AE BB DB Explorer


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


form_srcid: Richard Simons

form_srcid: Richard Simons

form_cmd: view_author

Your IP address is 54.81.76.127

View Author detected.

view author posts with search matches:

Retrieve source record and display it.

form_author:

form_srcid: Richard Simons

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

DB_err:

DB_result: Resource id #6

Date: 2006/10/18 17:43:17, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I'm sure afdave's understanding is not helped by the fact that the Punnett Square he used shows the combinations of two genes that have similar effects, each with two alleles, whereas the discussion has focussed on one gene with multiple alleles.

Date: 2006/10/20 08:53:49, Link
Author: Richard Simons
If everything from Eohippus to the modern horse (and also, presumably, donkeys and zebras) are the same basic kind, which one was on the ark?

Date: 2006/10/22 17:27:09, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I think AliceJohn is right and Afdave is not what he is pretending to be. It is not only the ignorance but also the complete unawareness of the depth of his ignorance, plus being totally oblivious to anything anyone else writes. No-one can possibly have that combination of stupidity and arrogance.

Date: 2006/10/23 14:18:31, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I wish I'd been there to watch the sloths galloping across the Sahara Desert to get to South America before it broke off from Africa.

Date: 2006/10/26 06:09:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
People have been busy since I last looked at this thread!

Afdave: writing about the animals on the ark, you say they were "Genetically rich, meaning a large degree of heterozzygosity".

As has been pointed out to you before, you cannot talk about an individual as being genetically rich. It reads as though you are still confused as to the implications of there being multiple alleles.

Think of the genes as being strung along a chromosome, each at its specific location, or locus. The gene at one locus might control, for example, ABO blood type, at another it might control the presence or absence of a tail, at a third it might control a blood clotting factor.

At some loci it is possible to have more than one variant at the locus that is not lethal. These variants are called alleles. (Be careful about the use of the word 'gene' as sometimes it is used to mean 'locus', sometimes to mean 'allele'.)

There are some loci at which hundreds of alleles have been identified, yet each individual can only contain two alleles, one for each chromosome of a pair. On the ark, therefore, there can have been at most 4, 14 or 16 alleles at any one locus (depending on the 'kind' of organism). The question is, how did all the other alleles arise? The degree of heterozygosity in the organisms, except for the locus in question, is completely irrelevant.

Your example of a cat having kittens that were tailed/tailless, fat/thin, different colours, etc. fails in two ways. First, these are traits carried at different loci. Secondly, my understanding is that cats can mate more than once, so the sires may have been different.

You keep talking about specificity. I’ve no idea what this means in practice. Who (or what) does the specifying? Please give an example of something that has been specified then found to exist.

Date: 2006/10/27 07:48:00, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Dave,

You really, really, really need to learn some basic genetics. You don't even need an entire course on genetics - a first year, one semester university course on introductory biology should contain enough. Then you won't keep babbling this nonsense about 'genetically rich' animals.

Trying to answer why there are fossils, you say 'I think God wanted to show the awful ETERNAL results of sin with a small reminder in the physical world--that is, suffering and death.' So what sin was Eohippus (or any other fossil) guilty of?

I'm enjoying your inability to grasp the concept of 'information' in information theory. My knowledge is weak, and I'm sure someone else could correct me if I'm wrong, but the way I see it is 'how much do you need to know to recreate the original?' In the case of human speech, relatively little. From the point of white noise, an awful lot to recreate the exact same white noise.

Date: 2006/11/01 05:06:06, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Dave: your chart purporting to show how a bottleneck does not reduce genetic diversity in fact shows the number of A alleles decreasing from four to two (then a mutation is thrown in). So it shows exactly the opposite from what you believe it to show.

Date: 2006/11/04 18:43:16, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Dave said "I'm surprised at the person who said that my "bottleneck chart" does not show how genetic diversity is maintained/regained.  Can you explain in more detail why you think it does not?"

Before the bottleneck there are four alleles of gene A. After the bottleneck there are two alleles of gene A, plus a new mutation (which is extremely unlikely to have arisen in such a small number of progeny). Two (or even three) is less than four. Therefore genetic diversity has been lost. What happens to genes B, C, D, . . . Z is irrelevent to the amount of variation in A.

I'm sorry, I do not know how to put this in smaller steps than this.

Date: 2006/11/06 05:36:26, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
Sorry, but you appear to be using "new math" which apparently is selective.  Count the Pre-Flood alleles in the chart above ... you will come up with 9.  Then count the POST-Flood alleles ... you will also come up with 9.  When I was in gradeschool, they taught me that 9=9.

Dave, you still do not understand alleles. On the left side of the chart there are four alleles of gene A. There are also 3 alleles of gene B and 2 of gene C. As far as gene A (think HLA) is concerned, the number of alleles of genes B and C are irrelevent. Forget them. Erase them from your mind. They have nothing to do with the situation.

Only two alleles of gene A are present in the bottleneck and only two alleles of gene A are able to get past the bottleneck. Miraculously high rates of mutation after the bottleneck have no bearing on what gets through the bottleneck. The fact that genes B and C also had reduced numbers of alleles in the bottleneck than they did before is also irrelevent to what happens to alleles of gene A and the heterogeneity as regards A, although they do make the same point.

Notice I have never written about 'alleles' in isolation. They are always alleles of a particular gene. You must read and understand a basic genetics text before continuing to blunder around any more.

For the next week I'm going to be in an area with erratic Internet connections so I won't be able to gawp at your further inanities for a while.

Date: 2006/11/11 11:19:19, Link
Author: Richard Simons
ericmurphy says
Quote
And now you're saying the preflood C02 levels were 300-500 times current levels? So Noah grew up breathing an atmosphere that was fifteen percent CO2?

A quick Google shows that 5% CO2 will cause a medical emergency. Even the attempt to escape from one bramble bush seems to get Afdave caught in another.

Coming back to HLA-B alleles, Dave seems to accept that 61 alleles need to appear in 250 years. However, it is worse than that. They must also become sufficiently widely-dispersed that each would be carried to the Americas, to Africa, Europe and Australia.

Thinking about the timeline, if 8 people came off the ark and increased their population 5 times per generation (FAR higher than any recorded sustained population increase) then in 6 generations there would be 25,000 people. Let's be generous and assume the population of Egypt was 10% of World population (after all, by this time there were well-developed societies in China, the Indus Valley, Europe, Meso-America, etc) and that half the population was male. If half are of working age (and with that rate of population growth, in practice it would be far less) and that 3/4 are food producers, soldiers, priests and other administrators, this means that a grand total of 156 built Unas's pyramid. They were busy little bees, weren't they?

Oh, but I forgot. All the evidence for thriving civilizations around 2500 BC is a figment of multiple flawed dating techniques and a vivid imagination. ;)

Sometimes I think Afdave must feel like that mountain climber I heard about a couple of weeks ago. While hanging from a long rope over a huge drop he disturbed a nest of very aggressive bees. He is continually being assailed from all sides and reconsidering his position is as unthinkable as the climber letting go of the rope. At other times, I think he is not smart enough to even realize he is being stung.

Date: 2006/11/12 22:29:08, Link
Author: Richard Simons
There was 300 - 500 x as much C? Where? In biomass? Noah and his buddies must have felt like characters from Antz.

Date: 2006/11/13 22:35:47, Link
Author: Richard Simons
So where was all this C?

This has been asked before, but not answered, presumably because you can't find a suitable source to C&P from. I live in hope that you realize that it would have ludicrous implications if it were in the atmosphere and equally ludicrous implications if it were in biomass.

Date: 2006/11/17 21:43:34, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
k.e.
And Hoists himself on ANOTHER petard.

BTW in Shakespeare's day a petard was a form of crane for lifting things. It could also be translated into modern English as cock. (and handsaw was his spelling of harnser, a heron.)

Date: 2006/11/28 19:38:58, Link
Author: Richard Simons
There are a number of people who post strange ideas here (not just Afdave) and get them thoroughly demolished, who then come back for more time and time again. They may be masochists or they may be sincere, but I wonder how many are simply incapable of admitting they are wrong about anything (not just religious beliefs), even if they know in their hearts that they are indeed mistaken. Clearly that is not the case for people like JAD or Larry Fafa who seem to compulsively post wherever will have them, but for others . . . ? It would account for the apparent inability to understand the most basic points and the failure to make coherent responses. I feel sorry for them, but they are still entertaining in a hair-tearing kind of way.

Date: 2006/12/03 19:15:56, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Lenny - I hope your next endeavours are successful.

I think you are quite right in your assessment of the US's reputation. I'm a Brit who has spent half his life in Canada, where the US refusal to abide by the rules of NAFTA (the free trade agreement) has upset a lot of people. At the time of 7/11 I was working in Southern Africa where Americans are seen as being ignorant and arrogant. I tried to convince others that it is always the most objectionable people who are the most conspicuous and if you visit the US you'll find many people who are friendly and generous but I don't think I persuaded many.

The general reaction to 7/11 amongst my colleagues (many of whom had higher degrees from Western Europe or North America) was 'They've had it coming to them for a long time' and 'Perhaps now they will appreciate what they've done to other people'. It was widely hoped that it would encourage the US to take a step back and ask why they were so hated, but all I saw along these lines (but I could easily have missed the debate) was 'We're clearly great guys so we need to do a better selling job.'

And personally, I am rather cynical about the 'War on Terror' as I remember the IRA's bombing campaign in Britain, funded largely by Americans and with the support of many US politicians.

Date: 2006/12/18 00:22:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Various legumes do contain phytoestrogens. These are chemically different from estrogen but can mimic the effects of it so that subterranean clover, for example, can cause abortion in sheep. The idea that a legume could cause a change in reproductive behaviour is not completely bonkers, but I agree it is unlikely given that the causes of homosexuality are only hazily known and soybeans have been eaten for centuries by a culture noted for its interest in the medicinal properties of plants, without the effect having been seen.

Date: 2006/12/21 09:57:43, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Afdave:      
Quote
YOU ALL AGREE WITH ME ... MAYBE YOU JUST DON'T REALIZE IT YET
Think about it ...

     
Quote
6) Therefore we should admit the possibility of the Intelligent Design of Life . . .

EVERYONE HAS ALWAYS AGREED WITH THIS ... MAYBE YOU JUST DON'T REALIZE IT YET
Think about it ...

What we disagree with is that there is any reason to consider it to be either likely or a useful concept.

I find it an interesting glimpse into your mind that you consider it an irrefutable argument when you quote someone of stature in the scientific community who, on the surface, is in alignment with your views. That is not how scientists operate.  Firstly, I have seen enough sloppy and dishonest quoting from creationists that I always suspect that the quote is misleading. Secondly, the name and importance of the person is of minor interest. What is far more important is why they make that statement. What is their evidence? If they used an analogy (e.g., cells are like little factories stuffed full of little machines) just what point were they trying to make? Is the analogy of any use in addressing the current argument? The people you cite may be respected (some are not) but they are certainly not treated like Old Testament prophets.

BTW: I don't understand the criteria used to determine what constitutes a 'kind' of animal (and presumably plant, fungus, etc) that boarded the ark. After 200 years of creationists seriously considering the issue there must be a web site somewhere that clearly lays it out. Can you direct me to it? Come to think of it, how did cacti (found only in the Americas and notoriously water-sensitive) make it to the ark and back again (the March of the Mammillarians)?

Arrgh! I've just wasted more time! You won't respond to the questions and you'll keep on (mis-)quoting people without giving their reasons.

Date: 2006/12/21 15:33:09, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Dave:
You missed the point of what I was saying. I was not asking you what particular point Alberts was trying to make (clearly he was over-working the analogy of parts of cells functioning like machines to get biologists to think of things like energy flow and storage). Rather, I was saying we are not particularly interested in the who but in the why. Not in who made a particular (misinterpreted) statement but in their reasons for making it.

As for the hint that you will eventually produce some creationist criteria for distinguishing between 'kinds' - I'll believe that when I see them.

How did cacti get to and from the ark?

And, as Faid asks, is the Sun a 'real factory'?

Date: 2006/12/22 09:23:19, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Dave,

There are many different kinds of bacterial flagellum. Which one was the original designed one? How did the others arise? Or were they all independently 'intelligently' created? If so, why not just one kind?

I'm still waiting for an answer to my other questions, especially on the criteria used to distinguish between the original 'kinds' on the ark.

Date: 2006/12/22 09:32:45, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Grew up mainly near Manchester, England. Then in Wales (Bangor, Aberystwyth). Since then mainly Canada (Ontario,  Manitoba, Alberta) but with 6 years in Namibia (which I'd happily go back to if the pay were half-way decent). Now in Manitoba, bracing myself for the winter (which is always way too cold, even if it is sunny).

Date: 2006/12/23 00:45:34, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I hope you have a joyful Christmas, Hanukkah, Saturnalia or whatever you and your families celebrate at this time of year.

I wish you, personally, a healthy and prosperous 2007, and expect your movement to continue with the progress it made in 2006.

Date: 2006/12/24 08:25:40, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
They say Dr. Berg's pictures aren't really what a flagellar motor looks like!

So does Dr. Berg. He says it is a rotationally averaged reconstruction. Did you actually look at the caption? You certainly did not take it in.

When I first saw your incoherent and nonsensical posts and your inability to take in any concept that was not front-loaded into your mind, I just thought you were a creationist with a spectacularly closed mind. Now, however, I realize you are either supremely dishonest or your mind is divided into rigid compartments, one fact per compartment, with no interaction between them.

Date: 2006/12/27 16:21:33, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Dave,

You promised you would get back to me with the criteria used to determine the different 'kinds' of animals loaded on to the ark.

And just how did those American cacti get to and from the ark?

Date: 2006/12/27 17:07:09, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I was in crops research until I was laid off as part of a government cut-back. Then taught and helped establish Faculty of Agriculture at University of Namibia. Now I'm going in to more or less remote communities in Manitoba (currently Oxford House, 170 km from nearest road of any kind) to teach maths etc to education students (I picked up a maths degree along the way). Oh, and I'm in my late 50s.

Date: 2006/12/28 21:43:49, Link
Author: Richard Simons
dgszweda said
Quote
Evolution must follow a single ordered path.

I do not understand what you mean here. Are you saying the path of evolution is preordained? Or are you thinking more along the line of the Great Chain of Being? Why only one path?
Quote
If evolution was random you would still see evidences of it occurring today on a much grander scale.

This seems like me saying I've studied lots of trees and none of them has produced a major branch in the last two years.
Quote
Why do we not see one example of an Australopithecus ramidus.

Why should we? They became extinct long ago.
Quote
Why is evolution forward movement  if it is only random based.

What do you mean by 'forward movement'? What would backward movement in evolution look like?
Quote
Why can't an ape still make the jump to Australopithecus?

a) Why do you consider it to be a jump? That would be more like creation than evolution. b) The ancestor is no longer around and c) There is likely no selective advantage for a non-human primate to evolve in that direction these days as the niche is thoroughly exploited by humans.

I think a reason why you feel that accepting evolution requires too much faith is because you have too little information on the subject. In a biology minor you would be only scratching the surface of the topic.

Date: 2006/12/30 00:55:24, Link
Author: Richard Simons
People have been busy since I last looked! I see Dave has come back to his half-baked notions on population genetics. I wonder if we're going to have to explain in great detail again just what is meant by an allele.

Dave suggested we check the math on his formula for population growth - first time I've ever seen one that doesn't take into account the original population size. Definitely an original formula you have there, Dave. (Quite apart from the failure to include mortality that other people drew attention to).

Dave - you promised you'd get back to me on the criteria used to delimit the 'kinds' of animals that were present on the ark. How about it?

And how did American cacti get to and from the ark?

Date: 2006/12/30 07:15:32, Link
Author: Richard Simons
In response to my asking for the criteria used to delimit the 'kinds' of animals that were present on the ark, Dave says
Quote
Mmm hmm ... Woodmorappe covers that quite well too.  I'll be sharing that.

I'll believe that when I see it. I predict that your response will be that you will either ignore the question in future or repeatedly assert that Woodmorappe has answered it, without actually telling us what the criteria are.

Date: 2006/12/30 12:54:44, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Malcom Muggeridge? “I myself am convinced that the theory of evolution [read “Darwinism”], especially to the extent to which it has been applied, will be one of the greatest jokes in the history books of the future. Posterity will marvel that so very flimsy and dubious an hypothesis could be accepted with the incredible credulity it has.”
I thought his best claim to fame was that he became editor of one of the longest surviving and best-known satirical periodicals (Punch) and by carefully removing all vestige of humour succeeded in closing it down.

Date: 2007/01/01 20:13:30, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I see Dave has still not sorted out what is meant by heterozygosity and alleles, then, when Eric tries to sort him out on this, complains that no references are given. Dave, this is elementary genetics, the kind of thing you'd learn not just in a first genetics course, but something that a university  traditionally includes in an introductory biology course for non-biologists. It is entirely reasonable not to give any references.

Given that Dave has not provided any evidence for his 'hypothesis' but persists in going round and round in circles spouting complete and utter rubbish, I agree that the thread might as well fall by the wayside.

I'd like to echo the praise given to the regular contributors here - I am impressed by the persistence that has been demonstrated.

OT: I would have contributed more often, but I've been having problems logging in. Can anyone help? When I come to the main page, it frequently says I'm logged in, but when I go to, say, ATBC it tells me I am not logged in and I am not allowed to make replies. I've tried logging in, it goes through the procedure and welcomes me, showing my name amongst the list of people logged in, but apparently logs me out when I try to do anything. The problem happens with Netscape and Firefox and I've tried various things like rebooting the computer with no effect. Any suggestions anyone, or who should I contact for help?

Date: 2007/01/01 20:43:46, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I added this at the end of a post on Afdave's thread before I realized I should have come here.

I've been having problems logging in. When I come to the main page, it frequently says I'm logged in, but when I go to, say, ATBC it tells me I am not logged in and I am not allowed to make replies. I've tried logging in, it goes through the procedure and welcomes me, showing my name amongst the list of people logged in, but apparently logs me out when I try to do anything. The problem happens with Netscape and Firefox and I've tried various things like rebooting the computer with no effect. Any suggestions for what is going wrong?

Date: 2007/05/08 20:20:54, Link
Author: Richard Simons
FTK says  
Quote
I don’t think that the majority of scientists would reject ID if they were well versed in ID (or creation science for that matter).  I think it is the upper echelon of those who deem themselves the “scientific community” that put the scare of theocracy and other bull into the mix due to their own fears.  So, we have the NCSE and other organizations scaring the bejesus out of other scientists in general.  It’s the scare tactics that turn them off to ID, not the inference itself.

Statements like this show that you don't have a clue. Have you ever actually talked to scientists about it? I suggest that you attend the next scientific conference in your area that has anything to do with evolution and ask the attendees for their views (I'm talking about real scientists who have actually published research). If you feel brave, stand up and give your views during one of the question and answer sessions, you know, those things that do not happen in creationist/ID 'conferences'. However, be prepared for people to be in hysterical laughter.

You might want to practise first by seeing how people here respond to your views, but I don't imagine you will. In all the time I've been reading your posts, here, on your blog and elsewhere, I do not recall anything that has not been completely lacking in substance as far as the science is concerned.
 
Quote
I think it’s pretty much up to Darwinists to do the research to provide us with evidence that would dismiss the IC that Behe speaks of.

Why? It has long been predicted as an inevitable consequence of evolution. Or do you mean his second or third definition of IC, the one that defines an irreducible complex system as one that can't be reached by evolution?

When a person conducts science, they are expected to make a reasonable attempt to disprove their own hypothesis, not to rely on others to do their work for them. Behe can't just hold something up and say 'See, it's IC.' He has to make an attempt to show that it is not IC before he has any chance of being treated at all seriously.

Date: 2007/05/08 21:07:54, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
BSc' for bachelor of Science in the UK,

'BS' stands for - 'Bullshit'

When I was a student at Bangor, Wales, they awarded a degree of Bachelor of Forestry. One former student asked them to change it to B.Sc. as he did not like having the letters BF after his name. The Registrar wrote back saying he quite saw the point, but felt that in the case of that particular student BF was more appropriate. At least, that was the story.

Date: 2007/05/29 19:55:34, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
I'm not sure where he got the 100% figure,

As far as I can tell, he thinks that if the amount of CO2 increased by 2 ppm one year and by 1 ppm the following year, then plants absorbed twice as much CO2 in the second year.

Date: 2007/05/29 20:17:40, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
as a regular train user there are ways to guarantee an undisturbed journey in a good seat

My uncle recommended keeping people away by leering at them, beckoning and saying 'Come here' in an evil tone.

Date: 2007/06/19 20:20:30, Link
Author: Richard Simons
VMartin: could you tell me, what is the point of front-loading? What conceivable reason is there for poofing all the DNA into existence but having most of it inactive for hundreds of millions of years? Why the need to go through stromatolites, trilobites, pterosaurs and all the rest? It seems an unnecessarily long-winded way of going about things to me.

Another worry: how large would the initial genotype need to be if it contains all the variations on DNA that are going to be required? Could it fit into the space available (let's see some figures)?

Why, when asked if you agree with Davison that God has died, do you quote Davison? Do you have no thoughts of your own? (That's probably a stupid question, given the blather you have posted elsewhere.)

Date: 2007/06/19 20:50:44, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I was told, by a Hutterite, that Jonathan Witt's writings were convincing because they were so well documented. I suggested that if he checked he would find that the documentation was not as thorough as it appeared.

Date: 2007/06/19 21:12:24, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
I trust that you all can handle it if FtK does return to address the outstanding questions on this and the other threads.

You mean she sometimes addresses questions! All I've ever seen has been fluff and avoidance mechanisms. I tend to think of her as like an Afdave without the courage to post what she actually 'thinks' of scientific matters. Yet she keeps coming back for more insults about how she consistently avoids answering. Odd behaviour.

Date: 2007/06/19 21:50:53, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Ichthyic: I agree that it is surprising that it has not been done before but I suspect that they are probably correct. Some root competition studies (between plants of two species, or plants of the same species) were done in the 50s and 60s but not much since that I know of (I have been out of the area for a while so I could be out of date here). I was slightly involved in root studies in the 60s and 70s and a major problem was getting the soil off the roots. Even a small amount can have a large effect on the dry weight and any macroscopic organic matter is almost impossible to remove. We used to wade into a local stream and use that as our running water source (drains quickly get plugged by soil). I would hate to have to separate two interwoven root systems, although I suppose these days there could be biochemical methods for estimating the amounts of each.

Another problem is that some roots are very sensitive to light and even a few seconds exposure can check their growth so clear pots or glass-walled pits are limited in their usefulness.

Roots are altogether frustrating to deal with and publications on root growth and morphology generally come slowly so very little has been done in recent years, really since the rise of 'publish or perish'. Most research on roots focuses on nutrient uptake, including VAMs (vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza - fungi that live in close association with roots and are important in nutrient uptake).

Date: 2007/06/20 19:40:30, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Regarding no new orders of mammals: I have been carefully watching some trees outside my house and in the last two years not one has produced a new major branch. Certain evidence that the existing major branches arrived magically.

Date: 2007/06/20 21:22:05, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
why not simply tag the plants with a molecular marker?

I'm sure it could be done but it might not be easy to find a suitable marker. It would have to be something that is easy to get into the roots, does not interfere with root activity and is not easily moved from one root to another. To be useful it should also constitute a predictable fraction of the root mass as the aim would be to get an idea of the amount of root, not just its distribution.

BTW I wonder what the presence of related / non-related roots does to root activity, which is not necessarily closely correlated with root mass or root growth?

Date: 2007/08/09 07:11:43, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Red Dot:

You said earlier that 'Creation scientists' believe Cambrian deposits to be pre-Flood. Does this mean you consider all other deposits to have originated in the Flood?

I do not understand how a flood could lay down massive amounts of limestone, complete with caves, cave-paintings and charcoal that looks like it comes from hearths. Perhaps you could explain?

You claim that the problem of how sloths got to South America is being worked on. What I find more interesting is how cacti got to the Americas without leaving any trace in the Old World. If people took them, why would they do this with plants of marginal use but neglect to take wheat, barley, flax, peas, lentils, dates and many other useful plants? Like the early European settlers taking thrift, primroses and dormice around the world but leaving wheat and cattle behind.

Date: 2007/09/25 23:09:01, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Ftk: If Behe assumes continuous and differentiable functions and Dembski assumes mainly non-differentiable functions, then one of them is wrong. Which one do you think it is?

Date: 2007/09/25 23:20:21, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I agree that the procedure does seem a little odd, but what gets me is that a correct answer, found by a correct method, was marked wrong.

I am currently teaching basic mathematics, up to about Grade 9, to adults and one thing I stress to them is that very often there is more than one correct way of solving a problem, although one may be preferred (most people find it easier, it tends to result in less mistakes, it leads on to more advanced techniques, etc). Unless the question called for a specific method, I mark as correct any valid method that gives the correct answer.

Marking a correct answer as wrong is a sure-fire way to cause a learner to lose interest in the subject.

Date: 2007/09/25 23:56:53, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Daniel said  
Quote
I didn't know the theory had any predictions.

Indeed it does. That is one of the things needed for a theory to be called a theory. It is also one of the reasons why Intelligent Design is not a theory.

Daniel: you seem to be under the impression that artificial selection and natural selection are two quite different processes. What I want to know is how do cabbages, or even dogs, perceive the difference between the two? After all, in both cases they basically breed with whatever partner is available. The only difference is that in one case the available partners are narrowed down by diseases and other stresses, in the other case there's also a person involved saying "By golly, that looks a good un".

With regards to the nested hierarchies, I have some sympathy towards your misunderstanding. The point is that, although it is possible to make a nested hierarchy describing designed objects such as cars and trucks, it would be a forced affair and no two people would come up with the same hierarchy. With evolved organisms, however, not only does everyone come up with essentially the same hierarchy (there will always be a few fuzzy areas) but hierarchies drawn up using just one aspect of an organism (e.g. cytochrome, mitochondrial DNA, reproductive system) will match to an impressive degree.

Date: 2007/09/26 07:13:18, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
I'm certainly not going to reject the theory as a whole.

What theory?

Date: 2007/09/26 07:24:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Ftk says
Quote
*If* Dembski and Behe's work conflict with one another in some aspects, . . .

Can you clarify this? Are you questioning whether Behe assumes differentiable functions and Dembski assumes mainly non-differentiable functions, or are you questioning whether these two assumptions are completely at odds with each other?

Date: 2007/09/26 07:54:59, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Daniel:  
Quote
Right now, the company I work for is talking about rebuilding 8 machines (which are pretty much exact duplicates of one another) - one a year - over an 8 year period.  Even though we'll have the same company come in and do the work, we'll end up with 8 very different machines - since the technology will change every year as the machines go in.

But will any of this new technology be used in any machines made by any other company? Or in any machines made by your company to do other things? Because in biology that is not the case. A new technology, say mammary glands, that is successful in one group of organisms is never picked up by another group, fish for example. You will never find a fern with flowers or a treefrog with dragonfly wings. The one exception is in some micro-organisms, in which the transfer of genetic material is well-established.

BTW, although fossils loom large in the general public's mind (and I include creationists and IDers here) as far as biologists are concerned they form a minor part of the evidence for the theory of evolution. This has been the case right from Origin of Species.

Date: 2007/09/26 08:39:33, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Ftk:
Quote
If it was trash, it would be ignored altogether.

Do you ignore the trash that accumulates in your house? How about the trash that accumulates on the streets of your city. Should that be ignored too?

You clearly think the theory of evolution is trash, yet here you are. I hope you are also criticizing the religious leaders who think that atheism is trash yet routinely denounce it.

Date: 2007/09/26 21:53:35, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Yet again, Ftk fails to address the question.

Ftk: How do you tell when someone highly trained in a subject is bullshitting about that subject, when it is a subject that you admittedly don't understand?

Louis: I appreciated your assessment of the different attitudes. I think in Ftk's case, she identified a group and thought 'That's my kind of people' for some reason or other and now accepts everything they say without question or thought. Certainly, in the time I've been reading her evasions and waffles she seems to have never presented a personal opinion on anything except religion (What's that? How old is the Earth? Oh, somewhere between 6000 and 5 000 000 000 years old, probably'). The closest she ever comes is to direct us to one of her heroes. At least AfDave had the character to express his opinions and did not try to use the flustered airhead technique.

Date: 2007/09/26 22:52:15, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Ftk
Quote
I answered the question, thank you.

No, you evaded yet again. You rattled on about how other people are also not qualified to competently address all issues, you rambled about how scared you were when you first commented, you told us how we now have *everything* we need to know at our finger tips (then why do you find it so hard to answer any of our questions), you claimed that most of the discussions are not that hard to understand (repeat previous parenthetical remark). You then said you are not qualified to assess Behe's math, followed by your claim that you see a lot of miscommunication and then you finished by saying you see a lot of BS being flung around.

But the question was not 'Are all people here equally competent in all areas?'
The question was not 'How did you feel when you started commenting here?'
The question was not 'Do you feel you have adequate access to information?'
The question was not 'Do you find the discussions hard to follow?'
The question was not 'Do you feel Behe's maths stands up to scrutiny?'
The question was not 'Do you feel people here are good at getting their information and views across clearly, succintly and in an unbiased way?'

The question was 'How do you tell when someone highly trained in a subject is bullshitting about that subject, when it is a subject that you admittedly don't understand?'

I find a reliable indicator is when they avoid answering direct questions. Does this work for you too?

Date: 2007/09/26 23:44:57, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Ftk: OK, so if you know that someone is flinging BS in an area you know something about then you tend to wonder if they are flinging BS in areas you don't know something about? Seems fair enough to me. But why did it take you about 8 posts to come out with this?

Now, getting back to Behe and Dembski. If one's arguments rely on functions being non-differentiable and the other's assume they are differentiable then one must be wrong. Either one of them is mistaken or he is BS-ing. How do you plan to decide which is correct and will it affect your personal BS meter for the other?

Date: 2007/09/27 00:18:46, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Argy, I think when Ftk wrote  
Quote
What I’m getting at is that when I see BS being flung in regard to things I do understand, I question those same “experts” in the areas that I don’t fully comprehend.

she phrased it poorly. She was not intending (as I take it) to imply that she asks them ever more detailed questions. What she meant is that, when people she has previously heard spout BS start saying things in their area that don't ring true to her, she tends to suspect they are also spouting BS here. To me, that sounds reasonable although her feeling for what rings true and mine are probably very different.

Date: 2007/09/27 19:53:50, Link
Author: Richard Simons
csadams wrote
Quote
Is this how it works?

1.  Scientist makes a statement about religion or politics or best-tasting beer.
2.  FtK doesn't agree with said statement.
3.  FtK reasons that the scientist must know absolutely nothing about his/her field of scientific expertise.

Not as far as I am concerned. All I was saying is that it is reasonable to suspect that someone who produces BS in one area quite possibly produces BS in another area (which is quite different from making an error).

As an example, a person who considered himself to be something of a chemist said that cobalt is a rare earth element and when it is present in soil it gets converted to other rare earth elements, which I know to be BS. Two weeks later he was talking about economics and said something surprising that I had not heard of before. Would I have been wise to trust him? In my experience, someone who indulges in BS in one area tends to in other areas too (and considers their expertise encompasses all fields).

Similarly, someone who is unable to detect BS in one area frequently seems unable to spot BS in a whole variety of topics.

BTW, the statement on cobalt came from someone employed as a soil scientist.

Date: 2007/09/27 21:51:03, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Daniel wrote  
Quote
I'd guess that the fossil record would be a major part of the case for the theory of natural selection if it wasn't so ambiguous in its support of it.

Oh aye? Just what are these ambiguities you think are so important? Does this bring you back to the horse evolution that prompted you to come here? Or are you thinking of the old creationist stand-byes, the Cambrian explosion, dinosaur fossils with soft tissue, no intermediate fossils and no fossils with half a fin or half a wing?

Coming back to the nested hierarchies that you seem to persist in misunderstanding; you write
 
Quote
You will also never find a CD player with a microwave oven in it, or a dresser with a 357 chevy motor

But you could find exactly the same electronic chip in a truck, a ship, a railway locomotive, an elevator, a sewing machine and a cash register. On the other hand, not one of the 'ancestors' of these machines would have the same kind of electronic chip, or even anything electrical.

This situation never arises in biology. Whenever organisms share a particular feature you will find that this group of organisms also has other features that are absent in others, or the feature serves the same purpose in each organism but is structurally different (e.g. wings, eyes).

In another post you suggest the same effect could have arisen if there were multiple designers. True. I have often thought it looks as though one god started it off then farmed it out to other gods, who in turn subcontracted to lesser gods - a sort of pyramid scheme of gods ('Here, I've got mammals started off. Now you take a few off to Australia and we'll see how you do. Don't muck around with the basics and no sneaking a look at what gods are doing anywhere else'). How many gods are you suggesting?

Date: 2007/09/28 08:19:58, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Daniel
Quote
So the ancestors to a modern elevator controlled with IC chips would be an elevator controlled with soldered transistor circuit boards, then one with hand-wired circuit boards, then relays and tubes, then manually operated electric switches.

But to be equivalent to a nested hierarchy it would have to have exactly the same electronic chip as it does now. So would Cugnot's steam wagon (an ancestral truck), Locomotion (an ancestral railway locomotive) and my Grandmother's treadle sewing machine. That is the only way in a nested hierarchy that the descendents could all have exactly the same feature.
Not only that, but the windshield wipers found on some of these machines would only be found in machines with this specific electronic chip and no others. The windshield wipers on a car with a different chip would be structurally different, although they could look similar and perform a similar function.

Date: 2007/09/29 10:32:59, Link
Author: Richard Simons
For about a year I was unable to contribute (including contacting the admin) because, although being listed as logged in, it would tell me I was logged out. The only way I found around the problem was to get a new password every time and to re-log in, and that was not reliable.

About a week ago the problem vanished. I do not know if the computer had a belch and removed an internal blockage or if someone here fixed something but, anyway, thanks.

