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Date: 2005/03/27 21:11:58, Link
Author: TimChase
For something a little more serious...

Of course, it is argued by some evolutionists that it may be impossible in some cases to identify one species as the ancestral species of another species -- simply due to the fact that intermediate steps were not preserved and due to the presence of a large number of closely related species across time (e.g., that the hominid family tree is actually more like a bush than a tree), but in some cases, there is a impressive amount of continuity in the fossil record.  Please see:

Smooth Change in the Fossil Record

Date: 2005/03/27 21:35:44, Link
Author: TimChase
I hope no one minds if I throw in a something a bit more concrete -- I find this example rather interesting.  One of Michael Behe's examples of irreducible complexity is the eukaryotes' axoneme.  As such, I think you may take an interest in a recent paper (2004) by David R. Mitchell at the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York.  He argues that gliding motors which rely upon undulation would have preceded bending motors, and that such gliding motors -- although far less efficient than bending motors -- would not have any special requirements in terms of their structure (e.g., the 9+2 geometry of the axoneme, the doublets of microtubules, the radial spokes, the central pair of microtubules) but that each of these innovations would have improved either the strength or control over the flagellum.

The article is entitled:

"Speculations on the evolution of 9+2 organelles and the role of central pair microtubules"

I have found several links for David R. Mitchell's article:

Speculations on the evolution of 9+2 organells and the role of central pair microtubules (pdf)

Speculations on the evolution of 9+2 organelles and the role of central pair microtubules (pdf)

Speculations on the evolution of 9+2 organelles and the role of central pair microtubules (html)

Lynn Margulis (a leading proponent of the view that symbiosis is the source of much of the novelty in the generation of new species) had argued that the axonemes (as well as the mitochondria and chloroplasts) were originally bacteria which combined with the eukyrotes through symbiosis.  Apparently she got the axonemes wrong -- although she was right about the mitochondria (whose closest known living relative is the rickettsia bacteria responsible for typhoid) and the chloroplast (which was originally a species of cyanobacteria -- clumps of which are called blue-green algae).

Date: 2005/03/27 22:18:00, Link
Author: TimChase
What I would say is that this is just plain false.  The immune system gets programmed to recognize proteins which are a part of the organism vs. proteins which are alien to the organism (at least in humans) by the thymus.  Please see:

Shadow Proteins In Thymus May Explain How Immune System Gets To Know Its Own Body

In addition, we know that viruses have the ability in various cases to suppress the immune system (e.g., ebola, HIV) and integrate themselves into the human genome (HIV and other retroviruses, such as the human endogenous retroviruses -- three of which are responsible for making the placenta an impregnable barrier to the mother's immune system).

Please see:

The viruses that make us: a role for endogenous retrovirus in the evolution of placental species by Luis P. Villarreal

(Incidentally, Villarreal has a new book that just came out "Viruses and the Evolution of Life."  Haven't had a chance to look at it yet, though.)

The important thing is that -- at least as far as the thymus is concerned -- the change in the genetic code take place in the germline -- but that is already a given, since otherwise it will not be passed on to the offspring.

One thing to note, though:  the immune system of humans is a bit more versatile and powerful than that of most other mammals.  Please see:

Ancient "Jumping DNA" May Have Evolved Into Key Component Of Human Immune System

This might help explain why so much gene therapy is heralded a success in rabbits and other small mammals, but usually is rejected by our immune system before it has a chance to work.

Date: 2005/03/27 23:49:13, Link
Author: TimChase
Perhaps one day the scientific community will be convinced that ID is worthwhile.  Only through this route -- convincing the scientific community, a route already taken by plate tectonics, endosymbiosis, and other revolutionary scientific ideas -- can ID earn a legitimate place in textbooks.

This article looks good -- but I am going to have to give it more time than I have right now.  However, I am not sure how much of a respected place Intelligent Design can earn, given the nature of the beast.  For example, in response to Behe's argument from irreducible complexity, the most important point in answering Behe (and his argument of Irreducible Complexity) is to recognize that once we declare a structure or protein to be irreducibly complex, and therefore the product of an intelligent designer, the inquiry ends, and there is no further explanation, no further attempt to understand how the thing came into being.  This is the very opposite of science, where every discovery leads to further inquiry and further discoveries.  Behe is simply dressing up the argument that "It is that way because God made it that way" in pseudoscientific language.  This is similiarly the case when ever an intelligent designer is involked (unless one is willing to admit that one's intelligent designer is something which can be studied, experimentally prodded, and scientifically categorized -- not the kind of thing an ID adherent is wont to do.)   It is thinking like that which would have left us stuck in the caves, entirely ignorant of electrons, microscopes, cells, DNA or proteins.  But at the same time, detailed, technical responses to specific points raised by Behe (such as David R. Mitchell's recent article Speculations on the evolution of 9+2 organells and the role of central pair microtubules (pdf)) have considerable value -- if for no other reason than demonstrating that evolutionary theory is alive and well.

Date: 2005/09/08 23:56:06, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (evopeach @ Aug. 31 2005,10:15)
... and yes I think a global flood is well evidenced in history, tradition, geology and quite explanatory.



eeeeeh stop it stop it. My stomach hurts.


Someone actually believes this? I mean seriously?


Next they'll be telling us the earth is flat and the moon is made of cheese.


aaaah ... this is too much.

Sorry. Don't mean to be rude.

But ... global flood?


Date: 2005/09/09 05:16:35, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (evopeach @ Sep. 09 2005,09:32)
Of course if you had read The Genesis Flood by Henry Morris ( a Phd who also wrote a few text books used at places like Rice where he also taught, etc.) then we could give you opinion more credibility than the message in a Chinese fortune cookie.

I'm sorry, who?

Henry Morris, Phd?

Tell me, is this the same Henry Morris who said in his farcical book The Biblical Basis for Modern Science, ; "As far as distant stars and galaxies are concerned, there is no evidence either in science or Scripture, that any of them have planets."

As early as 1984, astronomers discovered that dark clouds of matter which obscured distant stars were indeed planets. Since that date 20 years ago, the Hubble telescope, through direct observation, has identified that around half of the one hundred or so stars observed so far in the Orion nebula alone have planets orbiting them. Source

Direct confirmation of a planet in another system has been made by independent astronomers in 1999, orbiting the star Pegasus 51. NASA and Berkeley

Is this also the same Henry Morris, Phd, who has failed time and again to deny the Bible's geocentrism. The Bible refers to the earth as the centre of the universe, which goes to show how poor a basis for scientific fact it actually is. Henry Morris, Phd, has tried and failed to deny this fact. Source

If you believe Henry Morris' gibberings which have been proven false, it's no wonder you believe there was a flood.

A big, Global flood.

Hmph. Ahahahaha.

"Move along folks, nothing to see"

Date: 2005/09/19 17:25:14, Link
Author: TimChase
There is a good analysis of myosin and how it works (nothing particularly mysterious, I might add) at: - Evolving Motors

Moreover, both myosin and kinesin are the subjects of on-going phylogenetic analyses:

Kinesin Tree

Motor Diversity - Phylogenetic Analysis - Myosin

Evopeach -- scientists can sometimes strike people as somewhat abrasive, perhaps more so when interacting with someone who is so ignorant that they believe that they are brilliant, and that their opinions should carry as much weight as someone who has had a great deal of education and experience in a field that they themselves barely know.  However, if the average citizen takes this to be some form of unmitigated arrogance, then I believe such citizens will deserve the world that they get for as long as it lasts.

-- Timothy Chase,
  novice in the realm of Molecular Biology

Date: 2005/11/14 20:55:32, Link
Author: Tim Hague
How long would it take for a genetically engineered 'bioweapon' virus or bacteria to start showing diversity once it's released?  Not long, I would think.  

Also, someone engineering bioweapons would probably create more than one similar strain, specifically to avoid a single vaccine being effective.

Date: 2005/11/14 21:41:30, Link
Author: Tim Hague
A lack of similar enough ancestors. (too big an evolutionary jump for to few generations)

The problem with that is that big changes sometimes do happen - particularly with transposons or retrotransposons.  Or frame shift mutations.  Or even symbiogenesis.  

I think overall there is a problem with detecting design.  This is the same problem encountered by the ID proponents - their 'design detection mechanisms' have been shown to be useless over and over again.

I realise that what they are trying to show is 'supernatural' design, but I think the same problems occur when trying to demonstrate human design as well.  

This was one of the points I was making on the original thread - if hypothetically some (well funded) IDist splices a whale gene into a bacterium and claims it was found in the wild (therefore 'blowing evolution out of the water' yadda yadda) - how do you show it was designed - and specifically how do you show it was designed by a human and not some unspecified supernatural designer?

Date: 2005/11/16 22:16:07, Link
Author: Tim Hague
ooh ooh ooh! can I play?

1. What sequence of pi could not be explained by known genetic events? None, of course.  

You are wrong unfortunately.  

Assuming some standard of coding was agreed on there is no particular reason why a human scientist couldn't manufacture a DNA sequence representing pi and splice it into a living organism.  

Which would class as a known genetic event.

Date: 2005/12/12 21:40:24, Link
Author: Tim Hague
What's a 'lemma' anyway?  It is some kind of text-speak for dilemma?

Date: 2005/12/12 21:53:07, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Dec. 12 2005,10:48)
Likewise, scientists deride the credentials and reputation of ID folk, but this doesn't mitigate the quality of ID argumentation.

Mitigate - "to make something less harmful, unpleasant or bad".  From the Cambridge Dictionary.

I'm not sure your sentence means what you intended, but I agree that there is not much we can do to mitigate the quality of the ID argumentation.  

I also agree with the overall impression that it's the ID folk who do most of the ad-hominems against the credentials and reputations of the evolution supporters, not the other way round (Salvador vs Flank being another prime example on this board).

Date: 2006/01/10 21:59:20, Link
Author: Tim Hague
We could just start up a blog specifically for debating the ID and creationist types.  

Only rules:
No-one gets kicked off - ever.  
Posts may get edited for bad language but that's it.  

We could call it 'evolutionflamewars' or something like that ;)

Then we just invite interested parties to come and play...

Date: 2006/01/10 22:07:14, Link
Author: Tim Hague
The problem is that doing PR properly takes money.  And time.  And effort.  

Is there anyone out there who will be willing to sponser a PR initiative for 'real' science?  

Are there any scientists who be willing to give up their day jobs in order to do science PR full time?

Date: 2006/01/17 00:44:20, Link
Author: Tim
Can you provide a linky to the Uncommon descent blog.
I'm fascinated.

Date: 2006/01/17 21:31:05, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Hello Larry.  Welcome to After the Bar Closes.  

If I don't believe a theory is useful, why would I use it?  I would say that using a theory implies some kind of acceptance that the theory may be useful.  

You must also be careful not to fall into the 'evolution is just a theory' trap, because evolution is a theory in the same way that gravity is a theory.

Date: 2006/01/18 21:48:51, Link
Author: Tim Hague
I have to admit, I haven't read much of Davidson's stuff before.  

It seems bizarre to see his stuff on UD, because a lot of it contradicts the ID position, as well at itself.  Just a quick example:

JAD: "I also have never questioned Intelligent Design. Quite the contrary, I always regarded it as self-evident and a mandatory starting point from which to examine the two great mysteries of ontogeny and phylogeny which are simply two aspects of the same reproductive continuum."

OK, so 'self-evidently' something is involved in doing design.  

JAD: "Darwinism is a gigantic illusion based on the unwarranted assumption that evolution has and had an exogenous identifiable cause. Such a cause has never been identified and every attempt to simulate it has failed."

This is just bizarre.  JAD is stating that there is an external identifiable cause behind evolution (and thus 'Darwinism' ) , which is the exact opposite of what evolution states.

If he replaced the word Darwinism with ID I might understand and agree with his argument!  My version:  

ID is a gigantic illusion based on the unwarranted assumption that evolution has and had an exogenous identifiable cause. Such a cause has never been identified and as far as I know there have been no attempts to simulate it.

Date: 2006/01/19 22:04:57, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Keiths, Sir_Toejam,

thanks for the responses.  

I'm just having a think about where down the line a heritable mutation might occur, and I'm concentrating on sexual reproduction.  

I'm using the definition of mutation from talk origins - mutation is a change in a gene.  I'm looking at the types of mutation as well and thinking about which types are most likely to result in a heritable mutation.  

If anyone knows of any studies comparing the likelihood of various types of mutation and can point me in that direction I'd be grateful.

Date: 2006/01/25 07:40:42, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Is anyone taking bets on the odds of thordaddy actually turning up?

Date: 2006/01/25 10:03:50, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Cranks do have their uses.  Some of the more interesting threads you will see will be 'crank inspired'.  

I have to admit I only got into the whole ID vs. evolution debate last year, and it was completely due to a crank on a football (soccer) forum I was on, who utterly refused to acknowledge logic.  Due to him, I ended up researching all over the web, and found Panda's Thumb among other excellent sites.  

The whole debate has reignited my interest to the point where I am seriously thinking about getting back in to proper science again - the last time I did any was towards the end of my Genetics degree 12 years ago.  I'm thinking about doing a masters in Bioinformatics, and possibly leaving IT to do science again full time.  

All inspired by a single crank.

Date: 2006/01/25 21:09:40, Link
Author: Tim Hague
"I believe it because it's true.
It's true because I believe it."

If you can't persuade someone that this is circular logic then you're wasting your time.

Date: 2006/01/27 01:12:48, Link
Author: Tim
I enjoyed the programme overrall.

They did a good job of building up Behe's bacterial flagella, with his good ol' "it won't work if all the parts aren't there" canard, which to a layman can make a lot of sense, just to knock it down so thoroughly with Ken Miller's wonderfully clear demonstration subsequently.

The same approach was followed with Dembski (is he always so spooky?). They took some time to explain his mathematical probability theory that makes the 'chances' of evolution happening (whatever that means)impossible. Again this was followed with Ken clearly explaining that if you take a deck of cards and deal out all 52, the probability of you dealing those same 52 cards again in the same sequence is extremely low. However that is entirely irrelevant; the original 52 card sequence (evolution) had a 100% chance of happening, as that is the card sequence we have today. Ken's explanation made Dembski and all his moody dice throwing look, well, a bit silly.

