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Date: 2006/06/18 20:08:29, Link
Author: N.Wells
When Dawkins talked about "Methinks it is like a weasel", he spelled out carefully how he creatd the program solely to illustrate the power of stepwise selection, and how it was otherwise not at all like evolution.  Now Dembski offers a more complex phrase mutator with the argument that it demonstrates that RMNS can't produce anything useful.  

However, the program is seriously unlike evolution.  It doesn't allow synonymous mutations, or other selectively neutral changes. Misspellings go extinct.  There is no possibility of "hill climbing" searches.  It emphasizes that individual mutations are likely to be deleterious, but it doesn't alternate production of millions of variants with selection of meaningful ones.  

Let's look at the problem from a different angle.  Suppose we were in a creative writing class, and we wanted to use the phrase mutator to work on "The quick brown fox" to see if we could generate some evocative thought-provoking phrases.  Anything that has a meaning or sparks a new thought is considered here to be a success.

Any single-letter substitution has a 1 in 416 chance (16x26), so every 416 tries would get you all of the following:
The quick brown fax
The quick brown fix
The quick brown fux
The quick brown foe (raced silently through the jungle)
Tie quick, brown fox
The quirk brown fox
The quick brown fog
The quick brawn fox
The quick brown box
The quick brown fop (powdered his wig, and sneezed)
The quick(-)drown fox
The quick grown fox
The quick brown sox

Any two-step (two generation) change has a 1 in 416 chance of happening, given the first change is already present
The quick-drown fox => the quick drawn fox,  
The quick brawn fox => the quick-brawl fox
The quick brown fog => The quick brown dog, the quick brown wog, the quick brown bog (like quick sand?)
The quick brown fop => The quick brown cop, hop, mop, top, wop

Deletions, duplications, insertions, translocations:
The quick-own fox (only twenty easy payments....)
The quick brown ox
Quick brown he-fox
Quick brown fox toe
Quack the brown fox
Brown the fox quick (& add garlic)
Quick, the brown fox (is outside the window)
The quick brown FX
The quick brown Foxx
The quick brow fix
Thee quicke browne fox

Two substitutions, etc.
(Any two-letter substitution should happen once every 173056 double-letter trials.  In other words, all of the following will be present in a population of 200,000 one-step double-mutants)
The quiet brown fox
The quite brown fox
The quick-drawn fox
The quick-brain fox
The quick brown fen
The quick brown fan
The quick frown box
The quick drown box
(and many more)

Examples of yet others:
The quick brawn ox
The quick brown fin
The quick brown finn
Quiet, the brown fox

Sure, most of these are wacky, but who's to say that these couldn't be put to good use in a piece of creative prose or poetry?  

You have only to look at all the various amino-acid "spellings" of cytochrome C to see how pointless it is to argue that mutation can't create useful variants.

Date: 2006/08/10 19:44:29, Link
Author: N.Wells
Regarding Barbara Forrest's signature in WAD's copy of her book: it seems to me that, besides being short and standard, "Thanks" might also be a useful thing to write in a book when you don't think enough of the person to want to commit yourself to "with regards" (let alone "best wishes", "with kind regards", "in appreciation, "with my compliments", "yours sincerely", or any other even vaguely positive sentiment).

Date: 2006/08/12 05:11:25, Link
Author: N.Wells
Like Fross, I'm astounded by the claim that if science can't accomplish teleportation in the next few hundred years then that disproves materialism.  I'll counter with the claim that if, in the next few hundred years, organized religion fails to convert the Klingons to Christianity then that will disprove the existence of god.

And note that the Discovery Institute hasn't managed to persuade a single Vulcan scientist to sign its statement against evolution.

Date: 2006/08/20 05:38:09, Link
Author: N.Wells
To me, Denyse's argument over "Why Darwin matters" provides illuminating examples of how blind she is to context and how unwilling she is to constrain her ideas with research and data.  

She might have had a point if the book were arguing for the importance of something no one knows about, but the title is an excellent and logical choice when 40% of the general public rejects evolutionary biology yet all but a tiny handful of biologists and paleontologists consider it a key explanation in their sciences.

Then Sophophile does a little research on and shows her claim to be vapid nonsense by applying the same criteria to other books such as "Why Religion Matters", and Denyse responds first with astonishment at how much research was done, and then, after being told it took six minutes, said "If you’ve got the time for all that you have described, you should definitely be in marketing. .... Frankly, I am bored with this topic and will delete future posts on it."  Clearly, there is a towering intellect at work here!

I think blindness to context and lack of even basic research explain quite a lot about her other posts too.

Date: 2006/08/20 06:27:21, Link
Author: N.Wells
John A. Davison posted the following in comment #6 at
Richard Dawkins is unquestionably the biggest con artist in the history of scientific communication. He is never cited in peer reviewed papers because he has never presented a single tangible piece of data.  

In this day and age, one can quickly check such things.  ISI (Science Citation International) keeps track of how many times publications get cited in the primary scientific literature (i.e. science journals).  Let’s ignore over 700 citations in scientific articles for "The Blind Watchmaker", over 1600 for "The Extended Phenotype" and over 3100 for "The Selfish Gene", and his other books and his non-basic-science publications, although the fact that the books are getting cited in primary scientific literature means that scientists are finding them relevant. Dawkins has published on the order of 25 “primary science” publications, conservatively counted, in journals such as Zeitschrift for Tierpsychologie (3), Animal Behavior (4), Proceedings of the Royal Society of London series B, and so forth (ignoring his many books and his voluminous comments, book reviews, and secondary treatments). (My total of 25 is necessarily subjective, but the number of items that I excluded is indicated by a more inclusive list of 72 publications at, which iteslf excludes newspaper articles and many book reviews).  ISI lists at minimum 1661 citations of the core 25 publications in other journal articles.  (This count excludes citations in books and in popular literature, but includes self-citations).  

By comparison, John A. Davison has 26 publications (if we include one abstract and the recent Revista di Biologia articles that aren’t in his CV at   ISI provides a grand total of, wait for it, 174 citations.  His 6 most recent publications, all in the Revista di Biologia, have garnered a total of 13 citations, but (again with full credit to the wonders of ISI), it turns out that all but two of those consist of Davison citing himself.

I matched citations to specific articles known to be by Davison and Dawkins (for example there's a second R. Dawkins in genetics whose works had to be excluded). Even so, these numbers should be viewed as approximations rather than perfect counts.  Citations with typographical errors can be missed, as will be citations in books and "episodicals" (irregular publications).  I have probably made some counting errors, and I didn't add every last single citation for Dawkins (there's 66 pages of Dawkins R* pubblications, and I just selected the more numerous citation reports for the core 25 papers that I knew to be by Dawkins without bothering to include many minor uncertainties).  I tried to be conservative in my counts for Dawkins, but inclusive in my counts for Davison (e.g., I looked under Davison J* and Davison JA for Davison but only under Dawkins R* for Dawkins).

So Davison is roundly refuted with respect to Dawkins not being cited and never having presented any data.  One is therefore led to suspect that Davison’s subsequent claim that Dawkins “lives in his own world all alone ..............  a victim of his own twisted, irreversible, congenital heritage” is more a matter of projection than rational conclusion.

Davison continued:            
I personally offered him the opportunity to present his views at my blog when I sponsored the “First Annual Tournament of Evolutionary Mechanisms.” He never even responded. Gould never responded to my questions or to the receipt of my reprints either. For a while Mayr did but it stopped when he found it necessary to remind me of how many "thousands of words I have written on the subject of organic evolution." It should surprise no one that these three most influential Darwinian propagandists have earned my characterization as collectively, the “Three Stooges” of the evolutionary literature.  It is hard to believe isn’t it?

Well, it is certainly hard to keep a straight face at.  What complete and total loonery.

(Perhaps I should have posted this under the name Duck Favison so as to be fully prepared for Davison's Mother of All Insults .......)   :)

Date: 2006/08/21 04:18:15, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Mark Frank @ Aug. 21 2006,06:32)
Can anyone work out the current censorship policy at UD? When Dave retired it seemed like things got a lot more rational, so I started making the odd comment. I really like to discuss things where there is a large community who disagree. But most of my recent comments for Denyse have  failed to make the grade.

As long as they are pulling nonsense like controlling which comments get posted and closing threads whenever they end up embarrassing themselves, I recommend not posting there.  You're entering a game that's rigged against you, and the best you can achieve is to give the false impression that they are hosting a legitimate, open-minded debate and that the counterarguments that they let appear are the best that exist.

Date: 2006/08/22 03:45:33, Link
Author: N.Wells
Dembski demonstrates several characteristics of his thinking in the following posts:
(Headline for Dembski's thread):
If the evidence for Darwinian theory were so great, why keep slamming ID? Just present it!

(From Sophophile): Bill, there are thousands of books, textbooks, journal articles and websites presenting the evidence for evolution with natural selection as a driving force. Over 99% of practicing biologists accept evolution, if I recall correctly (I can’t find the survey right now). What evidence for evolution do you think is being withheld?

Why keep slamming ID? Because we critics genuinely believe that ID is incorrect. What could be more natural than arguing against a view you believe is wrong, and arguing for one you believe is right?  I can easily turn the question around and ask, “If the evidence for ID is so great, why keep slamming Darwinian theory? Just present it!”

(From Dembski): ......  Sophophile: Two points before you are booted: (1) the burden of proof is on the chance worshippers to show that natural selection has the creative power attributed to it in building, say, molecular machines — we already know that intelligence can build machines, including nanomachines; (2) the issue is not the number of articles or books cited, but their quality and detail in demonstrating that Darwinian paths exist to such systems.

Good bye.

His most obvious characteristic, intolerance of disagreement, is well displayed in the last comment.

Another key component is that the man is used to thinking in false dichotomies.  The whole "if not the ToE, then ID" dynamic is repeated at small scale in his headline, which views evolutionary biologists as either slamming ID or spending their time supporting their view.  As Sophophile points out so clearly, biologists as a whole (and in some cases as individuals) do both.

Wrapped up with the false dichotomy mindset is massive projection.  Again, Sophophile pointed that out very clearly: the people most guilty of imbalance in spending all their time attacking their opponents and not supporting their own views are the IDists.  It's been a decade and Dembski still hasn't applied his mathematical treatment to real biological examples in any realistic way.

Lastly, again as Sophophile points out, a massive quantity of literature appears every year suporting various aspects of evolutionary biology.  New fossils are found constantly: despite a Dembski claim of "no new fossils today", this year has seen Tiktaalik, Janjucetus, progress in identifying the Doushantuo embryos, and others).  Genetics, biochemistry, and evo-devo are making strides that were unthinkable a decade ago, producing what Dembski described as a "pathetic level of detail" that leaves me awestruck at what those fields can accomplish.  Thus we see in Dembski massive denial, facile dismissal pretty much on par with Behe's demonstration at Dover.  

Closed-mindedness, overly simplistic thinking, false dichotomies, classic projection, and massive denial.  None of that should be news to anyone, but it's certainly an impressively concise example of those failings.

Date: 2006/08/23 17:46:54, Link
Author: N.Wells
That whole Darwin-Hitler thread is appalling.  I'm not saying that Darwin in particular and science in general haven't occasionally been misused, misapplied, and put to work on behalf of some truly atrocious causes, but they are getting themselves seriously frothed up over a scientific theory.  

Mass killing precedes Darwin.  Slavery and genocide are in the bible, commanded by god in some instances.  More to the point it is obvious that religion can be a force for good or evil, as can pretty much anything else ("Lebensraum", 'poor encircled Germany', and 'Gott mit uns' went a long way in helping Germans justify their aggression to themselves).

Even if the IDists manage somehow to remain completely blind to the fact that that people determined on evil acts will use anything they can to justify or rationalize their behavior, their whole endeavor will stand as yet another example for future generations of the extent to which people happily torture rationality to further their ideology.

Date: 2006/08/24 06:52:43, Link
Author: N.Wells
Thanks, Arden.  

Pharyngula also had a similar or identical list of quotes where Hitler affirms his religious beliefs, at

Date: 2006/08/24 07:28:01, Link
Author: N.Wells
UD will continue to demonstrate just how unscientific and religious their "cause" really is

Along the same lines, it is truly astonishing to see UD making common cause with D. James Kennedy on the whole smear-evolution-by-blaming-it-for-Hitler campaign.  I think that the way Dembski et al have been reduced to such pitiful rhetorical and religious bottom-feeding really underlines how they have hit intellectual bankruptcy on the scientific front and have no other ammunition in their arsenal.

Date: 2006/08/26 13:09:35, Link
Author: N.Wells
One week’s inactivity is really too early for a full-blown analysis of who’s not standing next to whom on the Kremlin, but the game is tempting so here goes: could O'Leary have changed a pattern of behavior in her latest posts?  Many of her essays lately appear to have been double-posted on her website (  ) and on UD (e.g., on the 20th she posted at both her website and at UD on both "many universes" and on past uses of the term “darwinist”).  On the 23rd, she posted three essays on her website that would be completely in character for her on UD, but which haven’t appeared there yet.

Her new posts on her own site continue to contain a large component of dreck.  Explaining why she deletes comments: “To Mr. Righteous but Wrong: I don't publish comments that contain known or probable factual errors.”  (Apparently, she reserves that privilege for her own essays.)  She also has a comment about an article by Dan Flynn, in which he argues that darwinists tolerate neither dissent nor examination of their assumptions while Idists have no positive evidence backing up their claims.  Flynn concludes, “Supporters of Intelligent Design demote faith to science. Darwinists elevate science to faith. Both camps would be best served by staying within their own realm.”  Denyse comments “Such insufferable smugness about the very nature of the universe and its knowability! - and, worse luck, all in defense of a merely silly idea like neo-Darwinism” (Insufferable smugness about knowability?? Silly idea like neo-Darwinism?? Projection!  Projection!;)

She presents an uninformed statement from Tony Snow, “Here's how to make both sides happy: Let science teachers tell kids that science is a matter of inspired guesswork, not of invincible decree. .......    Also, let students know that a sizeable number of scientists believe in a Designer, since science involves a quest to discover and decode universal design.” and she adds, “But, like so many media types, he does not appear able to grapple with the possibility that Darwinism may actually be an incorrect theory of origins.” Science is in fact a lot more than “inspired guesswork” (has the man never heard of testing hypotheses?).  That aside, I know that I was taught (and now I teach my students) that we should keep questioning everything, and that science deals in refutations, so all scientific conclusions are the best approximations so far available and should be considered tentative and subject to revision.  I don’t think I’m unusual in that.   Whenever the topic comes up, I try to emphasize that evolution is not a complete, correct, final answer.  However, I have only seen valid criticisms of evoloution arise from within the academic mainstream: the contributions from the ID camp and the Jonathan Wells & Denyse O’Leary’s of the world are “shrill screed” of misunderstandings (Denyse’s specialty), misrepresentations (J. Wells’ specialty), and a mishmash of nonsense, and so the only attention they earn is scornful.  

On Denyse’s blog at Tom Gilson ought to win some kind of award for saying, “I keep waiting for someone actually to engage the ID arguments.”

Date: 2006/08/27 13:15:01, Link
Author: N.Wells
My apologies if it has already been mentioned, but John Davison abandoned his old blog, and started a new one, The End Of Evolution, at

(Along the lines of the old joke, apparently the ashtrays were full again.)

Date: 2006/09/03 12:43:03, Link
Author: N.Wells
People who comment here know this, but it needs to be said for the record and for any UD folk that stray over here: the claim that the ToE predicts altruism is bone-ignorant, because the portion of the ToE dealing with natural selection predicts no altruism in organisms that aren't capable of developing and understanding an ethic of reciprocity, charity, and the "golden rule" (i.e, other than us).  More specifically, anything that looks like altruism (any actions that benefit others while potentially or actually jeopardizing the instigant's future reproductive opportunities) will turn out to be either a case of net direct personal benefit (e.g., wrasse cleaning parasites off reef fish, doing it to get food rather than because they are community-spirited) or genetically based kin selection, in which the instigants on average save more than their own complements of genes in terms of heightened reproduction by their relatives (e.g., a beaver warning the rest of its family of an approaching predator).  

As others have already noted with respect to O'Leary's mistaken view of "The Selfish Gene", she seems to be winging a gripe on the basis of her own prejudgements and ignorance.  If she's read anything beyond the title of the book she must have completely forgotten it, because clearly she's just building on her expectations given the title.  In other words, she's pulling a Behe - 'don't bother me with the facts, because I already know everything I need to know [even though it's wrong]'.  Not doing enough research to keep from embarrasing herself on a regular basis is starting to look like her modus operandi.  You'd think a self-proclaimed journalist would be ashamed of this, but apparently not.

Date: 2006/09/04 09:14:09, Link
Author: N.Wells
Oh goody, I get a response from Dave Scot over at UD.

In a comment to Denyse’s article that touched on altruism a commenter said that evolution predicted altruism.  I then explained that Neo-Darwinian Evolution would also predict no altruism if no altruism is found.  That’s because random mutation plus natural selection explains everything (thus it explains nothing).

Like a wish come true, one of the .... posters at Panda’s Thumb came along and explained how NDE explains both altruism where it is found and lack of it where it isn’t.   Hilarious!  .......   This is just SO precious.

Dave's misrepresenting and misunderstanding what I said (although bfast more or less gets it in the first comment), because he is unable or unwilling to distinguish between true altruism and acts that look at first glance like altruism but which really aren't.  True altruism is behavior that aids a stranger but costs the instigant, or runs a significant risk of a cost, and provides no direct material benefit in return. If there was any genetically based altruistic behavior in animals other than us, it should be selected against because the genetic costs outweigh the genetic benefits.  So the ToE (NS portion) predicts that there should be no true altruism in nature.

As I spelled out, if we see anything that looks like altruism in nature, the ToE(NS) predicts that it in fact will not be true altruism, that when you calculate the genetic costs and benefits over several instances of altruism, the instigants will come out ahead genetically, by having permitted enough extra instances of reproduction by their relatives to pay for any loss of their own future reproduction.

So, the predictions (one of those things IDists keep saying we never make) are that (excepting in humans) genes for true altruism cannot endure in nature, and all cases of apparent altruism should turn out to be not true altruism because (1) they turn out to be indirectly beneficial to the instigant in terms of improving the fitness of close relatives (e.g., beavers warning other family members of a predator, or, more directly, parental care repaying parents by perpetuating their genes), or (2) they are directly beneficial to the instigant in ways that weren't appreciated, or (3) (I'm adding one here) the actions turn out to have no significant cost or risk.  #s 1, 2, & 3 aren't true altruism because the benefits outweigh the costs.  As bfast notes, if anyone can find some instances of natural true altruism in organisms that are unable to analyze and comprehend the benefits of a cooperative society, then he's got something that NS does not have an explanation for, and he's more than welcome to go and look for it.

We're different because, as Dawkins and others have spelled out, we have enough consciousness to let our ethics overrule our biology, and because we are intelligent enough to understand indirect reciprocity, where if we live in societies in which everyone helps each other, your helping someone else is likely to be repaid by a third party helping you when you really need it.  Animals such as seeing-eye dogs that we train or domesticate to do something are also not true natural altruists, because we have removed them from nature and natural selection, and the training deliberately overrules or rechannels their natural inclinations.

Date: 2006/09/04 09:55:34, Link
Author: N.Wells
As I was writing my last post, BarryA offers Old Yeller and countless other dogs, and DaveScot offers a pair of caged canaries that fed a baby finch.  

I just gave the reason that dogs don't count, because we train them and because they aren't in natural situations.

The example with the canaries is probably a case of mistaken identity.  overall, birds really are bird brains, and they operate to a large degree by instinct, which works fine in normal circumstances but can easily be fooled in unusual situations.  Evolutionary theory hypotheses that comprehension and decision-making have been extensively (but not wholly) replaced by hard-wired instinct in birds because it is metabolically very costly to lug excess neurons along on a flight.  Most of the time instinct works fine and can achieve some amazing accomplishments, but it is fascinating to see the ways that instinct can be foiled. Many birds are incapable of identifying offspring that aren't their own and work on the instinctive assumption that anything that looks even vaguely like an egg near their nest must be one of their eggs that rolled out, and anything small with an open beak in their nest must be one of their offspring.  In the normal course of events this is a fine assumption.  However, cuckoos and cowbirds make use of this, and many species do not notice when the nest contains one infant that is two or three times normal size and that it is gradually murdering its fellow nestlings. Some birds do have ways of identifying offspring by smell and song (particularly for birds parasitized by cuckoos and cowbirds and for birds like penguins where babies wander around in large nurseries), but those clues are also processed by instinct, which can once again go spectacularly wrong in unusual circumstances: in some bird species, if a person handles an egg or a nestling, the parents will assume that the chick is not theirs and will abandon it.  Some birds have evolved the instinct to remove any nonconforming egg from the nest, which works fine with one cuckoo egg in their nest, but if you swap all but one of their eggs with other identical eggs from the same species or with nonidentical eggs from a different species, they will confidently but wrongly eject their own egg.

Date: 2006/09/04 12:25:46, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Ichthyic @ Sep. 04 2006,15:35)

wrt "altruism", you have to be careful how one defines the term.

even as you define it, there are some examples that fit the definition.

Have you ever examined reciprocal blood sharing in vampire bats? It's not kin selection, and not mutualism (like the cleaner wrasse example).

It's an interesting case, but of course the issue goes beyond the simplistic (what else?) way in which the 'tard and Densye try to portray altruism and the ToE.

Thanks Ichthyic, that's fascinating, and I hadn't heard of it.  

At first glance it certainly looks like altruism, but I think the key is in the oxymoronic name "reciprocal altruism".  If  reciprocity is enforced and stands a good chance of being crucial to the survival of the original donor, then it's not really altruism.  

Some details can be found here:  
It clearly isn't classic direct kin selection, as they exchange with non-relatives and relatives alike, but it also clearly isn't profitless altruism. This report says that 8% of the bats fail to find food each each evening, and bats burn through energy at such a rate that they can only go 49-72 hours before starving, so sharing some blood can easily be crucial to survival.  

To play with the numbers, if 8% failure to feed, if three days without food leaves a bat too weak to hunt, and if failure is random, each bat would have a 0.0005% of starving in any 3 day period, or 1 bat in every 2000 should starve in any three day period, or one in every two bats should starve to death in any eight-year period (they live to 9 years or so in the wild - 12 max, but 17 in captivity).

This isn't simple kin selection (although kin selection works fine even if non-kin benefit, as long as kin benefit more).  However, it also isn't true altruism, because each bat has every expectation of being repaid in a time of need.  Bats apparently recognize and avoid non-sharers (reported at the last link) and also often set up a buddy system, with particular pairs that share  ( see here) ).  This is more like cooperating with a mate or a business partner, so I think it falls into my case 1, except that I shouldn't have said "direct" and should have just left the definition as "True altruism is behavior that aids a stranger but costs the instigant, or runs a significant risk of a cost, and provides no material benefit in return".  There's a clear return benefit here, at a life-or-death level of seriousness, even if it's indirect.  Look at it this way: no one would consider buying or making dinner for a spouse, giving a wife a diamond bracelet, or doing something nice for a business partner to fall under the heading of altruistic behavior.  

Incidentally, another example of altruism that appeared to be completely problematic for the ToE(NS) just became resolved in favor of the ToE.  Individuals of the slime mould Dictyostelium spend most of their lives as single-celled amoebae, but periodically they conjoin to make a slug-like form, and later re-arrange to make a mushroom like structure with a stalk and a spore-producing cap.  The individuals that contributed to the stalk died and gave up their chance to reproduce, but were thought not to be related to the ones that made the cap and produced the spores.  However, it was recently learned that in fact they do recognize kin and assort with relatives, so the sacrificers in the stalk are contributing to perpetuation of their own genome, via reproduction of relatives.
Information can be found at
with additional background information at and

Date: 2006/09/04 15:41:23, Link
Author: N.Wells
Hey, Ichthyic,
Perhaps you could get to it via normal kin selection, then recognition of cheaters could dispense with the requirement of cooperating with kin.

But back on topic: it cheeses me no end that they claim that the ToE predicts altruism, so it predicts everything and is unfalsifiable. The ToE has been astoundingly good at explaining things, but it is falsifiable, and one of its falsifiable predictions is that anything that looks like altruism should in fact turn out ultimately to benefit the putative "altruist". Because of its supposed failings, they want to replace it with ID, which is really and truly a useless and unfalsifiable hypothesis!  What possible fact of nature could disprove the claim that "it's that way because the designer wanted it that way"? (Particularly when they refuse to permit any limitations on the capabilities, methods, motivations, and nature of the designer.)  

For Steve,

There was a young lass from Madras
Who had the most beautiful ass
But not as you think,
Firm, round, and pink,
But was grey, had long ears, and ate grass.

Date: 2006/09/05 03:38:46, Link
Author: N.Wells

That was truly awesome.  How can the IDists think that scientists wouldn't love that film?  I couldn't imagine teaching about the cell and not wanting to show that multiple times.

Date: 2006/09/05 06:38:30, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Sep. 05 2006,08:01)
DaveScot points out that he cant respond here, because he's banned. Aww, shame. Perhaps you now know how the 100's of banned people at UD feel.

If Dave Scot wishes, I'd be happy to discuss it with him further over at ARN.

Date: 2006/09/06 04:55:54, Link
Author: N.Wells
BK at responds to a statement by GilDodgen
“Do any of them ever ask, What random mutations would it take to genetically rewire a non-musical brain so that it could appreciate and create music, and what are the probabilities that these mutations could have arisen by chance and been fixed in the population in the time available, with the number of generations available in that time frame, and with the number of individuals in the population?”

No, because they don’t allow any sort of constraints on the creative power of RM + NS, especially vis a vi teleology. It is omnipotent. It is this denial of constraints to the power of chance that betrays the fact that Darwinism is just naturalism pure and simple.

The argument over exaptation versus adaptation (e.g.,
) would seem to meet that requirement nicely, but, of course, BK is unaware of it.

In case anyone reads GilDodgen's comment as a general condemnation, it is worth noting that biologists do research rates and probabilities of mutations with respect to generation length, population size, and so forth, and they have done theoretical work on the ability of searching mechanisms to find targets in complex landscapes.  However, I have not seen anything like that specifically in regard to musical abilities.

From Dodgen,  
Is it incomprehensible that the human penchant for music and the arts was programmed into us, just like the machinery of life?

Gooood argument, basing a weak analogy on a false assertion (or at the very best, an undemonstrated one).

Date: 2006/09/11 17:27:26, Link
Author: N.Wells
, John Davison gripes:  

While you are at it, explain why the Darwinians never bothered to test Darwin’s finches for hybrid sterility, which is the only reliable criterion for true speciation. After all, finches are among the easiest birds to demesticate. The canary is a finch!

That would presumably be other than David Lack’s largely unsuccessful attempts to hybridize finches from different islands in 1937    
Ornithologist David Lack visited the islands in 1937 and stayed through one breeding season. He built cages and tried to encourage the thirteen 'species' to mate, noting that they were reluctant to mate and did so only 'rarely'. Lack also noted in his monograph, Darwin's Finches 'In no other birds are the differences between species so ill-defined.' ....... David Lack tried to observe a finch of one species pairing off with another but did not find a single case. He reached the conclusion that 'Clearly hybridization between species is rare, if not absent.''s_finches.htm

Then we had some work by the Grants, showing that hybridization can occur in the finches
(the March 1996 paper “High survival of Darwin's finch hybrids: effects of break morphology and diets”
by B. Rosemary Grant &  Peter R. Grant, in Ecology, available for free at

Then the Grants studied a really important instance of hybridization in 2002

So all in all, no, no one has ever evaluated the finches for hybridization and hybrid fitness, except for Lack and Grant, the most famous scientists to have worked with the finches since Darwin.  

Also check out O'Leary's claim that an editorial from the Akron Beacon Journal argues against allowing any student to know that Darwinism could be questioned on factual grounds.  You can find the editorial (which is a good one) at
and it doesn't say any such thing.  It just argues against inserting false debates and crackpot concepts into science education.  Personally, I want all science students to know that all scientific theories can and should be tested and should be thrown out if and when the facts go against them.  I'm just against inventing false facts and using political strength to force them into science classes in order to bolster weak religious viewpoints.

Date: 2006/09/26 17:21:46, Link
Author: N.Wells
<sarcasm on> Boy, that new blog reminds me of those early days full of heady excitement when the only people who accepted relativity were Einstein and the small bunch of Swiss high school kids who formed his fan club.  Do you remember how, using nothing more than logic, simple rhetoric, and the occasional fib, they worked their ideas into high-school physics classes and thereby convinced the entire scientific establishment to change their operating paradigm? That was truly one of the great moments of intellectual history, so can you imagine how thrilled I feel to be around for the start of something even greater.  Or not.

Think how much easier it would be for the IDists to convince people of their ideas if they would just lay out a bunch of supporting evidence.  I can't imagine why they don't do that.

Date: 2006/10/01 16:07:42, Link
Author: N.Wells
From Ms. O'Leary:    
The depth of the crisis with Darwinian evolution became apparent to me when I watched and listened to the Darwinian biologists present.

For these people, Darwinism is a cult. They simply cannot understand objections to Darwinian evolution as actual objections. For example, the fact that very few instances of speciation are actually observed makes it very difficult to test Darwinian evolution against other kinds. This may be an accident, to be sure, but it is an accident with consequences. It means that the “overwhelming evidence” that supposedly exists for Darwin’s theory is really just overwhelming belief on the part of people like themselves.

But there they sit, placid with overwhelming belief, like pious grannies - and mistaking it for overwhelming evidence.

...... To bolster their view - and this is a familiar psychological tactic - they construct a straw man of opponents.

Boy oh boy.  Can we say "projection"?  

So scientists (who are the only people in this "controversy" who are actually doing any lab work, or generating any field data, or creating and running any simulations, or actually posing and testing hypotheses regarding evolutionary theory, or indeed much of anything other than engaging in rhetorical games, misunderstandings, and distortions) are supposed to be pious cultists?  Whereas the fundaloonies who can barely avoid talking about religion for more than one consecutive post and who either don't understand evolutionary theory or perennially misrepresent it are not?   What a load of hogwash.

Date: 2006/10/02 05:45:56, Link
Author: N.Wells
Overwhelming Avoidance?

Date: 2006/10/10 04:06:06, Link
Author: N.Wells
The frightening thing to bear in mind here is that JAD is nevertheless much closer to being correct on this issue than Dave Scot.  

When the North Pole got all balmy back in the Eocene, some great lakes in the American west shrank and became briny and toxic, and a sea in north-central Pakistan that had been full of diverse sea creatures filled up with precipitated salt.    Dave is right that this was perfectly "natural", but he is not right that climate change is no big deal.

Date: 2006/10/11 15:25:18, Link
Author: N.Wells
Over 17,000 scientists agree with me

If that many people signed a statement doubting climatic warning, what does it mean that the DI still can't get over a thousand people to sign a statement doubting evolution?

Date: 2006/10/11 15:44:22, Link
Author: N.Wells
We have another pair of priceless award-winning entries on global warming.

Jerry asks, "By the way what is causing the icecaps on Mars to melt? Apparently it is now happening."

bfast adds "See the second part of my post #11 above for my response. The argument 'its happening on mars too' is just another twist on the 'we aren’t responsible' position."

Hello, it's the southern ice cap that's melting.  BECAUSE IT'S SPRING THERE.

The same webpage that Jerry links to explains this in full.  From
Like Earth, Mars has seasons that cause its polar caps to wax and wane. "It's late spring at the south pole of Mars," says planetary scientist Dave Smith of the Goddard Space Flight Center. "The polar cap is receding because the springtime sun is shining on it."

I think their post-Dover strategy is to fight evolution by making scientists giggle too hard to get any work done.

Date: 2006/10/18 06:30:44, Link
Author: N.Wells
What is the role of a research professor in a seminary?  

First, Dembski searches for God in all the wrong places.  That's "search".

Then he searches for God in all the same wrong places all over again.  That's "research".


Date: 2006/10/19 06:56:20, Link
Author: N.Wells
The "definition of life" thread at is boggling my mind.

The immensity what they don't know is staggering, but it doesn't slow them down in the slightest.

It's like a bunch of preschoolers who can't count past 20 trying to hold a discussion about calculus.  

Jehu in particular combines confident opinionizing with a total cluelessness about the topic in a way that just defies rationality.

Date: 2006/10/20 08:08:47, Link
Author: N.Wells
Palaeontological and embryological data indicate that the horse series is a genuine phylogeny, but it does not constitute an example of megaevolution since the morphological change documented is within the taxonomic rank of family. It is possible for creationists to interpret this morphological change as within-kind diversification after the Flood. Since the magnitude and type of change represented by the horse series can be accommodated by both evolutionist and creationist models it cannot, therefore, distinguish between them. At best, in terms of the origins debate, the horse series is neutral data.

Whenever I read something like the quote above, I am always gobsmacked by the mindset that can blithely call on  vastly faster evolution than evolutionary biologists can imagine (all of horse evolution in 6000 years), while equally blithely dismissing evolutionary change as irrelevant.  They are proposing that evolutionary change can go from a dog-sized animal with four toes per foot and teeth that are very different from horse teeth to a horse-sized animal with one toe per foot and with major dental changes, but they can't accept going from a chimp/human ancestor to humans over 3 million years. Anything is okay as long as it doesn't involve hunams evolving from animals.

Date: 2006/10/24 17:58:34, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote from Arden Chatfield
I've often wondered how DT feels about the fact that since he's eventually forced to ban anyone at all intelligent there, the blog he polices is now top heavy with obvious dimwits, most of whom are indeed dumber than he is. I suspect he understands this situation perfectly well and continually wonders why he doesn't get a smarter class of wingnut at UD.

I wonder more about Dembski.  He must have started out with all his Ph.D.'s expecting to set the world on fire and hoping to change intellectual history, but look at where he is now and the people who inhabit his reality.  That has to rankle.

Date: 2006/10/28 07:21:00, Link
Author: N.Wells
Berly_K09 asks UD:      
Oct 26th 2006 at 8:54 am

May I have permission to post Dawkins’ comments on my Pleonast blog? I will give credit as to where I found this information.

That's so cute - he has so nearly thought that one all the way through.  

More significantly, Recipocating Bill's analysis of Dembski's request in the "Need to quote-mine Gould" thread ( !!! ) seems spot on.  ( )  Dembski is writing a critical analysis of punctuated equilibrium and Stephen J. Gould, but he demonstrates not only his fundamental cluelessness about the subject but also his unwillingness to go and actually read the literature that he's analyzing.  Note also that despite his bone-deep ignorance on some crucial points here, he already has his conclusions well in hand.  Laziness combines with intellectual bankruptcy and a complete lack of shame!  Not that that's anything new for Dembski.

That was a great DS parody, by the way.

Date: 2006/10/29 17:34:30, Link
Author: N.Wells
(from Denyse O'Leary) On the whole, this “Origins of Life in the Universe Initiative” is good news for the ID guys, first because the Harvard project seems to acknowledge what everyone who looks into the question soon finds out - that origin of life studies have been at an impasse for decades.
Many science textbooks fudge this issue, so don’t be surprised if comes as news to you. It might come as news to your old biology teacher too.

The funny thing here is that when I started teaching Historical Geology 20 years ago, I'd spend half an hour on the origin of life, starting with a warning that we knew almost nothing about the topic and that everything I was going to say was highly speculative, followed by a quick description of Urey-Miller, a quick mention of some of the organic molecules found in space, a brief discussion of potential routes to polymerization of peptides, and a conclusion that re-emphasized that we know next to nothing about the origin of life.  Nowadays I still use the bookend warnings because we still know precious little about the origin of life and the field still hasn't risen to the level of having an actual theory, but nonetheless I could go on for two weeks without getting through all the interesting new discoveries that I feel I ought to be covering.  Thus I fail to see that the field has been mired in an impasse for decades.  

All those years of reading the literature, when I could have saved myself so much time and trouble by just listening to UD's favorite underinformed journalist.

Date: 2006/11/07 18:17:14, Link
Author: N.Wells
I had the same reaction reading the "dolphins with legs" thread.  It's complete buffoonery (a sea of stupidity?, a miasma of misunderstanding?), a total lack of understanding combined with completely feckless self-confidence.  It's like kindergarteners debating calculus.

Date: 2006/11/10 15:09:13, Link
Author: N.Wells
Great find, Alan, but you stopped the quote too soon.  In the same paragraph he says:
I have hurled invective at no one, not here, not at Uncommon Descent, not at any other place where I have posted. ....... Poor sensitive DaveScot, the biggest bully in cyberspace, .........   a bunch of egomaniacal arrogant ideologues who are so insecure that ........

I swear, you couldn't invent this stuff if you tried.

Date: 2006/11/10 23:51:22, Link
Author: N.Wells
So, as soon as ID theorists stop spending all their time writing press releases and participating in debates, and start spending time in the field and in the lab doing actual scientific research, there might be a place in science for what they discover. As long as ID theory remains essentially parasitic on biology and the other sciences, it will never be recognized as science. Interpreting other people’s discoveries in the light of different theoretical models doesn’t cut it. That’s why Nobel prizes are awarded to the people making the discoveries, not to the people who figure out what they mean.

I disagree with that, in several ways.  First, Allen is misusing "theory".  ID doesn't have a theory.  At best it has some speculations.  Even if you grant their ideas the status of hypotheses, they don't seem to be testable hypotheses.

Second, there's nothing wrong with reinterpreting other people's results in light of a new model or theory or paradigm.  If you can prove the new paradigm, more power to you, and if it's significant enough I think you could get a Nobel prize.  However, reinterpretation does not rest on rhetorical argument, especially cheap and false rhetorical tricks and misrepresentation.  Also, at some point, you do need some actual data or something that can demonstrate the superiority of your interpretation.  All they've got is word salad that twists and turns and evaporates into vapid nonsense on close examination.

Lastly, although I'm sympathetic to the literature / literary criticism analogy, I'm not even sure that that is accurate.  I've read some bits of literary criticism that were quite insightful and helpful.

Date: 2006/12/09 11:35:35, Link
Author: N.Wells
Zachriel, thanks for the link to Joseph's latest idiocy, but I think you should have quoted a little more to let us appreciate the true richness of this vein of unintended irony:
[Joseph talking about 'OD', who posted against ID] Noting that his blogs on ID were full of errors I posted some comments to try to help OD better understand ID. So what did OD do when confronted with ID reality? OD deletes all the comments and disables comments from being posted. IOW OD doesn't care about reality. OD wants whatever he can imagine to be true.

However that appears to be the same with all anti-IDists (ie IDiots)- they think that they can erect any strawman of ID they want and then attack that strawman as if it really meany something- and the sad part is they really think they did attack something real.

That is ID reality- dealing with people who aren't interested in reality...

Date: 2006/12/12 22:52:25, Link
Author: N.Wells
It’s DR. Dembski, not MR. Dembski. Dr. Dembski has TWO PhDs...

"Mr." is always socially correct for a male possessing a Ph.D., but nevertheless perhaps we should start calling him Dr. Dr. Dembski.

Date: 2006/12/18 08:35:02, Link
Author: N.Wells
For his next trick expect him flashing his inadequacies by streaking through a court.

(I was thinking maybe he'd try to top his latest efforts by organizing a National Drop Trou For Jesus Day - moon an evolutionist and show them what you really think.)

Basically, with this animation, Dembski just declared intellectual bankruptcy.  I'm going to miss him.

Date: 2006/12/18 17:35:44, Link
Author: N.Wells
Dr. Dr. Dembski's latest (apparently he's going for a third Ph.D., this time in post-modern literary criticism):
Calm yourselves everybody. An enhanced flatulent version is being worked on at this very moment. I will make it available. I do want to say this for the record, however. Many people regard the flatulent version as unsophisticated and even infantile. I want to suggest that in this postmodern age the flatulence actually serves as a sophisticated rhetorical device that mirrors the subtext of flatulence that runs throughout Judge Jones’s decision.

( from )

Step right up for the new and improved ID.  With enhanced flatulence.

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary must be so proud.

(I hear they were going to have him coach the college debate team, but they couldn't get the EPA permit.)

These last couple of days have been almost as much fun as reading the Dover decision when it came out last year.

Date: 2007/01/08 19:04:03, Link
Author: N.Wells
[QUOTE] 7. mattghg  // Jan 8th 2007 at 6:46 pm

All this constant “Is ID creationism?” talk is just annoying. Will evolutionists just please engage with the arguments? [/QUOTE

So what methods and processes did the designer use?
Where did the designer come from?
How does an intelligent designer differ from a creator anyhow?
What arguments do you have that haven't been soundly refuted?

Date: 2007/01/10 14:28:58, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Altabin @ Jan. 10 2007,13:51)
Dembski does this all the time: makes a post (often a cut and paste, without even daring to express his own opinion), then goes completely silent, letting his handlers do all the work.   He's a complete chickensh*t.

To support your diagnosis further, note how Dembski chickened out of his deposition before the Dover trial (two summers ago), but not until last month was he back to strutting around in much the same way as he did in the run-up to the trial.

Back then (according to  )
 Grousing that “only the evolution critics are being interrogated,” Dembski was “waiting for the day when the hearings are not voluntary but involve subpoenas in which evolutionists are deposed at length.” When “that happy day” came, Dembski predicted, the Darwinists “won’t come off looking well.” [3] On May 11, Dembski portrayed “evolutionists” as too chicken to participate: “[E]volutionists escaped critical scrutiny by not having to undergo cross-examination . . . by boycotting the hearings.” He proposed a “vise strategy” for “interrogating the Darwinists to, as it were, squeeze the truth out of them,” childishly illustrated with a photograph of a Darwin doll with its head compressed in a bench vise [4].

This last December he was strutting around challenging Barbara Forrest to a deposition under oath (even though she had already done one and Dembski hadn't), and proudly showing off his fart-filled animation directed at Judge Jones.  

So apparently it took Dembski about 16 months to figuratively regrow his balls and get back to his standard lunatic feistiness.

Date: 2007/01/10 16:10:19, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ Jan. 10 2007,14:42)
I might have this wrong but I believe the "Fart-Meister" was challenging Barbara to a debate.

Yes, you're right.  He said he was expecting to "cross swords" with her in future court cases, and then challenged her to a debate.

Date: 2007/01/25 18:16:18, Link
Author: N.Wells
Over at OE, courtesy HBlavatsky:
The Tasmanian Wolf looks remarkably like the regular wolf you and I know of. It’s about the same size, has a similar diet and even has the same kind of fur , jaw structure, teeth and behavior. Anybody can see that these two animals are examples of the same kind of creature.

Same animal, same teeth? - same asinine creationist stupidity.  The thylacine and the wolf have got dramatically different reproductive systems and numerous skeletal differences (e.g., epipubic bones and shorter legs not adapted for wolf-like fast running on the thylacine).  The teeth are very different: the wolf has three large upper incisors per maxilla, whereas the thylacine has four tiny ones.  The thylacine has three upper premolars and four upper molars, whereas the wolf has four upper premolars and two molars.  The wolf, like all canids, has an amazing large, bladed, shearing P4, which the thylacine completely lacks.  

In the lower jaw we again see 3 premolars and four molars in the thylacine, while the wolf has four premolars and three lower molars, although in this case it is the M1 that is huge and occludes with the upper P4.  

For details, see    

But if you ask an evolutionist where this creature might be placed on the “tree of life”, they would place these two very similar creatures about as far from each other as could be and yet still both be considered mammals. That’s sort of like somebody from Kentucky claiming that their next door neighbour lives in New Jersy!

These taxonomical oddities are not an isolated feature: Darwin's “Tree of Life” abounds with anomalous classifications: Few high-schools mention that evolutionists regard all birds as a sub-class of reptiles. That is to say if one branch of the tree represents every living and extinct reptile, every known species of bird would be represented by a sub-branch of that reptile branch. Next time you hear an iguana say “Polly Want a Cracker”, tell me, but until then I propose that this classification makes no sense at all!

Wouldn’t it make more sense if we devised a more functional taxonomy; one where very similar kinds of animal were grouped together? One based on the sensible principles and proven science of Intelligent Design?  

Exactly my point! Labels like "mamalian" and "avis" imply that there is some common ancestry between these creatures. A more correct taxonomy would look at the kinds of animals; so instead of avis, we might have bird-like which shoud include all the winged creatures that can fly.

So "birds" should now include regular birds, bats, and dragonflies, bees & house flies, but not ostriches?  And would what our taxonomic geniuses like to do about "flying" fish, "flying" lizards, and "flying" snakes, and penguins?

What a bunch of maroons.  Aggressive ignorance reinforced by clueless stupidity is not pretty.

These clowns have available (if they bothered to get off their asses) literature, specimens, equipment, and on-line expertise that Linnaeus could not even have dreamed of, yet he could distinguish between meaningful similarities (based on deep underlying structural similarities) and superficial similarities caused by similar function, whereas they can't.  For them, even though Linneaus did not doubt special creation, his work ends up supporting evolution, so out it must go.

They can see exactly as far as the factoid that both animals get called "wolf", and no farther.

Date: 2007/01/25 23:44:47, Link
Author: N.Wells
Wesley, that's astounding, but somehow not surprising.  Thanks for sharing the story.


Ah, but you're missing the significance of that magic word: KIND:

That's a Creationist jargon term. If she can lump wolves and thylacines together, then that's one less pair of animals on the 'ark' -- thus making the Flood story much more plausible, don't you see?

They'll swallow Noah, his ark, and the flood, and some of them will accept marsupials 'micro-evolving' to or from placentals in less than 4000 years (which is more rapid evolution than any biologist has ever considered possible), on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, as long as they can deny 'macro-evolution' and justify rejecting the idea of humans evolve from another ape.   The farther the taxonomic group is from humans, the less they object to insanely fast evolution (I've encountered suggestions of as few as seven basic kinds of dinosaurs and even fewer 'kinds' for fish and for 'bugs', encompassing orders, classes, and even phyla evolving in 4000 years), yet a 5-15 m.y. Cambrian explosion 'cannot be explained by scientists'.  

BUT: wasn't there a theory that HBlavatsky was just trolling at OE?

If so, HaEris and TroutMac swallowed the bait whole, because they seconded the idea with approving posts.

Date: 2007/01/26 21:11:02, Link
Author: N.Wells
(From Cornelius Hunter) It is strange that evolutionists never get around to addressing the scientific issue. Wesley Elsberry appears to be denying convergence, but that can't be true. If he has an explanation for convergence then let's hear it. If not, then admit it. Here is the question for evolutionists: How is it that similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern are such powerful evidence for evolution, in light of equal and greater levels of similarity in distant species, such as displayed in the marsupial and placental mouse?

Let’s unpack the mistakes here.

1) Biologists have spent a lot of time over the last 170 years dealing with issues relating to similarity and convergence and their implications for evolutionary theory.  Do a Pubmed search on homology, homoplasy, or analogy, for example.  The charge that evolutionists “don’t get around to this” is completely false, and can only be indicative of profound ignorance of the field, or mendacity.  

2) Neither Wesley nor any biologist is in the position of denying convergence.  Biologists find it a fascinating subject, and spend a lot of time on it because it can tell a lot about evolutionary processes.

3) Biologists absolutely do have an explanation for convergence.  Organisms that start different may, if they take up similar life styles, become more similar over time if the requirements of their niche cause adaptation toward the same morphological/functional solution.  This is convergent evolution by natural selection.  A shining example is the different lineages of animals that have taken up a mole-like existence.  Burrowing requires specific adaptations: a strong forehead, short & strong arms and legs with spade-like hands, and eyes are useless (and may even be a liability due to the chances of injury and infection).  A giraffe would make a terrible burrower.  This has lead to impressive similarities between marsupial “moles”, golden moles (chrysochlorid insectivores), N. American / Eurasian moles (talpid insectivores), and, to a lesser degree, naked Somali mole rats.  (The marsupial ‘moles’ and the golden moles are especially similar).  

Let’s concentrate on the specific question: “How is it that similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern are such powerful evidence for evolution, in light of equal and greater levels of similarity in distant species, such as displayed in the marsupial and placental mouse?”

First, this question is misphrased.  The important thing about the forelimbs of birds, bats, dogs, pterosaurs, pigs, moles, anteaters, dolphins, and so forth is that their differences overwhelm their similarities, but their similarities are deeper and are the result of common inheritance.  In contrast, their similarities are in many ways far less than the similarities between golden moles and marsupial moles or between ‘flying’ squirrels and ‘flying’ phalangers, but the latter similarities are superficial and are appear not to have resulted from shared inheritance.   Both sets of comparisons and contrasts provide powerful evidence for evolution.

First, some definitions:
Homology: underlying similarity, due to shared inheritance, despite divergence
Analogy: superficial similarity, despite lack of common ancestry, due to convergent evolution.
Homoplasy: similarity for any reason other than common ancestry, including drift.

Evolutionary biology interprets bird wings and bat wings as being analogous with respect to flight, but homologous with respect to being limbs constructed of a scapula, a humerus, a radius, an ulna, and several carpals, metacarpals, and phalanges.  (The limbs are homologous, but their flight is orthologous.)   Dolphins and ichthyosaurs are similarly claimed to be analogous with respect to body form, live birth, and precocious offspring.  Insect wings and vertebrate wings are considered to be analogous, while being only in the remotest sense homologous.

If we see the same embryological tissues contribute to two features, the same genes activated during its construction, utilization of the same developmental pathways, and the same bones ending up in much the same places in the same basic relationships to adjacent bones, nerves, blood vessels, and so forth, then we can make a reasonably secure claim of homology.  If we additionally have a fossil record that shows similar structures or a gradation of change in probable intermediates then the claim is that much stronger. For example, we have many very different vertebrate forelimbs in terms of shape and function, but they are all constructed out of a scapula, a humerus, a radius, an ulna, some carpals, some metacarpals, and a basic pattern of five phalanges (although the carpals, metacarpals, and phalanges can evidently fairly easily experience fusion, reduction, or loss).  

However, proving claims of homology can get complicated, as we have instances of morphologic and functional similarity being retained despite loss and substitution of the underlying genes, and there is no reason why convergence, parallelism, reversal, and stasis can’t all contribute to a single complex evolutionary history. Also, there is a good deal of confusion over the terms, both in the professional literature and elsewhere.

A key point that should not be lost sight of here is that the evolution is considered by biologists to be a vastly superior explanation for apparent homology than intelligent design or special creation.  Notwithstanding claims of an ineffable designer, it is hard to see why a designer would want to construct all vertebrate forelimbs, which fairly efficiently serve such a great variety of functions, from such a limited menu of underlying components, when they could so easily be improved by additional components and modifications.  It is far easier to see them as the result of a highly contingent history constrained by evolutionary processes and  ancestry.

With respect to the supposedly amazing similarity of the thylacine and the wolf, please forgive my repeating myself from the main UD thread: the thylacine and the wolf have got dramatically different reproductive systems and numerous skeletal differences (e.g., epipubic bones and shorter legs not adapted for wolf-like fast running on the thylacine).  The teeth are very different: the wolf has three large upper incisors per maxilla, whereas the thylacine has four tiny ones.  The thylacine has three upper premolars and four upper molars, whereas the wolf has four upper premolars and two molars.  The wolf, like all canids, has an amazing large, bladed, shearing P4, which the thylacine completely lacks.  In the lower jaw we again see 3 premolars and four molars in the thylacine, while the wolf has four premolars and three lower molars, although in this case it is the M1 that is huge and occludes with the upper P4.  (For details, see )   These features that are different in the thylacine are shared with other marsupials, whereas the differences in the wolf are shared with other canids and other placental mammals, including fossils.  They are thus indicative of evolutionary relationships, and a great evolutionary distance between thylacines and wolves.

Date: 2007/01/27 10:23:12, Link
Author: N.Wells
I said      
if the requirements of their niche cause adaptation toward the same morphological/functional solution.

Cornelius Hunter responded      
A niche does not cause an adaptation. Adaptations occur via unguided biological variation, such as by mutations. They can then be selected for and become one step in a series of evolutionary changes. Because the biological variation is unguided, there is no target. And since the design space is large and a large number of designs and species are possible, the variation is not likely to repeat.

Let's unpack the mistakes again.  (Edited to add: I see that Mike addressed some of the same points while I was off-line.   Thanks, Mike.)

A) Adaptations do not solely occur via unguided variations.  They appear to occur mostly through mutations and recombination alternating with selection (among other pathways).  Recombination can be guided, in the sense of sexual selection, and ecological selection can also easily be directional.

B) "Because the biological variation is unguided, there is no target."   There is no target per se, but directional change is easily accomplished.  With possible rare exceptions, mutations appear to be unguided, but selection is entirely capable of imposing directionality on the process.  If there is differential reproductive success that is attributable in significant part to inheritable variation, and that preferential success continues over multiple generations, there will be a directional change in the population.  

C)  To the extent that the requirements of the niche are providing the challenge to reproductive success, it is fine to say that the requirements of the niche contributed to causing any resulting adaptations.  Those requirements contributed to the existence of the problem, they helped provide the motivation and the directionality of the change, and thus they helped produced the end result.

D)  "And since the design space is large and a large number of designs and species are possible, the variation is not likely to repeat."  The key here is that the design space is indeed large, so exactly identical variations are indeed unlikely to repeat, but there are many broad categories of problems faced by organisms that come up again and again, so the broad categories of responses are again fairly similar.  If you live in the water and need to either get food or avoid becoming food, you may well need to swim fast.  As Wesley said, the laws of hydraulics are quite constraining, so streamlining provides a common solution, thus a lot of fast aquatic creatures end up looking similar.  However, there is an infinity of ways to arrange minor details of form while being streamlined overall.  Thus superficially similar streamlining should not be a surprise, while similar arrangements of minor details would be. Deadman provided an excellent example of this when he talked about overall similarities in skin folds in gliding mammals versus dissimilar details of construction in different groups.  

There's no design reason that both a bat's wing and a bird's wing need to contain one scapula, one humerus, one radius and one ulna.  There's no design reason that all bat wings need to be supported by five fingers, whereas all bird wings need to contain two fused fingers plus one more in the form of the alula.  Why do all the bird versions contain so many similarities to each other that are never seen in bats, and vice versa?   How come all birds have feathers but none have fur, while the reverse is true for bats?   How come all birds share an alula and not a pteroid bone, whereas all pterosaurs share an pteroid but not an alula?  Common ancestry within each of those groups provides an easy explanation.  In a design world, any car can have windshield wipers, radios, and/or air conditioners.  In an evolution world, only Buicks might have air conditioners, only Fords might have windshield wipers, and only Jeeps might have radios.

This is why evolutionists are surprised by impressive similarities.

But mostly we aren't.  We are impressed by them, but our theory requires them.

Cornelius Hunter: It is strange that evolutionists never get around to addressing the scientific issue [of convergence].

Me: The charge that evolutionists “don’t get around to this” is completely false, and can only be indicative of profound ignorance of the field, or mendacity.

Hunter:  Most of the technical literature does not explore why comparative anatomy, for instance, is evidence for (or against) evolution, for the simple reason that it is not written from a theory-neutral perspective, but rather is written from an evolutionary perspective. Yes, the implications for evolutionary theory are explored, but typically only insofar as modifying the question of *how* evolution occurs, not *if* evolution occurs.

Hunter's second response does not save the woeful wrongness of his initial claim that evolutionists don't get around to discussing convergence.  

Furthermore, much of the discussion of convergence involves discussing the legitimacy of phylogenetic inferences ("does this particular similarity reflect a shared evolutionary history or not?", where "not" includes convergence).  However, "not" also includes ID.  If the answer was always that particular similarities could never confidently be attributed to a shared evolutionary history, then that would raise the issue of "if" evolution occurs, contrary to Hunter's claims.  

(Hunter) From a theory-neutral perspective, what is it about the bat and horse similarities that are "deeper" and a "result [of] common descent" ?

Already answered.  Deadman's answer is excellent, and I already said that if we see the same embryological tissues contribute to two features, the same genes activated during their construction, utilization of the same developmental pathways, and the same bones ending up in much the same places in the same basic relationships to adjacent bones, nerves, blood vessels, and so forth, then we can make a reasonably secure claim of homology.  If we additionally have a fossil record that shows similar structures or a gradation of change in probable intermediates then the claim is that much stronger.

Date: 2007/01/28 18:16:34, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Cornelius Hunter @ Jan. 28 2007,12:11)
I came here asking for a justification/ defense of one of the most fundamental claims of evolution. My question was, how is it that similarities such as the pentadactyl pattern are such powerful evidence for evolution, in light of equal and greater levels of similarity in distant species, such as displayed in the marsupial and placental cousin species?

This was my question. There are many, many more examples of similarities that do not fit the common descent pattern.


Unfortunately the explanation that one type of similarity is "deep" and the other "superficial" isn't going to satisfy very many people. This explanation really just raises more questions. When I asked for details, he [Wells, i.e. me] deferred to Deadman who did give an answer:
This seems like a perfectly reasonable answer, as far as it goes. The problem is it is farily subjective. Do we really want to make one of the fundamental evidential claims for evolution contingent on an opinion about what might, and might not, be more difficult for evolution to accomplish?

Again, you are overemphasizing some superficial similarities while disregarding important differences.  If you give a competent scientist either the skeletons or a tissue sample from any of the marsupial & placental analogs, he or she will be able to quickly and easily tell you which of each pair came from Australia & had a pouch.  

I think I answered your question more thoroughly than you acknowledged.  Theory holds (and observations support) that functionally important features are subject to considerable selective pressure, so we should expect many overall similarities.  However, when similarities are arrived at through separate evolutionary histories, then we should also see significant differences within or underlying the grossly similar features, and most of those differences that are not brand new innovations should be consistent with features of the ancestral group rather than with features of the morphologically analogous group.  Differences should be especially obvious in parts of the feature that aren't funtionally important.

The various forms of the vertebrate forelimbs are therefore important evidence for evolution because 1) they share fundamental similarities, 2) at the same time they fall into subsets that are characterized by shared differences (differences between the subgroups but shared within them), and 3) in both cases, the similarities and the differences are better explained by evolutionary history than by design.

I gave you some specific examples: bats, birds, and pterosaurs all fly and all have wings, although many of the details of wing construction are unique to each group (feathers, alulas, & fusion of fingers 2 & 3 to birds, pteroid bones to pterosaurs, highly reduced radii to bats).  Furthermore, many of the differences between the fliers tie each type to their ancestral group rather than to other types of fliers: early birds had reptilian tails and teeth, and even modern birds lay reptilian eggs with chorion, allantois, and amnion membranes.  Bats have fur and give milk.  We see this pattern extending down into genetic and biochemical character traits, and it is also widespread (albeit with some notably complex and confusing exceptions) in the fossil records of the various groups.

I already said that if we see the same embryological tissues contribute to two features, the same genes activated during their construction, utilization of the same developmental pathways, and the same bones ending up in much the same places in the same basic relationships to adjacent bones, nerves, blood vessels, and so forth, then we can make a reasonably secure claim of homology.  If we additionally have a fossil record that shows similar structures or a gradation of change in probable intermediates then the claim is that much stronger.

Date: 2007/01/29 23:53:00, Link
Author: N.Wells
From an article under discussion at UD:

You might believe (as I do) that ID is a wrongheaded idea, but it’s hard to see how that alone should disqualify it from academic discourse.  

Even bad ideas can contain kernels of truth, and it is academe’s role to find them.

Academia is not responsible for searching for kernels of truth in such things as claims to have created a perpetual motion machine.  

ID is disqualified from science in part because it is a bad idea (do we still talk about phlogistons and the 'bad air' theory of disease?).  More importantly, however, it has disqualified itself from scientific discourse because it has put itself firmly in the same camp as pseudoscience and intellectual frauds and because it has embraced intellectual dishonesty, in that its proponents are willing to misrepresent evidence and misrepresent what its opponents say if (a) they think they can get away with it, or (b) they can score rhetorical or political points by doing so.

Date: 2007/01/30 08:30:28, Link
Author: N.Wells
Jason Rosenhouse wrote a really good review of the Turner article that I referred to a few posts above.  It's at

To elaborate on my earlier post a little, it's not so much that ID has disqualified itself from scientific discourse and is therefore proscribed from discussion, so much as it has squandered any claims it ever had to be taken seriously.

Date: 2007/01/30 18:50:58, Link
Author: N.Wells
From Cornelius Hunter
There are several problems with this evidential claim, but I would like to focus on just two of them. First, the claim relies on an unproven premise. The premise is that the pentadactyl pattern is, at least in some cases, not an optimal or efficient design. The reasoning here is intuitive. It shows up for different functions, and it seems unlikely that one design can be the best for such different functions (digging, flying, grasping, etc.). That is all well and good, but we do not know this to be true.

Darwin made the claim a century and a half ago with nothing to back him up but intuition, and today nothing has changed. Take one look at the different pentadactyl designs (eg, in the horse and bat) and one can see it comes in very different shapes and sizes, and seems to function OK. Who knows, perhaps it is efficient. Perhaps the extent of structural similarity which we observe (which often isn't very much) makes sense for the given functional diversity. So this popular and important evidential claim entails a premise that is not known to be true. It may seem puzzling to us, but perhaps we should not throw up our hands and give up. It is certainly a very interesting observation, but hardly supports the claim that this is powerful evidence.

A second problem is that the claim is not scientific. Regardless of whether or not homologies such as the pentadactyl pattern are inefficient, this claim entails an "ought" premise. That is, the argument entails a premise about what biological designs ought to be like. This is metaphysical, and it makes the evidential claim impenetrable and outside of science, for one cannot use science to address opinions about what ought to be. One cannot argue against the metaphysical beliefs of evolutionists.

There do seem to be features in organisms that, when we look at them, we think, "wow, even I could have designed that better", so we do make some intuitive arguments along these lines.  The recurrent laryngeal nerve in giraffes is a good example here.

However, there is much more substance and depth to these sorts of arguments than CH admits.  First, we know that better designs are possible because they exist in other organisms.  Giraffe necks are made out of the same seven neck vertebrae that we have, but this is only a constraint due to evolutionary history: hummingbirds (not being mammals) have 14 neck verterbrae.  In a world that contains squirrels and monkeys, you don’t have to be either a genius or a metaphysical philosopher to realize that tree kangaroos are not the epitome of adaptation to life in trees. There are many similar examples, although few are quite so comical.  This is an evidence-based conclusion.

