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Date: 2005/11/13 15:46:55, Link
Author: RupertG
This business of "the designer isn't the Christian god" is going well, isn't it?

R

Date: 2005/11/22 10:51:46, Link
Author: RupertG
I was reading a review of Stephen Wolfram's book "A New Kind Of Science" this evening - the reviewer, who appears to be very well connected in the areas of mathematics concerned, subtitled the review "A Rare Blend of Monster Raving Egomania and Utter Batshit Insanity" which may spare those with no interest in such things the need to read either review or book. (Give the review a go, though. It's worth it, and at least a thousand pages shorter - and it also touches on the abuse of complexity as a mathematical concept).

However, as one might suspect, anything which concentrates on monster raving egomania and utter batshit insanity contains irresistible parallels with certain topics and beloved people closer to the world of the Thumb. I was particularly taken with the following passage, which contains itself a further reference that I will follow up: (can't seem to make nested quotes work here, so forgive the unorthogonal redaction)

"Let me try to sum up. On the one hand, we have a large number of true but commonplace ideas, especially about how simple rules can lead to complex outcomes, and about the virtues of toy models. On the other hand, we have a large mass of dubious speculations (many of them also unoriginal). We have, finally, a single new result of mathematical importance, which is not actually the author's. Everything is presented as the inspired fruit of a lonely genius, delivering startling insights in isolation from a blinkered and philistine scientific community. We have been this way before.

Quote
[Some cranks] are brilliant and well-educated, often with an excellent understanding of the branch of science in which they are speculating. Their books can be highly deceptive imitations of the genuine article — well-written and impressively learned....
[C]ranks work in almost total isolation from their colleagues. Not isolation in the geographical sense, but in the sense of having no fruitful contacts with fellow researchers.... The modern pseudo-scientist... stands entirely outside the closely integrated channels through which new ideas are introduced and evaluated. He works in isolation. He does not send his findings to the recognized journals, or if he does, they are rejected for reasons which in the vast majority of cases are excellent. In most cases the crank is not well enough informed to write a paper with even a surface resemblance to a significant study. As a consequence, he finds himself excluded from the journals and societies, and almost universally ignored by competent workers in the field..... The eccentric is forced, therefore, to tread a lonely way. He speaks before organizations he himself has founded, contributes to journals he himself may edit, and — until recently — publishes books only when he or his followers can raise sufficient funds to have them printed privately.

Thus Martin Gardner's classic description of the crank scientist in the first chapter of his Fads and Fallacies. In lieu of superfluous comments, let us pass on to Gardner's list of the "five ways in which the sincere pseudo-scientist's paranoid tendencies are likely to be exhibited."

He considers himself a genius.
He regards his colleagues, without exception, as ignorant blockheads. Everyone is out of step except himself....
He believes himself unjustly persecuted and discriminated against....
He has strong compulsions to focus his attacks on the greatest scientists and the best-established theories. When Newton was the outstanding name in physics, eccentric works in that science were violently anti-Newton. Today, with Einstein the father-symbol of authority, a crank theory of physics is likely to attack Einstein in the name of Newton....
He often has a tendency to write in a complex jargon, in many cases making use of terms and phrases he himself has coined...."

Now, that's all terribly familiar, wouldn't you say? I can even propose a test for this apparent similarity: if the half-life of this post when copied over to Dembski's blog is greater than, oh, 450 nanoseconds, then I'm thinking up the wrong tree...


R

Date: 2005/12/03 13:56:54, Link
Author: RupertG
A very readable posting from A Roguish Chrestomanthy, via Languagehat.com, on the Wrathful Dispersion controversy.

It is entirely quotable, but to tempt you in:

"The opponents of Wrathful Dispersion maintain that it is really just Babelism, rechristened so that it might fly under the radar of those who insist that religion has no place in the state-funded classroom. Babelism was clearly rooted in the Judeo-Christian story of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11: 1–9); it held that the whole array of modern languages was created by God at a single stroke, for the immediate purpose of disrupting humanity's hubristic attempt to build a tower that would reach to heaven: "Let us go down," God says to Himself, "and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." Wrathful Dispersion is couched in more cautiously neutral language; rather than tying linguistic diversity to a specific biblical event, it merely argues that the differences among modern languages are too perverse to have arisen spontaneously..."

and

"Perhaps paradoxically, proponents of WD have also been known, at times, to play up the religious aspect of their theory when it suits them. The suppression of their ideas about the origin of languages, they have been heard to complain, is tantamount to religious persecution, but at the same time they insist that the use of the public school systems to propagate those ideas would not in any way violate the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. One cynical observer has likened WD to Scientology, which "is a religion for purposes of tax assessment, a science for purposes of propaganda, and a work of fiction for purposes of copyright.""

You get the idea. It's very funny, and spot on in every respect.

R

Date: 2005/12/04 03:23:46, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (scordova @ Dec. 03 2005,23:35)
[quote=Russell,Dec. 03 2005,22:27]Your suggested starting point is so flawed and irrelevant...

...I'm beginning to doubt that Dawkins ever did address information theory, per se .

Quote

If you want to understand life, don't think about vibrant, throbbing gels and oozes, think about information technology.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The particular polymers used by living cells are called polynucleotides. There are two main families of polynucleotides in living cells, called DNA and RNA for short. Both are chains of small molecules called nucleotides. Both DNA and RNA are heterogeneous chains, with four different kinds of nucleotides. This, of course, is where the opportunity for information storage lies. Instead of just the two states 1 and 0, the information technology of living cells uses four states, which we may conventionally represent as A, T, C and G. There is very little difference, in principle, between a two-state binary information technology like ours, and a four-state information technology like that of the living cell.


Sal, you're not confusing information theory and information technology, are you? The two are only remotely connected, at least as far as daily practice is concerned. By mentioning information technology, Dawkins cannot be said to be talking directly about information theory.

It's a bit like criticising someone for not properly understanding quantum theory or Maxwell's equations when they talk about solar-powered transistor radios.

You need examples of Dawkins talking about information theory.

R

Date: 2005/12/04 04:32:26, Link
Author: RupertG
It's also worth pointing out that the most intensively designed radio signals we've produced so far are almost indistinguishable from noise, as they scatter tiny pulses of energy throughout the spectrum in what are effectively random positions. There are a number of advantages in doing this, one of which is that energy put into coherence is not energy put into information. If you can make your message coherent through other means than self-similarity in the carrier you save big time. That's one of the implications of information theory, by the way, and one way we can tell that whatever the source of biological design is, it isn't up on its Shannon.

The logical conclusion of this is a radio signal that is only detectable if you have an enormous amount of knowledge about it beforehand. Otherwise, it just isn't there.

(The military and chums like this a lot - a case of design being used to hide itself. Does this mean our undetectable biological designer is engaged on a stealth mission, and if we actually detect it we've achieved a measure of parity? Didn't that sort of activity provoke all sorts of trouble in Eden and Babel? I merely ask.)

Assuming we're not the smartest radio engineers in the universe, it is entirely plausible that we could be receiving extremely advanced, extraordinarily highly designed signals all the time and merely be incapable of recognising them as such. I suppose this is a special case of Clarke's Third Law.

There is even a perfectly respectable theory that such evolution is inevitable, and that this means our chances of catching a SETI signal that's not intended as such are even smaller than before -- we'd have to catch it in the tiny window of opportunity between a civilisation inventing radio and refining it beyond continuous wave transmissions. That phase has only lasted a hundred years with us and it's already nearing its end. We're shutting off the huge transmitters that powered analogue TV and radio in preference for far more efficient digital systems, and I can buy a small black box for my computer that gives it the same capabilities as aeronautical radar. The next stage in wireless design - ultrawideband - has the potential to do everything we've done with megawatts in the past, with milliwatts.

All this applied to SETI is a case of scientists using a theory of intelligent design - with input from information theory, no less - to predict how to best deploy resources, in this case towards systems that can best spot deliberate beacons or optical comms which have a higher chance of reception.

You'd think that the IDers would be beside themselves with joy at this, except that the reasons why it works here are exactly the reasons that ID is completely inappropriate for biological systems. We can assume a lot about the capabilities and motivation of the designers -- those assumptions may be wrong: the SETI experiment tests this -- and how those will relate to the artifacts we're looking for. SETI predicts a range of possible outcomes, assigns a loose probability to them, and provides a way of contextualising the results of the experiment.

As the original essay said, 'complexity' is the least part of this. It's about making predictions based on existing information, conducting an experiment and seeing what we find. When intelligent design does this, it's perfectly welcome in science. When it doesn't, it's bollocks.

R

Date: 2006/01/16 04:40:00, Link
Author: RupertG
Wouldn't it be good if the Lord made Mohammad Katami decide he didn't want to nuke Israel (and I'm sorry, but He does bear a particular responsibility there), or persuade Kim Il Sung to be nice to his people? While He was at it, He could drop a hint or two to AIDS researchers, or whoever it is who's in line for His next big natural disaster. Or would that be counter-productive?

But noooo, He has to go confusing schoolkids in SoCal. Truly, these are mysterious ways that passeth all understanding.

R

Date: 2008/05/03 12:36:56, Link
Author: RupertG
Don't think we've had this one yet – an editorial from the New Jersey Jewish News on the subject of our favourite movie. Some good stuff there..

“Stein joins an odd political/religious coalition in taking the measure of the 21st century and deciding that our biggest problem is that we have too much science and too little religion. As American children fall further behind in the classroom, and the United States relinquishes its reputation for technological innovation, perhaps only an economist like Stein can explain how it is in our country’s benefit to mock the fundamental biology upon which our understanding of the natural world relies.”

and

“Expelled draws a direct line between Darwin and Hitler, between natural selection and the Selektions of the Holocaust. It’s like blaming Shakespeare for the English major who committed the Virginia Tech massacre.”

