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Date: 2002/12/06 19:28:27, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Most of my scientist colleagues are highly skeptical of the value of addressing anti-evolutionist tactics head-on. Generally, the thinking is that the stuff is so self-evidently wrong that there is no need to waste time on it. They're right in some senses, of course. But the antievolution movements might better be seen as part of a wider attempt to reduce the influence science has on public policy and public education. It seems clear that the DI/CRSC for example are engaged in this general anti-science campaign, wherein they hope to replace science's authority with a more religiously conservative one.

What I wonder is this: is the focus on evolution and its teaching in public schools necessarily the best place to take a stand against anti-science/anti-rationality movements? In a sense, I believe that the teaching of evolution in public high schools might be a distraction. We're talking about a high school biology unit that takes up maybe a week, but probably more like a single day of classes. Given the complexity of the material, it is doubtful that it can be covered adequately in the time alotted.

And (despite our fondest wishes) it really does seem to be controversial among most people. In a sense we might be taking a stand at the most politically difficult-to-defend point (analogous maybe to defending late-term abortions in order to ensure pro-choice policies).

Might there be a compromise that allows the scientifically minded to better convey the importance of rational empiricism, while eliminating the heat caused by "forcing" a controversial topic upon unwilling local school boards? Can we better maintain the separation between church and state by focusing on issues that are more salient to the largest group of people? Or is this truly a case of a "slippery slope" whereby giving in on any point will be surrendering a bulwark against further attacks?

Date: 2003/01/03 12:24:40, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I just read a fascinating analysis of the structure of ID's probability argument [Sober, E. (2002), "Intelligent design and probability reasoning." Int. J. Phil. Rel. 52:65-80].

In his paper, Sober argues that the ID movement relies upon a probabilistic analog of modus tollens. Modus tollens is a deductively valid argument of the form:
If X then Y
~Y
-------------
(therefore) ~X

The relevant probabilistic analog of this would be the argument: "if a theory X says that Y is improbable, and we observe Y, then we should conclude that the theory is probably false." (This is not deductively valid.) ID makes this into an argument against naturalistic evolution by arguing that some feature (the vertebrate eye, or "irreducible complexity" in general) is improbable under naturalistic laws, and that therefore those laws can be rejected as the sole mechanism for generating that feature.

Sober describes why observing a low probability event does not necessarily provide evidence against the corresponding theory. One example he gives is taken from Richard Royall's wonderful book Statistical Evidence -- A Likelihood Paradigm. Suppose you are brought an urn, and you want to test the hypothesis that it contains 2% white balls. Is drawing a white ball evidence against this hypothesis? If you know that there exist two urns, one containing 2% white balls and the other containing 0.0001% white balls, drawing a white ball is actually evidence in favor of the hypothesis that the urn contains 2% white balls!

This example highlights the need to discuss evidence in comparative terms. You observe an event (such as the existence of the vertebrate eye) that has a low probability under theory X. But it is crucial to know the probability that that event would occur under theory Y as well, if one is to distinguish between them.

How probable is the vertebrate eye or the bacterial flagellum under ID? We do not know. Furthermore, there is a concerted attempt by the ID movement to avoid any committment that would allow such a probability to be calculated, even in principle.

I highly recommend this paper to anyone who finds the probabilistic arguments of the ID movement as annoying as I do. Sober does an admirable job of undercutting the basis of Dembski and Behe's major claims.

Date: 2003/01/04 19:26:57, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I'd like to quote Sober's concluding paragraph in it entirety:
Quote

My critique of the intelligent design movement has been based on the comparative principle I stated about evidence -- to say whether an observation counts as evidence against evolutionary theory and in favor of the hypothesis of intelligent design, one must know what each predicts about the observation. I have challenged intelligent design theorists to produce a theory that has implications about the detailed examples of "irreducible complexity" that Behe describes. However, there is another response that intelligent design theorists might contemplate. This is to deny the comparative principle itself. Dembski has seized the horn of this dilemma. If he succeeds in developing an epistemology of this sort (so far he has not), the way will be paved for an unprecedented result in the history of science -- the rejection of a logically consistent theory that confers probabilities on observations, but does not entail them, and its replacement by another, without its needing to be said what the replacing theory predicts.


Apropos of Sober's conclusion, I'd even more highly recommend Royall's Statistical Evidence -- a book that Dembski cites but shows little eveidence of having understood.

Paticularly revealing in this regard is Dembski's response to an earlier critique by Sober, Fitelson et al., in which he justifies his strict reliance on non-comparative (i.e., Fisherian) modes for the evaluation of evidence by pointing out the prevelance of this approach in applied statistics.

This is about as weak an argument as could possibly be made: "scientists prefer Fisher, therefore my argument is correct." Significance testing has dominated the statistical landscape primarily because it has been computationally easy relative to other approaches. Furthermore, the statistical landscape is changing: in many fields (medicine, ecology, computational biology) explicitly Bayesian approaches are being developed and routinely applied.

Date: 2003/01/06 10:44:23, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Thanks, ExYECer, for the additional resources. I hadn't seen any of Sobel's work.

Also, I'll look for your ISCID contributions.

Date: 2003/01/10 00:03:36, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I'm trying to figure out PCID's (the premier peer-reviewed journal of intelligent design) editorial policy.

The claim is made that papers are first submitted to the archive. After the paper has been on the archive for three months or more, two ISCID fellows may forward it to the editorial board for publication in the journal. There does not appear to be any mechanism for independent review, revisions, etc.

Furthermore, the average waiting time on the archive for published papers has been less than three months for all of PCID's issues (and substantially less -- 51 days -- for the most recent issue). One manuscript (Langan's "CTMU") did not appear on the archive at all.

Permissible topics seem to be "anything that two fellows think might be interesting", e.g., Jackson's fairly mundane computer science paper in issue 1.4.

The question I have is this: is ISCID really claiming that PCID is a rigorous peer-reviewed journal, instead of a platform for the unedited opinions of the ISCID fellows? (Of the 28 papers published, 5 are by Dembski alone, and many of the other authors are also fellows.) Does anyone have a citation where this claim is made?

Date: 2003/01/10 13:00:57, Link
Author: Tom Ames
This just in:

Quote

Fly Ball or Frisbee, Fielder and Dog Do the Same Physics
By YUDHIJIT BHATTACHARJEE

When a dog goes after a sailing Frisbee — now racing, now turning, head cocked skyward — it looks like nothing so much as an outfielder chasing a fly ball. The resemblance is impossible to miss. Now researchers say it is laden with deeper similarities.

The scientists, at Arizona State University, had previously shown that outfielders navigated by keeping the ball's image moving along a straight line against its background.

Now, after a study involving a cheerful springer spaniel, Dr. Dennis M. Shaffer and his colleagues say that dogs use the same instinctive arithmetic, and they say that the similarity, while not unexpected, could shed light on questions about instinct and learning.

Of course, neither dogs nor baseball players use the strategy consciously.

Continued at New York Times web site (requires free subscription).

Date: 2003/01/10 15:02:34, Link
Author: Tom Ames
For your amusement. From Grace Bible Church.

Quote
Let me give you a simple example. Anything showing complex design demonstrates that there is a designer. When you see a house, you know there was a house builder. When you see a painting, you know there was a painter. Even the atheistic evolutionist does understand this because in their quest for finding life beyond earth they using radio-telescopes trying to find some pattern in what they are picking up. They are looking for design in order to prove an intelligent designer.

What would you say if I took a can of soda and told you it was the result of billions of years of evolution. That the magnetic properties of the metal drew the metal atoms together in such a way that they formed a cylinder with a bottom, and then after millions of years a brown, sweet liquid formed inside. After more millions of years a top formed with lid that could open easily. Then after more millions of years it became colored, in this case, with red, gold and white in such a way that it read in English, "Diet Dr. Pepper" and "12 FL OZ." That sounds pretty foolish doesn't it, and even more so if I added that thousands of these soda cans evolved and then arranged themselves in rows of 3 by 2 with a plastic material forming around their tops so six of them can be carried at a time.

But consider what people believe about something like a banana. The outside is a biodegradable wrapper that changes color according to the condition of what is inside. Green is too early, Yellow is just right and Black is too late. It has a "pop top" and seems so that it can be easily opened and still protect the contents from contamination. You can eat this even if your hands are dirty - perfect for boys and men! Its shape is perfect for the human hand and mouth, and if you hold it correctly, it even bends toward you for easy consumption. Nutritionists tell us that the contents of a banana are one of the best foods for humans. It is easily digested and provides the body with energy as well as vitamins and minerals. The banana also contains seeds inside it which can grow into a banana tree and then produce more bananas. Try planting a soda can and see what grows! The banana is infinitely more complex than a can of soda and demonstrates the design of a wise creator, yet many people willingly ignore the obvious to claim it is the product of the chance mixing together of molecules in chemical reactions over millions and millions of years. It is more plausible to get the soda can by evolution than a banana - hence a good name for a banana is "The Atheist Nightmare."

Date: 2003/01/23 11:58:43, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Has anyone seen claims made for the IC-ity of Hemoglobin? Seems like a natural: tetrameric structure, cooperative binding of oxygen, looks designed to change loading capacity in just the right way to deliver oxygen from lungs to tissues.

Date: 2003/06/03 02:18:36, Link
Author: Tom Ames
The Dean Kenyon Story
How an ID perspective ruined my career

Dean Kenyon is an interesting fellow. In 1969 he wrote a book on then-current origin-of-life theories, in which he advanced the hypothesis that primordial proteins may have arisen because of the intrinsic self-assembly properties of amino acids. The book, "Biochemical Predestination", is moderately well cited in the relevant literature during the early 70s (peaks of 13 citations in '72 and '75), but drops off quickly thereafter.

Kenyon's publications drop off quickly too: he published NOTHING of a scientific nature after 1975.

The recent ID propoganda piece "Unlocking the Mysteries of Life" tells the story this way: in 1975, Kenyon was faced with a dilemma. His theory of a primordial protein world, if true, would not account for how protein sequence information could have ended up in an unrelated molecule, i.e., in DNA. Kenyon realized that his theory was fatally flawed. His response to this realization? To decide that "ID did it", and to literally give up on the project. On all projects, in fact. (Although Kenyon did go on to co-author "Of Pandas and People").

[Side note: at around this time, Thomas Cech was developing the system that would lead to the discovery of ribozymes -- molecules that could simultaneously catalyze chemical reactions and code for their own primary structure. The implications of this led to the RNA-world hypotheses for the origin of life. Cech won the Nobel Prize.]

This story should be pointed out to the scientific wannabes (Mike Gene, are you there?) who claim that an ID perspective is useful to expand the creative direction of a research program.

Does anyone else have anecdotal correlations between a scientist's explicit adoption of an ID stance and the drying up of his productivity? Please share!

Date: 2003/06/03 13:24:57, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (charlie d @ June 03 2003,09:47)
I think Behe would qualify.  

He had 31 papers, including several in PNAS and JMB up to 1996.  Later in 1996, DBB comes out.  Since then, a 1997 in Biochem Biophys Res Commun, and something that looks like a review (or a theoretical paper - I don't have access) in 1998 in DNA Seq.  After that, nothing.

Sad, really...

I was thinking of Wells, also, but there wasn't much productivity before he "came out" as a public voice for ID.

Keep 'em coming, folks!

Maybe we can compile these stories into a "Catalog of Scientific Decrepitude" (CSD). I envision a lot of graphs showing catastophic decline in output and citation index, coincident with the public adoption of an ID stance.

Date: 2003/07/03 00:15:10, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Someone ought to ask Dembski when we might expect to see "Being as Communion: The Metaphysics of Information" (his Templeton Book Prize project) published.

It seems to me that someone who gets $0.1M free and clear to write their book should stop bitching about how unfair the system is. And maybe get around to delivering on past promises made.

Date: 2004/02/07 22:05:41, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Hi Rafe,

Good idea for a thread, but I think it should be called:

ID seminars "at" prestigious universities. This as in

"Dembski's seminar was 'at' the prestigious UC Davis, just as ISCID's office is 'at' 66 Witherspoon Street.

Technically true.

Accuracy demands a clarification of the Chris Macosko seminar alluded to by the ARN respondent. Macosko may have given a DDD4 lecture, but this is possibly not what the ARNie meant. According to Forrest & Gross (p.302-303) Chris Macosko taught a freshman honors colloquium titled "Origins: by chance or design?" in 1999 and 2001. This was a for-credit course, although it was outside the bounds of the normal curriculum programming.

Chris and his son Jed taught a similar class at Berkeley.

(F&G is HIGHLY recommended BTW. I couldn't put it down, and I find it invaluable as a fact-checking manual for the claims of IDists.)

Date: 2004/02/07 22:16:52, Link
Author: Tom Ames
In the spirit of Rafe Gutman's catalog of IDist misrepresentations, I'd like to start a thread to catalog IDist promises of forthcoming material: books, research results, etc.

It would be useful to check up on the status of these as time goes by. Also, if a promise is made, it would nice to let the promiser know that his words have been logged over here.

Date: 2004/02/07 22:25:33, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Promise #1: Significant research results coming out of the 2002 RAPID conference.

Date of promise: 10/28/2002

Maker of promise: "Principle of Least Action" (ARN)

Status of promise: UNFULFILLED


Archive of relevant portion of thread:
Code Sample

Principle of Least Action
Member # 142
 posted 10-28-2002 06:09 PM                    
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Apt asked:

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PLA, are you referring to the secret research and publications that "are out there"? I am not aware of any research being conducted on ID. Are you aware of any?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes.

But I'm not in a position to talk about it here. I've said that previously, Apt. The interest in ID research (BTW, I'm not attributing this to you, Apt) exhibited by many ID critics is roughly akin to that displayed by the Wolf, re Grandma's whereabouts, in the Little Red Riding Hood story.

In other words: let's eat (kill) this before it gets away.

[ 10-28-2002, 06:13 PM: Message edited by: Principle of Least Action ]
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Posts: 663 | Registered: May 2000  |  

aptamer
Member # 810
 posted 10-28-2002 06:10 PM                    
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Principle of Least Action:

From all reports, the RAPID meeting was very exciting.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Any original experimental work reported at the meeting?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts: 1852 | From: B.C. Canada | Registered: May 2002  |

charlie d
Member # 744
 posted 10-28-2002 06:14 PM                    
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Principle of Least Action:
From all reports, the RAPID meeting was very exciting.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I see. So, ID research, secretly published under the pretense of mainstream research in major scientific journals is then presented, openly, at "restricted" ID meetings to which mainstream scientists, potentially critic of the ID approach, are not even allowed.

Now, that's a scientific evidence tsunami if I ever saw one! Thanks, PLA, for demonstrating the point.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posts: 1200 | Registered: Mar 2002  |  

Principle of Least Action
Member # 142
 posted 10-28-2002 06:15 PM                    
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Apt asked:


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Any original experimental work reported at the meeting?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yes. Very careful work, with wide implications.

That's it for me in this thread.




Date: 2004/02/10 16:08:27, Link
Author: Tom Ames
OK, this is just too much.

Dembski is posting a blog (""Unfinished Thoughts") and for the life of me I can't tell whether he's being disingenuous or stupid.

He writes:
Quote

Koza spoke on "biologically inspired computation." He is one of the key people in the field, and every few years edits a book whose title begins with Genetic Programming . . . (he's now up to Genetic Programming IV: Routine Human-Competitive Machine Intelligence, which appeared last summer).   In example after example, he described setting up a fitness/objective function and then seeking an optimal solution for it. 

Interestingly, however, in all his examples the fitness/objective function always remained fixed. I therefore approached him after his talk and asked him whether he knew of any research in evolutionary computation that also changed/evolved the fitness/objective function in the search for an optimal solution to a computational problem. He replied no.

I found this quite interesting since the Darwinists claim that one of the things that gives added power to Darwinian evolution is the fact that environmental fitness is dynamic rather than static, changing, for instance, in response to evolving organisms (this is supposed to be a key factor in evolving irreducibly complex biochemical machines). Yet such coevolving fitness landscapes, which I don't deny occur in biology, are absent from evolutionary computation.

The Darwinist might want to interpret this difference thus: "Isn't it amazing that nature has given us a form of natural evolutionary computation which varies its fitness/objective functions and which therefore makes biological evolution that much more powerful than it is in silico? Just wait until computer scientists capture this feature of biological evolution. Just think of how much more powerful evolutionary computation will be then."

My own view is rather different. The fact that fitness/objective functions that vary over time are not employed in biologically inspired computing, especially after all these years of genetic algorithms hype, tells me that they are not the key to solving interesting engineering problems. And if they can't do it in the engineering context, there's no reason to think they can do it in biological contexts.

(emphasis added)

Is he daft? "The Darwinist" might think no such thing.

Try to transcend your parochial, sectarian worldview for a second, Bill, and think.

What makes evolutionary computing work? It solves a problem.

What happens when the fitness function is allowed to change during the course of the evolution? The problem changes.

So if I am an engineer who wants to solve a problem should I use a procedure in which the problem is allowed to vary? Uh, no.

The fact that engineers don't incorporate every phenomenon in evolutionary biology into their code says not a #### thing about the relevance of those feature to real world evolution.

Seriously, is this guy capable of stringing two thoughts together? Or is he just so infatuated with the sound of his own shrill voice that he doesn''t bother looking at the meaning of what he says?



Date: 2004/02/12 20:29:15, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Here's a good one: not quite a promise, but more of a hilariously cocky prediction. We look forward to seeing the proposal. Which program do you suppose it was submitted to?

Promise #3:
Quote

"I predict that in the next five years intelligent design will be sufficiently developed to deserve funding from the National Science Foundation."


Date of promise: 1998

Maker of promise: WAD, Mere Creation p.29

Status of promise: Oh, get REAL!

(Thanks to two sharp-eyed contributors for this one!;))



Date: 2005/11/04 06:32:17, Link
Author: Tom Ames
FYI: According to Smalley's pool-cleaner (who was also a really good friend) Smalley, just before he died, renounced ID as "incoherent mumbo-jumbo." He furthermore went on to say that Christianity is the source of all evil in the world, and that theologians are a pack of raving lunatics.

(I actually think that that last part goes a bit too far, but hey, the guy was a Nobel laureate.)

Date: 2005/11/04 06:36:16, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Oct. 25 2005,09:02)
....Nicky, on your promotion to head barker. I knew you had it in you as soon as I saw this wonderful, masterful, lunatic cakewalk of evo storybooking. I never thought you guys would ever find someone who could avoid the sterno long enough to crayon a coherent rebuttal to anyone, and personally, even I had my doubts at first, what with the sloppy glue-jobs you would earnestly present to the ARN, but you've come a long way, even if your magnum opus is padded with the detritus of failed guesswork and gyrates about its sham phylogeny like a child's dreidel. Shin, Hey, Gimel, Nun, indeed. You are truly the gleam in an old tart's eye, the shining spittle that guides the evos through the dank corridors of their troubled mind. Keep the good work up, and you just might get a job shining the Master's shoes, or even provide your special brand of Pub-Med carpet bombing to wear down Eugenie's Kids.

What an ugly, smug, glib and self-satisfied person this "Ghost of Paley" is.

Must be either Dembski or Berlinski.

Date: 2005/11/04 10:02:40, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Nov. 04 2005,13:10)
Tom Ames belched:
Quote
What an ugly, smug, glib and self-satisfied person this "Ghost of Paley" is.

Must be either Dembski or Berlinski.


Wow, you guys can be really mean sometimes. And until you can refute their arguments, Tommy, please refer to the Big D and B as Wizard and Master, respectively. :D

"Matlock" Murphy wrote:

Quote
Why?

Why not?

I take it back. Dembski and Berlinski may not be as smart as they think they are, but they are at least  fairly bright.

Paley's Ghost must therefore be Davison.

Date: 2006/02/15 04:10:50, Link
Author: Tom Ames
DaveScot on UD today:

Quote



Every individual article at Panda’s Thumb has a trackback URL at the top. None of them work.

Try one: http://degas.fdisk.net/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.cgi/2012

Every article there has ZERO trackbacks. This has been brought to their attention but ignored. It makes me wonder if the broken trackback URLs are there just to further the sham of it being an open forum. Here we are honest and open about moderation. Our comment box is headlined by a bold lettered statement that comments are moderated. Trackbacks are also moderated. Too bad everyone can’t be as honest.



Trying this trackback, as Dave suggests, leads to an error message:

Quote

Trackback pings must use HTTP POST


The reason this message comes up can be understood by reading the trackback specifications (here for example):

Quote

To send a ping, the client sends an HTTP POST request to the TrackBack Ping URL. The client MUST send a Content-Type HTTP header, with the content type set to application/x-www-form-urlencoded. The client SHOULD include the character encoding of the content being sent (title, excerpt, and weblog name) in the charset attribute of the Content-Type header.


Just clicking on a trackback link gets you an error message.

(Also, several of the posts on PT DO have trackbacks).

Dave and a commenter go on to excoriate Wesley Elsberry for his lack of computer skills. As DS puts it:

Quote

One thing’s for sure, I’ve forgotten more than he ever knew.

Date: 2006/02/15 07:05:50, Link
Author: Tom Ames
DaveScot now credits miraculous intervention.

Oh, and the orginal post has been scrubbed. Of course.

Date: 2006/04/11 16:21:20, Link
Author: Tom Ames
The "the zygote becomes a unique human being therefore it IS a human being" argument is just plain fallacious. Here's why:

1. A zygote can split and become TWO individuals.
2. Twin zygotes can fuse into one mosaic individual.

In the first case: did the unique identity of the first zygote fission along with the blastula as a whole to make two new unique identities? Or did some new unique identity descend upon it from on high?