For me this formula of building up and thoroughly explaining the 'science' behind ID, just to then knock it down again so convincingly was a persuasive way of presenting the creation/evolution controversy (or lack thereof).

I felt that the programme could have interviewed some of the Dover board of governors on the creationist side; those that voted for the original change in the biology curriculum. They interviewed one couple who voted against the change, and one science teacher who resigned when he realised the board majority's agenda, but none on the creationist side. However I'm guessing that after they were voted out they'd be rather reluctant to grant any interviews.

Dawkins I thought came across as rather shrill, but then he usually does. It's a shame because his points are always very clear and concise, but his manner (I am RIGHT and they are WRONG) is immediately off-putting.

The moodiness in the presentation of the program with lingering shots of not very much was, I agree, unnecessary, but overall I don't think it detracted too much from the subject therein.

Anyhoo, leave it to the ever-wonderful and ever-interesting David Attenborough to sum things up beautifully at the end.

Date: 2006/01/27 02:49:09, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Quote (PuckSR @ Jan. 26 2006,20:13)
The hallmark of design is simplicity.

As someone who has designed a lot of software, I have to disagree with that.  

The hallmark of good design is often simplicity, however the only hallmark that really applies for design is - does the designed object actually do what it's designed to do, and do it efficiently enough to be useful.  

The simplest design is not always the best design.  All good designs involve a compromise between the ideal (simplicity) and the pragmatic (reality).

Date: 2006/02/01 23:46:07, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Quote (stevestory @ Feb. 01 2006,10:38)
Lol. They're talking now, at Uncommon Pissant, about how so many people there are engineers. Much better suited to understand biology, don't you know.

Not all engineers are ignorant of biology... some of us software engineers have degrees in both genetics and design and have no problems whatsoever in spotting the 'breathtaking inanity' of ID ;)

Date: 2006/02/07 06:04:15, Link
Author: Tim
I smoked for ten years, mainly Marlboro Lights, but also Silk Cut and Camel Lights, and occasionally anything else if I had little choice and needed to light up.

It took a hiking trip along the Inca trail in Peru, where some of the walks are at altitude where the air is thin, to make me realise how much smoking had adversely affected my health. I became out-of-breath extremely easily, my fitness unreasonably poor, my lung's ability to process oxygen unduly limited.

At a relatively young 28 years of age this came as a real shock. I decided there and then that I would not smoke another cigarette, and to this day a little over four years later I have not relented.

The habit was hard to break, particularly when out socialising. But I decided that if I were to see it through, it would be through sheer will; patches and other alternate forms of nicotine intake still feed the addiction troll, and that just didn't hold water with how to successfully break the habit for me.

As Flint has said, I think that it's best just to suffer and bear it if you are to break it.

Now, very occasionally, I get a pang when I'm in a pub and I see someone light up. But one glance at a disgusting and overflowing ashtray, one nauseating whiff of putrid smoke in a restaurant while I'm eating, one walk in the hills when I can breathe the fresh air and can stride energetically without loss of breath, and I am quickly reminded of why I gave up.

Go at it and stick to it. It's well worth it. Good luck!

Date: 2006/02/08 06:08:51, Link
Author: Tim Hague
What it all boils down to is evidence.  

Avocationist keeps banging on about ID explaining the 'facts' and the 'details' being with ID.  

Well, what facts?  What details?  I have never seen any positive evidence for ID.  All I've seen from the ID community is negative arguments against evolution, which - even if true (and they're not) - would not prove design.  

So where is the positive evidence?

The only thing that comes close to a positive argument is that 'it sure looks designed to me'.  Well, it looks designed to me as well.  But then, from my perspective the sun moves through the sky every day.  And from my perspective the continents are in no way moving around.  

What's wrong with my perspective?  It's a human one, that's what is wrong with it.  Human's have an inherent (dare I say evolved? ;) ) difficulty in imagining things beyond the range of their sight, and things that take longer to happen than their lifespans.  That's why we need to exercise our imaginations.  

Are we ever going to see the earth revolving round the sun?  This one's a bit more possible.  Technically speaking I could build a space ship, park it somewhere at right angles to the earths orbit and sit there for a year, watching it happening.    

We can take the geologicial evidence and we can imagine the continents moving around.  Are we ever going to actually see it happening?  No way.  Not unless we crack the 70ish year life span we currently have.  Do we need an intelligent designer theory to show that continents can't move by themselves?  Not so far.  

Humans have major difficulties dealing with geological time spans.  I have major problems trying to imagine what a million years would be like.  If I live until 70 it will seem to me to be one #### of a long subjective time - twice as long as I've been around so far.  I'd have to live 14000 times longer than that to get anywhere near a million.  14000 long life spans.  And that's just a million years.  Don't get me started on a billion years.  

Evolution may be slow, and random mutation may appear to give only tiny weeny changes one at time, but when you're talking about bacteria that reproduce once every 20 minutes you're talking about incredibly vast populations of fast breeding organisms where small mutations will be happening literally every single second world wide - every second of every hour of every day, every year, for billions of years!

Now tell me again how improbable evolution is...

Date: 2006/02/21 03:17:21, Link
Author: Tim
It was the 2002 Miss World pageant, which was eventually moved to London due to the rioting.

More at CNN ...

Date: 2006/03/10 04:42:06, Link
Author: Tim
Oh dear. Another opening of the Windows/Mac can of worms.

That being said, every Total Cost of Ownership calculation I have seen puts the price of a Mac well below the cost of a comparable PC. Just think, no more time and money spent battling viruses, trojan horses, spyware, addware, etc.

Time and money spent battling viruses, trojan horses, spyware, addware etc?
All that's needed to fully and safely protect any system (windows or not) is ZoneAlarm (free) for a firewall and AdAware (free) for all spyware. As for viruses/trojans/worms, all that is needed is common sense (don't open email attachments from unverifiable sources or run unverified executables etc)
No time or money invested.

Here in the UK, Dell is now knocking out brand new PCs for less than £250, leaving Mac struggling (and so far failing) to reduce the price of their most basic systems to less than twice that.

As for the volume of software argument, who cares if there are 50 versions of solitaire for the PC?
Ah, but its not just for solitaire that windows has a broader and better established software base. It is every type of software there is out there, except arguably desktop publishers (DTP); for whom Macs have long been the system of choice. The software I use for instance (development, software design/engineering and software analysis tools) are simply not available on the Mac.

There is a tremendous Mac free/shareware community, especially in the sciences.

There is a tremendous free/shareware community for all types of utilities and software in all types of fields, no matter the OS.

Date: 2006/03/17 03:33:38, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Quote (stevestory @ Mar. 17 2006,08:47)
This thread is going to go on forever. The Uncommonly Dense crowd will never stop saying absurd things:

March 16, 2006
Biologists Are Not Design Experts

Biologists are not design experts. In fact no scientists are design experts. Engineers are design experts. The crew at Panda’s Thumb ought to follow their own advice and step aside where they have no expertise. Complex specified information is digitally encoded along the spine of the DNA molecule. Are biologists information experts? Nope. Information science is a branch of mathematics. Evolutionary biologists should stick to putting the phylogenetic tree in the proper order. Lord knows they still have their work cut out for them with just that.
Filed under: Intelligent Design — DaveScot @ 10:52 pm

Some of us biologists are design experts anyway - I've a bio sciences background and design software for a living.

Date: 2006/03/31 02:51:51, Link
Author: Tim
The whole is so much greater than the sum of its parts. :)

Date: 2006/04/04 21:36:08, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Quote (argystokes @ April 05 2006,02:04)
On topic, from Michaels7 in the ACLU thread:
Not familiar with constitutional law, but could any of you tell me what specific ‘constitutional right’ is being protected or enforced? Is this the establishment clause? And thus ID = religion meme?

In reality, the only way it could be against the constitution even with the prior false ruling of establishment clause to the contrary is if a “teacher” specifically states while teaching ID, that the Designer is God, Allah, Bhudda, or any one of 3000 Hindu Gods. I’m not sure how this case was lost unless the judge had intent to squash it all along or the ID lawyers could not make this point of distinction stick clearly.

I think the next case should be brought up by a teacher who challenges with ID as scientific, utilizing IRC and CSI.

Yeah, if Behe had been on the stand to defend irreducible complexity, there's no way ID would have lost!

That's along the lines of "no-one believes us when we refuse to identify the designer, and it's just not fair!"  

As the Judge rightly points out, even a school kid can see through such a transparent attempt to get round the establishment clause.

Date: 2006/04/06 01:17:07, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Quote (J. G. Cox @ April 05 2006,13:32)
In summary, the presence of alleles which promote homosexuality would not constitue a 'problem for evolution' for two reasons. First, modern evolutionary theory predicts the presence of some deleterious alleles within a population. Second, we have no idea if such alleles are actually deleterious.

Interesting analysis J. G.

There is one additional factor that might be worth having a look at - is the human race currently under selection pressure?  In certain parts of the world it is, however in increasingly large parts of the world I would argue that millions of humans are not under any particular pressure to survive at all.  

When a species is not under selection pressure, and with technology providing the vast majority of us the ability to survive, then deleterious traits would be able to spread (not being selected against).  If there are genetic influences on sexual preference, then they would not currently be affecting the survival of the species as a whole.  

There's also nothing to stop a homosexual man popping down to the sperm bank to make a donation, and - for a double whammy - a homosexual woman deciding to have a baby and popping down to the same sperm bank.

Date: 2006/04/06 03:29:24, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Renier - it's called scope.  You can show either a positive or negative statement to be true or false if the scope is small enough.  

For example - the statement 'God is currently sitting in my closet in the form of a kindly old man' is disprovable by opening my closet and finding a lack of a kindly old man.  Narrow scope.  Note I can do the reverse and say 'God is not sitting etc' and open my closet and prove that negative assertion (I just checked. :p No kindly old man.).  

Saying something like 'the weak nuclear force applies everywhere in the universe' is clearly much larger scope and is impossible to prove without visiting everywhere in the universe and measuring the weak nulcear force - a practical impossibility.

Date: 2006/04/07 04:24:36, Link
Author: Tim Hague
The first rule of the CBEBs club is - don't talk about the CBEBs club. ;)

Possible club motto: CBEBs give IDiots the heeby geebies.  

The designtologists are convinced that there is a 'global conspiracy' of scientists - are we starting one?  :p  Or is it just that no-one has invited me yet  :0  :angry:  ;)

Date: 2006/05/02 04:30:03, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (afdave @ April 29 2006,11:18)
This is America ... go for it!

Ummm ... no ... this is not America.

This is the internet.

Many of us who are reading your guff aren't (gasp! ) in or even from America. Imagine that!

Date: 2006/05/02 04:30:03, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (afdave @ April 29 2006,11:18)
This is America ... go for it!

Ummm ... no ... this is not America.

This is the internet.

Many of us who are reading your guff aren't (gasp! ) in or even from America. Imagine that!

Date: 2006/05/02 06:08:26, Link
Author: Tim
... into a world much like our planet earth, but devoid of people.

The child manages to survive to a young adult age by eating the plentiful fruits and animals of the forests and savannahs she finds herself in.

She remembers nothing of awaking here in her early childhood, she has only ever been aware of the world she sees, feels, hears and smells around her.

As she sits thoughtfully one day by a lake, gazing at the view around her, does she think to herself ... :

A) ... that this magnificent world she finds herself in to be so utterly wondrous, bountiful, supportive of her life, and incredibly complex, that it must have all been created by some magnificent, omnipotent creator.
She sits back contentedly at this thought, quietly comforted with the feeling that there is an indecipherable higher power somewhere looking out for her who has created these wonders for her.

B) ... that this magnificent world she finds herself in is indeed wondrous, and is a little curious to find out why it is so wondrous. Where does the fruit she eat come from. Why are there fish in the lake. Why is the sky blue during the day, but red in the morning and evening. Why are there insects buzzing about, eating the discarded remains of the fruit. Why do those animals with big teeth chase and eat those other large grass-eating animals? Why does some fruit agree with me but others make me sick. Why are there some animals that are as happy in the water as they are on land.
In finding these questions in her head, she sits back contentedly and decides to start investigating all these wonders the minute she wakes up the following morning.

Date: 2006/05/03 01:16:24, Link
Author: Tim
Lots of interesting comments ...

I posed the question really because I am under the impression that one 'becomes' religious almost entirely due to the influence of ones parents as one grows up, and to a lesser extent the influence of ones immediate community, rather than through simply automatically feeling a spirituality as one develops in early life.

So I was curious to see what other people thought about this, about a person born into a world without any pre-conceived ideas of spirituality or structured religion. Would such a person develop their own spirituality which would lead them to thoughts of an almighty creator? Or is the idea of a creator one which has developed steadily over the generations, and is nothing more than a contrived idea born of time and perpetuated by our earlier developing society?

Perhaps it really is down to the individual? Some of us have more of a scientific bent. Some of us are more curious to see how the world around us functions. Others perhaps have more of an in-built spirituality, and have a need to satisfy that through structured worship.

Date: 2006/05/03 06:04:50, Link
Author: Tim
I have read and read this thread, and lurked and read some more ...

... and we finally come to this:

Quote (afdave @ May 03 2006,10:28)
I feel that scientists just keep on writing mountains and mountains of nonsense to support these notions they really, really want to be true ... like the immune system evolved, etc.

Can one really argue against this?
Can one really debate with a man who convinces himself that the hundreds of thousands of published, peer-reviewed, professional scientists who put into workable practice their research every single day, are really part of a big conspiracy to further the evolution cause??

Yes Dave, the next time you pop a pill in your mouth to help soothe your aching head, or get vaccinated when you travel to malaria country, I'd beware because the medicine was indeed developed by a team of scientists who didn't really research their immunology very well, they just wrote some nonsense in the vague hope that they and AAAAAAALLLLLL the other scientists will have their big conspiratorial evilution cause furthered, because yes, they sooooooooo want it to be true.

Sheesh. And you're looking for intelligent answers to this?