R

Date: 2008/05/11 17:49:40, Link
Author: RupertG
From The Times :

Quote
THE Church of Scotland will hire mediators to handle mutinous parishioners clashing with ministers over the interpretation of Christian doctrine.

A third of the kirk's 1,200 congregations are in squabbles between church-goers and ministers, says a report calling for independent “peace-makers” to be used to quell disputes.

The infighting has been blamed on the growing influence of atheist writers such as Richard Dawkins, the evolutionist whose book The God Delusion challenges religious faith and the “irrational” belief in a supernatural creator.

The report, by the kirk's ministries council, says many parishioners no longer accept the authority of ministers “who do nothing to gain the respect and trust of the congregation”.



The article goes on to say that there are some other effects, with the more evangelical side of the Church causing its own problems, but it's not looking good for the C of S (which has in any case lost 63 percent of its congregation in fifty years).

Cutting response from the Dawk (hm. Is PZ the Deputy Dawk?) at the end of the piece:

Quote
Dawkins, professor for public understanding of science at Oxford University, who in his book said that religion had inflicted harm on society, last week welcomed the fact that a growing number of parishioners were questioning the teachings of the church.

“When an institution feels threatened by its members questioning or thinking for themselves, it is eloquent testimony to how shallow and empty that institution is,” he said.

Date: 2008/05/12 16:47:53, Link
Author: RupertG
The history of the Christian church in Scotland is hideously complicated, with more schisms than the People's Front of Judea. My other half, who is a pretty mean Scots early modern historian and actually understands the whole spectrum from the Wee Wee Frees (who only recently spawned the Associated Presbyterians) to the Catholic Apostolics (very odd mob), is on the case...

But while Presbyterianism is perhaps closer to the spirit of Protestanism in its rejection of bishops, as opposed to the Episcopalians (who can at times only be distinguished from the Roman Catholics by the way that nosebleed Anglicans are rather fonder of the full-on Latin than most of the post Vatican II Romans), there is an authoritarian tendency in certain parts of the Church that may react badly to being questioned.

Perhaps. It really is very complicated, and rather entertaining if you aren't involved.

Date: 2008/05/17 06:34:23, Link
Author: RupertG
Man, I gotta get me some of that Welsh Calvinistic Meth. People were hearing God on that stuff a century before Dr Albert (pbuh) did his involuntary bioassay.

I do wonder whether the rate of schism's changed after the Reagan era, when evangelicals got talked into practical politics. The scent of power does concentrate the mind wonderfully, and you tend to be more savvy (as a group) about forming alliances and keeping your enemies close.

Part of me keeps wanting to be an atheist theologian (I blame Dr Albert). The trouble there is that while the world desperately needs more atheist theologians, you end up in all sorts of trouble when you try and talk to the believing variety. Making sense of something quite as trippy as the Trinity without either strong psychoactive drugs or their philosophical equivalent is like trying to understand why half the world cares more about Paris Hilton than methane clathrates.

R

Date: 2008/05/18 11:22:17, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (C.J.O'Brien @ May 15 2008,18:15)
Aww, did youse guys get all science-fiction-y while I was out?

Some alternatives to heavy-acceleration, high fraction of c drives or FTL:

Generation Ship: The slow boat. So much drama on board, you'll think it's reality-holovid!

Life Extension: sit back and enjoy the ride due to futur-ific bio-tech or sleep comfortably in your cryo-chamber and let the AIs do the work!

Upload: Why leave all the fun to the AIs? Be one!

I've always been partial to the idea of just uploading one's consciousness to a long-duration spaceship and pushing off in the general direction of out there. The good thing is there's no reason to be bored - if you're in the interstellar cruise and you're tired of counting stars or re-reading archives of tard, just wind your clock speed down and the universe speeds up for your pleasure.

Comms is a bit tricky, mind, and I'm never quite sure what the original I would feel about it. It's nice knowing there's another me out there having big fun, but rather annoying at the same time. Perhaps you do the transfer, cryogenically freeze the meaty bits and take them along for later. In case you got peckish, like.

R

Date: 2008/05/18 13:05:59, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Lou FCD @ May 18 2008,12:27)
Thanks oleg.  I get what you're saying, but I'm not sure if that's what Hau's claiming, is it?  I had the general idea of her experiment firmly situated in my mind and understood the principle just fine until you jerks started interjecting the facts.

:p

Louis, I think calculating "the odds" is rather pointless until we have more information.  The sample size and our knowledge of the samples we have are just too incomplete yet.  Of course, I haven't made a correct statement on this thread yet, so why break the streak?

Rupert,

That sort of brings up what I was mentally masturbating thinking regarding Hau's experiment.

Let's say we eventually get to the point where we can do the experiment backwards with complex objects, like a human for instance.  Y'know someone's going to do it, if it becomes possible.

Ok, so we take our unconscious creotard victim volunteer, turn him into a beam of energy, shoot him to the moon base, and reconstruct him.

Is the person who came out the same person who went in, or just a perfect copy?  How do we know?  If he's a perfect copy, he'll think he's the same person, even if he's not.  The only person who knows for sure is the person who went into the cosmic spitball machine, and that person may or may not even exist any more.

I'd almost be willing to torture myself through an O'Leary essay to see what Granny has to say about it (for the humor value), but I'm sure it'd be "the soul goes with" smothered in ten tons of crap.  I'd be more interested to see what the quantum physicist of a century from now has to say on the subject.

Quote
Is the person who came out the same person who went in, or just a perfect copy?  How do we know?  If he's a perfect copy, he'll think he's the same person, even if he's not.  The only person who knows for sure is the person who went into the cosmic spitball machine, and that person may or may not even exist any more.


I've wondered about this a lot, and I'm not sure it actually matters. I'm not the same person I was yesterday, let alone the one I was twenty trips around the sun ago  and that's without anything going seriously haywire with my machinery. When I'm asleep, I'm not here at all. And everyone has the experience of behaving and thinking in different ways depending on who they're with - this idea of being some sort of continuous, immutable consciousness identifiable as the self is far weirder than it seems.

When you think what it must have been like to have been a hominid going through the process of becoming hom. sap., it fair squeezes the eerie glands. Cognitive science and evolutionary biology will have a very productive union, once the time's right.

But a *lot* of what we think we are is constructed, not given, of that I'm sure and not just because I drank the po-mo kool-aid (tasted disgusting and came straight back up again). That may be a reason behind the long-term popularity of religion; we construct ourselves and our societies, and they all attain a fair degree of reality that lie outside the self - so why not with gods? On some levels it's not that different from the construction of science - and perhaps that again is why some people don't have problems combining the two.  

Which is by way of saying: in a world where people constantly futz with themselves, body and mind, to get to some target for the weirdest of motives, I don't think there'll be any shortage of people willing to transmigrate into machinery - and whether they'll be the same people afterwards (or even people at all), will be pretty irrelevant.

Not to the god-botherers, of course. We can expect bounteous tard on that front.

R

Date: 2008/05/18 13:25:13, Link
Author: RupertG
Yes, but I feel the same way every time I get on a Virgin to LAX...

Date: 2008/05/19 16:35:22, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Richardthughes @ May 19 2008,13:44)
Just a thought to add:

This is why cyberspace is better than real space. You make the rules.

And that's why cyberspace is so much worse than real space for fiction - it's ridiculously easy to deus ex machina your way out of anything. Like the transporters and communicators on Star Trek, they seem real cool at first, but as a "Scotty, get my arse outta here" system they have to go wrong for dramatic purposes. A lot.

Incidentally, I dreamed up a space drive that doesn't need to throw any mass away, can work up to relativistic speeds and doesn't use any energy to translate to any velocity in free space. It only needs one tiny little bit of magic - something that can instantaneously reverse the directional vector of momentum (I tried picking apart relativistic and quantum momentum maths to see what breaks if you change the sign of v, but gave up. Quickly.).  

You're allowed one piece of magic in all but the very hardest SF, after all.

Imagine you accelerate an object in any way you like to an appreciable velocity, and then let it coast for time T1. Flip its direction 180 degrees and let it travel for T2. If T1 equals T2 it's back where it started. Flip it again. Make T1 = T2 = very, very, very small, and the object appears to just sit there. Then start varying the mark-space ratio, and it moves in the direction of whatever direction has the larger T - and in the absence of external acceleration or gravity or whatever, it carries on moving at a velocity proportional to the ration of T1:T2.

This means you can 'charge' up your object in situ anywhere you've got enough energy, and then bugger off at willl, especially if you bung in energy in all three axes. You'll use up energy getting out of gravity wells, but assuming your instantaneous velocity is high enough that won't be a problem. About the only issue i can think of (excepting the bit of magic) is that if you do charge up to a healthy fraction of c, your mass and time dilation will become annoying to you and those around you, but what that means when your local frame becomes very small... wibble.

But it makes for some interesting ways to go through space, from hovering ominously above peasants through to visiting Alpha Centuri, and suggests some rather spectacular failure modes/weaponry applications. You know what happens when a flywheel seizes...

I read a _lot_ of SF when I was young; less so now so I've missed a lot. I was just wondering whether anyone else has used this device? (Was rather annoyed when I found Larry Niven had stolen my idea for radioactive money that goes critical if you get too rich, and he'd had the bad taste to do so ten years before I'd had it. As it was the only original SF idea I've ever had, I found that unforgivable.)