In the second case, what happened to the unique identity of the second twin? Was it absorbed into that of the first twin? Or do some people walk around with two unique identities?

Finally, if God loves all embryos, why is the spontaneous abortion rate so high? And where do all those unique identities go? (Maybe they're recycled or something. I'd like to know.)

Date: 2006/04/11 19:12:25, Link
Author: Tom Ames
It's fundamentally different from saying a zygote is a unique individual because it is saying that a zygote is one or more, or fewer, individuals.

The "Life Begins at Conception" claim is that some core ("unique") personhood adheres to the ovum at the point of fusion with a sperm.

However, the reality is that one-half of a person, or two people, or quite frequently none, actually result from the event.

Fertilization is therefore not necessarily the event that uniquely determines the identity of a new person. Rather, it's just another waypoint on the road to developing personhood.

Date: 2006/04/12 08:07:55, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (thordaddy @ April 11 2006,22:45)
There are about 6 billion pieces of emprical evidence to suggest that a zygote represents a unique human individual.  Everyone who is or ever was was once a SPECIFIC zygote.

Uh, no. That's my point. Some people were once half a zygote. Some were once two zygotes.

Therefore, the fertilization event that forms a zygote cannot be the defining event of personhood.

How does the current population of the world relate to this observation?

Date: 2006/04/13 14:31:43, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Thordaddy: "Eugenics is a branch of science."

This is obvious tripe. Eugenics is a discredited social policy. It's no more a branch of science than was "Mutually Assured Destruction".

Date: 2006/04/13 14:41:02, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I thought someone upstream made the claim that protein sequences, if they were diverging, would be expected by now to have diverged into the negative numbers.

It takes some nerve for such a person to post that Kelvin quote about "meager and unsatisfactory" knowledge.

Date: 2006/04/15 12:39:08, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Tell me, Thordaddy, what happens to the frequency of a recessive deleterious allele if you select against individuals having the deleterious trait?

When you answer that, you'll understand why eugenics has been discredited, at least from the scientific standpoint.

Date: 2006/04/17 12:06:41, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (ericmurphy @ April 16 2006,18:25)
[quote=thordaddy,April 15 2006,17:47]Tom Ames,

Why can't you just put it in your own words and help facilitate an understanding?

I'll save him the time. What happens is—nothing.[/quote]
ericmurphy wins the prize.

You can't select against rare recessive deleterious alleles by selecting against the homozygote.

As an example, assume that 1% of a population has a rare disorder caused by a recessive allele at a single locus. You wish to remove the bad allele by eugenically removing that 1%. What actually happens to the allele frequency?

The population is made up of 3 genotypes (call them AA, Aa and aa). Only the aa will have the disorder and be subject to culling. If the alleles are in equilibrium (explication of the term not provided), the genotypes have the following frequencies:

AA: p^2
Aa: 2p(1-p)
aa: (1-p)^2

where p is the frequency of allele A and (1-p) is that of allele a.

Since 1% of the population has the disease (i.e., is homozygous recessive, aa) the frequency of allele a in the population is the square root of 1%, or 10%.

This means that NINE TIMES as many of the alleles are in heterozygous carriers than are in the homozygotes. (And 1% is actually a pretty big fraction for such a disease. More reasonable numbers yield even bigger disparities.)

After culling 1% of the population, you'd wait a generation and have almost exactly the same frequency of homozygous recessives as before. It just doesn't work. And if the trait is (as is more likely) determined by several genes, the situation becomes even more hopeless.

Breeding works in domesticated plants and animals because we can inbreed to get all homozygotes, and then cull a huge fraction of the offspring.

What remains a mystery is why such geneticists as Galton and Fisher were so enthusiastic for eugenics. Unless they were pursuing conservative social goals for which the scientific authority was invoked in order to lend the project credibility. Much as Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray did in The Bell Curve.

But the fact remains: eugenics is and has always been a tool for a conservative social program. The scientific basis for it is nil.

Date: 2006/04/19 12:39:53, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (afdave @ April 19 2006,15:30)
So what's the proper term?  Evolutionist?

You wouldn't call an astrophysicist an "Einsteinian" or "big-banger".

Similarly, for biologists at least, the proper term is not "Evolutionist" or "Dawinian", it's "biologist". Or maybe "immunologist", "geneticist", etc.

There are only a very few, mostly cranky, exceptions to this labeling scheme.

Date: 2006/05/04 10:18:01, Link
Author: Tom Ames
To answer these points of AFDave's directly:

Quote
(1) No one to my knowledge has ever proposed a stepwise solution of HOW the 2A and 2B chimp chromosomes joined.  This appears to be a HUGE obstacle.
(2) The join was 'head-to-head'.  If my understanding is true (stated below) that chromosomes are read in only one direction, then this would be a SECOND HUGE OBSTACLE.


1. Chromosome fusions happen all the time. A colleague of mine specializes in following them in microbial evolution: they are a ubiquitous response to selective pressure.

2. Chromosomes have no polarity. The "head-to-head" directionality is arbitrary.

Next "obstacles"?

Date: 2006/05/04 11:44:59, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Chris Hyland @ May 04 2006,14:11)
Yes, I just mean that two pieces of double stranded DNA will line up to preserve the 3'-5' direction. I think AiGs argument was that if the chromosomes joined up face to face half of the new chromosome would run in the opposite direction and the codons would be backwards. I was just pointing out this wouldn't happen.

I'd like to try to clarify your point, if I may.

In fact, not only do chromosomes not have polarity, but double-stranded DNA does not either. It's composed of two complementary antiparallel strands: one goes 5'->3', the other goes 3'->5'. Flip it around and you'll get the same thing.

But AiG's stupidity does not stop here. They seem to be suggesting that genes run along the double strand in one direction only, that this implies some polarity and that this matters. In fact, there are genes on both strands, transcribed in either direction. Furthermore, the process of transcription has nothing to do with replication. Even if the genes DID all point in one direction, it wouldn't matter one bit. The DNA replication machinery just sees 2 strands of DNA. It works in an antisense direction just as easily as in a sense direction.

This whole line of argumentation could only have been made by someone who has never taken a single semester of modern undergraduate biology. Indeed, the person who makes these arguments could not have paid any attention in his high school biology class (assuming he took biology after 1960 or so).

Date: 2006/05/05 03:27:11, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I'd recommend that anyone with a real interest in this poke around on some of the online tools for biologists.

An example: the "Synteny Viewer" for yeast shows gene direction and order for genes in 4 species of budding yeast. (Note that the divergence among these species is MUCH greater than thet separating humans and other great apes.)

This link is to a small region of  chromosome 11 in yeast. Some genes have arrows poining to the left, some to the right. This indicates the direction of transcription which, again, is independent of the direction of replication. If you browse around you'll also notice massive evidence of the kinds of chromosomal rearrangements that AiG seems to think should be problematic.

(Alan: I'm not quite sure what you mean by "master strand" or its degree of being "continuous". Sorry.)

And to AFDave: keep in mind that AiG has not simply been shown to be wrong in this instance. We didn't "get one over on AiG once in many years". The claim that AiG made was shown to exhibit such a depth of fundamental ignorance about molecular biology as to demolish ALL credibility of the people making it. They might as well have claimed that the sun orbits the earth. They aren't just being refuted. They've demonstrated either profound stupidity or stunning mendacity.

All claims from AiG should be seen in this light. By passing them on, you're sharing in AiG's reputation.

Date: 2006/05/05 15:29:24, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (afdave @ May 05 2006,08:27)
Another layman question ... what's the meaning of 5' and 3' ... what do the numbers designate and what do the single quote marks indicate?

I don't feel that it's appropriate to pile on afdave, but something needs to be pointed out. This quote of his ought to be contrasted with an earlier quote:

Quote
I can see that the Flank and Davidson have read the book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ … I have an idea for a simple, fun exercise. I’m an Electrical Engineer and business man and I used to fly AF jets. I like simple, uncomplicated arguments and I like people to cut to the chase … fast. Let’s say I was undecided about where life on earth came from or how it began. I hear the YECs and the ID people saying it came from an Intelligent Agent/God or whatever. I hear the Darwinists saying it happened by chance evolution. And everybody quotes all these long-winded academic sources. I would love to hear from each of you, everybody in YOUR OWN WORDS, not referring to a single outside source what YOUR theory is and WHY you believe it in 5 simple statements, i.e. the top 5 reasons for your belief. Take me from when and how it all began to where you think its going and why … very short and simple so my pea brain can understand it … try explaining it nicely and politely.


The point being that complicated technical subjects cannot be transmitted to uneducated listeners in "5 simple statements".

Someone who's never come across the 5'->3' convention for DNA strand direction is simply not equipped to understand the molecular arguments for evolution. There's no shame in this: it is, after all, a specialized and technical body of knowledge. But I would not presume to say to afdave "I've never understood why airplanes don't need to flap their wings. Could you teach me how to fly a jet next week?"

The DI and AiG's pseudoscientific truthiness encourages people to expect that the principles of molecular evolution are within the grasp of everyday uninformed intuition.

But intelligent readers ought to be able to appreciate why this is not so. If they want to become informed they'll start by assuming the humility of the novice. If they simply want to continue pushing a partisan or sectarian agenda, they'll not let ignorance be a barrier to expressing their opinion.

Date: 2006/05/08 04:20:28, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Sorry, you lost me when this question:
Quote
What is a Genome?

was answered with
Quote
The Bible teaches...


"What is the Bernoulli effect? Well, the Bible teaches..."

Sounds kinda dumb, doesn't it?

Date: 2006/05/11 06:46:55, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (afdave @ May 11 2006,09:35)
Again ... IF we find the GLO gene sequences identical (or very close) in apes (I think we only have rat, human and GP currently), why does this prove common descent of apes and humans?  We do not KNOW that the human (and presumable ape) manifestation is in fact an "error" because we don't know the genetic language well enough yet.  All we know is that BOTH apes and humans cannot synthesize Vitamin C.  It is and ASSUMPTION to say that "see it's because their GLO gene is broken."  How can you say that?  Maybe that's was never intended to BE a GLO gene in the first place.  You don't know because you don't know the language well enough yet.

My bet is that when we DO learn the language well enough, we will see it has a purpose far different that Vitamin C production.

Here's another analogy ...

Do you think that "The dog is barking" and "The dog is barfing" means that the second sentence is somehow "broken"??  Of course not.  They are both valid sentences but they mean ENTIRELY different things.

Also, in our language, the same words can mean two different things in different contexts, i.e. "bark" (dog) and "bark" (on a tree).

I really think Dr. Max is making a bad analogy and assuming too many things.

AFdave:

Can you tell me what a "frameshift mutation" is?

Can you tell me the significance of a frameshift mutation?

Date: 2006/05/12 07:51:13, Link
Author: Tom Ames
My point regarding frameshift mutations is this: you claimed that "we" don't understand enough of the "DNA language" to  know that the human GULOP pseudogene is homologous to certain other genes in other organisms.

I asked a very basic question about the kinds of mutations we frequently see in these kinds of situations. You'd never heard of them.

I submit that the fact that YOU don't understand the "DNA language" does not mean that no-one else does.

If you're really interested in understanding the evidence for the homology between GULOP and GLO, you'll need to do some research. If you're more intent on drawing a scientific conclusion based on its moral consequences, then this whole conversation becomes somewhat pointless. Don't you think?

Date: 2006/05/16 06:19:38, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Guinea pigs and humans are related.

Date: 2006/05/22 06:40:34, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Note to AFDave:

The GULO pseudogene is evidence for the common ancestry and recent divergence of humans and the other great apes. It is not "proof of" same, and not considered as such by careful scientists.

You're engaging in an intellectually dishonest rhetorical tactic that Phil Johnson likes to use. He specializes in nibbling at the margins of specific pieces of evidence (never looking at the totality) and then pretending that he's "disproven" something. Or when it turns out that the evidence is correct, he diminishes its importance by pointing out that it's only one piece of evidence.

Pointing out that the GULO story does not by itself "prove" the ancestry of humans is a red herring: no-one claims that it is sufficient evidence. And you can get any biologist to "concede" this. But so what? It strongly supports a particular hypothesis. And thousands of other observations do too.

Date: 2006/08/01 04:27:08, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (afdave @ Aug. 01 2006,06:13)
NEW "DYNAMATION" AT WWW.KIDS4TRUTH.COM

THE WATCHMAKER

<a href="www.kids4truth.com/watchmaker/watch.html" target='_blank'>www.kids4truth.com/watchmaker/watch.html</a>

This is one of my first projects at Kids4Truth.  We all worked very hard on it and I hope you enjoy it!

AFDave

:-)

Great. Pass along the ignorance to the next generation.

If you can't see how this tripe misrepresents evolutionary theory, your intelligence has to be questioned. If you CAN see, but make the claim anyway, then you are a liar.

Which is it?

Date: 2006/08/03 09:29:58, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (apollo230 @ Aug. 03 2006,12:25)
Hello again, Steve!

Yeah, the Discovery Institute cannot hope to prevail (or have a meaningful mission) riding on design assertions alone.  They need to deliver the goods (a living, kicking designer) if they hope to be taken seriously as a scientific institute.

Best regards,
apollo230

Welcome, apollo.

Glad to have you here.

Date: 2006/08/03 11:21:54, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (apollo230 @ Aug. 03 2006,13:59)
A system of strictly random mutations does not constitute, in my opinion, a promising search engine for driving evolutionary change.  It is difficult to believe that such an "undirected search" for beneficial genetic changes would ever yield anything of use to organisms.  A directed search for genetic utility would likely be needed to find constructive genetic changes out of the astronomic sea of possibilities.

Apollo,

I can understand your reservations. However, this is an empirical question, rather than a philosophical one. It's something that cannot be determined by proabability arguments, ala Dembski and Behe.

You're right that there is nothing that eliminates the possibility of a mechanism of directed evolution. However, such a mechanism has simply never been observed. Furthermore, the overhead required for "planfulness" (in microbes, say) would be huge. How would a yeast cell know that it could anticipate a future environment in which it was starved for sulfur, and respond with an amplification of sulfate transporter genes? Where's the mechanism for transmitting the future optimal state to the cell?

It's a lot more realistic to assume that such a system has not been observed because it doesn't exist. (And biology is profound enough as it is, without invoking the mystical!;)

Date: 2006/08/10 03:22:01, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Bob O'H @ Aug. 09 2006,22:14)
http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/1428
Quote




To which I responded:
Quote
Wow!  Best thread yet!


I bet they censor my comment, and then delete the whole thread, claiming it never happened.  The bar-stewards! :-)

Bob

What was in this thread? (As you predicted, it's gone now.)

Date: 2006/08/20 15:43:06, Link
Author: Tom Ames
At the UDOJ blog, Davison writes:
Quote
I swear on the Bible that I never fucked a chimpanzee, never even thought about it, but I've been fucked by some of the biggest assholes that ever surfaced on the world wide web. Two in particular stand out. Spravid Dinger, Dembski's now defunct one man goon squad and his Darwimpian counterpart, Falan Ox, serving his lord and master, Esley Welsberry.

I love it so!


I know that "I love it so" is his usual lame sign-off, but doesn't he realize that there's some context dependence to its meaning?

In this case, the context is him describing himself being "fucked by some of the biggest assholes", immediately prior to his saying "I love it so!".

Does the guy even keep a thought in his head for more than 5 seconds?!

Date: 2006/09/16 20:20:49, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Sep. 15 2006,13:56)

Likewise. I'd been meaning to join ACLU for a while but somehow never got around to it. Finally some neo-fascist anti-ACLU tantrum on Dave's part early last Summer drove me to get off my ass and join. I'm now one of Dave's super-villains, a "card-carrying member".

Thanks, Dave!

PS: I haven't yet noticed the big flood of junk mail Steve mentioned.

Same here! The 'tard got me to finally send in my check.

And no junk mail increase that I can detect.

Date: 2007/10/01 18:35:11, Link
Author: Tom Ames
The publisher's web page says it's still forthcoming. What's the word on Mike Gene's book?

Date: 2007/10/02 15:57:25, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (olegt @ Oct. 02 2007,11:32)
Meantime, Dembski is back on the EIL list:  
http://cayman.globat.com/~trademarksnet.com/Research/EILab/People.html

Anyone look at the CV of Dembski's colleague Thomas English?

It's on what looks like the website for his apartment (which he's given the grandiose title 'Bounded Theoretics'), and shows that Dr. English has spent 8 of the last 10 years as a "Researcher" for "The Tom English Project". Not even a Senior or Staff Scientist--just a "researcher"!

Reminds me of that "Smartest Guy in the World" character who was on ARN for awhile, and who wrote a chapter for Dembski's book on ever-so-smart people who agree with him. (Langdon was his name, I think.)

Date: 2007/10/02 17:11:22, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Oct. 02 2007,14:56)
Tom English participated in a notorious debate once conducted on UD vis a ridiculous notion on evolutionary simulations advanced by Gil Dodg'em....

That's very interesting. Maybe he's a couple of cuts above Langan et al.

Still, it's kind of funny that he lists "Researcher, The Tom English Project" as an entry on his CV. It takes a certain amount of either cluelessness or narcissism to think that you'll be taken seriously for listing yourself as the research institute you're employed by.

(It's also possible that he's got a sense of humor that I'm too dense to appreciate.)

Date: 2007/10/02 23:25:21, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Oct. 02 2007,18:19)
What book? Got the publisher's link?

Here's the book's website (replete with flash animation and future-y music).

Notice that it is due out in "late 2006".

Here's Arbor Vitae Press, the publisher. Oddly, they seem to have published no other book.

Note the "we apologize to those of you who have pre-ordered the book, you can have your money back if you want, we're not taking any more pre-orders" language.

Anyone else thinking "vanity press"? Maybe they'd consider not-publishing Paul Nelson's monograph there too.



Date: 2007/10/03 00:47:21, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Does anyone know where the missing 3 apologized-for posts of WAD's might be archived?

Date: 2007/10/04 15:43:12, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (JohnW @ Oct. 04 2007,13:37)
I just changed my position on the "Dembski: cynical huckster or barking mad?" question.

Not mutually exclusive categories, obviously.

Date: 2007/10/08 12:12:54, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Alan Fox @ Oct. 08 2007,00:59)
Why did not they think of hosting the Informatics Lab site there? It would have save a little hassle.

Hassle is what these people live for. It's all they've got.

Date: 2007/10/08 22:54:22, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (stevestory @ Oct. 08 2007,19:59)
The ISCID was going to be an international organization for design scholars, with conferences, seminars, and a journal for ID papers.

It is now a wasteland. No conferences, seminars, or papers in the journal. Nothing left but a message board where an old nut named Davison babbles.

Why wouldn't you shut it down. It's a museum of failure.

And porn spam. Don't forget the porn spam.

Date: 2007/10/08 23:50:49, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Henry J @ Oct. 08 2007,21:28)
Re "And porn spam. Don't forget the porn spam."

How could we; the AE board used to get a lot of that.

Henry

Someone must have cleaned house, because a week ago there were  forums that were nothing but porn spam for the last two years.

(It's the equivalent of cobwebs, I guess.)

Date: 2007/10/09 17:51:21, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Interestingly, ICON-RIDS and William Brookfield have entries on Conservapedia. I tried to open an account to add some text to the (currently empty) entry  for 'ID-Pleasurianism' but there seems to be no way to do this.

None other than Andrew Schlafly himself has added the following to the entry on 'Transparadigmic Science': "This is fringe stuff, with no known relation to the real world."

No citation was given to support this edit.

Date: 2007/10/09 21:57:12, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Apropos of nothing, I've been reading Harry Potter to my seven-year old. We're in the middle of the fifth book ("Order of the Phoenix") and there is a character that I swear I'd met online somewhere. I just now placed it: Denyse O'Leary is Dolores Umbridge.

Date: 2007/10/22 12:47:56, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Bob O'H @ Oct. 22 2007,09:26)
 
Quote
In short, over 80 percent of the genes tested stopped E. coli from growing, meaning that when transferred across species they are toxic to their new hosts.

If I'm reading the paper correctly, this is 80% of the genes they tested, which they selected because they had been marked as untransferable (top of second column, p2).  However, only 1402 of 246045 genes (=0.6%) were classified as untransferable.  So, this would suggest that less than 0.5% of genes were toxic.

Patrick incorporated Bob's critique into the revision of his post without appearing to understand the extent to which it undermines his argument.

 
Quote
To summarize, they tested a small subset of the genes that were classified as nontransferable (0.6%). Out of the genes they tested, 80% could not be artificially transferred when in an active state, most of which were related to the ribosome. So, this would suggest that less than 0.5% of genes were toxic. However, from what I’ve read elsewhere things are even more grim for HGT as a Darwinian mechanism for major innovation when it comes to higher species.


The argument seems to have become:
"This paper shows that there are are not insurmountable barriers to HGT in bacteria. However, I've read stuff elsewhere that says that HGT can't help as a mechanism of evolution. Therefore this paper shows how HGT is a problem for evolution."

Date: 2007/11/04 02:33:15, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Not that I generally look for stellar production values on YouTube, but the video would have been a lot more compelling if you had first gotten your mom to clear your dirty laundry out of the corner.

Date: 2007/11/21 13:02:30, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Nov. 21 2007,10:41)
Ok, who the hell is bornagain77?  No one is this dumb:

Salvador Cordova?

Date: 2007/11/27 13:42:00, Link
Author: Tom Ames
The DI's new theme song.

This would have been a better soundtrack for the "Automated City" video.

