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Date: 2010/06/20 19:24:37, Link
Author: Seversky
I think I have also been silently exiled to the Village Of The Banned.  My last three posts to UD have vanished into the ether.

Date: 2010/06/21 22:10:03, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (dvunkannon @ June 20 2010,23:23)
Quote (Seversky @ June 20 2010,20:24)
I think I have also been silently exiled to the Village Of The Banned.  My last three posts to UD have vanished into the ether.

That really is too bad. You were a rational voice there for quite a while, as UD counts things.

Thanks, although I always felt that the wily Nakashima was more effective.  Please pass on my congratulations on his marriage to the Czech supermodel, by the way.

Date: 2010/06/21 22:48:13, Link
Author: Seversky
Now, to business: Darwinism of any kind is not supported by serious evidence.

It would be better to describe it as supported by philosophy, budgets, endowments, and court decisions, not by evidence.

People need to believe it.

Now here is my question: Is there really any important evidence that one species morphs into another by vast increases in information due to Darwinian survival of the fittest?

Or is this just another theory we need to believe?

It doesn't matter what you believe, Denyse.  To paraphrase one of my posts that never made it through to UD (hi, Clive!) just look at who uncovered all this function in so-called junk DNA.  It wasn't ID proponents.  They were too busy writing blog posts, articles and books complaining about the shortcomings of "Darwinism".  Meanwhile, evolutionary biologists were in the labs doing the research and making the discoveries that the Paleyists are now crowing about.  That's why evolution is a theory and ID is conjecture.

Oh, and while we're on the subject, Clive, if you want to come here and discuss objective morality or Lewis or Chesterton I'll be happy to oblige.  Of course, you might not find it quite as comfortable in a place where others are free to write openly without fear of your finger hovering over the bannination button.  Pass the word to Bully Arrington as well.  Tell him the "moral monster" has a few matters he would like to discuss.

Date: 2010/06/24 19:22:54, Link
Author: Seversky
gpuccio from the safety of the UD bunker:
I don’t think that Moran and Matheson are looking forward to discussing that with us (but some volunteer could make a sacrifice and start monitoring PT).

A couple of questions for UD observers (hi, Clive!): which of the three blogs is most likely to allow free and open discussions and how many UD regulars would be prepared to engage in same.

Date: 2010/06/24 20:41:42, Link
Author: Seversky
Barb has doubts about materialism:
Here are five reasons why I consider materialism unreasonable:

Not untrue, just unreasonable

1. Specified complexity. This cannot be explained materially. It cannot be explained by nonintelligent natural laws.

More to the point, it can't even be defined consistently.  Until it is, there's nothing to explain by non-intelligent natural laws or any other means.

2. Human thoughts, dreams, and ideas are not simply comprised only of materials. Chemicals are involved, but they don’t explain all human thoughts. The theory of materialism isn’t made of molecules. You cannot measure and weigh love, hate, or jealousy, yet they exist in the human mind.

And the human mind is only ever observed to exist in the context of the human brain.  Damage to the physical brain can cause corresponding loss of function in the mind.  Read the tragic testimony of people who watch helplessly as the mind and personality of a loved one slowly disintegrates as Alzheimer's inexorably cripples the victim's brain.   Then tell us the mind is not a product of the brain.

3. If life were nothing more than materials, then scientists would have already taken the materials of life (the same ones found in dirt) and make a living being.

If you went back to the year 1010, how many people then could design and build flying machines that could cross the Atlantic?  Come forward in time just a thousand years and air travel is a commonplace.  Did the fact that it couldn't be done in 1010 mean that it was impossible?

If life emerged from inanimate matter it probably took place over millions of years at the least.  Science has been trying its hand for a few decades at best.  It's a bit premature to declare it a failure.  I wonder what we would find if we could fast forward to 3010?

4. Spiritual experiences. If materialism is true, then anyone on earth who’s ever had a spiritual experience of any sort was completely mistaken.

If I told you God had just appeared to me as a burning bush and dictated some new commandments to me, would you believe me?  If yes, why; if not, why not?

Maybe those experiences were real to the people who had them but we will probably never know.  They are evidence that people report having such experiences, not that they are true.

All of them were mistaken? I’d have to see strong evidence from the atheist/materialist side to be convinced.

You have it the wrong way round.  You are the one claiming these anecdotes are true, you are the one who has to back it up if you want to persuade others.

5. Reason requires faith. A defense of reason by reason is circular and therefore worthless.

The use of reason is justified by the observation that it has worked pretty well for us so far.  That's all that is needed.

It is the materialists who insist, by faith, that our minds arose from mindless matter without any intelligent intervention. This contradicts all scientific observations.

Which observations are those?  Are they the observations I referred to above of the effect that Alzheimer's has on the mind as well as the brain?  Or is it the consistent observation that when the brain stops functioning, as in death, so does the brain?  If the materialists have faith, it's pretty clear it's on a much firmer footing than the alternative.

Date: 2010/06/26 17:55:26, Link
Author: Seversky
Denyse O'Leary trails a new book which re-heats - sorry - exposes the hidden scandal of Alberta's eugenics policy:

New book announcement: The truth about the ruthless Darwinian eugenics campaign in Canada

A chilling tale, carefully concealed for decades, of how a ruthless and amoral Darwinist cabal seized control of the state government and forced the terrified population to acquiesce to a policy of forced sterilization.

I am pleased to announce this book by Jane Harris-Zsovan on the Canadian eugenics scandal. I tried to cover it in the 1970s, from Ontario, but couldn’t get very far – literally. It took someone like Jane, who went through box loads of archives in her home province of Alberta, to start putting the pieces together.

As we can see, it takes doughty female journalists to blow the lid on this scandal.  Probably a bit like the doughty women of the United Farm Women of Alberta who campaigned for the policy in the first place.

It is NOT a pretty picture.

I know, I've seen the photograph on the blog.

So what happened? Why did so many professionals believe Darwinism and act on it? The Canadian experience was pretty scandalous.

Yes, it was, as it was elsewhere and as is now well-known.

Strange that for a hidden scandal we can find extensive entries in Wikipedia all about the Alberta Eugenics Board and the Sexual Sterilization Act of 1928.

Strange also that while we read a great deal from Ms O'Leary about the undoubted scandal of eugenics, we see nothing about the appalling Native American boarding schools in the US or their counterparts north of the border the Canadian Indian residential school system.  Could that be because Christians were heavily involved in the mistreatment of the native American peoples, perchance?

Of course, according to you and your UD cronies, it is unfair to use the well-intentioned but misguided behavior of those missionaries to smear the whole of Christianity but perfectly acceptable to argue that eugenics discredits the whole of evolutionary biology.

Tell us, Ms O'Leary, are you familiar with the meaning of 'double standards', 'hypocrisy' and the adage 'people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones'.

Date: 2010/07/10 22:26:25, Link
Author: Seversky
What is so blatantly and painfully obvious is that, for all the disclaimers, opposition to evolution is as firmly rooted in religious objections as it has ever been.  The continual quoting from Chesterton and Lewis (hi, Clive) and the elevation of their works to near-gospel status is something of a clue but it was allanius who came closest to letting the cat out of the bag:
Basic science is now performing an invaluable service as the handmaiden of theology. We agree with Gould. Let it know its rightful place and be content to serve.

In other words, amongst all the other things the IDeologues choose to ignore is Santayana's warning about repeating the mistakes of the past by advocating the subordination of science to religion - more specifically their particular faith.

This is what makes the claim, that if cdesign proponentsists had been running cancer research we would be much closer to a cure, so farcical.  Far from advancing matters it which would almost inevitably lead to a sort of 'relisenkoism' and a disaster of Soviet agricultural proportions.

Date: 2010/07/12 22:58:38, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Alan Fox @ July 11 2010,04:24)
Recently I've been reading (and occasionally commenting) atBiologos blog. In response to my remarking that UD moderation  is arbitrary and biased, this comment by:

 Rich - #21297
July 11th 2010


I did a little research into your claims about bannings at UC.

In the last month, only two or three people were banned.  So much for your daily bannings.

In the last year, roughly fifteen to twenty people were banned.  That’s nowhere near daily.

In many cases, these bannings were re-bannings, i.e., cases where a person had been banned, then was forgiven, then re-offended and was banned again, or cases where, once banned, the person sneaked back on under a new pseudonym and was banned under the new pseudonym.  In other words, the number of *people* banned is fewer than the total number of bannings, which was very small.

The bannings have not been for disagreeing with ID, or expressing skepticism about ID.  Otherwise, Francis Beckwith, Allen MacNeill and many others would have been banned.  The bannings have been for offensive behavior of one kind or another.  Seversky and Nakashima know why they were banned.  It wasn’t for offering rational arguments against irreducible complexity.

So probably one person per month has been banned from UD over the past year.  This on a web site that posts thousands of comments monthly.  Your case is hereby thrown out of court.

Anyone care to disagree with Rich on his judgement?

Forgive me for stating the obvious but Rich is full of it.

Although I can guess why, in my case  there was neither warning of nor reason given for the ban.  My posts simply stopped appearing.

As I have stated before, they are fully entitled to ban whomsoever they like but it makes Rich's - admittedly tongue-in-cheek - reference to being "thrown out of court" somewhat ironic; I was neither informed of the charges against me nor given the opportunity to confront my accusers and present the case for the defense.  

So much for UD's sense of justice (hi, Clive).

Date: 2010/07/26 22:45:17, Link
Author: Seversky
Of course, IOSE does lend itself to some interesting and, some might say, appropriate prefixes, such as




Date: 2010/07/26 23:18:50, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ July 26 2010,18:15)
Meanwhile, Clive has fled the Biologos discussion of moderation at UD.

Is it any wonder?

I suppose even he realized that begging Steve Matheson to return to UD - and even offering to throw in an unbanning (of Seversky) to entice him (displaying the integrity of that banning full profile) -  was a bit unseemly.

What I don't understand is why he thought offering to unban me would have any influence on Steve Matheson at all.  Why not Zachriel or Nakashima?  They were contributing much more to the discussions at UD than I was.

In fact, what would make more of an impact would be the unconditional unbanning of the likes of the above and David Kellog, Mustela Nivali, Alan Fox and Learned Hand,  amongst others, who had records of posting responsibly and with a far more civil tone than the likes of Vividbleau or Upright Biped or kairosfocus.

Date: 2010/08/01 15:50:18, Link
Author: Seversky
Sir, drop the Tube map and step away from the sign with your beard in plain sight!

Brent Cross!

Date: 2010/08/01 16:40:37, Link
Author: Seversky
Barry Arrington is an intellectual bully whose forte, in this case, is to browbeat opponents in a forum where it is difficult for them to answer in kind for fear of being silenced by the moderators.  

If he has half the brains he believes he has then he will know full well that he is attacking a strawman version of what Dawkins believes.  Genes may determine the development and general organization of the human brain but I doubt anyone thinks they decide every thought we think or every word we speak.  There may be an argument for this position on other grounds but it they are not genetic.

What Arrington also ignores is the argument that the omniscient God in which he believes makes free will impossible and absolute determinism certain in a way genes cannot.  For a God to be omniscient it must know everything that can be known - past, present and future - with equal certainty.  But to have such knowledge of our future it must already exist and be determined just as surely as our past.  If what he believes is right, everything he is writing and thinking now has been determined from the very beginning of time.  It is he who is the marionette, dancing helplessly at the whim of his god.

No, this rant is intended to rally the troops.  As with his other emissions, he is presenting himself to his fellow believers as a doughty champion of Christianity, standing forward boldly to confront the demon Dawkins.  He cares not one jot for what non-believers think of it.  Like Wells and Hunter and others, his only interest in science is how it can be used or abused to promote his religious agenda.

Date: 2010/08/02 21:59:26, Link
Author: Seversky
[quote=Maya,Aug. 02 2010,16:28]
I thought that tgpeeler was one of the more intelligent posters at UD,

That's like saying Dubya was one of the more honest politicians.  It's not exactly a hard standard to beat.
If materialism is true, then I could not know of abstract things.

I don't think TGP has quite grasped the concept of non sequitur

Date: 2010/08/08 07:31:47, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Louis @ Aug. 08 2010,04:35)
Quote (fnxtr @ Aug. 08 2010,07:29)

Seven Sisters.

That's fast and furious play.




Tsk, careless play from the normally sure-footed Louis.

By fumbling the reference to Fenchurch Street, a foul play if ever there was one, he opens the route to the terminus's grander cousin

Liverpool Street!

Date: 2010/08/08 19:42:15, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Maya @ Aug. 08 2010,08:55)
An evolutionary algorithm has been used to generate soccer playing strategies.  One interesting result is that, without any explicit coaching logic, the system self-organized different player roles (defender, striker, etc.).

Send it to England.  They need a new manager.

Date: 2010/08/08 19:50:26, Link
Author: Seversky
Gil Dodgen is projecting again;
This is the tyrannical Paleyist way: Suppress dissent. Vilify the opponent. Tell the population that the matter is settled, and that those who question are evil destroyers of “science.”

What he meant, of course was:
This is the tyrannical fundamentalist way: Suppress dissent. Vilify the opponent. Tell the population that the matter is settled, and that those who question are evil destroyers of “faith.”

The, in the very next paragraph, he hits the nail right on the head:
These tactics sound more like those of a depraved theocracy than those of a truth-seeking “scientific” establishment.

You said it, buddy!

Date: 2010/08/11 20:28:42, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Aug. 11 2010,18:26)
A test for Clive:

...which I predict he will pass with flying colors by banning Petrushka for being so uncivil as to disagree with an ID proponent.  

There's a good chance he will cite Chesterton and Lewis as well.

Date: 2010/08/12 19:47:10, Link
Author: Seversky
I am curious to see how the denizens of Uncommon Descent respond to the news about the emerging threat of the NDM-1 gene.

On the face of it, this looks like another nice example of evolution in action.  A gene has emerged which defends bacteria against almost all the antibiotics that are designed to protect us against harmful bacteria.  If the gene proves to be readily transferable between different types of bacteria then it is only a matter of time before resistance spreads throughout the bacterial population.

The question is, where did this gene come from?  

Evolutionary biologists will no doubt hypothesize that it is a random mutation that is proving to be highly beneficial - for bacteria - in the context of an environment filled with harmful antibiotics.

The standard ID response is to deny the fortuitous emergence of an advantageous mutation and to argue that the 'information' was 'frontloaded' by the Creator/Designer when he/she/it first designed/created the little beasties.  In other words, having designed some bacteria which are harmful or even deadly to human beings - who are, of course, his chosen favorites and the pinnacle of creation - he/she/it thoughtfully equipped them with whatever they needed to circumvent the best defenses we could mount against them, thus ensuring much suffering, sickness and death amongst those he/she/it loves more than all others.

And you people actually worship such a being, Clive?

Date: 2010/08/14 14:27:33, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (VeilsOfMaya @ Aug. 14 2010,13:03)
Hello everyone.

Apparently, I've recently been banned at UD. It seems that the site admins do not explicitly announce when you've been sent to dev/null nor do they provide any specific explanation...

veilsofmaya continues to erect strawmen and refues to address ID as it is instead of as he distorts it. It is useless to argue with a person who refuses to see reason.

Which I found quite confusing as I was merely pointing out that Barry Arrington had apparently made assumptions not listed in the two points he asked us to make.

Is this par for the course at UD?

Pretty much.  I wasn't aware what my sin was until Clive revealed it during a rare excursion to another blog.  

Bully Arrington could call me a "moral monster" but that was not considered uncivil.  However, according to Clive:
You were banned for calling for the Discovery Institute’s destruction, an institute made up of people, one of which is William Dembski, the founder of the blog on which you called for destruction. If that isn’t incivility, I don’t know what is.

What I actually wrote was the following comment on Steve Matheson's call for the desctruction of the DI:
I share Matheson’s opinion of the Discovery Institute but he should have remembered Voltaire’s dictum: “I disagree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

Which I amplified on the other thread as follows:

In other words, while I sympathized with Steve Matheson’s opinion of the Discovery Institute I most certainly did not call for its destruction, nor any other church for that matter.  Quite the opposite in fact.  I was arguing that, however offensive we might find its views and propagandizing, we were bound to defend its right to behave that way if we believed in the right to free speech - a view of the right not shared by the moderators at UD, apparently.

Clive has, of course, resolutely refused to acknowledge he misconstrued the comment.

Date: 2010/08/14 22:55:50, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (dvunkannon @ Aug. 14 2010,15:18)
Sev, I think Clive was just retconning a reason into the discourse, there. I think you were banninated as collateral damage to Clive's "the gloves are off" banning of Nakashima. He thought you were an AtBC regular so he banned you.

You may well be right.

I did make one previous post here when I thought I had been banned at that time.  That was probably enough to plant the seeds of suspicion.  And I made no secret of my beliefs and sympathies at UD.  That made me a perfect target for bannination, particularly by someone keen to reinforce their ID credentials. :)

Date: 2010/08/15 23:53:28, Link
Author: Seversky
3: If the mind is reducible to the chemical constituents of the brain, then human autonomy and consciousness are illusory because our free choices are determined by the dual forces of chance and necessity.

Ummm, point of order:  if the outcome of any decision-making process is truly a question of chance to any degree, it cannot be absolutely predetermined, which is what is being proposed as the only alternative.

u r doin it rong

Date: 2010/08/16 00:06:52, Link
Author: Seversky
Don Gilote is still tilting at windmills
Darwinists want us to believe the following: Screw things up. Throw wrenches randomly into complex machinery. Delete, replace, copy, insert, or otherwise randomly abuse existing functional information, and (given enough time) malaria can turn into Mozart.

Please give me a break, and don’t try to convince me that this transparently ludicrous nonsense should be taken seriously.

He still prefers his creator/designer who not only created bacteria that have cause untold amounts of disease, suffering and death for what is supposed to be his most favored creation but also frontloaded with them with the means to defeat the best weapons available to be used against them.

Tell us, Gil, if he does that when he likes you, what does he do if he doesn't?

Oh, sorry, I just remembered.  It's all there in the Old Testament, isn't it?

Date: 2010/08/18 16:24:33, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Henry J @ Aug. 18 2010,13:18)
In the mean time, though, I've read that Andromeda is gonna collide with the Milky Way somewhat earlier than the red giant thing, but I don't know what that will do to habitability here.

Probably raise galactic insurance premiums.

Date: 2010/08/18 17:04:12, Link
Author: Seversky
Denyse's finely-honed skills as an investigative journalist have led her to the coverage in Wired Science of the discovery of bones bearing marks which indicate tool use about a million years earlier than previously known.

In the interests of balance, she also notes that there is at least one scientist who has expressed doubts about the claims in the paper.

It seems to me that what would be handy in such cases is some sort of methodology or toolkit that would enable one to distinguish between what are the effects of design and what are the effects of non-directed, natural forces.

Anyone know of such a thing?



Meyer?  Meyer?

Date: 2010/08/20 17:57:08, Link
Author: Seversky
I cannot say I am encouraged by what I read at his website but by all means let us hear what he has to say.

In the meantime we could always play a little Mornington Crescent to pass the time.

So, for all you Darwinists out there, where else could we start but at the tangled


Date: 2010/08/22 15:33:44, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Maya @ Aug. 22 2010,13:13)
William J. Murray gets it completely backwards:
If one cannot even provide a real-world example of a thing, how can anyone say science cannot investigate that thing, much less explain why?

Um, Billy J, if you can't provide a real-world example of a thing, what the heck are you talking about?

I dunno.  UD is full of claims and beliefs that are just - unreal - there in black and white.

For example, kairosfocus backs it up with this little GEM of a story:
More directly and personally, I personally knew Shelly B, a Jamaica Scholar, ace med student, daughter of a bishop and all around lovely young lady, who in the mid 80?s was seen to have ovarian cysts with Bad C being raised. After prayer, they vanished, and he clinical records are there on the case, at the university hospital.

Being a scientist, of course, Gordon is careful not to overstate the significance of this case by pointing out that

1) Without verification this is no more than an anecdote

2) If the disease "vanished" after prayer you have coincidence but not necessarily causation

3) If the patient was receiving conventional treatment for the condition why should we assume that prayer rather than medical science was responsible for its disappearance?

4) If cancer was present then spontaneous remission is still the more probable explanation than a miracle.

5) The significance of such a case, if any, can only be judged in a statistical context.  How many cases are there where patients have recovered following prayer compared to the number of cases where patients have died in spite of intercessory prayer?

Oops!  Sorry!  No, I'm wrong.  He didn't point all that out.

Perhaps, like Wells and Hunter, he's one of those fair-weather scientists.  He does science up where it conflicts with his religious beliefs at which point science goes out the window and faith takes over.

Date: 2010/08/25 20:44:07, Link
Author: Seversky
From Merriam-Webster:


\?ba-t?\ adjective

bat·ti·er  bat·ti·est

Definition of BATTY

1: of, relating to, or resembling a bat

2: mentally unstable : crazy

— bat·ti·ness noun

Examples of BATTY

  <a batty old lady who lives with 100 cats>

Date: 2010/08/28 04:02:59, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Aug. 27 2010,06:56)
Dembski's former boss, Albert Mohler, declares evolution and Christianity to be incompatible.

Comments are open over there.

So the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary now presumes to speak for the whole of Christianity?  I am sure that all the other denominations will be grateful that Mohler has relieved them of that tiresome burden.

I was raised to believe that humility was a Christian virtue.  Mohler appears to belong to that section of the Southern Baptist community who have abandoned that requirement, perhaps as being doctrinally unsound - or just inconvenient.

Date: 2010/08/28 04:29:43, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (carlsonjok @ Aug. 27 2010,18:44)
But, wait!!!! That's not all!1!!11!!  

We get an interesting glimpse into Barry's second job as the treasurer of MichelePAC, the political action committee of everyone's favorite Republican, Michele Bachmann.  It seems BarryA had a problem spelling her name.

Linky dinky

Don't knock it.  It's a political marriage made in Democratic heaven.  Just imagine a Palin/Bachmann 'dream' ticket with Barry as campaign manager.  The trainwreck would be a sight to behold.

I was also amusing myself by imagining staged election debates run by Barry.  The auditoria would be rigged so that anyone, whether candidate or questioner, who, in Barry's opinion, spoke out of turn would be instantly plunged through a trapdoor into the dark and dusty basement below, never to be heard again.

Date: 2010/08/31 03:50:50, Link
Author: Seversky
Bully "The Wild One" Arrington marvels at the size of the Universe from the seat of his motorcycle:
2.  The Earth is Almost Certainly a Very Special Place

No one supposes that the Earth is at the exact geometric center of the universe anymore.  Nevertheless, there are good reasons to believe that it is a very special place, perhaps even unique.  In recent years astrophysicist Guillermo Gonzalez has led the way in demonstrating that the existence of life is far from likely.  In fact, it is exceedingly improbable and the conditions of the Milky Way galaxy, the sun, the solar system, the moon and the earth itself are remarkably fine-tuned for the existence of life.


If life, including that on Earth, is an exceedingly improbable event, how can we argue that the Universe is fine-tuned to produce it?  

Surely, in a Universe so tuned, we should expect to find a lot more than just ourselves.  In which case, how are we on this little planet special?

Date: 2010/09/03 23:20:46, Link
Author: Seversky
The usual suspects at Uncommon Descent revel in the story of "Darwinist" gunman James Lee.  Kairosfocus, predictably, waxes logorrheical about this crime being a sign of the malign influence of evolutionary theory on society at large.

Strangely, I don't recall Gordon and the rest (hi, Clive) making a similar argument about Christianity following this story:
BOULDER, Colo. -- A 24-year-old ski lift operator who fatally shot the general manager of the Eldora ski area was determined to kill co-workers who weren't Christian, according to court records obtained Thursday.

The documents, filed Wednesday in Boulder District Court, said witnesses told authorities that Derik Bonestroo walked into a building at work, fired a gun into the ceiling and said: "If you're not Christian, you're going to die."

General manager Brian Mahon was shot and killed Dec. 30 at the ski area west of Nederland, Colo., in Boulder County.

Witnesses said when Bonestroo asked Mahon's religion, Mahon said "Catholic" and Bonestroo shot him twice: in the chest and head.

Date: 2010/09/05 12:45:41, Link
Author: Seversky
Plus ça change...

Date: 2010/09/05 13:45:23, Link
Author: Seversky
Mathgrrl is doing an excellent job of tying the UD regulars up in knots on the "Media Mum about Deranged Darwinist Gunman" thread.

I wonder how long she will survive before they decide that embarrassing them with their own incoherence is uncivil.



Date: 2010/09/05 18:34:16, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Sep. 05 2010,15:23)
Yes, this thread is comedy gold. Mathgrrl asks the "Gretchenfrage" - define information - and pandemonium ensues.
BA: 1172 words, Gordon: 448 words, a snarks from Canuckian Yankee      
Could you please provide a mathematical definition of “definition,” so that any interested observer can objectively measure it, and thus know exactly what you’re referring to?
and tgpeeler admits defeat:        
Mathgrrl @ 39 “Could you please provide a mathematical definition of “functional information” so that any interested observer can objectively measure it?”

No. I can’t. Regrets. You are free to try. To take CY one step further, while you’re at it, perhaps you could also provide a mathematical definition of each word in the phrase “Could you please provide … so that any interested observer can objectively measure it?” That way I might be able to understand your question. Because right now I think it’s irrelevant. Thanks.

Upright Biped is likewise reduced to impotent bluster:
Mathgirl, your response to TGPeeler in 51 is so completely self serving that it’s a little difficult to see it as anything but a matter of pure rhetoric. Which it is.

You are more than welcome to remedy that situation by applying your own objection to your own objection, and simply answering the question upthread from CY. Perhaps that will provide a certain amount of perspective to the rhetoric.

This and the question asked by CannuckianYankee have the mouthwatering aroma of one of Gordon's favorite "red herring distractors leading out to oil of ad hominem soaked strawman distortions that are then ignited spectacularly to create a misleading impression of triumph in “debate.”"

Gpuccio's citation of two of his own previous posts on another thread are not helpful either.  There is lengthy discussion of protein domains, folds and references to function and complexity but we are still no closer to understanding what property of the genome is being measured in terms of dFCSI or how the units of measurement are defined.

As I see it, the IDeologues are committing the fallacy of confusing the map with the territory.  They have been misled by the utility of computing and information theoretical models of what happens in the genome into believing that the information in the models is also a property of the genome itself.

As an analogy, Clive (hi), consider a digital photograph of the growth rings in a cross-sectional cut of a tree-trunk.  We could say, for the sake of argument, that the photograph, stored as a .jpg file is 50Kb in size.  That means, for example, that it will take 50Kb of hard drive capacity to store the image in a format that can be processed by a computer.

But does that mean that the photograph contains 50Kb of information?  As I pointed out before, I could look at that photograph and recognize that they were tree-rings but little else.  A dendrochronologist, on the other hand, might infer a great deal more about that tree and the climate in which it grew than I could from exactly the same image.

In other words, we would have the same 50Kb .jpg image but vastly different mounts of information extracted by different observers.  The 50Kb does not measure what we usually understand as the information content of the image, which seems to be more a relationship between the data in the image and that in the mind of the observer.

Date: 2010/09/11 11:33:41, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Sep. 11 2010,09:22)
Theistic evolutionsts, to the extent that they can even think at all

Good to see StephenB is maintaining the usual high standard of civility insisted upon by Clive. (hi!)

Elsewhere gpuccio defines dFSCI!


Is it a Complex Definition or even a Functional Complex Definition?  If the latter, I'm assuming it can be expressed as a Digital Functional Complex Definition.

1) Any string of digital information

As before, does the 50Kb digital file size represent the information content of a photograph of tree rings, for example?  Enquiring minds would like to know.

2) which conveys the information for an explicitly defined function

"Explicitly defined function" in the context of a biological system being an arbitrary selection from a large sequence of events of a smaller sequence of made by an observer?  
3) which is in a non compressible or scarcely compressible form

Kolmogorov complexity, in other words, rather than Shannon information?

4) whose complexity (ratio of the functional space to the search space) expressed in bits (like in Shannon’s information)

Are you using "information" in the Shannon or Kolmogorov sense?  There seems to be some confusion here.

How it reads is as an attempt to introduce an ill-defined notion of probability rather than information.

is higher than a certain threshold, appropriately chosen for each specific context (I have suggested 150 bits for a generic biological context on our planet)

Hold on, pilgrim!  What "certain threshold"?  "Appropriately chosen for each specific context" by whom and on what basis?

5) is dFSCI.

Sorry, but no.

To paraphrase The Isaac Newton Of Information Theory 'dFCSI is just the Hoyle Fallacy of Junkyard Tornadoes restated in the idiom of information theory.'

Date: 2010/09/18 13:54:59, Link
Author: Seversky
Could this be another dodgy - sorry - Dodgen just-so story from UD's favorite ivory-tickler?  (I know, perish the thought, Clive)

As a child, at age seven, I remember the exact moment I figured out that life was ultimately meaningless and purposeless, based on the atheism and Darwinism with which I was raised. It was a simple logical conclusion that even a seven-year-old could figure out.

In my view, it would be a very - how shall we say - unusual seven-year-old who thought any such thing.  From what I remember of being that old I was concerned with much more important issues, such as where to get a flintlock rifle like Davy Crockett's Ol' Betsy.  (I already had an imitation coonskin cap)  The purpose of life, the Universe and everything didn't become an issue until I was much older.

The other thing is that where I have been able to verify memories from around that age, they have been unreliable.  They're not complete fantasy but they have become distorted, corrupted, with elements of different events being conflated.

I also find it unlikely, although by no means impossible, that parents would instill beliefs in atheism and evolutionary biology in such a young child.  That said, it may have felt like that to a child growing up in a household where parents openly espoused such beliefs.

I suspect that Gil has woven a colorful story around partial memories of what actually happened to make it consistent with the religious narrative he has adopted to make life acceptable.

My life and soul were dark. I was hideously cynical. I tried to destroy the faith of Christians because they repulsed me. I wanted to drag them down into the despair of atheism with which I had lived for so long. Misery loves company.

Why would you want to destroy Christianity specifically?  The more vehement atheists that I have read or heard want to eradicate all religion without exception.  And the reasons they want to destroy religion include the belief that it is religion itself that causes so much suffering and despair, not the lack of it.  The less extreme non-believers are content to leave religion alone as long as it leaves them alone.

But then something happened, and I realized that my atheism and materialism represented a grand lie. Most of all, I realized that the science I thought supported my atheism, actually refuted it.

This claimed realization that "my atheism and materialism represented a grand lie" is revealing.

Gil is smart enough to see that what science has learned about the universe points towards one that is Godless and purposeless, one in which there is no special or privileged role for us.  But for him, as for so many others, this is an intolerably bleak and hopeless prospect.  He claims to want the truth but, in the words of Jack Nicholson's iconic line from A Few Good Men, "You can't handle the truth!"

So what are your options if one truth is unpalatable?  One is to find another that is more to your taste and Gil, like so many others, finds that immersing himself in the cozy delusions created by Marx's "opium of the people" infinitely more satisfying on an emotional level than anything that science has to offer.  Hence the "grand lie".  If your new truth is true then the old truth must be a lie foisted on you by people who know better but are trying to lure you on to The Dark Side.

What Gil is tacitly admitting is that science has found no evidence of a god of any sort and has, thus far, been able to construct explanations of what is observed without having to resort to one.  Atheism is the more probable explanation but it's not one that is going to warm the cockles of your heart on cold, winter nights.  Thus it sounds more likely that his epiphany came about because science and atheism could not satisfy a deep-seated emotional craving, one that he eventually surrendered to and turned to something that could.

None of which has any bearing on the soundness of the theory of evolution or the vacuity of Intelligent Design.

Date: 2010/09/20 06:39:29, Link
Author: Seversky
I'd say the latest UD post is more a case of a Gage bozo conducting a straw poll about strawmen.

And this morning I feel the response should be musical:

It ain't necessarily so
It ain't necessarily so
De things dat yo' liable to read in de Bible
It ain't necessarily so

Lyrics from George and Ira Gershwin's great Porgy and Bess of course.

Date: 2010/09/22 13:33:15, Link
Author: Seversky
Proponentsist replies to Petrushka:

Yes, true. But the advantage is diminished when the observed data conflicts with what is expected. This is what neo-Darwinism is struggling with — namely, is the mutation-and-selection mechanism sufficient to explain what really occurs in nature? If not, then evolutionary theory becomes not really about the mechanism, but merely about naturalism (or asserting that there is a blind, unintelligent process at work).

So, in parallel, ID does not start with proving the mechanism, but merely that the process indicates evidence that there is intelligence at work. This is a more modest aim.

More modest?  By what definition?

The theory of evolution offers testable, naturalistic mechanisms.  ID has already been forced to concede the existence of what they call "microevolution" because the evidence is now frankly irresistible.  It can offer neither persuasive argument nor evidence why the same processes could not ultimately lead to what they call "macroevolution".  Half-baked notions about "complex, specified information' sound like desperate, last-ditch attempts to stave off the inevitable.

As an alternative they propose it was all the product of an intelligent designer.  Since we're pretty sure it wasn't us what did it, that leaves extraterrestrials of some sort.  In other words, Proponentsist would have us believe that either an ancient race of highly-advanced aliens with near godlike powers or God himself is a more modest proposal.  That's a bit like saying kairosfocus is a man of few words.

Date: 2010/09/23 06:20:14, Link
Author: Seversky

(Going for broke)

Date: 2010/09/23 20:24:17, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Sep. 23 2010,08:04)
Gordon Mullings proves the power of prayer:

I will leave most details to others, just first noting on one of your red herring tracks that there are millions who will testify to you on experience that prayer works. In fact, that I am alive, have enough breath to post, and have enough back to sit up are ALL answers to prayer, in astonishingly and obviously miraculous ways. (I could start with the appointment error that led my mom to half lift me out of a med centre, and as we came out the door, we faced a taxi with the open door, and the man saying: “Asthma, I know just the doctor you need.” That is how we found the doctor who saved my life. Literally.)

I recently lost one of my uncles to metastatic cancer.

His family and friends prayed for him.  He may even have prayed for himself.

All to no avail.

Gordon Mullings presents himself as a scientist.  As such, he should have been trained to beware the Fallacy of Selective Reporting and give little credence to anecdote.

What he should be asking, as a scientist, is how many critically ill people survive, apparently as a result of intercessory prayer, compared with those who die in spite of it.

If the God in which the IDeologues believe truly exists then he appears to decide who lives and who dies on the roll of a dice.

I find that detestable

As are his smug, self-righteous followers.

Date: 2010/09/24 13:56:41, Link
Author: Seversky
Those with atavistic royalist tendencies, however, need to be reminded of how the will of the people as expressed in Parliament prevailed over that of the Crown.


Date: 2010/09/26 08:39:56, Link
Author: Seversky
According to Clive (Hi!)

Richard Dawkins takes Ray Comfort out of context:

Ah, I love the smell of irony in the morning!

Pot, kettle, black, Clive.

Date: 2010/09/26 09:24:03, Link
Author: Seversky
Denyse O'Leary is one of the leading proponents of the 'Darwin to Hitler' thesis at Uncommon Descent.  [URL=

science/]Here[/URL] she returns to her favorite theme.

Historian Richard Weikart is usually cited as the scholarly source for these claims.  This time, however, our favorite hackette kindly links to a web page where he denies making at least some of the arguments attributed to him at UD (no surprise here then).

For example:

Concerning the first charge (that I claim that every form of Darwinism led to Nazism), I stated quite clearly in the introduction: "Obviously, Darwin was no Hitler. The contrast between the personal lives and dispositions of these two men could hardly be greater. Darwin eschewed politics, retreating to his country home in Down for solitude to conduct biological research and to write. Hitler as a demagogue lived and breathed politics, stirring the passions of crowds through frenzied speeches. Politically Darwin was a typical English liberal, supporting laissez-faire economics and opposing slavery. Like most of his contemporaries, Darwin considered non-European races inferior to Europeans, but he never embraced Aryan racism or rabid anti-Semitism, central features of Hitler's political philosophy." (p. 3)


It's hard for me to understand how anyone could read the introduction to my book and make the ridiculous claim that I argue that all Darwinists promoted euthanasia or genocide. These scholars apparently are unaware that I wrote a previous book, Socialist Darwinism: Evolution in German Socialist Thought from Marx to Bernstein, in which I explained the reception of Darwinism by German socialists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. No, all Darwinism didn't lead to Nazism, and I of all people know this quite well. If my critics skipped the introduction of my book, they could also have learned my views in the conclusion, where I stated: "It would be foolish to blame Darwinism for the Holocaust, as though Darwinism leads logically to the Holocaust. No, Darwinism by itself did not produce Hitler's worldview, and many Darwinists drew quite different conclusions from Darwinism for ethics and social thought than did Hitler." (p. 232)

In other words, what the rest of us have been arguing all along.

Date: 2010/09/28 22:09:15, Link
Author: Seversky
David Tyler essays a rather forlorn attempt to resurrect the controversy surrounding Professor Michael Reiss's resignation as Director Of Education at the UK's Royal Society.  It is little more than part of the continuing campaign to frame the confrontation between science and religion in terms of competing but equivalent worldviews.

The sad thing is that in this case the IDeologues have a point.  Although Reiss did the decent thing to preserve the reputation of the Society, the ill-founded criticism that forced him to reign came from people in the academic community who really should have known better.

Date: 2010/09/30 18:06:17, Link
Author: Seversky
Bully Arrington stomps all over an unfortunate astronomer who has the temerity to express the belief that there might be life elsewhere in the Universe.

The credulity of presumably well educated scientists beggars belief.  There may be life on that planet.  I don’t know.  But of one thing I am certain, the rough (and I mean rough; the size and temperature are not really that comparable to earth’s) correlation of two life variables gives no one warrant to suggest there is “no doubt” that life exists on the planet.  And these are the scientists our opponents are always telling us we should bow down to and accept their consensus view as God’s own truth.  Give me a break.

So let's get this straight.  

On the one hand we have some one who follows a religion that involves stories about walking, talking snakes, sticks that turn into snakes, water turned into wine, a man raised from the dead, all created by an eternal, uncaused, self-sufficient deity who created everything out of nothing for no apparent reason.  

On the other, an astronomer who expresses his personal belief there could be life on an Earth-like planet orbiting in the habitable zone around a suitable star.

Remind me, who is supposed to be the more credulous?

What gets me, though, is Allen MacNeill piping up virtually agreeing with the IDiot.

As an evolutionary biologist, I had the same reaction to this news story as NormO (comment #2). That is, Dr. Vogt’s personal opinion  about the probability of life on Gliese 581g are about as valuable as my personal opinion about some aspect of astrophysics…i.e. essentially worthless. I don’t pretend to know much of anything about astrophysics, and unlike Dr. Vogt I wouldn’t presume to make what sound like “scientific” statements about a subject outside my field of professional expertise.

As I read it, Dr Vogt was not asserting a scientific claim about anything he was expressing a personal opinion.  Leaving aside the question of what metric might be used to quantify the 'worth' of an opinion, I think I could reasonable argue that the opinion of an astronomer about a question in astronomy is 'worth' more than that of a lawyer, just as Allen MacNeill's personal opinion about a question in evolutionary biology is 'worth' more than Arrington's.

Date: 2010/10/02 12:23:40, Link
Author: Seversky
I fear the Bannination Hammer of Cliveocles is hovering over the heads of AMW

So at present I stand by my last comment. You are pointing to the rising sun and blowing a raspberry at Copernicus.

and other Peepul


The Lynch paper does not support what the blog claims.

Until ID treats evidence with understanding and honesty, it will have no respect from the scientific community.

Impugning the scientific credibility of 'Smeagol' Cordova and ID is a dangerous game.

Date: 2010/10/02 12:58:40, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Badger3k @ Oct. 02 2010,10:41)
Or it wasn't confused with a Yak, but a Bison - the match wasn't conclusive.

It's hard to confuse a Yak with a Bison.  The Bison was a huge strategic bomber, the Myasishchev M-4

It would be hard to confuse them with the smaller fighters and trainers designed by Yakovlev

Edit - besides, Yaks have been brought into the States for a variety of purposes, and it's not inconceivable that some are roaming free.

This much is true.  The Yak-52 can certainly be found flying free in the US.

Date: 2010/10/03 16:12:42, Link
Author: Seversky
As others have noted, vjtorley is consistently one of the most intelligent and polite contributors to Uncommon Descent.  He is a model of what I view as the civility to which Clive (hi!) claims to aspire.  His only obvious weakness, common to so many at UD, is his need to have all other forms of knowledge defer to his religious beliefs. This can lead him down some strange paths.

In his latest post he quotes from a lecture given by Kagefumi Ueno, Japan's ambassador to the Vatican.  This passage describes the "Buddhistic-Shintoist" concept of divinity:

Then I move to the 2nd element: Nature. For westerners, divinity lies in the Creator rather than in Nature, a product of Him.  On the other hand, for Buddhistic-Shintoists, divinity lies in Nature itself whereas there is no concept of the “Creator” who created Nature (Universe ) from without or from above. Nature was generated by itself, not by an extra-universal force, out of nothing. The divinity permeates through Nature. It does permeate even into humans.

The divinity in the Mother Nature envelops everything----humans, trees, plants, rocks, fountains and so forth. For Buddhistic-Shintoists the Highest Reality does not exist outside of Nature. In other words, the divinity is intrinsic to Nature.

Of course, vjtorley is too polite to note that to shallow Western minds this sounds like something straight out of Star Wars

The Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.

A passage vjtorley does not quote concerns the Buddhistic-Shintoist attitude to 'self':

Now the first element: “self”. How is Japanese traditional religious notion on “self” different from westerners’ view ? To put it in a simplistic way, Buddhistic-Shintoists believe that, in order to attain the Real Spiritual Freedom, they should “throw away” all the “karma (desire)”, “ego”, “interests”, “hope” and even “self”. Here, the words “throwing away” are synonymous with such words as “discarding”, ”renouncing”, ”melting down”, ”emptying”, “zeroizing “ or “reducing to nothing”. To paraphrase, the ultimate state of mind, the genuine freedom of mind, or the Highest Reality can be gained only after throwing away their own self or melting down their identity. Their self or identity should be absorbed into Mother Nature or Universe.

Not surpisingly, he fails to note how this stands in stark contrast to the rampant egotism of evangelical Christianity.

However, the most interesting point comes a little later when he accuses Darwinism of appealing to intelligent agency as much as ID but being less honest about it as "it’s smuggled in through the back door as an illicit metaphor".  He then marches out a small squad of strawmen (thankfully not, as yet, doused in virgin oil of ad hominem)

To see how Darwinism illicitly appeals to the notion of agency, consider the following:

1. In Darwinism, nature is said to select those individuals that are better equipped to handle change. However, only agents can select. Right from the very beginning, the notion of natural selection was explained to the public by likening it to what human agents (e.g. dog breeders) do when they select for certain traits.

I find it hard to escape the suspicion of at least disingenuousness here.  I cannot believe that someone as intelligent and well-educated as vjtorley does not understand the concept of natural selection as filter: that traits emerging naturally within a population might tend to make it better or worse fitted to the environment in which it finds itself than its competitors and thereby influence its long-term prospects for survival.  No intelligent agency required.  You can argue that the term was ill-chosen but there is no doubt it was chosen to make the point that the process was analogous to that of artificial selection but without the involvement of any intelligent agency.

2. The workings of natural selection are said to be inherently mechanistic. However, a machine is itself a product of design.

This is, frankly, sophomoric.  It is quite legitimate to note that a natural process has some of that attributes of a machine without necessarily invoking the concept of a designer.

3. Popular expositions of Darwinism commonly invoke the argument that “A Creator would never have done it that way.” In doing so, they are appealing to a notion of what an Intelligent Agent would have done, had He/She designed Nature.

No, Darwinists are making legitimate inferences about the nature of the Intelligent Agent as proposed by Intelligent Design theorists.  They argue, for example, that this putative Designer must be more knowledgeable and capable than we are since we are, as yet, unable to design living creatures such as we see around us.  They argue that if we see structures designed in a way that even an inferior human designer would avoid, such as the 'wiring' and 'plumbing' laid across the front of the human retina in the path of incoming light, we are entitled to point out that they are inconsistent with what design theory is proposing.  If IDeologues retreat to the position that the Designer is undefined and possibly undefinable then we are entitled to point out that, as an explanation, it is vacuous.