R

Date: 2008/05/20 13:48:52, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote
I'd say that they argue this way because it's what they're most used to, but don't forget that even if they did understand science, they'd never be able to win their case using real scientific argumentation. It's kind of all they've got. But again, people who understand science aren't really their target audience.


And in arguing this way against science, they've lost the argument. If Expelled's thesis really was that science  is rejecting scientists for unscientific reasons, then it has to have a strong grounding in what science actually is. The moment Stein said that evolution can't explain gravity, that thesis crumbled to dust.

But since that wasn't the real message of the movie - or of ID - this doesn't matter to them or their audience. The real purpose of Expelled - and of ID - isn't science or theology, it's politics, in the sense of persuading people that if they support certain leaders then they'll have their heart's desire. And conversely, that those who disagree with those leaders are directly attacking the deepest beliefs of those people.

Counteracting poisonous politics is one area where science is woefully hopeless, and why whenever one head is lopped off the creationist hydra another pops up in its place. Until that is addressed, this will never change.

R

Date: 2008/05/20 14:19:51, Link
Author: RupertG
London calling here too... work near Tate Modern, live in the Rose and Crown... er, White Hart, no, that's not right, er, King's Arms... tshca.... oh, yes, I remember.

Just off the Holloway Road. Within RPG range of the Emirates Stadium. And don't think I haven't had that dream. Not when there's a match on, of course: I'm only mildly in favour of the death penalty for committing or aiding football, and then only after due process.

R

Date: 2008/05/21 06:06:23, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (huwp @ May 21 2008,04:18)
Quote (Alan Fox @ May 21 2008,04:08)
Well, you should have taken advantage of the two-hour French lunch-break. Too gentlemanly by half!

But that wouldn't have been cricket!

And besides, we were operating under a mad king called George, who could barely speak English, ignored his advisors and kept getting involved in overseas wars with woeful lack of preparation and no sort of sensible exit strategy vowing "never to acknowledge the independence of the Americans, and to punish their contumacy by the indefinite prolongation of a war which promised to be eternal."

Thank God those days are past.

R

Date: 2008/06/04 18:51:48, Link
Author: RupertG
Bit confused here.

"The Journal of Evolutionary Informatics (JOEI) invites submission of manuscripts concerning the biological and computational aspects of information phenomona in evolutionary processes." (cut from the original page - the rather curious http://cayman.globat.com/~trademarksnet.com/JOEI/index.html - on 5/6/2008).

What's a phenomona? A fen o'moaner I know, it's a vocal sheep chased across the flatlands of Norfolk by an amorous shepherd. And a pea-hen Om owner is a transcendental meditation expert in possession of an Indian fowl. All these things are obvious. But how to relate them to the Cult of the Intelligent Designer?

Guess I'll have to wait for the first edition of JOEI. That's if peer review extends to spelling.

Date: 2008/06/15 13:34:17, Link
Author: RupertG
Oooh, Salvia Divinorum. This is what my friend had to say about _that_...

"Got some 10x concentrated leaf. Not sure what they do to it, but having failed to get anywhere with the raw stuff I thought it time to up the ante.

Recommended process: fill a small bowl. Light. inhale. Hold for as long as possible. Exhale. Repeat. Any question of a third go was moot.

Effect: Very fast onset. Bit like a blowtorch blasting away inside my head. Reality blew away, and not in a good way. No question of being able to talk or act. Was lying down already: this was a good thing. Eventually the room came back, every line in the visual field pressing like a razor blade into flesh just before the point it breaks the skin. Effects slunk off; no idea of time away, but it proved to be around two minutes. Most abiding memory: that blowtorch being used to melt away my face, stripping away everything to the roots of my teeth (which I could feel penetrating my jaw. The eye teeth were the most notable in this respect).

Conclusion: Remarkably unpleasant. Really. I've been on some stonkers in my time in the Psychonaut Cadet Corp, including one epic miscalculation that took a few day to properly sort itself out (if it did...), but nothing that ever said to me "you really don't want to do that again" with quite so much conviction."

My friend remains keen on All That Sort Of Thing, so it didn't do him lasting harm, but I've seen the look in his eye when he recounts his time on the salvia.
You'll have to be at least a sergeant in the PCC to want to give it a go.

Incidentally, what _is_ this Everclear? Is it really sold for drinking purposes? There's nothing like it in the UK.

R

Date: 2008/06/15 18:30:29, Link
Author: RupertG
That's some powerful likker, all right. Worst I've tried neat was some 75% absinthe - just a taster, out of that darn curiosity. I only quite liked it - and the rest I disposed  of like a responsible absinthe drinker.

Incidentally, those still darn curious about salvia divinorum can see the effects for thesselves courtesy of the reliably entertaining b3ta.com and Yootoob. Worth it for the final few seconds alone...

R

Date: 2008/06/28 15:56:46, Link
Author: RupertG
I feel a bit of a n00b for asking this but... how does search work here? (I normally search for answers before asking on boards but in this case, uh...)

I ask because I recently came across
this prime bit of grade-A wallaby cortex and thought I'd better check to see whether the author ("Rana's work has been published in peer-review journals and he has made presentations at scientific meetings showing that good science garners the respect of the scientific community, even when it supports creation.") has been mentioned here before.

So I searched. All I get back is the thread in which the author appears and not the message itself, which as it's the nigh-on 1000 page Uncommonly Dense epic is, uh....

What am I missing? How do I find the message with the search hit in it, rather than the entire thread?

Rupert (currently enjoying a rather fine saffron gin - but that's not important right now)

Date: 2008/07/06 06:47:46, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Guts @ July 06 2008,06:27)
Quote (Alan Fox @ July 06 2008,06:24)
Ah I think Nelson/Guts is attempting the debating tactic of provoking a banning, sometimes referred to as "death by Cop", I believe.

This is all very illuminating, Sir.

(Edited for spelling)

No i'm trying to provoke actual thought, which is absent here. No one knows my position? Are you friggin kidding me? This thread is pages and pages long, and accusations abound, but no one knows my position? How batshit insane is that. I could write a book on it.

You're not actually provoking anything, though, except the willingness to let you carry on for as long as you like. It's not so much giving you enough rope as allowing you to pay out as much rope as you like, a la Aristophanes.

Refusing to state your position then throwing turds at people who ask, is certainly a path to enlightenment for anyone who cares to follow the thread. As a reader, I now feel very well informed about your actual position, because it's clearly demonstrated in all your postings. Am I wrong about what's being demonstrated here? It certainly looks like a classic example of a certain sort of behaviour - and not one recognisable as an attempt to debate.

If you want a debate, it's very simple. State your assumptions, state your evidence, state your logic and state your conclusion. A proper understanding of all four is necessary to make progress.

If you don't believe we're smart enough to understand this, why are you still here? Are you not smart enough to educate us?

Instead of throwing turds, why not expend that energy throwing evidence and logic? They're far harder to scrape off, when they hit.

R

Date: 2008/07/06 06:47:46, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Guts @ July 06 2008,06:27)
Quote (Alan Fox @ July 06 2008,06:24)
Ah I think Nelson/Guts is attempting the debating tactic of provoking a banning, sometimes referred to as "death by Cop", I believe.

This is all very illuminating, Sir.

(Edited for spelling)

No i'm trying to provoke actual thought, which is absent here. No one knows my position? Are you friggin kidding me? This thread is pages and pages long, and accusations abound, but no one knows my position? How batshit insane is that. I could write a book on it.

You're not actually provoking anything, though, except the willingness to let you carry on for as long as you like. It's not so much giving you enough rope as allowing you to pay out as much rope as you like, a la Aristophanes.

Refusing to state your position then throwing turds at people who ask, is certainly a path to enlightenment for anyone who cares to follow the thread. As a reader, I now feel very well informed about your actual position, because it's clearly demonstrated in all your postings. Am I wrong about what's being demonstrated here? It certainly looks like a classic example of a certain sort of behaviour - and not one recognisable as an attempt to debate.

If you want a debate, it's very simple. State your assumptions, state your evidence, state your logic and state your conclusion. A proper understanding of all four is necessary to make progress.

If you don't believe we're smart enough to understand this, why are you still here? Are you not smart enough to educate us?

Instead of throwing turds, why not expend that energy throwing evidence and logic? They're far harder to scrape off, when they hit.

R

Date: 2008/07/06 07:22:07, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Guts @ July 06 2008,06:50)
Because this thread is obviously not about evidence or logic, it's about who can throw the best turd. You hit the nail on the head there. You can go to Telicthoughts.com and click on my name and read all my blogs, in fact I challenge anyone to do so.

But when I was on Telic Thoughts and I asked you for your position, you said "I've stated it many times already, it's all here" and refused to be specific.

People who press you on the point get banned.

People here who ask for evidence and logic are told that they're - what? Stupid? Liars? Deceivers? That's far less effective than giving them evidence and logic and then showing that they're stupid, lying or deceptive.

You may not see this as an exercise in avoiding any specificity, but it very much looks like it from here.

Given that you don't want it to look like that - which I assume, but feel free to tell me that assumption is false - why don't you have any interest in changing that perception? And if you do have that interest, why not do what everyone's asking you to do and be specific?

It could be that you're on a Zen jag, and are hitting the novices with sticks while asking paradoxical koans as an aid to enlightenment. There's a fine line between that and being a violent schizophrenic, though: Zen masters normally exhibit the wisdom of context.

R

Date: 2008/07/06 07:22:07, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Guts @ July 06 2008,06:50)
Because this thread is obviously not about evidence or logic, it's about who can throw the best turd. You hit the nail on the head there. You can go to Telicthoughts.com and click on my name and read all my blogs, in fact I challenge anyone to do so.

