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Date: 2008/03/13 10:08:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
While everyone is focused on Florida, Texas and Oklahoma seem to be gutting science education from another direction. I found this link on ERV, and as  newbie here, I don't know where best to post it.

The bill requires public schools to guarantee students the right to express their religious viewpoints in a public forum, in class, in homework and in other ways without being penalized. If a student’s religious beliefs were in conflict with scientific theory, and the student chose to express those beliefs rather than explain the theory in response to an exam question, the student’s incorrect response would be deemed satisfactory, according to this bill.


Even simple, factual information such as the age of the earth (4.65 billion years) would be subject to the student’s belief, and if the student answered 6,000 years based on his or her religious belief, the school would have to credit it as correct.

Date: 2008/03/18 13:20:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The Wall Street Journal has an article discussing the high scores received by Finnish students in a test measuring science knowledge and intelligence. However, part of the test, which was created by the international Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, may be a measure of nothing more than whether a student believes in evolution. For example, see the sample test question, Question 3, Evolution:

Which one of the following statements best applies to the scientific theory of evolution?
A The theory cannot be believed because it is not possible to see species changing.
B The theory of evolution is possible for animals but cannot be applied to humans.
C Evolution is a scientific theory that is currently based on extensive evidence.
D Evolution is a theory that has been proven to be true by scientific experiments.

According to the answer key, the correct answer is C, the one that pledges allegiance to evolution as a well-supported scientific theory. I think there are problems with all four of those statements. But if one is closest to the truth, it’s probably answer A...

Date: 2008/03/18 21:16:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (IanBrown_101 @ Mar. 06 2008,04:14)
Thought I'd blow the dust off this one with something a little different from what has gone before. Anyone out there an opera fan? I'm looking to soak up as much as I can, since being properly introduced to it about 6 months to a year back (I'd known a few songs and such, but I went to see a double feature and I loved it). I've been looking for operas to try, first by looking up a few of the songs, and then if I like them, trying to find a performance I can get to and afford.

Any particular songs or performers people like, in fact? I'm a fan of Pavarotti, Domingo and Bocelli, but I recently found Caruso and I warmed to his style instantly.

Anyone interested in opera should see if the Metropolitan Opera live video broadcasts are playing at a theater nearby.

Date: 2008/03/19 23:10:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The question is whether it will follow the box office pattern of "Passion" or of "Gods and Generals."

Date: 2008/03/20 11:01:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It seems to me you can always expect the DI to do the crass and tasteless and the clumsy.  I'd love to be a fly on the wall listening to them congratulate themselves for the brilliance of choosing Stein.

I was a bit surprised to see Stein assume the Monica position, but I'm not convinced he is being hypocritical. Evolution and ID are a bit like the vase and two women optical illusion. You see one aspect or the other.

I know lots of people who "accept" evolution, even argue for it on the web, but who don't understand it as a universal tendency. They cannot, for example, see the parallel between biological evolution and learning.

This deficiency of imagination is not confined to the right wing. Noam Chomsky was pretty much in the design camp. When pushed against the wall, he gave lip service to biological common descent, but he considered language and the language faculty to be irreducibly complex and not reachable by stepwise modification.

Date: 2008/03/21 03:21:25, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Perhaps they had to drop Crossroads as the title because they couldn't get Britney Spears to narrate.

Date: 2008/03/21 10:24:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (guthrie @ Mar. 21 2008,09:29)
Quote (Kristine @ Mar. 20 2008,22:49)
The only reason that they didn't throw Dawkins out is that they were apparently too fucking stupid to recognize him! They didn't even recognize him when he sat through the film - not until he rose to speak, after being called on - by said producer, MARK MATHIS - at the Q&A. Holy shit, the blood drained from his face then! :angry:

Just for clarification purposes- Mathis didn't even seem to know Dawkins was there, so the blood drained from his face when Dawkins revealed himself?

Maybe someone needs to speak to the people checking the list of names, so as to clear up why "Richard Dawkins" was allowed in...

This has a fairly simple and rational explanation. Myers lives in the town and could be expected to show up. He signed up online under his own name, plus unnamed guests.

So they had his name and a reason to look for him before he showed up.

Date: 2008/03/21 20:35:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2008/03/21 20:48:46, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I do believe I got reply #666.

Date: 2008/03/22 00:34:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Excellent work midwifetoad... and you know you should explain your moniker, right?

Paul Kammerer

Date: 2008/03/22 03:04:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ Mar. 22 2008,02:02)
Writer of Expelled repents!! Read about it here:

Shit. He stole the image I stole fair and square from Expelled. Is there no honor?

Date: 2008/03/24 18:05:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (dnmlthr @ Mar. 23 2008,18:24)

O'Leary has managed to squeeze in no less than 4 links to her ever growing link farm today.

She writes:
One blogger found himself expelled for even writing about the Expelled film.

In this context being "expelled" apparently means "receiving e-mail and comments". The malicious atheist conspiracy is really getting desperate!

I think some of these people are not expelled so much as habitually late to class.

Date: 2008/03/24 19:28:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Getting to the nub of it, how can a society be non-Darwinian? Every social structure and every meme has descended with modification.

Perhaps Dawkins is confusing or conflating this inescapable process with social Darwinism.

Date: 2008/03/25 03:06:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Wasn't capitalism itself based upon a naturalist view of the world?

Actually, Darwin was inspired to conceive natural selection after reading the likes of Adam Smith.

The problem here is that some political movements have argued that natural equals good. The suffering of the unfortunate is part of nature; therefore it is desirable.

Makes as much sense as arguing that disease is part of nature, therefore attempts to eliminate disease are unnatural and evil.

Some folks might discern that conservatives are not the only people who have gone down this road. Back to nature is a road well traveled.

Date: 2008/03/25 09:40:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Casey throws in the towel


Nonetheless, it seems that the alleged products of blind Darwinian processes are outperforming human technology, which is the product of intelligent design. Some might marvel at the alleged ingenuity of blind and random processes. Others will see this as clear evidence for intelligent design. Either way, it seems clear that biologists and engineers who still believe in neo-Darwinism need to continue to repeat Francis Crick’s mantra: "Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved."

Industrial use of evolutionary algorithms has gotta cause so cognitive dissonance, or at least deep denial.

Date: 2008/03/25 12:12:13, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2008/03/25 12:50:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Thanks. I only have a few posts here, but I'm not a total n00b.

Date: 2008/03/25 13:13:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Gary Bohn @ Mar. 25 2008,13:03)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 25 2008,12:50)
Thanks. I only have a few posts here, but I'm not a total n00b.

You have 17 posts here and you haven't hawked your darwincentral blog posts yet? Midwifetoad, you be slackin'.

I just did. ;)

I am not particularly pleased when people come to a forum just to flog their own, so I don't plan to spend my time here linking to my own stuff.

The Stein fiasco, however, just drives me wild. I have been called a Nazi by better people than the Discoveroids.

Date: 2008/03/25 13:27:04, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (factician @ Mar. 25 2008,13:15)
Via Uncommonhypocrisy:

Get yer tickets here!

Due to unavoidable changes in the travel plans of the producers of “Expelled”, several of our screenings have been canceled or are being rescheduled to a new date or time. If you'd like to be notified once a new screening in your area is confirmed, please sign-up on one of the waitlists below.


Date: 2008/03/26 12:51:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I ran into a book called The Origin of Life at an estate sale. It turned out to be a "marriage" manual. Sadly they were asking more than I wanted to pay.

Date: 2008/03/26 14:37:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
This is a bit like salted peanuts. I can't make just one.

Date: 2008/03/27 13:49:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Great idea MidWifeToad.  But do you mind if I take the blue ball and run with it a bit

Not at all. You've finished what I started. I'm not a Photoshop ace, and it would have taken me hours to get that kind of merger.

Someone needs to fire that off the Harvard.

Date: 2008/03/27 14:00:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (VMartin @ Mar. 27 2008,13:58)
Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Mar. 27 2008,13:20)
snakes and testicles, snakes and testicles, snakes and testicles.

marty I'm beginning ti think you're soft in the head or possibly have a hidden desire/fetish you're not sharing with the class.