Date: 2007/09/29 10:40:47, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
Using my argument from personal incredulity, what other advantage of loss of digits has been suggested?

Less problem with hanging toenails?

Date: 2007/09/29 11:10:31, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Someotherguy:
Quote
I had that same problem, but I emailed steve and, presumably, he fixed it for me because the problem went away.

On one of the occasions when I was able to get on I posted here but I never saw a response so I assumed it was unfixable.

(But thanks to composing this, I've found out why the http key was not working.)

Date: 2007/09/29 11:11:07, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Sorry - wrong thread.

Date: 2007/09/29 11:13:45, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Someotherguy:  
Quote
I had that same problem, but I emailed steve and, presumably, he fixed it for me because the problem went away.

On one of the occasions when I was able to get on I posted here but I never saw a response so I assumed it was unfixable.

(But thanks to composing this, I've found out why the http key was not working.)

Date: 2007/09/29 11:18:23, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Carlsonjok:
I did not think of it when I responded about hanging toenails, but now you mention it I remember I've read enough of James Herriott and Dick Francis to know that laminitis can be a severe problem. I've also frequently seen sheep in Wales eating on their knees because of what I gather is laminitis caused by wet conditions.

Date: 2007/09/29 17:58:20, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Steve - I tried e-mailing Wesley but I couldn't do it through this site as it was always insisting I was not logged on. As I recall, at the time getting a new password was not working either. It never allowed me to make more than a single post at the best of times. I found another email address for Wes somewhere but it could easily have been defunct as I got no reply.

Although it was frustrating at times, especially when someone was posting idiotic statements, I don't feel upset with anyone as I've done some programming and I know how difficult it can be to sort out problems.

Date: 2007/09/29 18:07:06, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I voted for 'other' because I feel it should be used as a case study in psychology classes, but I could not find out how to specify what I meant.

Date: 2007/09/30 22:47:47, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Daniel:  
Quote
But the nested hierarchy was developed to classify organisms before Darwin's time!
Ever heard of Linnaeus?
So how then can it be a prediction of Darwinism?

Because the theory of evolution predicted that all aspects of organisms follow the same nested hierarchy. This has proven to be true, even for chemicals such as cytochrome C and DNA that were completely unknown 150 years ago. It is also generally true as regards anatomy, physiology, parasites, diseases and biogeography. That is why it is possible to predict, for example, that bonobos will have the same broken vitamin C gene as we do and elephants will not. That is why researchers looked amongst the apes to find something similar to HIV rather than doing a massive survey of rabbits.

Linnaeus was a creationist, as was virtually everyone of his day, and likely used a nested hierarchy as a tool rather than to indicate genuine relationships. Have you any evidence that he used it to make predictions?

Date: 2007/10/01 23:27:36, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
I have to clarify here that this was not Schindewolf's view.  He held "mysticism" (as he called it) in contempt and thought that evolution proceeded by internal factors alone - which constrained it along certain paths.

How does this differ from the views of Lamark? How do these 'internal factors', whatever they might be, get translated into mutations and changes in gene frequences? Schindewolf, obviously, could not have expressed much of an opinion on the subject as at the time it was not even known what material carried genetic information. However, what is your explanation. Presumably you have thought about it as you are carrying the torch for Schindewolf.

 
Quote
He also proposed that evolution proceeded as if constrained by a goal.  He gives the example of the evolution of the one-toed foot on the horse - which began long before the horse moved onto the plains and the one-toed foot became advantageous.

You say he held mysticism in contempt yet at the same time believed that somehow horses not only knew that at some time in the future they would benefit from having fewer toes but were actually able to evolve towards that state? To me, that is a prime example of mysticism. Again, what mechanism do you propose?

Date: 2007/10/02 08:48:59, Link
Author: Richard Simons
It is interesting that, when asked questions, those who accept the theory of evolution answer in their own words, with links to sources, while those who don't accept it cut and paste more or less lengthy excerpts of other people's writings.

 
Quote
Schindewolf did not subscribe at all to Lamarckism:

"an unbiased examination of the fossil material itself also reveals that absolutely no direct response to environmental influences or appropriate adaptations in the Lamarckian sense must necessarily be inferred...
Formerly, in emphasizing the supremacy of the environment, the properties and qualities of organisms were unduly disregarded.  Yet it should be obvious that in such chains of reactions and complexes of conditions the objects themselves must be credited with critical significance.  When I heat two chemical substances together, it is not the rise in temperature but the composition of the original material that is decisive.  The rise in temperature only triggers the reaction; under certain circumstances, it can be replaced by a different physical or chemical action (pressure, catalysts), and the result, determined by the original material, will still be the same.  At most, the environment plays only a similar role with regard to organisms; it can only provoke and set in motion some potential that is already present. "

Basic Questions in Paleontology, pp. 312-313 (emphasis his)

And this differs from Lamarkism how (your own words, please)? As I see it, he is saying "Lamark claims they adapt to present conditions, I say they adapt to future conditions". This is less mystic and more reasonable because . . . (own words, please)?

 
Quote
Schindewolf was familiar with the relatively new science of genetics:

That does not address the question. The question was "How do these 'internal factors', whatever they might be, get translated into mutations and changes in gene frequences?" In other words, how do the required changes in the DNA (that he could not have known about) take place? What makes a specific alanine change to leucine? Please answer in your own words.

Being able to answer in your own words is significant because it shows that you have thought about the issues to at least some degree.

 
Quote
Linnaeus first published his Systema Naturae in 1738.  How could it not be flawed by today's standards?  Hierarchies and evolutionary trees are still hotly disputed amongst those who classify organisms.
You are right that he formed no new hypothesis based on his hierarchy, but he was an adherent to natural theology - so that would be his "hypothesis" I suppose.
The point is that a nested hierarchy was postulated before Darwin's time so how could it be a prediction?

Hierarchies are hotly disputed? Perhaps at some level, but they are being refined all the time. There is general agreement about the broad outlines and many of the finer details. Could you give an example of a hot dispute in taxonomy?

A nested hierarchy was postulated before Darwin's time? Could we please have a reference.

I think you still have not grasped the significance of a nested hierarchy and are confusing it with Linnaeus' use of a nested hierarchy in his classification scheme. The crucial thing as regards evolution is that it predicts the nested hierarchies will all be the same and that is what is observed.

Date: 2007/10/02 20:04:41, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
when God said in Genesis 1 that living things shall reproduce after their kind, lo and behold this is exactly what we see in the lab and in all breeding (science) experiments.

Including Helacyton?

Whenever people say in effect that they believe the Bible is true because it says it is (Christopher, I think, does not say exactly this but he comes pretty close) I wonder if they believe in 'The Water Babies' because, after all, at the start of the book it says it is all true.

George says
Quote
Or is this a not-literally true strawman?  If so, then how do you distinguish?

This has always puzzled me about these literally-true-except-when-it-isn't people. And they all seem so absolutely certain that they can reliably distinguish between what was meant to be taken literally and what wasn't.

BTW: How do you include a quote with the author's name and the date? How about nested quotes? I tried what I thought would work, but it didn't

Date: 2007/10/03 19:25:38, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel @ Oct. 03 2007,02:52)
You just said Linnaeus used a nested hierarchy to classify organisms.  Linnaeus did this more than 100 years before Darwin.  Yet you want me to show that a nested hierarchy was postulated before Darwin's time?

There is a big difference between using a nested hierarchy for convenience and predicting that life will fit into a single nested hierarchy.

It is possible to make a nested hierarchy using any set of items. You could go to the local store and make a nested hierarchy of the things they sell. You could make a nested hierarchy including all the buildings in your city. That is essentially what Linnaeus did.

What the theory of evolution predicted is that there would be just one nested hierarchy, whichever set of criteria you used (avoiding criteria that change readily, such as size and colour). That is not true for items in a store. One, for example, may have rolled oats with breakfast cereals, another with baking goods and a third with bulk items.

I am surprised that you said
Quote
I'm assuming that nested hierarchies based on morphological characters, or homologous characters, or analogous characters, or genetic sequences will all be different.  I haven't seen how they all line up.

The concept of the nested hierarchy is one of the most elementary facts about the theory of evolution. Your not knowing this (and other comments like tells me that you are just starting to find out about the topic, yet you feel confident enough to come to a site where many of the participants have spent years studying the field and make dogmantic statements like "What then, is your position on the lack of evidence in the fossil record for gradualism?" Wow!

You need to spend a year learning all you can about biology, geology and related topics from modern mainstream sources (you already have enough exposure to creationism). Look at rock exposures, especially those with fossils, and think about how they relate to what you’ve read. Better yet, spend a week at somewhere like the Royal Tyrrell Museum where you can participate in a dinosaur dig. Listen to how people tackle questions they can not answer and compare it with the way in which AnswersinGenesis, say, answers questions.

You still did not answer my question "How do these 'internal factors', whatever they might be, get translated into mutations and changes in gene frequences?" I will rephrase it. If it is somehow predetermined that horse ancestors will reduce the number of toes, something has to make the appropriate changes to the DNA at the appropriate time. The difficulty with Schindewolf's work always comes down to the same problem: how and where is the knowledge to make the change to keep on the 'correct' path stored and how is it put into effect? Alternatively, what stops the 'correct' path from being corrupted?

BTW: One of the set of criteria on your list gives a hierarchy that does not fit with the others. Do you know which it is?

Date: 2007/10/03 21:02:29, Link
Author: Richard Simons
In the previous post I said
Quote
(and other comments like tells me that you are just starting

I obviously missed out a few words there. I was looking for a phrase I vaguely remembered from earlier when I was interrupted, then had to leave and posted in a hurry. It wasn't an important point.

Date: 2007/10/03 21:28:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (JonF @ Oct. 03 2007,07:56)
Quote (Richard Simons @ Oct. 02 2007,21:04)
BTW: How do you include a quote with the author's name and the date?

Clicking the "Quote" button at the top right of the post does it automatically.  Or:

{quote=Richard Simons,Oct. 02 2007,21:04}

with the curly braces replaced by square brackets.

 
Quote
How about nested quotes? I tried what I thought would work, but it didn't

Hm?  Nested quotes work by nesting 'em:

 
Quote
 
Quote
 
Quote
Hi there!


{QUOTE}{QUOTE}{QUOTE}Hi there!{/QUOTE}{/QUOTE}{/QUOTE}

Quote (Richard Simons @ Oct. 02 2007,21:04)
BTW: How do you include a quote with the author's name and the date?

Clicking the "Quote" button at the top right of the post does it automatically.  Or:

{quote=Richard Simons,Oct. 02 2007,21:04}

with the curly braces replaced by square brackets.

 
Quote
How about nested quotes? I tried what I thought would work, but it didn't

Hm?  Nested quotes work by nesting 'em:

 
Quote
 
Quote
 
Quote
Hi there!


{QUOTE}{QUOTE}{QUOTE}Hi there!{/QUOTE}{/QUOTE}{/QUOTE}
So it does.
I tried it in the past and it did not work - I must have done something else wrong. Can't imagine what. There isn't much to get wrong.

Thanks.
BTW: Wes also sent me a message about it.

Date: 2007/10/04 16:21:11, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Oct. 04 2007,12:12)

Right opposite the Castle Hotel. As in, my window virtually faces the front door.

So that's where it is (I used to live in the Aberystwyth area, first on Cliff Terrace then in Llangwyryfon).

Date: 2007/10/04 20:48:23, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 04 2007,16:31)
Okay, okay....got me.  What I should have said was that you evos have been trying to find something, *anything* that you can claim is an example of a macroevolutionary change taking place in nature...something we can empirically detect with our own eyes...it doesn't exist.  

No-one has seen with their own eyes the macromovements needed to get South America from butting up against Africa to its current position. All there has been is micromovements, an earthquake here and a few millimetres there, and inference from other evidence. Does this mean you inhabit plate tectonics blogs arguing that there is no evidence that South America was next to Africa?

You must have been around this blog and others for long enough to know by now that evolution, as understood by biologists, normally implies gradual change. Then why are you so anxious to see rapid change?

It is worse than that, because you want to see a 'macroevolutionary' change that is taking place right now! Unfortunately, we can only tell in retrospect. For example, it is possible that the populations of Japanese macaques that are spending increasing amount of time in the sea are the first step in the evolution of a taxon that will rival whales - but we won't know for a million years or more.

Date: 2007/10/04 21:58:06, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 04 2007,16:31)
You'd be wise to set Dembski up with whatever he needs and let him flourish or fail.

He's failed.
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 04 2007,20:23)

I really had no idea you felt so strongly that everyone who supports ID is merely lying for their religious faith beliefs.

I am not sure everyone is consciously lying, but ID and Creationism are little but distortions and untruths, from the name 'Intelligent Design Theory' through 'evidence for global floods', 'no transitional fossils', 'frog cytochrome C closer than chimpanzee's to human cytochrome C', 'no evidence for the evolution of the immune system', 'probability of life' calculations, 'many scientists are turning away from evolution', 'ID being gagged', quote mining and the rest. They can only thrive in the darkness of ignorance, which is why ID/Creationist blogs censor their comments.

Date: 2007/10/04 23:09:51, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
Who get an ID friendly lab up and running ...

I know what kind of things to expect to find in a biology lab, but I've always wondered what would be in an ID lab. I imagine it as a couple of Victorian-style overstuffed chairs by a fire for cogitating in, extensive bookshelves full of heavily annotated books going back to the year dot, filing cabinets of similarly annotated papers (the quote-mine), a large desk for spreading out the 'evidence' and for furious scribbling and a computer for putting together the latest screed.

What do people imagine IDers think of when they hear of an ID lab? What do they (IDers) think gets done in such a lab?

BTW: I've just been reading Walt Brown's ideas on a web site. What a crock! Boiling water gushing out of 16km deep cracks in the earth, violent enough to launch meteorites yet coming down as hail and continents dashing around the globe propelled by centrifugal force (or were they sliding downhill - both were mentioned and I got a little confused). Ftk: as you are a WB enthusiast, perhaps you could clarify for me - what was the motive force driving the continents?

Date: 2007/10/04 23:15:02, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 04 2007,23:08)
The flood has been documented by virtually every ancient nation...it most certainly does not have to be approached from a religious or biblical standpoint.

A flood, not The Flood.

Yet another creationist distortion/lie.

How were nations able to document it if everyone perished?

Date: 2007/10/05 08:09:16, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I'm sure most people here know, but in case there is someone who is new to this, Lysenkoism was a government-imposed attempt to replace the theory of evolution.

Date: 2007/10/10 00:02:44, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I think Ftk is coming around to the view that Behe was mistaken when he said that there was no conceivable explanation for the evolution of the bacterial flagellum, but to date is unwilling to consider whether the problem is that he knowingly told an untruth or that he is less of an expert than he claims.
 
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 09 2007,22:57)
And, unfortuately ID is out (at the moment) due to Judge Jones' proclamation that, although the theory could be correct, it’s “not science” due to it's religious *implications*.  

Science is supposed to be about following the evidence wherever it leads, but unfortunately, since ID implies that there was a designer responsible for our existence which may be connected with the natural or supernatural world, we’ll never be able to explore that inference more thoroughly unless we keep research confined to the church....or better yet, confined to the basement of the church.

Ftk: I have several problems with this. Firstly, how could ID theory possibly be correct, given that no-one has been able to state the theory?
Secondly, to do science, you need evidence, something that is completely lacking for ID.
Also, please give a citation to the part of Judge Jones' ruling where he said that ID was not science because of its religious implications. I think you are just making this up, which in my book comes very close to lying.

I am curious as to what experiments could be done that would 'explore the ID inference'. The impression I get is that Dembski does some rather wobbly mathematics and no-one else has any idea what to do apart from scour the research literature to see what they can scavenge.

Date: 2007/10/10 18:51:12, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Richard Simons @ Oct. 10 2007,00:02)
 
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 09 2007,22:57)
And, unfortuately ID is out (at the moment) due to Judge Jones' proclamation that, although the theory could be correct, it’s “not science” due to it's religious *implications*.  
. . .

. . . please give a citation to the part of Judge Jones' ruling where he said that ID was not science because of its religious implications. I think you are just making this up, which in my book comes very close to lying.

Ftk: Do you have a source for this yet, or were you in fact mistaken?

Date: 2007/10/11 08:44:23, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Richard Simons @ Oct. 10 2007,18:51)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Oct. 10 2007,00:02)
     
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 09 2007,22:57)
And, unfortuately ID is out (at the moment) due to Judge Jones' proclamation that, although the theory could be correct, it’s “not science” due to it's religious *implications*.  
. . .

. . . please give a citation to the part of Judge Jones' ruling where he said that ID was not science because of its religious implications. I think you are just making this up, which in my book comes very close to lying.

Ftk: Do you have a source for this yet, or were you in fact mistaken?

Ftk: I'd really like an answer to this question. After all, you'd not want people to think you were lying, would you?

Date: 2007/10/11 18:01:46, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Richard Simons @ Oct. 11 2007,08:44)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Oct. 10 2007,18:51)
   
Quote (Richard Simons @ Oct. 10 2007,00:02)
       
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 09 2007,22:57)
And, unfortuately ID is out (at the moment) due to Judge Jones' proclamation that, although the theory could be correct, it’s “not science” due to it's religious *implications*.  
. . .

. . . please give a citation to the part of Judge Jones' ruling where he said that ID was not science because of its religious implications. I think you are just making this up, which in my book comes very close to lying.

Ftk: Do you have a source for this yet, or were you in fact mistaken?

Ftk: I'd really like an answer to this question. After all, you'd not want people to think you were lying, would you?

Since this last post appeared, Ftk has posted 9 times without addressing this point. I can think of only two possible conclusions.
1. Ftk does not mind if people think she is a liar.
2. She did in fact make this up and is therefore a liar.

Ftk: You frequently claim to be a Christian. I thought one of the tenets of the faith was to not bear false witness, yet it seems to bother you not one whit.

In future, I will know that you can not be trusted in even the smallest detail and my contention that Creationists/IDists are untrustworthy has been strengthened.

Date: 2007/10/11 22:14:27, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 11 2007,21:16)
Wes, I edited that post about an hour after I wrote it because the way I wrote it was incorrect.  My mistake...it wasn’t deliberate.

Then why didn't you have the courtesy to respond to my question? Was seeming like a liar so unimportant to you?

Date: 2007/10/11 23:28:53, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
Besides, it wouldn't have mattered if I answered you or not, you'd still believe me to be a liar.  If not about that particular point, you'd look for another.

I don't think there's a person here who has ever believed me to be an honest person.

There you go again, judging people by what you consider to be their attitude in the absence of evidence. I do not read your posts in the hope that I can find something to use to justify calling you a liar. When I first read your posts I used to hope that I would see some good arguments from you. I was fairly quickly disillusioned about that, however, and started to read them more to see what your latest idiocy was and to gasp at your evasiveness in the face of questions.

Since your latest squirming on the issue of Behe and whether he had been refuted (surely no-one can be that obtuse?), I'm coming around to agree with    
Quote (Carlsonjok @ Oct. 11 2007,16:23)
Or maybe she is just yanking everyone's chain.  That is my bet anyways.

After all, while people are engaged in confronting you over an issue and trying to keep you on track, they are not posting to other blogs where they might do more damage to the creationist/ID cause. Isn't that so?

Date: 2007/10/12 21:47:00, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 12 2007,21:23)
I also don't believe that *most* scientists are as close minded to the fallacies of Darwinism as the peanut gallery here at AtBC.  "Expelled" just might help give a little wake up call to those scientists who merely toe the line without giving much thought as to the depth of these debate issues.

I don't know what it's like in the States, but most of the scientists I've met react to the various forms of creationism in pretty much the same way as they would react to promoting dancing in a circle with rattles as a rainmaking procedure, loony but harmless. The people who post here are exceptional in that they regard creationism as a threat to science and therefore treat it more seriously.

BTW. Perhaps some day you could present us with some of this 'depth', or even some of the fallacies.

Date: 2007/10/14 00:10:59, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (daniel Smith @ Oct. 13 2007,23:32)

By "lineage" I mean either the same species or very closely related species.  As an example I would think something along the lines of the African vs. Asian elephant.

I could be wrong, but I thought that African and Asian elephants were considered to be less closely related than humans and chimps. Is this close enough for your purposes, Daniel?

Date: 2007/10/17 18:21:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (C.Gieschen @ Oct. 17 2007,11:40)
Fossils have been found out of evolutionary sequence. (Pine pollen in lower layers of the Grand Canyon ala Dr. Clifford Burdick who was an evo who switched due to the evidence to a creationist.)

You mean this Burdick?
 
Quote
Burdick has displayed a copy of his Ph.D. from the University of Physical Sciences (Phoenix, Arizona) in Carl Baugh's Glen Rose Creation Evidence Museum. According to Ronald Numbers' The Creationists [2]: "[Creationist Walter Lammerts'] inquiries revealed the University of Physical Science to be nothing more than a registered trademark. As described in its memographed bulletin, 'The University is not an educational institution, but a society of individuals of common interest for the advancement of physical science. There are no campus, professors or tuition fee.'"

from Some Questionable Creationist Credentials (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/credentials.html)

Date: 2007/10/18 08:35:15, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Oct. 18 2007,06:40)

E.G I designed a car so I could get around quickly.
I designed a phone so I can stay in touch.
I designed my home so I can live nice.

That's only partly true. After they were designed, someone had to build them.

Who did (does?) the Great Designer co-opt to do the building, and how did they do it?

Thinking about it more, I suppose the Designer sounds better than the Fabricator.

(edited to correct grammar)

Date: 2007/10/18 09:39:16, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Richardthughes @ Oct. 17 2007,12:50)
OFF TOPIC.

I've just agreed to review an article in a Journal. What exactly does this entail?

I agree with the other comments, but would add one more thing: check as many of the references as is reasonably possible.

It was a real eye-opener for me. Some papers were spot on, others had a word or two wrong in the title or other minor errors, others you could attribute to a misinterpretation or mutation through successive drafts, but others were seriously wrong. I've seen potassium confused with phosphorus, a claim that insect damage increased when in fact it decreased (the second author of the citing and cited papers was the same person) and references to papers that were in fact on a completely different topic. I rejected one paper purely because 12 out of the 13 references I checked were wrong. If I could not trust their references, that I could check, how could I possibly trust their data, that I could not check?

I hope you get a dream of a paper - one that is a well written description of an interesting and well-executed piece of research.

P.S. I sent a letter to Nature about this. It was published with two errors in my name and address!

Date: 2007/10/18 09:41:50, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Richardthughes @ Oct. 17 2007,12:50)
OFF TOPIC.

I've just agreed to review an article in a Journal. What exactly does this entail?

P.S. Do the contents of the abstract accurately reflect what is in the body of the paper? People often scan the abstract and get no farther.

Date: 2007/10/18 16:15:12, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I was just at UncommonDescent and took a look at their moderation policy. I imagine you old-timers know this already but the first thing they have on it is
Quote
The main thing to remember is that moderators are editors and it’s their job to make people’s words disappear before anyone else sees them.

Says it all, really, doesn't it?

Date: 2007/10/18 18:22:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Richardthughes @ Oct. 18 2007,16:32)
looks like the moderation policy is randomly mutating...

http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/comment-policy/moderation/

I did not know that evolution could happen that rapidly!

Date: 2007/10/21 18:44:19, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (ftk @ Oct. 21 2007,16:54)
I swear you guys believe natural selection to be an all powerful mechanism, but the evidence just doesn't support your "facts".

Why is it that this 'evidence' never gets posted? All I've ever seen are tired, long-refuted claims or out and out lies.
 
Quote
I think that's incorrect because there are many credentials scientists who agree with me.

Such as? You mean the couple who have openly said that, no matter how strong the evidence against them, they will always believe in the literal truth of the Bible? Or the ones who have credentials in computer science?

Date: 2007/10/22 20:47:51, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 22 2007,20:04)
By his definition, it seems to me that the flagellum is IC.  Without all the parts, it ceases to function.

Am I wrong here?

You are right in that it fits with one of Behe's definitions of IC. However, you are wrong in that parts of it can function in different ways without being incorporated into a flagellum. It seems Behe forgot this possibility.

Please could you explain to me the difference between Muller's 'Interlocking Complexity' that he predicted would result from evolution and Behe's 'Irreducible Complexity' that he claims refutes evolution? I would like an explanation, not just a cut and paste from a couple of websites.

Thank you.

Date: 2007/10/23 21:08:38, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I looked at several of the websites you linked to and found it underwhelming. For example, the link on morality had absolutely no discussion on the fact that, compared to atheists and agnostics, Christians are over-represented in prisons. Indeed, I did not see any reference to it.

The claim that some aircraft were deeply buried by snow and ice after a few years (and I have learnt to never trust a creationist site so I will reserve judgement on whether it is true) is taken as proof that snow normally accumulates this rapidly. For some reason, this trumps all the evidence from ice cores where it is possible to see known volcanic eruptions recorded at relatively shallow depths.

With respect to the age of the earth, why do you think geologists are convinced that they are looking at rocks millions of years old if the evidence is so weak? Do you think that every single geologist (well, except for perhaps one in 10,000) is either weak in the head or a liar who is participating in some massive global conspiracy? I just cannot imagine how your mind deals with this.

By the way, for a maths course I once got the students to estimate how many people built the Great Pyramid, assuming the world population started with two people 6000 years ago and increased at a steady rate to today's population. They also had to make reasonable estimates for the proportion of the population who lived in Egypt, were adult male and not in the army or the priesthood. IIRC my own estimate was 176. Of course, if I had allowed for Noah's Flood that would have thrown a spanner in the works. For the benefit of the one student who looked concerned, I pointed out that clearly at least one assumption was wrong.

Date: 2007/10/24 16:52:21, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 24 2007,14:58)
I’m going to try to ignore everything I’ve read and go with my gut, because there have been so many debates between Behe/Miller et. al. and articles written on this issue that it borders on insanity.  It doesn’t seem to me that there is any kind of consensus as to who is right and who is wrong.

I think the basic problem here might be that you are reading for the opinions when you should be reading for the evidence. Stick with the evidence then perhaps you could make your own opinions instead of having to select ready-made opinions you feel comfortable with.

Date: 2007/10/25 00:00:38, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Back to Schindewolf! I am not sure why a hypothesis that has been essentially dead for 50 years holds so much fascination for you. However, given that it does perhaps you could explain how the information to constrain an organism's evolutionary pathway is held. What conceivable mechanism could stop evolution from taking place, or enable parts to evolve before they became useful?

I am also curious about the saltational events. Do you see these as creating a new genus, order, phylum or what? What actually occurs during a saltational event? How does the DNA get changed and how does it know what to become, as I gather it is preparing for the next few million years of evolution and changing conditions? When did the last saltational event take place? I don't even know if the proposal is that one day a dinosaur chick hatched that had feathers and wings or if the process was spread over many generations, which might make it little different from the rapid evolution phase of punctuated equilibrium.

I'm looking forward to your answers.

Date: 2007/10/25 08:24:36, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I was particularly struck by FtK's complete inability (and I think it was genuine) to understand exactly what was being refuted about Behe's claims, and how they were refuted.

The depressing thing is that she seems to have learnt absolutely nothing in all the time she has been coming here, except possibly to be more careful when and to whom she claims to know about science. Tomorrow and the day after and into the foreseeable future she will be spreading her nonsense to gullible children.

Date: 2007/10/25 08:39:40, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Oct. 25 2007,06:01)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Oct. 25 2007,00:00)
I'm looking forward to your answers.

I'm not.

It's already clear that the conclusion is more important than the data. Merely looking for an alternative path to the conclusion is a sure sign that the conclusion is hardwired in Daniel's psyche. Unless he shows signs of looking at the evidence and then forming a conclusion, his next post will be just as unsatisfactory as the rest of them have been.

Perhaps I should have phrased it more carefully. I would like to see answers but I think the questions are mostly unanswerable. I expect that either they will be ignored or there will be a lot of beating of bushes that fails to provide answers. I have noticed (but I have not followed everything in detail) that he seems to be following the usual Creationist/ID tactic of scouring the literature for something that could superficially be seen to support his views and pouncing on it, rather than looking at the evidence as a whole and seeing where it leads.

Date: 2007/10/25 18:03:10, Link
Author: Richard Simons
If you really do not know the significance of chromosome duplication as regards the potential for increasing the 'information' (however you choose to define that) in an organism, you should not be teaching biology. Take a sabbatical year, go back to college and take some courses in biology because you have some major holes in your understanding.

Date: 2007/10/26 18:04:09, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I imagined most of the comments to be written in Curlz.

Date: 2007/10/30 08:22:57, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
If  “errors of DNA replication or recombination” are not random, the only option remains is that mutation of DNA is directed by some mechanisms that I am not aware of.

No. Errors of DNA replication are not random because some changes are easier to make than others. There is no evidence of any directing agency, either in the DNA changes that occur or in the resulting changes to the phenotype (if any).

Date: 2007/11/02 16:42:31, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I've wondered if 1977 was when he was committed. If so, it's no wonder he seems a bit loopy.

Date: 2007/11/02 16:47:39, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Slightly off-topic but my father-in-law, who was an Anglican minister, said, 'We know what the people of Sodom did, but what did the people of Gomorrah do? It must have been something really awful.'

Date: 2007/11/02 19:48:54, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Something that's puzzled me - in illustrations of the snake tempting Eve the snake is always shown without legs. But surely it was condemned to forever slither on its belly after Eve (and Adam) tasted the fruit. So what were the snake's legs like, and how many of them did it have? And why is it always depicted as being legless? (Cue for Carol?)

I suppose one possibility is that had things turned out otherwise it would have evolved legs after a few years, but it was now condemned to remain in its existing legless state.

Date: 2007/11/02 23:49:51, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
I've seen pictures of the Eden event depicting the snake with legs.

Really? (Interested tone, not doubting tone)
Was it shown as a tetrapod or something more like a centipede? (If the artist was a creationist, I'd expect something like the latter.) What were the legs like?

Date: 2007/11/03 10:42:20, Link
Author: Richard Simons
LeeBowman
Quote
We need not compromise on our beliefs, just not let reason get in the way.

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelli....-145770

I think that sums up the essential difference between here and UD.

Date: 2007/11/03 11:03:12, Link
Author: Richard Simons
When asked "under what circumstances would incest be necessary?" Ftk replied "According to me, or God?"

Can anyone recall any religious believer ever saying that their views disagree with those of their god?

Date: 2007/11/04 15:30:27, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
Yes, please provide links to those papers and please elaborate as to how these things "devastated" Schindewolf's theory.

When I asked you about some aspects of Schindewolf's theory your response was

Quote (Daniel Smith @ Oct. 25 2007,13:50)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Oct. 25 2007,00:00)
Back to Schindewolf! I am not sure why a hypothesis that has been essentially dead for 50 years holds so much fascination for you. However, given that it does perhaps you could explain how the information to constrain an organism's evolutionary pathway is held. What conceivable mechanism could stop evolution from taking place, or enable parts to evolve before they became useful?

I am also curious about the saltational events. Do you see these as creating a new genus, order, phylum or what? What actually occurs during a saltational event? How does the DNA get changed and how does it know what to become, as I gather it is preparing for the next few million years of evolution and changing conditions? When did the last saltational event take place? I don't even know if the proposal is that one day a dinosaur chick hatched that had feathers and wings or if the process was spread over many generations, which might make it little different from the rapid evolution phase of punctuated equilibrium.

I'm looking forward to your answers.

I don't know.

How do you expect us to respond when you can't even tell us some of the basics of the theory?

Date: 2007/11/04 23:19:47, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote

perhaps you could explain how the information to constrain an organism's evolutionary pathway is held.

- It is contained in the first individual of a new type, and is maintained by sexual reproduction and/or selection.      

The problem is not what stops the organism from changing but rather what determines that it evolves in a particular way. You quoted Schindewolf as saying that changes in horse anatomy anticipated changes in the environment, therefore 'selection' is not an option.
       
Quote
What conceivable mechanism could stop evolution from taking place

- Sexual reproduction, selection, extinction...

Selection could only stop evolution if the organism were perfectly adapted to an unchanging environment.
       
Quote
 
or enable parts to evolve before they became useful?

- Semi-meiotic reproduction.

Throwing out a phrase does not answer the question. My point was how could the organism know what it is to become? How does this knowledge get incorporated into the genome?  
     
Quote
I am also curious about the saltational events. Do you see these as creating a new genus, order, phylum or what?  

- Schindewolf called them "types".  I have no idea what current category that conforms to.

The problem is probably that Schindewolf had no idea either.
       
Quote
What actually occurs during a saltational event?  

- According to Davison's semi-meiotic hypothesis, the structural reordering of genetic information within the chromosomes.
 
       
Quote
How does the DNA get changed and how does it know what to become, as I gather it is preparing for the next few million years of evolution and changing conditions?

- See above.

I could not see anything in his hypothesis that comes remotely close to explaining how the DNA knows what it should become.
       
Quote
When did the last saltational event take place?  

- Again, according to Davison - the evolution of humans was the last saltational event.

Where in this series would the saltational event have happened?

BTW. What is your explanation for Davison's hypothesis having gone nowhere in the last 20 years?

Date: 2007/11/05 08:12:40, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Two things struck me about that page. First, it never actually gives a clear explanation of what the theory of evolution consists of.

Secondly, it is carefully phrased to try to avoid actually lying. However, much is misleading and there are numerous uncritical quotes of people who were telling untruths.

But never let it be said that Conservapedia does not correct itself. For example,
Quote (Conservapedia @ 15 March 2007)
The frog is a marine amphibian that hops. Some science classes dissect frogs, which is cruel to the animals involved. Voltaire did experiments on frogs circa 1766, in which he discovered that frogs hear with their legs. Also, a leg will kick if it is hit with an electrical shock, which is the scientific basis behind the reflex tests now common in doctors’ offices. Thus frogs contributed to our knowledge of God’s natural world.

has been changed to
Quote (Conservapedia @ 5 November 2007)
Frogs have often been the subject of scientific experiment, whether in high school science class dissections or Voltaire's 1766 experiments, in which he discovered that frogs hear with their legs. The discovery that a frog's leg will kick if an electrical shock is applied to it was the scientific basis behind the reflex tests now common in doctors' offices.

