastes.

Which would be a valid complaint if EAM were a scientific theory vying to replace Darwinism/Neodarwinism or whatever they'll call their remix when they're done incorporating the anomalous and incoming evidence. But it's not. It's a semantic formalization of a concept of bottom-up, self-organized evolution from 'civilians' interested in evolution and biology's researches bearing on evolution.

Thus it needs no rigorous scientific defense to any critical review panel of scientists, no exhaustive citations of supporting research, no succinct mathematical formulas to describe the processes, no lengthy list of co-authors or establishment supporters. It does, however, offer some general predictions about where evolutionary biology will be somewhere down the road after the dust from this 'revolution' clears.

At which point, if any of us are still alive or still care when it's over, we shall all see how good the predictions were, won't we? §;o)

Date: 2010/02/12 13:23:39, Link
Author: Joy
midwifetoad:
Quote
If you are going to invoke my precious screen name, at least be clear about your intended meaning.


It was a simple, bracketed aside referring to your mention here of the "central dogma." I know what the midwife toad refers to. You're the one who chose it as your user name, not me.

Date: 2010/02/12 14:08:01, Link
Author: Joy
TP:
   
Quote
I suggest there is no such thing as true randomness.

A counter argument is there may be no such thing as true purpose.


I think I see the connection you're making, but will disagree (because I'm so disagreeable! §;o) I get the feeling that Penrose really does believe there's such a thing as 'noncomputability' when dealing with consciousness. Which is sort of like uncertainty in non-conscious events. Noncomputable doesn't mean random OR deterministic.

IOW, me being an unpredictable factor in a stochastic economic theory does NOT mean my decision to buy Apple instead of Verizon today was in any way random. Or in any way deterministic just because it's not random. It would simply be my decision - my conscious choice. Made by me for any number of perfectly rational reasons that belong only to me and not to everybody else buying stock on the market today.
Something a market-watcher could not predict for me as a 'particle' in the 'system' being examined ahead of time based on any history of Apple or Verizon stock up to the moment my choice is registered. Hell, I might as easily decide not buy any stock at all today, and sell GE tomorrow! §;o)

...does that make sense?

Date: 2010/02/12 14:13:54, Link
Author: Joy
midwifetoad:
Quote
Darwinism is not the "central dogma."


I never said it was.

Quote
Yours, for example.


How positively infantile of you. If you have a problem with my name you'd have to take it up with my parents. Who are both dead, so don't expect any apologies from them.

Date: 2010/02/12 14:52:19, Link
Author: Joy
Robin:
Quote
Find a reference to an actual - complete - Scientific Theory Revolution? I didn't think so.


Oh, I simply clicked on three links provided on page one of the Google search, to demonstrate that some scientists predict a "revolution" in evolutionary theory because even the last revision of Darwin's simplistic RM-NS (known as the 'synthesis') is grossly insufficient to describe what is now known and becoming known. The Mazur piece was quite entertaining. My reference to her being "no slouch" referred to her prowess in the insult department, since she was complaining about insults and all...

But you are right in certain respects. Whatever the 'new' end product theory looks like, it's still going to be a theory of evolution. Just as the final victory of the big bangers over Hoyle's defensive (against GR) steady state was still a cosmological theory. In the rarified halls of ivory towers there are still some hold-outs for steady state (of one version or another), but the consensus finally flipped in 1964 with confirmation of CMB radiation. But I'm sure you wouldn't consider that an actual overturning of any actual major scientific theory.

The way it happened out in the public educational sphere was simply a matter of re-writing the textbooks. I changed schools in 1965 from New York to Oklahoma. New York's old science textbooks taught as "received scientific wisdom and fact" (the way such things are taught to rowdy teenagers) that the universe was eternal and forever self-creating. The new textbooks in Oklahoma for the very same general science course simply taught as "received scientific wisdom and fact" that the universe began with a big bang from singularity some billions of years ago. Questions about the material were highly discouraged in both classes, so I kept my amusement to myself. My father had been a big banger since the '40s, I grew up aware of the inevitable 'revolution'.

So it will be with evolutionary theory. Textbooks are already changing, the simplistic Darwinian pablum is no longer offered as "received scientific wisdom and fact." One of these days a different theory will hold the 'current' pages, but Darwin will still be mentioned on the historical sidebar where he belongs. It'll still be about evolution.

And thanks. I'm enjoying the hoopla very much.

Date: 2010/02/12 16:18:38, Link
Author: Joy
Yeah. Mine is that I never owned my junior high school science textbooks, so I don't have them 45 years later. But you are of course perfectly free to doubt that public school science textbooks would mention theories current among scientists when the book is written.

[/forehead slap] This is just dumb. Surely you can think up an insulting come-back with a worthier hook. Care to try again?

Date: 2010/02/12 17:47:13, Link
Author: Joy
Tom Ames:
Quote
See, to me this sounds fundamentally dishonest.


Thanks for the extended civility.

Quote
On one hand we're asked to incorporate an undefined, unspecified force deriving from within the organism as part of our model for how evolutionary change happens. When we (as scientists are wont to do) ask "why should I accept that?" we're told that this isn't really a scientific claim, so none of the practices that we apply to keep from misleading ourselves (such as peer review, statistical tests, etc.) are necessary.


Oh, for Pete's sake! Get off your cross, Tom. I haven't asked you or anybody else to do anything whatsoever. Nada, zilch, zero. I decided to offer EAM - a round view of endogenous evolution - on this thread because Zach complained that chunk didn't explain what HE means by endogenous evolution over at TT (before summarily banning Zach from the thread). Take it or leave it, no skin off my teeth.

Quote
Why do the "civilians" who promote it insist on ignoring any evidence that does not support the idea?


What evidence have you got that would make me believe evolution is a magical odds-defying outside force acting upon hapless clay? Oh... hapless insentient clay, since consciousness is just an illusion hapless clay is forced by the external environmental-god of evolution (named "improbable coincidence happening over and over again," or ICHOOA, and no, that's not onomatopoeic for a sneeze) to think it owns, because it thinks it can think thanks to ICHOOA because... um... shit happens.

Quote
Why are real examples of how the field of evolution really changes in response to data--examples such as the one I gave about group selection--ignored in favor of another reiteration of the Suppression by Big Science myth?


I've got no problem with group selection. Seems a reasonable inclusion in all things selective per what gets into (and stays) in the gene pool and what gets killed off. It's just that selection (any sub-heading) is not the creative engine of evolution. It's just a sieve, and it can only sift what exists to be sifted. EAM is about the engine, not the governor on the carburetor.

Moreover, I certainly do NOT feel the least bit of "Suppression by Big Science," as Big Science hasn't anywhere near enough power to suppress me on this subject - I outrank the lot of 'em in all pertinent matters of right to believe as I choose. Now, one or more of you regulars can lobby to have me banned, and if successful that would qualify as suppression of my voice in this forum, but since you aren't Big Science, what would that prove other than that you feel threatened by what I say? Distinctly unimpressive as a display of power, let me tell ya... extreme sheepherding is MUCH more awe-inspiring!

Quote
Why should the civilian's--or the dilettante's--judgment about the state of the field of biology with respect to evolution be given more credence than that of the biologists who work in the field? Can it really be that populist sentiment trumps the expertise that comes from long years of hard study? Or that direct experience in a field is trumped by a google search?


I'd never expect the opinions of non-scientists to govern scientific theory or the beliefs of any scientist working in the fields. Never said I did, you've just constructed a grand scarecrow to represent your own insecurities and hung a sign around its neck that reads "Joy." Nobody will be surprised when you lynch it from the nearest live oak and set it on fire. I have always maintained, in all forums to the subject of evolution I've ever posted in, that science will eventually, inevitably, follow the evidence wherever it leads. Even if there ends up being an intervening dark age. It simply might take awhile, and given the state of sociopolitics these days and the possibility of that dark age, it might take more than awhile. That would be a shame, but... shit happens. History demonstrates so.

Quote
I'm a cancer biologist. My field has undergone tremendous paradigmatic changes in the last 50 years. But these changes have never--NEVER--come from people who haven't spent big chunks of time mastering a complex literature.


Good for you. I am a cancer survivor. Spontaneous remission, back in the days when there were no "cancer biologists" other than those mostly military flunkies busy documenting the epidemic effects of atmospheric bomb testing (using Hiroshima and Nagasaki as their body of complex material to master). I was only seven, so I hadn't spent big chunks of time mastering much of anything.

Quote
But I'd rather have a populace that understands how science really works, and how much effort and expertise it really takes to break new ground.


I'd rather have a well educated populace too. A shame that the Department of Education in this country doesn't agree, unless by education you mean not being able to making change for a dollar or find California on a map. I grew up in a scientific household around scientists who didn't mind opining when kids were present. I went into science because I liked it so much. So did two of my sisters and my brother (other sister went into medicine). That's why I know that eventually, inevitably, science will follow the evidence wherever it leads. Even if where it leads doesn't look like RM-NS.

It's all just grist for the thought-mill, so please stop with scarecrow lynching. Every time I drop into this site I am instantly reminded of why it's a waste of bandwidth. Always the same kind of back-slapping and fart jokes anyone could find on any of a few million rudie-boy rave sites on the 'net. I strongly suspect at least a few of you could do much better if you tried. Why not try?

Date: 2010/02/12 18:27:31, Link
Author: Joy
olegt:
Quote
This story didn't sound right, so I went upstairs to a library room where we have some dusty old textbooks and fished out Leighton's 1959 Principles of Modern Physics, a college course for physics majors.


ROTFLOL!!!! [wipes eyes] Oh, golly Oleg! I realize you may not have gone to primary school in this country - heck, you might even be a genius who went straight to college from kindergarten for all I know. But since when is a college physics textbook equivalent in any conceivable way to an 8th grade general science textbook? That's literally hilarious, I mean it.

Dad was a physicist. I already knew about evidence in favor of the big bang, and believed that was the cosmological story (but mostly because Daddy believed it, I admit - I was 14 in 1965 when the new books came out, not all school districts change their books every year here in America).

Of course college physics courses were teaching about evidence for BB, which had been coming in steadily since the 1930s!

To give you a glimpse of what science education in U.S. middle primary grades is actually like, check this anecdote out -

When my daughter was in 9th grade in Florida, she was taking high school junior level science because she had been labeled 'gifted' some years previously. Her science teacher informed the class one fine day that there were a total of nine planets in the universe. She didn't quite stifle her snicker in time, the teacher demanded to know what her issue was. Daughter asked if she had perhaps misspoken, perhaps she meant to say there were a total of nine [known] planets in our solar system?

She was immediately sent to the principal's office, who called me in to tell me why he was suspending her from school for two weeks (long enough to flunk her for missed classes, conveniently enough for that 'hole in the floor' US education loves to lose children through) - she "asked entirely too many questions" of her teachers, and did not display "appropriate respect." I asked him pointedly if that's the way he always treated his gifted kids who ask too many questions in science classes taught by idiots. He gave me this jaw-dropped 'DUH' look before asking... "she's gifted?"

He couldn't be bothered to even look at her records before deciding to suspend-flunk her on the word of said idiot science teacher who was offended at being called out for idiocy by a student a lot smarter than she was. Suddenly the whole thing changed into consideration of how much federal money the school was getting to offer advanced classes to a gifted student - which was more than the teacher was worth, for sure. I pulled her out immediately and enrolled her in a small private school near our home (no 30-mile bus trip!). Where she managed to win awards in science, latin and language at the end of the term.

Before midwifetoad or some other whiner comes back with "nyah, nyah, I don't believe it," just take it as it's offered - a short course in American Primary Education, late 20th century edition. There's a reason we no longer rule the scientific world. As well as a reason we've got a public so ill-educated they can't find California on a map or make change for a dollar. Sociopolitics in this country trumps science every time. It's not going to change because y'all want to play at Dueling Metaphysics. Honest. Change takes much more honest effort than that.

Date: 2010/02/12 18:41:56, Link
Author: Joy
Tom Ames:
Quote
I think that you could have chosen to read my post in the spirit in which it was written, that is, as a serious attempt to engage with an idea I disagree with.


This may indeed be so, as I see upon reflection. I've been put on the defensive, and am as guilty of reading-in as I've accused you of being. I apologize, will make a sincere effort to consider all possible commutations of sentences. Can we start over?

Date: 2010/02/12 21:17:38, Link
Author: Joy
TP:
 
Quote
Yes, but you cheated because of our many conversations in the past.


§;o)

 
Quote
Penrose/Hameroff is suggesting the most logical (and maybe only) source of something that is both non-deterministic and non-random is Quantum Mechanics.  Ergo, it is extremely likely that consciousness is a macro expression of quantum effects.


Well, you know I agree. And that I expect that's right where the evidence will eventually lead, even though it's bound to leave behind a whole passel of flat-earthers on both 'ends' who will quietly fade into oblivion as they die off and energetic young scientists take the new paradigm as far as they're able to go with it. Then some young guns will do the same to them. Such is the way of things, science is not exempt (even if it hosts way too many Zombies at present).

I'm checking out, just cannot deal with this level of delinquency on purpose - though I admit recent presence is purposeless slumming, just bored with being snowed in and there's six new inches so far tonight. Have contacted whatever passes for "moderation" around here, will not post further until and unless a certain member of the youth gang is deterred. Since that's entirely unlikely to happen, I'll just wish you good luck reaching the same conclusion in record time - there is nothing resembling discussion to be had here. Once again I am reminded of why that is...