Torley then quotes a passage from River Out Of Eden where Dawkins talks about "God's utility function" and then writes:

What I find odd about this passage is that even though Dawkins’ aim is to argue against the existence of God, on the grounds that “[t]he universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but pitiless indifference,” he can only do so by appealing to a theistic metaphor: “imagine that living creatures were made by a Divine Engineer.” Dawkins’s  metaphor for evolution is thus inseparably bound up with theism.

What I find odd about this passage is that he could seriously argue that Dawkins's employment of vivid metaphors to illustrate points about evolutionary theory implies in any way that the theory is founded on the premiss of intelligent agency.

Date: 2010/10/04 23:31:49, Link
Author: Seversky
Bully Arrington basically parrots the polymath

Hawkings runs off the rails when he forgets the first principles of science laid down by Francis Bacon in 1605 when he noted that science takes account of only material and efficient causes. It does not take account of final or formal causes.

Arrington runs off the rails if he thinks Bacon is the last word on the scientific method or the philosophy of science.

And the trainwreck is complete if he thinks that proposing an undefined Intelligent Agent as a first cause tells us - or can tell us - anything more about the 'how' and the 'why' than we already know.

Date: 2010/10/06 21:14:12, Link
Author: Seversky
Yet another non-biologist who believes he understands biology better than the professionals.  What is it with these people?

Sounds like time to annoy them by pointing out that information science -  as a science  - is as shaky as evolutionary psychology.  

Wasn't it Dembski who quoted a list of some forty definitions of information and complexity from Seth Shostak?  They can't even agree on a definition of what they're supposed to be studying, for Blog's sake!  

Yet they're telling biologists 'Ure doin it rong'.  Everything is really this stuff called information.

Although it's not stuff stuff really because it can't be studied by physical science.  Only non-physical science.

Information is what gives an IDeologue his power. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.

Oh, wait.  That's The Force - a fictional entity in science-fiction movies which combine simplistic mysticism with really bad science - or ignoring science altogether.

Come to think of it...

Date: 2010/10/07 21:18:20, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (olegt @ Oct. 06 2010,21:54)
ba77 is monumentally clueless.

As well as being a prime example of not just muddled but "puddle thinking":


   . . . imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in'an interesting hole I find myself in'fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.

Date: 2010/10/09 16:02:12, Link
Author: Seversky
Let me try this again  :angry:


I visited Sequoia National Park earlier this year. I was struck by couple facts presented at the visitor’s center. Sequoias live about as long as they have existed: about 2500 years. Also, the wood does not decay due to the high tannin levels; bugs and fungus can’t digest it. So unless it burns up, a fallen sequoia remains where it fell indefinitely.

shows a grasp of dendrochronology almost equal to that of the great Eccles

I talk to the trees
That's why they put me away....

Date: 2010/10/10 11:53:22, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Pilchard @ Oct. 10 2010,09:39)
I love the comments on O'Leary's sci-fi post. It reminds me of being 14 and trying to say something insightful.

To the person tending to agnosticism or atheism, he has to look for magic and wonder elsewhere outside of religion. In the world of the irreligious (and I mean this in the broadest sense of the word) science and tech geek, science fiction offers a world of awe and wonder and infinite possibilities that he finds appealing given his background or interests, a sense of wonder (the exact phrase employed by SF writers themselves) he does not see in nature and the cosmos, because the wonder and magic of the natural world has all been explained away to him (hello neo-Darwinism and scientific materialism).

Quite plainly, the whole point of Dawkins's Unweaving The Rainbow sailed right over her head.

I can well remember, as a small child, staring up at the night sky and being fascinated by all the little points of light there.  This was when you could still see a reasonable number of stars from the suburbs of a great city.  But it was learning a little about astronomy so I had some inkling about what I was really looking at that really made my hair stand on end.  Imagining those vast distances and immense spans of time added so much to the bare visual image.

The obvious questions to ask her (hi, Clive) are, first, who was it who revealed the intricate wonders of intracellular 'machinery' and, second, did the knowledge that they are a lot more than just undifferentiated blobs of protoplasm diminish or increase her sense of wonder?

Date: 2010/10/14 08:57:33, Link
Author: Seversky
If you haven't already read it, you will find that John Pieret on his blog Thoughts in a Haystack is quite scathing about Coyne's forays into philosophy and theology.

As for Duanne D Miller, I see nothing surprising there.  He is just further evidence, if any were needed, for the hypothesis that an advanced scientific education and credentials do not necessarily confer an immunity to religious belief of some sort.  The only small caveat is whether his field of expertise qualifies him a competent or appropriate authority on evolutionary biology.

In my view, there is no direct clash between a monolithic Science and a monolithic Religion.  That is a vast oversimplification.  

There are cases where specific claims about the natural world by a particular faith are contradicted by science, such as the Christian creationist claim that the world is only 6,000 years old.  Does that somehow invalidate Christianity as a whole?  Turn it around.  Supposing research were to find that societies that lived by the Golden Rule were, on balance, healthier and happier than those that followed a more selfish morality such as Greed is Good.  Would that tend to confirm Christianity?

As for the question of origins, claims by celebrity scientists notwithstanding, the simple answer is no one - no one - knows.  Which means that atheists are no more entitled to sneer at the beliefs of a Kenneth Miller than are conservative believers to regard atheists or agnostics as more despicable than pedophiles.

Humility is supposed to be a virtue in both science and religion - albeit more often honored in the breach than the observance, as they say - and I would suggest it its the best way to approach both our differences and our ignorance.

Date: 2010/10/14 09:16:03, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (dvunkannon @ Oct. 13 2010,13:01)
Another complexity measure for UD to riff on:

The calculation of information and organismal complexity
Yun Jiang  and Cunshuan Xu

Biology Direct 2010, 5:59

Published: 12 October 2010

Abstract (provisional)

It is difficult to measure precisely the phenotypic complexity of living organisms. Here we propose a method to calculate the minimal amount of genomic information needed to construct organism (effective information) as a measure of organismal complexity, by using permutation and combination formulas and Shannon's information concept.

So does this mean that Paris japonica is more complex - whether intuitively or measurably - than we are or simply carries a lot more "junk" DNA?

Enquiring minds turn to the experts at Uncommon Descent (hi, Clive) for answers.

Date: 2010/10/14 12:21:27, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Henry J @ Oct. 14 2010,09:51)
Supposing research were to find that societies that lived by the Golden Rule were, on balance, healthier and happier than those that followed a more selfish morality such as Greed is Good.  Would that tend to confirm Christianity?

Never mind Christianity; what would that result say about the Ferengi culture?  :p

That it was founded by the Great God Gordon (Gekko)?

Date: 2010/10/14 20:56:41, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Richardthughes @ Oct. 14 2010,16:43)
Bonus: How many ears does Mr. Spock have?

Two point two

Date: 2010/10/15 14:02:38, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Richardthughes @ Oct. 14 2010,21:50)
Quote (Seversky @ Oct. 14 2010,20:56)
Quote (Richardthughes @ Oct. 14 2010,16:43)
Bonus: How many ears does Mr. Spock have?

Two point two



His left ear
His right ear


It should read

His right ear

His left ear

And this 'ere:


Except the link don't work.

Date: 2010/10/15 19:01:33, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (steve_h @ Oct. 15 2010,17:50)
Bully Arrington reports that            
Atheist Philosopher Joel Marks Finally Admits That Without God There Can Be No Morality

In the comments following Hart's article Rich asks the obvious question:

How is God's Moral code less arbitrary than that of any other entity?

Date: 2010/10/18 22:42:11, Link
Author: Seversky
Heck yes- with Democrats in power we are scared- very scared.

Of what?  Improvement in healthcare?

A novice as a President- very, very scary.

As distinct from a tough, highly-experienced professional like Sarah Palin, you mean?

Date: 2010/10/19 16:18:44, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (didymos @ Oct. 19 2010,11:03)
Quote (Jkrebs @ Oct. 19 2010,07:31)
OMG.  Kairosfocus now has posting privileges, and has his inaugural post up - topic is that, surprise, evo-mat is self-refuting.

And pretty much the first thing he does is quote fucking Lewontin.  AGAIN.

He always leaves off the final sentence of that paragraph from Lewontin, though:

The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

And his need to enlist Lewontin as an opponent of a priori assumptions of materialism means that he also ignores this passage from a letter from Lewontin to the NYRB answering critics of his review of Sagan's book:

It is true, as Booth says, that matter ain’t what it used to be, but then neither is materialism. Einstein’s equation of matter and energy makes the materialist’s life easier, not harder, because it brings under the aegis of elementary physical explanation phenomena that would otherwise be in the realms of mystery. By “materialism” we mean the claim that all the motions and states of the physical (including the biological) universe form a closed world of causation, solely under the influence of a small number of known measurable forces. As I pointed out, this claim requires us to accept that these forces have some counterintuitive properties, our intuitions having been formed by the experience of our gross senses. The fact that “matter” can be turned into “energy” is one of the less difficult ones for us to imagine because our ordinary experience seems to tell us (quite erroneously) that this happens every time we burn a piece of paper. And if any doubt remains that the conversion of mass into energy can be accomplished at will by the work of human hands, a trip to Hiroshima will settle the matter.

Date: 2010/10/20 16:04:53, Link
Author: Seversky
Granted that Dembski's life was not under threat here but there are, nonetheless, chilling echoes of wayward believers being browbeaten into recanting their heretical views by the Inquisition or dissidents being forced to toe the party line in Stalinist Russia or Maoist China.

Since he affirms the literal truth of the Bible, perhaps he should be reminded of the story of Esau in Genesis who sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for a meal of lentil stew, which gave rise the saying about selling one's birthright for a mess of pottage.  Dembski has sold his scientific credibility, such as it was, for belief in a potty message.

Date: 2010/10/23 06:38:43, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Oct. 22 2010,13:21)
Dembski is not a YEC! According to Dembski...

'Oh Lord...forgive me for what I am about to do...' (sigh)

Why?  In defending Dembski against possibly partisan misinterpretation, you are simply living up to the standards the scientific community sets for itself.

The inerrantist position is that the entirety of the scriptures is inerrant - that is, the teachings of scriptures are accurately presented, however to fully understand them you need to understand how to accurately translate them. This means that while the message and morale teaching of the story is infallible, the words can, at times, be poetic. The inerrantist position is summed up in Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.

It may seem like splitting hairs, but the fact is that among conservative Christians and fundamentalists, it's a big difference.

I would argue that it is hair-splitting.  

The Bible is held by believers to be the product of divine inspiration.  Yet, as we have seen, there are passages in the text which are susceptible to two or more possible interpretations.  That ambiguity allows the possibility of error which is in itself error if the purpose was to provide unambiguous and incontrovertible instruction to all.

Date: 2010/10/24 05:53:53, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Maya @ Oct. 23 2010,10:04)
Quote (Seversky @ Oct. 23 2010,06:38)
The Bible is held by believers to be the product of divine inspiration.  Yet, as we have seen, there are passages in the text which are susceptible to two or more possible interpretations.  That ambiguity allows the possibility of error which is in itself error if the purpose was to provide unambiguous and incontrovertible instruction to all.

That reminds me of the Star Trek episode where the alien robot gets caught in a logical contradiction and destroys itself.

i now have this image of Southern Baptist luminaries poring over passages from Scripture until smoke and sparks burst out of their ears to cries of "Error!  Error!  Does not compute! Error!  Error!"

Date: 2010/10/28 07:11:38, Link
Author: Seversky
A truly insoluble problem would be calculating the shortest route linking all the bees buzzing around in the bonnets of the IDeologues.  Although that's more a problem of Dembskian motion, I'm thinking.

Date: 2010/10/28 07:32:30, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Oct. 26 2010,16:59)
Quote (Richardthughes @ Oct. 26 2010,16:12)
I swoon at your talent!

Why, thank you! (blushes handsomely)
I'm working on a version with more drama - rain, storm ...
Edit: Drama

It is a fine piece of work, undoubtedly, but could perhaps benefit from a touch more Sturm und Drang.

Or should that be Sturm und Pullover?

If you ever produce an animated version be sure you include a lot of farting noises on the soundtrack from all the animals in the Ark.  

Dembski likes farting sounds.

Come to think of it, maybe he has a point.  Suppose we are made in God's image, even to that extent.

Maybe the prayer should really begin  "Our Farter, which art in heaven..."

Date: 2010/10/28 17:22:54, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Oct. 28 2010,08:11)
Quote (Seversky @ Oct. 28 2010,07:32)
It is a fine piece of work, undoubtedly, but could perhaps benefit from a touch more Sturm und Drang.

Any suggestions?

Well,  the caption could read "CSI:  Mal-Arky"

And I've always had a fondness for Turner:

Although yours has greater impact, I think

Date: 2010/10/28 17:27:34, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (J-Dog @ Oct. 28 2010,08:22)
Maybe the prayer should really begin  "Our Farter, which art fart in heaven..."

Seversky - FTFY -  NOW!  Even Fartier!

Like Dembski, I bow to your superior exegesis.

Date: 2010/10/28 22:07:02, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (didymos @ Oct. 28 2010,21:08)
More Dense "logic":

The United States put men on the moon, mapped the outer planets, and generally leads in science. And it is more religious than other countries. So, if religion makes a difference, bring it on.

O'Leary logic plainly makes no distinction between causation and correlation.

She also quietly ignores the evidence that scientists in the US are overwhelmingly atheist or agnostic.  By her 'reasoning', scientific progress is plainly driven by lack of religious belief.

Someone should remind her (hi, Clive) that, as a Christian, she is required to obey the Ninth Commandment.

Date: 2010/10/30 08:51:21, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Oct. 30 2010,06:09)
Quote (didymos @ Oct. 30 2010,00:41)
Quote (sparc @ Oct. 29 2010,21:31)
Gordon E. Mullings from Montserrat aka kairosfocus aka dictionary consumes porn:      
The above image is a posed shot of her engaging in a lesbian sexual act, with details fully exposed.

"details fully exposed"


What a prissy euphemism.  What's next, El Gordo: an attack of the vapours?

One suspects the image was oil-soaked in no time.

That's an image I can well do without, thank you very much.

Still, one good old favorite is there:
2 --> Jam out the messages of those who make objections, by using the classic trifecta rhetorical/propaganda strategy: distract attention from inconvenient truth through red herrings led away to strawman caricatures soaked in slanderous and often cruel ad hominems. Ignite to cloud, choke, and poison the atmosphere, polarising the community against objectors, now increasingly perceived as evil kill-joy hypocrites and threats to "freedom." (It helps to muddy the waters by conflating liberty with license.)

There's something missing, though.  I couldn't find the Lewontin quote anywhere.

Date: 2010/10/31 13:42:58, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (J-Dog @ Oct. 31 2010,09:34)
Perhaps you could invite Johannes Kepler instead?

I still say that looks like the actor Pete Postlethwaite.

Date: 2010/11/06 16:04:43, Link
Author: Seversky
Denyse O'Leary, Roman Catholic

*Economic rent is the money lobbies can screw out of the taxpayer – just for being themselves! For example, “We’re Darwinists, fronting all Darwin all the time, and if you rubes and boobs don’t cough up, science will go down the tubes. Besides which we will take you to court and clean you out.” Makes you proud to pay taxes, right?

Austin Cline, atheist

Religious exemptions from taxation is no trivial matter. It is estimated that churches and other religious bodies may own anywhere between twenty and twenty-five percent of all of the land in the United States. This represents a huge portion of the possible tax base and billions of dollars in potential revenue which could be used to fund schools and other portions of the social infrastructure upon which the churches depend, just like the rest of us. The assets of the Roman Catholic church alone exceed those of the five largest American corporations combined and cash donations to churches total tens of billions of dollars every year.

Every dollar not paid by churches or other religious organizations must be made up from some other source. When all tax exemptions are taken into account, it is estimated that the average family may pay up to $1,000 in extra taxes every year to make up for the lost revenue not received from churches and religious groups. This includes sales taxes, inheritance taxes, income taxes, personal taxes, and ad valorem taxes.

Perhaps Clive (hi!) could ask Denyse who has screwed more out of the taxpayers over the years.

And why should I be paying a thousand dollars a year to support religions I neither belong to nor support and which appear to have, in many cases, more then enough money of their own?

Date: 2010/11/14 16:32:18, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Nov. 14 2010,15:21)
It was a required part of the course.


Dembski: Want to know how Darwinists really think? Go to the websites listed here and find out. Thus, when I require students to go to these websites and defend ID, it is sound pedagogy. Darwinists reflexively call this trolling (a projection of their own propensity to troll).

Ah, could we have stumbled across a key difference here?  "Darwinists" have propensities while IDeologues have proclivities

Date: 2010/11/14 23:27:02, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Ptaylor @ Nov. 14 2010,22:59)
Quote (olegt @ Nov. 15 2010,15:45)
Gil Dodgen's new post begins thusly:
As many UD readers know, I am a classical pianist by training since the age of seven.

He fails to mention his winning checkers program and his current occupation as a programmer. Must have been distracted.

Ah, yes.  Gil Dodgen - The Liberace of LS-DYNA

Date: 2010/11/16 22:27:11, Link
Author: Seversky
I know this has been noted before but it really is quite remarkable that someone as well-educated, well-read and articulate as vjtorley could reach some breathtakingly inane conclusions.

For example, IDiots have no need to worry about anthropogenic global warming, the gintelligent designerod responsible would never have designed it with problems we couldn't handle:

So how should an Intelligent Design theorist respond, when confronted with claims that we need to do something, now, about man-made global warming? With extreme skepticism, I would suggest. Politically and economically, the problem of how to effectively combat global warming still belongs in the “too hard” basket: it’s practically insoluble. It could only be accomplished if the entire planet gave it paramount attention for the next 50 years. It would have to dominate our thinking as no other issue ever has, before now. And that’s precisely why any believer in a personal God should be leery of the claims of the global warming crusade. God would not have designed a world for intelligent beings, with insoluble environmental problems. Nor would He have designed a world with problems that could only be solved by ditching our democracy and allowing ourselves to be ruled by a scientific / bureaucratic elite.

So not only should we give up on the problem because it is "too hard", it must be a scam because "God would not have designed a world for intelligent beings, with insoluble environmental problems."

When you read stuff like that it's hard not to conclude that the only difference between him and O'Leary is that he is better-educated and writes better.

Date: 2010/11/17 06:16:21, Link
Author: Seversky
That's not a post.  It's a SPACE WASTER!

Date: 2010/11/17 06:21:14, Link
Author: Seversky
Good try but you've still got a ways to go before you match outoffocus or lostitentirely for longwindedness.

Date: 2010/11/22 16:34:47, Link
Author: Seversky
I cannot believe Dembski is still using the example of the human eye in his presentation.

(3) “The inverted retina.” Vertebrate eyes have nerve cells in front of the light-sensitive retinal cells. This means that light first has to pass through a barrier before being detected. This seems counterintuitive, but there are good functional reasons for it. A visual system needs three things: speed, resolution, and above all sensitivity – if the eye isn’t sensing light, it’s useless. Now, it turns out that light-sensitive cells are the most oxygen-greedy cells, and they get their oxygen from blood. The sensitivity here is truly astounding – some frog eyes can sense the smallest unit of light (the photon). Positioning the nerves in front of the light-sensitive retinal cells ensures maximal blood supply to the retina and thus maximal sensitivity.

He must be aware that, in the fovea, which provides the sharpest vision, the photoreceptors are not obscured by all that 'wiring' and 'plumbing', which suggests that having all that stuff in the path of incoming light does degrade the image.

Yes, the penalty is that those cells use oxygen faster than it can be supplied and become 'fatigued'.  But is he really saying that it is beyond the wit of an omniscient God to design an oxygen supply system that can meet the demands of those cells without getting in the way of the incoming light?

We can understand evolution not coming up with a perfect solution but a tri-omni God?

Date: 2010/11/24 23:36:09, Link
Author: Seversky
Following Pilchard:

Secular Humanists Despise Each Other and Humanity

Hi, Clive

You must be a gardener since you spend so much time in glass houses.

On the question of secular humanists despising humanity, it seems to me your God did not have a very high opinion of them either since, according to your Old Testament, he drowned almost all of them at one time.

We also note the mutual respect and toleration for each other demonstrated by Christians and Muslims during the various Crusades.

Nor should we forget how, according to Wikipedia, in the Thirty Years War, Protestants and Catholics co-operated in extensive programs of population control:

For example, Württemberg lost three-quarters of its population during the war.  In the territory of Brandenburg, the losses had amounted to half, while in some areas an estimated two-thirds of the population died.  The male population of the German states was reduced by almost half.  The population of the Czech lands declined by a third due to war, disease, famine and the expulsion of Protestant Czechs.

and urban redevelopment

The Swedish armies alone may have destroyed up to 2,000 castles, 18,000 villages and 1,500 towns in Germany, one-third of all German towns.

These fine examples were continued in the New World where, for example, the Puritans of the Massachusetts colony showed their brotherly love for Quakers by hanging them.

The sad thing is that, for all their emphasis of the importance of The Word, Christians, unlike secular humanists, seem unable to confine themselves to just harsh language when settling their differences.

Date: 2010/11/25 07:49:59, Link
Author: Seversky
gpuccio: Behe is a true hero. Like all true heroes, he is simple and works without any obstentation, having the courage to do that from an official position in the Academy, with all the possible hostility we can imagine, and unfortunately see.

"It is not enough to wear the mantle of Galileo: that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment. You must also be right."

-- attrib. Robert L Park

Date: 2010/11/25 08:29:39, Link
Author: Seversky
gpuccio: The “refutation” of IC in the flagellum is one of the most ridiculous and shameful arguments of darwinists. After Behe had the courage of stating what should have been obvious to any rightly thinking man (that complex machines are made of independent parts which do different things, and that those parts must all be present and working together for the complex function to be available), and of applying that concept to biology, darwinists have gone frenzy.

They have resorted to the most absurd arguments to counter what is evidently true. They have invented cooption and given it miraculous powers, they have searched desperately for homologies and inverted chronological orders, they have thrown in scaffolds and whatever.

But the point made by Behe remains simply and wonderfully true: irreducibly complex machines are designed.

What is "evidently true" is that Intelligent Design was - and for most still is - a ploy to smuggle in God as an explanation of what is observed in nature - the hypothesis that dare not speak its name.

And what could be more "ridiculous and shameful" that watching otherwise, intelligent, well-educated and articulate people attempt the most absurd metaphysical contortions in defense of the indefensible, namely, reconciling a perfect and necessary creator with what would be, if they were right, a contingent and seriously flawed creation.

What is also "simply and wonderfully true" is that science has found - and continues to find - naturalistic explanations for phenomena that were previously only explicable in terms of the inscrutable purpose and powers of a God.  That science has been able to build and test theories which do not require the invocation of supernatural phenomena, is both an extraordinary achievement and a great mystery in itself.

Behe's arguments, far from being daring and innovative, hark back to a time when some scholars were all too ready to concede explanatory defeat in the face of apparently intractable mysteries.

Date: 2010/11/29 05:35:48, Link
Author: Seversky
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. - Lou FCD]

"What the Klingon moron has said is unimportant and we do not hear his words."  

Date: 2010/12/04 20:56:26, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Dec. 04 2010,14:11)
17. You ask: “And this has what to do with design in nature exactly?”

Ask yourself this. Would a society which lets bureaucrats dictate the values that parents teach their children, and which lets teachers subvert the institution of marriage, be likely to let these parents teach their children that the God of the Bible (which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and which condemns homosexual acts) is the Designer of nature, and that it was He who made the first living cell? I think not.

We at Uncommon Descent are against any form of thought control.

Unless of course that thought control relates to believing in a global flood. Then it's believe or lose your job.

And remind us again how many are on the List of the Banned now.

Perhaps vjtorley, being an academic and in the interests of historical accuracy, might care to review the posts of a selection of those banned to see if they justify the expulsions.  

He might also care to look at those who were silently placed in moderation or banned, leaving those who remained with the impression that their opponents had fled the field in defeat, and consider whether that was ethical behavior.

He might but I doubt he will.

Date: 2010/12/07 19:08:23, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Maya @ Dec. 07 2010,13:43)
Quote (Louis @ Dec. 07 2010,09:48)
If two or more people of the same whatever sexes find each the others sexually attractive and want to act on that, go to it sayeth I.

Fixed that for you.
Failing to support others in their harmless sexual choices is just such a low intellectual hurdle to fall at.

We see the UD denizens fail to clear much lower intellectual hurdles routinely.

Edwardian actress Mrs Patrick Campbell said much the same about 100 years ago:
Does it really matter what these affectionate people do — so long as they don’t do it in the streets and frighten the horses!

There really is a nasty undercurrent of homophobia surfacing at UD (hi, Clive!) - a bit like the nasty undercurrent of racism in the Tea Party movement.

Date: 2010/12/10 05:08:57, Link
Author: Seversky
Is it just me or is Gordon Mullings with his dire warnings about homosexuality causing the imminent collapse of civilization beginning to sound like one of the prophets from Life of Brian?
BLOOD & THUNDER PROPHET: ...And the bezan shall be huge and black, and the eyes thereof red with the blood of living creatures, and the whore of Babylon shall ride forth on a three-headed serpent, and throughout the lands, there'll be a great rubbing of parts. Yeeah...

FALSE PROPHET: ...For the demon shall bear a nine-bladed sword. Nine-bladed! Not two or five or seven, but nine, which he will wield on all wretched sinners, sinners just like you, sir, there, and the horns shall be on the head, with which he will...

BORING PROPHET: ...Obadiah, his servants. There shall, in that time, be rumors of things going astray, erm, and there shall be a great confusion as to where things really are, and nobody will really know where lieth those little things wi-- with the sort of raffia work base that has an attachment. At this time, a friend shall lose his friend's hammer and the young shall not know where lieth the things possessed by their fathers that their fathers put there only just the night before, about eight o'clock. Yea, it is written in the book of Cyril that, in that time, shall the third one...

Date: 2010/12/10 22:12:06, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 10 2010,16:07)
This might be a good time to open an office pool on who comes crashing out of the closet first over there.

Edited for grammar.

I'm hoping for revelations about C S Lewis...

Date: 2010/12/11 05:54:10, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (bfish @ Dec. 11 2010,01:22)
Just skimming along over there, seeing what I can see, I came across this from VJT:

The story of the woman caught in adultery (John 7:53-8:11) strongly suggests that Jesus Christ intended to do away with the death penalty for sexual sins.

Before his untimely demise, one presumes. Gee, if only he hadn't set that whole crucifiction thing in motion, he coulda let people know what he REALLY meant.

So the whole death penalty thing was a bit of SNAFU?  Jesus was getting around to fixing it but the Romans nailed him (literally) before he did?

Ummm, what happened to necessary, perfect deities who, by definition, don't make mistakes that need to be corrected?

VJT seems to be getting a bit careless these days.  Time was, he wouldn't have let such sloppy thinking slip through.

You can see the appeal of a sort of New-Agey, hippie, sweetness-and-light, 'Peace, man' Jesus as a distraction from the bloody excesses of the Old Testament.  But the idea that he was here to say 'Sorry about the OT being a bit OTT.  I'm here to clean up the act.' just won't wash.  He kind of ruined the effect when he let the mask slip like in Matthew 10:34-37:

10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
10:36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Date: 2010/12/11 10:50:07, Link
Author: Seversky
Any bets on the next appearance of the Lewontin quote?

Date: 2010/12/12 06:10:37, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (sparc @ Dec. 12 2010,00:23)
According to his own blog Gordon E. Mullings aka GEM of TKI aka Dictionary aka KairosFocus was unaware of the Manhattan Declaration until last Thursday.

Aha!  Gordon unwittingly provides evidence for Last Thursdayism!

Date: 2010/12/12 17:50:33, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Maya @ Dec. 12 2010,16:54)
Quote (REC @ Dec. 12 2010,16:40)
Did O'Leary get called up from reserves to bump the Big Homophobia thread off the front page?

No posts from her for weeks, then 2+per day since Thursday?

Speaking of Ms. O'Leary, does she understand the meaning of "quote mine"?  Her titles (you don't expect me to read her prose, do you?) suggest that she thinks quote mining is a good thing.

I think there is no doubt that O'Leary thinks that "quote mine", meaning 'please quote from any of my articles', is a good thing.

Date: 2010/12/12 18:08:50, Link
Author: Seversky
At one point in his closing jeremiad, vjtorley alleges academic fraud against two researchers into lesbianism:
Speaking of pediatricians, may I remind readers that in comment #212 above (see ), I exposed a massive fraud perpetrated by the American Academy of Pediatrics on this thread: the recent National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) by Drs. Nanette Gartrell and Henny Bos, which was published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). (Gartrell, N. and Bos, H. (2010). “US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Psychological Adjustment of 17-Year-Old Adolescents,” Pediatrics, Volume 126, Number 1, July 2010 p. 28-36. Available online at http://pediatrics.aappublicati.....l/126/1/28 .) Since the 1980s, the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study (NLLFS) has been following and reporting on a cohort of planned lesbian families with children conceived through donor insemination. A critical review of this study by Dr. Albert Dean Byrd, PhD, MPA, MPH, exposed the gaping holes in the study, in an article entitled, New Lesbian Parenting Study Makes Claims Unsupported by the Evidence .

This is a serious accusation.  Does anyone know if this study is regarded as being as methodologically unsound as Dr Byrd claims?

Date: 2010/12/12 22:19:56, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (midwifetoad @ Dec. 12 2010,19:50)

Are you suggesting that someone who is:
a former President of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH),[1] a research organization that advocates sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).

and a Mormon to boot is perhaps not going to be the most sympathetic reviewer?

Date: 2010/12/13 17:49:51, Link
Author: Seversky
Denyse O'Leary abandons ID!
All you have to do, it seems, is leave out intelligent design.

Will this mean the end of Coffee! at UD?  

What do you mean, I've quoted her out of context, Clive?  She does that all the time.

Date: 2010/12/14 09:02:56, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (CeilingCat @ Dec. 14 2010,03:30)
I've also heard that rats are conveniently shaped for the human...hand.  Must be designed!  Silly Darwinists.

They're very hard to peel, though.

True, but they go down well with fava beans and a nice chianti.

Date: 2010/12/14 21:54:33, Link
Author: Seversky
Another GEM from TKISqueaks:
If ought is not real, it is just a might makes right jungle out there, so shut up and slide down the throat nicely, weakling. And, to the problem of evil, we must add the problem of good. If evil is real [as is a common premise in an attempted rebuttal to the concept of God], so is good,and the foundation of both has to be explained.)

So Gordon's answer to moral relativism is selective hypercredulity.  He and his fellow IDiots impale themselves on that horn of the Euthyphro Dilemma which holds that whatever God decrees is right, no questions asked.  

All that inconvenient bloodletting in the Old Testament - as well as all that forecast in Revelations - is just an unfortunate misunderstanding.  There's some inscrutable purpose there really.  We're just too dumb to understand it or this all-powerful God can't find a way to explain it too us or can't be bothered to find a way to explain it too us.

Oh, and speaking of all-powerful, according to these hypercredulists, God is the mightiest being imaginable so He must be right - which is the biggest might-is-right argument there is.

GEM should change TKI to PKB - Pot, Kettle, Black

Date: 2010/12/26 13:20:11, Link
Author: Seversky
Agony aunt Denyse O'Leary (so called because reading her prose is agony) marvels at some weird-looking bugs, sneers at "the proposed Darwinian explanation":
A first guess is that it’s a sexually-selected trait, but those are often limited to males, and these creatures (and the ones below) show the ornaments in both sexes. Kemp hypothesizes—and this seems quite reasonable—that “the hollow globes, like the remarkable excrescences exhibited by other treehoppers, probably deter predators.” It would be hard to grab, much less chow down on, a beast with all those spines and excrescences.

Note, though, that the ornament sports many bristles. If these are sensory bristles, and not just deterrents to predation or irritating spines, then the ornament may have an unknown tactile function.

and asks
Things can’t just be weird, can they?

What she doesn't ask is what it says about Her Favorite Designer if the excrescences have no purpose and are just weird?

Could it be her god was just screwing around when he made us?  Maybe we're just purposeless and weird excrescences (hi, Clive!) and the real centerpiece of creation is on the next solar system over.

Date: 2010/12/29 19:31:52, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (sparc @ Dec. 29 2010,00:10)
For those obsessed with KF-Lewontin spotting.

Alas, a rare case of chronic Lewontorrhea.  There is no known cure.

Date: 2010/12/31 07:28:40, Link
Author: Seversky
Under the headline "Neuro-political-nonsense" vjtorley, philosopher-in-residence at Uncommon Descent, treats us to a ponderous 4,454 word critique of an as-yet-unpublished paper by Professor Geraint Rees.  According to reports, the paper claims to have found a correlation between the size of two regions of the brain, the amygdalae and the anterior cingulate cortex and political belief.  
Among those who describe themselves as liberal, or left wing, the gray matter of the anterior cingulate cortex is significantly thicker; whereas for those who regard themselves as conservative, or right wing, the amygdala is relatively larger.

Dr Torley takes umbrage at this sort of study in part because he believes it is symptomatic of a political bias against conservatives on the part of researchers.  He quotes Dan McAdams, a professor of of human development and psychology at Northwestern University:
“Social scientists long have assumed that liberals are more rational and less fearful than conservatives, but we find that both groups view the world as a dangerous place,” says Dan McAdams, study co-author and professor of human development and psychology at Northwestern University. “It’s just that their fears emerge differently.”

“Social scientists — who are generally liberals — have for decades done research to figure out what makes conservatives tick,” says McAdams.

So there you have it. In plain English, most social scientists regard conservatives as fearful, irrational animals who are holding the human race back from a bright and beautiful future. They want to find out what’s wrong with conservatives, in order to help qualified experts to “fix” whatever is the matter with them.

To be fair to Dr Torley, he does note that the man who commissioned the study, British actor Colin Firth, described its origins thus:
Talking about the experiment, he said: “I took this on as a fairly frivolous exercise: I just decided to find out what was biologically wrong with people who don’t agree with me and see what scientists had to say about it and they actually came up with something.” -- (my emphasis)

But I am thinking of commissioning a study to see if there are neurological correlates for a belief in Intelligent Design Creationism and a lack of a sense of humor.

Date: 2010/12/31 22:38:32, Link
Author: Seversky
Denyse O'Leary unsurprisingly quotes Sir John Templeton on the question of purpose:
Would it not be strange if a universe without purpose accidentally created humans who are so obsessed with purpose?

– Sir John Templeton, The Humble Approach: Scientists Discover God (Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation, 1998)

Apparently, neither he nor she find anything strange in an eternal and necessary being who decides to create an entire Universe out of nothing and outside itself for no discernable purpose.

Gnat straining for beginners.

Date: 2011/01/04 05:57:49, Link
Author: Seversky
Hmmpphh!  I'm sure all members in of the Legion of the Banned are deeply touched by UD's commitment to upholding the right of freedom of expression.

And they would say so.

If they weren't banned (Hi, Clive)

Date: 2011/01/04 11:12:34, Link
Author: Seversky
I see Fulsome Fuller is urging Christian theologians to speak out more aggressively in defense of their beliefs and to get over their inferiority complex about their "knowledge base""
What always strikes me about these Darwinian dissings of religion — especially theology — is that theologians rarely fight their corner or, if they enter the fray, they end up conceding most of the relevant ground and aim for a NOMA-style settlement. (Whatever one makes of the details of his own theology, William Lane Craig is a very honorable exception to this tendency.) I sometimes wonder whether theologians are simply ashamed to defend their own knowledge base, as if they half-believe what their opponents think of them.

The subliminal image - a shameless playing of the victim card - projected by Fuller and many others in that camp is of plucky - or not-so-plucky - bands of Christians besieged by ravening hordes of 'Darwinist' predators red in tooth, claw and politics - an image sharply at odds with what polls show to be the true ratio of belief to non-belief in the US.  

Go to any American town and be impressed with the number of churches on display.  And these are not humble and inconspicuous meeting-places, they are expensive, substantial and imposing monuments to faith.  The only secular equivalent, if it can be called that, is likely to be City Hall.  Atheist groups, where there are any, usually meet every now and then in a local pub.  So tell us again who is actually being oppressed, Steve or StephenB or Clive.

Fuller is also trying a little epistomological sleight-of-hand by implying that the "knowledge base" of theology is somehow equivalent to that of the sciences.  Now, I don't know what others think, but I am quite prepared to concede that modern theology is founded on a substantial knowledge base - but so what?  My knowledge base of Star Trek and Stargate is also substantial but I'm not claiming it is equivalent to that of an astrophysicist when it comes to describing the real universe out there.

As for ID, sure you can study ways in which the activity of intelligent agents can be distinguished from natural processes. But you will need to convince the science community that it is a credible theory before you can get it taught in schools - not the other way round.  And that means getting out there and doing the lab-  and field-work down to the "pathetic level of detail" that Dembski notoriously eschewed.  Anyone holding their breath?

Date: 2011/01/06 21:49:11, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (fnxtr @ Jan. 06 2011,13:44)
Quote (MadPanda @ FCD,Jan. 06 2011,11:35)
Quote (fnxtr @ Jan. 06 2011,13:21)
Quote (Louis @ Jan. 05 2011,15:39)
There must be a way to harness the energy produced from the endless self-congratulatory/ignorant/bigoted wankfest that is UD... downside, it may make our machinery dumber.


Like strapping a piece of buttered toast to the back of a cat and dropping it off the counter...

That never works.  Igor and I tried it, and all we got was a lot of ruined toast and an extremely angry cat.

The MadPanda, FCD

How about putting in on a rotisserie with a drive belt attached?

Only gives you about as much power as a AA cattery.

Date: 2011/01/06 22:17:09, Link
Author: Seversky
Denyse O'Leary provides evidence for the existence of alternative universes:
Interpret the history of life how you will, reductionism as such has been the most spectacular failure since the perpetual motion machine.

...and Intelligent Design has overthrown evolution to become the dominant theory in biology.

"Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas any more"

Date: 2011/01/08 17:51:00, Link
Author: Seversky
Lest we forget, it was on this day in 1697 that Edinburgh student Thomas Aikenhead was executed after being convicted on a charge of blasphemy.  He had unwisely uttered atheistic sentiments in the presence of so-called friends at least one of whom reported him to the authorities.  The Historian Thomas Macaulay pictured the scene thus:
The preachers who were the boy’s murderers crowded round him at the gallows, and, while he was struggling in the last agony, insulted Heaven with prayers more blasphemous than any thing that [Aikenhead] had ever uttered.

Date: 2011/01/09 14:24:51, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (CeilingCat @ Jan. 09 2011,06:35)
Quote (carlsonjok @ Jan. 08 2011,07:29)
GilDodgen is back with argument E3.

And he's back in style!  Here's his lead sentence:        
As many UD readers know, I am a former materialist and militant atheist. At one time in the past I could have given Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens both a run for their money, with equal or surpassing passion and devotion, but with much more knowledge about basic science.


I think we need two new categories for the Dodgenator:

f) I am the smartest and most knowledgeable scientist in the whole wide world.

4) so I am Dunning and Kruger's worst nightmare.

"I've Heard That Song Before"

The only song the Liberace of LS-Dyna knows how to play

Date: 2011/01/09 18:54:36, Link
Author: Seversky
UD contributor, Steno, cites an article by Martin Down from the The Church of England Newspaper entitled "The Evolution Sceptics".

Down reveals the origins of his own skepticism:
At this point I had better declare an interest. I am myself an Evolution Sceptic of the Intelligent Design variety. I learned the standard scientific orthodoxy at school and swallowed it whole. When I became a Christian, I was faced of course, as we all are, with the discrepancies between this and the Bible version of events. I lived for years with an uncomfortable compromise between the two...

This is a depressingly familiar account of how a believer resolved the apparent conflict between the Biblical and scientific accounts of natural events in favor of unquestioning belief.

As usual, somebody who is troubled by such external conflicts is apparently quite comfortable with all the discrepancies and inconsistencies within the Biblical accounts.
I have gone on reading ever since and the more I read the less I believe in Evolution or in the whole scientific Standard Model. For me, as a Christian, it was not too hard to find an alternative model: there it was in the book of Genesis

Apparently it eludes Down that verses from the Book of Genesis do not constitute a scientific model and that, even if they did, they would offer an alternative to abiogenesis not evolution.
We all have a quarrel with the arrogant and abrasive scientific certainties of the world in which we live.

Some of us have a quarrel with the arrogance, abrasiveness and, ultimately, violence occasioned by religious certainties of the world in which we live.

It is totalitarianism, whether religious or secular, that is the enemy.
The trouble with the dominant scientific orthodoxy is that it cannot or will not accept the mystery or the mysteries by which we are all surrounded. Where does the universe come from? How did life originate?

More specifically, it does not accept that such mysteries are necessarily insoluble.  What is wrong with that?
Where does the universe come from? How did life originate? How exactly did evolution cross the immense gaps between the species? We are no nearer to the answers to these questions, despite billions of man-hours and billions of pounds spent searching for them, than we were 150 years ago, when Darwin published The Origin of The Species.

If science is correct the Universe is around 13.75 billion years old.  According to Down, human science has been studying it for 150 years.  It seems a little premature to call it quits after such a relatively short time.

Joking aside, human science has added vastly to our store of knowledge and all that has enabled us to do.  For example, millions are alive today and billions have lived longer and better lives since science uncovered the causes of diabetes; for gadget freaks, the accuracy of GPS navigation depends in part on taking into account relativistic effects.  That knowledge is not to be found in Genesis or any other book in the Bible.
Nor, I believe, are we ever going to be able answer them in scientific terms.

You are entitled to your belief but I hope you won't mind if others continue to try.  Even if you do, I hope they will continue to try.
As to the cosmos, suppose that the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland does succeed in identifying the trace of a Higgs boson – we are still left with the question, where then did the Higgs boson come from? Suppose that our universe is just one of a multitude – we are still left with the question, where do all these universes, let alone ours, come from? There is only one logical answer, and that is, from God.

Unfortunately, that answer raises another logical question: where does God come from?
But nobody wants to say so, because that would mean that we were accountable to someone, God, for who we are and what we do.

It also means that God is accountable for all that has happened since, according to you, He created us as we are and, being omniscient, He must have known what would happen and, being omnipotent, nothing happens but by His will.  He has a lot to answer for.
Evolutionists need more faith than Creationists do in order to maintain their position. They have less idea now than Darwin did in 1859 of how life originated from inert matter.

One thing evolutionists do know, however, is that neither Darwin's nor the current theory of evolution purport to explain how life originated from inert matter.
The fact is that the scientific evidence that we have is full of holes, or mysteries.

And this differs from the Biblical account, how?
In the face of the mysteries of life there are only two responses, a shrug of the shoulders, or faith in God.

That's just one response.

Date: 2011/01/11 17:44:55, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Hermagoras @ Jan. 11 2011,17:03)
O’Leary sheds some light:  

There is currently no explanation for consciousness, materialist or otherwise, so nothing to oppose except rah rahs for a materialism that has done nothing significant in this area.

If someone wants to write in and explain that in such-and-such a brain area researchers found … forget it.

Anyone who has been under anaesthesia a few times, as I have, will not be surprised to learn how consciousness is temporarily lost.

We do not thereby learn what it is.

In some cases we might question how much was there to begin with...

Date: 2011/01/12 15:24:41, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Zachriel @ Jan. 12 2011,13:50)
Is this the Lewontin thread?

Isn't every KF thread a Lewontin thread?
kairosfocus: They said it: “Evolution is a Fact!”

Oh no they didn't!

As we all know, Gould did:
Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.

Which takes us to the money quote
...the underlying context for all of this is the sort of imposed a priori evolutionary materialism that Lewontin so notably summarised in his 1997 NYRB article:

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. {“Billions and Billions of Demons,” NYRB, January 9, 1997. Emphases added.}

Such blatant question-begging  should give us serious pause when we hear the ever so confident assertion that “Evolution is a FACT!”

As with all such blatant quote-miners, KF always fails to include the final sentence from that passage:
The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that miracles may happen.