But when I was on Telic Thoughts and I asked you for your position, you said "I've stated it many times already, it's all here" and refused to be specific.

People who press you on the point get banned.

People here who ask for evidence and logic are told that they're - what? Stupid? Liars? Deceivers? That's far less effective than giving them evidence and logic and then showing that they're stupid, lying or deceptive.

You may not see this as an exercise in avoiding any specificity, but it very much looks like it from here.

Given that you don't want it to look like that - which I assume, but feel free to tell me that assumption is false - why don't you have any interest in changing that perception? And if you do have that interest, why not do what everyone's asking you to do and be specific?

It could be that you're on a Zen jag, and are hitting the novices with sticks while asking paradoxical koans as an aid to enlightenment. There's a fine line between that and being a violent schizophrenic, though: Zen masters normally exhibit the wisdom of context.

R

Date: 2008/07/06 07:28:58, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Guts @ July 06 2008,07:24)
Quote

But when I was on Telic Thoughts and I asked you for your position, you said "I've stated it many times already, it's all here" and refused to be specific.

People who press you on the point get banned.


More lies. In fact no one has asked me for my position, much less have been banned for it. When will the lies stop?

OK, I unequivocally withdraw that part of my post and apologise unreservedly.

Now, will you answer the rest of that post?

Thanks

R

Date: 2008/07/06 07:28:58, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Guts @ July 06 2008,07:24)
Quote

But when I was on Telic Thoughts and I asked you for your position, you said "I've stated it many times already, it's all here" and refused to be specific.

People who press you on the point get banned.


More lies. In fact no one has asked me for my position, much less have been banned for it. When will the lies stop?

OK, I unequivocally withdraw that part of my post and apologise unreservedly.

Now, will you answer the rest of that post?

Thanks

R

Date: 2008/07/06 07:43:15, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Guts @ July 06 2008,07:31)
My position is that you're a moron.

Assuming you're using one of the old medical definitions of a moron, either an adult with a developmental age between 8 and 12 or an IQ of between 51 and 70, then I think that any objective assessment of Alan's cognitive level based on his use of language, logic and social interaction purely evinced by his postings here would disagree sharply with yours.

Purely on the evidence, of course. Perhaps you can show how you reached your conclusions?

R

Date: 2008/07/06 07:43:15, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Guts @ July 06 2008,07:31)
My position is that you're a moron.

Assuming you're using one of the old medical definitions of a moron, either an adult with a developmental age between 8 and 12 or an IQ of between 51 and 70, then I think that any objective assessment of Alan's cognitive level based on his use of language, logic and social interaction purely evinced by his postings here would disagree sharply with yours.

Purely on the evidence, of course. Perhaps you can show how you reached your conclusions?

R

Date: 2008/07/06 08:02:12, Link
Author: RupertG
So I'm wrong, Guts?

I thought you weren't attempting to avoid specificity, but you really are?

Calling someone a moron for not addressing arguments, but then not saying what the arguments are - well, that's just calling someone a moron. Is that the reason you're claiming this thread is all about insults, because that's all you're prepared to contribute?

Come on, just one thing that's not a personal insult, that people of good intent can debate.

R

Date: 2008/07/06 08:02:12, Link
Author: RupertG
So I'm wrong, Guts?

I thought you weren't attempting to avoid specificity, but you really are?

Calling someone a moron for not addressing arguments, but then not saying what the arguments are - well, that's just calling someone a moron. Is that the reason you're claiming this thread is all about insults, because that's all you're prepared to contribute?

Come on, just one thing that's not a personal insult, that people of good intent can debate.

R

Date: 2008/07/06 10:06:43, Link
Author: RupertG
I have been back through TT's list of Guts' postings. Quiet Sunday afternoon here.

The fact that he refuses to point to any of his 'technical blogs' for discussion about how they support ID is that none of them do. There's stuff snipped from elsewhere and a "How about that then!", and plenty of "If this supports x, it's interesting". Rarely is any connection explicitly made, rarely is there anything that can be argued about without asking for more information.

When he does dare to actually make a statement, for example that snake venom evolution is clearly "not standard", and then backs it up with "Huh? Do you have any questions? feel free to ask.", he gets Nick Matzke asking "How is venom evolution far from 'standard'?". Guts' answer: "Read the links."

The thread's still there for anyone who wants to see how it develops, although -- spoiler -- it won't take a path unfamiliar to anyone who's read this far on this one.

Elsewhere, hrun comes a cropper when he asks why convergent evolution is better evidence for front-loading than it is for standard evolutionary biology. Guts having refused to answer the question three times except by saying "It's all answered elsewhere", (hrun gallantly tries to ascertain where and how, thus using up the rest of his lives), he finally deals with the question thusly:"I explained it , twice, in the misconceptions thread, in my first post and linked to an essay about it. You ignored all three attempts. All you're doing is repeating yourself. It doesn't seem like you're actually asking questions, it seems like you're trolling."

To be fair, guts isn't the only one who likes to argue through unexplained co-option where inference is unclear and implications arguable. His use of multiple layers of indirection and wooly definitions, treating those who attempt to clarify his position as idiots and trolls, is also familiar. Although I do think he has a useful innovation in his 'three strikes and you're out' policy; it's rather like the early moves in Minesweeper, but on a board entirely populated by single-mine squares.

Entire academic careers have built on such things (I'm looking at you, po-mo). They never amount to much. They're cancerous growths whose principle purpose is to consume resources, resist attack and grow without care for good or harm done to the rest of the organism. While science has a rather iffy immune system in the short term and on the small scale, it operates very effectively over periods of generations and in the larger context.

Unless it's made illegal.

R

Date: 2008/07/06 10:06:43, Link
Author: RupertG
I have been back through TT's list of Guts' postings. Quiet Sunday afternoon here.

The fact that he refuses to point to any of his 'technical blogs' for discussion about how they support ID is that none of them do. There's stuff snipped from elsewhere and a "How about that then!", and plenty of "If this supports x, it's interesting". Rarely is any connection explicitly made, rarely is there anything that can be argued about without asking for more information.

When he does dare to actually make a statement, for example that snake venom evolution is clearly "not standard", and then backs it up with "Huh? Do you have any questions? feel free to ask.", he gets Nick Matzke asking "How is venom evolution far from 'standard'?". Guts' answer: "Read the links."

The thread's still there for anyone who wants to see how it develops, although -- spoiler -- it won't take a path unfamiliar to anyone who's read this far on this one.

Elsewhere, hrun comes a cropper when he asks why convergent evolution is better evidence for front-loading than it is for standard evolutionary biology. Guts having refused to answer the question three times except by saying "It's all answered elsewhere", (hrun gallantly tries to ascertain where and how, thus using up the rest of his lives), he finally deals with the question thusly:"I explained it , twice, in the misconceptions thread, in my first post and linked to an essay about it. You ignored all three attempts. All you're doing is repeating yourself. It doesn't seem like you're actually asking questions, it seems like you're trolling."

To be fair, guts isn't the only one who likes to argue through unexplained co-option where inference is unclear and implications arguable. His use of multiple layers of indirection and wooly definitions, treating those who attempt to clarify his position as idiots and trolls, is also familiar. Although I do think he has a useful innovation in his 'three strikes and you're out' policy; it's rather like the early moves in Minesweeper, but on a board entirely populated by single-mine squares.

Entire academic careers have built on such things (I'm looking at you, po-mo). They never amount to much. They're cancerous growths whose principle purpose is to consume resources, resist attack and grow without care for good or harm done to the rest of the organism. While science has a rather iffy immune system in the short term and on the small scale, it operates very effectively over periods of generations and in the larger context.

Unless it's made illegal.

R

Date: 2008/07/06 17:43:36, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Guts @ July 06 2008,17:38)
It's my pleasure

But why? Why are you here? You don't want to talk about science or ID, you don't have any response beyond yelling insults or a fourth-form retort (for American readers, that's, um, around 14 years old.).

What are you enjoying so much? Don't you worry that it's making you, your friends and everything you claim to find important look, well... stupid?

R

Date: 2008/07/06 17:43:36, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Guts @ July 06 2008,17:38)
It's my pleasure

But why? Why are you here? You don't want to talk about science or ID, you don't have any response beyond yelling insults or a fourth-form retort (for American readers, that's, um, around 14 years old.).

What are you enjoying so much? Don't you worry that it's making you, your friends and everything you claim to find important look, well... stupid?

R

Date: 2008/07/07 02:45:38, Link
Author: RupertG
(blinks in the Monday morning light. Reads thread.)

Was there any purpose or design to what just happened? Perhaps there's some sort of test we could apply...

R

Date: 2008/07/07 02:45:38, Link
Author: RupertG
(blinks in the Monday morning light. Reads thread.)

Was there any purpose or design to what just happened? Perhaps there's some sort of test we could apply...

R

Date: 2008/07/07 04:06:08, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (stevestory @ July 07 2008,03:23)
I remember when I started this thread last year. I'd read a few "Mike Gene" comments and TT seemed therefore to be distinctly better than the usual creationist sites like UD. People warned me. TT is just as dumb, they said, they just do a better job superficially hiding it.

Well, I see now what they were talking about.

Edit: 'now' instead of 'know'. Dur.

I've hung out there a few times under nommes de clavier, but it's not an enlightening experience. As soon as you get close to trying to establish some sort of definition of WTH they're on about, they skip away merrily in a cloud of obfuscation and cries of "You're not smart enough to follow us!". As far as I can tell, what they practice there is mostly a kind of medieval theology loosely covered in rags stolen from the scientific Goodwill store. I suppose it's an improvement on the Bronze Age variety found elsewhere in Creationdom.