Date: 2007/11/29 15:43:00, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I hate to sound like a know-it-all, but there's been some pretty remarkable research in the most recent issue of Ann. Morningt. that might determine the outcome of this recent game.*

In brief, a functional MRI study concluded, quite unambiguously, that there exists an optimal dispute resolution method for non-tournament games of the "zero-sum iterated jailkeeper's pet ferret" variety. (You'll recall of course that MC has been conjectured to be one of--in fact, the sole representative of--this class of games.)

The optimal method of dispute resolution is thought to lie orthogonal to the standard map of the London Underground. One possible (local) optimum was found at the 'Rock-Paper-Scissors' locus (best out of three nodality, obviously).

Maybe a quick round of RPS should be invoked to determine whether this game has really been won?

*Unfortunately, my subscription has lapsed, otherwise I'd upload the paper for you all to see. Although that might not do you any good--the journal uses a rather obscure (though brilliant!) compression scheme that most archive utilities tend to choke on.

Date: 2007/11/29 16:50:50, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I've never actually played myself: my interest is more scholarly/theoretic.

However, I've often wondered to myself why no one's ever put forward the obvious opening:

Castalia.

I admit that the move transgresses the Existential Quantification requirement of the Tudor rules. But don't you find that clause just a little bit quaint, given van der Trave's subjunctive interpretation?

Regarding the Morningtonian compression algorithm: it works as well as it does because it avoids the massive redundancy of multiple instances of zeros and ones: essentially, it puts all of the zero bits in the same location, and likewise all of the ones. This means that documents of arbitrary size compress down to 0.00025 kB.

I understand that the uncompression algorithm is a little more complicated.

Date: 2007/11/29 21:21:54, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Altabin @ Nov. 29 2007,18:33)
I'm sorry if I was a little dismissive.  You've got to understand that I was a child MC prodigy.  While other kids were outside playing ball and sticking firecrackers up cats' butts, I was at home, a lonely child,  with only my copy of Wallingford's Revised Rules (Revised) for company, painfully learning the variations on the Shaftsbury Avenue Defense Declined.

At sixteen I made it to the world championships, the youngest competitor ever to proceed so far.  In the finals, I faced none other than Karlov Krostenko himself.  Still I can see him, even now, his monocle glinting in the dying embers of the day, as he savagely rifled through Petrovich's Unified International Rules with his mechanical hand.

It was in that final game that he developed the infamous Krostenko Gambit.  To my Epping Forest he played not the expected Brixton, nor even Mudchute Docklands Light Rail Station (which would have been unconventional, but still within the bounds of standard theory and good sportsmanship), but Dalston Kingsland, Cutty Sark (!) and, inevitably, Mornington Crescent.  Brutal.  On live Icelandic television, I ran weeping from the arena.  It was my last game, and the end of my career.

The way in which today's match developed (identically, in fact, if you take into account the reverse huffs) brought it all back, painfully.  It is a sport for the daring, too rich, I now know, for my blood.  Warriors, I salute you!

Don't tell me we're in the august presence of the autistic-savant Alastair "Little Stinky" Bozeman!

I was a big follower of your MC exploits back before you had that legal trouble, and before the whole farm animal thing. Your Utopia Planitia was, of course, stunning to those of us who watched the Bulgarian Invitationals live. That was the play that made me realize that I didn't have anywhere near the single-minded dedication necessary to make a career of the game.

But it's really no wonder you decided to get out of the spotlight. Having those pictures splashed all over the talk shows must have been mortifying. I hated to see a brilliant career ruined, but, to be honest, I also was a little too disgusted by the end there to really consider myself a fan anymore.

But you seem to have recovered well! Learning to type is a huge accomplishment for someone with your special abilities. You sound just like a normal person!

(I'd suggest keeping your true identity hidden though. And don't ever go anywhere near my family, you pervert.)

Date: 2007/11/30 12:08:08, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote
Indeed, no game of Mornington Crescent is ever complete without a couple of snarky asides often involving both minor and major tangents.


I think you might be confusing 'tangent' with 'chord': there is no such thing as a 'major' or 'minor' tangent. Unless Darling's Rule (the 1923 version) has been invoked, tangents are absolute quantities. It would be like saying 'most unique' or 'having some specified complexity'.

Minor chords, on the other hand, are real potential routes, which can be used to transect the Great Circle with devastating effect on any opposing player who happens to be in knip.

If the move is made in the Aeolian mode, it usually results in Mornington Crescent within five.

Hope this clears things up!

Date: 2007/11/30 12:15:26, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Can we see your 'turtle bashing its head against the mirror' video again? Somehow your posts always remind me of that movie.

Insightful self-referential commentary? I think maybe so!

Date: 2007/11/30 12:34:35, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (JAM @ Nov. 30 2007,10:23)
Quote (Louis @ Nov. 30 2007,05:15)
Dear All,

The only controversial topic I can think of is the issue of tactics. How do we deal with denialists?

Challenge them to bet real money on their claims. In my experience, they always back down.

That is very strong evidence that they know that what they spout is hooey.

Or single-malt Scotch. That always cleans their collective clocks.

Date: 2007/12/01 04:19:10, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (huwp @ Dec. 01 2007,01:42)
 
Quote (Tom Ames @ Nov. 30 2007,12:08)
I think you might be confusing 'tangent' with 'chord': there is no such thing as a 'major' or 'minor' tangent. Unless Darling's Rule (the 1923 version) has been invoked, tangents are absolute quantities. It would be like saying 'most unique' or 'having some specified complexity'.

Minor chords, on the other hand, are real potential routes, which can be used to transect the Great Circle with devastating effect on any opposing player who happens to be in knip.

If the move is made in the Aeolian mode, it usually results in Mornington Crescent within five.

Hope this clears things up!

I'm afraid I think you're a bit (!) behind with your reading, which is understable given how difficult it is to get hold of the literature.

However, as you must surely know, following The Great Schism of the late 1950s it was eventually decided to hold a rubber of reconciliation where most of these issues were addressed.  It was held that tangents are not absolutes at all, however their use within the Great Circle is restricted to anti-clockwise flanking movements.  Such moves are common in the UK game but less frequently used overseas which has led to the mistaken view that such moves are not legal.  They're not, they're just rarer.

The problem with the literature, apart from its scarcity, of course, is that one of the major factions would brook no dissent, in fact dissent was positively uncommon.  Dissent, such as it was, tended to be whitewashed out and the dissenters removed from history.  Whilst not doing any research on The Game, they would pump out meaningless drivel which became easier to get of than clear and complete versions of the modern synthesis.  This continues to be a source of misunderstanding.

The other faction, however, to which most sensible players belong, embraces any change to the game which makes it better, rather than saying "dunno, it just is", hence The Game has evolved into the beautiful past-time we know it to be.  Its complexity does mean that it's very important to clarify the rules at the beginning of any game, thereby creating the information needed by the players.

This is also one of the problems I've noted here - several of our American cousins insist on quoting rules from the 1920s which have mostly been superseded.  The Game has moved on.

I know the literature is difficult to get hold of, but there are some bookshops in London which have small MC nooks - there's one in Charing Cross Road near my office, No.84, I think.

Hwyl am y tro!

Huwp

Well.

I was going to get all huffy about this--an entire chapter of my (very well-received) dissertation elucidated precisely the question of tangential absolutism in the pre- and post-Schism game. (Unfortunately that thesis, along with nearly all pre-millennial Morningtonian Studies theses, has been shamefully neglected by the UMI apparatus and is thus not easily available at the moment.)

But then I remembered that it was during the course of the Third Internationalist Reconciliation (in March of 1962, I believe) that Huey P. Elm, the foremost authority on the adoption of rhombic strategems, perished with an entire van-load of his most closely aligned colleagues.

(Not that I'm not suggesting that any particular faction was responsible for the atrocity: I'm merely citing unchallenged historical fact.)

The tragic "accident" scuttled the emerging Wolbachia Consensus, which would have resolved the orthogonality question once and for all. (I trust that you see where I'm going with this.) As a result, the  flexibility of tangents that converged in probability has never actually been dealt with! The TIR's papering over of the dilemma could hardly be seen as a true solution in the spirit of Phyllis Pearsall, don't you agree?

Anyway, I share your dismay at the state of the publishing industry. I think that the decision to go with nitrocellulose stock for our literature was, in hindsight, a mistake. And you are certainly correct that we colonials must always maintain the proper spirit of humility towards the Empire of Bartlett Place. There is, after all, only one Mornington Crescent.

Date: 2007/12/01 04:26:12, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (stevestory @ Dec. 01 2007,02:22)
 
Quote
If the move is made in the Aeolian mode, it usually results in Mornington Crescent within five.

Hope this clears things up!


However, Louis has invoked Front Butt, so all bets are off.

Um, now you're just not making any sense whatsoever.

Date: 2007/12/01 04:31:51, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (djmullen @ Dec. 01 2007,02:22)
And that will mean he's not welcome in TWO cafeterias.

I've heard that he's persona non grata at the Princeton Theological Seminary cafeteria too.

Date: 2007/12/01 11:50:06, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (stevestory @ Dec. 01 2007,07:16)
Ah, you don't understand the Front Butt Gambit. I forgot there were newbies here.

Just be careful. There are still places where making a geo-anatomical transversion will result in a subsequent forced move to Boot Hill, or if you're lucky, Kaiser Hospital Emergency Room.

And it goes without saying that there's no situation in which a true master would find such a move necessary.

(Also, "Front Butt" is not strictly speaking a gambit, but more of an "Opfern". A subtle distinction, but one well worth understanding.)

Date: 2007/12/01 12:10:52, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (N.Wells @ Dec. 01 2007,09:19)
   
Quote
I wonder what the chances are of the good Dr. Dr. not getting reappointed at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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

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

Date: 2007/12/03 14:23:01, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Ftk @ Dec. 03 2007,12:00)
 
Quote
It is not at all clear that ISU is in the wrong here, at least from what I've read.


*blinks* (I got that from Abbie - I kinda like it) Have you read ALL of the latest???

I'm sure you have by now.  I just don't know how you can possibly make the claim that you just did.

FtK,

Just how well acquainted were you with how tenure decisions are made prior to this case? I know of at least half a dozen extremely good professors who've been denied tenure, despite having MUCH better publication and grant records than Gonzalez'.

I've noticed that you tend to write as if you have personal understanding of particular areas. When I follow your links, it turns out that you are almost always channeling Casey Luskin. Someday you may have something to say that is based on actual first-hand knowledge. Or you may one day be able to express a thought that is original to you. But your personal incredulity/shock/dismay is not particularly convincing, given that it always coincides with what the DI talking points of the day happen to be.

Just my observation.

[Edit to add: 6 (the actual number was 5, for those with reading impairments) out of 9 positive external reviews is not very impressive. Especially since the tenure candidate is often allowed to solicit some number of them.]



Date: 2007/12/03 18:31:17, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (ERV @ Dec. 03 2007,16:28)
Actually I had NO idea it was an acronym!  Well, nevermind then, Im just operating off of my own personal definition of a word you all happen to also use :P

Tard for one.

hehehe!

This comparison is eerie:

I think you went overboard with that new haircut.

[edit to remove image repost]



Date: 2007/12/04 13:31:16, Link
Author: Tom Ames
It's never going to approach Mornington Crescent in depth or seriousness (it's just too damn easy!), but ID Eugenics is an amusing pub game.

The rules:
1. Pick a prominent creationist or IDist
2. find a link to the eugenics movement.

I'll go first:

1. Discovery Institute benefactor Howard Ahmanson
2. was on the board of directors of the Council for National Policy
3. which had previously been led by Thomas F. Ellis
4. who had been a director of the Pioneer Fund.

Four moves. How many links can you find?

Date: 2007/12/06 19:06:30, Link
Author: Tom Ames


Edit: Hey, what does this "Edit" button do?



Date: 2008/02/14 12:58:47, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Has a full semester elapsed since Sal boasted about getting an A in one of his classes? Because I find it hard to believe that he wouldn't be continuing to trumpet his achievements if he actually had any.

My guess is that his grades are slipping. And I am hereby instituting the "Sal Cordova dropping out (as a prelude to ID martyrdom) pool".

My bet: he won't be returning to JHU in Fall '08, but will instead be taking a formal position under Caroline Crocker.

Other bets?

Date: 2008/02/14 13:32:03, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Feb. 11 2008,13:19)
   
Quote
a dimwit called FtK wrote:

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


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

FtK can you explain to us why creationists lie?

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

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


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

Sal's psychopathy is excelled only by his slothfulness. I'm not worried about any possible killing sprees: he's just too lazy for that.

Date: 2008/03/05 16:38:48, Link
Author: Tom Ames
It's not on his reading list, but I notice that Introduction to Probability Models is still listed as unpurchased on Dembski's  Amazon wish list.

Maybe we should all chip in and buy it for him, so that he can finally understand that probability stuff.

Date: 2008/03/06 12:33:53, Link
Author: Tom Ames
There's this also:
An Elementary Introduction to Mathematical Finance: Options and other Topics.

Evidence that barbeque sales are up in Riesel? Or maybe there's an emerging market in brisket futures.

Date: 2008/03/06 14:02:04, Link
Author: Tom Ames
More recent picture here.

Date: 2008/03/06 15:38:53, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (steve_h @ Mar. 06 2008,12:31)
Sal explaining the difference between hypothetically dropping out of a GMU course due to being hopelessy behind with everything and nothing seeming to be sinking in (not true, obviously) ,and being expelled!!oneone! because he is just too brilliantly sciency for them (yeah that's it)?

       
Quote
Thank you Dembskian,

I had worried that the universities would tell me some day:

         
Quote
Dear Salvador,

You criticized Darwin on the internet and in print and in blogs, therefore even though you have a 4.0 in an Applied Physics grad program at Johns Hopkins you will be expelled.

Further you’ll be expelled becuase you intend to use your degree for the furtherance of the Christian faith.

By the way, forget the inalienable rights conferred to you by your Creator. Your creator was Darwinian processes, and he doesn’t give a hoot about you…your civil rights don’t count since Judge Jones ruled it is unconstitutional to criticize Darwin.


I decided, if that happens,
well, fine. I’m honored to be a martyr. I simply request the schools be forthright about the reasons I’ll be dismissed or denied opportunity to get a diploma. They need to spell out Darwinism’s relevance to physics. Did I miss their explanation when they expelled a professor of physics named Guillermo Gonzalez?

If this turns out to be true, remember that you saw it here first.

Date: 2008/03/06 16:16:26, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (J-Dog @ Mar. 06 2008,11:34)
If he's smart, he's reading up on how to short ID Futures...

I wonder if we can get TradeSports to open books on Darwinism's Waterloo and The Triumph of Intelligent Design. It would be a great way to fleece the true believers of something more valuable than phantom bottles of single malt.

Edit (woo-hoo!): It turns out that InTrade will take suggestions for markets. I'm going to start a new thread to explore this idea.



Date: 2008/03/06 16:32:29, Link
Author: Tom Ames
It turns out that the InTrade Prediction Market will take suggestions for new books to open. I'd like to come up with a few definite predictions that would have a chance of being accepted by InTrade. The goal: to fleece the dense. Any time some buffoon predicts Darwinism's Waterloo, you'd be able to say: "Oh yeah, well contracts for that are selling at $2.00. How many are you buying?"

(Oooo, it would have been great to be able to trade contracts on the Kitzmiller v. Dover outcome!)

If the predictions are specific enough, we might be able to get them in. What would you like to see traded?

Date: 2008/03/08 23:56:17, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Does Heddle's null-A have something to do with non-Aristotelianism?

Date: 2008/06/10 17:53:40, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Richardthughes @ June 10 2008,13:43)
LOL@alphamale.Vox.day:

http://voxday.blogspot.com/2008....of.html

Quote
Is Sam Harris intellectually superior to Myers in your view?

Certainly. PZ could never have gotten into Stanford, for one thing. PZ's probably okay within his element; he provided a useful definition of science, for example, but he's got so little knowledge of history, religion, world culture and philosophy that it's hard to know where his ignorance stops and his idiocy begins. Sam strikes me as someone who is more careless than stupid; I really don't think he expected his success and so I think he's in the process of stepping back a little and revising some of his previous assumptions.

It's hard to understand why the New Atheists act the way they do until you realize that they're really not as intelligent as advertised. They're certainly not stupid, but they're not brilliant either, they're all in the 1SD-2SD range. Popularizers like Dawkins, Sagan, and Feynman are seldom particularly intelligent; they're smart enough to understand the highly intelligent but close enough to the average be able to communicate effectively to the masses. Feynman's IQ, for example, was closer to the norm than it was to mine. One thing I found ironic is that Dawkins and I appear to do poorly on the same aspect of IQ tests - spatial relations - what accounts for the difference between us and may explain my logical advantage is that I do as well on the math as the verbal.

Feynman is a "popularizer" of science?!!?

WTF?!!

Date: 2008/06/11 13:22:01, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Hmm. I wonder how Sal's GPA is holding up. I suspect he'd be crowing about being blessed by the Intelligent Designer if he had aced any more courses, but there seems to be silence on this point.

Maybe he's too busy chasing Nazi Darwinists to report on his progress.

Or maybe the designer decided to curse him with less than an A this semester.

Date: 2008/06/17 15:45:45, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Richardthughes @ June 17 2008,08:13)
Dave brings teh Tard:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelli....-290820


   
Quote
19

DaveScot

06/17/2008

9:48 am
DK

If they were not designed, how did they arise?

One way might be that they devolved from something that was designed. In fact that’s the path of least resistance according to the second law of thermodynamics so until we know better that’s what we should assume about not just tapeworms but about ourselves, our planet, and the whole observable universe - they all came from *something* that had a higher order of organization




A++++++++++++ TARD!! WOULD BUY AGAIN!!!!!!!!1!!

Date: 2008/06/17 17:55:10, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Help!

I can't see Quidam's images! (Although for some reason I CAN see the very nice "stretched cardigan" one.

Anyone else have problems with just some of imageshack's servers?

Date: 2008/06/19 13:23:39, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (midwifetoad @ June 19 2008,08:17)
Maybe if I illustrated my point about feedback. Suppose you have a robotic car whose steering mechanism makes frequent, minute, random changes to the left or right.

Suppose each small change of direction is followed by a yes or no response from a sensor that detects deviations from the center of the road.

Perhaps this isn't as intuitive or efficient as having the sensor simply command a jog left or right, but I can't see that it would fail to work.

Furthermore, you'd have a mechanism to increase information about the environment into the system: keeping track of your location over time would provide you with a map of the road.

Excellent metaphor.

Date: 2008/06/21 15:46:29, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I may be coming late to the party, but I'm just now realizing that "OMFG, Einstein was WRONG!!!!"* would count as a theory in the minds of Sal and FtK. Furthermore, since it criticizes Einstein, that theory is also A Theory of Relativity. And how can you say, a priori, that Einstein's theory has any validity over the OMFGEWW theory. Either could be true! Teach the controversy!

Somehow, they seem to believe that if X is a theory, then for all X, "is not!" is a theory too.



*Although a better theory would be "OMFG, Einstein's paradigm was SO WRONG because of Einstein's biases!!!!". Anything with the word "paradigm" in it HAS to be a theory.



Date: 2008/06/21 15:49:29, Link
Author: Tom Ames
[quote=dochocson,June 20 2008,19:09][quote=Maya,June 20 2008,12:53]  
Quote (midwifetoad @ June 20 2008,09:49)
Behe displays foresight.

Got booted from UD (third time?) for suggesting that they should stop blathering and ask the author already. They seemed to think I was being insolent or something.

Maybe they should just ask Tavazoie to give them all of the data.

Date: 2008/06/24 14:47:56, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (DiEb @ June 24 2008,10:26)
Well, A. Schlafly is a wizard of statistics, as you can see for yourself - imagine, how Lenski's paper could benefit from such an input - NOT....

Wow.

It's interesting that participants are asking that he release his data and methods to the public, and that Shlafly refuses to do so.

Date: 2008/09/06 00:45:49, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Evolutionists Flock to Darwin-Shaped Wall Stain

Date: 2008/09/06 00:47:16, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (stevestory @ Sep. 05 2008,22:19)
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Sep. 05 2008,17:17)
 
Quote (stevestory @ Sep. 05 2008,14:07)
Speaking of Sarah Palin, did you see that the guy she's accused of having an affair with just filed for an emergency sealing of his divorce papers?

Yes, and it was rejected. Alaska isn't sealing them.

Do you have a link on that? I haven't seen anything at WashingtonMonthly, Kevin Drum, Sullivan, Drudge, Kos, MSNBC etc on it.

Andrew Sullivan has the link.

Date: 2008/09/06 02:03:17, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Richardthughes @ Sep. 05 2008,23:14)
Isn't he a republican? I've been having my doubts of late.

I think he's done being a republican for the moment. He's still a sanctimonious asshole, though. His contrasting takes on the Danish Mohammed cartoons vs. crackergate would do Karl Rove proud.

Date: 2008/09/06 02:38:01, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Sep. 06 2008,00:15)
 
Quote (Tom Ames @ Sep. 06 2008,00:03)
 
Quote (Richardthughes @ Sep. 05 2008,23:14)
Isn't he a republican? I've been having my doubts of late.

I think he's done being a republican for the moment. He's still a sanctimonious asshole, though. His contrasting takes on the Danish Mohammed cartoons vs. crackergate would do Karl Rove proud.

Sullivan raises cognitive dissonance to a high art. For several years there it was painful to watch his attempts to reconcile his love for the Republican Party with their institutionalized homophobia.

It's funny that the two right-wing blogs I used to read in order to get a take on the Bush administration's propaganda efforts (the other one is John Cole's Balloon Juice) have both converted into Bush-hating Obama-supporters of grand proportions.