Just when did your obsession begin with snakes and testicles?

It has started when I noticed that darwinists are like bulls. If they see a red colored animal they start shouting - look aposematim! Survival advantage!

Descent of testicles is another phenomenon that darwinists are lost how to explain. They claim in their text-books that there must have been cooling of spermatozoa behind it  (whatever the facts are). They stick to this nonsense like a leech.

Personally, I thank God every day for my hernia, and the Design of our upright posture.

Good work, Big Guy.

Date: 2008/04/02 09:30:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
There must be some pop culture reference in this image that I don't get.

Date: 2008/04/02 13:08:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Does this guy count? It's suitable for performing bris on creationist shkotzim.

Date: 2008/04/02 13:14:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I have this one, but I think it's a bit wordy.

So where is the original image without the Expelled or parody add-ons?

Date: 2008/04/02 13:23:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
An existence without chance is one in which every outcome is determined by the first event. People of faith call this a meaningful existence, as opposed to the higgledy piggledy of evolution.

Date: 2008/04/02 13:29:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I have assumed for some time that the Discovery Institute is operating as a mole in the creationist camp. Every court case they have participated in has sealed the door tighter against religion in the science classroom.

They are mostly lawyers. They couldn't be achieving this outcome except by design, could they?

Date: 2008/04/02 15:48:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Presented in Tard-AO. Screen so wide it's gaping.

Date: 2008/04/03 10:05:56, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2008/04/03 11:18:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Toad's gift to the world.

Date: 2008/04/03 11:29:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ April 03 2008,10:33)
re: post 1582

Sorry Kristene, your question kind of got lost in the shuffle. It's pretty easy to answer though, especially if you read the article that accompanied the photo. Have you ever heard the saying, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend?" That's what you're seeing in that picture of Ben Stein and Ken Ham. As Ken makes pretty clear in his review of the film, his group has some serious reservations about Intelligent Design. But he recognizes that both ID and Creation Science (which he sees as two distinct movements, something few people on the other side of this debate have been able to do) face a common enemy in academic suppression. So he has decided to endorse Expelled on that basis.

Sort of like Bill Dembski, in the preface to Mere Creation, saying, What's a few billion years among friends?

Six thousand, 4.5 billion, they're equal in the eyes of those who oppose naturalism.

One advocate of creation thinks it is essential that God intervene in the causal structure of the world. Another thinks it is essential that God not upset the causal structure of the world. One advocate of creation thinks it is essential to read Genesis literally and accept a young earth. Another thinks it does not matter how old the earth is.

There is, however, an alternate approach to unifying the Christian world about creation. Rather than look for common ground on which all Christians can agree, propose a theory of creation that puts Christians in the strongest possible position to defeat the common enemy of creation, to wit, naturalism. Throughout history common enemies have been invaluable for suspending in-house squabbles and uniting people who should otherwise be friends. Although approaching creation through its common enemy may seem opportunistic, it is quite illuminating. We learn a great deal about something by learning what it is not. Creation is not naturalism. By developing a theory of creation in opposition to naturalism, we learn a great deal about creation. Mere creation, then, is a theory of creation aimed specifically at defeating naturalism and its consequences.

Date: 2008/04/03 11:33:08, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2008/04/06 11:01:13, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I wonder if the courts are going to go with PoMo when Harvard asks the theater chains to turn over all Expelled revenues to the rightful owner of the cell video.

Courts are known for considering all world views -- those of the defendants and of witnesses -- to be equally valid. That's their job, isn't it?

Date: 2008/04/06 21:08:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Larry Fafarman saith:

Also, natural selection does not necessarily consist of just culling. For example, a bird that is a mutation of a lizard can enter a new ecological niche, and other lizards are unaffected at least for the moment. That is natural selection, too.

Date: 2008/04/07 10:41:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
QUOTE]It wasn't some doctrinal or dogmatic shift that demonstrated the earth orbits the sun rather than vice versa, it was the evidence.[/QUOTE]

If it's all a matter of interpretation, perhaps Kevin could make the case for geocentrism, based on the evidence available at the time of Galileo.

Date: 2008/04/07 11:43:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Bob O'H @ April 07 2008,11:04)
midwifetoad - didn't Feyerabend do that?

He seems to have argued that the Church had the better argument, but I haven't seen how he would account for the dynamics of a geocentric system. I suspect it took Newton's dynamics to put heliocentrism on firm rational ground.

Date: 2008/04/07 13:32:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ April 07 2008,12:54)
Somehow I think I'm never going to hear Kevin's rationalization for lying to 'undesirables' to keep them from seeing Expelled.

It's a mistake to think you can get anywhere in HWood by sleeping with the writer.

Date: 2008/04/08 13:54:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ April 08 2008,13:27)
O'Leary apparently knows something too
That’s what the Expelled film is doing in the ID vs. unguided evolution (Darwinism) controversy. It shows both the evidence for intelligent design of life and the unconscionable lengths to which the Darwin fans are willing to go, to keep both students and the broad public from knowing why their ideas about the nature of life are probably  wrong.

Does it? Does it really? Not from the reviews I've read. My bold.

Has O'Leary seen a special version maybe? Kevin?

I have an idea about how to denormalize evilutionists. Make a movie that calls them crypto-Nazis. That'll learn 'em.

Date: 2008/04/08 20:06:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
How does a movie open on a thousand screens and not get a mention on Rottentomatoes.

Date: 2008/04/09 13:09:55, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Depends a bit on what he's eating, doesn't it?

Date: 2008/04/09 15:34:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It's really about time to have a betting pool.

Will the box office for Expelled be closest to
A. Mel Gibson's Passion.
B. Gods and Generals.

Will the number of theaters
A. Increase the second weekend.
B. Drop the second weekend.

Will Rottentomatoes link to any reviews at all?
A. Yes.
B. No.

If yes, what will be the Tomatometer score?
A. 0
B. 10
C. 20
D. 30
E. 98

Will Ben ever work in Hollywood again?
A. Yes.
B. No.

If no, will he be able to find a position at Bob Jones teaching Science and Economics?
A. Yes.
B. Yes.

Date: 2008/04/10 10:17:55, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 10 2008,00:16)

So they'll probably go ahead with the movie and then attempt to tough it out in court.

That will be fun. More subpoenas, discovery, deposition, and cross-examination. I don't think they'll think it is much fun on the other side, though.

I'm wondering if the theater owners don't face equal liability, having been put on notice.

By the way, there's at least one surviving typo in the pdf version of  the letter. Millennium spelled millenium.


Date: 2008/04/10 13:48:04, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2008/04/10 17:34:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad

It’ll be interesting to see if this does get to court. No doubt the NCSE’s tactic is to naively hope that there is no background research supporting the science depicted in the video that can be used in court to defeat the idea that it’s simple a shot for shot reworking of the original, errors and all. Has anybody done or seen anywhere a shot for shot or split screen comparison?

Perhaps that is the ultimate reason for the goons with the night vision specs, making sure no one could make such a comparison before release.

Date: 2008/04/10 19:13:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Reginald Beasley @ April 10 2008,19:00)
Quote (ERV @ April 10 2008,16:46)
William Dembski: Not a Lawyer

Everyone needs to read this post - Dembski is admitting to malicious forethought - maybe on the advice of the dumbest lawyer in the history of the Universe?

It's post 63  on the UD comments

Generally it takes weeks or months, and lots of subpoenas to unearth evidence of a conspiracy.

Date: 2008/04/10 22:42:25, Link
Author: midwifetoad

This has ATBC written all over it.

Date: 2008/04/11 13:28:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Expelled To XVIVO: Up Yours!

Date: 2008/04/12 14:38:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think Bill will live to regret his involvement in the video. There are elements of criminal violations here. Copyright law has more teeth than in the old days.

Date: 2008/04/14 18:33:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ April 14 2008,16:41)
Expelled Exposed

Variety Magazine credits these guys as animators.

Out of Our Minds.