Ciao!

Date: 2010/02/13 16:26:54, Link
Author: Joy
Al2:
   
Quote
But if your ideas were better, maybe that wouldn't be the case.


My 'ideas' weren't the issue. The issues were my name and my experience in 8th grade science. You do know what "ad hominem" means, don't you? Hint: it's not about ideas.

midwifetoad:
   
Quote
I suppose "liar" was a bit strong. Could be she simply isn't smart enough to know why a textbook wouldn't have taught steady state cosmology as an undisputed fact.


Yes, "fucking liar" was strong. Unnecessary, unwarranted, unacceptable and frankly bizarre. So thanks for this admission. To answer your objections...

Textbooks are just ink on paper. They don't teach anything, they just present basic concepts and facts (usually a paragraph or so), have a list of questions at the end of each chapter which may or may not appear on the test depending on what the teacher cares to include or the admin/school board requires. When I was in upstate NY, the textbook was older than me. Its paragraph on 'current' cosmology was the eternal clockwork.

Requisite public school science instruction is NOT aimed at the 2 out of 100 students who will become future scientists [h/t US Census Bureau], and never has been. It's aimed low enough for a majority of students to pass. If instruction were geared even to 'average' ability [IQ 100], 50% would likely fail. Kids with ~140 IQs and an interest in science get what they need elsewhere. Or, that's the presumption.

All this is plain enough for any casual reader to accept as-is, will jive with most people's own experience of public school in this country. One of my main beefs is the incredibly lousy state of education in this country, for anyone not rich enough to send their kids to good private schools, or who doesn't live in a city where there are magnets and charters. This is a huge detriment to our society.

Hell, they don't even pretend to teach civics in my area's schools anymore, and not a single American history/government textbook has a copy of the Constitution in the appendices! NONE of 'em, any grade! As if 'they' purposely intend to produce a population completely un-versed in American democracy, the "Voters of the Future." Reminds me of when Abbie Hoffman got arrested in the Congressional gallery for passing out "subversive literature" - the Declaration of Independence, which not a single rep he gave it to recognized! Now, THAT was some excellent street theater...

Things haven't gotten any better since the heady days of the Space Race (when I went to school, and when science was considered a regular Big Deal). In fact, it's gotten much worse, particularly in the south following desegregation. It's like 'they' decided if they had to educate everybody, they'd educate nobody! Arrogantly figuring the 'worthy' would put their kids in private school, of course. Compliant wage-slaves and highly suggestible consumers is what it's all about. It stinks, and I can opine on it endlessly... But I'll spare you. Just acknowledging your mea culpa, and foolishly trying again.

Now Al can pick apart my 'ideas', since I've offered some.

Date: 2010/02/13 17:43:50, Link
Author: Joy
Al2:
Quote
In your discussion with me, your unsupported notions (not exactly "ideas") about dissent re evolution within the scientific community were the issue. I frankly don't care about your experience in 8th grade science.


Fine. No, those weren't your issues. To your issues, I personally recognize that the current bruhaha in biology about whatever is going to be the 'new' version of evolutionary theory will of course work itself out eventually according to the evidence. No matter how nasty the in-house debates get. That's how science works, and how paradigms change in science (the point of my textbook anecdote).

I also recognize with no reservations that biology isn't ever going to endorse any theological version of creation. That anybody believes it should is, IMO, just another symptom of the incredibly lousy state of education in Amerika as well as just another front in the inane "Culture War" that has spawned such ridiculous spectacles as those crazy Teabaggers who demand that the government keep its hands off their Medicare. Geez, it looks like all the "dumbing down" worked better than anybody dreamed!

Given the dismal state of education and marginal intelligence of the broad public science would dearly love to control (on policy levels), of course it's been way too easy to steer them toward believing that science should confirm their particular religious beliefs. Hence the Culture War. Deal is, those religious beliefs (of literalist Bibolators) actually aren't as common as you may have been led to believe by your fellow warriors. About all of the mainstream and orthodox religious denominations in this country have no problems at all with evolutionary theory. Why, even the Pope recognizes that all the metaphysical "extras" are metaphysical, and metaphysics isn't science's job. But for the Bibolators out there, you're never going to make a dent. It's foolish to try (and I'm a professional fool, so I know a little about foolishness).

You can't win this Culture War with mean-spirited Evangelical Atheism. You can't win it by insulting everybody's intelligence when it's just a percentage of the >50% who qualify as hopeless. Even that >50% outnumber you by a large margin, and they're both armed and mean as hell because they feel threatened. [Yeah, they ARE threatened by reality, but that's a lesser consideration IMO, given reality.]

I don't know if you've heard about the shooting at UAH yesterday, but things are weird all over these days and scientists aren't exempt. All the way to desperation for way too many people, and we have no idea how many people who have lost their homes, their jobs, their last hope are committing murders out there in the broad nation. I am of the considered opinion (take it FWIW) that we stand on the razor's edge right now. The quest could fail, most spectacularly. And history demonstrates that a dark age could ensue if it all falls apart. Science will be the #1 victim of that, and it would be a terrible shame. I'd like to do what little I might be able to do to prevent it. So here I am, in the belly of the beast (so to speak).

Science has a very bad PR problem as an amoral servant of Power. Not your fault (or anyone's here), just a fact. Everyone born since August of 1945 is acutely aware of just how threatening science in the service of Power can be, and things haven't gotten more Utopian recently with the continuing and accelerated development of biological WMDs while nuclear WMD budgets keep going up (pay no attention to Obama's flowery rhetoric on that, he's increasing the budget). Thus you can't really expect the public to suddenly come to believe science and scientists are going to solve all problems for us, or willingly submit to a scientocracy when one too many scientists has advocated 'reducing' the population with weaponized Ebola. Ain't ever gonna happen. Just fact, based on how the people you're fighting this sideshow Culture War with think.

Worst case scenario - a new 'dark age' might be the only way humanity can survive. God! I'd sure hate that to be true!!!

I've got more, of course. Maybe this is a good start on issues you may want to discuss?

Date: 2010/02/13 18:31:01, Link
Author: Joy
someotherguy:
Quote
It's hard out here for an evolutionary biologist.


LOL!!! Very funny. I'm just trying to engage based on about five years' worth of trying to engage the "other side" in this sideshow, on their turf, on their terms. I'm trying (without much success so far) to report what I've learned to those here willing to engage honestly long enough for the data to be passed and assimilated. I readily recognize from past attempts that there's not much hope of actually connecting with gung-ho leathernecks just in it for the anarchistic thrill. I want to be justifiably able to say "I tried," before the pressure cooker blows. A selfish desire, purely.

Date: 2010/02/13 19:20:57, Link
Author: Joy
midwifetoad:
Quote
Whatever was deficient about textbooks of the era, it was not the doing of leftists or atheists. Books were firmly in the hands of society's most conservative elements.


Still are. Between California and Texas (the 'Big' markets), most textbooks are controlled by the Orange County Teabag contingent or ...Texas (insert whatever epithet here). And now that the feds are footing the bill to replace textbooks regularly - as opposed to local schools based on their tax revenue - they spread like wildfire.

My live-in grandson's biology textbook (which I examined closely on the evolution chapter) in 2006 sophomore level was surprisingly good. A production of National Geographic and McMillan, they actually offered a slightly different version for each state's leanings on the ID vs Neodarwinism issue, without stepping on too many toes. Left metaphysical/philosophical interpretations open, left out a lot of the schlock, and offered web addresses for more information after every presentation for kids who wanted to know more. Very, very clever. As well as an excellent way to encourage and enable interested and able students to immediately connect to the more information that students in my day had to get some other way.

In this extremely conservative area where they still sing hymns in the Christmas program (though there is a Menorah on the square during solstice celebration season these days) you might be surprised at how many of the students - even the ones not planning or able to go to college - accessed the NG website from the school library during study period, now that they've got a bank of connected computers for the purpose. I'm beginning to suspect kids are smarter than culture warriors on either 'side' want them to be.

Date: 2010/02/13 20:09:35, Link
Author: Joy
Lou, your "fuck you" on the moderation request was superseded by two things. First, Tom Ames' PM acknowledging our small 'breakthrough' on discussion, which I do hope to continue. Second, by midwife's small admission that "liar" was perhaps a bit strong. Closest thing anybody can expect to a mea culpa in the swamp (before you get bent, I live in hillbilly-land and admit to anybody who asks about the red rubber nose that I am indeed a proud professional fool). Don't forget that I've been occasionally commenting/reading since 2007. I know a little about who's here and what the agenda is.

And yes, "fucking liar" is ad hominem. Want me to cite an authoritative definition so you'll know what it is too?

Never mind. Totally academic question. I have determined to try my best to ignore what is best ignored, hoping for substantial dialogue with those who care to engage honestly. Please don't make it impossible for me to justify that just because you're bored and I'm handy. I'm bored too (snowed in way too long) or I wouldn't be here. Thanks in advance.

Date: 2010/02/13 21:50:30, Link
Author: Joy
Erasmus:
 
Quote
joy i gotta say you don't live in the middle of hillbilly land.  when you look around and your closest neighbors are Fran and Morty, and on the other side it's a couple of lesbian wiccan priestesses*, the hillbillies have moved out of the neighborhood.  just saying.**


Sorry to disappoint you, 'ras. I've got no neighbors. Within hoot or holler distance, anyway. Half a mile as the crow flies, with a substantial ridge in between. Makes for being able to crank the amps all the way up whenever we like...

Date: 2010/02/14 10:24:59, Link
Author: Joy
Erasmus:
Quote
well i got a good sig line out of it anyway


Ah, yes. Bathtub Meth - biggest industry in the county, and one for which we outrank all other counties in the nation! We also boast another top ranking... teenage pregnancies. Though it's highly doubtful that those can be blamed on those lesbian Pagan priestesses.

Date: 2010/02/14 11:42:24, Link
Author: Joy
Jim Wynne:
Quote
Insufferable bores are always persecuted and misunderstood. You should be accustomed to it by now. It  doesn't deter you from being insufferably boring, after all.


Huh. Kinda makes me wonder how come people like you are so fascinated by insufferable bores that you waste time, thought (relatively speaking) and carpal tunnel on them. When it would seem to be much more apropos to simply ignore them, and all...

Date: 2010/02/14 15:41:47, Link
Author: Joy
Al2:
 
Quote
If you remember, the issue is your statement that there is increasing dissent within the scientific community about evolutionary theory. I challenged you to come up with evidence for that. You have been unable to do that. This comment is basically ineffectual hand-waving. If you really don't have any evidence for that assertion, it would be best to admit it.


It seems quite odd to me that you don't recognize dissent in the biological community about the theory of evolution, its 'neodarwinian orthodoxy' and the 'central dogma' it still pushes as sacrosanct.

I originally said:
 
Quote
For a non-biologist I've got a fair grasp of how things are going. And am looking forward to new developments as they come in. Including theoretical developments, since there's some increasing dissent in the ranks of late against the dogma of orthodoxy. Fun to keep track of, as are such in-house challenges to orthodoxy in other scientific fields. Science being an adversarial construct, after all.


Dissent in science about theories (and about conclusions drawn from particular research) is as old as science. Because science is designed to be an adversarial system where new evidence or failure of confirmational experiments or new theories are supposed to challenge previous ideas and theories and eventually replace them with better ideas and theories. All that depends upon consensus, meaning a simple majority of qualified scientists in the field accept the new evidence, falsification or new theory and it becomes the king of the hill until the next round of challenge succeeds in gaining consensus. Usually the changed paradigm leaves behind 'true believers' in the old paradigm who never manage to change their minds, but as they die off and new generations trained in the new consensus reduce their numbers even further, their adherence to the old paradigm doesn't hinder the forward progress of science from the new to the (eventual) newer.

I presume you understand this. Dissent has a long history in science, as does the suppression of dissent.

I am of the opinion that in the issue of biological evolution, attempts at suppression are based primarily on philosophical/metaphysical concerns. There is also ample evidence of political or corporate suppression. Since most scientific funding these days is provided by government or industry, direct and indirect suppression of dissent from these sources are a significant concern per the validity and trustworthiness of the science itself. Brian Martin's work on exposing this situation is well known, as are articles and editorials dealing with Big Pharma's influence over research and publication. Dylan Krider has a pretty good report on political suppression (things like global warming). A friend of mine who has experienced corporate, political and even legal suppression of his research has written about it, as has Neil Pearce.

At any rate, the Altenberg workshop would tend to confirm to interested observers the existence of disagreement (dissent) among scientists about the adequacy of current evolutionary theory. And while denizens of this speakeasy would dearly love to pretend there are no 'real' scientists who dissent from neodarwinian orthodoxy, hundreds of scientists and professors of medicine did sign a statement of skepticism that random mutation and natural selection can account for the complexity of life. Moreover, research challenging various orthodox tenets comes in fairly regularly - and is reported in the scientific press as challenging. That is clearly evidence of dissent, even if you give it no credit.

 
Quote
...that whole incident at UAH is just a tad too close to home for me on a personal level. But it is completely irrelevant to a discussion about dissent within the scientific community re evolution.