And, in a subsequent paragraph, having made a brief reference to the role of God in Newton's mechanics, Lewontin continues:
It remained for Laplace, a century later, to produce a mechanics that predicted the stability of the planetary orbits, allowing him the hauteur of his famous reply to Napoleon. When the Emperor observed that there was, in the whole of the Mécanique Céleste, no mention of the author of the universe, he replied, "Sire, I have no need of that hypothesis." One can almost hear a stress on the "I."

Date: 2011/01/13 17:42:33, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Richardthughes @ Jan. 13 2011,13:38)
DNA teleportation WTF:

Sounds like a variant of Jacques Benveniste's claims about water 'memory'.

Date: 2011/01/14 14:29:16, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (qetzal @ Jan. 13 2011,21:55)
Quote (Seversky @ Jan. 13 2011,17:42)
Quote (Richardthughes @ Jan. 13 2011,13:38)
DNA teleportation WTF:

Sounds like a variant of Jacques Benveniste's claims about water 'memory'.

Not teleportation. Just plain old vanilla cross-contamination in their PCR. (The only other conceivable explanation is deliberate fraud.)

Benveniste made claims about being able to make digital recordings of some sort of EM 'signal' emanating from these solutions, transmitting the files over the Internet, and then inducing an effect in water exposed to these recordings at the other end.

Professor Madeleine Ennis conducted some research, when challenged by Benveniste to test his claims, using four independent labs which produced some intriguing results.

Unfortunately, an attempt to replicate these results, conducted for BBC TV's science documentary series Horizon failed to find any effect.

Date: 2011/01/15 04:19:48, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (dvunkannon @ Jan. 14 2011,07:38)
KairosFlatus is very familiar with the trifecta of fail:
i: use a smelly red herring distractor to pull attention away from the real issues and arguments

ii: lead it away to a strawman caricature of the issues and arguments of the opponent

iii: soak it in inflammatory innuendos, guilt by invidious association or outright demonising attacks to the man (ad hominems) and ignite through snide or incendiary rhetoric.

Let me see if I understand, KF.

i: Evolution leads to gay marriage and the collapse of civilization.

ii: There is not enough resources in the universe to discover even a single functional molecule.

iii: Darwin inspired Hitler and kicked puppies.

How about it KF, am I doin' it right?

And here's an example of the type of comment  that fits KF's criteria to a T:
Anybody who puts the ol’ Brit racist toff Darwin on the same level as Jesus – and hasn’t yet been defrocked – is one of the “preeminent Christians on the leading edge of science and religion”?

Oops!  It's one of their own smelling up the place with red herring nicely smoked in oil of ad hominem soaked straw.

KF should take O'Leary aside for a quiet word and ask her to dial back on the "ol’ Brit racist toff" smears as it rather undermines the whole self-righteous indignation thing they have going.

Come to think of it, there is a perfectly good ol' Brit word for a smoked herring so I think henceforth KF should stand for kipperfocus

Date: 2011/01/16 15:51:05, Link
Author: Seversky
Ooh, ooh! Dr Torley has a quiz up.  I can do that.
(a) Do you believe that a newborn baby is fully human? Yes/No


Unless it's an infant Spock.

(b) Do you believe that a newborn baby is a person? Yes/No


Although, in the case of a Vulcan/human hybrid, that could be two persons.

© Do you believe that a newborn baby has a right to life? Yes/No


But in baby Spock's case, only the human half.

(d) Do you believe that every human person has a duty towards newborn babies, to refrain from killing them? Yes/No


In the case of the Vulcan half of the Vulcan/human hybrid, it is protected by a law against xenocide which will be passed by the Federation Council on Stardate 2458.9.  It will apply to all past cases of human/alien hybrids but will avoid violating the prohibition against retroactive legislation by being embedded in a Dembskian aparadoxical hyperspace causality loop.

(e) Do you believe that killing a newborn baby is just as wrong as killing an adult? Yes/No


That follows from my answers to (a) and ©

Oh, damn!  I just noticed this quiz is for leading atheists only and I'm just an agnostic.

I'm a functional atheist, though.  I wonder if that counts?

Date: 2011/01/17 06:37:54, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (carlsonjok @ Jan. 17 2011,05:37)
While y'all are spending your time watching Vince Torley overestimate his standing in the world, something much more life affirming is going on in Barry Arrington's life over at First Things.

Long story short, Barry was out on New Year's Eve with his wife, imbibing in intoxicating beverages, close dancing, and what not.  And, what should he see?  Two same sex couples at the same event!  And, even worse, they were acting completely normal!  No Castro Street drag queen flamboyance or nuthin!  And no passive-aggressive tut-tutting from the assembled personages neither!  

Barry despaired!  Has his side lost the culture war?  Will he be forced to spend the rest of his days surrounded by gay couples acting like, well, everyone else?  What will he do? But, as luck would have it, he read the article "Moral Awakening" and the clouds parted.  He felt renewed. In the end, in the face of humanity, he was able to rise above it all and retain his prejudices!

What a heart-warming story!

What would make me despair is for people to believe that Bully Arrington is representative of Christianity as a whole.

For a self-proclaimed Christian to view as a defeat the exercise of avowedly Christian virtues such as not judging others lest you yourself be judged, compassion and charity suggests a warped view of what it means to be Christian.

It also suggests an alarming obsession with just a few lines from the Old Testament prohibiting homosexual behavior. It is alarming because, to be consistent, it would also mean enforcing similar prohibitions against adultery, prostitution and disrespectful children with the prescribed punishment of stoning to death.  And lest Bully doth protest that he intends no such thing, he should bear in mind the mantra from UD that ideas have consequences, that there are people in the US who hold themselves to be better Christians that he is who would like very much to do just what the OT recommends and that there are parts of the Muslim world that hold similar views about such issues where the most extreme penalties are actually applied.

I also see in that attitude an explanation of the vitriolic response of the right to the election of President Obama and the success of the Democrats.  At least part of previous Republican electoral victories can be attributed to an excessive entanglement of the party with evangelical Protestantism.  This has infused it with a belief, almost, that they alone have a God-given right to govern, that the election of any other party is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord and a blasphemous perversion of the natural order of things.  The Tea Party movement is the (relatively) moderate face of such an attitude but let there be no illusion about what lies behind it.

Date: 2011/01/17 20:26:03, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (didymos @ Jan. 17 2011,18:42)
Oh, look. I. am. so. shocked. UD has a "Darwin--->Nazis" post.   By Barry, of course.

I wonder, would this count as Bully's "blood libel" against "Darwinism"?

Date: 2011/01/21 02:29:39, Link
Author: Seversky
We should thank Kris for proving our point.

What he has posted here already, if apparently coming from an evolutionist, would be sufficient to get him banned from Uncommon Descent. (Hi, Clive)

It wouldn't have been published at all in "DI's living room".

Yet he is still here.

So come right ahead, Kris.  Try and get yourself banned.

Every provocative comment you make here simply demonstrates how wide is the toleration gap between IDC and its critics.

Date: 2011/01/21 17:58:59, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Kris @ Jan. 21 2011,04:04)
If I were commenting on the DI site I wouldn't say things like I do here. The reason being that they are much more likely to actually discuss something than to resort to name calling and other insults. On this site, Panda's Thumb, Pharyngula, and other religion bashing sites the vitriol is so out of control that the only way to get you guys to even pay attention is to be as blunt as possible.

I agree with you about the lynch-mob mentality that can erupt in the Pharyngula comments (although it's far from being just there) but isn't that the price you pay for free speech?  Free speech is not about just allowing what you personally find agreeable and inoffensive, it is in the quote (wrongly) attributed to Voltaire: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

UD and DI are criticized because they are far less tolerant of dissent than PT.
The DI site has likely received so many attacks, insults, and threats that they probably just figure it's best to not allow comments at all, and frankly, I don't blame them.

Website administrators are fully entitled to impose whatever standards of moderation they choose and any visitors should expect to be held to them.  But if they do subject comments to draconian restrictions they cannot at the same time present themselves as champions of free enquiry and speech, not without being called on it.
I was banned from Panda's Thumb and the Bathroom Wall and Pharyngula. Some of my comments were either removed or never posted.

I was called a "moral monster" by Bully Arrington and later banned from Uncommon Descent.  Many years back I was also the victim of a pack attack on Pharyngula for arguing againt abortion.  The difference was UD banned me, PZ didn't.
The vast majority of the people who post on Panda's Thumb, the Bathroom Wall, Pharyngula, and other religion bashing sites aren't really standing up for science. They're just haters who need something to hate and bash, and if it weren't religion it would just be something else.

I see them more as reactionary.  The wildebeeste infidels or gnu atheists or whatever they call themselves are a reaction to the centuries of oppression of non-believers by the various religions.  Even today there are many in this country that don't believe atheists should be citizens and that they rank below pedophiles in terms of respectability.  As for the chances of a self-proclaimed atheist being elected to public office they are usually calculated at a p-value of snowball-in-hell.  There is a Dark Side to religion that cannot be ignored.
If the science is well done but is still provisional or incomplete, don't be afraid to admit it. Stop acting like you know it all or that science knows it all. Acting like that makes you look as pompous and delusional as the most flagrant religious wackos.

Scientists are human just like everyone else so you will find examples who overstate their case for various reasons.  Mostly, though, they are well aware of the limitations of their knowledge, more so than the critics who are usually responsible for setting up the strawman of the arrogant boffin.  

Need I remind you that Newtonian mechanics were superseded by relativity theory, not as a result of lay critics pointing out holes that professional physicists were supposed to have missed, but because scientists understood in detail the problems with the old theory and therefore what its successor would need to do.  A number of scientists were groping towards a solution, Einstein managed to get there first.

Well-established theories are not overturned easily and that's as it should be.  If you have something that works reasonably well, you only give it up when someone offers something demonstrably better.  Science isn't about defending some dogma - if that were the case biologists would still be defending the inerrancy of every last word of On the Origin of Species - it is about hanging on to something that works until something that works better comes along.
You come across like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Rush Limbaugh. Constantly spewing hypocritical, partisan anger, hatred, insults, and ridicule ...

I'm glad to see we have the same opinion of those three.
Many of you regularly argue that ID and creationism and religion in general don't have a satisfactory 'replacement' for the theory of evolution or just about any other aspect of science. You expect them to have that satisfactory replacement before you will even consider any of their theories or beliefs (take your pick). Well, what does science have that will satisfactorily replace all religious beliefs? For instance, does science have anything that will provide people the comfort and feeling of security they get from their religious beliefs? How about the companionship?

Science isn't trying to replace religion as the "opium of the people", it is just trying to understand and explain the way the natural world works.  The problems arise when religions claim that their explanations of the world are better than those of science and that if science disagrees then science must be wrong.  If proponents of ID want it to be taken seriously as science then they need to get out into the lab and the field and put together a working, testable theory.  As for comfort and companionship, there is no reason why religion shouldn't keep on doing what it does best.  I would help,though, if they dropped some of the less savory bits.

Date: 2011/01/23 07:47:19, Link
Author: Seversky
Hey!  They have a new acronym:
For, designers routinely purpose, plan and carry out directly or though surrogates (which may be other agents, or automated, programmed machines) constructive work. Such work often produces functionally specific, complex  organisation and associated information [FSCO/I -- a new descriptive abbreviation that brings the organised components and the link to FSCI (as was highlighted by Wicken in 1979)  into central focus].

It's easy really.  Just any permutation of function, specified, complex, organization and information

But kf introduced associated here and missed the perfect opportunity: functional information associated with complex, specified organisms (FIASCO)

Date: 2011/01/23 15:34:09, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Louis @ Jan. 23 2011,08:43)
Quote (Seversky @ Jan. 23 2011,13:47)

But kf introduced associated here and missed the perfect opportunity: functional information associated with complex, specified organisms (FIASCO)

The internet, sir. You win it.


(Bolding mine)


My only excuse is I take my inspiration from that well-known typing error, Spike Milligna

Date: 2011/01/25 22:06:36, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (tsig @ Jan. 24 2011,12:40)
This is where the concept of a metaphysically necessary ground of being as the ultimate cause of the material universe enters the picture. For the reasons I have already given, the theistic hypothesis seems to be just what the doctor ordered; it appears to fit the bill perfectly. What else could possibly explain the existence of contingent beings?

They just can't seem to get too far from Aquinas.

Coincidentally, I was just re-reading Paul Davies's The Mind Of God and he touches on this question, although he seems to take a different view:
The philosopher Keith Ward has made a detailed study of the clash between God's necessity and the contingency of the world.  He summarizes the essential dilemma as follows:

First of all, if God really is self-sufficient, as the axiom of intelligibility seems to require him to be, how can it come about that He creates a world at all?  It seems to be an arbitrary and pointless exercise.  On the other hand, if God really is a necessary and immutable being, how can He have a free choice, surely all that he does will have been done of necessity and without any possibility of alteration?  The old dilemma - either God's actions are necessary and therefore not free (could not be otherwise) or they are free and therefore arbitrary (nothing determines what they shall be) - has been sufficient to impale the vast majority of Christian philosophers down the ages.

The problem is, whichever way you cut the cake, you come back to the same basic difficulty, that the truly contingent cannot arise from the wholly necessary:

If God is the creator or cause of a contingent world, he must be contingent and temporal, but if God is a necessary being, then whatever he causes must be necessarily and changelessly caused.  On this rock both interpretations of theism founder.  The demands of intelligibility require the existence of a necessary, immutable, eternal being.  Creation seems to demand a contingent, temporal God, who interacts with creation and is, therefore, not self-sufficient.  But how can one have both?

And elsewhere

How can a being which is necessary and immutable have the power to do everything?  Being necessary, it cannot do anything other than it does.  Being immutable it cannot do anything new or original....Even if creation can be seen as a timeless Divine act, the real difficulty remains, that, since the being of God is wholly necessary, it will be a necessary act, which could not have been otherwise in any respect.  This view is still in tension with a central strand of the Christian tradition: namely, that God need not have created any universe, and that he need not have created precisely this universe.  How can a necessary being be free in any way?

Perhaps someone at UD (hi, Clive!) could draw this to Dr Torley's attention and invite him to comment.

Date: 2011/01/27 07:12:40, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (dvunkannon @ Jan. 27 2011,06:30)
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Jan. 27 2011,06:26)
StephenB appears to have two seperate people writing his posts:
Those are mere claims for which no evidence is offered, for the simple reason that it isn’t true. Except as a means for punishing criminals and keeping predatory Muslims at bay, the Church has never endorsed slavery. If Mark or Wikipedia would care to support their claims, we can all be witnesses to that fact. I will be happy to provide support for my claims.

The Catholic Church has never condoned slavery. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to make their case. General quotes from an anti-Catholic, anti -Design website called Wikipedia will not suffice.


Since the New Testament condones slavery, StephenB should be the one to prvide the evidence of when his church stopped supporting slavery (except for criminals and Muslims).

StephenB's grasp of Catholic history is as shaky - or revisionist - as Michele Bachmann's grasp of constitutional history.

IIRC, I wrote at least one lengthy (for me) post at UD in which I quoted passages from Papal edicts which clearly permit slavery.  This is quite apart from Old Testament accounts of God and His Chosen People condoning and practicing it.

Date: 2011/01/27 07:20:56, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (dvunkannon @ Jan. 27 2011,06:57)
Quote (CeilingCat @ Jan. 26 2011,06:38)
Man, Gordon is really outdoing himself in his last two postings, ID Foundations 2 - Counterflow and [URL=

-as-sign-of-design/]ID Foundations 3[/URL].

It's not so much that the OP for '-3' is six pages long or that the bottom of the page says "[Continues here]", it's that when you go to "here", you get another eight pages of drivel.

Now THAT is tard!

Even worse, I have a sick feeling that if I was to look even farther back into the tardpile I would find entry -1 in the series.

The amazing thing to me is that KF soldiers on with his FIASCO musings, with never a response fom DDrr.., positive of negative. Does KF realize that he is not taken seriously by the man he tries to emulate?

We could argue that UD needs more like KF and BA77.  If anything ID has to say is buried in long, dense screeds that nobody can be bothered to read then so much the better.  It is finished from the moment people's eyes start to glaze over at the very mention of the name.

Date: 2011/01/27 08:23:33, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Mark Frank @ Jan. 27 2011,07:31)
Quote (Seversky @ Jan. 27 2011,07:12)
IIRC, I wrote at least one lengthy (for me) post at UD in which I quoted passages from Papal edicts which clearly permit slavery.  This is quite apart from Old Testament accounts of God and His Chosen People condoning and practicing it.

You don't by any chance have a link to that post or a copy of it.  It might save me some time if my little discussion with Stephenb goes on.


I found two actually.  The first is in the Darwin reader:  Darwin's racism thread.

The second is in the A Challenge to Evolutionary Biologists thread:




10:50 pm

And since Denyse O’Leary believes she is entitled to repeat herself, let me add this list to Allen MacNeill’s and remind ourselves of why, as a self-professed Catholic, she is in no position to adopt a high moral tone given her church’s involvement for centuries in slavery which, let us be in no doubt, was in itself a form of racism:

In the fourth century, St. Augustine thought slavery could be beneficial to both slaves and masters;
in 650 Pope Martin I forbade people to help slaves escape;
in 1179 the Third Lateran Council decreed the enslavement of anyone helping the Saracens;
in 1226 Pope Gregory IX incorporated slavery into the Corpus Iuris Canonici (Canon Law), where it remained until 1913;
in the 13th century, St. Thomas Aquinas considered slavery to be in accordance with natural law and a consequence of original sin;
in 1454 Pope Nicholas V’s bull Romanus Pontifex allowed the King of Portugal to enslave Saracens and pagans at war with Christians;
in 1493, Pope Alexander VI gave the same right to the King of Spain in fighting native Americans; in 1548 Paul III allowed both clergy and laity to own slaves;
in 1866 Pope Pius IX specifically declared that “slavery in itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery, and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons. … It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given.”

…and again..

595 CE: Pope Gregory dispatched a priest to Britain to purchase Pagan boys to work as slaves on church estates.
Circa 600 CE: Pope Gregory I wrote, in Pastoral Rule: “Slaves should be told…not [to] despise their masters and recognize that they are only slaves.”
655 CE: In an attempt to persuade priests to remain celibate, the 9th Council of Toledo ruled that all children of clerics were to be automatically enslaved. This ruling was later incorporated into the canon law of the church.
13th century CE: Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) accepted the teachings of the ancient Greek Pagan philosopher, Aristotle, that slavery is “natural.”
1404 CE: After Spain discovered the Canary Islands the Spanish colonized the islands
In 1435 Pope Eugene IV wrote a bull to Bishop Ferdinand of Lanzarote titled “Sicut Dudum.” In it, he noted that the black inhabitants of the Islands had been converted to Christianity and either baptized or promised baptism. Subsequently, many of the inhabitants were taken from their homes and enslaved. He commanded that all enslaved Christians who were inhabitants of the Canary Islands be freed from slavery. The Pope’s concern appears to have been over the enslavement of Christians by Christians, not the institution of human slavery itself.
1452/4 CE: Pope Nicholas V wrote Dum Diversas which granted to the kings of Spain and Portugal the right to reduce any “Saracens [Muslims] and pagans and any other unbelievers” to perpetual slavery.
1519: Bartholomew De Las Casas, a Dominican, argued against slavery. “No one may be deprived of his liberty nor may any person be enslaved” He was ridiculed, silenced and ignored.
1537 CE: Pope Paul III wrote in Sublimis Deus about the enslavement of persons in the West and South Indies. He wrote that Satan:

“… the enemy of the human race…has thought up a way, unheard of before now, by which he might impede the saving Word of God. … Satan has stirred up some of his allies … who are presuming to assert far and wide that the Indians be reduced to our service like brute animals. And they reduce them to slavery, treating them with afflictions we would scarcely use with brute animals. … Rather, we decree that these same Indians should not be deprived of their liberty…and are not to be reduced to slavery.” only hostile non-Christians, captured in just wars, could become slaves.
1548 CE: Pope Paul III confirmed that any individual may freely buy, sell and own slaves. Runaway slaves were to be returned to their owners for punishment.
1629 to 1661 CE: Pope Urban VIII in 1629, Pope Innocent X in 1645 and Pope Alexander VII in 1661 were all personally involved in the purchase of Muslim slaves.
Late 17th century: The institution of slavery was a integral part of many societies worldwide. The Roman Catholic church only placed two restrictions on the purchase and owning of slaves:

– They had to be non-Christian.
– They had to be captured during “just” warfare. i.e. in wars involving Christian armies fighting for an honorable cause.

Late in the 17th century, Leander, a Roman Catholic theologian, wrote:

“It is certainly a matter of faith that this sort of slavery in which a man serves his master as his slave, is altogether lawful. This is proved from Holy Scripture…It is also proved from reason for it is not unreasonable that just as things which are captured in a just war pass into the power and ownership of the victors, so persons captured in war pass into the ownership of the captors… All theologians are unanimous on this.”

When challenged to produce any Papal documents which endorsed slavery I found the following passages taken from an English translation of the full text of the Bull Romanus Pontifex issued by Pope Nicholas V, January 8th, 1455:

We have lately heard, not without great joy and gratification, how our beloved son, the noble personage Henry, infante of Portugal,…has not ceased for twenty-five years past to send almost yearly an army of the peoples of the said kingdoms with the greatest labor, danger, and expense, in very swift ships called caravels, to explore the sea and coast lands toward the south and the Antarctic pole. And so it came to pass that when a number of ships of this kind had explored and taken possession of very many harbors, islands, and seas, they at length came to the province of Guinea, and having taken possession of some islands and harbors and the sea adjacent to that province, sailing farther they came to the mouth of a certain great river commonly supposed to be the Nile, and war was waged for some years against the peoples of those parts in the name of the said King Alfonso and of the infante, and in it very many islands in that neighborhood were subdued and peacefully possessed, as they are still possessed together with the adjacent sea. Thence also many Guineamen and other negroes, taken by force, and some by barter of unprohibited articles, or by other lawful contract of purchase, have been sent to the said kingdoms. A large number of these have been converted to the Catholic faith, and it is hoped, by the help of divine mercy, that if such progress be continued with them, either those peoples will be converted to the faith or at least the souls of many of them will be gained for Christ…We [therefore] weighing all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso — to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit…

Date: 2011/01/28 06:57:35, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Mark Frank @ Jan. 28 2011,01:20)
Seversky and Sol3a1

Thanks for your links on slavery and Christianity.  I am feeling a bit weak at the prospect of more debate with Stephenb and will leave it at the brief comment I made on UD.  I hope I didn't put you to too much unnecessary work

Not a problem, and I understand how you feel.

StephenB and others at UD are continually asserting the existence of an objective morality, usually as the sole property of Christianity, but have been unable to justify either claim so far, C S Lewis notwithstanding.

Comments by vjtorley and others about atheists lacking agreed answers to moral questions lose any critical force in light of the vehement and sometimes violent disagreements over theological differences between Christian denominations, even though they are all supposed to be "singing from the same hymn-sheet".

The issue of slavery is a case in question.  Christians both defended it and campaigned against it with both sides claiming scriptural justification for their respective positions.  Apparently, for an omniscient and omnipotent deity, God did a pretty poor job of making his meaning clear.

Date: 2011/02/04 10:46:37, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (steve_h @ Feb. 03 2011,17:36)
StephenB is entirely correct. The mind knows how to fix most medicinal problems, but it feels it must wait until a doctor gives it the go-ahead in the form of a sugar pill (or whatever). Once the Doctor's approval has been given, the mind can twiddle exactly those neurons, synapses and such that the mind knows will cause the body to fix itself.

So this is Star Wars medicine!  When people die from one of the thousands of ailments that can carry them off it's because they weren't practicing their Yoda hard enough.
Try not. Do or do not, there is no try.

I can’t believe it.

That is why you fail.

It's all so clear now.  Placebo must be the power of Right Reason™

Date: 2011/02/05 07:43:45, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Raevmo @ Feb. 05 2011,02:13)
Dumbest comment ever - anywhere?  
Just think if every species had a different genetic code We would have to eat other humans to survive.

OMG! Does that mean I'm going to turn into a cow...

or sheep...

or pig...

or chicken...

or turkey...?  

I'm getting hungry.

Date: 2011/02/05 08:04:51, Link
Author: Seversky
I started asking Dave questions about how certain parts of the cartoon related to the story of Jesus, and decided that it might be interesting to read about it in the Bible. He went out to his car and gave me one.

For the next few weeks I read the New Testament, and began to feel a transformation taking place.

That was his first mistake.  He should have read the OT and seen how many warm, fuzzy feelings that inspired.
I turned to the guy standing to my right, and hugged him. He said, “God loves you and I do too.” I hesitated just a moment and then said it back to him. The strange thing was, I meant it.

Being a "dark, cold, depressing, nihilistic" atheist I had the unworthy thought that his next sentence would read:

"Thus comforted, I then threw him out the back of the plane to see if his trajectory, terminal velocity and the height of his bounce matched the predictions of the LS-DYNA model."

Bad Finite Element Atheist!  Bad!

Date: 2011/02/05 19:46:06, Link
Author: Seversky
More [URL=

Unless you beg the question a priori, similar to Lewontin.


Date: 2011/02/06 06:29:51, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (sledgehammer @ Feb. 06 2011,00:45)
Quote (Seversky @ Feb. 05 2011,17:46)
More [URL=

Unless you beg the question a priori, similar to Lewontin.


URL - fify


Weird, in Preview it displayed correctly.

Date: 2011/02/06 11:05:11, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Maya @ Feb. 06 2011,10:37)
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 05 2011,12:23)
If you are going to try to escape from all these materialistic implications by...saying that the mind and brain are, in effect, the SAME THING, then you need to explain how one can influence the other. How does the mind change the brain if it is the same thing as the brain?

Now there is an indication that Stephen just DOESN'T get it, if ever there was one.

If some sock informs them about ephaptic coupling it might make their heads explode.

A girl can hope.

Fascinating stuff.

Perhaps someone could suggest to the denizens of UD that ephaptic coupling is the more moral way for them to reproduce.  Field-effect procreation would avoid all that lustful physical contact and sinful, messy commingling of yucky bodily fluids.

Just nobody mention the Shakers.

Date: 2011/02/12 04:40:45, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (sparc @ Feb. 11 2011,22:29)
Quote (J-Dog @ Feb. 11 2011,13:00)
Quote (JohnW @ Feb. 11 2011,11:41)
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Feb. 10 2011,13:39)
iI would like to see Gordon Mullings fight Gordon Mullings.

I'm enjoying seeing Gordon Mullings fight reality.

He may be fighting reality, but Gordo is losing... rather badly.

Windmills are indeed part of reality.

From a much more factually reliable source than the Bible:

FRANCIS: It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression.

REG: Symbolic of his struggle against reality.

Date: 2011/02/12 04:44:58, Link
Author: Seversky

Date: 2011/02/13 23:01:25, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 13 2011,21:38)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Feb. 13 2011,17:26)
Actually, in the stuff that passes as literature in the fundamentalist community, I've seen at least a couple of reports of NDEs where the victim claims to have briefly been in hell. These are used to counter the New Age kinds of claims of generic sweetness and light in the hereafter.

There was an explanation either here or on PT a while back about seeing light when you're dying, to the effect that optic nerve responses are wired backwards, i.e., no signal (default) is interpreted as light, and signal means "It's dark!"

So what they're actually seeing in an NDE is a sort of photographic negative effect?  Instead of traveling along a tunnel towards the light, they're really plunging into a black hole?  Kewl!

Date: 2011/02/14 06:15:28, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Alan Fox @ Feb. 14 2011,01:59)
I am a former militant atheist

Just wondering, is there any trace of Mr. Dodgen's scandalous past as a "militant atheist" whatever that is?

I'm afraid that trying to imagine Mr Dodgen's atheist militancy simply brings to mind Dennis Healey's famous squelching of Sir Geoffrey Howe, that being attacked by him was akin to being savaged by a dead sheep.

Date: 2011/02/17 18:08:02, Link
Author: Seversky
The loquacious KF offers us yet another PKB (pot/kettle/black) moment to relish

Nobody, including Professor Dawkins, has any idea “how life came into being!” It is only this self-deceiving view of reality that allows Dawkins to declare that science has emancipated him from the impulse to attribute the astounding wonders of the living world to a creator. There is no human intellect on the face of the earth that has achieved a “better explanation.” We have shown conclusively that no chemist, physicist, biologist, nor any other type of scientist has any real clue how life could have come about through “natural processes.” Scientists do not understand how life “essentially” (or non-essentially for that matter), came into being. Only a “fool,” a “knave” could make such an outrageous claim.

Perhaps it is time for these scientists to express not awe, not admiration … but humility. >>

So, having compiled a list of quotes from scientists, all admitting they have no idea how life began, he enjoins them to abandon awe and express humility.

This from a member of a faith whose followers are required to spend much of their time expressing uncritical awe and admiration of their particular deity.

This from someone who, far from being ignorant of how life began, is convinced that it was the product of an unidentified intelligent designer or creator-that-dare-not-speak-its-name.

To be fair, he does make up for it by including not one, not two, not three but four mentions of Lewontin in the one thread.

Date: 2011/02/19 07:52:22, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Louis @ Feb. 19 2011,07:18)
On a similar theme to a recent post in another thread, Joe inspired me to post this image:

Stop making the kitty sad, Joe. Why do you have to make the kitty sad?


Well, that does it!

I really couldn't care less that Joe is an anti-evolution blowhard.

But when he makes kitties sad that is totally beyond the pale.

If there is any justice in this Universe (which there doesn't appear to be) there should be a special Circle in Hell reserved for such people where they are forced to clean out the litter boxes for all Eternity.

Date: 2011/02/19 08:02:31, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (REC @ Feb. 18 2011,16:51)
Our mission at is to equip high school and college students to know why Christianity is true, how to defend it, and how to tactfully refute those who try to corrupt them.


A headline from the website reads:
3 out of 4 Christian teens walk away
from the church after they leave home.

Ummm...and this is bad, how?

Date: 2011/02/19 08:31:12, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Feb. 18 2011,18:35)
Uncommonly Denyse:
The funniest example I ever saw was the God Helmet saga at a university here in Ontario a few years ago (where an atheist prof claimed this helmet could make people have religious experiences). I practically split a gut laughing as I was writing it up for The Spatula Brain.

She's right - that is ridiculous. It suggests that activity within a specific area of the brain - say the right middle temporal cortex* - may be associated with a subjective sense of being in contact with a spiritual reality, and hence belief in God, and a soul.

But that's just too silly. No one in their right mind would claim to have localized spiritual experiences with such specificity, much less promulgate such a claim in the popular press. To do so would suggest that such experiences have a neural and hence a material basis, and could therefore be elicited by external activation of that area.  

*The Spatula Brain, page 273.

Many years ago I read a Michael Crichton novel called The Terminal Man.  

In part, the story was about an experimental hi-tech treatment for epilepsy.  A patient had electrodes implanted in his brain in the region where his seizures occurred.  The electrodes were connected to a subcutaneous device through which a diagnostic computer continuously monitored the electrical activity in that part of the brain.  When the computer detected the onset of a seizure it instructed the subcutaneous device to deliver small electric shock to the brain in order to forestall the fit.

Initially, the treatment seems to work but after a while the researchers are surprised to note that the incipient seizures are occurring with increasing frequency even though the computer is doing its job and preventing the seizures from happening.  It turns out that the patient finds that the sensation of the the electric shocks is pleasurable so his brain begins to deliberately induce the fits.

So now I have this image of O'Leary sitting in her basement wearing her "God hat" and an expression of religious ecstasy while exclaiming:  "Oh, yeah, baby!  More!  Hit me again!".

Date: 2011/02/19 14:56:40, Link
Author: Seversky
O'Leary on Coyne, Templeton and woo:
By the way, Coyne’s combox is quite the little hatefest, I see. If you ever wondered whether new atheists like each other, have a brief look. It’s harmful to dwell too long on such things, of course, but speaking for myself, I am glad these people are not Christians. Those attitudes, born again (and it occasionally happens!), quickly sink any “work of mercy” project. And there is a world of need out there.

As far as "hatefests" are concerned, I seem to remember that icon of Christian forebearance, Bully Arrington, calling me a "moral monster" and her continual references to the "old Brit toff's" racism are hardly models of Christian charity.  And you can find much worse directed at atheists and agnostics in the threads at UD.

Speaking for myself, I am glad she is not representative of all Christians.  

As for "works of mercy", does that include rejecting the use of condoms as a means of preventing the spread of AIDS in Africa or Rick Warren's involvement in the criminalization of homosexuality in Uganda with the violence and even murders it is inciting?

Date: 2011/02/20 03:54:14, Link
Author: Seversky
Good ol' SB [URL=

manded-a-swig-and/#comment-372703]commits PKB[/URL] at UD

Witness the recent spectacle of highly honored scientists who claim, with triumphant stupidity, that a universe can come into existence without a cause.

Witness the continuing spectacle of True Believers™, impervious to evidence or argument, who reject a causeless universe but accept a causeless creator.

Witness the continuing spectacle of True Believers™, impervious to evidence or argument, who believe in a necessary, eternal and rational creator but can give no reason why such a being should have created this contingent universe with these observed properties at this time.

Date: 2011/02/21 06:25:54, Link
Author: Seversky
Just returning to the Daytona 500 for a moment.  I see the difference between US motor racing and F1 in terms of one of my hobby interests - fighters of WW2

American cars are a bit like the P-47 - big, beefy, fast and capable.  

F1 cars are like Spitfires - light, fast, agile, beautiful and deadly.

And you just know which one pilots prefer to fly and which one catches the lady's eye.

Date: 2011/02/22 09:56:21, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (CeilingCat @ Feb. 22 2011,05:20)
Then she quotes, "After all, while advances are being made in personalized medicine through the tools of pharmacogenetics, “the most powerful predictor of drug efficacy is whether a patient takes the drug.”  

And replies with, "In my own country, tens of thousands end up in the emerg every year due to beggaring around with powerful prescribed meds."  Again, WTF?  The quotation laments that many don't even take their drugs.  The reply is a total non-sequiter.  It has nothing to do with the quotation whatsoever.

I don't wish this on anybody, not even one of the UD regulars, but judging by some of the WTFs she's written in the last couple of months and their increasing frequency, I wouldn't be surprised if Denyse is wearing an adult diaper before ten years is up.

I agree that some of O'Leary's more recent ramblings are showing alarming signs of becoming incoherent.  Whether that is due to some incipient chronic disorder or the short-term effects of some other influence is hard to say.

On the other hand, while the authors of the paper quoted in ScienceDaily may have intended it as a timely warning to researchers to be less intemperate in their claims, the effect is somewhat undermined by that silly quote.

Of course a drug will have no effect if a patient does not take it but is it really necessary to point out that its efficacy is its observed capacity to produce the intended effect in the cohort which does take it.  Patient compliance is no predictor of efficacy.  They are two separate issues.

Date: 2011/02/23 08:29:28, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (JohnW @ Feb. 22 2011,13:12)
Bruce David has done something truly remarkable - making UD even stupider:

Bruce David


11:36 am
I believe that we have been receiving messages from aliens for some time. They’re called crop circles, and they appear all over the world, but mainly in England. If you look at them carefully and objectively, (there are many books and Web sites that cover them), including their shapes, their size and complexity, the biophysical effects on the crops themselves, and other measurable physical effects in and around them, it is quite clear that there is no known human technology that could produce them, particularly in the space of time in which they appear.

I suspect making UD even "stupider" would be like making the original singularity from which our Universe sprang even more compressed.

Besides, what Bruce apparently doesn't know is that the aliens are already here.

To avoid drawing attention to themselves, they settled in the quiet countryside of rural England and took on the guise of two local lads, Doug Bower and Dave Chorley.

Their spacetime ship is a bit like the TARDIS from Dr Who in that it can camouflage itself.  In this case, instead of an obsolete British police call box it chose to take on the appearance of an English pub called The Percy Hobbs.  It isn't really bigger on the inside than the outside.  It just seems that way after you've spent a few hours there, particularly when you're trying to find the bathroom.

What Bruce and the cerealogists don't seem to realize is that the circles are not messages meant for us.  They're the regular situation reports that these two alien observers have to send back to base somewhere in the Guinness Quadrant.

Date: 2011/02/23 23:08:24, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (carlsonjok @ Feb. 21 2011,08:30)
Quote (Seversky @ Feb. 21 2011,06:25)
American cars are a bit like the P-47 - big, beefy, fast and capable.  

F1 cars are like Spitfires - light, fast, agile, beautiful and deadly.

...and acid and snow and weed and dust...

Date: 2011/02/24 05:45:12, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (sparc @ Feb. 24 2011,01:32)
Quote (Ptaylor @ Feb. 23 2011,23:07)
Wow - Gil has turned argument E3 into a 52 slide Powerpoint presentation - I No Longer Have Faith To Be An Atheist.

One of the most depressing Powerpoint presentation I have seen. And this judgement is solely based on the appearance: white slides filled with dark letters.

Methinks the Liberace of LS-DYNA has spent too long looking at a piano keyboard

Date: 2011/02/24 09:53:51, Link
Author: Seversky
I see O'Leary's still plugging Susan Mazur's The Altenberg 16: An Exposé of the Evolution Industry.  Another journalist with delusions of grandeur,she seems to think her book will finally bring down the whole rotten, tottering edifice  of "Darwinism" crashing down in ruins.

She also seems to believe that a whole, shiny, new theory is about to emerge from the wreckage, hatched by this "Altenberg 16". The name is a nice touch.  It has echoes of all these iconic groups of political detainees from the last century.  You can just see groups of antievolutionist protesters gathering outside the gates of universities with placards demanding "Free the Altenberg 16!"

The book itself, though, is not the problem.  If the theory of evolution can't survive being gummed by this sort of hackiography it doesn't deserve to.  No, the problem is Richard Lewontin.

In the puffery for the book, they quote him thus:

Well, we don’t have to organize human society ‘Nature, red in tooth and claw.’ No. We don’t have to.

Apart from the fact that there appears to be a word or two missing, it implies that evolutionary biologists (apart from Lewontin, of course) have been arguing that society should be organized along the lines of "Nature, red in tooth and claw" and it shouldn't be hard to find a few examples.

How about Richard Dawkins?  An arch-adaptationist like him must have said something pithy about it.  What about this  passage from Open Letter to a victim of Ben Stein's lying propaganda published on the RDF website 19 April 2008:

I have many times written (for example in the first chapter of A Devil's Chaplain) that I am a passionate Darwinian when it comes to the science of how life has actually evolved, but a passionate ANTI-Darwinian when it comes to the politics of how humans ought to behave. I have several times said that a society based on Darwinian principles would be a very unpleasant society in which to live. I have several times said, starting at the beginning of my very first book, The Selfish Gene, that we should learn to understand natural selection, so that we can oppose any tendency to apply it to human politics. Darwin himself said the same thing, in various different ways. So did his great friend and champion Thomas Henry Huxley.

Hmm, no, that doesn't really fit the bill, does it?  

Maybe Lewontin isn't the lone maverick voice speaking out against the unfettered application of Darwinian selection to capitalist society that Mazur and, maybe, he thinks he is.

Speaking of capitalism, Mazur quotes Lewontin in a piece on her website

In an aside, Lewontin noted natural selection’s tie-in to capitalism, saying, “Well, that’s where Darwin got the idea from, that’s for sure. . . He read the stock market every day. . .How do you think he made a living?”


From the stock market?

Forget the whole business of the voyage on the Beagle, of all the studying of nature, of animal husbandry, the collecting of specimens, Malthus etc.  He got the idea from watching his shares go up and down?

I'm glad we have you here to tell us these things, Professor.

Date: 2011/02/25 08:30:07, Link
Author: Seversky
What struck me recently, when watching part of the documentary about the Texas SBOE shenanigans, was the number of Christians who attested that they came to their faith following a personal crisis.

I take this as evidence for the theory that the enduring appeal of religion lies in its offer of emotional support - a sense of comfort and security - to those who would otherwise feel themselves vulnerable and adrift in a terrifyingly indifferent universe.

For some people, a major personal crisis can come as a rude awakening to just how fragile is the little world we take for granted and, indeed, our hold on life itself.  Having been violently ejected from their zone of unwarranted complacency, people will grab on to any lifeline that is thrown to them and hang on like grim death.  It is also why such converts are so vehement in defense of their new-found faith.  In a sense, it is all they have.

Another sign is that, rather than admit to the sense of extreme weakness and vulnerability that led them to their faith, they become desperate to present it as the only rational choice open to them.  Hence, Gil Dodgen:
The bottom line is that atheism and materialism represent completely irrational philosophical, mathematical, and empirical constructs.

Attempts on the part of Darwinists and materialists to defend their transparently bankrupt hypotheses have reduced them to ideologues who are impervious to reason.

This is trivially obvious.

What is obvious is that this is a forceful assertion of personal belief, which is most likely exactly what the congregation wanted to hear.  I suspect few if any would be interested in the detailed philosophical and theological arguments concerning the existence of God.  For them, it is an unquestioned given - a fact of life - like the air they breathe.
You wouldn’t have wanted to know me when I was a militant atheist. I was a terrible person. I hated the God I thought did not exist. My soul obviously knew that He existed, because He created my soul, and I was mad at Him for bringing me into existence with no ultimate purpose or meaning.

Here, unfortunately, Gil reveals the incoherence of his position.

First, we have the unsupported equation of militant atheist with terrible person which, for him, has to be the case for his present condition to be a vast improvement over what it was.

Second, we have the completely irrational position of hating a being that you claim to believe does not exist.  As an agnostic and atheist I do not hate the Christian God, nor Allah nor any of the other gods in which humans have believed over the millennia.   I do hate the terrible crimes that some people have felt justified committing in the name of their beliefs in those gods.

What this little passage from Gil also reveals is that even while he was professing atheism, possibly to conform to the expectations of those around him that he respected, behind that facade he was nonetheless looking for something more satisfying.  He ascribes this now to the influence of his hidden soul.
Fortunately, I was eventually un-poisoned and detoxified by logic, reason, evidence, and an extraordinary encounter with Jesus Christ.

I suspect the "extraordinary encounter with Jesus Christ" had a lot more to do with it than "logic, reason and evidence".  Better brains than ours have tried - and failed - to use the latter to construct an incontrovertible case for the existence of God.

What I would be curious to know is how Gil has resolved the dilemma that his conversion has created for his relationship with his father.  Quite clearly, he respects him as a brilliant - if atheist - scientist.  But if Gil's new-found faith is the most logical, reasonable and best-evidenced position what does that say about his father's?

Date: 2011/02/26 07:20:47, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Feb. 25 2011,08:48)
I imagine Frill and his dad ~ this here

The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on
He took a face from the ancient gallery
And he walked on down the hall
He went into the room where his sister lived, and...then he
Paid a visit to his brother, and then he
He walked on down the hall, and
And he came to a door...and he looked inside
Father, yes son, I want to kill you

Frill vacillates between admiring him and wanting to wear his skin.

I agree with seversky that this pattern seems to repeat in the world of people and emotions

For some people, a major personal crisis can come as a rude awakening to just how fragile is the little world we take for granted and, indeed, our hold on life itself.  Having been violently ejected from their zone of unwarranted complacency, people will grab on to any lifeline that is thrown to them and hang on like grim death.  It is also why such converts are so vehement in defense of their new-found faith.  In a sense, it is all they have.

but i cannot for the life of me understand why it is so.  what is wrong with the void?

There is nothing wrong or right with the void.  It is, by definition, devoid of anything.

It's just that, in answer to Hamlet's rhetorical question, on balance most of us would prefer to be than not be.  Unfortunately, the universe does not appear to give us that option.

Some religions, on the other hand, offer the support of an all-powerful being - always a good thing to have - in return for unquestioning allegiance.  A bit like Vito Corleone in The Godfather they make you an offer you can't refuse - the promise of immortality.

A question they prefer to avoid is what kind of god teases us with a brief taste of existence only to snatch it away unless we offer it our undying love?

Date: 2011/03/02 18:34:16, Link
Author: Seversky
Our materialist friends are invited to fill in the blank.

Obviously, Bully Arrington prefers knocking down strawmen to actually confronting the answers an "evolutionary materialist" might really give.  Still, there's no harm in trying.

Theist:  You say there is no God.