Secondly, claims about ‘what biological designs ought to be like’ only get made in the most obvious of cases (like the giraffe's nerve, above).  The argument tends not to be how wings ought to work for birds or for bats, nor whether the basic tetrapod forelimb and its modifications work better for bats or for birds, but that all birds possess one version of the basic tetrapod forelimb, whereas all bats possess a different version.  The easiest explanation, given substantial overlaps in function between bird wings and bat wings, is that one set of solutions happened in some ancestral bird and has been inherited by all subsequent birds, whereas a different set of solutions happened in some bat ancestor and has since been inherited by all bats.  Similarly, but at another level, the commonalities in all tetrapod limbs are best explained by common inheritance.  If we go into subgroups of birds, we see additional patterns of shared similarities within groups and differences between groups.  As we get into finer and finer taxonomic levels, we are increasingly likely to run into difficulties with convergence.  However, CH initially claimed that convergence is a big problem at high taxonomic levels (as between thylacines and wolves), when it is not so much, and that biologists ignore convergence, when they study it with great care and considerable interest.

(edited to change "vertebrate" to "tetrapod", in order to exclude fish from the discussion.)

Date: 2007/02/03 11:28:27, Link
Author: N.Wells

Dembski talking about scientists not accepting ID (please turn down your irony meters now):

The mountains of evidence [for ID] are already there. The problem is that evidence is itself inherently hermeneutical, influenced by cognitive predispositions to interpret certain types of data as supporting/confirming certain types of conclusions.

Date: 2007/02/05 10:20:06, Link
Author: N.Wells
[quote=Cornelius Hunter,Feb. 05 2007,01:31][/quote]
(CH, addressing various people):
Please be careful. My point was merely that you'll have a difficult time persuading people that the evidence powerfully supports your theory, if you are interpreting observations accoring to the theory.

The reasoning here is circular because you are interpreting the evidence according to the theory of evolution, and then claiming it powerfully supports evolution. It makes little sense to explain that homologies such as the pentadactyl pattern are powerful evidence for evolution because, after all, such similarities are "deeper and are the result of common inheritance," whereas those other similarities "are superficial and are appear not to have resulted from shared inheritance." What you need to do is explain why some similarities are "deeper" and others are "superficial."

We've already compared the pentadactyl pattern with the skin stretched between the fore and hindfeet of the phalanger and flying squirrel. Your answer was that skin is easier to evolve than bones (wasn't that you?). That was sufficient for me. I do not need to multiply examples, for this one is subjective, circular, and clearly shows the weakness of the claim.


I’m going to repeat some of what I said earlier, because I think I already answered your points.  Theory holds and observations confirm that functionally important features are subject to considerable selective pressure, so we expect many overall similarities between unrelated organisms that are doing similar things.  However, when similarities are arrived at through separate evolutionary histories, then we should also see significant differences within or underlying the grossly similar features, and most of those differences that are not brand new innovations should be consistent with features of the ancestral group rather than with features of the morphologically analogous group.  Differences should be especially obvious in parts of the feature that aren't functionally important or which resolve a functional problem in substantially different ways.

The various forms of the vertebrate forelimbs are therefore important evidence for evolution because 1) they share fundamental similarities, 2) at the same time they fall into subsets that are characterized by shared differences (differences between the subgroups but shared within them), and 3) in both cases, the similarities and the differences are better explained by evolutionary history than by design.

A good specific example of this is bats, birds, and pterosaurs.  They all fly and all have wings.  In each of them, the wing is made of a scapula, one upper-arm bone (the humerus), and two lower-arm bones (the radius and the ulna).   There is no particular reason to make a wing with those particular bones: insect wings work fine with no bones whatsoever, for example.  If you were making wings for hovering (humingbirds), dynamic soaring (albatrosses, large pterosaurs), strong pumping flight (geese, sparrows), swimming (penguins), and waving around to impress potential mates (ostriches), it is unlikely that you would want to make wings out of the same basic components.  (Since when are helicopters, submarines,  sailplanes, and 747s constrained to utilize the same basic construction?)  

However, underneath that unnecessary basic similarity, each group has a significantly different type of wing construction, with features that are unique to each group.  Birds have feathers, alulas, & fusion of fingers 2 & 3; pterosaurs have pteroid bones and the tip of their wing is supported by an extremely long “little finger”, and bats have highly reduced ulnas, with four fingers stretching out to the tips of the wing.  And again, many of the differences between the groups of fliers tie each type to their ancestral group rather than to other types of fliers (i.e., other functional groups): early birds had reptilian tails and teeth, and even modern birds lay reptilian eggs with chorion, allantois, and amnion membranes.  Bats have fur and give milk.  We see this pattern extending down into genetic and biochemical character traits, and it is also widespread (albeit with some notably complex and confusing exceptions) in the fossil records of the various groups.

The best evidence for homology is found when we see the same embryological tissues contribute to a feature in two different organisms, when the same genes are activated during the feature's construction, when the same developmental pathways are utilized, and when the same bones end up in much the same places in the same basic relationships to adjacent bones, nerves, blood vessels, and so forth. Then we can make a reasonably secure claim of homology.  If we additionally have a fossil record that shows similar structures or a gradation of change in probable intermediates then the claim is that much stronger.

Date: 2007/02/12 20:01:55, Link
Author: N.Wells
But how can I use this to argue that homologies are powerful evidence? For instance, your comparison of insect flight with bird/bat flight fails. The Reynolds number difference alone renders the comparison problematic, but there are other issues as well. I have never built a bird or a bat, and so I do not have a good understanding of how arbitrary are their wing designs, but the idea insect wing design reveals that bird wing design is arbitrary is erroneous.

As someone else noted, the Reynold's number difference is more of a red herring than anything else.  (For example, the group of "flying insects" includes a dragonfly with a 6 ft wingspan.)  More importantly, all these flying groups exist, but each group maintains its own unique innovations. Whatever differences you come up with in how the different groups fly will be trumped by the existence of flightless birds, like ostriches and flightless rails, that still maintain basic bird hand-and-wing construction.

And you run into more problems with your appeal to genetic and biochemical character traits. These present incongruities all over the map. And your appeal to development pathways and genes is yet another problem for the evolutionary homology argument. Often homologies arise from different pathways and genes.

Those sorts of things pose difficulties, but not insuperable problems.  If all those separate things align, then homology is hard to refute.  If they fail to align and a biologist still thinks the features are homologous (which can happen), then the biologist needs some fancy evidence to support that claim.  If you, CH, want to dispute homology then you have to demonstrate that biochemistry, DNA, developmental histories, and nested hierarchies involving minor nonfunctional features can be achieved other than by common descent.

Date: 2007/02/17 12:52:05, Link
Author: N.Wells
Global warming alarmists today remind me of the scientific consensus on controlling forest fires 40 years ago. How many of you recall seeing Yogi Smokey the Bear adverts saying “Only YOU can prevent forest fires”? In fact, as we learned the hard way, fire suppression turned out to be a bad thing. Nature had adapted herself to periodic forest fires. Certain trees had become resistant to harm from low intensity fires but would be destroyed in fires where 50 years worth of fuel had accumulated. Periodic fires cleared the landscape and species that had adapted to freshly cleared ground cover got their turn at bat. Decades of fire suppression set up our forests for disaster.

Similarly, the earth has undergone periodic warming and cooling for hundreds of millions of years. Nature has adapted to that cycle. The environmentalist concern is highly misplaced. The earth and life on the earth is accustomed to these warming/cooling cycles and if we knew as much as we think we know we’d probably know that not only is the ecosphere adapted to these cycles, these cycles are needed for optimum long term health of the ecosphere and biodiversity just like forest ecosystems need regular forest fires for optimum health and biodiversity.

Whole new depths of stupidity here.  Dave's so focussed on proving that global warming is not a problem that he has forgotten that ID is not so comfortable with evolution, natural adaptation, and natural selection.  

Organisms can and do adapt to natural 'disasters' like fires that recur within more or less generational time frames.  However the record of climate change over geological time frames (tens of millions of years) tends to be extinctions and faunal replacement.  If we were talking about cycles that life had adapted to, shouldn't we see the same organisms recurring?  How come the world no longer has Hyracotheriums, Unitatheres, Chalicotheriums, Indricotheriums, Coryphodons, Diatrymas, and so forth?    I'm not sure how the disappearance of Eocene forest specialists and their replacement by Miocene grassland specialists is a good thing from the point of view of the Eocene animals.  If global warming is merely another turn of these cycles, how do we know that humans aren't the Uintatheres in the upcoming change?

Date: 2007/02/17 14:38:14, Link
Author: N.Wells
Salvador hits new lows of geological understanding, even for him, in a recent post:
Let us also, for the sake of argument, say the Earth is Old. Why then over 100,000,000 years is 600 some meters of continent not fully eroded into the sea? 6 centimeters of erosion per 10,000 years would do the trick, and even with tectonic crustal recycling, we ought not to have geological strata with 300,000,000 year old fossils. Something of basic geo-paleontology is amiss. This is a very BASIC question. It does not immediately argue for a young earth, but it puts into doubt why there should be a geological column strata in the first place. The answers offered have been almost as bad as the defense of OOL and Darwinian evolution.
If there were enough money, I would say antartica would have some very interesting fossils preserved there. I wonder what we would find?
We have found evidence of lush fossil forests in Antartica. Why is that??? Was antartica a warm place once upon a time and then we had global cooling? What sort of fossils will we find? Furthermore, these fossils, being possibly frozen may give us soft-tissue samples and not just decayed bones!

Over time the continents have grown in volume and area.  This has mostly happened via differentiation of mantle-derived magma and oceanic crust, and by cycling of material from basalts via weathering to clays and other silicates, thence being turned into sedimentary rocks, and finally being added to crystalline cores of continents during regional metamorphism resulting from plate collisions.

The average erosion of continents is about 0.03 mm/yr, but that’s only an average.  Over time, parts of continents are going up, and other parts are subsiding.  Generally, the subsiding parts end up accumulating sedimentary strata (i.e. forming basins, in a general sense), whereas the uplifting parts experience erosion.  (However, there are complications such as intermontane basins like the “Vale of Kashmir”, and former thick basins that are now eroding, like Ohio and Michigan.)

If Salvador looks at geological maps of continents he will see large areas of exposed Precambrian crystalline rock (cratons or shields), which are areas of substantial long term erosion that balance out the areas of long term accumulation.  Even more useful to clearing Salvador’s misunderstandings would be a map showing the depth of formation of metamorphic rocks currently exposed at the surface, because that tells how much erosion has happened in order to get those rocks exposed on the surface.  For example, the rocks exposed on Nanga Parbat were buried 5 km down only 400,000 years ago.  The Sierra Nevadas have experienced 8-16 km of uplift and erosion.  The Appalachians, 8 km; the Adirondacks, 24 km; the New Zealand Alps, 16-24 km; and the European Alps, 30 km.

We have of course been looking for fossils in Antarctica.  It was indeed once much warmer, partly because it was once not over the South Pole (e.g. during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic), and secondly because even some of the time it was over the south pole, the earth overall was much warmer (e.g., during the Eocene).  Since freezing was not rapid, there’s not much chance of frozen soft-tissue fossils except locally in the second half of the Cenozoic (e.g. some diatomites interbedded with tillites of Miocene and Pliocene age, indicating some episodes of extensive deglaciation and reglaciation at those times).

It is also worth pointing out that Sal's continued insistence on having successfully browbeaten various geologists with respect to plumes and convection is delusional.

Date: 2007/02/23 14:41:06, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Zachriel @ Feb. 23 2007,10:32)
“Species” is pretty ambiguous now. If we use the breeding criteria then there are some humans that may be called a different species than other humans.

Huh?? There is substantial gene-flow throughout human populations, and no reproductive barriers between even the most distantly related.

You need to get out more.

To be fair, Joseph may have been thinking about himself (i.e., substantial gene flow, except not involving Joseph) (and live, non-inflatable, reproductive-age, human-type females.

Date: 2007/02/25 22:51:51, Link
Author: N.Wells
E = (MC)^Tard

M = # of mistakes per post,
C = confidence with which mistaken assertions were made,
so E = Errogance, measured in Behes, in honor of his straight-faced dismissal of a large pile of scientific literature without having read any of it.

This leaves only the quantification of Tard.  To further discussion, I suggest the following: Tard = Tard level
 1 = basic numbskullery stemming from blind adherence to religious preconceptions (Joseph, Troutmac, or JGuy - level)
 2 = based on subtle point of ignorance (Denyse-level, Salvador-level),
 3 = based on deeper misunderstanding or denial of a fundamental principle (advanced Salvador level),
 4 = deliberate misrepresentation (Phillip Johnson-level),
 5 = deliberate misrepresentation with obfuscation (Dembski level)
 6 = outrageous bald misrepresentation completely devoid of pretense to logic and validity (Kent Hovind - Jonathan Wells - level)
 7 = irony meter breakdown, widespread keyboard destruction due to spewed beverages (Dave-level)

(edited because I forgot the parentheses.)

Date: 2007/03/23 09:59:27, Link
Author: N.Wells
Oldmanintheskydidntdoit beat me to a mention of the latest GilDodgen rubbish, but the tard level is so high it is worth a fuller quote:


...... Ken Miller, in a BBC documentary entitled A War on Science, distorts and misrepresents Bill Dembski’s methods for inferring intelligent design.

Ken’s constant distortion of ID theory is very revealing. He can’t address the real arguments, evidence, or logic, so he makes stuff up. It’s like what Judge Jones said regarding irreducible complexity, that Behe ignores co-option, as though co-option is a real phenomenon and not just a made-up story that defies evidence and logic.  .......

Personally, I don’t think that Ken is insincere. I think that his entire professional life, and sense of purpose in life, is so invested in Darwinism that he can’t imagine that this philosophy might be wrong. If it turns out that it is wrong, Ken’s life will have been a wasted effort, and no one wants that engraved on his tombstone.

Projection, projection, projection, plus a little nonsense and fibbing.

As long as they can keep this up, we need have no worries about whether UD will continue to be entertaining.

Edited to add: To further support my point about projection, Dr. Dr. Dembski has just followed up GD's post by saying, in small part,
Miller has a talk that he gives on campuses throughout the U.S. titled “The Collapse of Intelligent Design.” Let me suggest that if there is any collapsing going on, it is in Miller’s psyche and in his increasing inability to prosecute a reasoned argument when it comes to ID.

To which I can only add, "pppfffffffftt!"

Date: 2007/03/25 12:41:32, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Richardthughes @ Mar. 24 2007,19:07)
Believe it or not, it really helps that the other side..we’re such morons

Richard, I think that needs a little more trimming to be perfect.

Given the demonstrated willingness of Dr. Dr. Dembski and his fellow extremist ideologues such as Salvador to quote-mine and pubjack and to claim that there is nothing wrong with such actions, I think it only fair that to note that at 5:07 PM on 24 March 2007, in comment #4 on the UD thread,
William Dembski said,  
we’re such morons.

Also, HodorH has a response on that thread that probably won't last very long:  

"Believe it or not, it really helps that the other side thinks we’re such morons."

This strategy has been especially successful in court cases and recent school board elections.

Date: 2007/03/25 13:13:23, Link
Author: N.Wells
In a new post at , Gil explands on his "wasted life" comments, but demonstrates that he really really doesn't get paleontologists.  He says,
What paleontologist would want to admit that he invested his life’s work in looking for transitional intermediates that never existed?

Although paleontologists are thrilled to find transitionals, and are happy to have a theory that offers a satisfactory explanation for the history of life, no paleontologists of my experience are driven by a desire to support a particular theory or worldview.  They do want understanding & scientific knowledge, but most seem driven by a love of finding and extracting fossils and by a glimpse into ancient times and lost worlds.  Without the ToE, I think most of the paleontologists I know would be no less driven to find fossils than the many avid fossil collectors from pre-ToE times.  

Also, it bears repeating that most biologists and paleontologists would jump at the chance to replace the ToE with a theory with their own name on it, as long as they had the evidence to back it up and not come off looking like an uniformed and gullible ignoramus.  After all, that how you reach the pinnacle of being a Darwin, an Einstein, or a Newton.

Date: 2007/03/26 15:58:59, Link
Author: N.Wells
As just noted by Richard Hughes, from Dr. Dr. Dembski at

But my birthday greeting is nowhere to be found.

Really Bill?

go here:

Get this:

If you can't find your name in an alphabetical list, you might want to stop looking for evidence for god in bacterial flagellum.

There is a simple explanation for this.  On the "turnabout is fair play" principle, as Dr. Dr. Dembski himself noted at 5:07 PM on 24 March 2007, in comment #4 on the UD thread,
....we’re such morons.

Edited to add: Dang, scooped while off-line.

Date: 2007/03/30 11:48:17, Link
Author: N.Wells
Zachriel picked up on a stupid comment by Joseph but missed Pixie's nice answer: from

Joseph: “By looking at an automobile can you tell me who designed it and how it was manufactured? I doubt it.”

Pixie: Look at the front of most cars you will see a symbol or emblem; might say “Ford” on it, for instance. That will tell you the name of the company that designed and created it. A big clue I think.

A different stupidity from Joseph (#48) that I found even funnier:
(From Joseph) Again the double-standards are obvious. Anti-IDists want IDists to have or at least search for every anal-retentive detail before they will consider it. All the while knowing that their position is void of details and hangs on imaginative narratives.

Let's see - Natural selection, mutation, genetic drift, recombination, sexual selection: absolutely no evidence other than some stone-age fables recorded by barely literate bronze-age goatherds and published without peer review in a big book.

Creation by god: Regularly documented by observations in the field and well understood and verified via frequently reproduced experiments in the laboratory.  

Dagnabit, I guess Joseph really has us there.

And I guess Joseph's point is further nailed down by that well-known quote by ardent evolutionist Dr. Michael Behe, where he said that the only evidence that would convince him of creation by god would be a complete step-by-step list of everything involved, a detailed account of the processes that would be operating, demonstration of the practicality of the expected time scale over which the creation would be expected to occur, other potential ways to solve the problem which might interfere, and much more.

Or not.

Tard is at its best when it leavens stunning stupidity and ignorance with a giant dollop of projection.

Edited to add two other Josephic Gems:

ID does NOT say that evolution cannot produce IC. That you would say such a thing exposes your ID ignorance. Thanks, although it has been very obvious that you don’t understand the basics.


Why is that? You do realize that no one is saying that “God” had to Create a perfect design or even if the design started out perfectly that it had to remain that way.

Genesis 1: .... and God saw that it was good ..... and God saw that it was good ......and God saw that it was good  .... and God saw that it was good ........ (Genesis 1:31) And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.
Yep, I'm going with Joseph on this one.

Date: 2007/03/30 16:30:29, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Mar. 30 2007,13:24)
Have you ever seen a cat turn into a dog?

No, but I have seen a man turn into a drugstore.


Date: 2007/03/31 22:53:03, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Zachriel @ Mar. 31 2007,20:44)
My point was that the default position should be design, until proven otherwise, because design seems to scream at us.

No, GilDodgen, the default scientific position is "We don't know." If you want to propose a scientific hypothesis based on voices you hear screaming in your head, that's fine. However, to constitute a valid hypothesis, it must make specific empirical predictions that can be used to distinguish that assertion from the infinitude of other such assertions. Intelligent Design fails to meet this criteria. Intelligent Design doesn't even form a reasonable scientific speculation as it repudiates what is already known and refuses to be bound by empiricism.

Dave Scot quotes a speech by Priestley Medalist George Whitesides on the origin of life:  
Most chemists believe, as do I, that life emerged spontaneously from mixtures of molecules in the prebiotic Earth.  How? I have no idea.

In the comments, C. Bass says,
Isn’t this the sort of thing Richard Dawkins is talking about when he defines “faith” as “belief without evidence”? I mean, why do “most chemists believe…that life emerged spontaneously” if there is no evidence as to how that can happen?

I've got to agree with Bass, for much the same reason that Zachriel disagrees with GilDodgen.  

Whitesides is clearly talking very loosely and is exaggerating for rhetorical effect, but nonetheless scientists shouldn't be dealing in beliefs and shouldn't be using that sort of language.  In parallel with what Zachriel said, the default here is, we know very little about the origin of life, but we're working on it, and we have some suspicions and some hypotheses.  Whitesides is welcome to his personal hunches, and is certainly welcome to state the reasons behind his hunches, but this is otherwise regrettable language.

- - - - - - -

Also, chocolate for Kristine:
or for the story,

Date: 2007/04/01 12:39:45, Link
Author: N.Wells
(From Blipey): This is a particular argument that has always rubbed me the wrong way.  As an actor, I very much understand the importance of language and its usage.  However, I've ever been irritated by people claiming phrases like Whiteside's are ill-conceived.

I don't believe they are.  There are situations where words need to be chosen very carefully--situations that require great specific detail in order to communicate a message.  Most situations do not fall into this category.  For the most part, we get a sense of message from the context of what we're hearing/seeing/feeling.

When a scientist is the one speaking/writing/punching us in the nose, we generally know where he's coming from.  His words can be interpretted through our understanding of his role as a scientist.

(From Zachriel) There are two different definitions at work here.

1) to have a firm religious faith
2) to hold as an opinion

We can presume that Whitesides is using the second definition (deduced from his appeal to authority).

On Blipey's point. I think most people make a real attempt to communicate with one another. If a word such as "believe" is subject to misunderstanding, they simply ask for clarification rather than trying to manipulate the language for rhetorical purposes.

Obviously, people are usually trying to communicate and in most cases people give or get the benefit of the doubt.  Also obviously, Whitesides was using the looser definition of "believe".  I'm sure Whitesides' immediate audience understood him just fine, but these days he should be aware that his audience is not just his fellow-chemists.

More specifically, it should be obvious to all working scientists that creationists and IDists are all too ready to twist any comment they can out of context to serve their own purposes.  The existence of the IDists and their notorious attempts to miscommunicate and misrepresent means that we are exactly in a situation "where words need to be chosen very carefully."  It therefore behoves scientists not to go around handing them choice nuggets.  

(This includes the standard exaggerations and put-downs about the weaknesses and deficiencies in prior understanding that people make in the introductions to their papers, to build up the significance of the contributions they are about to make.  Whitesides' comments are exactly of this sort because he is not being truthful when he says he lacks any supporting evidence for abiogenesis - he's just exaggerating for the sake of a little drama.  Nonetheless, his statement feeds right into IDist misrepresentation, and he should have seen that coming.  A simple statement that chemists lack a inadequate set of hypotheses and speculations and are in dire need of some fresh facts and/or ideas would have been correct and appropriate.)
I have no problem with a scientist saying something like, "My hunch is that .....", or even,  "As a catholic I believe in ....".  However, even if creationism and ID didn't exist, it is obvious that the general public has a really poor grasp of the scientific method and do indeed tend to view scientific controversies as competions between opposing beliefs. Thus it doesn't help public understanding of science to have a scientist say prominently that he believes something scientific even though he has no supporting evidence.  And if he really does believe it, evidence or not, then he's falling down on his intellectual responsibilities as a scientist.

Date: 2007/04/01 19:00:20, Link
Author: N.Wells
True, but why make it easy for them?  

Scientists who are about to speak about science or scientific results are supposed to think about how to communicate clearly and effectively, taking into account the audience and the ways they could misunderstand what they are about to hear.  Why make it easy for people to misunderstand or misrepresent by saying either A) "I believe" when what you really mean is simply "I think" or "I suspect", or "I'd bet that ...", or  B) "I have no idea" or "there's no evidence", when those simply aren't true?

We know that creationist / IDists love to paint scientific conclusions as just another belief, and we know that science proceeds by hypothesis testing and disproof, not by  asserting beliefs.  Yes, I'm being cranky here, but Whitesides is being very unhelpful.

Date: 2007/04/10 12:00:39, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ April 10 2007,06:45)
WAD today:
“Framing Science” — Because the masses cannot be reasoned with but must be manipulated
William Dembski

“Framing,” as a colleague of mine pointed out, is the term that UC Berkeley Professor of Linguistics George Lakoff uses to urge Democrats that the public will agree with liberal policies if only the policies are described in different terms — “framed” in other words. Politics aside, framing is part and parcel with the condescension of our secular elite that the masses cannot be reasoned with and must therefore be manipulated.

DaveScot, last year:
I will remind everyone again - please frame your arguments around science. If the ID movement doesn’t get the issue framed around science it’s going down and I do not like losing. The plain conclusion of scientific evidence supports descent with modification from a common ancestor...

Because the masses cannot be reasoned with but must be manipulated.

That post deserves congratulations!  

It's like you threw yourself on an unexploded irony meter that none of the rest of us had noticed, in order to save us all from harm.

Date: 2007/04/10 19:56:58, Link
Author: N.Wells
Reciprocating Bill, I'm just glad you're okay.

Meanwhile, in other venues:

Recent comments
   * Brilliant research      5 days 10 hours ago
   * Yes I agree      5 days 13 hours ago
   * I wish I had invented it!      5 days 15 hours ago
   * temporo-spacial anomaly on Noah's Ark: fascinating      6 days 5 hours ago
   * (Off Topic): What technologies did pre-noahic people have?      6 days 10 hours ago
   * I don't think the Bible contradicts the existence of cavemen      1 week 7 hours ago
   * Ugh! Ugh!      1 week 11 hours ago
   * Qunitilis is right      1 week 16 hours ago
   * We need to put faith back into science...      1 week 1 day ago
   * My dad once hired a plumber who worked in a faith-based manner      1 week 2 days ago  

Sheesh, is anyone else having trouble keeping up with all the action over at Overwhelmed Dunces?

Date: 2007/04/11 14:06:06, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Richardthughes @ April 11 2007,12:23)
Brilliant research

6 days 3 hours ago
Yes I agree,

6 days 5 hours ago
I wish I had invented it!

6 days 8 hours ago
temporo-spacial anomaly on Noah's Ark: fascinating

6 days 21 hours ago
(Off Topic): What technologies did pre-noahic people have?

1 week 3 hours ago
I don't think the Bible contradicts the existence of cavemen

1 week 1 day ago
Ugh! Ugh!

1 week 1 day ago
Qunitilis is right

1 week 1 day ago
We need to put faith back into science...

1 week 2 days ago
My dad once hired a plumber who worked in a faith-based manner

1 week 2 days ago

Look at it this way, perhaps.  Just as a job site or factory floor might post a sign saying "51 days without an accident", the Overwhelmed Dunces' list of Recent Comments can serve as a sign claiming "6 days without a single misreprentation."

Date: 2007/05/02 21:06:00, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Glen Davidson @ May 02 2007,19:30)
Lying Sal's at it again:

And it turns out, Michael Egnor’s claims are being supported by an uncomfortable admission by Catriona J. MacCallum, the Senior Editor at PLoS Biology. In the recent editorial Does Medicine without Evolution Make Sense? MacCallum writes:

Charles Darwin, perhaps medicine’s most famous dropout, provided the impetus for a subject that figures so rarely in medical education. Indeed, even the iconic textbook example of evolution—antibiotic resistance—is rarely described as “evolution” in relevant papers published in medical journals. Despite potentially valid reasons for this oversight (e.g., that authors of papers in medical journals would regard the term as too general), it propagates into the popular press when those papers are reported on, feeding the wider perception of evolution’s irrelevance in general, and to medicine in particular

Darwinists claim how important Darwinism is to science, but MacCallum’s editorial makes an embarrassing admission of Darwinism’s irrelevance to medicine.

Unsurprisingly, it's trivially easy to show how egregious his dishonesty is, simply by showing the rest of the paragraph.  Here it is, with added bolding showing where McCallum directly and unequivocally states the opposite of this particular lie:

It is curious that Charles Darwin, perhaps medicine’s most famous dropout, provided the impetus for a subject that figures so rarely in medical education. Indeed, even the iconic textbook example of evolution—antibiotic resistance—is rarely described as “evolution” in relevant papers published in medical journals [1]. Despite potentially valid reasons for this oversight (e.g., that authors of papers in medical journals would regard the term as too general), it propagates into the popular press when those papers are reported on, feeding the wider perception of evolution’s irrelevance in general, and to medicine in particular [1]. Yet an understanding of how natural selection shapes vulnerability to disease can provide fundamental insights into medicine and health and is no less relevant than an understanding of physiology or biochemistry.

Well, there you have it, evolution is as relevant as physiology or biochemistry (according to her), and Sal uses her to state the opposite.  .........
Glen D

Since it is apparently now fine to quote entirely out of context, I think the rest of us should get in on the fun as well.

Denyse O'Leary, "religion can be traced to defects in the temporal lobe ...... There were times I howled" (

William Dembski: "To be sure, I am ... a young earth creationist .... I support their efforts to harmonize science with a particular interpretation of Genesis. ...... it was their literature that first got me thinking about how improbable it is to generate biological complexity and how this problem might be approached scientifically."

William Dembski, "For these reasons, I regard Henry a great man."

William Dembski, "God's general revelation ..... suffocates the human spirit"

Salvador Cordova: "I beat a puppy...simply from enjoying the sense of power"

Also from Sal, " I was nicknamed 'Gas.' "

Date: 2007/05/12 12:27:25, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Bob O'H @ May 11 2007,06:58)
Oh, it looks like I've been quietly put back on moderation at UD (I guess PaV didn't like me suggesting that he shouldn't indulge in teleology).

Mind you, I'm not totally black-listed, so I'm not going to really let rip on DaveScot's ignorance of epidemiology.  

Dave - check out AIDS research.  They've been looking at precisely these problems for some time.


That whole thread is mind-boggling tard.  

PaV, at
I know there are population geneticists out there, so, if you can, how would you explain NS being able to virtually decide that it is “best” to conserve both forms, rather than to single out one of the two forms? Or, does this mean that there really is no such thing as “fixation” and “extinction”, thus rendering neo-Darwinism null and void?

PaV nicely illustrates why IDists are wrong to say that science should consider ID ideas in order to allow a greater variety of possible answers:- he throws teleology into the mix and succeeds only in confusing himself thoroughly about something that biologists understand perfectly well and which is not in the slightest bit puzzling.

Bob and others give fine explanations of this, but PaV's response to Bob is:
You’ll notice that I wrote “virtually decide”. Nonetheless, what we see is the appearance of some “decision” on the part of NS in this case since standard theory would say that either form A, or form B—either the “rover” or the “sitter”—is the fittest, and then choose for one or the other, while here NS seems comfortable with two forms.

In short, Pav digs himself into a hole, and Bob hands him a rope, but PaV converts it into a shovel and keeps on digging.

Yes, I agree, if you choose to look at the population switching from one form to another as environmental conditions change over time, then this makes perfect sense. But, wait a minute, what about the coloration of Bison bistulleria? What about the beak sizes of the finches in the Galapagos Islands? Isn’t it true that over time one trait is more advantageous than another? So, then, how does one define the “fittest”? ......

As I initially stated, NS is virtually making a choice to “balance” these two forms. And we can see the reason why this is “good”, but we have foresight, and NS, as someone already posted, has none—it’s non-teleological, it can’t see purpose.

...... Then how does NS ‘blindly’ come up with this ‘choice’?
.....  This situation represents a breakdown in the theory: there isn’t any one form that corresponds to the “fittest”. If that’s always the case, then how could evolution have ever taken place?

PaV has constructed his very own straw man, but set himself on fire while trying to burn it up, because he's so profoundly ignorant about evolutionary theory.

Various others, including Sal, jump in to add a variety of misconceptions and false dichotomies, and confuse each other even more.

Atom adds stuff like  
Which organisms survive? Those whose “heritable variations lead to differential reproductive success”. What exactly are those “heritable variations [that] lead to differential reproductive success” (which variations, in other words)? Those of the dominantly surviving organisms.
Though I am not a population geneticist, I think your answer is that Nature doesn’t “select” or “decide”, virtually or otherise: organisms self-select, since the very act of differentially reproducing is what the “selection event” consists of.  Therefore, if an organism can’t self-select more than its competitor, and vice versa, we get a tie. Neither happens to be the “fittest”, they’re equally successful.

Borne contributes:  
Can ya say symbiotic? (Another thing Darwinism fails to account for)  

Then onto Salvador (with my enumerations and reparagraphing):

[1]"PaV, Good find. It is possible the explanation is density dependent selection, however, that can’t always be resorted to as an explanation."

[2] "Furthermore, frequency-dependent seleciton would tend to resist Darwinian phyletic transformation and origin of new species since there is no extinction of diversity. :-) Catch-22."

[3] " The other interpretation is that Natural Selection is not much in operation. It’s the wrong paradigm to describe what is going on. Take for example the related issues of molecular evolution."

[4] "Kimura, Jukes, King, Ohta….. many others showed Natural Selection is the inappropriate paradigm to describe molecular evolution.  It stands to reason that if the overwheling majority of molecular evolution is not governed by Natural Selection, probably lots of other things are NOT governed by natural selection as well!!! "

[5] "At some point, Natural Selection is hard to justify even as an operational science for many things in the wild: The Strength of Natural Selection in the Wild by Berlinski. 'Thus if a change in the length of a beak’s finch by one standard deviation explains 16 percent of the change in the population’s fitness, 84 percent of the change is not explained by selection at all.' These results, although at odds with those reported by Endler, are not in themselves astounding. It is when sample sizes pass beyond samples of 1000 that results become far more difficult to accommodate, for under these circumstances, Kingsolver reported, both linear and quadratic selection were virtually non-existent."

[6] "Most arguments for natural selection involve extreme examples like anti-biotic resistance and pesticide resistance. However, in such cases we’re dealing often with a few molecular 'traits'. There are many molecules and possiblly other 'traits' that must necessarily escape Natural Selection. There are simply insufficient population resources to police billions of molecules… Haldane’s cost of natural selection keeps rearing it’s ugly head!!!"

[7] "....... ' Kimura challenged the idea that protein polymorphisms were maintained by some form of balancing [desity dependent]selection and argued, instead, that the alternative alleles were adaptively neutral.'  Merrell, Ecological Genetics, p 319.   Whoa! Selection has nothing to do with diversity in protein diversity. It’s not hard to see this argument could extend beyond protein polymorphisms to almost anything else.  Kimura challenged the idea that protein polymorphisms were maintained by some form of balancing selection and argued, instead, that the alternative alleles were adaptively neutral."

[8] "....... By the way, let’s assume frequency-dependent selection is at work in this case. How hard is it to create populations with such a beautiful feedback mechanism like frequency-dependent selection? There is almost a symbiosis here to preserve diversity!"

[9] "So there Darwinism is challenged on 2 counts:  1. if it is density-dependent selection, this sort of selection is not really Darwinian (as in the origin of new species, or phyletically transforming a population).  2. if selection is not at play, then Darwinism can’t be the explanation

Let's see Salvadors' gallant rear-guard action in slow motion replay: 1) Unpack the smoke machine. 2) Turn on same.  (It's the DI's brand new Bafflegab 2007 Superjargonator.)   3) Put up fake detour sign in case anyone manoeuvered safely through the smoke.  4) Blow some smoke down the false trail as well, just in case. Start to build palace of deductive inference on those clouds of smoke. 5) Cap palace with ornate chimney pots.  Use those to add to total smoke outlet. Engineer a hit-and-run 'accident' on statistics in passing. 6) Smoke is getting thin on original route, so backtrack & pump out some more smoke, and lay down a strip of road-spikes while there. 7) Throw in a combination non-sequitur false dichotomy with a half-twist during a leap in faith from one flying trapeze to the next. Repeat the half-twist as a sort of victory lap because so pleased with self. 8) Top confection with cherry and tie a bow around it.  9)  Repeat and extend the false dichotomy, insist that it has become a gordian knot, and curtsey to the audience.  

More specifically, no one claimed that density dependent selection was always important; it can help cladogenesis; the density-dependent selection in question has nothing to do with either neutral selection or molecular evolution; going from 16% to 84% is cheap rhetorical sleight of hand; Haldane's cost is irrelevant to this situation because the two traits are not independent; Kimura argues that many molecular polymorphisms are neutral rather than arguing that none can be subject to selection; frequency-dependent selection does not require "setting up" and has nothing to do with symbiosis.  Lastly, #9 does not give all the options, nor any logical deductions from the assumptions.

Date: 2007/05/13 09:44:40, Link
Author: N.Wells
From Borne, at
“Intelligent Design: War on Science”

Exactly what the Hegelian dialectic requires of them as manipulators of public opinion and lame propagandists of a lost cause.

They are poor losers who have to invent an enemy (ID) then proclaim themselves the public saviors in order to keep control.

A) Projection, projection, projection.
B) We invented an enemy?  In his "Wedge Document", Phillip Johnson listed as two goals, "To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies" and "To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God."  In what way is that not a declaration of a war on science?

Date: 2007/05/15 00:35:06, Link
Author: N.Wells
(Edited: I'm moving my post over to the Gonzalez tenure thread. Sorry.)

Date: 2007/05/15 00:49:33, Link
Author: N.Wells
Say that a research university grants tenure to a 30-year-old scientist.  The university is likely to keep that person for another 35 years, which could amount to on the order of 2.5-5 million dollars in salary, fringe benefits, and work space prior to retirement.  Actually, since no one can make you retire any more, you could conceivably add another 15 or so years on to that, adding another 40% to those costs.

A popular teacher at a state university who pulls in 300 students into a large lecture course once a semester will earn their department somewhere around $200,000 to $300,000 per year for that course, depending on how much the university pays the department per enrollee at that course level.  Let's say $240,000 at $400 per student.  In contrast, an unpopular teacher who can only draw 30 students per intro session is only going to earn the department $24,000 per year for two offerings of that course.  Over 35 years that's going to be a difference in $7,560,000 in departmental income.  So a tenure decision is not a minor one, and a department will have a long time to regret a mistake.

Moreover, whomever a department tenures, the department is probably going to be stuck with for the next 35 years.  A single person can quite easily turn a department from being a great place to work to a miserable place.  Someone who carries their share of committee work is to be desired, whereas someone whose trials and tribulations creates committee work just drags everyone down. A good professor pulls in good students and adds to the glory of the department, whereas a bad professor scares the good students away.  People have different strengths in different areas, so one hopes to get a good mix of strengths in a department.  People say tenure is like a marriage (worse, because it's probably more like a plural marriage), but at least in marriages you can get a divorce if things turn ugly.

Thus a lot weighs on a tenure decision besides 'did this person meet the minimum requirements?'  

Among the factors taken into consideration in tenure decisions (besides the numbers of papers published) are $$$ obtained in external funding; where were articles and books published; how many times have the various publications been cited; how many coauthors were involved in publications and grants; what were the candidate's contributions in multi-author works and multiple-investigator grants; how many masters, doctoral, and post-doc students has the candidate mentored; what  senior people in the field but outside your university think of the person's research; professional awards and service; and teaching evaluations by students and fellow faculty.  Along with other stuff.  Shortcomings in almost any of these things could potentially doom a tenure decision.    

To enlarge on the importance of where things are published: the humanities in particular have few ways of assessing the significance of a work (citation records for humanities works tend to be problematic and not comparable), so they have made a finely honed art out of assessing the reputation of the publisher of your book.  This can arise, albeit to a lesser degree, in science as well.  I would guess that a Regnery Press book might well be held against a candidate at a college- or university-level committee: it's sort of sending up a flag that you don't want to be considered a serious scholar.

(My apologies for some repetition of points that others have already made.)

Date: 2007/05/28 10:30:44, Link
Author: N.Wells
(From Dr. Dr. Dembski at I expect I would have voted for your tenure had I been on any of the appropriate committees. (Would you do the same for Guillermo Gonzalez?)

So now Dr. Dr. Dembski thinks that tenure decisions should be a matter of trading votes?  

As others have noted, much irony and more than a little hypocrisy can be found in Dembski criticizing someone for not publishing in peer-reviewed journals and belittling him for publishing outside his area of expertise.

If anything, you seem to be getting considerable mileage now by playing the martyr.

Well, IDists certainly know about that tactic.

If so, why shouldn’t Gonzalez’s PRIVILEGED PLANET count likewise in favor of his tenure?

Here the good Dr. Dr. demonstrates even greater ignorance of the tenure process.  Tenure committees go to great lengths to evaluate publication accomplishments in the humanities.  Mostly, tenure committees rely on (1) evaluations by independent experts in the candidate's specialty, (2) any awards from professional organizations, (3) the existence of favorable professional reviews (i.e., in professional journals, not in the mass media), and, above all else, (4) the "venue", which is to say the status or reputation of the publisher.  People in the humanities know this, so there is considerable competition to get published in the most prestigious venues.  On a scale of 0-10, judging from what I see coming off its presses in recent years (e.g., Jonathan Wells' "Icons of Evolution", O'Neill & Corsi's "Unfit for Command", Ann Coulter's "High Crimes & Misdemeanours"), I would guess that Regnery now rates at 0 (if not less), so no, Gonzalez's book wouldn't contribute much toward winning tenure.

Or do you know in advance (on what grounds? scientific? ideological? philosophical? …) that he’s full of it and you’re not.

Well, that was part of Avalos' original point: he was able to tell in advance that "Privileged Planet" is hogwash, because he published an article that countered those sorts of arguments in 1998, whereas "Privileged Planet" was published in 2004.  Sheesh.

Date: 2007/05/28 16:14:38, Link
Author: N.Wells
Can Dembski not see that all UD does is get him humiliated on a regular basis? Is he ever going to wake up to that fact and shut it down?

It isn't UD that's humiliating Dembski so much as Dembski himself, so there's no significant difference between humiliating himself there as opposed to doing the same thing someplace else. :)

Honestly, if I'd embarrassed myself one-twentieth as much, I'd want to just crawl under a rock and stay there.

Date: 2007/05/30 23:07:59, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 30 2007,20:17)
[quoting from troutmac]  
It seems difficult, in my view, to make those 6 days into long time periods. One reason is this: Genesis 2:2 says that on the seventh day God rested. Not coincidentally, in the Mosaic Law God prescribes a day of rest… the sabbath. It seems obvious to me that this is patterned after the days of creation. If the days of Genesis are really extended periods of time, then how long, exactly, is the sabbath supposed to be?

Oh my gosh, perhaps we finally have an explanation for the Cretaceous Quiet Zone.   (  

Also, on the same general YEC theme, Sal is pushing take-two of his new website,

Date: 2007/06/01 22:16:00, Link
Author: N.Wells
Now celebrating 12 guaranteed fib-free days at Overwhelming Evidence:

# marketing?
1 week 5 days ago
# Wiki Bias
1 week 6 days ago
# content
2 weeks 11 hours ago
# Huh, odd. There "should" be
2 weeks 12 hours ago
# and the real posters too...
2 weeks 1 day ago
# Sorry To Hear That
4 weeks 2 days ago

Date: 2007/06/15 11:32:37, Link
Author: N.Wells
I'm sure ID has a perfectly good explanation for the candiru.

... and God saw that it was good.

But on the evening of the sixth day, God saw a grievous lack, though he knew not what of.  After much perspication, God saweth the need of a small parasitic fish that could swim deep into any human orifice, and therein stick itself with permanence.  God said, let it be, and it was, and God saw that it was very good.

And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.  ... And on the seventh day he rested.

Date: 2007/06/17 18:21:39, Link
Author: N.Wells
Well, I checked out the Brookfield stuff including his support of the Wedge as shown at and I've got to say, I'm shocked:

$85 for a pillow!!!!!!

After checking out Brookfield's original paper, at ISCID back in 2002, I'm also wondering what on earth Dr. Dr. Dembski saw in it to begin with.

From wMAD:      
Are there any anti-ID writings, no matter how ill-conceived or mean-spirited, that PT won’t endorse? It might be an interesting exercise to attempt a Sokal-style hoax to see what exactly PT is prepared to believe about ID. I herewith offer a prize, worth up to $200, to anyone who can pull this off and afterward reveal that it was all a hoax (the precise amount to be determined by how cleverly it is pulled off).

Too bad there isn't a prize for this sort of thing.

Date: 2007/06/28 08:43:46, Link
Author: N.Wells
Her role has always been as one of the support team whether, cleaning, cooking, or typing.

1) awwww!

2) Not to mention the withholding of tax payments and the co-signing of the tax forms.

Date: 2007/06/29 16:08:44, Link
Author: N.Wells
Prayers to god, 0; Judges with law-books, 2.  
Three cheers for the rule of law!

Date: 2007/07/05 10:46:54, Link
Author: N.Wells
Blavatsky on perpetual motion machines:
unveiled their latest gizmo: The Orbo, a magnetic engine which according to carefully controlled experiments can produce up to three times as much energy as is put into it,effectively creating an infinite amount of energy from apparently nowhere.

I predict that this humble contraption will show the world just how much materialists have misled mainstream-science.

OK, that's easy. From the fundamentals of "materialist science" and my understanding of how science should work, I predict that the gizmo can't output extra energy and that it won't demonstrate that materialistic scientists have misled anyone.  For good measure, I also predict that the failure of Blavatsky's predictions here won't significantly diminish her output of completely asinine statements.  Let the game begin.  Check back in several years.

Date: 2007/07/07 15:02:52, Link
Author: N.Wells
My apologies if this was already mentioned and I missed it  My hat is off to Irishfather412 (assuming the post is a parody - it's getting hard to tell):

I think it is fair to say that in order for one to be an expert in ID thought and have a strong understanding of ID, one need not be an expert in evolutionary biology. While by no means is Mrs. Denyse O’Leary an expert in understanding evolutionary biology, she does have a profound understanding of the the sociological importance of ID and the dangers Darwinism presents to truly understading the natural world.

In the blogoshere one need not be an expert to express ones view. That’s what I like about this site :) UD! We all come diverse backgrounds and none of our thinking is tainted by currently practiced scientific thinking. None of this sites contributors are practicing scientists. This gives them an edge in thinking outside of the curreent paradigm.

Keep up the good work.

Date: 2007/07/11 15:28:45, Link
Author: N.Wells
Sal's relationship to YEC is the same as ID leaders' relationship to religion: true believers, but hoping that a little fancy rhetorical footwork will hide the connection.

With respect to Dembski,
This seminar attempts to make sense of intelligent design in light of the Christian Faith.

Well, at least he says "attempts", but I don't think anyone could make sense of intelligent design in light of anything, so how about "This seminar will make light of intelligent design in the sense of Christian Faith"?  

These days, Dembski's heart seems to be in rhetoric and apologetics, plus farty noises.

Date: 2007/07/14 00:40:40, Link
Author: N.Wells
Added to J-Dog's schedule:

8:30   Search for God in all the wrong places.
4:15   Once again search for God in all the same wrong places.
Hey, waddayaknow, actual re-search accomplished!!!  
Hunt around for someone to do a high-fives with. No luck, so do an air-punch in the general direction of the dog.  Dog gives a funny look, and scratches.

Date: 2007/07/15 12:47:06, Link
Author: N.Wells

I admired your patience and clarity in your posts over at UD, and I agree that lurker education is the important thing, but, with respect, I don't think that posting on UD is a good thing to do.

The problem is that a home team pretty much can't lose in a heavily moderated forum, and by arguing gently enough not to get banned, one risks giving lurkers the ideas 1) that they are seeing honest arguments, 2) that points that go unanswered do so because the experts cannot answer them, 3) that the IDists are actually open to disagreement, and 4) that the ID arguments are, at minimum, accorded respect and serious discussion by the experts.

I think they should be ignored in debates and in fora that they control.

Notice how Sal went from bleating about welcoming debate to thanking Dave Scott for banning you

(From Sal) As long as critics are making well-conceived objections (meaning objections that ID proponents themselves might entertain), then I welcome hearing them on my threads.

which later turned to
At some point people run out of patience having to deal with a participant who argues his case by willfully attributing things to ID proponents which they did not say. [As if that's not Sal's stock in trade - when he quote-mines, he's proud of doing exactly that]

JAM showed incompetence in interpreting Fidock, but still did not relent. He made a rather ridiculous interpretation of that paper, and when I called him on it he finally relented. [Again, Sal's trying for high road by accusing his opponents with his own behavior patterns]  

That didn’t stop him from spewing out more garbage that I just wasn’t willing to deal with.  Many thanks the admins for dispensing with jam.

Again, on their own board, they will ALWAYS get the last word.

They are retreating from essentially all types of open and fair argument.  I think a better approach is to let them prattle in their sheltered retreats, and complain that they won't show up for a fair discussion anywhere they lack control and risk losing.

Date: 2007/07/16 10:59:58, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Alan Fox @ July 15 2007,16:07)
N Wells

I agree with your post, but...

I notice your unfailing politeness in the face of unyielding idiocy at ARN, perhaps you are not quite in the realm of pots and kettles but still...

Hello Alan,

Thanks, but there is a significant difference (and my politeness there hasn't always been unfailing).  I've never felt the need to pull any punches at ARN, and I've only once experienced moderation, when I wrote "it's just one damn thing after another", so discussion is very open there.   'Damn' turns out to be a forbidden swear word.  

(One of my favorite moments there was when MTurner said, "I would like to thank nwells for once more demonstrating that he is an ignorant, illiterate, inarticulate, ill-educated, semantically clueless troll."  I used that as a sig for a while. Notably, neither of us got moderated on that.)

ARN's pretty near as dead as OE these days.

Date: 2007/07/17 08:28:22, Link
Author: N.Wells
Now, B, you ate by your own admission, a published author on phil of sci.

Bob, is there something you ought to be telling us????

Date: 2007/07/17 08:56:10, Link
Author: N.Wells
but we can also say that a billiard ball would not have moved if another ball had not collided with it. Physical descriptions of cause and effect may be necessary to explain a given observed phenomenon, but for design inferences, they are not sufficient. When people have seizures, do their bodies not make movements which are not designed? If so, then we have cases of physical human bodies moving without the control of an agent.

Other causes for billiard ball movement: Cues.  Also earthquakes, someone bumping the table, or the billiards table is on a ship.  Sheesh.

Physical descriptions aren't sufficient for design inferences:  Isn't that why you need to talk about the designer's motives, methods, and so forth?  Quite apart from that, IDists descriptions of causes and effects related to design tend to boil down to word salad plus a few unsupported assertions.

Seizures: Don't the causes of epilepsy qualify as an agent?  Is he claiming that natural processes can't be agents? Waves are an agent of erosion, for example.

Date: 2007/07/17 19:49:16, Link
Author: N.Wells
No, wait, he's right.  Because science progresses by disproof, you can't actually ever completely prove a theory.  However, you can be pretty damn sure of it.  You can also be absolutely sure that ideas that have been disproved (like creation science, noah's flood, a young earth, and so on) are wrong.

Date: 2007/07/18 09:17:49, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Bob O'H @ July 18 2007,01:04)
Quote (N.Wells @ July 17 2007,08:28)
Now, B, you ate by your own admission, a published author on phil of sci.

Bob, is there something you ought to be telling us????

One paper in Oikos.  An ecology journal:

O'Hara, R.B., 2005. The Anarchist's Guide to Ecological Theory. Or, we don't need no stinkin' laws. Oikos 110: 390-393.

I think it's still the most downloaded paper from that issue.


Bob, congratulations, but I was making a lame joke about a typo (supposedly you "ate an author", not "are a author").

Edited to add:
Interesting paper.  You can count one more download.  I never was comfortable talking about laws in biology and geology, and now I know why.

Date: 2007/07/19 11:37:12, Link
Author: N.Wells
One can imagine Dr. Dr. Dembski trying to come up with an effective theme that will resonate with the potential business audience:

"You too can drive your business to the levels of success reached by the Intelligent Design movement."

Umm, no.  Perhaps .....

"Methods pioneered by the Discovery Institute show new ways of dealing with legal problems  ...."

Or perhaps not.  How about,

"In less than ten years you can transform your business from a promising idea to a less than promising idea that everyone laughs at"

Lacks a little something.  mmmm ...

"The importance of ass-kissing lackeys in running your business"

Nah.   Maybe

"Making people pay attention to your business communications: how farty noises got me where I am today"

no, wait, I've got it,

"Selling crap to morons."


Date: 2007/07/26 12:41:39, Link
Author: N.Wells
What would happen if the general public not only disbelieved materialism (as it is, they disbelieve it now) but also decided to cease funding it out of their tax dollars? [Hotness = Serrano Pepper]

How is that a dangerous question?  

The question is easily answered - it would stop a lot of science (you know the science-stopper result that IDists except Johnson always deny).  So the action would be dangerously short-sighted, but the question is merely stupid.

The pepper scale seems exactly as quantitative and exactly as justified as the rest of wMAD's maths.

Date: 2007/07/27 13:31:10, Link
Author: N.Wells
From Acquiesce  
Organisms of higher complexity (compared to bacteria) and size have longer gestation times, longer generation times, reduced reproductive fecundity, REDUCED NUMBERS OF SURVIVING OFFSPRING, reduced resistance to many poisons, environmental or temperature changes, reduced population sizes, not to mention they sexually reproduce. How is this not a fitness hit?

I thought I made it clear that I’m talking about how NS can select organisms for higher complexity when every organism we know of produces less surviving offspring than bacteria.

This argument depends on the arguer being so clueless as to not know that standard reproduction in bacteria results in just two daughter bacteria from one parent, whereas eukaryotes that reproduce by means other than simple binary fission have significantly more (Potentially up to many millions of offspring in the cases of spores in ferns, pollen and pine nuts in pine trees, medusae in cnidarians, and eggs & sperm in (some) clams and in sturgeon.)  Essentially eukaryotic levels of complexity allow phenomenal increases in numbers and variability of offspring.

(Bacteria may come out ahead in numbers over fixed time frames by virtue of very short generation spans, but that is a different matter.)

Date: 2007/07/28 14:28:23, Link
Author: N.Wells
I spent the last three months as an expert witness in the Dover case pouring over the expert witness reports of all the usual suspects on the other side (Miller, Forrest, Pennock, etc.) and responding to them at length ........ Try to imagine that I might be well informed about what the other side is saying. Try also to imagine that I’m easily bored by what they are saying. –WmAD

Wow, that's so forceful and so intimidating.  Such a masterful dismissal.  Any thinking person has to feel sympathy for those poor evolutionist fools who had to stand up to Dr. Dr. Dembsky at Dover - they can't have stood a chance against such a towering, expert, intellect.  They must have felt like they were at Waterloo. :)    

It probably would have worked better if he'd pored over the reports rather than poured over them, but to each his own.

(Great job, RB.)

Date: 2007/08/01 08:55:19, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Bob O'H @ Aug. 01 2007,03:29)
Oh, and why hasn't the word "projection" been used here in the last day?

To prevent Bob from being overcome with disappointment:

From wMAD, at

If Coyne wants to be taken seriously, then he needs to behave himself seriously.


Date: 2007/08/01 09:28:29, Link
Author: N.Wells
Also from wMAD, in the same piece:
Three-part reality check:

  1. The problems facing Darwinian evolution are increasing, not dwindling.
  2. ID proponents do have a positive program (e.g.,
  3. I wasn’t comparing Jerry Coyne to Herman Munster based merely physical similarity but on the Munsteresque dopeyness of his arguments.

After additional reflection, I'm still trying to decide which of those three claims is the most comical.

The problem is, the humor in each statement is so different.

#3 is buffoonery with elegance, a mix of WC Fields and an intellectual equivalent of the perfectly dressed society grand dame falling face-first into the punch bowl.  #2 is a wonderful contradiction that requires a slight time delay for processing "ID" vs "positive program", followed by a spit-take, with the subtle follow-up of the weblink to tease the true aficionado.  #1, however, is a magisterial combination of tragedy with bathos, worthy of King Lear or the Coyote in the Roadrunner cartoon, with Dembski, doomed to fail, but meanwhile forced by his nature to struggle forever to keep his finger in the dyke against an overwhelming flood of reality, to endlessly push his boulder of denial uphill, to keep optimistically unpacking the latest Acme Anti-Evolution Argument in the vain hopes that perhaps this time it will succeed.

Who said that Dembski doesn't do humor???  

It's days like this that make reading UD worthwhile.

Date: 2007/08/06 15:03:45, Link
Author: N.Wells
From Ms O'Leary, at

The Society for Vertebrate Paleontology, be it noted, has denounced the recently opened Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky:


But what on earth has happened to the Society for Invertebrate Paleontology? Why aren’t they chiming in?

Possibly because there is no such society.  Duh.

It's probably nitpicking to note that Denyse should have referred to the Society Of Vertebrate Paleontology, not "For".  But why should she start bothering to get her facts correct  now? - that would be out of character for her, and would just get in the way when she's telling stories.

Date: 2007/08/08 14:00:42, Link
Author: N.Wells
When was the last time Joel Borofsky showed up at UD?  (That could be a stupid question, as I haven't been paying attention.)

A quick google produced the exciting news at his web site that "Satan Hates the Church"  (posted June 28th, 2007, at )

(At something like three comments in 20 posts since early May, he might actually be envious of the comparatively blazing level of activity over at OE.)

Date: 2007/08/19 07:37:07, Link
Author: N.Wells
(From Rob) Dembski:  
I expect 2007 to be a bang-up year for ID.

Perhaps he meant "bang-up" as in

Date: 2007/08/23 22:05:21, Link
Author: N.Wells
Following on from Franky172, 'oh dear god' is right
StephenB, 08/23/2007, 9:27 pm

Question: Why will moral relativism make you stupid? Answer: Because if you believe there is no such thing as truth, you don't exercise your brain to bridge the gap between where you are (non-truth) and where you ought to be (truth). That is why doing evolution is a lot easier than doing intelligent design. You are too much in the habit of believing that truth is whatever you want.

Date: 2007/08/27 18:49:35, Link
Author: N.Wells
Salvador's finely honed sense of moral outrage leads him to discover some objectionable behavior:
Then NCSE is shamelessly pandering to religious interests to advance their cause .....

(from  )

Date: 2007/08/29 20:20:17, Link
Author: N.Wells
Sal misunderstands variation, and the roles that the ToE ascribes to mutation, recombination, drift, and selection:  
If there are varieties of traits within a species, the variety is suggestive of absence of selection, not presence of it. Selection is the enemy of diversity. Thus if varieties have persisted, selection cannot account for the variety, thus selection is a flimsy explanation for what is observed.

Appeals to balancing selection, etc. have proven insufficient to rescue Darwinism from the obvious consequence of Fisher?s fundamental theorem of natural selection. One simply cannot explain diversity through a mechanism which works by extinguishing diversity.

Date: 2007/09/01 17:57:03, Link
Author: N.Wells
From Sal  
I stand committed to bringing respect and upholding the reputation of the academic institution I am now affiliated with.

If he runs true to form, that will never happen.  The closest he could manage would be quitting immediately.

Date: 2007/09/04 08:50:14, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (steve_h @ Sep. 03 2007,20:10)
Trying to make sense of the Dembski-Marks-Baylor-UnwittingLabHosts thing to which Dembski relates in a series of flashbacks in no particular order at :

(I tried to put the dates in a neutral format, and in more or less the correct order):

1999-2005 Dr Dr Demsbki at Baylor. Booted out.
(unspecified) Distinguished Distinguished Proffesor Marks secures a grant from Lifeworks.
06 NOV 2006 Dr Dr Demsbki appointed Senior Research Scientist at Baylor.
04 Dec 2006 Dr Dr Dembski called into Dean's office: "you're not supposed to be here, are you?"
05 Dec 2006 Meeting about Dr Dr Demsbki at Baylors Faculty Senate. Demsbki's position to be revoked.
07 Dec 2006 Dr Dr Demsbki learns his postion is about to br revoked.
07 Dec 2006 Distinguished Distinguised Prof Marks and and another DDP Walter Bradley tried to persuage Dean Kelley to let Dembski stay
08 Dec 2006 Baylor claim to have good reason to terminate the good Dr Dr. He's basically been moonlighting.
08 Dec 2006 (later) Dr Dr Dembski gets email inviting him to collect all of his crap from his desk.
09 Dec 2006 Dembski tries to get subsidised meal from an institution which no longer employs him and is escorted off the premises by security (forcefully I hope :))

01 Jan 2007 Dembski looks forward to ID-friendly research center at Baylor. Despite the fact that he's not even allowed to eat there anymore. Hasn't he read his own summary ferchrisakes?      
Happy New Year to all UD regulars. I expect 2007 to be a bang-up year for ID. Here are three things in particular I'm looking forward to in the coming year:

A new ID friendly research center at a major university. (This is not merely an idle wish - stay tuned.)

02 Jun 2007 Dembski announces the Baylor Informatics Lab, a collaboration of him and Robert Marks at (a university that won't even allow him to eat on their premises). The lab is a virtual entity within the "personal" sub-pages of Robert Marks II (not distinguished professor Marks?). Baylor don't know about it yet.
02 June 2007 Botnik, AKA William Dembski is the first to congratulate Dembski on the new lab.      
Fantastic! I suppose the other side is going to say that this has nothing to do with ID.

03 June 2007 Bob O'H first ATBC person to poke fun at informatics lab.
06 Jun 2007 Steve Story reveals that he has had 20 year old girlfriends with D-cups (That doesn't belong here, but, bastard).
12 July 2007 Dembski and Marks nearly eviscerate "The Jesus Tomb", but it turns out they're a tard late -- every else had already been there and done that.
Link still
XX July 2007 Demsbki acquires domain name
15 July 2007 A better link to the Informatics lab revealed at UD
16 Jul 2007 RichardHughes notes "Bwahahahahahaha..."
16 Jul 2007 etc. etc.
17 Jul 2007 Albatrosity2 posts picture of Ben Stein (who he?, ed)
20 Jul 2007 Reference to Informatics Lab in Archie Bunker thread
20 Jul 2007 Casey Luskin interviews Robert Marks converning the new Evolitionary Informatics Lab
27 Jul 2007 (O'L) Kelley tell Marks he must remove his (fraudulent) website. ?(SH added Fraudulent because it was)
29 Jul 2007 (O'L) Kelly suggests a meeting, Marks gets a lawyer.
02 Aug 2007 Wesley notes that the "Evolutionary Informatics" group link is dead.
03 (O'L) Kelly removes content from Marks "Baylor" web space which Baylor owns, without asking his consent.
03 Aug 2007 At UD, rrf asks why the informatics link is not working. He/She is Ignored.
04 Aug 2007 At UD, IrishFather42 points out that the Baylor Informatics Link no longer works. He/She is ignored.
08 Aug 2007 At UD, Grayman asks if anyone can shed any light on the non-workingness of the BIL. He/She is Ignored.
XX Aug 2007 Slimey Sal ( not his real name), aka Salvador Cordova (not his real name), currently in hiding, attempts to apply for position at Informatics Lab, which everyone else knows has been defunct for some time (at the very best).

edits: question marks, Dembski mispellings, Casey mispelled, removed business seminar ref, incorporated O'Leary timeline. "Personal" quoted. "Fraudulent" quoted

Interpreted version of 2006 events:

Dembski booted out.
Dembski & Marks get grant as a way for Dembski to sneak back in.  No one in Baylor administration notices.
Dembski gets broom closet as office in Engineering Building.  
Dembski's re-infiltration is almost complete.  Again, no one in Admin notices, despite having signed off on apparently routine paperwork, no doubt under false impression that Engineering was a serious & trustworthy department.