Then I apologize for mentioning it. However, I mentioned in a sociopolitical context, not in any context of dissent over evolution.

Date: 2010/02/14 16:01:59, Link
Author: Joy
midwifetoad:
Quote
So the unevidenced textbook claim is part of a general jihad against the stupidity and evil of public schools.


Actually, kids of my generation got pretty good educations from the public school system. At least, relatively better than my kids and grandkids got/are getting. But as has always been the case, local conditions can be variable and the bright, interested kids will tend to supplement their instruction with material they access on their own time.

Can I ask where you attended public school? I went to school in South Carolina, New York and Oklahoma. Husband's public school experience included Arkansas, Texas as well as Oklahoma. Our kids attended public schools in Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Florida, grandson graduated high school here in North Carolina.

Date: 2010/02/14 22:55:46, Link
Author: Joy
Al2:
   
Quote
the organizer of the Altenberg conference says that this sort of statement is sheer hyperbole.


I linked you to part 1 of Pigliucci's Notes from Altenberg. His summary of Eva Jablonka's presentation talks very specifically about "challenges to MS" [Mutation-Selection] offered by discoveries of non-DNA heritable variation and other 'soft' inheritance. And there are several mentions throughout the 3 parts of challenges and controversies over these findings or those findings or this theory or that one.

That most biologists already know evolution is about much more than MS is not the issue of contention in this culture war. That biologists learn about the (accepted) additional mechanisms of evolution at the college level is not the issue either. The issue is what the public is taught about evolution if you're expecting them to compliantly shut up and believe.

To an interested member of the public who has followed the war, the "you don't know enough about evolution to reject evolution" assertion begs the question of why. All high school graduates since evolution became mandatory have passed the course. If what we were taught is indeed inadequate for forming an opinion, whose fault is that? The public can see how scientific dissenters are treated. I'm the public and it's sure not hard to see how I'm treated. Why the hell would the interested public have any reason to 'shut up and believe'? What are you guys so scared of?

Martin has compiled lists of the various methods standard for suppression of dissent, including suppression of research data. In this essay (not about biology) he offers some signs of suppression that can be present in other fields (think Sternberg):

   
Quote
Defining suppression is one issue; deciding whether it has occurred is another. It is a major topic in itself, which can only be mentioned here. There are a few convenient indicators that suggest that suppression may be occurring.

• Double standard: research data threatening to an interest group is dealt with differently than unthreatening data. For example, if a paper produced in a government agency is censored to remove information showing environmental impacts caused by the agency's policies, but information about other environmental impacts is allowed to be published, there is a double standard involved.

• Timing: attacks are made shortly after a threatening use of research data. For example, if scientists are reprimanded just after speaking to the media about recent findings that are embarrassing to their employer, this suggests suppression even though the official reason for the reprimands is related to performance.

• Pattern: there is evidence of a number of cases of suppression in a particular field or organization, with a plausible reason for it to occur. For example, when there is evidence that an industry has previously kept secret data about hazards from its products, then it is plausible to treat new claims of suppression seriously. Patterns of suppression have been documented in several areas, including attacks on parapsychologists (Hess, 1992), attacks on proponents of nonstandard cancer therapies (Hess, 1999; Moss, 1996), and attacks on scientist opponents of nuclear power (Freeman, 1981; Martin, 1986), pesticides (Martin, 1996b; van den Bosch, 1978), and fluoridation (Martin, 1991; Waldbott, 1965).


While Martin's areas of concern for scientific dissent and the systematic suppression of dissent aren't biology, his article about Harold Hillman's dissent against standard investigative techniques in cell and neurobiology - and the concerted efforts to suppress his views - describe a very familiar operating procedure echoed here regularly. One paragraph is particularly enlightening...

Quote
The incredible intolerance towards Hillman and his views was hard for me to believe. Although I have studied many similar instances in different fields of science, each new story comes as a shock. In one case, Hillman gave a talk to a large audience at what he calls "a well known Welsh university". The many undergraduates in the audience seemed sympathetic to his case. A lecturer stood up and claimed to have pictures from an electron microscope which showed that Hillman was wrong. After the talk, Hillman asked the lecturer to see the pictures. "I have not got any", he said, laughing. "Why did you say you had in front of that large audience?" "Because I did not want the students to be misled by you."


Ah. The old lies in the service of orthodoxy are no sin defense. It's no secret that fully qualified biological scientists have dissented from orthodoxy, and anybody paying attention can see orthodoxy's attempts at suppression. It's what this 'culture war' is all about. And while many here would love to convince the public that every dissenter can be dismissed as a Bibolator who believes the world was created in 6 days 6 thousand years ago, that's patently untrue. Lies in the service of orthodoxy are no sin, right?

I am no fan of the DI. The culture war mission of that organization tends to cast doubt on the motivations of affiliated scientists. But I've no reason to believe their scientific dissents against neodarwinian orthodoxy are necessarily insincere, or "bad science," or even lies just because someone with equally questionable culture war motivations says so. If you want me to believe that all the 700 scientists, engineers and MDs who signed the DI's statement of dissent are affiliated with the DI, then you need to provide some evidence. Simply pointing to the statement of dissent does not establish affiliation.

Date: 2010/02/15 00:15:17, Link
Author: Joy
Henry J:
Quote
Would "dissent" include disagreements over technical details? (Such as revisions of geneological trees.)


I would count as dissent any hypothesis, finding or theory supported by evidence or sound interpretation of evidence that challenges an established orthodoxy. Not all dissent is met with suppression or attempts at suppression. Some are revolutionary right from the start and are quickly accepted as the new orthodoxy.

I seem to recall there being some resistance to Carl Woese's theories of multiple first common ancestors and the HGT field. Maybe that's been accepted by now, but were considered challenging. James Shapiro's cellular memory and Buehler's cell intelligence are fairly challenging. They may be making some progress in-house too. Margulis' endosymbiotic theory was rejected by more than a dozen journals before it was published and is now an accepted extension, but she suffered constant criticism for decades.

Quote
Well of course high school grads can form an opinion. But if their opinion is one thing, and the shared opinion of a million experts in the field is something else, which opinion is more reliable?


To whom? I'm sure the million experts and their millions of believers consider their opinions reliable. I'm pretty sure millions of high school graduates and their favored experts think their opinions are reliable too. One might suspect it doesn't really matter either way, except that there's a whole culture war ongoing over it. Motivations for that reek of Dueling Metaphysics, not standard adversarial science. Same thing appears to be happening over climate science and global climate change, though the motivations there are political more than metaphysical.

Just to clarify, I am of the opinion that it doesn't really matter what my opinions (or anyone else's) about evolution may be. So the culture war sideshow is quite an amusing respite from the political world's main events right now. And the real world's endless parade of horrors and lousy weather. If I were a gambler, I'd wager that it'll end in a draw. Which will confirm my opinion that it doesn't really matter. §;o)

Date: 2010/02/15 10:18:38, Link
Author: Joy
Wesley:
Quote
A few years ago, the National Science Teachers Association polled public school biology teachers concerning creationism, and came up with a figure that about 30% of teachers either already are teaching creationism of some form in classes, or would do so if they felt that their administrators would allow it.


Well, because introduction to evolutionary theory constitutes approximately two weeks (if that much) out of a single semester of required biology in most public schools, it would not be surprising that the 30% you describe here haven't been part of my experience (to include kids and grand). As I mentioned, my grandson's instruction was pretty good - the new textbook was good even if the teacher was a hack. Luckily enough, my instruction was exceptional, but mostly because my teacher (who I had for two years for chemistry and advanced biology) and his brother (who taught physics and calculus) actually had degrees in these fields. That's an exception.

Can I ask what you are including under the heading of "creationism of some form?" Thanks.

Date: 2010/02/15 10:57:17, Link
Author: Joy
midwifetoad:
Quote
So may we assume that you would be happy if more time were devoted to the details of evolutionary theory in high school, rather than less? Perhaps schools should require two years of biology for graduation rather than one.


I'd like required instruction in evolutionary theory to include more than RM-NS plus endosymbiosis (which is usually tacked onto instruction of cell basics instead of evolutionary theory). I'd like the textbooks to all be as good as my grandson's was. Though he knew more about evolution than was included there years before he hit high school - could rattle off full names and prior/future evolutionary linkage details of obscure dinosaur species without hesitation by the time he started kindergarten.

Advanced biology - where instruction about evolutionary theory was confined - was an elective when I was in high school, as were chemistry, physics and higher mathematics. Designed for students on an academic science track and headed to college. I'm glad it's now required as part of basic biology for all, but because it's required for all it's naturally going to have to be very, very basic ('dumbed down'). Still, it should be open-ended and include more than RM-NS even if the more isn't on the test.

Truth is that a majority of high school students don't go to college, another significant percentage attend community colleges for trade-based instruction and A.A./A.S. credentials. In chronically economically 'challenged' regions like southern Appalachia, 4-year and professional degrees are even rarer. Another harsh truth is (as I previously mentioned) the basic intelligence level of the student body anywhere. 'Average' IQ is 100. Meaning that half of students fall below that level. This explains why instruction in the 'hard' subjects is dumbed down to such a serious extent. It's simply not fair or acceptable to deny your basic high school diploma - a minimal credential - to a student who has put in 12 years and managed an average level of competency across the board, just because they aren't capable of mastering the 'hard' subjects. If public education did that to 50% or more of the nation's children there would be serious sociopolitical ramifications.

Try to bear in mind that only about 2% - 2.5% of the population are classified as 'scientists' - the higher figure includes engineers but excludes large portions of the medical establishment. People who are accountants, business workers, salespeople, caterers, waiters, artists, construction and factory workers, etc., etc., etc. are productive members of society for whom the details about science (any field) simply don't matter much beyond whatever product spin-offs come their way.

A good deal of primary school instruction goes in one ear and out the other the moment the test is over. Someone would have to care and be paying attention to keep up with everything that matters to someone out there. When I was in primary school the political maps (several courses through the years) excluded all the Soviet republics. Just a big swath of red across a good portion of the world with "U.S.S.R." stamped on it - we never heard about Uzbekistan or Tajikistan or Turkmenistan or Latvia or Ukraine or Chechnya... had I not been best friends with a girl whose family had emigrated from Estonia, I wouldn't have been able to ask my teachers why those countries weren't on the map. Not one of 'em liked the question (or answered satisfactorily).

I don't know what to 'do' about the lousy state of public education in the U.S., I just know it's lousy. In the matter of science and math, I'd suggest that people with real understanding of those be trained and hired as teachers. I don't expect that'll happen across the board, though. The pay and work load are atrocious, and many degreed scientists don't have the disposition for rowdy, hormone-crazed teenagers. §;o)

Date: 2010/02/15 11:14:00, Link
Author: Joy
oldman:
 
Quote
I wonder what Joy thinks the motivations are of the opposing side in this "culture war".


For almost all the culture warriors I've encountered on either side, the motivation appears to be religion or anti-religion. But for some, and in other fronts of the war, it's just politics.

Date: 2010/02/15 11:20:39, Link
Author: Joy
Al2:
Quote
"Challenges to MS" are not challenges to the idea of evolution.


Well, duh. And a majority of U.S. citizens have no problem with the idea of evolution. Even if they know little about it, and/or have forgotten what little they were taught about the details.

Quote
Literalistic readings of texts are not a worthwhile argumentative technique in science.


LOL! I guess that's why so many here are as literalistic in reading my posts as Bibolators are about reading Genesis 1 & 2.

Date: 2010/02/15 11:32:41, Link
Author: Joy
Al2:
Quote
Fixed that for ya.


Hahahaha... you're a regular laugh riot, Al. You can't declare war on more than half of humanity (or everyone you believe to be dumber than you) and expect to 'win' anything. That would make you a MUCH bigger fool than me!

Admit it. It's not the intelligence level of the people you get to share the planet with that bothers you most, since there's exactly zip you can do to make anybody smarter than they are. It's the metaphysical beliefs of humans you get to share the planet with that bugs you. And their right to believe as they choose, of course.

Date: 2010/02/15 12:10:02, Link
Author: Joy
Al2:
Quote
I've never told anyone to "shut up and believe". You're projecting again. As as for "scared", I think you've mistaken anger for fear. I am angered by folks who don't understand science AND who decide that their flawed understanding is what I should teach. I am angered by folks like you who are WILLFULLY ignorant. I am angered by lies; in science a liar is the worst possible offender. But anger is not fear.


Sentence 1. There you go with the literalism thing again.

Sentence 2. Projecting what?

Sentence 3. Fear and anger are connected, just ask Master Yoda. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

Sentence 4. You're a college professor, aren't you? How does anything the DI is selling affect what you are allowed to teach?

Sentence 5. Your opinion of my intelligence or relative level of knowledge about any subject is entirely irrelevant. You might try focusing on your own life. Being angry at me is pointless as well as possibly harmful (stress hormones can lead to a number of health issues).

Sentences 6 & 7. Reiteration.

Date: 2010/02/15 12:26:19, Link
Author: Joy
Badger:
Quote
Well, she wants a lot taught in (to paraphrase) "maybe two weeks out of a semester."


I'd rather schools devote an entire school year - or two semesters over the high school curriculum - for requisite biology. That would allow twice as much time or more for examination of evolutionary theory and its many sub-theories. Worse, I'd require some kind of science instruction from first through 12th grade every year - including early instruction in critical thinking and the nature of science reinforced in every course every year thereafter.