It depends on what you mean by God.  I say there is no evidence for the existence of God, not the Christian one nor any other variety, but such a being cannot be ruled out absolutely.  I also assume that you agree with me for all cases except the god of Christianity.

Theist:  Yet belief in God among many (if not most) humans persists.

Yes, belief in a god - or gods - but they do not all believe the same god, do they?  So, on the assumption your Christian God is the only one that exists, a lot of people must believe in false gods which doesn't say much for the evidential value of belief itself.

Theist:  But you say religious belief is false.

Unless there is a large population of Gods out there, a lot of it must be - maybe all of it.

Theist:  Let me get this straight.  According to you, religious belief has at least two characterizes:  (1) it is false; and (2) evolution selected for it.

Broadly speaking, yes

Theist:  You believe the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis [NDS] is true.

Truth is for philosophers.  Biologists will tell you that theirs is a developing field and the theory of evolution has moved beyond what you call the Neo-Darwinian Synthesis but it is still the best game in town.  It is still the best explanatory fit to the available data.  Unlike believers and their scriptures, scientists make no claim of inerrancy for their theories.

Theist:  How do you know your belief in NDS is not another false belief that evolution has selected for?

Evidence.  As a lawyer, you may have heard of it.  It sometimes turns up in court, I believe.  

You may remember that T H Huxley, amongst others, recommended that we apportion our belief in something according to the weight of evidence that supports it.  Borrowing from Stephen Gould, the mass of evidence accumulated in favor of evolution makes it perverse to withhold assent, at least provisionally.

Date: 2011/03/05 07:29:25, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (sparc @ Mar. 05 2011,00:37)
The strongest evidence for Jesus’ miracles in the New Testament comes not from Christians who reported them but rather from their enemies who, try as they might, could find no way to deny them.
Picture the Pharisees as they try to explain away miraculous healings by attributing them to the forces of hell. Consider their duplicity as they bribe Roman guards to explain away Christ’s risen body with the ridiculous story that the apostles stole it while they were asleep–as if sleeping guards would know.
That's exactly the reason why we find so many independent reports about what happened around 30 AD from un-beleavers in tons of non-chrsitian publications and we indeed don't have to refer to the bible to prove that faith is reason.

Apparently, the Principles of Right Reason™  and the demand for a pathetic level of detailed evidence to support claims do not apply to the Bible in StephenB's strange world.

Date: 2011/03/11 20:23:30, Link
Author: Seversky
Just a few thoughts.

For me, personal morality reduces largely to the Golden Rule, personal behavior to "In peace, there's nothing so becomes a man as modest stillness and humility" and the rights and responsibilities of the individual in society were summed up nicely by Mill in On Liberty.

Most if not all of which is anathema to a substantial portion of the US population.

On governance, there are times when I almost find myself sympathizing with a line from the movie Cromwell which has King Charles I saying "Democracy, Mr Cromwell, was a Greek drollery based on the foolish notion that there are extraordinary possibilities in very ordinary people.”  But, on balance, like others here, I go along with Churchill's assessment.

In economic terms, it seems that industrial revolutions, going all the way back to the English one, have been - and still are - based on exploiting a pool of very cheap labor.  The workers earn incomes that are markedly better than they got before - not difficult given that before it was often next to nothing - but it is the few owners who grew obscenely rich on the back of those workers.  On the other hand, the trickle-down effect could be said to work.  The average Brit, for example, is far better off in material terms than his or her counterpart of 150 years ago.  How much of that is due to workers organizing themselves into unions to fight for better wages and benefits that they would not have got otherwise is hard to say.

The industrial revolutions going on in China and India to day are again based on the exploitation of pools of cheap labor but if that ultimately means that those people will become better off, who are we to complain?

Date: 2011/03/13 08:01:29, Link
Author: Seversky
Apart from (semi) humorous references to the ID/UD concepts of the information content of the genome being something of a FIASCO, I find the idea problematic that information is in some way a property of the material world rather than the models we use to describe it.

Needless to say, John Wilkins has a much more detailed discussion of the issue on Evolving Thoughts for those who have not already seen it.

Date: 2011/03/16 07:11:33, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (olegt @ Mar. 15 2011,22:50)
Time to upgrade Dodgenator 3000?

Front-Loading Questions

I’ve toyed with the idea of front-loading, but it seems to me that there are major problems with it. The front-loading of the universe with the laws of physics to eventually make a life-hospitable planet seems like a reasonable hypothesis and logical conclusion. But the front-loading of living systems presents major problems.

There is no evidence that the front-loading of the information in living systems can in any way be compared to the front-loading of the laws of physics in the universe for the eventual creation of a life-permitting planet. This seems to me to be an unwarranted extrapolation, comparing apples to oranges.

Of course, this raises the question of interventionism. It seems logical that the laws of physics that govern the universe are in an entirely different category from whatever governs, and originated, information-processing systems of the kind found in living systems.

Any thoughts?

He's become too fixated on front-loading.  He needs to revisit top-loading twin-tubs.

Date: 2011/03/16 07:14:06, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (noncarborundum @ Mar. 15 2011,15:29)

Mencken did.

Date: 2011/03/19 15:15:43, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Richardthughes @ Mar. 19 2011,11:43)
Barry claims:

It could, for example, be the aliens Dawkins speculated about in his interview with Ben Stein.

They jeer at Dawkins for speculating about aliens but keep quiet about the fact that the Fig Newton of Information Theory has also allowed the same possibility.

Date: 2011/03/23 21:04:01, Link
Author: Seversky

Date: 2011/03/23 21:53:16, Link
Author: Seversky
Following a question from Jerry Coyne, vjtorley addresses the question of why there is anything at all.

Near the end of his article, Professor Coyne asks:

What would our world be like if God had not created it, and it had arisen in a purely natural manner?

Talk about leading with your chin! This one’s easy.

First, if God hadn’t created the world, then it wouldn’t exist, period.
Everything about the world is contingent. That fact alone makes it legitimate to ask for an explanation of the world’s existence. Only a necessary Being will do, as an explanation.

In other words, as we are all aware, an uncaused First Cause is needed to avoid an infinite causal regress.  "Only a necessary Being will do" ergo the Christian God.

Leaving aside the question-begging, he has yet to address the problems with a necessary God touched on by Paul Davies in his book The Mind of God which I quoted in a previous post:

The philosopher Keith Ward has made a detailed study of the clash between God's necessity and the contingency of the world.  He summarizes the essential dilemma as follows:

First of all, if God really is self-sufficient, as the axiom of intelligibility seems to require him to be, how can it come about that He creates a world at all?  It seems to be an arbitrary and pointless exercise.  On the other hand, if God really is a necessary and immutable being, how can He have a free choice, surely all that he does will have been done of necessity and without any possibility of alteration?  The old dilemma - either God's actions are necessary and therefore not free (could not be otherwise) or they are free and therefore arbitrary (nothing determines what they shall be) - has been sufficient to impale the vast majority of Christian philosophers down the ages.

The problem is, whichever way you cut the cake, you come back to the same basic difficulty, that the truly contingent cannot arise from the wholly necessary:

If God is the creator or cause of a contingent world, he must be contingent and temporal, but if God is a necessary being, then whatever he causes must be necessarily and changelessly caused.  On this rock both interpretations of theism founder.  The demands of intelligibility require the existence of a necessary, immutable, eternal being.  Creation seems to demand a contingent, temporal God, who interacts with creation and is, therefore, not self-sufficient.  But how can one have both?

And elsewhere

How can a being which is necessary and immutable have the power to do everything?  Being necessary, it cannot do anything other than it does.  Being immutable it cannot do anything new or original....Even if creation can be seen as a timeless Divine act, the real difficulty remains, that, since the being of God is wholly necessary, it will be a necessary act, which could not have been otherwise in any respect.  This view is still in tension with a central strand of the Christian tradition: namely, that God need not have created any universe, and that he need not have created precisely this universe.  How can a necessary being be free in any way?

Date: 2011/03/25 08:12:57, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Woodbine @ Mar. 24 2011,20:21)
Could we be on for a Friday meltdown? Praise be. It's like the opening scenes from 2001 over there.

I like the analogy.

MathGrrl is the black monolith seeding the rudiments of intelligence in the ape band huddling in the cave at UD.  

So in a few days we should see them beating each other over the head with the bones of dead theories?

Oh, wait, they already do that.

Date: 2011/03/25 20:48:17, Link
Author: Seversky
VJ seems to have infected Joseph with foot-in-mouth disease:

Have you ever watched “My Cousin Vinny”?

Do you remember what Ms Mona Lisa Vito said when the prosecuter tried to test her automobile knowledge?

Well that applies to what MathGrrl is doing…

I assume he's referring to this scene:

D.A. Jim Trotter: Ms. Vito, what is your current profession?
Lisa: I'm an out-of-work hairdresser.
D.A. Jim Trotter: An out-of-work hairdresser. In what way does that qualify you as an expert in automobiles?
Lisa: It doesn't.

Of course, as anyone who's seen My Cousin Vinny knows, in the climactic scene of the movie "Ms Mona Lisa Vito" demonstrates an expert knowledge of automobiles superior to that of anyone else in the courtroom.  Joseph had better be praying that doesn't happen in this thread.

Date: 2011/03/25 21:07:16, Link
Author: Seversky
PaV is lucky Gordon Mullings is grappling with a major Caribbean crisis.  If he weren't so distracted, his little nose would be twitching at distinctive aroma of red herrings being smoked over the fires of burning strawmen soaked in Oil of Ad Hominem™.

Date: 2011/03/27 08:29:26, Link
Author: Seversky
I fear vjtorley is being just a wee bit disingenuous:
I notice that Mathgrrl has not returned, and that she has yet to demonstrate her calculating prowess. Until she gets her hands dirty with some raw numbers, and attempts to perform some real calculations, I shall remain skeptical of her claim to be mathematically proficient.

First, it cannot have escaped his notice that some contributors do not return to the fray at UD, not because they have cut and run, but because they are unable.  They have been placed in moderation or simply banned without notice.  

Second, while he is the only contributor to that thread who has submitted any attempt to actually calculate CSI he makes no comment about the fact that this is a staggering indictment of all the leading proponents of ID who have signally failed to step up to the plate.

Third, he is developing the UD taste for red herrings:
Jemima Racktouey (JR) complains that CSI cannot be calculated for an arbitrary system. Talk about shifting goalposts! First the complaint was that we couldn’t calculate specified complexity for anything biological. I replied by doing a calculation for the bacterial flagellum. Then the complaint was that it could only be calculated for one biological system, and not for other irreducibly complex systems. I replied by generously giving Mathgrrl a long list of 40 irreducibly complex systems, together with their descriptions, as well as the numbers required to calculate the specified complexity Chi for ATP synthase.

I'm sorry?  The discussion is about how to calculate CSI, assuming a definition can be agreed, for anything in biology. Irreducible complexity is a distraction raised by vjtorley himself, not MathGrrl.

Date: 2011/03/27 11:31:25, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Mar. 27 2011,11:06)
Actually, Dembski relied on "irreducible complexity" in his incomplete CSI calculation for a bacterial flagellum in No Free Lunch. Torley is not innovating there, either.

Granted, but their claims for CSI are not limited to just those organisms they designate as being "irreducibly complex".

Date: 2011/03/27 11:56:46, Link
Author: Seversky
I sometimes wonder to what depths those at UD will descend, uncommonly or otherwise.

Here Denyse O'Leary and another of her multifarious "friends" are demonstrating Christian charity by scoring points off Hitchens turning to a Christian doctor for treatment.
My friend, Five Feet of Fury and aptly so named, comments on a recent turn of events in Christopher Hitchens’ struggle with cancer (March 26th, 2011):

It never frickin’ fails: ‘Atheist Christopher Hitchens turns to evangelical Christian doctor in his fight against cancer’Oh yeah, we’re all so stupid and backward. Yep. Retards. Totally.

Atheists all come crying to us, one way or the other, eventually.

No, Denyse and "friend", Hitchens did not go crying to this person.  Hitchens does not go crying to anyone.  He turned to this man, not because he is evangelical, not because he is Christian but because he is a doctor who happens to be a personal friend and who is researching a novel genetic approach to the treatment of cancers.

In fact, to quote a comment on the same story on John Pieret's blog Thoughts in a Haystack
Aren't these little examples of goodwill and co-operation in spite widely divergent beliefs far more encouraging than the continual confrontational carping that seems to be the usual fare between believers and nonbelievers?

And as John says:
What unites us as humans is stronger than the ideas that separate us ... if we let it.

Date: 2011/03/28 16:03:39, Link
Author: Seversky
Oops!  Nearly missed it.  Another KF Lewontin reference.

Date: 2011/03/28 22:26:54, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Louis @ Mar. 28 2011,19:04)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Mar. 28 2011,23:54)
Quote (Ptaylor @ Mar. 28 2011,18:45)

That post just continues to demonstrate UD's complete inability to see its own failure.

I disagree. The escalating shrieking from the UDidiots tells me that they can see it perfectly. They're just in emergency denial mode.

No they're not. There's nothing to see here. These aren't the droids equations you're looking for. Move along.


This farce...can have a strong influence on the weak-minded.

Date: 2011/03/29 15:53:06, Link
Author: Seversky
For anyone interested in a more extended discussion of the concept of "design", you might want to read this post by John Wilkins on his blog Evolving Thoughts.  Here is a snippet:
Designs are abstractions based on how we model things. Functions and goals are likewise. Information is a property of the way a physical structure (usually the primary sequence of a polymer) is symbolically described – you get a different information content when you symbolically describe the primary sequence of a stretch of DNA as “GTAC” than if you described the hydrogen bonds or the numbers of protons or the energy shells of the atoms. It suits us to use the nucleotide abbreviations; but it may also mislead us. Sometimes the weak and strong bonding points on a primary sequence are more important than the sequence itself, biologically speaking, for these will affect folding, expression, and error-correction (this last being an abstract way to speak of mismatch repair).

I take the view that both design and information are properties of the models or modeling languages we use to describe reality and we confuse the map with the territory if we attribute them to what is being modeled.  We most commonly infer design because what we observe has sufficient similarities to what we design, nothing more.

Paley's famous illustration employed a watch found on the heath and argued that even if we had never seen a watch before we would infer that it was designed, which seems likely. After all, it would be made from metal and glass and constructed from parts like cogs and springs which are found in human artefacts.

But let's try another illustration.  In the science-fiction show Babylon 5 crystals were used as information-storage devices.  Suppose someone from that future traveled back in time to Victorian England and carelessly left behind one of those crystals on the heath after he returned to his or her own time.  Would the walker on the heath who found it, think it was designed?  Possibly, in the sense that it looked more like a piece of costume jewelery than a naturally-occurring crystal but almost certainly not consider the possibility that it was some kind of information storage device.  People of that period would have no conception of such devices and, I would argue, none of the proposed "tools" of the ID movement would enable them to infer its purpose and, hence, design.

Date: 2011/04/01 16:11:47, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Louis @ April 01 2011,10:25)
And the question remains: Who is Mathgrrl?


I am MathGrrlacus!

Date: 2011/04/06 20:35:16, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (lkeithlu @ April 06 2011,20:20)
Quote (Woodbine @ April 06 2011,19:59)
Quote (lkeithlu @ April 07 2011,01:00)
Quote (olegt @ April 06 2011,18:53)
Watch ID heads assplode.

Assplode? I don't wanna assplode!

Jayne Cobb, FireFly


(strictly speaking)

Oops-you're right


Date: 2011/04/07 11:50:34, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Richardthughes @ April 07 2011,08:52)




7:44 am
F/n 2: Onlookers, observe carefully: the latest attack on UD’s moderation policy has happened within a matter of a few weeks of our having MG do a guest post on her views. It occurs in a context where several objectors in the relevant threads seem to have rapid post privilege, and where the practice is that those who are manually moderated are moderated for cause on a declared policy. Akismet also blocks posts or dumps them into the spam pile, but the reasons for that are quite obvious. I am sorry, but the fussing I see above — within that context, and int eh conrtext of the sort of strawman caricatures I have been subjected to just above — comes across to me as largely insincere talking points meant to then be twisted into yet another red herring led away to a strawman soaked in ad homiems and ignited for the delectation of onlookers, elsewhere.

Bolding added for your, eh, delectation.

So with this @ 39...

...that's a full house.

Date: 2011/04/07 16:21:23, Link
Author: Seversky
I take my hat off to JemimaRacktouey.  I have not seen the denizens of UD duffed up so expertly in many a year.  It's a bit like watching an old episode of Kung Fu in which Kwai Chang Caine disposes of a gang of hapless attackers with a few perfectly-executed blows and throws.

Date: 2011/04/07 18:43:39, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Ptaylor @ April 07 2011,18:10)
And just prior to the mushrooms we have Gordon E Mullings, victim:
PS: Onlookers, do you see why it is I spoke earlier about fever swamps and angry clouds of mosquitoes? I am sorry if my words are painful but consider what has happened to me at UD — not even ATBC — across a day where I decided to sacrifice a fair quantum of time to answer issues on points (having been accused of being evasive when I have been in fact busy elsewhere, starting with economic and constitutional crises following hard on the heels of an intense trip overseas). Distortion of issues and arguments, refusal to engage central issues on the merits, refusal to acknowledge plain facts, denigration, slander, outright lying. A sad picture, but a telling one on what has been going on on origins science issues, for years. Do you see how the faculty and administrators of U of K were so misled, ill advised and polarised that they implicated their school in a US$ 125,000 legal blunder?

Boo hoo.

BTW, can anyone here see how that last sentence has anything at all to do with the remainder?

I'm guessing he's referring to the settlement paid to astronomer Martin Gaskell by the University of Kentucky.

Date: 2011/04/07 19:42:40, Link
Author: Seversky
I just dipped into the debate between William Lane Craig and Sam Harris being streamed live here.  Craig was up and I watched just long enough to see him trotting out the same tired old argument about objective morality.  That was enough for one visit.

Date: 2011/04/07 23:08:11, Link
Author: Seversky
Over at Uncommon Descent, DeNews O'Leary reports a comment by David Tyler about a paper on James Clerk Maxwell.  Tyler quotes part of a poem by Maxwell in which the latter allegedly expresses his dissatisfaction with an increasingly prevalent materialist worldview and rounds it off by asking:
Surely Maxwell cannot be understood without grappling with these deeper issues!

Which is, of course, true in the sense that no account of Maxwell the man would be complete without a discussion of his religious beliefs.  Unfortunately, Tyler fails to identify the term in Maxwell's equations which allows for divine intervention to influence the relationship between electricity and magnetism and without which the whole endeavor was doomed to failure.

Or perhaps there isn't one.  Perhaps Maxwell's science works perfectly well regardless of whether he was a man of faith or an atheist and Tyler, as a scientist, should, in all honesty, make that clear.  I am not holding my breath, though.

Date: 2011/04/08 22:11:47, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (CeilingCat @ April 08 2011,18:11)
Off topic

Gordon gives a link to a web page for an organization called "Global Village Construction Set.  

Does anybody know what song is the background for the video with the three young men standing on a home made tractor?  It's played on some kind of wooden xylophone type instrument.  I've heard snatches of this piece before and I love it.

If anybody can provide the title to that piece then GEM of TIKI (with your help) will have made a positive contribution to the universe, at least my part of it, and that's always nice.

I don't know about the music but The Global Village Construction Set looks like a worthy project.

Date: 2011/04/09 08:12:49, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ April 09 2011,07:33)
On evidence, I hold that we do not know enough to safely more than rather approximately date anything of consequence on earth beyond about 1,000 – 2,000 BC — the odd astronomical date is the exception not the rule — without injecting increasingly implausible hypotheses.

On the other hand, what our Jewel of the Caribbean does believe in is supported by ample evidence, such as a compilation of ancient texts describing events that may have occurred over two thousand and more years ago.  The fact that these accounts were written often long after the events they purport to describe, are somewhat short on empirical support and are riddled with discrepancies apparently does not matter.  They still "warrant an inference to best explanation" which is that they are true.  Did I see the phrase "selective hyper-skepticism" somewhere?

Date: 2011/04/09 12:25:47, Link
Author: Seversky
I think JemimaRacktouey touched a nerve:

I am now finished with Ms Jemima Racktouey, who has now definitively crossed over into the realm of the uncivil closed minded propagandist, not a serious participant in serous dialogue. (For just one point, has she in her fulminations above shown a single sign of having read much less bothered to reflect on say this discussion of the minimal facts relevant to the credibility of the NT documents, which was previously linked?

An interesting response from someone who lays claim to supreme moral authority by virtue of his religious beliefs.  Dismissing the life's work of hundreds of thousands of scientists as being, at best, misguided or, at worst, conspiring to promote an atheist agenda is polite behavior.  Raising questions about the historicity of New Testament documentation is "uncivil".  Do we see a double standard here?

And while the value of Scripture to believers in theological terms is for them to decide, its weight as evidence for historical events must be questionable when we observe discrepancies such as the following in accounts of just one event, the Resurrection:
What are the apparent conflicts that emerge in the accounts? They are these:

1. How many women went out to the tomb that morning, one (Jn 20:21) two (Matt 28:1), or three (Mk 16:1)?

2. Did Magdalene alone go to just Peter and John (Jn 20) or did the several women go to the Apostles (Matt 28; Mk 16)?

3. How many angels did they see there that morning, one (Matt 28:2; Mk 16:5) or two (Lk 24:4; Jn 20:12)?

4. Did the women run to the other disciples and tell what they had seen (Mt 28:8; Lk 24:9) or did they say nothing out of fear (Mk 16:8)?

5. Did Jesus see them first in Galilee (Mk 16:7; Mt 28:9) or in Jerusalem (Jn 20; Lk 24:36)?

6. Among the Apostles, did he appear to Peter first (Lk 24:34), all eleven at once (Mt. 28:16), or the eleven minus Thomas (Jn 20:24)?

7. Did Jesus appear to them in a room (Jn 20:19) or a mountaintop (Mt 28:16)?

8. Lastly, did Jesus ascend on Easter Sunday (Lk 24:50-53; Mk 16:19) or forty days later (Acts 1:3,9)?

That list, by the way, comes from the website of the Archdiocese of Washington and includes a lengthy attempt to reconcile the differing accounts.

There are several unanswered questions, though.  The Resurrection of the Son of God, if it actually happened would be an event of huge significance on so many levels.  This was a person who, during his lifetime, demonstrated miraculous or supernatural powers and then rose from the dead.  Yet the only accounts come from his supporters and, presumably, promoters with the earliest fragment of text dating from the second century AD.  No one else noticed, apparently.  These texts are presumed to be at least divinely inspired accounts.  You would think an all-powerful, all-knowing God would be able ensure they got his story straight at least.  On the site KF links to there is a quote from a British barrister.  It made me wonder how many lawyers would want to go to trial when their only evidence is testimony recorded decades after the event in question and which differs in so many details.  I suspect opposing counsel would have a field day eviscerating that weak a case.

Date: 2011/04/09 13:58:39, Link
Author: Seversky
KF is still seething:

On blatant and insistent, slanderous incivility, you have forfeited the right of general dialogue.

Does this mean there will be no further communiques from the Caribbean on this issue?
Until you can answer to the origin of language, on observational data and relevant demonstration of the origin of FSCO/I on blind watchmaker chance and necessity, your very posts demonstrate that there is a gaping hole in the foundation of your case.

Until ID can match the pathetic level of detail in the existing case for evolution it is ill-advised to complain about gaping holes.
The capacity to use language is itself based on FSCO/I, and the only empirically known source of FSCO/I is design. So, there is every epistemic right to infer from the FSCO/I to design.

Appealing to a property which, like beauty, seems to exist only in the eye of the beholder and which is measured by a metric like FIASCO that is so poorly defined as to be impracticable is not exactly a hole-free foundation for inferring design.
As has been repeatedly pointed out, and just as repeatedly ignored, and distracted from, with red herrings led to strawmen soaked in slanderous ad hominems and ignited to choke, cloud, polarise and poison the atmosphere.

Boilerplate indignation doesn't help either.
You have a substantial issue unanswered and a major civility challenge that lies still unaddressed.

Still doesn't

Date: 2011/04/10 11:47:16, Link
Author: Seversky
KF continues to ignore PKB (pot/kettle/black) in his discussion of dating methods:
We have a cluster of models that have been correlated to give a timeline based on a consensus school of thought, but we have no truly independent check on the past, especially as we go beyond records.

We have no truly independent check even within recorded history.  For example, we have a cluster of documents relating to the New Testament, the earliest dates from the second century although the bulk are somewhat later.  These are copies not originals.  Some show signs of errors in copying.  Some show signs of amendments or additions  by later authors.  In some cases, scholars believe they have been able to filter out the later changes and reached a consensus on what the original text was.  In other cases, they have been unable to determine the original intention of the author.  They also have know way of knowing to what extent the original accounts were passed on initially by oral tradition or what changes may have occurred during that transmission.

Yet these texts are supposed to embody eternal truths and are held by some to be an impeccably accurate account of historical events.

Let us remind ourselves of KFs definition of hyperskepticism:
Selective Hyperskepticism: that fallacy which seeks to reject or dismiss otherwise credible evidence by demanding an inappropriately high type or degree of warrant not applicable to matters of fact, i.e. the general type of question being discussed. Especially, where the same standard is not exerted in assessing substantially parallel cases that make claims that one is inclined to accept.

Leaving aside the questions of whether this can truly be categorized as a fallacy or what qualifies as an "inappropriately high type or degree of warrant not applicable to matters of fact", it is quite clear that KF, in this case, is applying the implied double-standard, to whit, any accusation made against evolution of fragmentary and uncorroborated evidence or of unreliable dating methods can be made with equal force against the evidential foundation of his own faith.  Yet his beliefs are true while the theory of evolution is just a delusion or a malicious conspiracy of greedy atheist scholars.

Onlookers take note!

Date: 2011/04/10 11:55:43, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Kristine @ April 10 2011,11:38)
Evolution will be dead in five years!

Yeah, that evolution was a cool dude.  "Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse" was his motto.  But danged if that ain't the liveliest, best-lookingest corpse I ever did see!

Now that ID, though, well that's lookin' a little peaked to me.

Date: 2011/04/10 12:23:29, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Bob O'H @ April 10 2011,12:02)
Darth Vader's TIE fighter:


Starship Enterprise

  \ ! /
   ( )

Date: 2011/04/10 12:29:58, Link
Author: Seversky
BA77 - speaks for itself
That is the whole point Jemi, we don’t see ANY evolution whatsoever in the present in the lab...

Guess you jest ain't lookin' hard enough, son

Date: 2011/04/10 19:03:06, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (didymos @ April 10 2011,18:37)
Weird.  A GilDo post that seemingly defies Dodgenation:  

So powerful has been Darwinian indoctrination that it leads some people to become completely irrational, even people who are thoroughly rational in other ways. Natural selection created both selfishness and altruism, and it created parents who protect their children at risk to their own lives, but also parents who train their children to commit suicide.

No matter what the scenario — selfishness, altruism, self-preservation, suicide — natural selection selected them all to perpetuate our selfish genes. What a wonderful, all-encompassing “theory” that explains everything, but how utterly ridiculous.

And yet, it's still completely unoriginal and tedious.

And still he fails to understand the concepts he rails against.  

The instinct that leads parents to sacrifice their lives for their children is arguably a product of natural selection.  Those parents who train their children to commit suicide are driven by a pernicious cultural influence - specifically religion.

The weird thing is that Gil continues to worship a God who, by the testimony of his faith's own scripture, is capable of inflicting the most awful cruelty, suffering and death on the creatures he is supposed to love above all things.  That's some powerful need for a father/protector figure.

Date: 2011/04/10 19:04:33, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ April 10 2011,18:11)
Quote (Woodbine @ April 10 2011,14:23)
Quote (Seversky @ April 10 2011,18:23)
Quote (Bob O'H @ April 10 2011,12:02)
Darth Vader's TIE fighter:


Starship Enterprise

  \ ! /
   ( )


post of the quart!


Date: 2011/04/14 07:45:11, Link
Author: Seversky
Craig Venter created DNA and there isn’t any evidence that nature, operatin freely, can do the same.

"Venter" created DNA?  World of Warcraft!  I had no idea it was that much of a breakthrough.  Quick, somebody get this man a Nobel Prize!

Date: 2011/04/14 23:26:01, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Richardthughes @ April 14 2011,23:04)
Wow, then Gordon Mullings write a post:

*spoiler alert* - he doesn't calculate CSI, but points at other folks using information type stuff.

Straw man, Gordo.

No doubt lightly tossed in oil of ad hominem and eaten with red  herrings, fava beans and a nice chi(anti)

Date: 2011/04/16 12:04:14, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews O'Leary gives another example, if any were needed, of the depths to which she is prepared to sink in order to spin a straightforward science story into anti-evolutionary propaganda.

The post in question refers to an article in Nature News (14 April 2011) about research into the genetics of the peppered moth:

Ilik Saccheri, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Liverpool, UK, and his colleagues have used molecular genetics to show that one mutation from a single ancestor causes increased dark pigment, called melanism, in the typically light-coloured moth. Their results are published today in Science1

The spin is applied by implying that this research in some way further discredits Bernard Kettlewell's research into industrial melanism in the peppered moth.  This  is supported by inserting a lengthy quote which, at first glance, might appear to be from the Nature News piece.  No other source is quoted.  In fact it comes from this article from the so-called Center for Science and Culture written by the notorious Jonathan Wells published 30 September 2002.

As with kairosfocus's omission of the final sentence of the infamous Lewontin quote, however, the final paragraph of the Nature piece is not included:

A greater understanding of the peppered moth's genetics will "complete the package" of research on "the best example of adaptation involving natural selection that we have", says Bruce Grant, a retired population geneticist from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

In this context, O'Leary's approach to reporting raises an interesting question.  She plainly believes fidelity to her religious beliefs overrides any concerns about journalistic integrity and accuracy.  We can assume that the scribes who copied the Gospel stories felt much the same way about their faith and would have as few qualms about altering the text if they felt it was in the best interests of that faith.  So is it not the case that, every time a believer like O'Leary steps off the 'straight and narrow' of accuracy and integrity in reporting, they are inadvertently but effectively undermining the reliability of the textual basis of their own religion?

Date: 2011/04/17 08:54:56, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (lkeithlu @ April 17 2011,06:29)
Quote (PTET @ April 17 2011,04:46)
idcurious has been silently banned, with some posts vanished. The UD regulars are clucking away how he's run off leaving their points unanswered. Just another day in that vacuum of intellect and integrity which is Uncommon Descent.

His life is archived here, mainly because it will annoy Clive.

Apologies to anyone who sat through it. Sorry too, Sparc, that IDC didn't get to reference the 1969 Nobel Prize. It was next on his list.

Hello again Onlookers. It's been a while since I de-lurked.

It appears that I have been too. My last post has been in moderation now for 48 hours. Without the courtesy of an official bannination.

Methinks they are weasels.

Date: 2011/04/18 22:57:14, Link
Author: Seversky
vjtorley treats us to over 8000 words defending Intelligent Design from the criticisms of Professor Edward Feser.  The number of words expended on ID by kairosfocus must exceed the US national debt expressed in dollars.

Can you imagine how far ID would have progressed had all that effort been devoted to actually running calculations of CSI and testing its ability to distinguish what is designed from what isn't?  (Of course, if God actually created the Universe and everything in it, this could be a problem.)

Funny no one's got around to doing it.

Or maybe not.

Date: 2011/04/21 19:19:55, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (lkeithlu @ April 21 2011,15:28)
Quote (Kristine @ April 21 2011,15:24)
Quote (OgreMkV @ April 21 2011,14:16)
In all honesty, if it wasn't for you guys belling the cat in it's litterbox, UD would be the biggest, most useless circle jerk since the fall of the USSR's Politburo.

I suspect we'd see a blackhole of tard, at least until the denzions passed their own Schwarzschild radius.  At that point, they will create their own private server that no one else can see or visit and hopefully, they would never venture off of it.

Joe could sit in his mom's basement and blabber on about the mating habits of asexual organisms, the obviousness that trees made of steel could be taller than trees made of wood, and the ultimate expression of IDiocy, a multi-Megayear study of the fungus growing on the edge of his toilet that slowly becomes intelligent and tells him what a douche he actually is.

Gordon, could write epically long posts where he repeats "Onlookers note" millions of times.  The rate at which modern storage hardware is becoming larger and cheaper means that it could someday reach the point where the amount of storage could contain the nearly infinite ramblings of his monkey brain.  If infinitely many monkeys on infinitely many typewriters in an infinite amount of time can develop the works of Shakespeare, what works would be the result of one monkey on one keyboard in whatever remains of his pathetic life?

O'Leary would find that a pure coffee diet is the ultimate weightloss program.  At some point after her 300 billionth post, she realizes that he has become a thin layer of skin flopped onto an ergonomic office chair with an intrevenous drip of COFFEE!!! and a spray bottle of moisterizer set on a 10 minute timer.  She will, unfortunately, remain the closest thing to an actual human in the UD-hole.*  

Other, specially** invited guests will occasionally join, but much like a roach motel, the self-congratulatory behavior and positive forced-feedback system within the UD-hole will forever trap those within.  They will be unable to communicate with anyone outside of their limted circle of intellectual equals***.

Our only hope to study the UD-hole will be to watch the pieces of intellect that escape from the hole as others are specially invited in.  These pieces of intellect will tell us a great deal about the activities within the hole (thereby proving that Hawkins was correct and some information can escape).  

Snippets of wisdom will begin with complex equations and deep philosophical utterings.  While these would be easily proven incorrect by a particularly bright Australian sheepdog, there is at least a semblence of mental accument.  As time passes, the UD-hole will grow, yet thanks to our knowledge of thermodynamics, the intellilectual ability within the hole will be spread out among a larger and larger volume until finally we get phrases like, "dog food can be a nutritional supplement, I saw it in a movie" and "my toes smell like rancid horse ejacula".

Soon, no actual directly translatable communication will exist and we will be forced to assign meaning to occasional outburst of grunting and making inferences about the author from the mere tonal qualities of seemingly random bits of data.  (For example: "Urkula" might mean, "Joe, quit saying ID is not anti-evolution you idiot.  No one can hear us in here.  We can talk freely now."****)

Those you who wish to prevent this from occurring, my hat is off to you.  For you are tangling with a force more powerful than any yet discovered in the natural world.  Even gravity fades to insignificance over the light-years, but stupidity is remorseless.

*With respect to Dr. Who.

**"Small Bus", not "unique"

***and a subset of small African dung beetles (termites in Joe's case).

**** Although, some actual scientists studying the phenomenon will submit that the same phrase is also uttered when a UD-hole denzion is dealing with a particularly difficult bowel evacuation.

I second. All in favor say AYE?

Aye, aye?

Date: 2011/04/23 01:00:16, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,April 23 2011,00:28)

Intelligent Design is the study of patterns that signify intelligence. ~ Bill Dembski

allright assholes, what "patterns" are there that "signify intelligence"?  simple question.  answer without lying!

Like a circle in a spiral
Like a wheel within a wheel
Never ending or beginning
On an ever-spinning reel
Like a snowball down a mountain
Or a carnival balloon
Like a carousel that's turning
Running rings around the moon
Like a clock whose hands are sweeping
Past the minutes on it's face
And the world is like an apple
Whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find
In the windmills of your mind

Date: 2011/04/23 07:48:07, Link
Author: Seversky
Over at UD DeNews 'don't whine to me about trash talk, you old Brit toff' O'Leary [URL=

lisms-pile-of-culture/#more-19193]interviews[/URL] ID proponent and so-called Christian activist Nancy Pearcey, about the latter's latest book Saving Leonardo.  

One of the links takes us to a list of related articles by Pearcey, one of which was published in the conservative magazine Human Events under the title:
America Will Never Be Free until the Last Liberal Is Strangled in the Entrails of the Last Bureaucrat

Correct me if I'm wrong but I doubt if Barbara Forrest, even at her most forceful, has ever argued that America will only be free when the last evangelical is strangled in the entrails of the last televangelist.

These people are beginning to disgust me.

If that is what Christianity has become then I say to hell with them and their evil god.

Date: 2011/04/23 11:20:41, Link
Author: Seversky
And does block time make more sense than alternative concepts?  Not good for free will, though.*

And inertia.  Inertia is weird.

And what was it like inside the primordial singularity?  Like nothing we see here now is the obvious answer, I suppose.

And why did it go "Bang!" at all?

And if we were able to poke around in the "quark soup" that followed the Bang - without being instantly vaporized, of course - would we be able to observe the roots of everything we see around us now?  Was it all somehow 'folded in' there or was something added to the mix after and, if so, where did that all come from?

Being a physicist can't be easy.

Small wonder some people just say it was designed and let it go at that.  Saves you from an awful lot of thinking.

*Any answer should be less than the threshold value of 500 millitorleys as anything longer will take longer than the current age of the Universe to read and comprehend. (Mainly because you keep falling asleep about a quarter of the way in)

Date: 2011/04/23 12:52:32, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (khan @ April 23 2011,11:25)
Quote (Seversky @ April 23 2011,08:48)
Over at UD DeNews 'don't whine to me about trash talk, you old Brit toff' O'Leary [URL=

lisms-pile-of-culture/#more-19193]interviews[/URL] ID proponent and so-called Christian activist Nancy Pearcey, about the latter's latest book Saving Leonardo.  

One of the links takes us to a list of related articles by Pearcey, one of which was published in the conservative magazine Human Events under the title:
America Will Never Be Free until the Last Liberal Is Strangled in the Entrails of the Last Bureaucrat

Correct me if I'm wrong but I doubt if Barbara Forrest, even at her most forceful, has ever argued that America will only be free when the last evangelical is strangled in the entrails of the last televangelist.

These people are beginning to disgust me.

If that is what Christianity has become then I say to hell with them and their evil god.

This is not the Christianity I was raised with.

Nor I.

Date: 2011/04/27 22:13:33, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Bob O'H @ April 27 2011,14:53)
Nobody seems to have commented here for a bit. Have we all been banninated?

I was skimming through some recent posts on UD when I came across the following from the oleaginous Cordova:

Nick Matzke is the famous former employee of the National Center for Selling Evolution (NCSE). For many years, he has been on the frontlines on the war on ID. His finest hour was at the Dover Trial where he provided a lot of technical support to the ACLU lawyers.

Matzke’s attacks on ID are fundamentally based on misrepresentation, strawman arguments, equivocation, distortions, etc. Well, it seems his way of doing business has finally caught up with him. There is poetic justice in his public humiliation at the hands of fellow Darwinists.

Since poor Matzke seems to be taking flak from both creationists and atheists that would seem to suggest that, far from cozying up to religion, he's actually occupying some sort of middle ground because that's where you tend to get fired on by both sides.

Date: 2011/04/28 21:00:09, Link
Author: Seversky
I remember reading a story about the Union General Philip Sheridan meeting with some Indian chiefs some time after the Civil War was over.  One of them introduced himself saying, "Me only good Injun is a dead Injun".  I get the feeling that the Gnu Model Atheists are Sheridanites in that they believe the only good religion is a dead religion.Toch-a-way, me good Indian".  Sheridan somewhat ungraciously replied "The only good Indians I ever saw were dead".  This became corrupted over time into the better-known form of "The

I have no problem with atheists exposing the absurdities of religious beliefs or excoriating the hypocrisy of those who proclaim a faith but apparently believe they are exempt from living up to its highest ideals or attacking the shoddy political machinations and scary ambitions of the more extreme right-wing elements of the religious community.  But when you have someone like PZ calling into question the integrity of an eminent fellow scientist like Martin Rees simply because he accepted a Templeton Prize then we are moving towards McCarthyite territory.

It's the same with these demands that the NCSE be neutral.  How do you measure neutrality?  What are you going to do to ensure the neutrality of NCSE staff, summon them to appear before hearings to find out where their true sympathies lie?

"Answer the question!  Have you at any time knowingly sat in the same room as a person of faith?"

'I may have."


More seriously, I can only endorse what both Reciprocating Bill and Kristine have written.  As far as I am concerned we are a bunch of clever apes that got lucky.  We live on a flyspeck of a planet adrift in a largely hostile universe of unimaginable vastness.  One half-way decent comet or asteroid or maybe a wandering black hole and it will be as if we never existed.  The universe will continue for who knows how many years but unobserved and uncounted by us.  Faced with that appallingly bleak prospect it's small wonder some people turn and cling to religion.  Yes, I think that on balance they are wrong but the fact is we are all stuck in the same boat so we should do the best we can to get along with each other.

Date: 2011/04/28 21:07:53, Link
Author: Seversky
What on Earth happened to that first paragraph?

Sorry, that should have read:

"I remember reading a story about the Union General Philip Sheridan meeting with some Indian chiefs some time after the Civil War was over.  One of them introduced himself saying, "Me Toch-a-way, me good Indian".  Sheridan somewhat ungraciously replied "The only good Indians I ever saw were dead".  This became corrupted over time into the better-known form of "The only good Injun is a dead Injun". I get the feeling that the Gnu Model Atheists are Sheridanites in that they believe the only good religion is a dead religion."

Date: 2011/04/29 07:55:26, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (noncarborundum @ April 28 2011,21:49)
Quote (midwifetoad @ April 28 2011,18:06)
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?

Disrespect goes in both directions. I think Dawkins is a respectful writer, but PZ is quite abrasive.

And yet as far as I can tell Dawkins gets called "militant" and "abrasive" nearly as often as Myers does.  This has to tell us something.

They're creating the right impression - at least from their point of view?

Date: 2011/04/29 08:06:17, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 28 2011,14:15)
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?

The other main question is should the NCSE be dissing ordinary believers just to prove themselves Gnus-worthy?  Does everyone have to prove their atheist credentials to avoid being accused of being Chamberlainite or accommodationist or of cozying up to religion?

Date: 2011/04/29 09:12:03, Link
Author: Seversky
Or, as Hollywood might announce in a deep, gravelly voice: "Denyse O'Leary IS UD!!"

Date: 2011/04/29 17:59:27, Link
Author: Seversky
I watched it too,  Anyone else spot the loose horse as they were driving away from the Abbey in the carriages?

Date: 2011/04/29 22:56:26, Link
Author: Seversky
29 April 2011
Time out: He invented it, he disowned it, but we’re supposed to go on believing it?

What makes you think anyone gives a rat's ass what you believe?

Date: 2011/04/30 19:57:15, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 29 2011,16:38)
Quote (OgreMkV @ April 29 2011,09:48)
Quote (Seversky @ April 29 2011,08:06)
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 28 2011,14:15)
The main question is: should NCSE or BCSE endorse religious views and diss out prominent atheists just so they can reach their goal? Where's the neutrality?

The other main question is should the NCSE be dissing ordinary believers just to prove themselves Gnus-worthy?  Does everyone have to prove their atheist credentials to avoid being accused of being Chamberlainite or accommodationist or of cozying up to religion?

I think that's kind of the point of the whole discussion.

PZ et. al. may be demanding 'YES!' [snip]

um, yeah...stop there a moment, please.

Nobody, but nobody is arguing this at all.

This is what's being said by many Gnus:

Quote (Badger3k @ April 29 2011,12:06)
That's not the point at all.  

The science organizations should not be telling anyone what theology is correct or incorrect.  All they need to do, as someone suggested here, I think - there's been so much said recently, is say "many religious people have no conflict between evolution and their faith".  That's it.  

and the rest are suggesting that all the CSEs should say about religion is this:

Quote (NCSE and BCSE @ about religion,ever)

The role of the NCSE is to promote accurate science education and defend its integrity from religious interests that would, in effect, 'bowdlerize' it into a form that would be theologically inoffensive.  To expect such a group to say absolutely nothing about religion in the circumstances is, I submit, simply unrealistic.  

Back on March 9 2010 on Sandwalk Larry Moran quoted the following passage from an article on the NCSE website by Peter Hess:

Of course, religious claims that are empirically testable can come into conflict with scientific theories. For instance, young-earth creationists argue that the universe was created several thousand years ago, that all the lineages of living creatures on Earth were created in their present form (at least up to the poorly-defined level of "kind") shortly thereafter, and that these claims are supported by empirical evidence, such as the fossil record and observed stellar physics. These fact claims are clearly contradicted by mainstream paleontology, cosmology, geology and biogeography. However, the theological aspect of young-earth creationism—the assertions about the nature of God, and the reasons why that God created the universe and permitted it to develop in a particular way—cannot be addressed by science. By their nature, such claims can only be—and have been—addressed by philosophers and theologians.