Date: 2008/04/14 18:48:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Some stills from the Out ofOur Minds demo:

Date: 2008/04/15 12:26:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Damn, I hate to rain on parades, but filling a gap only adds one to the total gap count. Math is a bitch.

Date: 2008/04/15 13:03:08, Link
Author: midwifetoad
An overwhelming percentage of fundie children drop church affiliation when they leave home. That's why they have to have nine children to replace themselves.

Date: 2008/04/15 19:52:55, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Here's the official Expelled Paternity Test. Who's your daddy?

Date: 2008/04/15 20:03:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (BWE @ April 15 2008,19:56)
Pretty pictures Midwife,

I'd like Option J with a side of relish?

Damn, and it was supposed to be a hard test.

Date: 2008/04/16 09:26:26, Link
Author: midwifetoad
[QUOTE][/For instance, if particular objects have specific movements (e.g. jiggles) that are identical in both depictions, but are not due to a correlation of the underlying process, then that would be evidence of copying.

That kind of thing is exactly the basis of XVIVO's cease and desist.

Date: 2008/04/17 22:21:19, Link
Author: midwifetoad
What are they estimating? The only "professional" estimate I have seen is that they will not make it to the top ten.

Date: 2008/04/20 09:06:02, Link
Author: midwifetoad
You figure about 4 people per showing (just a number I pulled out of the air, but it seems reasonable), 1,050 theaters with 2 showings per theater, that’s 8,400 people per day.

At 7 dollars per ticket, that’s $58,800 a day. Not a big number as movie grosses go, but it adds up. Over a reasonable run, that could easily add up to over a million dollars.

Well, you’re only off by a bit over two orders of magnitude. Now go away. -UD admin

Must be Dembski math. He is aware, isn't he that this is a hypothetical calculation of the losses due to screen hopping? If true, the box office is under-reported by about five percent. Probably a lot less than the under-reporting of 'R' rated movies.

Date: 2008/04/21 11:21:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
From the political angle, the only technology that can substitute for fossil fuel in the next fifty years is nuclear, and the various energy transmission and storage technologies it enables. (Hydrogen, for example)

If anyone can run the numbers and demonstrate this to be wrong, I'd like to be proved wrong.

This is the politics of climate change. I can't foresee any likely scenario in which global demand for energy subsides.

Date: 2008/04/22 10:30:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
If you stop to consider how radically different the top-down thinking of design is from the bottom-up thinking of Darwin, the potential for breaking new ground in biology is strikingly clear. Who knows where it might lead?  

Where it seems to lead in engineering is increasingly sophisticated and successful attempts to emulate evolutionary processes.

One might also observe that technology seems to be incremental.

Date: 2008/04/22 11:04:13, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 22 2008,10:37)
Graceout is a tard  

It is true that many southern ‘evangelicals’ shared views that demanded racial separation (Bob Jones Sr., etc.) but all recanted of them later in life.
It is important to realize that the source of such thinking — that there is a clear line of demarcation between the races — is due to evolutionary thinking.
Huxley and Darwin both believed that the races (Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid, and Australoid) were separate species who (miraculously) could inter-breed. Strangely, all but the Caucasoid had direct ancestry to apes, orangs, or other lower life forms.
Many churches of the time (as they do today) acquiesced to the social science of their day – much to their detriment. Biblically, there is NO demarcation between the races. All are direct descendants of Adam (or Noah), and all are of one blood.


This didn't come from social science.

Interestingly, the end of slavery coincides pretty much with the publication of Origin. The region of the United States that permitted slavery is called the Bible Belt.

Date: 2008/04/22 11:08:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It may be interesting to hear from professors who teach science who HAVE been granted tenure, even while being known to express doubt that every event experienced by mortals is determined --- completely and solely by natural processes, in respect of which any superior expression of consciousness or will is foreclosed.

Maybe we could find a few among those who signed the DI statement. ;)

Date: 2008/04/23 17:00:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 23 2008,15:08)
From that .pdf I just linked:

Habitability on a larger scale was considered a few years ago, by Gonzalez et al. (2001) who introduced the concept of Galactic Habitable Zone (GHZ).

Date: 2008/04/23 20:50:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 23 2008,17:21)
Quote (midwifetoad @ April 23 2008,18:00)
Quote (Lou FCD @ April 23 2008,15:08)
From that .pdf I just linked:

Habitability on a larger scale was considered a few years ago, by Gonzalez et al. (2001) who introduced the concept of Galactic Habitable Zone (GHZ).

Did you read the whole paper I linked, by chance?

Appropriately enough, he's critical of the GHZ idea and the paper sets out to deflate it.

He makes some statements that to my layman's ear sound a lot like "Gonzales pulled that assumption out of his ass, and here's why it's no good."

Are you suggesting that coining the term Galactic Habitable Zones is equivalent to coining the term Cold Fusion?

Date: 2008/04/25 12:03:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Doing some basic arithmetic for Expelled's first week, it appears that a bit more than half a million people have paid to see it. That seems like a lot, but it represents 550 tickets per theater, or 80 tickets per day per theater.

If we assume five showings a day, that's a bit more than 15 tickets per showing. If we assume two showings a day, it's still 40 tickets per showing.

Looking at weekdays, we have about 35 tickets per theater per day. I suspect most theaters are having only one or two showings per day during the week.

I'm predicting the total box office will not reach ten million. The first week gets four million, and the second might get half that. After that, the number of theaters will plummet. We could see it max out at six or seven million.

Date: 2008/04/25 16:06:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Venus Mousetrap @ April 25 2008,14:37)
Quote (Richardthughes @ April 25 2008,14:30)
Quote (ERV @ April 25 2008,14:23)
Just read the complaint against Premise by Yoko.

Its beautiful.

Did you all know EMI is in on the suit too?

I didnt know that.

*wipes away tears of joy*

Has your blog been delisted from Google?

I noticed that too. I search for ERV on Google because it's easier than typing in the url, but it's gone again.

Just happened today. Really annoying.

Date: 2008/04/25 16:18:03, Link
Author: midwifetoad
And I think I'll name my next child DingDing. Works for a boy or a girl!

We have a wiener!

Date: 2008/04/26 14:49:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Looking at some popular movies, most take in about 40 percent of their total box office the first week. That's assuming a long run.

Date: 2008/04/28 08:18:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Time to start asking some questions of Google in public.

Date: 2008/04/28 08:51:13, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Looks to me like policy. The site was delisted several days ago.

Date: 2008/04/28 08:56:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Mere Creation is a hoot, particularly if you contemplate Dembski testifying in court.

One advocate of creation thinks it is essential that God intervene in the causal structure of the world. Another thinks it is essential that God not upset the causal structure of the world. One advocate of creation thinks it is essential to read Genesis literally and accept a young earth. Another thinks it does not matter how old the earth is.


There is, however, an alternate approach to unifying the Christian world about creation. Rather than look for common ground on which all Christians can agree, propose a theory of creation that puts Christians in the strongest possible position to defeat the common enemy of creation, to wit, naturalism. Throughout history common enemies have been invaluable for suspending in-house squabbles and uniting people who should otherwise be friends. Although approaching creation through its common enemy may seem opportunistic, it is quite illuminating. We learn a great deal about something by learning what it is not. Creation is not naturalism. By developing a theory of creation in opposition to naturalism, we learn a great deal about creation. Mere creation, then, is a theory of creation aimed specifically at defeating naturalism and its consequences.


Why should Christians bother with “mere creation” when they already have a full-fledged doctrine of creation? Sadly, no such doctrine is in place. Instead we find a multiplicity of views on creation, many of which conflict and none of which commands anywhere near universal assent. As a result the Christian world is badly riven about creation. True, Christians are united about God being the ultimate source of the world, and thus they are united in opposing naturalism, the view that nature is self-sufficient. But this is where the agreement ends.

Date: 2008/04/29 07:23:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
He found out that something had been done to it and it was SOMEHOW linking to some sort of pop up ad link farm page.

WordPresss had a bug that allowed hackers to insert links into blogs without the knowledge of bloggers. The patch for this just came out a couple months ago, and not every blog installs every update.