Date: 2006/05/12 02:49:14, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ May 09 2006,15:27)

The English also pronounce 'Calais' as 'cally'. Ouch.

Funny. I've lived in the UK for over 16 years now and I've yet to encounter a local who doesn't pronounce Calais in the same way that the French do; (ie 'callay' ).

But then knowing how hopeless the English are at learning and speaking foreign languages it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if they did.

Date: 2006/05/12 04:16:07, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (Occam's Aftershave @ May 11 2006,18:52)
AFDave started out with promise, but has recently shown all the telltale signs of being just another scientifically illiterate fundy-bot.  He's begun doing the Gish gallop, continues to use AIG as his primary info source even though he was shown how dishonest they are, and totally ignores all other evidence that refutes his hackneyed YEC baloney.

Different clown, same circus.

He has, however, conceded a point; the AiG argument on gene head-to-tail fusion was shown to be false. He has held his hands up and said that the AiG position was wrong, and that he agreed that the science presented at AtBC did indeed convince him.

In my (admittedly few) years of following this strangely American controversy, I have never, ever, ever, ever, ever seen a YEC concede a single point about anything.

Although he did say that he would write to the author of the erroneous AiG piece correcting them, and we have yet to see if he will stand by his word on that point .

Progress, however small the steps, is still progress ...

Date: 2006/05/12 04:35:23, Link
Author: Tim
Sigh. :(

So I see.

'Progress' of the one step forward, two steps back variety ...

Date: 2006/05/17 04:11:26, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (afdave @ May 17 2006,08:51)
I have always felt sorry for evolutionists in a way, because I have always thought it would be a huge undertaking to try to defend many aspects of it, and so many arguments have crashed and burned in the past when new information is known.

.... which is exactly how science is conducted. Hypotheses are proposed, experiments conducted to test those hypotheses, conclusions and predictions drawn, all through the rigorous process of peer-review. As new information comes to light, as you so rightly say, some of these hypotheses become redundant, or "crash and burn" if you will.

This happens all the time in all fields of science, and evolution is certainly no different. As has been said so many times, there is lots of discussion and many hypotheses proposed to explain various mechanisms within the evolutionary process, some of which are re-enforced as new data comes to light, and some of which are made redundant by new data, and are thus discarded.

As time goes by, hypotheses are tested and tested again as new data comes to the fore all the time. The better the hypothesis, the better it stands up over time to any new data used to test it.

This is science.

And you "feel sorry" for scientists who do science this way, as science has been done ever since the scientific method was first adhered to?

Date: 2006/05/17 04:41:15, Link
Author: Tim
But the chapter's not over. After the attempted mass gay rape, the father pimping, the urban devastation, uxorious saline murder, it looks like Lot and his daughters are finally safe.

Funny stuff indeed!  :D

Date: 2006/05/26 03:28:14, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Quote (guthrie @ May 26 2006,06:08)
Cant some of you engineers come up with fuses for ironymeters?

We did.  

Unfortunately the mere human designers responsible for the 'intelligent' design of irony meters had no way of knowning the levels of irony that would be produced by UD.  

Years of observation of all available evidence provided robust irony fuses that could stand many megademskis of irony, several time the amount that had ever been recorded previously anywhere in the natural world.  

The gigadembskis of irony produced by UD are beyond anything we could ever have imagined.  An overload of irony of that extent causes the irony fuse to get sucked into an alternate reality where logic no longer exists, permanently destoying the irony meter.  

These unforseen circumstances are also not covered by warranty.  Sorry about that.

Date: 2006/05/27 07:53:27, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Quote (guthrie @ May 26 2006,08:48)
I like the idea of gigadembskis.  We need a proper scientific chart, with proper rankings and explanatory notes like with the Richter scale, e.g.

Maybe we should just use the Richter scale for our irony measurements.  We could call it the Springer Scale and the units can be dembskis.  

So a 1 or 2 dembski event on the Springer scale would be pretty much undetectable without sensitive instruments.  A 3 or a 4 would be detectable by most normal people (maybe not Americans ;) ).  A 5 would be ten times stronger than a four and would certainly rattle your teeth a bit.  6 and 7 are major irony events with large amounts of furniture moving around and put your irony meters in jeopardy.  And a 9 is an apocolyptic level of irony that - so far - has only ever been detected on UD.

Date: 2006/06/09 00:53:55, Link
Author: Tim
Flaming Sambuca, in a large shot glass.

Tastes fantastic with 2 or 3 coffee beans floating on top, which give a lovely moccha tinge to the aniseed flavour. Blow out the flame just as the coffee beans start to sizzle, then knock back in one go (being careful not to swallow the beans). The hot liquor on top mixes with the cold underneath and gives a wonderful sensation as the two mix in your throat on the way down.

Best drunk after a large italian meal.

Date: 2006/06/09 01:44:48, Link
Author: Tim
Hmmm that's like me with whiskey. Any kind of whiskey. Just the smell brings on a retching urge. Although I never had 'a night' which put me off the stuff.

Date: 2006/06/09 01:56:01, Link
Author: Tim

Isn't the definition of atheist; one who denies the existence of God (or gods) rather than one not seeing any reason to believe?

Indeed, the OED gives the definition as the belief that God does not exist.

That sounds a lot more definite about the possibility of God's existence than not seeing a reason for his existence, as is posited in the poll here.

But perhaps I've just touched on the difference between strong atheism and weak atheism; the difference being, as Wikipedia puts it:

Strong atheism, sometimes called positive atheism, hard atheism or gnostic atheism, is the philosophical position that no deity exists. It is a form of explicit atheism, meaning that it consciously rejects theism. It is contrasted with weak atheism, which is the lack or absence of belief in deities, without the additional claim that deities do not exist. The strong atheist positively asserts, at the very least, that no deities exist, and may go further and claim that the existence of certain deities is logically impossible.

By these definitions, I'd be a strong atheist.

Date: 2006/06/12 04:52:22, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (afdave @ June 12 2006,09:21)

Could you address ericmurphy's questions please, particularly the ones in his post at the top of this page?

As a long-time lurker here, it is eric's patient questions directed at you that I'd most like to see you answer.

Date: 2006/06/29 08:55:47, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Quote (Richardthughes @ June 29 2006,13:29)

I’ve always thought it would be worthwhile for biologists (or biology students) to have some sort of engineering apprenticeship. By spending time with a design engineer (be it software, mechanical, electrical, or any other discipline), they would see first hand just what it takes to end up with a tightly integrated, functional system on the back end.

Yet here I am, a software engineer and architect and I have no problems whatsoever with the evolution of complex biologicial structures.  


You'd think that software design was some kind of magic trick the way Dave describes it - i.e. we sit down, design a perfect system, write the code and it works perfectly first time.  

The reality of course if very different.  We usually start by borrowing someone else's design in the first place (we even have whole books full of design patterns).  We frequently get small or large parts of our design wrong.  We have to make compromises in our designs because all the disparate bits don't fit well together.  When we build it we introduce many errors which then need to be fixed.  And when we've finished it doesn't actually match the original requirements specified (usually poorly) by the customer.  

That's software engineering.  And it's actually pretty similar to the way evolution does it - lots of iterations with incremental small improvements.  

The only thing we can do that evolution can't is 'refactoring' where we can go back and fundamentally redesign bits of the system which don't work well (usually because of bad design in the first place).

Date: 2006/06/29 09:21:26, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Quote (stevestory @ June 29 2006,14:00)
If the Intelligent Design nitwits seriously believed themselves, they'd be out looking for a Code Rewrite bunny, or alligator, or polar bear. But they aren't. Wonder why...

I'm sure they'll trot out the Thylacine soon.

Date: 2006/07/07 05:45:28, Link
Author: Tim Hague
There was a horrendous remake a few years ago, wasn't there?  With Joey from Friends in it.  

Unless it was just a horrible nightmare I had...

Date: 2006/07/11 04:07:33, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (Renier @ July 07 2006,02:51)
For some reason, many religious people think that if one is an atheist that that person becomes a detached, pessimistic robot. Nothing could be futher from the truth.

I do think the atheist life view is a very good one. We don't look for supernatural explanations for things. good or bad, that happens in our lives. We understand that "life" happens, and with it comes the good and bad. Like everyone else we enjoy the good and try and deal with the bad as best we can.

In my experience of religious people, their view of atheists is that they cannot possibly have that sense of good or bad that you refer to.

The bible, or God's word, provides a Christian with his moral compass, with his sense of good and evil.

Without the bible, or without listening to God, how can one have a sense of good and evil?

It is to this that Christians attribute their perceived modern 'breakdown of society'; atheist humanism.

As is obvious to any atheist however, one's innate sense of good and evil does not come from the bible or from the mouth of God, but rather from one's parents, upbringing, community, and more arguably from one's very own genes ...

Date: 2006/07/27 04:23:04, Link
Author: Tim
See the site for the source of these quotes. So let's see: the British government, and presumably the rest of Europe, are supplying freshly-minted citizens with the legal right to have white people sent to "reeducation" camps on a moment's notice, with noncompliance resulting in loss of livelihood and possible prison time. Understand?

Just to add to Louis' points above, what on earth has this case got to do with a "liberal conspiracy" in the first place?

As someone who works for the HSBC umbrella and is acutely aware of their sensitivity to such things as race awareness, this seems to me to be a global bank which is explicitly promoting a culturally diverse work ethic internally, and its "The World's Local Bank" ethic externally, protecting its image.

A case like this is potentially damaging to this carefully nurtured commercial image. It could damage sales, the bottom line, and, in toto, what is more important to HSBC than that?

If you'll read your quoted source more carefully, you'll note that it is HSBC themselves who sent their errant employee on "race awareness training", not the courts, not the British Government, and not as the result of any EU directive. So you are wrong on that count GoP. The employee did not lose her job, nor was she disciplined internally. So you are wrong on that count too.

Liberal conspiracy? Pff. It's about protecting corporate image and the bottom line. Liberalism need not apply.

Date: 2006/07/27 06:55:43, Link
Author: Tim Hague
I got a bit stuck on the poll.  Agnostic and atheist are not mutually exclusive you know.  One is statement of knowledge, the other is a statement of belief.  

As such, I am an agnostic (weak) atheist.  

I don't do strong atheism because I don't think it's scientifically tenable.

Date: 2006/07/27 23:57:52, Link
Author: Tim
I just feel sad for his kids. :(

Date: 2006/07/28 00:24:07, Link
Author: Tim
I don't do strong atheism because I don't think it's scientifically tenable.

I think strong atheism is perhaps more a philosophical position than a scientific one.

The existence of God cannot be proven either way scientifically.

But I can think of plenty of philosphical reasons as to why God doesn't exist.

On the flipside, I'm sure a religious person can think of plenty of philosophical reasons as to why God does exist.  :)

Date: 2006/08/07 02:40:29, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Quote (stevestory @ July 29 2006,14:16)
how one views atheism vs agnosticism has to do with the philosophy of knowledge. What's the default position on a question where there's no evidence? The agnostics say, on the issue of god, that the default position should be 'I don't know'. I think their reasoning is wrong, and they're giving god an unfair break, one they would not extend to Santa Claus or Bigfoot or El Chupacabre, or any other organism whose existence is disputed.

I think the default position on everything lacking evidence should be "we don't know".  It's a big old universe out there, and we've only (partly) explored an incredibly tiny bit of it, so who's to say what might be out there?  I'm not ruling out fluffy pink unicorns at this stage.  

The problem - as it often is - is one of scope.  We're fairly sure that Santa Claus does not live at the North Pole.  But that's only because we've limited the scope of where Santa Claus could live.  If the claim was that 'Santa Claus exists somewhere out there in the universe, and might be invisible/undetectable' then there really is no way to falsify that claim - the scope is simply too large.

I can say - "God in the form of an old bearded man is not currently sitting in my closet".  And I can open my closet and confirm the lack of bearded old men.  Small scope, confirming my hypothesis.  But to say that "no God exists anywhere" is too large a scope to be realistically testable.  I can't demonstrate my hypothesis, so I can't say for certain either way, just as I can't say for certain that there is no such thing as fluffy pink unicorns.

Date: 2006/08/07 02:47:39, Link
Author: Tim Hague
From that article about fisking:

Irish journalist Eoghan Harris had earlier used the term "fisking" with a different meaning - "To fisk is not to face the facts for as long as possible and, when found out, to divert the public from your mistake by spinning shiny stories in the air." (Sunday Times, June 13, 1999). No-one else appears to have used the term in this sense, and Harris later remarked that he had "lost a coinage".

Although Harris lost out in calling his concept 'fisking' I do think the phenomenon: "...not to face the facts for as long as possible and, when found out, to divert the public from your mistake by spinning shiny stories in the air." is particularly relevent to the anti-evoluton debate as it appear to describe the likes of Behe and Dembski to a tee.

Shall we come up with another term for it?

Date: 2006/08/17 00:34:09, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (BWE @ Aug. 16 2006,20:42)
DaveyDH said:
Dave, all we have to do is show that the earth is older than 10k years and you lose. That blows your theory and then we go looking for better ones. Yours is out and we need to find one to fill its place.

Well you could say that all we need to do to show that bible inerrancy is just plain silly is to show that the city of Tyre is not a barren rock. Tyre is and always been populated, and there is a nice thriving little city there. The bible is wrong, QED.

But back around 40 pages or so, Davie-D even tried to pretend that the city WAS a barren rock. This must come as a suprise to the families that have lived in Tyre for generations upon generations ...

Date: 2006/08/17 04:30:35, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (afdave @ Aug. 17 2006,09:08)

The only true thing you've said in 144 pages.  :)

Date: 2006/09/04 05:45:30, Link
Author: Tim
Having been a lurker since page 1 of this most wonderful of threads, and having learnt much about many things, there is one question that I don't think has been laid before our favourite creationist.

Since most of these 178 pages has been spent with Dave attempting to pick holes in accepted scientific evidence in many, many disciplines, has he ever actually presented any scientific evidence (ie not from the bible) for a ~ 6,000 yr old earth? Especially as this is supposed to be his Creator God Hypothesis.