Science is so important to modern civilization that it really needs to enjoy more time and emphasis in the training of our young people. They've cut out so much instruction in language (no foreign language requirement many places, no spelling, no parts of speech diagramming, no penmanship, no emphasis on essay construction, etc.), math, history, geography - and whose school has requisite art, music or physical education anymore? - you'd think there would be plenty of time for science.

Quote
I'll have to see if I can get a textbook and scan the pages (I teach a computer-based curriculum now so I lack the books), and see what is taught now.


Hope your school is using the nifty NG text (which will be geared for your state's EOG testing requirements on the subject), the one for NC was darned good. Lots of intriguing tidbits and links to more info about those. A good way to impart what's required (not much), tease with hints of much more, and offer to brighter and more interested students easy ways to access the more.

Date: 2010/02/15 12:31:05, Link
Author: Joy
oh... and I'd also like schools to offer advanced science classes across the board as electives, even for those kids not on a college-bound academic track. Where their interest can be tickled further. Now that most of what used to be required is elective, too many districts reserve advanced academics to magnets or charters that a student may not qualify for in peripheral subjects. Or have access to (rural systems).

Date: 2010/02/15 12:46:17, Link
Author: Joy
midwifetoad:
Quote
One thing I've never gotten out of an evolution critic is a simple statement of what they'd teach if they could write the curriculum.


I'm not sure how much can be taught to a required class that must pass a majority of students (or cause the school to fail). Maybe they're doing the best they can.

But in line with those better teachers and texts (I've mentioned grandson's NG test as a big improvement), there's another suggestion for my preference for offering advanced classes to all who wish to go further even if they aren't on a college/science track and don't have access to dedicated magnet/charters.

This seriously economically challenged region participated in an 'experiment' conducted by Duke University for a three year period a few years ago. Three years so they could document relative success or failure rates for students with access for the whole of their high school career. 'Volunteer' Ph.D. teachers who had decent ability to connect with teens, no textbooks but the teachers could provide any and all relevant material they wanted for what they wanted to impart. Full access to labs, libraries and the computer banks (they also brought their own software). Students who passed (or the teachers believed tried hard enough) got credits, no time wasted. Class sizes small, heavy on the prerequisites - mathematics plus B or better in requisite biology. They didn't have to be taking the college bound academic curriculum overall.

Perhaps a partnership with state universities (or private ones in-state) could work everywhere. Though I have not seen a publication yet on how this particular experiment worked out statistically.

Date: 2010/02/15 13:23:07, Link
Author: Joy
Al2:
Quote
The DI is selling pseudoscience. I'm a scientist, and a science educator. What I teach, and at what level, is directly influenced by what the DI is selling. Furthermore it is absolutely true that it is far more difficult to expunge a misconception from someone's thinking than it is to teach them the correct ideas fresh. The DI is responsible for filling the minds of my students with misconceptions, making my job more difficult.


Aw, hell. There's a million snake oil salesmen out there selling pseudoscience. Always have been, these here intertoobs only make it more available.

Let's look at reality for a moment. The vast, overwhelming majority of people in this country have never heard of the DI, would probably venture a guess that it's some branch of military intelligence or something if asked.

And despite their involvement in some notable public school violations of the church-state separation issue, they've never won a single case. And never will so long as this remains a constitutional republic/democracy. Just something to show their donors, that's all.

Kids get their misconceptions about the world from a lot of places, most of which aren't schoolteachers or textbooks. Peers are a big influence, are their own entirely natural magical thinking proclivities. For the metal church crowd, Sunday school teachers and preachers - and yes, parents - are a bigger issue. Unless your college level biology course is a requirement for all incoming freshmen (or for any type of degree), you probably encounter die-hard creationists only because they want to take the course to cause trouble. More advanced courses are reserved primarily to those who will go into science.

Students' preconceived misconceptions about the world - and science - are always a challenge for teachers to overcome. Getting angry about that is self-defeating. I'd likely suggest to someone in your position who spends their working life angry at their students and frustrated by their job to consider going into a different line of work. Life is too short for that. In my experience, of course.

Hope that helps. I really do.

Date: 2010/02/15 13:26:26, Link
Author: Joy
khan:
Quote
Crap, you left out the chem trails and the tetanus shots.


LOL!!!!! It was just a copy-paste, khan. Not my stuff. But yeah, there's plenty of crap out there. A side effect of communication abilities and technology for dissemination, I'd venture.

Date: 2010/02/15 16:29:29, Link
Author: Joy
Al2:
Quote
And all of them deserve to be fought, vigorously, don't you think? Or should we accede to the dumbing down of our country and the resultant failure of our democracy?


Where their scams or plans influence or try to interfere with my life they will be fought, vigorously. There's a lot of issues in the sociopolitical world as-it-is that can take up a lot of time and energy in someone's life. Nobody's got time and energy for them all, so we pick our battles. You picked a career where this issue came attached, so you have some influence.

The single most effective brainwashing tool in sociopolitics (and economics) ever created by the wiles of humankind is the idiot box - television. Some would argue the internet is just as bad or worse, but I'm not yet convinced of that. We shall see. There's not a damned thing I can do about television, any of its supporting industries. I can't force all the hypnotized Zombies in this country to wake up - I can't even convince my own relatives to turn it off! What I can do is not pay anybody for the privilege of being hypnotized and brainwashed. So I don't. We've had no broadcase/cable television in our home since 1976. No, I'm not angry all the time about Zombies or the quacks who hypnotize them.

Quote
Yet if we ignore them, the odds that they will win become a lot stronger, don't you think?


I doubt it. I view the 'culture war' as distraction. Don't think anybody's ever going to win, or lose. That's not the point. Getting and keeping you angry at windmills is the point.

Quote
I'm merely trying to reduce the influence of one of those places. Why does that bother you?


Seems like you've good opportunity to do that in your work. Good for you. It doesn't bother me at all. I've said I'd like to see science education vastly improved across the board, along with education in general. Seems that that would be good for all of us.

Date: 2010/02/15 17:14:33, Link
Author: Joy
Can't software on a computer do that? i.e. Big Blue, gambling, investment 'strategizers' and such? In which case, is the software conscious? The computer that runs it?

Date: 2010/02/15 22:45:37, Link
Author: Joy
Al2:
Quote
No, the point is that if we don't combat them, they will win. I don't look at this as just science vs the DI. The DI is a (particularly mendacious) head of a hydra that has, at the neck, anti-intellectualism. The outcome of having them or one of the other heads win this would be a theocracy, or, at the very least, an idiotocracy.


I would expect no less from a committed anti-creationist (or just anti-religious) culture warrior. I simply recognize this bruhaha doesn't even rise to the level of gladiator games as the opening act in the big arena where the real shit's going down.

Anti-intellectualism is just another tool to ensure the continued hegemony of the status quo. As I said, there are a great many causes that can channel the passions, time and energy of people who, if left to their own devices, might be dangerous.

As an educator you should know that the best way to alleviate ignorance is through education. You're doing your part every day. As an intelligent person, you should also know that nothing you can ever do is going to cure stupidity. The moment you start believing you have the power or the right to control other people's minds you become no better than the wannabe mind-tyrants you're waging war against.

Date: 2010/02/16 13:37:01, Link
Author: Joy
Wesley:

 
Quote
I guess I'd fall into the "religious" motivation group. I really dislike the way religious antievolution's ensemble of endlessly repeated falsehoods brings disrepute upon Christianity in general.


Then you obviously take your religion more seriously than I do. It's not an issue of much concern for me what Bibolators choose to believe. I do think they're misguided, and rather stupid. But there's no cure for stupidity and they have the same right as everybody else to make their own choices.

 
Quote
I was brought up believing that God expected us to tell the truth.


Me too. Oddly enough, such belief has never managed to dent the level of dishonesty ubiquitous in human society and interpersonal relationships.

 
Quote
The deception that has been the organizing principle of religious antievolution in the USA since 1968 is antithetical to those beliefs.


We have whole classes of endeavor (law, politics, advertising, and often religion) so rife with deception that sifting for truth can be a full time job. Seems like a completely natural aspect of the human psyche to me. A facilitator for evil and a self-justification for it.

 
Quote
For some reason, it is common for people without experience or even much exposure to evolutionary science to believe that they understand it at a level that validates their critiques of it.


The concept of biological evolution is ubiquitous across many aspects of popular culture that kids can't escape unless they are held devoid of contact with popular culture. In which case they probably aren't going to public schools. Thus I don't see that evolution is as unknown or as controversial as it is portrayed by culture warriors. How much any random member of the public needs to know about the details is certainly arguable. Regardless, society has decided that some instruction is warranted. Most public schools follow the requirements.

I understand that teachers are personally committed to the alleviation of ignorance and the dissemination of knowledge. What I do not understand is the foolish belief that the offer of knowledge must automatically result in acceptance or assimilation of said knowledge in the mind of a student (or anybody else). Or that throwing more details at them will change the situation. Or that insulting them when it becomes clear they're unreachable will accomplish what the offer of knowledge didn't.

Some people remain ignorant because they haven't got the brainpower (or desire) to retain knowledge. They qualify as "stupid," though there are more PC labels for it. Stupidity is incurable.

Some people remain ignorant by conscious choice - "willfully." They reject knowledge because it conflicts with beliefs the person finds more important to their life than the knowledge. Individuals may change their minds at some point, but no one else can do it for them. Which makes willful ignorance incurable too.

Spending your time, energy and passion in life trying to cure the incurable (control other people's minds) seems pointless to me. For example, here's a tidbit of knowledge I consider to be one of the most important lessons a person can learn in their life -

You can't make people care about what they don't want to know.

There. I've offered valuable knowledge to you succinctly and for free. What I'm NOT doing is pinning any importance on whether you accept and incorporate my offered knowledge in your own life. It may be something you have to learn for yourself the hard way, or something you may be incapable of learning. Not my concern either way because your mind, life, experiences and abilities belong to you, not to me.

Date: 2010/02/16 16:32:54, Link
Author: Joy
Stephen Elliott:
 
Quote
Perhaps Joy considers it no big thing to accuse someone of advocating the murder of a few Billion people.


Sigh. I ignored it because it looked to me like the context of my comment was clear enough, and I have been ignoring rude asides and gross misrepresentations.

The post was to Albatrossity2 in response to his questioning of my observation that there is in-house dissent in regards to the mechanisms of evolution (and in challenge to the Theory of Evolution taught in public schools).

Given Al's curt dismissal of my experience with public education (and opinion of it), I perceived the looming presence of miscommunication in the exchange overall. So I responded with a lengthy (...so sue me) attempt to contextualize, a.k.a. 'clarify'. In the dim hope that small acknowledgment of my position - questioning both sides about the value to society of this 'Culture War' - would make for better communication.

I defended the importance of science itself, and listed some ways that science - or its most vocal culture warrior defenders - could lose the war. In my elucidation of why such tactics will likely backfire I described the unstable sociopolitical situation of the public (including scientists), and how that feeds into these Culture War distractions. Finally, the offending paragraph...

 
Quote
Science has a very bad PR problem as an amoral servant of Power. Not your fault (or anyone's here), just a fact. Everyone born since August of 1945 is acutely aware of just how threatening science in the service of Power can be, and things haven't gotten more Utopian recently with the continuing and accelerated development of biological WMDs while nuclear WMD budgets keep going up (pay no attention to Obama's flowery rhetoric on that, he's increasing the budget). Thus you can't really expect the public to suddenly come to believe science and scientists are going to solve all problems for us, or willingly submit to a cientocracy when one too many scientists has advocated 'reducing' the population with weaponized Ebola. Ain't ever gonna happen. Just fact, based on how the people you're fighting this sideshow Culture War with think.


Lede to the paragraph is my observation that science has a nasty PR problem. To which I cited scientific involvement in WMD production. Notable things for which science hasn't earned the public's undying loyalty and support. "One too many" refers to Pianka and the infamous bruhaha his statements in Texas set off - in that same context of public distrust of science. The context is again made clear by the closing sentence of the paragraph.

Accept as-is or choose to misrepresent. I don't care. I days ago accepted the fact that no one here is likely to accept anything I care to say. I'm just another big-c IDiot who believes the world is 6,000 years old and Eve rode a dinosaur. Someone to insult with abandon, belittle amongst yourselves as if I weren't in the room, practice nit-picking skills on, vie with each other to deliver the final blow that safely expunges me from your clubhouse.

And in the end this situation will provide yet another excellent example of why this front in the Culture War is just a distraction [i.e., 'amusement'] along the sociopolitical midway. Not important enough to stage in the main arena, but still useful enough (to Power) to justify rent on the tent.

Date: 2010/02/16 18:20:09, Link
Author: Joy
keiths:
 
Quote
Can you defend your assertions, or are you just going to whine about how we're not granting you unearned respect?


"Assertions" of what? I cited the only paragraph in which Ebola was mentioned, just two posts above yours. Explained its context. The last sentence of that cited paragraph reads:

Just fact, based on how the people you're fighting in this sideshow Culture War with think.

Explain to me what it is about this sentence that you do not understand. That will help me understand why you do not understand the clearly indicated context. Thanks.