The science of evolution does not make claims about God's existence or non-existence, any more than do other scientific theories such as gravitation, atomic structure, or plate tectonics. Just like gravity, the theory of evolution is compatible with theism, atheism, and agnosticism. Can someone accept evolution as the most compelling explanation for biological diversity, and also accept the idea that God works through evolution? Many religious people do.

Moran commented that this passage displayed "all the earmarks of an accommondationist position" as far as he was concerned whereas for me it reads as an unexceptionable summary of the actual relationship between science and religion.

There is no direct conflict between science in general and religion in general as far as I am concerned.  All science can say is that it has found no evidence for the existence of any of the many different gods in which people have believed and, in some cases, still believe and that, following Laplace, it has found no need to invoke them as an explanation.  But where a particular faith makes specific claims about the nature of some part of the universe then, as Hess points out quite correctly, these can be points of direct conflict if scientific investigations have led to a different understanding.  In those circumstances science is bound to present its alternative explanation and explain why it has come to that conclusion.

However, science being a method of investigating what is means that there is nothing it can say about what isn't - other than to qualify it by commenting that it isn't so far - or about what people think about the way things ought to be.  Such matters simply lie outside its field of inquiry and I see nothing accommodationist about saying that nor is there any reason why the NCSE should not point it out.

What belongs in the science classroom is science in the sense both of the methodology employed and the body of evidence and enduring - albeit always provisional - explanations founded on that evidence which have been accumulated over the years by applying that methodology.  Religious and other claims which do not meet that standard may certainly be discussed elsewhere - they may even be discussed in the science class - but they should not be taught as science.  Again I see no reason why the NCSE should not point that out.

If the epithet "accommodationism" is meant in the pejorative sense of treating religious beliefs and those who hold them with undue sympathy and excessive deference then I would not agree with it either.  But I do not see that in what the NCSE has written and done.  If, on the other hand, it is meant in the sense of accepting, while not necessarily agreeing with, those beliefs which cannot be contradicted and treating believers with the common courtesy which is their due, unless they have acted is such a way as to forfeit it, then I would accept it as an unexceptionable label for what I believe to be the case and no more than a civilized way to behave.

Date: 2011/05/01 12:31:09, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Glen Davidson @ May 01 2011,09:44)
More importantly, Densy's quote is very misleading in its claims that science changed him, when it was a fellow religionist with the standard lies who did it.

DeNews?  Misleading?  Say it isn't so!

Date: 2011/05/01 12:44:59, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Glen Davidson @ May 01 2011,09:44)
This about Don Johnson is notable (if hardly unusual) primarily in its dishonesty:

As with DeNews Ol'-Brit-Toff-hatin' O'Leary.  She doesn't mention it, presumably because it shreds his scientific cred at least as far as biology, geology, paleontology and cosmology are concerned, but I'm thinking this passage implies he's a YEC:

At that time I believed that people who believed in 6-day creation and the strict biblical account had their heads in the sand and didn’t really have much intelligence, because obviously they were ignoring all this “body of facts”. When I actually looked at the evidence properly, my first thought was “this can’t be”, and then I was angry that I was deceived in so many ways for so long.

I wonder what eviscerated "body of facts" this "creation scientist" fed him?

Date: 2011/05/01 13:05:12, Link
Author: Seversky
And the Ol'-Brit-Toff-Hater's at it again.  Under the News byline she's quoting from a 1998 book by one George Sim Johnston titled Did Darwin Get It Right?: Catholics and the Theory of Evolution.  Sim tries the standard approach of painting "Darwinism" as an ideology like Marxism:

But anideology dressed up as a science is a different matter. Theories like Darwinism, Marxism, and Freudianism have an explanation for everything (natural selection, economic repression, the unconscious) and so finally explain very little; they are elastic and vague enough to absorb almost any contradiction; when they run into falsifying data, they simply mutate. And since these theories began, consciously or not, as highly skewed readings of the available evidence, the biographies of their founders are very much to the point.

The main line of attack, though, is captured in the title to her piece:

He said it: Why Darwin’s personality matters

It's a risky strategy, however, since we might also ask pointedly about what harboring pedophile clergy says about a faith and its founding personalities, a faith to which she belongs.  If we couple that with Craig's defense of God killing children then I have no doubts about being able to hold the moral high ground against the ineffectual blunderings if IDiots like her.

Date: 2011/05/01 18:15:19, Link
Author: Seversky
But if a large part of the problem is that evolution is too closely associated with atheism does it make sense to leave the field of debate just to those atheists who imply or openly promote that view?

I'm not disputing the fact that atheism is viewed as somewhat worse than pedophilia by a significant part of the US population.  I agree that they will not accept evolution under any circumstances while it is perceived as an atheist theory.   But I see two issues here.

The first is the need to raise the profile and change the public perception of atheism.  Here is where I think the New Atheists have done excellent work.  Just as the black and gay communities needed voices that asserted loudly and confidently that they were every bit as good their white and straight fellows so atheists needed spokespersons who could do the same for them.  They needed public figures who could articulate their feelings better then they could themselves and around which they could rally.

The second issue is whether the anti-evolutionists are quite the monolithic bloc they appear to be.  I suspect that, like any other large group of people, they are a mixture, ranging from hardcore to softer edges.  If that is true then, as has been pointed out before, this is where perceived New Atheist stridency can work against them.  As has been observed many times before, groups coming under pressure from outside will tend to suspend any internal disputes and unite in face of the external threat.  

More specifically, if believers as a group feel that atheists are out to destroy their faiths then they will tend to put aside any theological differences and set their faces against any kind of accommodation with the common enemy.  If, on the other hand, they can see that it is possible to hold religious beliefs and still do perfectly good science, even in biology, then so much the better.  If it can also be explained that the theory of evolution actually says nothing about the existence of God or faith in same then that makes it less of a threat and a few might be more inclined to listen.

I doubt that anyone expects the anti-evolution bloc to undergo some sort of sudden, dramatic collapse like the old Soviet Union, neither from New Atheist frontal assault nor from accommodationist diplomacy but I think the latter has a better chance of slowly eroding the unthinking hostility towards evolution of believers.

Date: 2011/05/03 07:10:34, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (CeilingCat @ May 03 2011,04:32)
Why Bully Arrington is not my lawyer:            
Now consider the case for Christ. In the months and years following the crucifixion Jesus’ disciples proclaimed that he was alive. I believe them, because, again, no one in their right mind would declare to be true that which can easily be proven false. The religious leaders of the time had a keen interest in stamping out the Christ cult. They hated Christ and his followers with a burning passion. All they had to do to bring Christianity to a screeching halt was to produce Jesus’ body. Having every interest and motivation to produce the body, they did not, which leads inexorably to the conclusion that they could not.

More to the point, Bully Arrington is arguing on the basis of facts not yet in evidence.  If he were to go before a court he would first have to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that a being called Jesus Christ who looked human but was, in fact, the Son of God and who possessed superhuman or miraculous powers actually existed in the Middle East at that time.  The only documentary evidence was set down decades after the event at the earliest and is inconsistent, even contradictory and certainly unreliable.  To paraphrase Mark Twain, I wouldn't hang a dog based on evidence that flimsy.

Date: 2011/05/06 17:38:32, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Richardthughes @ May 06 2011,10:41)
I'm putting this here because it deserves high traffic and can be used against ID / UD I think.

Amazing beauty and complexity, from some very simple rules...

Dedicated to Oleg!

Edited: URL start position.

That is absolutely fascinating!  Thanks, Richard

Date: 2011/05/06 19:26:03, Link
Author: Seversky
Bully Arrington's latest contribution to the science of ID quotes one A W Tozer as follows:

But he knows also that the Absolute One has made this world for man’s use,...

Which is jolly decent of Him but what about all the other planets which it looks increasingly likely are out there?  Are they all for our use or are they for the other Pinnacles of Creation that might be there first?

And if we get there before they manage to get here will we do to them what European powers did to native peoples that had the misfortune to be in the way of manifest destiny?  Could there ultimately be interstellar war to decide which is the biggest pr...pinnacle of all?

Also, the Wikipedia article about Tozer notes the following:

Living a simple and non-materialistic lifestyle, he and his wife, Ada Cecelia Pfautz, never owned a car, preferring bus and train travel. Even after becoming a well-known Christian author, Tozer signed away much of his royalties to those who were in need.

I wonder how many of the posturing proponents of political piety we hear so much from follow a "simple and non-materialistic lifestyle", eschew automobiles and give away much of their wealth to charity?

Date: 2011/05/07 06:06:40, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (keiths @ May 06 2011,10:23)
Mapou is a few synapses short of a quorum:
It is easy to prove that infinity cannot exist. Any finite member of an infinite set is infinitely small compared to an infinitely large member. The contradiction is that a value can be both finite and infinite at the same time. Conclusion: infinity is as bogus as the flat earth hypothesis.

Yes, it’s really that simple to prove that infinity is nonsense, a million mathematicians notwithstanding.

"It might do us good to remember from time to time that, while differing widely in the various little bits we know, in our infinite ignorance we are all equal."

-- Karl Popper, On The Sources of Knowledge and of Ignorance

Date: 2011/05/08 07:59:37, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews O'Leary, upholding the high scientific standards at UD, discusses the acrheological evidence for the existence of the Biblical King David here.

Of course, DeNews being DeNews, this is inevitably leads to taking a swipe at "Darwinists" and her latest pet peeve "Christian Darwinists":

Some have likened this situation to dealing with Darwinists and Christian Darwinists...

But DeNews, one tip: you have to stop feeding us straight lines like this:

... In the end, when does Iovy (sic) League speculation cease and evidence get its day in court?

Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. 26 September 2005 to 4 November 2005.

Too easy.

Date: 2011/05/08 12:54:40, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Seversky @ May 08 2011,07:59)
DeNews O'Leary, upholding the high scientific standards at UD, discusses the acrheological evidence for the existence of the Biblical King David here.

The thread keeps getting better.   Barb comments:

It is one thing to state that you don’t believe something because there is no evidence that would lead you to believe it.

It is quite another to have that evidence placed firmly in front of your face and then deny it exists.

The former is an argument from ignorance, and the latter is just plain stupidity.

I couldn't have put it better myself.

Date: 2011/05/08 15:54:46, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews O'Leary here picks up this story from Reuters about Simon Baron-Cohen, professor of psychology and psuchiatry at Cambridge University, arguing for a more scientific approach towards what we call evil:

His proposal is that evil be understood as a lack of empathy -- a condition he argues can be measured and monitored and is susceptible to education and treatment.

DeNews is just using the story to take another swipe at neuroscience - and, by extension, "Darwinism" - for advocating moral relativism,  What she and Baron-Cohen fail to note, however, is that Star Trek got there 43 years ago:

Mr. Spock: I've noticed that about your people, doctor; you find it easier to understand the death of one than the death of a million. You speak about the objective hardness of the Vulcan heart... yet how little room there seems to be in yours.

Dr McCoy: Suffer the death of thy neighbor, eh, Spock? Now you wouldn't wish that on us, would you?

Mr Spock: It might have rendered your history a bit less bloody.

-- The Immunity Syndrome, ST: TOS, S2/E47 19 January 1968

I'm sure others got there even earlier but as a Trekkie I think that scene makes the point quite pithily.

Date: 2011/05/08 22:31:31, Link
Author: Seversky
Ah, Uncommon Descent!  The gift that just keeps on giving.

Here DeNews O'Leary uses a conference about the chronic illnesses suffered by Charles Darwin to have another bitch about "Darwinism" as a religion.  

There's also a sort of side-grouse about her having to provide medical advice and referrals to the poor and underprivileged of Canada.  Apparently they have nowhere else to go but some obscure journalist in Toronto.

Unfortunately, the main rant immediately follows 3850 words by vjtorley on Misreading St Augustine.

So remind me, which of us has the obsession with religion?

Date: 2011/05/10 06:55:57, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (dvunkannon @ May 09 2011,17:40)
DeNews O'Leary has made it 22 pages into an anti-Darwin book by a Catholic journalist, and decided Marjorie Grene is her new reb. Based not on reading her, but from what the journalist said. Based on Grene's comments in the article that DeNews links to, she might not be so enthusiastic.


BLVR: Do you like Darwin?

MG: Like him? What a stupid question. How can anybody say that? How can anybody not like him? What do you mean?

BLVR: Is he interesting to read? Have you read all his work?

MG: Oh, no, certainly not. I haven’t read his orchids book. I must get some more of the Darwin-correspondence-project books too. I’ve only got about the first dozen.

BLVR: How many are there?

MG: Oh, I don’t know, but it won’t be done in my life.

She likes the Ol' Brit Toff?  Tsk!  Heresy!

Date: 2011/05/11 18:56:55, Link
Author: Seversky
Here DeNews O'Leary devotes her latest post to a fairly lengthy rant (the whole post is 3207 words) by Rabbi Moshe Averick on the alleged logical failures of science.  And by science, of course, he means "Darwinism", especially atheistic Darwinism.

The problem with the Rabbi's post is while it is long on the shortcomings of scientific logic it is somewhat short on any logic of his own.  He's good on the Argument from Incredulity and the Argument from Ignorance but I'm fairly sure those are fallacies not good logic.

So nothing new there, then

Date: 2011/05/14 07:49:26, Link
Author: Seversky

Atheists, agnostics on design of life: Philosopher Roger Scruton forgotten?  
Over the last two decades, however, Darwinism has invaded the field of the humanities, in a way that Darwin himself would scarcely have predicted. Doubt and hesitation have given way to certainty, interpretation has been subsumed into explanation, and the whole realm of aesthetic experience and literary judgement has been brought to heel as an “adaptation,” a part of human biology which exists because of the benefit that it confers on our genes. No need now to puzzle over the meaning of music or the nature of beauty in art. The meaning of art and music reside in what they do for our genes. Once we see that these features of the human condition are “adaptations,” acquired perhaps many thousands of years ago, during the time of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, we will be able to explain them. We will know what art and music essentially are by discovering what they do.- “Only Adapt: Can science explain art, music and literature?” (Big Questions Online, December 9, 2010)

Offering (not dictating, as implied) a scientific explanation for human artistic endeavors in no way devalues, demeans or detracts from the aesthetic experience of those arts.  Quite the reverse in some cases.  Richard Dawkins wrote a whole book, Unweaving The Rainbow making just that point.  

I can well remember as a child - and I know I'm not alone in this - lying on the ground in our back yard at night staring up at the night sky, waiting for my eyes to become fully adapted to the dark.  As more and more stars came into view I would augment the visual image by imagining how I was pinned by gravity to the surface of this little planet staring at other suns perhaps thousands of light-years off in space.  Instead of just seeing little specks of light, I was able to apply the knowledge gleaned by astronomers to understand the truly awesome, mind-boggling nature of what I was seeing.  Far from diminishing that experience, it was science that made it into the sort that makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.

It's a poor philosopher that doesn't grasp that or the fact that explanation and experience are two different things and that one does not necessarily adversely affect the other.

Date: 2011/05/14 08:25:13, Link
Author: Seversky

Neanderthal: “Do I hafta be a brute … “

… just so some tenured airhead can prove common ancestry of humans with apes? What did I ever do to you folks anyway?”

DeNews cites an article by the slithering Casey Luskin, whom I have no intention of dignifying with a quote, which attributes the pop culture image of Neanderthals to Darwinism.  They quietly ignore the fact that the archeologists, paleontologists and evolutionary biologists whose research has updated our understanding of Neanderthals are in most cases the very "tenured airheads" that they both despise - "tenured airheads", in other words, who have done more for science than pea-brained nuts heckling from the peanut gallery ever have.

Date: 2011/05/15 00:08:21, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews reports:

Richard Dawkins called a “coward” – and not by Uncommon Descent

...but by Oxford “philosophy lecturer and fellow atheist” Daniel Came:

… for refusing to debate William Lane Craig, who has debated many “new atheists

DeFrill sniffs:

Craig outclasses Dawkins by orders of magnitude in every category of science, biology, philosophy, mathematics, theology, logic, information theory, computation, and physics.

Dawkins is stuck in the ignorance of the 19th century, so it’s no wonder he won’t debate Craig.

I love the accusations of cowardice coming from the craven mavens at Uncommon Descent who will never dare to come out from behind the wall of moderation and face their critics in open debate.

As for Daniel Came, if he's so keen on public debates, what's stopping him getting up on the platform with Craig?

Date: 2011/05/15 09:48:35, Link
Author: Seversky
Little Darwin is strong evidence for IC - Intelligent Cuteness.

I wish you well, youngster.  I'm sure you've found a good home.

Date: 2011/05/15 21:59:12, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (carlsonjok @ May 15 2011,12:13)
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ May 15 2011,11:03)
I must confess to knowingly dropping a cute-bomb. I have more pics, and they're even cuter than that. Mark my word: I am not afraid to use them!*

I say bring it, because everything is better in America.  Here are the little puff balls that invaded my barn last week.


I think my glucose reading just went off the scale.

Oh, and this just popped up on my Facebook page.  It might be of use to both of you.

Date: 2011/05/16 06:58:50, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (MichaelJ @ May 16 2011,01:01)
Quote (MichaelJ @ May 15 2011,20:02)
Quote (xjudges89 @ May 15 2011,09:54)
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. - Kristine]<br/><br/>AE Mods....


What time zone?

So are there any little shits missing?

None yet.  He got his dates wrong.  It's May 21st when the Almighty gets a rise out of the faithful.  (Sorry:))

Date: 2011/05/16 07:02:38, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Louis @ May 16 2011,04:50)
This needs to be used on IDCists etc more often I feel.



IDCIST:  A pistol is logical!!??  What are you talking about??

Date: 2011/05/16 22:48:21, Link
Author: Seversky
Fearless vjtorley discovers that Sweden is the home of the Antichrist!  

Or at least the next Stalin or Hitler.  

Well, actually, an education minister who is insisting children be taught by qualified teachers.  

Which is almost as bad.  

Expect Sweden to overrun the other countries of Western Europe soon and launch a full-scale invasion of Russia the following year.

The source of this world-shattering revelation?  A plucky little website set up by some gallant volunteers to defend religious home schooling from the crushing weight of Swedish totalitarian secular humanism (gasp).

Not to worry, vj, it'll all be over on the 21st when you all get beamed up by a heavenly Scotty.

Date: 2011/05/17 22:02:28, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews wheels out a couple of elderly strawmen for an airing:

The Cambrian explosion: Getting past the Darwin lobby to look at the facts

Only a geologist or paleontologist could think of an event that took up to 80 million years to happen as an "explosion".  Or an IDiot, of course, who is looking for anything that can be used to undermine the theory of evolution.

As for this:

The Darwin lobby promotes uniformitarianism (long, slow gradual change caused by natural selection acting on random mutation), which is at odds with the evidence of rapid bouts of change followed by long periods of stasis.

Not just his "lobby" but Darwin himself was well aware that phyletic gradualism does not mean evolution proceeds at exactly the same rate everywhere and at all times.  The also have explanations for the apparently "sudden" appearance of new species in the fossil record.

I know it's too much to expect the IDiots to have read On the Origin of Species but they might like to look at this passage from page 551 of the fifth edition which can be found online here:

Only a small portion of the world has been geologically explored. Only organic beings of certain classes can be preserved in a fossil condition, at least in any great number. Many species when once formed never undergo any further change but become extinct without leaving modified descendants; and the periods, during which species have undergone modification, though long as measured by years, have probably been short in comparison with the periods during which they have retained the same form. It is the dominant and widely ranging species which vary most frequently and vary most, and varieties are often at first local—both causes rendering the discovery of intermediate links in any one formation less likely. Local varieties will not spread into other and distant regions until they are considerably modified and improved; and when they have spread, and are discovered in a geological formation, they will appear as if suddenly created there, and will be simply classed as new species. Most formations have been intermittent in their accumulation; and their duration has probably been shorter than the average duration of specific forms. Successive formations are in most cases separated from each other by blank intervals of time of great length; for fossiliferous formations thick enough to resist future degradation can as a general rule be accumulated only where much sediment is deposited on the subsiding bed of the sea. During the alternate periods of elevation and of stationary level the record will generally be blank. During these latter periods there will probably be more variability in the forms of life; during periods of subsidence, more extinction.(My emphasis)

Most likely they won't, though.

Date: 2011/05/22 11:51:08, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews trots out some old news:

Freedom to think can aid learning, studies show

Who'da thunk it?  Dr Caroline Crocker, head of the sooper new ID group ANTSY or AITSE - whatever - that's who:

Do students learn better when taught by experienced lecturers in the traditional method or when given specific problems to solve in a small group setting? According to a study conducted with over 500 engineering students at the University of British Columbia, even if the teacher is inexperienced, students that are encouraged to read, solve problems, and bounce ideas off the teacher are more engaged, attend class more frequently, and achieve higher average exam scores (74%) than those who are forced to sit and listen to lectures (41%).One of the best ways to help students learn is to teach them controversial subjects and allow them to be free to think.

I hate to break it to Dr Crocker but my mother was a teacher in the sixties and seventies and it was known way back then that teaching children in small groups and have them participate in learning activities was the best way to engage their interest.  There are bad teachers like there are poor performers in any profession.  If we're lucky the worst of them get Expelled.  But the chronic problem of large class sizes in the UK was the result of a cash-strapped education system being unable to afford enough teachers not unimaginative teaching methods.  I wonder if Dr Crocker was fortunate to teach small groups and involve them in problem-solving activities or did she just proselytise Intelligent Design Creationism.

Date: 2011/05/22 12:39:37, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews demonstrates that flawed ID arguments are no better when stated by a photographer:

Photographer Lazslo Bencze offers Scrabble letters, viewed by aliens, as analogy to design

Let's keep this simple for any "onlookers" (Hi, Clive!)

Bencze's analogy begins by assuming that the aliens recognize the Scrabble tile as an artefact which implies a creative intelligence acting with purpose.  He goes on to argue that it would be very difficult to infer anything about the purpose of the artefact without more information about the nature of the creator.  All of which is true.

ID's problem is that it has yet to show that living creatures are artefacts.  So the rest is moot.

I sometimes wonder what ID proponents feel about being just artefacts.  Because that is essentially what they are arguing we all are.  According to them, we are just lots of little Borg or androids, assembled by the Creator, wound up and sent on our merry way through time and space - for what?  It isn't as if an omniscient Creator wouldn't know how it would all turn out.  So why do it?  And why do it now and not some other time?  In fact, if this Creator is a necessary being in the sense of being entirely self-sufficient, self-contained, not dependent on anything outside itself, as required if it is to prevent an infinite causal regress, then why do it at all?  If it needs the love and companionship of other beings, or  even just the grovelling adoration of uncritical worshippers, then it cannot be the necessary First Cause that ID needs it to be.  You cannot have it both ways.

Date: 2011/05/23 18:43:02, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Tracy P. Hamilton @ May 23 2011,14:16)
GilDodgen, on primitive hunting:

JGuy is a young-earth creationist, which I am not, but he makes a good point. The same intelligence it took invent the math of Lagrange and Euler would be required to invent the bow and arrow, given what was known at the time. If I were stripped of all my modern knowledge I doubt that I would be clever enough to figure out how to chip a piece of flint with a sharp edge, attach it to a shaft, attach feathers to the other end to stabilize the arrow’s trajectory, and invent and string a bow to store the lethal energy in the arrow.

I may be doing them an injustice but I doubt Lagrange or Euler had finely-honed wilderness survival skills just as I doubt Einstein could have run a successful second-hand car dealership.  There are many different types of intelligence that are not necessarily interchangeable.  Skill at finite element computer analysis or playing the piano does not an evolutionary biologist make, for example.

The point is that, whether one of our distant ancestors invented the bow and arrow or they were taught how by a Mysterious Black Monolith, some one at some time, even if it was in a galaxy far away and long, long ago, did invent it.

Just because Gil Dodgen cannot imagine how doesn't mean it couldn't or didn't happen.  What is it with these people and lack of imagination anyway?

Date: 2011/05/25 22:37:51, Link
Author: Seversky
I wonder if DeNews has actually read the book as distinct from just skimming through it.  I can't believe she would give it such prolonged attention if she fully realized the poor light it sheds on leading Christians of the period.

Date: 2011/05/25 22:42:43, Link
Author: Seversky
I knew there was something missing.  We have another Lewontin quote sighting!

Date: 2011/05/25 22:58:42, Link
Author: Seversky
And again, over on UD, junkdnaforlife indulges in a little (slightly premature) gloating:

the glory days of atheism are long gone. gone are the days of the eternal universe and the jello cell glob. now time has a beginning and the cell is digital code. All they have left is neo-darwinsim. what is left of the glory days when atheism was the cool high school quarterback is the residual media mess. Instead, atheism is now the shirtless fan watching the game in the stands covered in paint making a lot of noise.

Apart from having a problem finding the Shift key this character seems not to have noticed that, in biology, evolution is the only game in town and it's the rather forlorn little band of IDiots who are left jeering from the sidelines, largely ignored by the real players.

Date: 2011/05/25 23:03:29, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Seversky @ May 25 2011,22:42)
I knew there was something missing.  We have another Lewontin quote sighting!

Ptaylor just pointed out that linky is broken.  Let me try again.

Date: 2011/05/26 19:32:47, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (didymos @ May 26 2011,17:12)
Quote (Lou FCD @ May 26 2011,13:41)
Quote (Seversky @ May 25 2011,23:37)
I wonder if DeNews has actually read the book as distinct from just skimming through it.  I can't believe she would give it such prolonged attention if she fully realized the poor light it sheds on leading Christians of the period.

You're talking about someone who reviewed Selfish Gene by reading the title.

And based on that, she actually thought it was about a gene for selfishness.  See my sig.

How could I have forgotten?  I remember reading those comments several times, thinking that she'd just expressed herself badly and I'd misunderstood but, no, she really did think it was all about a gene for selfishness.

Date: 2011/05/28 12:04:33, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ May 28 2011,08:36)
O'Leary claims that Barbara Forrest is a "pseudo-expert" because, get this, Forrest disagrees with O'Leary over whether Francis Beckwith can be considered an IDC advocate. Disagreeing with O'Leary seems to me to be a step toward demonstrating expertise, not diminishing it.

At least Forrest knows and has communicated the facts of the issues upon which she rests her expertise. One can agree or disagree with the conclusions that she reaches. This stands in contrast to a pseudo-journalist who can't be bothered to figure out what the facts are, much less intelligibly  communicate them to the world.

Exactly.  DeNews O'Leary is a Canadian freelance journalist and link-farmer whose main claim to fame is co-authorship of a popular science book called The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul, the neuroscientist in question being co-author Mario Beauregard.

On the other hand, according the the Biosketch from her online Curriculum Vitae:

Barbara Forrest is a Professor of Philosophy in the Department of History and Political Science at Southeastern Louisiana University. She is the co-author with Paul R. Gross of Creationism's Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design (Oxford University Press, 2004; 2007, 2nd ed.), which details the political and religious aims of the intelligent design creationist movement. She served as an expert witness for the plaintiffs in the first legal case involving intelligent design, Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District, which originated in Dover, PA, and was resolved with a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in December 2005. She is a member of the board of directors of the National Center for Science Education and the National Advisory Council of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. She has appeared on Larry King Live, ABC's Nightline, and the BBC’s Horizon documentary about the Kitzmiller trial, “A War on Science.” Her radio interviews include NPR's Science Friday with Ira Flatow and Americans United’s Culture Shocks with Barry Lynn. She is the 2006 co-recipient with Brown University cell biologist Kenneth Miller of the American Society for Cell Biology’s Public Service Award.

Among her other honors is the President’s Award for Excellence in Research, Southeastern Louisiana University, 2006.

Of course, according to O'Leary's version of inverted snobbery, as a university academic Forrest is just another idle, tax-funded mediocrity who contributes nothing of value to society whatsoever.

I know who I regard as the expert and who I regard as the mediocrity.

Date: 2011/05/29 07:49:58, Link
Author: Seversky
BA77 continues to provide a wealth of evidence that ID is all about science:

...Does neo-Darwinism not all boil down to the fact that man wants to become his own god, playing by his own rules, instead of giving glory and honor that belongs to almighty God alone?

Or not.

BA77 has written previously about how finding faith was a matter of personal salvation at a time of personal crisis.  Unfortunately, that doesn't change the fact that citing publications from advocacy groups like the Institute for Creation Research on the subject of evolution is rather like implying that you can expect a fair and balanced assessment of black culture from the Ku Klux Klan.

It tends to undermine your credibility on the issue.

If you ever had any.

Date: 2011/05/30 17:13:51, Link
Author: Seversky
Elizabeth Liddle has been received courteously thus far on Uncommon Descent although one commenter, DeNews O'Leary, has been noticeable by her absence.  Which is a little odd given that Liddle is an academic psychologist by profession and O'Leary has been highly critical of what she considers to be the wilder speculative excesses of evolutionary psychology.  Here is a great opportunity to tackle one of these "tax-funded mediocrities" head-on about some of the alleged nonsense published by her colleagues and O'Leary is passing it up.  Perhaps her innate Canadian politeness is causing her to bite her tongue in the interests of civility towards this young Brit toff.

Date: 2011/05/30 23:11:25, Link
Author: Seversky
Gil Dodgen on who has freedom of thought:

Oops, I forgot, most of these people have no experience in any rigorous engineering discipline. And those who do, and still believe in the Darwinian fantasy, have obviously undergone the atrophy and crippling of their basic reasoning powers — the product of many years of Darwinian indoctrination and suppression of free thought.

Who are the real freethinkers, Darwinists or ID folks? The Darwinian world is Orwellian.

So tell us, Gil, do you want the freedom to decide what is or is not moral in human society or do you want God to lay down the law for you?

Of course, this is already decided, isn't it, Gil?  You have no say in the matter.  Whatever God decides is right, is right.  If He decides He wants to wipe out virtually all life on Earth again then that is fine by you.  If He decides that the virgin daughters of a defeated enemy should be distributed amongst your victorious soldiers as concubines then that is the way it has to be.  What you might think doesn't come into it.

In fact, you are failing in your duties here, Gil.  Not only is homosexuality an abomination but there is a clear OT requirement for adulteresses and rebellious children to be stoned to death.  Why isn't this happening?  You have no choice in these matters.

Could it be that writing checkers programs or modeling how things fall out of the back of aircraft on parachutes does not necessarily endow you with a Jedi-like mastery of all other scientific disciplines.  Could it be that your feeble skills are no match for the power of the Darwin Side?

Date: 2011/06/01 22:45:12, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Ptaylor @ June 01 2011,00:11)
Gil has posted a comment on his Who are the Real Freethinkers thread*. His final paragraph begins:
I realize that my posts at UD are somewhat inflammatory.

I don't know how anyone can mix the phrase 'somewhat inflammatory' with 'completely predictable', but somehow Gil can!

*Sorry to re-rile you there, Seversky.

Whatever Gil thinks of himself. to be honest, I find him about as inflammatory as Mary Poppins.  Which need not be an insult if he is as Christian as he claims since Christ is exalted for, amongst other things, his gentleness and he is often compared to a lamb to emphasize that attribute.  Unfortunately, Gil's ego seems to be a lot more sensitive than that of his idol.

Date: 2011/06/01 23:03:01, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (olegt @ June 01 2011,17:49)
Did you know that philosophers are a dangerous bunch? According to Vincent Torley, anyhow. I'll be careful around campus now.

Crossing swords with a professional philosopher can be a dangerous thing. I’m not one, of course; I simply happen to have a Ph.D. in philosophy. But Professor Edward Feser is a professional philosopher, and a formidable debating opponent, as one well-known evolutionary biologist is about to find out.

Not swords - light sabers.  There are rumors that Uncommon Descent has fallen under the sway of a Sith Lord called Darth Eologian.  With the Sith, always two there are, no more, no less: a master and an apprentice.  The question is, which the master and which the apprentice is.

Date: 2011/06/02 17:14:28, Link
Author: Seversky
The specter of McCarthyism hovers over UD in this post from vjtorley where he quotes some passages from the Amazon editorial about a book by Ben Shapiro:

The inside story of how the most powerful medium of mass communication in human history has become a propaganda tool for the Left.

Primetime Propaganda is the story – told in their own words – of how television has been used over the past sixty years by Hollywood writers, producers, actors, and executives to promote their liberal ideals, to push the envelope on social and political issues, and to shape America in their own leftist image.

… According to Shapiro, television isn’t just about entertainment – it’s an attempt to convince Americans that the social, economic, and foreign policy shaped by leftism is morally righteous.

As you can see, "liberal" has replaced "communist" as the bogeyman.  When will the witchhunts start?

Torley is clearly a well-educated man who can write eloquently about matters that concern him but when he tries to compete with DeNews in channeling right-wing paranoia he lets himself down.   He has a PhD in philosophy, for God's sake, so he must be aware of the fallacy of selective reporting.  The review of Shapiro's book makes it sound like that's all he's doing, cherry-picking quotes which suit his right-wing agenda.  Is he really saying that there is no voice for the right in the media, that Fox Broadcasting and Fox News are infested with liberals?  If that's what he is saying you have to ask how far to the right of Genghis Khan do you have to be to qualify as conservative in Shapiro's book?

Date: 2011/06/04 07:14:22, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (sparc @ June 04 2011,04:18)
I gave up. Reading DO'L is nothing compared to listening a DO'L talk. It may explain her writing style though.

I watched for a short while and gave up as well.

There was nothing new or interesting there.  She mentioned converting to Catholicism because, in effect, Anglicanism lacked theological backbone.  Just one more datum supporting the hypothesis that many people cling to religion because, without it, they would feel weak, vulnerable and adrift in a Universe that gets stranger the more you study it.  This also leads to the contradiction of wanting free will but needing some Higher Authority to dictate to them how to behave, what to think and what is right and wrong, no questions asked.

Date: 2011/06/04 18:34:05, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (noncarborundum @ June 04 2011,17:33)
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ June 04 2011,07:29)
Quote (sparc @ June 04 2011,05:18)
I gave up. Reading DO'L is nothing compared to listening a DO'L talk. It may explain her writing style though.


At 4:10:
The . . . um . . . okay, I was genetically selected for blue eyes.  I know there are brown eyes, because I've observed them, but I can't do it.  Okay?  So . . . um . . . coz that's real genetic selection, not the nonsense Giberson and the others are talking about.

I lasted that long and no longer.

That's actually quite startling.  I didn't last that long but from that it's clear she simply doesn't get it.  I assume that some of the better educated ID proponents do understand what biologists mean by the theory of evolution and are just turning every which way to try and discredit it.  DeNews, on the other hand, really does not get it.  That's bad enough but what's worse is she most probably never will.  She has what she needs in her Catholic faith.  Why should she learn any different?

Date: 2011/06/06 07:39:02, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ June 06 2011,06:20)
Elizabeth Liddle:    
Thanks, Kairosfocus, I will.
No, I’m not a mathematician, unfortunately, though I do use a lot of math in my work. I’m a cognitive neuroscientist – I do neuroimaging and some cognitive modelling – I’m particularly interested in learning, and its application to mental disorders.


And where better to study mental disorders in relation to learning then at UD!

I had wondered why Elizabeth Liddle thought it worth spending so much time over at UD and now I think I know.

I see a paper in Elizabeth's and UD's future....

And UD won't like it, not a jot.

Working title:  Uncommon Dissonance?

Date: 2011/06/06 22:33:45, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Doc Bill @ June 06 2011,21:13)
Premise Media gone bankrupt.  "Expelled" being auctioned.

Ah, I love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning (or any other time really).

Date: 2011/06/07 21:55:33, Link
Author: Seversky
What with this and the Synthese debacle, the IDiots are going to get the idea that all they have to do is brandish lawyers and these journals will cave.

The upside is that maybe editorial staff will pay closer attention to the papers being submitted to them.

Date: 2011/06/07 22:31:08, Link
Author: Seversky
The DI owes me a new irony meter for allowing Luskin to write

I already know that Sewell would love to have this debate in the journals. But having a real scientific debate is the last thing the Darwin lobby wants.

in an article for which comments are disabled.

Date: 2011/06/09 18:18:27, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (socle @ June 09 2011,17:47)
Denyse's latest

The problem for the other side is that it's hard to spoof someone who really believes that The Selfish Gene was actually about a gene for selfishness.

Date: 2011/06/11 13:15:13, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews tries to divert attention by banging on again about people refusing to debate the-nothing-if-not-persistent William Lane Craig.

A.C. Grayling does a Dawkins on debating William Lane Craig

It has to be said that this coming from a website which eschews open, unmoderated debate put considerable strain on my irony meter.

What would be much better, if Craig really wants a serious philosophical debate rather than another platform for his performing skills, is a written exchange modeled on this one between Richard Dawkins and theologian Michael Poole in 1994.  

In fact, I think MathGrrl suggested at one point that perhaps some of the regulars at Uncommon Descent, if they are really interested in an open debate might like to go over to Talk: Origins where there is no moderation to discuss issues of mutual interest.  It seemed to fall on deaf ears, though.

Date: 2011/06/11 20:46:47, Link
Author: Seversky
This weasel is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace!  'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibule!! THIS IS AN EX-WEASEL!!

Date: 2011/06/11 20:47:57, Link
Author: Seversky
Or marten.

With an 'e'.

Date: 2011/06/13 23:16:28, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Driver @ June 13 2011,19:31)
Because it's a scientific debate:

oh and lets not forget the entire title of Darwin’s book…

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.

struggle…where have I heard that word used in the title of a book….let me think…..oh yeah….my struggle…mein kempf….

mein kampf…sorry…



tsmith Godwin's the thread.

I wonder if he's read Mein Kampf?

I wonder if he's read On the Origin of Species?

I wonder if he's aware the Nazi's banned Darwin's work:

"6. Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Häckel)."

-- Prinzipelles zur Säuberung der öffentlichen Bücherein, 1933 (Principles for the Cleansing of Public Libraries)

Probably not.

Date: 2011/06/15 00:29:29, Link
Author: Seversky
GilDodgen kindly provides further evidence for the aphorism that to the man with a hammer everything looks like a nail.

In the case of the Liberace of LS-DYNA, apparently God found Himself with a spare moment or two in eternity and decided to write a Matrix-like game for Himself.  Just why He should choose to do it and why He should do it now is not explained.

He also skips over the rather inconvenient observation that every known instance of computing or information-processing involves the software running on good, solid materialistic hardware, not on 'vacuum-ware' or in thin air.

But then, in spite of the protestations, this is not about computing or logic or math or science, it's all about making the Universe seem human-friendly, rather than "pitilessly indifferent", and offering hope for the future - in particular, that there is a future after death.  That's what hammerhead here is trying to nail down.

Date: 2011/06/17 23:08:27, Link
Author: Seversky
"I'm not a number!  I'm a free man!"

-- The Prisoner

Date: 2011/06/18 20:41:05, Link
Author: Seversky
I see they're back to the Problem of Evil.  Again.

It'll all be Adam (and Eve's) fault for trying a fruit diet.  Again.

There'll be no satisfactory explanation of why an omniscient being didn't see it coming a mile off and why an omnipotent being didn't do anything about it.  Again.

There'll be no moral justification for punishing not just the original offenders but all their descendants in perpetuity.  Again.

There'll be no explanation of why God lied to Adam and no discussion of what that implies for everything else God is reported to have said.  Again.

Finally, and much more fundamentally, there will be no discussion of why a necessary being, such as the Christian God must be to be an Uncaused First Cause, would ever create a Universe and populate it with beings with whom he wants to enter into a loving relationship. Again.

Date: 2011/06/19 08:55:21, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Amadan @ June 19 2011,07:36)
Quote (Louis @ June 19 2011,10:56)
Quote (Seversky @ June 19 2011,02:41)

It'll all be Adam (and Eve's) fault for trying a fruit diet.  Again.


Proving, once again, that God is from the South West of the England (probably Cornwall, possibly Somerset due to the cider) and the greatest crime in the universe is scrumping.


So when Eve ate the apple from the tree of knowledge, she gained in-cider information?

Remember the Firefly episode where Mal finds himself unwittingly married?  Shepherd Book warns him to be on his best behavior?

If you take sexual advantage of her, you're going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater...

...and people who inflict puns like that on the rest of us.

Date: 2011/06/19 23:03:51, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (socle @ June 19 2011,21:02)
As God, He cannot suffer; as man, He can and did, and continues to do so through His mystical Body, the Church. Hence, when St Paul killed His disciples, He said,“Why do you persecute me?” At the end of time, Christ will stop suffering in his mystical body.

Any Protestant UDer's going to take the bait?

cont'd, in which StephenB demonstrates that he knows more about God than God does:
If God could suffer as God, He would be trapped in it just as his fallen creatures are trapped in it. The Divine judge would have been put in Hell by His own creatures. God loves, but He does not change emotional states, becoming angry one day, sad the next day, and happy the Day after. God, as God, is perfectly, eternally blissfully happy. If it were otherwise, there would be no hope for us since He could hardly take us to a state higher than He is, unless you think that everyone in heaven is happy and immune from suffering except God.

I don't think StephenB's quite got it yet.  He needs to study the words of the prophets, such as:

...And the bezan shall be huge and black, and the eyes thereof red with the blood of living creatures, and the whore of Babylon shall ride forth on a three-headed serpent, and throughout the lands, there'll be a great rubbing of parts.

Yeah, though I walk through the Valley of O'Leary, the words of Saint Montague of Python shall be my sword and the Holy Book of Brian shall be my buckler against which the most complex and specified of information shall break in sunder and all IDenizens shall be cast down in most uncommon descent!

See?  A bit more fire and brimstone, that's how it's done.

Date: 2011/06/23 21:16:10, Link
Author: Seversky
As previously noted, Dr Dembski has favored Uncommon Descent with a rare appearance and delivered himself of some weighty thoughts concerning possible candidates for science advisor to Michele Bachmann.

Unfortunately, the Fig Newton of Information Theory may be unaware that the post is almost certainly already filled.

Bachmann has already announced that all the major changes in her life's course - marriage, her career as a tax attorney and running for public office -  happened at the Lord's bidding. (It must be comforting to know that God is a card-carrying Republican and presumably has been since before there was a Republican card to carry.)

Anyway, since God is already on her team as marriage advisor, careers advisor and political advisor He is the obvious choice for science advisor as well.  After all, a human being would be limited to human knowledge.  God, on the other hand, is the Ultimate Know-it-all.

Date: 2011/06/25 06:13:31, Link
Author: Seversky
De News announces what is (for her) the startling discovery that:

Extraterrestrials could have started life on Earth

After listing a number of scientists who have speculated thus she concludes:

And if so many great scientists entertain the idea, it must be substantial, so there.

There are three notable omissions from her post.

First, she fails to point out that Drx2 Dembski has also entertained the possibility that life on Earth could have been started by extraterrestrials.

Second, the existence of more advanced aliens tends to undermine the Christian belief in humanity's unique status as the pinnacle of creation.

Third, rather than answering the fundamental question about the origin of life itself - regardless of what planet it first happened on - it just diverts it into the question of what is the origin of the alien life.

So there!  :p

Date: 2011/06/27 19:15:18, Link
Author: Seversky
Vjtorley is apparently still under the impression that I am also Math Grrl

Finally, this isn’t the first pseudonym you’ve used on UD, is it? In my previous post, I referred to “an unguarded admission by Seversky on a recent discussion board that he was Mathgrrl: ‘I am Mathgrrlacus!’” You did not deny the identification, despite ample opportunity to do so. When Jammer asked me if I was joking about that, I said no.

For vj's information, the "I am MathGrrl-acus!" phrase was an allusion to a movie called Spartacus, directed by Stanley Kubrick and released in 1960.  It is a fictionalized account of a rebellion of gladiators and slaves against Roman rule in 73-71 BC.  Towards the end of the movie, Spartacus and his followers are defeated by a Roman army.  A Roman officer approaches the survivors and demands that Spartacus be identified to him.  Spartacus - played by Kirk Douglas - stands up but, before he can say anything, another man jumps up and shouts "I am Spartacus".  He is immediately followed by another man who shouts "No, I am Spartacus!' and then by another and another and so on.  Their purpose, obviously, was to make it impossible for the Romans to know who the real Spartacus was.  Hence "I am MathGrrl-acus."