So, rather than pick holes in our millionsofyearism, where is your scientific evidence for a ~6,000 year old earth? Where are your ice-cores? Your varves? Your dendrochronology evidence? Your paleosols? Your 40+ different radiometric dating methods?

Date: 2006/09/04 07:43:20, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (afdave @ Sep. 04 2006,12:08)
Tim ... yes.  Many times.  Here's some of it ...

There are 14 items listed on that page, each one purportedly showing 'problems' with the long-age of the earth.

None of those 14 paragraphs, not one, produces any set of data, based on research. And that research reinforced by further research, reinforced by tests on the research, and tests on the research of the research, etc. You know, science. Most of them contain vagueries and approximations, based on not very much seeing as no data sets are presented.

One of them (the sixth item, the earth's magnetic field is decaying 'too fast' ) even suggests that the age of the earth cannot be more than 20,000 yrs old. Hardly direct, precise evidence for a 6,000 year old earth now is it.

Now what I originally asked for was a direct scientific dating method showing that the age of the earth is 6,000 years old. Y'know, something simple, like an ice-core that has a number of annual rings in it, and all one has to do is count the number of rings to get an idea of the age of history.

Is there any such direct dating method, or is all there is just AIG picking holes in several of the many thousands of data points showing the long-age of the earth?

I'd genuinely like to know.

Date: 2006/09/05 05:34:00, Link
Author: Tim
Just been reading the posts in the Uncommonly Dense thread about the evolution of altruism.

Came across this article and thought it interesting in this context.


Study uncovers 'chimp cross code'

Experts studying chimpanzees while investigating the evolution of human social behaviour have uncovered their ability to safely cross roads.

They said the discovery has shown chimps' ability to cope with the risk of man-made situations.

The University of Stirling research was carried out with a small chimp community in West Africa.

It found the dominant adult males took up protective positions in the group when it was tasked with crossing roads.

The study at Bossou, Guinea observed the chimpanzees crossing two roads - one large and busy with traffic and the other smaller and used mostly by pedestrians.

The less fearful and physically larger adult males took up forward and rear positions, with the adult females and young occupying the protected middle space.

The study has built on prior research showing that adult male monkeys took similar action to reduce the risk of being attacked by predators when travelling towards potentially unsafe areas, such as waterholes.

Kimberley Hockings, who worked on the study, said: "Road-crossing, a human-created challenge, presents a new situation that calls for flexibility of responses by chimpanzees to variations in perceived risk, helping to improve our understanding about the evolution of human social organisation.

"Dominant individuals act cooperatively with a high level of flexibility to maximise group protection."

The findings have been published in the scientific journal Current Biology.

Date: 2006/09/05 08:29:29, Link
Author: Tim
Why did the chimps cross the road?

To further the study into socio-evolutionary development in human history ?

Date: 2006/10/18 10:08:19, Link
Author: Tim Hague
Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Oct. 18 2006,14:23)
Can someone translate for me:

Who is Allen MacNeill?

Why is he posting on UD?

Amazing.  This guy has brought more biology to light over there in a few posts than Dembski and his wall of mindless zombies have in two years.  Amazingly several folks there seem eager to hear what he has to say.

You asking seriously?

Allen is the guy who ran the 'Evolution and Design seminar' at Cornell during the summer.  

You can read all about it:

Date: 2006/10/18 22:29:24, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (ericmurphy @ Oct. 18 2006,15:28)
One individual, two alleles (max) for any given gene. It is physically impossible for a normal (non-supernatural) human being to have more than two alleles (heterozygous) or one (homozygous) for any given gene, Dave. End Of Story.

Well duh.

Of course Adam and Eve were supernatural.

One was created from dust, and the other from ... errr ... a rib.

And dudes lived to 900 years old in them days.

In Daveland it is perfectly possible for these super-dudes and dudettes to be 'genetically-rich' with 1,000 times the number of chromosomes of us poor saps and enough genetic variation therein to spawn the 6bn different folk we see today.

Mutations. Pffft. Who needs mutations. I laugh at your high-falutin' sciency silliness.

Just because you don't see 900 yr old dusty-lookin' folk with 248 different eye-colours today doesn't mean they didn't exist 6,000 years ago.


Date: 2006/10/23 09:04:53, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (deadman_932 @ Oct. 22 2006,12:02)
Haven't we all known an AFDave?
It's interesting--one of the main things I recall about how stupid some people can be was being told, at like 8 years of age, by an adult...that mammals were NOT "animals." The basis of this was that humans are **not animals**, similar to Dave's arguments on primates. Even at 8, I could tell this person foaming at the mouth at me was nuts or stupid. The good thing was that it just made me want to learn more.


This reminds me of my old headmistress in primary school. She was a
religious nut and used to take us kids for weekly Religious Education

After going through the detail of yet another bible-story, a kid put his
hand up and asked the question;
"Where were the dinosaurs while all this was going on?"

After a brief pause, her straight-faced answer was;
"They were in other countries"

Speechless? We certainly were.

Any young minds in our class with any lingering doubts about the scientific
merit of biblical allegory had them swiftly dispelled with that little gem.

Date: 2006/12/27 04:34:55, Link
Author: Tim
Born in South Africa to multi-national parents.

Brought up in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, UAE, Sri-Lanka, Bangladesh, Cyprus, The Phillipines and the UK.

Currently live in Kingston-upon-Thames, UK.

In other words, I'm not really from anywhere.

Date: 2006/12/27 05:43:17, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ Dec. 27 2006,04:47)
Almost live in London. Windsor aint so far. Got a cousin in Kennington (pretty much next to the Oval) which is #### close to Vauxhall.

Heh. I'm sat in my office in Winkfield at the mo, several miles out of Windsor.

Go into Windsor all the time for lunch n stuff.

Date: 2006/12/28 04:11:20, Link
Author: Tim
33, write software for big evil bank.

Hobbies - kite boarding, skiing, constantly being stunned by the mind-numbing stupidity of my creationist colleague that I sit next to every day which got me started on this whole evolution learning frenzy.

Date: 2007/01/03 07:19:12, Link
Author: Tim
Well, as this thread is facing it's timely brick wall, I thought I'd toss in my tuppence-worth as another long-term lurker.

I've been here since before our Air-Force friend crash-landed at ATBC, and have followed every post from the first and will to the last.

Overall I've thoroughly enjoyed the rickety journey, and as a non-biologist, non-anthropologist, non-palentologist, non-archaeologist, non-phycisist, non-linguist and non-geneticist, I've garnered some very, very useful info from these circa. 11,000 posts.

The patience and layman's language used with which to explain some very basic stuff so that the uneducated can understand it has proven to be invaluable to someone like myself. To that extent I am grateful to the thread-starter for inducing the regulars to make these wonderful explanations. It leads me to realise firstly just how much there is to learn, and secondly just what utterly complex subjects these really are. More than a lifetime's worth of learning, which makes one feel quite humble.

Which then compels me to wonder just how a layman (such as the thread-starter) can attempt to not only grapple with some of the more detailed aspects of evolutionary biology, physics, anthropology, genetics, cladistics etc by mere drive-by reading of encyclopaedias (and faux-encyclopaedic websites), but also to overturn and refute the research carried out by the many thousands who have made these subjects their lifetime's work. Humble is not on show here.

I have gone from amusement through open-jawed amazement all the way to utter incredulity at what I have witnessed on this thread.

The moment of realisation of what we were really dealing with finally hit home during the (non-) debate on the watchmaker analogy. One or two regulars posted wonderfully lucid explanations as to why the watchmaker analogy fails in the context of evolutionary biology, to the extent that not only could I understand it, but that it became obvious; watches don't reproduce.

This perfectly simple point just failed to reach the thread-starter, despite repeated (bold-faced, italicised, capitalised ad infinitum) posts of that very point. Either it failed to reach him or he refused to understand it. Beyond that he became really very confused, stating that the 'difference' between a watch and a butterfly was one of complexity, when complexity is one of quantitative similarity, and not a difference at all.


It was at this point that I finally accepted the reality of the situation and capitulated; this thread is doomed.

Since that time the thread-starter has begun using the word 'intractable' to describe his YEC position, as well as describing himself as an 'amateur scientist'. The words intractable and scientist form an oxymoron of the highest order, but I'm sure this point is lost on the  thread-starter, just as so many other seemingly simple points are lost.

I have more recently spent some time lurking at in the natural sciences area; a regular haunt of G R Morton. The YECs encountered there are quite a bit younger, and a number have switched from YEC through OEC to full appreciation of the scientific world-view, in the face of patient explanation from the resident scientists. The point that at least two recent converts there have cited as their main reason to change their world-view is that of attempting to reconcile starlight with a young universe; ie the YEC God would have to be a con-artist.

It is satisfying to see the opening-up of young minds who have been brought up (dare I say brain-washed) in YEC environments when confronted with scientific reason. Without fail they have found the experience both humbling and overwhelming. It is at times like those that I am utterly glad we have threads like this where the studied knowledge and dogged patience of forum-posters can open up heretofore closed minds.

I have come to realise however, that the thread-starter, in part due to his age perhaps, and the amount (in time, money and effort) he has invested in his world-view, will never reach this point.

Intractable sums up the position of the thread-starter rather nicely here, and I'm sure he would become a little more humble if he ever comes to realise that intractable is exactly what science is not.

Date: 2007/01/03 08:26:07, Link
Author: Tim
and they've convinced Time, Newsweek and others that the whole scientific community is divided over intelligent design

Is this actually true?

I'd have given far more credence to the abilities of the investigative reporters of Newsweek and Time than that.

Date: 2007/01/03 10:07:36, Link
Author: Tim
Quote (afdave @ Jan. 03 2007,09:43)
Unbe-smegging-lievable.  Thanks, Tim.

:D  :D  :D  :D


Use it wisely.  :)

Date: 2007/01/05 04:16:41, Link
Author: Tim
In his penultimate post on his now-defunct Update Creator God Hypothesis thread, AFDave asked Steve Story ...


Steve Story ...
Not allowing him to post here once the thread is closed will encourage him to set up shop elsewhere.

I am planning on continuing with the topics begun here at the Dawkins blog or on my blog and I thanked you for alerting me to some other options.

Are you now telling me I can't participate in Skeptic's new Christianity thread after this thread is closed?

What would be the reason for that?  Do you think I have taken over that thread?  Or plan to?  

I have not, and I don't plan to.  If you will look on that thread, my posts so far consist of a very small percentage of the total content.

To which there has not been an answer.

Is AFDave still free to post in other threads?

Or has he been banned outright?

Date: 2013/04/16 15:37:35, Link
Author: timothya
Chance Ratcliff contributed this at UD:

Isn’t it better to prevent the breeding of undesirables than to be forced to dispose of their offspring? It seems like a rather pragmatic solution. The holocaust could have been prevented with the similar administration of such a practicality.

Please, please, please tell me that he/she is being ironic.

Date: 2013/04/18 03:32:43, Link
Author: timothya
Oscar Wilde: "The English country gentleman galloping after a fox - the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable."

The IDist - the ineducable in pursuit of the unmeasurable.

Date: 2013/04/26 07:09:42, Link
Author: timothya
KF posts forty listed points, each of which is a matter of debate, and then prevents anyone from commenting on them.

That must be how Right Reasoning works.

Date: 2013/04/28 04:58:06, Link
Author: timothya
TheWholeTruth posted this:

gordo obviously believes that his writings are exempt from any laws, and that only the writings by people who question or oppose him are subject to laws.

Well, no. I imagine (from his posts at UD) that he thinks there is some law (some universal justification) that turns what he says into a truth, no matter what.

But he does evidently believe that his interpretation of a verse from the the Christian bible represents the best that human thought can come up with.

Some people disagree with this idea. Mainly because some things that we now accept as true are not supported by any reference in his holy book. Which is evidence that his holy book is lacking is completeness.

Date: 2013/04/28 05:12:08, Link
Author: timothya
Kairosfocus posted this at UD:

In some cases, some will need to pay a sufficient penalty for misbehaviour that they will be stopped cold and others will take warning that this sort of thing cannot be got away with. (Notice, how they try to twist about the idea of due sanctions for misbehaviour, into a projection of sadism, yet another false accusation or vile insinuation? Utterly telling. And maybe, just maybe, if their spoiled brattishness had been properly and sharply corrected in younger days by parents, teachers and school administrators, we would not have to face some of what we are facing at community level now.)

Is he talking about Mr Leathers? He does seem to have a fixation about punishment.

Date: 2013/04/28 05:24:29, Link
Author: timothya
I dare say that I could find the definitive reference for the term "dark triadist" if I tried hard enough. Can someone save me the effort?

Date: 2013/04/29 06:17:34, Link
Author: timothya
Over at UD, Kairosfoscus posted the following:

<QUOTE>In some cases, some will need to pay a sufficient penalty for misbehaviour that they will be stopped cold and others will take warning that this sort of thing cannot be got away with. (Notice, how they try to twist about the idea of due sanctions for misbehaviour, into a projection of sadism, yet another false accusation or vile insinuation? Utterly telling. And maybe, just maybe, if their spoiled brattishness had been properly and sharply corrected in younger days by parents, teachers and school administrators, we would not have to face some of what we are facing at community level now.)</QUOTE>

Which prompted me, incautiously, to ask:

<QUOTE>What is a sufficient penalty that some will have to pay (who is the some to whom you refer)?

What should happen to a person in this context to make them stop cold?