Date: 2007/11/05 17:29:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
A parallel with the long time it took to come up with the idea of writing is the delay in developing graphs. The ancient Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks, the Indus, Chinese and Meso-American civilizations and the Arabs were all busy doing mathematics, followed by other Europeans in Renaissance times. But not once did anyone think of using a drawing to represent data. It wasn't until the 1700s that it gradually occurred to people that information could be presented visually. Now, of course, line and bar graphs and pie charts are ubiquitous. It is hard to imagine why it took so long to come up with such a useful concept, yet it did.

In this case, there would have been obvious uses for it and the concept that scratches on a smooth surface could represent ideas was already well established. Think how much harder it would have been to come up with the idea that marks on a rock (no paper, leaves too fragile, animal skins too useful for other purposes) could represent concepts.

Date: 2007/11/05 17:51:44, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Louis @ Nov. 05 2007,09:17)
How did Voltaire discover frogs hear with their legs? Did he train a frog to jump on command, cut it's legs off and then noted that when it failed to jump on command conclude this was because the frog was deaf?

Galvani noticed the effect of electricity on frogs' legs, Volta provided an explanation. Voltaire seems to have had nothing to do with frogs (except possibly at the dinner table). Although grasshoppers hear with their back legs, a frog's eardrum is the large round circle just behind its eye. And the connection with the reflex test is remote.

Other than that, it's OK (they were right to remove the bit about them being marine).

Date: 2007/11/07 18:33:46, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I tried posting a couple of times but they never appeared. The third time I got the message that I was posting from a site that had been blocked. Now I've changed both my computer and address I'll have to try again and perhaps be a bit more subtle.

Date: 2007/11/09 08:24:35, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Zachriel @ Nov. 09 2007,07:16)
Here's ten generations of the Kennedy family.





An extreme example of the way Americans open their mouths and show their teeth when smiling.

Date: 2007/11/16 18:41:50, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Where I am at present there are three places to eat within 110 km, a burger-and-fries place, a Chicken Chef and a rival outfit that also sells pork chops.

However, if you visit Namibia I can recommend Joe's in Windhoek. They serve barbequed meat in the semi open-air, under high thatched roofs around a fire. The choice includes ostrich, kudu, springbok, gemsbok, sometimes eland, zebra, crocodile, all washed down with Windhoek Lager, a good quality German-style beer that is cheaper than any soft drink. They might have a vegetarian option or two but most Namibians consider that to be merely goat food. When I first went few people had discovered it and I remember one occasion when a friend and I were the only customers, but now you should make a reservation.

Also to be recommended in the city are the lunchtime broetchen and the desserts. It's making me hungry just to think of it.

A local specialty is the dried sausage. The deputy minister of agriculture took some with him when he went to visit family in Germany, but he was not permitted to take it into the country as it's uncooked meat. In the end, he succeeded by telling the customs agent he required it as part of his religious practices.

Date: 2007/11/16 20:18:23, Link
Author: Richard Simons
And another a few minutes ago!
 
Quote
38 user(s) active in the past 15 minutes
25 guests, 12 Public Members and 1 Anonymous Members   [ View Complete List ]
>Richard Simons >Zachriel >Lou FCD >hooligans >jeffox >Ra-Úl >Mr_Christopher >stevestory >blipey >Paul Nelson >Ptaylor >tsig

Date: 2007/11/19 08:17:48, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
The suffering of these children (and everything else that happens in life) is a lesson for us all - not just for "people like me".

Only if you are aware of it. In which case, wouldn't it be more instructive if it happened in the developed world where communications are so much better, rather than in Third World villages where TV cameras rarely penetrate?

Date: 2007/11/21 23:11:38, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Peter Henderson @ Nov. 21 2007,19:04)
Am I right in thinking that "creepy crawlies" weren't on the ark Arden i.e. insects, spiders etc. ? Would this creature actually have been allowed on the ark or did it survive by floating about on rafts of wood ?

Wasn't it a sea scorpion?

Date: 2007/11/22 16:36:06, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 22 2007,10:21)
Evolution is based on internal mechanisms, is constrained along certain paths (convergent), and is directed (as in prescribed).  The creation of new types is saltational (happens all at once), is most likely the result of chromosome reordering and is also prescribed in advance.  This view is consistent with the fossil record, (as Schindewolf so eloquently documented), observations in the wild (see Berg's Nomogenesis), and genetics (See virtually any recent paper describing the molecular workings within genomes) and has a workable, testable mechanism (See Davison's Semi-meiotic hypothesis).

But you have still not suggested any possible internal mechanism that could constrain evolution or direct it, or any mechanism by which the organism could foresee the future and know what adaptations it will need. As far as I can tell, Schindewolf and Davison are just as barren of ideas for this as you are. The semi-meiotic hypothesis has nothing to do with how the path of evolution is constrained or pre-ordained. Whether evolution procedes by saltation or continuously is a different issue from the mechanism for storing and imposing the constraints.

Date: 2007/11/24 20:11:44, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 24 2007,11:25)
OK, via Occam's razor, the simplest explanation for convergent evolution is that evolution is constrained by laws down similar paths.  Postulating that random mutations coupled with natural selection can produce the same happy accident numerous times is a much more complicated explanation.

No it isn't. See, I can produce unevidenced assertions just as well as you can.

Perhaps you would like to tell us what these laws are and how they specify the paths. The only way I can imagine you see it is that somewhere in the cells of primitive wolves, hyaenas and marsupial wolves (presumably in all of the cells, unless it somehow gets restricted to the eggs and/or sperm) there is a little instruction saying 'Your descendents shall become ever more dog-like'. I can't imagine how this is stored or implemented. Could you please elucidate?

Date: 2007/11/25 10:53:28, Link
Author: Richard Simons
VMartin,
I have been following this thread for a while, and have yet to find out what your alternative is to the theory of evolution. Do you have one? And no, I am not interested in links to places where you link to Davison. I want to learn about your views.

Date: 2007/11/25 18:32:59, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
There was probably a modification of two or three enzymes, perhaps cloned in from a different system that ultimately allowed this to be broken down.

Is it just me being obtuse or does this strike other people as being odd? It sounds to me as though he thinks that biochemical pathways occupy different compartments and an enzyme can only participate in a different pathway if a copy is made and specifically brought into the new compartment.

Date: 2007/11/29 18:36:38, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (blipey @ Nov. 29 2007,16:40)
She continues to destroy logic in hilarious ways:
   
Quote
Yes, the ERV argument is simliar to the chromosome #2 argument. I’m certainly not qualified to debate on this subject, but I'll provide readers with a few links for to consider.


Abandon all hope...

She admits she isn't qualified to talk about a particular subject, but persists in believing she can evaluate appropriate reading material.  I'm glad her kids aren't home-schooled.

In this case, 'a few' = two. One is to Creationwiki, the other to another creationist source (True Origin Archive) written in 2001 which must be close to prehistory for ERVs.

Date: 2007/11/30 00:27:48, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 29 2007,20:47)
Maybe my methodology isn't scientifically based, but Schindewolf's, Berg's, and Davison's methodologies are.  The fact that I am co-opting their theories to suit my own needs does not in any way discredit their work.  No one here has taken a serious stab at rebutting those scientists' methodologies or theories.

My questions about the 'frontloading' were serious, but you've probably discounted them because they were unanswerable.

 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Nov. 22 2007,16:36)
But you have still not suggested any possible internal mechanism that could constrain evolution or direct it, or any mechanism by which the organism could foresee the future and know what adaptations it will need. As far as I can tell, Schindewolf and Davison are just as barren of ideas for this as you are. The semi-meiotic hypothesis has nothing to do with how the path of evolution is constrained or pre-ordained. Whether evolution procedes by saltation or continuously is a different issue from the mechanism for storing and imposing the constraints.

Until these problems are fixed, as far as I am concerned there is no point in attempting a rebuttal.

Date: 2007/11/30 22:56:24, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 30 2007,18:50)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Nov. 30 2007,00:27)
     
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 29 2007,20:47)
Maybe my methodology isn't scientifically based, but Schindewolf's, Berg's, and Davison's methodologies are.  The fact that I am co-opting their theories to suit my own needs does not in any way discredit their work.  No one here has taken a serious stab at rebutting those scientists' methodologies or theories.

My questions about the 'frontloading' were serious, but you've probably discounted them because they were unanswerable.

         
Quote (Richard Simons @ Nov. 22 2007,16:36)
But you have still not suggested any possible internal mechanism that could constrain evolution or direct it, or any mechanism by which the organism could foresee the future and know what adaptations it will need. As far as I can tell, Schindewolf and Davison are just as barren of ideas for this as you are. The semi-meiotic hypothesis has nothing to do with how the path of evolution is constrained or pre-ordained. Whether evolution procedes by saltation or continuously is a different issue from the mechanism for storing and imposing the constraints.

Until these problems are fixed, as far as I am concerned there is no point in attempting a rebuttal.

I think your questions are probably answerable.  I'm not sure of the mechanism, but something along the lines of a genetic "switch" - which responds to environmental queues would seem a likely candidate.

They might be answerable although I cannot imagine how. Your hand-waving about a 'genetic switch' says nothing about a means whereby an organism can know what adaptations it will need in the future or how the information can be stored without being corrupted.

Another thing that baffles me is why all of these mythical constrained pathways are needed. Given the existence of natural selection, it is all so unnecessary.

 
Quote
Berg cites numerous examples of such adaptations in chapters 6 and 7 of "Nomogenesis".  Among his examples are the coloration, number and size of scales, number of rays in the fins, variation in body length and number of vertebrae of fishes of the same genus living in different regions.
He says:
     
Quote
 
It appears that several groups of species, living in approximately identical conditions, are subject to parallel variations. ibid. pg. 269

I do not have access to 'Nomogenesis' (my nearest library is a 4 hour drive away) so I am unable to see the context for myself, but how does this differ from the normal predictions of the theory of evolution?

I agree with Erasmus that I would like to see examples where transplanted species often within a single generation begin to exhibit variations parallel to other species in that region. It sounds very unlikely to me.

Date: 2007/11/30 22:59:59, Link
Author: Richard Simons
VMartin - I thought you were going to tell us your theory.

Date: 2007/12/01 07:56:12, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I'm not sure why VMartin's post was moved here, but anyhow:
 
Quote
But obviously you have no problem to imagine a force maintaining non-functional duplicate of the functional gene in DNA until it gathers enough beneficial mutations for it's new function. After many years doing nothing  the prepared functional gene is somehow switched on.

Huh? A duplicate gene gathers mutations because it is not being maintained. It is not being 'prepared' for a function, a function just happens. My admittedly simplistic notion of how DNA works is that many 'genes' are being transcribed even if what they produce is garbage that will drift around the cell until it is destroyed and that switching on does not need to be invoked.

Date: 2007/12/03 07:08:44, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
If I exclude Blipey's comments, I post about 99.9%.  There are not many people here who can say I've not put their post through moderation unless it was virtually content free or nasty.

I'm coming a little late to this, but I submitted a couple of brief but not nasty comments that asked questions that Ftk was running away from on this site. Neither appeared.
 
Quote
Sal is not sleezy.  Darwin did beat a puppy in order to feel powerful.

Ftk: Can you point me to a single time when Cordova quoted this and remembered to say that Darwin was no more than six years old at the time?  If Cordova is not being sleazy, what would a sleazy person do with this information?

Date: 2007/12/03 07:37:37, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
Typical...make sure everyone knows that although he BEAT a dog to feel powerful, he later regreted it.  But, don't under any circumstances mention that the man's buddies were as power hungry as he was and decided to do away with those who were not beneficial to our evolving world (by their terms at least).

But he was not a man at the time. Have you any evidence that he was power-hungry? I think you are just writing the first thing that comes into your head. All the indications are that the opposite was true. Can you cite a single example of him attempting to exert power or authority over another? Yes, I know you will bring out the fact that he presented his theory at the same time as Wallace's was read, but he had to be persuaded to do so. His own inclination was to allow Wallace to get all the credit.

Exactly who were his buddies who 'decided to do away with those who were not beneficial to our evolving world'? Again, I think you are just demonstrating your powers of invention.

Date: 2007/12/03 09:29:01, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
Do any of you ever listen to yourselves?  You condemn us for the crimes you commit hourly.  Hello?

Then why do you find it so difficult to give a specific example of someone here telling a lie about Christianity or Christians?

Date: 2007/12/04 16:33:53, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
And we're all waiting with baited breath

Whenever I see this misspelling I think of the cat that ate some cheese then sat by the mousehole with baited breath. :D

Date: 2007/12/05 07:51:32, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Richardthughes @ Dec. 04 2007,23:26)
Dembski said he has no intention of testifying. Remember, he's not stupid, he just makes money off of those who are..

Could he be hauled in as a hostile witness?

Date: 2007/12/05 18:32:23, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (VMartin @ Dec. 05 2007,15:22)
swbarnes2

Quote

Within a strain, there are virtually no genetic differences.


Do you mean their genomes are like those of one-egg twins? It would mean that all individuals of the strain are almost homozygous for every gene in their genome. Am I wrong? It seems to me unbelievable.

That is the intent of doing the inbreeding.

Date: 2007/12/07 08:43:06, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (ERV @ Dec. 07 2007,08:03)
There was nothing in Kwoks review that violated Amazons review policy even if he didnt read 'Design'.

It seems to me you are missing the point of a book review, which is to actually review the book. A criticism of the author's previous work is not a review, no matter how much you may enjoy the criticism nor how accurate the criticism. Writing a criticism of someone's work or beliefs and presenting it as a review of a book that has not actually been read is quite simply a lie.

I saw the review together with the complaints about it and Kwok's replies. The overall impression I came away with was that no, he probably had not read the book.

To me, arguing that someone does not need to read a book to write a review about it descends to a similar moral level to FtK's defence of Cordova's repeated claims that Darwin beat up a puppy. We know that IDers have to resort to dishonest tactics to support their position. There is absolutely no excuse for people who accept the theory of evolution.

Date: 2007/12/07 19:20:46, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (VMartin @ Dec. 07 2007,12:42)
I would prefer some answers to my questions.

We're still waiting for your theory.

Date: 2007/12/08 20:52:10, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Organisms fit into a nested hierarchy, which is a characteristic of things that have diverged from an original. Not only that, but using different independent traits to reconstruct family trees results in virtually identical branching patterns. The probability of obtaining such similar trees purely by chance is frequently vanishingly small. There is an introduction to the topic at TalkOrigins 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section1.html#independent_consilience).

Jim is right about proof and evidence. In science we can say that a particular theory fits all the known evidence and also that predictions made on the basis of the theory have been verified, but the theory is never proven. You can demonstrate that a brick falls when it is pushed off a roof, but it can't be proven that this will always occur.

Date: 2007/12/09 14:31:46, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
Any set of objects, whether or not they originated in an evolutionary process, can be classified hierarchically.  Chairs, for instance, are independently created; they are not generated by an evolutionary process: but any given list of chairs could be classified hierarchically, perhaps by dividing them first according to whether or not they were made of wood, then according to their colour, by date of manufacture, and so on.  The fact that life can be classified hierarchically is not, in itself, an argument for evolution. (Ridley 1985, 8.)

I did not read all of the material in the link (to a Critique of 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution) but if this is typical of the level of argument I am not impressed. Ridley (and Camp) missed the whole point, which is that to be comparable with what is found in biology, not only the chairs could be arranged in a hierarchy, but comparisons of the chemical composition of the stains or paints, the fabric used to cover the seats, the methods used to join the pieces together, would all result in the same hierarchy.

I just noticed this
 
Quote
The cytochrome c data on which Dr. Theobald relies present some puzzles from a Neo-Darwinian perspective.  First, the cytochromes of all the higher organisms (yeasts, plants, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals) exhibit an almost equal degree of sequence divergence from the cytochrome of the bacteria Rhodospirillum.  In other words, the degree of divergence does not increase as one moves up the scale of evolution but remains essentially uniform.

This shows a fundamental misunderstanding of evolution. Yeasts, plants, insects and humans have all had the same amount of time to evolve away from the common ancestor of us and Rhodospirillum. Based on this comment, I would suggest that the rest of the piece is not worth reading in detail.

Date: 2007/12/09 18:03:44, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Dec. 09 2007,15:02)
Now, I came here at the invitation of Alan Fox for the express purpose of debating the works of these scientists [Schindewolf and Berg] and their challenges to the theory of evolution.  To date, no one has shown that their claims do not have scientific merit.  In fact there seems to be a reluctance here to talk about them.  Now what conclusion am I supposed to draw from that?

You keep saying this.

Firstly, their 'theory' is completely unnecessary.
Secondly, there is no suggested, never mind plausible, mechanism whereby the organism knows what conditions it will need to adapt to in the future and what form the organism 'should' take.
Thirdly, there is no suggested means of storing the information free from corruption for millions of years.
Fourthly, there is no suggested means whereby this information could be invoked at a specific time to produce the 'correct' organism in the 'correct' era.
Fifthly, because no means of anticipating the requirement, storing the information or scheduling the changes has been proposed, there is no knowing what evidence to examine or to seek. All the evidence so far seems to consist of 'By heck, it looks like it was planned!"

In short, there is absolutely no reason to take these notions seriously.

I have mentioned these problems before but you don't seem to realize, each one of these points, in itself, is enough to show that the ideas are not sufficiently developed to warrant much serious attention.

Date: 2007/12/12 08:56:22, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Tracy P. Hamilton @ Dec. 06 2007,13:31)
32 fl. oz = 1 quart = 946 mL, so a drink of usual strength liquor is 44 mL, pretty close to your 50 mL.

Only in the US system. In the UK it is 40 fluid ounces to a quart.

I've just been trying to explain the UK/US system to a group of Canadian adults who are only familiar with litres. The US system is even crazier than the UK system, with different sizes of barrels and quarts depending on what is in them, tons that are noticably smaller than metric tonnes, grain that is measured in bushels but converted to tons using different conversion factors for each crop and so on.

After that, I really feel in need of a soothing drink. . .

Date: 2007/12/12 17:19:13, Link
Author: Richard Simons
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. -Admin]

When asked to "just prove me wrong and show me some productive scientists using ID (or whatever label you want to use) to generate results that standard reality based science is failing to" VMartin responds by saying "Have you ever heard about Louis Pasteur? He was a strong Catholic you know" once more dragging a red herring across the trail. Pasteur did not use ID and he did not generate results that standard reality based science was failing to provide.

By the way, VMartin, when are you going to reveal your alternative to the theory of evolution? We're still waiting.

Date: 2007/12/12 17:29:24, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Remembering Darwin's willingness to make derogatory comments about himself, the likely higher standard of algebra in the schools and the undoubted mathematical ability of many of the people Darwin knew, I think it quite likely that Darwin's abilities in that area compared favourably with Sal's.

I haven't read much of Sal's work. Does he always come across as so condescending (with what I suspect is very little justification)?

Date: 2007/12/16 16:40:45, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Dec. 16 2007,15:44)
The reason the nerve passes between the internal and external carotid arteries is because the giraffe evolved from a short-necked ancestor.  The giraffe most likely represents the over-specialized typolysis phase of Schindewolf's theory.

I just don't understand what causes this facination with what was a passing fad amongst some biologists 70 years ago, and that lasted for even shorter than the streamlined steam locomotives of the same era. It is pure fancy, with no evidence to support it and not even a postulated mechanism.

Date: 2007/12/17 10:00:22, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Dec. 16 2007,21:15)
I'm assuming you have not read Schindewolf's Basic Questions in Paleontology.  If you had, you'd know that Schindewolf endorsed Richard Goldschmidt's theory of Systemmutation, or the "repatterning" of the chromosomes, as a mechanism:        
Quote
This repatterning or Systemmutation, is attributed to cytologically provable breaks in the chromosomes, which evoke inversions, duplications, and translocations.  A single modification of an embryonic character produced in this way would then regulate a whole series of related ontogenetic processes, leading to a completely new developmental type.
Basic Questions in Paleontology, pg. 352, footnote (emphasis his)

That this mechanism has merit has been spelled out in this discussion by the contention that mice and men share "100%" of their genes, yet their chromosomes show complete restructuring in relation to each other.

Even if this were correct, it does not answer the problems of how organisms know what information they will need for the future, how this information is stored without being corrupted and how it is turned on at the 'correct' time. You have previously admitted you can't answer these questions and you must have known this is what I was asking about, so in future try to be more honest in your responses.

It still does not answer the question 'Why the fascination with a defunct theory?'

Date: 2007/12/20 21:15:19, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Dec. 20 2007,18:26)
There's no reason - from an unthinking, uncaring natural selection standpoint - for it to be thus.  If it truly is "the survival of the fittest", cockroaches would win out, take over the world, then die out too when their food sources ran out.  The planet would then be dead - like every other planet we know of.  (Of course, this is just an imaginary scenario where cockroaches just happen to win - you can substitute any "fit", rapidly reproducing species - it doesn't matter, one species should overtake all the others if there's no balance in nature).

That's what I mean by balance.

This is not going to happen on a global scale because of the vast number of different habitats, but it takes place on a local scale all the time. An organism becomes more plentiful it changes the local environment (it provides more food for its own diseases and things that feed on it, it reduces its own food source or whatever) with the result that fewer reproduce or even survive and there is a drop in the population, with the more fortunate ones, or the better adapted ones, surviving. Some of the basic processes in ecology driving a basic process in evolution.

Date: 2007/12/28 22:03:49, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Dec. 26 2007,19:04)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Dec. 17 2007,10:00)
It still does not answer the question 'Why the fascination with a defunct theory?'

The "fascination" continues for me because this "defunct theory" (as you call it) actually explains the fossil record better than the currently held theory.

For instance: The fossil record shows clear evidence of smooth, gradual evolution amongst the cephalopods.  This evolution is well documented, consisting of millions of fossils, across multiple continents and ages.  In fact these fossils are so numerous and so universal, they are regularly used as index fossils.  

Which brings me to my point:  It's not the smooth, gradual evolution amongst the cephalopods that are used as demarcation for indexing - it's the breaks between these periods.  You see, these breaks are also well documented, and universal.  They are always followed by new forms and types - for which there is no clear, smooth, gradual link to the past - always.  That's why they can be used for index fossils.

So there are periods of "formation of new types"; there are periods of smooth, gradual variation; and there are periods of extinction.  Then the cycle repeats.

All these things are well documented among the cephalopods.  The currently held theory only explains two of them.  Schindewolf's "defunct" theory explains them all - and I find that fascinating.

Schindewolf's musing has holes large enough to drive a truck through. His theory has no plausible (or even implausible) mechanism for anticipating, storing and implementing the required changes. Without those the theory is completely, utterly useless, explaining nothing, which is why the vast majority of biologists have regarded it as having no more than historical interest.

Date: 2007/12/29 22:17:34, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Dec. 29 2007,15:24)
If someone (at a PhD leve) doesn't even understand the material he's debating, I certainly wouldn't want to continue the endeavor.  It would make the person debating Brown to look ignorant, and it would be a waste of time for both of them.

Does the same rule apply to Walt Brown? I found his web site to be a disorganised mishmash, but stuck with it long enough to find that at one point he said the continents moved because they were flung away from the centre of the earth due to its rotation, at another point that they were moving because they were moving downhill (i.e. getting closer to the centre of the earth).

I could also find no sign that he was even aware of the problem of the vast amount of kinetic energy to be shed when stopping a continent.

If he does not understand his own theory, he has no right to expect others to understand it perfectly.

Date: 2007/12/30 10:00:16, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Dec. 29 2007,22:30)
O.M.G.  Please read the whole book before making comments like that.

(presumably referring to  
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Dec. 29 2007,22:17)

   
Quote

If someone (at a PhD leve) doesn't even understand the material he's debating, I certainly wouldn't want to continue the endeavor.  It would make the person debating Brown to look ignorant, and it would be a waste of time for both of them.


Does the same rule apply to Walt Brown? I found his web site to be a disorganised mishmash, but stuck with it long enough to find that at one point he said the continents moved because they were flung away from the centre of the earth due to its rotation, at another point that they were moving because they were moving downhill (i.e. getting closer to the centre of the earth).

I could also find no sign that he was even aware of the problem of the vast amount of kinetic energy to be shed when stopping a continent.

If he does not understand his own theory, he has no right to expect others to understand it perfectly.  

Perhaps then you could cite the paragraphs where he clarifies these points?

Date: 2007/12/31 23:13:28, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Daniel,

No, I have not read Schindewolf's book. I would probably read it if it were easily available (I do not have ready access to inter-library loan). From what you have presented, it seems to attempt to explain nothing more than can be explained by conventional evolutionary theory, while at the same time using the equivalent of sky hooks for mechanisms, so I have little incentive to make much effort to track down his book.

Is JAM correct in saying that Schindewolf lacked the courage of his convictions and never used his ideas to make testable predictions?

Date: 2008/01/09 08:34:45, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I am far from being a lawyer, but it seems to me that at present they have merely expressed an opinion that probably violates the requirements for the separation of the church and the state in a way that most people likely regard as not court-worthy. If they continue in what they consider a logical fashion, at what point would they be doing something that would open themselves up to being taken to court?

Date: 2008/01/10 18:04:09, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Jan. 10 2008,10:47)
 
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Jan. 09 2008,18:36)
   
Quote
I believe in the flood, but only because I haven't seen the evidence against it.  My main reason for believing it (other than the bible), is that the landscape looks like the aftermath of massive flood runoff when viewed from the air.  Not very scientific, I know but that's where I'm at.  (insert joke here)
 


Are you kidding?  Where in the hell does it look like that?

That isn't even worth making a joke about.  You need some help dude.

Next time you're up in an airplane -- look down.

Next time you are in your garden, dig down. There are not many places where you could find a jumble of particles of all sizes from silt to boulders plus organic remains that typically results from massive floods.

Date: 2008/01/10 19:43:08, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (VMartin @ Jan. 05 2008 @ 13:51)
What we observe is increasing structuring of mammalin functions and bodies in the two poles. The head pole - responsible for individual orientation towards the world and the opposite pole responsible for reproduction.

So the evolution of the descent of testicles into dangerous places outside of the body is directed by evolutionary forces that stand above random mutation and natural selection.

 
Quote (VMartin @ Jan. 10 2008,07:22)
   
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Jan. 10 2008,03:01)
       
Quote (VMartin @ Jan. 10 2008,02:37)
Erasmus
           
Quote

what about starfish?  where are their poles?  


And starfish are mammals too? What's your education?

Why do only mammals have "poles" VMartin?

Because reptiles and birds somehow do not have scrotal testicles outside their bodies. And that's why mammals are "only" Vertebrata having them. Just don't be afraid to use your logic.

Have I understood this correctly? Mammals have descended testicles because they have poles. Meanwhile, mammals are claimed to have poles because they have descended testicles.

Which comes first and why?

Date: 2008/01/12 09:05:53, Link
Author: Richard Simons
It seems to me that for Biblical literalists, everything is piecemeal, held together by 'Godidit'. The result is that a solution to one problem ('there were no rainbows before the Flood because refraction was different then') produces another problem ('then how did people see?')

It is similar with Schindewolf's ideas. 'Here is an explanation for different organisms apparently following the same evolutionary path.' - 'How was it implemented?' - 'Hush. We don't talk about that.'

In science, everything fits into a (generally) coherent whole, the less coherent areas being the ones that tend to get the research attention. A solution to one problem can throw light on another area. For example, the explanation for the banded pattern of magnetic orientation on the sea floor of the Atlantic also explains the distribution of volcanoes and some problems in biogeography. I know of nothing comparable produced by creationists or IDers of any stripe.

Although this thought was prompted by Daniel's reluctance to discuss the Flood, it is not intended as a criticism of that. Even if everything fits together perfectly, it is often reasonable to concentrate on one area.

Date: 2008/01/12 09:18:20, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Oldman:
You are right. It did not occur to me that accepting the biblical Flood and accepting Schindewolf requires adopting two contradictory positions.

Date: 2008/01/12 10:00:08, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
I am not saying that mutations occur at random locations in the genome.  And all mutations are related to the environment, nothing happens in a vacuum.

Then what are you saying? No-one is claiming that the environment has no effect on the number or even the type (deletion, substitution, etc) of mutations that occur. What people are saying, and you seem to be ignoring, is that there is no evidence that mutations  preferentially help the population to adapt to the current environment.

 
Quote
It may help if I clarify one thing, the environment is not just what some are trying to save

This is comparable with writing on a sports blog 'It may help if I clarify one thing, not all sports are played with spherical balls.' That you felt it was a useful thing to write tells us about your level of expertise.

Date: 2008/01/12 16:42:22, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (VMartin @ Jan. 12 2008,14:08)
But your answers is only "cooling spermatozoa" neodarwinian nonsense.

Can you please correct this summary of your answer to the question?
 
Quote
blah blah blah poles resulting from descended testicles blah blah blah blah blah descended testicles resulting from poles blah blah blah

Date: 2008/01/13 22:08:17, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Daniel, as I mentioned earlier, it is not easy for me to get hold of literature such as Schindewolf's book (I do not have access to interlibrary loan). That is why I have been asking you to provide details of the putative mechanisms for determining the future course required for evolution of an organism, for storing this information and for implementing the scheduling. You replied that you did not know, but have shown no hint of curiosity as to what these mechanisms could be. You have also shown no sign of awareness that this problem alone stops Schindewolf's ideas dead in their tracks.

BTW, thinking of checking up on things, have you dug down in your garden yet to see if you can find evidence of a global flood?

Date: 2008/01/15 04:33:28, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I was entertained by PaV writing
 
Quote
When they find genes for the expression of digits in sea anemones (sea squirts?) . . .

Sea anemones? Sea squirts? What the heck, they're all just bags of jelly.
No-one seemed to notice or think that it mattered to get the facts correct. I would find them marginally more convincing if they occasionally discussed matters of fact instead of endlessly nattering about opinions, but I suppose that is what makes them IDers in the first place and it would be less fun to read.

Perhaps someone should let them in on a secret. A prediction in science is worth nothing if it can not be potentially disproved.

Date: 2008/01/15 18:14:10, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 15 2008,09:30)
It does take time (often years) and effort to become conversant in some of these areas. When you couple that with the fact that many of these folks are barely conversant with biology at the intellectual level that we teach in junior high, it is frankly insulting to read a comment like Mark's last one.

I recently pointed out (can't remember where) that the difference in the time and effort spent gaining information and honing their skills between a newly-independent researcher and someone who has high-school biology is comparable with that between a professional hockey player and 6-year-olds playing street-hockey.

Date: 2008/01/15 22:01:47, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Jan. 15 2008,19:17)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Jan. 15 2008,18:14)
         
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 15 2008,09:30)
It does take time (often years) and effort to become conversant in some of these areas. When you couple that with the fact that many of these folks are barely conversant with biology at the intellectual level that we teach in junior high, it is frankly insulting to read a comment like Mark's last one.

I recently pointed out (can't remember where) that the difference in the time and effort spent gaining information and honing their skills between a newly-independent researcher and someone who has high-school biology is comparable with that between a professional hockey player and 6-year-olds playing street-hockey.

It seems to me (and I'm not trying to be insulting) that you educated guys have a lot of trouble explaining why you're right.  You seem to be much better at telling us uneducated saps how ignorant we are and leaving it at that.  
If you say you're right, but give--as the only reason--the fact that we are not educated, you didn't really tell us what's right about your position.  All you're doing is the equivalent of name calling.  This is just an observation.

First, I was not thinking of you when I wrote this, but of opponents of the theory of evolution in general.

Secondly, I would not expect a mathematician to be able to give me a quick run-down on Diophantine conditions in the well-posedness theory of a coupled KdV-type system, a physicist to give me a defence of their views on Lorentzian wormholes and their relationship to spacetime foam or even a linguist to tell me why the minimum scope of an operator cannot exceed its c-command domain at s-structure (to quote from a book review). I realize I fall far short of the minimum knowledge required to understand these topics.

However, at times it seems that anyone who has taken a single high-school course in biology (or not, in many cases) feels perfectly well-qualified to pour scorn on virtually every biologist in the world for accepting the theory of evolution. Do these people never have just the tiniest glimmer of a notion that perhaps they need to gain a little more knowledge before they start? For me, this is one of life's more enduring mysteries.

Date: 2008/01/16 17:08:39, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Mapou 131
 
Quote
An example (of a deleterious but unexpressed gene) might be an unexpressed gene that would cause your brain to become disconnected from your spinal cord if it became active.

136 and still going.

Date: 2008/01/17 00:15:15, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
The chance of a single cell forming randomly (according to Sir Fred Hoyle) is 10 x 40,000.  According to Emil Borel, any chance above 10 x 50 is considered mathematically impossible.

(Presumably 10^40000 and 10^50 were intended)

No biologist would ever claim that a single cell formed randomly. The fact that you present this, apparently with approval, convincingly shows that your knowledge of abiogenesis and the theory of evolution is close to zero.

Edited to insert a couple of missing words.

Date: 2008/01/17 22:13:54, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
Richard, if you are talking about me, I didn’t know that I was “pouring scorn” on respected biologists.

Mark, No, I was not thinking of you, nor indeed anyone in particular. My original comment was prompted by Albatrossity's comment which was less than favourable to you, but I was thinking in much more general terms. For example, there is always someone posting here or at PT complaining about the theory of evolution yet at the same time demonstrating that they do not even know how the word 'theory' is used in science. Most of these people either fail to respond or become increasingly abusive before leaving in a huff (Jesse Hoots, IIRC, last week called us the angels of Satan).
Quote
I spoke my mind in front of a bunch of bullies who were using language of garbage collectors were terrorizing the victims who disagrees with them.