Date: 2010/02/16 18:56:43, Link
Author: Joy
Stephen Elliott:
Quote
I think this lead to the "ebola boys" claim and Dembski calling homeland security.


"Ebola boys"??? There's more than one?

Date: 2010/02/16 20:11:00, Link
Author: Joy
someotherguy:
Quote
Getting back to the point, I, like Stephen Elliott, am still confused about whether or not you were accusing Eric Pianka of advocating mass murder.


No, I was not accusing Pianka of advocating mass murder. Read the paragraph again - bearing in mind the teaching that a paragraph should stick to a theme/thought. The theme laid out in sentence one is science's PR problem and from there a short comment on why it's got a PR problem. The inclusion of reference to the Pianka bruhaha in that comment was because it is illustrative of that PR problem - the casually interested churchy 'base' doesn't know about or credit any clarifications or justifications from Pianka that came after Mims' complaint. Any more than you are capable of crediting my clarifications here.

Moreover, the last sentence of the paragraph clearly indicates that I'm talking about the way your opposition thinks. A good reader would take that (in context of the entire post) to be a warning that feeding ammunition to the opposition is not a winning strategy. In-house it may be a regular laugh riot. Out amongst the public that pays to watch the sideshow, it's a serious offense. Another PR problem science doesn't need.

I shouldn't have to explain this so exhaustively to any halfway educated adult. Wow. I thought it was the other 'side' that was hopelessly challenged... §:o(

afarensis:
Quote
Yes, that is what she is referencing. UD and TT both pitched fits about it, while the rest of world pretty much ignored it.


THANK YOU. I'm having a hard time figuring out how anyone could have missed it the first time. The second time was even more puzzling. With this third clarification it's all the way to stupid. No one who reads the words...

"'One too many' refers to Pianka and the infamous bruhaha his statements in Texas set off..."

...and still pretends not to understand that Pianka's statements and resulting bruhaha are what is being referred to, is...

a troll not worth the trouble.

Date: 2010/02/16 21:03:57, Link
Author: Joy
Wesley:
 
Quote
The fact that she buys into the IDC propaganda about Pianka is quite damning enough; the fact that she participates in the inflationary universe of antievolution is documented by her unsupported use of the plural.


So much bullshit, so little time...

1. Where did I "buy into" the IDC propaganda about Pianka? Come on, Wesley. I know you are capable of parsing a paragraph. I've left multi-detailed instructions.

2. Where did I use the plural? Using your own fan club's misrepresentations as fodder for pointless re-misrepresentation is awfully low-level even for you [personally]. This stupid shit is enough for me. I've learned everything I needed from you [figurative].

Figuring you [figurative] out fortunately didn't take the five-plus years it took to figure out the 'other' guys. Comparatively, you [figurative] are rank amateurs. I think you're [figurative] out of your [figurative] depth on this front of the Culture War. Explains a lot, actually.

How disappointed I am personally is probably just a leftover of my long-time desire that science grow up to be all that its promise once held. I'll live. It's the frustration I can no longer tolerate. Buh-bye.

Date: 2010/02/16 23:23:43, Link
Author: Joy
keiths:
   
Quote
We're not idiots, Joy. We can read what you wrote.


You [figurative] look pretty darned idiotic from here, keith.

I seem to recall you being fairly bright and in possession of some 'normal' ability to appreciate humor. Even sarcasm, a somewhat sophisticated sub-classification making liberal use of ridicule, directly or turned backwards (even more sophisticated), I would have guessed you[figurative] were up to that much.

The context of the paragraph has already been exhaustively explained in minute detail more than once, emphasis on clues in the introduction and conclusion toward the satirical construct that falls in between. So let's just take THIS whole sentence you [personal] can't understand and parse it, mkay?

"Thus you can't really expect the public to suddenly come to believe science and scientists are going to solve all problems for us, or willingly submit to a scientocracy when one too many scientists has advocated 'reducing' the population with weaponized Ebola."

"Thus you can't really expect" - standard set-up, figurative "you" as opposed to "guy" who walks into a bar...

"the public" overbroad subject = generalization.

"to suddenly come to believe" - almost like magic!

"science and scientists are going to solve all problems" - Reeeeeeally?! is that a reasonable expectation or an obviously unreasonable expectation? Do you grok that extention to the obviously unreasonable = ridiculous [i.e., "ridicule"]?

"or willingly submit to a scientocracy" - real expectation or ridiculous-ness? Come on, I know you know this...

"when one too many scientists" - how many is one too many? Does the sudden specificity help to identify precisely WHAT ridiculous-ness is being satirized? Does it suggest presumed familiarity?

"has advocated 'reducing' the population with weaponized Ebola?" - See above item. This is the designed-to-hit-hard punch line. Denouement follows at the end of the paragraph - the way the opposition thinks.

I am a professional Fool and an 'expert' on the nature and importance of humor to human sociology, psychology and history. see: Parabola Magazine, Fall 2001; A Fool's History of Human Civilization. I have taught hundreds of students through three decades about what is funny and how to present it for best effect. Kids from 3 to 92, all social and economic classes, a wide variety of physical and intellectual capabilities, in a multitude of settings.

I have never - and I mean never - had to explain the humor to ANYBODY to this depth of total cluelessness. A surprisingly sophisticated sense of humor generally comes standard issue with the human mind.

It's a truism on the circuit that those who have no sense of humor are the ones you have to worry about. The notable absence of a sense of humor can indicate obsession and attached feelings of persecution. Or it can simply be that you [figurative] take yourself [figurative] way, way too seriously. In which case you're [figurative] all too likely to end up as the butt of someone else's slapstick joke, since 'everybody' resents the pompous white-face and cheers the auguste buffoon.

Classic comedy is built around such themes, has been since the first clowns rose up out of a sinkhole and became humankind's (in Native American mythology) first policemen. Their weapon was ridicule. It worked rather well until the natives met some humorless white guys who took themselves so seriously they'd kill you [literally] - and your [literal] wife and children, and even your [literal] whole tribe and civilization - just for the gold (glorified cowry shells).

I am frankly appalled and disgusted, but then again, maybe I'm the butt of this joke you're [figurative] all playing on me. In which case I deserve it because I missed the punch line. If so I'll have to order another gross of noses so you [figurative] can receive what you've earned. But you'll need some serious work on delivery and timing before taking it to the clubs...

Al2:
   
Quote
Oh, that and the persecution complex.


TELL me about it! ...Geez. This place is chock full of paranoiacs.

Okay. Now I'm really hitting the hay. Buh-bye.

Date: 2010/02/17 12:30:07, Link
Author: Joy
fnxtr:
 
Quote
Joy, do you really, really not understand that almost everyone here is fine with the stupid making their own choices, but not with them making those choices for our children, too?


I won't bother again expressing my many issues with public education in this country. I will simply say - yet again - that there's always someone, or some group of someones with particular views and issues who seek to have their views and issues be made part of the curriculum in public schools. As a ready means to indoctrination, since most people know that a state-sponsored classroom of captive kids is the most effective means of spreading their memes.

 
Quote
Seriously. Clue in already.  What was Epperson v. Arkansas? Kitzmiller et al v. Dover?  Does the name John Freshwater mean anything to you?


I don't know your experience, but much of mine was military/governmental. With people who took their oaths to protect and defend seriously, and had a pretty good grasp of the principles at stake. I learned early on that freedom requires constant vigilance because it is a fragile construct in a world full of selfish humans and conflicting interests.

The 'Law of the Land' on teaching religion as science is clear and has been clear for awhile. The SCOTUS has been completely consistent in its rulings, and it only gets to rule when a lower federal court breaks constitutional precedent - most cases never even get that far before the school is reprimanded (state courts more often do the job). It is illegal for a public school to teach religion as science.

The existence of law has never in the entire history of human civilization prevented individuals from behaving badly - law doesn't magically eliminate sin. It just formalizes definitions and codifies violations. The vast majority of school districts in this country don't break the law. The few that do find out quickly just how expensive their no-win position truly is, thanks to vigilant citizens.

That isn't going to change as long as American citizens remain vigilant. You should remain vigilant too.

Date: 2010/02/17 13:59:11, Link
Author: Joy
Tony M Nyphot:
Quote
Again, I was expressing what I thought Joy was trying to say.


And doing a good job of it too, I might add. Thanks.

Quote
I had the thought, perhaps wrong, that one could view a number of "relatively unknown" incidents (Freshwater, McLeroy/TSBE/Comer, Dover, 'Expelled', etc... ) where anti-science, pseudo-religious agents (Dembski, the DI, Meyer, etc... ) use falsehoods to smear science, both locally to the incident and among their own echo-chambers, as planting the seeds for a larger "PR problem for science."


That's excellent analysis, Tony. So despite lip service to the mob here ["I agree 'that our interlocutor is out to lunch'"], you're probably going to get slammed anyway for telling them something they don't want to know.

For my part, I'd add a little background to the analysis. No matter how short the attention span of Barnum's suckers may be, the seeds are never really gone from the shaped worldview. So while you could maybe count a few dozen people who could opine on the spot about an evil Ebola-espousing scientist, there are many thousands who were exposed to the Mims account. Those many thousands spread it to their friends and family during the time it resided in their consciousness, and those friends and family spread it further. And like a game of 'Telephone', there's no telling how twisted it got before it fell from consciousness. And you probably couldn't count on the fingers of one hand how many in the entire meme-pool ever encountered the later defense or retractions. Nor would it be likely that anyone who did believed it for a second.

So here's a pool of tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of people for whom the Ebola bruhaha is a component of their increasingly anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-elite worldview. The moment anyone in their circle mentions it, the incident floods right back into their consciousness complete with all the twists and turns the story took before they heard it, and it's fully enveloped in the entire emotional suite attached to it at the time.

Multiply this scenario by every other anti-science, anti-intellectual, anti-elite meme that's circulated out there during anyone's lifetime, and pretty soon you're talking about millions. Maybe tens of millions if you count those who merely lean in that direction but still maintain a fairly realistic worldview. It's a force to be reckoned with.

Insert here the moronically awful tactic (on the part of culture warriors on the scientific side) of generalizing their identified 'enemy' to everyone on earth who believes in anything remotely spiritual (billions) and the contest starts looking positively one-sided. Basic human psychology would scream loudly that the result of this tactic is entirely likely to backfire big time.

If we consider that this culture war sideshow is labeled and commonly understood to be "Science vs. Creationism" it was unwise for science to field EAs [Evangelical Atheists, a.k.a. New Atheists] on the front line (yes, I know they're Volunteers, but they shouldn't be running the show). Not only does it tend to corrupt the best arguments science could offer for its position to the interested public, it also risks swelling the ranks of committed culture warriors arrayed against science.

My opinion, based on some lengthy research on the 'other' side of the conflict. Which of course will be dismissed and belittled by all True Blue Swamp Denizens, so I expect nothing different. It just firms up my opinion from not much experience on this side of the conflict that I'm dealing with rank amateurs who have no clue what the fuck they're up against. So busy back-slapping and telling fart jokes [exaggeration] that they don't bother to apply their infinitely [hyperbole] superior intelligence to the war they think they can 'win' just because they're so superior and cool. [ridicule].

For all the concern I've seen expressed here that science might 'lose' this battle in the war, it's always externalized and never examined internally per how poorly science's fielded culture warriors are conducting the war. I've said clearly that I don't think either side can really 'win' this war - there's nothing to win. But that one or both sides could 'lose', most spectacularly. The opposition is well organized, well funded, a whole lot smarter than anyone here gives them credit for, completely committed, and in it for the long haul (centuries if they must). In their minds deception and disinformation in the service of their greater goal is no sin. And they don't believe in random accidents or cosmic coincidence. Thus they are big believers in meticulous planning and lock-step execution.

Which strongly suggests the opposition is the superior force in all ways that count in the matter of orchestrating and executing a well-planned sociopolitical armageddon. Which they also believe with all their hearts is just what God wants them to do, because God planned this armageddon all along - they're just his tools in this generation.

If you [figurative] can't herd the cats well enough to get a grip on what you're [figurative] fighting for, who you're [figurative] fighting against, or even wage a halfway decent campaign, you [science] will indeed 'lose'. Most spectacularly. Sooner rather than later.

[To the peanut gallery: no, I'm not going to parse this sentence by sentence for your juvenile-level amusement. So don't bother.]

Date: 2010/02/17 18:40:19, Link
Author: Joy
Stephen Elliott:
 
Quote
They are not winning so far though are they? Which side hides behind moderation or closed comments? Which side has evidence to back up its claims? Which sides win and lose the court cases?


Nobody gets to win this 'war'. Every skirmish is just another skit in the production.

Tony:
 
Quote
There are still one or two drops of water clinging to the sides of your bucket for me...not sure why. Just a charitable sort, I am.


Don't bother. I don't need or want your charity.

Date: 2010/02/18 10:35:46, Link
Author: Joy
Richardthughes:
Quote
Christianity is an economy based on suffering.


I thought that was health care. A futures market in human suffering that amounts to 17.3% of GDP...

Date: 2010/02/18 10:52:03, Link
Author: Joy
Louis:
Quote
It's not about winning by the way, it's about not losing. I'll be shocked if you know the difference.


Well, duh. That's what I've said repeatedly these last few days.