What is your approved form of sharp corrective for young children? In particular, what do you think represents misbehaviour by young children?</QUOTE>

And he responded with this:

<QUOTE>TA: You are trying to pull the matter off topic and playing the destructive Alinskyite personalising- polarising game. Tactic exposed, and so ineffective; so is the underlying manipulative agenda. All I will answer to it is that measures for effective disciplining of trolls in blogs are well known, and can be extended to apply to dark triad trolls in institutions and communities: unruly, disruptive and willfully destructive behaviour will meet with warning, then treated with the simple rule, three strikes and you are out. As of now, the score for you is STRIKE ONE, TA. Those for dealing with toddlers and spoiled brats — as you full well know but are ignoring to play at trollish games, given known wider context — depend on a case by case basis; for instance I have a fine son who, when he was a toddler, if he had been a bit rude, a symbolic light tap by two fingers on a shoulder would express sufficient disapproval to reduce him to tears of remorse and a resolve to do better. (The allusions you have made to the slanders of sadism in the penumbra of fever swamp sites, are duly noted, and underscore your status as being at STRIKE ONE.) Instead of such poisonous and pointless games, why don’t you instead deal with something pivotal like the UD pro-darwinist 6,000 word feature article length essay challenge that has sat without a serious answer for over seven months now? Could this be because you have not got a sound answer on the merits, but think you can gain an advantage by playing manipulative ideological games using the tactics of a notorious neo-marxist subversive, Alinsky? If so, consider the troll game terminated. KF</QUOTE>

I sincerely hope that he discussed this post with his son before he loaded it.

Just by the by, I read and rejected Alinsky when Gordon was in short pants. Anarchists are largely a waste of mental space.

But anyway, I think I just signed myself up to The Experiment.

Date: 2013/04/29 06:47:04, Link
Author: timothya
TheWholeTruth posted this:

[QUOTE]Yeah, sure, his toddler son cried just because gordo lightly tapped him on the shoulder. Much more likely he cried because he knew that the shoulder tap was a precursor to being beaten with Mr. Leathers if he didn't instantly obey every command from his dictatorial, discipline and punishment obsessed, horrible excuse for a father.

Notice that gordo said "symbolic". Yeah, "symbolic" of the thrashings with "good Guyana cane" that his toddler son had gotten before and that was coming next. Hey gordo, does your daughter also cry when you 'symbolically' tap her on the shoulder lightly? How about your wife?</QUOTE>

You can make these claims if you wish. I can only comment on what Kairosfocus has actually posted in public, and what I have read.

Date: 2013/04/29 07:33:59, Link
Author: timothya
Quote (The whole truth @ April 29 2013,07:25)
"You can make these claims if you wish. I can only comment on what Kairosfocus has actually posted in public, and what I have read."

That's fine, but I don't understand why you felt the need to say that. My comments weren't directed at or to you and I didn't ask or expect you to agree with what I said.

He condemns himself by what he says, not by any construction that we build on top of what he says.

Date: 2013/04/29 16:18:19, Link
Author: timothya
Here is a Google translation from Il Foglio's commentary on the Napoli science centre fire:

I have found that in the sheds of the former Italsider were being spread evolutionism, a nineteenth-century superstition still present in environments parascientific (evidently also in the residue environments songwriting). Darwinism is a form of nihilism and according to the philosopher Fabrice Hadjadj say to a guy who descended from apes means take advantage of his trusting nature to throw him into despair and cause it to behave like a monkey. They had to burn before the Science City.

Reads like gloating to me.

Date: 2013/04/30 02:58:48, Link
Author: timothya
More racist crap at UD. From Robert Byers:

The story by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee. It seems to me a con job on America when these people rise above the great numbers of americans to get these writing jobs for top mags. Affirmative action maybe? Con job anyone?

As far as I can see, none of the resident moralists so much as lifted an eyebrow, let alone oiled up Mr Leathers.

I'm beginning to think that Mr Leathers is not an instrument of abuse at all, but rather an item of ornament. A rather elegant codpiece, perhaps? Worn Blackadder-style.

Date: 2013/04/30 05:29:55, Link
Author: timothya
And good on Yudhijit. A thoughtful, insightful article. This ignorant peon applauds.

Date: 2013/05/09 04:35:59, Link
Author: timothya
Presumably Ray Comfort has been rumbled as satire rather than genuine creationism, but this turned up on his Facebook page:
"Except not every animal has males or females. Which Genesis neglects to mention. Why is that, Ray?" Cory KentDo you really think slugs and snails are "animals." They are not. They are what are termed “invertebrates,” which means they lack a backbone. They belong to a large and highly diverse group of invertebrates known as the Phylum Mollusca. You had better read Genesis again.

I honestly don't know what this is intended to mean.

Date: 2013/05/09 05:11:35, Link
Author: timothya
I have to stop this. More from Ray Comfort on Facebook:
I never panic if the gate to our home is left open and the dog gets out. This is because I have trained him to salivate at the sound of a hand squeezed toy horn. Ever since he was a puppy he knows that if he hears that sound and responds, he gets a meat treat. He never fails to come running because he knows that I keep my word.

Isn't this an excellent description of Ray's relationship with his audience? Except that I bet his dog has worked out how to trigger the meat treat response.

Date: 2013/05/09 06:26:30, Link
Author: timothya
I've ran too, but not for legitimate reasons. Just because of the horror, the horror . . .

Date: 2013/05/14 03:38:29, Link
Author: timothya
KF recently posted this at UD:
Similarly, mosaic animals such as the Platypus point to code libraries and inheritance in the object sense

Please tell me that KF does not actually believe that the platypus is literally made up of parts of a duck conjoined with parts of a beaver. Please, it can't be possible that he believes this. There must be a rational explanation for his use of the word "mosaic".

Date: 2013/05/14 04:22:36, Link
Author: timothya
Oh, good grief, perhaps this is the answer to the mosaic platypus question:

It is hard to be a monotreme and a meme simultaneously. We are fortunate that memes don't have venomous hind-limb spurs.

Date: 2013/05/14 04:26:11, Link
Author: timothya
Amadan - keep away from the billabong thing, or any kind of bong - that way lies an encounter with Mr Leathers. And while we are on the topic of bonding . . . um, well let's not.

Date: 2013/05/15 06:11:46, Link
Author: timothya
KF has posted another of his summaries at UD, in which appears a set of questions that he has designed to uncover whether you (yes, you materialists; we now who you are) are psychotic, Machiavellian or narcissistic (or some combination of these maladies). Here are his questions:

1] Your empirically grounded evidence that blind chance and mechanical necessity are plausibly adequate to form a life friendly cosmos, trigger OOL and then body plans (including our own with the crucial linguistic ability) is:  ?

3] Your adequate reason for dismissing the reality of God . . .  is: _ ? [Cf. here.]

4] In that context [of evident evolutionary materialism], your grounding of the credibility of the human ability to reason and know (note here onlookers) is: _, and it is best warranted as  ?

Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to:
1. treat KF's questions as rational propositions, and to provide rational answers
2. explain why any of his questions are irrational
3. propose alternative questions that address the underlying epistemic problems correctly

And, by the way, Moldova is going to win the Eurovision Song Contest this weekend. Go Moldova! Power ballads rule! Iceland will go down!!!!

This post will self-destruct in polynomial time.

Date: 2013/05/15 06:21:24, Link
Author: timothya
Silly me, I left out three other questions from KF's post:

5] In that context, your grounding of OUGHT in an IS at worldview foundation level adequate to sustain rights as more than the nihilistic, amoral “might and manipulation make ‘right’ . . . ” warned against by Plato in The Laws, Bk X, is: ? [Onlookers, cf. here, here and here for why this is absolutely important.)

6] Your best explanation for the minimal facts at the historical foundation of the Christian Faith is: ?

7] In light of the above, your best account for the system of reality we see in the world around us and in our hearts is: ?

Date: 2013/05/16 07:36:19, Link
Author: timothya
Quote (Quack @ May 16 2013,06:33)
And BTW: I believe Cascada (Natalie) is singing in Eurovision for Belgium or Germany and she bloody well better win.  Or however it is that Europeans do things like that.

Before it is too late, I see comments here in Norway, that 'we' stand a good chance. So I presume we will be at least one place above the last.

Norway wins Eurovision? Meh.

What you got this year?

Date: 2013/05/18 04:13:05, Link
Author: timothya
KF included this in one of his comments at UD:
FSCO/I is a good example, such as is manifest in this post.

I couldn't agree more.

Date: 2013/05/20 04:04:27, Link
Author: timothya
Gary Gaulin posted this:
Take your own advice before you get yourselves in even deeper trouble with the general public and the scientific community you pretend to represent.

Are you a reformatted version of ELISA? The point of discussions is to identify important questions, and to attempt to answer them.

Otherwise you look like an algorithm chasing its own tail.

Date: 2013/05/20 04:20:51, Link
Author: timothya
Joe G posted this:
CSI is NOT a Measure of Meaning/ Function
Well Kevin and others just have to be little baby assholes and insist that because CSI is Shannon information with meaning/ function, that means that meaning and function are measured. They are not.

Meaning and function would be observed, ie special cases of Shannon information. IOW just because something has meaning or functionality does not mean we cannot apply Shannon's technique. The bits are still there, they are just specified. It does NOT matter how meaningful or how functional.

Now, call me simple-minded, but how can something be observed if it isn't measured (minimally in some binary form such as "present" versus "not present"; in more complicated observational systems, we might apply a scale to "standardise" our observations).

Observed must surely mean "sensed and allocated to an arbitrary but objective category that I have decided is appropriate to my investigation or survival".

Doesn't it? Or am I misunderstanding my own sensory apparatuses?

Date: 2013/05/20 04:46:06, Link
Author: timothya
I'd be interested to see his calculations regarding the necessary concentration of Mg/Ca carbonates in the oceans at around that time. All that lime hasta come from somewhere!

Limeys comes from Britain. Ancient Britons. As in The Woad Ode (also known as The Marching Song of the Ancient Britons):

(Sung to the tune of Men of Harlech, which sounds pretty good at a Welsh rugby match)

Date: 2013/05/20 06:31:56, Link
Author: timothya
If you are, so am I.

You may think so, but I couldn't possibly comment.

Date: 2013/05/20 07:45:30, Link
Author: timothya
Wrong hemisphere.

Date: 2013/05/20 07:55:38, Link
Author: timothya
Will the UD blog experience a boost in interest from commenters and onlookers now that Denise O'Leary has returned to the News role?

Or will it be a dead cat bounce?

Date: 2013/05/20 08:05:28, Link
Author: timothya
Richardson/Urquhart. And I daresay that Western hemispherics probably have little idea to what we refer (a post-Thatcherite satire upon the government of Britain starring Ian Richardson). Well worth watching even if a little morally sickmaking.

Date: 2013/05/20 08:15:24, Link
Author: timothya
Schroedinger has a lot for which to answer.

Date: 2013/05/21 04:24:38, Link
Author: timothya
In another uncommentable post, KF first says this:
Those distinctions [apparently distinctions we recognise via sense data] exist as realities before we recognise them and make accurate statements — i.e. true ones — about them.

Then later says this:
Verbal games about objects being prior to axioms cut no ice when you make mistakes with red hot iron balls on tables.

Now this puzzles me. I can understand why KF thinks other peoples' methods of reasoning might be in error (verbal games), but he and his fellow IDists are guilty of precisely the error he claims that Elizabeth Liddle is making.

I suppose sensing the heat of a glowing red ball on one's skin is a necessary component of understanding the object, but that much seems to me a given fact on the level of "lion senses antelope, genetic predator response kicks in, lion legs start to run".

The base sense data and simple physiological processing of sense data don't help much in understanding more complex realities of the physics involved. In fact, much of that more complex understanding may derive from knowledge that has nothing physically to do with glowing red balls.

His approach certainly doesn't help when one is attempting to understand an object, or event, or process that has no immediate sensible presence, and which can only be understood via indirect evidence or even the absence of sensible evidence. Which is, after all, the problem involved in coming to grips with origins.

In particular, KF's (eminently reasonable) first statement flatly contradicts the proposition that biology and the cosmos can best be explained by calling on a non-object. An entity that has no physical presence, cannot be sensed, leaves no trace and cannot be interrogated by any human action.

Date: 2013/05/21 06:43:38, Link
Author: timothya
Dr Elizabeth

Every attempt I make to log into TSZ (required to make a comment) is met with a login box that says I have to provide a username, password AND match a CATCHA pattern.

The problem is that no CAPTCHA pattern is displayed for me to attempt. Am I doing something wrong?

Date: 2013/05/24 00:55:05, Link
Author: timothya

Getting a "Error establishing a database connection" error on  any page load inside the site (loads the home page OK). I seem to be authenticated correctly and have posting rights.


Date: 2013/05/24 04:30:16, Link
Author: timothya

I think you might have a database access or capacity problem (too many people trying to suck stuff out from the host system at once). The price you pay for running a popular site.

Of course I am happy to subcontract your site traffic at a small but perfectly formed price if I am allowed to co-opt TSZ's clientele into my International Research Project To Locate the Worst Joke In The World.

Date: 2013/05/26 05:45:05, Link
Author: timothya
DNS must update more quickly in parts of the world where marsupials congregate.

Date: 2013/05/26 06:03:46, Link
Author: timothya
And, apparently, at

Date: 2013/05/27 07:33:01, Link
Author: timothya
Phil posted this at UD:
Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything from the supercomputer, Deep Thought, specially built for this purpose. It takes Deep Thought 7.5 million years to compute and check the answer, which turns out to be 42.

Phil has reached self-parody? Does this mean he has reached self-awareness?

Date: 2013/05/30 06:17:05, Link
Author: timothya
At UD, Kairosfocus posted this headline:
VIDEO: Guillermo Gonzalez lectures at UC Davis on the Privileged Planet thesis

Does anyone know if this lecture was sponsored by any organisation that is part of the University of California, or was it a case of rent-a-hall?

Date: 2013/06/01 15:38:57, Link
Author: timothya
This one from Sal has almost done my head in:
Darwin’s Delusion vs. Death of the Fittest
Can a sentient being please explain what he means? My brain hurts.

Date: 2013/06/02 00:00:51, Link
Author: timothya
Anatole France, actually:

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."

The concept being that, although equal condemnation under the law was guaranteed to both social classes, it had little application to the wealthy.

Which is indeed the point about "reverse sexism" and "reverse racism".

Date: 2013/06/03 04:24:30, Link
Author: timothya
From a recent UD post title:

Does being a horror novelist help Stephen King understand intelligent design?

Ummmm, yes. Fiction is like that.

Date: 2013/06/06 03:41:47, Link
Author: timothya
What is the significance of this one from Denyse O'Leary?