This insertion of links was done by bots, and many thousands of blogs were corrupted. Delisting was their first clue.

Date: 2008/04/30 12:36:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Descent with meddling.

I'm going to remember that one.

Original citation?

Date: 2008/05/01 09:44:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Richardthughes @ May 01 2008,09:31)
Sal is crowing about "Judge Jones" losing in Flori-duh! I didn't know he was involved there. I'm guessing now that the law is passed, some creobot 'teacher' will bang on bout the ark, the ACLU will sue, some schoolkids will lose a million bucks of education money and they we might get a new bill..

I must have missed it. Were the House and Senate bills reconciled? My betting was that this was a ruse on the rubes: pass conflicting bills that go nowhere.

Date: 2008/05/01 19:29:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (don_quixote @ May 01 2008,18:18)
Y'know, maybe WE should set up a journal of ID 'research'. We could fill it with subtly nonsensical crap, which I'm sure would fool most of the IDiots.

If the rubes accepted the faux papers as evidence of ID, Dumbski et al would be reluctant to discredit them, and then, at some point in the future (when the ID movement had well and truly attached their cart to it), we could expose the journal as a fake (thus sending the cart over the edge of the cliff)!


It would be Sokal on a grand scale.

Some say this has already happened.

Date: 2008/05/02 07:45:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Using the distance light must have traveled to light up the inner ring as the base of a right angle triangle, and the angular size as seen from the Earth for the local angle, one can use basic trigonometry to calculate the distance to SN1987A, which is about 168,000 light-years

Interesting number. 168,000 happens to be the speed of light in miles per second. Dr. Dr. D should pounce on this as the True signature of the Designer. What are the odds that this cosmic number should be expressed in earth years and English units, unless God is an Englishman?

Date: 2008/05/02 19:12:02, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Reed @ May 02 2008,17:25)
Quote (midwifetoad @ May 02 2008,05:45)
Interesting number. 168,000 happens to be the speed of light in miles per second.

Only if you are dylsexic ;)

The speed of light = 186,282.397 miles per second.

Only a materialist would let measurements get in the way of truth.:p

Date: 2008/05/07 11:12:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (William Wallace @ May 07 2008,10:30)
Quote (didymos @ May 07 2008,02:26)
Quote (William Wallace @ May 06 2008,20:50)
You should check out my latest post, however, in which I describe a My son’s first grade teacher (God Bless Her!) .

It will be enough to get the NCSE and their minor thugs worked up.

William, you fool, it just so happens that's illegal.  To save everyone the trouble, here's what this "wonderful" teacher is doing:

Illegal?  Wow.  I did not know that.  Could you please tell me, oh fool, exactly which law she violated?

Did not think so.

You're the only fool, fool.

Trick question. Is the school a public school or a Christian school? Did the teacher own the book, or did she vandalize school property?

Date: 2008/05/07 13:49:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
So what's Dembski going to do?  If he tries to keep up the "this is science" story, he's going to risk alienating a big chunk of his base.  If he doesn't, he's going to make life more difficult for the DI, just at the point when they're making a new push to get ID into science classes.

The author of Mere Creation is not in a very good position to expel creationists. Bill is on record saying 6000 is just as valid a number as 4.5 billion when it comes to dating the earth.

Date: 2008/05/07 18:54:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Dave's in a bind. His ego is too big to spend time on any blog he can't control ...

Didn't Dave post at Freerepublic as SirLinksALot until being banned for supporting the wrong guy in the primaries?

Apologies if I ruined anyone's supper.

Date: 2008/05/07 19:30:26, Link
Author: midwifetoad
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. -Admin]

This is making me feel bad. In 1983 I was working for what is now Fidelity Information Services, writing COBOL code to calculate mortgage payments for a couple dozen kinds of loans.

The feds provided rather specific algorithms to insure that software written by different companies would arrive at the same payment.

I used a garage sale HP-80 to verify my programs. Fidelity pretty much owns the mortgage software industry, and there's not much chance my programs have ever been re-written.  But I don't know where my 80 is at the moment. Somewher in a pile of junk.

Date: 2008/05/08 11:30:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
My cat brings things to me after they stop wiggling, as if to say, please fix it.

Date: 2008/05/08 11:50:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm always amused when supposedly conservative folks like Dembski and Stein play the victim card. When did this start, and when did it become the dominant mode of anti-science argument?

Date: 2008/05/08 12:23:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
If you do go "over there" you will be treated to such gems as this:

For example, the oft-repeated idea that an object of a specified size and shape dropped from a specified height in a vacuum will take an amount of time to fall that is independent of the dropped object’s mass is simply untrue. But it is a useful approximation, and widely considered to be “true” even among the scientifically educated.

Date: 2008/05/08 13:57:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ May 08 2008,13:16)
Quote (dheddle @ May 08 2008,13:13)
Technically WW is correct re. falling bodies, although I am not sure if the trap he plans to spring is General Relativity or relative acceleration.
Whatever it turns out to be I wonder how that'll be spun into but see ID coulllddd be right

I'm always impressed by the argument from incompleteness of science in the fifteenth decimal place.

Must mean we're no kin to monkeys.

Date: 2008/05/12 14:01:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Added to the college credits she's already accumulated by taking AP classes, she'll walk in the front door of UNC Greensboro (where she wants to go as of now) as a freshman with like 19 credits.

Not likely that any university will accept them all. The most you are likely to get is one year of college credit, not that a year is trivial.

Date: 2008/05/12 16:58:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Here ya go...

Date: 2008/05/12 16:59:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Of course that's just the American side.

Date: 2008/05/20 19:15:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
So that's what happened the QUESTION WAS could it have happened in 1000 years given different conditions?? That's what I don't get about the 'scientists' here. To really test a theory you imagine different scenarios and see if the theory still works.

You're just lucky we are mostly pacifists. Else one of us would respond to the impulse to jump out of your monitor, tear your arm off and beat you to death with the bloody stub.

Date: 2008/05/22 10:50:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
What's up with Altenberg anyway? The designheads are talking about it the way people who weren't there talk about Woodstock.

Anything likely to come out of Altenberg besides aromatic smoke?

Date: 2008/05/22 12:32:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Naturally, the Republican primaries in this state are populated by voters whose source of information is Fauxnews, and whose ideal politician would be a cross between Ronald Reagan and Mussolini. But at least there is hope; now I need to get a lot of people to register as Republicans so that they can vote in this primary  
You could call it Operation Order.

Date: 2008/05/23 12:06:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 14 2007,08:01)
Quote (Truth Radio @ 1 August 2006,(Tape 1))
I happen to believe - I don't know if I could prove this - I happen to believe that during the original creation with the canopy of water overhead, increased air pressure and filtered sunlight, fermentation was not possible. I don't think Noah knew what he was doing when he got drunk. It was an accident. He was used to making the grape juice [...] so I'm going to give Noah the benefit of the doubt and assume his getting drunk was purely accidental ignorance.

Well, I have to admit that's the best explanation I've ever heard as to why Ham got punished for seeing his drunk ass dad naked, but the drunk ass dad didn't get in trouble at all.  It's almost endearing.

Elsewhere in the Bible, "uncovering nakedness" means having sex with.

Date: 2008/05/23 22:45:48, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Obviously eaten by the Andromeda Strain.

Date: 2008/05/25 11:46:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2008/05/25 12:05:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The problem is, of course, that once you know that Darwinism isn’t true, you don’t immediately know what is true. You just know where not to look for answers.

The Argument Regarding Design in a tightly packed nutshell.

Date: 2008/05/25 12:13:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (stevestory @ May 25 2008,12:10)
Quote (midwifetoad @ May 25 2008,13:05)
The problem is, of course, that once you know that Darwinism isn’t true, you don’t immediately know what is true. You just know where not to look for answers.

The Argument Regarding Design in a tightly packed nutshell.


Date: 2008/05/25 13:01:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad
At least one ID insider posted at Freerepublic for years before being banned for supporting the wrong candidate. He outed himself by posting Dembski's essay on ID and google statistics under his own FR name.