Quote
Oh and like I said before, outside the USA the "culture war" looks verrrrrrry different. One might even suspect that you Yanks are being lead around by your noses.


Another duh. Of course it's a nose ring operation, bad sideshow Kabuki. I've said that more than once too.

Quote
Don't bite the hand that is kind to you, Joy. You don't just need charity, you need education and above all therapy. The latter's not a professional assessment, I'm unqualified to make such a diagnosis, I just chucked it in because it amused me and ended in a "y".


LOL! Always good for a chuckle, Louis. I know my communication skills are... um... tortured. Don't mind waterboarding so much, it's the drip, drip, drip stuff that drives me nuts! §;o)

Quote
Anyway, enough mockery, are you ever going to tell me why taching kids the theory of gravity is not also indoctrination in whatever meme the elitist hegemony want inculcated into our freedom loving precious kids?


I guess one could consider all formal instruction that doesn't involve hands-on direct experience could be considered "indoctrination." Modern civilization considers it necessary to impart quite a lot of accumulated knowledge from the past experience of humans (because we can). Saves having to start over from scratch every generation.

The question then turns to what kids are being indoctrinated into. Much of the historical/scientific material taught is just basic background about the world they've been born into, nobody really expects 'em to retain much of it. And the kids never disappoint on that level - they retain only what they want to know, and whatever's pertinent to their lives and choices in adulthood. Apparently, finding New York, California or Iraq on a map isn't important enough for half of them to remember. They can always figure it out for themselves if they get transferred to California from New York or join the Army...

The reason special interest groups want to have their views and material incorporated into public school curriculums. That's because they understand that education is indoctrination, and public education is indoctrination sponsored by 'The State'. Which they can then claim sanctions their views and agenda.

Date: 2010/02/18 12:28:12, Link
Author: Joy
fnxtr:
 
Quote
So, science (and particularly evolution) education is part of the Evil Atheist Baby-Eating Darwinist Conspiracy, in the hands of... whom? To what end?


Definition, from the Dictionary.com Unabridged [Random House]:

indoctrinate verb

1. to instruct in a doctrine, principle, ideology, etc., esp. to imbue with a specific partisan or biased belief or point of view.

2. to teach or inculcate.

3. to imbue with learning.

I don't know how anyone could claim that most of the teaching in public schools - civics, history, geography (back when most of Eastern Europe and Asia was flat red with U.S.S.R. stamped on it), etc. isn't designed to imbue with a specific biased belief or point of view - i.e., American-centrisim. Science instruction escapes this for the most part, but it's still based on whatever the 'consensus view' happens to be when the textbook is written. In science, that changes more often than, say, the inculcated belief that democracy is the most advanced and desirable political system humans ever devised changes.

Date: 2010/02/18 12:48:57, Link
Author: Joy
Wikipedia qualifies free will to the 'rational' agent's freedom to choose. But if it's got to be 'rational', how free is it?

I guess everybody would concede that humans - like all other life forms - have quite limited degrees of freedom per their actions. A plant just can't pack up and move when the neighborhood turns ugly. And all our choices are shaped strongly by our experiences, our circumstances, our knowledge, our range of options, and our abilities. Sum of histories sort of thing...

I've occasionally considered that there may be only one really free choice available to humans - the choice not to exist. And even that choice is predicated on conditions and circumstance, and isn't generally considered 'rational' at all.

Date: 2010/02/18 13:53:29, Link
Author: Joy
Mark Frank:
Quote
He is a compatabilist and I think he is pretty much right.  We choose according to our desires which is quite compatible with our desires causing our choices.


I'll have to look up compatablism to get a feel for it. But I'm not the least bit convinced we choose according to our desires, since too many of us choose undesirable options in our lives.

For example, say your teenage daughter is pregnant, it's late for abortion by the time she decides you need to know. Boyfriend's long gone. There's a number of options for you, some relatively worse (or just meaner) than others based on the situation and your adopted 'morality' and ethics and relationship with said daughter.

After careful consideration, you offer to raise the child (and continue to support daughter) even though you thought you were done raising kids, you absolutely don't want more (and got that fixed long ago to make sure), you'll be retirement age when the kid gets out of school (meaning your savings for retirement will be nil by the time he's on his own).

The choice isn't one you wanted to make. Nothing you decide will be particularly desirable. There are other options that would allow you to continue living your life as you'd planned to live it - desired to. You'll be giving up hopes and dreams (a lot of self-interest) that you'll ever have any extra cash to do anything for yourself. And maybe you don't even particularly like kids.

But you make your choice, offer it as an option for someone else's choice (daughter) and then you have to live with it despite whatever it costs you on the self-interest and desires end.

Now, it could turn out that the child is the light of your life, and ends up rich and famous and takes great care of you in your old age. Or he could grow up to be a loser and you'll never be free of either him or his mom due to setting up a dependency cycle they won't or can't escape. However it turns out, how is that choice not 'free' even though it did require consideration of multiple factors and future considerations?

Date: 2010/02/18 14:40:13, Link
Author: Joy
dheddle:
   
Quote
If you chose A it is because, all things considered, you want A more than B. At least at that moment.


Want? ...WANT? There is no "want" here. There is a situation that exists in reality, for which a decision must be made. In my example, it's not even the FINAL decision - it's just a decision from one interested party to offer as option to the one who actually must decide. No less a choice for the one who makes it, of course, but hardly predicated on wants or desires. In such a case the most prominent want/desire would be for the daughter not to be pregnant. And I'm pretty sure a lot of real-life decisions for abortion are indeed predicated on that desire. In which case the parents' half-assed decision (that costs them no more than the procedure) is still an offered option.

Let's instead apply the situational example to an individual woman's constitutionally recognized right to free choice of who comes to or from her body. Can be a happily married woman with children already (as in one situation I know of). The availability of birth control and abortion has allowed this choice to women, the question of how 'free' the choice is still pertains.

Of course one must consider all pertinent past, present and possible future conditions in making such a choice. Those will differ among individuals quite widely. A parent who offers another option for a teenager is just an outlier in the overall issue.

In the case of the situation alluded to above, she chose abortion. She was well-situated, she loved kids and was a great Mom, hubby well employed and only somewhat unhealthy (diabetic), obviously not unable. She was taking birth control - another choice she'd already made factoring into her choice of what to do. Six months after the abortion her husband died of sudden stroke (mid-30s). As friend/counselor I got to listen to her regrets - 'free' choices can be regretful, the future considerations when making them often don't turn out to be reality. [my counsel was that she should be glad she wasn't nine months along or nursing a newborn during the funeral.]

Is the choice - for all the reasons it was made - any less 'free' if it turns out badly? Any more 'free' if it turns out well? Who gets to decide?

...or is the concept of "free" just a sociopolitical construct? And if so, how does that impact the so-called justice system?

Date: 2010/02/18 14:51:50, Link
Author: Joy
Though it just might be that...

freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. §;o)

Date: 2010/02/18 15:05:54, Link
Author: Joy
Mark Frank:
Quote
Suppose confronted with a choice (make it trivial - what to do for dinner) you spend a long time exercising your free will - debating options - determined that you will choose and not just be the plaything of the universe. Finally you choose. But suppose once you have made your choice a superpsychiatrist reveals that he predicted (based on his knowledge of your brain state) exactly that you would spend a long time debating options and then make that choice.


Oh, I've seen such things get much more complicated. Let's say you debate on what's for dinner - NOT based purely on what ingredients you've got on hand, store's only a block away - and decide to spent a lot of time and energy on fancy veggie lasagne. Maybe even because that's the LAST thing your family expects tonight for dinner, you want to surprise them. Then it's done, smells delicious, and... nobody decides to eat it, including you. Spur of the moment, you're just not hungry (but make yourself a sandwich instead), whatever.

The Superpsychiatrist might have been able to predict veggie lasagne, but did he predict nobody eating it?

Date: 2010/02/18 15:46:08, Link
Author: Joy
David, citing Provine:
Quote
Evolutionists are their own worst enemies by preventing free discussion of all views in the biology classroom.


Semi-Wow. Thanks for the link.

Seems to me like "free discussion" would allow students to ask pointed questions, and require response from teachers. Which would come colored with that teacher's personal views. Since "most" Americans who believe evolution occurred believe that God guided it, what would such questions and responses amount to in, say, a required high school biology course that includes evolution?

1. "Most" teachers of biology in high school aren't biologists (one I know of is a track coach, majored in phys-ed). Wouldn't this allow him/her to take a stand that would come with implied State approval, on a metaphysical question? Thus uncork that vial of deadly influence taped to his/her leg?

2. What 'scientific' issue do the "small group of powerful naturalist evolutionists" have with what any member of the public cares to believe about ultimate/final causation? i.e., the metaphysical question?

3. Wouldn't "free discussion" of all [metaphysical] views in the biology classroom dent the limited time allowed for indoctrinating the required test answers into students heads, thus possibly harming the standing (for accreditation and funding) of both teacher and school?

Date: 2010/02/18 16:03:11, Link
Author: Joy
old man:
 
Quote
And that's a bad thing because.....


"Bad" versus "good" is a value judgment. In this question it's neither bad nor good - just reality. Though it does ensure that a certain percentage of kids are being taught a wrong model because their textbook is out of date and the teacher doesn't know any better. And you should be aware that for a good portion of the disinterested public, all they know about this or that scientific idea is what they were taught in school. If they bother to recall that much.

IOW, they were "indoctrinated" to believe whatever scientific consensus was when their textbook was written. That's what they regurgitated for the test, and passed the course. They never learn anything more about whatever the 'new' consensus is, don't care and it doesn't matter in their lives.

Given the back and forth here about my original example of such a thing, it would appear that what any individual member of the Great Unwashed Public knows and believes about any given scientific factoid, principle or theory today isn't all that earth-shatteringly IMPORTANT. Of course I don't see it that way, and reality tends to support my observations and conclusions because the Great Unwashed Public doesn't really matter to what science is or isn't believing these days about anything.

Sort of diminishes the position that what students are taught and must therefore believe is all that IMPORTANT in the overall scheme of things, doesn't it?

Date: 2010/02/18 16:05:45, Link
Author: Joy
ARGH! Delete the "dont" in "I don't see it that way." Bad editing.

Date: 2010/02/18 16:13:24, Link
Author: Joy
TP:
Quote
My bias is towards a presumption Free Will is based on macro expressions of quantum effects.  Even if God is behind it all, he/she/it would have complete control through the manipulation of Quantum Mechanics.  I will leave it to the theologians to explain how and why an omniscient, omnipotent God granted man the ability to act outside his/her/its direct control.


LOL!!! Oh, my! I would rather posit that actual freedom of choice would EXCLUDE a god/godling from controlling any possible quantum computational capabilities in those PCCs! I mean, if God's controlling our 'free will' it surely ain't free.

The "why" question is of course theological, if you believe in a god that allows free will. Maybe he/she/it/they wanted to occasionally be surprised by his/her/its/their creation, eh?

Date: 2010/02/18 22:00:26, Link
Author: Joy
midwifetoad:
Quote
My ninth grade general science class focused on the history of discoveries.


Hehehehe... Golly. My big sister (a year older) and brother (a year younger) and I blew out the basement windows with our nifty chemistry set when I was in 5th grade. Dad - who had supplied glassware and chemicals and cool experiment instructions - was SO proud!!!

Date: 2010/02/19 11:07:47, Link
Author: Joy
BWE:
Quote
But his freewill argument in freedom evolves is very good. If a system is chaotic enough, it might as well be random.


Not familiar with Dennett's argument. What does "free" have to do with "random"?

Date: 2010/02/19 12:58:37, Link
Author: Joy
Alan Fox:
 
Quote
random= not predictable?


That's what I'm suspecting. In the matter of conscious [free] will, I don't think it's valid.

In Richard's link [above] to the post on ScienceBlog, the author identifies the "real question" as being the identity of the agent. S/he then characterizes the position of the 'no free will' advocates as necessitating an external causal agent. Whereas a free will advocate would presume the agent is internal - the person who decided to move the highlighter across Richard's desk.

Just because a team of sci-spies couldn't predict Richard moving the highlighter across the desk, it doesn't mean his decision or action was 'random'. He moved it because he wanted to move it.

It's not the least bit farfetched that my consciousness is the agent of my thoughts and actions. Sure, those thoughts and actions may be in response to something I see, hear, taste, feel or smell (sensory data about exterior things, which my brain processes and analyzes), but that doesn't mean my responses are deterministically caused by the sensory data. I am under no obligation to think about or act on any incoming sensory data. I could as easily decide to act or not act about something I think up entirely de novo that is not based on processed sensory data from the outside. IOW, I could be writing a sci-fi novel or a letter to my mother or...

I can't figure out why anyone would want to deny the existence of consciousness and/or free will, as these things are self-evident even if science can't quantify them precisely. Maybe someday it will, but that won't make people's decisions more deterministic. That the sun appears in the east every morning, crosses the sky, and sets in the west before a similarly extended period of darkness ensues are self-evident facts. Humans - and scientists - have never attempted to assert that these self-evident facts aren't 'real' or don't actually exist, they've just come up with a number of explanations over the millennia to account for them.

But now, when the scientific project to quantify the nature and mechanisms of consciousness is taking off, we get a whole school of self-designated 'experts' trying to deny the existence of the self-evident phenomenon being investigated! Why?