Sometime late Friday 1 Dec 2006 or over the weekend, someone in Admin puts two and two together, getting 4.  

First thing Monday 4 Dec. 2006, Fan in full contact with Dembski.
Revocation of Deanly assumptions about Engineering.

Tuesday 5 December:  Research Office gets strongly worded memo from Dean, noting that any grants mentioning W. Dembski should not be processed, and that any proposals from Dr. Marks or mentioning Lifeworks or Intelligent Design should be red-flagged and routed via the Dean prior to proceeding with the proposal.  (OK, I'm just guessing here.)

8 December 2006: Baylor finally comes up with a sufficiently legitimate excuse to remove Dr Dr wMAD.  

8 December 2006, about 2 seconds later: WAD successfully excised.

It is very odd that the latest screed was posted by O'Leary for Dembski.  Dembski clearly wrote it, and, what, Botnik was too busy?

It is also odd that Dembski wants to share this.

It is furthermore odd that Dembski is so concerned with reconnecting himself to Baylor.  The normal reaction would be to consider yourself slighted by a bunch of a-holes and move on to greener pastures without looking back.  Apparently, he really really really doesn't handle rejection.

Date: 2007/09/04 11:56:39, Link
Author: N.Wells
The objection made by Baylor that Dembski reports as their final justification for cutting him loose would make sense if Dembski were actually receiving payment essentially for work beyond one full-time equivalent. It wouldn't make sense if there was nothing to the "job" other than a title and perks similar to an unpaid appointment like an adjunct faculty position.

True, but Baylor signed the adjunct position papers and okayed the broom closet, so they are undoubtedly looking for some other legally unobjectionable way to tell him to go away and stay away, without saying something that could be endlessly litigated, such as "you're unqualified" or 'you are nothing but a source of embarrassment", or "what on earth leads you to think that we'd be proud to be associated with farty noises?".  No doubt they've got some loosely (or poorly) worded regulations about double-dipping that they think they can stretch to fit this occasion.  

- - - - - -

I agree that Baylor beats his other academic opportunites in the vicinity of his BBQ joint and he probably has no remaining options in serious academia, but I still think his focus on reconnecting to Baylor is psychologically a bit off.  I think he wanted to get a vague connection going, to give the impression that  "His institute may have tanked, but they still let him hang around, so he can't be that bad".  He's a bit reminiscent of a dumped boyfriend, veering between bouts of nutty vindictiveness and episodes of trying to argue against the specifics of whatever face-saving rationale the girlfriend invented him for dumping him.

Stephen, I agree that Dembski no doubt considers himself legitimately aggrieved, but he's got to be far too wrapped up in this if he can't read what he wrote and understand that he's making himself look pretty pathetic.

Date: 2007/09/05 09:04:46, Link
Author: N.Wells
From Bill Basener's homepage:
(and oh my gosh what a hideous choice in wallpaper)
# My faith in God. (I help out with B.A.S.I.C., one of the many excellent Christian groups on campus.)
# Why I believe Christianity is reasonable in a Scientific world.

From the latter page
Now consider the miracles that the Bible claims that Jesus performed, including rising from the dead.  Now if these miracles are true then Jesus is God, or at least is a whole lot more powerful then any other human in history and is probably God.  The gospels, written by first hand accounts of Jesus? life, claim the miracles really happened.  The gospels (along with numerous other letters) were written by early Christian believers soon after Jesus? death.  Some today claim that these miracles didn?t happen and that the early Christian letters are lies made up after Jesus? death to promote their religion.  However, many of the early Christians were martyred for their beliefs.  If fact all of the original disciples except one were martyred.  If Jesus did not perform the miracles and did not rise from the dead then all of the disciples, who claimed to be first hand witnesses and claimed to see him after he rose, knew that Christianity was a lie.  But if they knew it was a lie then they all died for the lie.  Most of them were put to death with the offer to deny Christ and live.  It is quite unreasonable to believe that many would die for something they knew to be a lie.

Shall we estimate the number of U.S. soldiers who died in Vietnam who considered that they died for a lie?  People die for lies all the time, sometimes willingly, sometimes not, sometimes knowingly, sometimes not.

Date: 2007/09/09 10:55:35, Link
Author: N.Wells
Bill and Sal, working hard together in a broom closet at Baylor?  The mind boggles.

Thank you, President Lilley, for saving us from that awful eventuality.

Date: 2007/09/10 19:11:42, Link
Author: N.Wells

Great picture of suite 1800.  Perhaps that explains why Dembski was so eager to gain the use of a broom closet at Baylor.

Date: 2007/09/13 22:08:10, Link
Author: N.Wells
Zachriel deserves some sort of award for distinguished service over at

#  Zachriel Says:
September 12th, 2007 at 12:37 pm |

   Bradford: If one looks at proximate causes one can construct a case for ID.

What is the proximate cause?

# Bradford Says:
September 12th, 2007 at 12:50 pm |

   Bradford: If one looks at proximate causes one can construct a case for ID.

   Zachriel: What is the proximate cause?

It depends on what you are looking at. One of the focal points I believe to be helpful to ID is the exploration of minimal genomes. It seems to me that IDists would be well advised to consider this an area of research within which varying hypotheses could be constructed and tested much like their counterparts do with respect to abiogenesis. The overarching principle would be the position that a minimal level exists but varies within a range that is linked to the nature of the organism cited. Exploration of proximate causes, that lead to the demise of a specific organism when the threshhold is transgressed because function x is not present, would simultaneously lead us to a better understanding of minimal function. Only then would we be in a good position to assert that gradual, incremental process y leads to (or does not lead to) the minimal function of organism z.

# Zachriel Says:
September 12th, 2007 at 12:55 pm |

   Bradford: If one looks at proximate causes one can construct a case for ID.

You forgot the proximate cause.

# Bradford Says:
September 12th, 2007 at 12:57 pm |

 Bradford: If one looks at proximate causes one can construct a case for ID.

   You forgot the proximate cause.

I did not forget it. I await the reserach results that would reveal it.

Zachriel Says:
September 12th, 2007 at 1:10 pm |

   Bradford: I did not forget it. I await the reserach results that would reveal it.

Okay. Then this,

   Bradford: If one looks at proximate causes one can construct a case for ID.

means this,

   If one looks for proximate causes one might one day construct a case for ID.

Zachriel had a nice use of overstrike, and regrettably I can't reproduce it, so I bolded instead.  Anyway, an elegant deflation of an bogus claim.

Date: 2007/09/14 23:54:40, Link
Author: N.Wells
From DO'L,
14 September 2007
Baylor closes ranks, defends Darwin against all lines of evidence

Baylor’s move to shut down Prof. Robert Marks’s exposure of Darwinism as the Enron of biology is a harder line than the institution took seven years ago.

Curiously, the 2000 report on the Polanyi Center (long closed) had actually proclaimed,

   ” … the committee wishes to make it clear that it considers research on the logical structure of mathematical arguments for intelligent design to have a legitimate claim to a place in current discussions of the relations of religion and the sciences.”

Presumably, Baylor honchos don’t think that any more.

Is that because Bob Marks can actually do it now?

Or perhaps it is because in the last seven years even the Baylor administration have given up on ID, because Dembski has turned himself and ID into a total laughing stock?

Date: 2007/09/17 18:07:09, Link
Author: N.Wells
4    SeekAndFind
09/11/2007     9:08 am

There seems to be a cognitive dissonance on the part of Baylor’s administrators ( and I am being kind here ).

I note that after Prof. Marks meeting with the administrators ( which ended amicably by what I read ), the meeting in fact ended in PRAYER. That’s right *PRAYER*.

Now here’s the question to ask — are they praying to God ? if so, then God, by definition is the creator of the universe. And if he is the creator, He necessarilly is the intelligent designer.

Yet, here we are — an administration that prays to the designer while simulataneously preventing any research that tries to discover the designer’s handiwork.

This is a case of cognitive dissonance. It would be more honest if we had a school that simply says — we don’t believe in intelligent design or any God who created the universe.

Here, we have a school whose administrators profess to believe in the designer while at the same time frowning on any research trying to understand the designer’s creation.

Now, correct me if I am wrong, but wasn't the whole point of ID that the Designer was not necessarily God?  Is Seek and Find a sockpuppet or an unusually honest IDist?  It's getting hard to tell any more.

Date: 2007/09/19 19:35:09, Link
Author: N.Wells
Rob, Your question betrays an insensitivity to the sensibilities of our group.
 Ferchrissake, Rob, try and fit in with the group.  Add some farty noises, and suck up to at least one of Dembski, Dave Scott, or O'Leary.  Your choice of which one.

Date: 2007/09/20 08:37:44, Link
Author: N.Wells
Another one bites the dust:  
23   Grayman
09/20/2007  5:20 am

According to Dr. Dembski, “Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John's Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory.” Given that Janice, how can you maintain that “ID is represented (with good reason) as being based on scientific rather than religious premises”?  ....
24     William Dembski

09/20/2007   5:49 am

Grayman: That quote has been so overused and so used out of context against me that I’m going to boot you for bringing it up here — three strikes. To the rest, that quote comes from a book with a theological press in which I explore the theological implications of ID. The theological implications of a scientific theory or a theological reframing or interpretation of a scientific theory is not identical with it — just as there’s quantum mechanics and there are lots of interpretations of it (e.g., many minds or many worlds).

Shorter WAD: How dare you quote me in a way that makes me look bad?

Seems like someone is getting just a little bit oversensitive about his own religious pronouncements.  In the future, anyone at a Dembski talk should ask him how he can claim that ID is not religious while also saying that "Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John's Gospel".  What is the meaning of "is" in that last quote, and is Dembski therefore having his own little Clintonian "is" crisis?

Date: 2007/09/21 14:53:36, Link
Author: N.Wells
The Dembski post looks so embarrassing (for reasons that others have already detailed, even though Dembski currently seems to be proud of it), that it seems worth preserving here.
Well, after six years on the Baylor faculty, I find it eminently believable that many of its faculty don’t want God to have anything to do with their university. In any case, Irons was kind enough to forward President Lilley’s reply:

Subject: RE: Professor Dembski’s attacks on you
   From: “Lilley, John M.”
   Date: Wed, September 19, 2007 5:34 pm
   To: pirons{AT}

   Peter, thanks for your email. It is greatly appreciated.
   I shall not take the bait on the movie. I greatly regret
   the difficulty that Dembski has created. John

Now, I know there has been a parody at UD of President Lilley’s words in the past, so before posting this I made sure to contact President Lilley (also copying the provost and others at Baylor) about whether these actually are his words:

Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2007 11:29:06 -0500
   To: John_Lilley{AT}, pirons{AT}
   From: “William A. Dembski”
   Subject: Fwd: RE: Professor Dembski’s attacks on you
   Cc: Randall_OBrien{AT}, Ben_Kelley{AT}, …

   Dear President Lilley,

   Peter Irons, a professor at one of the University of
   California campuses, continually forwards to me email
   communications, ostensibly between him and others.
   He’s forwarded to me several putative emails from you.
   I’d like to confirm whether the exchange below is
   genuine before I blog on it.

   If it is genuine, I would point out that any difficulties
   you may be experiencing over your suppression of
   ID-related research at Baylor are of your own creation.
   My role in this has merely been to shine some light.

   Best wishes,
   Bill Dembski

Twenty-four hours later still no disconfirmation from Baylor that Lilley wrote what Irons forwarded to me.

My translation:  
Lilley: Good Lord, save us from the likes of Dembski
Dembski:  Yes I really am a huge [unspeakable].  Allow me to demonstrate in detail.

He's been shining something, but I wouldn't call it light.

Date: 2007/10/01 12:31:40, Link
Author: N.Wells
In honor of page 666:

Dear God, thanks for answering the prayers of this atheist in giving Kent Hovind a long prison sentence, even though you had to ignore many pleas by your faithful to do otherwise.  If it is not too much trouble, please could you once again arrange for Dr. Dr. Dembski to embarrass himself?  Preferably soon? Also, could you explain what you saw as 'very good' about the broken vitamin C gene that you gave us?  I'm still mystified about that.  Thanks in advance, amen.

Date: 2007/10/01 15:33:42, Link
Author: N.Wells
Richard, you hardly do justice to that thread:

So we start with a UD thread complaining about mean darwinists unfairly suppressing dissent:    
In the movie, Stein ...... is stunned by what he discovers – an elitist scientific establishment that has traded in its skepticism for dogma. .......
a scientific establishment that allows absolutely no dissent from Charles Darwin’s theory of random mutation and natural selection.”

Let's just skip over the fact that the ToE has not been restricted to RM&NS since pre-WWI and get on with the comments.

5  jerry     09/29/2007    6:19 pm
Timothee, ...... How would you like to discuss the debunking of flagellum by science and we can see who is dogmatic here.

7    PaV      09/29/2007      6:27 pm
Timothee:  Dogmatism is the kind of behavior when someone refuses to see evidences against his view of the world.
 But Timothee, that is what most evolutionary biologists do: they refuse to see evidence against their own theory.
Of course, here in the United States, Darwinists won’t accept any other idea even when you prove that they are wrong. Again, they’re dogmatists.

11  jerry   09/29/2007    8:27 pm
Timothee,  You will be hit with a lot of counterargumens and hopefully, you will stay around to sort them all out. We are well aware of the arguments proposed by Ken Miller and summarized by Nick Matzke about the flagellum.

Hopefully, on this or another thread a detailed discussion can take place.

13    DaveScot      09/29/2007     8:54 pm
timothee ........  P.P.S. If I read any more snotty condescending crap from you it’ll be your last comment here.

17    Borne      09/29/2007      9:59 pm
Timothee :  ........... Tes infomations sont datées et erronées.   ........ tel que l’astronome Fred Hoyle a dit .......

35   DaveScot    10/01/2007    1:47 pm    
Borne: I don’t know about the others here but it seems obvious to me that our timothee is a young naive and pretentious student. Correct me if I’m wrong.
Agreed. He’s gone. He can enlighten anyone interested from his own blog instead of further polluting ours.

The progression really needs no further comment.

All that remains is for someone to complain that evolutionists are unable or unwilling to argue their case.

Date: 2007/10/02 15:26:12, Link
Author: N.Wells
Yesterday on page 666 I posted:          
Dear God ...... If it is not too much trouble, please could you once again arrange for Dr. Dr. Dembski to embarrass himself?  Preferably soon?
 and by this afternoon we have Dembski's notpology.  That's what I call a quick positive response.

So the Evolutionary Informatics Lab website is back up, with Dr. Dr. Dembski’s name (listed as William A Dembski, Ph.D., Ph.D.!!!)., and Dembski simultaneously removes the posts with Baylor’s regents’ home phone numbers, the faked letter from Lilley, and the e-mail between Irons and Lilley, as well as posting his not-pology.

I think a deal was cut, and it may mean that Dembski gets to go to the cafeteria.  My guess at the conversation is:

Regents to Lilley:  All these calls from these ID assholes are seriously annoying.  Make it stop.
Lilley to Regents:  But this is Dembski we are talking about.
Regents to Lilley: Doesn’t matter, make it stop.
Baylor’s lawyer to Dembski: Pull that post, or we’ll sue.
Dembski to a DI legal friend:  Can they do that?
DI legal friend to Dembski:  No.  Freedom of speech and all that.
Dembski’s legal friend to Baylor’s lawyer:   You can’t make us.  And Marks and Dembski are going to sue over academic freedom.
Baylor’s lawyer to Dembski's lawyer: But we can try, and we have much deeper pockets than you.  However, we won’t bring suit if you’ll take down those posts and post an apology.
Dembski’s lawyer:  OK, if you let the lab website back up and let Dembski’s name be associated.
Baylor’s lawyer: OK, if you add a disclaimer that none of this has anything to do with Baylor.
Dembski’s lawyer:  OK, but Dembski's family gets to eat at the cafeteria.
Baylor.  We'll see.  Don't push it.

The paragraph about doing three wrong things clearly fulfills some lawyer's directives and constitutes a legal apology.  
Nonetheless, on this blog I went too far in trying to hold up the Baylor administration’s actions to the light of day. I let it get personal and went over the edge in three things: (1) posting a parody letter attributed to Baylor President Lilley; (2) posting contact information for the Baylor Board of Regents in an effort to apply pressure to the Baylor administration; (3) posting an exchange between Peter Irons and John Lilley largely for the purpose of embarassing both.

I’ve removed all three posts and herewith extend a public apology to the Baylor administration and Board of Regents for these actions on this blog.

Everything else is a not-pology, where Dembski tries to maintain a little dignity and simultaneously stick in a shiv or two:          
In offering this apology, however, I mean in no way to mitigate the gravity of Baylor’s wrong in censoring the research of Robert Marks and his Evolutionary Informatics Lab.

Without moralizing, I want to suggest a lesson in all this. Stay on topic and don’t let things get personal. I hurt my family and lost about three weeks of productive work by being consumed with anger about the injustice against Robert Marks. It’s not worth it. Let’s get on with our work and leave justice in the hands of a God who has reason to find fault with all of us and yet is merciful.

That last bit looks like a final try for the high road, but, sorry, Bill, we are all too familiar with the farty noises and all your blog-mates.

Dembski's lead-off quote from his anonymous friend from England is worth a mention as well:    
This is loaded with extreme polemical language almost from the first sentence. I find it so biased that I simply cannot get beyond the first page. That the editor is proud to present this polemical babble is astonishing. If this is the best that the ’scientific establishment’ can do, then that establishment is culturally decadent.

   It confirms what I have worried about for a long time: that science today simply does not have the cultural depth, the conceptual and linguistic resources, to conduct civilized scholarly debate about its foundational commitments and assumptions. Thomas Huxley would be deeply embarrassed by this article. If you have to deal daily with this kind of low polemic there is a real danger of being dragged down to their level. I am more sympathetic than ever with what you have to deal with.
 This is an interesting combination of an attempt at self-justification with another attack on mainstream scientists.  (It is no less interesting that Dembski tries to pass it off to an anonymous friend from England.  Could this be Blotnik at work again?)  It would be more impressive if Dembski was not so solidly on the side that cannot conduct a civilized debate about foundational commitments and assumptions.  Quite apart from not involving giving federal judges funny voices and canned flatulence-tracks, and not posting faked letters from people, scientific debate requires fundamental honesty, that facts be presented clearly and honestly, that the data not be "cooked", that opponents' arguments be presented fairly and be confronted with honest data rather than lies and rhetoric.  Dembski's side earns emnity by refusing to play by these ground rules. Dembski is not so bad himself, but look at Salvador's quote-mines, Jonathan Wells' distortions, the way Salvador and Denyse don't bother to understand relevant details before launching into their arguments, and so on and so forth.

Incidentally, Paul Gross's article is a nice read:

Date: 2007/10/02 16:00:15, Link
Author: N.Wells
Resources of the Evolutionary Informatics lab:
Really, it's all about the science!

(Tom, you are thinking of Chris Langan.)

Date: 2007/10/02 19:03:35, Link
Author: N.Wells
Odd: Bill's affiliation is given as 'Southwestern Seminary', not its full name, 'Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary'. There a reason for that?
There wasn't enough room left after listing "Ph.D., Ph.D." to the right of his name?

Also, perhaps he is thinking that as soon as his antics make Baylor come to its senses and rehire him, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary can go hang itself, and he can go back to pretending full-time to be a scientist.  It's kind of hard to pretend to be all about science when your home institution has "Baptist Theological" in its name.

Date: 2007/10/02 21:25:54, Link
Author: N.Wells
With the exception of humble pie.

plus an all-you-can-eat special on crow.

Date: 2007/10/04 16:09:28, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Oct. 04 2007,13:39)

Dembski Writes:            
Here’s an interesting conference with some top-notch speakers on a topic central to ID. I wish I could make it.

And I strongly suspect that when Dembski says:          
I wish I could make it.
He really means            
I wish I was invited

Advances in single molecule methods have resulted in the exciting, burgeoning field of single molecule biophysics. These approaches have been exceptionally important in studies on molecular motors, the biological machines essential for providing force and movement in living organisms. Leaders in the field will present studies that reveal new behaviors and molecular details that are obscured by traditional ensemble-based approaches.

I think I've found his problem:- "Leaders in the field will present studies....".  He's 0 for 3 right there, being neither a leader nor in the field, and not having any research to present.  

But then, what can he expect?  An affiliation like Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary just doesn't reach out and scream "scientific expert" at people.  My advice would be twofold here.  First, he might consider getting some sort of connection, no matter how humble, with an institution a little higher up in the feeding chain. Somewhere like Baylor, perhaps (I think that's reasonably local for him).  Universities are usually happy to make arrangements like this for visiting scholars or experts and notables in the area (barring unusual instances of toxic personality flaws, and the like, of course).  Also, if he could just free up three weeks or so, that could well be enough time to do some productive research and pull an abstract together that could be submitted to such a meeting.

Date: 2007/10/05 16:21:18, Link
Author: N.Wells
Denyse's blog name "Mindful hack" works on several different levels, albeit most of them not complimentary.

Date: 2007/10/10 08:07:29, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Oct. 09 2007,17:28)
Should we have a pool for when the removal of essays from the "Evolutionary Informatics Lab" due to errors becomes a topic of conversation on UD?

Of course, "never" should not be an available time for betting.

Regardless, I'll offer to hold the pot until there's a need for a pay-out.

Date: 2007/10/11 20:35:01, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Altabin @ Oct. 11 2007,10:59)
Quote (Bob O'H @ Oct. 11 2007,17:25)
Remember that Jerry was telling us all how he was knowledgeable about biology?  Well, Prof. Myers may like to look away...  

I have a remote related question to what paraklete just said,
Has any part of the body been identified with development. We all know that development operates quickly during gestation so it is guided some how but it also operates for several more years after that and maybe till death. If some part of the brain or part of the body is removed, does it affect development? I find this an interesting question because “how does it know?” Obviously this could be done with any experimental mammal such as mice to get the answer. Does anyone know if this has been done?

Luckily I'm not a developmental biologist, but reading this I feel pain on their behalf.


Bob, just remember that they laughed at Copernicus too.  Jerry is Copernicus.  This is what a scientific revolution looks like.

First we ignored the IDists, then we fought them, then we laughed at them, then we laughed at them some more, then we laughed at them even more.  Eventually they'll seem more pathetic than funny, and we'll ignore them again.

Date: 2007/10/14 16:32:26, Link
Author: N.Wells
From GPuccio, #7, at
Indeed, aren’t we beginning to get tired of such a strange group of scientists, all of them intelligent and brilliant people, who are suddenly realizing the deep flaws of darwinian evolution theory, and have the courage to declare that, and yet are quickly dismissing intelligent design “just because it is intelligent design”, without even considering it, or at least acknowledging that there are people in the world who have been saying the same things for years, before they did, reaching different conclusions?

What right have these people, so detailed and lucid in their critics to the existing paradigm, to desperately stick to new absurd proposals and reasonings, which make the same darwinian arguments they criticize look quite reasonable and simple in comparison, and yet simply ignore or self-sufficiently condemn the impeccable model of ID?

So you, the shapiros and koonins and fodors, please have a little bit more courage and honesty, and at least try to “address” and recognize the point of view of other scientists, like Dembski and Behe, who have been having more courage and honesty than you, before you, and have never tried any final, desperate evasion from truth.

Just for curiosity, I only hope that Fodor may be successful in convincing everybody that natural selection “isn’t” the driving force of evolution (which, obviously, is perfectly true: design is the only observable driving force of anything which could be called evolution). After all, NS, with all its faults, is certainly the smartest obfuscating tool among the many not so smart concepts of darwinism, and I really wonder what kind of gimmick could take its place, if it were dismissed by its same inventors. Which weapon will they be left with? Genetic drift? Hmm… I would not like to be in their shoes!

The ID model is not "impeccable".  It has ruled itself out of consideration nearly at the outset, by being based on rhetoric, false claims, and false evidence, rather than on verified evidence.  

Democritus suggested that matter was made of atoms, and so did John Dalton.  Democritus gets only a little credit because, although he was correct in arguing for atoms, he did so rhetorically and philosophically rather than on the basis of hard evidence.  Dalton gets more, even though he just postulated atoms as the easiest expanation for his observations, because he had some decent, if indirect, evidence.

Philospohizing about the nature of things gets you very little credit in science.  Philosophizing about evolution on the basis of the standard piss-poor understanding of biology shown by IDists gets you no credit at all.

Date: 2007/10/25 08:03:05, Link
Author: N.Wells
RB, that was wonderful.  Thanks.

(I particulary liked the Rodins.)

Date: 2007/10/27 11:00:35, Link
Author: N.Wells
About the concept of requiring potential research professors to pass pro-religion litmus tests before you can hire them:  
My experience is that such a test also diminishes a university’s ability to recruit and retain the finest research talent.

That just took the lead for the "Understatement of the Year" award.

Date: 2007/10/31 08:35:34, Link
Author: N.Wells
Re Dembski's test question: "What is intelligent design? How does it differ from creationism?"  

Here's my answer: Intelligent design is the idea that life is so complicated that it must have been designed by a supernatural designer, who presumably subsequently created it.  In contrast, creationism is the idea that life is so complicated that it must have been created by a supernatural creator, who presumably had previously designed those creations.  Cdesign proponentsists hold that in neither case are we able to know anything specific about the intentions or methods that lead to the origin of the biota.  This clearly shows how intelligent design and creationism are completely different.

Did I ace that question or what?

Date: 2007/11/01 20:29:03, Link
Author: N.Wells
Patrick simplifies Dembski's redefinition of irreducible complexity enough to make one of ID's core concepts irrelevant:

The concept of IC is that an IC system has no *functioning* precursors with the same function.

So what?  Fortunately for biology, evolutionary processes can shift features to new functions and different states.

Date: 2007/11/03 17:32:52, Link
Author: N.Wells
So, Dembski is a day late for his Friday nonsense-post, but nonetheless he posts an article by someone else, which quotes an anti-global-warming-science speech by James Inhofe.  He appears to be posting it approvingly, and thereby raises the hypocrisy level by an increment or two.  See

First, Dembski's thread title gets shirty about people directing propaganda against children ("Getting Hollywood to Sell the Product to Children"), as if that wasn't a key goal of ID.

Inhofe's speech says
We have witnessed Antarctic ice GROW to record levels since satellite monitoring began in the 1970’s.
 Antarctic ice regimes tend to be characterized by very limited accumulation and extremely limited melting / sublimation.  Rising temperatures increase absolute moisture content in the air and could thereby eassily cause a net annual increase in snow accumulation.

We have witnessed NASA temperature data errors that have made 1934 — not 1998 — the hottest year on record in the U.S.
 Minor corrections, and it is not as if ID is error -free, and unlike scientists, IDists tend not to admit their errors, but try to bluff their way out of trouble or shift the goalposts.

Hollywood activist Leonardo DiCaprio decided to toss objective scientific truth out the window in his new scarefest "The 11th Hour." DiCaprio refused to interview any scientists who disagreed with his dire vision of the future of the Earth.
 Shall we compare this to the objectivity of  'Expelled' or to any of the books by the leading IDiots, or to the tolerance that Dembski's blog shows for those who disagree?

It appears the alarmists are failing to convince adults to believe their increasingly shrill and scientifically unfounded rhetoric, so they have decided kids are an easier sell.
 That one applies far more to the ID movement.

But the message kids are receiving is not a scientific one, it is a political message designed to create fear, nervousness and ultimately recruit them

Same again.

Date: 2007/11/05 12:07:19, Link
Author: N.Wells
Carl Sachs, from  
If one defines “design,” as Dembski does, as “the set-theoretic complement of the disjunction regularity-or-chance,” then yes.

Under that definition, everything that is neither ascribable to regularity or to chance must be a result of design.

Therefore, arguments against NDT (neo-Darwinian theory) are arguments in favor of design theory.

IDists insist that ID and creationism are different.  However, creationists also used to present arguments against evolution (many of the same arguments that you will hear from IDists).  If all arguments against evolution are arguments for ID, then doesn't that mean that ID is the same as creationism?  (Or Carl Sachs could be full of crap.  Or both.  I prefer 'Both'.)

Date: 2007/11/07 19:19:21, Link
Author: N.Wells
You also mentioned duplication as a source for falsifying Genetic Entropy…Yet if I repeat this sentence,,,Yet if I repeat this sentence… Yet if I repeat this sentence…Yet if I repeat this sentence,,,Have I really increased effective information of what I wrote or have I really just wasted your time and energy with needless repetitions…

You are refuted thusly: "Do we suppose that all she knows is that a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose?"

Bulhoes & de Oliveira, Come to the Tardi Gras
Hank Williams: I'm so tard of it all
Irving Berlin, Give me your tard, you poor befuddled asses

Date: 2007/11/07 19:37:34, Link
Author: N.Wells
From Densye (turn down your irony meters):
The part that intrigued me was NOVA Senior Executive Producer Paula S. Apsell’s comment: “Evolution is one of the most essential and least understood of all scientific theories, the foundation of biological science.”

What on earth does she mean?

Date: 2007/11/09 11:49:22, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Richardthughes @ Nov. 08 2007,12:49)




1:46 pm
Wow, bornagain77. You can really write. The administrators here really ought to give you posting priveleges.

It is worth noting that Nochange was complimenting BA77 on a gigantic lump of turgid verbiage that included the following:
5. Materialism predicted that complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Yet statistical analysis of the many required parameters that enable complex life to be possible on earth reveals that the earth is extremely unique in its ability to support complex life in this universe. Theism would have expected the earth to be extremely unique in this universe in its ability to support complex life.

Are we perhaps seeing what long-term exposure to Denyse's writing can do to people's standards?

Date: 2007/11/10 16:03:41, Link
Author: N.Wells
Reciprocating Bill, thanks for digging up the quote by Mark Oppenheimer on Hitchens' God is Not Great

"an intellectually shoddy and factually inaccurate rush-job, written with blithe ignorance of what his antagonists actually believe"

That's a characterization that can also apply very well to nearly everything that appears either on the UD website or under the Disco Institute imprimatur.

Date: 2007/11/11 08:21:36, Link
Author: N.Wells
Don't use any cereal box with the word "flakes" in the name: when pointed at UD, harmonic resonance can build up and cause a burn out.

Date: 2007/11/11 20:00:54, Link
Author: N.Wells
From BornAgain77, as noted by RTH
For me to even discuss such high level matters on the web is extremely humorous to the highest degree, for I was a homeless alcoholic for over 12 years, before I managed, with a lot of help from the Lord, to turn my life around. What is extremely funny is that even though, I should not be able to so easily refute such high level critics of ID, I do so (albeit as you have pointed out, rather clumsily) with relative ease.

It's nice that he turned his life around, which can't have been easy, but that bit of biography certainly explains a few things.

Date: 2007/11/12 13:19:38, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Lou FCD @ Nov. 12 2007,10:29)
Anyone else disappointed with Billy D's latest installment of the Weekly Friday Major Embarrassment?

Oh no, Mr. Bill - not another website.  Anything but that - we're quailing before your onslaught of websites.

What is with these guys and their penchant for multiple useless websites?

From Overwhelming Evidence,    

# Read It Again:   2 weeks 4 days ago

# Pat I don't think your:  2 weeks 5 days ago

# What is the difference:   2 weeks 5 days ago

# Divergence Calculations:  2 weeks 5 days ago

# ID Mechanisms:  2 weeks 5 days ago

# First off, ID does not:  2 weeks 5 days ago

# So common descent between:  2 weeks 5 days ago

# Old Data On Chimp-Human Differences:  2 weeks 5 days ago

# That's not bad considering:  2 weeks 6 days ago

# DNA changes should be obvious:  2 weeks 6 days ago

Mindful Hack: numbers of comments on things posted since Friday November 2nd: 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 3, 0, 1, 1

Date: 2007/11/13 22:00:18, Link
Author: N.Wells
It's probably worth quoting the post by Dembski to which Bill was responding:
Life After Dover
William Dembski

Before the Dover trial concludes, I want to offer some remarks about what I take will be its long-term significance. I want to do this now so that critics won’t be in a position to accuse me of spinning or rationalizing the outcome of the trial once it is reached (of course, they’ll still find fault, but that’s par for the course).

As I see it, there are three possible outcomes:

  1. The Dover policy, in which students are informed that the ID textbook Of Pandas and People is in their library, is upheld.
  2. The Dover policy is overturned but the scientific status of ID is left unchallenged.
  3. The Dover policy is not only overturned but ID is ruled as nonscientific.

For what it’s worth, my subjective probabilities are that outcome 1. has about a 20% probability, outcome 2. has about an 70% probability, and outcome 3. has less than a 10% probability. (Part of what prompts these numbers is that the ACLU is completely outmanning the Thomas More Law Center, which is defending the Dover policy. When I was an expert witness in the case, TMLC had one full-time person on the case and two or three part-timers. The ACLU, by contrast, had at least twelve full-timers on the case.)

Of course, I regard 1. as the best outcome for ID. That’s not to say I think the Dover policy is particularly astute. Indeed, that’s why the ACLU has come to this case both guns blazing, namely, because the policy is less than optimally formulated and they hope that they can take down not only the policy but also ID with it (their model is what happened to creationism in Edwards v. Aguillard in the 80s).

Fortunately, ID is in a much stronger position scientifically than creationism, so the ACLU faces a much tougher opponent than back then (go, for instance, here and here). Unfortunately, members of the Dover school board have, through their actions, conflated ID with an apparent religious agenda. For instance, it doesn’t help the ID side that William Buckingham, then a member of the Dover school board, in trying to get the Dover policy adopted, remarked: “Two thousand years ago somebody died on the cross, can’t somebody stand up for him?” (Go here.)

If the policy is upheld, it will embolden school boards, legislators, and grass roots organizations to push for intelligent design in the public school science curriculum. As a consequence, this case really could be a Waterloo for the other side.

But will outcome 2. or 3. constitute a Waterloo for ID? Outcome 2. certainly won’t. It may make policy makers more cautious about how they incorporate ID into educational policy. But it certainly won’t stop them, especially with Santorum language in the Federal Government’s education policy (go here).

That leaves outcome 3. Although I would hate to see this happen, mainly because of all the young people who would continue to be indoctrinated into a neo-Darwinian view of biological origins, this would hardly spell the end of ID. For one thing, ID is rapidly going international and crossing metaphysical and theological boundaries. The idea that ID is purely an “American thing” can no longer be sustained. Interest is growing internationally and it will continue to grow regardless of the outcome of the trial. Also, ID is of great interest to college and graduate students, so these ideas will continue to be discussed.

But the most important thing to understand about this case is that the significance of a court case depends not merely on the judge’s decision but also on the cultural forces that serve as the backdrop against which the decision is made. Take the Scopes Trial. In most persons minds, it represents a decisive victory for evolution. And yet, in the actual trial, the decision went against Scopes (he was convicted of violating a Tennessee statute against teaching evolutionary theory).

Thus, unlike outcome 1., which would be a Waterloo for the other side, I don’t see outcome 3. as anything like a Waterloo for our side. It would make life in the short-term more difficult, and it certainly would not be pleasant to have to endure the gloating by the other side, but the work of ID would continue. In fact, it might continue more effectively than under outcome 1., which might convince people that ID has already won the day when in fact ID still has a long way to go in developing its scientific and intellectual program.

To sum up, we might say that outcome 1. would be a recipe for complacency, outcome 2. would encourage us to take greater care and try again, and option 3. would inspire us to work that much harder for ID’s ultimate success. I trust that Providence will bring about the outcome that will best foster ID’s ultimate success. The important thing is ID’s intellectual vitality.

Whether favor or adversity is, at least for now, the best tonic for ID’s intellectual vitality remains to be seen.

It's clear that the outcome was Dembski's #3.  It is not clear that ID has continued to grow, and the only metaphysical boundaries that it has been crossing lately are ones associated with ethics and unwitting comedy.  It is more clear than ever that "ID still has a long way to go in developing its scientific and intellectual program."  

Science has continued to make nifty new discoveries since Dover, as it would have done no matter what legal judgement was reached.  ID has produced approximately nothing (a few more bogus arguments from Behe, and nothing of substance from Dembski, except for a flap over cafeteria access at Baylor).  Moreover, that's probably just about all the cdesign proponentsists would have produced if they had won in Pennsylvania.

And, yes, the producers did a great job with that program.  Way to go, PBS!

Date: 2007/11/13 22:05:01, Link
Author: N.Wells
Well, they'd likely have looked even worse if they had responded.

Date: 2007/11/15 12:43:43, Link
Author: N.Wells
Casey Luskin refines his whining about Judgement Day, at

Paula Apsell’s Lessons Not Learned from the History of Science

Paula Apsell was the executive producer of PBS/NOVA’s “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design” documentary, which tries to inaccurately paint ID as a creationist idea that has been refuted by science. But in fact, a few years ago Ms. Apsell produced a different NOVA documentary entitled “Mystery of the Megaflood.”

For a geologist like me, it’s a fascinating tale about how mainstream geologists took decades to accept that the view giant post-glacial flood was responsible for much of the bizarre geological features found in eastern Washington. According to Apsell’s “Megaflood” documentary, a geologist in the early 1900s named J. Harlen Bretz proposed a catastrophic local flood theory to explain this geology.

Bretz was ridiculed by his contemporary geologists because his ideas reminded them of a creationist Biblical global flood. The documentary says that Bretz challenged the “orthodox view” and was labeled as promoting creationist “heresy” that “defied all scientific convention.” Of course, Bretz’s theory was not a creationist explanation. He did not propose a global flood—he simply proposed that a localized post-glacial flood in eastern Washington caused the geological features he observed. But his critics used the “creationist” label to oppose his views as unacceptable. That is, until the evidence won out.

About 100 years later, Bretz’s view has been vindicated and because the evidence won out over false accusations that he was promoting creationism. Does this story sound familiar? Paula Apsell’s “Judgment Day” documentary does to ID precisely what Bretz’s contemporaries did to him: it tries to marginalize ID with false claims that it is creationism and makes fallacious claims that ID has been scientifically refuted. Emboldened by the misguided opinion of one federal judge, Apsell labels ID as creationist “heresy.”

Perhaps Apsell should review her own “Megaflood” documentary and take a lesson from history: 100 years from now, after ID’s scientific revolution is complete, Paula Apsell’s “Judgment Day” documentary may be shown in high school science classrooms studying ID to warn students not to wrongly label powerful scientific ideas as “creationist heresy” simply because they challenge the orthodox scientific view.

Casey might find it instructive to pursue this comparison just a little farther to learn the lessons from the J Harlan Bretz affair (that's J no period Harlan Bretz).  In 1923, when Bretz first published, geologists had spent the previous hundred years and more crawling out from under the wreckage of bible-based geology, and thus had excessive aversion to anything that hinted even slightly of gigantic floods and other biblical megacatastrophes.  It is true that most geologists' aversion was excessive, and blinded them to Bretz's correct interpretation of the channeled scablands.

However, here is where the story becomes instructive for ID and points them up as being ignorant in the ways of science and uninterested in research.

In 1927, a huge discussion about the Channeled Scablands was arranged at the Geologiical Society of America.  Most people disagreed with Bretz.  Following that, Bretz (and a USGS colleague, J.T. Pardee) continued working in the Channeled Scablands, collecting data to make their case.  In the late 60's enough convincing evidence had been found  that Bretz's interpretation became accepted.  In 1979 (two years before he died), the Geological Society of America awarded Bretz its Penrose Medal, which is at worst one of the top two awards in Geology (we don't have Nobel prizes in our field, but the Geological Society of London offers an more or less equally prestigious award.)

So the take-home message is that if the scientific mainstream rejects your ideas unfairly, you should go out and do the research and obtain the evidence that will convince them.

It is additionally worth pointing out that in the 1920's Bretz's evidence was not as convincing as it was later, and did not fit comfortably into the knowledge base of the time concerning ice age events in the Pacific Northwest (some advances in the 1950's and 1960's made Bretz's story much more plausible).  Most notably, Bretz did not launch a nationwide crusade to have his ideas taught in high school classes.  He never called on processes for which there was absolutely no evidence, and he insisted on evidence-based discussion.  As far as I recall from his papers, he never once misrepresented the arguments of the opposing side.

Also, geologists were worried that Bretz's ideas were Catastrophist, not Creationist.

Date: 2007/11/17 10:25:17, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (JMax @ Nov. 16 2007,20:36)
I didn't see this mentioned but on the front page of the lariat there was this article:

BU had role in Dembski return
Nov. 16, 2007


Marks said:    
"Before the LifeWorks gift is expended, I plan to attract additional funds for Dr. Dembski's support. Ultimately I would like to raise sufficient soft money for a perpetually endowed position so that Dr. Dembski could, if he so chose, join my group full time. He has not agreed to do so."

"For Baylor to stop me in this way was hindering Bob's research," Dembski said. "I was skeptical at first about returning to Baylor, but I mean, this was coming under a grant that Bob had, and I was basically employed by him."

Dembski said he at least had a safety net of another full-time job. Dembski is a research professor of philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.

So this whole scheme amounted to getting the camel's nose in the tent, paving Dembski's full-time return to the Baylor cafeteria.  This meant enough to him that he's willing to reverse his career into a post-doc.  (Is the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary so bad that Michael Medved does want to hang out with someone on its faculty?)

On the same day, Marks wrote an e-mail to O'Brien and others saying: "Our collaboration (Marks and Dembski's) was stealth until others made it visible."

Fogleman said the grant "was a research proposal that did not go through the proper academic channels."

"This grant was actually a gift to the university that went through university development," Fogleman said. "It did not go through the academic side of the house and follow that standard procedure of external funding evaluation - department chair, Office of Sponsored Programs, dean and provost."


Despite comments made by Marks that his collaboration with Dembski was "stealth," Dembski said his association at Baylor wasn't hidden.

"I have ... a file of a letter that Lilley signed off on basically thanking the foundation and all of the paperwork that went through," Dembski said, adding, "If he didn't look it over it closely enough, well, OK, whose fault is that?"

Fogleman said the president receives large amounts of paperwork to sign, and "once anything reaches the president's desk, he is trusting that the processes in place have been properly vetted at that point."

But the LifeWorks grant, which she said "circumvented the standard funding evaluation programs," could have "been vetted completely differently if it had gone through the academic side."

So Baylor had an effective design filter in operation, but Marks and Dembski schemed to create a false negative.

In any normal proposal, Dembski would have been a co-P.I. (a named principal collaborator), or a 'Senior Personnel', or a "Collaborating Scientist".  Hiding him away as a post-doc  was evidently intended to sneak him in under the radar.  It is additionally worth noting that Marks gets considerably less institutional credit for a non-vetted donation than for a competitive academic grant.

Dembski said when his position was terminated, Kelley was "the only person (he) dealt with really."

"I met with him when he indicated that there might be some problems with my position, and I met with him and Marks at 7 a.m. on a Monday morning about five or six days before I was terminated," Dembski said.

"(Kelley) indicated that he thought my mathematics was good, but he didn't really follow it all. He basically said, 'I have to do what's best for engineering. This could affect funding,' but he kind of left it hanging as if I was a liability to the engineering school."

Ye gods.  Dembski gets hauled in to the dean's office at 7AM Monday (which sort of suggests that the dean considers removing Dembski to be the priority-one business for the week), and the dean says that removing Dembski is best for the School of Engineering, yet Dembski is unclear as to whether he's viewed as a liability?  

It is also of interest that the dean of an engineering school says that he can't follow Dembski's math.  This provides additional confirmation that Dembski writes his math to be as obscure and impenetrable as possible in order to impress and intimidate his readers, rather than to provide clear arguments to persuade them of the validity of his points.

Dembski: as clueless about academia as he is about biology.

Date: 2007/11/19 12:37:47, Link
Author: N.Wells
I'm having difficulty telling troll from troglodyte over at UD, but the whole idea of the DI adding Michael Medved as a senior fellow is just bowling me over with the giggles.  If we have another court case over ID, Medved abslutely has to be called as a witness by the pro-science side.  

We already know that the ID side consists of people who deny reality in favor of their cherished beliefs, but it is wonderful to see them so openly embrace yet another side of unreality-based lunacy.

Date: 2007/11/22 08:36:22, Link
Author: N.Wells
Until recently, we had to read the ID literature in order to argue about it.  One gift from the Dover court case is that we can argue more forcefully than before that evolution-deniers should simply be ignored, because they do not merit serious consideration (any more than, say, holocaust deniers).  People do not need to bother to buy and read their new books, because the court case showed that the whole field is not valid science, and is just religious-based wishful thinking, warmed over and slightly reworked creationism, notwithstanding their claims to the contrary.

(Yes, this is not news, and we will read their books and laugh over them anyway, but the public stance can be "they already had their day in court, and they lost resoundingly.")

Date: 2007/11/23 10:11:06, Link
Author: N.Wells
From PaV at
We had a discussion here sometime back about Haldane’s dilemna; that is, the number of offspring that must ‘die’ in order to have a new allele (variant of a gene) become fixed in the species. I noted then that the beak size—if considered an allele that becomes fixed in the population—was changing too fast for it to be explained via population genetics, since the mutation rate needed for the allele to change as quickly as it had would require enormous amounts of the finches to die each year (which, it is safe to assume, would have been duly noted by biologists [and probably attributed to global warming!]).

I agree that this swaying back and forth, or marching up and down, is beak size bespeaks a design for needed variation in a particular population experiencing changing environmental conditions.

by 2003, their numbers had swelled to about 350, and a drought that year set the stage for stiff food competition. In 2004, there were about 150 large ground finches and about 235 medium ground finches, and the birds soon exhausted the supply of large seeds. The death toll was severe: About 152 medium ground finches died, as did 137 large ground finches. Among the medium ground finches, the ones that had the largest bills were the worst off; only about 13% of them survived.
 Response to the 1977 drought was different in direction, but equally lethal in result.  Peter Grant has also documented some size increases resulting from hybridization.
(From;313/5784/156 .)
So it was noticed, and it was not attributed to global warming.  Not that PaV is going to abandon his pet delusions, however.

Date: 2007/11/23 13:37:01, Link
Author: N.Wells
6:19 am


You know an idea is in trouble though when you can’t tell the spoof from the genuine article.

2 June 2007
Are there any anti-ID writings that the Panda’s Thumb won’t endorse?
William Dembski

Mark Chu-Carroll* goes after Behe’s new book here. Judge for yourself whether this deserves to be called a review (Chu-Carroll thinks it does). Nick Matzke endorses Chu-Carroll’s blog post against Behe here. Are there any anti-ID writings, no matter how ill-conceived or mean-spirited, that PT won’t endorse? It might be an interesting exercise to attempt a Sokal-style hoax to see what exactly PT is prepared to believe about ID. I herewith offer a prize, worth up to $200, to anyone who can pull this off and afterward reveal that it was all a hoax (the precise amount to be determined by how cleverly it is pulled off).

With the recent round of sockpuppetry, and the difficulty of telling it from the regular UD tripe, there's little left to say to the UD community except:
Pot, Kettle; Shoe, Other foot; Eye, Beam; Ass, Both hands.

Date: 2007/11/24 15:19:01, Link
Author: N.Wells
Denyse's post is simply insane projection.  Everything that she says does not apply to scientists, but does apply very well to herself and her cdesign proponentsist colleagues.  
Added in edit (to avoid more of the confusion I caused someone later in the thread): - The numbers were added by me for subsequent reference.
For the materialist, the PURPOSE of science is to show that high levels of information can be created without intelligence. [1]

Therefore, in looking for causes of events, the materialist accepts ONLY a solution that shows that high levels of information can come from random assembly (= without intelligence).[2]

He has not shown that high levels of information can be created without intelligence. He assumes that his assertion is true and looks for evidence to support it. [3]

Discoveries that disconfirm his initial belief are not treated as evidence. [4]

Keep looking, he says, keep looking … that magic information mill has GOT to be somewhere!

What if random assembly is not in fact the answer? Then either

1. No solution is found (because there never was any solution in the direction in which he is looking)


2. An inadequate solution is patched together and defended as the best available solution - usually that means that claims for the solution are overstated wildly to the public. [5]

But it is the materialist scientist’s duty to keep looking for the magic mill even if the fact that random assembly did not occur is overwhelmingly obvious. [6]

And he displays his virtue to his peers by never questioning the system and by showing hostility and contempt for anyone who does question it.  [7]

Given his initial convictions, the materialist cannot believe that a non-materialist is actually doing science. He cannot envision any approach to the fact base that does not have as its base an effort to show that the information was created randomly.

1. No that is not the purpose of science.  In contrast, most IDists are out to save fundamentalist christianity.

2.  Let's try a little thought experiment.  Someone investigating a primitive genome finds a coded section that, translated, says, "Made to glorify the Five Godesses, for the Dominion, by Argu5, Betelgeuse 4, dated 158723.44".  Who's going to accept and incorporate that information most easily - scientists or IDists?

3.  !!!!!!  Who is making assertions and stating beliefs with not one piece of evidence in sight?  Not the scientists.

4.  So why is the modern theory of evolution so vastly different from what Darwin first proposed, whereas IDists are still pushing failed creationist arguments?

5.  See "Dover (Waterloo)"

6.  Our duty?  Sure.    
“Father’s [Sun Myung Moon’s] words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle.” –Jonathan Wells, Darwinism: Why I Went for a Second Ph.D.

7.  She says, posting on the internet's Bannination Central.

She follows up these gems with the following:

The materialists have been trained to think a certain way and do not have the creativity to think in any other way. They are not asking themselves questions like, do I dare to differ? It just wouldn’t occur to them to evaluate independently a simple question like whether materialism is ceasing to provide answers because it has reached the limit of its usefulness or whether a reasonable person - faced with the current apparent design of life - should propose materialist hypotheses today.

I suspect that, in most jobs in science, creativity is not rewarded but deference to the status quo is.

When easy rewards come from barking in unison, a person must have had an unusual experience if he is going to stop barking and start thinking.

Her ignorance of the world of science and how it works is deep and broad, and very nearly total. Fundamentalist belief must provide great practice in confidently making assertions where one has neither expertise nor evidence supporting one's positions, because she's just inventing this stuff out of thin air.

Date: 2007/11/27 12:06:33, Link
Author: N.Wells
26 November 2007
Vestigial organs, anyone? The humble appendix begs to differ

Despite its name - which means “hanger on” - the human appendix works for a living, according to recent research (helping kill germs).

As British physicist David Tyler notes, despite the claim of evolutionary biologists from Darwin to the present day that the appendix is junk left over from evolution, the appendix actually has a function - and the current crop of evolutionary biologists try hard to avoid acknowledging that they were wrong about that.

He comments,

   It might be hoped that Darwinian evolutionary biologists would acknowledge that errors have been made; that Darwin’s claim for the appendix being useless was a claim made from ignorance rather than knowledge; that their theory had coloured their understanding of the data; etc. But no - what we get is this response to the new research: “The idea “seems by far the most likely” explanation for the function of the appendix, said Brandeis University biochemistry professor Douglas Theobald. “It makes evolutionary sense.”In other words, whatever turns out to be the case, their theory got it right, even though their theory got it completely wrong. Or, as Tyler puts it

   It should be remembered that functionality was the prediction of biologists with a creation or design mentality, and it was not the prediction of evolutionary biologists. On this occasion, the people with a design perspective were right and the Darwinians were wrong. Let’s remember this next time we hear creation or ID being decried as being unable to make any scientific predictions!

But who said science predictions had to be correct? All they have to be is … made by convinced Darwinists!

They are somewhat like a Gucci label, I guess. They confer or withhold status, NOT useful information about the design of life.

So Denyse still doesn't get the significance of "vestige".  (To be fair, biologists haven't always got it right either, which is why biologists have taken pains to emphasize the importance of talking about vestigial functions rather than vestigial organs.)  A vestige is a trace, not an absence, and it falls on a spectrum from 100% presence and full functionality to 0% functionality and 100% loss.  Some externally dangling human tails are atavistic (throwbacks), too rare to be typically considered vestigial, but they are merely near the 100% loss end of the spectrum.  Yes we still have and use a coccyx (the "sit-upon" made out of a few, shrunken, fused tail vertebrae), but the muscles that used to wag the old tail have certainly completely lost their original function.  The ear-waggling muscles seem to be headed in that direction as well, as only a few people can wiggle their ears, thereby ear-marking that function as vestigial.  Likewise, the appendix in humans no longer serves its original function of helping to digest leaves, and it is a shrunken remnant (or vestige) of its former glorious self, so it too is indeed an example of a vestigial function.

A truly vestigial organ is one that is only present in some members of a species, thereby certifying its uselessness.  Legs in some dolphins would be an example. Likewise, wisdom teeth are not present in all people.  

So, Denyse is attacking a strawman, not modern biology.  

(Dave557 sets her straight, and for some reason has not yet been banned.)

(Although David Tyler has a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. in Physics,
describing him as a physicist is a bit rich too: )

GilDodgen chimes in with additional cluelessness:


1:22 am

Even if certain organs were genuinely vestigial, they would be evidence of devolution, or decay, not evolution, or progress. Where are the emergent/incipient organs, which should be ubiquitous in all living things if Darwinian gradualism is the case?

Well, how about the human brain, which is certainly rapidly expanding and changing relative to other animal brains?  Gil's problems are failure to appreciate time scales and failure to appreciate the necessity of hindsight.  Without seeing what peculiarities lead to in evolutionary history, Gil is dismissing newly emergent features as peculiarities rather than seeing them as potential progenitors.  Examples of creatures doing new-to-them wierd things are gliding squirrels, tree kangaroos, seahorses, frogmouth fish, all the odd plant groups that have produced a new tree-form species on remote islands, and so forth

Date: 2007/12/01 11:19:22, Link
Author: N.Wells
I wonder what the chances are of the good Dr. Dr. not getting reappointed at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

His current CV is at  . He's been at SWBTS for a little over a year now, as a Research Professor. Nontenured people at universities typically undergo annual reviews and reappointments.  I have no idea whether SWBTS folllows the standard academic model, but their offering the title of "Research Professor" suggests that they do. Usually, reappointment files are submitted early in the fall semester, and a succession of committees evaluate the files through the fall and maybe into January.  Reappointments usually get done first, then tenure and promotions.  The SWBTS School of Theology has about 41 professors (according to ), so they might get through the work in time for announcements prior to Christmas.

The lack of progress of ID as anything other than bad rhetoric that flies in the face of the evidence may be disappointing, but otherwise I suspect that ID would fit right in at SWBTS, given that their faculty are listed as professors of Old Testament, New Testament, Church History, Preaching. Pastoral Counseling, Archaeology And Biblical Backgrounds, Ethics, and Modern Languages, etc.  By the same token, they are also likely to be well used to nontraditional professional 'accomplishments'.  However, regardless of how sympathetic they are to ID, there have to be a lot of administrators and probably more than a few faculty who are offended by Dembski's posting of the Baylor regents' home phone numbers, his fake/spoof letter from Baylor's president, and his chasing after a post-doc at Baylor (which, if he wasn't careful, might have contravened 'double dipping' or 'outside income' clauses in his contract).

It seems to me that some of those hijinks (and the Judge Jones animation) fall on the wrong side of the line that SWBTS sets for itself and its faculty: From , SWBTS is oriented toward training students for ministry.    
We believe the basis of true leadership is character. We are consecrated to a life of spiritual growth and moral integrity. Christian values such as obedience, faithfulness, perseverance, service, and humility are shared and modeled by faculty, staff, and students.
We pledge to maintain a teaching faculty who carry forward this mission with academic and theological integrity.

For context for the latter, here's the full declaration:  
We stand together then in:

   * Affirming biblical authority
   * Maintaining the highest of academic standards
   * Living out the commitment to global evangelization and missions
   * Stressing the preeminence of biblical exposition for all ministry
   * Nurturing pastoral hearts to lead God's people in effective service
   * Building a community of worship, faith and learning

To underscore our commitments and priorities, we make the following affirmations and denials pertaining specifically to how we understand our mandate from the Lord and our common denominational confession.

We affirm the necessity of aligning ourselves with the enduring beliefs of Christian orthodoxy, the faith once and for all delivered to the church.
We deny that distinctly Christian theological education and spiritual formation take place outside of such an alliance.

We affirm that the Bible is the inerrant, trustworthy, and sufficient authority in all that it affirms.
We affirm that the Bible is the supreme starting point in the pursuit of all wisdom and knowledge.
We deny that this theological confession forecloses on appropriate intellectual and theological inquiry.
We deny that Bible-based education results in intellectually inferior learning.

We affirm the authority of God's word, written as Scripture and incarnate as Jesus Christ.
We deny a difference between the authority of Scripture and Jesus Christ and we reject any attempt to set in opposition Christ, the living word, and the Bible, the written word.

We affirm that the ultimate subject of theological education is knowing God by submitting to his revelation, the Scriptures, by faith which demands the most careful scrutiny.
We deny the unbridled modern confidence in reason or experience apart from or in place of divine revelation.

We affirm that the Bible is the word of God and speaks with relevance and authority to every generation and culture.
We deny that the Bible's message is muted or irrelevant for contemporary culture.

We affirm that the goal of theological education is to live Christianly.
We deny that sound theology can be divorced from healthy Christian living.

We affirm that theological education is best pursued within the community of faith where worship, encouragement, and accountability are regular practices.
We affirm the Spirit giftedness and significance of everyone within the community of faith. All Christians have a ministry given by Christ which should be exercised.
We deny that individualism is conducive to sound theological education or Christian living.

We affirm that the Lord has appointed the pastoral office to men, and we affirm that the Lord has appointed many ministry positions to women.
We deny that the biblical limitations of the pastoral office to men were culturally limited and that role distinctions are no longer valid.

We affirm that the pastor is called to shepherd the local church entrusted to him by God.
We deny that pastoral authority should be exercised in an autocratic manner.

Unlike a university, as a theological seminary, we engage in a specific educational focus, namely theological education. The Lord has called us to the ministry of teaching. Our convention has joined together to support this teaching in preparation for ministerial service in the churches and on mission fields at home and abroad. All of our educational concerns, programs, and pursuits in some way or another revolve around this foundational purpose.

Our mandate is set. Our confessional framework has been articulated. Academic and theological integrity demands that we be faithful stewards of our task.

We pledge to maintain a teaching faculty who carry forward this mission with academic and theological integrity.

We pledge to equip Christian leaders to evangelize the lost world and disciple the nations in faith and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

We pledge to practice biblical exposition as the primary means of communicating the word of God in preaching, education, counseling, and discipling in every way.

We pledge to serve local churches in all facets of personal and academic life and ministry.

May God grant us his grace and wisdom and the moral courage to be faithful to him by obeying his word.

Date: 2007/12/01 15:56:57, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Tom Ames @ Dec. 01 2007,12:10)
Quote (N.Wells @ Dec. 01 2007,09:19)
I wonder what the chances are of the good Dr. Dr. not getting reappointed at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

I don't think we can know anything about WAD's situation from what the school says it believes. There are all kinds of behind-the-scenes maneuverings that could be going on. The DI could have kicked a big chunk of change their way and SBTSBBQ might not want to give that up, for example. Or Ahmanson could be on the board.

Also, I suspect that Liberty and Oral Roberts Universities have similar statements that make it sound like they have a commitment to some kind of an ethical standard.

I'm sure you are right, but I couldn't resist speculating about a bunch of religious moralists potentially making compromises and falling short of their own standards.

FWIW, speaking about the standards of Oral Roberts University, ORU says:

Oral Roberts University is a charismatic university, founded in the fires of evangelism and upon the unchanging precepts of the Bible. The University was founded as a result of the evangelist Oral Roberts’ obeying God’s mandate to build a university on God’s authority and the Holy Spirit. God’s commission to Oral Roberts was to “Raise up your students to hear My voice, to go where My light is dim, where My voice is heard small, and My healing power is not known, even to the uttermost bounds of the earth. Their work will exceed yours, and in this I am well pleased.”


The mission of Oral Roberts University – in its commitment to the Christian faith – is to educate the whole person in spirit, mind, and body, thereby preparing its graduates to be professionally competent servant-leaders who are spiritually alive, intellectually alert, physically disciplined, and socially adept. The University seeks to synthesize the best practices of liberal arts, professional, and graduate education with a charismatic emphasis to enable students to go into every person’s world with God’s message of salvation and healing for the totality of human need.


Christian Distinctiveness

We are a God-centered university that upholds a Christian worldview with a charismatic emphasis. We endeavor to live in the power of the Holy Spirit, and to become service-oriented leaders who go into every person’s world with healing for the totality of human need.

Whole-Person Education

We seek to develop the whole person in spirit, mind, and body, thereby preparing ourselves and our students to be professionally competent leaders who are spiritually alive, intellectually alert, physically disciplined, and socially adept.

Excellence with Integrity

We strive to operate with, and instill in our students, excellence with integrity in all personal, academic, professional, and corporate endeavors.

Caring Community

We are dedicated to providing a safe, caring, and Godly environment which encourages unity in diversity. We believe that all people have been created in the image of God and deserve to be respected.

Perhaps that's why they dumped 'Oral Jr' for alleged misdeeds along the lines of
lavish spending at a time when the university faced more than $50 million in debt, including taking shopping sprees, buying a stable of horses and paying for a daughter to travel to the Bahamas aboard the university jet.

But up until that point, all that "excellence with integrity" stuff was clearly more a case of 'do as we say, not as we do.'  And right after all that (and the rumors about his wife's misbehavior), an Oklahoma businessman named Mart Green stepped forward with a potential $70 million gift to ORU!