Good for them for re-joining reality, I say. But I don't trust that Sully will be with us forever. Someday something will get him all riled up and he'll do another 180 to self-righteously proclaim the opposite of what he currently says he believes.

It's fun watching him trash McCain though.

Date: 2008/09/06 16:38:42, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Amadan @ Sep. 06 2008,09:54)
This seems like the right place to ask this question.

I'm trying to find a suitable moniker for the Republicans' Happy Couple. The need for this struck me as I was looking at PTET's excellent, sneering coverage of it all.

"Captain Geritol and Polar Barbie"?
"ditto and Igloo Barbie"?
"Fossil Man and Gospel Mama"?
"President POW and The Moose-Meat MILF"?

Your thoughts (FTK, it's in the dictionary)  and suggestions, please.

I've seen "Gidget and the Geezer".

Date: 2008/09/19 14:59:39, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Ftk @ Sep. 18 2008,20:59)
Quote
It benefits us because it's one more piece in the vast jigsaw puzzle of the history of how we got here.


So, it benefits us in an historical sense.  It helps us try to solve the puzzle about how we may have evolved from a primitive human via some apeish type ancestor.

Right?

Okay, what else.  How does finding this jawbone benefit us other than in an historical sense.

I'm taking this question seriously (while noting that "knowledge is intrinsically valuable" has been considered--post Dark Ages, at least--to be a good enough answer):

Great apes (including humans) differ from other mammals, and, indeed, from other primates, in that they appear to have a vastly accelerated rate of genomic segmental duplication. This means that short stretches of DNA appear in multiple copies, either intra- or inter-chromosomally. One consequence of these duplications is that the rate of chromosomal inversions, and of insertion-deletion events is also increased (due to recombination between the duplicated regions).

Many many human diseases appear to be related to specific chromosomal inversions. A lot of these are developmental disorders and/or varieties of cancer.

We can figure out which genes are the "drivers" for various diseases if we can map the origins of the duplications within the primate lineage. In particular, we'd like to know:
1. the rate of duplication events for various classes of duplication;
2. the time of origin of a particular duplication;
3. which copy is 'ancestral';
4. and so forth.

The models we use to map these events depends on an accurate phylogeny of primates. To the extent that fossil evidence can be used to refine the timing of particular events, and the limits to certain critical population parameters, that evidence contributes to the accuracy of the phylogeny.

So: hominid fossil evidence can contribute DIRECTLY to the identification of targets for anti-cancer drugs.

This is not a made-up, ex post facto explanation. For more information on some of the methods used, look up Evan Eichler's lab at UW. For examples of the applications, talk to anyone who's been treated for cancer in the last decade or so.

Although I'm not associated with the Eichler lab, I do apply their results to drug discovery efforts. I suspect that patients who get anti-cancer drugs value the effort taken to learn about primate evolution and to allow the approach described above.

Date: 2008/09/19 16:43:30, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Ftk @ Sep. 19 2008,14:21)
So, are you saying that without the assumption that every organism found in nature today evolved from that first primitive molecule that made it's way out of the warm pond, we could not have constructed relatively accurate  phylogenetic charts?

No, I am not saying that. I'm not saying that at all, and I don't understand how you could have read that into my response.

My post was answering your question about what material value there is in learning the details of primate evolution, as exemplified in your example of finding a pre-human jawbone.

I'd like you to notice that I took a great deal of care in responding sincerely and respectfully to your question, and that I assumed that you were looking for an actual answer. Please do your best to return the respect that I showed you. If you care to respond, kindly do so with regard to my actual argument.

Thank you.

Date: 2008/09/19 17:38:40, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I guess I don't see the connection between your two questions, which seem to me to be paraphrased as:

1. "What is the material benefit of a discovery in physical anthropology?" and
2. "Do phylogenetic methods depend on the assumption that there was a single abiotic ancestor of all organisms?"

I believe I've satisfactorily answered the first. Do you agree?

As to the second: no, phylogenetic methods do not depend on the assumption that a single abiotic precursor led to all current life on earth. Molecular systematics can't reach that far back in time, anyway: it depends on the ability to assign homology to individual nucleotide bases or amino acids within a sequence. Presumably, at the origin of life the current framework of genomic information structure had not yet evolved, so this approach would not make much sense in that context.

The methods do depend on the assumption that all of the organisms being studied are related by common descent, however. Most methods assume a non-reticulate tree (that is, they assume that there are no instances in which populations rejoin and species merge). This is probably a safe assumption in most cases. In addition, potential variation within the lineage is usually ignored, as is population size, etc.

If you're interested in how violations of the assumption of common descent affect phylogenetic reconstruction, you might want to contact Paul Nelson. He's been promising a book on this precise topic since about 1998.

Date: 2008/09/19 21:58:36, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Ftk @ Sep. 19 2008,16:53)
 
Quote
Most methods assume a non-reticulate tree (that is, they assume that there are no instances in which populations rejoin and species merge).


Can you elaborate on that paragraph a bit?  I'm not sure I'm getting what you're saying.

A bifurcating tree might look like this (pardon the cruddy figures):
Code Sample

\     /   \    /    /
\   /     \  /   /
 \ /       \/  /         ^
  \        /  /           |
    \    /  /           time
     \ /  /
      \  /            


A reticulated tree simply allows reconnections between branches:
Code Sample

\     /    / /
\   /\   / /
 \ /   \/ /
   \   / /
     \/ /
      \/


The second tree might exemplify two populations merging again after a split. The technical term, "reticulate" or "reticulated" is from the latin word for net. (The tree is netlike rather than strictly bifurcating, or splitting.)

BTW, do you agree that I answered your question "What is the material benefit of a discovery in physical anthropology?"

Date: 2008/09/19 23:39:02, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Ftk @ Sep. 19 2008,20:06)
Yeah, I understand the difference between the two, but are you saying that methods for comparing simliarities between organisms other than holding to common ancestry would not allow for a reticulated tree?

No, I'm not saying that. I introduced the reticulated tree in order to illustrate the fact that there are evolutionary trajectories that can't be accounted for with a strictly bifurcating tree. (It would probably be best to just forget I brought it up--it seems to have needlessly complicated the exchange.)

Getting back to the original question: if you were to deny the concept of common descent and try to recreate the segmental duplication map that I discussed earlier, you would fail hopelessly. It turns out that the trees you get from modern phylogenetic methods often conflict with those that are simply based on similarities among traits. For reasons too complicated to go into here, it's the primate phylogeny--not the similarity tree--that allows you to do the real quantitative analytical work. Furthermore, without common descent the very idea of mapping duplication events among great ape species--including humans--would make no sense.

Incidentally, none of this is remotely controversial among scientists and engineers in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries (i.e., outside the ivory tower). And how could it be? It's what keeps the drug pipeline filled.

If you're interested, I recommend Molecular Systematics by Hillis, Moritz and Mable for further reading. (There is a Wikipedia entry on molecular systematics, but it's rather sparse.)

Date: 2008/09/20 02:29:28, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Ftk @ Sep. 19 2008,22:32)
Tom wrote:
 
Quote
For reasons too complicated to go into here, it's the primate phylogeny--not the similarity tree--that allows you to do the real quantitative analytical work. Furthermore, without common descent the very idea of mapping duplication events among great ape species--including humans--would make no sense.


Why would it make no sense?  If you note that all organisms have similarities, which is obvious from the start, why would you not want to explore those similarities to their end?

I guess I wasn't clear. Biologists are interested in the similarities and differences between organisms. But the relationships implied by a phylogram (for example: "humans and chimps diverged from a common ancestor 7 million years ago") are much more specific (and useful) than the relationship "humans are similar to chimps in these ways and different in these other ways".

Knowing the specific evolutionary relationships is what enables the work I cited earlier.  That work would not be possible if all you knew was "humans are more similar to chimps than they are to gorillas".

Date: 2008/09/20 02:44:50, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (blipey @ Sep. 20 2008,00:12)
If Ftk would read all of the comments for content instead of reading to pick out stuff to obfuscate, she might answer her own questions.  But, then that wouldn't be the goal now, would it?

She quotes Tom.

Tom Ames:      
Quote
For reasons too complicated to go into here, it's the primate phylogeny--not the similarity tree--that allows you to do the real quantitative analytical work. Furthermore, without common descent the very idea of mapping duplication events among great ape species--including humans--would make no sense.


Then she asks:
   
Quote
Why would it make no sense?  If you note that all organisms have similarities, which is obvious from the start, why would you not want to explore those similarities to their end?  


If only she could have been bothered to read the sentence that Tom wrote immediately preceding her quote.  But, there are deep and profound reasons that didn't happen; aren't there, Ftk?

Tom said:
   
Quote
if you were to deny the concept of common descent and try to recreate the segmental duplication map that I discussed earlier, you would fail hopelessly. It turns out that the trees you get from modern phylogenetic methods often conflict with those that are simply based on similarities among traits.


An answer to the very question she posed!

It's as if the sentences with the argument and substance didn't even exist.  She's completely blind to logic, argument, and evidence.  It fails to materialize in her presence.

I'd add that the whole point of the research into segmental duplication is to assess which regions of the genome have had instances of duplication during the evolution of humans relative to other great apes.

That's the key: there's a set of specific historical, evolutionary hypotheses being tested, and the result of the tests have practical value for identifying a disease causing locus.

If you don't accept common descent, there's no sense in even asking  questions about the origins of segmental duplications in humans. Not only does the phylogenetic methodology become impossible, but the very reasons for wanting an accurate phylogeny disappear.

[If I get ambitious I'll try to write up a more detailed summary of the work.]

Date: 2008/09/20 02:51:22, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (blipey @ Sep. 19 2008,18:08)
Quote (afarensis @ Sep. 19 2008,19:52)
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Sep. 19 2008,13:29)
   
Quote (Louis @ Sep. 19 2008,11:14)
Lilliputian penis

That's a Shakespeare reference, right?

No, it's Dickens*...



*Okay, I know that is obvious, but, gosh darn it, someone had to say it.

That Darles Fickens, right?  With 4 Ms and a silent Q?

It's "Dahl's Chickens", actually.

Date: 2008/09/22 23:51:18, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Louis @ Sep. 22 2008,14:42)
   
Quote (Louis @ Sep. 22 2008,17:24)
My wife has never met Steve....my wife was actually Arden in a skirt.

Please feel free to tell me if it's none of my business, but do you mean "was" as in "was once my wife" or as in "was at that time [and maybe continuing into the present] my wife?"

Either way, it would explain the whole "Moonlighting" tension thing that you guys have going on.

(Not that I'm judging or anything.)

Date: 2008/09/24 02:53:27, Link
Author: Tom Ames
FtK,

Given our earlier exchange, I'm curious: do you accept that humans and other great apes share (or could conceivably share) a common ancestor?

Because if you don't, all that explaining I did about segmental duplication would have made zero sense to you. The technical details I tried (unsuccessfully, I fear) to convey really have no meaning outside of the context of a phylogenetic tree.

If you're still working on digesting the details, I'd suggest in that case that it might not be worth pursuing.

ETA: The question is a sincere one, and not meant to put you on the spot.



Date: 2008/11/16 16:01:25, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote
Robert Marks and I continue to crank away at papers and have finally cracked the peer-review barrier in the information sciences with a paper on conservation of information


Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Nov. 14 2008,07:35)
Suggestion to Bill: avoiding the word "crank", even as a verb, will likely be a good thing.


Avoiding the word "cracked" would also be wise.

Date: 2009/02/19 11:24:44, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 18 2009,17:15)
   
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Feb. 17 2009,20:26)

Here's one proposed mechanism.

Here's the one we've been discussing.

Another possibility.

Another.

Saltational evolution in Bark Beetles

The Symonds and Elgar paper on bark beetle pheromone evolution describes an observed pattern (that is, a phylogenetic anticorrelation in pheromone blends), and does NOT specifically detail a mechanism for the evolution of same.

From the paper:
   
Quote
Our results, for Dendroctonus at least, suggest that sibling species may be more different from each other than would be expected even by chance. The trend is weak and, we caution, the standard errors are large, but within Dendroctonus the highest levels of phenotypic difference are between sibling species (phylogenetic distance of one).
In other words, there may be additional selective pressures at work during speciation events that force one pheromone blend to become substantially different from the other.


The authors do speculate about a mechanism to account for this observation. They suggest that the same mechanisms operating during allopatric speciation (which favors reinforcement of differences between similar species--see Coyne & Orr 1997) may be functioning here.

To the extent that this paper illustrates a mechanism for saltational evolution, it does so purely in the context of well-known selective mechanisms.

I haven't yet looked at the other papers you've offered as examples. Maybe you could double-check to make sure that you're not also misinterpreting them?

Date: 2009/03/15 13:00:26, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Lou FCD @ Mar. 15 2009,10:16)
Quote (Kristine @ Mar. 15 2009,12:58)
That's beautiful! *Wipes away tear*

I grow old, I grow old
I shall wear the arms of my sweater rolled.

Date: 2009/03/15 13:21:11, Link
Author: Tom Ames
That poem, of course, starts:

"Let us go then, you and me
When the TARD is definitely flowing free
like a drunkard
vomiting into the toilet.

Let us scroll through certain long-deserted sites
the dubious delights
of D. O'Dreary whoring worthless thoughts
And MikeGene channeling ancient astronauts

Sites that follow like a tedious argument
of insidious intent
to lead you to the overwhelming question...

Oh do not ask what is it
Put on your tard-suit and go visit.

In the "labs" the fellows close the doors
and pontificate like stoned-out sophophores."

Date: 2009/03/18 15:02:20, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Densye explains where her books come from:
Quote

Still, I can’t help that. I can’t live under a mountain of unrecycled trash.

Date: 2009/03/24 15:33:50, Link
Author: Tom Ames
What if it turned out upon closer inspection that the Cydonia face really DID look designed?

Would the ID crowd still be denying that the obvious next question is "who was the designer?"

Date: 2009/03/24 19:13:23, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Mar. 24 2009,17:04)
Quote (Henry J @ Mar. 23 2009,19:40)
       
Quote
Apparently something as simple as a face on Mars would cause you to RULE OUT NATURAL FORCES and CONVINCE you that some UNKNOWN designer created it, while something as complex as life (you know that we find things in life that resemble pumps and motors, electrical wiring, plumbing, assembly lines, CODED INFORMATION, computation and logic processing, and a whole host of other things that man has created - right?) fails to impress design upon you.


It's really not that hard to understand. If an inanimate object has the shape of a face to a very high precision, it is unlikely to have been formed by geologic processes (e.g., erosion), so if found it has a high probability of having been built by something or somebody familiar with faces.

So if something is "unlikely to have been formed by [natural processes]", it's probably designed?

How do you test this likelihood?

You know as well as I do that geological forces are capable of producing something that closely resembles a face - even to a high precision.  Wind, rain, erosion, earthquakes, floods - if combined in just the right mixture - could theoretically produce something extremely face-like.  So how do you know when to rule out natural forces?  What's the threshold?  

Or is it self-evident - as in "you know it when you see it"?

Excellent questions, Daniel! I seem to have heard them asked somewhere before.

BTW, I'm curious to know what you think would be the next question to be asked if the Cydonia face (upon close inspection) still appeared to be designed?

Would it be: "how does its information content relate to the universal probability bound?" or would it be "who designed the face?".

(Or something else entirely?)

Date: 2009/03/31 13:34:03, Link
Author: Tom Ames
The casual way in which Bradford equates violence against men with "luvin'" towards women is pretty disturbing.

 
Quote
Abbie needs lots of luvin.

   Pixie: I am curious; would you say that if Abbie was a guy?

He needs his butt kicked. Yes, I do treat people differently based on their gender.


I'm guessing that the "luvin'" that Bradford imagines in this circumstance is not something that would be particularly pleasant for the victim.

I suspect that Abbie is plenty tough, but some of these folks are borderline psychopaths. Be safe, Abbie, and take care when meeting any of these people in person.

Date: 2009/03/31 15:40:14, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Regulatin' Genes

A fairly clever rap video on gene regulation:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9k_oKK4Teco

Date: 2009/03/31 16:45:59, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Pretty stunning, huh?

"Cracked notes that HG Wells was a plagiarist. Therefore ID."

I'm convinced.

Date: 2009/04/01 14:00:20, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (JohnW @ April 01 2009,11:31)
Quote (Lowell @ April 01 2009,11:22)
Is Joseph really such a dumbass that he can't just Google the term before making such a fool of himself?

He's a UD cheerleader.  Does that answer your question?

Joseph needs to be told "let me google that for you".

Date: 2009/04/08 18:10:59, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Daniel Smith @ April 08 2009,16:09)
Quote (JAM @ April 05 2009,12:10)
 
Quote (Daniel Smith @ Mar. 25 2009,17:07)
The truth is, there'd be little discussion of whether or not natural forces created the face - especially if it turned out to be fairly detailed.  I'm willing to bet that the scientific community would readily accept design and launch right into a search for clues as to the designer's identity.

But Dan, the ID community (including you) has accepted design for biology. Not a single one of them (including you) has "launched right into a search for clues as to the designer's identity."

Why is that? Why don't any of them DO science?
   
Quote

And that's my point.  

That ID isn't science?

I'm searching for and learning about my designer's "identity" (his defining characteristics) every day.  I've learned as much or more about the reality of God from my biochemistry book than I did from years of sermons.  I'm learning that God has invested a lot of thought and energy into life on this planet (relatively speaking of course), which makes me think that he was (and probably is) incredibly invested and involved in this thing we call "life" and that he takes all of this very seriously.

Why do you assume the existence of a single designer?

Date: 2009/04/15 15:57:17, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Ptaylor @ April 15 2009,13:23)
Good grief - they have changed to main picture on the evolution article to one of Columbine killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Classy.
Catch it, if you want, while you can. (H/t to anonymous commenter at RationalWiki.)

From that "Evolution" article on Conservapudia, noted without comment:

"Evolutionary theory played a prominent role in regards to atheistic communism. Communists, in particular Stalinism, favored a version of Lamarckism called Lysenkoism developed by the atheist Trofim Denisovich Lysenko."

Date: 2009/04/20 17:20:45, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Hermagoras @ April 20 2009,14:49)
StephenB gets testy with hazel:    
Quote
I don’t want to be unkind here, but I thought I made it understood that I don’t accept you as an authority on logic, in spite of all your claims as an expert. Further, I think I also made it clear that I prefer to rely on my own training on that same subject, which is considerable. I would rather not wield my credentials, and I would prefer that you refrain from that resorting to that same tactic.
Link

About those credentials.  A while back StephenB gave his real name (Stephen Bussell).  He also said he was an "academic."  There's nothing in a ProQuest dissertation/thesis search under that name.

How sure are we that he is not the Steve Bussell who was convicted of murder? Has he denied it? I don't think so.

Date: 2009/04/28 12:53:37, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (CeilingCat @ April 28 2009,04:43)
Here's a little more information on sunspots.  Apparently there is something going on because they should be building up by now.  

As Wes noted, the sunspots started to come back a year ago.  All the ham radio operators were cheering with visions of distant stations blasting from their headphones and now it's gone back to zero.

I hope we're not heading for another Maunder Minimum, which was a long period with no sunspots back in the 17th century.  The Maunder Minimum also coincided with the "little ice age".  If we are getting another one, it will certainly put the dampers on global warming - for a while.  

Unfortunately, when the sun returns to its normal output and the more powerful sunlight hits the earth which will have much more CO2 in its atmosphere by then, we'll get global warming on steroids.

I think the ID position on this is that we'll all be raptured into Jesus' arms by then, so who cares?

Ignored in all this is the fact that increased atmospheric CO2 has also been acidifying the oceans.

This is independent of the effects on global climate, and may turn out to be even more catastrophic.

Date: 2010/01/15 14:47:51, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (midwifetoad @ Jan. 15 2010,11:58)
Quote
8

VMartin

01/13/2010

6:40 am
Nice contribution. I’ ve always been a great supporter of John Davison, it is fine that his work is mentioned


http://www.uncommondescent.com/intelli....-345264

Is Davison still alive?

Date: 2010/02/12 12:45:43, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Joy @ Feb. 12 2010,09:01)
Albatrossity2:
 
Quote
And it is completely self-defeating for folks who want to claim that they have new insights into biology to fail completely at understanding how their insights are, well, not.


I don't claim any 'new' insights. I'm just not buying the "dogma" [h/t midwifetoad]. Fortunately for me and every other member of the general public - you know, those 99+% of the population who are not practicing biologists - there is no legal, ethical or existential requirement that knees must bend to that dogma. All we have to do is regurgitate the requisite "RM-NS" for the test on that chapter, then we get to worry about the next chapter's requisite test answers.

 
Quote
Moreover it is difficult to generate sympathy for someone who erects a strawman (RM+NS is sufficient) and seemingly refuses to consider the breadth of evolutionary mechanisms now known.


Oh, heavens! I surely don't want or need your sympathy, Al. Unlike a majority of other people who had a week or two of RM-NS in high school and never bothered with it again, I have followed developments in evolutionary research so as to keep myself generally up on this fascinating subject. For a non-biologist I've got a fair grasp of how things are going. And am looking forward to new developments as they come in. Including theoretical developments, since there's some increasing dissent in the ranks of late against the dogma of orthodoxy. Fun to keep track of, as are such in-house challenges to orthodoxy in other scientific fields. Science being an adversarial construct, after all.

 
Quote
But don't feign surprise or disappointment when you are challenged by someone who actually knows as much or more than you do. That's how science works. Deal with it rather than claiming persecution or invoking some conspiracy of the "scientific elites".


LOL!!! You're quite the fine example. Love the circular, multi-fallacious argumentation!