The author frames it thusly:
 
Quote
Nothing we know about physics or chemistry allows for causes to be internal to a person in the sense that we mean when we say "free will". This makes many people feel that free will can only exist if there is a non-corporeal mind operating outside the constraints of physics."


It looks to me like it's the nay-sayers (Dennett, et al.) who are convinced that "free will" necessitates an outside consciousness as puppeteer. And they're so frightened of that [erroneous, IMO] conclusion that they're prepared to deny the existence of mind, consciousness and free will altogether. Yet by their own admission they've no minds, consciousness or free will to work with, why should anybody who does have mind, consciousness and will believe them?

Talk about 'Woo'!!!

Date: 2010/02/19 13:17:52, Link
Author: Joy
Richardthughes:
Quote
Generally such notions are given short change 'round these parts.


So... am I to presume that you didn't move the highlighter because you decided to move the highlighter? That some exterior, disembodied mind forced you to move the highlighter? That you're just some ghost's puppet?

Huh. I just moved the gargoyle from on top of my computer to on top of the perpetual calendar. I did it because I decided to do it. No ghost required.

Date: 2010/02/19 13:29:25, Link
Author: Joy
Richardthughes:
Quote
People fools themselves often with notions that seem to be 'self evident'.


Um... if you don't think consciousness is an actually existent phenomenon, what made you type that? And why do you think I should believe it?

Quote
Some things are counter-intuitive.


Yeah. But not the idea that consciousness exists and we are conscious agents. What's "counter-intuitive" here is the Occam-violating notion that some exterior conscious agent manipulates your body like a puppeteer for its own purposes. I'd like some real physical evidence of that. Along with some real physical evidence that physics and chemistry preclude interior agency. Thanks.

Date: 2010/02/19 14:54:47, Link
Author: Joy
TP:
Quote
Let me add my voice into saying Free Will doesn't automatically lead to dualism.  Quantum Consciousness may allow for dualism but doesn't require it.

Kind of like Evolution allows for no God but it doesn't require it.


Yet we see a lot of argumentation from people who look to be quite terrified that science's built in limitations might allow someone to believe in both God and evolution. Obviously, that's not a problem for a great many people, regardless of what the fearful assert.

What I can't figure out is why the existence of consciousness and free will threatens the materialistic/physicalist worldview enough to make them insist their own consciousness and free will can't exist. As if such a ridiculous argument were somehow supposed to appear rational to conscious, rational people.

Seems to me it should be perfectly reasonable in a materialist/physicalist philosophy to hold that consciousness and its considerable degrees of freedom are generated internally - that the "I" doing the thinking and acting is the causal agent of the thinking and acting. What, other than their fear of someone else's ghosts, would necessitate a denial of their own consciousness? That's just plain... bizarre.

Date: 2010/02/19 15:31:41, Link
Author: Joy
Tom Ames:
Quote
I understand that without free will our ideas about moral culpability are invalid. But why does this have any bearing whatsoever on the nature, or existence of conscious or "free" will?


Well, it would pose the quandry of why it is humans believe they are responsible for their own actions, wouldn't it? Which has been "self-evident" to most humans since there have been humans, who are even capable of discerning when certain individuals are NOT responsible for their own actions [i.e., "insane"].

I do think that attaching the "moral" qualification is entirely sociopolitical, and dependent on whatever the cultural milieu collectively deems 'moral' or 'immoral'. In some human cultures historically it's not the least bit 'immoral' to eat other humans. Or to burn a woman alive because her husband died. I think you probably know of other egregious examples.

But the relative 'morality' of any given culture in any period of time doesn't magically determine whether or not self-consciousness and self-determination exist. It seems to me that all self-aware (conscious) humans who choose their actions - 'right' or 'wrong' in the culture's view - directly experience the existence of consciousness and self-determination. I would posit that any other self-aware organism directly experiences their own consciousness and degrees of freedom to act too.

Date: 2010/02/19 15:39:57, Link
Author: Joy
Consider gravity as a condition of existence so self-evident that myriad forms of life that evolved in this particular gravity field 'know' it directly without ever having any knowledge or understanding of Newton or Einstein. The squirrel who does such hilarious gymnastics on the far tiny branches of the dogwood outside my window to get at the ripe berries 'knows' all about gravity. The raven that just flew from the garden fence to the top of a tree on top of the knob 'knows' gravity intimately. That gravity even needed quantification in the first place is something only humans could have decided was "important," and only after somebody asked himself 'what' it was and decided to define it. Until then, nobody asked because nobody thought to ask. Gravity just *is*.

Date: 2010/02/19 15:47:59, Link
Author: Joy
Tom Ames:
Quote
It might help to try to understand these viewpoints and the ACTUAL motivations behind them, rather than dismissing them all as pathological.


And what is the viewpoint and motivation of someone who insists his/her own consciousness doesn't exist? And if I were to accept that their consciousness doesn't exist, why should I believe they've got any viewpoint or motivation?

Date: 2010/02/19 16:00:29, Link
Author: Joy
Richardthughes:
Quote
And the guy spinning the outer arm of a large space station knows what gravity is... except it is centripetal acceleration.


Yup. Just look at how much we've been able to do for fun since defining gravity! But what does that have to do with a squirrel or a raven and THEIR 'knowledge' of gravity from direct experience? I hardly think it's valid to suggest that because a squirrel can't launch itself into space and produce a synthetic gravitational effect while out in space, it must mean the squirrel has no innate 'knowledge' of gravity. Have you ever seen a squirrel examine the treetop terrain and then launch itself from one branch of a tree to another branch on a different tree? I'm pretty sure it's figuring out whether or not it can make the leap without ending up dead on the ground.

In other matters squirrels are not so bright. Like when to run across the road, a situation that doesn't end well for an awful lot of Kamikazi squirrels... §;o)

Date: 2010/02/19 16:20:29, Link
Author: Joy
Richardthughes:
   
Quote
And if no god...where does morality come from!!!!1111oneoneeleventy


What is that supposed to mean? I consider myself to be a self-conscious agent with a certain amount of freedom to choose my actions. That is what I directly experience myself to be.

So anyone who tells me I cannot be a self-conscious agent with a certain amount of freedom to choose my actions must provide some evidence of that, and it better be darned good evidence - i.e., NOT just their personal philosophy and metaphysics. Since their personal philosophy and metaphysics is of exactly zip importance to me or to science.

Conversely, my self-conscious self sees absolutely no point in trying to convince someone else that they are a self-conscious agent if they honestly don't believe so. For all I know, they might be a Zombie. All I can know for sure is that I'm not. FAPP.

Date: 2010/02/19 16:56:27, Link
Author: Joy
Tom Ames:
 
Quote
Also: this thread is suffering a bit from a conflation between two distinct concepts. The first is consciousness, as in conscious awareness of oneself and one's environment. The other is conscious will, as in the ability to effect some outcome within or without oneself. These are not the same ideas. I could be an automaton in my actions, and yet be fully aware of my actions.


The conflation of consciousness itself with free agency is the result of the ongoing scientific effort to define and quantify consciousness, and the fact that this quest has drawn the attention of some philosophers who insist that neither of these things exist in reality. So we shouldn't be trying to define and quantify it. IOW, the subject of free choice presupposes the existence of self-consciousness, and consciousness itself. If consciousness doesn't exist - is an illusion - then the question of whether or not our will enjoys degrees of freedom is irrelevant. If consciousness does exist, then the question is relevant.

Deal is, free agency is a subdivision of consciousness - a single quality. I think everybody here acknowledges that we don't enjoy all that much freedom of action, given the various limitations of our form and abilities, as well as behavioral programming we've learned and assimilated during our lives in time. We know we can't [rationally, normally] choose to fly off the top of a tall building. But I've met more than a few toddlers who were absolutely convinced that if they just tried hard enough, they could fly.

Learning our limitations is evidence of self-consciousness. Limitations affect our freedom of action (and options of choice), but limited options doesn't mean our choices aren't free. Quite a few people trapped in the upper floors of the Twin Towers on 9-11 chose to fly, even knowing very well they'd be flying to their death. None of them could have known the building would later implode and wipe out all physical evidence of their existence, so "leaving a corpse to bury" is an unlikely motivation [I think they just chose how they would die]. How was their choice to fly not free?

Date: 2010/02/19 17:06:23, Link
Author: Joy
Richardthughes:
Quote
If free will is non-deterministic, does it have to be supernatural?


Of course not. Unless I consider myself to be supernatural. But that would be pretty hard, since while I don't actually remember being born in the usual way, I was assured by my parents that I indeed was born just like other people are born. They offered a birth certificate as evidence of that. And while there are some people out there who don't believe that a birth certificate is good evidence of birth, I'm not one of 'em. If people are natural organisms, then so am I.

And because I am perfectly comfortable with the idea that I am a natural organism (classified: Human) who got here in a natural way, I am inclined to believe that my consciousness is as natural as I am. If I were thinking thoughts and doing things that I did not recognize as originating in myself, then I'd be seeking medical care. Or a tin foil hat to keep 'em out. Or maybe an exorcist!

Date: 2010/02/19 17:56:45, Link
Author: Joy
Tom Ames:
Quote
I interpret most of the discussion here to be an exploration of the extent to which we exert free will, if indeed we exert any.


I'd suggest that the discussion here is itself evidence of free will by all the participants. It seems highly doubtful to me that some disembodied spirits are using us all to have their own discussion of a subject they probably already know about. What would be the point of that?

My grandson just informed me I've been 'volunteered' for a game of Monopoly this evening. I hate Monopoly, almost as much as I hate Risk. Because I never win, and it's no fun to play a game you never win. Now, I'll probably have to play anyway, but not because "I" volunteered myself or because it was my idea. And surely not because I desire to play Monopoly (Star Wars version). But because my grandsons are wanting to play and they need somebody willing to count out the money and keep up with the deeds. How "free" a choice is it? We'll see after I field my alternative suggestion of playing War On Terror instead...

I don't know if you noticed my "FAPP" closing to the 16:20 post, iterated again later by TP in his 17:21 post. "For All Practical Purposes."

It may well be that we're completely wrong about the nature of space-time, matter/energy, and existence itself. I am aware of some of the strangest directions that current physical theory could take us in, and am personally quite thankful that most scientists avoid that sort of speculation wherever possible. I see this whole bruhaha about the existence or non-existence of consciousness and free will as just another of the speculative tangents that can be argued from the science, but are much better left to stew in their own juices.

For All Practical Purposes of existence here in 4-D space-time, we are conscious agents with certain degrees of freedom of choice and will. Unless we are suffering some organic issue that renders us unable to exercise such things, we should properly operate as if we do enjoy these things. Evolution obviously designed us so (no matter who did or didn't design evolution). I presume there is survival value in experiencing ourselves as conscious agents with free will.

Worse, that makes my belief in consciousness and free will perfectly natural. §;o)

Date: 2010/02/19 18:21:51, Link
Author: Joy
Lou:
Quote
I believe Rich was making just this point, which Joy missed spectacularly.


"Point" being [Tom Ames]:
Quote
Not only is this a conversation-stopper, it ignores the fact that many things that are "self-evident" (the perfection of the celestial sphere, to give one example) are also WRONG.


Well, since I never believed in anything resembling "the perfection of the celestial sphere," I wouldn't consider that notion to be "self-evident." At least, not as self-evident to me as my self is. Nor would I expect you to externalize what is to be self-evident either, since the only thing that can be self-evident to you is your direct experience of reality. You don't experience a "perfect celestial sphere." Do you?

Date: 2010/02/19 18:31:34, Link
Author: Joy
rhmc...

I don't know why, but every time I see your moniker I think of Dudley Dooright. With a big-brimmed hat, riding a moose...

No, "rhmc" isn't "rcmp." But I just can't help myself... is that some disembodied spirit (who used to be a clown) taking over my mind?

Date: 2010/02/19 18:46:16, Link
Author: Joy
Okay, just consider that "perfect celestial sphere" for a moment. Let's simplify it to "the earth is flat." Since what passed for human science once believed these things self-evident.

Is it self-evident that the earth rotates, and revolves around the sun? Or is it self-evident that we have day/night cycles and seasons? I'd say the latter is self-evident, since most people experience day/night and seasons where they exist, directly. The stories we invent from our minds to explain what is self-evident changes with our level of psychological sophistication and the extended range of (invented) tools at our disposal.

Yes, the information comes in via sensory (or expanded technological) data our brains process and analyze, but processed data is all we have for the purpose of experiencing the exterior world. We need nothing more than a mind to experience our 'selves'. Which I posit must then be the most self-evident phenomenon we ever get to 'know' for sure.

Date: 2010/02/19 18:57:31, Link
Author: Joy
Owwww!!!!! My EYES!!!!!!

Richardthughes, is that a picture of you? Just asking (and no, I'm not posting it yet again by quoting). Betty Bob the Redneck Transvestite is much prettier than you are. IMO, of course...

Date: 2010/02/19 19:19:32, Link
Author: Joy
Tom Ames:
 
Quote
Let's please not get caught up in the detail of my example. My point was simply that a claim of self-evidence is not sufficient warrant for belief.


The simple claim, of course. Lots of things we believe are "self-evident" are no such thing. Consciousness isn't one of them, IMO.