Date: 2007/12/05 17:56:09, Link
Author: N.Wells
And meanwhile, over at Overwhelming Evidence

# "Though we know little about
2 weeks 5 days ago

# Easter Eggs?
2 weeks 5 days ago

# A thought about Primates - Human or Otherwise
2 weeks 5 days ago

# ID for schools
2 weeks 6 days ago

# Read It Again
5 weeks 6 days ago

# Pat I don't think your
6 weeks 5 hours ago

# What is the difference
6 weeks 12 hours ago

Date: 2007/12/07 11:19:09, Link
Author: N.Wells
My 2 cents: you can't write a legitimate book review without viewing the book.  

You can legitimately write a comment saying 'I'm not going to bother with this book, because the ID movement had its day in court in Dover, and they lost, so I'm moving on.'  You could equally well claim that you have read all their earlier stuff, and that so far it has nearly all been all a trite rehash of a few fundamentally flawed arguments, so you aren't going to read any more of their books unless someone convinces you that the IDists have got some significant new evidence or new arguments that might merit your attention.

However, as long as the Poofists keep writing books, someone will need to thrash out the arguments and counterarguments point by point, lest the public get the impression that they finally came up with some arguments that we couldn't answer.  Those will be the reviews that really need to be posted.

Date: 2007/12/12 10:16:16, Link
Author: N.Wells
Although planets with life should betray themselves by having atmospheres that are not at chemical equilibrium, for the foreseeable future we may need to visit planets in person to rule out the presence of life in the past.  It is certainly possible for a robot explorer to find a fossil by accident or for someone to use a remotely controlled rover of some sort to search through a pile of scree, but humans can turn over rocks and split them and recognize likely fossils quickly and easily, whereas autonomous robots seem unlikely to be able to do a good job of prospecting for fossils until we have true human-level artificial intelligence.

Date: 2007/12/14 17:56:52, Link
Author: N.Wells
Dembski: The Designer is God.

Oooh, I am so hoping some neo-creationist launches another court case.

Date: 2007/12/21 18:46:24, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (JohnW @ Dec. 21 2007,16:38)
I've got half a mind to enter.

Sorry, that makes you overqualified.

Date: 2008/01/04 12:37:41, Link
Author: N.Wells
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. -Admin]

Quote (Ftk @ Jan. 04 2008,09:49)
Oh, btw, you guys be sure to read all of the comments in the Sal thread at PZ's Palace.  That is the most hilarious thread I've ever read.  Last time I checked in they were discussing whether it was legal or moral to marry a dildo...they were serious.


What a cesspool...

For the record, let me state my strong support for swivel unions.

Date: 2008/01/05 09:38:09, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Jan. 05 2008,07:16)
On the thread I just linked to Kariosfocus says
there are probably fewer claimed transitinal forms today than there were in Darwin’s day

Typo in original.

Did somebody say this guy teaches for a living?

Publication of “On The Origin of Species”, 1859

Famous transitional fossils and date of discovery:
Reptile to Bird:
  Archaeopteryx, 1862 (a flying maniraptoran dinosaur with feathers)
Fish to Amphibian:
  Tiktaalik, 2006; Ichthyostega, 1932; Acanthostega, 1933  
  (T. with hand-bones i.e. metacarpals; I. & A.: with fingers)
Reptile to Mammal:
  Diarthrognathus, 1958; Morganucodon, 1949;  (mammalian & reptilian jaw articulation)
From standard diapsid reptiles to dinosaurs:
   Lagosuchus/Marasuchus, 1972; & Eoraptor, 1993
From land animals to whales:
   Pakicetus, 1983; Ambulocetus, 1996
Early horses:
   Hyracotherium (“eohippus”), 1876; Orohippus, 1873; Mesohippus, 1875
Sea cows with legs: Pezosiren, 2001
Very primitive ceratopsian dinosaurs:
   Yinlong, 2006; Choayangsaurus, 1999;
   Psittacosaurus, 1923; Liaoceratops, 2002;
   Protoceratops, 1923

Number of major transitional species known in Darwin's day: 0
   (but varying a bit depending on how you define "major", "transitional", and "in Darwin's day")
Number discovered since: All the rest.

Conclusion: he's full of crap, again.
Why aren't these guys ashamed at how they so confidently make assertions that are so profoundly wrong?

Date: 2008/01/05 10:23:21, Link
Author: N.Wells
9:43 am

2- Intelligent Design is NOT Creation. Anyone who conflates the two is as ignorant as a rock.

5- No IDist or Creationist argues that some biological features are so complex they could not have evolved through undirected processes.

10- Intelligent Design does not have any religious affiliation.

Not that this really needs going over again, but since I'm into making a point of detailing about how full of crap the UD commentators are .......

With respect to #2, although there are some differences perhaps Joseph would like to explain:
a) The occurrence of “cdesign proponentsists” in an early draft of “Of Pandas and People”, as in “The basic metabolic pathways (reaction chains) of nearly all organisms are the same. Is this because of descent from a common ancestor, or because only these pathways (and their variations) can sustain life? Evolutionists think the former is correct, cdesign proponentsists accept the latter view.”

b) A 1986 draft with the title Biology and Creation said, “Creation means that the various forms of life began abruptly through the agency of an intelligent creator with their distinctive features already intact. Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, and wings, etc.”  In not-so-stark contrast, a leter version said, “Intelligent design means that various forms of life began abruptly through an intelligent agency, with their distinctive features already intact. Fish with fins and scales, birds with feathers, beaks, wings, etc.”

c) How can life have had a Designer without also having a Creator?

With respect to #5, what does Joseph think that “irreducible complexity" means?  Doesn’t he read UD, ARN, and the like, where that exact claim gets repeated with high regularity?

With regard to #10

(Devon Williams, CitizenLink): 4. Does your research conclude that God is the Intelligent Designer?

(William Dembski): I believe God created the world for a purpose. The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God.

Why did Phillip Johnson say, "the first thing that has to be done is to get the Bible out of the discussion" and "after we have separated materialist prejudice from scientific fact ... only then can 'biblical issues' be discussed."

Why did the Discovery Institute say in the “Wedge Document, “"Alongside a focus on influential opinion-makers, we also seek to build up a popular base of support among our natural constituency, namely, Christians. We will do this primarily through apologetics seminars. We intend these to encourage and equip believers with new scientific evidences that support the faith, as well as to 'popularize' our ideas in the broader culture."”?

Why did Jonathan Wells say, “Father's [Rev. Moon's] words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle.”

His other points aren't much better.

Date: 2008/01/11 20:50:03, Link
Author: N.Wells
Boy, things were really hopping over at Overwhelming Evidence about three weeks and a day or so ago.  I feel really bad that I missed it.


Teflon Coating
1 week 3 days ago

Explain ID Entirely in a Forum?
3 weeks 8 hours ago

"Do you think that such
3 weeks 1 day ago

Suspicions Confirmed
3 weeks 1 day ago

Big vs Small
3 weeks 1 day ago

Good Thing, or Bad Thing?
3 weeks 2 days ago

That was not a brush off.
3 weeks 2 days ago

ID proponents have been
3 weeks 3 days ago

ID proponents have been
3 weeks 3 days ago

IC or not?
3 weeks 3 days ago

Date: 2008/01/23 10:50:56, Link
Author: N.Wells
Here are my ID predictions, following as best as I can the precepts of advanced DOL-WAD logic:
1) If Tuesdays always follow Mondays, then the universe is not random but ordered, which implies the presence of a Divine Orderer
2) If ID is true, it will become obvious that the IDists are best explained as the designer's reject pile, because if evolution were true, then people so obtuse as to be incapable of understanding science and unable to understand or make real predictions would have been selected out already.  

Date: 2008/01/23 11:55:05, Link
Author: N.Wells
The Denise O'Leary Method for Writing Books™:

Quote (CeilingCat @ Jan. 23 2008,06:20)
(From Denyse O'Leary)....... After we turned in the manuscript, I read several more books that opened my eyes on the subject. .....

Write first, then do relevant research by accident later!

She really is racking up those Own Goals.

Date: 2008/02/01 09:33:41, Link
Author: N.Wells
ID needs a BIG EVENT.

Perhaps they could pray for a documented miracle?

Thanks from me as well, CeilingCat, on saving that thread.

Date: 2008/02/01 22:19:42, Link
Author: N.Wells
That's the danger of relying on Scientific American.  Thewissen's linkage of whale ancestry to Khirtharia and Indohyus is extremely interesting, but Thewissen's own earlier discoveries of relatively complete Pakicetus fossil material shows that organism to have been a very terrestrial-looking animal (see  ).

Date: 2008/02/10 09:35:41, Link
Author: N.Wells

The notion that science literacy in the U.S. is substandard is rooted in the results of science surveys that include questions about evolution.

Science depends heavily on math (and on investment in research and related infrastructure). In an international comparison of precollege students in 2004, American students came in behind 29 countries (Finland, South Korea, Netherlands, Japan, Canada, Belgium, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Czech Republic, Iceland, Denmark, France, Sweden, Austria, Germany, Ireland, Slovak Republic, Norway, Luxembourg, Poland, and Spain).

That was in math, which has no questions about evolution.  (Data from )

Be that as it may I’m a results oriented guy. Instead of presuming that “poorer” science education leads to poorer scientific output I instead look at what America actually produces in the way of science and engineering. Without question America’s output in science and engineering leads the world. Not just a little but a lot.

This is like being impressed by the US dominance in the Olympics.  That success is based partly on population size (the greater the population, the greater the number of extremely talented people), and partly on investment and training (obviously more of both is better), which is why poor and/or small countries tend to come out near the bottom of these sorts of measures, while large and rich countries (or ones that invest lots of resources anyway) come out near the top.

The following list of countries gives their number of scientific Nobels (excluding Peace and Literature) garnered by natives (not foreigners) since 1960, ranked by that number of Nobels standardized for overall population (by dividing by millions of inhabitants).  One can see that the US does well, which is not surprising considering its massive investment in scientific research, but it is not at the head of the list.

Code Sample

Norway,         6,   1.500
Switzerland,   8,    1.143
Sweden,       9,    1.000
Denmark,      4,     0.800
Austria,         6,    0.750
Hungary,        7,    0.700
UK,             37,     0.627
US,            161,    0.590
Netherlands,   8,    0.500
Germany,      36,    0.439
Australia,       7,    0.368
Canada,       10,     0.323
France,        14,     0.237
Italy,            8,     0.140
Japan,           8,     0.063
Russia,         9,     0.062

Disbelief in Darwinian evolution, if anything, leads to greater technological achievements not lesser. If it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.

Bullshit.  Rejection of evolutionary biology constitutes rejection of science, and leads to the dumbing-down of the populace.  IDists are in the process of further breaking the system.

Date: 2008/02/12 19:16:28, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (steve_h @ Feb. 12 2008,18:26)
Patience please!  I'm sure Dr Dr Dembski will enlighten us once his predictions have been rigorously and scientifically confirmed.

First we ignored him, then we laughed at him, then we laughed at him some more, then we laughed at him even harder, and finally he'll wish we'd just ignore him again and let him slink quietly away.

That's my prediction, anyway.

Date: 2008/02/12 23:36:39, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Hermagoras @ Feb. 12 2008,22:24)
Grandma Tard has a post on teh harder mathematicalics.  

Brace yourselves.

Egads that's bad.

I’ve always found the connection between soft math and useful information easy (like, you get charged for a side of fries you never ordered, and never would have ordered).  But HARD math? That’s about something else for sure.

Apparently DOL views easy math and hard math the same way that she views "micro" and "macro" evolution, as two distinctly different things that can never grade into one another because they just can't and because her mind just can't wrap itself around such a concept.  Me, I think that it's all mathematics.

Assuming that we are talking about the same David Tyler  (previously a resident looney at, quoting David Tyler is a really bad start to any argument.  I think her "British physicist David Tyler" is the same David J. Tyler who wrote, for example, "The young age of Earth", by David J. Tyler (  I think I heard that he has had some physics training (a bachelor's degree?), but he's a professor of clothing design in England ( ).  He certainly does not have a good grasp on geology and biology, anyway, even though he likes to pontificate on them.

Here we have a human capacity that not only emerges, according to the byproduct hypothesis, from other capacities, but also provides fundamental insights into the structure of the physical universe (mathematics, is, after all, the language of physics). How could a capacity like that arise as the byproduct of a blind, evolutionary process, unguided by any intelligence?

Why shouldn't it?  Simple math can be immensely helpful for survival, starting with being able to count your offspring and add up your enemies, and moving on from there.

(Edited to respond to Stevestory: OK, your version's better.....)

Date: 2008/02/24 11:03:45, Link
Author: N.Wells
Sparc, your post on the previous page made my day.  Thank you.

Date: 2008/03/09 22:44:27, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Mar. 09 2008,12:16)
Quote (Zachriel @ Mar. 09 2008,11:56)
kairosfocus: For, it is abundantly warranted by the history of the rise of modern science, and by contemporary praxis, to accept the more traditional — and less philosophically loaded — definition of science, such as we may easily read in high-quality dictionaries:

... the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. {Webster’s 7th Collegiate, 1965}

Yes, yes. That's the definition. So what exactly is a scientific hypothesis of Intelligent Design with the entailed predictions? What are the specific and distinguishing empirical phenomena?

You're BOTH wrong. Here is how science works:
First, we gather as much evidence as possible and look at it carefully. Then, we compare the competing theories in light of how well they explain the evidence.

Looking at the evidence and comparing the competing explanations will provide the most reliable path to discovering which theory, if any, gives the best account of the evidence at hand.*

You don't need all that cumbersome hypothesis testing.

*From the Explore Evolution website.

Heck, they aren't even that big on observation and experiment, let alone hypothesis testing, and the closest they get to hard evidence is denying it.

Date: 2008/03/11 20:04:02, Link
Author: N.Wells
Meanwhile, here are some stories I have put up elsewhere that may interest you

Denyse, since no one bothers to read all your other blogs, what's the point of adding OE?

Perhaps you should consider getting a cable channel, so that you can be ignored over an even broader range of media.  

Also, that way you could flog your blogs that plug your books.  Then you could write a book about building a media empire, at which point you would become an entire, closed, self-contained, black hole of misinformation and self-reference, causing you to disappear completely.

Date: 2008/03/20 00:57:04, Link
Author: N.Wells
From Dr. GH:
It isn't just the UDerFailure gang, but the YECs are now the only anti-science presence on ARN.

Worse, ARN is basically down to just one YEC, and he's unusually pitiful.  That lode of tard is just about completely mined out.

I started commenting there way back when (after ISCID became a closed shop) because it seemed to have the greatest concentration of pseudo-informed and loud-mouthed IDists combined with genuinely open discussions.  Now it's like shooting minnows in a shot glass, and there's not much sport in that.

Date: 2008/04/24 00:23:44, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 23 2008,17:14)
Quote (Richardthughes @ April 23 2008,18:08)
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 23 2008,17:04)
Hang on tight, I'm throwing the UDidiots a bone here.

City road networks grow like biological systems at NewScientist.

French and US physicists have shown that the road networks in cities evolve driven by a simple universal mechanism despite significant cultural and historical differences. The resulting patterns are much like the veins of a leaf.

Marc Barthélemy of the French Atomic Energy Commission in Bruyères-le-Châtel and Alessandro Flammini of Indiana University, US, analysed street pattern data from roughly 300 cities, including Brasilia, Cairo, Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, and Venice.

They found that cities' road patterns have a lot in common mathematically, as well as looking similar to the eye.

This should be fun to watch.  I expect a hat tip over there, Dave.

JanieBell should have asked for the hat-tip!

JanieBelle is currently on vacation for the most part.

So which part is on vacation?  Enquiring minds want to know.

Without having looked at the actual study, I'm a bit dubious about the results.  The pictures aren't particularly convincing, beyond, "look, we have interconnected branching with a hierarchical structure of road sizes versus branching and with more or less perpendicular intersections".  I'll grant a degree of similarity with reticulate and rotate venation patterns, but beyond that, no.  Leaf venation represents a delivery and distribution system that converges at one point at one end of the leaf, and in which traffic streams don't cross other traffic streams, but where all traffic turns toward (or away from) the target point.  Some port cities may be similar in having a road system that converges on one distal point, but most cities spread out from a central downtown and have multiple growth axes that relate to multiple exit directions. We've got the gridded cities of North America and a few new foreign cities like Islamabad, some designed spoke and wheel cities, the originally fortified cities, and cities that are constrained by topography in various dissimilar ways. And then we have gingko leaves, and parallel or pennate venation, which don't much match cities.  

But maybe I should just go and read the paper before carping about it.

Date: 2008/05/22 09:02:36, Link
Author: N.Wells
Good lord, they can't quantify CSI, but they know it when they see it, so Dembski's math holds up even without the numbers, so they are too a science, just like economics......

Big Tent chronicles … oh, and about my new blog …

(And whether Americans are better off with the risks of al Gore or of al Quaeda is, in my opinion, moot.)

But one thing the ID guys sure won’t need if they take the pay wallah’s advice is … a big tent.

Also: Yes, another new blog. I have further enraged a number of people (who don’t have enough to do) by starting a new blog: Welcome to Colliding Universes.

Why?: Because I hope to write a book with a Canadian physicist about “God vs. the multiverse”: Is our universe fine-tuned for life or are there zillions of flopped universes out there, so that our universe is an accidentally tolerable place?

At the blog, I will just make notes about things that may (or may not) find their way into the book. For example:

A friend fondly recalls physicist John Wheeler

Life on Mars?: Yes, when the Mars Hilton Convention Centre finally opens

Sure as the law of gravity, you say? Okay then, better check the refund policy …

Stuff I have already written on the bleeping multiverse, for which the multiverse (Inc.) is suing me for defamation … But not to worry, the writ went to zillions of wrong universes and won’t be back here for vermillion years.


William Dembski


8:13 am

Do many worlds present a business opportunity? Would it be possible, for a modest fee, for people to have worlds named after them? Are worlds, like genes, patentable?

Or am I just dreaming? Would it be fair to say that a science is not a science unless there is money to be made off of it? Darwinists and global warming people seem to have learned that lesson.

I was skeptical about multiple universes before, but D.O’L sure seems to be in another one from the rest of us.  

And the Dembski scam-the-rubes empire of publishing, business advising, and fine dining displays its true colors there.  

Maybe they are both dreaming of some other universe where ID is true, and they are respected.

It occurs to me that O'Leary is in some ways almost the exact opposite of Davison in the blogosphere.  Davison makes one blog that just grows and grows without subdividing or branching until it dies of bloat, while O'Leary keeps ferociously spinning off progeny until we have an infinity of infinitely insignificant entities.  Both are like failed e-universes, in that both are sterile wastelands that have given rise to nothing useful, which nobody wants to visit, and where nothing interesting ever happens.

Date: 2008/07/18 16:02:16, Link
Author: N.Wells
Try to say something nice about Dr. Dr. D.???????  That is a challenge.

Let's see.  

(About half an hour....)
No, I've really got nothing.

It's tragic that he feels he has to turn his back on the Enlightenment in order to support his religious beliefs.  It's near-criminal that he can't just go off and indulge in his superstitious beliefs as a matter of private eccentricity, but has to try to drag the rest of us into a replacement Endarkenment.  It's comic / horrifying that someone who has the smarts to get two Ph.D.s can be so stupid as to engage in large-scale denial of science just because it conflicts with his superstitions.

How about this? -  He couldn't possibly be more deserving of his followers.

IDists in general these days are just too pitiful even to rise to the level of being contemptible.

Date: 2008/07/21 19:42:39, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (CeilingCat @ July 20 2008,08:06)
Another non-sequiter.  Yes, Professor Flew, I'm sure they treated you royally at Biola.  You're a great prize for them.  A person with an actual intellectual reputation saying something that they agree with is a great rarity indeed, scarcer than hen's teeth and definitely something to be gloated over.  I'm sure they pampered you to the max - while using you in your old age.

Philosopher Flew has changed his view
Due to faith or confusion or voodoo
Flew fled from real to illusions
So now religious delusion’s
The woo-woo Doc Flew wants to hew to

Date: 2008/08/07 10:11:03, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Zachriel @ Aug. 07 2008,07:25)
DaveScot has the solution to all of humanity's problems.

DaveScot: And I still say if things are all that dire we should start popping off nuclear weapons until we a get a little nuclear winter rolling. Global Warming + Nuclear Winter will result in Global Just Right.

He's got a point.  

I nominate Texas as the sacrifical target zone.

(In return for all they've given us in the last decade or so.)

Date: 2008/11/14 12:55:39, Link
Author: N.Wells
(From the paper) Conservation of information theorems indicate that any search algorithm performs on average as well as random search without replacement unless it takes advantage of problem-species information about the search target or the search-space structure. Combinatorics shows that even a moderately sized search requires problem-species information to be successful.

Not only does natural selection provide feedback, but any new episode of evolution starts with an organism that was already successful.  Since the vast majority of mutations are minor and inconsequential, most of the searching takes place in the immediate vicinity of an already existing solution.  But this has all been worked out long ago, so there is no need for IDists to be astounded that random mutation and natural selection manages to find a solution when no search algorithm does better than a blind search when searching all possible solutions for a randomly located target.  Also, they keep insisting that we claim that evolution is supposed to be entirely random: parts of it seem to be (most or all mutations seem to be random with respect to needs and most parts of genetic drift and recombination are also effectively random, but other parts (natural selection) have always been considered non-random.

Date: 2008/12/22 23:27:17, Link
Author: N.Wells
Denyse bumps the shark:

Recently, I got mail. Some U dullard thought I had bumped the shark, when I quoted Bruce Thornton on false knowledge - presumably because a classics prof like Thornton couldn’t really know anything.

Or perhaps it is because Thornton has a fondness for over-the-top bloviation such as    
Anytime a sentence is prefaced with the phrase “studies have shown,” you can be sure to hear either some truism ponderously restated, or some half-baked oversimplification the authors of the study already believed to be true before they ever began. And when the “study” purports to prove some truth about that intricate, complex, quirky, unpredictable, unique creature that is a human being, then you can be equally sure that its conclusions add one more disease to the syndrome of false knowledge.

Every time, no exceptions. Sure.

Back to Denyse    
Wowza! A guy who actually knows what happened thousands of years ago (when at least some people were literate) is an ignoramus, but dullards who make up stupid stories about stuff that allegedly happened tens of thousands of years ago - when there is no way of checking - are scholars?

People who honestly believe that kind of thing are self-refuting. Apart from government funding, they are a problem that would solve itself.

Who are you going to believe about Pleistocene-Holocene climate change, me or your lying ice cores?

Date: 2008/12/31 10:03:13, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Bebbo @ Dec. 31 2008,06:42)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 30 2008,10:38)
Lil Billy D whines about Wikipedia:

Help! Help! I'm being oppressed!

Through the Wikipedia page on Dembski I found this:

I guess we can add "gullible sucker" to the list of Dembski's other shortcomings.

If that wasn't so sad, it would be hilarious that he can't see the similarities between himself and "If you've Got Any Spare Christmas Money, Buy My Book" O'Leary on the one hand and Todd Bentley's scummy scamming on the other hand.

It seemed that power, prestige and money (in that order) were dominating motives behind the meeting. Minimal time was given to healing, though plenty was devoted to assaulting our senses with blaring insipid music and even to Bentley promoting and selling his own products (books and CDs).
Substitute 'science' for 'healing', 'inanity' for 'insipid music', and any of the usual suspects for 'Bentley', and you've got a fine description of the Discovery Institute.

Date: 2009/06/01 23:16:36, Link
Author: N.Wells
All the comments about Gil and the frilly shirt got me thinking (unfortunately).

So, what do you get if you cross the Frilly Shirt with The Sweater?

I was just going to leave that as a mind-boggling open question, but I started having nightmares about it, so I thought I’d share:

A) A woolly tardigan
B) Unintelligent design
C) A frillet of soul
D) The ID big tent stategy
E) A divine poof
F) A cheesy poof
G) Wretched excess
H) The Gordon Mullins String Bikini
I) Leading ID personage shaved and trained to walk backward, with frills
J) Waterloo!!!

Date: 2009/09/13 02:30:20, Link
Author: N.Wells
"Kairos" has several related christian meanings (the appointed time or the coming of christ), and it is also the name for a christian retreat.  I had thought that was all the reason that Gordon Mullings needed for his pseudonym.  Then I just discovered (and pardon me if everybody but me already knew this) rhetoricians call kairos 'the art of assessing one's audience and adapting one's tone and technique to best get one's point across' (paraphrased from ).  I think that blows out an entire planet-load of irony detectors.

Date: 2009/09/29 17:04:26, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Sep. 29 2009,07:00)
A light went off, and I said, “Materialism doesn’t make sense. Design and purpose in the cosmos makes much more sense to me.” And I just gravitated away from atheism.

After the Enlightenment comes the Endarkenment.

Date: 2009/10/03 08:39:24, Link
Author: N.Wells
If anyone needs a tard fix, a nice ore-body is available over at ARN (, culminating on 3 October, on the second page ): Frank, the resident and almost only remaining creationist loon, scored an own goal by quoting a reference that emphasized the opposite of a point he was trying to make, and then followed it up by trying to rip into me  
Wells you prove to me over and over and over and over again how completely and totally ignorant you are of history or maybe worse because I have corrected you so many times and you repeat the same falsehoods over and over and over again.
(he tends to project a lot).  The choice nugget in all this is that the statement that he picked on to get upset about was not something that I said, but something that I quoted from him (which he probably grabbed from one of the creationist sources that are the beginning and end of his knowledge).  (He tends not to read stuff very thoroughly, if at all.)  

It is not often that a creationist calls himself completely and totally ignorant, so I'm savoring the moment.

Have fun in Germany, Bob.

Date: 2009/10/09 08:58:55, Link
Author: N.Wells
A lot of the award was probably for being Not-Bush, but even so, Obama has already earned it.  He inspired America to elect a biracial president, which will be a milestone of gigantic significance in social progress (consider just exactly how unlikely that was).  He led the charge to pull America back from being a bullying and torturing nation with no regard for human rights or the rule of law.  He unseated the republicans and discredited them, which is a general boon for humanity.  He has significantly softened a global recession, with significant contributions even before taking office.  Also, giving Obama additional motivation to do the right thing will, I think, be a wise investment on the part of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.  Tellingly, the only people who have spoken vociferously against it are the Taliban, Hamas, and the Republicans, all sounding remarkably similar.

(However, turning it down on the grounds that he felt he hadn't earned it yet would be one heck of an impressive political move.)

Still no awards of any sort for Billy D. and the IDists. That has to rankle.

Date: 2009/11/20 01:59:30, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Reg @ Nov. 19 2009,13:37)
O'Leary quotes physicist David Tyler announcing that some Russian naturalists thought the "struggle for existence" really wasn't such a big deal in hostile environments. Thus, erm, something.

Physicist David Tyler has a substantial expertise in the biological sciences:
Current research interests relate to teamworking in product development and the optimisation of performance of textile/apparel supply chains. He is a Senior Lecturer, a Member of The Textile Institute and a Member of the Institute of Physics. In 1995, he was awarded the Golden Medal by The Textile Institute.

Don't get me wrong; textiles are important, as is the performance of supply chains. But it doesn't say "take my insights into biology seriously".

Well, clearly he knows how to spin a good yarn.

Date: 2010/01/29 19:18:30, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (dvunkannon @ Jan. 29 2010,07:44)
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Jan. 29 2010,06:55)
Apparently Pandas are designed, official!
From the perspective of Darwinism, the giant panda genome testifies to the failure of Darwinian mechanisms to overcome problems caused by mutations. From the perspective of design, we have a story of how a superbly designed carnivore has managed to survive the effects of genetic degradation. From a conservation perspective, without human intervention, the chances of long-term survival are slender.
Oddly the post was made by David Tyler, a self proclaimed YEC. So when he says
Although most place the panda in the bear family (Ursidae), a case has been made that it belongs elsewhere – in the raccoon family (Ailuridae).

I wonder what "kind" he places them in when they were in the Ark. Oddly, he does not say.

Or how much bamboo the ark was carrying. But maybe pandas were still carnivorous when they were on the ark, and only suffered the effects of the Fall during their rapid overland trip from Turkey to China.

It's obvious: the pandas were carnivorous, and they ate one of the tyrannosaurs, thereby resolving two long-standing ark-related problems in one go. Parsimony, people.

Still, if the pandas were superbly designed as carnivores, but the tyrannosaurs and presumably also the pandas were initially herbivores before the Fall (nothing was supposed to have died in the Garden of Eden, so the predators were initially herbivorous), then did God do a bad job of designing the Tyrannosaurs and pandas as herbivores, or did he do a good job of designing Tyrannosaurs for their eventual role as carnivores, because he knew that Eve would fail his test and death and predation would result?  But if he knew that Eve would fail, then he gave her a really unfair and poorly designed test and did a poor job of designing Eve......

Date: 2010/01/30 20:17:27, Link
Author: N.Wells
For more on carnivory in Eden and whether creationists care about plants dying or not, see
 (short version: that says that evolution isn't true, because all of the characteristics of carnivores evolved in the time since the flood*, so it's not real evolution.  And you don't have to eat the whole plant, and they don't have blood anyway.)

2304 BC +/- 11 years, according to

Date: 2010/02/25 21:53:36, Link
Author: N.Wells
When I got into this business 20 years ago, I thought that any Christian (and indeed theist), given good evidence against evolution (again, a materialistic understanding of it) would be happy to trash it and move to some form of intelligent design (whether special creation or intelligent evolution). But that’s not happened. Theistic evolutionists now make common cause with atheistic evolutionists — specifically against ID. ID has become public enemy number one for both atheistic and theistic evolutionists (the recent spate of books by both sides confirms this point).  The practical effect of this is that not just the mainstream academy but the mainstream Christian academy (Wheaton College, Calvin College, Seattle Pacific University, etc. — most of the schools in the CCCU) have now closed their doors to ID and to hiring faculty that explicitly support it. We’re therefore on our own. This may seem like a bad thing (it sure would be nice to be invited to those wine-and-cheese parties at the Templeton Foundation), but I submit it is a good thing. It keeps us honest. We don’t have to play nice with Darwin because our livelihoods are at stake. Moreover, it will make the ultimate victory of ID all that much sweeter.
 The level of insanity in that is just stunning (as others have noted).  The conviction that his crappy arguments will win is charmingly delusional.  The idea that they could start to play less nicely with Darwinism is laughable.  The fact that he aspires to wine and cheese parties at the Templeton Foundation is pathetic (unless they have really really really good cheese, I suppose).  His ideas are so gosh-awful that not even Wheaton and Baylor and SPU want to be associated with them, and theistic evolutionists don't want to be seen in his company.  He thinks he's in a business (well, given his books, I guess there's no business like snow business).  And the saddest, funniest thing of all, he answers his own question and still doesn't get it: his natural supporters would have been thrilled to go along with his ideas if only they'd been given some good evidence.  Even one little suspicion of a hint of a suggestion of a good idea would probably have done it.  Instead, they've got Dembski, and Denyse and Behe and Sal and DaveScot and so on.

Still there's plenty of good news for the good Dr. Dr. - when the most impressive achievement in your professional life is adding a gas-attack sound track to a bad animation of a federal judge, there's still plenty of opportunity for improvement and a new personal best.  

Almost anything involving a whoopie cushion, to offer just one suggestion.

Date: 2010/02/25 22:38:06, Link
Author: N.Wells
Continuing on in, Dembski says  
in my book The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World (check out the book as well as a $5,000 video contest promoting the book at
, thereby setting a new speed record for getting to "buy my book".  

Dembski then manages to avoid the glare from the mirror to say  
“New knowledge is always destabilizing, and the instinct for stability and the preservation of prestige and power always preclude the quest for truth.” Beautiful. I’ll want to quote this some day.
(And, hey, you just quoted it.)

Denyse tells an odd story, and comes back later to clarify  
The reason I told the story about my rescue by a bus driver from the snowbank (yes, yes, I should have spelled it out – we artsies sometimes speak in riddles) – is to say that, among humans, altruism can never be reduced to mere Darwinism.
(A bus driver from a snowbank? - that still sounds like a riddle.  Or possibly just bad sentence construction.)  (It is also interesting how she assumes that guys only offer help to females out of altruism - clearly there's no possibility of anything even vaguely Darwinian in that at all.) (/snark)

These guys are parodies of themselves.

Date: 2010/02/26 07:26:23, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (CeilingCat @ Feb. 26 2010,00:15)
Denyse tells an odd story, and comes back later to clarify            
The reason I told the story about my rescue by a bus driver from the snowbank (yes, yes, I should have spelled it out – we artsies sometimes speak in riddles) – is to say that, among humans, altruism can never be reduced to mere Darwinism.

(A bus driver from a snowbank? - that still sounds like a riddle.  Or possibly just bad sentence construction.)  (It is also interesting how she assumes that guys only offer help to females out of altruism - clearly there's no possibility of anything even vaguely Darwinian in that at all.) (/snark)

Actually, in Denyse's case, I think we CAN rule that out.

Yes, that is one of the things that makes her assumption interesting (along with all the evolutionary explanations for kin selection and for broader cultural cooperation not involving kin), but it was in a snowstorm, so you have to figure that she was all bundled up, and the driver was operating in conditions of limited visibility.  Plus, perhaps the bus driver had a thing for eskimo ladies - a) it's Canada, b) evolution has worked for eskimos too.

Date: 2010/03/16 10:40:37, Link
Author: N.Wells
A precious nugget of high-grade ore from Salvador, in the same thread:          
If we presume that all life descended from a single species and diversified, how can we logically argue that diversification happens through a process of removing diversification!
This of course explains why removal of diversity from Masai tribesman in Africa so that they all pretty much look the same* (tall & thin) and removal of diversity from Eskimos so that they all look rather alike* (e.g. Edmonton Eskimos sorry make that not tall & thin) means that humans are all
exactly identical.  

(*slight exaggeration for effect: no offense intended)

Heaven only knows what would happen if environments and mating preferences weren't uniform worldwide.

Date: 2010/10/07 22:38:56, Link
Author: N.Wells
Over at ARN ( ), Roli77 brings an interesting Dembski article from 2002 back into the light of day, from


   5. Objective Measures of Progress (OMP)
   How do we gauge how well we are doing in developing ID as a scientific research program? We need some objective measures of progress. Rather than lay out such measures in pedantic detail, let me indicate what they are under four rubrics, each followed by a series of questions:


   Intellectual Vitality. Have we become boring? Have we run out of things to say? Is the fount of fresh ideas drying up? Are we constantly repeating ourselves? Are people who once were excited about what we're doing no longer excited? Or do we have the intellectual initiative? Are we setting the agenda for the problems being discussed? Are we ourselves energized by our research? Is there nothing we'd rather be doing than work on intelligent design? Are our ideas strong enough to engage the best and the brightest on the other side?

   Intellectual Standards. Are we holding ourselves to high intellectual standards? Are we in the least self-critical about our work? Are we sober or immodest about our work? Do we demand precision and rigor from our each other? Do we examine each other's work with intense critical scrutiny and speak our minds freely in assessing it? Or do we try to keep all our interactions civil, gentlemanly, and diplomatic (perhaps so as not to give the appearance of dissension in our ranks)? Does the mood of our movement alternate between the smug and the indignant -- smug when we hold the upper hand, indignant when we are criticized? Do we react to adverse criticism like first-time novelists who are dismayed to discover that their masterpiece has been trashed by the critics? Or do we take adverse criticism as an occasion for tightening and improving our work?

   Exiting the Ghetto. Do we refuse to be marginalized within an intellectual ghetto or second-class subculture? Are scholars and scientists on the other side actually getting to know us? Once they get to know us, do they still demonize us or do they think that we have an interesting, albeit perverse, point of view? Is intelligent design's appeal international? Does it cross religious boundaries? Or is it increasingly confined to American evangelicalism? Who owns ID? Are we trying to get our ideas into the scientific mainstream? Are we continuing to plug away at getting our work published in the mainstream peer-reviewed literature (despite the deck being stacked against us)? Or are we seeking safe havens where we can publish our work easily, yet mainly for the benefit of each other? At the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design, for instance, we encourage contributors to the society's journal also to submit their articles to the mainstream literature. John Bracht, for instance, recently had his lengthy design-theoretic appraisal of Stuart Kauffman's latest book, Investigations, accepted in the Santa Fe Institute's journal Complexity. This is precisely what needs to happen.

   Attracting Talent. Are we continually attracting new talent to intelligent design's scientific research program? Does that talent include intellects of the highest caliber? Is that talent distributed across the disciplines or confined only to certain disciplines? Are under-represented disciplines getting filled? What about talent that's been with the movement in the past? Is it staying with the movement or becoming disillusioned and aligning itself elsewhere? Do the same names associated with intelligent design keep coming up in print or are we constantly adding new names? Are we fun to be around? Do we have a colorful assortment of characters? Other things being equal, would you rather party with a design theorist or a Darwinist?

I find this quite comical, but others might wish to comment, or guffaw, or engage in a riot of schadenfreude.

Date: 2010/10/08 09:29:56, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (CeilingCat @ Oct. 08 2010,08:15)
N.Wells: "I find this quite comical, but others might wish to comment, or guffaw, or engage in a riot of schadenfreude."

Not much activity in that thread.  A possible explanation: I tried to register and got this message:  
We cannot proceed.
User registrations are not being accepted at this time.

Please use your back button to return to the previous page.

Fascinating.  I hadn't realized they had shut down registration.  ARN forum has always been their least closed-to-dissent venue (they've banned people once in a while, but not often and on both sides), but it's been effectively moribund for quite a while now.  Overall, their side routinely loses arguments on that board and most of their people retreated to more protected boards, so I guess they are effectively admitting defeat by starving it of fuel and hoping that it will burn out and disappear into the past.

Date: 2010/10/20 22:31:26, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (keiths @ Oct. 20 2010,14:38)
ETA: Looks like Jack beat me to it.

Fun reading:

HOW OLD? Age of Earth debated among SBC scholars

Some choice excerpts:
[Dembski] also argued that Noah’s flood likely was limited to the Middle East rather than being global in scope. However, he later retracted that claim in a statement released by Southwestern.

Southwestern Seminary president Paige Patterson told the Witness that while he disagrees with Dembski’s assessment of the earth’s age, he is confident of his character, Christian commitment and adherence to the Baptist Faith & Message.

Patterson said that when Dembski’s questionable statements came to light, he convened a meeting with Dembski and several high-ranking administrators at the seminary. At that meeting, Dembski was quick to admit that he was wrong about the flood, Patterson said.

“Had I had any inkling that Dr. Dembski was actually denying the absolute trustworthiness of the Bible, then that would have, of course, ended his relationship with the school,” he said.

[Patterson] noted that even Southern Baptists who disagree with Dembski on the age of the earth should appreciate his contribution toward defeating naturalism.

“This is the man who has gone all over the United States debating the evolutionists successfully to the point that it’s almost impossible to get one of them to have a public debate with him now,” he said of Dembski.

Dembski's retraction appears here:
Yet, in a brief section on Genesis 4–11, I weigh in on the Flood, raising questions about its universality, without adequate study or reflection on my part. Before I write on this topic again, I have much exegetical, historical, and theological work to do. In any case, not only Genesis 6–9 but also Jesus in Matthew 24 and Peter in Second Peter seem clearly to teach that the Flood was universal. As a biblical inerrantist, I believe that what the Bible teaches is true and bow to the text, including its teaching about the Flood and its universality.

Evidently, Billy will say anything to hold on to his cafeteria privileges at SWBTS.

P.S. Hi, Mr. C!

Absolutely world-class Go-For-The-Gold grovelling there, Billy.  It must really hurt to be dragged around by the short hairs like that.

But gosh, all this sure reminds me of something

Can't quite put my finger on it

It's right on the tip of my tongue

Darn, it's going to come to me any moment now

So much for getting him back into a courtroom any time soon.

Date: 2010/11/20 09:07:05, Link
Author: N.Wells
Torley screwed up the standard creationist argument about solar eclipses.  They usually argue that the earth is in a privileged position because the moon exactly blocks the sun, allowing the corona to be seen.  I guess they are really big on haloes.

Date: 2011/03/26 23:41:21, Link
Author: N.Wells
Elsewhere in the world of Mung, from ARN, illustrating the general concept of Mung's time being valuable and his hating to waste it, as well as the inability of the anti-evolution crowd to ever make a simple admission of error:

Mung: Where in the paper do Montanez et. al claim that evolution is 'unguided?' I can't find it.

Escherichia: It is in the abstract.

Mung: So you agree it's not a claim they make in their paper.

Me:  An abstract is an integral part of a paper (so a claim in an abstract constitutes a claim in the paper).

Mung: For the sake of argument, let's say you are correct. To wit, a claim in an abstract constitutes a claim in the paper.

OK, so that's weak tea in comparison to the absolute perfection that Mathgrrl has achieved over at UD.  That thread is a priceless demonstration of their total intellectual bankruptcy.  All kudos to her for keeping them focussed on a single central question long enough to make it crystal clear that they are individually confused and collectively clueless. So for MathGrrl:

For all that they are an ongoing and continual trainwreck, never have the ID crowd looked so completely pitiful.  They just can't stop digging their hole deeper.  It's not news that CSI is just hot air and obfuscation, but getting all the clowns flailing around in a single circus ring is just magnificent beyond compare.

Date: 2011/03/27 09:40:18, Link
Author: N.Wells
In her latest thread, at , O'Leary gets a clue, about her own cluelessness:    
Not being a mathie, I couldn’t follow most of the discussion here
 But as KC just noted, she's been sure that everyone else has it figured out.  Also, since there hasn't actually been any math, her statement suggests a much broader confusion on her part.  

The reason the materialist doesn’t see how information can’t just “appear” is that materialism, which undergirds everything else he believes, never took information into account. So he can treat it as magic, as something that “just happens.”
The religionist, accusing materialists of treating something as magic!!!

Meanwhile, perhaps junior ID theorists cannot formulate a single definition of complex specified information at present. But it really wouldn’t matter if they could. The materialist would just blink and say, “I’m sorry. This is so confusing.”
 Wait a minute, who is too confused to be able to follow all the math?  Which community is unable to even define its key terms?  If she's really hoping to fool anyone with that "it really wouldn't matter" argument, she has to be targeting an audience even dumber than herself.  And what's that "perhaps" doing in there anyway?

So, for ID theorists, the goal is not convincing such people or reaching an impasse with them, but formulating definitions that actually lead to new discoveries or clearer understanding of current ones.
Yes, we are all eagerly awaiting an actual definition that actually leads to something other than actual vapid blathering.

A similar thing happened in Isaac Newton’s day, when Newton’s equations for gravity were rejected because they involved action at a distance. And that wasn’t allowed. His “laws” were accepted anyway by working scientists and engineers because they enabled accurate calculations. There is no other way it could have happened.
So clearly once ID manages to calculate CSI for the situations described by MathGrrl, it should be able to convince everyone of its value.  So get to the math and show us how it is done.

Incidentally, here's a contemporary quote re Newton:    
It is inconceivable that inanimate brute matter should, without the mediation of something else which is not material, operate upon and affect other matter without mutual contact…That gravity should be innate, inherent, and essential to matter, so that one body may act upon another at a distance through a vacuum, without the mediation of anything else, by and through which their action and force may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an absurdity that I believe no man who has in philosophical matters a competent faculty of thinking can ever fall into it
Apparently there must have been "another way that could have happened", because that's actually a quote from Newton.  Perhaps O'Leary has misunderstood something.  Again.

On the off-chance that the good Dr. Dr. is following this thread, Bill, please, your idea, your claim to fame, the thing that you have been concentrating on for two decades, to single-handedly bring down the evil of evolution and burnish the glory of the logos of John's gospel, is going down in flames.  On your own blog!!! That is SO embarrassing.  It's long past time to get in there and save the day by showing how to calculate even just one of your versions of CSI per MathGrrl's request.

And while you are it, prove to your colleague Denyse that you are not one of those junior ID theorists who cannot formulate a single definition of CSI.  After all, you wouldn't want Denyse thinking you're incompetent, would you?

Date: 2011/05/23 14:54:09, Link
Author: N.Wells
JGuy is a young-earth creationist, which I am not, but he makes a good point. The same intelligence it took invent the math of Lagrange and Euler would be required to invent the bow and arrow, given what was known at the time. If I were stripped of all my modern knowledge I doubt that I would be clever enough to figure out how to chip a piece of flint with a sharp edge, attach it to a shaft, attach feathers to the other end to stabilize the arrow’s trajectory, and invent and string a bow to store the lethal energy in the arrow.
Astounding! - I also doubt that GD would be clever enough to figure that out.

Date: 2011/06/06 13:20:02, Link
Author: N.Wells
Re Denyse's talk at

I took the liberty of diagramming the structure of her speech:

(Just skip to the 20 minute mark for the last 8 minutes for the full flavor.)

I don't have time to talk about that now, but flag me down later if you'd like.

Date: 2011/09/04 18:19:59, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Seversky @ Sep. 04 2011,08:32)
3.  Even worse is that, while the Lord took care to prohibit things like taking His name in vain, making graven images or coveting the neighbor's ox, He apparently overlooked the small matter of abusing children - or maybe He didn't consider it such a big deal.

Not at all - Jesus specifically commanded "Suffer the little children", and the Vatican is merely trying its utmost to ensure that they do.

Date: 2011/11/22 14:59:51, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Ptaylor @ Nov. 21 2011,19:56)
DeNews, ever thorough:
AMWNovember 21, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Did the original article really refer to spiders as insects?

Log in to Reply

   NewsNovember 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm

   Good catch! Now corrected to “insets and spiders.”

Are you ever right about her* not being thorough:
(*Assuming that's Denyse, on the basis of quoting the Toronto Globe & Mail):

a) she said she corrected it to "insets" (sic) !!!

b) her quote of the article still says "Social spiders live in self-contained nests that house up to 50,000 insects."

(However, that is correctly cited from the original newspaper article, in the Toronto Globe and Mail).  (I'd wonder if there was something in the water in Toronto, but I know too many fine people from there.)

c) The sentence that I think she corrected now says, "Either insects and spiders are smarter than we think or (more likely) something in them is smarter than we think."

However, nothing in the scientific paper or the newspaper article supports any inferences about insects being smart (as they evidently remain stupid enough to get caught in the webs). So this still doesn't make any sense.

d) Her headline is "No, we never did hear of communal spiders either. But they exist!"  

No doubt she hasn't heard of them, but her ignorance, though in itself vast and undoubted, does not merit the collective "we".

You might think that for someone who has spent decades railing against Darwin, she would have either read him or thought to check on him, given that he has had such a lot to say about everything biological.  Darwin, 1839, in vol. 3 of Voyages of the Adventure and Beagle, observed, "I will here just mention a gregarious Epeira found in great numbers near St. Fe Bajada, the capital of one of the provinces of La Plata. The spiders were of a large size, and of a black colour, with ruby marks on their backs. They were nearly all of one dimension, and therefore could not have been a few old individuals with their families. The webs were placed vertically, as is invariably the case with the genus Epeira: they were separated from each other by a space of about two feet, but were all attached to certain common lines, which were of great length, and extended to all parts of the community. In this manner the tops of some large bushes were encompassed by the united nets. Azara* has described a gregarious spider in Paraguay, which Walckenaer thinks must be a Theridion, but probably it is an Epeira, and perhaps even the same species as mine. I cannot, however, recollect seeing a central nest, as large as a hat, in which, during autumn when the spiders die, Azara says the eggs are deposited. These gregarious habits in so typical a genus as Epeira, present a singular case among insects, which are so bloodthirsty and solitary, that even the sexes attack each other."

OK, so Darwin also referred to spiders as insects.  That aside, she is therefore at least 170 years out of date in referring to "we" know nothing about communal spiders.  

If Denyse would only start out all her posts with, "Speaking only for myself, from my perspective of knowing absolutely nothing about the topic I'm about to address, and with the realization that I've nearly always been wrong whenever I have asserted a fact, it nonetheless seems to me..." and then went on with her usual blather, she could dramatically increase her truth level and simultaneously save her audience a whole lot of trouble.

Date: 2011/11/27 16:08:10, Link
Author: N.Wells
From Robert Byers,

There are excellent women who give their minds and energy to organized YEC work. There are ID women kicking around and write for these forums.

Women have sincerely successfully applied themselves to conquoring “science” subjects and getting the rwrds.

There is however a liberal establishment with a agenda to promote women and this means over more deserving men. Affirmative action , openly/secret, is powerful in nOrth america.

They want women to be as smart as men in these perceived smarter things.

They think it should be at least 50/50.
However it ain’t and it never will.

Women do not have the same motivation for achievement as men and this is the explanation for failure to keep up with men intellectually.
Its a effort.

Science fields are just more fields that demonstrate female lack of interest in stuff.
So the great campaign to push them in , and over male rights, will in the end fail.
In fact it must be already interfering with progress in paid circles.

The bible teaches man is to be the one with ambition and women to be wives to support him.
woman deeply feel this and it comes out in lack of motivation.

Despite a society pushing them to be equal.
In reality only entry level teenage women for a while can kkep up to males.
Beyond studying women will always come up shiort.
Not dumber but not on the make.

I see , relatively, few women who would interest me or show me they have something to offer in Science.
Not many men but few women.

yet lets welcome all, as long as no interference with men, and see what mankind can do.

Hey Bobbie,
(1) don't judge women's abilities to contribute in science on the basis of what you know about Denyse - she's not representative,
(2) so I guess from your example that writing is not one of those intellectual "perceived smarter things" that men are inherently better at?
(3) if there are any women in your life, please give them my condolences, and let them know that if I end up on their jury, I'll vote to acquit.

Somehow I doubt that Byers and the rest of the UD crew constitute the team that Dembski had hoped to field in his showcase for ID - from Dembski at in 2002:  
5. Objective Measures of Progress (OMP)
   How do we gauge how well we are doing in developing ID as a scientific research program? We need some objective measures of progress. Rather than lay out such measures in pedantic detail, let me indicate what they are under four rubrics, each followed by a series of questions:

   Intellectual Vitality. Have we become boring? Have we run out of things to say? Is the fount of fresh ideas drying up? Are we constantly repeating ourselves? Are people who once were excited about what we're doing no longer excited? Or do we have the intellectual initiative? Are we setting the agenda for the problems being discussed? Are we ourselves energized by our research? Is there nothing we'd rather be doing than work on intelligent design? Are our ideas strong enough to engage the best and the brightest on the other side?

   Intellectual Standards. Are we holding ourselves to high intellectual standards? Are we in the least self-critical about our work? Are we sober or immodest about our work? Do we demand precision and rigor from our each other? Do we examine each other's work with intense critical scrutiny and speak our minds freely in assessing it? Or do we try to keep all our interactions civil, gentlemanly, and diplomatic (perhaps so as not to give the appearance of dissension in our ranks)? Does the mood of our movement alternate between the smug and the indignant -- smug when we hold the upper hand, indignant when we are criticized? Do we react to adverse criticism like first-time novelists who are dismayed to discover that their masterpiece has been trashed by the critics? Or do we take adverse criticism as an occasion for tightening and improving our work?

   Exiting the Ghetto. Do we refuse to be marginalized within an intellectual ghetto or second-class subculture? Are scholars and scientists on the other side actually getting to know us? Once they get to know us, do they still demonize us or do they think that we have an interesting, albeit perverse, point of view? Is intelligent design's appeal international? Does it cross religious boundaries? Or is it increasingly confined to American evangelicalism? Who owns ID? Are we trying to get our ideas into the scientific mainstream? Are we continuing to plug away at getting our work published in the mainstream peer-reviewed literature (despite the deck being stacked against us)? Or are we seeking safe havens where we can publish our work easily, yet mainly for the benefit of each other? At the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design, for instance, we encourage contributors to the society's journal also to submit their articles to the mainstream literature. John Bracht, for instance, recently had his lengthy design-theoretic appraisal of Stuart Kauffman's latest book, Investigations, accepted in the Santa Fe Institute's journal Complexity. This is precisely what needs to happen.

   Attracting Talent. Are we continually attracting new talent to intelligent design's scientific research program? Does that talent include intellects of the highest caliber? Is that talent distributed across the disciplines or confined only to certain disciplines? Are under-represented disciplines getting filled? What about talent that's been with the movement in the past? Is it staying with the movement or becoming disillusioned and aligning itself elsewhere? Do the same names associated with intelligent design keep coming up in print or are we constantly adding new names? Are we fun to be around? Do we have a colorful assortment of characters? Other things being equal, would you rather party with a design theorist or a Darwinist?

Date: 2012/01/10 17:45:50, Link
Author: N.Wells
O'Leary has been demonstrating for years that she is ill-informed, unwilling to make even a minimal effort to check basic information, and is often incapable of understanding what she reads. This becomes even worse when when she piles on contempt for supposed errors on the part of the experts.  She's now done it again.

One of her latest items over at UD, at


   Marine reptiles didn’t die out when they were supposed to … or something …

   From “German marine reptile find rewrites fossil record” (BBC News, January 5, 2012), we learn:

   German experts have found a new species of prehistoric marine giant from a time when most of that family of reptiles were thought to have died out.

   The rare ichthyosaur find from the Braunschweig area, northern Germany, is 130 million years old, dating from the Lower Cretaceous era.

   Most ichthyosaur fossils date from the Jurassic era, millions of years before.

   Well, either life is wrong or the theory is wrong. There. Glad that’s settled.

The quotes from are accurate, but O'Leary's headline and conclusions are BS.  

Does she not understand the meaning of the word, "most"? Does she not realize that the word "most" completely invalidates her complaint?

From Wikipedia:  

   ..... based on fossil evidence, they first appeared approximately 245 million years ago (mya) and disappeared about 90 million years ago, about 25 million years before the dinosaurs became extinct.
   Ichthyosaurs seemed to decrease in diversity even further with the Cretaceous. Only three genera are known, Caypullisaurus, Maiaspondylus, and Platypterygius, although they had a worldwide distribution. This last ichthyosaur genus became extinct during the Cenomanian-Turonian extinction event early in the Late Cretaceous (as did the pliosaurs).

Does she not know that 130 m.y. old is older than 90 m.y., and that therefore the old understanding of when the icthyosaurs died out is completely unaffected by this discovery, so the conclusion from her title is 'or something', where O'Leary is found to be full of something, and that 'something' isn't knowledge and reporting skills.  

(It would be neat and a bit surprising, but not shocking, if someone found an ichthyosaur that survived a bit longer in the Cretaceous, but this discovery didn't do it.  It merely slightly expands known ichthyosaur diversity at a time when they were dwindling.)

(Whenever O'Leary says something like "either A is wrong or B is wrong", put your money on the claim being a false dichotomy, where the solution is that O'Leary is wrong.)

For more information about ichthyosaurs, which were amazing creatures, see:

Date: 2012/05/05 10:21:18, Link
Author: N.Wells
My suspicion is that Dembski's recent interests in "non-negotiables" stems from the doctrinal statement at  Southern Evangelical Seminary, "We believe in the special creation of the entire space-time universe and of every basic form of life in the six historic days of the Genesis creation record. We also believe in the historicity of the biblical record, including the special creation of Adam and Eve as the literal progenitors of all people, the literal fall and resultant divine curse on the creation, the worldwide flood, and the origin of nations and diverse languages at the tower of Babel." Also, "Resurrection. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ arose from the dead in the same physical body, though glorified, in which He had lived and died, and that His resurrection body is the pattern of that body that will be given to all believers at the return of Christ."

IOW, he's just trying to hang on to his latest job.  After all, the mind boggles at what sort of a career move might be downhill from SES.  The next place might not even rate a parking lot.

Date: 2012/05/05 11:27:55, Link
Author: N.Wells
Exactly: the next one, after he's expelled from the new place, probably won't even have such a lovely parking lot.  

His options after this next one tanks will presumably run the gamut from such luminary places as Patriot Bible University to perhaps a job at a prestigious think-tank like the Department of ProtoBioCybernetics and ProtoBioSemiotics at the Origin of Life Science Foundation, Inc.

(Check out Patriot Bible University's parking lot in the last picture in )


And re ARN, once festering swamps are cleared out, it's useful to help keep them sterilized, viz. the recent return and rapid retreat of Salvador.

Date: 2012/06/23 11:02:06, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Ftk @ June 21 2012,16:31)
Career choice is another matter.  He’s very gifted in the field of art, winning several awards in school and community (school of 1700 students), being requested by the school to design shirts and other things that come up.  He has a lot of engineers and artists on his Dad’s side...teachers on my side.  He’s working for a bronze sculptor this summer doing odds and ends around his studio, but has access to learning from his as well.

His LOVE is 3D animation/imaging.  He is obsessed with it, and already spends hours and hours and hours learning various graphics computer applications and designing things on his own.  He’d like a career in designing for computer games/programs/animation, etc.  BUT, he’s also aware that those jobs are extremely hard to come by, and he’s watched many people over the last few years not able to find jobs in the fields they went to college for due to the poor economy.  He’s also aware that art is the first field to suffer when the economy is poor.  


Also, he’d really like to do this in a financially feasible way.  He’s been told by *many* people to attend a junior college near us that supposedly is very good at transferring to all major universities.  He could stay at home to save even more money that first year or two.  He’s worried he’ll miss out on something he wants to take early on, but as I’ve assured him, he can always take anything he wants or needs for his major when he moves on to a 4 year college to finish his degree.  

I'm late to the game, but I'll add my $0.02 if Ftk is still listening.

As you and your son have realized, there are no guarantees regarding career choices and success.  Every career option is potentially under downward pressure due to the ability of employers to outsource work to third-world countries or to get it done via ever-more amazing computer programs.  Nonetheless, there's plenty of opportunities, and the best recipe for success remains the same as always:
-  First, find something you love or can find pride in, so that work never seems like work and so that you are always motivated to put in more work than the next guy.  
- Second, find something that you have a knack for.  (Whatever you want to do, there's a gazillion other people out there with more experience, more qualifications, and better talent than you, so the higher up you start, the better off you will be.  Even if you are one in a million, that means there are about 8000 people better than that.)  
- Third, look for some way to be unusual.  Develop an unusual combination of skills, for instance.  
- Fourth, work hard.  
- Fifth, develop connections.  
- Sixth, sell yourself - when your son gets his degree, he shouldn't just mail out resumes, but should go pound on doors, not take 'no' for an answer, push to see people as high up the food chain as possible, present an impressive portfolio, point out why he is qualified and what he could do for them, demonstrate that he's someone who won't give up easily, and point out how valuable that degree of irrational persistence is in an employee (especially as opposed to having him work for a competitor).

Your kid sounds motivated (obsession is great!), talented, and a hard worker, so right there he's ahead of a lot of his competition, which are all good indicators that it is worth the risks to enter a competitive field.  

I'm not sure of the value of a back-up plan per se (that's sort of like planning a mission to Mars, but planning simultaneously for the alternative of researching the deep ocean if the take-off doesn't go well).  However, my alternative recommendation in practice amounts to much the same thing.  A) Nothing in life goes as planned, so a background of learning how to think, how to learn, and how to be flexible will be invaluable, and B) having an unusual combination of skills is often valuable, as long as you find a useful way to combine them.  (Very generically, art and science, art and business, science and business, science and law often don't go together in one person, but can be valuable in combination: medicine and marching band would exemplify a less obviously valuable combination, but watch someone prove me wrong.)

With respect to college choice, this is important, but less critical than you think.  You are right about the 2-year college route, and picking up anything missed later.  However, the sooner he plans where he will transfer to, the sooner he can review the program requirements at the second institution, and design a nicely targeted and efficient course of study at the first place.  Transferring could easily cost an extra semester at the second place, due to missing a course and then not being able to fit it into his schedule immediately when he gets there, or because it is only taught every other semester, or the professor retired, or some such.  The very best option is likely to be small liberal arts colleges, though they are expensive and limited in terms of professorial expertise relative to larger universities: they give students small classes and personal attention, and they focus on undergraduate education.  At large universities, undergrads can lose out to grad students, research demands on professors, and so on.  Elite places inherently offer great connections, but the moment you get your first job the eliteness of your background fades nearly to irrelevance next to your actual job performance.  The most important thing, far outweighing everything else, is that what students get from a university is what they take from it, and most students don't take nearly as much as they could.  So, work hard; take the opportunity to prune bad habits and thought patterns and gain better ones; learn how to learn, how to express yourself, and how to push yourself; and push all the time to take maximum advantage of everything that the university has to offer, and you'll get more than your money's worth wherever you are.  If you are at a large university, push to get personal attention; if you are at a small place, push to broaden your experiences and options.  Basically, behave like you're  hungry and have half an hour at an all-you-can-eat buffet, with multiple different tables, each surrounded by dozens of people: figure out what you want, and push in and grab.

Date: 2012/06/28 14:07:17, Link
Author: N.Wells
(1) The public interest law firm that represented the Dover School Board and that had hired me, namely, the Thomas More Law Center, never received or accepted a withdrawal for the case from me. The simple fact is that they fired me

Is that supposed to be an improvement?
So, the good Dr Dr is not scheduled to teach any courses at the Southern Evangelical Seminary this fall.

However, according to the SES Newsletter, "Intelligent Design Expert Dr. William Dembski One of Many Notables to Join Southern Evangelical Seminary Faculty: Charlotte, N.C. -  Dr. William Dembski, renowned intelligent design expert, will join the faculty at Southern Evangelical Seminary this August as the Phillip E. Johnson Research Professor of Science and Culture.", so perhaps he is not only not teaching, but doesn't actually have to grace their parking lot with his presence???

Ah, but the press release says, "In addition to teaching, Dembski will be instrumental in the advancement of Southern Evangelical Seminarys Institute of Scientific Apologetics, a relatively new facet of SESs award-winning Apologetics education."  So clearly he's out.  

What's he got going in Iowa?  Does the University of Montserrat have an extension program in corn science in Iowa?

Date: 2012/07/16 16:31:02, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (NormOlsen @ July 16 2012,12:32)
Quote (Kattarina98 @ July 16 2012,12:08)
Quote (Bob O'H @ July 16 2012,11:54)
And don't forget, 'Though Darwin titled his book “The Origin of Species,” little in the book, in fact, addresses the question of how new species arise.'  In a way, she's right.  The title page, for instance, has very little to do with how new species arise except that it says it's about the Origin of Species.