I have had a quick look back over recent posts and failed to see anything remotely fitting this accusation. All I have seen is some people getting frustrated over covering the same ground. Can you give a link to the passage you have in mind?

Date: 2008/01/17 23:05:53, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Mark Iosim @ Jan. 17 2008,21:38)
I have to admit that I do not know much about Evolution Biology, I am as clean, as a white sheet of paper

Three days ago . . .
Quote (Mark Iosim @ Jan. 14 2008,15:11)
I do not have problem with Darwin’s theory of evolution itself and even with Darwin’s explanation of its mechanism in terms of gradual changes and selection – it was a very clever explanation given how little was known at that time. But I do have a problem with the current state of affairs with very little progress in this area. Instead we are religiously repeating the same mantra about natural selection pretending that this is a sufficient explanation of the MECHANISM of evolution.

So tell me, did you have just the tiniest glimmer of a notion that perhaps you needed to gain a little more knowledge before writing this?

Date: 2008/01/18 18:01:34, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Don't forget blue tits, great tits and of course the black-cock.

Date: 2008/01/20 00:30:44, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Steve quotes McLeroy as saying "should not be associated with the viscous, un-Christian acts of the crusaders".

I like the idea of viscous crusaders.

Date: 2008/01/20 10:41:37, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Jan. 19 2008,11:45)
From what I've seen, natural selection is given an almost god-like quality amongst many believers in the currently held theory.  It is talked about as if it is all-knowing, all-powerful, and able to predict the future and select the optimal solution for any and all potential problems.

This explains why he considers that the requirement of Schindewolf's ideas, that organisms can adapt to future events, is no big deal. He thinks that biologists assume evolution and natural selection operate the same way. (Shakes head in bemusement)

Date: 2008/01/20 20:18:21, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Watching that thread on UD on predictions must be quite an eye-opener to someone who has any idea about science but hasn't previously seen them in action. They really come across as a clueless lot of numbskulls.

Date: 2008/01/20 23:28:40, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I was actually thinking of something both slimy and sticky, like a well-sucked gum-drop :-/

Date: 2008/01/21 08:54:57, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (stevestory @ Jan. 21 2008,08:23)
Richard hasn't been reading AtBC.  :D

Yes I have! I knew they had very little clue about evolution but I don't normally read UD (I leave it to more dedicated souls) and had not fully realized just how truly ignorant they are of what happens in science. Having comment after comment repeatedly missing the point and spouting rubbish really hammers it home. Deleting the comments that point out that others are not answering the question was a bonus.

Date: 2008/01/24 18:13:01, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Everyone is making me wonder why on earth I am here - I went for a walk at the weekend and saw ravens, 2 grey jays, 4 black-capped chickadees and heard a boreal chickadee before my forehead started to ache and I went back inside. But it did look beautiful.

Date: 2008/01/25 18:37:35, Link
Author: Richard Simons
The reference to coyotes reminds me that over Christmas we visited a national park to the south of our house (Riding Mountain, Manitoba) and had excellent views of a moose standing in the road and a few minutes later of a wolf in snow by the side of the road. My son, who was a few minutes ahead of us, said five had crossed the road and this was the last one who stopped to watch the people watching him.

One of my more gratifying (in retrospect) wildlife experiences was when we stopped at a small town in South Africa just south of Springbok. I spent a long time studying the larks that were running around the short grass near the filling station, with my binoculars in one hand and the field guide in the other trying to figure out just what they were. I had no success, but a few months later a new field guide came out with them illustrated - they had not been noticed as a different species earlier.

Date: 2008/01/29 19:17:14, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Jan. 29 2008,14:44)
Hey,  Erasmus...is all of this true about your family, or is that site complete BS??

   
Quote
Unfortunately, Darwin's family tree was marred by infidelity, untimely deaths, and drug abuse. Erasmus' first wife, Mary, was Darwin's paternal grandmother. She died in 1770 at the age of thirty from cirrhosis of the liver brought on by acute alcoholism, combined with a massive overdose of opium administered by Erasmus himself while she was intoxicated. (6)

Darwin's maternal uncle, Thomas Wedgewood, abandoned a formal career in 1792 and became an opium addict, dying from an overdose of the drug in 1805.

Erasmus' oldest surviving son, Erasmus ll, an uncle on Charles Darwin's paternal side, committed suicide, possibly due in part to depression and grief over the deaths of his mother and older brother (the first Charles Darwin), and from, as historian John Bowlby put it, "his father's lack of sympathy, impatience, and frequent unfavorable comparisons with his brilliant older brother."(7)

Within four years after his wife's death Erasmus had sired two illegitimate children by a maid-servant with whom he lived. Later he began an affair with a married woman who eventually became his second wife after the untimely death of her husband. Thus in Darwin's grandfather's practice we find unhappy wives dying while being administered vast quantities of opium, and unnecessary husbands dying to make room for Erasmus. The result of this was a large family over which Erasmus ruled, in the words of Anna Seward, like a "tyrant."


Just curious, and I thought you'd be the one to know...being Darwin's grand daddy and all.

Who cares? (Although the fact that you think it worth posting gives another little insight into how your mind works.)

What I want to see is for you to provide some more answers to that list of questions you keep avoiding.

Date: 2008/02/02 22:33:17, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Feb. 02 2008,22:03)
It's difficult to get to know them over there because they don't get personal, but rather stick very closely to the subject of each post.

You are talking about UncommonDescent are you?

The place where they had a post asking about predictions made by Intelligent Design that later proved to be correct and got something like 150 comments, not one of which addressed the point of the post?

Date: 2008/02/03 09:55:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Have you pointed out that the Theory of Evolution does not specify that a supernatural designer was not involved, it just does not require that one was involved? I would tend not to argue that there is no supernatural designer but that one is not needed. Can he point to anything that could not have evolved, remembering that there is a big difference between 'I cannot imagine how' and 'this violates the laws of physics or chemistry'? He cannot blame the TOE for his own lack of imagination.

In his view, exactly how does the designer actually make the required changes to organisms? This is one of the things I find hardest to imagine. Does God (presumably) cause a strand of DNA to get broken here and a nucleotide to be inserted there, and if so how could this be distinguished from random changes?

A crucial point about the fossil data is that it all fits into a nested hierarchy, exactly as if evolution were true. In addition, the information from genetic studies fits the same nested hierarchy. For even a small tree, the probability of this happening by chance is extremely small, sufficient to make the construction of a 747 by a tornado look commonplace (I have seen data on this but I can't recall where). Other traits such as geographical distribution are in accordance too. It can confidently be predicted that organisms not yet discovered will also fit into this hierarchy. No-one will ever find a bat with a beak or a tree fern with colourful flowers.

Have you been able to pin him down into telling you just what he would accept as evidence that evolution has taken place?

Good luck!

Edit: to insert a missing word.

Date: 2008/02/03 10:03:43, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Assassinator @ Feb. 03 2008,08:02)
He says that a replicator can't arise from stochastic processes because that would violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

I forgot to add:
Ask him to explain the second law of thermodynamics in his own words because he does not understand it and has probably forgotten the crucial 'in a closed system' part. Also ask why, if abiogenesis violates a fundamental physical law, in more than 100 years physical scientists have ignored this point?

Date: 2008/02/03 23:12:42, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Kristine, I see your comment (and a later one) did appear. I also sent off something which has just been added:
Quote
Far from being censored, the Intelligent Design community has its own 'scientific' journal, Proceedings in Complexity and Design, which has not been appeared in over two years. No hypotheses are being proposed, no theories are being tested, no research is being done and so there is nothing to publish.

Bob Ellis said 'evolution scientists do start with the assumption that there is no God, finish with the assumption that there is no God, and allow for no possibility whatsoever in their research that there may be a God.'
This is complete and utter rubbish. There are many evolutionary biologists who are Christian or otherwise believe in a God.

I agree that all evidence will fit in with a version of the creation story and that is why it is not science. There is no conceivable finding that cause someone to say 'Oh. It looks like God did not do it.'

On the other hand, the results that Theophrastus Bombastus says would make him consider that evolution might be correct would, in fact, cause major, major problems for the theory of evolution.

The results Bombastus says might make him reconsider are a group of fruit flies turning into hummingbirds

Date: 2008/02/03 23:49:10, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Ftk,
As you've obviously got plenty of time to write long posts, how about answering some of those questions left over from earlier, the ones you did not have time for?

Date: 2008/02/04 18:58:39, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Assassinator @ Feb. 04 2008,09:00)
Give them the opportunity to view facts, and not interpretations of facts.

I don't think she can tell the difference.

Date: 2008/02/04 23:27:29, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I just sent something there. From memory (I stupidly deleted it before copying it) it was

Quote
Not all scientists take the attitude that the universe came about through natural processes with no supernatural influence or intervention. However, all scientists do take the attitude that it is not possible to scientifically investigate supernatural causes.

If you disagree with this, please describe an experiment that could be done or data that could be collected that would investigate a possible supernatural cause (remember, to be science there must be the possibility of an answer showing that there is no supernatural cause).

Date: 2008/02/05 19:29:34, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Notice how FtK is using one of her common tactics - attempting to change the topic of the discussion away from one she finds uncomfortable.

So, FtK, do you agree that perhaps, on just this occasion, Luskin has done something that does not meet the highest standards of honesty? (Predicted reply, if any, along the lines of 'I see far worse every day on AtBC'.)

Date: 2008/02/06 08:12:12, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Richard Simons @ Feb. 05 2008,19:29)
So, FtK, do you agree that perhaps, on just this occasion, Luskin has done something that does not meet the highest standards of honesty? (Predicted reply, if any, along the lines of 'I see far worse every day on AtBC'.)

How about it, FtK? So far, it looks like my predictive success is at least as good as that of ID.

Date: 2008/02/07 12:55:35, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Zachriel @ Feb. 07 2008,12:36)
Yet chimpanzees do know about pretense and how to tease. They also seem to enjoy slapstick.

Not just chimps. Our dogs have done what could only be dog jokes, for example the time when our dog was told to get in the back of the station wagon, where she normally travelled. She quickly sprinted to the front passenger door, jumped in and bounced over the seats into the back, where she sat looking pleased. She has also grabbed the back leg of our other dog as he was jumping into a lake, with gratifying results.

Date: 2008/02/09 00:09:59, Link
Author: Richard Simons
bililiad, on OW
 
Quote
I am educated, with a law degree and many years of legal practice behind me. Why should I not be entitled to contribute to the debate about the biological origins of life?

 
Quote
No Christian mother would sleep with a monkey. And yet that is exactly what evolutionism claims - that our great-great-great-great-great-great grandmothers slept with monkeys.

For answer to first quote, see second quote.

Date: 2008/02/09 11:10:28, Link
Author: Richard Simons
After noticing that the photo to illustrate her haiku post still has a watermark, I couldn't help wondering if she stole the heron photo for the birds-to-dino post. The image on her web page links to sciencedaily's image. Sciencedaily credits iStockphoto who sell images.

Yup. Looks to me like she stole the photo. Why am I not surprised?

Edit to clarify.

Date: 2008/02/09 11:21:14, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Feb. 09 2008,10:49)
Dear lord you can't actually WANT a Thatcher can you? She pushed the UK to the brink of utter collapse!

She also turned it into a much less caring society.

Her reputation seems to be a lot better outside the UK than it is within the country. Near the end of her reign I was travelling on a train. I had shared one or two pleasantries with the man next to me but we hadn't said much until the train stopped in Grantham. There he turned to me and said 'This is where that woman comes from, you know.' I did indeed.

Date: 2008/02/09 15:38:20, Link
Author: Richard Simons
She now has your photo, Albatrossity, with the footnote

[HT to PNA for the photo]

Who is PNA?

Date: 2008/02/09 18:35:07, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Feb. 09 2008,17:14)
Quote (Richard Simons @ Feb. 09 2008,15:38)
She now has your photo, Albatrossity, with the footnote

[HT to PNA for the photo]

Who is PNA?

That's her latest term of endearment for me - Professor Nauseating Arrogance. Nice, huh?

It fits in with what I've learnt about her.

Date: 2008/02/10 09:55:47, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Ftk:

I for one visit your blog very rarely, but I just went there out of mild curiosity to see your thought to brighten a January day in February and to see if you really did refer to bird-to-dino evolution. While there, I admired the photos, noticed the watermark on one and, in view of Luskins recent theft of a logo, wondered where you got your images from.

I probably won't be back again for a while but, come to think about it, what about images on earlier posts . . . ? ???

Date: 2008/02/10 18:43:21, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
Darwin couldn’t solve differential equations because that requires calculus, and Darwin couldn’t even do high school algebra, much less do calculus, much less differential equations

In the UK calculus and differential equations are part of high school maths. Sal needs to get around a bit more.

Date: 2008/02/11 00:36:35, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Feb. 11 2008,00:03)
I'm sorry, but I believe what I say about Eugenie...no lies involved.

You still don't get it, do you? You presented us with what you claimed were facts, but were completely unable to back them up with any evidence other than your opinion. I've lost count how many times people here have pointed out to you that your opinions are neither facts nor evidence yet you are still treating them as the same.

When you make accusations against other people as though they are fact but are unable to justify them except by retreating to 'I believe what I say', in my book you have come so close to lying as to make no real difference. How would you feel if I were to come to your church and announce to people that I knew for a fact that you abused your children, but when pressed for evidence I fell back on 'Well, I believe it to be true'? Before making accusations against Eugenie Scott or PZ or anyone you should make absolutely certain that it is true, with robust evidence to back you up, and that it's not just an intense personal dislike. But I'm not a Christian - what do I know about morals?

Date: 2008/02/11 19:15:42, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 11 2008,18:44)
As to your question of what a transitional ammonite might look like: To me (and you too apparently), they all look alike, but Schindewolf saw so many differences that he said he often could not envision what a transitional would look like between specific lineages.

If you can't see any differences then why do you accept Schindewolf's claim that they are so different that he could not envision what a transitional would look like? You should be paying attention to his evidence, not his views.

Date: 2008/02/11 19:39:30, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Following up on the discussion about 'The Other Woman' (Margaret Thatcher), it seemed to me that her actions were often in opposition to her stated aims. She claimed that she wanted to increase local control, but abolished the Greater London Council (and its excellent research department) and she restricted the ability of local councils to raise money and spend it on local needs such as public transport and subsidized housing. She claimed to want to support small enterprises and to increase choice but changed the regulations with the result that most bed and breakfast places closed. Then she was PM for a period when there was unprecedented revenue from oil and gas but it was just frittered away. I think some of her actions were needed but she was not as magnificent a leader as some claim.

Date: 2008/02/13 07:47:49, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Bob O'H @ Feb. 13 2008,01:36)
They also have not only a Green party, but also a Red-Green party.

Really? Here in Canada the Red Green Show was a comedy centered on a men's club that attracted quite a following. The central character, 'Red Green', had a regular Handyman's Corner in which he would assemble all kinds of bizarre contraptions held together by copious amounts of duct tape. They would conclude by reciting the man's prayer - "I am a man. But I can change. If I have to. I guess."

Date: 2008/02/13 08:01:28, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Nuytsia, unless things have changed since I was there, you were lucky to see choughs in Aberystwyth. Although they were in the Cwm Rheidol area they seldom seemed to reach the town. I remember watching my first choughs on Bardsey Island. With their bright red beaks and the habit of making a loud, cheerful sounding caw while flicking their wings I could see where the expression 'I felt chuffed' came from.

Date: 2008/02/13 12:36:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Dr. GH:

Your gooseberries don't look like what I know as gooseberry (Ribes spp. - currant). Do you know their scientific name?

Date: 2008/02/13 17:15:39, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Dr.GH @ Feb. 13 2008,13:58)
Quote (Richard Simons @ Feb. 13 2008,10:36)
Dr. GH:

Your gooseberries don't look like what I know as gooseberry (Ribes spp. - currant). Do you know their scientific name?

According to the Jepson Manual, and Munz (they don't always agree- understatement!), Ribes speciosum, Fuchsia-flowered Gooseberry.  Recall I have woven them together.  In the wild they are climbers, or small shubs if browsed.

That explains it. I do not know the species but it is in the same genus as the one I know, which is a small shrub with off-white, greenish flowers. The flowers did strike me as being like those of fuchsia. I had no idea that Ribes flowers could be so conspicuous.

Date: 2008/02/14 18:06:53, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Tom Ames @ Feb. 14 2008,13:32)
 
Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Feb. 11 2008,13:19)
       
Quote
a dimwit called FtK wrote:

What I am curious about is the accusation of plagerism…is it accurate?

Yes virginia, in spite of the lies told by Sal the Slime the kooky kreationist koreans plagerized the article.  Had you learned to read you could have looked at the many documents that have been posted that show side by side comparisons of the creationist article and those they stole from.  

FtK can you explain to us why creationists lie?

This is great! Sal responds to FtK's question "are the charges of plagiarism accurate?" with the defense:

   
Quote
If the footnotes were indicating the sources, it would be hard to argue plagiarism since the footnote indicates where the ideas came from, the author, and the exact page number.

Of course, 15 sec. of research would have revealed that the hypothetical citations were actually not there.

I find the way he puts this is revealing. Does he not realize that in scientific papers the references are not given as footnotes, but in a separate section at the end of the paper? Has he ever actually looked at a scientific paper?

Date: 2008/02/14 18:17:09, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Henry J @ Feb. 14 2008,14:06)
A theory is a body of knowledge about a subject.

A law is a single statement, very often a mathematical equation (or sometimes inequality), that expresses a consistently observed relationship.

Except for Mendel's Laws, which were really a statement about what he thought was going on and later conditions were added. The Law of Independent Assortment, for example, only applies to genes on different chromosomes. In fairness to him, he did not know about the relationship between chromosomes and inheritence and it seems he never ran into the problem of different traits being on the same chromosome.

Date: 2008/02/14 20:34:00, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I tried to post this on Joe's blog but I'm having difficulty opening a google account:
Quote
I must say I am puzzled by this specification stuff. As I understand it, specificity is determined with regards to function. So if I am on a beach and I come across a hard, round, white ball with dimples in it that was designed because it is just right for playing golf. If a few yards along the beach I come across a hard, round object that fits comfortably in my hand and is just right for throwing at the next adulterer I see, does that show that the stone was designed?

In other words, how can an object (organ, organelle or biochemical pathway) that was designed for a specific purpose be reliably distinguished from an object that was not designed but just happens to perform some function quite effectively?

I too am finding the argument that a string of digits is designed because someone wrote it down is vastly entertaining.

Date: 2008/02/26 18:01:07, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 26 2008,15:06)
can ID produce compelling evidence and arguments to back up their theories?

Before they do that they need to come up with a theory. If they ever manage to do that, then there will be something to test and scientists will start to be interested.

While interviewing for the film, did you ever ask anyone what would constitute evidence that ID is not correct? That is an essential requirement for any notion to be considered a hypothesis.

Date: 2008/02/27 18:37:58, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Feb. 27 2008,11:03)
I think you ask a very telling question here: What difference does the origin of life make to current evolutionary theory about the diversity of life? (I'm summarizing.) There are two ways to answer that question. First, if it makes no difference (as you seem to be saying) then what's all the fuss about ID?

The fuss about ID is that it is an attempt to introduce religious, non-scientific notions into school science instruction. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support it, there is no theory, no predictions and no possible way to refute the idea that a god or gods had a hand in developing the great variety of life on Earth. In short, it is a completely empty concept.

You imply that ID is only concerned with the origin of life on Earth. I suspect many supporters of the concept would strongly disagree with you although it is hard to sure because it is a subject on which they stifle discussion.

Quote
If we look at a cancer cell as nothing but a highly successful Darwinian accident, that assumption will affect how we attempt to combat it. But if we can assume it was designed, we can reverse-engineer the cancer cell and potentially develop much more effective ways of defeating it's internal programming.

This sounds like hand-waving to me. Can you give an example of the kind of 'reverse-engineering' you have in mind and explain why it would not be possible unless we accept that 'goddidit'?

Something that I've always wondered about in connection with 'Intelligent Design' is that designing a car, a building or a dress does not result in the car, building or dress just popping into existence. Someone has to actually make it. Can you tell me how IDers envision the implementation of any design process? Sprites pushing around bits of DNA, angels zapping nuclei or what?

But before you answer any of these questions, what is the Theory of Intelligent Design?

Date: 2008/02/28 16:52:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (rhmc @ Feb. 28 2008,16:34)
sigh.

ya'll done run off another one.

I wonder if it will count as another IDer being expelled?

Date: 2008/02/29 07:56:33, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I wonder if Kevin, who clearly knows very little about science, thought that the IDers had a case when he made the film but but now knows, or suspects, that they took him for a ride. I imagine it would be a very difficult situation as there is no way to back out gracefully and without being attacked.

Date: 2008/02/29 10:23:12, Link
Author: Richard Simons
He's back. Hi, Paul! Any replies to the questions?  
Quote
51 user(s) active in the past 15 minutes
33 guests, 18 Public Members and 0 Anonymous Members   [ View Complete List ]
>Richard Simons >Turncoat >Trogdor >Henry J >Steverino >oldmanintheskydidntdoit >J-Dog >Doc Bill >Paul Nelson >Thought Provoker >ppb >Richardthughes >Gunthernacus >MarkVarley >Arden Chatfield >huwp >Erasmus, FCD >Louis
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
No members are celebrating a birthday today   [ View Calendar ]

Date: 2008/03/01 23:34:07, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Socrates @ Mar. 01 2008,23:09)
speciation hasn't been observed nor is there evidence for it because it can't happen.

How do you know that speciation has not been observed? If it had, would that cause you to change your views? If you knew, for example, that grapefruits, Fatshedera helix, Spartina townsendii, Primula kewensis and triticale are all species of plants that have arisen in the last two or three hundred years would that cause you to wonder if your original source of information was misleading?

Quote
There's no dog with wings

If there were such a creature, it would cause a major problem for the theory of evolution.

Quote
If an ape is to become a human, it would have to somehow be born bipedal and start walking bipedally, and conceiving bipedal apes.

Most apes are bipedal, at least to some degree. There is recent evidence (sorry, I do not have a link, but you've probably seen photos of the family who do not walk upright) that there is a simple gene change that makes it very much easier to walk upright.

The whole tenor of your post tells me you have only the vaguest idea of what the theory of evolution is and what it implies. I suggest that before you go any further you ask questions about things that bother you rather than automatically assuming that 1,000,000 biologists and geologists are stupid.

Date: 2008/03/02 13:36:16, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Bob O'H @ Mar. 02 2008,13:02)
Shocking news, as reported by me at my new blog home:

The Biologic Institute's webpage has evolved.

It now has an empty blog too.

They've done more than that. If you go to 'Authors' you find
Quote
Doug Axe daxe@biologicinstitute.org

Doug is Biologic Institute's Director of Research.

Date: 2008/03/06 07:56:15, Link
Author: Richard Simons
My reaction was similar, but it brought back long-forgotten memories of frustration.

Date: 2008/03/06 11:24:52, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (J-Dog @ Mar. 06 2008,08:53)
Quote (Richard Simons @ Mar. 06 2008,07:56)
My reaction was similar, but it brought back long-forgotten memories of frustration.

Richard Simmons:

file not found...try again...

c:/dos/frustration.exe

Oy! Don't confuse me with that other guy!
(Although we do have similar hair)

Date: 2008/03/09 18:02:39, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Guest @ Mar. 09 2008,14:37)
ABC/Larry said: (quoting sorted out)
 
Quote
Mike Elzinga said:

There have been a number of proposals and course designs that would integrate evolution throughout the entire course by making it the central theme or thread that runs throughout.

That's ridiculous -- it would be like trying to integrate Newton's laws of motion throughout an entire physics course.    It either couldn't be done or it would look ridiculous -- like a physics textbook chapter on electricity & magnetism having a big discussion on how Newton's laws of motion apply to the parts of a generator.     You Darwinist crackpots are really going off the deep end.    You are living in a dream world where you think that you can have a biology course that is designed to insult fundies and other Darwin Doubters.    You ought to be locked up in a looney bin.
 
Not at all. Comments like this merely serve to emphasize how little you know of biology. When I took both botany and zoology at high school in the UK (they were taught as separate subjects) evolution was the thread than ran through them both. I think it was required by the curriculum but the botany teacher in particular emphasized the way in which the organisms' evolution tied everything together.

Date: 2008/03/11 05:31:24, Link
Author: Richard Simons
bfast, I am not convinced that you have the concept of alleles completely straight as you use the word in an idiosyncratic manner.
Quote
My bet is that there is no less than 1000 alleles that affect the phenotype within humanity.

Here you seem to be using allele when you actually mean locus. If we think of genes as being strung out along a chromosome, each position is referred to as a locus. At some of the loci there may be variants in the gene, called alleles. In a diploid organism, such as humans, each individual can, at most, have just two alleles for any one trait even though in the population as a whole there may be hundreds of alleles for this trait.

It is not normal to refer to people as differing by a certain number of alleles, partly because what do you if two people are heterozygous and have three alleles between them? I suspect part of the problem may be that the word 'gene' is used in two ways. It usually means 'locus' but is also used to mean 'allele' so whenever you see it you need to be sure which meaning is intended.

I am writing this in the middle of the night because I could not sleep. I hope I don't look at it in the morning and realize it is really obtuse.

Date: 2008/03/11 21:00:03, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (bFast @ Mar. 11 2008,11:30)
An allele is a variant of the same protein.  Somewhere in the genome there is a protein that controls for eye color.

No, alleles are not proteins. Although in the 1950s it was thought that the genetic material might be protein it has been known for over 40 years that is nucleic acids.

 
Quote (bFast @ Mar. 11 2008,18:31)
JAM, and the other peanut gallery critics,  has it dawned on you that Zachriel, an actual Ph.D. biologist, has not questioned my understanding of what an allele is.  Convince him that I misunderstand or SHUT UP!!

That Zachriel has not blatently criticized your use of allele does not make it correct. I too have a Ph.D., perhaps not in genetics but I have taken several post-graduate courses in plant breeding. Your usage of 'allele' has been, shall we say, different.

Date: 2008/03/16 09:46:30, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (skeptic @ Mar. 16 2008,01:15)
And no matter how many pictures you throw up there Assassinator, starvation is not evil, it's a fact of life.

Then what would you consider to be evil? For too many people starvation is both evil and a fact of life.

 
Quote
I don't know understand how you can embrace this ideal of the whole world at peace with everyone prosperous and happy and at the same time view faith in God as untenable.

What a strange comment. It is the fact that the ideal of peace and prosperity for all of creation is unattainable that convinces many that belief in an omniscient, benevolent, all-powerful god is untenable.

Reed's comments on the links you gave are spot on.

Quote (skeptic @ Mar. 16 2008,09:29)
2) Take responsibility for you actions and recognize that others are responsible for theirs.

This comes across as pompous and self-satisfied. Only someone who has never been in an inescapable situation in which they are suffering through no fault of their own could imply that taking responsibility is sufficient to avoid suffering from all forms of evil. How, exactly, could the starving child in the photo have avoided the suffering by taking personal responsibility? What should they (or their parents) have done differently? Assume, for the sake of argument, that they were caught up in a massive crop failure resulting from a changing climate.

Date: 2008/03/17 21:26:42, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (guthrie @ Mar. 17 2008,18:03)
Just to check, my limited understanding is that a bell shaped curve is what you would expect if it was random...

It depends on what you are looking at. If you are looking at random variation about a mean then yes, a bell-shaped distribution is what would be expected. If you are looking at the score when you roll a die (only statisticians use the correct singular!) you would expect a uniform distribution.

On the other hand, the total score when you roll a number of dice approximates to a normal (bell-shaped) distribution.

Date: 2008/04/13 12:19:51, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Louis @ April 13 2008,11:20)
Think about millions of refugees trying to get to countries that are marginally safer than where they are, think about extreme weather patterns becoming more common, sufficiently common to make certain very densely populated parts of the world uninhabitable, think about where those people are going to go and how they are going to get there.

Think about a country with a million refugees wanting to enter. On a climate blog someone once claimed that global warming was no problem - just turn up the air conditioning a little and if necessary move a few miles inland. I asked if she was willing to accept 10 million Bangladeshis moving to West Virginia and she stopped replying.

Considering extreme weather patterns, a recent New Scientist  has an item about a wheat stem rust race that is spreading out from Ethiopia. It seems that Hurricane Gonu, the first recorded for that part of the world, has hastened the spread of this rust to India and China where it could reduce yields by 40% until resistant varieties are developed. Scary stuff (China's wheat production is about twice that of the US, India's about 50% more).

BTW: There are several species of ginseng (Panax), also called sarsaparilla, found in North America.

Date: 2008/04/16 08:15:42, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (carlsonjok @ April 16 2008,08:07)

Which brings to mind one of Dave's Greatest Hits(in part):
 
Quote
I missed a few months of it last year in protest over John Rennie’s crusade against ID. For the first time in decades I let my subscription lapse and promised to never subscribe to it again. So I told my wife it would make a nice Valentine gift and now she subscribes to it for me so I can have my cake and eat it too. After all, I didn’t promise to stop reading it, I only promised to stop subscribing to it.

So there.

This reminds me of the story a friend told that he insisted was true (aren't they all). While travelling on a train he got in conversation with the rabbi sitting opposite him. The talk got around to religion and the friend said 'I thought you weren't supposed to travel on the Sabbath?' The rabbi replied 'It's allowed if you are travelling on water' and pulled out a hot water bottle he'd been sitting on.

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

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

Date: 2008/04/17 08:07:53, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Louis @ April 17 2008,05:17)
Better than that we have hard, in your face, clear evidence that certain anthropogenic aspects of climate change and ecological change ARE ALREADY doing lots of damage environmental, ecological, economic and political (in the sense that they provide yet further problems for extant governments to deal with).

I wonder how much damage will need to be done before people in general start to react? I have taught adults in a community in which the heavy supplies are brought in during the winter along a 200+ km road made across swamps and lakes. In recent years there have been problems with the winters not being long and hard enough so they have had to use more, smaller trucks and also fly in some of the supplies. People are certainly aware of some of the consequences of global warming. Yet in the building where I was teaching I counted 7 broken windows (holes, not cracks). Almost everyone smoked so the door was left wide open to clear the fug and the heating was going full blast, this in February when a mild day is when the temperature climbs to -15C.

I suspect many people will not change much until real change is forced upon them, whether by law or by the cost of being extravagant.

P.S. Louis: Don't ever confuse me with that Simmons guy! I am not airy-fairy (at least, I don't think so) and I'm not into fitness exercises, but we do have similar fly-away hair :-)

Date: 2008/04/17 10:50:16, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (George @ April 17 2008,09:37)
Richard and you are defining science and scientists in this context differently.  You're restricting yourself to climatologists.

Just to be clear, I think a wide range of scientists has to be involved including biologists, agronomists and sociologists. Economists and experts in international law too will have useful input. All of these experts need to be able to express their opinions to the politicians who will, in the end, make the decisions. They might decide to ignore the opinions but at least they will know what they are.

Date: 2008/04/17 11:20:22, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (skeptic @ April 17 2008,07:55)
Isn't it odd that every single significant impact of GW is negative?  The changing climate is a neutral occurrence and yet we can only see the downside.  I believe this is a product of psychology and resistance or fear of change more than actual science.  If food supply is the number one challenge facing the species, which I happen to agree with, then how could a slightly warming environment have a net negative impact on that?

The problem is not necessarily that change is bad, it is that it is likely to happen relatively quickly. If the grain belt in North America moves north (as seems to be happening) then grain elevators and rail lines in the south will be abandoned well before they are due to be replaced. Others will need to be built in areas that are currently largely uninhabited (and have poor soil).

A relatively minor change in temperature can be devastating for crop yields. A couple of days of 35C at pollination can reduce rice yields by 30% or more and temperature at pollination is also critical for corn and wheat. There are also other effect, on disease, pests, weeds, rainfall, irrigation requirements and so on. However, one of the greatest problems is that we just don't know what will become a problem in the next decade or two, never mind what might concern over the longer term.

Date: 2008/04/17 20:16:21, Link
Author: Richard Simons
BWE: I agree with you about people's attitudes to Malthus and the Club of Rome. The concepts, that resources are not infinite, are still valid even if their numbers have turned out to be wrong. I wish all economists could be required to take an ecology course with a hefty dose of population dynamics.

In the distant past when I was a student at UCNW (Bangor) the professor, J.L. Harper (an ecologist) made a comment I've never forgotten. 'Agriculture is an experiment and we won't know if it has been successful until humanity reaches a steady state.'

Date: 2008/04/17 21:38:40, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
skeptic

How about the wheat farmers that want to change to rice farming?

Rice needs at least twice as much water as wheat, say 1m or more during the growing season. There are not many places currently growing wheat that get this much rainfall. Paddy rice also needs to be grown on flat land that can be flooded without promptly draining away. Of course, there is upland rice but its yields are much lower.

Date: 2008/04/18 15:19:40, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ April 18 2008,12:13)
Since this is Expelled! day, I thought it only fitting to memorialize those expelled from UD:

I was never formally banned, but a post I submitted (IIRC politely suggesting that adding farts to a video of a judge did not advance science) did not appear, and next time I submitted something I was told that comments from my IP address were not allowed.

Date: 2008/04/21 21:37:31, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ April 21 2008,20:11)
And let's hope for his sake that if Grove City has a tenure process, they don't care whether their faculty publish or bring in grant money.

I think I recently read somewhere that Grove City does not provide tenure and hires on one year contracts, but I can't find it now. Perhaps someone here knows for sure?

Date: 2008/04/22 13:00:18, Link
Author: Richard Simons
From the Biologic Institute's Research page:
 
Quote
The second question is being addressed by examining what it takes for cells to work the way they do. What would be needed for a working genetic code to originate? What would the simplest possible metabolic system for a free-living organism look like? What would the simplest force transducing molecular machine look like? How would new protein folds appear in working form?

These are difficult problems, but they can all be addressed. The key is to couple what we know about complex systems in general with what we can observe for specific biological systems.