I can now say in complete honesty that I am not, nor ever was, MathGrrl.

Nor did I ask her out.

Date: 2011/06/28 08:00:09, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (BathTub @ June 28 2011,03:33)
Reserve Met! So it's going to sell, that's cool. price is creeping up. Fingers Crossed that TO gets it.

Fingers crossed, of course. But the fact is religion is where the big money is.

Date: 2011/07/02 00:47:28, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (didymos @ July 01 2011,19:37)
Gordon's on a roll today. To wit, a (mercifully brief) "Weasel was latched!" redux.  All he needs to do at this point is quote Lewontin again and invent yet another acronym that no one except the odd UD commenter or two will ever use.

According to mike1962 we have a new form of latching-by-any-other-name for the poor, much-abused WEASEL.  This time it's "fuzzing" or "fuzzy" latching.

Date: 2011/07/02 08:59:06, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (paragwinn @ July 02 2011,07:39)
Dr. Liddle explaining hypothesis testing and the EF to the UDers.
What would be an appropriate comparison to Dr. Liddle:
1. Annie Sullivan (of Helen Keller fame)
2. Mary Poppins
3. Dr. Doolittle

From the UDer perspecitive, could she be:
1. Klaatu
2. Black Monolith (of Kubrick's 2001 fame)
3. Morpheus (of The Matrix fame)

How about Spoon Boy from <i>The Matrix</i> movies?

"Do not try and compute CSI. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth."

"What truth?"

"There is no Complex Spoonified Information."

"There is no Complex Spoonified Information?"

"Then you'll see, that it is not the spoon that has Complex Spoonified Information, it is only yourself."

Date: 2011/07/02 10:53:36, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (paragwinn @ July 02 2011,09:30)
'Little Boy'-size comment mushrooms into 'Fat Man'-size response from KF:    

I think that dragging kf's wife and children into this was going too far.  Apart from that, it's fairly obvious that kf thoroughly enjoys working himself up into a lather of self-righteous indignation.  Perhaps we should be concerned that if his buttons are pushed too hard an apoplectic mushroom-cloud will erupt into the sky over a small island in the Caribbean.

Date: 2011/07/03 11:41:42, Link
Author: Seversky
The thing is, porn has most likely been around as long as there has been people.  

We've got graphic evidence of what they got up to - or down to - in Pompeii until they were rudely interrupted by a volcano - sort of coitus eruptus: "Wow!  I really felt the Earth move that time!"  

And I bet the first cave paintings weren't of shaggy mammoths but cave-persons shagging.  That is until the local prudes insisted they were covered up with wholesome images of bison being slaughtered by manly hunters.  

As for Adam and Eve, you just know that the first thought in Adam's mind after they were tossed out of Eden and the scales fell from their eyes was: "Whoa, dude, look at the rack on that!"

Date: 2011/07/06 08:41:07, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Driver @ July 06 2011,06:15)

Information exists ‘within’ — and only ‘within’ — minds. There is no information, whatsoever, “out there” in the physical/material world.

Another commenter at UD is off-message.

(and at odds with physics, but never mind that eh?)

On this one point - and one point alone - I'm inclined to agree with Ilion, although he's still an IDiot.

I realize there are specialized definitions of 'information' - and lots of them, apparently.  I recently re-located a post by Dembski at UD where he cited a list of around forty separate definitions of information and complexity compiled by one Seth Lloyd.

But I think what most people understand by 'information' is the semantic variety and that, I would argue, does exist in the mind and is the product of intelligent agents only.  When ID proponents create their own information FIASCO they are equivocating between popular usage and their own more 'technical' definitions to imply it is evidence for an intelligent creator.

As for the putative information content of the genome I refer you to John S Wilkins' paper A deflation of genetic information

Date: 2011/07/07 06:31:42, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ July 06 2011,18:36)
I think I kinda just autobanned myself from Pharyngula. No one actually banned me, but some of those Pharyngulites just get under my skin, so I won't post there anymore.

Pharyngula.  "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy".  

What did you expect?  They're atheists.  Agnostics, now, they're a much nicer class of people.  You should try Evolving Thoughts

Date: 2011/07/09 11:20:13, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Peter Henderson @ July 09 2011,08:34)
Right folks, this claim has been put to me several times by poohboy on Prremier's forum who claims it equates to finding a rabbit in the Cambrian i.e. it disproves millions of years and evolution:

Tell me, what do you know of pollen found in the Roraima formation?

I assume he's repeating the claim from here:

which appears to be quoting/quotemining this (which he's referred me to):

Please, could someone who's got a better knowledge of the geology of this region and what Silvestru and Weiland's claims are not answer the wee shite ? I've googled this and can't find anything at all on the creationist claims on this study.

I hadn't come across this before.  It's the sort of conundrum that makes science fascinating.

Quite honestly, who cares what CMI shills think?  

The only thing they have to offer is "God did it", which suggests a 'who' not a 'how" which is the question they are expecting science to answer.

And God as an explanation has a lot more fundamental problems than those facing geology and paleontology.

Date: 2011/07/10 07:38:45, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Richardthughes @ July 09 2011,16:08)
Quote (socle @ July 09 2011,16:06)
StephenB should maybe crack a book before lecturing on probability:
When I throw a pair of dice, for example, the outcome is determined by a number of physical factors, none of which have anything at all to do with chance. On the other hand, if the dice are fair, any number from two to twelve will have an equal chance of coming up.


So...evolution's pretty safe from that line of attack, then?

Date: 2011/07/10 09:12:06, Link
Author: Seversky
Perhaps this wasn't pollen at all but tiny little rabbit droppings.

Of course, this would raise the question of what the rabbits ate to produce the droppings.

Manna from heaven?  God likes to keep pet rabbits?

Okay, back to square one

Date: 2011/07/13 04:07:21, Link
Author: Seversky
I know what you're thinking, Dembsk. You're thinking "did he win six cases or only five?" Now to tell you the truth I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is evolution the most powerful theory in biology and will blow ID clean away, you've gotta ask yourself a question: "Do I feel lucky?" Well, do ya, Dembsk?

Date: 2011/07/15 07:54:47, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ July 14 2011,23:10)
Quote (Cubist @ July 14 2011,21:44)
Quote (Henry J @ July 14 2011,20:40)
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ July 14 2011,19:37)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ July 14 2011,20:15)
Quote (sledgehammer @ July 14 2011,18:30)
Quote (noncarborundum @ July 14 2011,16:18)
Quote (keiths @ July 14 2011,18:01)
Quote (OgreMkV @ July 14 2011,14:22)
Quote (JohnW @ July 14 2011,15:55)
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ July 14 2011,13:50)
Quote (damitall @ July 14 2011,16:43)
Quote (Freddie @ July 14 2011,14:48)
Quote (keiths @ July 14 2011,14:05)
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ July 14 2011,04:45)
Unpleasant Blowhard, wordsmith:
It seems as though you asked for an operational definition, then got one, then later found out what kind of dynamic structure would be required for such a phenomenon to exist, and have since gone on a rant to eviscerate yourself from the position you are in.

Apparently, it wasn't clear to her what his argument entrails.

That's my gut feeling as well.

Is that colon intentional?

I hope there's not going to be another nested pun-fest. I couldn't stomach that

(Here incorporate AtBC policy on nested puns as an appendix to the above.)

That would be quite a tract.

I villi think this is not a good idea.

Butt colitis get on with it.

My reflux is not to ruminate on this tripe.

Is this the right time to point out that the ID folks should spend less of their time in theorizin' and more intestine?

Maybe we should spleen that to them.

Bile means keep on with the alimentary witticisms. This must be that polyp fiction people speak of. Don't let it get too serosa, though.

Just duodenum others as you would have them duodenum you.

Maybe at this point we should liver be?

Naah, we just need some authoritative advice on how to deal with it. I'm sure the Army can supply a G.I. Tract on the subject.

That's it? Shit.

That's right.  What he means is the Army can supply a Jack Shit Tract - rather than a Jack Chick Tract - because that's what they really know about anything.

Date: 2011/07/16 13:41:33, Link
Author: Seversky
Dr Liddle does not believe that the regular ID proponents at Uncommon Descent are being deliberately deceptive or lying to put it bluntly.  She may be right.  In their own minds, they believe themselves to be telling truth.  So all we can say about Thomas Cudworth here is that he is being disingenuous, pompous and condescending.

For example, he writes of neurosurgeon Dr Michael Egnor:

If you are in neuroscience, you might be interested to know that Dr. Michael Egnor, one of the leading pediatric neurosurgeons in America, is anti-Darwinist and an ID supporter. But that’s just an aside.

What he neglects to mention in his "aside" is that Egnor describes his religious beliefs as follows:

I'm a faithful Catholic, I'm devoted to Christ and to the Church, and I attend Mass daily if I can. My faith in God is of central importance in my life. I recognize that much of God's work is beyond my ability to discern or to understand, and there's no a priori reason that I would expect to be able to discern it in biology.

In other words, as a good Catholic, Egnor believes in the reality of the Eucharist, that the wafer and the wine consumed as part of the ceremony are magically transmuted into the flesh and blood of Christ.  Yet, as a good surgeon, I am assuming that, when faced with a patient on the operating table, he does not believe that a ruptured blood vessel can be sealed by just the power of prayer or by waving his hand over the damage like a Jedi Knight.

Of course, accepting the biological account of the structure and functions of the human brain on which his work on the 'plumbing' and 'wiring' therein is based does not conflict directly with his faith.  The theory of evolution or, more specifically, the strawman of 'Darwinism'  apparently does.  Why should this be?  The evidence for living things changing over time through natural processes is far stronger than that for the intervention of a non-human intelligent agent.  Egnor denies that evidence.He denies that the vast majority of evolutionary biologists would agree with T H Huxley's comment in a letter to Charles Kingsley: "Give me such evidence as would justify me in believing in anything else, and I will believe that."  He denies that ID has failed to provide that evidence.  Dr Egnor does not seem to have a lot in common with Dr Liddle.

Cudworth then skates very close to deception:

I would point out to you that there are many full-time evolutionary biologists who are every bit as critical of neo-Darwinism as ID people are, and often for the same reasons — scientific reasons. If you do not believe this, read some of the statements of Lynn Margulis and of the Altenberg group — all infinitely more qualified to talk about evolutionary biology at a high theoretical level than any of the expert witnesses at the Dover Trial.

There are evolutionary biologists who are critical of panadaptationism but they are almost certainly equally critical of ID.  I wonder how many of those attending the Altenberg shindig believe that design theory is a serious contender as an alternative to the theory of evolution?  Holding a conference to discuss the latest thinking and developments in biology is not the same as reading the last rites over evolution, much as Cudworth and others might wish it were so.

So please don’t assume that the criticism that ID people make of Darwinism is mainly of a religious character — it isn’t.

Strictly speaking, that is true.  ID proponents scrupulously eschew any speculation about the nature of the putative Designer, especially any references to the Christian God.  From a scientific perspective, though, this is odd since the nature of any proposed designer must be a matter of intense curiosity and relevance to any theory of design.  So why be so coy?  Could it be to avoid prejudicing future court cases by not falling foul of previous legal decisions?

You say or imply that the religious motivation is more real or more obvious on the ID side than the Darwinist side. Really?


William Dembski:

Intelligent design is just the Logos theology of John's Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory

The Wedge Document goals:

To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural, and political legacies.

To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.

The 'father' of ID, Philip Johnson:

We are taking an intuition most people have (the belief in God) and making it a scientific and academic enterprise. We are removing the most important cultural roadblock to accepting the role of God as creator

Our strategy has been to change the subject a bit so that we can get the issue of intelligent design, which really means the reality of God, before the academic world and into the schools.

This isn't really, and never has been a debate about science. It's about religion and philosophy.

Cudworth being...disingenuous:  

Have you read The God Delusion by the arch-Darwinist, Dawkins? Have you read the Brit Peter Atkins? Have you read Coyne’s blog? Have you read Myers’s blog? Moran’s? Shallit’s? Rosenhouse’s? These are all people with Ph.D.s in some science, who have openly admitted to atheism and who in most cases have confessed that their atheism does indeed affect their scientific conclusions. Most of them in fact rule out design *a priori*, if not formally, then certainly privately and existentially. How can this have escaped your notice?

Because it isn't true.

I have no doubt that all of the above recognize the existence of design in the Universe.  We have overwhelming evidence for it. It is one of the things human beings do in case you hadn't noticed.

What we do not have overwhelming evidence for is the existence of supernatural or extraterrestrial or any other form of non-human design.  In fact, apart from some poor analogizing, gap-filling and wishful thinking, we have no evidence at all.

Design is not ruled out a priori.  Non-human/supernatural/extraterrestrial design is not invoked as an explanation in science because, following Laplace, there has been no need for such any such hypothesis thus far.  

All ID  has to do to gain scientific respectability is to conduct some scientific research.  Calculating the CSI of various designed and non-designed objects to see if it can actually distinguish between the two would be a good start, otherwise it will just be the usual FIASCO.

Date: 2011/07/17 12:50:31, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (damitall @ July 17 2011,11:43)
Meanwhile, over at the tardmine, Liz Liddle has just put herself beyond the ID pale (although she may not yet know it - but she will, she will...) by suggesting that the cdesign proponentsists do "some rigorous science"

That's like offering pork scratchings round in a mosque

Uh-oh!  Cue a torrent of boilerplate indignation from kairosfocus in five....four...three...two...

Date: 2011/07/17 21:50:07, Link
Author: Seversky
The Liberace of LS-DYNA has another little tantrum:

UD is an island of rationality in sea of obfuscation, storytelling, and worst and most despicable of all, coercion, promoted with all the power of popular media and a dogma advanced in academia, where no dissent is permitted, under penalty of excommunication from the state-sponsored church of Darwinian multiverse madness.

So, not only did Darwin sponsor eugenics, not only did he pave the way for Hitler, the Nazis, World War II and the Holocaust but he also laid the groundwork for the multiverse theory in cosmology.  Was there no end to the man's talents?

What I fear is that, in Gil's fevered imaginings, the familiar image of Darwin as a benign old man in a white beard has been replaced by something darker:

and a voice which cackles malevolently: "Young fool. Only now, at the end, do you understand.  Your feeble theory of ID is no match for the power of the Dark Side! You will pay the price for your lack of vision!  Heh, heh!"

Date: 2011/07/19 04:32:17, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Ptaylor @ July 18 2011,22:50)
Thomas Cudworth is not impressed with Nick Matzke's pathetic level of detail:

We are not communicating. Are you sure that you have read what I wrote? Do you realize what I mean by an evolutionary pathway?

By an evolutionary pathway to the flagellum, I mean a step-by-step recipe for building a bacterium with a flagellum, out of a bacterium with no flagellum, not even a partial flagellum. I want to see the flagellum going up in stages before my very eyes, as I can watch a skyscraper going up in stories before my eyes. I want a morphological description of the bacterium for each intermediate stage, an explanation of the selection advantage of each stage, and a list of DNA bases that had to be altered to get to that stage, and what the substitutions were, and the exact locations where all this took place along the bacterial genome. And of course that implies I need a count of the number of necessary stages (10? 20? 100?), and also I need a full discussion of mutation rates and the time-frame that is being hypothesized, so that I can see whether wildly optimistic estimates of favorable mutations are being employed, etc.

Now, has Nick provided a pathway *in accord with my specifications*?

If so, *where*?

(It wouldn’t be in a journal article, I can tell you that. A 500-page book, minimum, complete with many diagrams of both DNA sections and morphological changes, would be needed to cover the details I’ve asked for.)

A "pathetic level of detail" which, of course, is a standard they themselves are unwilling and unable to meet.  And Cudworth sets himself up as the final arbiter of what is plausible.  Is it just me or is he beginning to sound like a lawyer?

Date: 2011/07/20 17:36:21, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (fnxtr @ July 20 2011,15:42)
Quote (Texas Teach @ July 20 2011,12:00)
Quote (Tracy P. Hamilton @ July 20 2011,11:52)
Quote (olegt @ July 20 2011,11:42)
Cornelius shows up in the comments section. He still doesn't have a clue.

Cornelius will get it when pigs sing.

Only if you can provide a complete mutation by mutation description of the morphological changes between non-singing pigs and singing pigs.

The pig reference is apt.  Olegt's comments there are like pearls before swine.

Date: 2011/07/20 18:53:47, Link
Author: Seversky
UD mounts its Darwin-to-Hitler hobbyhorse again

Kairosfocus self-righteously refuses to name Hitler or Mein Kampf or even to provide a link to the latter.  Why?  Is he afraid that the very uttering of his name will call forth the demon?

Then he quotes a chunk from the offending text complete with interpolated comments.  That, apparently, is safe enough. (Although I'm sure he thinks wearing a silver crucifix and some garlic wouldn't hurt.)

What kf and Weikert and other have missed, though, is literally staring them in the face.  Consider that Hitler's National Socialism is utterly discredited and despised while the theory of evolution has not only outlived Nazism but flourished and grown strong.

Why should this be?

The answer, of course, is both obvious and irrefutable.  Look at pictures of the two men.  The familiar image of Darwin has him sporting an impressively full and generous beard while all Hitler managed was that ridiculous, pinched, little Charlie Chaplin mustache.

Clearly it's survival of the hairiest rather than the mein herr-iest

Date: 2011/07/21 18:07:22, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews O'Leary [URL=http://

t-colorado-university/]interviews[/URL] Bully Arrington who continues to gloat about his victory in the case of the Colorado University "student who was verbally attacked by a Darwinist."

Let us be quite clear about this.  If the biology professor verbally abused the student in the way that is alleged then he should be the subject of disciplinary action.

However, the only account we have of this event so far comes from Arrington himself.  As far as we know he was not a witness to what happened so what he says is hearsay.  We have heard nothing from the plaintiff or the defendant or any students who witnessed the incident.  For all we know, it did not happen as described, the professor may have wanted to defend the case but was overruled by the university - or their insurance company - on the grounds that it would be much cheaper to concede and issue an apology.

It prompts me to wonder how readily Arrington would come to the defense of a high school biology teacher who was not only verbally abused by Christian students and, subsequently, their parents for attempting to teach the theory of evolution as required by the curriculum  but was also denied any support by the school administration.

Date: 2011/07/22 18:45:31, Link
Author: Seversky
We only have Bully Arrington's word for what happened in the Colorado University lecture-room and since some Christians look on the Ninth Commandment much in the way that the 'Pirates Code' is regarded in Pirates of the Carribean - "more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules" - I'd trust his word about as far as I can throw him.

Against that hearsay we can set verifiable accounts of the harassment of high school biology teachers such as this for example:

On April 25, 2005, during a meeting about parent complaints with her principal, Rick Conner, she recalled: "He took a Bible off the bookshelf behind him and said, 'Patty I believe in everything in this book, do you?' I told him, 'I really feel uncomfortable about your asking that question.' He wouldn't let it go.' " The next day, she said, in the lunchroom, "he reached across the table, took my hand and said: 'I accept evolution in most things but if they ever say God wasn't involved I couldn't accept that. I want you to say that, Pat.' "

Asked to comment during an interview here, Mr. Conner would say only, "I don't want to talk about it."

Four days after her encounter with the principal, Ms. New was summoned to a meeting with the superintendent, Dewey Moye, as well as the principal and two parents upset about her teaching evolution. "We have to let parents ask questions," Mr. Moye told her. "It's a public school. In a democracy people can ask questions."

Ms. New said the parents, "badgered, got loud and sarcastic and there was no support from administrators."

Babs Greene, another administrator, "asked if I was almost finished teaching evolution," Ms. New recalled. "I explained to her again that it is a unifying concept in life science. It is in every unit I teach. There was a big sigh."

"I thought I was going crazy," said Ms. New, who has won several outstanding teacher awards and is one of only two teachers at her school with national board certification. The other is her husband, Ward.

"It takes a lot to stand up and be willing to have people angry at you," she said.

or this:

Bingman recalls the 1999 board attack on evolution. 'It was academically agonizing. . . . I'm kind of ashamed to admit it but it took me a couple of nights before I had a decent night's sleep--that's how hard it hit me,' he said.

But this time around he said it's worse. Given the board's decision, the national political climate and the growing number of religious conservatives active in public education, he said, 'I think they will feel very much empowered and this is what I see as different now.'

For example, Bingman said, over the years he probably had students who disagreed with evolution; typically 10 percent of his students are creationists. But 'those students really weren't vocal. . . . Now, it's in your face, I mean, it's in your face.

'Not only do they say that intelligent design is right, they even talk about your politics and call you a liberal and those kinds of things which I think inappropriate in a classroom,' he said.

'I can show you a paper a kid turned in . . . that said that I'm a liberal,' he said, plucking an essay from a pile of papers.

Assigned to discuss five solid pieces of evidence for evolution, one 14-year-old student wrote: 'Although there is more than one viewpoint on the issue of how we all got here, Mr. Bingman is forcing [us into] believing his views by teaching us one-sided education. This is much as how the liberal media is forcing the public into disowning the war and Pres. Bush's policies. Despite my viewpoints I am forced to write about the theory of evolution.'

Said Bingman, 'I've never had anything like that before in 43 years of teaching. It's one instance, but it's symptomatic of what we're seeing in some young people.'

Date: 2011/07/23 05:34:45, Link
Author: Seversky
It makes me wonder who God might pray to when traffic on the Etherial Net gets too heavy - "???? save me from all these idiot prayer requests!  What, do they think I'm mortal or something?  I'm omniscient, for my sake!  I know what they're going to think before the thought has even popped into their little pea-brains.  I sure as The Other Place don't need them hogging bandwidth yapping about it the whole time!"

Date: 2011/07/23 10:44:54, Link
Author: Seversky
I'm waiting for DeNews to report on the tragedy in Norway and explain how a good Christian fundamentalist was driven to commit these appalling acts by the godless secularism that reigns over there, all of which is traceable (Weikart will no doubt be able to help with the details) back to Darwin.

Date: 2011/07/24 13:00:03, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ July 24 2011,11:22)
BarryA in 2007:
Darwin at Columbine

...As the attorney for the families of six of the students killed at Columbine, I read through every single page of Eric Harris’ jounals; I listened to all of the audio tapes and watched the videotapes, including the infamous “basement tapes.”  There cannot be the slightest doubt that Harris was a worshiper of Darwin and saw himself as acting on Darwinian principles.  For example, he wrote:  “YOU KNOW WHAT I LOVE??? Natural SELECTION!  It’s the best thing that ever happened to the Earth.  Getting rid of all the stupid and weak organisms . . . but it’s all natural!  YES!”

Elsewhere he wrote:  “NATURAL SELECTION.  Kill the retards.”  I could multiply examples, but you get the picture.

It was no coincidence that on the day of the shootings Harris wore a shirt with two words written on it:  “Natural Selection.”

I am not suggesting that Auvinen’s and Harris’ actions are the inevitable consequences of believing in Darwinism.  It is, however, clear that at least some of Darwin’s followers understand “survival of the fittest” and the attendant amorality at the bottom of Darwinism as a license to kill those whom they consider “inferior.”  Nothing could be more obvious.

Today, the New York Times on the Norway shooter:
The Norwegian man charged with attacks in and near Oslo, killing over 90 people, has admitted “to the facts” of the case, the police and his lawyer said on Sunday, and claims to have acted alone in a strike eerily foretold in a detailed manifesto calling for a Christian war to defend Europe against the threat of Muslim domination…

Police identified the suspect as Anders Behring Breivik, 32, a right-wing fundamentalist Christian, while acquaintances described him as a gun-loving Norwegian obsessed with what he saw as the threats of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration…

“We are not sure whether he was alone or had help,” a police official, Roger Andresen, said Saturday. “What we know is that he is right wing and a Christian fundamentalist"…

The manifesto, entitled “2083: A European Declaration of Independence,” equates liberalism and multiculturalism with “cultural Marxism,” which the document says is destroying European Christian civilization…The document also describes a secret meeting in London in April 2002 to reconstitute the Knights Templar, a Crusader military order…

Thomas Hegghammer, a terrorism specialist at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, said the manifesto bears an eerie resemblance to those of Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders, though from a Christian rather than a Muslim point of view

BarryA? What is obvious now? Barry?

Unsurprisingly, UD has been notably silent about the Norwegian tragedy.  Unlike shootings which Arrington can attribute to Darwinist influences, this one is obviously not DeNewsworthy.  Interesting set of journalistic priorities they have over there.

Date: 2011/07/24 13:04:29, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (socle @ July 24 2011,12:37)
Most cultures around the world generally find the design argument compelling. It with primarily white men that live in the US and England that get their panties in a bunch over it. Take a look at the new atheists from an ethnicity and economic perspective, basically they are all a bunch of well off cracker ass honkeys from the US and England.

Ah, racism rears its ugly head at UD.  I wonder how many of the regulars will disavow such sentiments and how many will argue that, since the comments are about whites, they cannot be racist.

Date: 2011/07/24 13:17:00, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Patrick @ July 24 2011,12:36)
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ July 24 2011,10:54)

Again quotemined, as KF once again omitted the last two sentences of Lewontin's statement.

Gordon, you are one perseverative gasbag.

MathGrrl wrote to Dr. Lewontin after she raised the isssue with kairosfocus and Dr. Lewontin was kind enough to reply to a pseudonym.  I don't have explicit permission to post the full response, but he did say
You are entirely correct that the added sentences must be added as an explication of a materialist understanding of nature.

If anyone wishes to confirm this with Dr. Lewontin, the email exchange took place on June 15th of this year.

(Did you see what I did there, Barry?  Providing enough detail for independent corroboration?  You might want to try that sometime.)

I wonder if Lewontin is beginning to feel the exasperation that Gould felt at seeing his words perverted to give apparent support to the creationist cause.

Date: 2011/07/24 13:18:32, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ July 24 2011,13:11)
Quote (Seversky @ July 24 2011,19:04)
Quote (socle @ July 24 2011,12:37)
Most cultures around the world generally find the design argument compelling. It with primarily white men that live in the US and England that get their panties in a bunch over it. Take a look at the new atheists from an ethnicity and economic perspective, basically they are all a bunch of well off cracker ass honkeys from the US and England.

Ah, racism rears its ugly head at UD.  I wonder how many of the regulars will disavow such sentiments and how many will argue that, since the comments are about whites, they cannot be racist.

Hey, I ressent that! I'm neither USacan or Englandican!

That's okay.  Nobody's perfect.

Date: 2011/07/24 15:58:29, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Louis @ July 24 2011,14:15)
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ July 24 2011,19:11)
Quote (Seversky @ July 24 2011,19:04)
Quote (socle @ July 24 2011,12:37)
Most cultures around the world generally find the design argument compelling. It with primarily white men that live in the US and England that get their panties in a bunch over it. Take a look at the new atheists from an ethnicity and economic perspective, basically they are all a bunch of well off cracker ass honkeys from the US and England.

Ah, racism rears its ugly head at UD.  I wonder how many of the regulars will disavow such sentiments and how many will argue that, since the comments are about whites, they cannot be racist.

Hey, I ressent that! I'm neither USacan or Englandican!

I am only English-ish too!

I once had a kebab. That counts as foreign right?


Wrong.  Being Welsh does, though.

Of course, I have eaten a fair amount of Welsh rarebit in my time.

Ah, well, Iechyd da!

Date: 2011/07/26 17:44:15, Link
Author: Seversky
Even Elizabeth Liddle's remarkable tolerance has its limits:

Now I’ve had one too many accusations of lying from you Mung, so this is the last time I will respond to your posts for a while.

I don’t mind if people disagree with me, or point out errors, even if I disagree that they are errors. But I don’t lie, as I have told you, and you have no reason to think otherwise.

So we will take a break from our conversations.



The next step, as I'm sure she is well aware, will be for them to crow that she has run away from the debate because she cannot cope with their arguments.  

This is also further confirmation, if any were needed, of the moderators somewhat flexible notion of civility (Hi, Clive)

Date: 2011/07/26 18:28:32, Link
Author: Seversky
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. - Lou FCD]

Quote (Ftk @ July 26 2011,16:25)
Enjoy the Folsom State Fair.  

Not really my cup of tea, I have to say, although I find it interesting that you have a link to that report.

I go along with Mrs Patrick Campbell on this: "My dear, I don't care what they do, so long as they don't do it in the street and frighten the horses."  For me it's like those inconsiderate morons who insist on playing music on excessively powerful car sound systems at full volume.  I don't mind what they listen to or how loud they play it, I just don't see that they have any right to force me to listen to it as well.

Promotion of sexual deviance, plain and simple.  No, you don't have to attend, but it's still ALL publicly displayed.  I have every right to call it as I see it.  This is not an issue of heterosexuality or's about sexual deviance

Nonsense!  These acts all take place between consenting adults and and are just part of the wide spectrum of human sexual behaviors.  You may find them offensive but that does not make them immoral.  Unlike some of the acts of God and the godly in the Old Testament which are both deeply offensive and immoral by any reasonable standard.  Yet good Christian parents teach their children about them as if they were the height of morality.

Date: 2011/07/26 18:44:14, Link
Author: Seversky
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. - Lou FCD]

F/N (to coin a phrase)

I am assuming that, like most Christians, Ftk's objection to homosexuality is based on the Biblical proscriptions.  Whenever this comes up, I find this little parable from `And Say Hi To Joyce' by lesbian columnist Deb Price comes in handy:

An engineering professor is treating her husband, a loan officer, to dinner for finally giving in to her pleas to shave off the scraggly beard he grew on vacation. His favorite restaurant is a casual place where they both feel comfortable in slacks and cotton/polyester-blend golf shirts. But, as always, she wears the gold and pearl pendant he gave her the day her divorce decree was final. They're laughing over their menus because they know he always ends up diving into a giant plate of ribs but she won't be talked into anything more fattening than shrimp." "Quiz: How many biblical prohibitions are they violating? Well, wives are supposed to be 'submissive' to their husbands (I Peter 3:1). And all women are forbidden to teach men (I Timothy 2:12), wear gold or pearls (I Timothy 2:9) or dress in clothing that 'pertains to a man' (Deuteronomy 22:5). Shellfish and pork are definitely out (Leviticus 11:7, 10) as are usury (Deuteronomy 23:19), shaving (Leviticus 19:27) and clothes of more than one fabric (Leviticus 19:19). And since the Bible rarely recognizes divorce, they're committing adultery, which carries the rather harsh penalty of death by stoning (Deuteronomy 22:22)." "So why are they having such a good time? Probably because they wouldn't think of worrying about rules that seem absurd, anachronistic or — at best — unrealistic. Yet this same modern-day couple could easily be among the millions of Americans who never hesitate to lean on the Bible to justify their own anti-gay attitudes.

Date: 2011/07/26 22:50:46, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Ftk @ July 26 2011,20:00)
Wtf....I mean seriously.  There is no way in bloody hell that I would teach my kids that these public acts are merely a wide spectrum of human sexual behavior.

You won't have to.  Kids have a way of finding out about this sort of stuff whether you tell them or not.

People do this stuff, granted.  But, here we are trying to cut back on aids, stds, pregnancy, disease, etc., by providing sex ed at home as well as in school.  And, idiots like you deem these freaks merely "a wide spectrum of human sexual behavior" as if there is nothing particularly wrong with the type of crap that is displayed at the Folsom fair?  Who the hell does that stuff ~~~~IN PUBLIC~~~~?  Only a freaking deviant.  period.

The health side is separate from the moral.  I would certainly hope those people are practicing safe deviancy.

Date: 2011/07/30 05:39:55, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Patrick @ July 29 2011,21:04)
I feel an overwhelming urge to vigorously teach Mung, Ilion, and Upright BiPed some manners.

I sympathize but I fear you would be wasting your time.

Personally, I take comfort in the belief that anger and insults are the last resort of a failing argument.  Elizabeth Liddle is hitting home and they have no other answer.

Date: 2011/07/30 10:29:17, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Tracy P. Hamilton @ July 30 2011,09:48)
3) The rabbi and News are both dumber than the banana.

I doubt they fit in the hand as well so they probably weren't designed.

Date: 2011/07/31 08:33:43, Link
Author: Seversky

If space aliens exist, they are straws to clutch at


"It could be space aliens. There are many possibilities"

Date: 2011/07/31 15:31:31, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Kristine @ July 31 2011,14:22)
Quote (Louis @ July 31 2011,14:00)
Quote (Kristine @ July 31 2011,16:11)
For Pete's sake, people, can't we get this kid laid? ;)

{ahem} I feel, most strongly in fact, that given your {ahem} sexual orientation* you are better placed than I to {ahem} rectify this situation.**

Your sacrifice for the cause will be noted, Sister.


*I am not saying for a minute that you would do this. You have taste and discernment and things like that. However, you are, and one so hates to use terms like these in the current climate, a heterosexual woman. To the best of my knowledge. And according to that website.

**Mind you, Rich might be up for it. It's the 21st century after all, mustn't discriminate.

Oh, yeah. Great. Thanks for putting that image in my head!  

You could, of course, reply by suggesting that an AtBC regular provides a similar service to one of UD's neediest.  For some reason, it brings to mind a famous rock band.  The name was something like - Eeeeewwy!  Louis and DeNews.  :D

Date: 2011/08/05 20:26:25, Link
Author: Seversky
I don't know how Barry can handle both sides of an argument when he can't get even one side right:

The “Who Designed the Designer” Argument Demolished in Three Easy Steps
Barry Arrington

Step 1:  Assume that Craig Venter succeeds in developing an artificial life form and releases it into the wild.

Step 2:  Assume that a researcher (let’s call him John) later finds one of Venter’s life forms, examines it, and concludes that it was designed by an intelligent designer.

Step 3:  John’s design inference is obviously correct.  Note that John’s design inference is not any less correct if he (a) does not know who Craig Venter is; and (b) is unable to say who designed Craig Venter.

Now that was easy.  Does it say anything about our the paucity and/or weakness of our opponents’ arguments that they think the “Who designed the designer” argument is one of their best?

I will keep this simple (hi, Clive!) for Barry and any other onlookers from UD.

The question "Who designed the Designer?" is a variant of "Who created the Creator".  

It does not challenge the claim that there are designers or creators in the Universe.  

We know there are.  

We are.  

What it challenges is the claim the the Designer or God is the Uncaused First Cause that is the only way to stop an infinite regress.  

Way to slay a strawman, Barry.

As a follow on,  I'm surprised they make such a big deal of Lennox given this passage from the debate with Dawkins, quoted in the comments:

‘It’s the old schoolboy question, ‘Who created God?’, I’m actually very surprised to find it as a central argument in your book because it assumes that God is created. And I’m not surprised therefore that you call the book “The God Delusion” because created gods are by definition a delusion. And if you say, ‘if there is a God you have to ask, ‘Who created God?’, that means you are reduced to thinking about created gods. Well none of us believe in created gods, and I think that argument is entirely beside the point and perhaps you should put it on your shelf marked celestial teapots, where it belongs.”


That's the best you can do?

That's an example of the sophisticated theological argument that atheists are accused of failing to engage?

Just airily brushing the question aside as if it is beneath the dignity of such an eminent academic to bother with such a trivial question.  

Dismissing it with condescending references to "schoolboy" questions and "celestial teapots".

At once contemptuous and contemptible?

If this is the best that modern theology has to offer then atheism really has little to worry about.

Date: 2011/08/06 11:27:48, Link
Author: Seversky
Kairosfocus disgorges yet another rehoboam of rhetoric (complete with Lewontin reference) in defense of Barry Arrington's sophomoric Demolition of a Strawman.  It fails just as dismally but at mind-numbingly greater length.

Date: 2011/08/07 09:37:22, Link
Author: Seversky
All this in response to a very thoughtful comment by EL of all people.

I suspect they feel more threatened by EL's sweet reason than all the more aggressive arguments they usually get from their opponents.

Date: 2011/08/07 14:47:32, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (socle @ Aug. 07 2011,12:46)
Mung accidentally tells the truth:
how do we know that Craig Venter’s name is incorporated into his life forms?

He took out a full page ad in numerous newspapers across the country?

Of course!  It's so simple!

Wait for the Vogon intergalactic highway construction project to get here and then we get access to the Encyclopedia Galactica.  Look up the local newspaper archives from, say, 3-4 billion years ago and check out the full-page ads.  This designer was most likely on some sort of ego-trip so he's bound to have done something like embed in our DNA the code for a picture of himself holding up a placard that reads "Hello, Mom!"  

(Originally, it read " Property of Prof. D. Fenn S Strayshun-Splatt.  Copyright 12.4598 mya ABB.  Patent pending" but mutations are a bitch.)

Date: 2011/08/07 16:58:18, Link
Author: Seversky
So Bully Arrington and kf think ID can tell you whether or not design is present in a sequence of genetic material and even decode a message left there by the designer?  Okay, let's put it to the test.  The sequence that follows may just be a random sequence of 'C', 'A', 'G', 'T' I have punched out on my keyboard or it may be a gene or it may contain the name of an alien designer encoded somewhere in it.  Let's see if ID, in the words of the commercial, can do exactly what it says on the can.


Date: 2011/08/07 21:31:44, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (OgreMkV @ Aug. 07 2011,17:15)
ETA: If you have a link, I'll post the link to my blog and just see if they can do so.

Thanks but, unfortunately, I don't have a link to give you.

Date: 2011/08/07 23:38:26, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (OgreMkV @ Aug. 07 2011,21:40)
Quote (Seversky @ Aug. 07 2011,21:31)
Quote (OgreMkV @ Aug. 07 2011,17:15)
ETA: If you have a link, I'll post the link to my blog and just see if they can do so.

Thanks but, unfortunately, I don't have a link to give you.

Oh, I thought that was in response to specific comment by those two clowns.  

Well, the challenge was really inspired by both Arrington and kf.

They can make that claim all they want, but they will never, ever DARE try it.

I doubt anyone's holding their breath.

Date: 2011/08/12 08:18:46, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (sledgehammer @ Aug. 12 2011,00:57)
Have any of those clowns ever considered anything other than a "Tornado in a Junkyard" approach to probability calculations?

Apparently not, otherwise they wouldn’t propose such transparently stupid stuff.

Obviously they prefer straw-probabilities, which seems to be what most ID calculations are.

Date: 2011/08/13 17:24:17, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Tracy P. Hamilton @ Aug. 13 2011,09:38)
Oddly enough, FG seems unaware that the whole project of origins science is an exploration of the remote, unobserved past — indeed the unobservable past — on traces and patterns we do observe in the present.

So is forensics, IDiot.  Guess how much CSI they show on TV programs like CSI?

Kf, like all IDiots, ignores the fact that ID cannot answer the question of origins any better than evolution.  Even if they found evidence of the intervention of some alien intelligence in life on Earth in the distant past it wouldn't help.  The question would then be (quite correctly, whether Burly Allington likes it or not) "Who designed the Designer?"

Date: 2011/08/14 03:50:52, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (keiths @ Aug. 14 2011,01:49)
Quote (Tracy P. Hamilton @ Aug. 13 2011,20:31)
What the hell?
13 August 2011
You knew there had to be a down side to evolutionary computing …

Apart from all the exploded/explosible Darwin nonsense, there’s the social problem.

That is the sum total of the post.

Don't forget (and I know it's incredible), she gets paid for this.  She's probably in a rush to fill her quota for the week.

Close.  Looks like they're just bulking up the posting stats:

New Look Coming Soon to Uncommon Descent


On another note, Uncommon Descent has had 5 successive record months in terms of traffic.  We appreciate all the hard work of the authors who have been producing excellent content, and most of all, the 100?s of thousands of readers who visit every month.

All that slaving at the coal-face of creationism is paying off.

"You load 16 quotes and what do you get
Another day dumber and deeper in tard."

Date: 2011/08/14 17:27:15, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (midwifetoad @ Aug. 14 2011,15:27)
The new, improved UD is, uh, interesting.

Now each post is a potential thread, and there is no way to
telescope the tree. So you have to read the whole thing to see if there's anything new.

If by "interesting" you mean 'crappy' then I'd agree.

Date: 2011/08/14 17:41:33, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (socle @ Aug. 14 2011,16:47)
Barry just says wtf and rewrites history:

I count 5 EL callout threads posted by BA in the past 3 days.

EL is a lot more civil in response to Bully than I would have the patience to be by this point:

No, that is not a translation, Barry.

If people cannot do each other the courtesy of assuming the other is posting in good faith, no communication is possible.

It is perfectly possible for two intelligent people to hold opposing views and for neither to lack integrity. Recognising that possibility – indeed assuming it – is the key to resolving the differences.

Assuming the other is being evasive or dishonest makes it impossible. And repeatedly implying that the other is being evasive, dishonest, or stupid is what is called “poisoning the well” and is a logical fallacy.

We play properly or we don’t play at all

Date: 2011/08/17 19:23:06, Link
Author: Seversky
Dr Liddle

There are a lot more than mere gaps in our knowledge that have to be faced.

The issue of the difficulty of moving from dilute solutions of hard tard to form monomers monomaniacs in ponds blogs, to endothermic IDiotic informational inveterate polymers polysyllabilists organised into functioning disfunctional automata autocrats is hard easy.



The issue is what we do know, not what we don’t.



Date: 2011/08/20 08:16:23, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Nov. 03 2005,12:54)
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. - Wesley R. Elsberry]<br/><br/>
I'm trying to imagine what this has to do with the Steves project...

 Just tryin' to reclaim them, one steve at a time.....

How's that working out for you?

Date: 2011/08/20 08:26:32, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews, the gift that keeps on giving:
Beavers illustrate complex specified information, they don’t author it.

Well, I suppose that depends on the beaver...

Date: 2011/08/20 08:58:16, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Texas Teach @ Aug. 20 2011,08:49)
Quote (Seversky @ Aug. 20 2011,08:26)
DeNews, the gift that keeps on giving:
Beavers illustrate complex specified information, they don’t author it.

Well, I suppose that depends on the beaver...

A quick perusal of the interwebs reveals lots of information authored about beavers.  Much of it in visual form.  I'm sure Gordon Mullings could point out lots of it.

True.  I'm guessing Gordon has little direct access to beavers so he relies on the 'Net to keep him abreast of the latest research...

Date: 2011/08/20 11:19:58, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Patrick @ Aug. 20 2011,10:57)
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Aug. 20 2011,11:29)
Whoa! A post by Iliot that deserves reproduction without comment:
. . .
“Gender inclusive language” has three uses:
1) by leftists, to attempt to sow societal disrespect toward men and mutual resentment between men and women;
2) by leftists, to signal to other leftists that one is a leftist;
2) by non-leftists, it is used by academics and other feminized men to signal to the leftist gate-keepers that the user is “cool”.
. . .

As Ilion's behavior towards Elizabeth Liddle shows, he simply can't comprehend the idea of being courteous and inclusive.

And no, I'm not a "leftist", although some on UD might consider me such.

If you're to the left of Genghiz Khan to some on UD you're a leftie.

Date: 2011/08/20 16:26:32, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Aug. 20 2011,12:39)
Quote (Patrick @ Aug. 20 2011,11:46)
Quote (carlsonjok @ Aug. 20 2011,12:24)
Quote (Patrick @ Aug. 20 2011,10:57)
As Ilion's behavior towards Elizabeth Liddle shows, he simply can't comprehend the idea of being courteous and inclusive.

He is basically the same in real life.

Oh, for Eris' sake....

Did someone mention backhoes earlier?  Ilion is going to need one of these to sink lower:

If he dislikes paying a tip, he should be arguing with the management to change the pay scale, not shorting the help. Or he could refuse to eat in places where tips are considered part of the salary. The latter would be an expression of, of... hmmm, what are those things called? Oh, yeah, principle. Knowingly eating there and failing to tip instead just looks like bad rationalization of being a skinflint.

Yeah, I do agree with the idea that setting up a tip environment is bad. I disagree with the notion that using the service and not paying in your expected share every single time is anything but theft. Make your choice beforehand, let the management know why you won't patronize them, and then go elsewhere. That's a message that is unmistakable.