In fairness, it's quite well known that The Origin of Species doesn't say a lot about the actual process of speciation. Unfortunately we evolutionary biologists have to stick to Darwin's Holy Word, so we can't even begin to look for an explanation for speciation. One Irish scientist (Al O'Patrick) claimed to have worked on it, but nobody he didn't get much sympatry for his views.

Alas, poor Al O'Patrick! He had to migrate during one of those famines.

I heard he just drifted for a while before he finally found his marker.

Sadly, a rift later divided the Al O'Patrick school into two groups, which resulted in over a generation of non-communication between them, so many potential opportunities for fertile collaborations were lost.

Date: 2012/07/25 23:14:15, Link
Author: N.Wells
[quote=oldmanintheskydidntdoit,July 25 2012,14:36][/quote]
[From Gordon E. Mullings] I have a mission- critical issue to help a client address and have already taken more time than I should from it. KF

Somewhere in Montserrat a golf ball is stuck in a hose......

[From Salvador] Thanks for putting Coyne in his place, Barry.  Coyne’s life achievements relates to the breeding of Fruit Flies. That hardly places him in a position to make more authoritative statements about science in general than some of the highly qualified scientists, medical doctors, and engineers at UD.

Good god, that's a repellent and slimy comment.  Quite apart from a very readable book for the public and a boat-load of scientific papers, Coyne wrote a really, really nice technical book (Coyne and Orr, Speciation) that, unlike the total book output of the ID world, is actually a positive contribution to human knowledge, whereas ID books are worth less than the paper they are printed on.  Coyne's work demonstrates more scholarship and scientific acumen than Salvador could appreciate if he repeated his entire education and actually learned something for once, as opposed to just looking for nuggets that he can misrepresent, twist, quote-mine or misunderstand as somehow supporting his religious beliefs. What specifically qualifies Coyne to offer pronouncements on science more than all of the highly UNqualified loons at UD put together is that Coyne doesn't lie through his teeth about science, which puts him light years ahead of Sal and his compatriots.

Date: 2012/07/30 19:21:55, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (REC @ July 30 2012,14:03)
It looks like ID is dissolving back to plain old creationism. Amongst all the bible fights on the page, Sal posted "Creationist Paper Published in Peer-Reviewed Biology Journal."

Wow. Really?

The paper pretends it is trying to strategize on how to educate creationists, casts a lot of doubt on the validity of baraminology, and takes shots at creation 'scientists,' basically concluding they would sever their only biological science in order to spare their orthodoxy.

Recently, Senter (2010) introduced a novel means of arguing against creationism by using their own methodology to demonstrate conclusions that creationists would otherwise reject.


Given ongoing hostility towards the evolution of modern birds from dinosaurs creationists will most likely respond by casting aspersion on or rejecting baraminology. ... By alienating baraminology from creationism, Senter’s strategy could therefore produce a resurgence of species fixity, which could hardly be called progress.

That is, faced with the truth about their own 'science,' creationists will sever it, and revert to pure ideology.

Any baraminology study can be disputed, and none can be considered truly definitive. A study that purportedly shows evidence of major evolutionary transitions using baraminology methods could be legitimately disputed by baraminologists.

Not very scientific, is it....kinda bullshitty handwaving. He goes on to show how repeating Senter's analysis can give any result desired. I guess this is the result he's trying to sneak into a real journal?

This diversity of opinion among creationists will blunt the impact of any anti-creationist argument that uses creationist methodology, no matter how compelling. Regardless of any research progress (creationist or otherwise), there will always be individual creationists who hold to conservative and traditional antievolution positions.

Like the author? SCIENCE!

I don't doubt Todd Wood is a creationist, but why is he trolling a scientific journal, pretending to strategize against creationism, which he himself supports?  Why the shots against your own method, peers and dogma? Or is he a just a bit too honest?

REC, Sorry, but that's an unfair characterization of Todd Wood's paper ( ): he's not trolling or pretending to strategize against creationism.  Senter published a paper on how to fight against creationists, by demonstrating morphological continuity between non-avian dinosaurs and birds, using a statistical technique (classical multidimensional scaling) that some baraminologists had used to justify claims of gaps between clades/baramins.    

Wood was second-guessing Senter's data set and conclusion, and said that creationists didn't use the scaling technique in the same way that Senter did.  Specifically, he said that creationists use the technique only to identify gaps, not continuities.  He also claimed that an expanded set of taxa and characters finds new gaps. This doesn't invalidate Senter's larger point, but arguably justifies this paper.

Wood argued:

   Distance correlations calculated for Senter’s set of 33 taxa and 40 characters support the inference of a morphological continuum. With a larger set of taxa and characters, however, three well-marked groups are evident, the Oviraptorosauria, the Avialae + Deinonychosauria and the remaining coelurosaurs and outgroups. The negative distance correlations observed in the two subsets corresponding to the Paraves and the Avialae + Oviraptorosauria would be interpreted by a baraminologist as evidence of a phylogenetic discontinuity between birds and nonavian dinosaurs.

So Wood argues that this makes the connection from dinosaurs to birds more ambiguous, and then says    
Indeed, it could be argued that baraminology is unsuitable to Senter’s strategy, as it is portrayed as a method of approximating the membership of ‘created kinds’ (e.g. Wood & Murray, 2003). Any baraminology study can be disputed, and none can be considered truly definitive. A study that purportedly shows evidence of major evolutionary transitions using baraminology methods could be legitimately disputed by baraminologists.

First, to me, that last bit seems to translate to "our methods are so crappy that we are not seriously constrained by results that we don't like."

Second, demonstrating continuity between deinonychosaurs (e.g. Velociraptor) and birds covers the major supposed gap between birds and dinosaurs that creationists want to object to. Finding new gaps between the deinonychosaur + bird group and other maniraptors is small comfort in comparison.  To me, that is rather like saying, okay, (whisper) chimps and humans are in continuity, but (shout) evolution doesn't work because there's this huge gap between gorillas and monkeys.

For my money, a much more powerful approach to transitions in shape between birds and dinosaurs is in the recent paper by Bhullar et al. They demonstrate that only a mild set of neotenic changes and another relatively mild set of peramorphic changes are needed to account for changes in skulls between theropods and birds. Specifically, Bhullar et al. identified retention and exaggeration of embryonic large eyes and expanded and lightened brain case, versus extension & sharpening of the snout. To put it differently, the adult Confuciusornis (early bird) skull is very similar to the embryonic alligator skull, much more so than to the adult alligator skull.  Check the figures in Nature -  they are very impressive.

Date: 2012/07/30 19:28:05, Link
Author: N.Wells
To Woodbine:

I've been getting that screen on one computer from time to time, alternating with random redirection and getting through to the site.  I thought at first they were being hacked somehow, but then I thought that my laptop had some kind of redirect virus.  

Given that you are seeing it too and I'm not experiencing problems with any other sites, it's probably their problem, not ours.

Date: 2012/08/07 16:34:34, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (midwifetoad @ Aug. 07 2012,12:32)
A bacteria is as good as a T.rex, Kathie gal.

I can think of something I'd rather see than a bacterium. Anyone want to guess what I think would be more exciting than a bacterium.

Hint: it would be less "complex."

I'm hoping that they find a beer can.

Date: 2012/08/08 01:05:17, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Badger3k @ Aug. 07 2012,20:37)
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Aug. 07 2012,19:51)
Quote (N.Wells @ Aug. 07 2012,17:34)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Aug. 07 2012,12:32)
A bacteria is as good as a T.rex, Kathie gal.

I can think of something I'd rather see than a bacterium. Anyone want to guess what I think would be more exciting than a bacterium.

Hint: it would be less "complex."

I'm hoping that they find a beer can.

Ha! if you find a beer can that means there is something else there that is worth getting.  if i know sign correctly, and I think I do.

Even if it's a Miller Light?  Black Label?  


O'Douls?  :D

Yes, a Miller Light would be nearly definitive proof that there is no significantly intelligent life in the universe.

Date: 2012/09/03 17:12:06, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (The whole truth @ Sep. 03 2012,15:48)
Quote (Soapy Sam @ Sep. 03 2012,13:04)
Quote (keiths @ Sep. 03 2012,02:09)

Quote (Joe @ August 27 2012, 8:15 pm)
And KF that line you thought was vulgar was from a very funny Monty Python movie- I definitely need to tone it down but you need to lighten up, just a little

Joe: All that did is to further reduce Monty Python in my already low estimation. The language reference to flatulence is vulgar, and should not be used. KF

Psssst! Joe! Ask him what he thought of Life of Brian!

And Blazing Saddles.

And definitely ask him about Dr. Dr. Dembski's original "Judge Jones School of Law"

Date: 2012/09/09 13:24:34, Link
Author: N.Wells
[From PaV] Well, let’s turn this around (change its ‘direction’): what would happen if we had a 1000 watt (electric) heater surrounded by water that was boiling, and then we added steam to the system that was generated by a nuclear reactor. Would this produce electricity? Of course not! This energy-producing system only works in one direction!  Nevertheless, it is possible to take the steam that a nuclear reactor produces and then produce electricity! But this is an entirely different process/system, and, it is a process/system that is given its ‘directionality’ via intelligent design of engineers......This is the nub of the issue, I believe. Darwinists want to convince us that if ‘steam’ is available (analogously, the energy of the sun), then ‘electricity’ can be produced (analogously, the ‘direction’ of entropy can be reversed).

Wow, I never thought of it like that.  Of course, heat differentials in systems of water and water vapor never, ever, ever produce electricity other than in systems designed by intelligent designers, especially if we are talking about funky hippy solar energy.  NOT.  Quite apart from begging the question in terms of electricity generated in photosynthesis, how about  

The tard is deep in this one.

Hovind, Gish, & Henry Morris deserve some sort of award in the ongoing competition.  Perhaps a collective award for exceptional increase in entropy in the system of human knowledge (closed-system category).   :)

Date: 2012/10/27 00:36:17, Link
Author: N.Wells
From the good Dr. Dr.'s exams:

4. No amputees are recorded as having been healed in the New Testament (i.e., no one with a missing
limb is said to have grown back the limb in response to a prayer by Jesus or one of the Apostles).  Indeed, throughout Church history it appears that no such miracle has occurred (if you know of a well-confirmed case, please cite it). Atheists therefore argue that if miracles really happened and gave evidence of God, God would have performed a healing like growing back the limb of an amputee. Do atheists have a point here? How do you maintain that miracles are real in the face of such criticism?

Clearly, the only logical conclusion is that starfish and salamanders have gods that are greater than ours.

12. You are the head of a large public relations firm in New York. A consortium of Christian businessmen and foundations is fed up with the godlessness of our society and approaches you to run a “rhetorical campaign” to make Christianity and its moral values credible again to the wider culture. You have $200,000,000 a year for five years to make the campaign work (i.e., a billion dollars total over five years). What programs are you going to institute and how are you going to allocate that money to restore Christianity as a credible world view? What objectives could you realistically hope to accomplish? [Example of a zero-credit answer: give all the money to the ACLU or to the UN.]

My recommended answer: "Clearly such blessed generosity must have been inspired by God himself, and I am far too undeserving to make such a momentous and important decision on my own, so I prayed and prayed to learn God's Will in such a matter.  He told me to give it all to Dr. Dembski, because (as He said and as my experience in this wonderful class must lead me to humbly agree) only Dr. Dembski has the wisdom and humility to put such an inspired gift to its very best of all possible uses."

5. Imagine that the world’s richest man has become an evangelical Christian. He wants to give $10
billion dollars (yes, $10,000,000,000) on a single plan to transform American society for Christ. You think all that money should go toward reforming the American university system. Write an executive summary about why all this money should be given to redress American higher education and make concrete recommendations on how you would use that money and why these recommendations, if implemented, are likely to be effective. Would you start a new Christian university? Would you try to rekindle Charles Malik’s “Institute”? With all that money in the bank, how, specifically, would you proceed? [20 points/no more than 1,250 words]

Clearly a measly $1 billion won't make much headway against such a godless and soulless immoral world as ours, so we have to up the ante. However, wouldn't you think that a god who is greater than infinity could afford to tack on an extra 0 and go for a decent 100 billion bucks and get the job done properly, with a comfortable little bit left over to provide for the security and well-being of such a deserving servant as yourself?  And yet, for some reason He stubbornly refuses to do that.

And for the next exam: "You have been fighting the good fight against godless evolution for decades and have written several books of sheer genius, but the world has refused to recognize your greatness, and has even hurled insulting nicknames at you like "the fig newton of information theory".  Worse yet, you have been hounded by the forces of Satan from one job to the next, and have ended up at a bottom-feeding hell-hole of a college where the rubes in charge are insisting that you take a vow that makes a mockery of your claims to be pursuing scientific arguments against evolution, and which moreover risks future sales of your books.  As a measure of your desperation, you even have recurring temptations to drop indirect hints about guaranteeing great grades for any student with a rich relative who would be willing to endow a permanent chair, although that would of course be entirely inappropriate, even though it could work out just fine as long as no one actually said anything explicit.  What would be your best next move? (Note: This question is worth 25%, but a truly insightful and inspiring answer may be awarded extra credit.)"

Date: 2013/01/18 23:58:09, Link
Author: N.Wells
Up to now, I've been following along in silence (thanks to all for the amusement).

Gary's beak-length program clearly deserves some kind of very special award, with extra special mention for its beak-length variable.

Inspired by Gary (and Jim Wynne), I've decided to to develop a new theory to explain blizzards, as I’ve long been really suspicious about theories for blizzards involving cold temperatures and air masses.  I mean who has ever really seen an air mass?  And cold is not a process – it’s just an absence of heat. So here goes.

Snow=0: SnoFlake = 1: Snowstorm = 1E20
Gosub CreateBlizzard

GOSUB SnoflakeGrowthCircuit
Loop until Snow>Snowstorm

Snow = Snow + SnoFlake

QED!!  All that thermodynamics hooey is completely unnecessary.  Next step, I'm going to become famous as soon as enough people believe me.

However, I'm still hung up on the supposed significance of early uses of the word "mutation" relative to "1800's mutation/selection thinking", from earlier in the thread.

FYI, from the OED:

1374, Chaucer, "ffor-thi wenestow hat hise Mutacyouns of fortune fletyn with-owte gouernour"

1470, Tiptoft, "He douted lest in his absence there should arise some change or mutacyon [revolution] in France."

1522, Fox, "The state and condicion of the toune and marches of Calis and other Fortryses within the same, and of theyr ruynes, decayes, mutacyons, and alteracions."

1609, "To a musician... Mutation is the leauing of one name of a note and taking another in the same sound."

1843, "That remarkable system of initial mutations of consonants that distinguishes the Celtic languages from all others in Europe."  

So, lots of specific uses, but all meaning some sort of change, in some cases a small change with ultimately much greater significance.

Early uses regarding biology: DeVries, 1901, Die Mutations-Theorie; Scott, 1894, "Bateson's results..... emphasize strongly the difference between variation and that steady advance along definite lines, which Waagen called mutation."

Date: 2013/01/22 16:22:54, Link
Author: N.Wells
I am honestly in agony right now, maybe in the hospital soon, because of how science works when there is a political need to trivialize an important scientific matter. I'm an example of what happens when the system is broken, resources must go to help starve them out then they get to drop dead, while a personality parade of the usual opinion goes back and forth. Actual science work, already on the internet with plenty more to work on has to be ignored, by ones claiming to represent the best interest of science? Year after year of this is literally killing me, and I have to get serious about that, before it soon does me in for real.

Wow, Gary, you've (nearly) discovered darwinian evolution in action!

As others have been saying, your work does not rise to level of science.  Science can certainly be done by computer modelling, but it has to build on something defensible.  What you've got going on is an excruciatingly detailed exercise in muddled semantics, where it's hard to tell whether your English is worse than your understanding of the phenomena that you are trying to model, or the opposite.  Your diagram could perhaps be adapted to explain how a coral polyp pulls in its tentacles when something pokes it, or how an oak tree amps up its toxin production when attacked by a plague of caterpillars, but as far as processes of evolution you've got arrows going all over for which you have no real processes and no real evidence.  Invented labels are not an adequate substitute.  One set of huge weaknesses is that creatures do not guess at genetic and molecular solutions to their problems in the ways that you want, and certainly not in ways that can be inherited.  In a way, you could stretch the language to say that populations "guess at solutions" by offering up genetic recombinations and mutations, but the way that populations "learn" about successful "guesses" is that the lucky mutant and its descendants get to become more numerous, while everyone else becomes less so through the processes of dying and/or being less successful at reproduction.  So it isn't really learning or intelligence.  Perhaps you have come across some ideas along these lines in your readings?

Date: 2013/01/26 19:08:31, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Henry J @ Jan. 26 2013,15:35)
When a cloud of hydrogen (and some helium and a bit of heavier stuff) condenses via gravity, it gets hot and starts a self-sustaining fusion of lighter nuclei into heavier nuclei.

In a small star, this continues until the remaining nuclei are such that it no longer puts out enough heat to be self-sustaining. At that point the object formerly known as a star will turn into a solid lump (mostly or largely iron, IIRC).

A large star just might get hot enough to fuse those lighter nuclei into still heavier nuclei, while blowing up in the process, and spewing both light and heavey nuclei (as well as a few light photons) across space.

When a cloud of matter containing those nuclei condense into a star system, some of it can form rocky planets in orbit around that star.

If one of these planets happens to be at a distance from its star that gives it a temperature in the range of liquid water, it can wind up with lakes, oceans, and weather as we know it. There's also the possibility of getting some carbon compounds that can catalyze chemical reactions so as to produce copies of themselves!

Hey, I just invented a theory of cosmetology! Buy my book! Send me one of them there noble prizes!!!

Good try, Henry J, but, sorry, no dice.  That seems way too comprehensible and well-written to be a theory. (Judging from recent claims, of course.)

However, if you were to identify the stars as intelligently caused, the condensation as intelligent condensation, the fusion as intelligent fusion, the iron lumps as intelligent iron lumps, the planet formation as intelligent planet formation, and the supernova as e.g. "Reciprocal causation, Explosion from Entity Int./Ext., electromagnetic light, potential, nuclear", as so on, and gussied it all up with a complicated and completely incomprehensible diagram, you might well be on the verge of having something.

(Politeness restrains me from being more specific about what that something would be, but I'm confident you'd have a lot of it.)


Date: 2013/01/27 20:11:09, Link
Author: N.Wells
because I would then probably make little sense at all, to anyone.
You've already got that one covered.  Seriously, why don't you try to reconcile you and English before moving on to science and religion?

As others have been telling you, you aren't going to make the slightest inroads into science until you figure out what science is, and why your "theory" is not science, just rubbish.

It is a new theory that explains the main features of intelligence and what science qualifies as an intelligent cause. Current scientific theories cannot cover all that, their logical frameworks do not allow it, therefore this new scientific theory prevails on that alone.
Labeling stuff without adequate definitions, actual processes, and supporting evidence does not qualify something as a scientific theory. If you redid your text in comprehensible English, you could maybe raise your writings to the level of a confused muddle, but prevailing is not a possibility.

Date: 2013/01/30 22:12:31, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Jan. 30 2013,19:34)
 I ..... just thought it would be a good idea to show you how easily anyone of any religion (even Atheist religion) can become one too.

As has often been said before, atheism is a religion like bald is a hair color.  Atheism is not a religious belief, but the absence of religious beliefs.  It's a matter of going along with the evidence.

For example, on the basis of the evidence in this thread, it seems to be much easier to become a minister than a scientist.

Date: 2013/02/01 17:55:11, Link
Author: N.Wells
Organized suppression of a scientific theory on religious grounds (I am now experiencing)

Quote (GaryGaulin @ Feb. 01 2013,17:23)
The constant dwelling on religion and personal attacks that you find amusing speaks for itself, even though you find no problem with that and pride yourself for encouraging it.

You seem to be having trouble with some basic concepts here, Gary.  Apartheid laws and Romans throwing Christians to lions = suppression.  Us rolling on the floor laughing our brains out, occasionally managing to grab enough breath to gasp out, "More, Gary, don't stop now", that's derision.

(So, yes, you are providing amusement.  Thank you.)

I loved the theme, even though I had a bit of a guilt complex for having (among many faxes of my thoughts to WAAF's Liz Wilde who used the Wonder Woman persona in her radio show) myself mentioned "Don't tread on me" but not to be combative or anything.
 On the other hand, your writing is suppressing your ideas all by itself.

As another example,    
Cells are a collective of molecular systems that systematically self-learn the same way, with the same 4 requirement circuit explained in the theory.
Quite apart from "self-learn" being a horrible and pointless term (what's the alternative - having someone else do your learning for you?), "collective",  "systematically", "requirement", "circuit", and "theory" are all problematic in that sentence, in that you are stretching their denotations in applying them, and are then abusing their connotations by leaping from them to unjustified conclusions.  

The Cambrian Explosion is another, where multicellularity first developed.
You are off by at least a factor of two here.  The oldest for-sure multicellular organisms are 1.2 b.y. old bangiophyte red algae.  (Grypania, at about 2 b.y., might have been multicellular, or was perhaps just colonial, and there were possibly multicellular brown algae at 1.7 b.y.)

Date: 2013/02/02 20:28:06, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Feb. 02 2013,19:19)
Quote (stevestory @ Feb. 02 2013,18:12)
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Feb. 02 2013,18:59)
In this case it is best to let others judge (what turned to be) your newest allegations against me, and your scientific method that requires falsification philosophy (as though it's impossible to find incoherence in the theory which is not true anyhow) and lets others in your group decide for you (instead of teaching how to at least try to judge on their own).

Can you get your wife or somebody to rewrite this so that an English-speaking person can understand it?

If my wife was let loose on that sentence then there is no telling what it would end up saying.

But to sum up: Instead of Texas Teach simply saying that theories are tentative (a best explanation) then leaving it at that, they had to complicate the hell out of things in order to make exceptions for the theory I am defending. Since it seemed to me that others would notice roughly the same thing I thought it best to not complicate the issue even more with a long response that addresses every sentence they said, like it appears they are doing to me right now!

There's no telling what it says now, so there's no way it could get any worse.

Number 3 makes it obvious that you are again accusing the theory and I of making supernatural claims

That was not what he said.  Moreover, contrary to your earlier assertion, relativity has passed a lot of tests where it was at risk of falsification

You, on the other hand, are mislabeling stuff as intelligent and leaping to all sorts of conclusions without any demonstration that there is any meaningful application of the terminology or even any useful analogies to be drawn.

Date: 2013/02/03 00:26:54, Link
Author: N.Wells
[quote=GaryGaulin,Feb. 02 2013,21:14][/quote]
I'm in a rush to keep up with everything! But it does make perfect sense when taken in proper context. It's just not in grade school "See spot run." sentence form. With some practice I'm sure you can eventually figure it out.
Gary, I spend many hours per week reading everything from quality science writing to hideous student dreck, and you are going to have to improve hugely to rise to the level of hideous student dreck.  This is not because your writing is sophisticated or you are beyond my comprehension levels: at times, you're not even up to grade-school standards here.  I'd recommend slowing way down and taking considerably more care with what you say, because part of your problem is that you simply aren't making enough sense. Trying to understand your stuff is like trying to nail jello to a wall: every now and again something seems tractable, but within microseconds it all falls apart and slithers to the floor.

The only way I know of giving them the answer that they wanted is to invoke supernatural intervention. Whether they realized it or not, that's what they were demanding I give them.
That's not true, and you are the person not realizing things here.  In fact, the evidence suggests that your reading comprehension sucks about as badly as your writing.  Your inquisitors on this topic have not mentioned or asked for anything supernatural in this particular context, and have simply asked for possible tests where your "theory" is potentially falsifiable.  Proposing tests that your theory can potentially pass or fail is the hallmark of good science, and you have nothing like that.  It's clear that you are clueless about this whole concept.  

Then you are saying that Albert Einstein's theories should have been thrown out of science before they were even published anywhere.
No, I'm not saying that, and if you had the slightest clue about the history of science and good scientific practice as opposed to the heap of garbage that you are trying to foist onto the world, you wouldn't be trying to make such an asinine claim.

Had you understood the links, you would have noted that although Einstein's theory could not be tested as much as everyone wanted when he proposed it (because of technological limitations), he nonetheless proposed several appropriate potentially falsifiable tests:    
Einstein proposed three tests of general relativity, subsequently called the classical tests of general relativity, in 1916:
   the perihelion precession of Mercury's orbit
   the deflection of light by the Sun
   the gravitational redshift of light

That contributed hugely to making his work great science, and it spurred a huge amount of fantastic work by others.  (Your stuff on the other hand inspires only derision, because much of the little that is unambiguously comprehensible is wrong and the rest is variously untestable to incomprehensible.)   

To elaborate on one of Einstein's proposed tests:  
The first observation of light deflection was performed by noting the change in position of stars as they passed near the Sun on the celestial sphere. The observations were performed in 1919 by Arthur Eddington and his collaborators during a total solar eclipse, so that the stars near the Sun could be observed. Observations were made simultaneously in the cities of Sobral, Ceará, Brazil and in São Tomé and Príncipe on the west coast of Africa. The result was considered spectacular news and made the front page of most major newspapers. It made Einstein and his theory of general relativity world-famous.
 See? That's how to propose and test a theory. (Your word games haven't amounted to tests - heck, the majority of them don't even seem to be in the ballpark of being relevant.)

Date: 2013/02/03 19:59:18, Link
Author: N.Wells
Where [sic] the same definition/standards for a theory were [sic] applied to Albert Einstein's theories they would have to be rejected for lack of testing [untrue]. Where [sic] he were [sic] alive today his theories would still not be well enough tested [untrue] and have [sic] to be rejected. Therefore N.Wells is at the same time saying that Albert Einstein's theories should have been thrown out of science before they were even published anywhere.[no I did not say that]

Quit lying, Gary, I never said that.

What you are trying to say is that you think that the implication of what I said is that Einstein's theories should never have been published.  That opinion would merely mark you as a loon rather than a liar.  The references I cited addressed one test that Einstein did himself, more tests that he proposed that were done by others soon after his publication, and even more tests that others have done over the years.   See Stevestory's post above.

In contrast to that, we have your completely asinine claim that falsifiability is not a reasonable and legitimate part of science.  

"Note to teachers" completes the picture of your self-delusion.  No competent teacher of science ever is going to waste time on something that declares that falsifiability is not a crucially important part of science

Edited for some egregious grammatical errors

Date: 2013/02/03 21:34:33, Link
Author: N.Wells

It is often claimed that finding a rabbit fossil in the Cambrian period (where no rabbit should exist) would “falsify” current “evolutionary theory”. But in reality such a discovery would only lead to new parallel evolution and alien pet rabbit theories. Therefore opponents of this Theory of Intelligent Design will endlessly reject the numerous ways to falsify it, even though they cannot falsify the theory they wrongly believe is evidence against this one. As a result this controversial and relatively recent philosophy (of science) proved to be a politically convenient tactic to stop any theory from being accepted. For that reason falsification is here considered an unscientific science-stopper, and will not be entertained in the following scientific text. A theory is a testable best explanation for how a phenomenon (such as intelligent cause) works, and religious arguments against it are as out of bounds of science as are religious arguments for it.

That's largely rubbish.  

First, an hypothesis is incapable of being tested unless it is potentially falsifiable.  This cannot be otherwise.  This is not a recent addition to science: Popper merely provided language to describe long-standing practice.

Second, there would be no way to explain a Cambrian rabbit by parallel evolution, because according to evolutionary understanding there could not possibly have been any adequate precursors that could give rise to anything even remotely rabbity by parallel evolution (or for that matter by convergent evolution) in the context of the Cambrian or earlier.

Here's what would happen.  First, people would go over the evidence in great detail, looking for evidence of fraud or error.   Secondly, some people would probably start looking for evidence that time travel was possible.  Thirdly, yes, people would hypothesize about alien intervention in various ways.  However, contrary to what you said, that would indeed be a claim of falsification of a major part of evolutionary theory (i.e., that the fossil record is explained by evolutionary processes and is consistent with an evolutionary history).

Date: 2013/02/03 23:54:08, Link
Author: N.Wells
It is often claimed that finding a rabbit fossil in the Cambrian period (where no rabbit should exist) would “falsify” current evolutionary theory, but in reality such a discovery would only lead to alien pet rabbit and time travel theories.

Wow, you are just insistent on scoring that "own goal", aren't you.  As I pointed out, both those consequences would indeed be claims that the fossil record is not consistent with an evolutionary history and is not explainable by evolutionary processes, thus disproving your larger claim that evolution is not falsifiable.  

Also, the options you list are not the only ideas that would be investigated, and they would likely not advance beyond being speculations and hypotheses, at least until serious additional supporting evidence started showing up.

The "parallel evolution" would have been on the alien planet where the rabbit came from.
 No, that wouldn't in any sense be parallel evolution.  ("Parallel evolution is the development of a similar trait in related, but distinct, species descending from the same ancestor, but from different clades").  Either it wouldn't be parallel or it wouldn't be evolution, but it couldn't be both.

Also note that the reasons that Cambrian rabbits would be killers for evolution include not just the absence of possible ancestors but also the absence of food for the next hundred million years or so.

Date: 2013/02/05 17:55:20, Link
Author: N.Wells
Call us when you name a family or a genus or species.

I guess that also means naming something after myself (even though scientifically customary)

No, it is NOT customary among scientists to name things after oneself.  In fact it is the height of bad taste.  However, it is charming and complimentary when someone else names something after you.  

(Not scientific, but I heard a probably untrue but nonetheless lovely story that Judge Augustus Woodward, who named Woodward Avenue in Detroit, claimed first that he named the road "Woodward" because it went "toward the woods", and then when everyone laughed at him he claimed he had named it after his brother.)  

needs to be added to the Crackpot Index, possibly along with bonus points for (not to toot my own horn but) already actually being somewhat legendary, at least locally.
Oh, yes indeedy.

Kicking your whining scientific butts in this forum with the Theory of Intelligent Design only helps spread the word even more!
Only in your dreams (for both assertions).

Date: 2013/02/06 00:07:42, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Feb. 05 2013,22:06)
Quote (N.Wells @ Feb. 05 2013,17:55)
No, it is NOT customary among scientists to name things after oneself.  In fact it is the height of bad taste.

Hey nutcase, I was regularly asked what the name of the tracksite was.

Given that the tracks were on your property, "the Gaulin tracksite" is a natural enough name.  Likewise it's normal enough to refer to fossils or fossil sites by the name of the discoverer.  However, you said that scientists customarily name things after themselves, and they generally don't.  

Instead, they name stuff after each other.  This is usually done as a compliment.  (However, reportedly, but possibly apocryphally, there were a couple of equid paleontologists who couldn't stand each other and therefore spent some effort naming fossil jackasses after each other. Linnaeus named an ugly weed after someone he didn't like, and somebody named a worm Khruschevia ridicula because he didn't like communists.)

But to echo Wesley, it was indeed very decent of you to make the tracks available for study.

Date: 2013/02/06 13:14:04, Link
Author: N.Wells
I did not simply say "scientists customarily name things after themselves" I said "I guess that also means naming something after myself (even though scientifically customary) needs to be added to the Crackpot Index" in reference to my last name coming before the word "Tracksite" which as you stated is a "natural enough name" and in this case is in fact up to me to decide. Even the Crackpot Index that may have once seemed so scientific proved to be a scientific disgrace.

No, the Crackpot Index is doing just fine.  You are perfectly correct that naming stuff after yourself should be good for a few points on it.  I was going to propose that we call this the Gaulin Addendum, but it turns out that it is already in there: "Item 25, 20 points for naming something after yourself."

Your statement "even though scientifically customary" is certainly an assertion that scientists do indeed customarily name things after themselves.  As such, it is wrong.

Incidentally, do you suppose that Einstein would have arrived at your theory, had he lived long enough, or does it require a greater mind than that?  (After all, for all that he accomplished, Einstein never did get a Planet Source Code Superior Coding badge.)

Date: 2013/02/08 05:22:38, Link
Author: N.Wells
PZ Myers had a nice essay the other day that countered that sort of viewpoint:

Date: 2013/02/08 14:11:37, Link
Author: N.Wells
The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, which is a biological process whereby a collective of intelligent entities combine to form another intelligent entity, in one or more levels of increasingly complex organization, to produce self-similar entities systematically in their own image, likeness. As in a fractal, a systematic algorithm/process produces multiple emergent fractal-similar designs at successive size scales. This causative process began at the atomic behavior of matter level with a nonrandom force guided self-assembly  which produced molecular intelligence, which then produced cellular intelligence, which then produce multicellular intelligence.

I changed the last sentence a little to maybe help get the starting logic and terminology better conceptualized, but that part has everything all still there. It's as simple as cells coming from a living genome we inherited, and we are made of cells. Only difference is it pertains to the systematics where its ability to self-learn is modeled with a circuit that has a simple algorithm, which shows us what is special about the systematics of what we then recognize as being "intelligent".  

You know, your use of "fractal" is as empty and wrong-headed as your use of "science", "theory", and "intelligence".  A claim of something being fractal means that you can describe it with an equation that is scale invariant over at least multiple orders of magnitude, such as D(s) = 0.0016592 s^(-.86) for earthquake magnitudes.  All you've got is a chunk of word salad and computer code that you repetitively assert applies identically at different orders of magnitude with no demonstration that your terms or your code have anything other than tangential or metaphorical application to reality, if even that.

Date: 2013/02/09 09:00:38, Link
Author: N.Wells
[quote=GaryGaulin,Feb. 09 2013,07:53][/quote]

Is [this] better?

The behavior of matter level only has to produce molecular intelligence for all intelligence levels to emerge, after each learns how to form a collective to produce a self-learning system at the next level. As in a fractal, a systematic algorithm/process produces multiple emergent fractal-similar designs at successive size scales. The only difference is each level has to learn how to produce the next level intelligence, which it always eventually does, then in time all others are back every time. A relatively simple computer model that does not make much of a cell might also work this way.

"As in a fractal, a systematic algorithm/process produces multiple emergent fractal-similar designs at successive size scales" does indeed sort of describe what you think you doing in your program.  However, sorry, no, it does not adequately improve your presentation of your ideas.  You are still assuming your desired conclusions with regard to "theory", "science", and "intelligence", and for that matter, "learns", "collective", and so on.  Making an assertion does not count as supporting evidence or proof.  

Here's a better statement of your concept: "If I change the meaning of the word intelligent so that it can be applied to any form of chemical bonding and some basic physics, then I can claim that anything I want can be described as being caused by intelligence, therefore everything leading up to the emergence of life and everything following from it has been caused by intelligence."

Thus stated, even you might detect the circularity in your claim.

Date: 2013/02/09 15:05:09, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Feb. 09 2013,11:08)
Quote (N.Wells @ Feb. 09 2013,09:00)
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Feb. 09 2013,07:53)

Is [this] better?

The behavior of matter level only has to produce molecular intelligence for all intelligence levels to emerge, after each learns how to form a collective to produce a self-learning system at the next level. As in a fractal, a systematic algorithm/process produces multiple emergent fractal-similar designs at successive size scales. The only difference is each level has to learn how to produce the next level intelligence, which it always eventually does, then in time all others are back every time. A relatively simple computer model that does not make much of a cell might also work this way.

"As in a fractal, a systematic algorithm/process produces multiple emergent fractal-similar designs at successive size scales" does indeed sort of describe what you think you doing in your program.  However, sorry, no, it does not adequately improve your presentation of your ideas.  You are still assuming your desired conclusions with regard to "theory", "science", and "intelligence", and for that matter, "learns", "collective", and so on.  Making an assertion does not count as supporting evidence or proof.  

Here's a better statement of your concept: "If I change the meaning of the word intelligent so that it can be applied to any form of chemical bonding and some basic physics, then I can claim that anything I want can be described as being caused by intelligence, therefore everything leading up to the emergence of life and everything following from it has been caused by intelligence."

Thus stated, even you might detect the circularity in your claim.

Well in this case I certainly cannot afford to test it myself, and it's important for ones who are planning on trying to program a model or just like to know, so it needs to be in the theory using proper "qualifiers" which it has such as "might" where theory cannot reliably predict what will happen. Note slight rephrasing to better condense information but still the same qualifier:

The behavior of matter level only has to produce molecular intelligence for all intelligence levels to emerge, after each learns how to form a collective to produce a self-learning system at the next level. As in a fractal, a systematic algorithm/process produces multiple emergent fractal-similar designs at successive size scales. Each level has to learn how to produce the next level intelligence, but it always eventually does therefore all other levels reemerge. A relatively simple computer model that does not make much of a cell might likewise still produce multiple fractal-similar levels.

The last sentence of the paragraph ends with "fractal-similar" which is where it fits into the logic. In only a 2D world flatland model the result are predicted to be flatland cellular intelligence systems then multicellular intelligence that emerges is not 3D or look like us, the resulting entities would most be in the likeness of what you started with in the virtual world, yet intelligence that emerges is in time capable of reaching our intelligence level. I better put the last sentence I just wrote into the theory too!

Gary, you've got multiple problems going on, and I have not helped you in any significant way.  No scientist is going to be interested in your "theory" because (a) it is self-evidently pointless, useless, empty, invalid, and circular, and (b) you can't or won't propose any valid tests for it.  So you can tweak your introductory statements all you want, but it isn't going to help.

(It doesn't look like the ID folk are ever going to be interested either.)

Edited to add:  
"Even though I hate to so teasingly side with your enemy, I have to, for the sake of all there who can better sleep at night after seeing your induced nightmares scientifically for-real defeated here in this very forum by a Theory of Intelligent Design. Just a little thing from me, that makes it easy for creationists to have fun with science again too, that requires my pulling out the stops for them to know for sure that the Wedge Strategy actually is weirdly being scientifically accomplished this way. In the end the ones being bullies only have to admit that's not a bad theory, for the likes of us, who are responsible for this one existing..."
Now that is completely delusional.  (And it's still not a theory, so it can't possibly be a good one.)

Date: 2013/02/09 15:50:26, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Feb. 09 2013,15:15)
Quote (N.Wells @ Feb. 09 2013,15:05)
Gary, you've got multiple problems going on.  No scientist is going to be interested in your "theory" because (a) it is self-evidently pointless, useless, empty, invalid, and circular, and (b) you can't or won't propose any valid tests for it.  So you can tweak your introductory statements all you want, but it isn't going to help.

(It doesn't look like the ID folk are ever going to be interested either.)

The whole rest of the theory has schematics and an Intelligence Design Lab to go with it to explain how to program the model that tests the theory.

The problem appears to be that you don't want to accept that (although computationally expensive) it's as easy as that to test it.

Gary, your "theory" intersects with reality even less than a huge and complex explanation about how re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic would have improved the feng shui of the Titanic, thereby avoiding hitting the iceberg and sinking.  It would not help even if you had a lovely feng shui flow chart and a computer program that professed to model all the feng shui effects.

X = 1
Y = 2
If X = 1 and Y = 2 then Sum = 8
Print "Sum of "; X; " + "; Y; " = "; Sum

There you go: proof in a computer program that 1 + 2 = 8.
Your "computer model" is far more complicated, but just as useless. You are playing with labels, not data.

Date: 2013/02/09 17:32:55, Link
Author: N.Wells
In this scientific method where things get slowly added you have to find the best place something belongs (before the thought gets left out from not adding it in somewhere) you in time discover sentences have to be resorted, which brings you closer to what the logic of how it works looks like.

Jim Wynne did not go far enough with his "dark and stormy night" post:

For example, because in a no electric light world, it (and you've got to mention all these things as soon as they come to thought in case there's a forgetting) and not even gaslights, on a night when there's no moon source type light like where it's not yet the new moon, and not even stars because of sky level cloudliness, was a dark and stormy (in an intelligence-caused but fractally self-assembled type way) postsunset type night, with motor action one time step algorithm.

Date: 2013/02/18 11:10:36, Link
Author: N.Wells

You can stop whatever "bullying" you think you are experiencing by simply walking away.  The fact that you don't do that causes me to second the opinion that you should quickly look for some professional help.

Back to what you supposedly explain that the theory of evolution supposedly doesn't:

First, you have no actual ground truthing for your computer model.  It is completely divorced from reality (your protestations and assertions notwithstanding).  

What evolution has is
-Genes, with lots of experimental work concerning them
-Development biology, where we can see the effectsof genes and mutations.
-Molecular biology, where people are finding out in stunning detail which genes create which proteins and how those affect development
-Lab experiments and field studies of population genetics
Processes by which evolution proceeds (selection, drift, mutation, recombination)
Lab studies and field experiments where all of those have been studied and measured, and where predictions have been made and verified
Fossils, documenting the history of life.
Mathematical models that work very well based on what we know of all of the above.

Our knowledge is indeed still far from complete.  For example,  
-we have ideas about the Cambrian explosion, but not a complete understanding;
-evolutionary trajectories are highly contingent, so we cannot predict them.  
-we cannot go from a read-out of bases in DNA to predicting what kind of a creature that would form.

Compared to that, here's what you've got:
-A computer model that has few or no known intersections with reality, that is based on a garbled understanding which turns out to be wrong in the rare instances that your poorly expressed thoughts can be followed satisfactorily.

You are relying on processes that have yet to be demonstrated as having an effect at the levels that you are claiming, plus redefinitions that seem to have minimal relationship with reality.  You are basically just concluding your assumptions.  What you have, therefore, is a model of a metaphor (and not a very good metaphor at that: really, "molecular intelligence"?).  Needless to say, this is infinitely far from being science.

Finding a curve that matches another curve is not conclusive proof of anything.  It's marginally better than nothing, but you haven't really demonstrated that the curves match (you don't have enough correct information about the Cambrian explosion yet), there are a gazillion ways to generate curves similar to the ones that you are talking about, you have yet to demonstrate that they share any processes in common or even have any other attributes that would lead anyone to think that they should have any relationship.

This gives all of us a good laugh at your expense, so thanks for that, but go get help so that you don't waste your life.

Date: 2013/02/23 17:04:24, Link
Author: N.Wells
So, Gary, what's wrong with what you wrote?  

It's actually better than your usual dreck, but that merely means that the flaws in your logic stand out unusually clearly.

Here's the killer:  
If true then we can here predict self-assembly of a precellular starter mechanism that metabolically produces all that is needed to produce a living genome from scratch, instead of a nonliving/nonfunctional genome first needing to establish this metabolic cycle.
Setting aside the awkwardness of that sentence, the problem that "metabolic production" by definition cannot precede something that can be described as having a metabolism, and the difficulty of deciphering what you might mean by "first needing to establish this metabolic cycle", we face a gigantic, huge, insurmountable problem in "If true then". You haven't demonstrated the truth of your conjecture. You haven't even begun to make it seem plausible.  There is no need for "intelligence" at this level.  You've presented no evidence for it, beyond a bald assertion that it is there, and then you proceed by taking it for granted.  You haven't indicated how intelligence exists at that level, or how it might affect an outcome or have an influence.  You might as well be saying, "Assume a spherical unicorn.  Spherical unicorns have all sorts of fascinating implications.  Here's a computer-created image of a spherical unicorn, and here's a really detailed computer model of two of them mating."  


While intelligent organisms usually use their intelligence to try to control things to the extent that one could argue that that is a common characteristic of intelligence, that's not a **requirement** of intelligence (nor for intelligence), and your assertion does not make it so.

molecular intelligence can control the molecules which self-assemble

Again, you have yet to demonstrate that such a thing as molecular intelligence exists, or how it might actually work.  All you have is assertions and a computer model that has no demonstrated intersection with reality. Modelling a metaphor does not make the metaphor real.

Also, those molecules don't really "self-assemble".  They are assembled by the reverse Krebs cycle and by the cell that is running it.

This is the core metabolic cycle of cells which consume carbon dioxide to provide food to sustain its growth.
"its" is unreferenced, but I assume you mean "their" in reference to cells.  That's a minor point, but it indicates how your writing needs constant deciphering on both large points and little ones.

All together the molecules become a molecular factory where a dozen or so catalytic molecules (protein or mineral) form metabolic pathway assembly lines that make a new copy of the molecule it started with every time around the circle.
"Metabolic pathway assembly lines": Lines that assemble metabolic pathways? Metabolic lines that assemble pathways?  Metabolic pathways that assemble molecules?

It does this
You still don't have a reference for "it", although presumably you either mean the cell or the cycle.

At any stage through the assembly cycle a molecule may be drawn by molecular forces into a nearby self-assembly interaction to where it fits.
You were doing fine until "interaction to where it fits". That isn't interpretable.  

Other clay/minerals may be useful for the self-assembly of protocells.
 What do you mean by a "clay/mineral"? Clays are minerals.  

Animals cannot produce their own food and must instead consume plants and their liberated oxygen to run the cycle in the opposite direction to gain food and energy by disassembling what was previously assembled. There is here a balance between the producers (plants) and consumers (animals) which maintain a relatively constant atmospheric oxygen level.
 The balance between producers (plants) and consumers (animals) in turn maintains [balance .... maintains] a relatively constant oxygen level in the atmosphere.

Intelligence to exploit these metabolic cycles could emerge in environments where the cycle already exists as an uncontrolled reaction.
 "Intelligence to exploit"??  Early organisms might well have taken advantage of cycles that behaved in a nearly metabolic fashion, but a) they aren't metabolic if they aren't in an organism that has a metabolism, b) you have not demonstrated the presence of intelligence at this level: (you have merely asserted it, and your language here is more a matter of metaphor than reality).  Lastly, if it is a cycle, then it is already providing self-control: I presume you mean "not externally controlled".

Where the energy to power the cycle is from sunlight, the system would have already been light sensitive. Rudimentary vision may have been the first “sense” to emerge.
 Once more you are leaping off speculative assumptions as if they had suddenly become facts.  What if the initial energy was hydrothermal, for example?  

I think we should call the desire to stretch a metaphor and then assume it to be true to be a Gaullinism, because you are doing it yet again with "vision".  Vision is vastly more than sensitivity to light.  Yes, sensitivity to light is most likely the first step toward vision, but talking about photosensitivity as "vision" is leaping off into metaphor. (Trees have photosensitivity without having "vision".)   Going from that to concluding that vision was the first "sense" to emerge is entirely unjustified.  How about sensitivity to thermal gradients?  Sensitivity to chemical gradients is another plausible candidate ("taste", if you want to go there)?  Sensitivity to gravity or presssure? How about sensitivity to the magnetic field by having it tug at iron oxide-hydroxide particles that were precipitated inside the cell as an unintended by-product of metabolic reactions?

Edited for clarity.

Date: 2013/02/24 09:02:20, Link
Author: N.Wells
That was truly helpful. I’ll see what I can do to improve the text.

Gary, you seem to misunderstand.  "Improving the text" isn't going to do a damn thing: you need a huge amount of groundwork to demonstrate that your ideas intersect with reality (because so far, they seem lacking in that regard), and you need honest-to-goodness tests in the form of falsifiable predictions.  Your claiming that something is a legitimate test or prediction (or for that matter a theory) does not make that claim true, or even relevant.  You are in the realm of "If spherical unicorns create sunsets, roses should be pink, ergo spherical unicorns".

Some of what you say about "learning", "learning circuits", "memory" and "guesses" can be applied, metaphorically, to how DNA results from (and therefore records) previously successful mutations.  In that way, the population or species could in a crude sense be said to have "learned".  However, populations aren't exactly individuals, mutations aren't exactly guesses, DNA isn't exactly memory, and changes in gene frequency aren't exactly learning.  Worse, we know of no way that "intelligence" can act or even exist at the levels you discuss.  Moreover, everything we know about the system tells us that the processes in evolutionary theory work as advertised.  In short, you've gone overboard on an unfortunate metaphor.

As far as I can make out from your mangled miserable writing, your model does not rise to the level of supportive evidence, nor does it make any useful or valid predictions, and its relevance for the Cambrian explosion is limited to you having a curve that rises to a plateau, along the lines of  
Base + (Plateau - Base) (1-e^(-kx))
Base + {(Plateau -  Base) / (1 + 10^[(Median - X)(slope)] )}
This is hardly unique to intelligence, as additional examples can be found in rates of chemical reactions and growth of bacterial colonies, and landscapes.

The model is actually a wonderful instance of GIGO, which we ought to rename in your honor as Gaulin in, Gaulin out.

What you are doing, as someone else pointed out earlier, is polishing a turd.  It's certainly one of the more gigantic, shiny, and colorful turds that we've seen hereabouts, but it is nonetheless a turd.  Polishing it a little more (or even a lot) isn't going to help.  Move on to something else where you stand more of a chance of making a contribution (I hear there's a gigantic unmet need for perpetual motion engines: ask at your nearest Physics Department main office, perhaps :) ), and go get professional help.

Date: 2013/02/26 21:08:12, Link
Author: N.Wells
[quote=GaryGaulin,Feb. 26 2013,18:25]  
The computer model and theory was already published on Planet Source Code as a programming challenge to all. It's way too late to honestly claim that it's not science. You only become your own worse enemy that way, a very real "science stopper".

Wikipedia has a pretty good statement about what constitutes a modern scientific theory:    
In modern science, the term "theory" refers to scientific theories, a well-confirmed type of explanation of nature, made in a way consistent with scientific method, and fulfilling the criteria required by modern science. Such theories are described in such a way that any scientist in the field is in a position to understand and either provide empirical support ("verify") or empirically contradict ("falsify") it. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge, in contrast to more common uses of the word "theory" that imply that something is unproven or speculative (which is better defined by the word 'hypothesis'). Scientific theories are also distinguished from hypotheses, which are individual empirically testable conjectures, and scientific laws, which are descriptive accounts of how nature will behave under certain conditions.

Let's see: your speculations fail at "well-confirmed", as your ideas aren't in the slightest bit confirmed.  They also fail at "explanation of nature", as no one but you can find the slightest bit of useful explanatory power in your suggestions: if fact, your ideas are actively awful and counter-explanatory in that they and you muddle up current knowledge.

Your ideas and your approach have not been consistent with scientific methodology.  Among other things, you are not starting with clear definitions, nor with a clear understanding of the field you are trying to investigate or replace.  While modelling is one of many perfectly legitimate approaches to doing science, modelling requires that you try to model reality accurately and that you "ground-truth" your model wherever possible to ensure that you are capturing reality rather than simply inventing Ptolemaic cycles in cycles.  You have no ground-truthing whatsoever.

Continuing with the list, you are also failing to fulfill the criteria required by modern science: your theories are not described in a way that any scientist in the field is in a position to understand and either provide empirical support ("verify") or empirically contradict ("falsify") it.  Your idea is not testable.  Your proposed tests aren't really tests and they certainly aren't definitive.  

Your idea is not reliable, nor rigorous, nor comprehensive.  

When we encounter the words "unproven" and "speculative" we get a thrill in finally encountering some terminology that applies to your ideas, but that thrill fades all too quickly as we realize that those are exactly the opposite of indicators of the presence of a theory.  

Wikipedia helpfully notes the difference between theories and hypotheses, by explaining that hypotheses are empirically testable conjectures.  Oops, it turns out that your ideas aren't even hypotheses (as others have already noted), because you have nothing that is testifiable (potentially falsifiable).  Once again, your claiming that something is a test does not make it one: building on someone else's post above, my claiming that 'Gary's amazing mental powers alone repel all purple dragons from North America' would not be adequately tested by my noting that there are no purple dragons in North America, as there are other plausible explanations for the lack of purple dragons, (and precious little evidence of Gary's amazing mental powers or how they might work).  Your labelling stuff as intelligent or intelligently caused does not make it so, and your bug has no obvious relevance to the Cambrian explosion.

Now, all of that aside, you are missing one other important aspect of the scientific method - the whole concept of priority.  In science, priority is nearly all-important.  You may recall the whole Wallace-Darwin contretemps, and how that was resolved, or the various Cope and Marsh battles over priority in naming new dinosaurs.  Priority depends entirely on who gets into publication first.  (You may have heard that in science, nothing counts until it is published.)  It doesn't matter if Marsh's people actually stole one of Cope's fossils: as long as Marsh rushed even a brief description into print before Cope, we use Marsh's name and the fossil becomes Whateveritis gigantica Marsh (or the reverse - it's not like execrable behavior was limited to just one side of that feud).  Now, pay attention because this is where it becomes important for you: "publication" very specifically means proper professional publication by a professional publishing house following proper peer review.  Sure, there are grey areas and people debate the details, but it is clear that self-published tracts that don't reach a certain level of distribution do not count, and neither do blogs or posts in internet websites like this. Therefore, if you have a great theory and you announce it publicly outside of an appropriate venue, there is little beyond our sense of ethics to keep us from grabbing your ideas and publishing them ourselves, under our own names, and grabbing all the resulting fame, riches, fawning groupies, and NY Times profiles for ourselves.  (I exaggerate slightly, but try to imagine how Rosalind Franklin would have ultimately felt about Crick and Watson's "discovery" of the helical structure of DNA, if her work hadn't killed her.)  We already know what you think of our ethics, so why are you publicizing your priceless ideas so openly and trustingly without protecting your priority by proper publishing?  I strongly advise you not to say another word about your ideas until you can get them published in a proper scientific journal.

Date: 2013/03/02 09:27:28, Link
Author: N.Wells
[From Gary] It starts off OK but soon its factual precision sends it back to the drawing board. I wanted Jack Krebs and others (trying to make ID go away) at the KCFS forum to be empowered by it as well. Hence the non-ID theory Wesley found that helps separate out origin of life related self-assembly aquarium experiments and other noncontroversial things.

Robin's version may not have got all those supposedly crucial details across, but yours didn't either.  If including Jack Krebs was important, mention him, and if not, don't torture your sentence to make it accommodate a detail that you aren't going to tell us about.  Also, your complaint should be about "factual imprecision", not precision.  

"origin of life related self-assembly aquarium experiments"
That's a shining noun apposition phrasing comprehension failure example.  But if you have indeed created a self-assembly aquarium, patent it immediately.

This is still though was not an easy audience, believe me.

"still though" is awkward
"beleive me",though not wrong, is unhelpful.
Perhaps, "You guys aren't an easy audience"

So be thankful I have my (none the less educational) rants but I'm not disabling bitter.

Why would we be thankful?
It's "nonetheless" and "disabled by bitterness"
Perhaps, "Nonetheless, my rants are educational and I'm not yet disabled by bitterness"
Incidentally, your rants aren't educational.  They certainly aren't doing anything for us, and they don't seem to be doing anything for you either.

I have no plan to make my adventures around the internet a book or an issue, just like to mention things that relate to what I found useful to have read while growing up worth mentioning because of at least my liking that non-science book.
 You aren't writing telegrams, so break that apart and supply the missing words.  You could "make a book or a movie" but making "a book or an issue" mixes different connotations confusingly, particularly when you would be making an issue of your adventures.  Mixing up cliches should only be done to make a joke ('on waking, my wife couldn't decide whether to make eggs or a baby').  
"mention ... worth mentioning"????
"because of at least my liking that non-science book." What non-science book?
"Because of at least" is awkward: "at least because I liked" would be better, although that still ends up as a trainwreck of a sentence.

Perhaps, "I have no plans to make my adventures around the internet into a  book.  I just like to mention things that I have found useful, and in that particular case I wanted to mention a book that I read and liked when I was young."

I can't actually tell if I've captured or trampled your intentions for that sentence, because your writing obscures your meaning.  

We're then (as you saw) from there sowing the seeds of love, while explaining why blogging that Wesley and others have been carrying on with is a part of "preserving" history (from their perspective) is culturally important, not something this theory in question is at conflict with.

Then from there??
Seeds of love???
Everything after the first comma is just hopeless.

You have to be more all inclusive, in the sentence. Scientific theory is for everyone. For that reason I have to use extra modifiers like "others" so they're there in the sentence, which helps make it more complex a read, but it's most important all "others" are there credited in the sentence.

Perhaps, "Your sentence needs to be more inclusive*. My scientific theory is for everyone**, so I have to use inclusive modifiers like "others"***, even if they make the sentences more complicated."
*Your original sentence did not come across as being more inclusive.
**It's not a theory and no, it isn't.
***No, you don't.
Take out all your "there"s: you abuse that as badly as "here".  "Crediting" is not the right word.  Cut back on gerunds (or at least use them less gracelessly). Don't drop out words like "the", "my", "I", and so on.  Idea is getting across meaning, just like to understand reading materials without extra reading related working. ( :) )

Once you've mastered basic writing, we can get started on why your "science" is unadulterated crap.

Date: 2013/03/03 09:15:14, Link
Author: N.Wells
What is on the DI website these days is easy to live with. Just the same basic Q&A material that for the most part argues such a theory is possible, which is no longer an issue now that such a nice one exists. The only thing you have to admit is that it’s not that all that bad amateurs. What PSC was able to provide made it possible to show what it looks like as a no big deal public challenge for programmers, which is something only possible there. You only have to agree that where kept to that exactly that, they were right by being approving of that theory of ID terminology. At no time do you have to credit the DI, just all else outside of there, that you can say the DI is powerless against (but can adapt to).

Holy crap, that's atrocious.  Setting aside the hideous writing, first, no, no nice ID theory now exists.  You have an untestable, poorly defined, and unsupported assertion, not a theory.  

Second, no, we do not have to admit that the DI website is "not that all that bad amateurs."  It is almost impossible to find anything there that is neither foolishness, ignorance, nor lies.

Third, no, we do not agree that they were correct to approve of your ideas.  "They" were less than a handful of people, and they show no evidence of knowing anything about biology and they show no evidence of evaluating your ideas.  In fact, given that your writing is impenetrable, I'd bet that they skipped entirely over everything that you wrote.

Date: 2013/03/03 09:59:30, Link
Author: N.Wells
Let me add something.

You've got a neat little program in terms of what it does  (I'm not going to comment on the coding, because my programs are even more spaghetti code than yours), but what you've got is way more relevant to programming Roombas than to anything living, and you are hallucinating in your claims of grand relevance to evolutionary theory.  

I think the grand total of the significance of your work is that you have a nice modelled demonstration of why two eyes are better than none, just in case anyone had felt the need for such a thing.  With adjustment you could show that two eyes with with a wide field of view is a more efficient set-up than one eye with a narrow field of view, assuming that depth perception is not important and that you are existing in a 2D world like the sea floor, without predators.  Of course, the basic advantage has been clearly understood for a while now: "in regione caecorum rex est luscus".

Date: 2013/03/03 21:46:52, Link
Author: N.Wells
The only thing you have to admit is that the theory is not all that bad, for amateurs. What PSC was able to provide made it possible to show what it looks like as a no big deal public challenge for programmers, which is something only possible there, not elsewhere. You only have to agree that where kept to that exactly that, they were right by being approving of that theory of ID terminology. At no time do you have to credit the DI, just all else outside of there, that you can say the DI is powerless against (but can adapt to).
Egads, that still sucks, both on the level of being atrocious English, and also as being a completely lunatic take on reality.  

Among other things, your assertions do not rise even to the level of a very crappy theory.

I explain the real-science of how intelligence systems work
That's not an explanation, because explanations by definition provide an intelligible explanation.  You also do not get into the real science of how intelligence systems work.  You include a modified version of that one diagram, but then you bounce all over the definitions and connotations and start making all sorts of godawful and unjustified extrapolations left, right, and center, so whatever precious little real science you might have had you quickly bury in landslides of insanity.  

, while you and others do your best to brush it all off as being unimportant. The shame in that is tremendous.
The only shame around here is yours.  You want people to take your silly ideas seriously, and you refuse to the basic work necessary for that to happen.  For your ideas to be of any consequence to biology, you have to properly understand biology and relevant cognate sciences, your explanations have to be readable and not muddled, your speculations need to be backed up by something more than ungrounded assertions, and your model needs to be grounded in reality.  The thing about computer models is that they do what you tell them, so Gary Gaulin In, Gary Gaulin Out.  I can write equations to model a stream system growing from the river mouth upslope or from a watershed boundary downward, but successfully making a model look like a stream network does NOT prove that  stream systems work whichever way I modeled them.

Date: 2013/03/05 23:55:57, Link
Author: N.Wells
Gary, you won't get funding because funding is highly competitive.

First, proposals have to be well written and compelling, and on the basis of what you've done so far the idea of your writing something that can sell a project or even that someone would want to read is not believable.

Second, one of the absolutely basic essentials that people look for in proposals is clear exposition of multiple mutually exclusive testable hypotheses and a workable plan for testing them and choosing between them.  We've been through that, and you've clearly got nothing in that category.

Third and fourth, reviewers look for clear evidence that the applicants are expert in the field they are proposing to work in, and they look for evidence of past productivity.  You figure those two out.

Fifth, there's not enough money to fund all the exciting science that is being proposed, so successful grants have to demonstrate exceptional scientific promise.  You're not up to snuff there either.

Sixth, they don't fund stupid crap.

In short, you've gone out of your way to make yourself unfundable.

Date: 2013/03/10 00:54:30, Link
Author: N.Wells
[quote=GaryGaulin,Mar. 09 2013,23:44][/quote]
What part of the sentence "The PSC community is far more qualified to gauge the usefulness of the model and theory than you and others in this thread are." do you not understand?

First, congratulations on a fully comprehensible sentence, which for you is quite an accomplishment.  Second, what it says is completely inane.  Nonetheless, thanks for the comic relief.  Those three guys clearly did not assess your biology, because the speculative parts of it are garbage, as has been pointed out in great detail here and elsewhere.  One PSC guy said "Will dive into it, when i'll get time," which does not strike me as evidence of a careful and considered review.  It would be interesting to track those guys down to get them to enlarge on why they thought your stuff was globe-worthy and how much they know about biology.  

My signature line alone proves that you're another two-faced political hack.
Your signature line *proves* nothing.  It doesn't make that particular assertion, and it does not even carry any such implications.

Fourth, nothing posted at PSC constitutes "publication" in any way that counts in science.

Date: 2013/03/10 09:09:31, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Mar. 10 2013,01:58)
Quote (N.Wells @ Mar. 10 2013,00:54)
Fourth, nothing posted at PSC constitutes "publication" in any way that counts in science.

Then find me a publisher (you think counts in science) who will:

1) For free (or pay me) and with open access

2) Publish the entire theory (not force me to present only a small fraction of it)

3) Provide a download page for software (or include CD)

4) Has a public policy to treat all theories fairly (i.e. has not publicly stated it is "not science" and will not take seriously or has since retracted such a statement)

5) Does not discriminate against those not affiliated with an academic institution.