Date: 2008/05/25 14:06:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ May 25 2008,13:04)
Quote (midwifetoad @ May 25 2008,11:01)
At least one ID insider posted at Freerepublic for years before being banned for supporting the wrong candidate. He outed himself by posting Dembski's essay on ID and google statistics under his own FR name.

Can you share with us who this was?

The FR poster was SirLinksALot. He seemed to have an unusual affinity for UD, often posting blog articles. Oddly, they were not always verbatim.

Of course the evolution debate is pretty much dead on FR, for the same reason it is on UD. Everyone who knows anything about science gets banned.

There was a time when evolution threads could routinely run for thousands of posts.

Date: 2008/05/25 15:49:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Dover killed the ID movement. It's thrashing around pretty violently, but its head has been cut off.

No one but Behe testified under oath, and he hurt the cause. Everyone else -- Dembski et al. -- is on record as a creationist. They will never be allowed to testify under oath by any competent attorney.

Johnson has acknowledged that there is no theory of ID. Dembski is unwilling to differentiate between the numbers six thousand and four billion.

Expelled has set up a circular firing squad. Money lost, no positive impact for ID, all the academic freedom bills died, Catholics and Methodists support evolution. New evidence supporting common descent coming by the bucketful. It's got to be demoralizing.

Date: 2008/05/25 15:54:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Could be. It was one of the UD insiders.

Date: 2008/05/26 17:14:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Your bird looks a bit like a Magpie Jay.

Date: 2008/05/26 17:22:13, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Robert O'Brien @ May 26 2008,13:19)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 14 2007,08:01)
Well, I have to admit that's the best explanation I've ever heard as to why Ham got punished...

When I first glanced at this I thought you were referring to Ken Ham.  :D

Just wishing.

Date: 2008/05/27 15:15:04, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Dave's Expulsion preserved here:

Date: 2008/05/28 17:44:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Richardthughes @ May 28 2008,16:47)
Quote (Annyday @ May 28 2008,16:44)
Not quite the same. Having to use existing sugars is a wee bit less convenient than assembling your hydrocarbons from raw hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen. I'm kind of pessimistic about anyone managing the latter with existing (or near-future) technology. Even Venter. If someone does pull it off without any too-large hitches, though, they'll be filthy rich.

Containment would seem to be a problem. Is it potentially an "Atmosphere Bomb"? You might want limited replications encoded. It's all getting a bit 'Blade Runner', but nothing the God of biomechanics wouldn't let you in heaven for.

But evolution is still the bitch goddess in the driver's seat. Jurrasic Park may have had retarded dialog, but the idea is right. Evolution will eventually free your slave organisms.

Date: 2008/05/29 13:28:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Just ask what book supernaturalism has produced that is equivalent to this:

Why is it that a communist will find this just as useful as a capitalist, a Muslim just as useful as a Hindu?

Date: 2008/05/29 14:23:08, Link
Author: midwifetoad
All IMHO of course. Off the top of my head, or out of my ass, and straying dangerously close to woo...

Not to muddy the waters, but Skinner considered biological evolution and learning to be functionally equivalent. He saw no difference between an arrangement of neurons and connections brought about by Darwinian processes and one brought about by feedback during the life of an organism. One process simply operates faster.

He also had an equivalent concept of drift. He wrote of superstition and adventitious learning -- things learned as a result of "random" feedback.

Date: 2008/05/29 20:40:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm aware that Skinner rejected speculation about the physical underpinnings of behavior and learning. But as you have pointed out, he never rejected the desirability of having such knowledge.

Date: 2008/06/02 11:45:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I see a message indicating the database is down, probably for maintenance.

DB function failed with error number 1030
Got error 28 from storage engine SQL=SELECT * FROM jos_fpslideshow_slides WHERE state = 1 AND registers <= 0 AND ( publish_up = '0000-00-00 00:00:00' OR publish_up <= '2008-06-02 11:37' ) AND ( publish_down = '0000-00-00 00:00:00' OR publish_down >= '2008-06-02 11:37' ) ORDER BY RAND()

Date: 2008/06/03 09:33:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
A simple proof. Assuming finite memory (a reasonable assumption for a Pseudo-Random Number Generator), then there are a finite number of possible states of the system. At some point, it must repeat itself.

Except that random number generators don't simply spit out lists from memory. The best of them use radioactive decay events to generate binary streams.

But algorithms will do. The digits of Pi are indistinguishable from a random stream, and it is possible to jump to any arbitrary position in the binary expression of pi and begin spewing out a stream of binary digits.

Date: 2008/06/03 14:52:02, Link
Author: midwifetoad
...merely because the "scientific consensus" deems it the wrong avenue to explore.

Perhaps you will bless us with some evidence that the avenue hasn't been and isn't being explored. I think you are lying.

Date: 2008/06/03 15:31:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I have never been one to dogmatically insist that we must stop vaccinations or stop the teaching of evolution, etc., etc..  You act as if I'm out to stop all scientific inquiry in it's tracks, and that is simply not the case.

But you have no hesitation about giving aid and comfort to those who do recommend against vaccination. If only to nod in their direction and suggest they aren't loons.

Date: 2008/06/03 15:59:46, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Many are desperate and very emotionally spent due to their situation.  Sometimes a person will latch on to anything that they think might help their child or keep another child from suffering as their own has.

All the more reason to be careful to avoid quackery.

I believe I started my exchange with you by asking for some evidence that mainstream public health isn't studying the effects -- including unwanted effects -- of vaccination.

Date: 2008/06/04 09:41:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I thought the new buzzword was "historical biology," which of course is completely unnecessary for getting through life.

Date: 2008/06/04 13:57:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (blader @ June 04 2008,12:13)
Quote (Kristine @ May 16 2008,11:18)
Me, I'm hoping that they build up a big expectation in the press that they're going to cure cancer or something. The internet didn't exist when all this "creation science" was around. Now they're leaving a virtual paper trail, and good! I say.

It seems curing cancer is aiming pretty low compared to their obvious objective, which is to use the tools of modern day scientific mimicry to prove the existence of God.

By design, it will keep them in business for an eternity.

Now that's a Deep Thought.

Date: 2008/06/05 11:19:34, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Same old same old. Unspecified actions done by an unspecified agency having unspecified capabilities and limitations, done at unspecified times and places for unspecified reasons using unspecified methods, leaving no evidence.


Date: 2008/06/05 14:27:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Let's hear from you about a real "weakness" of evolutionary theory, a bit of actual evidence that is at odds with the theory AND that could be explainable in a high school classroom.

Without using the bullshit term "weaknesses" it would be possible to list some of the early arguments against evolution and how they were resolved. I've been re-reading Ernst Mayr's "Endless Argument," and I think a bit of science history is reasonable.

The problem, of course, is that creationism adapts to antibodies, and every argument will countered by new bullshit. I note that Mayr's book, published in 1991, shamelessly uses the terms Darwinism and evolutionist. Why not? They were not dirty words until that anti-science crowd said they were dirty.

Date: 2008/06/05 20:28:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (stevestory @ June 05 2008,17:46)
I used to wonder if Davescot would humiliate Dembski enough that Dembski would quit the site. But with Dembski's support of the Bible Code, opposition to common descent, advocacy of the paranormal, and calling catholics lunatics who don't believe in god, I wonder if Dembski will humiliate Davescot into quitting.

Myself, I'd be happiest if they both stayed, co-humiliating each other, having banning wars, etc.

Just wondering who owned UD, and found this:


Similar Domains Available for $9.95

Date: 2008/06/09 11:39:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Damn. Entangled posts. Kewl.

Date: 2008/06/09 14:22:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (dnmlthr @ June 09 2008,10:27)
Currently reading Road to Reality by Roger Penrose, but making slow progress. It's not exactly a book you just zip through on a lazy summer day.

I hope that road doesn't traverse too many miles through the Emperor's Mind.

Date: 2008/06/09 15:36:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Charting out simliarities[sic] between organisms was done before Darwin as well.  Studying the similiarities[sic] between organisms is what leads to scientific advancement.  It doesn't matter one iota whether your philosophical viewpoint is common design or common descent.