There is a case to be made for everyone being paid a "living wage" - however that is calculated - a fair day's work for a fair day's pay.  Service staff generally work very hard and have the added stress of having to deal with some awkward customers.  They deserve a commensurate reward.  It's the employers who get away with taking advantage of some of the most vulnerable members of the workforce and that's shameful.

On the other hand, given the situation as it stands and having worked in a service sector job, I have absolutely no problem with tipping someone who has provided good service.

The only concern I have is whether the indirect tips get to the person who earned them of whether they get to keep them if given directly.

Date: 2011/08/20 18:16:16, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Aug. 20 2011,17:49)
Lewontin. At the end of the quote Gordo adds:
[And those who have swallowed the "that's quote-mined" talking point and imagine the the immediately following words JUSTIFY the just cited, should read on through the notes and further cites at the just above link.]

Pathetic bastard. There is a kind of crazy logic to it however. If he patches each of his talking points in response to legitimate objections he must be zooming down quite quickly at the fractal level with some of them.

That's right.  F/Ns to F/Ns to F/Ns etc.

The whole thing is F/N ridiculous.

Date: 2011/08/20 21:39:46, Link
Author: Seversky
Tea's up!

(I prefer it to coffee, with or without the exclamation mark)

Shocking Revelations at Uncommon Descent!

Leading ID proponent Gil Dodgen reveals he was once an atheist!


And again

And again.

What a fool I was

Still are, Gil, still are.

Date: 2011/08/21 11:55:45, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews occasionally gets close to being right - sort of.

The Brit riots: “When churches disappear, the vacuum is filled by gangs or tribes.”

Although it's actually commentator Michael Coren she's quoting.

Churches do function as a sort of social glue which helps bind communities together and make them more resilient under stress.  And yes, in the absence of churches, human beings, being a social species, will tend to gather into other groups formed on different bases.

What she doesn't realize she and Coren are saying is that religions are just a bigger type of gang.  They may not riot for a couple of nights and loot plasma TVs and trainers when they get bored but when they do have a beef with a rival 'gang' it tends to be a lot bigger and a lot bloodier and goes on for a lot longer - witness the Troubles in Northern Ireland or the Thirty Years War or the Crusades.

So instead of a huffy 'told you so' to British society, a little Christian humility in face of 'pot, kettle, black' religious conflicts down the centuries would not go amiss.

Date: 2011/08/21 22:08:42, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Kristine @ Aug. 20 2011,16:59)
Seversky - love the avatar! :)

*Calls Seversky on the phone* What are you flying? *Pant, pant!*

It's the Seversky P-35:

A contemporary of the Hawker Hurricane and Messerschmitt Bf 109, the P-35 was the first single-seat fighter in U.S. Army Air Corps to feature all-metal construction, retractable landing gear and an enclosed cockpit.

Alexander de Serversky was a Russian immigrant who recruited a lot of refugees from Stalin's Russia for his Seversky Aircraft Company.  The company name was changed in 1939 to Republic which went on to design and build the P-47 Thunderbolt, one of the best US fighters of WWII.

Date: 2011/08/23 20:52:25, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Aug. 22 2011,06:30)
Quote (Seversky @ Aug. 21 2011,22:08)
Quote (Kristine @ Aug. 20 2011,16:59)
Seversky - love the avatar! :)

*Calls Seversky on the phone* What are you flying? *Pant, pant!*

It's the Seversky P-35:

A contemporary of the Hawker Hurricane and Messerschmitt Bf 109, the P-35 was the first single-seat fighter in U.S. Army Air Corps to feature all-metal construction, retractable landing gear and an enclosed cockpit.

Alexander de Serversky was a Russian immigrant who recruited a lot of refugees from Stalin's Russia for his Seversky Aircraft Company.  The company name was changed in 1939 to Republic which went on to design and build the P-47 Thunderbolt, one of the best US fighters of WWII.

I remember reading one memoir of WWII discussing a squadron of P-47 Thunderbolts on patrol. They'd take their route at max altitude, it said, because while the P-47 would only gain altitude in a leisurely fashion, nothing could beat it in a dive.

Another anecdote from WWII  concerns a mock dogfight between a P-47 and an RAF Spitfire shortly after the former's deployment to the UK.

The Brits thought the light, agile Spitfire was one of the best fighters of its time, with good reason.  They expected it to make short work of the bigger and heavier Thunderbolt.  And to begin with, that was what happened.

When the Jug attempted to follow the Spit into a climb the British aircraft just soared away from it.  When they got into a turning fight, the P-47 found itself being out-turned.

The P-47 pilot then played his trump card.  He broke out of the turn and nosed down into a steep dive.  With his greater weight and power, he soon left his British opponent trailing far behind.  At the right moment, he pulled back on the stick and, by virtue of the great momentum it had built up, the P-47 zoomed up like a rocket into a half-loop, rolled horizontal and a startled RAF  pilot suddenly found himself looking at a huge radial engine and eight 50-caliber Brownings pointing straight at him.

Date: 2011/08/23 22:26:36, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (OgreMkV @ Aug. 23 2011,08:05)
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ Aug. 23 2011,01:51)
I made 2 jumps out of a DC-47 when I was in the para troopers. Bloody noisy inside, but the stuff of legend!


My GRANDFATHER jumped out of them prior to the invasion.  He was a drill instructor at the Fort Benning Paratrooper school.  

He didn't go to France because he had already been 'injured' overseas (stationed at Attu, home of the only Japanese invasion of US soil).  He took a grenade fragment in his foot.  Still, it was enough to keep him in the US for the rest of the war.

As an aircraft buff I was fascinated to find the Douglas DC3 Dakota/C-47 Skytrain's sister transport in WWII, the Curtiss C-46 Commando is still being operated by an airline in Alaska, Buffalo Airways

Date: 2011/08/24 21:26:14, Link
Author: Seversky
KF gets Lewontin into an OP!



It is always helpful to give a key example or two, and the now notorious NYRB 1997 clip from Professor Richard Lewontin makes a very good first example:

Is this a first?  Enquiring minds couldn't give a flying...want to know.

Date: 2011/08/24 21:34:47, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews raises questions about European ancestry  (Fair's fair.  We've questioned the ancestry of some of the denizen's of UD)

European ancestry is a tinderbox of change

But she still dodges the burning question: if North Americans are descended from Europeans, how come there are still Europeans?  Huh?  Huh?

Date: 2011/08/27 12:06:02, Link
Author: Seversky
At the same time, that well-known recovering atheist, the Liberace of LS-DYNA, summarily disposes of an entire scientific discipline:

It is really pathetic, when one thinks about it, that so many intellectual and investigative resources have been squandered on what is now known to be complete nonsense.

Many brilliant people, who could have done something productive and creative with their lives, have squandered their lives pursuing the phantom of Darwinian speculation. They’ve earned Ph.D.’s in something that never happened, and earn their salaries in academia “teaching” others to pursue a dead-end, archaic, 19th-century philosophy that has nothing to do with legitimate science.

What they really need, obviously, is the Dodgen approach to the scientific method.

To that end, I was envisaging a grand piano mounted on an airdrop cargo pallet.  Gil would sit at the piano with his laptop on the top.  At a given signal, Gil would start running the simulation and the pallet would be pushed out the back of a C-130 flying at the appropriate altitude.

There are two questions.

1) What should Gil play on the way down?

2) How many evolutionary biologists would like to assist in pushing out the cargo pallet.

Purely in the interests of science, of course.

Date: 2011/08/27 16:20:21, Link
Author: Seversky
OT: Mayday!

When I try to open The Bathroom Wall thread using Opera 11.5. it links immediately to a website called  It doesn't happen when I use IE.

An AV scan with !avast found a folder C:Recycler which it was unable to remove.  I'm assuming my computer is infected with the Recycler virus.

Googling for removal advice found various instructions but they differ in detail and I don't want to mess with the registry unless I'm sure of what I'm doing.

If anyone knows how to get rid of this annoying little worm, could they PM me please.

Thanks.  ???

Date: 2011/08/28 08:56:47, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Aug. 28 2011,06:38)

I’ll tell you what. I’ll take a course in comparative genomics and you take a course in computational fluid dynamics (which is real science, not speculation pretending to be science). We’ll both take the exit exams and see what happens.

Actually, in order to pass the comparative genomics exit exam all I’d have to do is memorize what I’ve been told and sold, and regurgitate it. This would require nothing but memorization. I’m pretty good at that, but I prefer to use that capability for something useful, like memorizing mathematical formulae that are applicable in my job as an aerospace R&D software engineer.

I’ll write a CFD program that can be demonstrated to accurately reflect reality through empirical testing. How will you demonstrate that comparative genomics has empirically verified that evolution came about in tiny steps as opposed to profound discontinuities (the overwhelming testimony of the fossil record), and that the mechanism of random errors filtered by natural selection produced sophisticated computer code with error-correction algorithms and the machinery required to implement them?

You won’t be able to, and that is why the two main claims of Darwinism — incremental gradualism and computer code evolved through natural selection of random errors — have nothing to do with legitimate science.


What Gil is doing is applied science or technology or even just engineering, not frontier science.  He craves the security of working with what is already tried and tested by others, the relative certainty of mathematical calculations which can be compared immediately with the results of test procedures.

He is like a tourist who believes taking a vacation in an African safari park is equivalent to - or even better than - the expeditions of the first explorers who ventured into the area when it was still largely unknown jungle or bush.  They risked failure and even death to open up regions that later tourists are able to enjoy in relative comfort and safety.

Gil did not develop the concepts of computational fluid dynamics or the equations which embody them.  The real scientists were the people who did.  

Real science is done when researchers venture beyond the boundaries of what is known to explore what lies beyond.  They risk making mistakes, they risk failure because that is how we learn.  There is nothing wrong in getting it wrong if it points us towards how to get it right.

The cargo-cult scientists at <i>Uncommon Descent</i> gloat over the apparent failures of mainstream science and pour scorn on its wilder speculations.  They are like armchair spectators jeering at the mistakes of athletes on the field.  It's a lot easier and safer to criticize a game than to play it.

They also fail to understand that there is nothing wrong with speculation - however fanciful - provided it is not presented as anything more certain.  As others have pointed out, we need a rich soil of ideas, fertilized with whatever evidence we can glean, in which to grow good hypotheses and theories.  What UD wants is a nice safe little window-box of approved and easily-managed concepts provided by the local garden center, not digging the ground and planting their own to see what comes up.

Date: 2011/08/28 13:32:04, Link
Author: Seversky

tuning-part-one/comment-page-1/#comment-397768]NR[/URL] on kf:

But it looks like it is you who are misinterpreting.

I’m a mathematician. Probability theory is part of my area of knowledge. I have taught classes on statistical inference.

I am only pointing out the limitations as to what conclusions you can draw on the basis of probability.

Heh!  I love the sound of a pompous ass being squelched first thing in the morning.

Date: 2011/08/28 13:41:14, Link
Author: Seversky
...and I find it very annoying when the board software breaks a URL  :angry:

Date: 2011/08/31 23:20:20, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (carlsonjok @ Aug. 31 2011,21:06)
Since Bob O'H named the previous thread after his house pet feline overlord, I figure I can get away with naming the next after Foster, a dearly loved and missed dog.  He was a better person than most people who legitimately are classified as homo sapien, especially a fair number of those retrograde knotheads over at UD.

Too maudlin?

Not in the slightest.  Foster looks to be a fine fellow, a canine superior in every way to the asinine at UD.

This is another thing I hold against the UD version of Christianity:  a heaven which does not admit loyal companions like your Foster or my Sam can do without me as well.  Not that there is much chance of me getting there even if it does exist.

Date: 2011/09/03 11:35:32, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews quotes Mark Steyn getting all nostalgic about the movie Apollo 13.  She tries to smear current thinking in cosmology by linking it to the fiction of the upcoming Apollo 18.

Now, some fear NASA will end up in tune with crackpot cosmologies. You know, “We are living in a giant hologram, or a giant trailer filled with poop, or whatever Stephen Hawking says we are living in” because he is The Smartest Man in the WorldTM, and these days genius beats exploration as a source of knowledge.

Obviously, it's much better to rely on a book filled with stories of talking snakes or sticks that turn into snakes or voices speaking out of burning bushes or the parting of seas or people turned into pillars of salt for just looking the wrong way.  Let's keep things real here, people.

Date: 2011/09/03 18:14:54, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (paragwinn @ Sep. 03 2011,16:13)
Densey O'Bleary's Philosophy of Science:    
Intelligent design will prevail when engineers rule.

Cuz an engineer would never tell you that we live in a giant trailer full of poop.

Tacoma Narrows Bridge



Hyatt Regency Walkway (Kansas City)

Ford Pinto

London Millenium Footbridge

Space Shuttle Challenger


Tay Bridge (Scotland)

De Havilland Comet

Deepwater Horizon

... etc

Yep, engineers are so much less error-prone than all the other disciplines and professions..

Date: 2011/09/04 02:05:56, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews as always speaks out for academic freedom:

The zone of protected professorial speech is shrinking.

They might want to check into what’s happening to students too. They should see Expelled as well.

Today’s universities are a living antithesis of everything North American nations were founded for.

Ah, yes.  There was that notorious case of the professor at some Southern Baptist seminary who wrote something that was felt to be at odds with orthodox opinion at the institution.  He was invited to 'clarify' his position or look for another job.  

DeNews really gave them a hard time over that.

Or was that someone else?

Date: 2011/09/04 08:32:06, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews and the rabbis continue their sinful ways:

Rabbi pleads with Darwinian atheists: Turn back from legal pedophilia. But they can’t.

1.  DeNews sees no difference between journalism and propaganda and thereby ignores the commandment against bearing false witness.

2.  Various celebrity clergy are quick to smear atheism for implying amorality and hence permitting pedophilia.  They ignore the evidence that religious belief does not provide an insurmountable barrier to pedophilia which brings to mind a saying about glass houses and stone-throwing.

3.  Even worse is that, while the Lord took care to prohibit things like taking His name in vain, making graven images or coveting the neighbor's ox, He apparently overlooked the small matter of abusing children - or maybe He didn't consider it such a big deal.

4.  They all sidestep the is/ought problem and the Euthyphro Dilemma.

Date: 2011/09/04 17:10:40, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ Aug. 27 2011,11:58)
I've found the perfect wedding ring for Alicja.

I might need a bit of help to get it, though...

Sweet!  But don't we have anything similar here on Earth?

Either that or you'd better get that warp drive finished, Dr Cochrane.

Date: 2011/09/15 18:46:14, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (George @ Sep. 15 2011,15:55)
And why has no one offered Welsh Louis commiserations on his nation's one point defeat to South Africa?  

Because it's rather funny watching the Springboks getting their own back for Rorke's Drift?

Date: 2011/09/17 18:14:15, Link
Author: Seversky
Gil Dogden!

Date: 2011/09/22 17:47:22, Link
Author: Seversky
<Mr Spock>


</Mr Spock>

I wonder how long it will take UD to spin this into another Death Knell for Darwinism and materialist science?

Come to think of it, that's another good nickname for DeNews - Death Nell for Darwinism.

And she sort of reminds me of les tricoteuses the French working women who sat knitting under Madame la Guillotine cheering at the next head to fall.

Date: 2011/09/22 21:11:49, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Seversky @ Sep. 22 2011,17:47)
I wonder how long it will take UD to spin this into another Death Knell for Darwinism and materialist science?

Not long.

These people are so predictable.

Date: 2011/09/30 20:42:58, Link
Author: Seversky
DeNews finds more evidence for design:

Strange new features spotted on Mercury

From Rachel Kaufman, National Geographic News (September 29, 2011):

The planet Mercury is dotted with holes that appear to be unlike any other landform yet seen in the solar system, new pictures show.

It looks a bit like like a golfball!

God does not play dice with the Universe He uses it as a golf course!

Intelligent Design!

Date: 2011/10/02 11:54:04, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Oct. 01 2011,21:25)
Stung by the groans elicited by endless repetition of his "I was once an evil atheist" conversion story, Gil resorts to yet another repetition of his "I program LS-Dyna, perhaps the world's most powerful software ever created for the purpose" tic.  

You know, you'd think that, being such a software whiz, he'd just program some sort of bot that would post alternating "I was once an evil atheist"/"I am the Liberace of LS-DYNA" screeds with minor variations to save himself the trouble of doing it manually.

Come to think of it how do we know he hasn't?

Date: 2011/10/15 18:22:43, Link
Author: Seversky
If Caroline Crocker really believes this

Therefore, I think I am justified in pointing out that is important to remember that for Christians nothing trumps the Bible, not even science.

and taught it in her science classes then small wonder she was fired.

It also makes one wonder how DeNews can claim that

Crocker, by contrast, thinks she is following up on an evidence base. That gives her the sovereign right to ignore or dispute nonsense.

How can she be " following up on an evidence base" if the Bible trumps any contradictory evidence that science might uncover.

Come to think of it, why bother to pursue a scientific career at all if all the answers are in the Bible?

Date: 2011/10/16 08:40:37, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Louis @ Oct. 16 2011,03:36)
That post needs to be celebrated with a Lemon Party. Have a Blue Waffle.


You might want to ease back on that cold medicine. ???

Date: 2011/10/16 15:49:50, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 16 2011,13:17)
Quote (OgreMkV @ Oct. 16 2011,11:38)
Quote (Ftk @ Oct. 16 2011,11:19)

Probably because it's hard to be nice to someone who is both willfully ignorant and ignores reality in favor of their preferred delusion.

People disagree about lots of things.  I don't know why you would reject their friendship merely because they don't align with your own.  Makes no sense.  Your defriending them isn't going to change their opinions, so what is the point?

She does have a point.  What's poisoning US politics at the moment is an excess of intransigence and intolerance.

There's no reason to stop communicating with people just because you have different religious or political views.  Of course, it depends on both sides being tolerant.  I have no problem talking with believers.  It could become one, though, if part of their beliefs held that atheists or agnostics are worse than pedophiles who should be stripped of their citizenship and expelled from the country.

The same applies to those atheists who regard the Westboro Baptist Church as being representative of all Christians, of course

Date: 2011/10/16 16:01:23, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (k.e.. @ Oct. 16 2011,09:06)
Quote (Seversky @ Oct. 16 2011,16:40)
Quote (Louis @ Oct. 16 2011,03:36)
That post needs to be celebrated with a Lemon Party. Have a Blue Waffle.


You might want to ease back on that cold medicine. ???

That would be tripe and black pudding, right?

Mock not.  Tripe and black pudding are triumphs of British hautepaute cuisine and ingenuity.  Not only do they provide a nourishing repast but they can be used to repair punctures in rubber tires and fill small potholes in roads.

Date: 2011/10/22 22:34:03, Link
Author: Seversky
StephenB springs to the defense of....God?
Since no one has said anything nice about God for a while, I will take up his defense:

Is it just me or is there something faintly ludicrous about the notion of the eternal, all-knowing, all-powerful Creator of the Entire Universe and Everything In It needing to be defended by anyone - let alone StephenB?

Date: 2011/10/23 00:38:56, Link
Author: Seversky
It's the same thing as watching a really bad soap.  There's a sort of horrible fascination in watching something so awful and wondering how on Earth it ever got on the air.

Date: 2011/11/02 20:34:38, Link
Author: Seversky
Sure I can.  There was a cute little saber-toothed calico kitteh called Muffin.  Lived 521,324,951- 521,324,939 BCE.

Date: 2011/11/04 03:48:44, Link
Author: Seversky
Screwing the Pooch:
gpuccioNovember 4, 2011 at 12:32 am


Just for curiosity. You say:

It basically tells us that before Wells had even studied the subject he had been instructed to devote his life to destroying it!

But your quote from Wells is:

“Father’s [Sun Myung Moon's] words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism.”

I can’t see your point. Wells is obviously including “his studies” in the reasons that convinced him. What’s wrong with that?

Thus does gpuccio, for all his appearance of sweet reason, confirm himself as just another fuddite (fundamentalist Luddite), like Wells, out to destroy anything like science that conflicts with his faith.

In the unlikely event that the Pooch actually does not see anything wrong with Wells's admission, we could trying changing just one word:
“Father’s [Sun Myung Moon's] words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Christianity.”

Presumably, the Pooch would see nothing wrong with that either.

Or is he being a touch disingenuous, perchance?

Date: 2011/11/05 04:25:08, Link
Author: Seversky
Mullings over questions of probability:
If you CANNOT so specify on objective grounds of warrant, the default is S = 0. That means if you take a million coins in a string and toss them so they settle H/T at random, S will be zero. but if the coins are arranged in accordance with the ASCII code for a coherent work in English, we have every right to see this as a specified outcome, and to infer that Chi_500 will be much more than 1, so the outcome is best explained on the only empirically known causal force that can make that outcome reasonably likely on the gamut of our solar system: design. [Just as, would be the reasonable conclusion if you came across a coherent text in English online that required 143,000 or so ASCII characters, or about 25,000 words.]

Hmmm, a human body, like yours or mine, is an incredibly complex arrangement of uncounted trillions of molecules, atoms, sub-atomic particles, what have you, which has come together at this time and this place for a short period.  The odds against such a highly-organized structure emerging from blind chance and mechanical necessity must be literally astronomical.  Yet here you are and here am I and here are around seven billion others.  Does this mind-boggling improbability and specificity mean that we were all designed or is it possible we are we the product of some natural process?  Now, perhaps you were designed by some Dr Frankenstein in a secret laboratory somewhere but I'm reasonably sure I am the product of the natural process of human procreation and I assume the same is true of the rest of the people on this planet.

Why is that so hard for you to understand?


Date: 2011/11/12 17:20:22, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Raevmo @ Nov. 12 2011,07:00)
Just in case you have any lingering doubts that Vincent Torley still has some small measure of sanity left, read this.
Or imagine that the family member opts for a head transplant. Which would you value as the person you loved: the head or the body? And what if the body their head is transplanted onto is robotic? Now imagine that this person wants to load their all their personal memories onto a CD, before they die. Assuming it were doable, would you ascribe any ethical value to the CD? If you’re self-consistent in your ethics, you’d ascribe value to the head and the to the CD. But I wouldn’t. I’d identify more with the loved one’s body, and I’d attach zero importance to the CD. In my book, anything that doesn’t have a body, isn’t even an organism, and therefore isn’t an individual.

Commenter goodusername is shocked.

Torley and goodusername might enjoy viewing Cold Lazarus

Date: 2011/11/19 11:51:52, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (CeilingCat @ Nov. 19 2011,10:54)
Granville Sewell remains confused about the Second Law Of Thermodynamics.  He's just posted Evolution is a Movie Running Backwards to show this.  

Intelligent Design is a Movement Running Backwards would be closer to the truth.

Date: 2011/11/19 23:11:18, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (CeilingCat @ Nov. 19 2011,12:33)
Oh wonderful.  DeNews announces a new book, “The First Gene: The Birth of Programming, Messaging and Formal Control” by the great scientist, David Abel.  And not just any old book, it's a "peer-reviewed anthology of papers", presumably using the ID meaning of "peer review" which seems to be "Let some friends read it."

The book itself promises to focus "entirely on the following difficult scientific questions: *How did physics and chemistry write the first genetic instructions? *How could a prebiotic (pre-life, inanimate) environment consisting of nothing but chance and necessity have programmed logic gates, decision nodes, configurable-switch settings, and prescriptive information using a symbolic system of codons (three nucleotides per unit/block of code)?" and much, much more.

And the author?  He is so far out ahead of the pack that the Amazon book review says:  "Few specialists exist in the world in either of two new scientific disciplines: ProtoBioCybernetics and ProtoBioSemiotics. Because of the paucity of researchers in these two fields, the Editor of this anthology was forced to introduce both scientific disciplines by contributing most of the chapters in this initial anthology."

So this is looking like a really really good ID book, using the ID definition of "really really good".

It's reviewed on Amazon by Casey Luskin (he liked it) and Mr. Danzil Monk.  (He liked it too.)  We all know and appreciate Casey Luskin and give him every bit of the respect that is due, but who is Danzil Monk?

A newcomer on the ID scene, Danzil has reviewed a couple of other ID books on Amazon.  "The Dark Side of Charles Darwin" by Jerry Bergman and "Evolution: The Grand Experiment Episode 1 DVD" by Dr. Carl Werner.  (Liked them both.)

He's also reviewed "Astonishing X-Men - Gifted (Marvel Knights) DVD ~ Wolverine" ("Aaaww man, why did they do this?", "...for the most part the animation stinks. It is just a slightly better than the 1966 Marvel animation series."  "It is sad that animations have to include fowl language these day.") and

"Justice League Unlimited, Seasons 1-2 (DC Comics Classic Collection) DVD ~ Green Arrow" ("I have the entire Justice League Series including the Justice League Unlimited and after watching the entire series 5 times I can say without reservation that this series is by far the best animated series that I have seen to date.", "It is so refreshing to watch an animation that does not rely on obscenities and profanity for "realism".

All in all, it looks like another bright star in the ID publishing universe.  Using the ID definition of "bright star".

Another little gem.  According to Danzil:

The introduction alone will no doubt send chills down the spines those who for many years have striven to separate and ignore the relationship between the question of origin and the story telling upon which some so called "science" is based. In the introduction he makes this gripping statement:

"Why would a prebiotic environment have "cared" whether anything functioned? How could inanimate nature have recognized, valued, pursued or worked to preserve the "usefulness" of certain molecules? Undirected evolution has no goal. Natural selection favors only the fittest already-programmed, already-living organisms. Evolution cannot program at the genetic level.
"Survival of the fittest" does not explain the generation of the very first organism, fit or unfit.

In other words, "one of the greatest scientific thinkers of our day" is treading the well-worn path of intelligent design creationist propaganda by accusing the theory of evolution of not doing what it never claimed to be able to do in the first place - provide a complete theory of origins.

Abel also plays the standard scientific maverick card:

"This anthology is dedicated to all those challengers of Kuhnian Paradigm Ruts who risk their careers and reputations raising an eyebrow of skepticism over theories that are pontificated to be fact by a thoroughly entrenched hierarchy and majority, but which are in fact unfalsifiable, completely unsubstantiated empirically, lacking a single prediction fulfillment, and not even logically defensible."

which deserves Robert Park's standard response:

It is not enough to wear the mantle of Galileo: that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment. You must also be right.

Date: 2011/12/04 07:49:31, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Dr.GH @ Oct. 24 2011,18:37)
"A Weirdly Naked Appeal to Racism from the National Center for Science Education?
10.24.2011 4:35PM

David Klinghoffer is one of the most vile shit-for-brains in the entire Discotute stable of whores.

That goes without saying although, since they played the racism card, it did lead me to wonder how many members of the DI are not white.

Date: 2011/12/07 00:08:05, Link
Author: Seversky
...God too has characteristics that you might not expect. Among them is the quality, surprising to find in the transcendent source of all existence, of being rather shy...


We're talking about the Great White Sky-Dude who tossed Adam and Eve out of Eden for disobeying orders, who turned people into pillars of salt for looking at him the wrong way, who wiped out whole cities and races because they wouldn't grovel before him and who finally drowned out almost all life on Earth in an amazing fit of pique.

"Shy" is not the first word that comes to mind to describe him.

By no means does nature hit you over the head and shout "I am designed! There is a designer! And the designer's name is the LORD!"

Really?  Are you serious?  The whole case for design in Nature from Paley onwards has been that it's so blatantly obvious that only a fool could deny that it screams out for explanation.

Someone needs to have a quiet word with Corporal Klinghoffer about staying on-message.

They can never tire of boisterously waving Judge Jones in our face.

That's because before the trial we heard a lot of bluster along the lines of

I therefore await the day when the hearings are not voluntary but involve subpoenas that compel evolutionists to be deposed and interrogated at length on their views.


What I propose, then, is a strategy for interrogating the Darwinists to, as it were, squeeze the truth out of them.

But all we actually heard at Dover then is what we've heard from the DI ever since - the sound of pips squeaking.

Date: 2011/12/11 11:10:07, Link
Author: Seversky
I see DeNews is still harping on about the free will/determinism issue:

Another atheist checks out of no consciousness/no free will

If it hasn't already been done, some one with access to UD should point out to her that the existence of her god would mean that free will does not exist.

Put simply, if her god has knowledge of our future then it already exists (think block universe) since even an omniscient god cannot have knowledge of that which does not exist to be known.  If the future already exists then free will (or at least her naive concept of same) cannot.  We are all like little trains, trundling along to wherever the rails take us.

Tell her she can have her god or she can have free will but she can't have both.

Date: 2011/12/11 16:52:10, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Woodbine @ Dec. 11 2011,11:33)
Jello has been banninated.

(I think so anyway, now when I hit 'Post Comment' the message just dissolves quietly into the void.)

To:  Kairosfocus

A word in you ear.

Banning the messenger doesn't ban the message.

The Old Testament still contains stories of what are, by modern standards, very unsavory attitudes and behavior, not to say immoral.

And trying to divert attention by accusing Dawkins, et al of anti-semitism smells very strongly of an Alinskyite red herring being smoked over an open fire of burning strawmen lightly scented with oil of ad hominem.

Date: 2011/12/14 22:56:31, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (didymos @ Dec. 14 2011,20:41)
Quote (Occam's Aftershave @ Dec. 14 2011,18:20)
Bully Arrington gets his dander up when DrREC won't give the answer Bully wants;

Bully: "DrREC, I will ask the question one more time. If you evade it again, I suppose the answer will be clear enough. If your opponent were dealt ten straight flushes in a row would you make a design inference?

If you had never seen a card game before, had no idea what poker is, didn't know what the markings on the cards meant or how many combinations are possible,  didn't know what the relative value of any particular combination was, the answer is NO.

And of course, even if you did know all that and did make the "design inference" could be wrong.  That guy/gal may have just gotten extraordinarily lucky.

Just like we all are.

I am a unique arrangement of uncounted trillions of sub-atomic particles that has come into existence for a few score years (if I'm lucky).  The odds against my unique pattern coming into existence at this point in time and space must be literally astronomical.  If someone better qualified wants to calculate them, be my guest.

So I must be designed, right?

Well, actually, no.  As far as I know, I was brought about the good old-fashioned natural way.  Unless my parents lied to me, of course.

The same is also true of the six billion or so other similar but unique arrangements of trillions of sub-atomic particles that share this planet with me at this time.

I wonder what the odds against that are?  Bully?  Bully?  Anyone?

Date: 2011/12/15 22:04:21, Link
Author: Seversky
John D @17 here:

Motors were known to be designed BEFORE they were found in cells

You mean they found things like a 5.7-liter HEMI® V8 MDS engine with Variable Valve Timing producing 390 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 407 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm inside a cell?

Why aren't we told these things?

Intelligent Design:  An Analogy Too Far

Date: 2011/12/16 06:28:06, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ Dec. 16 2011,02:08)
Farewell, Hitch!

:(   :(   :(

Amen. :(

Date: 2011/12/31 00:55:21, Link
Author: Seversky
Bruce David (quoted by Cairo's FUBAR)

What you are all missing, even you, Dr. Sewell, is that it is not obvious that even with intelligence in the picture a major modification of a complex system is possible one small step at a time if there is a requirement that the system continue to function after each such step.

For example, consider a WWII fighter, say the P51 Mustang. Can you imagine any series of incremental changes that would transform it into a jet fighter, say the F80 and have the plane continue to function after each change? To transform a piston engine fighter in to a jet fighter requires multiple simultaneous changes for it to work–an entirely new type of engine, different engine placement, different location of the wings, different cockpit controls and dials, changes to the electrical system, different placement of the fuel tanks, new air intake systems, different materials to withstand the intense heat of the jet exhaust, etc., etc., etc. You can’t make these changes in a series of small steps and have a plane that works after each step, no matter how much intelligence is input into the process.

Now both a P51 and an F80 are complex devices, but any living organism, from the simplest cell on up to a large multicellular plant or animal, is many orders of magnitude more complex than a fighter plane. If you believe that it is possible to transform a reptile with a bellows lung, solid bones and scales, say, into a bird with a circular flow lung, hollow bones, and feathers by a series of small incremental changes each of which not only results in a functioning organism, but a more “fit” one, then the burden of proof is squrely on your shoulders, because the idea is absurd on the face of it.

TARDcatz.  Argument by analogy.  Ur doin' it wrong.

P51 iz machine.  Made of metal 'n stuff.  Flies fast.  Carries gunz.  Good for shootin down other planez.  Does not make copies of self.

Birdz not machine.  Made of featherz n' stuff.  Not fly fast. No gunz.  Not good for shootin down other planez.  (Good to eat, but I digress) Iz makin copies of self.

Argument by allergy, not fallacy.

Selektive reporting iz.

Date: 2012/01/01 02:05:25, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Kristine @ Dec. 31 2011,17:51)
Happy new year, everyone!

Now we get to hear all the blather about the Mayan calendar and 2012... ;)

If the Mayan were so smart, how come they didn't predict their own demise?  Huh?  Huh?  Bueller?  Dembski?  Anyone?

Date: 2012/01/02 11:38:26, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Zachriel @ Jan. 02 2012,10:46)
Ah, you've jumped right into the tardheap.

CSI, Complex Specified Information;
a.k.a. DFSCI, Digital Functionally Specified Complex Information;
a.k.a. EF, Explanatory Filter;
a.k.a. FAI, Functional Algorithmic Information;
a.k.a. Fits, Functional Bits;
a.k.a. FSC, Functional Sequence Complexity;
a.k.a. FSCI, Functionally Specified Complex Information;
a.k.a. GSP, Genetic Selection Principle;
a.k.a. ID, Intelligent Design;
a.k.a. IR, Irreducible Complexity;
a.k.a. PI, Prescriptive Information;
a.k.a. TARD, The Argument Regarding Design;
a.k.a. UPB, Universal Probability Bound;
a.k.a. UPM, Universal Plausibility Metric;
a.k.a. FIIRDS,  Functional incredibly improbable random digital strings;
a.k.a. FSCO/I, Functionally Specific, Complex  Organisation and associated Information.

You missed one - Functional Information in Algorithmically Specified Complex Organization (FIASCO)

Date: 2012/01/02 22:56:05, Link
Author: Seversky
On that whole front page of UD there's just one post about ID - one of KF's endless reiterations of his metaphor of "islands of function" (I wonder if that has anything to do with living on a Caribbean island)

For the rest, we have another round of the Weikartist attempts to smear "Darwinism" by associating it with Nazism, noted cosmologist Charles Krauthammer musing about our lack of contact with aliens, the usual jibes about materialism and moral relativism and, lastly, one of DeNews's ubiquitous but anonymous friends claiming that a BBC wildlife documentary about flight is an "antidote to Darwinism".  Just how this might be is not explained.

On this evidence, ID as science is moribund at best.

Date: 2012/01/08 13:28:41, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Jan. 08 2012,12:16)
kairosfocus re-writes history:    
And for that, the rise of Social Darwinism — with Charles Darwin and family heavily implicated from the foundational days of that movement of thought — ...

In the same vein, he describes Werner von Braun as:

... the man who led the Apollo project, the world famed von Braun, was not only a design thinker and Christian, but a creationist.

but neglects to mention that he was also, according to Wikipedia, a

...member of the Nazi party, commissioned Sturmbannführer of the paramilitary SS and decorated Nazi war hero

which, as far as I'm aware, neither Charles Darwin nor members of his family ever were.

Methinks KF is experiencing the sweet smell of excess brought on by huffing too many burning strawmen soaked in oil of ad hominem.

As for van Lommel's research into NDEs, they suffer from the same problems as all such studies, they are based on anecdotal accounts where it is very difficult to be certain that the reported experiences occurred at the same time as the brain was clinically dead and not during the periods of unconsciousness and semi-consciousness that precede and follow the brain-dead state.

Date: 2012/01/09 18:50:21, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (CeilingCat @ Jan. 09 2012,06:49)
Ya see, if you weren't so gosh-darned FALLEN, you'd realize how sinful it is to do anything that a Real Bible-Believing Christian, such as kairosfocus, disapproves of.

When I hear Christian apologists justify human suffering by attributing it to The Fall I can understand the rage and frustration felt by KF's "stalker".

According to the Bible, we are made by God in his image.  We were created by an omnipotent being who could have made us any way it chose.  In other words, it could have made an Eve that thought it was very odd for a snake to be talking to her and ran a mile.  It could have made both Adam and Eve obedient servants who were simply incapable of doing anything forbidden by their creator.  But it chose not to, it chose to make us as we are.

This creator is also held to be omniscient.  In other words, it must have known in advance exactly what was going to happen.

So how in the hell are we supposed to be to blame?

Date: 2012/01/12 21:44:39, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (khan @ Jan. 12 2012,19:35)
As for the next decade, with luck, we are reaching the point where it’s safe to test design hypotheses, in the sense that many might fail and a few succeed. That’s the usual way with any endeavour in science, of course. But in a corrupt environment, success means hewing the party line and failure means departing from it. So rational analysis will remain impossible in many venues.

Pedant almost English Major: that should be "hewing to"

For DeNews, 'hie' would be more appropriate, as in "Hie thee to a nunnery!"

Date: 2012/01/13 18:18:49, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Jan. 13 2012,12:20)
Gordon, comment editing coward, says:
Dr Liddle:

I am sorry. The false accusation is so outrageously incendiary and unwarranted, that just walking away from it is not good enough.

You need to explain and do something to set things right, pardon.


Link. What happens next I wonder?


Are they barbecuing strawmen over there again?  I like mine sauteed in oil of ad hominem and served with fava beans and a nice chianti.

Date: 2012/01/14 12:49:41, Link
Author: Seversky
Kairosfocus on the God of the Old Testament:

This boils down to: If I am sufficiently clever, or powerful or persuasive to get away with it, I can do as I please.

Not really, I know, but that does come pretty close to characterizing the apparent behavior of the OT God which, in turn, makes nonsense of this claim:

Put in another way [please do follow the steps of thought there], the only worldviews that are morally coherent are those that have in them a foundational IS that grounds OUGHT. The best candidate for that, is the inherently good and inherently reasonable Creator God, who is such that IS and OUGHT are inseparably foundational to reality.

Clearly, this is what kf wishes his God to be but the evidence of the OT and what we observe of this universe is against him.  And wishes are not an "is" that can ground an "ought" with any kind of sufficient "warrant", not when observations of the universe actually "warrant" a very different conclusion.

Besides, in promoting his version of evangelical Christianity as a cure for the Caribbean's - and, by extension, the world's - ills, he is committing the error of failing to learn from history identified by George Santayana.

The lesson is simple: whenever an individual or group believes they have discovered some absolute and unassailable Truth it has invariably been found to be flawed.  The danger lies in it falling into the hands of powerful and ruthless individuals and their followers where it can have catastrophic consequences for those who do not accept it unconditionally.  This was the case with Nazism, communism as practiced in the Soviet Union and Red China and the many religious conflicts that have plagued humanity throughout history.

If kf really believes his version of Christian theology could bring about a golden era of peace and goodwill if applied universally, he needs to look at the history of previous attempts to bring that about.  The record of conflicts between the various faiths of the world as well as internal struggles, such as the long-running feud between Protestantism and Catholicism within Christianity, should be enough to give anyone pause for thought who might be contemplating trying something like that again.

It isn't surprising that people crave certainty when faced with a dangerous, unpredictable and mostly uncontrollable universe, nor that there are people who claim to be able to provide it.  

Unfortunately, as Marx pointed out, there are obvious parallels between religion and drug abuse.  At their mildest they can just induce a sense of well-being and benevolence but stronger doses can lead to beliefs that are dangerously false to fact like someone under the influence of a hallucinogen who becomes convinced that they can fly only to fall to their death when they jump out of a tall building or the devout family who believed that prayer could cure their daughter of untreated diabetes even as she died on the floor in front of them.

Until kf is able to address these issues his precious "warrant" counts for little.

Date: 2012/01/15 15:01:45, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Jan. 15 2012,13:22)
New Dembski interview.


Mentions of the global flood he had to accept as real in order to keep his job: Zero.

Ultimately, I think ID will win. A few years ago, I thought I’d be around to see its victory. Now, I’m not so sure. The Bible actually gives me great comfort in this regard, because one sees in it that God’s purposes are not generally carried out by the flamboyant, well-placed, and powerful. But in the end, the false prophets are always clearly identified, and those who were true are vindicated. ID, in my view, plays a prophetic role for our culture.

But what's ID got to do with the Bible Dembski?

The religious thread that runs through that interview clearly gives the lie to the claim that Intrelligent Design is a purely scientific program.  Of course, it is possible to investigate whether design can be identified reliably regardless of any knowledge of the source but that doesn't change the evidence that ID was an outgrowth of the creation science movement and that, for the vast majority of its proponents and supporters, it has a religious purpose, namely "Design theory promises to reverse the stifling dominance of the materialist worldview, and to replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions."  Unless and until the movement specifically repudiates that policy it will always be regarded as primarily religious rather than scientific.

Date: 2012/01/15 19:07:23, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Dr.GH @ Jan. 15 2012,19:02)
Quote (carlsonjok @ Jan. 15 2012,15:57)
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Jan. 15 2012,17:15)
About "Expelled":      
The seven or so minutes devoted to the Nazis and their assimilation of Darwinian theory and its basis in the holocaust seemed misplaced. Not that there isn’t a connection, but bringing up the Nazis invariably causes the temperature to rise and the train of an argument to be lost. Far better would have been to use those seven minutes to recount the record of accomplishment of intelligent design.

They could use 1.54 repetitions of John Cage's 4'33" as the soundtrack.

Good point!

How would they fill 7 whole minutes?

Read the opening paragraph of one of kairosfocus's posts?

Date: 2012/01/19 07:59:48, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (CeilingCat @ Jan. 19 2012,06:15)
Yet, here we are 300+ years later with nothing to memorialize St. Joe's miracles but some collections of hearsay told by various religious officials.  If there are any secular tales of St. Joe of Cupertino, vjtorley and the editors of Wikipedia apparently can't find them.  Too bad, I was all ready to believe.

I'm more likely to believe in St Steve of Cupertino.  According to many of his followers, the man could do no wrong and walked on (MacBook) air.

Date: 2012/01/19 08:16:40, Link
Author: Seversky
In vjtorley's thread replying to Elizabeth Liddle about methodological naturalism:


3.1 Elizabeth Liddle January 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Ah, but then we get bogged down by what “supernatural” means.

I don't see any problem with "methodological naturalism".  To me, it simply means the methodical study of the nature of things.  In other words, any phenomena which can be observed by us - however indirectly, even only in principle - which has a 'nature' which distinguishes it from all other phenomena or just nothing at all is a fit subject for science.  That would exclude a deity who exists entirely beyond our observational reach but not one who interferes in our universe in some way.

The problem with "supernatural" is that it has all sorts of  connotations which mean it's not really the polar opposite of "natural".  Ghosts, if they exist, would presumably have a nature that could be studied.

So what about "extranatural" instead?

Date: 2012/01/20 18:10:25, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (CeilingCat @ Jan. 20 2012,06:45)
Oh Joy!!  A Testable ID Hypothesis!!

Kairosfocus has found somebody with the nom-de-tard of Genomicus who has provided a Testable ID Hypothesis.

Here it is:      
Thus, we can make this prediction from a front-loading perspective: proteins that are very important to eukaryotes, and specific to them, will share deep homology (either structurally or in sequence similarity) with prokaryotic proteins, and importantly, that these prokaryotic proteins will be more conserved in sequence identity than the average prokaryotic protein.

Emphasis in the original.

Looks fool proof to me.

Very nice, but who front-loaded the front-loaders?

Date: 2012/01/22 17:06:15, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Soapy Sam @ Jan. 22 2012,04:53)
Greetings, earthlings.

Let it be known that what is and isn't observable, by definitional fiat, must on that grounds alone (and with clear regard to the hidden agendas of those who would hoodwink us to think otherwise) be dismissed as beyond the remit of a priori materialistic investigation. This is verified as true by the massively empirically confirmed and warranted operation of design in the observable here-and-now. 500+ bits of dFCSI cannot be produced by stochastic means, though you can get a shave and a haircut for 2.

And BTW ID is not anti-evohlution. Just me. Liar. No, you're a liar.

Sorry, just coming up for air!

You can't fool me.  You're really StephenB, aren't you?

Date: 2012/01/28 10:50:15, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Jan. 28 2012,06:14)

Scientists at Michigan State University showed for the first time how a virus called "Lambda" evolved to find a new way to attack host cells, a change accomplished in just four mutation steps.