To get answers, at least provisional ones, we are examining the properties of stars that make Earth-like planets possible. We are looking at the nature of information and codes, and probing molecular machines and enzyme folds. We are modifying, analyzing, and modeling genes and genomes, and building model systems to see how they evolve.

Is studying the stars really an efficient way to determine the simplest possible metabolic system for a free-living organism?

Date: 2008/04/23 21:48:36, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Today a colleague was going to treat us to (Canada) goose for lunch but as just a few have arrived so far he was only able to get one which we divided amongst us. The flavour was good but from the part-leg I had I think it must have walked here.

At the weekend I saw the first rusty blackbird, a grey heron (we are at about the northern limit of their range) and a flock of about 20 sandhill cranes. The ravens seem to be paired up and are doing aerobatics. A colleague saw two bald eagles feeding on road kill the previous weekend but so far I've not seen any.

The lakes are still mainly ice-covered but most of the snow has gone. In a melting snow-bank at the edge of town I saw what looked distinctly like wolf droppings (large, more hair than anything else).  The pussy willow is out, the trees are changing colour as the buds expand and there are a few tiny green shoots showing here and there.

Date: 2008/04/24 08:26:40, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Mr_Christopher @ April 23 2008,22:56)
Sorry if this has already been discussed, I'm behind in the thread but I wanted to say this Chuck Norris article is historical for many reasons.  You have to read it to believe it:

Win Ben Stein's Monkey - Chuck Norris, Town Hall.com

Was it by accident or by design that it has an illustration of a booby alongside it?

Date: 2008/04/26 11:02:31, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (skeptic @ April 25 2008,19:55)
The idea that CO2 levels have changed dramatically throughout history reinforces the robust nature of climate to withstand variability.

I have no idea what you are trying to say here.
Quote (skeptic @ April 22 2008,07:11)
I'm more inclined to trust the resilience of this massively complex system called Earth then to accept that we can dramatically alter it after about 200 years of industry.

Do you have any other explanation for this graph?


 
Quote (skeptic @ April 26 2008,09:35)
What we have is history and historical data points and current data points.  So ignoring a question of the quality of the data at this point we're going to build a model based upon past climate and past data and bring that forward in an attempt to model current climate.  When I produce a model using a data set I can get fairly accurate with an interpolative model but the true test comes when I try to extrapolate.  Say for a climate model we look at CO2 and temperature change (this is obviously simplistic but just as an example) over a period of time.  Over our data set both temp and CO2 increase and we end up with a model in which we can predict the temperature increase as a function of increasing CO2 conc.  Good so far right.

No. My understanding, admittedly not profound, is that this is not how the climate is modelled. The models are built from basic physical principles and the past and current climate is used purely as validation for the models.

I agree with people about media reports being too simplistic. About a year ago there was a flurry of support here in Canada for developing biofuels that completely ignored the energetic costs of producing the fuel. For many years I have been struck by the demand for everything possible to be biodegradable, yet if we are serious about reducing atmospheric CO2 this is the last thing we need. Far better to leave the carbon locked up in plastics than to release it as CO2. I know, we also don't want escaped fishing nets to be catching and killing fish for the next 1000 years but my point is that there are few simple answers.

I'm sorry about the scrappy (as in 'wandering minstrel', not fox terrier-like) post.

Date: 2008/04/26 14:12:43, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (skeptic @ April 26 2008,12:25)
Ok, for Assassinator and Richard both, or at least it's the same theme, we can look at to variables that may increase independently but have no correlation between them.  It is possible that CO2 and temp can increase and have no connection.  The model will reflect the variables we use and we have to hope that the variables that we selected are the correct ones.

The way you phrase this implies that climatologists knowingly leave out factors that may affect climate when in fact they try to include everything that they can model. What do you suggest is being omitted?
 
Quote
I could speculate or make up something like there is a third variable not shown and CO2 and temp are both a function of it.  But that's just fantasy . . .

It may be fantasy but isn't it what you are relying on to justify not paying much attention to the subject? Do you have any suggestions as to what might be a third, more basic, variable or are you just engaging in wishful thinking? Your argument is akin to saying that we don't know that birds flapping their wings results in them flying, it may be that there is a third variable that causes both the flapping of wings and the birds flying.
 
Quote

If I remember right the predicted increase in the eighties was 2-5C over the next 50 to 100 years and we've actually seen a .4-.6C increase over the last 25.  That would indicate a significant deviation but that's not firm I'm gonna go back and look that up to make sure I've got that right

You may be thinking of this
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/103/39/14288/F2
The upper line, the one that comes closest to your predicted increase, was Hansen's extreme scenario. His most plausible scenario (B) is much closer to what has actually been observed.

Date: 2008/05/04 00:28:16, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Assassinator:
The European nuthatch is fairly common, especially around old deciduous, rough-barked trees like oak. They are the only bird that habitually goes head-first down tree trunks and under large branches. Usually you hear them first - their call has been described as like fairy trumpets. And yes, they are attractive, especially as they can be more stongly-coloured than the one in the photo.

Date: 2008/05/04 00:40:38, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ May 03 2008,03:43)
Stuff like this no doubt
 
Quote
Remember Richard Sternberg? The NCSE consulted with the Smithsonian on how to best make Sternberg’s life a living hell for daring to challenge Darwinian orthodoxy.


Yes, being asked to hand back some keys and change office sure is a "living hell".

Hey, come on! Fair dos. He also had to return a shelf or two of overdue library books and some biological specimens he'd taken without permission.

Date: 2008/05/06 07:54:26, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
Darwin didn't come to his theory by way of experimentation and falsification and all of that.

Once I read that I just scanned the rest. Someone who could write something that is so wrong is unlikely to have anything useful to say.

Date: 2008/05/10 22:33:05, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Quidam @ May 10 2008,11:29)
 Without Photoshop the results were either very dark and sharp or just dark and fuzzy.

Pinhole cameras were used for extremely long exposures such as those scenes of streets that look deserted except for a few ghostly images of parked cars.

Date: 2008/05/13 23:10:33, Link
Author: Richard Simons
"Sometimes avoiding that trailing preposition simply results in a clumsy sentence"

Is this one of those rules introduced by 18th century grammarians on the grounds that you can't do it in Latin, which everyone knows is the perfect language?

Date: 2008/05/14 18:25:04, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Quidam @ May 14 2008,14:39)
Surely that would only be justified if the truck tried to mount one in front...

When I first came to Canada I was surprised to see trucks apparently in amphiplexus. I tried to find a photo to link to, but no success.

Date: 2008/05/20 23:32:54, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I'm in the sticks in Manitoba, an 8-hour drive north of Winnipeg and 3 hours south of Thompson, in a place where the cultural highlights are the Trappers' Festival and the ice fishing derbies.

I've also family in the UK (I grew up in the Manchester area) in Norfolk and Nottinghamshire, plus Calgary and Vancouver in Canada.

Date: 2008/05/21 17:08:15, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Robert O'Brien @ May 21 2008,11:09)
Quote (Richard Simons @ May 20 2008,23:32)
I'm in the sticks in Manitoba, an 8-hour drive north of Winnipeg and 3 hours south of Thompson, in a place where the cultural highlights are the Trappers' Festival and the ice fishing derbies.

I've also family in the UK (I grew up in the Manchester area) in Norfolk and Nottinghamshire, plus Calgary and Vancouver in Canada.

At least you don't live in Regina, Sasquatchewan (or however they spell it.) Whose idea was it to pronounce Regina like the female part?

Regina - the place where you can look out of your living room window and watch your dog run away from home - for three days.

Actually, from the times I've spent a few hours there it did not seem a bad place although it's getting the sprawl of big box stores that is common to all North American cities.

P.S. It used to be called Pile O'Bones from the heaps of bison bones but as a PR gesture it was renamed after Queen Victoria in the 1880s.

Date: 2008/05/25 20:54:39, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
A female blackbird, a kinda dull and normal bird but the song it sang was still really nice, but I'm definatly not sure

The male blackbird (which is the one that does the singing) is jet black with a bright yellow beak. The starling is chunkier with a dull beak but if you see it reasonably well you can see it is spotted, not uniform black and I would not describe its song as sweet. If it was brown, likely contenders are the thrushes but they are light underneath with obvious dark spots. They, like the blackbird, have clear, fluty songs.

The blackbird is the one that is most likely to be comfortable enough around people to enter a building (at least, in the UK). I remember one that used to come into a lunch room and pick up crumbs from under the tables while people were sitting there. When the janitor saw it he rushed at it, shouting and waving his arms. The bird would quickly fill its beak with everything within reach and casually fly out inches in front of him.

Date: 2008/05/29 07:58:35, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I followed EyeNoU's suggestion and took a look at www.rae.org (The Revolution Against Evolution). One item that interested me was the 'kangaroo ica stones' found in a museum in Peru. One shows a 3/4 view of a kangaroo with a joey looking out of the pouch. I do not know much about art history, but are there any other examples of 3/4 views of objects from this area and period? It seems to me it's a bit like finding a typed Dead Sea scroll.

I also came across this gem (Studies in Flood Geology FAQS by Woodmorappe)
 
Quote
What is probably the best way to explain why different fossils are found in different rock layers?

The tendency of pre-Flood crust to have sunk at different rates must have ordained fossils to be deposited in the same crude relative order throughout the world.

???

Date: 2008/05/29 17:21:44, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (JohnW @ May 29 2008,11:22)
Quote (Richard Simons @ May 29 2008,05:58)
I followed EyeNoU's suggestion and took a look at www.rae.org (The Revolution Against Evolution). One item that interested me was the 'kangaroo ica stones' found in a museum in Peru. One shows a 3/4 view of a kangaroo with a joey looking out of the pouch. I do not know much about art history, but are there any other examples of 3/4 views of objects from this area and period? It seems to me it's a bit like finding a typed Dead Sea scroll.

Manufacture of the Ica stones began in the 1960s.  So yes, there are quite a few other examples of 3/4 views of objects from this area and period.

I didn't think to check on Wikipedia (my excuse is I was in a hurry) but that also explains why I thought that the images looked very clear. The original item on RAE, of course, implied that they were old.

Date: 2008/05/29 17:47:40, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (EyeNoU @ May 29 2008,17:34)
I hope you saw the book about the Ica stones and Nazca figures. On the cover, an Inca riding a dinosaur.........

No, I didn't. I have a slow internet connection so when I saw it was a pdf of an entire book I looked no farther. Why didn't they hang on to the dinosaurs instead of just relying on unridable llamas?

Date: 2008/05/30 12:40:43, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I have absolutely no respect for Philip Bruce Heywood, but I was also puzzled as to why some of his posts were moved here, for example his request for information on how to get here.

Date: 2008/06/04 07:55:26, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Next year I am scheduled to teach Grade 10-11 Biology to adults. I was pleased to discover that evolution forms about 1/4 of the Manitoba Grade 11 curriculum (and no mention whatsoever of 'alternatives').

Date: 2008/06/04 17:29:35, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (J-Dog @ June 04 2008,10:52)
Quote (Richard Simons @ June 04 2008,07:55)
Next year I am scheduled to teach Grade 10-11 Biology to adults. I was pleased to discover that evolution forms about 1/4 of the Manitoba Grade 11 curriculum (and no mention whatsoever of 'alternatives').

Any truth to the rumor that Oh Canada will shortly require all Canadian grandmothers to undergo remedial How To Write More Better classes?

That's something else again. My wife tested a group of grade 7 students and found none who reached grade 4 reading level, and yesterday a high-school teacher told me that not one of his grade 10 students knew the word 'inherit'. Unfortunately Grandma's English is relatively good.

Edit to correct stupid punctuation.

Date: 2008/06/05 07:12:41, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (skeptic @ June 05 2008,00:44)
There are strengths and weaknesses to the theory of evolution as we currently understand and define it

I don't recall: have you ever described to us the weaknesses of the Theory of Evolution that you feel would be appropriate to bring up in a high school classroom?

Date: 2008/06/06 10:12:30, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (skeptic @ June 05 2008,09:06)
you all demonstrate the problem and to illustrate it another way, when Bush was asked what mistakes he had made he couldn't come up with any.  Why?  Because to do so would just have lent ammunition to his critics.  
<snip>
For my part, with very little effort and preparation I could present an entire lecture on the limitations of the current theory and never once mention ID or creationism.  

Your Bush analogy would be fine if you were asking us for the weaknesses of MET. However, it is the other way round, and your failure to provide any weakness is convincing evidence you have nothing.

 
Quote (skeptic @ June 05 2008,16:57)
it's amazing to me how in two years nothing about this debate has changed.

But it could all change if you were only to describe some of these mythical 'weaknesses' to us. The discussion can't advance while you are stuck in the rut 'there are many weaknesses but I'm not going to tell you what they are because if you were competent you would be fully aware of them.'

Date: 2008/06/06 11:10:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
People have mentioned some alternatives to aerospace engineering as possible careers. An engineering field that I think will expand considerably in the future is designing and building integrated industrial systems in which the waste from one component is used as the input for the next component. This is already happening to some extent, but the only examples I know of are in developing countries.

Of course, this does not have the same appeal to teenagers as aircraft and rockets, but your son has plenty of time before he needs to make a choice. In the meantime, encourage him in his current interest (as it seems you have been doing). One or two people suggested some text books. At a similar age, and I was good at maths, I would have ignored them. What I did enjoy were books of mathematical puzzles and diversions (I still have a paperback of that name) and books like 'How to lie with statistics', books that did not set out to teach maths but that made use of it.

Date: 2008/06/07 05:46:42, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (skeptic @ June 07 2008,00:44)
You could easily compare gradualism vs punctuated equilibrium or the relative influence of natural selection vs other mechanism or even explain from a historical perspective the lack of inheritance fixation until Mendel was rediscovered and what theories were prevalent in the during that period.

In what way are these 'weaknesses'?
   
Quote
This keeps scientists discussing science and nothing else.

I find this a revealing comment. Why is it imporant to you to make sure scientists only discuss science? In the context of the proposed legislation, the problem is not to keep scientists discussing science, but to keep teachers teaching science in science classes.

Date: 2008/06/11 22:00:36, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (JohnW @ June 11 2008,18:36)
So: something I've often wondered about.  Walt Brown: What's the appeal?

I gather it's that she's met him and thinks he is nice.

Date: 2008/06/13 08:09:03, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Louis makes the point about atomic theory and evolutionary theory both forming coherent explanations. Plate tectonics is another. I remember a 2-hour BBC special on the subject round about 1970, in which it seemed a tremendous amount of geological information suddenly all fell into place.

This never happens with creationist ideas. I don't know of a single creationist explanation (short of 'Goddidit') that clears up two issues at the same time. Rather, each explanation raises two or three more things that are difficult to accept (many more than that, in the case of Walt Brown) and it never flows naturally from what has gone before. I wonder, do creationists ever feel like they are getting deeper and deeper into the mire?

Date: 2008/06/14 09:39:27, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
FFS, FTK. Is this the type of "Christian" you look up to?

I think she looks up to any male who
1. Says they are Christian and that atheists are evil.
2. Says scientists are wrong.
3. Does not use coarse language.
4. She thinks looks cute.

I don't think she is capable of going beyond this in assessing a person's attitudes.

Date: 2008/06/15 10:34:47, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ June 15 2008,07:14)
By popular demand and via the kindness of Jasper, the Walt Brown thread from KCFS is now available in the archives here.

If you'd like to get all the pages for your local reading in one operation, click "Save As" on this link.

It's the first time I've ever seen a description of a hypothesis that literally starts with the word 'Conclusion'. I guess that tells us all we really need to know about it.

Date: 2008/06/15 13:27:20, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Guest @ June 14 2008,16:00)
From Historical contingency in the evolution of <i>E. coli</i>:

Richard Simons:

is there another place where we can chat about this? I think you are civil and knowledgeable. The censorship here is extreme but would like to continue our conversation. Thanks.

Thanks, but no thanks. I was commenting mainly for the benefit of lurkers. I suggest you get hold of a good first-year university biology text (i.e. one with a decent amount on evolution), study it and think about the implications. It seems to me that the time to learn about basic genetics and evolution is before you start arguing about the presence or absence of barriers, not after.

Date: 2008/06/16 08:22:12, Link
Author: Richard Simons
What I find odd is the way she keeps coming back here even though she has nothing to say. It seems to all boil down to 'Brown, Behe and a few others have interesting things to say and I think you are all mean for not taking them seriously. Also, it is only fair to teach all views in schools.' In addition, she thinks atheists lack morals and has made a few comments about religion. Other than that, has she actually ever said anything?

At least Afdave had strong views and would put forth arguments that were initially entertaining but became frustrating when he never listened to anyone else.

Date: 2008/09/03 17:40:04, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
Surely you have specific, lab-tested evolutionary pathways for scores of living systems.

I have no idea what you mean by this. Do you mean someone must have carried out a selection program to, for example, convert a population of lunged organisms to a population with swim bladders? Have you the slightest idea of how much it would cost to maintain a suitable breeding population of lungfish to do what is essentially a pointless exercise? Even if this succeeds after millenia of selection (at a bare minimum), your spiritual descendents will complain that a detailed genomic analysis of each generation was not performed.

Perhaps you could tell us exactly what it is you expect to have been done.

Date: 2008/09/03 17:56:52, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I too have an insect I'd like identifying.

It looks basically like a large ladybird larva, about 1.5 to 2 cm long, with a small, slender head and short legs. The abdomen looks like it is covered with large scales that give it a conspicuous serrate appearance. The whole animal is black on top, lighter below. I found it in a rotting log in boreal forest.

A colleague says it is a beetle larva but I do not know how good her identification skills are.

I'm sorry, my camera is not up to taking a decent photo of it but perhaps I'll get a close-up lens for Christmas . . .

Date: 2008/09/04 14:08:33, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Fusilier,

Thanks, but I did what I should have started with and searched through Google Images. On the 15th page I found something similar - a lycid beetle larva.
(Sorry - I don't know how to reduce the size of the image) The one I have is somewhat different (more taper to the abdomen, smoother thorax, all black) but it is clearly related. I currently have it living under some moss and rotting wood in a take-out salad container so I can show it to my Adult Ed Biology students when we reach a suitable point.

Date: 2008/09/20 12:23:00, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Sep. 19 2008,22:44)
We don’t know yet what discoveries will be made from this find.  I don’t think Haile-Selassie and team are finished interpreting exactly what this jawbone is and how it benefits our understanding of evolution.  The ID inference says nothing about how we‘d interpret this fossil...it‘s irrelevant to the theory, and many ID theorists agree with evolutionists about the fossil record.  

There is no theory of ID so it is not appropriate to refer to 'ID theorists'.
 
Quote
So, we have to turn to Creationists.

For what?
 
Quote

Why wouldn’t Creationists have been able to come up with a system that compared similarities and relatedness between organisms?  They certainly realized that it was an important area to consider in hopes of advancing research and scientific discovery.  We know that Linneaus started work on developing a starting point for the taxonomy of a species.  He was mapping organisms according to there similarities before Darwin‘s claim to fame, and he didn’t need to believe that all organisms evolved from a common ancestor to do so.

They could indeed come up with a system for comparing similarities and differences. However, what they have at the end is nothing more than a catalogue, useful for identifying species but nothing more. It would not even be useful for putting everything in its 'proper place' in nature, because there would be absolutely no reason to suppose that anything had a proper place.
 
Quote

In the same manner, creationists (if they had been as heavily funded as evolutionists have been) might have come up with a system of there own that would have also compared the similarities and relatedness between organisms.

Hold on! I thought a major tenet of creationism is that there is no relatedness between organisms, just that some happen to share similar parts and processes.

I think the above slip is a giveaway that, in your heart of hearts, you know that evolution is correct and that creationism is unsupportable.

 
Quote
Bear in mind that the geologic column was also originally devised by creationists before 1860 who believed more so in catastrophism rather uniformitarianism. The so-called "periods" and "eras" were later added to fit the evolutionary theory.  So, already we find that creationists had a good start on both classifying organisms and understanding sedimentary layers and what we might find in them as far as fossils are concerned.

And since then they have made absolutely no progress.
 
Quote

How would we’d predict where to find a particular fossil?  Considering the sedimentary layers, obviously Creationists feel that a catostrophic flood took place.  Some believe that sedimentary layers and the fossils within them were laid due to the way liquefaction works.

Could you give a single example of any fossil that has been discovered using only creationist concepts?
Quote
Fossils don’t provide us with information like living organisms do.  So, other than historical benefit for those who adhere to molecule to man, how would these fossils benefit us other than to provide us with information about extinct creatures or morphological changes within species that could have occured through microevolutionary means?  Tom pointed out one way, but like I said, I’m not sure that creationists wouldn’t have been able to discover these “driver” genes by researching similarities between living apes and men.

But they have not the slightest reason to suppose that there should be any non-obvious similarities between humans and chimps, given that we are, supposedly, made in God's image and chimps are not. As a side issue, does this mean that God has a pseudogene for vitamin C? If not, just what does the statement mean?
 
Quote

What we are trying to get to is the “truth” about our ancestry.  Digging up fossil will help us learn about our past, and we are *all* interested in that.  But how can we trust that paleontologists have come up with the correct interpretation about various fossil finds?  Obviously, there’s an a priori commitment to Darwinism in that field of science.  We’ve seen time and time again how fossils have not been what they initially thought they were, and in some instances, scientists have gone so far as to tamper with the fossils in order to present a particular viewpoint.

Dawson may have tampered with the evidence (or he may have been the unwitting victim of a hoax). I cannot think of any other examples of deliberate tampering with fossils. Oh, wait a minute, there was the addition of human footprints to the dinosaur tracks along the Paluxy River and at various other places. There is more dishonesty and lying to be seen on creationist and ID sites in any week than there has been in the entire history of paleontology.
 
Quote

Darwinists cannot even fathom anything other than molecule to man...from a naturalists perspective there is no other theory that can even be considered.

Challenge us. Give us another theory.
 
Quote
If molecule to man *is* the way life arose, evolutionists have to at least consider that front loading makes more sense than what the “modern synthesis” currently provides us.

Two minutes of thought was enough to tell me that 'front-loading' is complete and utter baloney and still gave me time to decide what to have for dinner.
 
Quote

Just as Creationists have their creation story, Darwinists have their own.  The only neutral party would be ID theorists, IMHO.

IDists are just creationists who try to pretend their religious beliefs are unimportant.
 
Quote

Neither the biblical creation story or the warm primordial pond is helpful in the science classroom, because neither can be supported with scientific experiments.

Oh, but the pond can be. Not yet to the extent of producing life, but a start has been made.
 
Quote
Scientists have been banging on trying to answer questions in regard to abiogenesis, and I *encourage* them to keep on doing so.

What form does this encouragement take?
 
Quote

 But, as yet we know no more about how life *began* than we did before Darwin teh genius arrived on the scene, . . .

Where have you spent the last half century? There is a considerable body of evidence that has been accumulating.
 
Quote

In other words, we don’t know <how life arose>, and we may never know. He <Dawkins> said this same thing at a lecture I attended in Lawrence.  So why is the notion of some sort of higher power so unthinkable, given the general lack of understanding that Dawkins admits is part of this issue?

It is not unthinkable, but it is unsupportable by any evidence.

Date: 2008/09/20 12:27:29, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (afarensis @ Sep. 20 2008,11:24)
Consider the case of the throwing spears mentioned in your link. The spears were found at the site of Schoningen in Germany, and have been securely dated to 4000,000 years ago.

Do you have the right number of zeroes here? It is much older than I would expect.

Date: 2008/09/21 13:21:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Glad you're OK. It looks like you have a lot of work on your hands!

Regarding the hurricane in Texas - the only figure I've seen for the number of dead has been about 30. I find it hard to believe that, after about 100,000 did not evacuate and with all the devastation, there are not many more who were killed. Are there any estimates for the number of people who have not been found safe? Why do the news media seem to be showing no interest or have I missed something? Are their minds completely occupied by the election and the financial news?

Date: 2008/09/22 20:09:37, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Sep. 22 2008,16:43)
I WANT TO KNOW HOW IN THE HELL IT'S POSSIBLE TO GET FROM GOO TO THE FREAKING ZOO!!!  

One of your problems might be akin to my problem of how is it possible to turn tons of assorted rocks, oil, tree juice and various other ingredients into something that can fly the Atlantic and land in precisely the correct place even in thick fog. The problem is just too big to take in all in one go. Try breaking the problem down into bite-sized chunks.

First, what do you understand to be meant by the theory of evolution (not a cut and paste or a reference to someone else's understanding of it, but your interpretation)?

Secondly, what parts of it do you find acceptable and why?

Then give the specific points that cause you difficulty and the reason why. 'It's not possible' or 'it's not credible' are not good reasons. 'Problems with the Cambrian Explosion' gives us nothing to go on.

As it is, despite having followed the discussion here for literally years, I still feel I do not know your specific objections to the theory, or even if you have any.

Date: 2008/09/27 09:24:09, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Sep. 26 2008,22:26)
Isn’t it just common sense to test drugs on organisms with similar architectures? Again, I don’t think we need to assume common descent there.

If you do not assume common descent, what is your justification for assuming that, because they have similar architectures, they will have similar physiologies? That is like assuming that because the Boeing 767 and the Airbus A330 have similar architectures they should react similarly to an electrical fault on the flight deck.

I notice that, although you refuse to openly acknowledge the reality of common descent, the acceptance of it is deeply ingrained within you. You are continually making assumptions that are only valid if common descent is correct.

Date: 2008/09/29 20:56:04, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (midwifetoad @ Sep. 29 2008,15:16)
Working Replica of Noah's Ark Opens In Schagen, Netherlands


I didn't know they had glass windows in those days.

Date: 2008/09/29 21:07:32, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (stevestory @ Sep. 29 2008,20:36)
fat baby girls and breast cancer

The title is misleading as it is size at birth, including weight and length, that they were investigating, not the fat on chubby 6-month-olds.

Date: 2008/09/30 21:42:37, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I see The Economist is polling its readers to see who they would prefer. Each country gets votes according to its population following the American Electoral College system. Current results are McCain 3, Obama 8192 - but we all know how reliable internet polls are ;-)

Date: 2008/10/01 08:32:13, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (dheddle @ Oct. 01 2008,06:53)
Quote (Richard Simons @ Sep. 30 2008,21:42)
I see The Economist is polling its readers to see who they would prefer. Each country gets votes according to its population following the American Electoral College system. Current results are McCain 3, Obama 8192 - but we all know how reliable internet polls are ;-)

If there were no other reasons to vote for McCain (and there aren't many, other than Sarah Palin and Joe 'they shot at me!' Biden) that alone might provide sufficient cause.

Why do so many Americans seem to take the view that it is a good thing to have a leader who is disliked elsewhere? I do not understand this attitude "I am opposed to whatever you want".

Date: 2008/10/01 13:04:28, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (dheddle @ Oct. 01 2008,08:38)
If, in the postmodern world, China, Russia, and Venezuela are against a candidate, and Andorra is for that candidate, I'm going to vote for him no matter what. This rule has never let me down.

How would you know if the rule had or had not let you down?

If you voted for a candidate who became president, and by the end of his term in office the country's financial system, social system (health, justice, etc) and international reputation had declined markedly, then you would know that the rule had probably let you down (except that the one you did not vote for might have done even worse). If you voted for a president who left the country in as good or better shape than he found it, you still would not know if the alternative would have done better. If you did not vote for the president you could say nothing about the rule.

I would like to add that if Americans want their country to be seen as the world's leader they have to be prepared to see others' points of view and to make compromises, unless they are willing and able to impose their opinions on everyone else.

(Minor edit for grammar)

Date: 2008/10/01 19:56:40, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Assassinator @ Oct. 01 2008,13:14)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Oct. 01 2008,13:04)
I would like to add that if Americans want their country to be seen as the world's leader they have to be prepared to see others' points of view and to make compromises, unless they are willing and able to impose their opinions on everyone else.

Well compromises aren't everything :P In Dutch politics, the goal is no longer to solve problems, but to "improve the situation". Wich is why barely anything changes over here. Compromises are important, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

Quite true. I had no intention of implying otherwise. As far as I am concerned, countries should not compromise on, for example, equal treatment for all regardless of race, sex and creed, prohibition of torture, no imprisonment without a trial and the right to legal representation.

I was thinking more of issues like trade and territory disputes and yes, criticism could be validly made of many countries, not just the U.S.

Date: 2008/10/02 00:38:21, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 01 2008,20:49)
lol....the reason I "?????" is because it sounds like such a completely ridiculous statement to make.  Though, I've not been indocrinated into the Darwinian thought process, so what seem like such solid reasoning to some of you folks seems idiotic to me.  

I thought it was an excellent point. If each kind were independently created, some kinds with scales would flap their tails from side to side and others would flap their tails up and down. Similarly, swimming animals with hair or feathers would vary in whether their tails went up and down or from side to side. Incidentally, why do no birds swim by flapping their tails?

I think that you subconsciously accept the notion of organisms being in a nested hierarchy (which naturally results from common descent) but lack the imagination to conceive of any of the possibilities we would see if there had been special creation of each 'kind'.

Date: 2008/10/02 07:58:15, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Louis: Ftk will thank you as now you have given her something she can respond to.  :-)

Date: 2008/10/31 17:49:12, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
I'm not asking how some ancient system came about Louis.  I'm asking how the present, modern E. coli amino acid synthesis system came about.

I know almost nothing about this topic, but at a guess I'd say 'through evolution from an ancient system'.

Daniel, it seems to me that you are attributing far more knowledge to scientists than they themselves are claiming. Do you truly think it reasonable that after a few decades of people studying the origins of life they should be able to answer in great detail every question you throw at them? You seem to think they have god-like powers. By contrast, your explanation has gained no new information or understanding in the last 4000 years or thereabouts.

Date: 2008/11/01 14:36:56, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 01 2008,11:46)
A) Lots of scientific research has been carried out by people who believe as I do in the last 4000 years.
 
You completely missed my point. I did not say that believers in the Abrahamic god have never contributed to science. Please read again for understanding.
 
Quote
B) Even if all the research was being done by non-believers, it wouldn't change the fact that it is gradually beginning to uncover that life is much more intricate than the current evolutionary mechanisms can account for.

Not true.
 
Quote
C) Your answer as to how the E. coli amino acid synthetic pathway came about - "through evolution from an ancient system" - is about as detailed an answer as you'll probably ever get.  Delve any deeper and the explanation breaks down.  Are you happy with this level of detail?

Not true. It is extremely likely that a more detailed understanding will become available, and is probably available even now. As I implied, I have no expertise in the matter.
 
Quote
D) The level of detail offered for your theory is comparable with the level of detail for mine (and I don't even have a theory).  What does that say about your theory?

I'm sorry, I was thinking that you are a creationist. However, casting my mind back I realise you have always failed to tell us just what you do believe to be correct.

Just saying that the theory of evolution has no detail does not automatically erase all the details that have been published. The specific detail that you are looking for right now might not exist yet, but let's be honest, that is why you picked that particular detail.

Date: 2008/11/05 08:41:30, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (dheddle @ Nov. 05 2008,06:29)
She startled me with almost the exact comment I made on here or Brayton's blog--that this could happen only in America. She used two of the same examples--she could not imagine a Moroccan leading France or a Turk in Germany.

Blacks have been in the US since well before it was the US. Turks have been in Germany and Moroccans have been in France for less than 50 years. People considered black constitute about 30% of the US population (IIRC). Turks and Moroccans constitute something under 5% of the population of Germany and France.

A more reasonable comparison might be to compare the chance of having Turks or Moroccan leaders to the likelihood of the US having a Chinese president.

Having said that, quite apart from expecting him to do a much more competent job than McCain could ever have done, with policies more to my taste, I see it as a hopeful sign that he has been elected.

Date: 2008/11/06 22:14:11, Link
Author: Richard Simons
[quote=Louis,Nov. 06 2008,18:43]  
Quote (J-Dog @ Nov. 06 2008,23:11)
[SNIP]
I was 18 before I thought a cagoule and a sou'wester were optional and not actually bonded to one's skin....

About a dozen years ago I used to read and contribute to 'Stumpers', an electronic mailing list mainly used by librarians. I found out I was about the only person there who wore a caggie to keep relatively dry. For the others, a cagoule was a 'long night shirt with a slit at the front for purposes of procreation'. A quick search suggests that meaning has now died out.

My only memory of Southport is of going to the sand dunes there as part of my high school botany course.

Date: 2008/11/08 16:54:35, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 08 2008,13:12)
My contention is that man cannot explain the origin of complex living systems via natural pathways because such pathways are impossible.  It never happened that way and it could not happen that way.  I believe God built life (defined as "a self-replicating cellular organism") using the same basic mechanism man uses to build things; He took raw materials from the earth and organized them for function.  Man does this on a macro scale all the time.  God did it on a nano scale.  Man makes crude (by comparison) machines that don't self-replicate, God made complex organisms that do.  Man's machines don't evolve (much) and adapt to their environments, God's do.  This is a result of the fact that God is an intelligence of the highest order and man is not.

Five years ago I could not have imagined that someone would present a fantasy like this on a science blog. How exactly could a god move raw materials around to make the first life? Was it done atom by atom to make a single first cell, or what? Arm waving and appeals to unknowable magic will not do.
 
Quote
You want me to tell you then what science can explain under my scenario.  Well, I'd say that science can essentially discover God through the examination of His creation.  It's an opportunity to unravel the greatest mystery of the universe - "What is God?".

This is what many people thought they were doing for the past few centuries, but no progress seems to have been made. What scientific studies do you propose to answer the question "What is God?" Could you give an idea what you would study (variable stars, endogenous retroviruses, gluons, rats in mazes, I've not the slightest idea myself) and the predictions you would make that would differentiate between there being no god, there being a god and between the different possible gods.

Date: 2008/11/09 17:14:25, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 09 2008,14:51)
     
Quote (Richard Simons @ Nov. 08 2008,14:54)
How exactly could a god move raw materials around to make the first life? Was it done atom by atom to make a single first cell, or what? Arm waving and appeals to unknowable magic will not do.