Hey, it's mathematically possible to map all astronomical observations to a geocentric model. It doesn't matter one iota to anyone not planning to travel through space.

The central weakness of ID is not that it is wrong, but that it can't be wrong.

Date: 2008/06/10 09:53:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
DaveScot opines:

Citrate digestion is a real yawner. If that’s all it is, it’s really pathetic and is really a world class example of the lack of any compelling evidence for RM+NS as a mechanism capable of driving creative evolution.

Date: 2008/06/10 13:02:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Ekstasis says:

Since everyone is performing these fantastic mathematical computations, I will simply conjur up a point backed up by third grade mathematics, and then return to my seat in the back of the class, and take the short bus home after the bell rings.

30,000 generations of e. coli, and presto, we get a new constructive function, the ability to utilize citrate. Now, 30,000 advanced primate generations, at 20 years per generation, equals 600,000 years. So, a billion years equals less than 2,000 generations.

Date: 2008/06/10 15:24:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Good thing Billy D is a mathematician. I'm sure he can correct third grade arithmetic.

Date: 2008/06/11 10:42:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Finally, voters vote not only for school boards, but for idjits like Santorum and Brownback.

Date: 2008/06/11 10:43:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Try another way.

Date: 2008/06/11 14:45:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Patrick discusses Behe in the third person:

The whole point of Behe’s new book was to try and find experimental evidence for exactly what Darwinian mechanisms are capable of. On the other hand we have speculative indirect stepwise pathway scenarios but so far the OBSERVED “edge of evolution” doesn’t allow these models to be feasible. But this “edge” is an estimate based upon a limited set of data which in turn “might” mean the estimated “edge” is far less than the maximum capable by Darwinian mechanisms. If Darwinists would bother to do further experiments they may see if this “edge” could in reality be extended. Then if this new derived “edge” is compatible with these models then so be it (though I’ll add the caveat that the “edge” might be better for Darwinism only in limited scenarios). In the meantime they’re just assuming the “edge” allows for it. Even worse, unless I failed to notice the news, the very first detailed, testable (and potentially falsifiable) model for the flagellum is yet to be fully completed (I realize there are people working on producing one) so a major challenge of Behe’s first book is yet to be refuted, never mind the new book.


Hey, if you've got a flagellum, why don't you whip it out?

Date: 2008/06/11 18:16:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Dave had a momentary lapse of unreason, but recovered.

Date: 2008/06/11 20:08:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The Behetitudes

Date: 2008/06/12 09:11:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Baton Rouge — By a vote of 94-3, Louisiana’s House of Representatives today passed an academic freedom bill that would protect teachers and school districts who wish to promote critical thinking and objective discussion about evolution and other scientific topics.

There was no vocal opposition, and the floor speech by Rep. Frank Hoffman made clear that the bill was about science, not religion.

“This bill promotes good science education by protecting the academic freedom of science teachers,” said Dr. John West, Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs at Discovery Institute. “Critics who claim the bill promotes religion instead of science either haven’t read the bill or are putting up a smokescreen to divert attention from the censorship that has been going on.”

Date: 2008/06/12 15:02:56, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Maybe I should try to get in touch with Behe.  He's one person I've never tried to contact yet.  Hmmm...maybe he could tell me why molecular biologists must maintain that all of nature had a common ancestor.

Because it is the only explanatory theory, not simply the best among many.

Design does not constitute a theory for the simple reason that it doesn't lead to research. It's been around in its present form for two hundred years and still says nothing about the attributes or activities of the entity that does the designing.

No times or places for the activities of the Designer. No list of events caused by the Designer. No motives or intentions, even though these are considered to be the distinguishing features of Design. No samples of objects known to have been designed -- as arrowheads and pottery have current designers and producers.

Date: 2008/06/12 17:14:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ June 12 2008,16:40)
Quote (Kristine @ June 12 2008,17:19)
If Darwin is so scary, how come no one has come up with a good (non-"doc") Darwinian horror flick? I love horror films. You know - "we've traced the information from the call and it's coming from within your junk DNA!" Arh, arh. Try to run out of that house, babysitter!

You just know she's going to venture alone into the basement and -  audience screaming because they know what's behind the door - enter the cellular machine and become entangled in mitochondrial DNA.

Sounds a bit like this:

Date: 2008/06/13 12:37:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2008/06/13 13:23:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Weird. Ok. "Let the bloodletting begin." Whatever you say, Bill.

I thought it was bloodclotting that was ID, but what do I know? Is this Friday, and if so have we always been at war with Eastasia?

Date: 2008/06/13 14:52:35, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ June 13 2008,14:47)
Quote (J-Dog @ June 13 2008,12:43)
BTW - The original post, which comes "this close" to advocating those death camps you mentioned, has a smiley face on it


Date: 2008/06/13 17:20:46, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (stevestory @ June 13 2008,16:02)
Quote (hooligans @ June 13 2008,15:35)
Perhaps one of the funniest posts I have ever read from Sal:
The general mood among my associates is that the Darwinists haven’t even begun to see what will be unleased on them. They’ve only been sparring with scouting parties so far, they haven’t seen yet a truly organized and large-scale assault yet, but they will…

It's true that we haven't seen anything formidable from the ID movement yet....

...and with idiots like Nelson, Dembski, and Cordova in charge, we never will.

Perhaps they simply misspelled large-scale asshole.

Date: 2008/06/14 08:38:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
My fifth grade teacher taught me that there's a rat in separate, a cyst in cdesign proponentsists, and a schism in cdesign proponentsism. :p

Date: 2008/06/15 08:59:35, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Permalink | Josh Rosenau | 09-09-2005 | 07:58 PM

Snookums, if you had a piece of evidence that you didn't think was adequately addressed, you would have said something. But all you have is vague handwaving about how evolution is about to die. I'm sure they were saying that back in the 1920s, too.

I guess what I'm saying is, don't hold your breath.
Evolution, A Theory In Crisis since 1859. Aren't we eight years into Dembski's ten year prediction? Time to fasten our seat belts.

Date: 2008/06/15 15:33:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
They went down this road in '87, didn't they? I guess if you keep putting your hand in fire, eventually the fire will get tired of burning.

Date: 2008/06/17 09:26:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Peter Henderson @ June 17 2008,09:16)
Will this be the next Dover ?????

I would imagine (hopefully) the NCSE, the ACLU etc. are putting together a case as we speak.

Incidently, how high up in the political sphere is this ? Is this the equivalent of a council, a regional assembly (e.g. MLAs in NI) or are they the same as MPs in the UK ?

The state governor who suppports the law is a front runner to become the Vice-President. Or at least the Republican candidate.

On the plus side, the law would protect teachers who show videos like Judgement Day or like Ken Miller's lectures.

Date: 2008/06/17 11:09:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Hi. I'm a tapeworm. I used to be a megaworm with lasers and stuff but SLoT made me devolve and now I have to live in the ass of this other thing which also devolved. Amazing that devolution can still give changing environmental fit.

It's good to know that Malaria and Leishmaniasis are devolving from their original and more perfectly created forms.

Date: 2008/06/18 20:35:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Since hopefully you are evidence-based, perhaps you could explain how many neutral mutations can be expected to be traversed by an organism in, say, 500,000 generations, with a genome of, say, 3 billion bases and a mutation rate of, say, 6 mutations per generation. Is there an edge to evolution, and can we approximate it? And if so, how does it compare with the standard interpretation of paleontological change?

Damn, if there were only one organism, it might take a long time.

the gloves are off, and one might as well be a full-blown YUC

I like that term.

Date: 2008/06/18 22:30:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
After having engaged others on this matter and reading their responses, I have changed my mind. I am now prepared to say that both Dave and I have been premature in our analysis. It is far more likely that TEs are both gutless and irrational.