R

Date: 2008/07/09 03:33:18, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ July 09 2008,01:24)
Quote (Frostman @ July 08 2008,22:41)
keiths,

Fifty minutes later, your wish is granted! Bradford shows up!

And Bradford has gone into conniptions too!  He is claiming that I am your sockpuppet!  Nelson's level 9 fireball has engulfed other members!  Transparent, self-destructive lying is taking over Telic Thoughts!  Oh glorious day!

I remember a time, not so long ago, when TT had a reputation as the least ridiculous Intelligent Design blog. Did something go horribly wrong, or were we just not paying attention?

The half-life of any non-ridiculous ID blog is going to be small, before it transmutes to the ridiculous. There is such an over-supply of scientifically minded ID critics desperate to find someone from the other side willing and capable of holding a debate on the facts that they'll flock to the place - and since the debate will perforce be short and rather one-sided, the frustrations of the other IDers will boil over in banfests and insults.

BTW - I note that Guts has denied being the Freeper Guts HIV-denier. Fair enough. Perhaps next time he'll do what I'd do if such a terrible case of mistaken identity happened, and emphasize that not only is he not that person, but that he's not any sort of HIV-denier. It's a very insulting charge to make of anyone, even by mistaken association, and I'm sure that, as a man to whom personal honour is so important, he doesn't want to be so labeled.

Date: 2008/07/18 20:10:05, Link
Author: RupertG
It's all a bit sad. Just when those of us with serious ID habits had fixated on TT for our mean daily requirement of nourishing silly, MikeGene jumps ship and we get Joy going into megawibble mode about how evolutionary biology should stop calling itself Darwinism.

Which is just miserable. You can't take pleasure from something like that, not without realising somewhere deep within yourself that you're just as twisted, and there are co-dependency issues more pressing than at an Otherkin wedding.

R

Date: 2008/07/23 02:17:30, Link
Author: RupertG
Sounds to me that this hypothetical front-loading is a very good candidate for speculative computer modelling - or at least some basic barn-door mathematics.

Conversely, the lack of any plausible numbers or models is not a good sign. Nor was Mike Gene's traditional answer to the question "how could one tell the difference between your idea of front-loading the gene with hints, and ordinary classic evolution?" - which was "You can't. Ah-HA! See what I did there?"

The god of the gapless, I guess.

<forehead-slap>

Date: 2008/08/05 16:12:23, Link
Author: RupertG
I do like that green on black colour scheme. Reminds me of my first adventures on the net - well, it wasn't the Net back then - on a 1200/75 bps modem, a 256x192 green screen monitor, and a ZX Spectrum. Now, it's a 20Mbps cable connection, a 1900x1200 screen and something with a good few billion more transistors (that cost almost exactly the same as that original setup, before inflation. And I don't get four-digit phone bills any more).

The arguments don't seem to have progressed much, though.

Date: 2008/08/06 02:24:49, Link
Author: RupertG
Pick the joy out of this...

Quote
His exploits as a seducer surprised even his acquaintances in the free and easy world of the theatre. "You'll end up in the courts one day, Leautaud"," he was told by an actress who warned against his taste for girls under the age of consent.

Each morning he would go out for a drink before breakfast. Surrounded by his pack of frisking dogs he swaggered down the street, eyes alert for women. In his hand he carried a dog whip. If he saw a woman he fancied the whip-lash would flick out and circle her waist from behind. Then he would pull her towards him. The ploy was usually effective. For every woman who resisted angrily there were always two or three ready to acquiesce. By the simple law of averages he was bound to win most of the time.

"Ah, you know he was a handsome fellow," Paul Leautaud's mother said later with a certain huskiness in her voice at the memory...


From Lost Illusions: Paul Léautaud and His World

Date: 2008/10/09 19:15:22, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (argystokes @ Oct. 09 2008,18:28)
I had an enlightening exchange with a student today as we began to wrap up the evolution unit. He was all in all pretty confused about what we'd been learning, and told me that he didn't believe that humans were related to other animals. I explained to him that what he believes is his own business, but that he needs to understand the evidence that convinces scientists of our heritage. His reply:

"I can't understand if I don't believe."

I hope his case is not entirely typical, but the more I follow creationists like Ftk, the more I believe it's the case.

Very interesting. Are you continuing the conversation? The next question for me would be "Do you understand what you believe?", which - assuming it got a yes - would lead to the really interesting question of whether he could ever change his beliefs if he encountered something new.

"What would it take to change your mind?" is such a good thing to ask (often of yourself).

I doubt that would make him any the less confused, though, as such belief systems skew logical inference and render it powerless. Perhaps increasing the confusion is the best way forward - it can lead to epiphany. It did in my case.

Date: 2008/10/19 11:50:53, Link
Author: RupertG
Dembski has been busy - four co-authored papers in review and a nice shiny website dedicated to... well, I'm not exactly sure. I suspect it's something to do with proving that computers can't simulate evolution, or simulated evolution can't be useful in any way, which should be as fruitful a mission as proving that bumblebees can't fly.

Date: 2008/10/25 17:24:48, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote

Mum's not from Southampton, it's far worse than that....Portsmouth.


A Plymouth boy sympathises...

Date: 2008/11/03 16:45:34, Link
Author: RupertG
It's all very high woo. The best thing about it is that you really don't get very far in the philosophy of mind stakes without some pretty swish thinking; it's all so ethereal that there are any number of daft ideas swirling around, so the IDers will have tough competition in there. It's not like evolutionary biology, where there's not much competition in the "anywhere but the mountain of facts" niche.

And besides, there's nowhere to go with non-materialist ideas of materialist phenomena. Well, apart from religion and fiction.

Date: 2008/11/05 12:22:39, Link
Author: RupertG
Managed to stay up for Obama's victory speech, but that was about it. My compadre keeled over at around half past three, thus missing the West Coast declarations that finished things off. Not complaining: the plates of pretzels and bottle of Jack (seemed appropriate) had more stamina that way.

Don't think I've met a British McCain supporter, even among my Tory pals. Everyone, but everyone, is smiling like a loon today. Even Prop 8 can't piss us off too much; stupid thing, but now Obama can make sure the Supremes don't end up top-loaded with Bushies for a generation, so I can't see homophobia winning out long-term. (As an aside, I used to think that the 'civil partnership' laws in the UK, which give same-sex couples all the rights of marriage but not the name, were a patronising compromise; having seen how easily and uncontroversially they've been accepted by everyone, I'm pretty sure that in time, even that legal differential will be quietly erased. It's been a pretty clever intermediate step. A lesbian government minister 'married' her partner last month, and as far as I know it was reported entirely positively, even by our rabidly reactionary right-wing press, and generated no negative public comment whatsoever.)

Perhaps it was Mr Daniels at work, or the 5am time, but when I saw that shot of Jesse Jackson crying, it did for me big time. As Obama said in his speech, there are people voting today who lived through female and black emancipation - and now this.

If you don't feel good about that, you're not 21st century qualified.

Date: 2008/11/07 10:05:24, Link
Author: RupertG
That'd be one of 'em extinctions, then, of a poorly-adapted organism in a hostile environment.

What does ID say about extinctions, anyway?

<tumbleweed>

Date: 2008/11/22 05:56:22, Link
Author: RupertG
StephenB is something special, isn't he? He could save Cern billions - all they have to do is spin his head around fast enough for his internal contradictions to collide, and the resultant burst of energy from the mutual annihilation would probably reveal the Higgs Tardon.

Anyone who can be so incredibly patronising about scientists and their certainties, then calmly state that 2+2=4 proves that Goddit... no, I'm tarding out here. It's going grey... mustn't drift into the light... the light...

Date: 2008/12/07 03:59:18, Link
Author: RupertG
So, let me get this straight. In terms of World War II, both Nazis and Brits were Darwinevilists? I thought it was the dastardly Hun who ravaged Europe and tried to wipe out the Jews in the name of Charlie, fighting like devishes under the banner of his bearded, scowling face set against a broken cross of unzipping DNA, and now it turns out the cowardly couldn't-win-without-the-noble-Creationist-shining-armies-of-the-US Brits were also at it?

How we were betrayed by our traitorous war leaders, and their propaganda-spewing apologists who followed them! Each bomb that fell, each ship that was sunk, each plane blown out of the air - they were just love-pats from our cousins in common descent heresy! How could we have been so stupid!

That's why Expelled failed. It was too timid. Too constrained. Too self-censored. The next project, Denyse and co., should be a full-length animated epic, telling the story of World War II as it REALLY happened.

Oh, Denyse, Denyse! Your clever sophistry leaves this Brit in confusion and dismay. Can the glorious victory of ID be far behind?

Date: 2008/12/08 03:39:50, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Dec. 08 2008,03:08)
Gil says
     
Quote
There is no way this kind of technology can be explained by random changes and natural selection. It is far beyond our trivial understanding, and is obviously the product of an intelligence far beyond what we can even imagine.

So we can't understand the designers designs and we can't even imagine the extent of his power.
Then Gil says (first part is a quote he's responding to):
     
Quote

Well, if there’s “no way this kind of technology can be explained by random changes and natural selection,” I guess we should just give up now.

Huh? No, we take it apart, analyze it, and figure out how it works, so we can learn from the superior design of a superior designer.

So we figure out how it works using our trivial understanding which is insufficient? Huh?

Doh.

Ah, now, be fair.  Science all the way. This is exactly what happens in physics, where stuff we see and don't understand gets picked apart and put back together, even when what's uncovered is still deeply weird and not really comprehensible at first.