If you find a publisher who meets the publishing requirements of this theory then I will first submit it to them. If you can't then you have shown why I am publishing it elsewhere.

Look into the Edwin Mellen Press.  You and they deserve each other, and they seem ready to publish pretty much anything at book length.

1) Generally, publishers pay for books but not for papers in scientific journals.   Most new "open-access" venues are fee-for-service, and thus do charge (e.g.,  However, with very few exceptions, all the traditional reputable scientific journals publish articles for free (most do request page charges, but those are voluntary in almost all cases).  All those journals are available in libraries worldwide, but I'm not sure that's what you mean by "Open access".  

2) Almost all journals are conservative with publication space, so you (like everyone else) are going to have to condense your verbiage a bit, but A) that would be good for you, and B) it's doable.  Note that 4 manuscript pages (double spaced) approximate one published page.  On the other hand, most journals now provide for electronic appendices, and those can go on at considerable length. There are journals that specialize in longer articles, so do your homework.  Note that most scientists manage to get their best ideas boiled down to 1 to 4 pages in Nature or Science, or top field-specific journals like Geology.

3) I've used some Elsevier journals that specialize in publishing computer programs that make code available for download.  I'm not going to name them because I don't want to be responsible for inflicting you on them.  However, electronic databases and appendices are now available through most journals, so this really isn't an issue.

4)  All scientific publishers work hard to treat all submissions fairly.  However, you don't have a theory, you don't have any testable hypotheses, and only vanity publishers (where you pay them to typeset whatever you want) are going to publish your horrible writing.  Seriously, you'll provide comic relief at staff meetings when you submit sentences as horrible as    
In this model instincts tell it bashing into a wall is not a good thing, by the Stall condition connecting to the random guess (in higher order is educated guess) circuit that forces it to try something else.  

How the neurons connect, is not ahead of time mapped out in DNA code (genotype) that only makes the neurons who instinctually form colonies of cells that instinctually like to communicate with each other. How that circuit ends up looking like, in part depends on what the neurons have to grow into.
Seeing food and hungry while motor direction is moving it closer, is here a successful response.
If you don't see what is wrong with sentences like those, go back and redo Middle School English.

The good news here is that to publish a useful computer simulation or educational tool or a novel and useful program in specialist journals on computer programs (unlike most other scientific venues), you don't have to have any theories or hypotheses or evidence.  However, they won't publish scientific nonsense and crackpottery, and you have yet to rise above that level.

5) No journals are going to turn you down because you lack academic credentials, but all are going to turn you down because your claims are ungrounded and nonsensical.  All journals will publish significant research from individuals, businesses, and independent research organizations.  (A lot of petroleum geology and chemistry is published by corporate scientists and independents, and some paleontology is published by amateurs.)  (However, I said "significant research", which disqualifies you entirely.)

But check out Edwin Mellen Press.

(Given their ongoing needs for loony suckers, you could probably also find something entirely appropriate for you in the many journals and proceedings volumes discussed at  The multifarious IEEE & Worldcomp proceedings might be willing to deal with you, although they will be looking for ways to separate you from your money.)

ETA: To end on a more positive note, Jeremy Stribling & two MIT colleagues wrote a program that generated meaningless research papers and managed to get one accepted at a World Multi-Conference conference.  His accepted paper included such gems as:
the model for our heuristic consists of four independent components: simulated annealing, active networks, flexible modalities, and the study of reinforcement learning ........We implemented our scatter/gather I/O server in Simula-67, augmented with opportunistically pipelined extensions.
That's almost as bad as your writing, except for better grammar, so there's hope for you yet.

Date: 2013/03/10 10:07:00, Link
Author: N.Wells
Here's Jeremy Stribling's computer-generated paper:

It's a gem.  I'm rather fond of "The rest of our paper is organized as follows ......... In the end, we conclude."

Note that Stribling's paper (A) is grammatically superior to Gary's writing, (B) makes more sense to the casual reader than Gary's writing, and ( C) contains figures that are superior to Gary's.

Date: 2013/03/10 17:43:00, Link
Author: N.Wells
Look at your graphs showing progress over time, and look at any one of Stribling's graphs.  All his have labelled axes.  None of yours do.  He wins by default, even considering that his graphs are deliberately meaningless.  Yours are simply meaningless by virtue of incompetence.

Now, look at the figure you just reposted.   It's difficult to say exactly what it's supposed to be showing.  Yes, it shows where signals get sent to, but otherwise it's a bit like your writing (indecipherable), only prettier, if you go for jazzy lines.  What's the meaning of the little black boxes, with and without arrows?  Why does one line go through one box to its top and stop?  What do the blue 3 & 4 polygons imply?  Are they also some sort of delay?  Is it just an accident of unfortunate design that all the lines come forward out of the bug's receptors, or is that supposed to imply something?  Are the choices of red and black up the left side random, or are they supposed to mean something, because they don't alternate or repeat in a cycle that would simply indicate color changes for the sake of visibility.  Why do they split at nodes, and what's the significance of them going up to Increment but perhaps not to Decrement?  What the hell is RAM2 (yes, Random Access Memory, but why 2, and what happened to RAM1)?  How come the stuff coming out of the sensors isn't "Data"?  Why do Go Right and Go Left swap colours on the last turn to the Addresses?  What's the 16 and 67 million telling us?  Why does that one thing say "Hold"?  What is the difference between Go Forward In and Go Forward Out? "Decrement 0 in -1 = 0 out" is completely mysterious, as is why Left/Right is a decrement while Forward/Reverse is an increment.  It seems as though, if Forward is an increment, reverse would be a decrement.  Overall, an entirely different "-crement" comes to mind.

Lastly, I take it from your lack of discussion of my initial two points that you concede that Stribling's paper (A) is grammatically superior to your writing, and (B) makes more sense than yours, despite the fact that theirs is deliberate nonsense.

Date: 2013/03/11 16:31:06, Link
Author: N.Wells
"But Captain, putting the unfortunate iceberg incident aside for a moment, we'll have much less wind resistance and therefore much greater fuel economy and greatly increased speed if we turn all the deck chairs to face forward."

Date: 2013/03/12 17:37:19, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (fnxtr @ Mar. 12 2013,13:52)
Quote (N.Wells @ Mar. 11 2013,14:31)
"But Captain, putting the unfortunate iceberg incident aside for a moment, we'll have much less wind resistance and therefore much greater fuel economy and greatly increased speed if we turn all the deck chairs to face forward."


(Permalink) Posted: Feb. 28 2013,23:35  
"SIR! Deck chairs re-arranged, SIR!"
"Thank you. Um... is that an iceberg?"

Sorry, fnxtr, my post was intended in the spirit of "egads, he's STILL re-arranging the frigging deckchairs", but I couldn't find the earlier use of the metaphor to figure out who said it or when.

Date: 2013/03/20 16:49:38, Link
Author: N.Wells
[From Gary] How do you know that the human genome was produced by nothing more than random copy errors?

Gary, you have been displaying terrible ignorance of biology lately.  You made some dumb-ass comments about Darwin's finches, and now this.  Find a single biologist that says that any genome was produced by "nothing more than random copy errors".  Random copy errors are very important in generating novelty (along with recombination), and genetic drift is also important, but it is clear that success or failure is often determined by the environment, i.e. that the genome is responding to direction provided by the environment.

[From Gary] Even seasonal change in finch beak morphology is now known to have a nonrandom epigenetic component not "random mutation/change" therefore "Darwin's finches" bit the dust too.
 First, there is no "seasonal change in finch beak morphology".  Second, feel free to correct me here (because, heaven knows, I'm not current on everything in biology), but the last I heard, Boag 1983 and Grant and Grant 1993 paper showed that 65% of variance in beak length and 90% of variance in beak depth in one of the finches were due to additive effects of alleles.  This means that we have known for a while that a small proportion of variation is NOT explained by genes, but most of it is, contra your statement, so nothing has bitten the dust here, other than you.  

We also know from the Grants' studies and an increasing number of comparable studies that what happens in nature is not intelligent design or good guessing, but when the environment gets critical, everyone not ideally suited for the challenge dies, and the next generation consists of survivors who happened to have the most helpful versions of their genes.   Most of the time small variations don't matter much, but every now and again extreme conditions occur, at which point the small variations can become crucially important.  By differential dying and differential reproductive success, the genome of the entire population can show some pretty rapid shifts over surprisingly small time frames.  This isn't the only process for change, nor is it necessarily going to be the most important process in any given circumstance, but we know that it can be very important.    

[From Gary] You make claims about "good guesses" being factually wrong yet have no scientific evidence that all that guesses are random, while what is now known about such things as duplication and transposition mechanisms indicate that you were already proven to be the one who is wrong. If you cannot explain how something happened then you simply call it "random" then make claims that suggest your theory already explained exactly how the change was induced. I'm amazed that so many your side of the issue cannot see the absurdity of such lazy arguments, and sloppy science.
 Pure projection.  You have no evidence for your "guesses" or your lower levels of intelligence.  You have some distorted terminology and some empty claims.  If you read carefully about randomness in science, you will see that scientists typically do not just "call something random": what they typically do is perform statistical analyses that may conclude that a distribution is not distinguishable from a random distribution.  That's not the same as calling something random, but it's no surprise that you are blind to the nuance.

[From Gary] .... you are unable to demonstrate that your "theory" describes anything that happens in reality.
Again, pure projection.  That charge is untrue of evolutionary biology but completely true if levelled against you and your ideas.  Incidentally, your ideas still don't amount to a theory and still don't entail any useful and testable predictions (for a host of reasons, your long list of statements didn't amount to legitimate, logically entailed, testable, potentially falsifiable predictions, but that will have to be another post).

Date: 2013/03/21 20:22:33, Link
Author: N.Wells
nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of this Theory of Intelligent Design.
The bits of your ideas that are new do not seem to have any relevance to biology.  And it's a long way from being a theory.

while also struggling to put together one of the most multidisciplinary theories ever written
Being inane in more than one field simultaneously is not better than being inane in just one. Also, your ideas aren't a theory.

Now that mutation hotspots are being scientifically documented, it's too late to successfully argue that speciation is caused by a statistically random process. The genome is not evenly peppered with copy errors, as the theory more or less predicted, before hotspots were even discovered.
 You really have to stop making such stupid and ignorant statements, because all they do is show how little you know about what you are trying to criticize.  Current understanding of evolution holds (and has held for a long time) that mutations are random with respect to the needs of the organism, but this does not mean that the process of mutation must be a statistically random process.  Biologists have at times loosely talked about mutation as a random process without clarifying their terms, but technical literature has been clear for a very long time that mutations are not evenly spread through the genome and vary considerably in rates.  Table 1 in Drake, 1970, The Molecular Basis of Mutation, shows rates varying by 7 orders of magnitude in the same genome.  Futuyuma, Evolution, 2nd ed. 1986: "This does not mean that all loci mutate at the same rate, nor that all imaginable mutations are equally likely.  Nor does it mean that mutations are independent of the effect of the environment ...... Mutation is random in that the chance a specific mutation will occur is not affected by how useful that mutation would be.  ..... Lederberg and Lederberg (1952) [showed that] mutations for resistance to an antibiotic occur independently of resistance to the drug and are not induced by it.  ...... As far as we know, the environment does not evoke the appearance of favorable mutations, nor can a population accumulate mutations in anticipation of a change in its environment.  Stearns and Hoekstra, 2005, Evolution: "Mutation is not random with respect to where it occurs.  Mutation can also be triggered by a specific signal ..... [then they discuss adaptive mutations and adaptive enhancement of mutation rates] .... Some genes mutate more frequently than others.  The critical question, however, is this: do mutations with a specific phenotype effect occur more often when they are advantageous than when they are not?  If so, adaptations could be produced by mutation alone, and natural selection would be less important.  ....... We cannot at present rule out Lamarckian mutations entirely , but there is no evidence for them at the level of genetic mutations (changes in DNA sequences), and there is no evidence that they are very important.  Mutations, on the other hand, are certainly random in the sense that there is no systematic relationship between their phenotypic effect and the actual needs of the organism in which they occur."

If you want to prove that the discipline is wrong in its understanding, be my guest.  (That's how people win Nobel prizes, and it's not like biologists pretend to understand everything that needs to be understood about mutations.)  However, you will get nowhere beyond proving yourself an incompetent fool by misrepresenting the field and claiming to disprove positions that you are not stating correctly.

Also, randomly generated events DO NOT result in even distributions in time and space. (To be continued shortly......)

Date: 2013/03/21 21:02:37, Link
Author: N.Wells
From Gary:    
The genome is not evenly peppered with copy errors

So does "multi-disciplinary" include statistics? The top four graphs are all different specific types of non-random intervals.  The last two lines on the top graph and all the lines on the bottom graph are randomly generated spacings (generated from random number tables).  Note that none of the random spacings could be described as "evenly peppered", and all show some degree of clustering or irregularity that may conflict with your notion of "random":

It's generally good to try and get a clue before spouting off about stuff.  

(Next up, we'll no doubt see where I just screwed up......)

Date: 2013/03/21 21:14:11, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (JohnW @ Mar. 21 2013,16:24)
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Mar. 21 2013,14:19)

Even they don't deserve that.

Sure they do.

Date: 2013/03/22 11:54:42, Link
Author: N.Wells
Several comments:

1) Given the way long lines proliferate and careen around Gary's diagram in red and black, I don't think he's going to be impressed by the problem of the giraffe's laryngeal nerve, except that he'll think it is a clear indicator of superior (if somewhat conservative) design.

2)  I'm not sure if it was understood above, but Joe Meert is one of the good guys, fearlessly fighting for good science for many years now.  Gary's abuse of Joe's graph does not reflect badly on Joe.

3) I think some of the recent commenters re Gary's modus operandi are hitting the nail on the head, so a comment to Gary,

- You think your writings are clear, whereas everyone else finds them confused and muddled at best.

- You think your diagrams are clear and make all sorts of obvious implications, whereas everyone else finds them confusing, and does not see the same implications.

- From your dispute with Wesley, as Wesley concluded, you appear to have this entire interior system of expectations and social contracts going on that doesn't actually involve Wesley.  He restarted a conversation about something you wrote earlier, and identified it as such.  He identified it as a quote from elsewhere and asked if it was a part of your theory, given that you keep updating stuff without idetifying versions (making it even harder to sort all your stuff above and beyond the facts that you run it all together and no one can follow what you are saying).  He also clearly asked whether you still stood by it.  You initially responded on Nov. 01 2012,16:58 with hard-to-nail-down verbiage that I read as saying, yes, it's an example of something consistent with my theory.  

- You think your ideas are crystal-clear, self-explanatory, and obvious, and offer useful predictions and powerful explanations.  In contrast, everyone else finds them muddled, wrong, and at best really hard to decipher.  Moreover, the "predictions" (which mostly aren't predictions) do not logically follow from what you have said and do not add anything to present explanations.  Yes, evolution can be viewed as the successful perpetuation of mutations that made lucky guesses, so a DNA lineage can be viewed as having successfully (so far) learned the 'lessons of the past', but that is more analogy and metaphor than useful explanation.  Your addition of such unsupported concepts as "molecular intelligence" does not in any obvious way help to clarify or explain anything.

Given the level of disconnect between your view of your chain of thought and everyone else's view of the same, you might want to step back and re-evaluate your situation.

Date: 2013/03/22 16:58:45, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Jim_Wynne @ Mar. 22 2013,12:17)
Quote (N.Wells @ Mar. 22 2013,11:54)
Yes, evolution can be viewed as the successful perpetuation of mutations that made lucky guesses, so a DNA lineage can be viewed as having successfully (so far) learned the 'lessons of the past', but that is more analogy and metaphor than useful explanation.  

I'm not sure the idea of lucky guesses succeeds even as analogy or metaphor in the absence of a designer. ID is an argument that assumes its own conclusion, so "luck" suggests that when there is a crossroads, only one fork is the correct way to go.  In reality, it's more like the insight attributed to Yogi Berra: When you come to a fork in the road, take it.  Once you do take it, the road may lead to extinction, increased fitness, or nowhere in particular.  No lucky guesses, just contingency.

I think the idea is defensible that extant species are lineages whose ancestors made successful / lucky guesses. That seems a reasonable metaphor, and it's not wrong to see all living organisms as descendants of a long line of lottery winners, so to speak.  However, the "guesses" (which, yes, aren't really guesses) are essentially always made before the question is posed.  Each individual has in effect proposed its answers before receiving the test.  This is where the metaphors derail when they think of intelligent genome-level responses to life's challenges: all bets are placed before the wheel spins, and most individuals respond by going bankrupt / dying / failing to reproduce.  Notwithstanding the intellectual attractiveness of the idea, intelligent, individual, evolution-level responses do not seem to be a possibility.

[From Gary] and by process known as "chromosomal speciation" are related to a progenitor couple hereby colloquially named "Chromosomal Adam and Eve".

Gary, you do know that the math indicates that "chromosomal Eve" and "chromosomal Adam" did not live at anything like the same times (tens of thousands of years apart, if not hundreds of thousands), right?

Date: 2013/03/22 22:21:39, Link
Author: N.Wells
And it is shortsighted to blindly assume there is no purpose for a delay line that is as long as the throat the vocal system must resonate. From my experience that is needed to achieve resonance in a circuit, or it at best squeaks or squeals and sounds awful.

Put a little thought into your efforts, why don't you? Nonsensical omnidirectional spewing of chaff is so inelegant.  No other animals go out of their way to create or need such anomalously long laryngeal nerves, and throats below the larynx generally aren't involved in generating resonance.  (Resonating chambers [which aren't electrical circuits] resonate downstream after the initial vocalizations are produced by the larynx.  The nerves are more similar to electrical circuits than the throat, but of course nerves don't on their own produce sound.  It is possible that the giraffe uses its long throat to produce infrasound, but it is unclear that a long recurrent laryngeal nerve could in any way be helpful here.  Certainly elephants, whales, rhinos, and alligators do fine in producing infrasound without having a particularly long recurrent laryngeal nerve.)

Evolutionary theory offers a powerful and well-supported explanation for the giraffe's long recurrent laryngeal nerve by its originally having been straight from brain through the aortic arch to the larynx.  However, this means it remained developmentally stuck behind the heart when the neck developed and elongated.  That's a perfectly good explanation: we see how the nerve develops embryologically as a straight shot through the 6th arch, we see the precursor condition in lower vertebrates, and we see intermediate conditions in the okapi.  We see how it remains in its ancestral position during development, and how structures that evolved later and which develop later during ontogeny move it from its original position.

It is also noteworthy that giraffes do not vocalize very much.  Their vocal cords are very small with no sharp edges, and they limit themselves to alarm snorts, a "roaring bellow" by mothers searching for young, a raucous cough by males during courtship, bleating or mewing by the calves, and various moaning, hissing, snoring, and flutelike sounds, plus growling, and whistling.  [In short, it sounds like the supposed "shortcomings" that you propose would have been just about perfect for the giraffe.]

The length of the nerve may not be without costs.  The extra length of the nerve in larger horses is thought to contribute to their greater vulnerability to equine recurrent laryngeal neuropathy.  However, I don't know whether giraffes have been studied closely in that regard.

FWIW, the recurrent laryngeal nerve communicates in both directions, carrying signals to the muscles of the larynx and returning information about the state of the mucus membranes, among other things:
The larynx is innervated by branches of the vagus nerve on each side. Sensory innervation to the glottis and laryngeal vestibule is by the internal branch of the superior laryngeal nerve. The external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve innervates the cricothyroid muscle. Motor innervation to all other muscles of the larynx and sensory innervation to the subglottis is by the recurrent laryngeal nerve. While the sensory input described above is (general) visceral sensation (diffuse, poorly localized), the vocal fold also receives general somatic sensory innervation (proprioceptive and touch) by the superior laryngeal nerve.

Date: 2013/03/24 11:14:41, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (OgreMkV @ Mar. 24 2013,10:23)
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Mar. 24 2013,10:06)
Then show me YOUR FLOWCHART showing the steps required for an algorithm to model Darwinian Theory. And please remember we are comparing FLOWCHARTS not something else you decide to think up to compare with instead.

Why are we comparing flowcharts?

This is typical creationist idiocy.  Because creationists can't understand the actual topics under discussion, then they want to argue about the various metaphors, analogies, and other 'equivalents'.  This is a fundamental misconception about how science works.

Analogies, models, etc are NOT the thing being talked about.

Instead of comparing flowcharts, why don't we actually talk about evolution and intelligent design?  Using things like logic and evidence.

You know why, Gary.  It's because you (and other IDiots) can't talk about the actual science.  You've proven that you don't understand basic science, much less advanced topics like population theory.

So, the question is, why should we reduce our knowledge to your level and pretend that we're having a meaningful conversation?  In my classes, I require that my students get up to my level of knowledge and then we can actually have a meaningful conversation.

When you want to actually talk about science, let me know.

In the meantime, why don't you tell us the date range the your model predict for these two supposed other mass speciation events (that you have no actual evidence for) and why your bug foraging model (that no computer known can actually run) predicts the history of life on Earth?

It's fine to approach a scientific question by modelling, and Gary's "Darwinian algorithm" is not bad for a simplified version for some of Darwinian evolution.

Nonetheless, in modelling, among other things:
1) You try to approximate known processes and known variables (with modifications allowable depending on your goals for the model)
2) You spend a huge amount of time ground-proofing or reality-checking your model as much as possible.
3) You tread very carefully in making claims, even when you think you are within the legitimate domain of the model, but you sure as heck don't wander out of that domain.
4) You state the constraints and assumptions of the model as clear as possible.
5) You try to not to leave anything out that might influence the results or modify your conclusions.
6) You make very sure that you are not just labelling and manipulating stuff to ensure that you get the answer that you want to see.

Gary fails abysmally on all counts.  He lacks basic knowledge about biology.  He denies known facts and processes.  He has no reality-checking.  He blows right past what is a cute little program that does a modest job of modelling foraging behavior to make all kinds of outlandish claims about molecular and cellular intelligence that aren't even in his model and which are not in evidence.  Gary ignores the limitations of his model (except as unjustified labels), blows past his assumptions, and says nothing comprehensibly.  He ignores the facts that (1) multicellularity with intracellular communication and collaboration preceded the Cambrian explosion, (2) we see many stages between typical plant-like organization on the one hand and animal-like organization on the other, and 3) what actually emerged that accounts for a lot of animal phyla-level branching and progress is probably the homeobox.

Date: 2013/03/24 14:43:45, Link
Author: N.Wells
That algorithm is not hopeless for a simplistic model, but it could indeed use some tweaking.

1 & 2) Start.  Create random population.  
Populations are rarely random (depending a bit on what you mean by "random"), given that they are descendants of prior "lottery winners".  Yes, both life and a computer model have to start somewhere, but the origin of life is presently outside the domain of evolutionary theory.

3) Evaluate fitness of individuals.
Fitness is evaluated in life by lineage success in reproduction, but this is okay in a simulation.  However, you have to have legitimate variations in fitness and legitimate ways of evaluating it: you can't just assert that something is intelligent without justification, assign it a high success rate, and then conclude that you've learned something about the importance of intelligence in evolution.  

4) If desired fitness reached than stop.
This one is wrong and non-biological.  Echoing Midwifetoad and Jim Wynne, who defines "desired", and "Stop" is not usually an option, except for extinction.  A population can experience stasis, which is usually a situation of dynamic instability or metastability.  External conditions are usually changing, and even if a species temporarily escapes external selection pressures, that merely exacerbates intraspecific competition as population pressures mount.  Most typical, creatures seem to be caught in an ongoing arms race re the "Red Queen Hypothesis".

5 & 6) Rank individuals.  Select breeding pairs.

This describes artificial selection in breeding programs, not Darwinian evolution.  OK, we can ignore asexual reproduction for the moment.  Nobody ranks organisms in real-life Darwinian evolution, although it's a step for a computer model.  No one selects mating pairs either: they either select each other (to varying degrees), or breed at random.

7) Create a new population by mating and mutation.  That's "generation", and its production should more explicitly include recombination.  We need to include possibilities for genetic drift, including processes for random death as well as selection.

Date: 2013/03/24 16:45:42, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 24 2013,15:20)
The worst single offense is the implication that there is a target. This error is almost universal among ID/creationists.

And it seems to be why they can't understand how evolution works.

Perhaps Dawkins is partly responsible due to the Weasel program, but anyone who read the book knows he followed on immediately with a non-targeted program.

I think I just figured out the problem.

Your point is well taken, that there is no target in the sense of "I need better wings" "I need to become more intelligent", or "I have to figure out how to digest nylon", or even worse yet, "I have to create exactly such-and-such a protein".  However, we can usefully talk about how creatures became better fliers, and it seems okay to talk about how creatures solved various challenges.  Also, peak climbing invites talking about targets.

However, there clearly is one overriding target or goal: successful reproduction.  (That could be stated more broadly as leaving more of your genome in subsequent generations than anyone else, since some strategies are multigenerational or involve your close relatives' offspring rather than your own).  Even when no conscious intention is involved, it is a deeply embedded instinct.  

Nonetheless, yes, creationists typically derail on the subject of targets, because they leap to suggestions of intentionality and grand purpose.


Date: 2013/03/24 18:05:15, Link
Author: N.Wells
If god designed the world, but was as incompetent as Gary, that might explain:
a) abundant crappy design features like the giraffe's recurrent laryngeal nerve (created under the impression that it was actually good design),
b) pronouncement that the results of the design were nonetheless "very good"
c) authorship of an unnecessarily humungous bible that contains large chunks of text that alternate between incomprehensible and mind-numbing.
d) the distinctive, nay defining, characteristic of much of the remaining text that it looks like it ought to be decipherable, while being sufficiently opaque and tortured  that no two people can read it and leave with the same understanding.    
e) why so much of nature acts sort of slightly like a computer program, but a really really bad one with the mother of all outmoded incomprehensible spaghetti code underneath it.
f) pathological denial of fact and reason by those who claim to be closest to god.
g) divine pronouncements that were long on authoritarian assertions and short (to the point of nonexistence) on reason, logic, evidence, and well-supported arguments.
h) You think it's a coincidence that Gary is honored by Planet Source Code, huh?  What did you think Planet Source Code coders code for????!!!!
i) a world predominantly populated by tiny bugs whose principal behavior pattern is mindless hyperkinetic rushing to and fro.

I think my work here is done   :)

edited to add: I note that my Downright Unintelligent Design Theory successfully predicts all three elections of both Bushes and two as yet unspecified Republican recessions that I named ages ago, plus I've spent way more time on it than I should have, so it has to be true.  So there.

Date: 2013/03/27 14:48:45, Link
Author: N.Wells
[From Gary] Your other issues only matter to you, not to the theory and I.[sic]

[from Wesley]  Second, there is the issue of the model problem statement. Trehub identified specific phenomena with distinctive known characteristics to which he would apply his model, where distinct and discriminable results were possible.

Third, there is the issue of testing. Trehub not only specified the phenomena of interest to apply his model to, he then tested the performance of his model in light of the known data concerning the phenomena, determining which sort of discriminable result had been obtained.

Trehub did not write a hymnal to evolution, but (as Wesley notes) he did state an hypothesis clearly, made some logically entailed and falsifiable predictions, and went out and tested them with new information.  Gary is more than welcome to do science that tries to disprove and replace the theory of evolution: theories are supposed to be accepted tentatively and tested whenever relevant new techniques or new data appear.  However, he is astoundingly and unembarrassedly ignorant of the topic he wishes to conquer, which is a terrible start, and then he caps it off by not understanding logically entailed and falsifiable tests.  I think this is by far the greater failing, because this is the point where it becomes impossible to take him seriously, even if you wanted to.

Date: 2013/04/03 07:24:39, Link
Author: N.Wells
[From Gary] You need to be thankful I’m not vengeful for your trying to bully/ridicule me out of science, because the same treatment you gave me would be sheer hell, just by my changing keywords in your replies to me, so the exact same thing comes back at you. As long as I add qualifier detail (you sure didn’t give me) so it’s not legally defamatory, a court would have to find that a brilliantly fair punishment for willingly being in a forum where that is how arguments are to be settled, and you lose one. It’s what I meant by being sorry you crossed that line, where you get caught up in the gears of science then next find yourself able to meet yourself. There’s nothing you can do about it, but back off and treat me with the same respect you demand in return.
A) You already re-use charges that have been leveled at you, and it isn't effective.  B) If a charge is true, it's legal, but if that same charge is turned back on the first person without being true in the new direction, it has become defamatory, so your understanding of law is on par with your understanding of biology.

the very highly educational theory you vowed to help ridicule out of existence.
It's not a theory and it's not educational, except as a counter-example of good science.

When a theory becomes this scientific there is no real scientific issue of whether it’s scientific or not, and trying to make an issue out of something else is inherently out of bounds, which has ways (you are now experiencing) of eliminating you from its greater scientific arena that includes this forum.  I’m essentially using the force that’s in the power of science that when properly used makes all kinds of good/bad things like this happen but no matter what that’s the way science goes, why they call it messy, and not my fault you chose to fight what you should know that you can’t.
Again, for reasons explained many times, it's not a theory, and it doesn't have a lot in common with science, unless you insert "bad" before "science".

Gary, I read your published paper from several years ago on using egg yolk for a teaching demonstration.  That was OK: just a small number of typos (egg 'yoke'), a small amount of awkward grammar, and a mild appearance of your tendency to add parenthetical comments inappropriately, but otherwise it was concise, clear enough, decently written, and not wrong, unlike all the stuff you've written about your robobugs and your evolutionary speculations.  If that was you then, and what we've seen here is you now, then (to echo others) you really do need to get some professional help / get medications under control, or whatever it takes.

Date: 2013/04/04 14:27:25, Link
Author: N.Wells
That was an impressive compilation, Wes.

Possibly my favorite (but out of so many stellar alternatives) was "And considering you are supposed to know all about what's going on, not knowing who I am does not score any points in the science arena either."

Date: 2013/04/17 09:04:16, Link
Author: N.Wells
I must now poof it a mouth and antena. From the multicellular level into this environment that's as simple as drawing a circle and some lines.

Go back and re-read the brilliant comment that was made a while ago about modelling aeroplane flight with a program that provides angels to hold up the wings.  Then re-read, until you understand it.

That is not an excuse for bias which makes it seem you have a legitimate right to decide whether this is a scientific theory or not, when that has already been decided, by the way the science went. The title of the darn thing is the “Theory of Intelligent Design” ......

Gary, your calling your mess of assertions a theory doesn't make it a theory.  You might as well call it an elephant, because it has about as much to do with elephants.  

Science favors the ones who take it scientifically seriously then follow the evidence from where it leads ......

Physician, heal thyself.

Even though academia is good at teaching the science theory that has long been in the textbooks, a new paradigm is something that tends to come from the outside that upsets things a bit before becoming more of what gets routinely taught in academia, whereupon it becomes revered there. This theory is a renegade sort of thing. ........

New insight in time becomes a part of culture and this theory has a surprising amount of novel material for science changers to work with. It’s a constructive new way to explain who and what we are, that only needs a Planet Source Code to get started, not fancy science journal that has a way of complicating things into nothing ever getting done, towards eventually becoming a science-news sensation. It makes perfect science sense to have such a starting point, especially for students who have a talent for science and programming but not have anything for a major science journal yet.


The scientific method that I use might seem low-level and primitive but when you understand what kind of scientist all this helps make you know why for science sake it has to be this way. I earlier let off some steam about not properly qualified to teach/explain this stuff. It is not good to turn science into a robed ceremony students are conditioned to be good students and wait until they are a well college educated adult to even get started. That is a dreadful thought, I remember well from when I was that age. I’m for rebellious born-to-be scientists who of course don’t want to wait either and need what is not yet revered in academia that they can right now experiment with, that from science helps shake things up a bit, to help get you moving again.

Gary, you are completely clueless and delusional about science.

You have a computer model for foraging behavior that relies where possible on learned behavioral responses that have been successful in the past.  This has absolutely no implications about intelligence in molecules, intelligence design, the emergence of intelligence, the Cambrian explosion, or the theory of evolution.  You are apparently seeing some mystical connections in your own mind, some sort of lovely-to-you intellectual edifice that is completely impervious to such things as evidence, criticism, and external reality.  You are viewing your flowchart as a self-evident answer to everything when in fact it is a completely opaque response that offers no explanation to anyone but you.  You are failing completely at communicating any of your ideas to anyone, because a) you are having considerable difficulty writing comprehensibly, b) your assertions and claims are at odds with the real world, so very little of what we think you are trying to say makes any sense to us, c) your "logic" seems to be completely lacking, d) you clearly do not understand biology and evolutionary theory very well, and e) you don't understand science and refuse to operate within a standard scientific framework, such as providing rigorous definitions, providing evidence that your proposed mechanisms exist, proposing testable & falsifiable hypotheses*, or even labeling your graphs.    (*Your earlier attempt at this was a miserable failure.)

Date: 2013/04/26 09:11:47, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ April 25 2013,23:03)
Quote (Jim_Wynne @ April 25 2013,15:32)
Gary might find this useful:

Everyone in this forum is OK with this?

A "theory" is a fact with evidence behind it that has been repeatedly confirmed and a "fact" is essentially the same thing but may be modified or even discarded tomorrow?

The poster is decent on hypotheses, but an hypothesis is more than a hunch - an hypothesis can certainly stem from ideas, opinions, and hunches, but it should be developed to the point of being stated formally and it must be falsifiable.  That's why your idea barely rises to the level of an hypothesis, let alone a theory.

The definition of theory is fine, but I don't like "evidenced fact". A theory is a logically plausible explanation that is supported by enough evidence that many experts are taking it seriously.  Your concept of molecular intelligence has no supporting evidence and isn't logically plausible, and no one but you sees anything worthwhile in it.

I have problems with "Fact = truth".  Truth is not a good word to use in science, as everything comes with error and uncertainty and is subject to revision (the poster is right on that point).  A fact is a datum that has been verified to the best of our ability, and (although it can be disputed or discredited) it is taken for the present as a basis for subsequent development and testing of hypotheses and theories.  

And FYI our financial situation that has us back to not being able to afford paying bills is causing my wife to pressure me to take serious (possibly legal) action against ones who have been funding attacks against my work while barring me from funding, or at least get completely out of this forum and stop work on the theory. Either way, your protest is a science stopper that I cannot afford, and expecting more from me is scientifically and socially irresponsible.

You are being paranoid. No one is funding attacks against you (you aren't worth the bother).  However, you have no chance of getting funding because outside of development of methods or instruments and teaching/training proposals very few people get funding without proposing some interesting and important hypotheses, complete with multiple, falsifiable, mutually exclusive, working hypotheses and some plausible plan for being able to choose between them. You apparently don't even know what those are.  For funding, you also have to demonstrate relevant knowledge for what you want to do, and again you fail miserably.  You could ask for funding to develop a computer model of foraging behavior, and at least no one would laugh at you (assuming you improved your writing back to the level displayed in your teaching paper), but you wouldn't get funding because the implications of your work for adding new understanding to foraging behavior don't look very interesting or important.  

At this point in time I just want to be compensated for years of work already done
No funding source that I'm familiar with funds work already done.  They are all looking forward to what comes next.

Go do something useful and get some help.

Date: 2013/04/28 02:19:53, Link
Author: N.Wells
[quote=GaryGaulin,April 28 2013,00:42][/quote]
I would be happy with just the Nobel Prize I'm supposed to get for all this!

Umm, Gary, there's no Nobel Prize in Biology per se (they're in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace).

However, perhaps you could get out of your financial problems by asking your bank for a loan against your future receipt of a MacArthur Foundation "Genius" award.

Date: 2013/04/28 09:08:46, Link
Author: N.Wells
"it will likely never ever win a Nobel Prize in literature"
But perhaps you could extract something that could compete for the Bulwer-Lytton Prize in literature, given how much of it is both fictional and atrociously written.

Edited to add:  Gary, how about asking your wife to join in the conversation here to get her take on all this?

Date: 2013/05/01 21:07:11, Link
Author: N.Wells
Gary, every now and again you mention fractals as being an important part of your model / program, but I haven't noticed specifically where that occurs.  It might well be that I simply missed it, so could you please help me out by pointing out exactly where fractal equations are involved and mention over how many orders of magnitude the fractal behavior obtains?  Thanks in advance.

Date: 2013/05/02 19:38:18, Link
Author: N.Wells
Thank you, Gary, but (as others have already pointed out), what you have said does not answer the question, so it appears that you aren't in fact using fractals.  Fractals are specific types of equations, not buzzwords and assertions about similarity across several orders of magnitude.  If you think fractals are important, you might want to get yourself to the point where you can really answer Ogre's questions.

Date: 2013/05/03 00:01:50, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ May 02 2013,20:23)
Quote (N.Wells @ May 02 2013,19:38)
Thank you, Gary, but (as others have already pointed out), what you have said does not answer the question.  Fractals are specific types of equations, not buzzwords and assertions about similarity across several orders of magnitude.  If you think fractals are important, you might want to get yourself to the point where you can answer Ogre's questions.

Much of the problem is how little is scientifically known about how the fractal-similarity works. The article I mentioned helps show what is still missing.

There are now many kinds of fractals. My favorite is explained at 5:13 into this Chaos-TV video that shows a recent contest entry:

What I'm describing is not out of place in the fractal realm. Experimentation into new areas like this is encouraged. Here's a thread that went in that direction a little, in case you didn't see it yet:'....rything

Fractal similarity is not especially complicated mathematically, although fractal equations can generate astounding complexity.  I am quite willing to agree that fractals can be important in lots of ways, including many that are still being figured out.  Nonetheless, your model and your theory apparently do not include any fractal mathematics (please correct me if I am wrong in that).  Therefore, "fractal" with respect to your ideas seems to be just a fancy word that you are throwing around because you think it adds something, rather like your uses of "intelligence" and "circuit".  Your being infatuated with an idea unfortunately does not make it either science or correct.  It needs documentation, evidence, testing of falsifiable predictions, ground-truthing, and all that other stuff that makes up real science (which is your responsibility, not ours, until you can show some really good reasons for having the ideas be taken seriously).

Date: 2013/05/11 07:13:22, Link
Author: N.Wells
Oh good grief, he's discovered instinct (innate behavior) vs learned behavior, & has drawn a really bad analogy between analogical biochemistry and digital electronics.  

From there, he ignores complex behavior and behavioral cascades, in effect programs a behavioral cascade and thinks of it as learned behavior (somewhat ironically in a modelled arthropod!), and then leaps across multiple chasms of gaps in logic & evidence to reassert his starting assumptions and desired conclusions that molecules are intelligent and that his unique, misunderstood, strawman version of evolutionary theory is rubbish.

GGGIGO.  Everything about Gary's reasoning is muddled, and the more you get into it the worse it gets.  It's muddles on muddles all the way down.  His muddledness turns out to be fractal! :)

Date: 2013/05/21 03:59:08, Link
Author: N.Wells
Then you should have no problem supplying a circuit schematic that (other than number and type of sensors/motors) looks exactly like ....

Not sure if this is what you are looking for, but there's certainly related stuff out there:

Well this week I’m busy at my paying job so that I can afford luxuries like food and shelter and forced taxation required to help fund the money-pits in charge of science education that makes it impossible for any new scientific theory to ever be written again.
 Actual scientists doing actual science don't seem to be having much difficulty coming up with new testable hypotheses and new and genuine theories, unlike some people.

Date: 2013/05/23 15:40:57, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ May 22 2013,15:32)
Quote (Southstar @ May 22 2013,03:25)
Quote (GaryGaulin @ May 22 2013,02:29)

Hi Gaga,

According to the latest research link below, smaller plants evolve faster than taller plants and evolve much faster than animals.

I was wondering in your model thingy does it mean that plants are more molecularly intelligent than humans.

Hi again Southstar. Not to nitpick or anything, but the phrase used is not "evolve faster" they are being more specific by saying "faster-changing":

In a study to be published 21 May in the journal Nature Communications, Lanfear and colleagues report that shorter plants have faster-changing genomes.

In the space of a giant tree, there can be a large variety of smaller plants that quickly reach maturity then reproduce. Far more of them than us larger animals that can eat many plants at a time. It makes sense that as a population their genomes are faster changing and can by great numbers afford to take more risks but that does not make small plants more molecularly intelligent.

Without animal centrosomes in their cells they are not cellularly intelligent like our cells are by having them. Need smart cells to form colonies that become muscles and brains that sometimes have complex reproductive displays and rituals that even lead to memorable weddings that go along with molecular intelligence getting another thought in time via offspring and what we all change in the world while we're here that one way or another changes how the future goes for all of them...

We've been accumulating evidence that Gary is as incompetent at reading English as he is at writing it, but he dropped a complete howler a few posts back in hectoring Southstar that the authors of the paper were talking about "faster changing genomes" rather than "evolution".  

Of course a faster changing genome means faster evolution.  Change in allele frequency, i.e. changes in the genome, is the very definition of evolution.  Beyond that, the news article not only talks about rates of change in the genome but also describes them as "When they plotted EVOLUTIONARY RATES against plant height, the researchers were surprised to find that shorter plants EVOLVED as much as five times faster than taller ones."  (Capitalization by me for emphasis.) The very first sentence says "evolve more quickly" and the title of the news article mentions "evolutionary fast lane", so Gary is incompetent at reading as far as the end of the title and/or the first sentence.  Even worse for Gary, the title of the original Nature Communications paper by Lanfear & colleagues is "Taller plants have LOWER RATES OF MOLECULAR EVOLUTION."

Minor nitpicks:
What on earth does Gary mean by "In the space of a large tree"?

Also, if plant cells are not "cellularly intelligent" without "animal centrosomes" (Gary: "Without animal centrosomes in their cells they are not cellularly intelligent like our cells are by having them."), then what the heck does that say about Gary's claims of molecular intelligence?

Also, the authors said they adjusted for trees versus bushes and smaller plants, so Gary's comment is, once again, irrelevant.

muscles and brains that sometimes have complex reproductive displays and rituals that even lead to memorable weddings that go along with molecular intelligence getting another thought in time via offspring

Gary, please go and get psychiatric assistance.  You need it, experts can probably help you, and you cannot afford to go on as you are.

Date: 2013/05/23 22:15:28, Link
Author: N.Wells
If your hysteria continues for much longer then the title of this forum topic will have to be renamed to something like the "Wesley Elsberry meltdown thread". But maybe N.Wells has some advice for you too.
 Gary, the only person around here who is failing to see through your nonsense is yourself.  Give it up.  As far as I can tell, Wesley has been 100% correct and entirely non-hysterical in his statements, while your accuracy rating is in the stopped-clock range.  Get some help.

Date: 2013/05/29 07:58:14, Link
Author: N.Wells
With apologies, I'm catching up and would like to chime in with my two cents on whether "If water becomes more dense as it cools then ice will sink in liquid water" is an hypothesis.  

I think that it can be viewed as three falsifiable conjectures (hypotheses) wrapped together.  They can be tested by asking whether water becomes more dense as it cools (vs less dense or no change), whether ice sinks (vs floats or is neutrally bouyant), and whether ice sinks because water becomes more dense as it cools (or for some other reason).  If any of those three go untested, that becomes an assumption and the other three become assertions or speculations, depending on how they are phrased.  As was pointed out, the statement posits a counterfactual (in  that ice doesn't sink). This may still let it be a useful hypothesis for teaching purposes, but it's a completely crappy hypothesis for research purposes as it is a non-sequitur and therefore not a legitimate hypothesis.

I'm therefore momentarily in the surprising position of supporting Gary when he said "So to sum up, even a hypothesis that makes no sense at all to someone who already understands all the concepts can be useful to another who has yet to learn about them."

An hypothesis for research needs to rise above the level of being a non-sequitur to be useful.  "If mercury orbits venus, then velociraptors wrote in cursive" has one of many forms for being an hypothesis, but it is self-evidently useless as an hypothesis, so it would not merit investigation as a legitimate hypothesis.    

Hypotheses don't have to include an explanation of how something works: after all, most statistical hypotheses merely test for the presence or absence of a pattern, or whether two parameters are different or similar.  However, you don't get very far in science without testing hypotheses about causes and mechanism.  You could get to laws based on patterns alone, but you'd be limited with respect to generating useful theories.

Gary, however, hasn't even got to valid definitions, testable (falsifiable) hypotheses, and legitimate "sequiturs", so he hasn't yet even stepped up to bat with respect to legitimate science, and he has not proposed anything that approaches a legitimate theory.  And as others have noted, the way he keeps dropping supposedly key aspects of his pseudoscience would be laughable if it wasn't so pitiful.

Date: 2013/06/02 21:17:09, Link
Author: N.Wells
Now that I spent as many class days here as I would where I worked in a public school teacher

Say what????

Date: 2013/06/03 17:40:23, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Jim_Wynne @ June 03 2013,13:15)
As earlier explained this theory is for finding the cognitive starting point of hypotheses, which software wise reduces down to an If..Then.. parser for Visual Basic 6.0 to accept user entered statements. For the model it’s then using the If..Then.. conditional part to produce guesses that get tested and where it does not work (are false) other things are tested which in time leads to worded guesses that “Velociraptor did not write” with the best chance of holding true, as a lesson learned, from testing a hypothesis that started off a guess that is somewhat abstractly created from sensory information about orbit of planets mixing with thoughts of Dinosaur Train in the resulting guess where writing in cursive might be true, or soon will be just to help make such an excellent example of a hypothesis that at first might not look like one but the theory helps make sense of why that is most likely true. But do not know for sure until it’s tested, in the program, that I should have some time for later.

I sure hope this clears it all up for everyone.  :p

Crystal* clear.  

(*sensu ozokerite.)  (i.e., not clear; not a crystal; amorphous - completely without structure and order.)

Date: 2013/06/04 08:07:55, Link
Author: N.Wells
I came across a circuit diagram that helps clarify Gary's schematics:

Date: 2013/06/04 13:11:22, Link
Author: N.Wells
Perhaps it's just me, but Gary's writing seems more intelligible and far more pleasant when machine-translated into Haitian Creole:
Li se yon erreur de contre tout gwo fatig. Heures plus mwen fin pran pwogram lan pou kote mwen espere hypothèses sont cognitively fòme. Mwen pa t ' frisonen pou yo te fè li sa byen lwen se konsa vit. Si sa pa t ' geri sa a, lè sa a la codification te kapab ekzije semèn de tester circonstances. Ak sa pwesyon te retire yo m' deja resevwa yon ti jan fatige de programmation mwen te panse mwen ta dwe ekri (sa te sipoze ont été) yon mesaj byen kout pou senpleman di ke mwen te deja pwan nan fè sa ki te fè m' anba pwesyon pa te gen tan pou yo travay sou sa. Mwen tou te vle pou rapidement eksplike sa m' pa yo pou bloke nan (pwobableman anpil milye de zan) sa ap fè pou ou rip tèt ou pou pièces, kote ou vin lidè piblik lènmi nimewo en pou kiltirèl yo ap pran tan yo dèyè do ou, ki la pou ou kraze, droit. Byen bonè zòn Sid èsklav pwopwiyetè jaden ta wè anyen mal nan yon chante pou yo chante sou apwe yon gwo larivyè ki èsklav yo chante tout jou pandan travay. Men, mo sal yo ke revolisyon, ankouraje pa pandan li tap eksplike kijan pou yo vwayaje moute nan nò via anba tè ray, dès te wè anpil trafik. Te gen tou yon revolisyon Meksiken an kote zèv ak mizik kreye Fòlkò ki nan yon pil kont super-wealthy ki exploitées peyizan yo te kontwole yon fason enslaving. Koulye a, nou pa gen JoeG ak lòt extraction yo pou pièces, pandan tout tan gen kèk te trènen nan tribinal sou Dover ak a ensemble "syantifik kominote" yo sou yo tankou Kathy te fè pou suivant eta mandatè procédure in regard to piblik tande koz ou pou sa jwenn Enstiti a Suivi pwosedi pou fè yon koze ak kèk chanjman lajman senbolik tankou yon teori être yon "eksplikasyon pi bon" ki (kote a jan map fè a) vre?. Men, tounen apre sa l' te wè kòm yo te eseye pou ranje yon bagay pa kase, lè sa a, kawo ki te eklate ki te ogmante yon pwofesè ki te vin moute bat ak moun te dispoze pou sèvi tan pwizon ki kote yo gen pou yo, pou genyen Didantite kilti-lagè a sa a jwenn Enstiti an te kòmanse avèk yon estrateji kale.

De sa Kathy a pou m, yo te ap plan bombardés pa Ateyis a mouvman sa a pral ak rebèl jeunes de byen ta années Et syantifik etablisman sa a se yo. Menm a tap vole espageti mons satire kote Kathy fè mouvman sa sèlman sa yo vle l' pou di lè li te avèti ke wòl li ka rive de ridiculisant Bondye. Jan l' active menm si ke Patwon FSM ki toujou mennen sa a qui, se pou mwen menm, ki fè metaphorically Kathy ki te di verite, men rebèl jenès peyi do Apre sa a koulye a ak rebèl timoun de pwòp ka chèche tounen nan tan pou li fè kè nou kontan konfli a a yon edikasyon composant kote tout moun fini leve lè yo kapab byen plis pase sa nou te fè bak lè sa a, kote yon teori de entèlijan Conception se mwen menm osinon ki kata moun ki te moutre fil sa a men se pa tout mal Et se konsa pa soti nan sondaj la se konsa sa ye koulye a metaphorically la piratage DEPO a, avèk pwòp teori. Pastafarians ka antre nan sa, menm si Kathy obtient di "Mwen te di ou konsa" nan repons pou la pa t ' gen yon bagay syantifik nan defi a ki se pi piti eseye pou vini ak yon bagay bon de sa a DEPO a ap a Kansas nan rankont lan, nenpòt moun enplikasyon li relijye ki se vrèman pa diferan pase ak Évolutive teori kote kounye a Évolution Jeune se senti.

Dès yo p'ap yon creationist de yon jan ou yon lòt, ak Célèbres ki te sèlman di ke li te genyen yon kreyasyon "jis chimik réactions" ki kote yon generalizes a verite tou, men sa kapab eksplike kijan conscience travay ou ede reponn gwo-kesyon pwèske tout sipliye pou reponn yo. Se konsa wi Kathy relijye kòm fout Et toujou asirans sante0 pou sèlman ogmante tou pa wete lide mande l' t' ap di yon bagay sa sèlman agité bagay moute plis sou tèt, men di li pandan au li brillamment: yon questionnaire KCFS ki te montre yon li te yon lokal pairs NSTA l' Et entièrement kapab de fason ke kesyon sa yo espere nan pwochen ane 4, Et tòch ka di ke plis hands nòmal nan fè sa gen yon amelyorasyon ki te pase. Yo nan tablo reyalite reyinyon yo se nòmal pou questions concrètes tankou bussing coûts Et budget, ke li te gen anpil eksperyans ak, ak ka tande fin fou yo ak lòt moun nan hoopla a pat a, gen yon bagay soti nan òdinè. Yon fwa ke w konnen l' ou konnen poukisa li reyèlman pa gen anyen pou fè gwo a sou. Sa li tap tann pou se teori de entèlijan plan DEPO a t' ap pale sou bay yon bèl tande sa se koulye a pase isit la, pou m' ale autour de foròm pou foròm sou entènèt la ak kreyasyon l, ki sot minding pa jan chemen-relijye l' wè sa, sa va ak sa li te di ke ont right-on nan espesyal pou Syans ak syans edikasyon. ......

I get the same occasional glimmers of recognition that I get from the original Ganglish, but the translation liberates me from the oppressive concern that it all ought to hang together and actually make sense.

Date: 2013/06/04 14:24:09, Link
Author: N.Wells
Ogre is right that it's impossible to pick any particular sentence as worse than the others, but I rather admire "Sensory readings to form the conditional part of a hypothesis is on the other side and running parallel to bus lines that control Guess that produces the antecedent of a hypotheses where it turns out as in earlier velociraptor related example the conditional that produced the hypothesis that they wrote in cursive makes no sense what produced it yet a testable hypothesis is none the less there."  

Add some out-of-place hyphens and a "here" or two, and it would be perfect.

Date: 2013/06/05 11:43:10, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Occam's Toothbrush @ June 05 2013,10:52)
Quote (Lou FCD @ June 05 2013,06:31)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ June 04 2013,23:51)
Quote (Texas Teach @ June 04 2013,22:34)
I might have missed before, but when did the system (whatever that means) literally get away with murder?

Gary should be able to provide the name of a deceased person to substantiate that claim.

Yes, this should be simple to provide.


He's probably using the word "literally" in a figurative sense.

A lot of idiots do that.

No way - I mean, every single person who ever contradicted Darwin to his face is dead: did you ever think of that, huh?  I know you guys like coincidences, but really.....


Date: 2013/06/06 20:24:09, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Nomad @ June 06 2013,19:28)
 Appending the word analog to it does not make it so, whether you use exclamation points to assert it or not.

But, but, but that would also mean that he can't take the word "intelligence", add it to "molecular", and have there be such a thing as molecular intelligence.  You've called into question his entire modus operandi.

Date: 2013/06/07 19:54:26, Link
Author: N.Wells
Exceptional claims demand exceptional evidence.  If you want to be taken seriously, you need the following:

1) Demonstrate correct knowledge of biology and evolutionary theory before you critique evolutionary theory

2) Demonstrate knowledge and use of scientific methodology before critiquing scientific practice

3) Your most important claim (besides evolution being wrong) seems to be that molecules and cells have intelligence.  For this to be taken seriously you need to have a good definition of intelligence, demonstration of its existence at the levels you propose, and demonstration that you can measure it.  Labelling something as intelligent and simply making an assertion / assumption because it seems logical to you is completely inadequate.  Similarly, labelling something in a simple computer model is likewise inadequate.

4) Dump your bug model, at least as part of your larger claims.  If you want to use it to develop a (very simple) model of foraging behavior, fine, but otherwise it does nothing to support your cases for pervasive intelligence or against evolution.  Everyone already agrees that invertebrate animals (probably  excepting sponges, depending on the definition of intelligence) demonstrate a modicum of intelligence.  Your model does nothing to address the deeper levels of "intelligence" that you are asserting.

5) Listen to your critics and respond to their criticisms.  Your false charges against Wesley are not winning you any friends or influencing people (at least, not in any positive way).

6) Write in sentences and paragraphs that are not laughable / opaque / godawful.  You did it in your teaching paper, so it is not beyond you.

7)  As much as possible, use terminology following standard definitions.  Where you need new terms or new definitions introduce them clearly and explain why they are needed and what they mean.

8)  When scientists propose ideas, they are supposed to discuss ways in which they could be wrong, propose ways of testing / potentially disproving their ideas, and so forth, not just say "here's my wonderful idea, it's now up to you guys to prove it wrong".  Science just doesn't work that way.  (Also, see #6: the idea has to be comprehensible to other people, and yours isn't.)

9) It's counterproductive to abuse and insult an audience that you want to communicate with.  You are getting insulted here because you've been fairly insulting (both directly and by implication), and because people here have largely given up on attempting productive conversation.

10) Try reading with comprehension for a change.

11)  Cite relevant researchers properly.  Do not cite someone in support of something that they would not support without carefully explaining how their work leads to a conclusion that they do not recognize and would not agree with.

12) Try to present your ideas in an appropriate venue.  This is not it (it's a forum whose purpose is to yuck about clueless cranks).  Planet Source Code is not an appropriate venue either, at least not in terms of assessing your biological proposals.

13) Toughen up.  Science is merciless to bad ideas: that's how it operates.

This is in no way an inclusive list, but is just the stuff that comes to mind first.  You have a long, long, long way to go before you can be taken at all seriously.

Date: 2013/06/07 20:03:27, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 07 2013,19:59)
Quote (N.Wells @ June 07 2013,19:54)
3) Your most important claim (besides evolution being wrong) seems to be that molecules and cells have intelligence.

Oh go to hell.

14) Go get professional help.  You aren't doing yourself any good whatsoever.

Date: 2013/06/07 20:23:19, Link
Author: N.Wells
I read it (at least an early version, and I downloaded and tried out your program), but I thought that what I could follow of what you wrote was a load of rubbish.

Date: 2013/06/07 23:00:24, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 07 2013,20:38)
Quote (N.Wells @ June 07 2013,20:23)
I read it (at least an early version, and I downloaded and tried out your program), but I thought that what I could follow of what you wrote was a load of rubbish.

Then your assessment shows that you have a very serious reading comprehension problem, likely caused by your being hopelessly biased.

From you I need YOUR cognitive computer model for demonstrating how "intelligence" works and theory that explains how "intelligent cause" works. Having neither, only goes to show that you should not have presented such an argument from ignorance.

Projection on your part.  

My reading and my writing are fine.  

On the second part, hogwash.  Demonstrate some basic level of competence and some actual value to your ideas, and people may give you and your ideas some consideration.   Until then, it's your completely crappy speculation, so you are the one that needs to demonstrate that you are not talking rubbish.

(My view of "intelligent causation" is that intelligent causation can be found in abundance at any nearby factory, but is unnecessary, unproven, and exceedingly unlikely with respect to biological evolution: see all the scientific society statements that you linked to.)

Date: 2013/06/08 19:17:45, Link
Author: N.Wells
Gary, I learned long ago that the Krebs cycle, the citric acid cycle, the tricarboxylic acid cycle, and the TCA cycle were all synonyms for the same thing.  This is not my specialty, so I checked my old textbooks:

From Pritham, 1968, Anderson's Essentials of Biochemistry, p.372, "The Krebs citric acid (tricarboxylic) acid cycle ....."

From Wolfe, Biology of the Cell, 1972 Biology of the Cell, index: "Krebs cycle.  See citric acid cycle",

Those are getting on in years, so I googled some newer sources:
Wikipedia: "The citric acid cycle — also known as the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA cycle), or the Krebs cycle — is a series of chemical reactions used by all aerobic organisms to generate energy through the oxidization of acetate derived from carbohydrates, fats and proteins into carbon dioxide. In addition, the cycle provides precursors including certain amino acids as well as the reducing agent NADH that is used in numerous biochemical reactions. Its central importance to many biochemical pathways suggests that it was one of the earliest established components of cellular metabolism and may have originated abiogenically."


The Krebs cycle, also known as the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA), was first recognized in 1937 by the man for whom it is named, German biochemist Hans Adolph Krebs. His highly detailed and extensive research in the field of cellular metabolism and other scientific endeavors gleaned him the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1953. Krebs's contributions to the fields of science and medicine are substantial; in addition to the citric acid cycle, Krebs also identified the urea cycle in 1932. ....... The Krebs cycle is also known as the citric acid cycle, because citric acid is the very first product generated by this sequence of chemical conversions, and it is also regenerated at the end of the cycle.

There's discussion about early versions of or precursors to the Krebs citric acid cycle, but if there's a distinction being made that splits the usage of the names, please cite your sources.

"I am not at liberty to change modern scientific terminology" -thanks, that made my day: you couldn't stick to modern scientific terminology if your life depended on it (for example, your calling your rubbish a "theory").

Date: 2013/06/08 20:21:15, Link
Author: N.Wells
Maybe you don't see in any value in paying attention to details like an entire field of science instead using the phrase "Krebs Cycle" but I do, and the scientists who are in it apparently do, so you're the one out of touch with what's now going in modern origin of life research, not me.

I used the exact terminology that respective scientists now use, while you invent and demand new terminology that they don't use, at least not anymore. I'm happy to properly represent their work, and have no desire to purposely misrepresent it just because you would.

I had edited my post between when you copied it and when you answered it, in order to acknowledge that perhaps there had been a change in usage since my possibly out of date knowledge base, and I asked for citations.  I'm thoroughly in favor of keeping up in science and using the latest terminology, but it is regrettably all to easy to fall behind.  That being said, can you give some specific citations with the new definitions, please, because between the one possibility that I've fallen behind and the alternative possibility that you are mistaken, the odds seem to be on my side.

Also, I'm not inventing and demanding new terminology here, and if I am, how on earth can "they" not be using my supposedly new terms anymore?  That's nonsensical on its face.

Date: 2013/06/08 23:18:27, Link
Author: N.Wells
"There are differences. I already explained what they are."

As that is apparently your final answer, then thanks for admitting your confusion about the Krebs citric acid cycle and the reductive or reverse (rTCA) cycle so clearly.

You might want to go back and deal with Wesley's question about how all this fits with your "superior technical knowledge".

Date: 2013/06/09 00:33:17, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 08 2013,23:28)
Quote (N.Wells @ June 08 2013,23:18)
"There are differences. I already explained what they are."

As that is apparently your final answer, then thanks for admitting your confusion about the Krebs citric acid cycle and the reductive or reverse (rTCA) cycle so clearly.

Sure, whatever you need to say to save-face after having helped make it clear that you're behind the times and way out of your field.....

So what does it say about your expertise that someone out of date and out of his area of expertise can recognize your gigantic confusion regarding the Krebs citric acid cycle and the reverse cycle in your supposed grand contributions to science?

Date: 2013/06/09 20:57:18, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 09 2013,20:22)
Quote (Henry J @ June 09 2013,19:58)
Would it help to point out that intelligence isn't an all or nothing phenomena?

Where's YOUR testable MODEL?

Where did YOUR information on how intelligence works come from and how long have YOU been experimenting with cognitive models?

Where is YOUR theory to operationally define "intelligence"?

How would YOU know YOU were wrong?

Question 1: good question. (Can also be stated in terms of testable or falsifiable hypotheses or predictions).

Question 2: More importantly, demonstrate that intelligence works the way you claim, and show that you can measure its effects.  Where the information comes from and the length of time you've been working on it is a secondary concern.  Spending decades on a problem is no guarantee that the researcher knows what they're doing, but even a neophyte can make great progress by laying out a good plan of research with some clear logic and some mutually exclusive and potentially falsifiable hypotheses.

Question 3: You don't need a theory to define things, you simply need good definitions.  Theories come later.

Question 4:  Excellent question.

I notice that you haven't dealt with any of these satisfactorily in regard to your own ideas.

Date: 2013/06/09 21:48:38, Link
Author: N.Wells
How would you know you were wrong? Seriously.