People are learning how to manipulate molecules and atoms.  Is it really that "far-out" to hypothesize that an infinitely intelligent being could do it?  How do people do it?

Yes, it really is far out. Having super-intelligence would not help to actually move atoms. People do it by using an atomic force microscope. Was one available to the god(s)? How was it made?
   
Quote
       
Quote
This is what many people thought they were doing for the past few centuries, but no progress seems to have been made.

Lots of progress has been made.  Of course if you don't believe in God, you're not really looking at scientific discoveries as a means of understanding God so you wouldn't really know what that progress is.  One of the things we have learned is that God is the master chemist, master programmer and master planner who is able to project deep into the future and see exactly what is necessary to keep life flourishing on this planet through all manner of extreme global climate changes.

No. You have realized that if everything was made by a god, these are some of the attributes that would be useful, although I am not sure you know what you mean by a programmer. Besides, there is plenty of evidence that any master planner that was involved nodded off on occasion (hernias and appendicitis, anyone?). Also, I am puzzled as to why God could not have simplified things by avoiding extreme global climate changes.
   
Quote
       
Quote
What scientific studies do you propose to answer the question "What is God?" Could you give an idea what you would study (variable stars, endogenous retroviruses, gluons, rats in mazes, I've not the slightest idea myself) and the predictions you would make that would differentiate between there being no god, there being a god and between the different possible gods.

I believe examining the details of life and how it works gives a marvelous insight into the workings of the mind of God.

This did not address the question, but raises another. What conclusions have you come to as to how the mind of God works?
   
Quote
As for differentiating between the world's religions and discovering which (if any) of them provides the most accurate description of God - that'd be a matter of comparing the various theologies to the evidence.

To do this you need an independent description of god (or the gods). How far have you got in drawing up this description?

Date: 2008/11/09 19:59:23, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Louis @ Nov. 09 2008,17:22)
Quote (Richard Simons @ Nov. 09 2008,23:14)
 
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 09 2008,14:51)
       
Quote (Richard Simons @ Nov. 08 2008,14:54)
How exactly could a god move raw materials around to make the first life? Was it done atom by atom to make a single first cell, or what? Arm waving and appeals to unknowable magic will not do.

People are learning how to manipulate molecules and atoms.  Is it really that "far-out" to hypothesize that an infinitely intelligent being could do it?  How do people do it?

Yes, it really is far out. Having super-intelligence would not help to actually move atoms. People do it by using an atomic force microscope. Was one available to the god(s)? How was it made?
     

[SNIP]

I neglected to comment on this piece of Danny's hilarity. We've been manipulating atoms and molecules very effectively for centuries without atomic force microscopes.

We cognoscenti call it "chemistry". Shhhh, keep it under your hat, it's clearly a secret from Danny et al.

Louis

Perhaps I misunderstood what Daniel was driving at here. I thought he was suggesting an alternative to the standard concepts of natural chemistry, eons of time and pre-biotic selection. That somehow his god had a shortcut and assembled a specific cell, putting a nitrogen atom here, a hydrogen there, until it was complete.

Daniel! We need you to cast a little light on the subject and give us a few details of how you envision it. Was it all a matter of normal chemistry or did your god tinker with individual molecules?

Date: 2008/11/12 05:43:27, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 11 2008,18:59)
That's pretty much exactly what I was positing.  God made the first cell(s) in the same way man makes a car.  He put the parts together.

So the big question is 'How did he move them?'
Quote
All life is cellular

What is your justification for describing fungal mycelia as being cellular?

Date: 2008/11/12 17:44:56, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Some colleagues were laughing the other day. Apparently 'Barack Obama' is very similar to the Cree for 'sagging thighs'. Thought you might like to know ;-)

Date: 2008/11/12 18:12:30, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Daniel: I was asking about your justification for describing fungal mycelia as cellular, not Wikipedia's. The point is, they can be basically tubes full of cytoplasm and nuclei, not divided into cells at all.

But that is a side issue; what I really want to know is how does (did?) your god actually move the atoms around? It is clearly something you've never thought of, yet it seems to me that it is central to your notions of what took place. Let me join the chorus of people asking you to put some flesh on your ideas. I'm not asking you for the kind of details you want to know about evolution, just something that is testable and different from evolution.

Date: 2008/11/13 00:05:44, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Nov. 12 2008,21:08)
Quote (Richard Simons @ Nov. 12 2008,17:44)
Some colleagues were laughing the other day. Apparently 'Barack Obama' is very similar to the Cree for 'sagging thighs'. Thought you might like to know ;-)

what does "Arden Chatfield" sound like?

I'm not sure I want to know.

Date: 2008/11/13 00:27:01, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 12 2008,19:08)
First, God is not a man - he is not bound to our physical limitations.  He's also all powerful.  Essentially he could just will the atoms into place.  (And condescension noted: I have actually thought a lot about how he did it).

So the only conclusion you have come to is essentially 'I have no idea.' It strikes me that the amount of light shed by your ideas is remarkably small for the conviction with which you hold them.
 
Quote
But, it doesn't really matter how he did it - since my view does not depend on mechanism like yours does.

It does matter if you want to claim to be doing science.
 
Quote
What's important from my side is that those molecules are organized in a manner consistent with what we know of intelligent design - that is they are A) organized for specific function, and B) organized at a level not attainable by accidental mechanisms.

How would you know if something was not consistent with intelligent design? Could you give an example of what could be found that would suggest to you that there were no intelligent design? Who has ever claimed an accidental mechanism?

Date: 2008/11/13 22:13:15, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 13 2008,20:23)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Nov. 12 2008,22:27)
Who has ever claimed an accidental mechanism?

If it's not accidental, then what is it?

I am sure I am not the first person to tell you that natural selection is not accidental but depends on the relative advantages possessed by an organism. I will repeat: which non-creationist says it is?

Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 13 2008,18:32)
You, for instance, give a simple three sentence "pathway" and then protest because I ask for more details.

Considering your complete and utter failure to give any details of what you think might have happened, I don't think you are in any position to criticise others because they have not met the details you feel is required.

Date: 2008/11/13 22:36:36, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (J-Dog @ Nov. 13 2008,14:08)
 
Quote (Lou FCD @ Nov. 13 2008,13:56)
*snicker*

http://tinyurl.com/6p695w

This Link Works Better!

I think this will be in the next Jason Bourne or James Bond  movie...

When the railways were built through the Canadian Rockies there were temporary towns. When one of these was dismantled, a couple who had become fond of the little wooden church loaded it on a barge and took it with them to Invermere. However, its bell was stolen when it passed through Golden. In the Invermere parish records there is a copy of a letter that was sent to Golden asking for their bell back together with the reply 'People who steal churches can't complain about people who only steal bells.'

Date: 2008/11/17 12:38:19, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Live by the bannination, die by the bannination.

I know he brought it on himself, but I always feel a bit sorry for someone who is treated like that. Do you think he might appreciate a visit from a clown to cheer him up?

Date: 2008/11/17 19:57:40, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (stevestory @ Nov. 17 2008,18:41)
So I'm thinking, can I just put the Skoal in some hot water, grind it up a bit, and then strain the liquid off, and have a liquid with a decent nicotine content?

You can use that method to extract the nicotine from a few cigarette butts (boil in water), add some dishwashing detergent and you have an insecticide.

Have you tried a nicotine patch?

Date: 2008/11/20 18:00:46, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Lou FCD @ Nov. 20 2008,16:16)
Well, I'm not around all day anymore, having less important things to tend to these days, so I have to take what's available when I happen to be here.

Poor pickin's you guys leave y'know.

P.S. I'd be very sorry for having made such a lame joke from such an easy set-up, if it weren't possibly true.

I think you mean that you are sorry people did not see the humour in the joke - remember to put the blame in the right place.

Date: 2008/11/20 21:37:19, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Lou FCD @ Nov. 20 2008,18:48)
It would appear the Republican war on the planet will continue to the very bitter end:

From CNN

 
Quote

(SNIP)
Then, last month, the head of the endangered species program corralled 15 experts in Washington to sort through 200,000 comments in 32 hours.
(SNIP)

Assuming that each comment was seen by just one expert and they were working for the entire 32 hours, with no breaks and no chats with neighbours, that means each comment was assessed in under 9 seconds. Did they have Superman on the job?

Date: 2008/11/23 00:33:36, Link
Author: Richard Simons
If front-loading were the case, it should be possible to look at a genome and say what traits are hidden but have not yet been expressed, to predict the evolution of an organism (unless, of course, you believe that perfection has now been reached and there will be no future change). Daniel - what progress has been made in this direction? Who, indeed, is even working on it?

Date: 2008/11/23 08:45:08, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Henry J @ Nov. 23 2008,01:07)
Quote
Daniel - what progress has been made in this direction? Who, indeed, is even working on it?  

My impression is that that's exactly what he's complaining about, or one of the things, anyway: he thinks scientists should be working on things like that, but aren't because it goes against the rules, or something.

Henry

I should have been clearer. Why are Behe, Dembski, Wells and the rest of the shower not working on this?

Date: 2008/11/25 19:33:59, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
Now, is it because I don't know exactly what tool (if any) God used to manipulate atoms that you're contending I have "no mechanism"?  

I asked you before how your god created things and you just waved your arms around and waffled. You're doing the same thing now. I've seen no evidence that you have the vaguest idea of how, when or why a god created anything.

Date: 2008/11/30 10:35:09, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 29 2008,18:18)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Nov. 25 2008,17:33)
   
Quote
Now, is it because I don't know exactly what tool (if any) God used to manipulate atoms that you're contending I have "no mechanism"?  

I asked you before how your god created things and you just waved your arms around and waffled. You're doing the same thing now. I've seen no evidence that you have the vaguest idea of how, when or why a god created anything.

And I asked how nature created the E. coli amino acid synthesis system and you all just waved your arms around and waffled too.  I too have seen no evidence that any of you have the vaguest idea of how or why nature created anything.

It seems to me that you are confusing two things. If I asked you how you got from New York to Los Angeles you could answer in several ways. You could say you drove, flew by plane or walked. If asked for more detail you could (or someone else could) describe in detail how a car or an aircraft worked.

The other alternative is that you could enumerate all the places you went though on the way.

What we are asking from you, and can to a large degree supply from our side, is the first kind of detail, the processes that were involved. What you are asking for is the second kind of detail, the exact route that was taken. Significant parts of this detail can also be given, but by no means all. Meanwhile, all you are saying is equivalent to 'I went by broomstick'.

Date: 2008/11/30 13:53:12, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 30 2008,13:27)
The "God theory" predicts that there will be organization for function at the heart of everything.  It predicts that life's designs will be analogous to human designs - only far superior.

Are you saying that if we can find some aspect of living organisms that is designed worse than humans could have done, the existence of God will have been disproved?

Date: 2008/12/04 19:55:05, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (bfish @ Dec. 04 2008,17:50)
Anyone here have a clue about how Parliamentary governments work?

The Canadian Prime Minister suspended parliament today so that he wouldn't lose a no-confidence vote. Or something like that.

He had to ask the Governor-General's permission to do this. (WTF? F'reals?)

Is this a big deal? Just an ordinary Parliamentary happening? It sounds a bit........ Putinish to me.

Edited to remove gratuitous snark.

In the British system, it is the monarch who calls for a general election. If a government is defeated in a vote that is considered to be a matter of confidence, the Prime Minister asks the monarch to call a general election. There are no hard-and-fast rules as to what constitutes a vote of confidence, although the budget, for example, is always treated as one.

The monarch can, instead, ask an opposition party to attempt to form a government. Obviously, this is only realistic if other opposition parties have indicated they would go along with this and between them could obtain a majority. This is about the only authority left to the monarch.

In Canada the Queen's representative is the governor general, currently Michaelle Jean, a Haitian-born immigrant who became a well-regarded TV journalist. The GG is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister for an approximately 5-year period. Recent GGs have not been politicians and it is almost entirely a figurehead position.

The current situation is, briefly, that the PM (Steven Harper, Conservative) got the backs up of the other parties with the mini-budget that was to be introduced this week. They let it be known that they would defeat the minority government then attempt to form a coalition government. Harper (who I feel has an extremely patronizing manner) asked the GG for a prorogue, closing Parliament down for a month or so, in the hope that the coalition would fall apart by then. The alternatives would be to have the budget vote, with almost certain defeat, followed by either an attempt to form a coalition government or a new election. The previous election, though, was only about 6 weeks ago and many people thought that one was not needed (it broke Harper's own law he had just made that elections should be at 4-year intervals). Jean has the authority to insist that Parliament and the budget vote go ahead but she followed the wishes of the PM.

Something to remember is that there are no written rules for a lot of this, it just follows well-established custom and can be changed if there is sufficient motivation and agreement. I think that about covers the basics, but I did not check all of this and I'm quite willing to be corrected by someone who knows better.

Date: 2008/12/04 20:29:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (khan @ Dec. 04 2008,20:20)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Dec. 04 2008,20:55)

SNIP

I think that about covers the basics, but I did not check all of this and I'm quite willing to be corrected by someone who knows better.

Well that would be a first.

Is this directed at me or just a general comment? If at me, I don't know what I've done to deserve it.

Date: 2008/12/04 23:38:39, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (khan @ Dec. 04 2008,20:48)
Quote (Richard Simons @ Dec. 04 2008,21:29)
 
Quote (khan @ Dec. 04 2008,20:20)
   
Quote (Richard Simons @ Dec. 04 2008,20:55)

SNIP

I think that about covers the basics, but I did not check all of this and I'm quite willing to be corrected by someone who knows better.

Well that would be a first.

Is this directed at me or just a general comment? If at me, I don't know what I've done to deserve it.

Are you really that oblivious, or is your appearance here some sort of performance art?

Are you confusing me with someone else? I repeat, I have not the slightest idea of what you are going on about. The last disagreement I had with anyone was about a year ago on Pandasthumb, when Philip Bruce Heywood attributed statments to me that I did not make.

(edit to add that it was at PT)

Date: 2008/12/05 12:50:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (khan @ Dec. 05 2008,10:08)
Quote (khan @ Dec. 04 2008,21:48)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Dec. 04 2008,21:29)
 
Quote (khan @ Dec. 04 2008,20:20)
     
Quote (Richard Simons @ Dec. 04 2008,20:55)

SNIP

I think that about covers the basics, but I did not check all of this and I'm quite willing to be corrected by someone who knows better.

Well that would be a first.

Is this directed at me or just a general comment? If at me, I don't know what I've done to deserve it.

Are you really that oblivious, or is your appearance here some sort of performance art?

I sincerely apologize for these posts.

I got the individuals confused.

Apology accepted., but I was puzzled for a while.

Date: 2008/12/07 09:45:03, Link
Author: Richard Simons
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. - Wesley R. Elsberry]

Brainiacism: I am not completely sure of the point you are trying to make but I'd like to make one or two comments.
 
Quote
For all we know, an advanced Human Being could be the creator of these Intelligently designed things.

Assuming that by 'advanced human being' you mean a god or god-like being, I don't think anyone is saying it is impossible. What some people are saying is that there is no evidence that indicates intervention by a god and therefore, for all practical purposes, one can be ruled out.
 
Quote
In that sense it is a science and can be taught in schools as a theory.

It is only a science if it has evidence to support it and it is only a theory if it provides a tested explanation. ID falls short in both regards.
Quote
If you want to get it into schools, take the "Who" out of the equation.

The 'who' is not the sticking point. The reason it should not be in schools is because it is not even considered a marginally useful concept in science. The reason for this is that there is no evidence. If IDers produce evidence then it will be treated seriously by scientists. Once it gains reasonable support in the scientific community, then it might be appropriate to bring it into the school classroom.
 
Quote
Is the "How" of how God created the universe worth arguing about when we should be helping the needy and saving a life?

Nah - let's do something really useful and argue about whether the football team's latest trade was a sensible decision or not ;-)

Date: 2008/12/08 18:49:47, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Ftk @ Dec. 08 2008,14:57)
Hey guys,

Guess what I found on my front doorstep this morning??!

The latest edition of Walt's book....*smiles*.

Great news! Perhaps he has answered some of our questions.

What I want to know is, has he decided which way the continents are moving? In his earlier writings he said they moved because they were being flung away from the centre of Earth, but stopped because they could not get any closer to the centre. Which one has he decided is correct?

Date: 2008/12/08 19:19:20, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
73

Joseph

12/08/2008

6:55 pm
Quote
PhilipBaxter:
There have been quite alot discovered regarding genes that regulate brain size. Is that the sort of thing you are after?


That is OK but first we have to know what gives us the brain.

And then there needs to be an explanation for wet electricity- that is what makes us go…

I wonder, does Joseph feel he's holding his own?

Date: 2008/12/08 19:49:32, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Dec. 08 2008,18:38)
. . . all you have to do is show how natural forces (or something that is not "an intelligence far beyond our comprehension") could have built a living thing or one of life's systems and you've falsified my claim.
 
A problem is that, no matter what you are shown, you will claim that it is not in enough detail. That is one reason why Louis and others are asking you to define exactly what you mean by a 'living thing' and a 'system'. The goalposts need to be embedded in concrete before people will put much more effort into answering you.
 
Quote
I already know that the theory of evolution cannot be falsified.

It could be falsified. How is it that you have been arguing here for over a year and have still not learned this basic fact?

Date: 2008/12/10 21:23:48, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Dec. 10 2008,19:21)
When I came here, I had a prediction - and an easily falsifiable one at that.  No one here has managed more than a cursory attempt at falsification, so I made it easier - I said that if man can create a living organism, my prediction would be disqualified.

I cannot be bothered to hunt back through the numerous posts to find out what your prediction was, but you clearly believe that God created life. I fail to see how the human creation of life would falsify this belief.
 
Quote
I am completely vindicated.

Only if humans have failed to create life before humanity becomes extinct or evolves into a different species.
 
Quote
At the same time, you all have confirmed that - even if God did create life - science alone could never discover it.  This is because, "science can't consider the supernatural", and "science cannot consider a designer without a causal history for said designer".  I'm doubly vindicated.  You can't discover (or falsify) something you refuse to consider.

You are missing the point. It is not a refusal to consider the supernatural; it is an inability to do so. Despite being asked, you have completely failed to come up with any means whereby science could test the supernatural.  
 
Quote

You say Wesley that I have presented "no property to look for" - nothing that we would expect to see if God created life.  But I have presented such a property - over and over.  This property is "intricate organization", and I expect that this property will permeate life on every level.

What exactly is this 'intricate organization'? How is it measured or detected? Why would it be expected if God created life but not if life had evolved?
 
Quote
I expect this because God's mind is beyond our comprehension and he is capable of producing such things.

You need to convince me that an imaginary being is capable of producing anything.
 
Quote
On the other hand, I also expect that weeds will grow faster and better than any crops

This is very often not the case. Few weeds can grow as fast as sugar cane. Poppies growing in a barley field suffer dreadfully whereas barley is almost unaffected by poppies. My prediction is that knowing this will put not the slightest dent in your belief that 'God put this world under a curse due to sin'.
 
Quote
I've made a lot of predictions since I've come here Wesley - all of them falsifiable.

Unfortunately, it is not a prediction if you are merely describing things that you think you have already observed, such as 'intricate organization' permeating life, or that weeds do better than crops.
 
Quote
What properties do you expect we will find when we look at life?

I predict that we will see complex structures and systems that will work together as organisms. The organisms will be able to reproduce to make similar organisms, but for various reasons the new organisms will not always be identical to the parents. I predict that some of these mistakes will survive better than others and will tend to increase in the population. Another prediction is that organisms that are sufficiently dissimilar will be unable to reproduce together.

Guess what - that's what we see. I'm obviously good at making predictions.

Now tell me why my predictions are not the kinds of predictions used in testing a scientific hypothesis. Then explain to me why your 'predictions' are more appropriate.

Date: 2008/12/11 18:23:38, Link
Author: Richard Simons
We don't often see Bush on the television up here in Canada, but the last few times I've seen him he's looked a thoroughly beaten man. I wonder if it is finally getting through to him that he has not been a success, even by his own lights?

Date: 2008/12/11 18:59:28, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Dec. 11 2008,18:41)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Dec. 10 2008,19:23)
You need to convince me that an imaginary being is capable of producing anything.

The phrasing of your question proves your bias.

How do you know God's imaginary?  Because you haven't seen him?  Billions of people believe he's not imaginary - are they all wrong while you are right?

That was rather silly of me, wasn't it? I should have known that you would use it as a means of avoiding answering the rest of my questions. Strike out 'an imaginary being' and replace it by 'God'. Now please address my other points.

Date: 2008/12/12 17:05:34, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Dr.GH @ Dec. 12 2008,16:08)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Dec. 12 2008,09:43)
There were likely a lot of operative factors in Dembski's withdrawal from the KvD case. The last straw may have been when Stephen Harvey of Pepper Hamilton communicated to TMLC that Jeff Shallit and I would be present at Dembski's scheduled deposition in Waco, TX the following Monday. It wasn't long after that that TMLC announced that they were withdrawing Dembski as an expert witness. Oh, and we had also asked Dembski to bring his documentation for the "peer-review" of "The Design Inference", since he had made that claim as part of his expert report.

If "The Design of Life" becomes an issue in a future court case, we'll just be picking up where we left off.

He will still tuck his tail and run away.

He can't if he's called as a witness by t'other side :-)

Date: 2008/12/13 07:29:41, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (k.e.. @ Dec. 13 2008,07:10)
IF DOG DECIDED TO MAKE OOL WHY DID HE BOIL THE EARTH FOR HOW FUCKING LONG BEFOREHAND?

Always make sure your equipment is properly sterilized before starting an OOL experiment.

Date: 2008/12/14 00:05:30, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Dec. 13 2008,19:08)
Specific predictions:    
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Nov. 21 2008,17:12)

* When confronted with environmental changes, organisms will adapt using pre-existing but unexpressed features or, they will become extinct.  No new features will evolve.


Please explain why the cecal valves that arose in a population of lizards transported to a different island do not count as new features.

Science Daily, April 18, 2008
 
Quote
Eating more plants caused the development of new structures called cecal valves, designed to slow the passage of food by creating fermentation chambers in the gut, where microbes can break down the difficult to digest portion of plants. Cecal valves, which were found in hatchlings, juveniles and adults on Pod Mrcaru, have never been reported for this species, including the source population on Pod Kopiste.


BTW: I noticed you avoided explaining why my 'predictions' do not rate as predictions but yours do.

Date: 2008/12/17 07:51:06, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Daniel,

You have not addressed this yet. Please tackle it along with clearing up Bill's point.

Quote (Richard Simons @ Dec. 10 2008,21:23)
I predict that we will see complex structures and systems that will work together as organisms. The organisms will be able to reproduce to make similar organisms, but for various reasons the new organisms will not always be identical to the parents. I predict that some of these mistakes will survive better than others and will tend to increase in the population. Another prediction is that organisms that are sufficiently dissimilar will be unable to reproduce together.

Guess what - that's what we see. I'm obviously good at making predictions.

Now tell me why my predictions are not the kinds of predictions used in testing a scientific hypothesis. Then explain to me why your 'predictions' are more appropriate.

Date: 2008/12/18 08:25:18, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Dec. 17 2008,19:18)
I'm a skeptic.  My initial argument was that no one could explain how evolution works.  You have all basically admitted that at least none of you can - since all you can do is point me to other sources (no Einsteins here either).

How does evolution work?

If allowed to reproduce unchecked, all organisms produce more than enough offspring to replace themselves.
Some organisms therefore die without producing enough offspring for replacement.
There is variation between organisms (or, if you prefer American usage, among organisms).
Organisms with beneficial variations are more likely to produce offspring.
If this variation is inherited, then the offspring are also more likely to have the beneficial variations.
The beneficial variation will tend to spread through the population until it replaces the original form.
Inherited variations can occur through a variety of means, for example mutation and endosymbiosis.

And that's basically how evolution works.

Of course, what you now want is a detailed description of the exact route taken by evolution. To use an analogy, you asked how to ride a bicycle and were shown how. Now you are complaining that I have not told you exactly how I rode across the country, the route I took, the places where I slept or ate, the details of which foot I put down when I stopped to take a photograph, where I had to stop at road junctions and so on.

Meanwhile, you are trying to tell us that God did it by some means unknowable to us is a much more satisfactory explanation. Do you not realize just how silly that sounds? It certainly puts the lie to "I am a skeptic".

Date: 2008/12/18 13:12:25, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Dec. 18 2008,11:10)
I'm predicting that the current method will fail in its efforts to describe a detailed evolutionary pathway for any intricately organized system.  All of your characterizations fail to take into account the fact that it only takes one successful pathway to falsify my claim.  

How detailed is 'detailed'?

(Edit to add: I wrote this before seeing Jim's comment)

Date: 2009/01/09 18:07:27, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Bob O'H @ Jan. 09 2009,15:04)
OMG.  On the bus ads thread:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/atheism....-301659  
Quote
62

mohammed.husain

01/09/2009

3:47 pm

How do you think Atheism and Darwinism have contributed to the blatant disregard for human life on the part of the Israelis in their massacre of Palestinians in Gaza?
<SNIP>

That won't last long. But what has atheism to do with a Jewish state?

My reading of it was that he was getting a dig at those at UD who consider everything evil flows from atheism or Darwin (or both), but if so, everyone missed it.

Date: 2009/01/10 00:46:01, Link
Author: Richard Simons
It just occurred to me: perhaps those onions with huge genomes are front-loaded for another couple of billion years of evolution, while those with small genomes are fated to soon become extinct. Perhaps some front-loader could study their genes to determine what is next on the schedule for them.

Date: 2009/01/10 10:07:15, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (khan @ Jan. 10 2009,09:39)
Quote (Aardvark @ Jan. 10 2009,09:45)
ftk has updated her blog with an admitted c & p from Creation Safaris (?).

Is there some law that requires creationists to have unintelligently designed websites?

It's almost as though the 'Asking Questions about Intelligent Design' was deliberately overwritten by two different things to make the point about the level of intelligence involved :-)

Do IDers still have to be told to 'click here'?

Date: 2009/01/10 21:27:13, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Daniel, could you answer some questions for me about front-loading?

Do all existing organisms come from one original front-loaded organism or does each organism represent the current end-point of an unbranched line from an ancestral progenitor?

If each current organism represents the end of a lineage, does this mean that, for example, for each of the current species of finch on the Galapagos Islands there was at least one pair of founder birds? Similarly, for every vertebrate species (extant and extinct) was there at least a pair of ancestral chordate, apparently identical but in practice not breeding with others that were destined to give rise to different species?

Alternatively, if branching is possible, what happens when a pair of species diverges? How do they know which one is destined to become rapidly extinct and which one is going to proliferate? Presumably in the one that's going to become extinct the switches you imagine to be present get deleted, permanently switched off or bypassed, or perhaps all the genes that are not needed for the future become deleted. At the reptile/mammal split, was it that in the first line all the genes for hair, elephant tusks, beaver tails and whale fins were flagged for deletion while in the second line it was the genes for feathers, uric acid excretion, poison fangs, neck frills and ichthyosaur tails that were switched off? How was it specified that the correct sets were all switched off? Of course, perhaps there were mistakes and birds were supposed to produce milk :-) How would we know?

Once an organism has passed through a stage do the genes responsible for it get deleted or are they still there but are now bypassed?

Could it be possible to determine the evolutionary future of an organism by examining its genes?

Has any front-loader ever made any attempt to answer questions like these and if so, what conclusion did they come to? Has it even occured to any champion of front-loading that these are the kinds of questions that need to be answered?

Date: 2009/01/12 18:50:12, Link
Author: Richard Simons
From Conservapedia:
 
Quote
Symbiosis - There are many examples where creatures rely on each other to survive which could not arise through evolution. Grass cannot survive without a certain fungus that helps it fix nitrogen from the atmosphere and the fungus can't survive without the grass. They must have appeared on earth at the same time.

I wondered who they had managed to garble (fungi do not fix nitrogen) so I went to their reference, which turns out to be about a symbiotic relationship between an aphid and a bacterium. At least aphids and grasses are both green, which is probably good enough for their purposes.

Date: 2009/01/12 19:30:09, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Can anyone suggest what this means?
 
Quote
Look up these pages.1)Chance to say”onse”.2)Intelligence is beyond-don`t no!+The stolen property was probably sold for profit needed for the dance of eternal. Question:Does the thief leapfrog neede supposed un-neededbeauty needed for the leisurely walk in a natural that seems to bee missing today?Yes?

Dr. Time

Date: 2009/01/12 20:12:09, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (khan @ Jan. 12 2009,19:52)
Quote (Richard Simons @ Jan. 12 2009,20:30)
Can anyone suggest what this means?
   
Quote
Look up these pages.1)Chance to say”onse”.2)Intelligence is beyond-don`t no!+The stolen property was probably sold for profit needed for the dance of eternal. Question:Does the thief leapfrog neede supposed un-neededbeauty needed for the leisurely walk in a natural that seems to bee missing today?Yes?

Dr. Time

Go ask Alice, when she's 10 feet tall...

My thoughts were along the same lines, although it would not have occured to me to put it like that.

Date: 2009/01/12 22:22:02, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Jan. 12 2009,19:17)
The number of workable variations would be few and should be easily reconstructed.

How do you determine what is a workable variation? Remember, most genomes have not been sequenced, most proteins are not known and most switches are not known. In addition, it is my understanding that determining the 3-D structure of a protein is a computer-heavy process that is still in its infancy, as is determining the function of a protein from its structure. You may think that it is a trivial matter; I suggest that this is merely because you have no idea of what is involved.

BTW: How about responding to some of my questions about how front-loading operates? You could start with telling us if it were one branched tree or many unbranched lines (or something in between). Surely in all of your reading something so basic has been answered?

Date: 2009/01/13 00:06:48, Link
Author: Richard Simons
There are nitrogen-fixing bacteria that live in nodules (they look like tumours) on the roots of legumes such as clovers, alfalfa, peas, beans and others. They get something like 1/3 of the sugars produced by the plant's photosynthesis but in return the plant gets a supply of nitrogen, which it can't extract from the air itself. Similar bacteria are also found with alders and a few other plants. The nitrogen fixation does not take place in the presence of free oxygen but the plant produces leghemoglobin, similar to hemoglobin, that supplies oxygen to the bacteria and gives the inside of the nodule a pinkish colour.

Many plants have fungi growing into the root and spreading out into the soil in a different symbiotic relationship. Like the bacteria, the fungi (known as vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza or VAMs) get their energy from the plant. In return, the fungi penetrate the soil more thoroughly than the plant roots and are significant in absorbing nutrients, in particular phosphorus.

I think Conservapedia got the two confused, exaggerated the importance of the fungi to the plant and gave a link to a third, completely different, symbiotic relationship.

Date: 2009/01/15 12:59:56, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Dr.GH @ Jan. 15 2009,10:17)
The creato BS regarding pi is that the ratio was not pi, but the "calculated" ratio of the inner and outer diameters of the "bowl." Thus, the ratio is purely descriptive and yields (IIRC) a metal thickness of ~4 inches.

This means that the circumference was measured inside the bowl and the diameter was measured over the total width. It is very hard to measure the interior circumference of something. My own idea is that the container was more spherical, with a narrower opening than the maximum diameter.

Date: 2009/01/15 19:55:49, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Jan. 15 2009,18:33)
 
Quote (jeffox @ Jan. 14 2009,19:09)
Ya ya, as empty as a cracked pot.

Keep in mind, Daniel, that not only do scientists (and people who use the scientific method) have an EXCELLENT track record, throughout history, of finding answers to unknowns, YOUR philosophy has provided NOTHING productive to modern civilization.

Tard in equals tard out.  ;)  'Nuff writ.

"NOTHING"?
Really?
What world do you live in?
List_of_Christian_thinkers_in_science

If you said that a liking for cold tea has not contributed to engineering, and I responded by giving a list of engineers who like cold tea, would you decide that yes, indeed, cold tea has made an important contribution to engineering? As it stands, your argument makes little more sense.

The claim was not that Christians have contributed nothing productive, but that your philosophy has contributed nothing.

Date: 2009/01/18 10:26:00, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Jan. 17 2009,19:24)
The bottom line is that Miller has summarized substantial research documenting the evolution of a complex biological system by means of a natural pathway. You demanded documentation of a plausible pathway for "any" such system. Now you've got it.

Your challenge has been met.

The difficulty he will have with it is that it does not go back far enough. That has always been his argument and always will be.

Daniel, please could we have a clear statement from you as to just what you will accept as a starting point for the evolution of a complex biological system?

Regarding Dawkins' comment about a creative super-intelligence, if testable predictions can be made about the consequences of a super-intelligence that differ from there being no super-intelligence, then yes, it is in the realm of science. However, if you are merely claiming 'God can do anything' then it does not fall in the remit of science.

Date: 2009/01/20 18:50:49, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Nils Ruhr @ Jan. 20 2009,13:07)
This is clearly POSITIVE evidence for ID. Dembski's articles are peer-reviewed, which means they are good quality stuff! Stop being such a bad loser and accept that ID has peer-reviewd articles.

Do we have any independent evidence that these papers were even submitted to a journal, let alone reviewed and accepted? I'm sorry, but I have seen too many misleading statements from IDers and creationists. Even then, there is no guarantee that it will actually appear in print. I had a paper very favourably reviewed and accepted 5 years ago that has still to see the light of day. (It was not a research paper. The journal was the most appropriate one the librarian and I could think of, a third-world one that had some excellent papers, but it lost its funding).

BTW, peer-review is not an assurance of sterling quality. I (and no doubt most other commentators here) have seen peer-reviewed papers that were rubbish.

Date: 2009/01/23 13:05:24, Link
Author: Richard Simons
The river (small stream, really) at North Piddle is the Wyre Piddle.

I could not understand why my wife found it so funny that we were passing through a valley called Wrynose Bottom until I realised she had never seen it written down.