Date: 2008/06/19 10:12:19, Link
Author: midwifetoad
“The neo-Darwinians would like us to believe that large evolutionary changes can result from a series of small events if there are enough of them. But if these events all lose information they can’t be the steps in the kind of evolution the neo-Darwin theory is supposed to explain, no matter how many mutations there are. Whoever thinks macroevolution can be made by mutations that lose information is like the merchant who lost a little money on every sale but thought he could make it up on volume.” Dr. Lee Spetner (Ph.D. Physics - MIT)

I don't see how an algorithm that employs feedback automatically loses information. Isn't feedback a form of information?

This is such a common line of argument, and I don't see the point cdesign proponentsists are trying to make.

Date: 2008/06/19 10:17:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
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.

Date: 2008/06/19 12:45:47, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The images are gone. Anyone know where they can be found?

Date: 2008/06/19 12:52:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I just wonder how anyone thinks a change in the value of a parameter can be construed as a loss of information.

I suppose they are always thinking in terms of The Fall, so any change is a degradation.

What a cruddy metaphor by which to organize your worldview.

Date: 2008/06/19 13:43:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm no photoshop expert, but I don't see a hidden channel in the image that claims there is one. I do see the text in the unhidden one, but it's not in a separate channel.

Date: 2008/06/19 14:01:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Tom Ames @ June 19 2008,13:23)
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.

I kind of forgot to specify that the system needs to respond to yes or no in some way. this is the stuff of genetic algorithms, about which I know little. But it is obvious that the system has to learn something from feedback.

The point of my metaphor is that feedback is information. A system that saves feedback and changes as a result can increase its store of information.

Date: 2008/06/19 16:45:35, Link
Author: midwifetoad
April 2, 2016 will be four years after the Mayan jaguars descend from the sky. Or it will just be a tardy April 1.

Date: 2008/06/19 19:13:02, Link
Author: midwifetoad
hope they take Louisiana to court and make a big deal out of this. This time our side needs to be prepared and force the issue that matters: teaching evolution in public schools is a thinly disguised attempt to teach atheism and that the attempts to silence critique of evolution is proof of an atheist conspiracy to teach a government sanctioned specific religious viewpoint as the only scientific and therefore authentic ontological explanation of our existence and is therefore unconstitutional…as it is nothing more then state sponsorship of a specific religious viewpoint.

That argumant went over well in Edwards v. Aguillard, didn't it?
[QUOTE]The Act does not grant teachers a flexibility that they did not already possess to supplant the present science curriculum with the presentation of theories, besides evolution, about the origin of life. Indeed, the Court of Appeals found that no law prohibited Louisiana public school teachers from teaching any scientific theory.

Date: 2008/06/20 07:31:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Why do I see HTML tags instead of formatted text? I don't see any option to display HTML properly.

Date: 2008/06/20 07:35:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Is there a thread here with all those?

If there were such a thread, you would have to call it "Understanding Intelligent Design In Plain Language."

Date: 2008/06/20 07:54:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The Dover school board deserved to lose when the facts came out - lying under oath, hiding the source of money to pay for textbooks, declaring in school board meetings they were standing up for Jesus, and things like that. Intelligent design has to be divorced from the religious motivations. I fear that might not be possible. The well was poisoned too well.

I wonder who poisoned it. It couldn't possibly be the person who published a book titled Mere Creation and got nearly everyone in the ID game to sign on to the premise that 6000?4.5 billion.

Date: 2008/06/20 07:56:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad
6000?4.5 billion

Crap. My character map lied. Where's the approximately equal button?

Date: 2008/06/20 09:04:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
And speaking of predictions:

But let’s say we did find such foresighted mechanisms. Darwinists might argue that such mechanisms would be selected for without intelligence being involved. After all, being foresighted would allow proactive responses to a changing environment and thus increase survivability. It’s kind of like how they create a story for modularity.

My prediction has come to pass. Such foresighted mechanisms that modify genes have been empirically identified. And the reaction from Darwinists has been as expected.
My reaction is to ask what foresighted mutations have been observed.

Date: 2008/06/20 09:49:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Behe displays foresight.

Date: 2008/06/20 09:53:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
A new study by Princeton University researchers shows for the first time that bacteria don’t just react to changes in their surroundings — they anticipate and prepare for them.

How many times have we noticed evidence of changes that have occurred faster than what should be capable of RV+NS (non-foresighted mechanisms)?

I give up.

Date: 2008/06/20 10:29:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm kinda slow. Is genetic entropy compatible with genetic foresight? Or do they live together under one roof, producing lots of little IDiots?

Date: 2008/06/20 10:35:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I hate to mention it again but simple things like the twin nested hierarchy are clear indications, i.e. uncontroversial observable facts that rely on no "special paradigmatic interpretation" at all.

It strikes me that when humans do genetic engineering they tend to produce the kind of "out of hierarchy" artifacts that cdesign proponentsists would love to find in untampered organisms.

Date: 2008/06/20 10:51:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
But is it north or south of the equator?

Date: 2008/06/20 13:08:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Did I hear someone that someone had suggested research projects for ID, and that funding was denied? What were those projects and what hypotheses were they testing?

Date: 2008/06/20 14:41:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Henry J @ June 20 2008,13:53)
Quote (midwifetoad @ June 20 2008,06:31)
Why do I see HTML tags instead of formatted text? I don't see any option to display HTML properly.

Those are posts ported (bounced?) here from Panda's Thumb, still with the formatting codes that are used in notes and replies there. Those codes don't work on AtBC threads.


I was wondering if I was too stupid to find the control panel option, or the poster was to dim to notice his stuff doesn't work.

Date: 2008/06/20 14:52:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Bots most likely.

Date: 2008/06/21 17:57:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Patrick continues to have foresight:

Old saying, but there are many ways to skin a cat. Meaning that there are many ways to meet a designed end goal. This end goal need not be very specific and narrow (one and only one option in a search space of infinite). This end goal in search space can be generalized and thus have many varied options/implementations that fulfill the end goal. These implementations sometimes may appear odd, but subjective aesthetic considerations do not take away from the objective real design.

What exactly forces one to assume that evolution is about finding a solution or reaching a goal? I mean, what about the poor schmuck species that didn't reach their goal and went extinct? Are Lotto winners really better at anticipating the future?

Date: 2008/06/21 23:40:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
My hate letter was pretty short and simple. I said I felt sorry for the taxpayers of Louisiana who would have to foot the bill for a loosing court case that would cement and extend the Dover and Aguillard decisions.

Date: 2008/06/22 08:49:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad

My God Its Full Of Holes!

Date: 2008/06/22 10:58:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Substantiation of what?

Date: 2008/06/22 16:42:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (kevinmillerxi @ June 22 2008,16:32)
Congrats, Rich. You've just demonstrated your ability for selective reading once again. Try this PZ quote on for size, from the same article: "As I was puzzling over how to answer such an odd question, I realized why I thought it was odd. The scientist and atheist positions are the same. It doesn't matter which hat I'm wearing, the answers won't change."

But exactly what are you trying to substantiate?

Do you disagree with what follows your mined quote?

What should a scientist expect from an idea? That it be a reasonable advance in knowledge; that it be built on a foundation of evidence; that it be testable; that it should lead to new and useful questions and ideas.

Date: 2008/06/22 16:53:55, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Tribune7 asks:

Here’s a question that I think is not asked enough: “Why would one think DNA is not designed?”

Possibly because it doesn't look or behave like anything known by observation to be designed.

It seems odd that DNA can simultaneously be likened to a computer program, but one that can't be emulated in computer code.

Date: 2008/06/23 07:04:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The Gov is more likely thinking about this:

The Louisiana Legislature adjourns today. Gov. Bobby Jindal should mark the occasion by vetoing the session's most offensive and self-centered legislation: the 123-percent pay raise lawmakers gave themselves.

It won't be easy for him. He's said repeatedly that he won't veto the measure, and if he does now, he will have misled lawmakers. But if he doesn't veto it, he will have misled voters, breaking an unambiguous promise he made on the campaign trail to "prohibit" raises such as this.

Date: 2008/06/23 13:08:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm curious about motives. What was the perp's motive for making all the cool disease organisms? Not just making them, but also providing them with the foresight™ with which to modify themselves in response to human attempts to evade their horrors.