I say "exactly". I mean "apart from the bit where we go 'that's weird. We don't understand it. Let's find out" rather than "That's weird. We don't understand it. Therefore it is obviously God", because that's clearly bonkers, counterproductive and has a track record, over four thousand years, of not doing pooh for our understanding of the universe.

Gil claims to have a deep understanding of things he says are clearly incomprehensible, and demonstrates no understanding of things he says he knows enough to say "no way" about, and the willingness to demonstrate both paradoxes in a single sentence without any awareness thereof.

Apart from that, he's spot on.

Date: 2008/12/11 18:43:35, Link
Author: RupertG
Can it be true? Has Bush just gone demob happy, and has Obama really appointed a world-class scientist with all the right chops to be energy czar?

I'm... speechless with teh happy.

Date: 2008/12/21 10:29:44, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Missing Shade of Blue @ Dec. 21 2008,00:21)
Quote

BTW, I don't see that perceptual inductive biases are different in kind than other adaptations. How did embryological bird wings come to anticipate the aerodynamic demands of the current atmosphere? How is it that avian flight evolved tens of millions of years ago in such a way that it anticipated the demands of current atmospheric systems? The answer is that neither did either. I don't see that the evolution of inductive biases, and their success over long periods of time, present a challenge differing in kind from these adaptations.


Hmmm... I see what you are saying. This is sort of like the No Free Lunch stuff. (Hey, maybe I am Dembski!) For natural selection to be a successful search strategy, we already assume that the fitness landscape has certain features, specifically the sort of features that enable NS's own inductive bias to work fairly well (and one of the requisites is probably some sort of cross-temporal smoothness). The case of the evolution of our own inductive bias is really no different. Yes, we have to appeal to evolution's bias to justify our own bias, but that's true for every single adaptation.

That's really helpful. Thanks Bill. I guess I was making a pretty simple mistake. When you put it that way, the explanatory itch kind of goes away. I see nothing problematic about assuming a certain structure to the fitness landscape when discussing other traits, so why this one?

Anyway, I'll have to think about it some more, but for the moment I'm satisfied. Apologies for any aggravation, people.

You can think up plenty of explanations for most sorts of human behaviour, belief systems, prejudices and cognitive quirks if you approach the problem of how the species would best survive in our best-guess prehistoric scenarios, given our physical characteristics.

Which is far from saying that evolutionary psychology is always or even mostly right, in its current state. It itself is particularly prone to the sort of inductive biasses that Hom. sap. exhibits when gazing at its own navel. But it is a rich and thought-provoking field, with a great deal of potential, and there is indeed no reason to think that the particulars of our personal and social psychologies are exempt from evolutionary pressures. Rather radically otherwise, in fact, when you consider we've still got thousands of nukes pointing at our own heads.

R

Date: 2009/01/02 17:18:21, Link
Author: RupertG
On the other hand, what's going on at UD is the best they've got. Full stop. And they can barely keep a teeny ragbag of poo-flinging nekkid Darwinian apes such as ourselves (OK, me. The rest of you may be habitually clothed) amused. The stuff on there now... really, it'd embarrass a small rock.

There'll always be people who want to believe in creationism so much that they'll do it no matter what, and there'll always be people who'll be happy to turn a buck off the first bunch. Truth won't bother either overmuch, but as long as they can't stop science being taught or start to stone the heretics, there's not much they can do.

Date: 2009/01/02 21:20:27, Link
Author: RupertG
Meanwhile, Ken Miller is being extremely unfair to Casey over on the Loom, by actually reading what Casey says, comparing it to what Casey's talking about, and pointing out one or two minor discrepancies. You know, like where Behe didn't say what Casey said he said, but wrote it down in his books anyway.

As it's on the Loom, of course, Casey is entirely at liberty to enter into a discussion on these and what promise to be some substantial further points.

I hope we can get this unpleasantness tidied away in time for ID's next science report.

Date: 2009/01/03 09:05:04, Link
Author: RupertG
GilDodgen hasn't actually replied to any of the comments in UD that point out his misunderstanding of how modelling works, has he? It's as if they just don't exist... perhaps they don't fit his model. Certainly, everything he's written subsequently confirms the analysis someone made earlier that he's completely missed the point - and, perhaps, belongs in that class of people who are unable to work with that sort of abstraction.

I've always wanted a straight answer (hah) to the observation that, if the creationists are right and no computer model of evolution can do anything other than prove intelligence is needed, what the successful weather and ecological modelling systems prove? Seems to me that if they had the confidence of their arguments, they'd be saying how this proves that only God knows from whence the wind comes, and counts the fall of each sparrow.

Date: 2009/01/03 21:46:17, Link
Author: RupertG
Ah, now bignumber - or bignum - I can help you with. It's shorthand for computational maths that can cope with very big numbers indeed. There is no actual 'bignum' - if you like, you can think of it as infinity expressed in binary, but I may be wrong on that. I'm not that good at clever computational woggins, and this is very clever.

It's also the name of a road. From the New Hacker's Dictionary (somewhat, but not unduly, younger than me):

" The road mundanely called El Camino Real, running along San Francisco peninsula. It originally extended all the way down to Mexico City; many portions of the old road are still intact. Navigation on the San Francisco peninsula is usually done relative to El Camino Real, which defines logical north and south even though it isn't really north-south in many places. El Camino Real runs right past Stanford University and so is familiar to hackers.

The Spanish word `real' (which has two syllables: /ray-ahl'/) means `royal'; El Camino Real is `the royal road'. In the FORTRAN language, a `real' quantity is a number typically precise to seven significant digits, and a `double precision' quantity is a larger floating-point number, precise to perhaps fourteen significant digits (other languages have similar `real' types).

When a hacker from MIT visited Stanford in 1976, he remarked what a long road El Camino Real was. Making a pun on `real', he started calling it `El Camino Double Precision' -- but when the hacker was told that the road was hundreds of miles long, he renamed it `El Camino Bignum', and that name has stuck.  In recent years, the synonym `El Camino Virtual' has been reported as an alternate at IBM and Amdahl sites in the Valley. "

R

Date: 2009/01/04 19:23:35, Link
Author: RupertG
At least we know officially now that the thinking behind Expelled was "we don't really care whether it's accurate or fair, we just want to pick a fight". Which is classic propaganda, after all, so it's nice of them to be honest about that.

R

(also, this post made in a desperate attempt to move this thread onto the next page, so every visit here is no longer greeted with "Win Ben Stein's mind" - "Second prize, win Ben Stein's body". The images are getting disturbing.)

Date: 2009/01/05 14:05:55, Link
Author: RupertG
Thank you.

The fact that your quote of my post includes the sentences in question and has now placed them at the top of the new page that your very post created, ready to continue in their duty for another few months, at the very moment I had hoped for release, is a delicious, almost Nietzchian irony that I look forward to discussing in-depth with my therapists in the secure wing of St Tardissimus' Hospital for the Deeply Wrong.

Yours,

Dr Dr Napoleon Bonaparte, PhD, PhD, PhD.

(PS - Which way to Waterloo?)

Date: 2009/01/05 14:32:04, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (midwifetoad @ Jan. 05 2009,14:04)
They agree with him, but they see the next Dover trial going down the tubes.

I don't think they do agree with him. He's positing a fallible creator who has to consciously design. Design is, after all, proof that creation takes work and logic to get right and thus that it can be wrong.  A truly omnipotent god wouldn't 'design':  there would be no distinction between command and creation.

That doesn't fit well with mainstream Christian creation theology, which has to retreat to "This what God does. We cannot hope to understand why he chooses to do it this way", even when its being liberal and accepting of evolution. Neither does ID, but Christians are very good at forgiving the sins of their friends.

Often wondered what "design" actually means to the IDers.

R

Date: 2009/01/05 16:17:41, Link
Author: RupertG
and the corollary - what evidence would be acceptable as disproof?

Date: 2009/01/06 15:19:34, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (keiths @ Jan. 05 2009,15:30)
Quote (khan @ Jan. 05 2009,13:16)
Just for you: I edited.

Of course, what your edit actually accomplishes is to guarantee that from now on Rupert will think of Ben Stein's body every time he sees a string of asterisks.

That's OK - there's no way that I'll ever associate five stars with anything to do with movies and Ben Stein.

Thank you. My sanity digs its fingernails into the cliff face once more...

R

Date: 2009/01/06 15:29:44, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Henry J @ Jan. 06 2009,15:13)
Quote
Stephen Jay Gould was one of the first to recognize this pattern of stasis.

A funny thing about that is that there's a chapter in Origin of Species that says it's quite plausible that a large part of evolution occurs in small side populations, or in small percentage of the duration of species. That sounds to me like it's almost a description of punctuated equilibrium - i.e., Darwin expected to see stasis in at least some groups. But he didn't attach a catchy name to the concept. ;)

Henry

It would be fun, indeed laudable fun, to go through Darwin and highlight all that's therein which answers current creationist critiques of evolution or prefigures new discoveries. Stuff like the evolution of the eye being too complex, evolutionary biology never making a testable prediction - the moths with a long enough proboscis to feed on and fertilise a particular orchid - the idea of punk eek and so on.

Wouldn't do any good for those to whom creationism is an act of faith and thus not to be tested by facts, but as a measure of the paucity of their ideas it could be good...

Date: 2009/01/09 16:42:28, Link
Author: RupertG
I've checked the Bible and the Quran. There are no atheists in either, and no smiting.

R

(One of those statements is incorrect)

Date: 2009/01/11 09:43:18, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Jan. 11 2009,06:54)
ok, my early tech experence is the "internet" on a spectrum 48kb.

The modem was a 1200/75 baud monster that was bigger then the spectrum itself (rubber keys version) and when you plugged it in it loaded a basic program into ram which you then had to "run" to start.