US government monitors its citizens e-mails?
June 5, 2013 Posted by News under Intelligent Design
Probably. But, this would have to be a reason:

Just the knowledge that Darwin denial exists could be a problem for some in authority these days to advise you never to read a Darwin-doubting book.

Doubting the establishment version of evolution is a big problem for Darwin’s tax-funded, tenured dullards. Whom you will support to the end of your days.

Look, I was there at Cornell in 2011, when the papers noted above and now published so you can read them were delivered.

People, hear me: I have heard every lie and dealt with Darwin’s thugs, and fended off many attempts to obfuscate the issues.

I have personally (D O’Leary, b. 1950,Canada, d of JP O’Leary) been a victim of atheist smears and slanders which tell you more than anything else you might wish to know about what Darwinists’ further influence in public affairs will mean. Whether they claim to be Christians or not. If they misrepresent their position to Christians, more shame to those Christians who are willing to believe it, instead of consulting more responsible authorities.

Paranoia? Caffeine overload? Saw something nasty in the woodshed?

Date: 2013/06/06 04:37:28, Link
Author: timothya
Platonic forms do not suggest we evolved from fish

Neither do:
1. telephone books
2. the rings of Saturn
3. polymictic conglomerates
4. the International Order of Oddfellows
5. the collected poems of William MacGonagall

Sal is indulging in what David Deutsch called A Bad Explanation ("good explanations are hard to vary").

And why are these creationists so keen on Plato and so down on Socrates? Oh . . . I think I just answered my own question.

Date: 2013/06/06 08:59:00, Link
Author: timothya
Then they blame Darwin, the scientific conspiracy, and Obama for their poor reasoning skills, poor writing skills, and lack of knowledge.

I vote for the woodshed thing, at least it had a happy ending.

Date: 2013/06/06 09:46:55, Link
Author: timothya
Following the trail from UD to a description of the recently published proceedings of an ID conference, Biological Information: New Perspectives
1) Information is indispensable to our understanding of what life is; 2) Biological information is more than the material structures that embody it; 3) Conventional chemical and evolutionary mechanisms seem insufficient to fully explain the labyrinth of information that is life.

Hmmmm . . .
1) Information is indispensable to our understanding of what life is . . .
Yup, it is difficult to understand life if we can't communicate its regularities using information. Oh, you mean the information <i>in</i> the regularities. OK, but the information in the regularities of life can only be understood using the encoding of human language.  <scratches epistemological bump>
2) . . . Biological information is more than the material structures that embody it . . .
What you mean "is more than", paleface?
I will believe you when you stop assuming what you are obliged to demonstrate. What does "more" mean in your world? How do we measure this "more". Let's go further. If "biological information" is objectively measurable (which is what you claim with your CSIs and FIASCOs and whatnot), then show me how, when, where and in what way these measurements justify the conclusion that there is more to material structures than the information we humans can extract from them?
3) Conventional chemical and evolutionary mechanisms seem insufficient to fully explain the labyrinth of information that is life.
They seem to be so, do they? According to whom? By what criteria? Under what experimental regimes? Please stop playing games with other people's data and produce some of your own

Date: 2013/06/07 04:36:44, Link
Author: timothya
He said in a different thread that he was dealing with a bereavement.

Date: 2013/06/09 14:23:20, Link
Author: timothya
Sounds like Joe belongs to the "pi equals three" brigade.

Date: 2013/06/11 04:07:24, Link
Author: timothya
At UD:

"Here Is How Gnosticism Informs Evolution"

I must admit I muttered a sotto voce WTF when this headline pierced my eyeballs.

The entire linked article appears to be about how various flavours of pro-evolutionary religious thinking are "gnostic". This may be true, but requires more knowledge of the intricacies of religion than I can muster.

But so what. How would gnosticism inform evolutionary biology? I thought gnosticism carried the connotation of cryptic knowledge. What use cryptic knowledge would be in the world of science baffles me, unless patent applications qualify.

Date: 2013/06/11 04:37:22, Link
Author: timothya
Sometimes I reconsider my self-imposed ban on commenting at UD when I read the non sequiturs, deliberate mis-statements and fanciful unscientific conjectures.

However, a combination of the News' spam-posting, low comment rate per post, and the excellent contributions of passing pot-stirrers makes me think there is a dead cat tremble going on. The only threads that get above five comments are those rehashing explicitly religious beliefs.

Long may it continue. It is probably our species' best defence against invasion by alien civilisations.

Date: 2013/06/11 07:12:45, Link
Author: timothya
I don't know if this is the right place to post a comment about this matter. There is a post on Pharyngula that points to a story about one of the Sandy Hook families:

The only thing I can think of saying to Mark and Jackie is this: we try to put ourselves in your case. For what it is worth, that is what humans can do. I'm sure that anyone who reads the story will wish you peace.

Date: 2013/06/11 07:40:16, Link
Author: timothya
..Or we could just stir each other's pots..what sort of Aliens?

Aliens who decide, sensibly, to avoid planets inhabited by organisms infected with self-destructive beliefs.

Date: 2013/06/11 16:19:08, Link
Author: timothya
Introduce him to transcendental equations, that should keep the stupid going.

Date: 2013/06/13 07:59:46, Link
Author: timothya
At UD:

"Evolutionary Prediction About Humans"

Googly eyes are a prediction of evolutionary biology? Where did this come from? It is certainly true that if you combine access to Photoshop with a febrile imagination you will get . . . something strange.

Date: 2013/06/17 05:40:32, Link
Author: timothya
This is a real sequence: (as of today, if that is a clue)

0, 0, 0, 0, 1, 14, 4, 13, 4, 12, 1, 1, 6, 2, 5, 2, 8, 0, 4, 24, 12, 3, 4, 6, 2, 26, 7, 31, 4, 1, 0, 14, 6, 5, 3, 6, 0, 7, 0, 59, 38, 26, 2, 4, 2, 5, 4, 2, 7, 3, 5, 3, 81, 10, 10, 0, 6, 37, 0, 6, 11, 11, 76, 18, 4, 4, 29, 162, 4, 1, 1, 0, 90, 6

What does it signify? What correlates would help explain the big vs small values?

Date: 2013/06/17 06:07:06, Link
Author: timothya
Yes. Comments on UD posts during June, so far.

Explanatory hypotheses so far:

1. Identity of poster
2. Subject of post

Other hypotheses that have occurred to me:

3. Clustering - commenting activity on a post prompts more activity on following posts
4. Bjornagain comments represent automatic responses and should be discarded as random noise (possibly also true of other UD choir-singers)
5. Some activity correlates with choir-related subjects
6. Some activity correlates with the presence of challengers (RDFish, for example).
7. Is there a conspiracy to demonstrate the UD dead cat bounce by challengers refusing to engage?

Date: 2013/06/17 06:28:14, Link
Author: timothya
If we treated the UD commentary as a time series of the "real" level of interest in the topics being posted, what would we delete before we calculated the analysis of variance?

Date: 2013/06/23 07:38:14, Link
Author: timothya
From Kairosfocus at UD:
This is not a genuine petition, on track record of too many casesit is a license for mob-driven witch hunts, media lynchings and unjustified career busting driven by toxic slanders, willful misinformation, rage fed by hostility and stereotyping misrepresentations. But already, there is a push to tyrannise on conscience that has not been seen in a very long time, and it is going to lead to an awful mess if unchecked. Plato’s warning on nihilist, amoral, evolutionary materialist factions is coming true.

The awful mess appears to have been supplied already.

Date: 2013/06/26 07:45:01, Link
Author: timothya
From Denyse O'Leary:
Knock us over with a paper clip.

Over at Evolution News & Views, Casey Luskin asks, could P. Z. Myers even possibly have read Steve Meyer’s Darwin’s Doubt before writing a long essay trashing it?:

Yup, you got knocked over by a stationery item.

What, exactly, is your competence as a journalist? Do you have difficulty in working out who wrote what?

You might do better if you hire a fact checker.

I haven't stopped laughing yet.

Date: 2013/07/06 15:43:16, Link
Author: timothya
From KF:
So to be able to speak for record in the teeth of abusive steamroller tactics is important.

Does he have a mixed metaphor machine under his desk? This one is truly gruesome.

Date: 2013/07/06 15:59:25, Link
Author: timothya
KF calls this dogmatic:
The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts . . . .[[S]cience, along with its methods, explanations and generalizations, must be the sole focus of instruction in science classes to the exclusion of all non-scientific or pseudoscientific methods, explanations, generalizations and products . . . .Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science, a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations supported by empirical evidence that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. Other shared elements include observations, rational argument, inference, skepticism, peer review and replicability of work . . . .Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic methods and explanations and, as such, is precluded from using supernatural elements in the production of scientific knowledge. [NSTA, Board of Directors, July 2000. Emphases added.]

And then offers Newton as a "corrective":
As in Mathematicks, so in Natural Philosophy, the Investigation of difficult Things by the Method of Analysis, ought ever to precede the Method of Composition. This Analysis consists in making Experiments and Observations, and in drawing general Conclusions from them by Induction, and admitting of no Objections against the Conclusions, but such as are taken from Experiments, or other certain Truths. For Hypotheses are not to be regarded in experimental Philosophy. And although the arguing from Experiments and Observations by Induction be no Demonstration of general Conclusions; yet it is the best way of arguing which the Nature of Things admits of, and may be looked upon as so much the stronger, by how much the Induction is more general. And if no Exception occur from Phaenomena, the Conclusion may be pronounced generally. But if at any time afterwards any Exception shall occur from Experiments, it may then begin to be pronounced with such Exceptions as occur. By this way of Analysis we may proceed from Compounds to Ingredients, and from Motions to the Forces producing them; and in general, from Effects to their Causes, and from particular Causes to more general ones, till the Argument end in the most general. This is the Method of Analysis: And the Synthesis consists in assuming the Causes discover’d, and establish’d as Principles, and by them explaining the Phaenomena proceeding from them, and proving the Explanations.

I can't, for the life of me, see how the NSTA and Newton are saying anything to contradict each other.

Date: 2013/07/08 03:50:49, Link
Author: timothya
Niwrad is given posting rights at UD and produces this:
Corollary of the 2nd law.In an isolated system, organization never increases spontaneously. Hence the 2nd law refutes evolution.

Doing well until the end of the first sentence.

Date: 2013/07/08 06:22:00, Link
Author: timothya
Anybody beside BA77 left without posting privileges?

Please, yes. Oh, please, please, please may His Noodly Appendages reach down and grant us evidence of a supernatural event. Please allow Quantum Woo Joy to be unconstrained.

Damn, I have to stop doing the praying thing.

Date: 2013/07/08 07:51:39, Link
Author: timothya
I sometimes wish that creationists had to consciously suffer the SLoT consequences of their stupid.

Date: 2013/08/24 02:19:05, Link
Author: timothya
Byers at UD:
No true Christian has ever called for the murder of Jews or gays either. However many Jews and gays have murdered many people in the european struggles.True Christians can not murder. Thats the point of being Born again.Isn’t Cohen a Jewish name? Smells like a attack from a identity eh?

Offered sans commentary.

Date: 2013/08/24 05:05:53, Link
Author: timothya
Tjguy follows Byers with this:
Robert, I think it is a bit of an overstatement to say that true Christians cannot murder. I understand what you are saying, but everyone is human and given the right circumstances, who knows? For the most part I think u r right, but are you saying that God cannot forgive murder? While King David was not a “true Christian”, he was a man after God’s own heart and we know what happened.

To what does Tjguy's clause "For the most part I think you are right" refer? Does he mean Byers' antisemitic and homophobic contribution? Is it this bit that "for the most part", he thinks is right?
No true Christian has ever called for the murder of Jews or gays either. However many Jews and gays have murdered many people in the european struggles.True Christians can not murder. Thats the point of being Born again.Isn’t Cohen a Jewish name? Smells like a attack from a identity eh?

When will the Big Tent own up to the obvious fact that they are sheltering some deeply disgusting people.

Date: 2013/08/24 05:25:46, Link
Author: timothya
And Phil is certain that Muslims deserved the Crusades:
Speaking of the Crusades, which many non-Christians like to point to, along with the inquisition, as an example of Christian brutality, and which were definitely not shining moments in Christian history, it is, none-the-less, interesting to note the perpetual cycle of terror perpetrated on peaceful Christians (and non-Christians) for hundreds of years by the Muslims, A perpetual cycle of terror which preceded the Crusades and ehich Christians are never told about in secular universities. A perpetual terror upon peaceful people which had finally lead up to the backlash witnessed in the Crusades:Islamic Atrocities Provoked the Crusades – video – A History Of Terror, A 1400 Year Secret, by Dr Bill Warner – video Depth History of the Muslim Religion | William J Federer – video

Yep. Yep. The Christian history of Islam should be accepted as a matter of course.

Date: 2013/08/29 05:57:14, Link
Author: timothya
If there is a particle physicist in the house, could you answer a simple-minded question about quantum entanglement.

How much energy is required to separate two entangled particles by a macroscopic distance? I think I mean the total energy required for the system as a whole, not the energy trapped inside the particles.

Date: 2013/08/29 21:43:21, Link
Author: timothya
The actual energy used is way higher than that which would be required for a single particle pair.  First, one must do a large number of pairs to get a statistical ensemble.  My understanding (OlegT can chime in here, PM him perhaps) is that the meaning of a wavefunction for a single pair is more problematic than for an ensemble.  One must run the instruments that do the detection.  One must do specific manipulations to prepare the state in the entangled state.

My reason for asking concerns the claims made by woo-merchants who witter on about "quantum consciousness" and suchlike. My reading is that the energy required to make any use of the phenomenon would make your brain leak out of your ears.

Date: 2013/08/29 21:57:12, Link
Author: timothya
Barry Arrington offers us the state of his understanding of gravitational theory:
Scientists are not exempt from the “why” game.  And it may surprise my readers to learn that they get to the “that’s just the way it is” stage fairly quickly.

Why does water run downhill?

Because things fall down; water is a thing and when it runs downhill it is merely falling down.


Because gravity makes things fall down.


That’s just the way it is.