Seriously, asked and answered.  To test ideas, I learn all the appropriate background information and previous research, then I use that knowledge to propose multiple mutually exclusive hypotheses, then figure out mutually exclusive predictions logically extending from those hypotheses, figure out ways to obtain clean and sufficiently precise and adequately targeted data that will falsify one or more of those predictions, obtain the data, do the appropriate analyses on the results, write up the results in coherent English, submit them to a proper and appropriate journal which sends them out for peer review by appropriate experts, and listen to their criticisms and make the appropriate corrections or adjustments, meanwhile starting in on another round of hypothesis construction building on the results of the previous round.  In other words, I follow standard scientific procedure.  On the whole, it works quite well.  We have all been recommending that you avail yourself of the same standard procedures.

Date: 2013/06/09 22:28:43, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 09 2013,22:12)
Quote (N.Wells @ June 09 2013,21:48)
How would you know you were wrong? Seriously.

Seriously, asked and answered.  To test ideas, I learn all the appropriate background information and previous research, then I use that knowledge to propose multiple mutually exclusive hypotheses, then figure out mutually exclusive predictions logically extending from those hypotheses, figure out ways to obtain clean and sufficiently precise and adequately targeted data that will falsify one or more of those predictions, obtain the data, do the appropriate analyses on the results, write up the results in coherent English, submit them to a proper and appropriate journal which sends them out for peer review by appropriate experts, and listen to their criticisms and make the appropriate corrections or adjustments, meanwhile starting in on another round of hypothesis construction building on the results of the previous round.  In other words, I follow standard scientific procedure.  On the whole, it works quite well.  We have all been recommending that you avail yourself of the same procedures.

That did not answer my question. Nor does that change the public policy of major science journals to not accept such theories.

It answers your question perfectly.

Your inability to get your crazy ideas accepted for publication is because 1) they don't constitute potentially falsifiable hypotheses, 2) you don't know how to use the word "theory" properly, 3) your ideas don't make sense, and 4) you haven't made your case.  Also, major science journals do follow corporate or society policies of preferring actual science, but that's entirely appropriate, as it keeps the literature free of clutter from unscientific nonsense that hasn't undergone adequate investigation and analysis.

Date: 2013/06/09 23:01:22, Link
Author: N.Wells
Failure at reading comprehension: I just told you how to test out ideas.  This is a logical and time-tested procedure that is at the heart of a huge amount of scientific progress.

Also, you are once again abusing the straightforward meaning of words. Censorship means "The suppression or proscription of speech or writing that is deemed obscene, indecent, or unduly controversial" (or that is otherwise considered objectionable, harmful, hateful, or blasphemous).  It does not cover publishers being unwilling to publish nonsense.  No one is suppressing your writing on the grounds that it is obscene, indecent or controversial.  Stuff has to be at least moderately decently written to get published (and yours isn't), and it is required to reach a certain level of logic, demonstration, and proof, which you are refusing to provide.

I understand that you think your ideas are self-evident, but no one agrees with your assessment.  You are making bald assertions without presenting a logical foundation that makes sense to anyone else, without demonstrating that your ideas are an improvement on what we already know, without demonstrating that your claimed processes actually exist at the levels you claim and can do the things that you claim, in short without any convincing evidence whatsoever.  To everyone but you, your ideas appear to be delusional, based on illogical nonsequiturs, misrepresentations, and misunderstandings. You are not running into censorship: you are failing to make a satisfactory case for why anybody should take your ideas seriously.

Date: 2013/06/09 23:12:07, Link
Author: N.Wells
Your claims do not become scientific just because you call them scientific, just like your digital voltage does not become analog just because you assert that it does.  For something to be scientific means that it was arrived at via scientific methods and attains appropriate standards of scientific documentation and demonstration.  You are simply claiming that your stuff is science, just like you are asserting that your ideas are a theory, and also just like you are claiming that molecules and cells are intelligent.  This is not doing science: it's just making empty claims.

Date: 2013/06/11 06:26:44, Link
Author: N.Wells
Give it up, Gary.  You got it right once, in the 2008 post that Driver found.  Then you made a sloppy mistake, and then you got horribly confused and doubled down with a load of hogwash in the hopes of trying to look like an expert while also covering up your error and confusion.  

Also, Wes has kept his cool here, while you have lost it repeatedly, and your quote from Wikipedia refutes your own most recent position once again,    
Reverse Krebs cycle - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The reverse Krebs cycle (also known as the reverse tricarboxylic acid cycle, the reverse TCA cycle, or the reverse citric acid cycle) is a sequence of chemical reactions that are used by some bacteria to produce carbon compounds from carbon dioxide and water.

i.e., it states straight-forwardly that "reverse Krebs cycle" and "reverse citric acid cycle" are synonyms (as you recognized back in 2008).

You are fooling no one but yourself here.

Date: 2013/06/11 07:06:56, Link
Author: N.Wells
[From Gary] Not having studied the much more complete of an origin of life theory the "Theory of Intelligent Design" like I hope you would led to your going in circles over semantics that beat me up for mentioning subtle differences between the two


when I was not even talking about the modern "citric acid cycle" I was discussing what is now more specifically know as the "Krebs cycle" of prebiotic chemistry.

And you are still getting it wrong, Gary.  There are no subtle differences between the rK cycle and the rCA cycle, because they are synonyms. To support your claim, you have specifically cited only the Zhang & Martin paper.  From the third sentence of the introduction of Xiang V. Zhang and Scot T. Martin, 2006, Driving Parts of Krebs Cycle in Reverse through Mineral Photochemistry, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 128:16032-16033:
The prebiotic reductive tricarboxylic acid (rTCA) cycle (also called the reverse Krebs cycle or the reductive citric acid cycle; Figure 1) has received much attention because it provides a core mechanism for the synthesis of useful biomolecules from CO2.

In other words, your ultimate and only primary source specifically states (just like Wikipedia) that rTCA, rK, and rCA are synonyms.  

What Zhang and Martin are discussing is not quite the same as the rCA not because the rK and rCA cycles are subtly different but because they are only discussing parts of the cycle.  That is evident (to everyone but you) in the first half of their title.

Edited to add: In their paper, Zhang and Martin most often refer to the cycle as the rTCA cycle.

Date: 2013/06/11 07:22:39, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 11 2013,07:14)
Quote (N.Wells @ June 11 2013,06:26)
i.e., it states straight-forwardly that "reverse Krebs cycle" and "reverse citric acid cycle" are synonyms.

Yes I know it states that, I just quoted it.

Nothing you or anyone else in this forum said changes future scientific terminology, or is going to make me pay less attention to details that you want me to ignore.

Faulting me for making sure to use the exact same terminology that appears in the literature I discuss is the same as demanding sloppy science, that does not think ahead towards the future...

And BTW it was Driver's (came and went) Planet Ass-Hole graphic in their signature line that set me off real good. I felt much better after spreading the love by going all-caps and calling Wesley an ASSHOLE too, so they're not left out of all this disturbing fun that they condone.

No, you didn't just quote that statement from Zhang and Martin: you quoted a simiiar phrasing from Wikipedia, and on top of that you misrepresented it. You said, "even Wikipedia is staying current on the new dichotomy", but the Wikipedia quote says that the two terms are synonyms and thereby indicates that there is no 'new dichotomy'.  Worse, Zhang and Martin also indicate that there is no 'new dichotomy'.  Both sources say that rK and rCA are synonyms.

Therefore, stop lying, and stop being a fool.

Date: 2013/06/11 07:29:44, Link
Author: N.Wells
dictated by you and your ilk

I agree with everything else there, except that I am pretty sure that Gary is ilk-less.

Date: 2013/06/11 09:20:01, Link
Author: N.Wells
Here's why your rubbish is incoherent.

Molecular intelligence (a living thing, life)

Assuming a fact not in evidence.  This is okay for a premise, as long as you go on to prove it or unless it is plausible enough that everyone else can agree to take it for granted to see where you go with it.  In your case, neither of those is true

is emergent from naturally occurring machine-like molecules

Never demonstrated.  And machines are not natural.

which together build and maintain cells like we together build and maintain cities.
Bad analogy.  We actively cooperate.  Molecules interact according to rules of physics and chemistry.

This form of intelligence is sustained by a “replication cycle” that keeps it going through time. Biologically, our thought cycles exist as a brain wave/cycle rhythm but (where physics willing) the system would still work as well by replicating itself (and stored memories) on a regular cycle, as does molecular intelligence.
Which form? Cities?  Needs clarification. What do you mean by "where physics willing": is that supposed to be "were"?  What happens if physics is not willing?

If our brain worked this way then it would replicate/replace itself upon every new thought we have, could this way sustain itself nearly forever.
Which way?  Cities do not work by replicating themselves.  If brains were to replicate themselves and their stored memories with each new thought then how would they create and add new thoughts?

Without cellular intelligence (discussed in next section) to add moment to moment awareness molecular intelligence is at the mercy of the environment
You haven't demonstrated molecular intelligence, and now you are adding cellular intelligence.

, has no way to efficiently forage for food, but they still soon enough can control the planet’s surface/atmospheric chemistry.
 non sequitur.

Chromosomal subsystems may be separately modeled. The flowchart becomes:
Non sequitur.

Since cells of multicellular organisms can reconfigure even eliminate parts of their genome in order to “differentiate” into many cell types only our germ cells (which produce egg/sperm) would be fully representative of the memory contents of a molecular intelligence system.
Misunderstanding of basic biology.  Genes are turned on and off in development, but the genome remains the same, absent chromosomal mutations, which are not part of regular development.  All cells maintain all genes on their DNA.  And correct to "or even eliminate."

With all of the memory cycles
You have not demonstrated that previous generations constitute memory cycles.

before the one that made us is included, our molecular intelligence is currently estimated to be over 3.4 billion years old.
 We have a genetic inheritance, but molecular intelligence remains an undocumented assertion.

Note that you have not yet defined intelligence, in a way that can be applied to molecules and cells or otherwise.


Bald and unsupportable assertion.  You have not demonstrated that this is diagnostic or even characteristic of life.  Also, note that this is true of a thermostat or an electric switch.  Also, "requirement" is a confusing word choice here.  Also, although "life" is not easily defined, you don't engage standard definitions of life (e.g. from Wikipedia: "Life is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not ..... Organisms undergo metabolism, maintain homeostasis, possess a capacity to grow, respond to stimuli, reproduce and, through natural selection, adapt to their environment in successive generations.")

In some bacteria and later in time plants, molecular intelligence systems could likely control the Reverse Krebs Cycle (also known as the Reverse TriCarboxylic Acid Cycle (TCA cycle), Reverse Szent-Györgyi–Krebs Cycle or Reverse/Reductive Citric Acid Cycle).
You have yet to demonstrate a need for molecular intelligence to run the rK cycle, and the Reverse Tricarboxylic Acid cycle is the rTCA, not the TCA)

This cycle is the center of cellular metabolism, consuming carbon dioxide while providing energy and molecular intermediates that are used to build amino acids and other vital biomolecules needed to sustain its growth.
 What does "it" refer to in that sentence?  Also, the rTCA is the center of cellular metabolism only in some creatures (anaerobic bacteria etc.)

A dozen or so catalytic molecules (not shown) form an assembly line which makes an increasing complex molecule from the molecule it started with. Upon completion of the cycle the molecule breaks in half resulting in an additional molecule required for biosynthesis, while the other half is what it started with, which can then go through the cycle all over again. At any stage through the assembly cycle one of the various molecules may be drawn by molecular forces into a nearby biosynthesis reaction. At least part of the Reverse Krebs Cycle can be catalyzed by volcanic clay/dust/mineral in sunlight making it possible that the cycle was once a part of common planetary chemistry.    Other clay/minerals are useful for the self-assembly of protocells.
 So where is intelligence required?  You are making it sound lie you want volcanic ash / clays / dust / minerals (sphalerite) to be the intelligence that you are talking about (I know that's not what you are saying, but you haven't defined intelligence and your writing is clumsy enough that this sounds like what you are trying to say.)

Animals cannot produce their own food and must instead consume plants and their liberated oxygen to run the cycle in the opposite direction to gain food and energy by disassembling what was previously assembled. There is here a balance between the producers (plants) and consumers (animals) which together maintain a relatively constant oxygen level in the atmosphere.
Animals are gaining energy by running the cycle in reverse, not food.  (Also, we have to remember that at this point we are talking about a reversed reverse cycle, i.e. the regular citric acid cycle, and that plants use it too.)

Additional molecular systems which exploit these metabolic cycles could emerge in environments where the cycle already exists as an uncontrolled reaction. If true then we can here predict self-assembly of a precellular starter mechanism that metabolically produces all that is needed to produce a living genome from scratch, instead of a nonliving/nonfunctional genome first needing to establish this metabolic cycle.
 I'm not yet seeing a need for molecular intelligence.

Where the energy to power the cycle is from sunlight, the system would have already been light sensitive, the first step toward a more complex sense of vision.
Only in the most general sense, and not much different from the claim that the supernova of the sun's ancestor, or the formation of earth, or the formation of the oceans was the first step toward vision.

Self-assembly and disassembly of cellular organelles is also easily controlled by molecular intelligence. For example, before division of complex cells the nuclear membrane must automatically self-disassemble to allow access to the chromosomes so they can be pulled by spindle fibers to opposite sides. After division of the chromosomes, internal environmental conditions change causing a nuclear membrane to automatically reassemble around each of the two sets so there are then two nuclei inside the cell.
Again, molecular intelligence and it controlling something remain unsupported assertions.  You are merely labeling known biochemistry as being "intelligent".

With there then being essentially two cells inside one, the outer cell membrane has two nuclei to self-assemble around which causes them to separate so each can go their separate ways.
"There then"? "to self-assemble around which causes them"?

Coacervates can resemble living cells, and can appear intelligent, but they only demonstrate uncontrolled (non-intelligent) propulsion.
 Coacervate droplets do not show propulsion.  They show only brownian motian.  

They are not even protointelligence (where it is then at least almost intelligent).
 Category error.  Intelligence is an abstract concept, while droplets are material things.

When molecularly controlled by a “cell” these forces can power spinning flagella motors and other forms of locomotion, but coacervates meet the first requirement only.
Which forces?  Why is "cell" in quotes?  Your "first requirement" remains nonsensical.

We can say that coacervates are a twitching body with no brain/intelligence to control it.
Coarcervate droplets don't "twitch".  What is "it" in this context?

Microscopic coacervates  can be made by adding red-cabbage pH indicator solution with egg yolk that provides membrane forming phospholipid molecules that form vesicles around other components of yolk. Indicator solution is made by slowly adding fresh leaves from a grocery store red-cabbage to around 1/3 pan (around twice the volume of whole head before pulling each leave) of boiling water that should just cover after leaves soften down and lose coloration. Use large basket strainer to remove liquid (can follow with finer mesh as from plastic fabric or stainless steel coffee maker basket), refrigerate. Remaining solids will eventually settle to bottom. For more pure supernatant you can later pour clear liquid into another container, or centrifuge.
What on earth does that have to do with anything?

Not sure what that means.  Poor word choice.

REQUIREMENT #3 of 4 - CONFIDENCE TO GAUGE FAILURE AND SUCCESS [/quote] Gauging failure and success is not a matter of "confidence".  Failure and success are not "gauged" by most organisms below the level of intelligent animals, confident or not: they are simply experienced, and result in life or death, reproduction or failure to reproduce as a consequence.

This is only true in the most trivial of senses.  For example, plants release seeds, which fall and spread according to rules of physics, and either they sprout and thrive or they don't.  There is no more "guessing" involved here than in coin flipping.  We could talk about lineages "guessing" through the procedure of mutations that propose different modifications during development, but that doesn't clarify anything relevant here.  Mutations are experienced passively as a result of chemistry and physics and biochemistry, such as copy errors or radiation damage: "Guess" implies evaluation and decision, so once again you are assuming your conclusions.

In short, rubbish, from beginning to end.

Date: 2013/06/11 10:33:28, Link
Author: N.Wells
That is definitely true of your long argument that just threw personal opinions instead of scientific evidence. And my saying "where physics willing" is correct, but brains do not vanish then grow back again every 150 or so milliseconds, therefore physics is not willing.

Wrong again.  Science has demonstrated that the Krebs cycle and reverse Krebs cycle are just chemistry and do not need intelligence overseeing them.  Science has demonstrated that multicellular organisms can't eliminate parts of their genome at will in order to differentiate cells during development (they turn genes on and off).  These are introductory textbook items.  

You are also wrong that I have to present my own theory of cognitive intelligence before recognizing why your speculations are rubbish.  As NoName points out, your basic definitions are wrong, or absent, and "I don't know" / "We don't know yet" is a perfectly appropriate interim answer, far superior to falsity, error, and misrepresentations.  Your logic does not hold water.  I have already given you standard methods for distinguishing correct from false and increasing your chances of being correct, and you are clearly not following them.

You cannot throw personal opinions at it then claim victory, as if it's not a theory anymore.
Your nonsense does not rise to the level of a theory, so there's no "as if" about it.

On intelligence related matters I only take the advice of those who are qualified to teach and/or discuss the phenomena, respected experts in the field
But you don't: you cite them, but you misrepresent what they are saying, the way you have abused and twisted Zhang and Martin.

who have a vested interest in trashing the theory because of its title.
We are trashing your rubbish because of what's in it and because it is wrong and incoherent.  You'd get exactly the same response no matter what you called it.

I'll see what I can do to improve grammar
Lipstick on a pig: working on making your sentences and paragraphs sensible is at least equally important.

Date: 2013/06/11 21:24:49, Link
Author: N.Wells
Before you even begin to argue against the theory you're going to have to present your cognitive model of intelligence along with required operational definitions, qualification method of some sort, and all else I did. Not being able to do so only shows that you have no basis from which to argue from, have no way of knowing you were wrong (or right).

Let's examine some real-science counter-examples that show that theories and ideas get tossed aside for a wide variety of reasons that do not necessarily include replacement by a superior idea.

Before the K-T extinction was as well understood as it is today (not that it is sufficiently well understood even now), there were lots of alternative theories and ideas.  One suggestion was a supernova, but that didn't rise beyond the level of an interesting possibility (i.e., not even to the level of a serious hypothesis, let alone a theory), because no one could think of a way to test it.  Another idea was a plague of some kind.  This was ruled out despite the absence of a better idea, in part because diseases never seem to wipe out entire species, just substantial proportions of populations (there are usually immune individuals or isolated individuals, especially toward the end of serious plague).  Also, no diseases are known that could take out the required diversity of taxa (all genera of non-avian dinosaurs, all ammonites, many foraminifera, and so on) living in such a diversity of environments.  Hence that hypothesis was rejected on its own merits.  Another proposal was that the evolutionary trend of increasing size pushed dinosaurs into sizes too big to permit successful mating, but that quickly got tossed aside because it clearly had nothing to do with extinction of plankton and ammonites and small dinosaurs, and because absent a change in selective pressures, natural selection makes it impossible for a lineage to evolve its way along a trend into a state of decreasing fitness.

Phlogiston theory was dethroned because of careful quantitative experimentation showed that in all cases dephlogistication (release of phlogistons during combustion) actually  involved a gain in weight (dephlogistication is really oxidation, or the addition of oxygen), implying that phlogistons should have negative weight, which chemists found disturbing and contrary to their initial expectations from their studies of oxidized substances.  (

The theory of sauropod dinosaurs walking with a widely sprawling lizard- or crocodile-like gait did not survive past W.J. Holland showing that the depth of sauropod chests would have required them to walk with their chests in deep trenches if they had walked with that degree of a sprawl.  It was irrelevant that the scientists of Holland's time could not say with adequate precision what the sauropod gait was, because their upper and lower limb bone ends do not fit together very closely (they had thick cartilaginous pads, rather than closely articulating joints).

However, none of these demises provides a particularly good comparison to rejection of Gary's idea, because all of those ideas were far more reasonable than his.

Date: 2013/06/12 00:09:22, Link
Author: N.Wells
Then all you need now is your better cognitive model (must beat David Heiserman, Arnold Trehub, IBM Watson, etc.) and how "intelligent cause" is now operationally defined which has become an exciting programming challenge you'll find at Planet Source Code.

You have tons and tons of work to do, so you better get busy!

Yes, me too, that's why responsible educators cannot take your opinion seriously.

Please, go and get some help.

Date: 2013/06/12 01:01:47, Link
Author: N.Wells
That wasn't an ad hominem argument, that was a plea for you to go and get some help.  You are showing a very weak grip on reality: you're contradicting yourself, imagining hordes of nonexistent supporters, aggrandizing a nearly meaningless contest on a small web site, and citing stuff that plainly contradicts you while claiming that it supports you.  As Driver showed, we could easily all just step aside and let you carry on an argument with yourself over the meaning of the Krebs Cycle and what Wikipedia and Zhang and Martin say. You say that you've got a wife and a house and a backyard with some dinosaur tracks, and it would be a shame if you let all that slip through your hands by getting lost in all your delusions, so go get some help.

Date: 2013/06/12 07:02:01, Link
Author: N.Wells
If I lose it all, then it will just go to show how useless [...] y'all are...

No, it really won't.

How could losing everything possibly do that?

Date: 2013/06/12 07:44:35, Link
Author: N.Wells
Gary, how does a Roomba come out to be less alive and intelligent than a mushroom, using your criteria?

Date: 2013/06/12 09:04:53, Link
Author: N.Wells
Probably, you won't answer it because you can't answer it.
However, your "requirements" are so obtuse that who knows what you are thinking, so it's a serious enough question.

Edited to add: on second thought, change the "Roomba" to the "Neato" or the "Tango", as they seem to make more rational-looking decisions.

Date: 2013/06/12 10:40:56, Link
Author: N.Wells
If I lose it all, then it will just go to show how useless [...] y'all are...

Why, that's just like Joan of Arc, fighting her way through the crowd to throw herself onto the bonfire.  That sure showed those Brits.  Oh, wait.....

Date: 2013/06/13 22:26:56, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 13 2013,21:08)
To help some in this forum along, here is something I put some thought into that went out by email to someone I know well who seems to have found a rare productive PhD path through paleontology but have to be overachiever with around 20 papers in peer review right now that documents original trace fossils and at all the best SVP conferences and more. They do not mind my being the way I am. I needed to in as few words explain where I have been in their last university-level stretch that had them focused on making it through that. Some they already knew a little about, so it's not a complete surprise to them, but made sure to include detail this forum would need to make sense of it, without too much problem for any here, I hope.


......Not too many years ago a Kansas a professor was beaten and books being sold where I recall on the cover a picture of jail bars with just two hands from a guy in the cell asking would they be willing to join them where need be.

The KSU connected were preparing for a riot to next happen, maybe like the student riots of the 60's which somewhere else blew up a chemistry lab, of someone I found on the internet who helped me get the chemistry in the theory I'm writing just right. He was scared that he was in the middle of that used explosives was going to happen again all over the country from the Theory of Intelligent Design but I told him that if we put our minds to-it then we could come up with something faith-friendly enough all will want that over what the Discovery Institute had because it puts the fun in science for them, not a protest for something better like that.

Creationist Kathy Martin ended up encouraging a home or classroom experiment/demonstration that was published in the top journal for high school science teachers, which for the first time ever introduced the concept of "self-assembly" to K-12 education without there being a built-in slap in face for religion that the protest was much about. As it turns out Kansas public schools were ahead of the curve on what is now a very major scientific concept because of the demonstration being figured out at the Kansas Citizens For Science forum, science teachers in the state were reading to stay informed. What was eventually peer-review published did not put religion in the science classroom, it beat Richard Dawkins or other normally there first explaining from Atheist perspective for something this scientifically new and important for understanding how living things work. The self-assembly experiment/demo puts the "Poof!" back in the picture no less. From there has been steady progress that makes their public schools look good, And the fusion that makes us 46 chromosomes has a genetic "bottleneck" to a single male and female couple, possibly different families, who qualify as "Chromosomal Adam and Eve". It's then rather surprising Genesis metaphorically predicted that being there, which makes the concept of chromosome fusion more fun, even though since then developed the existing human genetic variety. Happened maybe just before Habilis that is already human looking and maybe using tools rather well, making change since then a microevolution, anyway, not a starting from something that looks like a chimp or less on up to us with no Adam and Eve moment in it anywhere. Don't have to necessarily teach that in the classroom, but it's there where a student just has to have one or forever hate science class that would otherwise pick on them for wanting to look for them in scientific evidence for such a couple. Something else the protest was against is made gone, with something faith friendly for a change. A student in class explaining to ones who don't know what Genesis says on that is really no big deal, like it would be without that being chromosomally true and leads to bioinformatics and more they might like to try on their PC like scientists do, to figure out what they looked like or whatever.

Ones who worried about science making religion gone can better rest knowing it's not going to happen, by knowing where the scientific evidence leads, better than their rivals. Creationists have to accept that what is explained is true, no getting out of denying that. But whatever is needed to turn things around is still a blessing, that would not be there were it not for their protesting for something better from KSU et al.

As it turns out what Kathy envisioned that was for-real scientifically possible led to something original that KSU could not come up with, where academia be forgiven for actually not having anything that empowers the once powerless like something that they themselves must come from them instead. Requires a chromosomal Adam and Eve and all else in it to challenge academia back. It has to truly be a novel way to explain routine science where once scientists know all the scientific details they find it worth knowing, where KSU changes this time but in the end just has to lighten up and have more fun with science too. A small sacrifice to make the most frightening of days in Kansas not going the other way, where worst of fears are realized by not. None would not want to be there then, but as you might have noticed by there having been no riots all over the place where the National Guard is called in things dis get got better, not worse. The quiet in Kansas these days speaks for itself. Much has changed over the years to make that a bygone era all are glad to be past now, by knowing what all concerned now know that changes the K-12 level classroom, without becoming a university level issue that has chaos all over Kansas you can do without too. It's expected that you don't know so much was changing in the Kansas public schools, unless I told you.


It would have been nice if you had cared enough to make that readable.

However, that aside, I'm still hoping that you will explain how, using your criteria for life and intelligence, you can avoid concluding that robot vacuum cleaners are more alive and more intelligent than mushrooms.

Date: 2013/06/14 07:50:22, Link
Author: N.Wells
He was scared that he was in the middle of that used explosives

I'd have thought that being in the middle of used explosives would be quite safe and not scary, as opposed to being in the middle of explosives that are unused or being used.

Date: 2013/06/14 07:58:24, Link
Author: N.Wells
[quote=Nomad,June 14 2013,04:39]  
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 13 2013,21:08)
He was scared that he was in the middle of that used explosives was going to happen again all over the country from the Theory of Intelligent Design but I told him that if we put our minds to-it then we could come up with something faith-friendly enough all will want that over what the Discovery Institute had because it puts the fun in science for them, not a protest for something better like that.

That there is a single sentence, apparently.  

His short sentences aren't any better, either
Requires a chromosomal Adam and Eve and all else in it to challenge academia back.

Gary seems to be trying to put up a smoke screen to avoid answering all sorts of inconvenient stories.  To resurrect another good but unanswered question, thanks to Stevestory:
True or false, Gary: The Krebs Cycle is more easily reversible than the Citric Acid Cycle.

Date: 2013/06/16 21:53:03, Link
Author: N.Wells
But the “Turbo” button is now working, so like it or not I’m still making progress on what matters, to science.
 Show us where the Turbo button is on a trilobite, and you might be better positioned to make a case that you are doing something with relevance to biology.

.....two buttons that make it go faster or slower (then into reverse speeds) where at full speed (in either direction) will send it flying right out of the pool. One wrong move and it’s out of control, which makes the body that has challenging to coordinate, but works real good after it learns how.
Gee, that sounds so much more realistic than standard evolution.  /snark.

while the rest of us suffer the consequences of your incompetence.
Gary, all the incompetence from which you are suffering the consequences is your own.

Date: 2013/06/19 23:38:46, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (NoName @ June 19 2013,16:05)
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 19 2013,15:40)
Quote (midwifetoad @ June 19 2013,14:19)
Quote (NoName @ June 19 2013,07:19)
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 19 2013,00:38)
I just uploaded the newest IDLab.

Who cares?
I mean that quite seriously -- who on earth cares in the slightest about your code or what it does?
I would guess that to a very close approximation, zero persons.

You've wasted your life on your pathetic software, which at best appears to badly emulate a Roomba.

Even with the "badly" adverb, it's an insult to Roombas, and Roombas are near the bottom of their genus in intelligence.

Even with their limited intelligence they understand virtual walls, monitor their battery status and seek their charger when necessary.

They also listen to their sweepers and devote extra attention to spots the need it.

They Also know what time it is and when to wake up and go to work.

But like Gary's virtual bot, they cannot reproduce with variation and cannot really improve their overall strategy.

That's nice.

Now explain what the hell that has to do with whether something is intelligent or not.

You first.
What the hell does your software, let alone your "theory", have to do with whether anything is 'intelligent' or not?

Remember, you've explicitly disavowed your 4 criteria, repeatedly.
Not that we expect consistency out of you -- apparently that's not a criterion for 'intelligence' in Laddy GaGa land.

[From Gary]
Molecular Intelligence

Molecular intelligence (a living thing, life) ....





First, let us set aside the absence of clear definitions of life and intelligence, the lack of precision about what the requirements are requirements for, the ambiguity and inappropriateness of the word "requirement", the ambiguity of "Something to control", the opacity of "Sensory addressed memory",  the pointless inclusion of "confidence" and "gauge" in "Confidence to gauge failure and success", and the difficulty of applying "the ability to take a guess" (or for that matter any of the others to any significant degree) to a mushroom.

Then let us apply the criteria to robotic vacuum cleaners:

"Something to control": Check, they control the dirt in their vicinity and they decide their cleaning path, to a greater degree than a mushroom decides anything.

"Sensory addressed memory":  Since the cleaners have  sensors that send data to actual on-board RAM and scan their surroundings and decide where to go, they have far more "sensory addressed memory" than a mushroom.

Gauging failure or success.  Cleaners are able to assess when their task is done and when they need to be refueled, and whether they have found an electrical outlet, all of which is more than can be said for a mushroom.  Their algorithms have tolerance and error assessment routines, which is again more than can be said for a mushroom, whose "failure assessment routine" consists of dying without offspring in the event of an unsatisfactory performance.  Whether an incompetent mushroom is confident about the degree of its failure and death, I cannot say, but it seems unlikely.

"Ability to take a guess."  Advanced robot cleaners are pretty good at negotiating their way around obstacles and developing cleaning paths that go around corners. Mushrooms are downright terrible at both.

Conclusion, using Gary's criteria: Robot vacuum cleaners exhibit intelligence and life.  The consistent foolishness of this conclusion reflects on the wisdom of Gary's "requirements".
:) (Just doing my bit to stop science from stopping.)

Date: 2013/06/23 12:37:25, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 22 2013,18:53)
I just uploaded the next update to the Lab2 where I simplified the If-Then statements that increment or decrement the two bit confidence levels stored in RAM. That resulted in feeling around with its mouth until all sensilla around it sense they are in food. After several million cycles it gets real good at that. This also takes out a bug caused by how spin was being calculated and other things that improved its behavior even more.

With green included in addressing it’s easily distracted by the edge that it crosses on landing that has it in like a whole different world, where navigation needs are not exactly the same either. It tends to explore the edge before getting used to crossing it like it’s not there.

With “ASpWas” checkbox checked the critter has recall of what the Antenna Speed Was in the previous time cycle. From what I can see (but would need to chart to know for sure) that causes it to modulate its speed to keep the antenna moving back and forth at a varying rate, as opposed to going to full throttle or staying the same speed. That is shown below by the wheel/wing color coding (starts from center then steps in time ago outward) showing it speeding up then slowing down while traveling:  

To help manage the files from the Labs I have a new google site for “IntelligenceDesignLab” code and pictures of the screen. The very latest for Lab2 is now at:


I’ll keep the other url for backup link, at least for now, but have to get it out of an already overcrowded list of files with not much site space left to upload more to.

I did not add any lines of code for it to start controlling speed by moving its antenna back and forth between two or more speeds it just happened from recalling what its Antenna Speed Was a moment in time ago. The word for it seems to be ”saccade” motion how Wikipedia defines the motion that I’m noticing develop. Like the system automatically finds another way to accomplish the same thing by throttling motors, only needs a moment in time ago to compare with to make use of. It’s also much like “halters” serving an accelerometer/gyro type function from oscillating antenna that spring back and forth too. There is one constant G force amount of velocity per going one way then the other, that possibly gives it a sense of distance traveled along the way where there are steps (depending on antenna change) being kept in timing with the antenna beat.

You now have the new code to experiment with. If unhappy with what I explained as a hypothesis for what is going on with the cute moving antenna that was not added for looks it just happened then all you should need is in the file to see what you come up with for useful answer. Meanwhile, I’ll work from the thought that what I now need to test my hypothesis that knowing what antenna speed was is important is the simple high-speed chart saving routine like I had before showing saccade motion along with other things. I didn’t plan on adding it in to Lab2, but the behavior of what I now have requires more investigation than I thought would be required, which is scientifically a great thing to happen but I now have more work to do on the IDLab2 before calling that done.

I’m now able to envision an improvement over the last chart saving routine that is fast to save each (floating point instead of binary long) reading like before that saves a chart every time it reaches the end of the chart where it’s next halved in width to start over. Then get charts that neatly double in time scale every time there is enough data for a new one showing more, without slowing down turbo mode any significant amount, I hope.

All those who thought the last chart was awful can at least be glad the project suddenly led to something that has been on my mind for something nice I thought of for labeling the lines both ways and other fancy stuff, that right now might save a lot of guesswork figuring out what is going on temporally. So I’ll give my new charting idea a try, on what I have right now, to see whether it works or not. This example makes it worth adding in the other lines, to what must also show the beat/steps of all the parts of the system in time. So wish me luck getting something working real fast, because I’m working on it! Be back soon, I hope, after getting some work done on that first.
for reasons already explained.

Date: 2013/06/27 17:40:17, Link
Author: N.Wells
Now label your axes with your units.

This is standard practice for anyone making a graph, Gary. This is indeed grade school stuff (third grade, although kids are at least introduced to properly labelled graphs in grade 2), so your not getting it shows that your graphical presentation is not yet up to a grade-school (third-grade) level of competence.

Still, that nearly matches your competence level with grammar, so we shouldn't be surprised.

(Also, one what per lobe?)

Date: 2013/06/27 18:26:28, Link
Author: N.Wells
[double post deleted]

Date: 2013/06/27 18:27:02, Link
Author: N.Wells
Yes, "Confidence Level" on the left, "Stomach Amount" on the right, and whatever the units are, whether light years,  cheeseburgers, wubbles per wibble, or whatever.

Google "Rotate text in visual basic".  Apparently, you can print to a picture box and then rotate the picture box.

Or at least make some lines under the graph that EXPLICITLY say "Left Y axis =...." and so on.  You'd only have to modify your text a little.

Date: 2013/06/27 19:25:17, Link
Author: N.Wells
So would it be appropriate to express that and fullness of stomach as percentages of the theoretical maxima?  (And "Stomach amount"?????  Really??)

Date: 2013/06/28 13:50:43, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 28 2013,12:55)
Quote (Thrinaxodon @ June 28 2013,12:29)
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 28 2013,10:29)
Quote (GaryGaulin @ June 27 2013,23:22)
Quote (Merc @ June 27 2013,20:16)
The sad thing is that I've done far more to test her hypothesis than she has--inadvertently, with a completely different goal.

Would someone like to ask her why they didn't cite our papers, given their relevance?

As the devil's advocate I have to say that that Biologic Institute only exists to test the hypothesis:

Certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

If you found evidence that the above hypothesis is true then they would certainly be interested.

And for the guests in the forum who are wondering what the above post is all about, it's from trying to reply to another thread. Either the forum software or my computer was admittedly rigged (virus?) to prevent/censor my participation in all other discussions in this forum. Anything I post elsewhere in this forum ends up in this thread, where I'm then plastered with insults until it's buried in their rubbish.

Do what I do...And troll in other threads. Get your computer fixed. Or, download a proxy. Of course, it will always go back to, a) BW, b) our threads. But, it still works.

Are you saying that my computer system was remotely altered? If true then how was this accomplished?

To answer your question, it's black helicopters.  Running silently.  At midnight.  

There's more than a little irony in your comments on public perception and support of science.  You did a nice thing by looking after your dinosaur footprints and making them available for study, but no doubt you aren't feeling so friendly to science after your experiences on the internet.  More significantly, you are right in the sense that broad-scale denial of scientific reality by Republicans and fundamentalists is leading to erosion of support for scientific research, much to the detriment of the nation and our children and grandchildren, although this has nothing to do with you and your ideas.

On the other hand, you've come to a totally inappropriate venue for presenting new ideas and informed everyone that you are right and they are wrong, while A) showing no evidence of properly understanding the data supporting the standard scientific position regarding evolution and natural selection, B) presenting horribly written, illogical, wrong, and irrelevant arguments in support of your speculations (mixed with some standard stuff transformed into nonsense by peculiar redefinitions), C) going on about an otherwise harmless computer program that is completely irrelevant to the argument you are trying to make, and D) insisting wrongly that it is our job to prove you wrong, or help you with your ideas.    

If you want to argue that intelligence or information processing capability aids foraging success, fine: no one doubts it.  You could probably adapt your program to make a decent model of Caenorhabditis elegans, which makes its way through the world with a brain consisting of just 302 neurons, and we all might even learn something (although to be relevant and meaningful a computer simulation has to be continuously checked against reality, and can't just be written and applied by fiat the way yours is).

If you want to argue that intelligence exists at a lower level than animal brains and that protists and plants are making decisions or choices rather than just utilizing biochemical reactions and evolved genetically determined responses then you need a whole lot more than eccentric redefinitions and an irrelevant computer program that ends up being merely a complicated version of "Because I say so".  

Your time would be better spent doing pretty much anything else.

Of interest, & potentially relevant to how brains developed:

Date: 2013/06/29 14:13:21, Link
Author: N.Wells
Gary, it's clear that this stuff self-evidently makes sense to you, but it is equally clear that none of it makes much sense to anyone else.  Your sentences are compacted and garbled to the point of not being intelligible, but one gets the impression that even if you took the time to slow down and unpack everything (adding stuff like subjects, verbs, pronouns, spelled-out abbreviations, good punctuation, logical sequences, and all the other stuff you tend to blow right past), then it still wouldn't make sense.  The lack of tracking and making sense would just be more obvious.

Someone earlier compared your stuff to the amazing glitteringly brilliant stuff that people sometimes write while high, only to discover when sober that none of it makes any sense at all.  Sadly, that seems to be your regular condition.  Do yourself and your loved ones a favor and get some help.

Where's the value in being incomprehensible?

Date: 2013/07/01 20:57:37, Link
Author: N.Wells
Do you have a better scientific explanation for the phenomenon that goes by the name of "intelligent cause" yes or no?


We have a perfectly good scientific explanation for the production of things or behaviors by intelligence.  They result from non-obligatory and non-random actions of animals.  Results that were caused by intelligence are defined as results produced by animals applying brains that possess the ability to analyze patterns and cause-and-effect relationships and from that make predictions in order to make rational choices that result in efficient pursuit of their goals: e.g. beaver dams, da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Henry Ford's car factory, pack hunting by wolves, and tool use by chimpanzees and crows.  Obviously there is a large gradient in degree of intelligence here, with us far and away above the other animals, and equally obviously there is a large, fuzzy, and debatable lower boundary for what can qualify as intelligent.  (We don't know the degree to which rational thinking and choice affects earthworm burrowing, for example.)  This does not include complicated features produced by hard-wired, genetically predetermined instinct (bee nest construction, ant foraging).  It does not apply to standard behavior in the face of environmental determinants, such as coral reef formation or even the production of different coral growth forms resulting from different energy levels and light conditions.   It also does not include evolutionarily activated and genetically or biochemically predetermined  responses to environmental stimuli (phototropism or movement or growth against gravity in plants & protists), or anything done by brainless organisms such as a sponge, a plant, a microbe, or a mushroom.  Also excluded are the results of random but lucky guesses (foraging by ants that fail to follow pheromone trails) or systems that use random trial-and-error with natural or automatic selection of successes (e.g. evolution & "genetic" algorithms). (The programs that perform genetic algorithms in computer programs are caused by intelligence, but the programs themselves are not intelligent and the results are only indirectly intelligently caused.)  

See any of a growing variety of scientific reports and books on animal intelligence for further information.  Do not go to Gar's mostly weird, unsupported, and decidedly nonstandard ramblings.

Since more complex behaviors are for the most part produced by animals with more neurons relative to their body size (notwithstanding some impressive exceptions) and since there is a broad and unclassifiable "gray zone" of "nearly intelligent" or "slightly intelligent" behaviors in the least intelligent animals and indeed an inherent uncertainty in exactly how to define the most primitive of brains, intelligence is therefore thought to be an emergent property, emerging as increasing interconnectivity and interactions between neurons allow (1) increased abstract or symbolic  thought, (2) increased memory of prior experiences, and (3) increased application of the lessons learned (i.e., more "learning").  It is clear that increasing neuron numbers, density, and interconnectivity is well with the capabilities of natural variations (i.e., mutation and recombination), and that greater intelligence provides obvious advantages in terms of survival and reproductive success in a great many situations, so we think that evolutionary processes provide a perfectly satisfactory process for generating intelligence, although we do not know the historical details of how it happened, or the exact pathways by which (for example) the first neuron originated.

This explanation touches on Gary's "good guess" and "confidence level" ideas in a few places (although those are poorly chosen terms) and relates to increased success and learning with increased information-processing resources in his program, but those concepts are standard science preceding his writings, and intelligence cannot not be possessed by organisms without brains, nor is it present in chemical and physical processes at suborganismal levels.

Although we cannot disprove the existence of space aliens more intelligent than us, we have no evidence for them.  Although we do not know the origin of life on earth and although we cannot disprove seeding of life on earth by intelligent space aliens, we have found no evidence for that nor any reasons to think it likely or even necessary. We have no scientific evidence for supernatural intelligence, notwithstanding the popularity of religious beliefs.

Date: 2013/07/02 04:24:26, Link
Author: N.Wells
Gary, it's the ID side that primarily talks about "could have been an extraterrestrial space alien (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)".  I did not propose that: I merely said we can't rule out the possibility that aliens seeded earth with life (an archaea or some such), but we have no reason to suspect it (life hasn't shown us any manufacturer's labels or serial numbers or hidden designer tags or any of the other stuff that usually comes with sophisticated designed products) and we lack any evidence for it (so we doubt it, and it isn't part of modern science).  That would change if we discovered a wrecked spacecraft or an alien monolith or an abandoned bioengineering lab on Mars, or a trademark encrypted in DNA, or some such. (So hypotheses about abiogenesis are at least potentially falsifiable, unlike your nonsense.)  

Beyond that, I gave you a valid answer that actually contained pertinent naturalistic definitions and testable concepts, which is more than you've provided in 200 pages.  All you gave in response is meaningless verbiage, which is all you ever have. This is why your ideas are almost totally useless garbage that can be rejected out of hand, because they don't make sense and are not scientific.

Show where I'm wrong in what I wrote earlier, Gary.

Date: 2013/07/02 18:13:18, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Occam's Toothbrush @ July 02 2013,17:07)
Gary Gaulin debates Gary Gaulin

Analogy for distribution of "Intelligent Design Theory"

[Possible caption for video: Intelligent causation here in action from brain to controlled cells/muscle. Particle forces from entity, motor control run with confidence / pressure transduction. Metabolic from cell Int. / Ext.   :)  ]

Previous painstaking preparation of material prior to its appropriate distribution:

See you and raise you one more.

Date: 2013/07/02 19:56:47, Link
Author: N.Wells
[From Gary] And keep in mind that the theory you are up against (that came from me not someone else) very well covers human origin where the evidence even led to a Chromosomal Adam and Eve being discovered existing in the genetic data. You must beat that.

Gary, you do realize that Y-chromosomal Adam and  mitochondrial Eve not only probably did not live at the same time ("Adam" most recently* estimated at between 237,000 and 581,000 yrs BP compared to "Eve" at only about 200,000 years BP).  (2013*, )  So current understanding makes it highly unlikely that they were an actual couple.  Moreover, they would not have been the only humans alive in their times, as some of us are descended in part from some of the other individuals.  Therefore, this has absolutely nothing to do with biblical stories (other than the Bible supplying the names Adam and Eve), nor have you shown it to have anything to do with intelligent causation or your various speculations.  Also, we expect patterns of descent like this in all species that go through population bottlenecks, which is a reasonably common phenomena over geological lengths of time.

In short, what the heck are you going on about chromosomal Adam & Eve for?  They do nothing for your case, and line up exactly with modern evolutionary understanding (see

Date: 2013/07/02 22:40:23, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ July 02 2013,21:29)
Quote (N.Wells @ July 02 2013,19:56)
[From Gary] And keep in mind that the theory you are up against (that came from me not someone else) very well covers human origin where the evidence even led to a Chromosomal Adam and Eve being discovered existing in the genetic data. You must beat that.

Gary, you do realize that Y-chromosomal Adam and  mitochondrial Eve not only probably did not live at the same time ("Adam" most recently* estimated at between 237,000 and 581,000 yrs BP compared to "Eve" at only about 200,000 years BP).  (2013*, )  So current understanding makes it highly unlikely that they were an actual couple.  Moreover, they would not have been the only humans alive in their times, as some of us are descended in part from some of the other individuals.  Therefore, this has absolutely nothing to do with biblical stories (other than the Bible supplying the names Adam and Eve), nor have you shown it to have anything to do with intelligent causation or your various speculations.  Also, we expect patterns of descent like this in all species that go through population bottlenecks, which is a reasonably common phenomena over geological lengths of time.

In short, what the heck are you going on about chromosomal Adam & Eve for?  They do nothing for your case, and line up exactly with modern evolutionary understanding (see

Your new clothes are a perfect fit!

Keep up the good work!

And yet again you have no intelligent comments in response.  

You always do a good job of projection, however.  (Note that you are the one serving up word salad and wrapping yourself in ideas that have no evidentiary backing whatsoever.)

Date: 2013/07/03 18:55:20, Link
Author: N.Wells
[sorry, this was a double post]

Date: 2013/07/03 19:00:27, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ July 03 2013,18:31)
Here is a good sentence from the review by Richard Owens where it appears that they are subtly helping to start rumors that Charles Darwin is a drunken bum:

This is very characteristic of the ingenious turn of thought of our author; the more sober, or perhaps duller, naturalist would, no doubt, appreciate more highly a dry statement of investigation, suggested by the actual extinction of red clover, and tracing that extinction inductively, by the ascertained absence of humble-bees and mice, back to the want of cats in the neighbourhood.

The word "Dry" = Not drinking, sober.

Implying that Owen's views were typical of the opinions of other members of the Victorian scientific establishment is highly misleading.  Owen was a real SOB - although very bright and highly respected for his abilities and anatomical knowledge, he was even more widely disliked, as he was considered pompous and very arrogant.  (When people intended to compliment him by calling him the English Cuvier, he was insulted because he thought he was far better than Cuvier.)  He reportedly had a reputation for stealing other people's work, and he was a very cold, remote, and uncharitable person who was thoroughly unimpressed by anyone other than himself.

Also, "dry" in that context just meant that Owen thought that simple and elegant prose (i.e., readable) was beneath the dignity of scientists, and that he would have preferred his own sort of impassive and unemotional technical-monograph style.  "Dry" meaning without alcohol is a more American usage stemming from the Prohibition, where a dry county was a place where you couldn't get a drink / could 'die of thirst' figuratively, and where not a drop (albeit of alcohol) was to be had.

Date: 2013/07/04 00:17:44, Link
Author: N.Wells
In the same review, Owen later elaborates at considerable length that what he wants is just the plain, unadorned facts, presented straight up without any speculations.  Not incidentally, one meaning of sober is "free from exaggeration or speculation, as in 'he told us the sober truth' ".  (Owen had actually earlier advised Darwin to keep all the "believes" and "thinks" in an earlier version of the manuscript because they were necessary to preserving the charm of the book, and then he trashed Darwin over the same words in his anonymous review).  

Owen is clearly using "dry" to mean just the plain, unadorned facts, without any speculations.  In another  part of the same review he says, "Of course, prosaic minds are apt to bore one by asking for our proofs, and one feels almost provoked, when seduced to the brink of such a draught of forbidden knowledge as the transmutationists offer, to have the Circean cup dashed away by the dry remark of a President of the British Association: 'Observation of animals in a state of nature is required to show their degree of plasticity, or the extent to which varieties do arise: whereby grounds may be had for judging of the probability of the elastic ligaments and joint-structures of a feline foot, for example, being superinduced upon the more simple structure of the toe with the non-retractile claw, according to the principle of a succession of varieties in time.'...... ".  Basically, he's saying, look I can do this fancy writing crap too, but what really counts is great science like this fine bit of plain just-the-facts presentation by the distinguished president of the British Association that not incidentally blows Darwin's fancy-sounding speculations out of the water.  It becomes a little too cute once you realize that Owen is quoting himself anonymously and once you learn about his earlier disingenuous advice.

Date: 2013/07/04 07:38:38, Link
Author: N.Wells
You carried on about the Citric Acid Cycle even though the paper and illustration I had to describe said Krebs Cycle instead.

So, you still haven't sorted out your complete confusion on that point either.

Date: 2013/07/05 07:12:10, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (Woodbine @ July 04 2013,04:16)
Quote (GaryGaulin @ July 04 2013,05:43)
And for those who did not know, this is one example of how things actually go very well in a forum where cognitive science experts who actually program cognitive systems are present, as well as what happens when a hidebound academic from this forum (Wesley) shows up to top off the thread with link to this one:

The other forum has long known about my theory writing project. A number of them studied it, which is why Wesley did not surprise anyone there.

Let's see what Gary describes as 'doing very well'

I am looking for honest unbiased opinon (informal peer-review) of the following theory......blah....blah...

You gotta be fucking kidding me. We all see through your bullshit, Gary. Get your creationist ass off this forum.

Just perusing through the paper so far, I might read the entire thing at some point, I find that there are at least a few unprovable assumptions which could greatly influence the interpretation of whatever data you have collected:

Your paper is flawed in it's fundamental premise of non-randomness. I'd not spend any more time trying to 'prove' it, and go enjoy a nice round of golf or something.

Two words: Bull shit.

It's a hypothesis at best. A theory requires evidence, experiments to support your hypothesis.

So, in other words, you aren't gonna get your paper published in any reputable journal, nor supported by anyone who actually reads it and is knowledgable about the basics of science. You could always wrap fresh fish in the paper you publish it on, though, and sell that.

I think you are unaware of how presenting a theory works... you provide the evidence!

I demand a coherent logical argument supported by pertinent evidence and ideally consistent with the known scientific laws/theories in order for me to view a theory as scientific... You singularly fail in this regard and hence I consider your effort unscientific.

....and that's all within two pages.

Gary, if that's an example of your theory doing 'very well' I'd hate to see it take a beating.

[From Gary] Woodbine, thanks for the nice list of useless insults that around here passes as a critique.

I especially like the "Get your creationist ass off this forum."

After seeing something like that a reasonable person is able to understand what's going on, in this forum.

Gary, all of those comments except the one about getting off the forum are accurate criticisms that identify valid concerns about your speculations, and all of those except the "BS" one are substantive enough that they would improve your results if you corrected the errors that they identify.  They are not polite or detailed about it, but that's irrelevant.

And your gripe about Wesley (and elsewhere the rest of us) not presenting a better model is also irrelevant: no one is required to do that in critiquing something that is unsupported and/or unsupportable.

Date: 2013/07/05 13:55:07, Link
Author: N.Wells
Hey Gary,
Regarding your argument that we have to come up with something better before we can dismiss an idea on its own merits, who said:
But if the science can't stand on its own scientific merit here then it isn't worth going any further with the idea.

Why, yes, you did, at

Chalk that up as another Gaulin self-contradiction.

Since you were right that time, it's too bad you followed up with a fib: "So as usual, all problems anyone sees with the idea are welcome."

Date: 2013/07/08 17:47:04, Link
Author: N.Wells
Actual useful studies pf animal intelligence:

Auersperg AMI, Kacelnik A, von Bayern AMP (2013)
Explorative Learning and Functional Inferences on a Five-Step Means-Means-End Problem in Goffin’s Cockatoos (Cacatua goffini).
PLoS ONE 8(7): e68979.

To investigate cognitive operations underlying sequential problem solving, we confronted ten Goffin’s cockatoos with a baited box locked by five different inter-locking devices. Subjects were either naïve or had watched a conspecific demonstration, and either faced all devices at once or incrementally. One naïve subject solved the problem without demonstration and with all locks present within the first five sessions (each consisting of one trial of up to 20 minutes), while five others did so after social demonstrations or incremental experience. Performance was aided by species-specific traits including neophilia, a haptic modality and persistence. Most birds showed a ratchet-like progress, rarely failing to solve a stage once they had done it once. In most transfer tests subjects reacted flexibly and sensitively to alterations of the locks’ sequencing and functionality, as expected from the presence of predictive inferences about mechanical interactions between the locks.

Virginia Morell (2013)
Into the Minds of Birds.
Science 341 (6141): 22-25
DOI: 10.1126/science.341.6141.22

A new brain scanning method may spur the already-booming field of bird cognition, and help illuminate a long-term debate over animal capabilities. PET scans of live birds offer a glimpse of their brains in the act of working, and may offer clues to when—or if—a bird is "thinking."

"We're seeing that the crows' brains are cognitively flexible," Marzluff explained .........

While Marzluff emphasizes that the PET scanning is a "first try" at glimpsing bird brains in the act of working, it is already being hailed as a powerful new tool for studying avian cognition. "This is pioneering avian cognition neuroscience," says Russell Gray, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. "They're showing us what's going on inside the crows' heads. There's a lot more cognitive processing that's much more finely tuned than we would think by observing the birds' outward behavior. It means that if you only judge animals by the way they behave, you could be mistaken."

Gray and others hope that the scans will spur an already-booming field. Being able to tell what parts of the brain are active in an animal's response might offer clues to when—or if—it is "thinking," rather than simply responding to a stimulus. Thus, the scans have the potential to illuminate a long-term debate over animal capabilities. On one side are researchers who consider animals' stereotypical behaviors as evidence of mental inflexibility. On the other are those who suspect that animals have more complex thought processes, but who struggle to prove it. The scans "may help close the divide," says Corina Logan, a comparative cognition scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Indeed, over the past decade, the field has gathered momentum, producing a stream of papers. Researchers have detailed sophisticated memories in ravens and jays; tool-manufacturing and reasoning abilities in crows; and complex social skills in many species, especially corvids and parrots. Corvids are the most studied. "The range of behaviors—from counting to caching—that corvids do and are surprisingly good at, just shows how flexible and diverse they are," says Nicola Clayton, a comparative psychologist at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. She and Nathan Emery of Queen Mary, University of London termed corvids "feathered apes" because they have many of the talents celebrated in the great apes, from toolmaking to social networking (Science, 10 December 2004, p. 1903). Some corvids even surpassed apes on tests designed to reveal things such as the ability to recognize that others have intentions.

This method "should vastly improve our understanding of how animals interface, interpret, and internalize information," says Teresa Iglesias, a behavioral ecologist at the Australian National University in Canberra, who has studied mobbing in Western scrub jays.

Note that bodes ill for any debate over whether molecules possess "intelligence", and that this debate is being carried out with actual data, not just by fiat redefinition and assertion.

Date: 2013/07/09 19:46:30, Link
Author: N.Wells
Despite the way he keeps tossing in "chromosomal Adam and Eve" and the way he is insisting that he is supporting intelligent design, he is not pushing a YEC/fundamentalist view of things, nor apparently even anything that most IDists would claim as intelligent design.  He thinks he's providing a bridge between religion and science.  Unfortunately, the scientists don't see any science there worthy of the name, and his delusions have little in common with the delusions preferred by the fundamentalists, and scientists and science deniers have polarized enough that there's no longer very much interest in a bridge, and his ideas are in any event incoherent and unworkable, so there's an impressive lack of interest.

Date: 2013/07/10 15:43:16, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ July 10 2013,03:37)
Quote (N.Wells @ July 09 2013,19:46)
Despite the way he keeps tossing in "chromosomal Adam and Eve" and the way he is insisting that he is supporting intelligent design, he is not pushing a YEC/fundamentalist view of things, nor apparently even anything that most IDists would claim as intelligent design.  He thinks he's providing a bridge between religion and science.  Unfortunately, the scientists don't see any science there worthy of the name, and his delusions have little in common with the delusions preferred by the fundamentalists, and scientists and science deniers have polarized enough that there's no longer very much interest in a bridge, and his ideas are in any event incoherent and unworkable, so there's an impressive lack of interest.

It took 10 months for you to figure out that I’m talking real-science. I now wonder how long it will take this forum and other entities to figure out how much of a useless scientific disgrace they now are.

This actually is theory that obsoletes your sacred "evolutionary algorithms". Needing to trash something much better than your junk science that even misses Chromosomal Adam and Eve is another historic unethical blunder for the entire scientific community to be ashamed of.

Gary, I made the same point back near the beginning of the thread somewhere, so this is not "after ten months".  Nonetheless, you are not tracking my points: your not being all-fundamentalist-christian about your ideas does not in the slightest mean that they are good science, or even that they fall into the general realm of science.  They aren't even bad science, because all you are doing boils doing to making bald and unsupported assertions.  You think you have evidence and are providing support, but you aren't: your references don't support your key points, your "data" is not relevant, your programmed bug simply follows the limits and consequences of your programming without any attempt at ground-proofing your model, your "theory" is neither generally accepted nor falsifiable nor logically coherent, your definitions (to the extent that you have any) are eccentric and widely rejected, and your arguments contain a lot of non sequiturs (like your Adam and Eve stuff).  So it isn't worth very much.

Date: 2013/07/10 18:42:42, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ July 10 2013,18:02)
Science requires evidence and none here are immune from presenting yours.

Explain how intelligence and intelligent causation works, or you're just another science-denier who puts their "faith" before science.

1) Yes, science requires evidence, but sadly you don't have any.

2)  "none here are immune from presenting yours" lacks any discernible meaning.  (Even with the helpful suggestion above that you meant to say "exempt", why should anyone else be responsible for presenting my evidence for my ideas?)

3) No, you are the person making the claims, so you bear the primary responsibility for demonstrating that you are not talking nonsense.  If you were saying something intelligible, intelligent, and potentially interesting, and insightful, you'd get all sorts of scientists flocking to work on your ideas, offering lots of critical comments and suggestions for expansion, new applications, and so forth, but that still doesn't make further investigation anyone else's responsibility, other than yours.  Instead, you've got *crickets*.

4) I've already given you decent answers for standard definitions and explanations for intelligence.  Admittedly, defining intelligence is not easy, and we are far from knowing all that we would like to know about intelligence, but that is the state of science.  You are not improving on this situation, because you are not proposing anything that is coherent, testable, falsifiable, and logical.  

5) An answer to your question about intelligent causation depends on what you mean by "intelligent causation".  If you simply mean causation of something by an intelligent agent (for example, ranging from a beaver dam to Beethoven's Fifth), the immediate answer is trivial: intelligent creation requires a brain, which requires neurons, preferably in abundance with a lot of interconnectivity.  If you mean how did Beethoven come up with his Fifth, then we don't really know, except that application of education, training, practice, talent, and hard work all help.  When you apply the term to other phenomena not related to animal brains, then no explanation is needed, because you haven't yet demonstrated that the phenomenon is real in that context (in the sense that you want to believe).  It would be like me demanding that you give me an explanation for flying paisley fire-breathing elephants.

Date: 2013/07/20 11:12:34, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ July 19 2013,20:09)
Quote (OgreMkV @ July 19 2013,17:57)
You know what I see when I read that link Gary?

I see phrases like "distinct predictions" and "experiment" and "results were clear".

Why don't you do stuff like make predictions based on your notions, do an experiment that actually involves your notions, and then show the clear results of your experiments?

Just a thought...

This origin of intelligence theory requires self-assembly that’s already demonstrated in schools, has a scale model of Earth shoreline where protein skimming concentrate the right organic molecules at the shoreline as shown in my avatar, and a computer model to demonstrate how to most simply produce intelligence is the Intelligent Design Lab at PSC to download and experiment with, and more than able examples of which biological process is where in the circuit for a systems biologist to know how what they already work on sorts out to be a familiar (even at the human brain level) cognitive circuit not a simple feedback system.

None in the science labs and classrooms need your or Wesley’s permission to as described in the theory experiment with protein skimming that made my avatar and such that all together adds up to very paradigm changing scientific theory that more than predicts it explains what standard science naming convention calls “intelligent cause/causation”. Science itself makes irrelevant all human opinions of what the Theory of Intelligent Design is and isn’t, .

There are millions of possible K-12 on up experiments from what is explained in this theory. You are scientifically powerless against it all. Only fooling yourself by thinking that such a thing is lacking.


1) Good grief, Gary, that's a reeking heap of garbled garbage.

2) We can add "scale model" to the concepts that Gary is totally clueless about. (How did you scale viscosity and surface tension in your demonstration, Gary?)

what standard science naming convention calls “intelligent cause/causation”
Whatever "standard science naming convention" is, there is nothing in science that legitimizes "intelligent cause/causation" in the extended sense that you wish to use.  Science has separate and unrelated naming conventions for species, asteroids, meteorites, tornadoes, rocks, soils, organic chemicals, elements, etc., etc., and you have no idea what you are talking about here.

4) Your thoughts offer neither predictions nor explanations, and it is delusional to think otherwise.

5) "Science itself makes irrelevant all human opinions of what the Theory of Intelligent Design is and isn’t, ." [sic]
Perhaps what you are trying to say is that conclusions arrived at through scientific analysis trump mere opinions, but since the "TID" is proposed and defined by humans (and interpreted and analyzed scientifically by humans), then what you are actually saying is ridiculous.  (Also, since only humans are known to have opinions about things, why on earth are you specifying "human opinions"?)

6) "You are scientifically powerless against it all."  Well, no.  You have yet to demonstrate the reality of the mechanism and processes that you propose ("molecular intelligence"), so your ideas are scientifically baseless, and lack all predictive and explanatory power.

7) "Only fooling yourself by thinking that such a thing is lacking."  To what is "such a thing" supposed to be referring?  (Your comprehensibility would be additionally improved by adding a subject and a verb.)