It was in fact prestel, not the internet as such. Teletext online basically.

My main usage at the time was a MUD called shades. I played that alot.

There was a "strange little girl" you had to touch in shades. I won't say any more for fear of self-incrimination! :D

VTX5000...

My first job as a journalist was on Micronet 800. Imagine that, an online daily consumer magazine in 1983, at (as you say) 1200/75, text only (well, some block graphics), per-page charging... Tell the kids of today that.

Mind you, you could do a lot with a Spectrum and a VTX5000, once you got onto PSS. And hacking wasn't illegal, as we all discovered once the House of Lords agreed with the appeal in the case of Steve Gold and Rob Schifreen vs Brenda.

'appy days.

Date: 2009/01/11 16:48:17, Link
Author: RupertG
Hey, Kevin!

Happy making propaganda? Does it matter to you that you were hired to say things that even the people hiring you won't defend?

I know, I know, it's just PR. Man's gotta eat.

But wouldn't you rather be doing something else?

R

Date: 2009/01/11 19:27:44, Link
Author: RupertG
"A naked Ben Stein..."

>twitch<        >twitch<      

....the voices, the voices are back.....

(gets hat)

R

Date: 2009/01/13 03:06:14, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote
In the field of archaeology, we often learn everything we know about a culture by studying their creations.


Well, no. The majority of things we 'know' about any ancient culture come from knowing they were human, like us.

The trouble with taking a theological approach to science is that it doesn't tell you very much about the science. It tells you an awful lot about people and their tendency to invent gods in their own image (the gods of the old and new testaments, for example, are entirely human in motivation).  If you reject methodological naturalism, how can you test for truth? Whether something 'feels right'? Just a look around the world at the moment will show you billions of people who believe something that 'feels right' to them but that cannot be true if what you 'feel right' is also true. So, what's true?

It was the understanding that truth requires more than human intuition that drove empiricism, and the acquistion of more knowledge in 400 years than the 4000 previous could manage. That's the only way past the innumerable paradoxes of a belief-led cosmology, much as something like that fits well into human psychology.

So, if you abandon science for theology, how can you test for truth? Oracles? The preacher with the bestest haircut? Tealeaves? Voices in your head? Prayer?

If you can tell the creator from the creation, who creates religion?

Date: 2009/02/08 13:01:38, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (noncarborundum @ Feb. 08 2009,11:45)
Quote (JLT @ Feb. 08 2009,06:24)
Fuller is even more deluded than I previously thought:

     
Quote

Assuming that YEC accepts the broad ordering of the species represented in the fossil record, I am happy to let it stand as an empirical matter whether the ordering happened over 6000 or 6 billion years.

But, but, but, but . . . Isn't the "broad ordering" of the fossils supposed by YEC to have happenened not "over 6000 years" but over just a year or so?  Or are there versions of YEC in which brontotheres were still being fossilized in the 17th century AD?

I don't suppose it makes the slightest difference. Once you get to the place where you can see the geological column as being a few thousand years old, it really doesn't matter whether it was six thousand years or six days in the making. You didn't ride the logic bus into town, after all.

Date: 2009/02/12 15:07:14, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (JLT @ Feb. 12 2009,08:30)
Quote
Egnor: Science and religion don’t address entirely separate aspects of human experience. There is one truth about the world. The truth about the natural world is obviously a part of metaphysical truth. Science addresses the truth about the natural world, and religion addresses the deeper metaphysical truth. There are no separate magesteria, despite Stephen J. Gould’s spin. If God made the world, then intelligent design is true, assuming that the artifacts of His designing intelligence can be recognized as such. If there is no God, and the world just came to be, then Darwinism is true, because ID and Darwinism are just the affirmative and the negative answer to the same question: is there evidence for design in biology?

This is clear: metaphysical truth determines scientific truth. If there is a designer (metaphysical truth), then intelligent design is true (scientific truth). If there is no designer (metaphysical truth), then Darwinism is true (scientific truth).


Good grief. Egnor really is losing it. He rambles on like this for another six paragraphs, repeating the same point. It's exactly as he puts it: for him and his buddies their preconceived metaphysical "truth" determines scientific truth. No need to actually DO science or look at the evidence - you just know it.

Quite, quite wonderful. It's certainly unarguable - it has that distinctive cargo-cultish logicky tang, where if words are placed in roughly the same sort of order that words are used in normal argument, they magically acquire the same power as normal argument. Like a painting of a dog, it gives off a doggy aura.  But it won't fetch sticks.

A friend of mine was grinding his teeth over this sort of thing, but that's surely one of the intents - to annoy the opposition - along with comforting the believers. I think it's better to just watch and wonder, treating it as an anthropological phenomenon with, if you're lucky, an accompanying insight into some peculiar human condition.

Date: 2009/03/28 16:41:55, Link
Author: RupertG
If you get the chance, try some Brewdog beer. I spent a happy few hours in Edinburgh's Blue Blazer pub last night (which has a good claim to being one of the finest boozers on the planet), and among my explorations I sampled (repeatedly) Paradox - a 10 percent dark beer matured in old whisky casks. Spectacular. It was on tap, but they only sold it in half pint measures.

http://www.brewdog.com/paradox.php

R

Date: 2009/03/28 20:18:51, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (J-Dog @ Mar. 28 2009,19:42)
Quote (RupertG @ Mar. 28 2009,16:41)
If you get the chance, try some Brewdog beer. I spent a happy few hours in Edinburgh's Blue Blazer pub last night (which has a good claim to being one of the finest boozers on the planet), and among my explorations I sampled (repeatedly) Paradox - a 10 percent dark beer matured in old whisky casks. Spectacular. It was on tap, but they only sold it in half pint measures.

http://www.brewdog.com/paradox.php

R

How was it with your deep-fried Mars Bar?  :)

Deep-fried Mars Bars are so last year. It's the deep-fried kebab now.

R

Date: 2009/04/03 19:25:05, Link
Author: RupertG
Rah! Just visiting my septugenarian parents, and have discovered that they've put up a large poster of "The Tree Of Life" in the loo, courtesy of the OU.

Which would be cool anyway. My father, who's a retired Anglican vicar, has always been a big fan of reality (one of his heroes is Bishop Colenso, who was one of the first heavyweights to argue for the rights of Africans and against the literal interpretation of the Bible. Which in 1850s South Africa, was quite something). My mother, however, has been quite an evangelical - but mirabile dictu, is mellowing in her old age and is now unconcerned with teh ghey and other shibboleths of the more enthusiastic brand of Christian.

They are, in short, maturing nicely. Yay.

R

Date: 2009/04/07 18:50:39, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (sledgehammer @ April 07 2009,17:44)
Quote (Richardthughes @ April 07 2009,14:44)
NetNanny and reality interdictor Clive:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelli....-311849

     
Quote
150

Clive Hayden

04/07/2009

4:30 pm
hazel,

“Very good way of putting this. There is no argument for the first cause being personal that doesn’t apply equally to the first cause being impersonal.”

Well, that’s actually not true. If the universe’s first cause was impersonal–just a mere relation between impersonal entities–then the relationship between the impersonal force and the universe would necessitate that the universe would have been around for as long as the relationship between them has been around. This would mean that an impersonal force and the universe’s existence would be infinite into the past, and of course we know that the universe is not infinitely old. And neither will an oscillating universe assuage the difficulty, for that is only pushing the question back, and we also know that in a closed system there is not enough energy to account for an infinitely oscillating universe. And I Am that I Am is obviously different than It Is That It Is–namely, personality.



and we also know that in a closed system there is not enough energy to account for an infinitely oscillating universe - Heddle, Oleg, other n3rdlingers, is this true. Where does the energy dissipate to? I didn't think you could destroy it, just change its state.

Some editationalisms

"With no place to dissipate mass-energy, an oscillator will oscillate forever."  - Sledge N3rdlinger

I guess they don't get much physics or math in "Country Law School".

At what point do we get to declare ID utterly intellectually bankrupt, slap the signs on the desolate lots and catch the last bus home?

If the best they've got is "Tiktaalik is just a fish" and this brand of semantically empty pseudo-apologistics, isn't it kinder just to leave them to it?

Date: 2009/04/19 18:13:58, Link
Author: RupertG
Naw. speed of light is it.

The speed of light (well, c) can described as being a product of the geometry of spacetime*. If you're in an environment where c is changing; well, spacetime is changing too** so good luck with those measuring devices anchored outside spacetime!

R

* - It can. A physicist once described it thus, to me. Do I have the maths to back that up? Pshaw. Such a question.

** - Which we are and it is, thanks to gravity.

Date: 2009/06/20 05:25:43, Link
Author: RupertG
DaveRAFinn -

Something went wrong with your posting. It appears that some filter has stripped out all the references. Perhaps you could try again?

R

Date: 2009/12/06 13:09:10, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 10 2009,13:41)
     
Quote
ps: For a gift of $150 or more, we will send you a copy of Signature in the Cell.  You won't want to miss the book that Norman Nevi, one of Britain's leading genticists, is calling "a landmark in the intelligent design debate."


Norman who? I've never heard of the fellow, and neither has Google. I live in that Britain place (I like Marmite) and I can spell genneticyst, so if anyone should know...

R

Date: 2010/02/13 08:04:52, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (carlsonjok @ Feb. 13 2010,06:31)
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Feb. 13 2010,00:16)
glad i missed this.  shit hell fuck.  i never saw a clown climb up on the cross before

Y'all should have seen it coming. For some, being the victim of persecution is all part of being Christ-like*. And since there aren't many packs of Romans wandering around anymore, those folks will conveniently carry their own cross around with them to climb upon at the slightest hint of offense. That is why Casey Luskin keeps a running list of all the nasty names people have called him.  And why the more retrograde of the "Christian" advocacy groups like to feign persecution when the subject of equal rights for gay people comes up.