I am not surprised, I am not disappointed, and I am certainly not jealous of your ever-so superior intelligence and absolute knowledge. I'm dealing just fine, thanks. Neither persecuted nor paranoid, merely amused.

Joy,

I think the main problem many of us have with the EAM idea is that it invokes a much more complicated but wholly undescribed and unspecified internal force when, in fact, the external forces of the environment look (modulo the things we don't fully understand yet) like they may be sufficient.

Furthermore, there's this idea that biologists are clinging against all evidence and theory to the "dogma" of evolution as currently understood. This is simply false, as a passing familiarity with the literature would demonstrate.

There's a parallel with Group Selection: a lovely idea that ran counter to the "dogma" that NS acts upon individuals. Despite the heterodoxy of the idea, there was a huge amount of discussion and experimentation about it in the 60s. It turned out that the processes of individual selection can account for the apparent process of group selection, which was then better understood as a kind of epiphenomenon.

To invoke group selection, in other words, was to posit a process for which there was no known mechanism, and which was also unnecessary as an explanation of the observations. Note that the research did get done, and by smart people, many of whom were motivated to try to demonstrate that individual selection was NOT sufficient. That is, the challengers to the orthodox picture were "allowed" to propose a testable model of their proposed process. (Of course, they needed no permission, and there would have been no-one to grant it if they did. Science is not a monolithic power structure, contra many internet conspiricist's claims.)

Back in the old ARN days I frequently brought up actual research with EAM's leading proponent, mturner. Every time I did so, he refused to engage at that level, preferring to fall back on dictionary definitions and the like as being the more egalitarian source of knowledge.

Well, that's not good enough. This is a technical field, and the intuitions of 99.9% of the population do not counter the evidence that is found by people who do the research. It may not be PC to recognize the fact, but expertise matters. And if someone proposes a world-changing concept, it's incumbent upon them to figure out how to test it. Not to shout "elitism" and pretend that they're being suppressed.

Date: 2010/02/12 16:19:53, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Joy @ Feb. 12 2010,11:19)
Hi, Tom. I vaguely recall some of your back and forth with Mike, mostly as being somewhat civil. Here you express much the same problem with the idea of endogenously generated adaptation and evolution - it's not "scientific" enough for your tastes.

Which would be a valid complaint if EAM were a scientific theory vying to replace Darwinism/Neodarwinism or whatever they'll call their remix when they're done incorporating the anomalous and incoming evidence. But it's not. It's a semantic formalization of a concept of bottom-up, self-organized evolution from 'civilians' interested in evolution and biology's researches bearing on evolution.

Thus it needs no rigorous scientific defense to any critical review panel of scientists, no exhaustive citations of supporting research, no succinct mathematical formulas to describe the processes, no lengthy list of co-authors or establishment supporters. It does, however, offer some general predictions about where evolutionary biology will be somewhere down the road after the dust from this 'revolution' clears.

At which point, if any of us are still alive or still care when it's over, we shall all see how good the predictions were, won't we? §;o)

See, to me this sounds fundamentally dishonest. It's like the snake oil salesman who strongly implies that his Ultra-Pure Colloidal Silver Water will cure cancer but who, when asked for evidence to back up the claims says "whoa, I'm not claiming THAT! I'm just telling you what my customers have experienced".

On one hand we're asked to incorporate an undefined, unspecified force deriving from within the organism as part of our model for how evolutionary change happens. When we (as scientists are wont to do) ask "why should I accept that?" we're told that this isn't really a scientific claim, so none of the practices that we apply to keep from misleading ourselves (such as peer review, statistical tests, etc.) are necessary.

Does the idea behind EAM (a mere "semantic formalization") have any connection to modern biology? Are there any predictions (about the biology rather than about the state of the field as a social-political entity) that it makes that we can test?

Why do the "civilians" who promote it insist on ignoring any evidence that does not support the idea? Why are real examples of how the field of evolution really changes in response to data--examples such as the one I gave about group selection--ignored in favor of another reiteration of the Suppression by Big Science myth?

Why should the civilian's--or the dilettante's--judgment about the state of the field of biology with respect to evolution be given more credence than that of the biologists who work in the field? Can it really be that populist sentiment trumps the expertise that comes from long years of hard study? Or that direct experience in a field is trumped by a google search?

I'm a cancer biologist. My field has undergone tremendous paradigmatic changes in the last 50 years. But these changes have never--NEVER--come from people who haven't spent big chunks of time mastering a complex literature.

It takes more than a passing familiarity with a field to take that field in a new direction. I guess the fact that anyone should think otherwise could be seen as a testament to our populist ideals. But I'd rather have a populace that understands how science really works, and how much effort and expertise it really takes to break new ground.





Date: 2010/02/12 16:35:45, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Joy @ Feb. 12 2010,12:52)
So it will be with evolutionary theory. Textbooks are already changing, the simplistic Darwinian pablum is no longer offered as "received scientific wisdom and fact."

History textbooks have also changed, no longer offering the simplistic notion that Manifest Destiny motivated the Civilization of the natives of North America by the benevolent colonizers. The fact that the modern view of American history as taught to high-schoolers differs from that of the 19th century doesn't change the fact that certain events happened, even down to their details.

(I'd appreciate it if you would read a book like Michael Lynch's "The Origins of Genome Architecture" and then tell if you still think that current evolutionary theory--still grounded firmly in the concept of RM-NS--is "simplistic".)

Date: 2010/02/12 18:13:05, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Joy,

I think that you could have chosen to read my post in the spirit in which it was written, that is, as a serious attempt to engage with an idea I disagree with.

Instead you've taken EVERY SINGLE POINT I made and interpreted it as a personal attack upon yourself. Even my comment about the changing paradigms in the field of cancer biology was turned into some kind of personal reflection on yourself.

My point that maybe biologists know more about the status evolutionary theory has among scientists--contra your google results--was interpreted, QUITE bizarrely, as an attempt to lynch you in effigy.

It really seems to me that you're being overly touchy and defensive. Too bad--I would have liked to continue this discussion.



Date: 2010/02/12 18:47:19, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Joy @ Feb. 12 2010,16:41)
Tom Ames:
 
Quote
I think that you could have chosen to read my post in the spirit in which it was written, that is, as a serious attempt to engage with an idea I disagree with.


This may indeed be so, as I see upon reflection. I've been put on the defensive, and am as guilty of reading-in as I've accused you of being. I apologize, will make a sincere effort to consider all possible commutations of sentences. Can we start over?

Certainly, and I appreciate your apology.

Date: 2010/02/16 14:44:33, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Has our Sewer Goblin ever mentioned whether he finished his studies at Johns Hopkins? Given the amount of crowing he did after getting an A his first semester, I'd expect that he'd trumpet the completion of his MS as a triumph of God's will over Satan.

And yet, nothing.

Does anyone else think he slunk off, tail between his legs, before he graduated?

Date: 2010/02/17 14:48:44, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (dheddle @ Feb. 17 2010,08:29)
I like (yes like) this post by Paul Nelson on free will.

It seems to me impossible for there to be any non-supernatural explanation of free will--yet very few atheists simply state: there is no such thing as free will. The reluctance (by many, not all) to state the obvious, and then address the ensuing philosophical quagmire (good luck with that) is to me a bit dishonest or cowardly.

Unlike we Calvinists, who enjoy free will out the wazoo.

There is no such thing as free will.

What philosophical quagmire?

Date: 2010/02/19 15:00:16, Link
Author: Tom Ames
In the other thread Heddle cited "moral culpability" as an example of the philosophical quagmire that results from an absence of free will.

I understand that without free will our ideas about moral culpability are invalid. But why does this have any bearing whatsoever on the nature, or existence of conscious or "free" will?

Does our need to feel righteous in our punishment of or assignment of blame to evil-doers have any bearing whatsoever on the free agency of the doer-of-evil?

(I'll remind you that punishment of "immoral" behavior is not limited to humans--many creatures we'd normally not think of as having conscious or free will do in fact punish cheaters, presumably without invoking notions of moral culpability.)

Date: 2010/02/19 15:14:58, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Joy @ Feb. 19 2010,12:54)
Yet we see a lot of argumentation from people who look to be quite terrified that science's built in limitations might allow someone to believe in both God and evolution. Obviously, that's not a problem for a great many people, regardless of what the fearful assert.

What I can't figure out is why the existence of consciousness and free will threatens the materialistic/physicalist worldview enough to make them insist their own consciousness and free will can't exist. As if such a ridiculous argument were somehow supposed to appear rational to conscious, rational people.

Seems to me it should be perfectly reasonable in a materialist/physicalist philosophy to hold that consciousness and its considerable degrees of freedom are generated internally - that the "I" doing the thinking and acting is the causal agent of the thinking and acting. What, other than their fear of someone else's ghosts, would necessitate a denial of their own consciousness? That's just plain... bizarre.

You seem to feel comfortable ascribing motives and states-of-mind (terrified/fearful, threatened, insisting) to those who simply argue different points from those you accept.

Does this help advance the discussion, or does it move it more towards the kind of "culture war" argumentation that leads nowhere? Might it not be more fruitful to put forward an argument in favor of your position, rather than commenting on how bizarre you find the other viewpoint to be?

It might help to try to understand these viewpoints and the ACTUAL motivations behind them, rather than dismissing them all as pathological.

Date: 2010/02/19 16:15:54, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 19 2010,13:38)
Hi Tom Ames,
 
Quote (Tom Ames @ Feb. 19 2010,15:00)
...many creatures we'd normally not think of as having conscious or free will do in fact punish cheaters...


It is not my intent to jump on your comment here.  There appears to be many people who share this view.

I honestly do not understand it.  How can an animal make decisions and CHEAT yet have it be presumed it isn't conscious and/or doesn't have Free Will?

The only thing that makes any sense is that humans are so prejudice they discount everything that isn't human-like as being inherently inferior.  IOW, humans are "special".

EDIT - I see bfish beat me to it.  It sucks to have work get in the way.

Hi TP,

If you define "cheating" operationally, no invocation of free will is necessary. One definition might come from game theory: cheating is the behavior that, if adopted by all would result in an equilibrium that would be disadvantageous to all.

As a society we may lock up psychopaths because they are dangerous, or because we have some sense that we are applying justice via punishment. Whatever we think our motivations are, this has no bearing on whether the psychopath has free agency.

Also: this thread is suffering a bit from a conflation between two distinct concepts. The first is consciousness, as in conscious awareness of oneself and one's environment. The other is conscious will, as in the ability to effect some outcome within or without oneself. These are not the same ideas. I could be an automaton in my actions, and yet be fully aware of my actions.

In some cases, this literally happens, even to humans: we act in ways that we don't expect or make "choices" that we don't feel are ours. Wegner (see "The Illusion of Conscious Will") has examples suggesting that many more of our actions follow this pattern than we might think.

Date: 2010/02/19 16:23:04, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Joy @ Feb. 19 2010,13:31)
But the relative 'morality' of any given culture in any period of time doesn't magically determine whether or not self-consciousness and self-determination exist. It seems to me that all self-aware (conscious) humans who choose their actions - 'right' or 'wrong' in the culture's view - directly experience the existence of consciousness and self-determination.

I agree with your first sentence. But I think your second sentence essentially says: "All conscious beings who choose their actions experience choice", which to me sounds circular. Furthermore, it elides the differences between consciousness (as awareness) and agency or self-determination (see my post above).

We may be fully conscious and self aware and it STILL may be the case that free will is an illusion.

(And as you say, moral culpability is irrelevant to that question.)

Date: 2010/02/19 16:47:23, Link
Author: Tom Ames
One problem with discussing free will is the eventual emergence of the "self-evidence" gambit. It's claimed that the reality of free will (definition unexplored) is self-evident from the fact that we're asking the question.

Not only is this a conversation-stopper, it ignores the fact that many things that are "self-evident" (the perfection of the celestial sphere, to give one example) are also WRONG.

At its best, science is a discipline for asking questions about things even (or maybe especially) if the answers are "self-evident".

Am I deliberately typing this sentence and am I conscious of doing so? It seems self-evident to me that I am. But "self-evidence" is not evidence at all. Instead, it's a technique for ending further probing, before the questions get too distressing.

(Closely akin to "self-evidence" is the theological concept of "natural law" which, as far as I can tell, is simply a fancy way of saying "shut up and do what I tell you to.")



Date: 2010/02/19 17:25:47, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Joy @ Feb. 19 2010,14:56)
IOW, the subject of free choice presupposes the existence of self-consciousness, and consciousness itself. If consciousness doesn't exist - is an illusion - then the question of whether or not our will enjoys degrees of freedom is irrelevant. If consciousness does exist, then the question is relevant.

I agree. But quite often when the question is asked "does free will exist?" the respondent will answer as if the question is "does consciousness exist?"

They are, as you say, related, but they're not the same. We can't imagine having free will without consciousness. However, consciousness does not imply free will.

I interpret most of the discussion here to be an exploration of the extent to which we exert free will, if indeed we exert any.

Date: 2010/02/19 19:01:34, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Joy @ Feb. 19 2010,16:46)
Okay, just consider that "perfect celestial sphere" for a moment. Let's simplify it to "the earth is flat." Since what passed for human science once believed these things self-evident.

Is it self-evident that the earth rotates, and revolves around the sun? Or is it self-evident that we have day/night cycles and seasons? I'd say the latter is self-evident, since most people experience day/night and seasons where they exist, directly. The stories we invent from our minds to explain what is self-evident changes with our level of psychological sophistication and the extended range of (invented) tools at our disposal.

Yes, the information comes in via sensory (or expanded technological) data our brains process and analyze, but processed data is all we have for the purpose of experiencing the exterior world. We need nothing more than a mind to experience our 'selves'. Which I posit must then be the most self-evident phenomenon we ever get to 'know' for sure.

Let's please not get caught up in the detail of my example. My point was simply that a claim of self-evidence is not sufficient warrant for belief.

BTW, I don't believe that the earth rotates because it's "self-evident". I believe it because there is actual evidence that it rotates, and because the balance of that evidence outweighs the "self-evidence" of a stationary earth.

Similarly, I see this discussion as a plea for EVIDENCE of free will, rather than claims that the existence of free will is "self-evident".

I know that unconscious will exists--we all engage in this all of the time. What I'd like to know is whether or not free will, in the sense of consciously decided initiation of an action, also exists, or if it's simply an illusion.

Date: 2010/02/19 19:56:05, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 19 2010,17:24)
What would constitute evidence of free will?

I don't know what such evidence would look like. There is copious evidence for non-conscious or automatic action, though. Which makes me think that free will, even if true, should not simply be accepted as a given. Even if it makes us feel good to believe in it.

It's a lot like god, actually.

Date: 2010/02/19 20:06:17, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 19 2010,17:24)

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 19 2010,17:24)
Furthermore, I suggest that Quantum Mechanics is the only known mechanism where two mutually exclusive "realities" can exist at the same time (quantum superposition).


When someone can make this into a coherent argument, and not merely deploy the phrase "quantum mechanics" and implying a self-evident connection, then I'll pay attention. Roger Penrose is a hell of a lot smarter than I am, but that doesn't mean he's immune to handwaving. Or that he knows anything about cell biology.

Quote (Thought Provoker @ Feb. 19 2010,17:24)
If Free Will exists, it has to be able to be illogical, otherwise it would be deterministic and algorithmic and, therefore, not "free".


Why is this necessarily so? Shouldn't a freely acting agent be able to choose a logical, algorithmic course of action?

Date: 2010/02/19 20:10:48, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Joy @ Feb. 19 2010,18:02)
Tom Ames to TP:
 
Quote
It's a lot like god, actually.


Why isn't it a lot like self?

Well, because I have personal experience of my self. And it's pretty compelling, too, even if it is an illusion.

It might be like your-self, though, which I'm accepting on faith as existing in a form beyond the mere ordering of pixels shaped into words on a monitor.

Date: 2010/02/19 20:22:50, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Joy @ Feb. 19 2010,17:19)

Quote

What qualifies as "unconscious will?" Automatic, unconscious levels of my consciousness keep my heart beating, but is that really a will, or just a function?


We quite frequently do things without conscious initiation of the casual chain. I just now turned and looked out the window of my office--an action for which there was no conscious intent. When I see a pedestrian in a crosswalk, I step on the brake pedal. When I see my daughters I hug them.

I can offer a post-hoc rationalization that those actions are what I decided to do, but in all honesty there was no conscious initiating act. Maybe these are just "functions" like a heartbeat, except that they're fairly complex and learned.

There have been some elegant experiments suggesting that, as in dreams, we can "backfill" our memories to make it seem like we initiated these actions. It's really staggering how much we project retrospective accounts of agency onto events over which we can have had no control.

Quote

And if you think unconscious will is an actual phenomenon, doesn't it then follow that conscious will is an actual phenomenon?


I don't see how that necessarily follows, except semantically.

Date: 2010/02/19 20:48:33, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Joy @ Feb. 19 2010,18:32)

I suspect that someone for whom the suppression and restoration of consciousness is a routine daily activity qualifies as an 'expert' on the phenomenon. At least, on how chemicals work to suppress consciousness and the specific cellular constructs they act upon to accomplish that.


To reiterate: consciousness and "free will" are not the same thing. (And understanding the practical application of anesthetic does NOT, I believe, impart any special understanding of the nature of free will.)

 
Quote

Now I'm confused. Are you saying that unconscious will is conscious will, or that unconscious will is an illusion too?


I thought you were saying that the presence of unconscious will (or, if you prefer, action that is initiated without conscious thought) necessarily implies the existence of conscious will. I don't think that follows.



Date: 2010/02/19 20:50:05, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (jswilkins @ Feb. 19 2010,18:40)
Isn't ilk a kind of ruminant that one may only hunt in a specific season?

"Be vewy vewy qwiet. I'm ilk hunting..."

You're thinking of "wilks". (Although aren't these a kind of mollusk?)

Date: 2010/02/20 02:01:45, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Badger3k @ Feb. 19 2010,22:38)
Quote (jswilkins @ Feb. 19 2010,20:40)
Isn't ilk a kind of ruminant that one may only hunt in a specific season?

"Be vewy vewy qwiet. I'm ilk hunting..."

My Grandmother was bitten by an Ilk once, or was it a Moot?

A Møøt once bit my sister, I think is what you meant.

Date: 2010/02/20 02:06:58, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I have to wonder if Wilkins showing up to make silly jokes is his way of politely telling me to stop embarrassing myself talking about free will.

Anyone up for a game of Mornington Crescent? I'll start: Gresham College.



Date: 2010/02/20 23:53:00, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (jswilkins @ Feb. 20 2010,01:41)
Can you do Gresham College as a starting move? I thought the rules of 1666 prohibited that.

Only if I try to follow up with Salisbury Court.

In any case, my next move was going to be Seething Lane, which sidetracks over to the reconstitution of 1669.

Date: 2010/02/22 14:06:16, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Just in case any of WMAD's students are looking for a way to fulfill Course Requirement #4:
Quote

(4) 3,000-word record of interactions with contrary websites, totaling at least 10 posts
and giving URLs for posts — 10 percent positive. Due by last class meeting. This is
where you get to mix it up with people on the other side of the debate over faith and
science. It will open your eyes.


and would like to do so without the dishonesty and pretense that we've seen to date, here is the place to do it.

Two requests:
1. Don't insult our intelligence by pretending that you're not approaching the question from the specific perspective of a particular faith-tradition;

2. At least TRY to engage the substance of what you read. This is an opportunity to ask questions and to learn, not to take a stand in the culture wars.

You're free to say anything, of course (no censors here). However, we all have plenty of experience with the mock-humility that sometimes acts as a cover for self-righteousness. If you approach people here with some amount of GENUINE respect, you'll see that respect reflected back.

Even your classmate DAEVANS is welcome to try again if he or she can be honest and respectful.

"It will open your eyes."

I'll bump this as the last class day--April 28--approaches.

Date: 2010/02/22 16:13:25, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Dr.GH @ Feb. 22 2010,12:55)
I promise I'll try very hard to be nice.

My hunch is that it will be a lot easier to be nice to people when they're not insulting my intelligence by pretending to be disinterested observers. Concern trolls piss me off. Concern trolling for credit in one of Dembski's religion classes REALLY pisses me off.

(At the very least we can point DAEVANS and his/her kind to this thread and see what they say for themselves.)

Date: 2010/02/22 23:10:03, Link
Author: Tom Ames
On the off chance that any of Dembski's Philo 4483 students wander over into this Swamp of Immorality, I made an offer to answer their questions on this thread. However, I'd also like to direct a few questions in return to these Dembski students. Here goes:


Dear Student,

You are taking a class called "Christian Faith and Science" which I hope means that you have some interest in learning about how your religion can inform your interest in the natural world, and vice versa. I'd like to think that you might actually have some interest in science beyond its use as a cudgel in the hands of the culture warrior. You might once have thought that you'd become a scientist some day. If that is the case, I think you owe it to yourself to ask a few questions. (Of yourself, but if you're really gutsy, you'll ask these of your professor as well.) And as long as you're answering these questions for yourself, perhaps you would consider shedding some light on them by telling us here what these answers are. Because we've never gotten a straight answer from your professor and his colleagues.

1. Dr. Dembski says of your prospective experience at sites like this that "it will open your eyes". By this I assume he means that there is a hostility and level of disrespect here that is emblematic of the failed worldview we hold. I'd dearly like to know if Dr. Dembski has mentioned anything in class about respectful treatment towards members of the judiciary. In particular, does he show his "Judge Jones with Fart Noises" flash animation with pride?