Date: 2009/01/26 12:55:08, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (stevestory @ Jan. 26 2009,12:23)
The idea I was thinking about was buying up old unused satellite dishes, coating them with something like reflective mylar, and aiming the light at a typical PV cell placed slighly off the focal point. A back of the envelope calculation says it'll be cost-effective if I can get somewhere in the neighborhood of 10x the intensity of regular sunlight. I just don't know how much thermal load those things can take. It could be possible just to bolt on a big heatsink. I don't know. I think I'm going to have to build some prototypes.

The difficulty might be to get a suitable tracking mechanism. I've seen one for a flat solar panel that had two partly shaded pneumatic cylinders. As the sun moved one cylinder would warm up, the other cool down. The change in pressure powered links that moved the panel. Something similar might be possible for a dish (but no doubt it is covered by patents).

Date: 2009/01/26 18:58:15, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Jan. 26 2009,18:18)
Tell me how biological evolution produced something!

IIRC (I can't be bothered to go back and check), the evolution of nylonase was explained to you, but you rejected it because it did not start simply enough for you. I suspect it will never start simply enough for you unless it begins with water, carbon and ammonia ('But you haven't explained where the ammonia originated'). I will ask for the third (?) time: what would you accept as a reasonable starting point for an explanation of the evolution of an enzyme system?

Date: 2009/01/27 07:55:32, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (stevestory @ Jan. 27 2009,00:09)
It's what propels this site--that fascination of watching people of no understanding perform pointless rituals, expecting miracles you know they'll never receive. Very much like an anthropologist studying a Cargo Cult.

It's also rather depressing, a bit like a group of one-armed 6-year-olds playing Pooh sticks while discussing how this will get them an Olympic gold in archery.

I look at their meaningless prattling and wonder, do the genuine commentators never have the slightest inkling of the gulf that separates what they are doing from real science? Have they ever actually looked at a scientific paper and thought about the kind of work and more particularly the kind of thinking that is involved? I guess the answer has to be 'no'.

Date: 2009/01/27 18:43:19, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Jan. 27 2009,18:02)
Quote (Richard Simons @ Jan. 26 2009,16:58)
   
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Jan. 26 2009,18:18)
Tell me how biological evolution produced something!

IIRC (I can't be bothered to go back and check), the evolution of nylonase was explained to you, but you rejected it because it did not start simply enough for you. I suspect it will never start simply enough for you unless it begins with water, carbon and ammonia ('But you haven't explained where the ammonia originated'). I will ask for the third (?) time: what would you accept as a reasonable starting point for an explanation of the evolution of an enzyme system?

The evolution of nylonase was via a frame-shift.  I merely asked (IIRC) if that was a rare occurrence or if it was "normal" evolution.  

I also called it "saltational evolution" - one small mutation producing very large results.  I have been informed though that that's not a correct interpretation of "saltational".

I pointed out also that it was consistent with front-loading - since the coding for the nylon-degrading-enzyme was just a frame shift away - embedded within another working coding structure.

I don't remember rejecting it because it didn't "start simply enough".  If you think I did, you'll have to find the link to prove it to me.

You may well be right about not rejecting the nylonase evolution pathway because it did not go back far enough (the part about front-loading is, of course, unsupportable nonsense). Nevertheless, you have rejected some proposed pathways because they did not start simply enough. Hence my question (now asked for the fourth time); what would you accept as a reasonable starting point for an explanation of the evolution of an enzyme system? An existing enzyme system that has some different function? Only chemicals that were present on the primordial Earth? Something in between? What?

Date: 2009/01/28 08:28:21, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Jan. 28 2009,06:50)
<a href=""http://austringer.net/wp/index.php/2009/01/28/fuz-rana-liar-liar-pants-on-fire/" target="_blank">Fuz Rana passes on antievolutionist persistent myths</a>

The link seems to be broken.

Date: 2009/01/28 21:33:04, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Jan. 28 2009,17:55)
As for the "unsupportable nonsense" re: the front-loading of the nylonase enzyme:  The facts are that, A) the correct coding for an enzyme with the specific characteristics necessary for the degradation of nylon was actually present in the genome of the bacteria before it was needed - and, B) that coding was subsequently activated by a shift in the reading frame when it became necessary for survival.  

How is that not consistent with the concept of front-loading?

Oh, that probably is consistent with the concept of front loading.

It's the whole concept that is rickety. Do we have to go through it all again? Front loading requires that details of the environment be predicted billions of years before the fact (e.g. that a certain waste disposal pond will be present in 3,000,000,000 years time and will be just right for an organism that can digest nylon). It also requires an enormous amount of data to be stored in the original replicator, a method of preventing the information from being corrupted and some means for turning genes on and off in the correct millenium, in the correct species and in the correct geographical location. (Why did genes to make flowers only get turned on in plants, not in frogs that were front loaded with the same information at the same time?)

Once reasonable answers can be provided to these questions front loading has a small chance of being taken seriously, although it is hard to see why it is needed when the present theory serves us so well.

Date: 2009/01/29 12:35:58, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Badger3k @ Jan. 29 2009,10:29)
Actually, they only need to be front-loaded through the last 6,000 or so years.  After all, that's when the big guy created everything.  Pretty easy to front load when you only have a fraction of real time to work with.

Actually, thinking about the issue, I've come to the conclusion that if there is a god designing things, he may be all-knowing and all-powerful, but he is so incredibly stupid (omnincompetent) that he doesn't know what to do with his knowledge or power.  The celestial rainmaker could be the celestial rainman.  Can see every sparrow that falls (or every child that dies from parasites or malnutrition), but is too stupid to realize that he could do something about that, or that he should.  Makes sense, if you are superstitious.

You are right for a Young Earth Front Loader, but Daniel has never expressed a preference for thousands versus billions of years and is a fan of Schindewolf who accepts conventional time scales.

I'd never thought about the possibility of omnincompetence ;-)

Date: 2009/01/29 19:25:49, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Jan. 29 2009,18:49)
I agree that front-loading requires enormous knowledge and foreknowledge, in fact it would require omniscience.  But this data (or knowledge of it) is only required of the creator, it does not have to be front-loaded into the organism.  What we're talking about here are flexible genetic programs loaded into a number of proto-organisms by an omniscient being.  It stands to reason that such a being could streamline such genomes to the bare essentials and utilize genome duplication, chromosome rearrangement and other information multiplying mechanisms - as well as error correction techniques - to bring about whatever changes are necessary to keep a balanced ecosystem on this planet.

I have no idea what you mean by a 'flexible genetic program'. Do you? I think you are hoping it makes sense to a computer programmer but not being one, you don't know.

From the rest of what you write, it sounds like you are invoking the mainstream theory.
'proto-organisms with streamlined genomes' - OK, although you might get some disagreement about how streamlined they were.
'utilize genome duplication, chromosome rearrangement and other information multiplying mechanisms' - no disagreement there.
'error correction technique' - biologists call it 'natural selection'.

The main quibbles would be with the need for a creator and the assertion that there is a 'balanced ecosystem'.
 
Quote
In the short time I've been posting here, I've posted several examples that are consistent with this view:

A reason this is not science is that everything is consistent with it.

ETA: There is also the small matter that if it requires omniscience, then you have to demonstrate that omniscience exists.

Date: 2009/01/30 12:41:45, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ Jan. 30 2009,11:28)
My Field Ornithology class yesterday only saw 23 species,

You make me envious! On a 2-hour walk at the weekend I saw 4 - four ravens, two grey jays, a black-backed woodpecker and a black-capped(?) chickadee.

Date: 2009/01/30 18:24:56, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (dhogaza @ Jan. 30 2009,13:29)
black-backed woodpecker's a nice sighting, where are you at?  Obviously some place with (at least some dead) coniferous trees, let's see grey jays ... might be mountain, not black-capped, chickadees.  In the places here in the PNW where I'd see grey jays and black-backed or three-toed 'peckers it would almost certainly be mountain...

I'm at Cross Lake, Manitoba (54o37'N, 97o47'W), about 150km due south of Thompson.

The other chickadee possibility is the boreal. The last time I saw some, they alerted me to the presence of a boreal owl sitting on a stump. There are several woodpeckers around in the winter including pileated, hairy and downy but they are in small numbers. Two weeks ago I nearly hit a spruce grouse that was standing in the middle of the road, convinced it was well camouflaged. We are in the coniferous forest region and, although some has been logged, most is in a fairly natural condition with quite a few dead trees, especially in old burn areas.

At other times I've seen plentiful tracks of snowshoe hares and foxes and (once) wolf but there were few last weekend.

Date: 2009/01/31 08:03:15, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (stevestory @ Jan. 31 2009,03:28)
Mystery: why do non conservatives exist.

I suppose it is the liberal in me coming out, but has anyone seen the equivalent 'Why do non-liberals exist?' complete with phony stats? I find it hard to imagine unless it was a spoof.

Date: 2009/01/31 21:23:54, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Maya @ Jan. 31 2009,12:36)
New UD FAQ Coming Soon    
Quote
I especially invite our opponents to participate in this process. I assure you that if you raise any fair objection, it will be treated with respect, and you could very well prompt us to modify the FAQ.

My scientific prediction is that this will result in the need to open "Uncommonly Dense Thread 3" far sooner than anticipated.

Why on Earth should we have any objection to being invited to participate in the process? Or are they asking if we have any objection to them doing a FAQ? Not in the slightest, it might make them think. Surely they aren't asking if we have any objection to ID?

The questions I'd most like them to answer are:

What exactly is the Theory of Intelligent Design?
What experiment(s) do you propose to do to test your theory?
Do you realize how much your antics entertain us?

Date: 2009/01/31 21:37:33, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Jan. 31 2009,20:04)
Quote (SoonerintheBluegrass @ Jan. 31 2009,17:24)
I'd like an impartial opinion about something my sister sent me via e-mail.  She claims it's "just a joke."  I found it incredibly offensive and racist.  So I submit this to the judgment of a few strangers:

Can you answer this question????
 

I'M CONFUSED..................................


How can 2 million blacks crowd into Washington DC in sub freezing

temperatures and most streets closed all in 1 day .....

.... when 200,000 couldn't get out of New Orleans at 85 degrees with
hundreds of school buses and four days notice?

Where to begin, where to begin...

a) the 2 million weren't all black

b) the 2 million weren't being forced to leave their homes, or losing their homes

c) the 2 million weren't in the middle of a natural disaster, surrounded by flood waters

d) there weren't 'hundreds of school buses'

I'm sure others can add to this list.

Katrina is a splendid example of the wingnuts' blame-the-victim mentality.

And it's a lot easier to gather together 10% of the population than it is to get out every last family with toddlers, grannies confined to bed and babies.

Date: 2009/02/02 13:05:51, Link
Author: Richard Simons
David, before sounding off about how absurd the theory of evolution is, you need to first of all learn a little about it.
Quote (David @ Feb. 02 2009,11:22)
Try thowing a pile of motorcycles parts into a box willy-nilly and see how many times it takes to get a functioning Harley.

Motorcycle parts do not breed and produce baby parts. Living organisms do, which makes a crucial difference.
Quote

The idea is absurd 1/10 to the 36th power.

You also need to brush up on your mathematics. 1/10 to the 36th power is a very small number, not a large one as you seem to think.
Quote
Ultimatley there is a big picture that adds up in regard to the statistical probability of an undirected form of evolution, and it doesn' look good for the theory.In fact, the theory is absurd.

All probability calculations that question evolution have at least two major flaws. See if you can work out what they are.
Quote
Natural selection?! This is a joke, right? You mean the process that demands as evidence the slow and progressive fossil record of evolving species, for which there is none?

The fossil record has never been the major part of the evidence for the theory of evolution. Do not forget biogeography, anatomy, physiology, diseases, behaviour and of course the biochemical studies that are now so important. However, the fossil record is certainly good enough to stand on its own as evidence for evolution (Tiktaalik, anyone?).
Quote
Darwinian evolution, cross-referencing the sciences, is only supported now by the hot air of those who continue to follow Darwin's dead and disproved religion.

The estimate I saw was 1000 research papers a week that could potentially upset the theory, yet none of them ever has. I think you have been spending too long in the dungeons of creationist/ID web sites and need to get out a little more. BTW Have you ever wondered why they so rarely link to the evolution sites they criticise, yet pro-evolution sites freely link the other way? Who does not want you to hear the opposing view?

Date: 2009/02/04 07:42:35, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (carlsonjok @ Feb. 04 2009,06:56)

- - - can't resist. It is an evolution blog after all.

That is how the seeds of gourds are dispersed. Jackals and coyotes (but not pussies as far as I know) push them around, trying to get at the water inside. By the time they've succeeded, the seeds are well scattered.

Date: 2009/02/04 12:55:09, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Congratulations, Louis. The stress eases up once they've gone to college or got a full-time job.

Date: 2009/02/05 08:30:24, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
I can buy a chimpanzee from a pet store showing the supposed start of evolution.

tmac1238; why do you think our evolution started with, or even passed through, chimpanzees?

Date: 2009/02/05 12:57:14, Link
Author: Richard Simons
tmac1238  
Quote
I'm gone!

That was quick. I'll add this anyway.
 
Quote
Why would anyone think your evolution didn't start with champanzees, but when it got to chimpanzees, it suddenly made a catastrophic leap and bypassed everything between a chimp and man at the pet store?

Check out fossil skulls.

Date: 2009/02/05 20:58:22, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 05 2009,18:27)
As far as I can tell, the TSP is an optimization problem - where the best solution can always be found by a brute force search of all permutations.  As such, it is quite obvious that the shorter overall distance will always be selected.

I don't think you have any idea of the number of routes that are possible. With just 20 places to visit there are 6*10^16 and with 100 places there are 4.7*10^157. In general, there are (n-1)!/2 possible routes. A brute force search is not on the cards for all but the simplest problems.

Date: 2009/02/06 18:25:40, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 06 2009,11:57)
However, problems like the salesman's route do have goals, and I'm curious if there are indeed, ways of finding the best fit in fewer steps.

I hesitated to respond at first because I know little about the topic, but here's my 2c worth. As I recall from a course I took many years ago, a method of finding a reasonable solution is to start with a random route then to switch pairs of places and recalculate the distance. If the new distance is shorter, use that route and repeat the process. I'm sure there are many variations, such as switching all possible pairs of neighbours before seeing which is the shortest, then proceeding from there. Of course, you'd also want to start with a number of different random paths as they would probably home in on different solutions.

This is, of course, an evolutionary type of process with no known target, but a clear means of measuring the improvement.

Hope that helps.

Date: 2009/02/06 19:02:20, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Upright BiPed  
Quote
It would be hard to conclude that scientist don’t take ID seriously. How many websites has the NCSE set up to attack alchemy?

They don't seem to grasp the difference between taking their ideas seriously and their damage to science education seriously.

Date: 2009/02/06 19:31:27, Link
Author: Richard Simons
http://tinyurl.com/bohyeh

 
Quote
According to Behe, “irreducible complexity” is the idea that a system has a number of parts that interact to produce a function that each part on its own could not produce.

How many definitions of irreducible complexity has he given us? There was the 'the loss of any part will cause loss of function' definition, the 'cannot arise through evolution' definition and now this. I do wish he would decide on one definition and stick to it. I wonder, have the good people at UD been informed of the latest? I will have to check out their FAQs to see if they are keeping up with the latest in ID research.

ETA: I need to think and type quicker.

Date: 2009/02/06 20:26:27, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 06 2009,19:26)
On the contrary, the TSP proves that optimization - via random generation and selection - can be impractical when the number of variables rise.  

Huh? I get the opposite message. As the system gets more complicated it becomes completely impractical to assess all possible alternatives. With the TSP, for example, given just 30 places to visit it is not reasonable to evaluate all possible 4,420,880,996,869,850,977,271,808,000,000 routes. One alternative that does work is to start with a random route, then repeatedly make changes followed by selection.

BTW What do you mean by 'optimization'? I am using it to mean the finding of a good solution, but not necessarily the minimum length solution. I think this is how the word is generally used in this context.

Date: 2009/02/08 18:13:15, Link
Author: Richard Simons
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. - Lou FCD]

Quote (RFJE @ Feb. 08 2009,16:57)
Stanley Miller, who attempted to create life in a test tube in the early 1950's, knew this, . . .

He did? First time I've heard of that. I always thought he was just wondering if he could get some organic chemicals.

If anyone had any doubts, this is where RFJE is
coming from
 
Quote
Eighteen years ago, I went to a 2 day seminar put on by the Institute for Creation Research. At that seminar I saw PHD's, Masters degrees, and medical doctors explain the research they were doing to show there was plenty of evidence of a young earth, among many other things. They all knew all the reasonings of evolution because they had been taught it for years.

What struck everyone who heard their presentations there was the question, why is this research not put in the textbooks at school? Why do we have to go to a church or auditorium to hear it. Why not in a school or university? Answer: Anything that would show evidence of design or anything that undermines evolution is religious and cannot be taught in public schools, even if it valid research done by qualified scientists.

Date: 2009/02/08 18:27:44, Link
Author: Richard Simons
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. - Lou FCD]

He gradually gets more loopy as you get further into the discussion.

Quote
IRREDUCIBLE COMPLEXITY-- How did two sexual organisms of the same species evolve AT THE SAME TIME out of an asexual organism?

Natural selection would have rooted out only males or only females or evolving HALF males or evolving HALF females. Fully developed male and female organisms would have had to be alive at the same time, and in the same proximity in order to mate.


Wouldn't the mathematical probability of this event taking place been too high?

Date: 2009/02/08 23:31:41, Link
Author: Richard Simons
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. - Lou FCD]

Moved to Bathroom Wall

Date: 2009/02/08 23:41:17, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (khan @ Feb. 08 2009,22:42)
Quote
It should be noted that the initial impetus behind my conversion was the realization that the Darwinian thesis of purposelessly-driven life was an obvious, Himalayan-sized pile of pseudoscientific crap. This realization required only a minimal education in mathematics, chemistry, physics, and computation.


I really is smarter than all you scientistic folks.

. . . but no biology. :-)

Date: 2009/02/09 08:39:19, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Moved from 'Expelled'

Quote (RFJE @ Feb. 08 2009,19:34)
Is there something wrong with inquiry?  I thought this was one of the principles of science.  

There is nothing wrong with inquiry but you came charging in with both arms flailing, giving the clear impression that you think all evolutionary biologists are liars or incompetent. Perhaps you'd like to start again and ask your questions, one or two at a time, in a true spirit of inquiry?

Wes responded to your first batch of questions by giving you a number of web sites that answer them in reasonable detail. You need to read and understand them, not just claim that you did not get answers.

Quote
 
IRREDUCIBLE COMPLEXITY-- How did two sexual organisms of the same species evolve AT THE SAME TIME out of an asexual organism?

Natural selection would have rooted out only males or only females or evolving HALF males or evolving HALF females. Fully developed male and female organisms would have had to be alive at the same time, and in the same proximity in order to mate.

Wouldn't the mathematical probability of this event taking place been too high?

In the first sexual organisms, there was neither male nor female, just two equals. This can be seen today in Rhizopus (fungus) and Chlamydomonas (alga). The development of unequal gametes came later, but even then most organisms are both male and female. Think of most flowering plants and worms, for example. Then there are fish that can start their life as female then switch to male.

I have no idea why you bring up God (the theory of evolution says nothing about the presence or absence of God) or being a missionary in Africa (yes, I too have been in an African village and had a neighbour accused of witchcraft) but I find your aside about 'the dark continent' to be revealing. In some ways, where I was was at least as enlightened as North America.

You claim that there are genetic boundaries in the DNA. This is a strange way to put it but I assume you mean that there are limits to the amount DNA can change from the original 'kind'. There is no evidence for this whatsoever.

You also claim that the hypotheses of evolution are untestable and unobserved. This is complete and utter rubbish.

Now read those links, think about what you have been told, pull your horns in and once you've settled down ask some coherent questions acknowledging that you are almost completely ignorant about the subject and you will find you get a much better reception.

Date: 2009/02/09 18:56:01, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 09 2009,12:06)
 
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 07 2009,12:31)
 
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 07 2009,14:53)
I think the earth's orbit is a bit more established than common descent (which must posit numerous genomic duplications and genomic transfers between unrelated organisms), so no, the two are not equivalent statements.

Is it, on the whole, your belief that all extant terrestrial organisms are related by universal common descent?

Do you, for example, believe that reasonable doubt may be sustained regarding the relationship, by way of a common ancestor, between human beings, chimpanzees and bonobos?

Let's put it this way:
Until the exact route of evolution is established, there is always room for reasonable doubt.

Until you describe the exact route you took from entering grade 1 to leaving high school there is always room for reasonable doubt that you did it.

Makes as much sense as your argument.

Date: 2009/02/10 08:35:49, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (RFJE @ Feb. 10 2009,05:01)
My purpose is not to be proud. You people lynched me.

The reaction you got is the normal reaction to be expected when a complete know-nothing comes blasting in, convinced that they have all the answers and that the scientists are completely ignorant on the subject they have spent decades studying.
Quote
 I was only showing you that the research is there for all to see, AND there are credentialed people in science that do not share your worldview or theory.

Do you seriously think that we are not aware of these people that those on the creation/ID side believe to be credentialed and therefore correct? And you accuse us of arrogance!
Quote

My points are elementary.

So why did you assume that no-one has considered them?
Quote
It is not required that I have a PHD in biochemistry to see the problems your theory has.

Interestingly, even people with PhDs have failed to find problems in the theory of evolution. In fact, the better a person is informed on the topic, the less likely they are to have problems with it.
Quote
You want to talk about humility, now you are entering into my arena of study and practice.

I recall you've said you've been a missionary. In my opinion, nobody is as arrogant as a missionary. Imagine, that of the thousands of religions around, you have found the one true one and are sufficiently convinced that you have the urge to convert all others. What could possibly be more arrogant?

Date: 2009/02/13 08:10:18, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I, too, was struck by the use of the word 'gentle'. Gentle is how a professional boxer should be in a sparring bout with a 6-year-old. RFJE was more like an an angry 6-year-old thinking he could floor a professional boxer (no, I am not suggesting he was angry).

RFJE: you should have given some thought to the possibility that your knowledge is not complete and that professional biologists are likely to have more knowledge on the subject than you do. Your use of the word 'gentle' tells me that you are still not ready to accept this. You may be a power in the missionary community, but when it comes to biology, and particularly evolution, you must learn some humility. Something that comes across strongly in your comments is that although you use the word you have probably never really experienced it.

Biologists are extremely likely to have already thought of, considered and rejected any objections you are going to think of, not because they are evil or stupid, but because of the evidence that they are aware of and that you are not. Sure, it is always possible for an outsider to see something that has been missed but it is very unlikely.

So let's hear no more about being 'gentle' (I could beat you guys up if I really wanted to') but show some evidence of a willingness to accept the possibility that you might be wrong.

Date: 2009/02/13 23:49:06, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (RFJE @ Feb. 13 2009,22:23)
Yes they were still very intelligent, very educated, very enlightened perceptors. They still brought us wonderful breakthroughs and understanding of the natural  world. But they became anti-apostles, and anti-prophets and anti-christs (not the anti-christ, the scriptures teach there are anti-christs and THE anti-christ). Telling us there was no Adam and Eve, throwing out the Bible as a fable book.
 
I think most people here are not what could reasonably be called anti-christs. Most Christians who contribute here, I'm sure, do not find that their faith is being attacked. However, there are many anti-apostles here. When Christians (they are the most frequent transgressors) try to push their religious views there is the tendency to push back against those who have decided that it is their aim in life to become apostles for their faith. What right do you have to invade my life and tell me that my views are wrong? If you wish to provide evidence to support your views, that would be a little more acceptable but there never is any. It always comes down to quoting passages from your mythology, or coming out with threats of what will happen in the afterlife.

Tell me, why should I regard the Bible as any more or less a fable than the Illiad? Both have parts that are obviously factual, or close to factual, and other parts clearly pure mythology.
 
Quote
Do we need any proof of this?  Just look in the prior pages.  Mocking and railing against the One who said "Father forgive them, they know not what they do."
 
I think most of the commentators here have not been railing against Jesus, but against you.
 
Quote

Bottom line, if our common ancestor is not Adam and Eve then there is no sin, nor inherited sin nature in man, nor any need for redemption by Christ's blood.  So just live it up guys.  Everything's just wonderful.  This life is the only one.  But count me out.

I've never understood this desire by some Christians to wallow in sin, and why something someone did hundreds of generations ago should condemn me. When I was a child this was one of the things that struck me as being particularly ridiculous and even nasty about Christianity.

Date: 2009/02/18 23:54:37, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (deadman_932 @ Feb. 18 2009,23:12)
I'm amazed anyone could make heads or tails of that word salad of RFJE's.

Okay, so  I *THINK* he's trying to make the claim that if the early Earth atmosphere was "dominated" by CO2...then it had to be *exactly* like Venus today--complete with sulfuric acid clouds?  

There's a vague gesture towards UV as damaging to DNA/RNA...A mention of archaea and cyanobacteria. The Hadean.

By golly, I think this is some sort of argument against abiogenesis -- except written by a  disciple of KairosFocus, on a hellishly powerful toad extract.

I think there is also confusion between oxygen as a constituent of water and CO2 and oxygen as O2. As it swirled past I believe I caught a glimpse of the notion that anything toxic to us must also have been toxic to early life.

Date: 2009/02/22 08:10:06, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (carlsonjok @ Feb. 22 2009,07:28)
I am not nearly as entertaining as Abbie is.

But I find your writing is a lot more coherent.

Date: 2009/02/24 08:05:08, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Louis @ Feb. 24 2009,04:35)
On that subject, since the "claims-remain-the-same"* so often in IDCist arguments I'm thinking along the lines of Mark Isaak's Index to Creationist Claims but on placards. Every time little Casey Whiny Bollocks opens his gob and unfurls a turd onto the ears of his audience how about a segment of that audience, calmly, quietly, and oh so ever politely, lifts the relevant placard? These could be small (A4 size) so as not to interfere too greatly, but just enough to make the point. ten or so people quietly sat in the front row each holding up a placard briefly explaining the lie/fallacy being presented (title of placard would be large and easily legible). Leaflets could be produced which explained the common fallacies and gave references to more extensive works.

It would take a bit of setting up, and attendees at a few of Casey (or whoever's) lectures would need to get transcripts (or recordings for later transcriptions) so that the work could be distributed. IIRC that also won't fall foul of copyright (it's fair use as long as you translate from one medium to another for the purposes of criticism IIRC, IANAL).

Thoughts?

I, too, do not live in an area with rampant creationists being taken seriously, but I had similar thoughts. Sit near the front and, if something incorrect is said, just stand up and politely say 'Excuse me, but that is not correct.' This could quickly tail off to just putting your hand up each time, but I'm sure it would make the point to the rest of the audience and also be very disconcerting for a speaker - not something I'd consider fair against normal opponents but given the tactics of Gish, Luskin, etc . . .

Date: 2009/02/24 08:31:24, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Feb. 24 2009,08:20)
I think a placard with "That Was A Falsehood" would serve admirably. One would likely be able to flash it more often than saying the thing aloud before being ejected from the proceedings. Fumbling through a stack of different placards listing all the many and various common falsehoods told would be inefficient. This way, one is not disrupting the speaker in the usual sense, so it becomes an eloquent statement when the goons appear beside you to take you out the door.

Even better... a double-sided placard, with "That Was A Falsehood" on one side, and "Teach The Controversy" on the other might shame them slightly, and permit one to flash it a few more times. It might even take a bit longer for them to take offense if one consistently raises the "Teach The Controversy" side toward the speaker... he might think that you are IDC cheerleading. ETA: This assumes that you get a seat near the front of the audience.

Better still! I am almost regretting that I'm unlikely to get the chance to try it out.

Date: 2009/02/27 07:58:38, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I always thought the point of the puddle analogy was that the puddle thought the universe was made to suit it, when in fact it was the other way round. I just quickly looked at the puddle thread but I did not see anyone bring this up.

Date: 2009/03/02 08:17:43, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Laminar_ @ Mar. 02 2009,06:53)
IC only seems to occur in things we know were designed, not in things that evolved, which is why IC doesn't appear in nature and why ID's comparisons to human design are often bogus.

It depends on which definition of IC you are using. Interlocking complexity, aka IC according to Behe's first definition, was predicted to be a result of evolution and is commonly seen.

Date: 2009/03/08 23:07:27, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Junior: you need to be aware that there are basically two groups of creationists: there are those who lie and misrepresent and there are those who believe the liars, who can sound very credible to those who do not know the science.

As an example, you claim that Archaeopteryx is a bird with a lizard-like tail and claws, and that there are existing birds like this. The chick of the hoatzin does indeed have claws on its wings, but I would be extremely surprised to find that there is any existing bird with a lizard-like tail. Did your source name one? Archaeopteryx also did not have a beak, but had a mouth full of teeth and various other unbird-like features.

The fossil evidence for the origin of birds from dinosaurs is fascinating, with new fossils frequently being found. It seems almost like every month there is a report of a new one. If your source claimed that Archaeopteryx is the only intermediate between dinosaurs and birds, they are decades out of date.

There are many other intermediate fossils between other groups. Check out the fossil and biochemical evidence for the evolution of whales, for example.

The biological world is far more fascinating than creationists can conceive. But you shouldn't believe me any more than you should believe creationists - check out the evidence (not the opinions, but the evidence) for yourself and you will be amazed.

Date: 2009/03/11 19:40:37, Link
Author: Richard Simons
How long can it continue?
 
Quote

Sal Gal

03/11/2009

6:59 pm
O’Leary,
 
Quote
It would be EASY to do.

I’m waiting for the Discovery Institute to denounce the intellectually dishonest transformation of a creationist textbook into an “intelligent design” textbook through the magic of global-search-and-replace.

It would be EASY to do.

Clearly “cdesign proponentsists” says much more about the contemporary ID movement than Darwin’s racism says about contemporary evolutionary biology.

The phrase “intelligent design” came into widespread usage after the Supreme Court ruled that “creation” could not be mentioned in public-school science classes. Hiding the fact that intelligent design is creation of complex specified information out of nothing is patently dishonest. The Discovery Institute should acknowledge that design is creation.

It would be EASY to do.

Date: 2009/03/13 19:39:38, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (khan @ Mar. 12 2009,20:01)
My next blood donation will be #160, 20 gallons (yes I know they switched to liters long ago).

Impressive. I once grossed out my son and his friend by telling them I'd donated three buckets of blood, but these days I'm persona non grata with the Canadian vampires as I spent some time in the UK during the BSE flare-up.

Date: 2009/03/14 20:54:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Mar. 14 2009,13:36)
I can be proven wrong at any time.  

No you can't, because you will never accept that the detail is sufficient.
Quote
Isn't that what it's all about JAM?

No. A large part of science is about making testable predictions and then trying to disprove them yourself.

Date: 2009/03/14 21:40:03, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (ck1 @ Mar. 14 2009,20:49)
Are there multiple levels of bannination at UD?

Seems like several variants have been described:

1 - Poster can register and submit a comment.  Will get a notice about comment in moderation.  Comment may or may not appear.

2 - Can register and submit, but gets no notice about moderation.  Comments never appear. (I'm here.)

3 - Can't register.

Sound right?

When I tried to submit a comment about 3 years ago I registered and submitted, but my comment never appeared. The second time I got the message that comments were not accepted from my IP address.

My crime? I'd quoted Dave Scot chastizing someone, telling them that UD was only interested in science, not in abuse, and I'd added 'you mean like adding farty noises to videos of judges?'

Perhaps I'll try again now that I am in a completely different location.

Date: 2009/03/15 11:18:26, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I just registered and submitted this:
 
Quote
First of all, I am delighted to see the change in moderation policy.

Joseph    
Quote
That said to falsify ID in the domain of evolution all one has to do is demonstrate that the organism/ obeject/ event in question can be reduced to matter and energy.

This is basically the reason why ID is not considered to be science. 'Falsifiable' means that there is a prediction or test that can be made and performed that could give two results. From one you would conclude that the theory has been disproven, from the other one would conclude that the theory has not so far been disproven. A large part of science is thinking up the exceptional cases and then actually putting your theory to the test, in effect trying to disprove your own theory. I am not aware of anyone connected with ID who has actually done this, or even proposed a realistic test that would differentiate between ID and the modern evolutionary theory.
 
Quote
4.5 billion years does not seem to be enough.  

I have recently been making a scale drawing of a geological timeline for my students and one thing that comes out clearly is just how long 4.5 billion years is. To represent the last 5000 years of human history by a postage-stamp sized photo I would need a strip of paper over 10 miles long. How long would you consider long enough, and what is your reasoning (no phoney statistics, please)?

I got the message that it is awaiting moderation.

I followed that up with a second post:
Quote
Jerry
Quote
So when our anti ID friends come here, the onus is on them to present data that contradicts our position.  

No. The onus is on you to clearly state what possible data would contradict your position, then to attempt to find it yourself. That is what scientists do. Note the word 'possible'.

We'll see what happens.

Date: 2009/03/15 15:08:54, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Mar. 15 2009,13:28)
I'm no scientist, nor am I qualified to decide whether a proposed pathway would work or not.

We'd noticed.
 
Quote
I've said repeatedly that any proposed pathway - in order to meet my challenge - must be able to convince the actual scientists most familiar with the matter.

They have been convinced. It's just that you refuse to accept that you are not qualified to decide whether a proposed pathway would work or not, and refuse to accept that it has convinced the actual scientists most familiar with the matter.

Date: 2009/03/17 00:10:06, Link
Author: Richard Simons
And you can also use your snowmobiles in the summer.

Date: 2009/03/17 12:59:22, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Thank's J-Dog.

I once trod hallowed ground when I had a tour of the old Guinness brewery in Dublin (it's where 'Student' developed his t-test). After the tour we each had a pint, but I regret to say that it was wasted on me (my tastes have improved since then).