* Personally, I think they skipped  Mark 12:31 and went right for the slasher-pic ending, but what do I know?

It's something that was taught to me at Sunday School, thirtymumble years ago: persecution validates you. Our teacher, a terribly nice, terribly devout evangelist-end-of-Anglican churchwarden, was telling us all about how the early Christians were hunted down, rounded up, fed to lions, mutilated, spindled and spiked. "Nobody would go through all that unless they knew what they believed in was true", he said.

"Or they were stupid", I said, in one of my early did-I-say-that-outloud? moments.

I got told off for that, but I noticed then (even then!) that a telling-off is not a counter-argument. Since then, I've worked out that there are other reasons than stupidity for entrenched self-delusion - well, that's self-evident, otherwise I'd be stupid too - and for willingly seeking out persecution. Hell, the psychosexuality alone could fill a (rather disturbing) book.

Nonetheless, in the minds of some Christans, Being Persecuted means I Am Right, and it must be endured but _never_ examined.

Date: 2010/02/13 09:46:54, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Quack @ Feb. 13 2010,09:05)
 
Quote

I jump at the opportunity to
     
Quote
By the end of the second century, the Literalists had begun to establish rules for who was and who was not a Christian. According to them, a Christian must confess the Literalist creed, be baptized, and above all obey the bishops. For the Gnostics, however, the true Church was "invisible" and only its members could perceive who belonged to it and who did not. Gnostics insisted that it took more than baptism to become a Christian. The Gospel of Philip explains that many people "go down to the water and come up without having received anything" and yet claim to be Christians. Nor did profession of a creed or even martyrdom make someone a Christian, since “anyone can do these things." The Gnostics quoted Jesus' saying "By their fruits you shall know them" and demanded evidence of spiritual maturity to demonstrate that a person belonged to the true Church. … Clement of Alexandria writes of those who court martyrdom more sympathetically as children who have "not yet become men in love with God, as the Gnostic is."
(From The Jesus Mysteries, my bolding)

Ah, well, the Gnostics. (or Teflons - Gnonstics - as a ascerbic pal describes some of the modern wooists that fly under that flag.) That's a whole different kettle of ichthys.

To be fair, there have been and continue to be terrible persecutions visited on Christians, and if you subscribe to the philosophy that the victim automatically deserved your support these are not matters to be taken glibly.

Which is another point against those who use their own proclaimed persecution as a political tool, when there is none. And when those people are part of a tradition which has a tendency towards and history of persecuting others...

[edited 'cos I'd put ichthys in Greek first of all, preview showed it correctly, but it got replaced by ????? in the live post. That's what you get for being poncy.]

Date: 2010/10/04 00:48:18, Link
Author: RupertG
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Sep. 30 2010,08:53)
Quote (OgreMkV @ Sep. 30 2010,07:55)
Has anyone started a thread for the British version of the DI, with Behe appearing?

It has been mentioned here.

I'm hoping that British collegues will take over. Anyway, as I said on our UD thread, next week I'll be in Glasgow and I'm planning to take some pictures of their place - it's got "Wharf" in the address which made me wonder.  :O

Keeping an eye on it... but they don't seem to be doing anything. The FAQ doesn't hold out much hope that they ever will - looks like the same old. Some Google alerts on the protagonists' names may be in order, though.

Date: 2012/12/29 20:51:21, Link
Author: RupertG
I just read the whole thread in one go.

I have no words... Except, did Gary really say he could solve P=NP, based on a theory that was simple enough for school kids but too complex for PTers?

Gaw-lee...

Date: 2013/01/01 12:36:48, Link
Author: RupertG
But the answer is simple and has already been pointed out.

Gary says he can solve the travelling salesman problem. If he did that - and he needs nobody's agreement, support or belief - the financial and reputational rewards would be immense and swift. Easily enough to fund and staff a major research effort on nobody's terms but his own. A bit like Wolfram, say, who has used his undoubted brilliance in practical research to support his own theories despite their lack of peer support.

If, on the other hand, he spends his time online behaving like an attention-seeking delusional fantasist, then no matter what lies behind his thinking, he will be treated as such.

Entirely his call.

Date: 2013/01/03 16:59:56, Link
Author: RupertG
At least there is one question answered: whether Gary will come good on his TSP claim, or continue to act like a delusional self-aggrandising borderline paranoid. The world of computing theory and the mighty industries of the globe will have to scale back their expectations of revolution.

A shame, really, as once a chap habituates on the good stuff from the time of Dover nothing else quite cuts the mustard. Briefly - oh so briefly - on discovering this thread I had hopes that something new was on the boil, and it was time to come back to the Thumb.

But no.

Gary: nobody believes you, here or elsewhere. Not your invention of uniquely powerful computing techniques, not your stewardship of revolutionary scientific concepts, not your realisation that the very foundations of science are flawed, not your hundreds of schools quietly teaching your ideas, not your network of scientists hiding from ridicule, not your fractal mirrorworld of consciousness scaling from invisible point to invisible realm via layers of invisibleness. Nobody believed you in any of your previous episodes in other parts of the Web, and nobody will believe you next time either.

Also, the fact that nobody believes you does not mean you are right. Nor does it make the Panda's Thumb a hotbed of people hell-bent on suppressing science.

It just means nobody believes you, because everything you say is fantasy, and tired old fantasy at that.

Become a novelist. At least then you'll learn to spin believable fantasies, and everyone will be so much happier.

Me, I recloak and continue the hunt for the good stuff. May it flow forth again.

Date: 2013/01/08 20:45:48, Link
Author: RupertG
Oh, perpetual motion...

In my career as a tech hack, I've come across maybe ten outfits that tried to sell something that was far too good to be true and got taken seriously by them wot should know better.  In most cases, it was impossible to determine whether they started out genuinely believing they had something or whether it was knowingly fraudulent from the get-go, but by the time they had built some kind of business around it they were highly resistant to any form of objective analysis.

Favoured areas were communication, compression and energy. Communication was  - we have this amazing new way of pushing far more information down a channel at lower power and higher bandwidth than anyone believed possible, and this was normally either wireless or fibre optics. The curious can look up xG (still going, but in a vastly mutated form from its original claims) and Silk Road (long since disappeared). Compression - I forget the names now, but the "guaranteed 2x compression of anything" claim was briefly popular. Both these areas fall foul of information theory, but as information theory is hard and obscure it's very easy to hoodwink people. Even those who you think should not be hoodwinked.  (xG had a Princeton professor speaking up for them - yet they violated the Shannon limit, which is pretty close to the speed of light rule in physics.)

Energy... probably the biggest and most consistent area of numptiness. Steorn. Rossi... if it has rotating magnets or mysterious catalysts, it's unlikely to be able to really break the laws of physics. That would take... new physics.

All these things have had commonalities, and chief among them is a Big Secret that must not be explained, demonstrated or checked. Others include the ability to get credulous press reports (I tried, dear Lord how I tried to tip the balance here; I even offered another editor a thousand pound bet that the thing he'd just reported as possible would not come to pass in the timescale promised...) and to extract money from investors - including high tech companies, the military, the three letter acronym organisations and so on. This I still find mysterious. Also, all these people proffer some kind of explanation, but that mutates rapidly over time with no real acknowledgement that what's being peddled today bears little relation to what was being peddled yesterday.  

I've excluded from all of the above the hokey health nonsense, which exists in number that passeth all understanding. I did once nearly explode at a press launch for something that claimed to 'disrupt the harmful electromagnetic fields' that 'all mobile phones exhibit". There's a lot of that about, but this mob had the chuzpah to launch at a big mobile phone exhibition and present their shtick as purely scientific. A chap has his limits.

One final observation: none of this stuff has ever worked. I can't think of a single example of something that really did have a fundamental breakthrough shielded by massive secrecy that did. The chief attribute of science is that it works, bitches - vide the ENTIRE MODERN WORLD - and anything else is medievalism and witchcraft.

Show your working. Make it work. Otherwise, you're puffing smoke. You may attract thousands to believe in you and make money at i, but it ain't science and it ain't reality.

Date: 2013/02/05 11:12:46, Link
Author: RupertG
As an avid listener to Cold War shortwave broadcasts, I have to say I don't know anyone else who thought the 'man in the street' on Radio Moscow et al was anything of the sort. Georgian tractor factory operatives devoted to the five-year plan, yes... but nobody was ever going to say "It's all a horrible sham...". Also, QSL cards never got confiscated - at least, as far as I ever heard. Tons of R Moscow in people's collections.

Meanwhile, this may the voice inside Gary's head...

Date: 2013/02/05 12:36:41, Link
Author: RupertG
Listener figures are hard to come by, but somewhere around half a million shortwave radios a year were being sold in the US in the late 1980s, and American companies like Zenith made good money post-war at the practice.  The World Radio Television Handbook, the bible of the broadcaster, had thousands of stations listed in the late 1970s, and pre-Internet it was the only way for most people to get international news as it happened without local biasses (at least, their own local biasses).

A awful lot of people were listening.

Here are some of the voices in my head...

Date: 2013/02/14 12:30:17, Link
Author: RupertG
I don't suppose they're also defining religion and politics as based on 'no data, no logic and a faith-based philosophy'?

(dreams happily of a new superhero, Cluebat Woman, who appears in a sparkling shower of reason and dispenses her trademark Stupid Slap to anyone who can't explain the basics of the shit they're stirring)

 

 

 

=====