2. I imagine that Dr. Dembski, as a good apologist, has exhorted you to "speak truth to power" and stand up for what you believe in in the face of withering odds. (My understanding of Christian iconography says that this kind of courage against secular foes is evidence of strength and confidence in one's faith.) Please ask yourself (or Dr. Dembski) why, when it came time to testify in Kitzmiller v Dover he took a pass, choosing to risk letting the defense fail rather than expose his ideas to criticism.

3. In a similar vein, Dr. Dembski has said that some kind of Scientific Conspiracy has suppressed the ideas of his theory of Intelligent Design, via the mechanism of peer review. You might ask him why his own journal, "PCID" languishes for lack of submissions, despite having a very low bar to publication of ideas such as his.

4. Dr. Dembski accuses his perceived opponents of censorship quite a lot, actually. Many of us would like to know how this squares with the fact that the only place that he will engage in discussion of his ideas is among people who he knows agree with him, in fora that he has absolute control over. (This mostly turns out to be blogs, books-for-sale and seminary classrooms.)

5. According to my understanding of Christianity, there is a prohibition against "bearing false witness". Is Dembski's informing on a professor to the state security apparatus because of a second-hand account of his lecture an example of this? Or are some forms of bearing false witness acceptable if they're done to advance the correct political agenda?

6. Whatever does Dr. Dembski mean by "science is the embodiment of the Logos of St. John"? Is there any way to relate this to someone who does not partake in a particular sectarian worldview?

I imagine there will be many more questions, but I'll leave it at that.

My image of the educational environment of a Baptist seminary is, I'm sure, full of stereotypes and misconceptions. I hope that, counter to my conceptions, there is room within the seminary to ask these kinds of questions of yourself and your professors. Meanwhile, if you are in fact interested in science for its own sake, you should be aware of the fact that your professor is a very unreliable source of information. If he ever tried to argue his ideas among practicing scientists, they'd face a withering storm of spontaneously arising mockery. They are provocative in the way that many ideas of mediocre and narcissistic minds are. They are, quite frankly, incoherent babblings.

I've allowed myself some editorial commentary, obviously. My hope is that I've laid my cards on the table, and got it out of my system. Although you're a student of his, I do not start with the assumption that you've bought his snake oil.

If there's anything you genuinely want to know (and if you're not engaged in a drive-by for grades) I, and many others here, will do our best to address your questions respectfully.

Date: 2010/02/23 11:43:25, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Dr.GH @ Feb. 22 2010,21:47)
Tom, I am amazed at your self restraint. I will try (really) to use it as a standard.

Well, I've had a few good friends over the years who could have found themselves in situations analogous to being a student of Dembski's. I'm writing as if to them, because I really do want to draw out the answers to some of these questions.

I've made questionable choices myself at times, and I'm sure glad that there have been friendly people there to help me move beyond them. Long odds of doing so here? You bet. But it's not like I'm being civil to Salvador Cordova or Casey Luskin.

Date: 2010/02/23 12:29:04, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Clearly, Joe's health plan does nothing for sufferers of traumatic brain injury.



Date: 2010/02/23 15:30:37, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (OgreMkV @ Feb. 23 2010,12:19)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Feb. 23 2010,13:34)
OgreMkV,

I'm interested in the strings, when you get a moment.

A) 19372082339311710152086213620575697824755571720

B) 97565835082747442479890364189494781845201746854


one string is designed (by me)
one string is random (random.org)

which is which and why?

String B has a 747. What are the odds of that happening by chance?

Date: 2010/02/24 11:13:41, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Joe G @ Feb. 24 2010,08:37)
Quote (qetzal @ Feb. 24 2010,10:05)
It all boils down to two fundamental problems:

1. ID is not supported by the scientific evidence.

2. To date, pretty much every attempt to teach ID has been motivated by the desire to sneak religious creationism back into science class.

Both of those are excellent reasons it should not be taught as science in public classrooms. It could accurately be taught as an example of the so-called 'culture wars,' except I don't think any cdesign proponentsists want it taught that way.

Too bad that is all ID has- scientific support:

1. Deepa Nath, Ritu Dhand and Angela K. Eggleston (Editors), “Building a Cell,” Nature 463, 445 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/463445a.

2. Kerry Bloom and Ajit Joglekar, “Towards building a chromosome segregation machine,” Nature 463, 446-456 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08912.

3. Timothy W. Nilsen and Brenton R. Graveley, “Expansion of the eukaryotic proteome by alternative splicing,” Nature 463, 457-463 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08909.

4. Giorgio Scita1 and Pier Paolo Di Fiore, “The endocytotic matrix,” Nature 463, 464-473 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08910.

5. Lena Ho and Gerald R. Crabtree, “Chromatin remodelling during development,” Nature 463, 474-484 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08911.

6. Daniel A. Fletcher and R. Dyche Mullins, “Cell mechanics and the cytoskeleton,” Nature 463, 485-492 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08908.

Read the commentary here

Alternative gene splicing is only explainable via design- intentional, purposeful design.

It is controlled by the software evolutionary biologists don't know exists...

Let me just say, as someone who works in this field, reads, understand and writes these kinds of papers (and knows some of the authors) that you have absolutely no clue about the content of the papers you cite.

You appear to have picked these papers based solely by title. You are an uneducated, ignorant blowhard.

And you are the face of intelligent design.

THAT'S why we don't want ID taught in science classes: the only people available to teach it are intellectual bankrupts such as yourself.

Date: 2010/02/24 11:51:16, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Joe G @ Feb. 24 2010,09:25)
Quote (Tom Ames @ Feb. 24 2010,11:13)
Quote (Joe G @ Feb. 24 2010,08:37)

Too bad that is all ID has- scientific support:

1. Deepa Nath, Ritu Dhand and Angela K. Eggleston (Editors), “Building a Cell,” Nature 463, 445 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/463445a.

2. Kerry Bloom and Ajit Joglekar, “Towards building a chromosome segregation machine,” Nature 463, 446-456 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08912.

3. Timothy W. Nilsen and Brenton R. Graveley, “Expansion of the eukaryotic proteome by alternative splicing,” Nature 463, 457-463 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08909.

4. Giorgio Scita1 and Pier Paolo Di Fiore, “The endocytotic matrix,” Nature 463, 464-473 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08910.

5. Lena Ho and Gerald R. Crabtree, “Chromatin remodelling during development,” Nature 463, 474-484 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08911.

6. Daniel A. Fletcher and R. Dyche Mullins, “Cell mechanics and the cytoskeleton,” Nature 463, 485-492 (28 January 2010); doi:10.1038/nature08908.

Read the commentary here

Alternative gene splicing is only explainable via design- intentional, purposeful design.

It is controlled by the software evolutionary biologists don't know exists...

Let me just say, as someone who works in this field, reads, understand and writes these kinds of papers (and knows some of the authors) that you have absolutely no clue about the content of the papers you cite.

You appear to have picked these papers based solely by title. You are an uneducated, ignorant blowhard.

And you are the face of intelligent design.

THAT'S why we don't want ID taught in science classes: the only people available to teach it are intellectual bankrupts such as yourself.

Ames go fuck yourself.

Your position can't explaijn alternative gene splicing and you know it.

Cutting and pasting the contents of a section from Nature called "Building a Cell" doesn't constitute evidence of anything. When you read and understand the papers you cite the titles of, I'll consider discussing the science with you. Until then, you're just spewing bullshit (in the technical sense of the term).

And THAT, to answer your original question once more, is why ID cannot be permitted to be taught in public schools. Because the people who would teach it are barely competent to read the titles of the scientific literature, much less to understand any of it.

Date: 2010/02/24 11:56:50, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Joe G @ Feb. 24 2010,07:00)
Quote (Tom Ames @ Feb. 23 2010,12:29)
Clearly, Joe's health plan does nothing for sufferers of traumatic brain injury.

Clearly Tom Ames is an asshole...

Oh well PLAYED, sir!

Date: 2010/02/24 11:59:41, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Does anyone remember DNAUnion from the ARN days?

I'm starting to miss that guy...

Date: 2010/02/24 12:00:50, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Place your wagers here.

Date: 2010/02/24 12:16:57, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Oh my god, I have to apologize to Joe G.!

Right there on p. 452 of the Kerry Bloom review he pointed us to, it says that Centrioles are actually little turbines, with a citation to Jonathan Wells!

Wow, Joe, what can I say? I guess you really must have read and understood all those references you gave us from the January 28, 2010 edition of Nature. And they indeed support ID, completely repudiating Darwinism, just as you claimed they do. My profoundest apologies for ever doubting you.

Date: 2010/02/24 13:34:42, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I may just have been naive, but I don't think I would have imagined that the quality of ID spokesturds would have gotten WORSE than they were at ARN. I suppose I expected that, if anything, they'd become more polished and cryptic, along the direction ISCID was pretending to go. And I kind of assumed that ARN was scraping the bottom of the barrel as it was.

And yet here we are, ten+ years later, and the only argument in favor of ID their proponents can muster is to call us assholes.

(Ten years from now--in Sarah Palin's second term, perhaps--will we be thinking: "that Joe G. guy actually seems kind of reasonable, in retrospect" compared to what the IDists will be saying then?)

[Rumors at the time were that PLA was either Wells or Nelson. I think he was too smart to be Wells, though.]

Date: 2010/02/24 14:07:40, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (carlsonjok @ Feb. 24 2010,11:25)
 
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Feb. 23 2010,16:44)
Back in May 2000, someone asked about Davison's manifesto on the TalkOrigins Archive feedback, and I had a response there.

It still looks good to me.

The walls have eyes!!1!!11!!

I love it so!

Among the posters on Davison's blog are "Dan Smith" and "Dublin Evans". They all (with vmartin) think Davison is GREAT. It's hilarious. All the posts are nothing but fluffing of Davison and badmouthing those who point out his failings.

What a sad, insecure man it is who has to invent friends to tell him in public how great he is. You can tell he sees his legacy fading, fading into the eternal night. Give it up John--you had no legacy to begin with.

Date: 2010/02/24 15:44:39, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Art @ Feb. 24 2010,12:52)
Quote (Tom Ames @ Feb. 24 2010,11:59)
Does anyone remember DNAUnion from the ARN days?

I'm starting to miss that guy...


http://www.meetup.com/SoutheastAlabamaFreethought/members/8628491/

I'm sorry, but that's just scary.

Please don't tell me when the Smartest-bouncer-in-the-world and his sidekick switch over to our side. I'd rather remember them as I left them.

Date: 2010/02/26 02:33:18, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ Feb. 26 2010,00:24)
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ Feb. 24 2010,12:08)
Quote (Joe G @ Feb. 24 2010,11:22)
 
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ Feb. 24 2010,11:11)
Hey Joe,

What would you teach in an inteligent design course?

Hey why don't you focus on the OP?

Is that simple concept too much for you to understand?

Joe,

Excuse me but you mentioned about ID being taught in school in the OP. Why is wanting to know what you want to have taught off-topic?

Look Joe not only is this in your OP, it is the header.

 
Quote

Why can't evolutionists afford to have Intelligent Design presented in public school classrooms- even if it is an elective and not presented in science classes?

Because if ID is presented properly the kids would find out that ID is NOT anti-evolution.


So what do you want to "present" to the kids?

Hey Joe,

What would a class for ID teach?

[li'l Joe]
Just look in any biology textbook, asshole!
[/li'l Joe]

Date: 2010/03/13 02:27:43, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (fnxtr @ Mar. 12 2010,23:15)
I just watched a couple of episodes of "The Office" and realized that Joe G. is actually Dwight.

Actually, he's Gareth Keenan.

Date: 2010/03/15 17:20:28, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Hi there, Dembski students! Just over a month to go to finish your project!

Please read the first post of this thread and then go ahead and ask your question. I'm sure we'll have the required number of words posted in no time at all!  (Though we do request that the majority of these words be original to you, rather than the cut-and-pasted words of others.)

Oh, and please feel free to ignore anything that the poster named "Louis" puts up. He comes from a Very Special Place, and I'm told he really can't help it.

Date: 2010/03/16 15:20:28, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (fnxtr @ Mar. 16 2010,13:15)
Yes, well, haven't we all toggled, a bit, on those lonely nights?

Is that what you call it, your "bit"? Better than your "nybble", I guess...

Date: 2010/03/17 15:34:53, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (JLT @ Mar. 17 2010,07:45)
Hi Bjray,

A lot of the answers so far focused at least in part on the person of Dembski and I could understand if you felt compelled to defend him. But let’s not waste time on him. If his criticism of evolutionary theory were legitimate, he could be a total asshole, incompetent, and promoting his criticism for the wrong reasons, that still wouldn’t make his criticism less valid.
So, the question really is whether Dembski’s (or Behe’s, or Meyer’s, or whoever) criticism is valid.

...

POTW!

Date: 2010/03/18 02:16:08, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Do your job, and do it right
Life's a ball! (ID tonight!)
Do you love it, do you hate it?
There it is, the way GOD made it (WOOOooow)

Date: 2010/03/19 19:09:25, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (didymos @ Mar. 19 2010,16:48)
 
Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 19 2010,11:33)
 
Quote
Sculptors don’t “fashion” anything; they only throw out marble chips. How can this not be obvious?


The analogy is better if you think of topiary rather than marble.

Better still, since sculpting and topiary both involve actual design, which I expect the UD crew to pounce on:

Erosion doesn't "fashion" anything; it only throws out stuff.  How can this not be obvious?




Erosion doesn't "fashion" anything; it only throws out stuff.  How can this not be obvious?

ETA: Still waiting for the calculation of CSI for the face at Cydonia, and wondering how the calculation changed post-Mars Express.



Date: 2010/03/21 17:23:04, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Ealing Common. Take THAT!

Date: 2010/03/22 18:58:55, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Amadan @ Mar. 21 2010,16:31)
Quote (Louis @ Mar. 21 2010,04:49)
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Mornington Crescent eh?

Tut tut.

Fairlop.

Louis

Totteridge & Whetstone (Ha! It's still Sunday here! Bet you forgot about low tide too.)

   
Quote
P.S. Given the rugby result last night, it's bloody lucky I'm French, that's all I can say.

P.P.S.  Och aye, the noo!

Wait, wait, WAIT!

Did you not see my play of Ealing Common?!

What are you trying to do here, invoke the Numismatist Implication? Twenty-first century, folks. We've moved beyond the Hertzian Schism. (Plus, this was supposed to be a FRIENDLY game.)

You can just take your "Totteridge & Whetstone" and diagonalize it to Marble Arch.

Date: 2010/03/22 22:24:21, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (fnxtr @ Mar. 22 2010,18:40)
Quote (Amadan @ Mar. 22 2010,09:21)
 
Quote (BillB @ Mar. 22 2010,03:42)
   
Quote (Amadan @ Mar. 22 2010,00:31)
       
Quote (Louis @ Mar. 21 2010,04:49)
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Mornington Crescent eh?

Tut tut.

Fairlop.

Louis

Totteridge & Whetstone (Ha! It's still Sunday here! Bet you forgot about low tide too.)

It ain't Sunday any more, and it's the 22nd so ...

Mansion House.

Oh dear God, you're playing Purley Rules???

What a noob. Pathetic.

Pathetic?

Okay, I'm still a pre-novice, but I don't see that one on the map anywhere.

Is it near Parsons Green?

I see what you're doing. Screw you guys.

Dollis Hill.

Date: 2010/03/23 12:05:52, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Henry J @ Mar. 23 2010,08:56)
Why would observation (or not) of daylight saving time matter? Are these Mornington Crescent trips timed?

Not at all. Rather, it's because your red tokens can't be shunted towards the secondary nexus when the obverse of the lane marker is exposed. (Which state is dependent--in part!--on the solar angle.)

Date: 2010/03/23 20:09:08, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (ppb @ Mar. 23 2010,12:03)
Quote (sparc @ Mar. 23 2010,13:19)
 
Quote (Tom Ames @ Mar. 23 2010,12:05)
   
Quote (Henry J @ Mar. 23 2010,08:56)
Why would observation (or not) of daylight saving time matter? Are these Mornington Crescent trips timed?

Not at all. Rather, it's because your red tokens can't be shunted towards the secondary nexus when the obverse of the lane marker is exposed. (Which state is dependent--in part!--on the solar angle.)

I get the impression one has to be British or under the influence of drugs to grasp what you are talking about.

While Amandan's excellent link is useful as an in-depth analysis of the rules, you might find this link more useful for the beginner.

Oh please.

That Wikipedia entry's been locked down since the Northwest Regional Qualifying Melees three years ago. The disgraceful play by Finlandia U's team led to a near riot in their home city of Hancock, MI.

Ever since there has been a concerted effort by the Octoberist Consortium to whitewash the game's history. Just look at who's been making all of the Wikipedia reversions--if they haven't been disappeared--and tell me that the IP addresses don't reveal a disturbing story indeed.

I can fax you the real rules, if you're willing to give me your phone number and accept a (long) collect call.

There's a Dollis Hill play on the table, by the way. (Under the table, actually, but I didn't want to just come out and say so.)

Date: 2010/03/24 17:46:14, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (cdanner @ Mar. 24 2010,14:55)
It truly is fascinating to read the majority of these posts trashing a person that many of you have never met. Is this how you discuss and display your understanding of creation and evolution? Frankly, if I were one to be torn away from being a follower of Christ because of these entries, I wouldn’t  have much faith in God, would I. Oh my goodness, I said several words that are no-nos, didn’t I. Well, let’s all have a little faith in something, shall we. After all, it is both faith in God and faith in one’s fellow human beings that allow science and Christianity to stand together, right? I mean, does trashing an honest man such as Dr. Dembski display the faith we all have in common? You disparage his beliefs (and mine) simply because you disagree with Christianity in general. Yet, I have no desire to belittle or ridicule many of your posts. I wonder why? Could it be that, after hearing the man speak, and looking into his eyes, and turning my preconceived notions in his direction, that he makes perfect sense? Could it be that my Creator and Redeemer leads me to truly wonder why so much venom must be spewed in one person’s direction, simply because of dislike.

OK, so after all of that rambling, what is the real issue, huh? Is it Christianity, is it organized religion in general – what? I mean, if you’re going to have fun verbally tearing someone apart, get down to the real issues. Actually, if you are honest about your feelings, I could bring them to Dr. Dembski’s attention, and we could actually sit down and discuss them one by one. Hey, maybe we could design a forum aimed just at me, as well. I’m relatively old, so I really do not care what you think, other than your belief in Jesus. If, for example, you would like to talk like an adult about issues of science, organized religion, unorganized religion, or any other aspect of life that does not require trashing someone on-line while I hide behind my avatar, let me know, and we certainly will talk. Otherwise, I try to be a good steward of my time, so thank you for the opportunity to speak. God bless you all.

I don't know who you are, and I don't care what you believe. But if you think Dembski is "an honest man", you're ignoring a vast amount of evidence from his behavior that says otherwise.

I disparage his beliefs because his stated goal is to foist them on society at large, masked as good science. In this he is nothing more than a charlatan.

And if you're interested in why people belittle each other's views, you might want to ask the nominally adult Dembski about the "Judge Jones School of Law (flatulence edition)" as well as his DISGRACEFUL siccing of the FBI on Eric Pianka. There is no absolute code of morality with this man: he will do whatever is expedient to further his parochial and sectarian views.

I'm angry at Dembski and his followers because you are ALL, that I have seen, either sneering hypocrites or liars (or both). And because science to you people is nothing more than another weapon in your culture wars.

And by the way, "science and Christianity" do NOT "stand together". Christianity (and Islam, for that matter) are wholly opposed to science and rationality. The fact that you think otherwise is testament to your sheltered experience, or to your unwillingness to look beyond the end of your nose.

Date: 2010/03/24 17:51:47, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Richardthughes @ Mar. 24 2010,13:34)
Krapy rub snif : Finsbury Park

Dollis Hill.

That's right,  I just played Dollis Hill.

All your Hammersmith Harmonics are belong to us.

Date: 2010/03/24 18:37:10, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (cdanner @ Mar. 24 2010,16:11)
I don't have much science background, but I can express my own beliefs...

I think this is pretty clear, and it describes perfectly what we're up against: people who don't understand something, but want their beliefs about it to be taken seriously.

Your earlier questions:
 
Quote
I have a question that is relevant to "Exploring Evolution." This is an honest question from an explorer of the truth! Why does all living creatures on Earth essentially have the same molecular biological design, such as the functions of RNA, DNA, etc? If evolution is in fact the truth, shouldn't there be evidence of molecular evolution in lower primitive lifeforms. No evidence of any kind of variance exists at this level. I truly need to hear some cogent answers.

and
Quote
The problem that I am trying to describe is the lack of evidence in simple life, in which molecular biology has shown the design of a cell is the same for basically all living systems on earth. The roles of the RNA, DNA, proteins, and amino acids are identical, as well. Wouldn't one see some kind of evolutionary sequence within any structure that might evidence evolution. I mean, there has been no change (and no proof) in genetic communication within a cell for over 2 billion years. Again, I am asking, wouldn't there be evidence of evolutionary change in this process alone? Thank you for the answers.


betray a complete and total ignorance of biology. Not to belittle your life experiences, but the questions literally make no sense, and it's hard to believe that the person who asked them has taken even a single high school biology course. "Genetic communication"? "The roles of the RNA, DNA, proteins and amino acids are identical..."? What?!

Now this is fine, of course. There's no reason why you or anyone else should learn about biology unless it interests you.

But don't feign an interest that you clearly don't have. To do so is fundamentally dishonest. And especially don't post here pretending to be interested in biology while lecturing us about honesty.

Date: 2010/03/25 01:05:15, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (carlsonjok @ Mar. 24 2010,16:52)
     
Quote
Christianity (and Islam, for that matter) are wholly opposed to science and rationality.