 
Quote
BTW, I don't believe that the earth rotates because it's "self-evident". I believe it because there is actual evidence that it rotates, and because the balance of that evidence outweighs the "self-evidence" of a stationary earth.


But my point is that you personally do not directly experience the earth's rotation. You believe it rotates because you believe the extended technological evidence that it rotates. FWIW, so do I.

A "stationary earth" is not self-evident and never was. What WAS evident, and no doubt contributed to the misconception that the sun orbited the earth, is that lots of people were [relatively] stationary on the earth.

 
Quote
Similarly, I see this discussion as a plea for EVIDENCE of free will, rather than claims that the existence of free will is "self-evident".


Evidence is present in the fact that I am still here and not playing Star Wars Monopoly with my grandsons. I'd go ahead and accept your presence as evidence of your freedom of will.

 
Quote
I know that unconscious will exists--we all engage in this all of the time. What I'd like to know is whether or not free will, in the sense of consciously decided initiation of an action, also exists, or if it's simply an illusion.


What qualifies as "unconscious will?" Automatic, unconscious levels of my consciousness keep my heart beating, but is that really a will, or just a function?

And if you think unconscious will is an actual phenomenon, doesn't it then follow that conscious will is an actual phenomenon? And if it's an actual phenomenon, why does it not enjoy some degrees of freedom?

Date: 2010/02/19 19:26:40, Link
Author: Joy
rhmc:
Quote
your blatherings have not changed my view.


I may well be blathering. Seems to be something my consciousness is good at. But now I've just gotta ask...

What is your view?

Date: 2010/02/19 19:39:27, Link
Author: Joy
rhmc:
 
Quote
am not here to educate your ilk.


LOL!!!!! Wow. Now a question about what you believe requires an "education?" Because what you personally believe must be the 'correct' view? That's positively discussion-ending!

I guess the rest of us will just have to carry on without your great junior-godling level wisdom and knowledge, then. S'alright by me.

BTW, did you intend "ilk" to designate "family," "class" or "kind?" I don't know about you, but I am human. Homo Sapien Sapien. What are you? [rhetorical question, don't bother]

Date: 2010/02/19 20:02:21, Link
Author: Joy
Tom Ames to TP:
Quote
It's a lot like god, actually.


Why isn't it a lot like self?

Date: 2010/02/19 20:32:30, Link
Author: Joy
Tom Ames:
Quote
Or that he knows anything about cell biology.


Actually, he [Roger Penrose] didn't have to. His OR model pertained to the 'cosmos', what collapses wavefunction where no observers are observing (that we know of). For the Orch-OR model, the biological application came from Stuart Hameroff, M.D. A professor of anesthesiology at UA who did quite extensive research in the past on the effects and mechanisms of anesthetic agents in the suppression of consciousness.

I suspect that someone for whom the suppression and restoration of consciousness is a routine daily activity qualifies as an 'expert' on the phenomenon. At least, on how chemicals work to suppress consciousness and the specific cellular constructs they act upon to accomplish that.

Quote
Shouldn't a freely acting agent be able to choose a logical, algorithmic course of action?


Of course. The point is that they don't always do so. If they did, it would indicate the presence of an automaton/Zombie.

Quote
I don't see how that necessarily follows, except semantically.


Now I'm confused. Are you saying that unconscious will is conscious will, or that unconscious will is an illusion too?

Caveat, I don't believe unconscious will exists. That's just behaviorisms set up by our sociocultural imprinting and habits. I would posit "will" firmly in the realm of the conscious.

Date: 2010/02/19 20:54:53, Link
Author: Joy
Tom Ames:
Quote
I thought you were saying that the presence of unconscious will (or, if you prefer, action that is initiated without conscious thought) necessarily implies the existence of conscious will. I don't think that follows.


Well, since it's our consciousness doing the communicating and formulating of questions/responses, I'd suggest it's a moot point.

Date: 2010/02/20 10:36:06, Link
Author: Joy
BWE:
Quote
This is a nice essay.


Hi, BWE. Nice to make your virtual acquaintance too. And thanks! I have not read any of Dennett's books, but will look for FE in the future. All I know of it is what others have said, which may well be an unfair representation.

My interest in the quest for consciousness has been mostly a pastime. I like the Penrose-Hameroff model better than several others (like JJ McFadden's EM model), and certainly better than the nay-saying of any philosophers whose job in this field appears to be one of simply denying the existence of the phenomena at issue (and often making themselves look silly and dismissible). I took the UA course in quantum consciousness some years ago and had a great time, even with the AI-guys (computer scientists) representing those who are primarily funding the quest. It required a lengthy list of required reading to refresh too long unused knowledge and skills, so was good for me (maybe).

There are other, lesser known models that are intriguing in the extreme, though thick as a brick to wade through (like Matti Pitkaanan's TGD model, based on a developed p-adic prime mathematics). I noted that Penrose did give Matti a small hat tip in a footnote of his tome Road to Reality. Penrose's model was intended to be defensible and fairly accessible, so of course he couldn't have gone whole hog into a strange mathematics. The solutions to which can be quite bizarre and surprising. That said, we humans are entirely unlikely to ever 'see' a graviton. I personally don't believe they exist at all, but maybe someday they'll at least produce Wiggly Higgly [Higgs, the "God Particle"]. We shall see. Any significant experimental confirmation of the OR model will have to come from tests on predicted effects rather than from producing the 'prime mover' the theory postulates.

Hameroff's end of the theory (application to life and mind) will be easier - relatively speaking - to confirm. It seems to me that if consciousness is a 'real' phenomenon, then it must of course have physical correlates. Structures, mechanisms, processes that can be identified. The "More Neural Than Thou" folks - those who pin it all on neurons and synapses and dendrites without caring to look further into how those structures operate - have long been on the wrong track, IMO. Of course we need to look closer. Apparently many researchers are, though I wish they weren't so quickly snapped up by Big Pharma, which is not known to be exactly egalitarian with its proprietary research.

I find consciousness a fascinating subject, even if slightly solipsistic. I am a synesthete, something that runs in my family, so certain anomalies of thought and perception hold great interest for me. Thanks again!

Date: 2010/02/21 11:21:48, Link
Author: Joy
BWE:
Quote
Penrose is pretty cool but it still belongs in the what if department. It hinges completely on a neurological model requiring that the basic process of thinking is algorithmic.


Seems to me he's challenging the algorithmic model, at least for higher functions (most automatic and subconscious processing/response probably is algorithmic or primarily so). Sure, quantum computation is still computation, but he makes a big enough issue of "non-computability" to highlight a different approach.

Quote
Anyway, the issue he raises goes something like this (please correct me if I am wrong): In order to have confidence in any system (of algorithmic first order logic), the system needs to be viewed from outside to see its truth or falsehood. He claims that the existence of math is evidence that we do this. Since that violates Godel's second theorem, (a system can not prove it's own consistency)  he deduces the existence of a different, non algorithmic system which functions using some kind of superposition to explore all options at once and settle into one state.


Not quite sure how to parse that in terms of what (little, given my shortcomings) I learned. The way I grok the gist...

The only 'outside' system that might be said to 'observe' the workings of the cosmos and the mind would have to be something fundamental to the nature of cosmos and mind - a quality or parameter of the universe itself. Hameroff suggests this is consciousness (he's a bit of a panentheist or something) that seeks ever greater and more orderly expression of itself. Penrose doesn't go that far, though allows the suggestion to stand on the organic level - that which concentrates and experiences consciousness.

His process involves a separation of reality, not quite the same thing as a simple superpositioned reality. I analogized it to time for my own understanding, which Penrose probably wouldn't approve of but fits with my suspicion that nobody's paid enough attention to that factor in the overall scheme of things. As if there's a static universal 'reality' representing the collective *now* that is constantly slipping into to the next *now* as individual wavefunctions diverge from the previous measurement. When the separation of the THEN *now* and the COMING *now* reaches Planck distance, gravity serves as the collapse operator.

This would make time reducible to Plank scale 'ticks' of the cosmic clock, though, and that is much too swift for any consciousness we know of to ever keep track - our awareness time-lags are immensely longer than that. IOW, consciousness experiences itself and the universe in the (relatively distant) past instead of the measurement present. Which means our awareness is always of the reality that was measured some microseconds previously.

Penrose is a Platonist. Thus he believes in the existence of 'model' worlds where all the big-t True things reside, and this lesser manifestation is shaped (is there a better word?) in its event trajectory according to that superior model. Which people like him can describe with mathematics. Nobody - least of all Penrose - ever suggested mathematicians don't believe themselves god-like! §;o)

There are no "all options" in that process. Sum of histories (*past*) and actual state (*now*) represent everything that need be represented to accomplish the next state - the universe can't phase change into something entirely 'other', even if isolated weirdness can be tolerated in the system. The process is habitual, automatic, and governed by gravity - no truly chaotic degrees of freedom.

Quote
If Hofstadter is right, there is a level beyond which we cannot model reality and that limit is determined by brainpower. Simple as that.


Perhaps he is right. I am unfamiliar with his work, so can't say. But I'm fairly convinced that we DON'T model reality as-it-is because we don't know enough about reality to do so. Theorists make a mighty effort, then invest so much emotion into their provisional models that they convince themselves they do know it all and nobody can rightfully challenge. That seems to be a significant limitation. Sort of dueling wannabe godlings...

At any rate, I previously expressed my personal suspicion that Penrose's model is indeed insufficient. He suspects so himself. It may be a step in the right direction, at least to facilitate what may come from theorists 'someday'. But that obscure model I mentioned with the p-adic mathematics looks to account for more of the anomalies than Penrose's can. It's got 8 dimensions plus a "many-sheeted" spacetime! Plus: no pesky singularities. Minus: it's thick as a brick, unspecified extremal for collapse (looks to be a hedgehog). Penrose's extremal - the graviton - is not postulated to need more than a single step to align all vectors.

I am not so sure mathematics is some sort of miraculous manifestation of a Platonic realm of Absolute Truth as mathematicians are. But then, I'm not a mathematician.

Quote
Also, embodied intelligence and the revolution in AI heralded by Brook's Subsumption architecture* makes it even dicier because it isn't clear that we are even integrating all the parts of our own system, let alone transcending the whole thing.


Of course we aren't transcending "the whole thing"! BTW, I expect an "intelligent" machine isn't all that difficult, we'll see it relatively soon. What do you think of the idea that someday they'll create a "conscious" machine?

Date: 2010/02/21 12:53:08, Link
Author: Joy
BWE:
Quote
I think there will be recognized AI very soon. I meant that the thing the system works with is algorithmic. That Penrose claims consciousness is an outer or other process than thinking or pattern recognition.


Well, I obviously disagree with the idea that the [entire] system is algorithmic and cannot be anything else. What Penrose and Hameroff are describing when they say consciousness may be a parameter of the universe is that it's like a Planck (or maybe sub-Planck) level 'matrix'. Which sort of suggests dimensionality (as in our 3-D space but not time, which is just a distance factor in that model), but I don't think that quite captures it either.

Its existence 'out there' would have little or nothing to do with what we call consciousness 'in here'. We're just eddies in the current, so to speak, some of the critters evolved to concentrate and experience consciousness.

Quote
Also, have you heard of Max Tegmark? Read this:


Yeah, I've read Tegmark. Looks to be essentially a Platonist too, but with less room in his wannabe godling-ness for the freedom required for something like "free will." I thought his multiverses were imaginative fodder for sci-fi (though the good sci-fi authors were doing alternate universes long before Max was out of knee pants), but not particularly relevant to anything arguably real. I did enjoy Tuszynski's take-down of Tegmark's critique of Orch-OR on the decoherence issues. In your link I didn't have to get past the abstract before knowing this hypothesis wouldn't appeal to me. Sorry. I've seen too many anomalies to buy a model that doesn't allow for them.

I'll read the whole thing when I've time, it's been downloaded.

Quote
The real problem I have with penrose's idea is that it isn't necessary to explain the phenomena related to consciousness. There are certainly many levels to reality, whatever that may be, but the level of mechanics which best describe a system tend to be the units it uses to build rather than the units those units use. A mechanic doesn't have to understand metallurgy to fix a car or to understand how it generates that transcendental state called driving.


Nice analogy, but why would it be scientifically sound to simply cut off any level of investigation just because someone (or a consensus of someones) think they already know everything that needs to be known? We're talking reality, consciousness and free will here, not cars or the metals that go into engines. Yet even there some understanding of the metal's tolerances and the thermodynamics at issue goes into being a mechanic. Otherwise you might get hold of a mechanic who thinks it's a good idea to pump cold water onto an overheated block!

I personally want to get all the way to PCCs and their processes and mechanisms because I'd like some rational explanation of some of the anomalies I've seen/experienced. It might not matter to you because your level of understanding and favorite model are "good enough for gub'ment work" but please don't presume that's enough for everyone. Or for science, since it does have a job to do.

Date: 2010/02/21 14:04:13, Link
Author: Joy
Hahaha!!! [wipes eyes]. Well, if you're 'beginning' to understand it, you're light-years ahead of me!

Date: 2010/02/21 19:28:35, Link
Author: Joy
BWE:
Quote
We have to take advantage of the rules at a given resolution level.


Then I'd go ahead and suggest that means we've got free will, FAPP.

 

 

 

=====