Why does gravity operate the way that it does instead of some other way?  The scientist has no better explanation for that question than the theologian.

Unbelievable. Even from a religiously motivated political hack.

Barry, to understand why gravity operates the way it does, and not some other way, try learning about "connection fields". Sean Carroll provides an excellent introduction in his book about the Higgs.

Date: 2013/08/30 15:43:33, Link
Author: timothya
A new SI Unit is born: the Arrington. The Arrington measures wilful ignorance.

The Arrington is a relative unit. It combines the current state of knowledge (expressed in Eurekas), the definition of free will (expressed in Weejums) and the objective measurement of ignorance (expressed in Feverswamps).

Febble et al. have found cases where the Arrington takes on negative values. They propose an alternative unit for this range: the Pustule.

Date: 2013/09/10 07:48:00, Link
Author: timothya
News at UD posts this:

Lukianoff: The Hayden Barnes case is not just outrageous because the student was kicked out of college for a collage, it’s outrageous because, as best I can tell, virtually none of his fellow students or professors raised a finger to help.

Now, my question is: what is the benchmark for free speech in a university?

Is it now?

Or is it the early 1950s when contradicting a certain Senator from Wisconsin got you a one-way ticket to unemployment?

Is it 1968 when the Berkeley Free Speech Movement asked people to speak honestly about why they disagreed with the policy of their government, and the government took a few years to think about it and then responded at Kent State?

What exactly does UD's News person regard as "free speech"? Speech that agrees it?

Date: 2013/09/15 16:04:03, Link
Author: timothya
Sal on charity:
Many of my professors and mentors were Darwinists. An ex-girlfriend was a Darwinist, but her being a democrat was more of a disqualifier.

I must be charitable and assume the undercapitalisation was unintentional.

Date: 2013/09/15 16:44:09, Link
Author: timothya
Niwrad on charity:
Darkness exists because there isn’t enough light. Darwinism/atheism exist because we IDers/theists are not smart enough to show the splendour of God and His designs. Let’s continue to retry with patience, the patience of the Truth, patiens quia aeterna.

Given an infinity of time and an endless supply of hammers, it is just possible Niwrad might eventually conclude that the square peg of religion will never fit the round hole of evidence.

The first sentence is so wonderfully vacuous that it qualifies for the sigline shop. IDiots have always reminded me of Phil The Prince of Insufficient Light, but it isn't often they come right out and state it so plainly.

Date: 2013/09/19 04:02:06, Link
Author: timothya
From the inimitable Axel:
It’s just that the odds against the coincidence of that range of fine-tuning are so huge they are effectively notional. Something like a much vaster number than there are sub-atomic particles in the universe, I believe.

Help me out here - how do you assign "odds against coincidence" after something has already happened (which assigns it a probability of 1) and when you can have access to no more than a single sample?

Surely any estimate would have an infinitely wide confidence interval.

What does his formulation mean?

Date: 2013/09/27 16:43:08, Link
Author: timothya
Please tell me the UD thread quote from William Lane Craig is a fraud:
Rather, since our moral duties are determined by God’s commands, it is commanding someone to do something which, in the absence of a divine command, would have been murder. The act was morally obligatory for the Israeli soldiers in virtue of God’s command, even though, had they undertaken it on their on initiative, it would have been wrong.

On divine command theory, then, God has the right to command an act, which, in the absence of a divine command, would have been sin, but which is now morally obligatory in virtue of that command.

Surely it must be. It can't really represent how he constructs his morality.

Date: 2013/09/27 17:33:56, Link
Author: timothya
If science is logic constrained by evidence, then I am at a loss to find a description of Lane Craig's mode of reasoning:
The act was morally obligatory for the Israeli soldiers in virtue of God’s command, even though, had they undertaken it on their on initiative, it would have been wrong.

But they did undertake it on their own initiative, unless he is abandoning his own notions of free will. Christian apologetics certainly is a strange mental landscape.

Date: 2013/10/02 02:23:24, Link
Author: timothya
Barry's Inconsequentialism at UD:
Walter White is a consequentialist.  Over the course of the show he justifies every evil act by appeals to a “greater good” that will result from the evil he commits.  Producing illegal meth?  How else is he going to get enough money to leave his family a little nest egg?  Killing a captured drug dealer?  I have to kill him to cover my tracks and provide for my family.  By the end of the show Walt has committed numerous murders and even poisoned a young boy to further his own selfish ends, and every step of the way he says he is going it “for the family.”

Is Barry really this obtuse? He is describing a character who is the opposite of a consequentialist. Drug dealing concentrates wealth in the hands of the dealer by spreading misery as widely as possibly among the addicted. What "greater good" is Walter pursuing? Even the benefit of his family doesn't stack up against the loss of benefit amongst his clientele.

If he wants to use analogies to argue for his sectarian brand of morality, Barry would do well at least to get them right.

Date: 2013/10/02 02:55:12, Link
Author: timothya
Here is my favourite Irreducibly Complex Object (apologies for any copyright violation involved):

Date: 2013/10/04 15:38:24, Link
Author: timothya
There are annihilations of people groups that are justified.

If we found a people group that was hell-bent on killing every person outside their own society, they would deserve to be wiped out (even though they are following their morality, right naturalists???).

Hmmm . . . let me think about that for a minute.

Wait a sec, we don't need the hypothetical "if we found" bit. We actually have an example of such a group. In the case of the Canaanites, the Israelites were demonstrably "hell-bent on killing everyone outside their own society". Excepting virgins, naturally.

I wonder if Brent ever considers where his twisted morality leads.

Date: 2013/10/10 00:57:43, Link
Author: timothya
A numerologist at play at UD:
As an aside, I’ve always thought Christians had an easier path to understanding the universe than atheists. For example, when Newton proposed that Gravitational force is inversely proportional to the Square of the distance between two masses. For an orderly, designed universe, this makes sense – why wouldn’t it be something nice and even, like the square of the distance? For someone who believes in a random universe though – why the Square? Why not r ^ 2.148273? or r ^ 1.932157? The universe is full of nice, neat relationships like this, at very fundamental levels – moreso than not. I find the ability of the atheist to accept so many coincidences nothing short of astonishing.

Date: 2013/10/14 00:16:53, Link
Author: timothya
Along with some christobabble, UD now resurrects vitalism:
The essense of “life” that animates the matter that trees and people physically consist of is immaterial. A human body weighs exactly the same both before and immediately following death. The difference, the “life force” is immaterial, and once it leaves, the body left behind has gone from animate to inanimate matter.

Apparently human death can circumvent the 2LoT. Neat trick. I'm surprised their resident physicists haven't jumped all over that one. Is it the Perpetual Immateriality Machine or the Perpetually Immaterial Machine?

Date: 2013/10/14 00:35:25, Link
Author: timothya
The UD creationists are starting to eat each other:

It doesn't matter if I can't add up

Date: 2013/10/14 04:57:55, Link
Author: timothya
What does Mapou mean by this at UD?
Good question. It’s a big problem but once you realize that space (distance) is an illusion or perception, the problem just vanishes.

Infinity is a ruse, a lie. Believing in infinity is like wearing blinders.

Does she/he mean that there is no mathematical proof that there is no largest number?

Date: 2013/10/14 05:22:30, Link
Author: timothya
Being utterly wrong about science equals being right about theology:

An Orthodox Rabbi Ventures into the World of Evidence

Nope. Your premises are wrong, so your conclusions are wrong.

Date: 2013/10/14 05:42:14, Link
Author: timothya
Thanks for the heads-up. I've seen that loon at work elsewhere.

Date: 2013/10/20 02:04:58, Link
Author: timothya
From News at UD:
It’s unwise to simply discount legends; they are usually based on something, if only because few human beings have the imagination to invent a durable icon without any materials from nature at all.

Some questions:
1. Are there any "sea serpent legends" from the Eastern Pacific that could credibly be related to the presence of the oarfish in those waters?
2. Is there any evidence that "sea serpent legends" from elsewhere in the world are credibly related to the oarfish?
3. Is there any evidence that "few human beings have the imagination to invent a durable icon without any materials from nature"?

Not being an icthyologist, I will only attempt an answer to the third question.

No, the idea that "few human beings have the imagination to invent a durable icon without any materials from nature" is contraindicated because:
a. The Mormon theology
b. The Yahweh theology
c. The Muslim theology
d. The Jesus theology
e. Bigfoot
f. The power of crystals
g. The healing power of prayer
h. Homeopathy
i. The effects of quantum physics on the operation of brain function
j. Deepak Chopra
k. Creation science
l. Intelligent design
m. Postmodernism
n. Supply-side economics
remain significantly popular without any material evidence for the existence of the causal processes proposed.

Let woo be unconstrained.

Date: 2013/10/20 23:16:11, Link
Author: timothya
You forgot scientology... 

I think it is covered by "The power of crystals". As in "You must have rocks in your head to believe that rubbish."

Date: 2013/10/24 00:11:16, Link
Author: timothya
I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked. I will never again trust another of BjornAgain's URLs.

Date: 2013/10/24 00:18:17, Link
Author: timothya
From UD:
“Si comprehendis, non est deus“  (If you comprehend it, it is not God)

Augustine of Hippo

I love that quote. I think it should be inscribed on the every God of the Gappist's banner.

Though a better rendition would be, "Once you understand something, you realise no magic is involved."

Date: 2013/10/24 00:35:12, Link
Author: timothya
I know it is gratuitous perversity to take pleasure in watching train wrecks, but really . . .

Robert Byers at UD:
I don’t think thee is such a thing as logic. I think logic like math is a human construction.
Instead there are just accurate conclusions in relationship with other accurate conclusions. So logic may fit in this as a special case. However logic works fine even if wrong conclusions are drawn. This because logic works upon presumptions of facts. So logic is not a real thing of truth but only a coincedence if it works.

Date: 2013/10/28 02:26:44, Link
Author: timothya
Querius at UD explains the epistemic basis of creationism:
In my view, here’s why an ID proponent can demand examples of the proposed natural process of macro-evolution, while the Darwinist cannot demand the same of the ID proponent.

There’s an asymmetry between a Darwinist ascribing a natural process to account for the presumed macro-evolutionary elaboration and adaptation over geologic time, and an ID proponent ascribing an unidentified intelligent agent for the same results, though through different means. Whether this intelligent agent is natural or supernatural is also unspecified, and the ID proponent also makes no claims regarding the means, while the Darwinist of necessity must do so.

Can't be clearer than that.

And then explains why:
“In the beginning was the Word (logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” – John 1:1 NIV

I have always thought that the obsession among creationists with asserting the primacy of words over real-world evidence is worth closer scrutiny. Perhaps I shall write a logos or two on the matter.

Date: 2013/10/28 06:23:37, Link
Author: timothya
Kairosfocus' version of reality:
Well, there is an old duppy story of the man who saw a duppy, noticed the teeth and fled, runing as hard as he could till he could run no farther. He stopped by a new wall, and someone was standing there.

“Man, why you run so hard till you stitch and panting?”

“Duppy by the grave yard . . . show him teeth.”

“Teeth like-a these?”


Here endeth the lesson.

As my mom was so fond of quoting, a word to the wise.

Gordon, just stop for a minute and think about what your readers are going to make of that story. In particular, in what way is it an argument in favour of supernatural designers?

Date: 2013/10/29 04:51:20, Link
Author: timothya
Some ideas deserve to be pondered. Robert Byers at UD:
T rex had small arms because he walked on them first. He ate plants. at the fall or soon after he was one type that had to kill its food. So instantly rose up on his n legs. In fact he is a relative of some that stayed on all fours.
the head was for the kill. Otherwise he was too light to bring down anyone.
He was just a twist on creatures and probably not that impressive.
The analogy is the big kangaroos. Hes not a kangaroo but is like them a oversized type of a small one due to special area issues.

Special area issues may explain why there are no oversized frogs. Or perhaps not.

I know it is unfair, but I do like the idea of n legs.

Date: 2013/11/10 23:49:31, Link
Author: timothya
From k.e.:
Can you imagine HRH Gem of Tiki's voice mail?

ring ring:10
(Regent's Answering Phone)Click:"I'm sorry the person you are calling isn't available now. Please leave a message after the tone...BEEEP"
Gordo:Wah yah duh mon? Are yuh pon Ganja? Yuh cyaan sack maas Bill.Di lawd Jah will get yuh.
(Regent's Answering Phone)BEEEP Click:

Oh come on, GEM could never be as concise as that (even with his egregious truncations).

Date: 2013/11/11 04:14:39, Link
Author: timothya
If you live in south-eastern Australia, you are likely to have encountered birds known as honeyeaters. Honeyeaters are a common type of bird in Australia, and are a wonderful example of species radiation. Depending on how you choose to apply the definition of a species, there are dozens or perhaps hundreds of lineages.

Anyway, this story is about a single nesting. At my partner's house, we noticed that a pair of honeyeaters were building a nest inside the foliage of a cordyline plant in the garden. I am pretty sure they were New Holland honeyeaters (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae): (image from They certainly had the striated underbelly.

Later, a pair of honeyeaters hatched some nestlings. But, the parent birds were clearly from a different species. This is one of the nesters (Blue-faced honeyeater: Entomyzon cyanotis): (image from Its common name is the Banana Bird, which makes it interesting to find it in the southern highlands of New South Wales (think Florida versus Canada).

One interesting thing (remarked on by Australian ornithologists) is that "Most [blue-faced honeyeater] nests are made on the abandoned nests of Grey-crowned Babblers, Noisy, Silver-crowned and Little Friarbirds, Noisy Miner, Red Wattlebird, Australian Magpie, Magpie-Lark and, rarely, butcherbirds or the Chestnut-crowned Babbler. Sometimes the nests are not modified, but often they are added to and relined." (

Did the blue-faced folk ask permission of the novaehollandaiae folk or did they just barge in and take over?

And then another interesting thing. Honeyeaters often practice "cooperative breeding":

"The Blue-faced Honeyeater forms breeding pairs, and may sometimes be a cooperative breeder, where immature birds help the main breeding pair to feed nestlings." ( Sure enough, three adults pop up at the nest with food for the nestlings (honeyeaters are mainly insectivorous, despite their name).