Actually, that is not true.  Many of the best evolution advocates are Christian. Ken Miller, for one.  Our own Wes, for another.

Yeah, you're right. There are plenty of better scientists and science advocates than I am who are indeed religious. I retract that statement and apologize to my religious colleagues.

Date: 2010/03/25 01:08:01, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (afarensis @ Mar. 24 2010,17:47)
Kew Gardens

Wow, I wouldn't have pegged you as a Fifth Quadrantist. But it's hard to interpret your move in any other light.

Date: 2010/03/25 02:12:06, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Ptaylor @ Mar. 24 2010,23:20)
Quote (Tom Ames @ Mar. 25 2010,20:08)
 
Quote (afarensis @ Mar. 24 2010,17:47)
Kew Gardens

Wow, I wouldn't have pegged you as a Fifth Quadrantist. But it's hard to interpret your move in any other light.

Nah - I think that's just a modified version of Wilson's gambit.

Oh, I guess you're right. I've always had trouble following the flux up the Parslow gradient when helices are underdetermined.

My bad.

(Maybe we need an "Official AtBC Mornington Crescent Peanut Gallery Thread". I'd hate to disrupt the play with some of my occasionally paraboloid observations.)

Date: 2010/03/25 02:32:01, Link
Author: Tom Ames
If Waterloo was the last legal move, I'd have to play Elephant & Castle. Has the line velocity been pegged yet? (Sorry, it's late where I am.)

Date: 2010/03/25 12:25:13, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (fnxtr @ Mar. 25 2010,10:07)
Quote (Amadan @ Mar. 25 2010,09:21)
     
Quote (fnxtr @ Mar. 25 2010,10:57)
Monument?  From Balham?!?!?.

Okay I'm officially lost.  I thought the previous Elephant and Castle play broke the Northern to District/Circle transfer, and jeffox could only reach Monument via Tottenham?

Oh, right, Open Orifice.

Well played, sir!

ahem

So???

I don't see your point. Even though it puts him auf der Uhr, he can just take the 137 from Balham to Pim--... oh, shhh... Hospital Proximity!  The Lord Cumberland Incident really buggered things up, didn't it.  Too bad, Chelsea Bridge is usually a good way to filter the upper harmonics.

This should be interesting.

Well, since the diagonal parks have been opened, and reversals have advanced by more than a radian (according to the 1948 London Reconstruction addendum, which I trust we are operating under), this opens up the possibility of negative line velocity. Which means that the earlier play has to be transfigured:

kraP rooM.

Date: 2010/03/25 12:38:55, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (FrankH @ Mar. 25 2010,10:24)
Wow, it's like I'm phasing perpendicularly through a parallel universe that is UD.

Beam me up Scotty there is no intelligent life here.

Totally inapropos metaphor. It's more like you're shunting diagonally across the Northern Line, with escalators wild.

As to "intelligent life", sir, I'll have you know that more than one commentator has referred to Mornington Crescent as "Chess for the mind".

Date: 2010/03/25 12:49:32, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (huwp @ Mar. 25 2010,10:33)
Oh well, if Louis' opened up the Masonic pathway then it seems a shame not to use it.

I know it may be seen as radical in the everso stuffy corridors of bah-humbuggery inhabited by Louis, Tom and fnxtr where only Stovold will do (which is roughly equivalent to the King James Version only movement) but the advent of the DLR has added an extra dimension to this game.

So thanks to the Masonic reference of the double pillars of the old Naval College (now University) of Greenwich, I get to leave Knid and outflank the lot of you.

Cutty Sark.

HA!

Woo-hoo!

I admire your innovative thinking, but you seem to have forgotten about the five blue tokens pegged at the Euston entrance. Since the public convenience there has been out of order for at least a week (didn't know that, did you?), I get to contra-lateral via Oxford Circus (moving widdershins, of course), which brings me to:

Mornington Crescent!

Nice game, all.

Date: 2010/03/25 12:56:26, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (carlsonjok @ Mar. 25 2010,10:54)
Quote (Tom Ames @ Mar. 25 2010,12:49)
Mornington Crescent!

Nice game, all.

Actually, you didn't win.

This guy did.

What are you talking about? That guy's not even wearing a helmet!

Date: 2010/03/25 13:53:38, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (FrankH @ Mar. 25 2010,11:47)
 
Quote (Tom Ames @ Mar. 25 2010,12:38)
 
Quote (FrankH @ Mar. 25 2010,10:24)
Wow, it's like I'm phasing perpendicularly through a parallel universe that is UD.

Beam me up Scotty there is no intelligent life here.

Totally inapropos metaphor. It's more like you're shunting diagonally across the Northern Line, with escalators wild.

As to "intelligent life", sir, I'll have you know that more than one commentator has referred to Mornington Crescent as "Chess for the mind".

When you fling metaphors, fling them orthogonally using the ley line nexus for the volley hoop.

Transmorgification of the relative density of the tard inhibits lateral receptors from horizontal metamorphic properties.

In the end, just remember the coo coo ca choo.

That was exactly my point, but you've managed to express it more eloquently. I'm glad you understand.


[Edited to remove incendiary references to the 2001-2002 (excepting June 2001) Holbrooke Convention.]



Date: 2010/03/25 17:45:53, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Louis @ Mar. 25 2010,14:44)
Quote (Tom Ames @ Mar. 25 2010,17:49)
 
Quote (huwp @ Mar. 25 2010,10:33)
Oh well, if Louis' opened up the Masonic pathway then it seems a shame not to use it.

I know it may be seen as radical in the everso stuffy corridors of bah-humbuggery inhabited by Louis, Tom and fnxtr where only Stovold will do (which is roughly equivalent to the King James Version only movement) but the advent of the DLR has added an extra dimension to this game.

So thanks to the Masonic reference of the double pillars of the old Naval College (now University) of Greenwich, I get to leave Knid and outflank the lot of you.

Cutty Sark.

HA!

Woo-hoo!

I admire your innovative thinking, but you seem to have forgotten about the five blue tokens pegged at the Euston entrance. Since the public convenience there has been out of order for at least a week (didn't know that, did you?), I get to contra-lateral via Oxford Circus (moving widdershins, of course), which brings me to:

Mornington Crescent!

Nice game, all.

It's this sort of utter disregard for the conventions of Mornington Crescent what causes unrest.

Firstly, trying to move widdershins from Oxford Circus (having left Cutty Sark, which was an inspired move from HuwP, getting himself out of Knid, putting the rest of us in Spoon and changing the laterals to Islets of Langerhans) is a Forbidden Contract under the Great Treaty of 1612 in which, might I remind you we beat the French (always important).

Secondly, the public convenience at Euston has been augmented by the permission of the McDonalds Corporation franchise located nearby in permitting McShits, and even a McShit with Lies*, at all hours. This admirably covers the shitehouse shortfall.

Thirdly, and perhaps most significantly, you have tried to make two moves. You intend to go to Mornignton Crescent via Oxford Circus. That is a move involving two stations. If we could, will-he nill-he, merrily stroll via two stations any time we pleased then anyone one could win the game at any time. It would be like there were no rules at all. This, sir, is an-fucking-outrage!

Fouthly, and above all finally, elevators are wild. If you people cannot incorporate the simplest aspects of the game then I despair, I really do. Perhaps you might find this instructional video of some value.

Since, by sheer dint of luck overcoming judgement (and luckily judgement just loves to be come over), fnxtr has made a legal move to Kensal Rise. We can only thank him for this as otherwise play would have had to be abndoned and a Disquisition would have had to be organised.

Thus I can only move to London Bridge in the hope of restoring some sanity.

FrankH has clearly missed the point and is raving uncontrollably. Shame. It happens to the elderly.

Louis

*Engaging in a McShit is the practise of, after an extensive night on the beers, creeping half cut into an early (~6am) McDonalds and taking what can only be described as an epic shite in their freshly cleaned toilets. A McShit with Lies is where, on entering the premises and being caught by an employee, one has to indicate that one will be returning from the shitehouse to purchase breakfast, even though one has no real intention of doing so.

You're throwing 1612 in our faces after opening up the Masonic Routing Schemata?

If you're going to declare your allegiance to CAMREC, then go ahead and do so openly, but don't hide under that old triple tree of 1612. You of all people ought to know where that leads.

Your compatriot the late great Mrs. Trellis would be ashamed for you.

And, just as a reminder, rotation widdershins about a circus does not actually involve the station in question, even if the play is made "via" that station. If I had been forced to traverse spinward, you'd have had a valid objection, but that route was blocked due to YOUR EARLIER OPENING OF THE MASONIC SCHEMATA. I hope you can see that this would be true even if the year 1612 had never occurred.

Finally, the less said about your "McShit with Lies" the better. (We're not playing the Fleet Ditch addendum, remember?)

Date: 2010/03/25 17:51:56, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Louis @ Mar. 25 2010,15:31)
Quote (Doc Bill @ Mar. 25 2010,22:24)
On average, I see what you mean.

Oh that's the mode of discussion now is it?

Louis

If there was any residual normality in this thread, you deviates have made it insignificant.

Date: 2010/03/25 18:20:49, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (FrankH @ Mar. 25 2010,16:09)
Quote (Louis @ Mar. 25 2010,16:44)
Quote (Tom Ames @ Mar. 25 2010,17:49)
Quote (huwp @ Mar. 25 2010,10:33)
Oh well, if Louis' opened up the Masonic pathway then it seems a shame not to use it.

I know it may be seen as radical in the everso stuffy corridors of bah-humbuggery inhabited by Louis, Tom and fnxtr where only Stovold will do (which is roughly equivalent to the King James Version only movement) but the advent of the DLR has added an extra dimension to this game.

So thanks to the Masonic reference of the double pillars of the old Naval College (now University) of Greenwich, I get to leave Knid and outflank the lot of you.

Cutty Sark.

HA!
Woo-hoo!

I admire your innovative thinking, but you seem to have forgotten about the five blue tokens pegged at the Euston entrance. Since the public convenience there has been out of order for at least a week (didn't know that, did you?), I get to contra-lateral via Oxford Circus (moving widdershins, of course), which brings me to:

Mornington Crescent!

Nice game, all.
It's this sort of utter disregard for the conventions of Mornington Crescent what causes unrest.

Firstly, trying to move widdershins from Oxford Circus (having left Cutty Sark, which was an inspired move from HuwP, getting himself out of Knid, putting the rest of us in Spoon and changing the laterals to Islets of Langerhans) is a Forbidden Contract under the Great Treaty of 1612 in which, might I remind you we beat the French (always important).

Secondly, the public convenience at Euston has been augmented by the permission of the McDonalds Corporation franchise located nearby in permitting McShits, and even a McShit with Lies*, at all hours. This admirably covers the shitehouse shortfall.

Thirdly, and perhaps most significantly, you have tried to make two moves. You intend to go to Mornignton Crescent via Oxford Circus. That is a move involving two stations. If we could, will-he nill-he, merrily stroll via two stations any time we pleased then anyone one could win the game at any time. It would be like there were no rules at all. This, sir, is an-fucking-outrage!

Fouthly, and above all finally, elevators are wild. If you people cannot incorporate the simplest aspects of the game then I despair, I really do. Perhaps you might find this instructional video of some value.

Since, by sheer dint of luck overcoming judgement (and luckily judgement just loves to be come over), fnxtr has made a legal move to Kensal Rise. We can only thank him for this as otherwise play would have had to be abndoned and a Disquisition would have had to be organised.

Thus I can only move to London Bridge in the hope of restoring some sanity.

FrankH has clearly missed the point and is raving uncontrollably. Shame. It happens to the elderly.

Louis

*Engaging in a McShit is the practise of, after an extensive night on the beers, creeping half cut into an early (~6am) McDonalds and taking what can only be described as an epic shite in their freshly cleaned toilets. A McShit with Lies is where, on entering the premises and being caught by an employee, one has to indicate that one will be returning from the shitehouse to purchase breakfast, even though one has no real intention of doing so.

To be or not to be, that is the end game.  Whether the weather cause atmospheric fluctuations in the gyroscope of the panda, the game is still that to which we ignore.

With that farted into the wind, baring a repeal of the redux of the Great Plague of 1944*, the poster to whom I have dedicated this post to has decided that a move from Widdershins from Oxford Circus is forbidden.  We all know that to be utter bunk as the Great Treaty was null and void.

To further stress my point a move from Homerton to Old Street where as one can Abe it up and reminisce how onions were the fashions off of the belt** shows the ideal of the blue haired woman.  It is this blue haired woman who takes leave of her sense and cents and proceeds to find Euro all over her.

Further, the idea that one can't make a two station move means that there is no cheese left in the entirety of the game.  With no cheese, there is no one to cut the cheese and the whole premise falls flat into disuse.

Which requires a new device to complete the journey.  That device, a new compact to help things grow and evolve around the newness of the situation where you find you leave your senses.  Legally speaking, he previous poster is only half right*** but always totally wrong.  To complete this passage, if you will, you would proceed to be a new covenant therefore the correct and only legal move would therefore go to Covenant Garden.

*The Great Plague of 1944 was the start to which many a good Englishman forcefully claims that his dad died fighting Gerry and is most definitely not a by product of a lonely British bird and a horny American GI

**Depending on the local you might find yourself in a full Nelson after leaving the Tube especially if you thought you were riding Bart

***A product of his wit no doubt

Now you're just making shit up.

Date: 2010/03/25 22:18:54, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (jswilkins @ Mar. 25 2010,19:05)
What just happened?

Oh, Louis just tried to re-create the Moon Over Morden Incident. That's all. The Victorian Liners failed then, and he failed now. Nothing to see here.

But on the (reasonable) assumption that I won the last game with my pedestrian but effective widdershins contra-lateral via (not through, Louis) Oxford Circus to MC, I'll continue the game in progress. I'm noting the potential for a Hills-and-Valleys cascade (not a Hills-and-Valley Helix, Louis) deriving from fnxtr's Kensal Rise play (nice one, that). Given the decline in line velocity on the blue segment (and my shortage of yellow tokens) I have no choice but to play:


Tower Hill.

Date: 2010/03/25 22:25:45, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (jeffox @ Mar. 25 2010,18:11)
Afarensis wrote:
 
Quote
On the other hand, if the game is over then I will follow the strategy advocated in Thorvald, Ant, Ritenhaus, and Duh's influential and popular Obscene Annotations and Rude Comments on the "Mornington Crescent for Dummies" series and play

Bishops' Stortford


Not so fast. . . . that might work here in the states; but, last I looked, this was INTERNATIONAL MC - you've forgotten about the N'orbelquism addendum.  Makes a difference, eh!

Damn right  it makes a difference!

I'm always worried that invoking the N'o. Ad. makes me look petty and pedantic. Thanks for taking that awkward task on yourself.


ETA: As a public service I've set as my Avatar a reproduction of the 1936 system. Now there's no excuse for trying to shunt out of Knid from Clapham South to Holloway Road. Louis.



Date: 2010/03/26 10:09:48, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Well, since no-one's taken up my Hills-and-Valleys Cascade, my token density rises. Although I'd like to go to the Northern Line, the delays there due to construction force me into a rather dull move:

Parson's Green.

Date: 2010/03/26 14:33:44, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Louis @ Mar. 26 2010,12:12)
Last Legal Move: Snaresbrook.

Some of you Americans seem to think that Mornington Crescent is somehow like Calvinball, an entirely ruleless and fictional game. Might I remind you that this, like the Wikipedia article, is a distinct falsehood.

The School Cormorant was Rules were handed down to us by the Town of Chipping Sodbury in the 1800s darkest recesses of antiquity. The game has a noble tradition through all civilised nations. Now don't piss me off or I'll insist we play by the rules which operated under Charlemagne, you see if I don't.

Anyway, enough tough love. I shall restart play from Snaresbrook with a move to:

Aldwych!

Louis

Lurkers take note: that's how the game is played. Must be something in that north Wales water...

Realizing I'm probably doomed to lose all my altitude (and possibly my red tokens) I'll risk:

Finchley Road.

(If I can avoid the ol' Spoon, I'll be overjoyed.)

Date: 2010/03/26 14:55:15, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Louis @ Mar. 26 2010,12:12)
Some of you Americans seem to think that Mornington Crescent is somehow like Calvinball, an entirely ruleless and fictional game.

That's hard to believe, given all the recent scholarship on the subject. I think that during the course of my graduate career the Department of Morningtonia Studies had maybe three dissertations and a couple of dozen undergrad honors theses that touched on this issue.

I blame the popular press. Time Magazine's coverage of the last few International Exhibitions has confused rather than enlightened the non-playing public. This may mean trouble for the next generation of MC stars. How will they be able to nail down the big endorsement dollars if the amateur game is so misunderstood?

(And we may have to kiss goodbye any chance of being an exhibition sport at either the 2016 Summer OR 2018 Winter games.)

Date: 2010/03/26 14:58:35, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (FrankH @ Mar. 26 2010,12:46)
Quote (Tom Ames @ Mar. 26 2010,14:33)
Lurkers take note: that's how the game is played. Must be something in that north Wales water...

(snip)

Disregard what you read above.

He didn't say "Simon Says"!

Now, Simon Says that's how it's played in an uncivilized place like Wales.

Also, what's in the water in north Wales is what is scooped out of the Thames.

Just to bring you up to speed: Grandchampion Algernon Simon has not been a significant part of the game for more than a decade. What Simon says has very little relevance to any of the post-millennial rulesets.

Date: 2010/03/26 15:04:01, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (fnxtr @ Mar. 26 2010,12:57)
Quote (Tom Ames @ Mar. 26 2010,12:33)
Quote (Louis @ Mar. 26 2010,12:12)
Last Legal Move: Snaresbrook.

Some of you Americans seem to think that Mornington Crescent is somehow like Calvinball, an entirely ruleless and fictional game. Might I remind you that this, like the Wikipedia article, is a distinct falsehood.

The School Cormorant was Rules were handed down to us by the Town of Chipping Sodbury in the 1800s darkest recesses of antiquity. The game has a noble tradition through all civilised nations. Now don't piss me off or I'll insist we play by the rules which operated under Charlemagne, you see if I don't.

Anyway, enough tough love. I shall restart play from Snaresbrook with a move to:

Aldwych!

Louis

Lurkers take note: that's how the game is played. Must be something in that north Wales water...

Realizing I'm probably doomed to lose all my altitude (and possibly my red tokens) I'll risk:

Finchley Road.

(If I can avoid the ol' Spoon, I'll be overjoyed.)

What's the cutoff on ghost stations? '31? '84?

Neither, I hope. I was planning on making a City Road play later on. I'd hate to have to change that to British Museum.

Can we have a ruling from the current Dealtercator? (I've lost track of who that is--hopefully it's not Louis again. :rolleyes: )

Date: 2010/03/26 15:10:06, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Amadan @ Mar. 26 2010,13:06)
Poor Algie. A truly sensitive soul, much misunderstood. And that dreadful business in court... Years afterwards, Monsignor Jaakontytär told me that it all could have been hushed up if the herdsman hadn't paid tax on the compensation.

Algie's cousin Gershorn Simon was another sort altogether. I could have forgiven him for making that cheese commercial - we all have to make a living - but in the very same dress?  Simply crass.

But I digress. Northwick Park, unless I'm very much mistaken.

Ah, from Hills-and-Valleys to Parks-and-Greens, eh?

Nice.

Date: 2010/03/26 15:19:49, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Amadan @ Mar. 26 2010,13:13)
Quote (Tom Ames @ Mar. 26 2010,15:10)
 
Quote (Amadan @ Mar. 26 2010,13:06)
Poor Algie. A truly sensitive soul, much misunderstood. And that dreadful business in court... Years afterwards, Monsignor Jaakontytär told me that it all could have been hushed up if the herdsman hadn't paid tax on the compensation.

Algie's cousin Gershorn Simon was another sort altogether. I could have forgiven him for making that cheese commercial - we all have to make a living - but in the very same dress?  Simply crass.

But I digress. Northwick Park, unless I'm very much mistaken.

Ah, from Hills-and-Valleys to Parks-and-Greens, eh?

Nice.

Nice is in France. It's not on the Tube.

I was afraid that someone might have mistaken my commentary for a play. But I trust that you all will give me credit for recognizing that a cross-channel play this early in the quadrat would fling me knidward almost immediately.

I'm not that much of an idiot!

ETA: Did we locate our dealtercator yet?



Date: 2010/03/26 15:25:02, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (FrankH @ Mar. 26 2010,13:19)
Quote (Tom Ames @ Mar. 26 2010,14:58)
Quote (FrankH @ Mar. 26 2010,12:46)
Quote (Tom Ames @ Mar. 26 2010,14:33)
Lurkers take note: that's how the game is played. Must be something in that north Wales water...

(snip)
Disregard what you read above.

He didn't say "Simon Says"!

Now, Simon Says that's how it's played in an uncivilized place like Wales.

Also, what's in the water in north Wales is what is scooped out of the Thames.
Just to bring you up to speed: Grandchampion Algernon Simon has not been a significant part of the game for more than a decade. What Simon says has very little relevance to any of the post-millennial rulesets.

Bejebus!

I'm not referring to the Old GMC Algie Simon, but to Simple Simon.  After being a pie man, he has rose to new prominence making rule clarifications as he sits in his wheel chair, watching old "Swedish Erotica" videos to DvD and perfecting his intricate hand movements.

As the work Simple Simon squirts out is so seminal he is still regarded as the no 1 in the land of sticky floors.  Even Arden, it is said, waits for every drop of Simon's contributions to the game!

With that, I think my next move is to Edgware Road

While your scholarship leaves much to be desired, I can't quarrel with your play.

Date: 2010/03/30 22:53:19, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Bad time to get back into this game: the helical stress is signaling an impending token vortex. I'll try to dissipate some strain by playing:

South Acton.