While Lambda isn't dangerous to humans, the research demonstrated how viruses evolve complex and potentially deadly new traits, researcher Justin Meyer said in an MSU release Thursday.

"We were surprised at first to see Lambda evolve this new function, this ability to attack and enter the cell through a new receptor -- and it happened so fast," Meyer said. "But when we re-ran the evolution experiment, we saw the same thing happen over and over."

Still a virus however...

Ah, but is it alive?

On the other hand, if it isn't alive how is it evolving?

Date: 2012/01/28 11:51:08, Link
Author: Seversky
Glaring Contradictions Kairosfocus Ignores #1

Quote kairosfocus  January 28, 2012


Then, we have the capping off with the claim that we have no freedom of will. Which means we cannot make truly responsible choices. The immediate implicat6ions are that we have undermined the credibility of mind and reasoned thought, and moral thought as well. Much less, moral acts. That is, all is conditioning, through genes, memes and whatever emotional and social forces have shaped you.

This is simple.

If the Christian's God is omniscient and if it knows the future then there can be no free will.

An omniscient god is one who knows all that can be known.  But even such a being cannot know what does not exist to be known.

If the Christian's God knows the future - and there is Biblical evidence to that effect - then that future already exists to be known.  In effect, it is all pre-ordained.  That future includes all of our individual futures which are, thus, also pre-ordained.  In other words, if our futures are already set in stone, as it were, then we are no more than little trains, each of us trundling along our own unique tracks until we reach the end of the line.  We have no free will.

Thus it is the Christian God "Which means we cannot make truly responsible choices. The immediate implicat6ions are that we have undermined the credibility of mind and reasoned thought, and moral thought as well. Much less, moral acts."  We are just puppets, dancing to whatever tune God chooses and "conditioning, through genes, memes and whatever emotional and social forces have shaped you" is entirely irrelevant.

Date: 2012/01/28 11:57:20, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (keiths @ Jan. 28 2012,01:19)
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Jan. 27 2012,18:11)
Well, I don't know anything about parrots in general. But I do know that Keas are extremely intelligent, curious, playful, co-operative, and fearless (never any predators around).

Keas are obsessively curious. I was having lunch at Arthur's Pass one day, wearing a ratty pair of shoes, one of which was starting to lose its sole.  A kea hopped over and amused me by spending an entire 15 minutes tugging on the flap, trying to pull the sole all the way off.

Didn't I hear that Apple were going to open a furniture store in that part of Kiwiland?  There were going to call it iKea but ran into copyright problems.

Date: 2012/01/28 12:12:59, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (keiths @ Jan. 28 2012,01:19)
Quote (Kattarina98 @ Jan. 27 2012,18:11)
Well, I don't know anything about parrots in general. But I do know that Keas are extremely intelligent, curious, playful, co-operative, and fearless (never any predators around).

Keas are obsessively curious. I was having lunch at Arthur's Pass one day, wearing a ratty pair of shoes, one of which was starting to lose its sole.  A kea hopped over and amused me by spending an entire 15 minutes tugging on the flap, trying to pull the sole all the way off.

Actually, that reminds me of a visit to an aviary somewhere in Western Australia.  I was walking through it when I felt something touching the back of my shoe.  When I looked round, there was this gaggle of galahs following behind me pecking at the back of me trainers.  The shoes had a strip of reflective material running up the back and I'm guessing that's what intrigued the birds..

Date: 2012/01/28 18:54:33, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Richardthughes @ Jan. 28 2012,17:58)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Jan. 28 2012,17:15)
Omnkiscience has to be a drag. If I were omniscient and omnipotent I'd make something that would surprise me.

WRT to "God", this has always vexxed me. Why do ANYTHING? You KNOW the outcome..


Why would an omnipotent, omniscient God, one who is the Necessary First Cause, bother to cause us now or anything at all at any time?  As a necessary being, it has no need of, is not dependent upon, is not contingent upon anything outside itself.

Yet kairosfocus and his ilk would have us believe that such a being needs to have a relationship with them.

Talk about absurd.

Date: 2012/01/28 19:14:06, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (BillB @ Jan. 28 2012,15:05)
Quote (Seversky @ Jan. 28 2012,17:51)
Glaring Contradictions Kairosfocus Ignores #1

Quote kairosfocus  January 28, 2012


Then, we have the capping off with the claim that we have no freedom of will. Which means we cannot make truly responsible choices. The immediate implicat6ions are that we have undermined the credibility of mind and reasoned thought, and moral thought as well. Much less, moral acts. That is, all is conditioning, through genes, memes and whatever emotional and social forces have shaped you.

This is simple.

If the Christian's God is omniscient and if it knows the future then there can be no free will.

An omniscient god is one who knows all that can be known.  But even such a being cannot know what does not exist to be known.

If the Christian's God knows the future - and there is Biblical evidence to that effect - then that future already exists to be known.  In effect, it is all pre-ordained.  That future includes all of our individual futures which are, thus, also pre-ordained.  In other words, if our futures are already set in stone, as it were, then we are no more than little trains, each of us trundling along our own unique tracks until we reach the end of the line.  We have no free will.

Thus it is the Christian God "Which means we cannot make truly responsible choices. The immediate implicat6ions are that we have undermined the credibility of mind and reasoned thought, and moral thought as well. Much less, moral acts."  We are just puppets, dancing to whatever tune God chooses and "conditioning, through genes, memes and whatever emotional and social forces have shaped you" is entirely irrelevant.

Well I would disagree on a few technical points. You can be omniscient in more than one way, you can know everything that is now but that does not mean you can know everything that will happen next.

True, but we're talking about the Christian concept of their god, or, at least, one of them.  They don't see that deity as locally omniscient but globally omniscient.


It really comes down to exactly what is meant by omniscience from a temporal perspective, and with respect to the idea of determinism.

Okay, but what if this deity does not have a specific location in our spacetime with its own past and future, like we do?  What if it exists outside our spacetime continuum and sees our block universe as a whole, a bit like us looking down at a whole landscape from an aircraft and seeing it laid out before us all at once?

Date: 2012/01/29 07:36:43, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (The whole truth @ Jan. 29 2012,06:48)
I think that they see science, and especially the ToE, as a threat to their beliefs and agenda, and as a very 'tough customer' that simply must be persuaded (or forced) to buy the bullshit they're trying to sell.

Kairosfocus and his kind are never going to change their beliefs.  Their faith is fundamental to the way they make sense of the universe and tells them they have an important place within it.  There is no way they're going to give that up.

The problem for them is that, where religion says one thing about the world and science says another, science gets believed more.  People may not always like what science says but they know that it works a lot better than religion when it comes to putting food on the table, lighting and heating homes, understanding and treating illnesses and providing all manner of gadgets and devices for us to play with.

Because science provides knowledge that is more reliable and useful than that of religion, in many areas it now speaks with greater authority.  This is what believers like kf fear most - irrelevance. This is what they know they have to do something about. This is why contributors to Uncommon Descent spend vastly more time and effort attacking and trying to undermine the credibility of science than they ever do promoting Intelligent Design.

This, of course, is also why kf harps on about the amorality of science.  I'm sure he knows full well that science is about what is, not what should be but morality is still one area where faith can still offer something useful and speak with some authority.

Now, if we could just get him to explain - in less then 5000 words and stripped of any references to Lewontin, red herrings, strawmen and ad hominem - in what sense any morality can possibly be considered 'objective', we might get somewhere.

Date: 2012/01/29 15:16:28, Link
Author: Seversky
Glaring Contradictions Kairosfocus Ignores #2

Here kf, as usual, berates "evolutionary materialism" (or whatever is the current pejorative epithet) for its failure to ground a morality in what is.

He ignores the fact that the morality he advocates is blatant Divine Command Theory with no explanation or justification of why God's moral beliefs are anything more than just another individual point of view.

He does, however, very kindly quote the relevant passage from Hume:

In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ’tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. (Hume, David (1739). A Treatise of Human Nature. London: John Noon. p. 335.)

He also calls it "dangerously fallacious".  We are not told which fallacy the great Scottish philosopher has committed.

What does stand out about what Hume wrote 273 years ago is just how well it applies to what kf is doing today, the attempt to glide effortlessly, imperceptibly and quite unjustifiably from what is to what ought to be.

The problem for kf is that he gives the game away in the very next passage he quotes from Arthur Moore:

However we may define the good, however well we may calculate consequences, to whatever extent we may or may not desire certain consequences, none of this of itself implies any obligation of command. That something is or will be does not imply that we ought to seek it. We can never derive an “ought” from a premised “is” unless the ought is somehow already contained in the premise . . . .

R. M. Hare . . . raises the same point. Most theories, he argues, simply fail to account for the ought that commands us: subjectivism reduces imperatives to statements about subjective states, egoism and utilitarianism reduce them to statements about consequences, emotivism simply rejects them because they are not empirically verifiable, and determinism reduces them to causes rather than commands . . . .

Elizabeth Anscombe’s point is well made. We have a problem introducing the ought into ethics unless, as she argues, we are morally obligated by law – not a socially imposed law, ultimately, but divine law . . . . This is precisely the problem with modern ethical theory in the West . . . it has lost the binding force of divine commandments. (My emphasis)(Ethics: Approaching Moral Decisions (Downers Grove, IL: 1984), pp. 70 – 72.)

What kf clearly believes is that this heavily-elided passage reinforces his case for a morality that has some sort of objective existence or grounding, that moral law is somehow equivalent to laws of nature and we are as much inescapably subject to it as we are to gravity.

Yet, that is not what the passage says.  As quoted, it is acknowledging the force of the 'is/ought' objection and admitting that, without an 'ought' that can be derived from an 'is', there can be no supreme and objective moral law.  

The last couple of phrases which I highlighted are what kf really believes.  He attacks science and philosophical naturalism/evolutionary materialism/whatever for being amoral - which they are.  They do not pretend to be anything other than explanatory methodologies.  What he implies is that what he is offering as an alternative is an objective morality grounded in what is.

Except it isn't.

What he is actually doing is embracing the Divine Command horn of the Euthyphro Dilemma.  Far from proposing an objective morality - this is skated over with vague and circular references to "inherently" moral views - his position is that whatever his god commands must be and is incontrovertibly right, atrocious shenanigans in the Old Testament notwithstanding.  If you don't like it then it's hellfire, a drastic increase in the salt content of your body or "How long can you tread water?"

In other words, My Lord is almighty and that makes him all righty.

Date: 2012/02/04 21:31:35, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (keiths @ Feb. 04 2012,18:19)
KF is gonna blow a gasket:

Ch: that is now plainly an outright lie: willfully stating what is objectively false and should be known to you to be false in disregard of the truth and hoping to profit by its being taken as truth; insisted on in the teeth of abundant correction.

Got a mirror handy?
I repeatedly have taken time to show just what Aiden is doing, which is utterly beyond the pale of decency and is a calculated multi-layered smearing of the Christian church…

[snip remainder of rabid fulmination]

A lie doesn’t become the truth just because you dislike the people you’re lying about.


Your accusation is false. That makes you a liar, a hypocrite and an embarrassment to Uncommon Descent.
…but then, might and manipulation make ‘right’ don’t they, on your evident worldview.

No, and the fact that you keep insisting that they do is just one more lie.

M: An argument isn't just contradiction.

O: Well! it CAN be!

M: No it can't!

M: An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.

O: No it isn't!

M: Yes it is! 'tisn't just contradiction.

O: Look, if I *argue* with you, I must take up a contrary position!

M: Yes but it isn't just saying 'no it isn't'.

O: Yes it is!

M: No it isn't!

O: Yes it is!

M: No it isn't!

O: Yes it is!

M: No it ISN'T! Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.

O: It is NOT!

M: It is!

O: Not at all!

M: It is!

-- The Gospel according to St Montague of Python

Date: 2012/02/05 10:36:42, Link
Author: Seversky
The Liberace of LS-DYNA plays a return gig at UD:

With what is now known about the fine-tuning of the laws of physics for the production of a universe that “knew” we were coming (Freeman Dyson), and with what is now known about the sophisticated information-processing systems and technology found in even the simplest living cell (not to mention the human mind), it is incomprehensible to me that this evidence would lead any rational person to the conclusion that it all came about by chance and necessity, and not by design.

Never mind Freeman Dyson, I thought Douglas Adams dispatched the fine-tuning argument rather neatly:

... imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in, an interesting hole I find myself in, fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be all right, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch out for.

The Artless Dodgen then poses a profound question:

Either I have lost my mind, or materialists have lost theirs.

Maybe we should take a poll on this.

I vote Gil

Date: 2012/02/08 02:33:35, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Bob O'H @ Feb. 08 2012,02:04)
Quote (JohnW @ Feb. 07 2012,17:45)
Quote (Tracy P. Hamilton @ Feb. 07 2012,14:47)
Quote (Freddie @ Feb. 07 2012,14:13)
Ha ha ... Byers should do stand-up with lines like these:
Only biblical creationism is worthy.
Not foreign religfions[sic].

Byers is Canadian - that's foreign.

So why is Byers Christian?  As far as I know, only one event* in the bible took place in Canada.

* The Sermon On The Mountie.

What are the native religions? Mormonism and Scientology. Any others?

Ice hockey?

Celine Dion?

Date: 2012/02/10 06:13:58, Link
Author: Seversky
It seems to me the level of unChristian incivility being directed towards Dr Liddle on the rise, particularly since the likes of champignon and DrREC are no there to split the IDiots fire. I wonder how long can it be before Brave Sir Bully Arrington finds finds himself unable to resist the urge to wield the bannination hammer again.

Date: 2012/02/26 20:23:12, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Febble @ Feb. 26 2012,18:35)
Well, I seem to have inadvertently deleted the entire site.

Hope to have a backup up shortly.


You mean all those pearls from Gil, Joe and Greg are gone?

Well, that's...unfortunate.

Date: 2012/03/12 19:24:45, Link
Author: Seversky
What's up with TSZ?  Anyone else having problems getting in?

Date: 2012/03/15 22:29:33, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (noncarborundum @ Mar. 15 2012,13:38)
Quote (afarensis @ Mar. 15 2012,13:35)
Quote (Amadan @ Mar. 15 2012,13:24)

One of the Myst games?


Is anyone else bothered by the fact that this gate is not wheelchair accessible?  (I have a wheelchair-bound child.  I look at flights of stairs like that and shudder.)


I thought even the Tau'ri were aware that the Chapp'ai were built by a race of Ancients so advanced that they enjoyed near-perfect health and had no need of wheelchair ramps.

Date: 2012/04/01 22:36:57, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Woodbine @ April 01 2012,22:01)
It's no secret that Dembski and O'Leary are co-authoring a book on the evils of 'Christian Darwinism'.

Wow, Dembski and DeNews railing against "Christian Darwinism"!  That should shake the faith to its very core.

And now that UD has been cleansed of impure thoughts and heresy - and most signs of intellectual life -  sales should run into the - oh - dozens, easily

Date: 2012/07/27 23:48:30, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (olegt @ July 27 2012,15:07)
Hunter moderates Joe. Joe is not amused and threatens consequences:
Dr Hunter-

If you really want to get into it with me, I am game. Do you really want to go there because I do not. But I will not tolerate your uneven moderation.

Hunter closes comments.  No sign of The Joe-ker's consequences.

Date: 2012/07/28 10:33:26, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Zachriel @ July 28 2012,09:02)
Joe G congratulates Cornelius Hunter for shutting down comments.

Joe G: It's about time Dr Hunter. You can write all you want and you do NOT need the comments of evoTARDs to make your posts. They add nothing. They know nothing. And they just pollute all they touch.

There are plenty of blogs that do not allow comments so you are not the only one. When you want comments just post on Uncommon Descent and you will get them without any evoTARDgasms, which also means without any retaliations from your supporters. Perhaps a real discussion will break out.

If you ever do open up comments I again I will volunteer to be a moderator- I will never use another bad word on your blog because I will just moderate all evoTARD posts that do not conform to a civil discourse. IOW troy and thorton will not be posting very much as they do not know what being civil is and they are too stupid for any discourse.

But anyway, kudos for stepping up and doing the right thing.

Funny how it always seems to be the IDC sites that feel they have to close their comments or impose draconian moderation although, to be fair, Hunter has been a lot more tolerant that most and The Joe-ker would try the patience of a saint.

Date: 2012/07/28 14:55:26, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Febble @ July 28 2012,12:58)
It occurs to me that perhaps Cornelius' tolerance of dissent is just that he hasn't figured out how to ban people.

That is possible.  I don't remember him banning an individual before.  Does anyone else?

My theory about his toleration of dissent is that he uses the blog as a sort of proving-ground for his arguments.  In my view, Hunter is an anti-evolution propagandist.  His intended audience is the sort of crowd you find at Uncommon Descent.  He wants to know what goes down well with them but also what evolutionists have most difficulty countering - or appear to have most difficulty countering - and what are their best shots so that he can develop an effective reply.

Date: 2012/07/29 05:12:27, Link
Author: Seversky
They also appear to be oblivious to the irony of their position.  On the one hand they affect to despise naturalistic science and denounce peer-review as almost a fraud, on the other they are clearly desperate to get <i>anything</i> remotely connected with IDC published in a peer-reviewed journal.  For all their contempt for science they still crave the respect of that community.

Date: 2012/07/29 05:23:56, Link
Author: Seversky
Hunter is interested in science but largely from the perspective of finding whatever can be enlisted to support his religious position.  The understanding he is most concerned with increasing is that of his opponents arguments with a view to gaining a tactical advantage in debates.

Date: 2012/07/29 10:24:14, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (midwifetoad @ July 29 2012,10:01)
Some of us descended from beavers.

It probably explains kf's obsession with them

Date: 2012/07/29 11:19:25, Link
Author: Seversky
In his latest post, Dr Hunter very kindly provides evidence to support the hypothesis that his blog is all about anti-evolution propaganda, not science.

This time, he is denying that the observed variation in the size of finches beaks in the Galapagos Islands is evidence of Darwinian evolution.  He takes the standard IDC line that it only shows that less fit populations die off, that evolution is eliminative not not creative.

Even if he disagrees with it for whatever reasons, I find highly improbable that someone with his education and intelligence does not at least understand that this is a clear case of adaptive evolution in action.  

The most likely conclusion, therefore, is that he has chosen to sacrifice whatever scientific integrity he once had in the cause of attempting to discredit a scientific theory because, in his mind, it cannot be reconciled with his religious beliefs.

His religion drives his science and that's what's the matter with it.

Date: 2012/07/29 16:13:10, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (midwifetoad @ July 29 2012,15:15)
5 mike1962July 29, 2012 at 1:14 pm
They prevent the spiritual infection of a fallen species from spreading…

Then why was the “serpent” allowed to tempt “Adam” and “Eve” ?

Beta software.

Bad Design.

Oh, but that's not possible with an infallible Designer, is it?

So an infallible Designer must mean we were designed to be this way.

So how come we get the blame?

I know Torley is one of the best intellects they have over there (which isn't saying much) but this is crap, even for Lewis, and he should know that.

Date: 2012/07/29 16:21:21, Link
Author: Seversky
Talk about double standards!

Can you imagine the sort of 5,000 word sermon of condemnation anyone from here would have got if they'd used the Joe-ker's tone and language?

We could almost write it ourselves by C&Ping the relevant chunks from kf's previous screeds.

Date: 2012/08/03 18:03:51, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Amadan @ Aug. 03 2012,09:48)
Golly! The Thomas More Law Center is moving up to the Big Time!

Big mouth, maybe, or big head but not Big Time unless you think Tea Party McCarthyism is big time.

Date: 2012/08/04 10:22:40, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Soapy Sam @ Aug. 04 2012,06:51)
Dr.Moran’s nasty behavior influenced me to choose ID as the better option because he doesn’t show himself to be a kind or caring person. The ID community has rarely uses ad hominem attacks [...]

Setting aside the fact that the soundness of a scientific theory does not depend on how agreeable the proponent is - if that were the case, Newtonian mechanics would never have got off the ground - there are several possible responses to the claim that the ID community rarely indulges in ad hominem attacks, for example,  Joe G, DaveScot, DeNews, Barry Arrington, Upright Biped, kairosfocus, GilDodgen, Sal Cordova to name but a few.

Date: 2012/08/20 19:29:13, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Kristine @ Aug. 20 2012,18:43)
And in the meantime...can someone explain to me WhyTF they are going after Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kan) for having skinny-dipped in the Sea o'Galilee?

Heh!  Strong was the sauce in this one!

Date: 2012/08/25 04:04:53, Link
Author: Seversky
Best way to answer Bully's challenge is with another: "Come out here and say that!"

Date: 2012/08/25 23:42:28, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (eigenstate @ Aug. 25 2012,22:05)
So, Barry said this today on UD:

Maus, a coward forfeits his right to be taken seriously.

So does a Bully and a coward.

Date: 2012/11/04 15:41:47, Link
Author: Seversky
It's no good.  I tried whacking the monitor (in both Latin and English) but it's still "Error establishing a database connection".

Date: 2013/01/01 19:56:53, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (stevestory @ Jan. 01 2013,14:45)
dear god, torley's latest is 13,000+ words.

Methinks he has way too much time on his hands.

It seems to be a somewhat labored attempt to rehabilitate Paley's argument from design by arguing - unpersuasively it seems to me - that it is not an argument by analogy.

Date: 2013/10/05 14:57:06, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Kantian Naturalist @ Oct. 05 2013,13:27)
So, hive-mind, should I stop posting there and see what happens to the inmates?

My 2c worth, certainly not!  Keep pushing the envelope.  See how long you can last before Darth Bully strikes you down with his dark-saber.

Date: 2013/10/05 15:05:31, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Learned Hand @ Oct. 05 2013,13:47)
I noticed something interesting, but I'm not sure if it's at all significant. I'm not very familiar with the whole "website" thing, what with the FSCOSID and inconceivable complexity and all.

I copied BA's thread banning EL and pasted it into a Word file. When I did, a curious header appeared at the top of the page: "buy viagra professional online | benefits of prozac and how to buy prozac you can use a credit card prozac's advantages and how to order buy prozac online and read here buy lexapro online without a prescription is no longer a problem buy lasix buy citalopramLexapro answer your qestions"

Something to do with putting the flagellum back into their sagging bacterial flagellum, perhaps?  :D

Date: 2013/10/05 15:12:25, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Occam's Aftershave @ Oct. 04 2013,09:56)
ETA:  Maybe he's doing a Dave Hawkins style reboot.  I recall about a year ago Corny got a similar case of the grumpies and locked all comments on the blog for a few months.

Yes, he did.  It lasted until he couldn't stand the lack of attention any longer.  My prediction is the same thing will happen this time.  I give it about 3 months tops.

Date: 2013/10/13 09:24:53, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Tony M Nyphot @ Oct. 12 2013,22:20)
St. John's Wood

(upstairs, in the dark, with Arden's Mum no less)

What shall we say of one who indulges in such sordid sexual allusions other than he's no


Date: 2013/11/09 19:39:01, Link
Author: Seversky
I seem to remember that the last time the Darwin-Nazi meme surfaced at UD we countered by asking if the periodic endorsement of slavery by the Roman Catholic Church undermined the message of Christianity.  As I remember, that didn't go down too well.

Date: 2013/12/18 04:26:51, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Seversky @ Oct. 05 2013,15:12)
Quote (Occam's Aftershave @ Oct. 04 2013,09:56)
ETA:  Maybe he's doing a Dave Hawkins style reboot.  I recall about a year ago Corny got a similar case of the grumpies and locked all comments on the blog for a few months.

Yes, he did.  It lasted until he couldn't stand the lack of attention any longer.  My prediction is the same thing will happen this time.  I give it about 3 months tops.

Looks like it was about 2 months this time.

Date: 2013/12/22 07:14:15, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Learned Hand @ Dec. 21 2013,12:05)
Another misleading use of quoted material.

I am shocked, shocked to find misrepresentation going on at UD.

The question is, are we entitled to assume that BA, as a lawyer, understands the difference between dicta and holdings?  If he does, but has failed to make it clear, then it suggests a deliberate attempt to mislead and is reprehensible.  If he doesn't then it raises questions about his competence.

Date: 2014/06/05 19:51:14, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (REC @ June 03 2014,22:49)
VJtorley has spewed out a list of 12 fallacies scientists apparently commit.,

Leaving aside the question of whether they are all actually fallacies, formal, informal or otherwise, they are certainly PKB (pot, kettle, black.  Let's take them in order:

1. The fallacy of begging the question.

You mean the one that goes like this?

Bill: "God must exist."
Jill: "How do you know."
Bill: "Because the Bible says so."
Jill: "Why should I believe the Bible?"
Bill: "Because the Bible was written by God."

Moving on:

2. The fallacy of conflating the issues.

You mean like conflating the observed natural processes of evolution and the theory which accounts for them?

3. The fallacy of confusing the unknown with the undemonstrated.

You mean like confusing the appearance of design with the evidence for the existence of a non-human designer?

4. The fallacy of large numbers.

You mean like the calculation of the enormous improbability of complex biological structures appearing de novo?

5. The fallacy of invoking the infinite.

You mean God isn't the ultimate invocation of the infinite?

6. The fallacy of invoking a hidden intelligent designer.

I had to look twice at this because at first glance Torley was asserting that the entire ID movement was based on a fallacy.  What he's actually doing is advancing the facile argument that any scientific experiment, even Lenski's long-term work with bacteria, is actually evidence for intelligent design because they are organized and run by scientists who are intelligent designers.  In other words, even an experiment which demonstrated biological compounds emerging unaided  from inanimate precursors, would be evidence of  intelligent design because it was set up by scientists.

7. The fallacy of the over-generalized description.

Actually, I don't like over-generalized descriptions either.  Does this mean that Genesis 1:1 is a fallacy?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

You can't get much more generalized than that.

8. The fallacy of inferring possibility from picturability, a.k.a. the Pegasus fallacy

You mean like the Ontological Fallacy - sorry, Argument.

9. The fallacy of ignoring the experimental evidence.

So ID is one vast fallacy, after all?

10. The fallacy of understating the problem.

You mean like the one where the problem of origins is so simple that invoking an Intelligent Designer or Creator is sufficient to account for it?

11. The fallacy of adopting over-optimistic estimates.

You mean like Life, the Universe and everything were created in seven days?

12. The fallacy of arguing from unproven conjectures.

You mean like God?

Date: 2014/06/15 09:11:24, Link
Author: Seversky
Bully Arrington, boulder than Stone Cold kairosfocus, takes on the hard problem of consciousness:

Awareness of the subjective self that is aware has been called the “primordial datum.” It can be denied only on pain of descent into absurdity on the order of “I do not believe that I exist.” Sadly, these pages have seen all too many who have rushed eagerly off that particular cliff.

Sadly, the rhetorical ploy of falsely accusing others of denying the existence of the personal experience of self reads like a lawyer's approach to a philosophical problem.  It is a courtroom debating tactic that does nothing to make the problem of consciousness anything other than hard.  There is still no satisfactory account of how it works, least of all from ID proponents.

Date: 2014/08/24 14:36:07, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (stevestory @ Aug. 24 2014,14:08)
Riveting 14 minute documentary on Darwinism as one of the root causes of WWI

August 24, 2014 Posted by News

These not accusations, by the way, they are historical facts, amply sourced with quotations from the period.


Blatant anti-evolution propaganda based on Weikart's anti-Darwinian apologetics.  Nothing new to be seen here.  Move along!

Date: 2014/09/11 19:31:10, Link
Author: Seversky
Bully Arrington places some pearls of wisdom before materialist swine.

Not Merely False

That wasn't one of them.

The following statements are so obvious as to be considered truisms.

1. The primordial datum: I am subjectively self-aware.

Isn't subjective self-awareness something of a tautology?

2. It is not possible even in principle to account for mental facts, such as the primordial datum, on the basis of physical facts. They are different sorts of things; therefore one cannot account for the other

Show me mental facts/self-awareness entirely separate from any physical matrix or substrate and you might have a point.  As it is, we never observe one without the other.   To me that looks like a connection.  It suggests that at some level, one accounts for the other.  

3. It follows that a reductionist materialism is not merely false but obviously false

Sounds like Bully has a thing about falsies - sorry, falsisms.

In any event, there may be good arguments against a materialist position but tautologies and truisms don't cut it.

Date: 2014/09/11 19:37:38, Link
Author: Seversky
StephenB intones
It is obvious that matter cannot reflect on itself.

Mirror, mirror...

Alright, seriously, it may have escaped your notice but there are billions of incredibly complex arrangements of matter and energy on this planet that are doing just that right now.

Okay, fair's fair, maybe not so many on UD.

Date: 2014/11/23 14:24:24, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (timothya @ Nov. 23 2014,12:21)
Denyse O'Leary keeps quoting Laszlo Bencze (who appears to be a commercial photographer) and describes him as a "philosopher". She often provides quotes, apparently of his writing, but the links that she uses don't lead to the text. If you google any of the quotes, all you get is a link back to UD.

Is this some sort of elaborate hoax? If not, what is the point?

I was curious about that, too.  She should know that we will follow that link and get to a dead end as far as the quote is concerned.  If he is the photographer and has any credentials in academic philosophy why shouldn't we know what they are?  If not, then dignifying the views of a commercial photographer by implying he is a philosopher seems hardly to be consistent with the journalistic ethics and integrity she avows.

Date: 2015/02/01 23:27:08, Link
Author: Seversky
My login has just stopped working.   I am consigned to the Village of the Banned for a second time, no doubt to consider the error of my ways.

Date: 2015/02/02 17:53:50, Link
Author: Seversky
Where is everybody?

We're all here beyond:

of UD.  (Good picture of Bully Arrington)

Date: 2015/02/03 23:10:17, Link
Author: Seversky
It looks like they have decided to have an early Spring clean at UD. Swept out most of the pesky materialists and atheists which infested the place.  Kept on two or three of the more tame to observe and amuse themselves with but otherwise they're now stretching out, scratching, relaxing, indulging in a little chest-beating and generally feeling good about having reclaimed their little abode from all the riff-raff that got in.  

Any guesses on how long it'll be before the place starts dying on its feet again?

Date: 2015/02/07 23:19:05, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Acartia_Bogart @ Feb. 07 2015,18:49)
Irony alert! Irony alert!

Dense and Dreary has commented on the journalistic ethics of Brian Williams.

i fear for the safety of the planet when I read such comments.  Sooner or later the irony will become so heavy that it will collapse into a singularity.  UD and all around it will be sucked into their own self-referential black hole.  All that will be left behind is a haze of obFSCO-ation still bearing the faint aroma of oil of <i>ad hominem</i> and red herring.

Date: 2015/02/08 10:00:51, Link
Author: Seversky
Wow!  They really are in full rant mode over at UD.  

Denyse is using the Brian Williams revelations to savage basically any journalism that isn't her kind of journalism, namely 'yellow'

As for Barry, he's jumped the shark so far that he should be banning himself.  First, we were treated to an exposition of why he loathes Henry Kissinger.  Now, atheists are belabored as "simpering cowards" for not endorsing Nietszche's views and, if this didn't make his position clear enough, he rounds out his OP with
I have nothing but contempt for smiley-faced, weak-kneed, milquetoast atheism that insists that God is dead and all is well because we are just as nice as you.

Date: 2015/02/08 16:47:06, Link
Author: Seversky
Box on the "New Atheists Are Simpering Cowards" thread:

46 Box February 8, 2015 at 3:22 pm
It’s telling that after some tear-jerking whining the atheists in this thread run off as if emasculate hypersensitivity means something under materialism. It underscores the point that Barry was making:

No, Box, if some of the atheists on that thread have disappeared it's not because they are cowards or unable to answer your arguments, it's because they, like me, were silently banned by Arrington. That's how he quells dissent, by stealth, like a coward, and then leaves others to assume that the banned have run away.  Not admitting that he has banned them makes him a liar.

If you think we have run away because we can't answer your arguments I challenge you to come here, to this thread, and see if that's true.   I'm not holding my breath, though.  

I'll give you some food for thought, although I'm not expecting any response.  Ask yourself how many people have been banned from UD in a given period compared with those banned from AtBC or TSZ, silently or otherwise.  Ask yourself, on that basis, who is less afraid of and more tolerant of dissenting views?  If Arrington would let me back, I would be more than happy to put my case before the 49,000+ audience Barry claims for UD.  Would you do the same here?

Date: 2015/02/11 21:20:17, Link
Author: Seversky
I was going to comment on O'Leary's descent into tabloid journal hysteria but her own words make mine superfluous.

Of course, if you really want to annoy them, trot out the notorious serial killers like the Green River killer, Gary Ridgway and the BTK killer, Dennis Rader, who were prominent members of their local churches.

Close all the churches!  Stop teaching Christianity!

Date: 2015/02/15 09:23:31, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 15 2015,06:49)
In the real world, probably half of high school biology teachers either skip over evolution or teach it badly. Quite a few teach some form of creationism.

Sadly, true

Date: 2015/02/19 19:11:05, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Quack @ Feb. 17 2015,01:33)
Quote (Seversky @ Feb. 15 2015,09:23)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Feb. 15 2015,06:49)
In the real world, probably half of high school biology teachers either skip over evolution or teach it badly. Quite a few teach some form of creationism.

Sadly, true

Sadly true, server not found.

Sorry about that.

Try this

And this is interesting

Date: 2015/02/21 15:42:48, Link
Author: Seversky
Over at UD a TED petition has Humbled salivating over a new age of science (or is it New Age science?)
2 humbled  February 20, 2015 at 7:09 am

This is good news. Science can finally be put right and freed from the shackles of materialism.

We can all see how little materialistic science has been able to produce.  Off the top of my head:

Cancer treatment
Cell phones
Diabetes treatment
Discovery of the neutrino
Higgs Boson
Quantum physics
Relativity theory
Space probes to planets, moons, asteroids and comets.

Obviously,  it's as nothing compared with the output of immaterial, supernatural research.  What is the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics compared with morphic resonance?

humbled goes on to fantasize about Inquisition Redux:

I would then hold a tribunal where those responsible for the scientific dark age we find ourselves in currently are made to account and atone for their grave sins against humanity

Could it be that this is a scientific Dark Age only for those who wear the blinkers of religious belief that blind them to all but their own dark fantasies?

These science terrorists need to be brought to justice.

Poe?  Perhaps.  There are many at UD for whom this is fundamental truth.. And I think Arrington would like nothing more than to chair one of humbled's McCarthyite science tribunals.

Date: 2015/02/21 16:35:52, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (NoName @ Feb. 21 2015,15:48)
Don't forget plumbing, indoor plumbing, and septic systems.
It is claimed, and I suspect 100% true, that indoor plumbing saved more human lives in the 20th century than medicine and antibiotics.
Before materialistic science, life was nasty, brutish, and short.  The living envied the dead, and with fairly good reason.
UD would love to reinstate that world because they fantasize that they would be in charge, and that they could have that world but with all the 'modern conveniences' for themselves.
But of course, they are too 'ethereal' to worry about the end results of digestion, of metabolism.  Nasty gross materialist stuff.
They are contemptible.

Excellent points  People prefer to ignore just how much  proper sewage management has contributed to their health and well-being.

As a young Winston Churchill once put it, " “I see little glory in an Empire which can rule the waves and is unable to flush its sewers.”

Of course, I suppose one advantage of an immaterial being is immaterial waste.

And if you substitute "materialists" for "Romans" here....

Date: 2015/02/21 22:04:56, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (fnxtr @ Feb. 21 2015,19:09)
Quote (Soapy Sam @ Feb. 21 2015,16:23)
Quote (Seversky @ Feb. 21 2015,21:42)

Poe?  Perhaps.  

humbled? Don't think so. Unpleasant type. Thinks homosexuality is an aberration 'like autism', and gays should not be encouraged to feel they are normal - like people with autism! Never was a nym more ironically inapt.

Is this connected to that clueless Rupert Sheldrake wankfest?

You mean The Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science?

New Age mysticism dressed up in a white lab coat.

Date: 2015/02/22 03:49:48, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (CeilingCat @ Feb. 22 2015,00:02)
Unclear on the concept:  
When a cell divides, its DNA’s operational instructions are copied by RNA (ribonucleic acid), which directs the proteins that build cell machinery.

Who else?

is this part of this Post-Menopausal Science thingie she's been pushing recently?

Date: 2015/02/22 03:55:37, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Woodbine @ Feb. 21 2015,23:35)
Quote (Seversky @ Feb. 22 2015,04:04)
New Age mysticism dressed up in a white lab coat.

Speaking of which, did anyone else laugh when they saw Anne Hathaway wearing a lab coat while flying to Saturn in Interstellar?

What a hilariously bad film that was; Gary Gaulin could have written better dialogue.

Not one of the greatest, I agree.  Some nice SFX/CGI, though.  I particularly liked the rendering of the wormhole mouth.

Date: 2015/02/23 18:48:30, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (CeilingCat @ Feb. 23 2015,04:33)
Krauss is full of it. A self-promoting pompous little ass who makes mistakes so elementary that first year philosophy students could eat him for lunch.

Message 117 in the Multiverse Thread.

Motive mongering and negative personal characterizations are not part of a true, reasonable skepticism.

WJM in the "Manifesto for a Post-Materialist Science" thread at TSZ.

Date: 2015/02/26 19:21:38, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (CeilingCat @ Feb. 26 2015,10:31)
In post 14, Humbled can't wait for Science's Judgement Day:    
Under Christian rule science flourished. All you darwin faithful did was corrupt and destroy ushering in a new scientific dark age. You science terrorists have a lot to answer for. Can’t wait for the future tribunal one day, would love to see the many skeletons leaping out of that closet haha.

The tumbrels will roll!

I wonder if he's affiliated with ISIS?  Probably not - wrong religion.

He's got a point.  What has science done since it split from Christianity?  Or, to paraphrase Reg from Life of Brian,  "What has science ever done for us?!"

Date: 2015/02/28 11:19:46, Link
Author: Seversky
Why atheists can’t show that Ken Ham is wrong?

Burden of proof, vjt.  If Ken Ham wants to persuade us that his views have any merit, he has to provide the arguments and evidence.  If atheists want to present a counter-claim then they also have to back it up, if they are concerned with persuading an audience that they are right.

As for atheists not being able to prove Ken Ham is wrong, just come here and try out those arguments

Date: 2015/04/10 19:02:51, Link
Author: Seversky
...And the bezan shall be huge and black, and the eyes thereof red with the blood of living creatures, and the whore of Babylon shall ride forth on a three-headed serpent, and throughout the lands, there'll be a great rubbing of parts. Yeeah...

Date: 2015/11/14 08:26:57, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Glen Davidson @ Nov. 14 2015,08:07)
Quote (Bob O'H @ Nov. 14 2015,06:17)
Another kairosfocus gem:
PS: Americans need to wake up to the global geostrategic responsibilities implicit in displacing the Royal Navy and British Empire as leading Oceanic power, in a 500 year old global age critically dependent on sea borne trade and ME oil.

If only British battleships had been allowed to fight Japanese aircraft carriers in WWII, think of how quickly that whole problem would have ended.

They were.  HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse in December 1941.  Didn't work out so well.

Date: 2015/11/14 17:10:03, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Zachriel @ Nov. 14 2015,10:50)
From abortion to teh gays to climate change to "Liberal Fascism".

Alinskyite tactics at their finest.   I love the smell of strawmen fried in oil of <i>ad hominem</i> first thing in the morning.

Date: 2015/11/15 01:24:34, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (k.e.. @ Nov. 14 2015,22:44)
Quote (Glen Davidson @ Nov. 14 2015,19:21)
Quote (k.e.. @ Nov. 14 2015,10:39)
Quote (Glen Davidson @ Nov. 14 2015,16:07)
Quote (Bob O'H @ Nov. 14 2015,06:17)
Another kairosfocus gem:
PS: Americans need to wake up to the global geostrategic responsibilities implicit in displacing the Royal Navy and British Empire as leading Oceanic power, in a 500 year old global age critically dependent on sea borne trade and ME oil.

If only British battleships had been allowed to fight Japanese aircraft carriers in WWII, think of how quickly that whole problem would have ended.

Who stopped them from doing so?  Probably Darwinists.

Glen Davidson

Well, actually it was the Japanese that put a very quick end to that type of naval engagement. On the 10th of December 1941 with the sinking of Prince of Wales and Repulse in the SCS. One British Lord Sempill had a hand  in passing on British naval air power secrets to the Japanese for 20 years between WW1 and WW2 which wouldn'nt have helped. Then there's the Yamato. The Yamato museum in Kure has a haunting display of recovered Tantō. Gordon's anglophillia should stick to growing sugar and picking cotton.

Sort of the point.  I wrote as if the British totally lacked carriers, when they had a few, as in, it was carrier planes that crippled the Bismarck (which was then sunk by ships).  But that was the Atlantic, and I don't think they had any carriers in the Pacific, and if they did they didn't help much, if at all.

Japanese carriers did follow the British plans, including having double or triple decks.  Fortunately for the Japanese, they figured out how bad that was and turned their carriers into single deck ships before WWII.  So how helpful passing secrets was to the Japanese is something of which I am not so sure.

Being low on carriers after Midway certainly hampered the Japanese, but really, they had impressive battleships that perhaps could have been used at night against US amphibious landings.  I thought it was a given that battleships against carriers was absolutely a losing deal for battleships (due to range, but also because carriers moved faster, so battleships could never get close enough to hit) during the day, but no one was very good at using carriers at night then, so battleships might have had some chance at night, despite radar.  It's bizarre how little the Japanese Navy fought outside of a few battles/campaigns, not sinking US supply ships with subs, and letting amphibious landings repeatedly occur without any trouble.

Yamato might have been useful, had it been used (not Leyte Gulf (war was already lost) nor the last pathetic attempt to count).  But the Japanese seemed to be spooked by radar*, and how two of their battleships were sunk at Guadalcanal (one by using radar a great deal, the other not).  So even though they sank two US carriers at Guadalcanal, damaging at least another, while the US only damaged one of theirs (that I recall) and sank none, they seemed to be quite bothered that the US sank two of their battleships, which clearly mattered less.  Then they sat on their battleships, carriers, and their subs, waiting for the big battle (sure, there was Rabaul and a few other skirmishes--not much).  When that came in the Philippine Sea, both their subs and battleships were pretty useless.

Glen Davidson

*They had radar at least by Midway, but lagged in the technology and use, while the US caught up quickly due to British help.

I agree with your analysis Glen. Strangely the British carrier HMS Indomitable was supposed to be with Prince of Wales and Repulse ran aground in the Caribbean! Gordon's knowledge of naval history is as poor as his science. Kure is less than an hour by train from Hiroshima if you happen to be in the area.

In point of fact, Repulse and Prince of Wales were sunk by land-based torpedo and medium-altitude bombers not carrier-based planes.  They were also offered land-based fighter cover but, for some reason, the offer was never taken up and no attempt was made to co-ordinate air and sea operations.  Either way, it helped to drive home how vulnerable to air power surface units were, even when able to maneuver at speed in open sea.

Date: 2015/12/22 23:32:39, Link
Author: Seversky
Tiger131 wasn't a World of Tanks player by any chance, was he?

Date: 2016/05/30 13:42:20, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Learned Hand @ May 30 2016,11:20)
Damn, I forgot that I'm a hypocrite:

You have the gift!  It should not be wasted.  Isn't the post of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama likely to fall vacant soon following the suspension of Judge Roy Bean - sorry - Moore?

Date: 2016/06/01 22:37:24, Link
Author: Seversky
Quote (Zachriel @ June 01 2016,15:58)
Quote (stevestory @ June 01 2016,10:10)
italics and color change, quotes inside boldface, other quotes, numbered paragraphs, lunatic diagrams like this:

it's just a whole messa tard.

We're going to put our armies in Kamchatka, then when they land on Park Place, Steiner's assault will bingo their trump. It will be checkmate and we'll retire to Millionaire Estates.

I'm sorry but none of those moves are valid because they do not intersect the Bakerloo Line at any point, which means:

Mornington Crescent!

Date: 2016/08/28 22:57:59, Link
Author: Seversky
Did anyone capture vjtorley's very long critique of Douglas Axe's book?  It appeared at UD a few hours ago but is gone now.