The nestlings are the ultimate alarm clock. As soon as the eastern sky lightens, they begin to carry on at the top of their voices (stupid, ignorant, insensitive birds).

And one other interesting thing. Another species of honeyeater regularly visits the nest, the White-eared honeyeater Lichenostomus leucotus): (image from

The white ear doesn't seem to feed the nestlings, but it turns up every ten minutes to take a look. As does a tiny finch that I haven't been able to identify. I would post my own pics, but I can't work out how to embed them in this editor.

Date: 2013/11/18 14:07:17, Link
Author: timothya

What on Earth does O'Leary mean?

Date: 2013/11/19 02:20:27, Link
Author: timothya
KF at UD (Comment 32)
The problem we face is that in our time, thanks to the dressing up of the ancient chaos-force of evolutionary materialism in the lab coat, elites and fellow travellers have been busily digging away at the foundations of the dam that restrains the barbarism of the clan blood feud.

I can read the words on the screen, but I am stuffed if I can understand what he means.

And while I am at it, what is this weird X rape-torture-murder story meant to signify? All I can tell from his narrative is that his story is a justification for homophobia on the basis of collective guilt.

Date: 2013/11/25 00:57:37, Link
Author: timothya
What caused this eruption of ahistorical nonsense? Is it Hug a Bigot Day among the IDiota?

Date: 2013/11/25 03:54:42, Link
Author: timothya
Unwin's morality:

When absolute monogamy is the rule, marriage is a means whereby a man secures domestic labour and heirs of his blood. A wife and her children are under the domination of her husband; in the eyes of the law he alone is an entity. The wife is taught to submit to her husband in all things ; it is her duty to serve him and to obey him. No woman may have sexual relations with any other man than with him whom she marries as a virgin. When she is married, she is not permitted to withhold conjugal rights. In an absolutely monogamous society female chastity becomes desirable for its own sake, for after a while the women accept as a point of honour the restraint imposed upon them by their lords.

Now think about that statement for a moment. Consider one of the most successful social organisations of the 19th Century: the slave society of the Confederacy.

1. Was monogamy the rule of sexual relations among inhabitants of the slave states? Or were the slavemasters granted the (whip-granted) right of sexual congress with any woman under their control?
2. Were women and their children in an evidently successful slave society under the "domination of their husbands"? Or were they under the domination of the slavemaster who could divide their families and sell them off et seriatim for a profit?
3. Was a wife in an evidently successful slave society "taught to submit to her husband in all things ; it is her duty to serve him and to obey him"? Or was she taught to submit to the person holding the whip?
4. "No woman may have sexual relations with any other man than with him whom she marries as a virgin." In an evidently successful slave society, how could a slave woman deny the slavemaster control of who she had sexual congress with? By what means? How can this be stated as a general rule?
5. "When she is married, she is not permitted to withhold conjugal rights." What a convenient definitional inexactitude. Were slave women "married" in anything like the modern sense of a free contract between a man and a woman? Does this filthy, racist, mysoginistic dipstick really believe that a woman signs away all her future when she signs on the dotted line?
6. "In an absolutely monogamous society female chastity becomes desirable for its own sake, for after a while the women accept as a point of honour the restraint imposed upon them by their lords." OK, since an "absolutely monogomous [sic] society" has evidently never existed, any conclusions you draw from from that assumption are invalid. You may not have realised you have jumped from an invalid assumption to a false conclusion, but it is our job to point out that your chain of reasoning is, how should I put this politely . . . brain dead.

Date: 2013/11/25 05:39:17, Link
Author: timothya
What is this "wolf pack" behaviour that His Moral Amplitude has decided to hang his argument upon?

Surely he can't be relying on USA Today. Tell me it ain't so.

Date: 2013/12/03 01:21:40, Link
Author: timothya
StephenB's contribution to epistemology included:
The Ten Commandments are nothing more than the Natural Moral Law made explicit.

I'm at a loss what is naturally immoral about making graven images of imaginary heavenly things, or coveting your neighbours' chattels (as opposed to treating dependents as chattel property in the first place).

Why is disrespecting your parents naturally immoral (some parents surely deserve disrespect). Why is "keeping the seventh day holy" a naturally moral obligation? Why not every fifth, or third, or thirteenth?

And why is it not a violation of natural moral law that the Ten Commandments make no condemnation of rape or slavery?

Date: 2013/12/04 01:09:17, Link
Author: timothya
Can Jupiter exist and not exist at the same time as an ontological reality?

I fell about laughing when I read this beauty. Any number of commenters have pointed out that the Law of Noncontradiction relies for its application on the categories in question having definite boundaries. So what example does this pompous windbag decide to use? A gas-planet that has no defined physical boundary.

I can observe Jupiter from a great distance and be certain I am not "on Jupiter". But if I approach Jupiter, at what point can I say I am on its surface? Pretty obviously, there is no such point - all the way to the centre of the planet!

Evidently, Jupiter can simultaneously exist and not exist as an ontological reality. What a hoot.

Date: 2013/12/30 14:09:54, Link
Author: timothya
Robert Byers has this to say at UD concerning a "creationist movie":
The directer here is Jewish and this Jewish presence stands in the way of a movie industry that balances the nations beliefs.

It has been sitting there for three days and nobody at the site has criticised him for it.

Date: 2014/01/02 02:48:28, Link
Author: timothya
Didn't the results of the Sloan Deep Sky Survey contradict Halton Arp's cosmological hypothesis?

Date: 2014/01/02 03:07:04, Link
Author: timothya
Anyone want to bet against "The Church of Atheism" will be a recurring theme at UD in 2014?

Date: 2014/01/02 03:08:53, Link
Author: timothya
Anyone want to bet against "The Church of Atheism" being a recurring theme at UD in 2014?

Date: 2014/01/04 17:26:00, Link
Author: timothya
As in, "I am knot a male nurse"?

Date: 2014/01/06 20:31:30, Link
Author: timothya
I thought the eel migration thing was taken as evidence for continental drift.

Date: 2014/01/10 14:07:22, Link
Author: timothya
At UD, News posted an article entitled "Fossils of Australasian tree unexpectedly found in South America". Note that the word "unexpected" does not occur in the ScienceDaily report; it is News' contribution.

Unexpected to whom? Anyone familiar with the biogeography of southern gymnosperms, if asked where to search for fossil specimens of Agathis outside of its extant range, would immediately say, "South America!". Tectonic movement + common descent > expected result.

Date: 2014/02/17 05:30:13, Link
Author: timothya
"Jerry" at UD posted this:
Despite being mocked by Voltaire, I believe that Leibniz got it right. This is the “best of all possible worlds.” We just do not know or understand what is meant by “best.” A benevolent world is definitely not a “best” world. Why would an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent God not create the best or all possible worlds?

So the worm eating out the boy’s eye is part of “best.” I am sure with a little thought we can think of much more gross or horrible examples. But they are all trivial compared to what is being offered, at least by the Christian God.

So Attenborough should look to other possible gods to condemn but not the Christian God.

Now consider how many mistakes can be crammed into three paragraphs:
1. A grammatical error in the first sentence (Jerry: a qualifying clause is assumed to be related to the subject of the sentence. In your contribution, that would be "I"). I doubt that Voltaire had the foreknowledge to mock you, but that is the plain meaning of your statement, so I suppose you know what you mean.
2. Liebniz argues from logic that "this must be the best of all possible worlds because we are in it". Voltaire then writes a book (Candide) pointing out that Liebniz conflates a claim from logic ("this must be the best of all possible worlds") with a claim from evidence ("because we are in it"). Voltaire has a lot of fun with Liebniz's solipsism. Jerry missed that bit.
3. Jerry then says that we (what you mean "we", paleface?) don't know what "best" means. Yes, well OK, but who ever made such a claim? I don't think it is an extraorordinary claim that most people can tell the difference between "better" and "worse", at least as far as the world affects them. I suspect that most Congolese can tell that it is better not to have your hands chopped off if you pilfer a diamond in the mines. I suspect that most women know it is better that they should be able to go about their business without some men assuming they (the women) are available for sex.
4. Next we get: "A benevolent world is definitely not a “best” world." Here is a clue, Jerry. Before you get to use an adjective such as "benevolent" in relation to the noun "world", you have explain some features of benevolence (because benevolence carries the imputation of intention). Some things that require explanation are:
A. Who or what is the entity possessing this benevolence (evidence of existence and characteristics required)?
B. What did this entity do that convinces us of its benevolence (evidence of its intention)?
C. When did this entity conduct its actions (evidence of timing required)?
D.  Where did this entity conduct its actions (evidence of place required)?
E. How did this entity accomplish its actions (evidence of mechanism required)?
F. Why did this entity do these things (no evidence required for this, anyone can come up with Because Reasons)?
5. Then we get: . "Why would an omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent God not create the best or all possible worlds?". Very good question (it happens to be the question that atheists ask over and over again). What does Jerry have to contribute as an answer? Here is what we get: "So the worm eating out the boy’s eye is part of “best.” I am sure with a little thought we can think of much more gross or horrible examples. But they are all trivial compared to what is being offered, at least by the Christian God."
6. So let me get this straight. Your theology trumps the pain and suffering of that boy (who may never have heard of your God) because you claim your belief is correct (without any evidence-based answers to A-F questions above). Is that the best your religion can do?
7. And finally we get a conclusion: "So Attenborough should look to other possible gods to condemn but not the Christian God." But wait a sec, you haven't produced any evidence that this god of yours actually exists (A-F above). You may be right, but your conclusion ("So . . ?") does not rest on any demonstrably reliable presumption.

Date: 2014/02/17 06:00:41, Link
Author: timothya
Midwifetoad said said:
Jerry is high on the list of suspects. 

Yes, evidently (in the normally accepted sense of evidence). It seems (from observation) that the contributors to the UD blog have lost interest in debating the "scientific" claims for Intelligent Design, and are most interested in discussing the religious implications of scientific research results.

Evidence: that the only posts appearing at UD and generating comments aising above the bjornagain77 background noise are those addressing either a) direct criticisms of intelligent design, or b) posts that raise questions about Christian religious orthodoxy.

Date: 2014/02/17 06:18:13, Link
Author: timothya
Why did I say that Miwifetoad said said?


She sells sea shells by the sea shore
The shells she sells are surely seashells
So if she sells shells on the seashore,
I'm sure she sells seashore shells.

It is a maritime experience.

Date: 2014/02/17 06:54:52, Link
Author: timothya
Joe says:
Talk about a strawman- I don’t know any Creationist who thinks that God created all the organisms that we observe. Creationists accept that today’s organisms evolved from the orginally created kind.That means darwinian evolution could very well be responsible for parasitic worms. It also means that God didn’t have to be.Then there is God’s plan- which is something tat we don’t know and most likely couldn’t understand.You know what I say about that kid in Africa- what were his parents thinking?

Ummmm. Wait a sec.

Since the biblical version of "kind" is something you are proposing as a reliable category in biology, then I assume you have a set of measurable characteristics that we can use to identify them. What set of characteristics do you propose that we use?

Date: 2014/02/25 01:37:44, Link
Author: timothya
Is it just me or do you think it passing strange that the Carroll/Craig debate happened without acknowledgement, advertising or commentary by anyone at UD or EN&V? I may have missed their references, but what gives when one of the DI Fellows makes a big noise with a prominent cosmologist and then . . . nothing?

Date: 2014/03/03 00:26:48, Link
Author: timothya
From UD via a commenter called Chalciss:
. . . These debates serve a purpose when they can get a believer to think and get the thinker to believe. . . .

Is the dichotomy in the second paragraph really what he/she meant?

Date: 2014/03/05 04:46:07, Link
Author: timothya
From KF at UD on events in the Ukraine:
F/N: I trust the above, in light of the OP, also suffices to expose the destructive, deceitful, toxic nature of yet another increasingly common tactic: turnabout, blame the targetted victim accusations. Unfortunately, this seems to be a favourite stratagem of the Darwinist fever swamp denizens, and even those who are more genteel are prone to use it in subtler form, as Mr Nye plainly did. TSZ, I trust you are listening. KF

Apparently you lot down there in the fever swamp are the cause of a Russophile insurrection in the Crimea. How did you manage that? I wonder which rabbit hole the "Putin is a bulwark against atheist immorality" trope suddenly disappeared down.

Date: 2014/03/08 19:20:51, Link
Author: timothya

Kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) suburban Sydney, Australia

Date: 2014/03/08 19:38:44, Link
Author: timothya

Silvereyes (Zosterops lateralis) Tumut, New South Wales

Date: 2014/03/08 20:16:13, Link
Author: timothya

New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) Tumut, New South Wales

Date: 2014/03/08 20:54:02, Link
Author: timothya

Superb Fairy Wren (Malurus cyaneus) Tumut, New South Wales

Date: 2014/03/08 20:57:07, Link
Author: timothya

Swamp Harrier (Circus approximans) Tumut, New South Wales

Date: 2014/03/08 23:07:56, Link
Author: timothya

Juvenile New Holland Honeyeater (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) Tumut, New South Wales

Date: 2014/03/09 03:15:10, Link
Author: timothya

See the forest in the trees - patterns from Sydney's botanic gardens

Date: 2014/03/18 04:30:36, Link
Author: timothya
TJguy at UD comments in their thread about the CMB polarisation result:
It shows that even evolutionists have a bias and are prone to interpret the evidence in their favor. Translated that means evolutionists are not the objective scientists they are always portrayed to be.

Who knows why he thinks that the reported results bear on debates in biology.

But at least, we can be pleased that he recognises a truth about scientific practice: it is a battle of ideas decided by the evidence. Now, TJguy, apply that criterion to your religion.

Date: 2014/04/07 02:45:13, Link
Author: timothya

White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae, Dangar Island, New South Wales. This is reportedly the most common species of heron in Australia.

Date: 2014/04/09 05:47:48, Link
Author: timothya

Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus), Brooklyn, New South Wales

Date: 2014/04/15 15:41:02, Link
Author: timothya
Recent advances in creationist physiology:
"Seals don’t have legs, they have flippers."