I've given a course on economic botany to African students, giving them various samples of food, spices and drink to taste. I got hold of some Guinness which they sipped with daring expressions on their faces. One can was enough for a dozen students!

Date: 2009/03/17 20:10:58, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (FrankH @ Mar. 17 2009,13:07)
On the misuse of probability at UD and other Creto sites.  Please correct me if I'm wrong on where I think they get their assumptions on the probabilities of the formation of complex proteins:

1:  That atoms forming together via covalent or ionic bonds are random and equal in probability.

2:  There is nothing special about Carbon nor its ability to form long and complex chains.

3:  A complex protein is formed spontaneously and no pre-cursors were needed nor formed first.

4:  The probability is done in a "Random Walk" style.  By that with three degrees of motion, in either a "positive" or "negative" manner (ie towards the completion or removing itself from the completion of the protein).

Am I missing anything?


Thanks

They also assume that only one protein meets the requirements, an assumption that is almost certainly wrong for every function.

Date: 2009/03/23 18:51:03, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Richardthughes @ Mar. 23 2009,08:55)
Joe has measured the CSI of a cake. NOT!

http://intelligentreasoning.blogspot.com/2008....1061841

 
Quote
At 7:48 AM,  Joe G said…

Measuring the CSI of a cake:

Given the following recipe:

• 1 cup cornmeal
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 1/3 cups white sugar
• 2 tablespoons baking powder
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2/3 cup vegetable oil
• 1/3 cup melted butter
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 4 eggs, beaten
• 2 1/2 cups whole milk
• Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
• Stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Pour in the vegetable oil, melted butter, honey, beaten eggs, and milk, and stir just to moisten.
• Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, until the top of the cornbread starts to brown and show cracks.

A simple character count reveals there are over 650 characters.

Therefor the minimum information that cake will contain is just over 650 bits if each character is a bit.

Interesting that changing the language of a description alters the CSI of an object.

Date: 2009/03/25 13:00:02, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Isn't Apollo supposed to be their star programmer? Perhaps they should have got Dave to do it before he left.

How long will it be before it is corrected? How long before a correction is acknowledged? How long before the corrected version filters down to the likes of KF?

Edit: the comment sent itself before I had finished (stupid computers).

Date: 2009/03/25 19:39:28, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I am pleasantly surprised that my expectation that the errors made by Apollos would be ignored or quietly hidden have proven to be wrong.

Date: 2009/04/20 20:01:02, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I long ago became convinced that no explanation would be sufficiently detailed for Daniel. To disabuse me of this, Daniel, could you give an explanation for anything, on any topic you choose, that includes the level of detail you would consider adequate for evolution?

My prediction is that you will either ignore this request or give some reason for not providing an example explanation.

Date: 2009/04/22 10:31:11, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Daniel Smith @ April 21 2009,18:48)
 
Quote (deadman_932 @ April 21 2009,09:51)
DANIEL SAYS
So...I asked you to point to anything in science that has the degree of detail you are requiring, Daniel. The kind of detail that allows scientists to say " This is settled, we know every jot and tittle about this subject so that we can say we have the FINAL ANSWER."

You didn't name a field of scientific investigation or ...well, anything in science in which we can make such a claim, Daniel. Now, put on your pointy little thinking cap and try to answer what you were asked.

There are lots of things actually that fit the bill, you just need to look outside of biology.  Many mathematical questions have been answered.  Chemistry and Physics also have lots of settled questions.  I'm sure you can think of some of these if you try.

Daniel will never, ever, provide us with a specific answer. He knows that anything he said would be instantly torn apart.

I am curious about what is going on in Daniel's mind. Is he aware that the evidence he demands for evolution is so enormously different from the evidence he accepts for his religious beliefs? Does he have a block in his mind that does not allow him to examine his religious beliefs? It is my understanding that a person can be hypnotised into, say, always avoiding a certain patch of floor in the middle of a room and when asked will be able to provide justification for their actions. Does something similar go on in the minds of religious believers when they are asked to justify their faith? Has anyone made a comparison?

Date: 2009/05/09 14:10:13, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (rhmc @ May 09 2009,09:09)
Quote (JonF @ May 09 2009,09:29)
Whut's a CBEB?

one of the places it's mentioned:

DaveScot

04/15/2006

1:55 am
I’m running out of naming options for these increasingly sick people. I started out a month ago with Church Burners. Then I had to add Ebola Boys. Church Burning Ebola Boys. Now what - Church Burning Baby Butchering Ebola Boys? That’s too long. Too unwieldy. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelli....t-award

Ah, the church burning! I'd forgotten about that. I was thinking of things like 'Christian-baiting Evolutionary Brethren' but that didn't sound right.

Date: 2009/05/09 14:22:47, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
It is based solely on bias - an unwillingness to consider God as an option.

No. It is based on the inability of people who believe in a god to produce a single experiment or other test in which the presence or absence of a god would make the slightest difference.
Quote
The design of life is intuitively obvious to the vast majority of the world's population.

yet it seems that, the more a person knows about biology, the less obvious the design becomes.
Quote
In conclusion, the atheistic position, as it has been expressed here, is one characterized by narrow mindedness, cowardice, a lack of knowledge, willful ignorance and extreme bias.

For weeks, people have been asking you for your explanations, but all you have ever said (when you did not evade the issue) boils down to 'God did it. I don't know how' with a whispered 'but it was not through evolution.'

Date: 2009/05/09 16:39:46, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Nils Ruhr @ May 09 2009,11:00)
You're all eager for criticising Intelligent Design (by making ad hominem attacks) and defending Darwinism. But who of you is a real scientist working in the field of biology?

No one? I thought so.

Former, but no longer, with about a dozen refereed publications (more than the entire ID output).

Date: 2009/05/09 22:28:07, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Nils Ruhr @ May 09 2009,18:01)
   
Quote (CeilingCat @ May 09 2009,17:00)
Nils, it's been about six hours since you asked that question.  So far we have had five real live biologists, two student biologists and one person who was trained in biology, but works in another field respond to you.

Ok, I was wrong, there are indeed many scientists in the field of biology on this forum. This means your opinions here might be relevant for my questions.


There are many biologists in the ID movement:
Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, Paul Chien.

Behe is a biochemist, not a biologist. Also, that was not the question you asked of us. You asked "who of you is a real scientist working in the field of biology?" Has Jonathan Wells done any research since he completed his PhD? So you are down to one.

BTW I don't want to give the impression that biochemists and others, including people who ask good questions, have nothing to contribute but Nils was specifically limiting his question to biologists.

Date: 2009/05/10 09:37:09, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Bob O'H @ May 10 2009,04:07)
Quote (Richard Simons @ May 09 2009,22:28)
Behe is a biochemist, not a biologist. Also, that was not the question you asked of us. You asked "who of you is a real scientist working in the field of biology?" Has Jonathan Wells done any research since he completed his PhD? So you are down to one.

BTW I don't want to give the impression that biochemists and others, including people who ask good questions, have nothing to contribute but Nils was specifically limiting his question to biologists.

I think that's unfair - biology is a big field, with a lot of sub-specialities.  Biochemistry is one, and I don't see how that stops it from being biology.  You might just as well argue that Haldane, Fisher and Wright were doing mathematics, not biology, when they were inventing population genetics.

No, I'm not a biochemist.

I agree that the boundaries are fuzzy and I suppose Behe is at least trying to do original work in biology.

BTW, I've always thought of Fisher as a statistician who happened to work with agricultural/biological material.

Date: 2009/05/12 21:09:49, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Spring is slowly coming to the north end of Lake Winnipeg. In the past week I've seen various ducks - shoveller, pintail, green-winged teal, mallard, canvasback, redhead, lesser scaup, bufflehead - as well as red-necked and horned grebes and a loon. There are still snow-buntings passing through but the sandhill cranes and great blue herons are back. The birds of prey include bald eagles, merlins and one turkey vulture (well beyond its 'official' range but, as a colleague says, no doubt it knows a good garbage dump when it smells it). Today I saw the first robins, a palm warbler and a chipping sparrow.

The pussy willows are just past their best, the buds on the tamarack (larch) and poplars are starting to swell and if you look carefully at the school playing field the first shoots of grass are visible. Summer is on its way!

On a different topic, a few weeks ago I had a holiday in the Dominican Republic (Aah, sun!  Warmth!). The hotel had a series of ornamental ponds with many fish and frequented by great egrets and green herons. The egrets were mainly after the fish but also ate some of the bread that guests threw in for the fish. The green herons, though, would take a piece of bread, mash it up a bit and carefully put it in the water just within reach. If it did not attract any fish, they would move it to another spot and try again. Has anyone else seen birds using bait to attract prey like that?

Date: 2009/05/13 20:24:43, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Richard Simons @ May 12 2009,21:09)
Spring is slowly coming to the north end of Lake Winnipeg. [snip] Summer is on its way!

I wrote too soon. This morning the ground was grey with ice and there was freezing drizzle. Since then it's got worse, with freezing rain, ice pellets and snow all day, driven by a strong wind. At lunch time I had difficulty crossing the road because the wind was strong enough to slide me back across the ice. However, today I had my first visitor to my bird feeder since I put it up 6 months ago - a grackle has been coming every few minutes.

I forgot to mention in my list of birds - I saw a glaucous gull hanging out with the others. They are quite unusual in this area. I've also seen a couple of thin bears around.

BTW: I agree with Khan that the bluebird's friend is likely to be a youngster. Many young birds (especially the thrushes and their kin) are speckled and you can see the blue starting to come through (but I'm not particularly familiar with bluebirds). The other bird? Yes, it certainly looks like a sparrow ;-)

Date: 2009/05/14 13:05:01, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ May 14 2009,06:54)
 
Quote
Front-loading is the idea that the designer made the first organisms with the future in mind, and that the original design influenced the course of evolution.


I’ll assume that this is the working definition; if that assumption is incorrect, please advise and we can talk about the actual definition.

But if it is the definition, I’ve no idea how one could generate a testable hypothesis based on it. Do we have the “first organisms”? No, so how would we examine them?

You get as many chromosomes from as many different organisms as you can manage, smodge them all together and see what it grows in to.

Date: 2009/05/14 19:50:35, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Lou: yes and yes. Killdeers are easy to identify because of their size, their continual shrieking at any intruder and the bright chestnut on the tail and rump.
Muscovy ducks are often domesticated. The dark ones on your last photo are closest to the wild type, which I've looked for in the wild but never seen.

BTW: We are back to sun again, but I think people living here should really have a masochistic streak.

Date: 2009/05/14 20:27:23, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Sibley shows a juvenile with brown between the black stripes. I don't know if that means it is a juvenile trait or just individual variation. I tend to just dismiss them - 'Another noisy killdeer' but perhaps I should study them more carefully.

"Glad you're getting some sun, finally." On the whole, we have relatively clear skies but in the winter the days are too short and in the summer the sun is not high enough. The locals like the winter because that's when they can do the ice fishing, curling, hockey, sled dog racing, hunting and trapping but it's not for me.

Date: 2009/05/15 13:18:06, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,May 15 2009,10:10)
i never thought it before but how old are peas?  are there new and old world peas?

can you date those divergences in the aphids molecularly?

is domestication of wild pea lineages likely to have played a role in the extinction of the ancestral pea?  

perhaps if there were never peas would call them some other sort of aphid.  if only there were poison ivy aphids.

i just picked a gallon or so of peas in my garden and i am tickled about it

we planted some storebought 'alaska' spring peas and 'little marvel' bush peas.  i  should have picked them the first time several weeks ago but we'll probably get another good pick out of these two patches.  

peas don't do very well here but its not aphids its heat.  in fact i have never seen an aphid on them but that doesn't mean anything.  they don't seem to have much insect damage at all.

thanks for posting that very cool

Off the top of my head: Peas are amongst the oldest crops from the Fertile Crescent (the higher ground around what was Mesopotamia) together with wheat, barley and lentils. I seem to recall the suggestion that they came from Anatolia. The ancestral form quite likely became extinct because it was swamped by the crop and the hybrids could not survive in the wild. It is thought that the same thing happened to onions.

I would be pleased if I had just picked a gallon of them, too. There's nothing quite like fresh-picked peas. Unfortunately, our garden will be just about ready to sow peas in about a week.

Edit to change silly mistake.

Date: 2009/05/15 23:09:31, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (jeannot @ May 15 2009,15:41)
I am not sure that the wild ancestor of pea is extinct. I thought it was Pisum fulvum.

But the wild ancestor of broad bean, which is as old as cultivated pea, is unknown/extinct.

You could be right about the pea. It is a long time since I've done any reading on the topic and I don't have my material on the subject handy.

Regarding New World vs Old World beans; faba beans (=broad beans, horse beans) and of course soya beans are Old World species and Phaseolus is a New World group (mainly Central/South America). There was a lot of work studying the origins of Phaseolus beans and things may have changed, but many beans are regarded as one species - green, wax, white, haricot, navy, black, black-eyed, pinto and kidney beans. Lima/butter beans are different and so are runner beans - but still Phaseolus.

It's interesting to think about what food plants people did not have available. I've tried one or two of the traditional leafy vegetables that fell out of favour and it's easy to tell why they were dropped.

Date: 2009/05/21 07:54:34, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Amadan @ May 21 2009,05:19)
Not really relevant to anything currently on AtBC, but this has been on my mind so much for the last day or 2.

Best summed up by the editorial in today's Irish Times.


Deeply disturbing.

In Canada many of the native children, especially from the more remote areas, were compulsorily placed in residential schools, the last of which closed, IIRC, in the 1980s. An inquiry a few years ago found that many were abused while in the schools (many of which were also church-run), although it seems not to the extent of in Ireland. Money has been allocated to the victims but the process has been slow as each claim is vetted individually and so far something like 2/3 of the money has gone to lawyers and bureaucrats.

We are still living with the consequences, with many of the former residents not knowing how to bring up children and passing this lack of knowledge on to their children.

I can't help wondering about countries that have not yet done an investigation.

Date: 2009/05/21 12:46:32, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Jim_Wynne @ May 21 2009,10:12)
[pedantry]I think you mean "many of the aboriginal children," because all children born in Canada are natives.[/pedantry]

You're right. My excuse is that I've spent time recently with a colleague who keeps referring to 'The Natives' (and some call themselves that).

Date: 2009/06/02 20:57:37, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (keiths @ June 02 2009,14:04)
vjtorley demonstrates what happens when an intelligent mind is infected by the meme complex of Christianity:
   
Quote
SNIP lengthy quote.

So vjtorley finds the iridium layer "awkward", but not the story of Jonah and the whale or the origin of Jesus' Y chromosome.  Or the idea that God "shut down" the nervous systems of innocent people being massacred by the Israelites so they would not suffer.

I understood his point to be that some miracles are needed for the story but others are completely superfluous. For example, if the Earth really was created 6000 years ago, many miracles were done that make it look as though there were eons of prior history. The large number of extra miracles that were apparently done, and have no bearing on Adam, Abel, Noah, Moses, et al. suggests to vjtorley that Genesis is not correct.

Date: 2009/06/03 08:19:56, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Warning: Life Will Change. No more hanging around in bars or goofing off at rugby games. Apart from anything else, you need a pack mule to carry around a baby's supplies every time he leaves the house.

Congratulations!

Date: 2009/06/04 12:48:10, Link
Author: Richard Simons
As teachable as afDave.

Date: 2009/06/09 07:36:50, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Quack @ June 08 2009,05:00)
Big question: Why is there no creationist counterpart to AtBC?
(LOL)

Too much respect for authority and scared to cock a snoot at anything.

Date: 2009/06/18 08:02:19, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I wanted to comment that, according to his description, the CSI of a baseball is way more than that of an aardvark then get him to justify it, but I've lost my password and can't be bothered to go through the rigmarole of getting back on. Perhaps someone who can easily comment there could ask him about it.

Date: 2009/06/20 06:46:10, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
There are not that many distinct genes, most are duplicated among many species. New ones occur only a few times per year. So one can calculate how long it would take for humans to acquire those genes that distinguish them from other apes. Humans were about a trillionth of a trillionth of the world’s population of organisms so the expected time is in the range of a trillion, trillion years. The universe is only about 13 billion years old.

   
Quote
Advanced species of necessity have internal fluids to provide the necessaries of life to internal cells. Since these fluids are nutritious they periodically get bacterial populations. This leaves all cells of an individual of the advanced species with the same access to genetic material from another species that is enjoyed by bacteria in the case of antibiotic resistance transfer. Since advanced species are descended from bacteria with the ability to acquire genetic material there is the expectation that such a useful ability would be retained. The distribution of genes between species makes it abundantly clear that this is actually the case.

There's an idea here that I've not seen before, that there is a relatively fixed number of genes in the world and that they are spread around by symbiotic/parasitic bacteria. You should try this out amongst the non-cognoscente over at UD. It will probably 'take' amongst them. I don't think many will notice that, in effect, you are saying that common descent means that genes can easily be transferred, and therefore we do not need to use common descent to explain shared genes.
   
Quote
The number of genes in advanced species is tens of thousands more than in earliest life. The substitution of one allele of a gene by another only alters the effect of that gene, it does not change the number of genes (or even of genetic mechanisms).

I would drop this section as most of them already assume that mutations can't 'add information' (and who knows exactly what they mean by that?) and even without it the comment is overly long.

They also love abbreviations for things that no-one can really define or explain, especially if there is a suggestion of computers and programming about them, so I see a good future for DGSE.

If it's submitted as a comment over at UD, I'd ignore the comment from RupertG as people there are not overly fond of actual links or citations.


Editted to make a little more specific.

Date: 2009/06/22 13:00:00, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (blipey @ June 22 2009,09:12)
Joe reveals that he doesn't know the difference between a napkin and welding.

Not welding.

I've posted a comment he has refused to publish on either thread:

Quote
I can design a car on a napkin.  This is not a mechanism to make the car.  The mechanisms to make a car would inlude things like WELDING, CUTTING, WIRING, etc.

You do see the difference between "design" and "welding" right?

Must be too difficult to answer. :)

He got the definition of design from Mirriam-Webster so I'm surprised that he did not publish your comment then ridicule you for imagining you know better than the dictionary (but it is a rather odd definition).

Date: 2009/06/24 06:22:18, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (didymos @ June 24 2009,02:32)
Seriously, though: how, I ask you, how are they this fucking stupid?  Before discovering UD, I thought people like this were confined to the imaginations of sitcom writers.  I've known actual, genuinely retarded people who were far more coherent and sensible than just about everybody at UD (excepting of course the socked and unsocked tard-miners).

Have you seen any other site where even the moderators have not mastered the art of the blockquote and manage to double post comments?

Date: 2009/06/25 08:41:27, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote
And not just religious certainty: I get the same feeling reading the lynch mobs at Pharyngula sometimes.

It's nice to know I'm not the only one who feels that way. It seems that any attempt to understand the other person's point of view is seen by many there as a major weakness that requires you to be stomped on before you get a chance to spread your evil support for authoritarianism.

Edit to change formatting error

Date: 2009/06/27 07:27:21, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Lou; I am not talking about the posts that PZ writes, but the comments afterwards. I know that lately a lot of his posts have been about people and ideas that are plainly loony, but from time to time he posts items where it is possible for people who are not completely bonkers to have a different viewpoint (the ones on 'framing science' come to mind). When was the last time you read a comment on a post like that which tried to see the opposing point of view and was not greeted by shrieks of 'concern troll'?

Date: 2010/01/18 09:33:17, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Robert Byers @ Jan. 16 2010,04:25)
I suspect these tails were needed to allow the varied creatures to look over high vegatation. A unique problem in original Australia.

Marsupial lions had eyes in their tails?

Date: 2010/02/12 09:13:28, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Utunumsint @ Feb. 11 2010,16:11)
 
Quote (Louis @ Feb. 11 2010,15:56)
 
Quote (Utunumsint @ Feb. 11 2010,19:58)
[SNIP list of religious people who did science]

Yep. Religion and science. They just don't mix!!! :)

Cheers,
Ut

The fact that some people who do science also hold to a religious belief does not equate in any way to support of the claim that science and religion (or more properly reason and faith/revelation) are epistemologically compatible, nor does it equate to support for the claim that science is an outgrowth of/owes something to a vague and nebulous definition of religion.

Louis

Well it sure doesn't hurt.

So do you believe that faith and reason are incompatible or contradictory?

Cheers,
Ut

If it doesn't hurt, why are believers in a supernatural being under-represented amongst present-day scientists? Just think how long your list might be if, for all those centuries, it had been acceptable to be a non-believer.

Date: 2010/02/12 18:43:30, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (nmgirl @ Feb. 12 2010,10:54)
3. can anyone explain what the IDiota mean by information?

thanks

No, except that it is never the definition used by anyone who disagrees with ID.

Date: 2010/02/18 18:53:31, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I am no chemist, but I wonder if the coding for amino acids is not random, but related to the structure of the aa. Also, I would expect there to be little change in the coding because any change would disrupt virtually every protein produced by an organism and the chances of the organism being still viable would be extremely remote.

Date: 2010/02/25 19:23:12, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Joe G @ Feb. 24 2010,10:31)
And as a matter of fact all observations and experiments support the Creation position of baraminology.

To qualify as science, there must be conceivable results that would refute the Creation position on baraminology. Please give us an example of possible data that would make you reconsider the Creationist position (equivalent to the Pre-Cambrian rabbit).

Date: 2010/02/25 20:21:34, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Joe G @ Feb. 25 2010,19:32)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Feb. 25 2010,19:23)
   
Quote (Joe G @ Feb. 24 2010,10:31)
And as a matter of fact all observations and experiments support the Creation position of baraminology.

To qualify as science, there must be conceivable results that would refute the Creation position on baraminology. Please give us an example of possible data that would make you reconsider the Creationist position (equivalent to the Pre-Cambrian rabbit).

1- The pre-cambrian rabbit is pure bullshit

In what way is it bullshit? You need to explain.
 
Quote
2- I don't buy the Creation position. I am just saying that that is what the evidence supports.

But what would refute it? Something that supports the premise that mutations can accumulate in such a way as to give ris eto novel protein machienery AND novel body parts and novel body plans.

No. That is not how science works. Only people who have not done science think that you propose a theory then look for evidence to support it. A scientist proposes a theory, then looks for evidence that refutes it. No-one has ever found evidence that refutes the theory of evolution. On the other hand, no-one has ever suggested a possible way to refute Intelligent Design.

Date: 2010/02/26 20:12:55, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (didymos @ Feb. 26 2010,10:07)
 
Quote (carlsonjok @ Feb. 26 2010,07:59)
 
Quote (carlsonjok @ Feb. 25 2010,20:14)
   
Quote (OgreMkV @ Feb. 25 2010,20:06)
Tell me, Joe.  Have you ever done a calculation?  

He sure has!  Behold!

You guys remember Joe bragging about his security clearance and his basement laboratory stocked with all sorts of whiz-bang equipment?

Well, I have heard from a reliable source that he just took delivery of his brand new CSI calculator.


I still have trouble believing those things can actually bake shit.

Err - Why would you want to?

Date: 2010/02/27 09:04:35, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Feb. 27 2010,05:30)
There is the old one about what to call your kid's biology teacher if you haven't been introduced before... the answer is, "Coach".

My wife (who published in endocrinology before getting her education degree) was teaching high school science and English in Manitoba. She applied for a position to teach the exact same combination in a town 400 miles closer to our house but was not even short-listed. When she asked why, they said 'Oh, we wanted someone with a stronger sports background'. She hadn't thought to mention that she had shown the kids in the school how to hurdle, and beaten every one of them.

Date: 2010/03/02 09:37:52, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Joe G @ Mar. 02 2010,07:57)
So just how can we test the premise that the bacterial flagellum- or any biological structure- "evolved" via an accumulation of genetic accidents?

Or are you clowns going to finally admit that your position is non-testable?

The prediction from the theory of evolution: molecules similar to, or the same as, those found in bacterial flagella should be present in the cell walls of non-flagellated bacteria.
The test: bacterial cell walls were investigated and found to contain similar molecules.
The result: the prediction was upheld.

The prediction from ID: whatever is found will be attributed to design.
The test: scientific papers were scoured to see what had been found.
The result: I'm not sure that anyone has publicly claimed that the precursors to the bacterial flagellum were designed, but they will get to it eventually. (This reminds me: I understand there are about 40 different variants on bacterial flagella. Was just one designed, if so, which, or were they all designed individually?)

See the difference? ID supporters have never made any testable prediction and put it to the test.

BTW: You ask about edit privileges. Automatically allowing people to edit their own comments was withdrawn after a creationist editted an earlier comment to completely change the meaning of what had been written (and no, it was not a simple typo). You have to convince the administration that you will not abuse the right to edit, for example by admitting to mistakes when appropriate.

(Edit to correct typo)

Date: 2010/03/02 09:43:50, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Richardthughes @ Mar. 02 2010,09:24)
Quote
oh, ask Rich?  OK.  Rich, what does Joe say "specification" is?


CAEK IS NOT SPECIFIED BUT CHOCKOLATE CAEK IS SPECIFIED.

SPECIFIED MEANS THE TYPE OF A THING OF A KIND, IN SCIENCE LANGUAGES.

Specification: Isn't that the definition of the aardvark from the English language dictionary of your Joe's choice?

Date: 2010/03/04 12:53:06, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Joe G @ Mar. 03 2010,06:57)
 
Quote (Richard Simons @ Mar. 02 2010,09:37)
 
Quote (Joe G @ Mar. 02 2010,07:57)
So just how can we test the premise that the bacterial flagellum- or any biological structure- "evolved" via an accumulation of genetic accidents?

Or are you clowns going to finally admit that your position is non-testable?

The prediction from the theory of evolution: molecules similar to, or the same as, those found in bacterial flagella should be present in the cell walls of non-flagellated bacteria.
The test: bacterial cell walls were investigated and found to contain similar molecules.
The result: the prediction was upheld.

The prediction from ID: whatever is found will be attributed to design.
The test: scientific papers were scoured to see what had been found.
The result: I'm not sure that anyone has publicly claimed that the precursors to the bacterial flagellum were designed, but they will get to it eventually. (This reminds me: I understand there are about 40 different variants on bacterial flagella. Was just one designed, if so, which, or were they all designed individually?)

See the difference? ID supporters have never made any testable prediction and put it to the test.

BTW: You ask about edit privileges. Automatically allowing people to edit their own comments was withdrawn after a creationist editted an earlier comment to completely change the meaning of what had been written (and no, it was not a simple typo). You have to convince the administration that you will not abuse the right to edit, for example by admitting to mistakes when appropriate.

(Edit to correct typo)

IOW you don't have anything that supports the claim of blind, undirected processes.

Got it.

Thanks.

Or perhaps you can tell me how it was determined that teh bacterial flagellum evolved via an accumulation of genetic accidents?

Joe: Scientists do not go looking for evidence to support hypotheses. They look for evidence to refute hypotheses. They talk about a hypothesis having been supported if they fail to find evidence to refute it. The problem (or rather, one of the problems) with ID is that there is no possible evidence that would refute it ('possible' in the sense that if the evidence existed, it could be found).

Date: 2010/03/07 10:34:00, Link
Author: Richard Simons
When I was teaching biology to adults, a major problem with the textbooks was that they tried to be all-inclusive. A 700 or 1000 page book is very outfacing for people who are just starting on a subject. When I skipped sections, the better students became very worried that they were getting a watered-down course.

I had no control over the selection of the texts, and a recurring problem was that all of them were organised using the 5-kingdom system of classification. They made reference to endosymbiosis and modern views on the taxonomic relationships among the major groups, then proceded to ignore this in the rest of the book. The result was very confusing for the students.

Date: 2010/03/07 21:21:40, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Henry J @ Mar. 07 2010,16:54)
5-kingdom system? I'd guess that 3 of them are the three types of multicellular species? But that leaves eukaryotes, prokaryotes and archaea, so I'm unsure what's being called a "kingdom" here. (Or are viruses stuffed in there someplace?)

Henry

The kingdoms are animals, plants, fungi, protista (single-celled organisms) and bacteria.

Date: 2010/03/08 08:54:13, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Henry J @ Mar. 07 2010,22:23)
Ah. So the first three are what I figured. What puzzled me was where they would put archaea, but I gather they get labeled as bacteria.

All of which reminds me yet again what I "learned" back in grade school. What I recall from that is that they lumped all living things into two kingdoms: plant and animal. (Protozoans were labeled as one celled animals, bacteria as one celled plants, fungi were described as plants that lacked chlorophyll, none of which makes sense given current knowledge. Heck, those things didn't make sense then, to people who knew the subject matter.)

Henry

Yes, the Archaea are frequently lumped in with the Bacteria.

I had a particularly good teacher when I was at high school in England in the early 60s, and I remember him agreeing with us that the then current classification did not make much sense. We fully expected changes to be made as more information became available.

When I was last teaching a course that included some taxonomy, I made up a diagram showing the current views on the relationships between the major groups. I then repeated the diagram for various models (the 2-kingdom, 3-kingdom, etc) but colour-coded it to show how they had been grouped.

Date: 2010/03/11 08:39:30, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Joe G @ Mar. 11 2010,08:31)
Quote (slpage @ Mar. 02 2010,14:24)
 
Quote (carlsonjok @ Feb. 25 2010,20:14)
 
Quote (OgreMkV @ Feb. 25 2010,20:06)
Tell me, Joe.  Have you ever done a calculation?  

He sure has!  Behold!

So, an aardvark only 202 characters?

Didn't Berlinski count 50,000 character differences between cows and whales?

Dr Page proves he is an imbecile.

The definition of an aarvark only has that many characters.

Are you that stupid that you can't even understand what I post?

Do you realize that 13 year olds understand what you cannot?

So what was your point in bringing up a definition of an aardvark ? How does this relate to the amount of 'specified complex information' in an organism?

Date: 2010/03/11 20:41:45, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Joe G @ Mar. 11 2010,08:51)
In the post "Measuring Information/ specified complexity" I used the definition of an aarvark as an example of how to measure specified information to see if complex specified information is present.

OK. So you've measured the complexity of a particular English language definition of an aardvark. How does that help you determine how much complexity there is in a real beastie? (BTW, I read the post when it first came out. It has not improved with keeping.)

Date: 2010/03/14 19:29:13, Link
Author: Richard Simons
My wife and I are planning on visiting Florida in the second week of April but don't want to spend vast sums. We are interested in wildlife, especially birds, but not in city nightlife. We are currently looking at flying to Tampa then renting a car and driving to Fort Charlotte. Of course, we would like to get into the mangroves, but dashing across the swamps in a propellor-driven boat does not particularly appeal - we would like to be able to go more slowly and to hear things.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to where we should go and what we should do? Flying in to Orlando or Miami are other possibilities but getting to Miami is more expensive from here.

Date: 2010/03/18 20:20:43, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Thanks for the suggestions of where to visit in Florida. I think my wife in particular will appreciate the herons and ibis - to her an LBJ is just a little brown bird. We've booked our flight and a rental car and rooms for a couple of nights (Tampa and Port Charlotte) and play it by ear once we get there. I imagine it will not be a particularly busy time of year.

Here up in Manitoba, I heard the first white-throated sparrow a week ago and saw a merlin yesterday so the migrants are starting to come back. The snow and ice are melting fast and early - half-a-dozen semi-trailers got stuck in the mud on the winter road to St Theresa Point so it looks like they'll have to fly in a gravel-crusher.

Date: 2010/04/05 20:42:40, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 19 2010,00:57)
If you've booked your Florida travel outside winter and spring break, yeah, that's a bit different.

Maybe a get-together could be set up for those of us who are residents here and our visiting friends.

Sorry, Wes, I've been away from the site for a few days and had not seen this. We plan on arriving in Tampa late on the 7th, then next day driving down to Ft Myers for 3 nights, followed by Naples (not booked) then back to Tampa to fly back on the afternoon of the 14th. If possible, I would like a chance to meet some of the people who frequent these pages.

Date: 2010/04/06 22:05:48, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 05 2010,22:18)
Richard, would you be able to spend a couple of hours the evening of the 13th somewhere near south Tampa Bay?

Wes, That sounds good, and my wife likes the idea of meeting up with a local zoology contact. Let me know of a suitable place and time.

Wolfhound, I've never been to Florida before, but if you can suggest a meeting time and place (the same as with Wes or different) that would fit in with our plans without too much driving on busy highways we'd like to meet you, too.

Date: 2010/04/08 09:10:54, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 08 2010,07:23)
Monica, Wes and Richard:

Shall I suggest John's Pass? Lovelly place, dolphins can be seen swimming in the pass at all time, there is a great restaurant on the south corner of the pass where they serve delicious gator nuggets. That would be a nice revenge for Ms Elsberry ;)

I haven't been there in 15 years, but this would be the place to go whenever I return to Florida!

I will leave the choice to Wes and Monica, but it sounds interesting. Does alligator taste like crocodile? I had that once and, although it was eatable, I would rate it as different rather than delicious - but perhaps it was the way it was cooked.

We got to our hotel in Tampa at 2 a.m. after a delayed flight when a critical part of the aircraft failed (I believe it was the washroom light switch). First thing I saw when I looked out of the window this morning was a white ibis.

Date: 2010/04/09 20:08:19, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Wes: put us down for two at the cafe. We are trying to erase our sea-food deficit while we are here.

Qetzal has a photo of a red-shouldered hawk at the head of the previous page - I just saw my first earlier today in a palm tree at the south end of Ft. Myers Beach.

Date: 2010/04/12 18:51:53, Link
Author: Richard Simons
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 11 2010,20:31)
Would 6:30 work for you, Wolfhound? If not, when is the earliest that you might make it?

6:30 sounds fine for us, too. I don't have a cell phone (until recently, I've been working in places with no cell phone access) but we'll leave a message at the restaurant if we expect to be late.

Date: 2010/04/12 18:55:14, Link
Author: Richard Simons
I've been travelling around in the last week, using computers in hotel lobbies, and find I can only log on if I tick the 'yes' box for my password to be remembered.

 

 

 

=====