Date: 2010/04/08 02:10:33, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Given Dembski's steadfast belief in his inability to make errors, I think we should start calling him the "Pope of Information Theory".

Date: 2010/06/15 02:01:05, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (sparc @ June 14 2010,20:31)
Did Sally leave grad school or does he just spend his holidays at UD?
And why did he change the title of his latest post?


I've wondered that myself. After the first semester in JHU's "masters degrees for professionals" program, Sal trumpeted God's glorious ways for giving Sal all A's.

We haven't heard much since. Maybe the gods have abandoned Salvador?

How 'bout it Sal? What does your subsequent GPA look like?

[Edit to remove embedded image]



Date: 2010/06/18 14:30:48, Link
Author: Tom Ames
For some reason I was recently pondering the scientific predictions made by ID theory, and wondering what had become of the more interesting of them. My #1 favorite ID-based hypothesis actually became a peer-reviewed* paper** by cell biologist*** Jonathan Wells. This was, of course, the idea that centrioles are not merely the microtubule organizing centers for the mitotic spindle, but that they function like teeny turbines, to generate a force that propels them to opposite sides of a metaphase cell. Not only do the centrioles function "like" tiny turbines, they ARE tiny turbines! (This hypothesis was apparently impossible for the Darwinian reductionist running-dogs to come up with. Hence an ID triumph if true.)

The fact that Wells would have been guffawed off the stage of any Cell Biology meeting for proposing this "hypothesis" did not inhibit him from attaching his name to the paper, which he clearly saw as staking a claim to ID research successes of the future. Presumably, all of the ID-minded researchers out there would be anxious to look at this system in a new ID light, and we might expect some subsequent results of the follow-up.

So how has the hypothesis stood up? It's been cited ONCE:

Cornish-Bowden A, Cardenas (2007). The threat from creationism to the rational teaching of biology. BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH 40(2):113-122.

by a publication that uses it as example of the sneakiness of ID creationists.

Does this mean that this ID-derived hypothesis is dead, or is it just dormant? Is it too early to consign the "centrioles-are-teeny-designed-motors" hypothesis to the tardheap of history?

And what favorite ID-inspired scientific hypotheses do YOU have?

(I understand that this may be a Very Short Thread and am resigned to turning it over to a game of Mornington Crescent if need be.)

*if your peers are wacky euro-creationists
** available at http://www.discovery.org/scripts....&id=490
***assuming a very generous definition of the term.

Date: 2010/06/19 22:04:51, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I think we should give Wells his due: he DID put forward an actual model (a little helical screw inside the centriole makes it function like a turbine) and suggest ways to test it (by direct visualization in high resolution images of the centrosome at metaphase, the observation of wobbly vortexer-like action, etc.).

It's a stupid model, but I don't recall anything else from the IDers approaching that level of detail. The fact that no-one--not even Wells--followed up on this is pretty good evidence of his motivations in writing the paper. If he ever speaks in public I'd like to ask him how that model has worked out in the five years since. Has there been any further evidence for or against it?

Ontogenetic Depth belongs on the Tardheap, but I think Wells' centriole model is king of the hill.

But anyway, Southwark.

Date: 2010/06/19 22:23:55, Link
Author: Tom Ames
It's not quite what I had in mind with the OP, but does anyone else remember Christopher Langan's* "Cognitive Theoretic Model of the Universe"? It was sort of a verbal analog to TimeCube, and WMD seemed to think it was The Shit for awhile.

*Oops. By mentioning his name I may have just brought down upon our heads the wrath of his internet troll-posse (Hi Genie!). Sorry about that.

Date: 2010/07/07 21:40:01, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Want to know why I love UD? Here's why. I can drift over there about once every 3 months and in about 2 seconds pull out gems like this:
Quote
Scientists have been studying genes in the hope of finding a cure for cancer for over 40 years now. And they are now finding that there is no answer. Instead, they are finding that the n-c RNAs (miRNAs and siRNAs) hold the most promise for finding a cure. If IDists had been in charge of all those labs for all these years, a lot less time would have been spent chasing the elusive goal of finding a critical protein that by itself causes cancer. This isn’t just some philosophical debate. The consequences for wrong thinking can be immense.


According to PaV, cancer researchers have it all wrong and if only the IDists were in charge, cancer would be cured.

Wow.

Date: 2010/07/12 18:39:08, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (JohnW @ July 12 2010,16:24)
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ July 12 2010,15:13)
Best ring up SETI first thing in the morning. I think, Joe, Barry, Clive, BA77 and Gordon Mullings should visit SETI as an official ID delegation and show them how to do it. Perhaps they can show SETI how to calculate the FSCI in the signal? Or CSI? Or FSCI? Or whatever it is Gordon's come up with this week to keep his mind off that thought.

SETI@Home meets TARD@Basement.

POTW!

(Or at least Quip of the Week).

Date: 2010/08/09 18:37:13, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I am SO enjoying the spectacle of War Mouse's crashing-and-burning!

Date: 2010/08/18 16:04:18, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Zachriel @ Aug. 17 2010,09:59)
Sometimes Joe G is just plain funny.

   
Quote
Joe G: I can just come up with reality-

That is given the theory hoiw can we apply that in the real world?

Again we have two people-

Person A has an empty set

Person B also has an empty set (everyone has an empty set) but B has put that empty set inside of another empty set.

Both A and B are in an otherwise empty room.

You enter the room with the purpose of figuring out who has the empty set and who has the set containing the empty set.

However you cannot ask any questions or say anything at all.

All you have are your powers of observation.

How do you tell which person just has the empty set?

Weigh them? And if it weighs the same as a duck?

That's not really a merganser to any of Joe's questions.

Date: 2010/08/20 17:59:30, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Bilbo has some idiosyncratic views that are hard to argue him out of, but he's a decent sort and it would be interesting to chat with him.

(Assuming he's the Telic Thoughts Bilbo and not the Tom Johnson/YNHB/Chris Mooney-spoofing sockpuppet Bilbo. Him I can do without.)

Didn't someone invite him?

Date: 2010/08/27 15:02:00, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Has anyone ever figured out WTF "Coffee!!" means?

(Other than that UD is run by people with 2nd-rate intelligence, I mean.)

Date: 2010/08/27 15:21:39, Link
Author: Tom Ames
From the context I'd guess that it means that they've got a latte consternation about something.



Date: 2010/08/27 15:25:10, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Or that there's some kind of fake controversy brewing.

Date: 2010/11/04 16:15:45, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (CeilingCat @ Nov. 04 2010,03:57)
Also, his Facebook page currently features an ad for Mafia Wars.  "Want A Killer Good Time?  Play Mafia Wars today and find out just how much fun you can have robbing, stealing and putting out contracts on your friends."  It's illustrated with a picture of a rifle shell and a blood stain.

Sounds like Jesus to me.

I think everybody's facebook page carries this ad at some time or another.

Date: 2010/12/07 14:42:54, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I've always assumed Ilion is Dembski's sock. His bitter tone and self-righteous and smug certainty sound just like WAD.

(You know at least some of the commentors at UD are Bill's socks--he can't keep aloof, but is surely wanting to maintain what he imagines remains of his reputation.)

Date: 2011/06/07 00:48:15, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Is Mike Gene still alive? The ONLY reason anyone pays attention to that guy is the faux mystery that he cultivates so carefully.

Date: 2011/07/04 23:36:13, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I wonder how sales on his 40 button 'warmouse' are going lately. Wasn't there some issue where the manufacturing was all FUBAR and they had to send out replacements to everyone who had bought one?

Date: 2011/07/15 17:41:22, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (KCdgw @ July 15 2011,14:41)
Quote (Seversky @ July 15 2011,07:54)
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ July 14 2011,23:10)
 
Quote (Cubist @ July 14 2011,21:44)
 
Quote (Henry J @ July 14 2011,20:40)
   
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ July 14 2011,19:37)
   
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ July 14 2011,20:15)
     
Quote (sledgehammer @ July 14 2011,18:30)
       
Quote (noncarborundum @ July 14 2011,16:18)
         
Quote (keiths @ July 14 2011,18:01)
           
Quote (OgreMkV @ July 14 2011,14:22)
               
Quote (JohnW @ July 14 2011,15:55)
               
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ July 14 2011,13:50)
                 
Quote (damitall @ July 14 2011,16:43)
                 
Quote (Freddie @ July 14 2011,14:48)
                   
Quote (keiths @ July 14 2011,14:05)
                   
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ July 14 2011,04:45)
Unpleasant Blowhard, wordsmith:
                     
Quote
It seems as though you asked for an operational definition, then got one, then later found out what kind of dynamic structure would be required for such a phenomenon to exist, and have since gone on a rant to eviscerate yourself from the position you are in.

Apparently, it wasn't clear to her what his argument entrails.

That's my gut feeling as well.

Is that colon intentional?

I hope there's not going to be another nested pun-fest. I couldn't stomach that

(Here incorporate AtBC policy on nested puns as an appendix to the above.)

That would be quite a tract.

I villi think this is not a good idea.

Butt colitis get on with it.

My reflux is not to ruminate on this tripe.

Is this the right time to point out that the ID folks should spend less of their time in theorizin' and more intestine?

Maybe we should spleen that to them.

Bile means keep on with the alimentary witticisms. This must be that polyp fiction people speak of. Don't let it get too serosa, though.

Just duodenum others as you would have them duodenum you.

Maybe at this point we should liver be?

Naah, we just need some authoritative advice on how to deal with it. I'm sure the Army can supply a G.I. Tract on the subject.

That's it? Shit.

That's right.  What he means is the Army can supply a Jack Shit Tract - rather than a Jack Chick Tract - because that's what they really know about anything.

What gall.

I don't find this conversation at all humorous.

Date: 2011/08/08 16:46:17, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (JohnW @ Aug. 08 2011,13:31)
Quote (Henry J @ Aug. 08 2011,11:37)
 
Quote (Robin @ Aug. 08 2011,12:12)
 
Quote (JLT @ Aug. 08 2011,12:57)
Saying that everything a GA produces is design because it runs on a computer is like saying that I'm laying the eggs because I built the chicken house.


There should be laws against posting such a phrasing knowing full well that readers eat and drink...

:p

Yeah, I reckon there's a yolk in there someplace.

Another pun cascade?  Ova and ova again...

A punnet's cascade, actually.

Date: 2011/08/20 18:52:24, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Seversky @ Aug. 20 2011,14:26)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Aug. 20 2011,12:39)
 
Quote (Patrick @ Aug. 20 2011,11:46)
   
Quote (carlsonjok @ Aug. 20 2011,12:24)
   
Quote (Patrick @ Aug. 20 2011,10:57)
As Ilion's behavior towards Elizabeth Liddle shows, he simply can't comprehend the idea of being courteous and inclusive.

He is basically the same in real life.

Oh, for Eris' sake....

Did someone mention backhoes earlier?  Ilion is going to need one of these to sink lower:

If he dislikes paying a tip, he should be arguing with the management to change the pay scale, not shorting the help. Or he could refuse to eat in places where tips are considered part of the salary. The latter would be an expression of, of... hmmm, what are those things called? Oh, yeah, principle. Knowingly eating there and failing to tip instead just looks like bad rationalization of being a skinflint.

Yeah, I do agree with the idea that setting up a tip environment is bad. I disagree with the notion that using the service and not paying in your expected share every single time is anything but theft. Make your choice beforehand, let the management know why you won't patronize them, and then go elsewhere. That's a message that is unmistakable.

There is a case to be made for everyone being paid a "living wage" - however that is calculated - a fair day's work for a fair day's pay.  Service staff generally work very hard and have the added stress of having to deal with some awkward customers.  They deserve a commensurate reward.  It's the employers who get away with taking advantage of some of the most vulnerable members of the workforce and that's shameful.

On the other hand, given the situation as it stands and having worked in a service sector job, I have absolutely no problem with tipping someone who has provided good service.

The only concern I have is whether the indirect tips get to the person who earned them of whether they get to keep them if given directly.

A recent exegesis of the gospel of John has established that Jesus was a shitty tipper, so Ilion's theological justification for being a skinflint asshole may have some merit.

Date: 2011/09/08 02:57:11, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Tracy P. Hamilton @ Sep. 07 2011,08:08)
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Sep. 06 2011,17:57)
There are many caveats; academic performance, job performance and income are all complexly and multiply determined. IQ has a relationship with each of them, stronger in some instances than in others.

From this DeNudes concludes:
   
Quote
within a normal range - there is no systematic relationship between IQ and achievement.

*Facepalm*

DeNews' proof that IQ does not correlate to achievement:  Look at all the blogs I have achieved!

She also could have cited the example of one-time PCID contributor Christopher Langan. (Hi Genie!)

Date: 2011/09/09 01:49:16, Link
Author: Tom Ames
I think that Minecraft's 8-bit blocky lego dynamic is intensely beautiful and creative, and I haven't tired of it yet after playing for 3 months*. It's like Sim City, but with zombies. Don't check it out if you're at all at risk for obsessive behavior.

Portal and Portal II are really fun, and the cooperative problem-solving element of the latter makes it a real kick to play with my 11 year-old daughter.

Dwarf Fortress was fun to read about, but the game-play is so tedious that I seriously wonder if it's not an elaborate hoax.

But I'm really a SERIOUS PERSON who never wastes time on such non-productive silliness.


*Who am I kidding? I've been obsessed with Minecraft since December.

Date: 2011/09/20 23:58:46, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Patrick @ Sep. 20 2011,07:32)
The problem isn't low intelligence, although that does contribute in some cases, or lack of education, ditto, but a deeply ingrained inability to recognize facts that contradict their views.  Frustrating, but fascinating.

We should not overestimate the intelligence of that crew's leadership, simply on the basis of their earned degrees and publications.

I've read a lot of what Dembski's written, and I have yet to be convinced that he's of more than average intelligence. He's got the bluster down, and he can push symbols around, after a fashion. But anyone who's seriously considered his "scholarship" can see that he has profound difficulty engaging with counter-arguments. He's a bullshitter who's learned how to sound smart to his primary audience, which consists of fundamentalist rubes.

Does anyone remember 'mturner' from ARN? He was really good at constructing sentences that sounded to the ignorant like they were full of profound truth. But he simply could not comprehend any challenges to his script--he was just not intellectually capable of listening to and considering anything that didn't fit into his story. Dembski's a lot like that. And I think that describes someone of less than impressive intelligence.

(Paul Nelson seems like he may be kind of smart. However, he's intellectually--and, in fact, generally--lazy. And Wells is just flat out dense.)

[Edit to remove evidence of own substandard intelligence wrt blockquotes.]



Date: 2011/10/13 18:23:28, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (CeilingCat @ Oct. 13 2011,15:08)
Radical Decentralization Pt III

"The first thing I will focus on is money. Money is a social technology, but its current technological sophistication is still in the dark ages, despite the fact that computers rather than abacuses now count it. I’m going to propose a radically decentralized, information-based form of money that owes nothing to the state. Stay tuned."

Is he talking about Bitcoin? It would be just like him to get in on that pyramid scheme.

Date: 2011/11/02 15:24:43, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (sparc @ Oct. 30 2011,22:12)
There's a new Axe paper in Bio_complexity:  
Quote
A Stylus-Generated Artificial Genome with Analogy to Minimal Bacterial Genomes
Douglas Axe, Philip Lu, Stephanie Flatau

Abstract

The difficulty of explaining evolutionary innovation on a scale that would account for the functional diversity of life and its components continues to dog evolutionary theory. Experiments are shedding light on this, but the complexity of the subject calls for other approaches as well. In particular, computational models that capture some aspects of simple life may provide useful proving grounds for ideas about how evolution can or cannot work. The challenge is to find a model ‘world’ simple enough for rapid simulation but not so simple that the real thing of interest has been lost. That challenge is best met with a model world in which real-world problems can be solved, as otherwise the connection with real innovation would be in doubt. Stylus is a previously described model that meets this criterion by being based on one of the most powerful real-world problem-solving tools: written language. Stylus uses a genetic code to translate gene-like sequences into vector sequences that, when processed according to simple geometric rules, form patterns resembling penned strokes. These translation products, called vector proteins, are functionless unless they form legible Chinese characters, in which case they serve the real function of writing. This coupling of artificial genetic causation to the real world of language makes evolutionary experimentation possible in a context where innovation can have a richness of variety and a depth of causal complexity that at least hints at what is needed to explain the complexity of bacterial proteomes. In order for this possibility to be realized, we here provide a complete Stylus genome as an experimental starting point. To construct it we first wrote a concise description of the Stylus algorithm in Chinese. Using that as a proteome specification, we then constructed the Stylus genes to encode it. In this way the Stylus proteome specifies how its encoding genome is decoded, making it analogous to the gene-expression machinery of bacteria. The complete 70,701 base Stylus genome encodes 223 vector proteins with 112 distinct vector domain types, making it more compact than the smallest bacterial genome but with comparable proteomic complexity for its size.

I love how the paper's footer lists the citation as "Vol. 2011, Issue 3". As if there is other content besides this.

Each article in the "Journal of Bio-DougAxe-ity" is its own issue, of course.

Date: 2011/11/19 02:01:12, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (midwifetoad @ Nov. 18 2011,12:28)
http://www.atheist-community.org/library....?id=742

 
Quote
The legal definition of religion, with regard to the First Amendment, may be very different from the layperson's definition. The First Amendment, in order to be effective in protecting all beliefs must guarantee the freedom to hold no religious belief. This is fairly straightforward, especially if you consider - for example - that a Christian may be considered an atheist with respect to every religion except Christianity.

   "Without venturing too far into the realm of the philosophical, we have suggested in the past that when a person sincerely holds beliefs dealing with issues of 'ultimate concern' that for her occupy a 'place parallel to that filled by . . . God in traditionally religious persons,' those beliefs represent her religion."

   "We have already indicated that atheism may be considered, in this specialized sense, a religion. See Reed v. Great Lakes Cos., 330 F.3d 931, 934 (7th Cir. 2003) ('If we think of religion as taking a position on divinity, then atheism is indeed a form of religion.')"

This is, essentially, the basis for their decision. They have, in the past, considered atheism to be a religion in the specialized sense that atheism, like theism, specifically addresses the concept of god for the individual. This definition is an attempt to address the implied protections guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Cool. Does that mean we get tax breaks now? Or atheist slogans on our currency?

Date: 2011/11/29 23:49:45, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Zarquon @ Nov. 29 2011,16:55)
You guys post reams and reams of homophobic bullshit e.g. "HOMO" and sexist crap and you are complaining about the tone on Pharyngula?. Get your own fucking house in order, then complain.

You mean like referring to "knobgobblers" and posting photos of women in provocative poses?

A purity troll AND a hypocrite!



Date: 2011/11/30 08:20:49, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Zarquon @ Nov. 30 2011,02:34)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Nov. 30 2011,11:06)
You mean sexist like plastic toy bunnies sexist? Yeah....


Plastic toy bunnies that wear pants and a skirt...

Plastic toy bunnies that speak in pink and blue word balloons...

Plastic toy bunnies where one (guess which?) is a mindless fanatic, and the other (guess which?) is the calm voice of reason...

Plastic boy bunnies that objectify plastic girl bunnies....

Oh, wait. Was "Danni" supposed to represent for you the voice of calm reason here? Or were you using her to "represent" something else?

Own house, and so forth.

Date: 2011/12/26 03:31:25, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (Cubist @ Dec. 25 2011,23:57)
The Overwhelming Evidence website seems to be having some technical difficulties. Click on that link, and you get a webpage that consists of a single image, a 'splash page' that whines about Judge Jones and invites you to "Join the OE Army"... but when I clicked on it just now, I got this error message:
=============
Unable to select database

We were able to connect to the MySQL database server (which means your username and password are okay) but not able to select the database.

The MySQL error was: Access denied for user 'cdslayer_cds'@'localhost' to database 'cdslayer_live'.

Currently, the database is cdslayer_live. The username is cdslayer_cds and the database server is localhost.

   • Are you sure you have the correct database name?
   • Are you sure the database exists?
   • Are you sure the username has permission to access the database?

For more help, see the Installation and upgrading handbook. If you are unsure what these terms mean you should probably contact your hosting provider.
=============
Dunno what's up with that -- all the more so because the link to the infamous "Judge Jones School of Law" animation, which link carlsonjok was kind enough to provide, dutifully puts that animation on your screen. Anybody else want to try the 'main' OE link and see if the glitch I got is unique to my browser and OS and yada yada?

Safari, Chrome and Firefox give me the same. Probably only works with IE5, on the assumption that anyone using a modern browser is in league with CD.

"cd_slayer"? Really?

Date: 2012/03/19 02:02:12, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (MichaelJ @ Mar. 18 2012,21:04)
Under the thread "Engineering and Metaphysics Initial Abstracts Posted" our good friend Gil post's:

"I would love to present a paper, and I could write a really good one. Unfortunately, I do engineering and commuting from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM every day, sleep eight hours a day, and therefore have only about four hours a day for everything else in life."

"I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this, which this margin is too narrow to contain."

If it was good enough for Fermat, it must be so for Frilly.

Date: 2012/06/08 02:33:20, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Scopes Trial: Teacher Indicted After Monkey Called To Testify Fails To Turn Into A Human

http://www.theonion.com/video......d,28428

Date: 2012/11/26 23:33:34, Link
Author: Tom Ames
sweet jesus, is this thread still going?

Date: 2013/04/10 10:45:25, Link
Author: Tom Ames
Quote (sparc @ April 08 2013,21:07)
Of course left-handed. What else would you expect?

It's Jesus DNA.

 

 

 

=====