Date: 2013/07/21 08:27:40, Link
Author: N.Wells
In your case what I must most want out of you is your flagellum powered cell model circuited as per the ID theory,
 You are the one proposing this nonsense and you are the only one that thinks that it has any promise whatsoever, so this is your responsibility.

Can also test to see whether real e.coli and other can be trained to either attract or repel from stimuli depending on prior experience. If cells can be trained then it’s not a simple feedback system
Execrable English aside, you've nearly stumbled into a test for your ideas.  Many examples of chemotaxis in bacteria and protists are quite well understood ( ), and they don't involve anything that requires intelligence.  Their stimuli/response cycles use pathways that compare the prior condition relative to the current condition, which can loosely be talked about in terms of "memory" and "decision", but these are metaphors rather than indicators of intelligent decision-making, and they seem perfectly capable of arising by evolutionary processes. To gain any traction at all against prevailing explanations ( ), you will have to demonstrate that you can train the bacteria to do something that is contrary to their normal biochemically controlled behavior.  Note that you can't just assert that some behavior is intelligent without backing that up, and you also cannot just modify your bug to demonstrate this without verifying that your model actually matches reality (e.g., compare to what you do).

The exact chemistry of cellular temporal memory is not known

Basically that's not true (although this depends a bit on how strictly you parse "exact").  From Wikipedia,
Flagellum regulation

The proteins CheW and CheA bind to the receptor. The activation of the receptor by an external stimulus causes autophosphorylation in the histidine kinase, CheA, at a single highly conserved histidine residue. CheA in turn transfers phosphoryl groups to conserved aspartate residues in the response regulators CheB and CheY [ note: CheA is a histidine kinase and it does not actively transfer the phosphoryl group. The response regulator CheB takes the phosphoryl group from CheA]. This mechanism of signal transduction is called a two-component system and is a common form of signal transduction in bacteria. CheY induces tumbling by interacting with the flagellar switch protein FliM, inducing a change from counter-clockwise to clockwise rotation of the flagellum. Change in the rotation state of a single flagellum can disrupt the entire flagella bundle and cause a tumble.
Receptor regulation

CheB, when activated by CheA, acts as a methylesterase, removing methyl groups from glutamate residues on the cytosolic side of the receptor. It works antagonistically with CheR, a methyltransferase, which adds methyl residues to the same glutamate residues. If the level of an attractant remains high, the level of phosphorylation of CheA (and therefore CheY and CheB) will remain low, the cell will swim smoothly, and the level of methylation of the MCPs will increase (because CheB-P is not present to demethylate). However, the MCPs no longer respond to the attractant when they are fully methylated. Therefore, even though the level of attractant might remain high, the level of CheA-P (and CheB-P) increases and the cell begins to tumble. However, now the MCPs can be demethylated by CheB-P, and when this happens, the receptors can once again respond to attractants. The situation is the opposite with regard to repellents (fully methylated MCPs respond best to repellents, while least methylated MCPs respond worst to repellents). This regulation allows the bacterium to 'remember' chemical concentrations from the recent past, a few seconds, and compare them to those it is currently experiencing, thus 'know' whether it is traveling up or down a gradient. Although the methylation system accounts for the wide range of sensitivity [5] that bacteria have to chemical gradients, other mechanisms are involved in increasing the absolute value of the sensitivity on a given background. Well established examples are the ultra-sensitive response of the motor to the CheY-P signal, and the clustering of chemoreceptors.[6][7]

 literature shows cells can anticipate a shock of some sort and be in defensive mode in anticipation of another
 That's a different issue, with different explanations.

(Woodbine: nicely done!)

Date: 2013/07/23 11:08:05, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ July 22 2013,08:15)
Quote (N.Wells @ July 21 2013,08:27)
In your case what I must most want out of you is your flagellum powered cell model circuited as per the ID theory,
 You are the one proposing this nonsense and you are the only one that thinks that it has any promise whatsoever, so this is your responsibility.

Can also test to see whether real e.coli and other can be trained to either attract or repel from stimuli depending on prior experience. If cells can be trained then it’s not a simple feedback system
Execrable English aside, you've nearly stumbled into a test for your ideas.  Many examples of chemotaxis in bacteria and protists are quite well understood ( ), and they don't involve anything that requires intelligence.  Their stimuli/response cycles use pathways that compare the prior condition relative to the current condition, which can loosely be talked about in terms of "memory" and "decision", but these are metaphors rather than indicators of intelligent decision-making, and they seem perfectly capable of arising by evolutionary processes. To gain any traction at all against prevailing explanations ( ), you will have to demonstrate that you can train the bacteria to do something that is contrary to their normal biochemically controlled behavior.  Note that you can't just assert that some behavior is intelligent without backing that up, and you also cannot just modify your bug to demonstrate this without verifying that your model actually matches reality (e.g., compare to what you do).

The exact chemistry of cellular temporal memory is not known

Basically that's not true (although this depends a bit on how strictly you parse "exact").  From Wikipedia,
Flagellum regulation

The proteins CheW and CheA bind to the receptor. The activation of the receptor by an external stimulus causes autophosphorylation in the histidine kinase, CheA, at a single highly conserved histidine residue. CheA in turn transfers phosphoryl groups to conserved aspartate residues in the response regulators CheB and CheY [ note: CheA is a histidine kinase and it does not actively transfer the phosphoryl group. The response regulator CheB takes the phosphoryl group from CheA]. This mechanism of signal transduction is called a two-component system and is a common form of signal transduction in bacteria. CheY induces tumbling by interacting with the flagellar switch protein FliM, inducing a change from counter-clockwise to clockwise rotation of the flagellum. Change in the rotation state of a single flagellum can disrupt the entire flagella bundle and cause a tumble.
Receptor regulation

CheB, when activated by CheA, acts as a methylesterase, removing methyl groups from glutamate residues on the cytosolic side of the receptor. It works antagonistically with CheR, a methyltransferase, which adds methyl residues to the same glutamate residues. If the level of an attractant remains high, the level of phosphorylation of CheA (and therefore CheY and CheB) will remain low, the cell will swim smoothly, and the level of methylation of the MCPs will increase (because CheB-P is not present to demethylate). However, the MCPs no longer respond to the attractant when they are fully methylated. Therefore, even though the level of attractant might remain high, the level of CheA-P (and CheB-P) increases and the cell begins to tumble. However, now the MCPs can be demethylated by CheB-P, and when this happens, the receptors can once again respond to attractants. The situation is the opposite with regard to repellents (fully methylated MCPs respond best to repellents, while least methylated MCPs respond worst to repellents). This regulation allows the bacterium to 'remember' chemical concentrations from the recent past, a few seconds, and compare them to those it is currently experiencing, thus 'know' whether it is traveling up or down a gradient. Although the methylation system accounts for the wide range of sensitivity [5] that bacteria have to chemical gradients, other mechanisms are involved in increasing the absolute value of the sensitivity on a given background. Well established examples are the ultra-sensitive response of the motor to the CheY-P signal, and the clustering of chemoreceptors.[6][7]

 literature shows cells can anticipate a shock of some sort and be in defensive mode in anticipation of another
 That's a different issue, with different explanations.

(Woodbine: nicely done!)

All of you are behind the times. There is now known to be a circuit that may have many flagella wired together to molecularly programmable sensor arrays, while major sensory systems have crosstalk connections to each other resulting in complex behaviors. The days of making it seem that how a cell works is just simple diffusion based chemistry equation are over:

Dynamic map of protein interactions in the Escherichia coli chemotaxis pathway

Molecular architecture of chemoreceptor arrays revealed by cryoelectron tomography of Escherichia coli minicells

Gary, you said  
The exact chemistry of cellular temporal memory is not known
 I said, no, we know quite a lot about how the chemistry works, and cited a bit of text as an example.  How on earth are you bolstering your earlier point that the exact chemistry is unknown by now claiming that we know even more than what I said?  So thank you for confirming my point.

Date: 2013/08/02 14:58:04, Link
Author: N.Wells
I just went through the the paper better and it's saying the same thing I just did:

Ogre beat me to it, but I'm going to chime in anyway.  

Notwithstanding some similarities in bug construction, comparing present situations to memories of previous situations, accounting some results, and using some similar words here and there,

a) Their critters evolve through multiple generations via mutation and natural selection, in ways that accord with what we know about both.  They actually measure fitness and plot it on graphs.  In contrast, you make baseless and evidence-free assertions against natural selection in ways that you never back up.  

b) You abuse standard definitions: they don't.  Moreover, they actually provide rigorous definitions for all their terms and concepts.

c) Their critters evolve ways to interpret environmental clues: yours don't.

d) Their critters evolve more complicated brain-sensor connections (yours are pre-programmed), and they also evolve the code that controls their behavior (yours are also constrained by your prior programming).

e) The authors don't talk about undemonstrated processes using terms that are either undefined or nonstandardly defined.

f) Their concept of intelligence is not at all the same as yours.

g) They set up some interesting tests.  You didn't.

h) Their graphs have properly labelled axes, making them comprehensible.

i) Their paper is readable. In contrast, your statement "Several decades of following scientific evidence wherever it leads has led to this simple yet very useful cognitive emergence theory to explain our underlying hypothesis driven self-learning mechanism that where (technology willing) modeled is theoretically capable of developing human level science and culture, while at the other end of the intelligence level spectrum explain our origin from the phenomenon of "intelligent cause" as is required by the theory’s premise  which states:..." is neither grammatical nor intelligible.

The combination of the fact that you think your statement is acceptable and that you don't see the vast differences between what you did and what the researchers did speaks volumes about you, none of it good.

Date: 2013/08/02 22:45:13, Link
Author: N.Wells
That is one of the best examples of extreme pontification and self-aggrandizing that I have ever seen.

You could have also added something like  "and scientists toiled for untold hours at a combined cost of billions of US dollars to explain all that exists in the universe in terms of fitness/selection generalizations yet you scoff at the most revered GA which proved to us it can answer all questions mortal man can ever ask by always having given us the answer we wanted?!"

Gary, you outdo me 1000 to 1 on "pontification and self-aggrandizement" every time you talk about your supposed theory and the significance that you fantasize for it.  (Everyone has noticed that your charges are mostly projection.)  

Also, I wouldn't say that about fitness and selection because it is untrue (and because it is an atrociously written statement).

However, all that aside, I notice that you have not actually rebutted ANY of the specific criticisms.

Date: 2013/08/04 07:19:10, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Aug. 04 2013,02:50)
Quote (Quack @ Aug. 04 2013,02:26)
Your next project?

No. Jellyfish do not seem to have much if any multicellular intelligence. I need more of a challenge, but Wesley might almost be able to handle that one.

If the jellyfish have "little if any multicellular intelligence", then what does that say about sponges, plants, fungi, protists, and bacteria?  

This harkens back to my unanswered challenge to prove that a mushroom is more intelligent than a Neato robot vacuum cleaner (considering that the mushroom is alive and the Neato is not, the mushroom certainly ought to have more intelligence according to your usage).  In this case the jellyfish has turned into the ecological equivalent of a mobile plant, and seems to rank well above plants but a little below Neatos in your usage of "intelligence".

Date: 2013/08/04 07:58:38, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Aug. 04 2013,07:51)
Quote (N.Wells @ Aug. 04 2013,07:19)
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Aug. 04 2013,02:50)
Quote (Quack @ Aug. 04 2013,02:26)
Your next project?

No. Jellyfish do not seem to have much if any multicellular intelligence. I need more of a challenge, but Wesley might almost be able to handle that one.

If the jellyfish have "little if any multicellular intelligence", then what does that say about sponges, plants, fungi, protists, and bacteria?  

Comparing multicellular to cellular intelligence?

As far as mushrooms and concerned they are not expected to be an example of multicellular intelligence. Exactly how intelligent or not each thing is does not even matter to me, I have better things to worry about than that.

Your model implies that "cellular intelligence", which you still haven't adequately defined, documented, measured, demonstrated, or modelled, builds to "multicellular intelligence", which you also still haven't adequately defined, documented, measured, demonstrated, or modelled.  

Why are mushrooms "not expected" to have any "multicellular intelligence"?

Your model makes no allowances and offers no predictability for when "cellular intelligence" should fail to build to "multicellular intelligence". Moreover, neither should be present in Neato vacuum cleaners, as they are not alive, but Neatos demonstrate more "smarts" than your bug model.  

Since you can't measure anything related to your concepts, what you've got is a heap of rubbish.  Until you can actually measure stuff related to your concepts in a meaningful way, you have NOTHING better to worry about. (Other than going and getting some professional help in a way that would actually improve your life, of course.)

Edited to add: You can't measure cellular intelligence to the extent that you can't even demonstrate that it exists.  Ironically, this puts you exactly in the same boat as Intelligence Design with its specified complexity.

Date: 2013/08/05 07:11:24, Link
Author: N.Wells
[quote=Nomad,Aug. 05 2013,05:41]
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Aug. 03 2013,17:30)

The use of a GA allows the modeling out of said "intelligence" therefore it is a no brainer that the intelligence that should be there is missing. Duh?

This is called assuming the conclusion, Gary.  You're doing this backwards.  Duh indeed.  You're saying that since your model includes your nonsense concepts it's correct by definition, even without ever being tested.  Whereas if a model demonstrates that a GA can achieve the things that you want to attribute to intelligence, the fact that it left out your favored concept proves its wrong, even though it did what your model has failed to do.

Science does not work that way.  Despite all your posturing and attitude, what you want is dogma.  You want theology, man.  You want to be walking around shouting about how things have to be only a certain way.  That it's heresy to even suggest that they might not be that way.  You tried playing scientist and you blew it.  The game was over before you even started.  Whereas you have to spend years hand tuning this pathetic code to get it to run a kinda sorta simulated animal, a GA can be used to generate code to run actual robots to solve similar problems without using intelligence at all.  Solving the problem without intelligence works.  Intelligence is not required.  You lose.

That's a near-perfect assessment of Gary's problem, except that I'd say that it's correct "by fiat", not "by definition", as he notably still hasn't **defined** anything in any useful sense.

Date: 2013/08/06 11:52:32, Link
Author: N.Wells
Being able to do anything it wants seems to have added the concept of “I want” to its cognitive awareness

1) Assumption of the conclusion, right there in "being able to do anything it **wants**".  
2) Classic projection / anthropomorphism.  

Those are two of Gary's major failings in a single sentence.

Erratic and incomprehensible behavior does not automatically translate to "because it wanted to".  Scientific progress over religious explanations for things like storms, volcanoes, and earthquakes happened because we stopped anthropomorphizing random and incomprehensible behaviors (random at least in terms of our limited knowledge of constraints and influences on those systems). Volcanoes don't "want" to do anything, nor must we appeal to the wants of imaginary volcano gods to explain irregular volcanic eruptions.

Gary's bug cannot possibly "want" anything, any more than an autofocus camera "wants" to focus the image (or for that matter "wants" to go on a holiday in the Bahamas), so when Gary ascribes "wanting" to random motion, he's projecting.  

(My worry is that this is a first step in Gary's deciding that if he listens really closely he can hear his bug telling him what it wants him to do.)

Date: 2013/08/08 20:37:42, Link
Author: N.Wells
The following premise/definition is either true or false.  "The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."

1) "The following premise/definition..."
Well, which is it? Regardless, it sucks as either one.  If it's a premise, you never get around to justifying it.  As a definition, it is too vague to be enlightening or useful.

2) "..... is either true or false."  It is too vague to be considered "either true of false": it's just an incompetent statement.

3) You still do not have anything that rises to the level of a "theory" of intelligent design.  (The more traditional IDists don't either, for that matter.)  Something becomes a theory by at least potentially actually explaining something, by being potentially falsifiable, by passing some tests, and achieving a modicum of support, not because its author claims that it is a theory.

4) "certain features" is not an acceptable claim, as it is far too vague.  The Mona Lisa and Beethoven's 9th are both features of the universe and both are clearly the result of an intelligent cause.  However, we don't need a theory of intelligent design to tell us that.  

5) You still haven't provided adequate definitions or any evidence to back up your claims of molecular and cellular intelligence.

6) "not an undirected process such as natural selection."    Unproven assertion, albeit too vague to be useful as your crappy statement doesn't elaborate on what can't be explained by natural selection.  No one in science claims that natural selection has explained anything that is nonbiological, nor even that everything in evolution involves natural selection.

Molecular Intelligence

Molecular intelligence (a living thing, life) is emergent from naturally occurring machine-like molecules which together build and maintain cells like we together build and maintain cities. This form of intelligence is sustained by a “replication cycle” that keeps it going through time. Biologically, our thought cycles exist as a brain wave/cycle rhythm but (where physics willing) the system would still work as well by replicating itself (and stored memories) on a regular cycle, as does molecular intelligence. If our brain worked this way then it would replicate/replace itself upon every new thought we have, could this way sustain itself nearly forever. Without cellular intelligence (discussed in next section) to add moment to moment awareness molecular intelligence is at the mercy of the environment, has no way to efficiently forage for food, but they still soon enough can control the planet’s surface/atmospheric chemistry.
That's a poorly written bunch of lunatic assertions, not a theory or a definition.

Date: 2013/08/10 19:31:45, Link
Author: N.Wells
I prefer a more general definition of graph that includes scatterplots.  That aside, I agree that your diagrams are graphs, sensu lato.  That aside in turn, your graphs are distinctly crappy and incompetent graphs, being untitled, unlabelled, and unscaled:

From Wikipedia:  
One of the more important uses of text in a graph is the title. A graph's title usually appears above the main graphic and provides a succinct description of what the data in the graph refers to.

Dimensions in the data are often displayed on axes. If a horizontal and a vertical axis are used, they are usually referred to as the x-axis and y-axis respectively. Each axis will have a scale, denoted by periodic graduations and usually accompanied by numerical or categorical indications. Each axis will typically also have a label displayed outside or beside it, briefly describing the dimension represented. If the scale is numerical, the label will often be suffixed with the unit of that scale in parentheses. For example, "Distance traveled (m)" is a typical x-axis label and would mean that the distance travelled, in units of metres, is related to the horizontal position of the data within the chart.

Lastly, I agree with Driver that you are completely out to lunch with regard to "evolutionary creationist".

Date: 2013/08/11 14:02:03, Link
Author: N.Wells
Gary 1: "Regardless of your view of biblical scripture: If you believe that Darwinian theory is the best explanation for how we were created then you are an Evolutionary Creationist. "

Gary 2, in part citing Biologos:  
Here is more material on your religion:  "..........What is Evolutionary Creation? The view that all life on earth came about by the God-ordained process of evolution with common descent. Evolution is a means by which God providentially achieves his purposes in creation."

Gary, do you even think about what you post?  I know, stupid question .........

Also, NoName is bringing up a couple of important points that are getting lost in your torrent of trash: please back up your ridiculous claims that 'natural selection' is subjective and that it is 'unquantifiable'.

Date: 2013/08/11 18:33:54, Link
Author: N.Wells
The Sidney Harris cartoon is not about Intelligent Design.

That Intelligent Design is fundamentally religious is obvious from uncoerced statements from the ID side, not a matter of anti-ID propaganda.  IDIsts reprinted a creationist text book but substituting "intelligent design" for "creationism", leading to the substitution error of "cdesign proponentsists".  Also, if you go to the Wedge Document, the founding document for the Discovery Institute and the Intelligent Design movement it is very explicit about its religious motivations. For example, it emphasizes the intention to "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions." and "To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God".

"Evolutionary creationists" and "theistic creationists" are religious people who think that evolution was set up or guided by a god.

On the other hand, biologists who like the Theory of Evolution and who do not see divine involvement in it are just evolutionary biologists, NOT "evolutionary creationists".  It's a bit too late to do any good, but if you want to be taken seriously, you've got to stop make crazy assertions like this.

While we are at it, you still haven't explained how a quotation that defines evolutionary creationists as people who see a divine hand in evolution supports your claim that all evolutionists are evolutionary creationists.

Also, you still haven't supported your lunatic assertions that natural selection is subjective and unquantifiable.

Date: 2013/08/12 11:03:00, Link
Author: N.Wells
If you do not believe in "a quotation that defines evolutionary creationists as people who see a divine hand in evolution" that was in the BioLogos variation of Evolutionary Creationism that I presented for evidence then that is a religious issue for you to take up with them, your clergy, not me.
That's too muddled to be meaningful, Gary.  I don't care whether "evolutionary creationists" is coined to cover people who see a divine hand in evolution.  Personally, I think that "theistic evolutionists" does that job just fine, but that's irrelevant.  Given that definition, you cannot apply it to people who don't believe in scripture or divine hands, and your citing that definition in support of your applying the term to people who support evolution but do not see a divine hand in the process is just plain crazy.  Biologos is not "on my side of the fence" so in what sense are they "my clergy"?

And as others have noted, chasing a goal that claims to involve anything that all the world's religions supposedly have in common is insane, given their profound fundamental disagreements with each other.

Date: 2013/08/12 19:41:57, Link
Author: N.Wells
Whether you "believe in scripture or divine hands" is irrelevant to your evolutionary creationism belief, which holds that how we were created is best scientifically explained by Darwinian "evolutionary theory".

Gary, to support your claim that atheist evolutionists are evolutionary creationists you cited a quotation that evolutionary creationists are people who see a divine hand guiding evolution.  How can an atheist who doesn't see divine hands in anything be an evolutionary creationist given your definition?

Also, I consider the theory of evolution as the best available explanation for the history of life based on the available evidence.  That is distinctly different from a belief.

Would you care to back up your insane claims that natural selection is unquantifiable and not objective?

Date: 2013/08/12 23:44:49, Link
Author: N.Wells
The only thing you have to support your belief that I am wrong is blind-faith in what the clubhouse has been following for religion, stereotypes that demonize others for continuing to follow the scientific evidence wherever it leads instead of stopping as commanded at your science-stopper for endless sermons about the Genius of Charles Darwin, and denial of emerging science that upsets your religious beliefs.

Complete BS, Gary.  I know that you are wrong in most of your assertions because a) you use terms wrongly, b) you don't understand the terms that you use, c) you make ludicrous assertions that are known to be wrong, such as claiming that natural selection is unquantifiable and not objective, d) you make claims that do not logically follow from the evidence that you cite for them, e) you fail to demonstrate the existence of the processes that you cite, for which no other evidence exists, f) you make ridiculously overblown claims for which you cannot provide any evidence, and g) all available evidence contradicts your your statements.  

Also, you are not "following scientific evidence": you are chasing your delusions down a rabbit hole.

I don't know what purpose you think that William Lane Craig quote serves: he gets the term wrong (along with some basic biology mistakes), and decides he is a progressive creationist, using a definition that is not different from some versions of "theistic evolution".  

Urban Dictionary:  
Evolutionary Creationism, The belief that God (the Christian God) used evolution to create life on Earth. This theory says that God designed the natural processes that guide evolution, and endowed Mankind with a soul when it had reached a sufficient level of sentience (This is often called the "Ontological Leap.")

Theistic evolution, theistic evolutionism or evolutionary creationism is the view that religious teachings about God are compatible with modern scientific understanding about biological evolution. Theistic evolution is not a scientific theory, but a range of views about how the science of evolution relates to religious beliefs. Supporters of theistic evolution generally reject the conflict thesis regarding the relationship between religion and science – that is, they hold that religious teachings about creation and scientific theories of evolution need not contradict each other........
Theistic evolution has been described as the position that "evolution is real, but that it was set in motion by God",[4] and "Theistic evolution, which accepts that evolution occurred as biologists describe it, but under the direction of God".[5] ........ It covers a wide range of beliefs about the extent of any intervention by God, with some approaching deism in rejecting continued intervention. Others see intervention at critical intervals in history in a way consistent with scientific explanations of speciation, but with similarities to the ideas of Progressive Creationism that God created "kinds" of animals sequentially.[6]  Evolutionary creation[7] (EC, also referred to by some observers as "evolutionary creationism") states that the creator god uses evolution to bring about his plan. is lengthy but is also worth reading.  It gets into some (relatively minor) distinctions between theistic evolution and evolutionary creationism, while providing you no support whatsoever.

yet mock and ridicule those who know that you cannot even explain the origin of intelligence or how intelligence (and intelligent cause) works while claiming no intelligence was involved in the process then you are obviously not practicing science you're clearly practicing an opinion filled religion.


I'm seriously not trying to point fingers. Just showing that you "believe" things that seem to be scientifically unarguable when they are not, and why I want nothing to do with the stifling hero-worship science-stopper scene.
More complete BS.  A) When I very briefly summarized some current understanding about the origin of intelligence earlier in the thread, I  said that we don't yet have a sufficient understanding of it, so it is unclear how that constitutes a rigid religious belief.  I also noted that none of what little we know about the biological origins of intelligence supports your nonsense about molecular and cellular intelligence.  That assessment remains correct.  Our not knowing enough about a topic does not mean that your alternative suggestion is automatically better (it isn't), nor that acknowledgement of insufficient knowledge constitutes a religious belief.  B) No one here is stopping science.  What we are doing is ridiculing some crank pseudoscience, but that's a rather different matter.

Date: 2013/08/13 08:04:49, Link
Author: N.Wells
Your "alternative suggestion" propaganda is just another deceptively worded excuse to suppress a more complete scientific answer that does not benefit your unscientific dogma.

I now wonder whether you realize how dishonest it is to constantly twist the truth in such a defamatory way. You cannot explain anything at all of interest to others about intelligence yet you are much more of an expert than those who can and do?

Even if my opinion was as limited as "we know nothing about the topic", your "theory" would not in any way be more complete than that, because it is a step backward.  A theory is not more complete just because its claims are broader: there has to be some evidence that its claims are correct and that its a valid theory and not just nonsense.  Your speculation does not rise to the level of a theory and is in and of itself nonsensical and incoherent, partly because you base it on incorrect statements.  You haven't backed up any of your critical assertions, and you haven't demonstrated that your key processes actually exist: you merely asserted that they do.  Therefore, what you offer is in no way at all a more complete explanation.

Evolutionary creationism is the currently chic name given to what we used to call theistic evolution, which is the view that the current evolutionary paradigm is entirely adequate, so that the evolution of presently observed biological complexity requires no causal input from God.
 Gary, that source is blatantly and self-evidently wrong: the whole point of "theistic evolution" in any of its many versions is that god is necessary to the process at the very minimum to get the system going, i.e. causal input. Some theistic evolutionists envisage god continually steering and tweaking the process, while others think their god set it up and left it alone thereafter.  "No causal input" makes no sense whatsoever in that essay.  I'm wondering if your writer may have intended "no [further] casual input" or "no further input" which would make slightly more sense, given that he later identifies himself as a progressive creationist, with god intervening at frequent intervals (apparently every time you get a new order or higher taxa, or humans).  That would be the only way he might justify a distinction between what he thinks and what he supposes to be theistic evolution, because in anyone else's usage, he's a version of a theistic  evolutionist.  On the other hand, his additional writings offer some other fairly strange arguments, so I hesitate to second-guess what he means.  Suffice it to say, your other source was clear that evolutionary creationists see the hand of god in evolution, which means that the term cannot be applied to someone who doesn't see divine involvement, and all the other sources that I can find are consistent with that.  I'll bet you can't find one more source that supports Craig's apparent definition.

Date: 2013/08/13 18:58:15, Link
Author: N.Wells
One look at the comments and what the nutcases did to the 5-globe rating proves that there was no interest in testing the model (as science requires)
 The people who gave you some encouragement didn't test the model either.  Heck, one of the four positive commentators said "Will dive into it, when i'll get time, " so s/he didn't test it either.

they were just political hacks trying to make it seem like a crime for publishing it there,
Extreme exaggeration.

instead of trying to get a book-length theory and computer software published
Nobody said it had to be nook length, just that it had to qualify as a theory and you needed to publish in a PEER-REVIEWED venue.

in a science journal (not where software is even supposed to be published)
There are quite a few journals that specialize in publishing software (although these days typically the article describes and discusses the program, and the program is made available electronically on the publisher's website.

where guys like Wesley were waiting to delete it anyway, right after reading the title.
Nobody except an author or the publisher can retract a paper, and no one can "delete: it.


This origin of intelligence theory[1] explains[2] the emergent origin of biological diversity and complexity of life on Earth[3] (and detection of these features elsewhere in our Universe[4]) as a product of intelligence[3], which here self-assembles from nonrandom behavior[5] of matter into multiple self-similar[6] levels of a four requirement cognitive system that over time learns[7] (no select/selected/selection generalizations[8]) and can take a guess (not take a mutation)[9] and physically develops over a lifetime that for molecular intelligence lasts at least billions of years[10] (hence the word evolve became redundant)[11]. The theory's unambiguous[12] logical construct[13] allowed for an operational definition for biological species[14] that builds upon the standard accepted operational definition for chemical species, used in chemistry[15]. This unified entire sciences such as Cognitive Theory, Cell Theory, Genetic Theory and Physics Theory including concepts from String Theory[16]. And one requirement of this inherently controlling cognitive mechanism is a confidence level we consciously feel, which is vital to account for[17], for the theory to also be useful [18] to artists, musicians, clergy and all interested in better knowing who and what we are, how we were created, and by process known as "chromosomal speciation" are related to a progenitor couple hereby colloquially named "Chromosomal Adam and Eve".

1) It's not a theory.  That needs falsifiability, some tests that it has passed, and at least a modicum of general acceptance.
2) It doesn't explain anything: you simply make some unwarranted assertions.
3) Once again, you have only a few unwarranted assertions, not a demonstration of any legitimate explanation.  It's not completely implausible that intelligence might be the driver behind animal diversification, rather than development of the homeobox, development of hard parts, or some of the other competing suggestions, but you don't discuss the alternatives or make a case for your ideas.  
4) We've detected intelligence elsewhere in the universe??!!!
5) Poorly written sentence.  Also, behavior assembling to make intelligence is not a process that you get around to documenting.  "Nonrandom" remains an undocumented assertion.
6) You fail to demonstrate that anything you talk about is self-similar, so this undocumented claim amounts to throwing in a buzzword to make you & your ideas sound impressive.  That fails spectacularly.
7) You don't document learning with respect to anything other than your model, which you don't connect to reality.
8) Incomprehensible
9) "takes a mutation"?????
10) a lifetime that lasts billions of years???  
11) non sequitur
12) EVERYTHING you write is ambiguous (and it's not a theory)
13) Your not-a-theory is an entirely illogical construct.
14) Which you don't provide
15) Your discussion of species is all over the place, partly correct, partly rubbish, and mostly disconnected, with some uneccessary repetition of text.  Petrie and Halliday 1994 ( showed that substantial reduction in the numbers of eyespots in a peacocks tail diminished its chances of mating, although Dakin and Montgomery more recently showed that a small variation does not affect their mating success.  
16) No it doesn't.  (It abuses them.)  (Also, you should be using the present tense throughout.)
17) This is not really a comprehensible sentence.  It is not vital to account for confidence, nor do you adequately define confidence.  Your "confidence" variable depends in your program on external knowledge of whether the model bug moved closer to the target or not, which a real creature does not know.  In contrast, assessment of motion along a gradient (which a creature can figure out for itself) is not "confidence" in the usual sense of the word.
18) Your speculations are not a theory, and aren't useful to artists, musicians, and clergy, or anyone else you might name.  IDists aren't even interested in it.

Date: 2013/08/16 20:40:53, Link
Author: N.Wells
[quote=GaryGaulin,Aug. 16 2013,19:18][/quote]
Is "cognitive psychology" software that exists to demonstrate the correctness of the theory? Or is "cognitive psychology" some other kind of evidence that exists to demonstrate the correctness of software produced models?

Say what?  Neither option is a sane interpretation.  Cognitive psychology is an area of knowledge, a field of study, specifically research into how animals (and especially people) acquire, process, and store information.  It's not software, and it doesn't exist to "demonstrate the correctness of software-produced models".

Continuing with the paper,    
We examined ensemble discharge patterns of hippocampus CA1 principal neurons to evaluate three predictions of the constructive view: (1) discharge that is characteristic of the previously experienced condition and stored memory should co-express with the discharge that is characteristic of the current episode, demonstrating cross-episode retrieval; (2) external retrieval cues should influence the cross-episode expression of the memory-associated discharge; and (3) information in preretrieval hippocampal discharge should influence cross-episode retrieval of the memory-associated discharge.  ....  To test these three predictions of the constructive hypothesis, we studied hippocampus ensemble discharge during two distinct task variants of the active place avoidance paradigm (Figure 1A) [14] that resulted in correspondingly distinct hippocampus ensemble discharge patterns [13].

Note what you can learn from this: there is a genuine research hypothesis out there that researchers are actively interested in, and they are working to test some aspects of it.  Following standard scientific protocol, these researchers made some falsifiable predictions, and then they figured out some clever and novel ways to test the predictions, and then they did the work.  They got some results that were interesting, and so they published their discoveries in a peer-reviewed journal. You may notice how little all this has in common with you.

However, I'd add that I think it's potentially okay to study a model that produces results that were not foreseen form the code: that happens in global climate models, especially when applied to ancient or hypothesized paleogeography, and in some "artificial evolution" programs.  However, note that in both cases, people go to great efforts to make their programs as realistic as possible, and to see how the results fit with theoretical understanding and available evidence.  You, in contrast, have no interest in aligning your model to reality.

Date: 2013/08/17 05:24:25, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Aug. 16 2013,22:15)
Quote (NoName @ Aug. 16 2013,07:27)
At this point, it certainly appears that to all intents and purposes, Gary has dropped the "theory" and is focused solely on the software.  Is the software driving the theory, such that the results of his drunkard's walk through code will later be embedded in the theory? Or is he just messing around?

Wikipedia explains that:

A theory can be a body of knowledge, which may or may not be associated with particular explanatory models. To theorize is to develop this body of knowledge.[7]

Egads.  You do not read or think about what you link to, you just find something that sounds vaguely like it uses similar or useful language and you link to it regardless of what it actually says, even when it actually disagrees with you.

Two cases in point: first, that PLOS article that you have just been citing as proving your importance.  Let's pay attention to that for a second.  You are going on and on and on about RAM, because you want memory to be randomly accessed and volatile (old memories can be replaced with new memories).  However, what the paper says is      
"we have believed that recollection is not a straightforward replay of stored experience; memory can be modified by the subject's experience and or state of mind, sometimes generating knowledge that was never itself experienced. We show in rats that direct neurophysiological evidence that episodic recollection is not a verbatim replay of stored experience; rather retrieval is a constructive process—an intermingling of the stored memory, environmental circumstances, and the subject's state of mind. "
 This is not your model, which uses a verbatim replay of the most recently stored information.  What the paper says is that memory is not a simple access to stored memories but a much more complicated reconstruction.

As a second example, read the source you quoted about "theory", Gary: it once again proves exactly how wrong you are.  In this thread, we are all talking about theories in science, and how your ideas don't qualify as a scientific theory.  The portion of the link that you cite is talking about non-scientific uses of the word theory, where the word has different meanings.  The previous paragraph was indeed talking about science, but the sentences you quote had shifted to other uses.  The citations (5, 6, and 7) are all citations to uses in the field of education (and they are getting that sense from usage in philosophy).  This is elaborated later in the article, where the article says of scientific theories:

Scientific theories
Main article: Scientific theory

In science, the term "theory" refers to "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment."[14][15] Theories must also meet further requirements, such as the ability to make falsifiable predictions with consistent accuracy across a broad area of scientific inquiry, and production of strong evidence in favor of the theory from multiple independent sources. (See characteristics of scientific theories.)

The strength of a scientific theory is related to the diversity of phenomena it can explain, which is measured by its ability to make falsifiable predictions with respect to those phenomena. Theories are improved (or replaced by better theories) as more evidence is gathered, so that accuracy in prediction improves over time; this increased accuracy corresponds to an increase in scientific knowledge. Scientists use theories as a foundation to gain further scientific knowledge, as well as to accomplish goals such as inventing technology or curing disease.  
You are scoring zero on every one of those sentences.

Elsewhere the article also says, "Note that the term theory would not be appropriate for describing untested but intricate hypotheses or even scientific models." and "A theory is not the same as a hypothesis, as a theory is a 'proven' hypothesis, that, in other words, has never been disproved through experiment, and has a basis in fact."  Your model is untested and is not really scientific, and it lacks a basis in fact.

That preceding paragraph that you blew right by said,      
In modern science, the term "theory" refers to scientific theories, a well-confirmed type of explanation of nature, made in a way consistent with scientific method, and fulfilling the criteria required by modern science. Such theories are described in such a way that any scientist in the field is in a position to understand and either provide empirical support ("verify") or empirically contradict ("falsify") it. Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge,[2] in contrast to more common uses of the word "theory" that imply that something is unproven or speculative (which is better defined by the word 'hypothesis').[3] Scientific theories are also distinguished from hypotheses, which are individual empirically testable conjectures, and scientific laws, which are descriptive accounts of how nature will behave under certain conditions.[4]

That doesn't help you either.

Date: 2013/08/17 08:51:36, Link
Author: N.Wells

No! Your "theory" fails at the level of not being a scientific theory, and you can't fix memory reconstruction by a 50/50 hit on recalls.  Your own source contradicts you on this.  You can't fix this with a comment.

And once again, I second NoName's request that you support or retract your nonsense about natural selection.

Date: 2013/08/18 23:12:30, Link
Author: N.Wells
[quote=GaryGaulin,Aug. 18 2013,22:30][/quote]
In the relentless search for modeling perfection is this new (replaces last I had) ToolTipText sentence I spent to pop upon the screen when cursor is at the checkbox that is in a list of what can be added to addressing for sensory:
I have no idea what that mangled sentence is supposed to be saying.

In Hexagonal Arena adds grid-cell type "place code" to addressing producing hippocampus lobe by toggling between Feeder number (1-total) and navigation memory (at 0).

That's not understandable either.  Your sentence has no subject, "addressing producing" defies interpretation, everything after toggling is mysterious, and grid-cell type "place code" is awkward at best.

Are you ever going to defend your false assertions about natural selection?

Date: 2013/08/27 17:12:55, Link
Author: N.Wells
It is said that finding a rabbit fossil in the Cambrian period (where none should exist) would easily “falsify” Darwinian evolutionary theory, but in reality such a discovery would only lead to alien pet rabbit and time travel theories.

Contra your statement, aliens seeding life of earth by introducing rabbits in the Cambrian would indeed falsify evolution. Rabbits are nested withing mammals, so having aliens create rabbits in the Cambrian would throw all evolution-related conclusions into doubt.  However, yes, people would look into possibilities for time travel because (1) evolution is very well established (with natural selection being so well quantified and everything), (2) Cambrian rabbits are impossible according to modern understanding of both evolution and stratigraphy, and (3) who knows, maybe we are wrong about time travel being impossible.  Nonetheless, until the time travel option was settled one way or another, all evolutionary conclusions would at minimum be called into question.

Lab evolution experiments would continue. Therefore opponents of this Theory of Intelligent Design are known to endlessly reject any falsification given, even though they cannot falsify the theory they wrongly believe is evidence against this one.
 We have other falsifications: if life never fell into a nested hierarchy, if cladistics never resulted in trees that were more significant than random associations, if eukaryotes traded features across lineages haphazardly or based on ecological needs, or if reproductive success never correlated with adaptive advantages, then we would falsify evolution (or large parts of it).

As a result this controversial philosophy (of science) became a political tactic that can stop any theory from being accepted. For that reason falsification proved to be an unscientific science-stopper, which must not be entertained in the following scientific text.
You don't get to make unsubstantiated assertions and change rules like that.

A theory is a testable best explanation for how a phenomenon works, and philosophical/religious arguments against it are as out of bounds of science as are philosophical/religious arguments for it.
Yes, but you have not proposed any meaningful tests for your idea, and the arguments against it have been scientific, such as your definitions are inadequate, you have not backed up your assertions, you are not actually performing or even proposing any actual tests (that "code sample" list does not contain any tests), and you have barely made any attempt to make your models match reality.

Date: 2013/08/29 06:18:06, Link
Author: N.Wells
And I will have you know that I spent way more time than I planned making sure I label the axes, even made arrow pointing in increasing direction so you know it’s an axis line. I knew I would never hear the end of it so I got fancy showing what there are for axes in such a map.


Sometimes all it takes to be scientifically useful is to have useful info where people can find it.

So are you now aware of why people have been complaining about your unlabelled axes, incomprehensible diagrams, and unreadable prose?

(Proper labeling and readable prose alone won't guarantee that your ideas are useful, but they won't have a snowball's chance in hell of being useful without being presented much more clearly.)

Date: 2013/09/03 17:45:12, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Sep. 03 2013,16:56)
I have no need for circular philosophical arguments which ignore the scientific issues you're all now up against:

Submitted on: 11/22/2011 5:26:39 PM
By: Gary Gaulin

The computer model also provides a precise, testable and scientifically useful operational definition for "intelligent cause" where each of the three emergent levels can be individually modeled, with a model predicted to be possible that generates an intelligent causation event, now goal of further research and challenge for all.

No one except you has made any circular arguments, and you are entirely dependent upon them.  (How do you know when molecules and cells are intelligent? Because you say so.)

You notably do not provide a definition of "intelligent cause."  What you do provide is not precise, is not testable, and is not useful, scientifically or otherwise.  You certainly have not modelled the lower two levels, and the third level shows no evidence of ground-truthing on your part, so at best it's not a well-grounded model.  

For you to make us face up to some scientific issues, you must actually present some.

We are not ignoring scientific issues.  On the other hand, you haven't backed up your disparagement of natural selection, and you haven't identified intelligently caused features of the universe.  

"With a model predicted to be possible" defies easy interpretation (of course a model is possible: one can write a model to support anything, such as angels keeping aeroplanes aloft).

" goal of further research and challenge for all": that's ungrammatical and awkward, which leaves your meaning unclear.

Date: 2013/09/07 16:30:19, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Sep. 07 2013,15:58)
Quote (NoName @ Sep. 07 2013,15:39)
Show me where and how reproduction and descent with variation in slowly changing fitness landscapes is modeled in your "theory".

You already lost, your own game:

I'm so glad that you posted that image: I'd completely forgotten what it looks like, and every time you post it, it's just that little bit more convincing.  

Perhaps you should start seeking contributions to put it up in lights in Times Square?

For all of the silly statements that Nobel made in his talk in China in the video that you posted, I note that you skipped right by the implications of his statement that the reason that he objected to the selfish gene concept was because it was untestable/unfalsifiable.  Rather like your rubbish, that.

Date: 2013/09/07 17:45:38, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Sep. 07 2013,16:51)
Quote (N.Wells @ Sep. 07 2013,16:30)
For all of the silly statements that Nobel made in his talk in China in the video that you posted, I note that you skipped right by the implications of his statement that the reason that he objected to the selfish gene concept was because it was untestable/unfalsifiable.  Rather like your rubbish, that.

And there is no doubt you're being had when you repeatedly give them a flowchart you have been very successfully testing, and all they do in return is repeatedly tell you it's untestable.

Look at your flowchart, Gary.  Your diagram at lower right vaguely relates to your bug (although it is unclear that the labels have any meaningful correspondence to reality - you might as well have labeled something "Angel in Control Chair" for all that it matters).  Everything else is nonsense.  You haven't demonstrated the existence of molecular intelligence, nor have you explained how it works or how it can be measured.  It and "cellular intelligence" are not tested by anything you are doing, and your bug model does not relate to them at all.  You haven't explained how a molecule assesses confidence or takes a guess, or "saves new confidence", nor have you justified your abysmal "4 requirements model Intelligence".  (Is there no hope for future-generation Watsons becoming intelligent until someone puts wheels or a servomotor on the poor thing?  And you still haven't addressed how your characteristics imply that a Neato vacuum cleaner has more intelligence than a mushroom.)  "Electromagnetic light, temperature, kinetic, soundwaves, etc." is still laughably bad writing, and you have random capitalization and punctuation all over the place.  "Metabolic from Cell Int./Ext." remains uninterpretable. Etc., etc., etc.

Date: 2013/09/08 12:11:14, Link
Author: N.Wells
[quote=GaryGaulin,Sep. 08 2013,01:07][/quote]
And there is no doubt you're being had when you repeatedly give them a flowchart you have been very successfully testing, and all they do in return is repeatedly tell you it's untestable.

You've been trying to apply it, which does not inherently constitute a test, despite your assertions.  You need mutually exclusive predictions, a clear way to choose between them, and data or evidence that clearly does the job.

Look at your flowchart, Gary.  Your diagram at lower right vaguely relates to your bug

That is exactly how it works.  The latest software and other things needed to verify that are at .......

Read "vague" as "unclearly".  Your bug does not use smell and hearing, you do not explain how it all relates to your bug, RAM is a black box, and GUESS is a black box that apparently mysteriously bypasses all motors, sensors, effectuators, & assessment systems.  You leave it unclear why Motor and Interoceptive sensors share a divided box (yes, we can guess, but we shouldn't have to).

It’s hard to ask for better evidence that the circuit I experiment with is the real thing, made simple.
No, that's not evidence for that, any more than labelling "Angel in Control Chair" would be evidence for that.  He has concepts, you have labels, and you don't have ground truthing for your model, which is not at this point rising to the level of a meaningful experiment.

Quote (N.Wells @ Sep. 07 2013,17:45)
Everything else is nonsense.  You haven't demonstrated the existence of molecular intelligence,

You are not helping yourself by demanding bold predictions for things not yet scientifically understood then after I give you what you asked for suggest that it’s unscientific to make bold predictions for things not yet scientifically understood enough to know either way.
BS, Gary.  You are asserting the existence of something that is highly disputable, and you are not backing up your assertions in the slightest, except by more hollow assertions.  What I'm asking for is documentation that you are talking about something real rather than something that exists only in your mind.  (I'm not doubting intelligence, but intelligence at the molecular level, with all the influences and powers that you claim for it.)

Quote (N.Wells @ Sep. 07 2013,17:45)
 nor have you explained how it works or how it can be measured.  It and "cellular intelligence" are not tested by anything you are doing, and your bug model does not relate to them at all. You haven't explained how a molecule assesses confidence or takes a guess, or "saves new confidence", nor have you justified your abysmal "4 requirements model Intelligence".  (Is there no hope for future-generation Watsons becoming intelligent until someone puts wheels or a servomotor on the poor thing?  And you still haven't addressed how your characteristics imply that a Neato vacuum cleaner has more intelligence than a mushroom.)  "Electromagnetic light, temperature, kinetic, soundwaves, etc." is still laughably bad writing, and you have random capitalization and punctuation all over the place.  "Metabolic from Cell Int./Ext." remains uninterpretable. Etc., etc., etc.

Says only you and a few of your friends with vested interests in a metaphor/generalization based oversimplification of a process where intelligence is vital to development, including over generations of time.

Again, that is a completely unsupported assertion on your part.  It apparently makes sense to you, but you haven't demonstrated that it should make sense to anybody else.

And apparently you did not even figure out that I cap words and code variables that are capped elsewhere, where they appear that the reader is to notice them in.
I figured out that some of them are your variables (other capitalizations apparently remain random), but that should be explained by you on the diagram or in the caption.  It's like your unlabelled graphs: it is the job of writers to make their points clearly and intelligibly, and you are failing miserably.  

You are still rambling on with demeaning statements and excuses for not getting on the same page with even physiology. Thankfully though, the Theory of Intelligent Design has long linked to this awesome summary of how physiology pertains to “certain features of the universe and of living things” this forum endlessly claims is not at all covered by anyone anywhere, yet I’m easily able to link from the theory/book to Professor Koeslag who even ends his masterpiece with a better than usual explanation of the Watchmaker paradox as explained by Richard Dawkins that should make you happy is that way included in the theory too:

Johan H Koeslag, "Medical Physiology :: What is Life?", Stellenbosch University, South Africa

I'm fine with physiology.  (I'm not fine with Denis Nobel's erroneous statements about evolution, but that's another matter.)  Johan Koeslag's nice essay has little to do with your ideas, except that you failed to notice that he nicely contradicted one of Denis Noble's key points that you admired so much.  

As things now stand: After proving to not have any interested in Professor Koeslag either, hardline evolutionary biologists went to war against physiologists, which dragged in others involved in the very source code intensive multidisciplinary science of systems biology, where what’s at Planet Source Code and shown in the illustration is most useful and appreciated, even though you don’t need it therefore protest. Ones into math and physics like found in the "A (Fractal) Theory Of Everything?" thread at don’t mind either that this is the actual development of a Theory of Intelligent Design, which already included them as well. The Darwinian mutation/selection scene wants Denis Noble and other famous scientists in other fields to be butt-hurt by their evolutionary biology theory, is even more emboldened by what happens from explaining what the Intelligent Causation illustration essentially shows that is based on the best in cognitive science for demonstrating how intelligence works. Not leaving out details that makes science no fun for all the other sciences makes the new theory that evolutionary biologists most dread just the thing to butt-hurt back real good. It’s a truly tatters-all response to the current situation that has no problem taking physiology where it wants to go, in the future, that may be a cyclical universe sine wave that through the process of intelligence goes on forever with us consciously in it and without recall of any baggage from the past that would make a new conscious life less fun.

What you have in your diagram and your text is a gigantic steaming pile of buzzwords that appeal to you, with no justification for linking them or demonstrating that they relate to your claims.  "Fractal" and "sine wave" are more examples of your falling in love with shiny jargon without stopping to justify their relevance to your ideas.  Nothing you have described is truly fractal (you just like the idea of self-similarity), and you have yet to show any sine waves.  If your stuff is fractal, let's see some formulas and let's have a discussion of how well the fractal relationship holds up over how many orders of magnitude.

To add to the scientific chaos are the religious implications of this theory, which are very much there. But in this case there is an age-old process that uses the available media to “scribe” the happenings of their day. As fate has it (the doubting one) Wesley is perhaps the most driven in the world to keep up the tradition. Their reasons don’t much matter they just have to keep on scribing without a legal crucifixion, for a matter that scientists have to properly settle, that has all in culture-change working for it in ways that have to be respected or unintended consequences will destroy any one of us as well as others.
It's not a theory.  Your ideas would have religious significance IF they were demonstrated to be real, but we are still in the realm of playing with a model that claims that planes fly because angels hold them aloft.

The theory is well prepared to adapt to whatever else Denis and others discover about how all this new systems biology works. Goes where they want to go, and then some that makes it added fun where all they need is to see the illustration then they’re all set with what they most need to know. Not much Wesley can do to change where physiology and other sciences may go from the IDea that helps shake things up in a most awesome way because of science itself for real already going in that direction anyway. In an electronic age all it needs is a comfortable niche in Wesley’s forum with a bunch of trouble makers at heart cannot help to enable the theory and I but will likely not mind the result and easily surrender. It’s metaphorically speaking like embedded in the The Waiting song by Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers and keep seeing one more card of wherever this two direction reciprocal cause systems biology is still slowly but surely going, after all these long years of carefully watching it happen…

Your ideas are not yet well prepared for anything, given that your definitions are inadequate to nonexistent, your processes remain undocumented, and your ideas have not risen to the level of theory.  As such, they have not yet merited a place in public discussion.

Steve, that reformatting is sheer genius.

Date: 2013/09/08 19:27:52, Link
Author: N.Wells
My congratulations too.  Well done.

Date: 2013/09/10 20:22:49, Link
Author: N.Wells
it's showing everyone everywhere who put their faith in the theory
If people have to put their faith in something, then it isn't a theory.

And the grammar. Apart from the words and the grammar, it's perfectly intelligible.

And the logic.  Apart from the words and the grammar and the logic, it's perfectly intelligible.

Date: 2013/09/11 12:02:40, Link
Author: N.Wells
Even the shorter version is still a dense ground-fog of a sentence, with words piled up like a multi-vehicle collision. Both your efforts fail at punctuation, grammar, comprehensibility, and alignment with reality. Read your writing as other people see it, in terms of what it actually says rather than in terms of what you think it says.

Date: 2013/09/11 12:18:18, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Sep. 11 2013,11:59)
Instead of relying on metaphors like "grows with it" this 44 word morph of the sentence right-away gets to the heart of the scientific problem:

Systems biology now needs theory which works equally well for biological development over the lifetime of a single living thing, or many generations of time on into speciation, explaining multiple level two-way (not one) reciprocal causation pathways, as was also described by Denis Noble.

a theory
that works
equally well....... and for
What are "many generations of time"?
Development does not happen over generations: it is how an embryo becomes an adult.
"On into speciation" is weird.  "for individual development and for speciation" would be better.
It's unclear what was also described by Noble.

" multiple level two-way (not one) reciprocal causation pathways': Too many nouns in apposition (what's a level causation????).

Multiple-level or (better) multi-level.  What does "level" add?  Two-way and reciprocal are redundant.
"Multiple pathways for reciprocal causation."

Incidentally, biology has a field of research that links development with evolution ("evo-devo"), but it doesn't support your ideas.

Date: 2013/09/12 13:05:12, Link
Author: N.Wells
The same algorithm can model behavior of matter, on up to human cognition.

Oh really???? Your algorithm produces human-equivalent cognition????  Really?  How come Bill Gates is rich and famous and not you?

Date: 2013/09/13 13:47:05, Link
Author: N.Wells
Gary, you do know that quite a few marine fish go into estuaries to breed, right?  Do you know why? Lots of marine fish hang around river mouths because rivers flush so many small food particles into the sea.  Fish that can tolerate brackish water tend to enter estuaries, because up the estuary the food is more concentrated, and there's less competition for it (because so many organisms cannot tolerate fresh or brackish water).  The nature of the food up a river system is (for some types of fish) more appropriate for juvenile fish than for large adults (more small insects and more comminuted plant particles). There are also fewer dangers for babies up the estuary, because few predators and far fewer marine parasites can tolerate freshwater, and because bacteria and viruses that can cause problems have a hard time moving up rivers, so generally for marine fish that can handle freshwater, the farther they can get up the estuary & up the river the better off their young will be.  As Quack said, none of this is a matter of intelligent decision making: it can't be, as they don't have the information that they would need to make such a decision.  It's just simple behavior (pursue food sources up estuaries) that gets exaggerated and hard-wired into genes by selection of the most reproductively successful members of the species (the ones that pushed farthest up the estuaries).  You also know that each river has a distinctive chemistry, so each one will taste different to the fish, so they don't need a particularly complicated system or complex and intelligent decision-making to find their stream: they just head off toward whatever smells/tastes most like their childhood home when it is time to reproduce.

Date: 2013/09/13 19:32:55, Link
Author: N.Wells
You are explaining what is already know that for the most part fisherman long knew about, and they didn't need Darwinian theory to figure that out either, so there.

Yes, fisherman knew some of those patterns of behavior long ago (although some fisherman also "knew things" like swallows supposedly overwintered by hibernating in lake floor muds).  However, for the most part they didn't have good understanding of why this happened, and certainly not how such behaviors can evolve.  In contrast, biologists have documented behaviors and studied causes with detailed field and lab studies.  Your nonsense is, in contrast, completely free of supporting evidence.

Also, you just claimed that there wasn't an understanding, so you look rather foolish turning around and claiming the fisherman understood it all long ago.

People have studied examples of fish migrating in all directions, including up and down in the water column on a daily basis.  Most of them are simply doing what most migratory birds and mammals are doing, which is simply following their food sources.  Often this involves the population shifting into seasonally rich but ecologically empty zones, like tropical birds moving into temperate and even polar zones for that hemisphere's summer, because of the seasonal abundance of food and the relative lack of competition for nesting sites, or bison and wildebeest following grass maturation and moving on whenever the resource is depleted.  Now, this is not an unsupported generalization because many species of birds show partial migration, which is that some members move around, which others don't.  (We also have quite a few instances of birds that move around seasonally, but not in the regular N-S fashion, just a few tens or hundreds of miles to a new area.)  This has allowed quite a few studies of the relative success of shifters and squatters, and the genetic basis of both.  Even back in 1926, Mayr studied variable migratory behavior in the serin, and concluded, "‘Now, before our very eyes as it were, a development occurred that turned this partial migrant into a migrant. The partial migrant, which in autumn originally wandered off in all directions from its breeding grounds, when it breeds further north becomes a partial migrant that predominantly turns southward, and at our latitude finally becomes a true migratory bird. That even our Serin originally did not migrate precisely towards the south is attested by the fact that in the course of the last century it appeared so often during autumn and winter in northeastern France, Belgium and Holland. It is very remarkable that the migratory drive gradually became stronger and stronger."

Berthold et al. (1990) did a breeding experiment with blackcaps from 1976 to 1989, taking 267 hand-reared birds from a partially migratory population in southern France.  75% were migratory and 25% sedentary.  They bred 458 offspring, and were able to make entire populations either migratory or nonmigratory in three to six generations by simply breeding individuals with others with the same inclinations.

Blackcaps have been changing their migration habits in the wild as well.  Blackcaps were breeding in Germany and initially all migrated to Spain for winters, with some going astray every year.  A few picked up the habit of migrating to England when the Brits started feeding birds in the winter.  UK winterers travel less, arrive back in Germany earlier,  get the best nest sites, lay more eggs, and raise more young.  They no longer interbreed with the Spanish winterers & are starting to differentiate: the U.K. birds tend to have rounder wings, because they are sacrificing long-distance flying power for greater maneuverability, and they are also starting to evolve narrower bills, which are better for eating insects in summer, because they no longer need wide bills to eat olives in winter (their staple winter food in Spain).  Note that all of this is well documented and backed up by careful multi-year field studies of reproductive success, lab breeding experiments, and so on and so forth.  Also note that none of this involves intelligence: it's all just happening by genetically controlled but variable behavior, and differential reproductive success of different subgroups, i.e. all that natural selection that you ignorantly dismiss.

Saying "hard-wired into genes by selection" is a metaphorical wonder-land that makes it appear that you have all the systems biology figured out, when you are not even close. Only misled yourselves with single level one-way theory that does not really work in systems biology, where the circuit of a multilevel process is required.
BS on your part Gary - as I said, this is all backed up by loads of breeding experiments, genetic analyses, and so forth.  "Circuit of a multilevel process" is meaningless gibberish on your part.

Date: 2013/09/13 19:54:08, Link
Author: N.Wells
Explain the entire circuit showing how the brain works and how the genes end up controlling its said behavior, then model it for me please.
Quit being such a fool. That's not yet understood well enough to answer in that detail regarding the brain, although there's getting to be a lot of literature on the genetic basis of migration.  However, this is all well enough understood to know that your ideas are wrong and foolish, and are not a step in the right direction, and that migratory behavior is under strong selective control in many of the organisms that have been studied.

Would you care to actually back up any of your nonsense rather than just making unsupported and incoherent assertions?

Date: 2013/09/13 22:20:50, Link
Author: N.Wells
Yes, animals have brains, but "none of this" refers to the development of migratory behavior.  Multiple cases of migratory behavior have been demonstrated to be under genetic control and it has been shown that migratory behavior can be subject to strong selective pressure.  In many cases the migrants cannot acquire the information to make intelligent personal decisions regarding migration (e.g. young salmon heading to the sea; multigenerational migrations like the monarch butterfly).

Nonetheless, migratory behaviors can be evolved or modified trivially easily via differential reproductive success by a few fortunate winners out of a population of a much larger number of losers if everyone in the population behaves slightly differently on the basis of little bit of inheritable genetically determined variation : we can see this happen in the wild, and we can make it happen through artificial selection in experiments.

You, on the other hand, are in dire need of a valid and workable definition of intelligence, a way of measuring it, and a demonstration that it can achieve the results that you claim.  You are short on all three needs.

Date: 2013/09/14 11:47:23, Link
Author: N.Wells
If you closely examine what you said then you should find that all you are doing is using sciency sounding words and phrases
A) Pure projection (my usages are backed by definitions and documentation, unlike yours).  B) You're a fool.

to make a big-deal out of the common sense logic: Those who have no offspring will have no descendants.
If you knew anything about evolutionary biology, you would know that your charge is not true.  Biologists themselves thrashed this argument out decades ago, and then creationists tried the argument that evolution was tautological in the '80's and failed miserably.  Fitness is measured by DIFFERENTIAL reproductive success; allele frequency in a population therefore changes as a result of differential reproductive success.  Reproductive success is  function of successfully finding resources (food, shelter, etc.), not becoming someone else's resource, finding a quality mate, and successfully rearing offspring.  All of those can be measured and correlated with physical and genetic characteristics.  

Gary to Henry J:
According to your newest generalization: None of the genes of every individual in an interbreeding population have anything to do with cognition, and gene pools are unable to learn an inheritable behavior.

That's not what he said, but your response does show why you are an idiot and are getting this all horribly wrong.  First, no one said that genes have nothing to do with cognition.  However, the second part is more important.  You are, once again, confusing metaphors and reality, and because you don't have adequate working definitions and have only a limited grasp on reality, you are skipping gaily from the one to other with no sense of constraint.  It is metaphorical to talk about populations learning something.  Biologists do use that language on occasion, but they don't lose track of the fact that it is metaphorical.  You on the other hand swallow your metaphor whole, and jump to the conclusions that if a population has learned something then it has to be intelligent because you are thinking of learning as a self-evident characteristic of intelligence.  If you want to use learning as a hallmark of intelligence, that's fine, but you can't go slapping onto incompletely analogous situations and insist on its strict meaning.

Date: 2013/09/14 13:23:05, Link
Author: N.Wells
..and all your offspring will remain shot thereafter?

Date: 2013/09/14 15:03:34, Link
Author: N.Wells
Quote (GaryGaulin @ Sep. 14 2013,14:37)
Quote (NoName @ Sep. 14 2013,12:05)
Prove me wrong -- work out, entirely within the scope of your diagram and your 'theory' the explanation of salmon spewing behavior and the explanation for the diapause phenomenon in the spawning and egg development of the annual killifish of Africa and South America.

That's already well enough accounted for by the molecular intelligence level that like other levels normally senses and responds to environmental conditions. The only thing you did is help verify that such a thing exists.

It's not my job to do the required lab work necessary for more detail. And my needing to "publish" what academia is responsible for on their own keeping up with is just another excuse for continued complacency.

That's already well enough accounted for by the molecular intelligence level that like other levels normally senses and responds to environmental conditions.

No, it's not.  You believe that it is and it no doubt seems crystal clear to you, but you have not demonstrated it.  Until you have documented it and shown its reality, it remains your private delusion.

Also, it cannot account for "learning" by organisms that live only a year and hatch or sprout after their parents have died: they have no way of learning or using their experience or being taught what they need to know about oncoming seasons.