Date: 2008/06/24 12:36:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I suppose if you repeat something often enough, it becomes TRVE.

Date: 2008/06/25 12:47:08, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The problem is that every moment spent exposing dreck is one taken away from trying to get students to understand the science that has passed muster. Responsible teachers are going to begrudge or abhor waste like that.

As a former student, I'm still confused about why it is a waste to teach a bit of history about how major discoveries were made and confirmed. I don't think you have to go int church bashing, but I think it would be useful to teach high school kids that ideas aren't the result of virgin births.

Date: 2008/06/25 19:10:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. -Admin]

The miracle of Flushmate.

Date: 2008/06/25 21:19:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Not to mention back doors.

Date: 2008/06/26 12:52:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (BWE @ June 26 2008,11:44)
I'm totally fucking serious. Like I said. It's a little bit strange.

Especially in light of the beauties posted by other people on the web.

I expect to be wrong but I can't figure out how I'm wrong.

I'm in uncharted waters.

With Surfer Dude, no doubt.

Date: 2008/06/26 12:59:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Ftk would raise the IQ level of both sites if she left here for Freerepublic. She would be worshipped as a genius.

Maybe she's already there.

Date: 2008/06/26 14:12:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Guys like you, Louis, Ichy, PZ & crew, OM, et. al. are destroying science due to your attitude.  We don't have a clue how you act in the real world...all we have to go on is your antics in this debate.  I can't imagine that a person who writes the stuff you do can actually be a normal, kind, compassionate person in the classroom or anywhere for that matter.

If they keep it up will you resign your commission?

Date: 2008/06/26 16:34:32, Link
Author: midwifetoad

I would like to know why my last two comments have not been allowed to appear on your blog.

The courtesy of a reply is requested.


That's the nastiest, most offensive thing I've ever seen in print.

Date: 2008/06/26 19:06:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
That is no way to practice science Paul looking for anomalies and error rates in which to make your case!

The only way to practice science is fat, drunk and stupid.

Date: 2008/06/26 20:44:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
As part of my 12 step plan, I will not respond to this thread, no matter how tempted.

Date: 2008/06/27 15:58:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Jingo is facing a recall petition because he didn't veto the pay raise for legislators. Unfortunately this is more damaging than being stupid.

Date: 2008/06/28 15:08:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
If, on the other hand, design is true, materialist atheism is bunk. Materialist atheists know this perfectly well. That is why they persecute the design guys and cozy up to the “theistic” evolutionists.

And why Expelled was made and has no time for “theistic” evolutionism.

Now here is a quick test: If “theistic” evolution meant anything other than what I am describing above, ID theorist Mike Behe and I should be called theistic evolutionists - we accept conventional dating methods and common descent of living things But we think that God’s actions, if they exist, can be detected. They are indeed distinguishable from chance occurrences. This is the position affirmed by Scripture, tradition, and reason and denied by “theistic” evolution. And it is why we are called “creationists.”

Look, if God doesn’t exist, he doesn’t exist. But if he does exist, we’ll know about it.

All science so far.

Date: 2008/06/28 22:27:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I wouldn't wish Shingles on my worst enemy.

Date: 2008/06/29 09:40:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Jindal watches goodwill evaporate
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Stephanie Grace

Of this, there can be no dispute: Gov. Bobby Jindal's honeymoon is over.

The consensus at home is that Jindal lost his luster by declining to veto the Legislature's lavish pay raise. But Jindal is also playing to a national audience these days, and on that front, he's taking a different sort of hit.

While Louisiana voters are up in arms over the revelation that Jindal is not above cutting political deals, the deal killer elsewhere in the country could be an unrelated bill that he signed last week, state Sen. Ben Nevers' "Louisiana Science Education Act."

Date: 2008/06/30 09:28:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (stevestory @ June 30 2008,01:49)
Let me clarify. 'Genetic entropy' is not why front-loading is wrong, because genetic entropy is a pile of shit. If some DNA was front-loaded but currently dormant, it would gradually accumulate errors which would disable whatever it was supposed to do later.

But a front loader can move dung faster than mere entropy.

Date: 2008/06/30 11:08:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Lou FCD @ June 30 2008,07:17)
Quote (Bob O'H @ June 30 2008,01:37)


11:57 pm

Tard Alert!

Russ, I also have been toying with the same thought line. Have you ever considered milk? The stuff separates into milk and cream very easily. Yet I don’t know of this phenomenon being used in nature. The cream, once shaken, turns into cottage cheese, butter and butter milk. With a little common bacteria, you get cheese. Yogurt is just about as easy to make. Does this give you the feeling that these varieties were waiting to be discovered — like hidden treasure? It’s just all too easy to find such wonderful, yet unimplemented properties in nature.
Perhaps bfast should google "lactose tolerance" and its evolutionary history/explanation.

Add a banana to yout milk for a perfectly designed shake.

Date: 2008/07/01 08:26:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
To you all creationists are ignorant morons and or buffoons.

Just the ones we've met on the internet.

Date: 2008/07/01 09:18:47, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Contrary to what naturalistic thought would expect, these very first photosynthetic bacteria scientists find in the geologic and fossil record are shown to have been preparing the earth for more advanced life to appear from the very start of their existence by reducing the greenhouse gases of earth’s early atmosphere and producing the necessary oxygen for higher life-forms to exist.

Who knew?

Date: 2008/07/01 10:58:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ July 01 2008,10:44)

Does "deluded teacher" mean to you when applied to ID as someone who was, "pressured to teach something they feel is very wrong, got fired and they are now suing a hostile work environment"?

I'm afraid that doesn't parse easily, but it appears that the answer is, "No."

Why would a teacher be fired simply for being pressured to teach something? Maybe the intended meaning was that the teacher taught something contrary to the curriculum.

So would it be a hostile work environment that fires a math teacher for teaching that pi equals three?

Date: 2008/07/01 12:19:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
A history teacher fired for teaching holocaust denial.  
A physics teacher fired for teaching the earth is 6,500 years old
A Social Studies teacher fired for teaching the 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion'

Damn. You've just prescribed permanent unemployment for the majority of creationists and cdesign proponentsists.

Date: 2008/07/01 12:19:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
But you left out HIV denial.

Date: 2008/07/01 13:44:34, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Chelsea and Clinton are adjoining neighborhoods in Manhattan. Clinton is also known as Hell's Kitchen.

Date: 2008/07/01 13:49:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
If the Intelligent Designer hadn't wanted bananas used in classroom condom demonstrations, He wouldn't have made the fruit fit the hand so irreducibly.

Date: 2008/07/01 20:43:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Everything not mandatory is forbidden.

Date: 2008/07/01 22:47:19, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The Jolly green Giant's posterior on the cover may be an allusion to DrDrD's new title, The Dick ButtKiss of Intelligent Design.

Date: 2008/07/02 12:54:20, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Is there a bathroom wall for stuff too sick for the bathroom wall?

Date: 2008/07/02 12:58:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Anyone who remembers a dream knows that what we see and feel are constructs of the brain. Anyone who has kicked a large stone with bare feet knows that the constructs correlate with something "real."

Date: 2008/07/02 13:58:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Yes.  It's called "Your blog".

Odd. "My Blog" mostly just links to your stuff. One should be careful before stepping onto the Möbius link.

Date: 2008/07/02 14:15:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (dnmlthr @ July 02 2008,13:59)
Quote (midwifetoad @ July 02 2008,19:58)
Yes.  It's called "Your blog".

Odd. "My Blog" mostly just links to your stuff. One should be careful before stepping onto the Möbius link.

Are you saying that the two of you equal one Denyse O'Leary?

Date: 2008/07/02 14:30:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I went a couple hundred rounds with someone who asserted SETI should be looking for something equivalent to "john loves mary" in mitochondrial DNA. Such people get quiet when you ask them for examples that have actually been found.

Obviously we know that humans produce sentences and we have lots of examples of things humans have produced. Oddly enough, the list of things produced by humans doesn't include living cells from scratch chemistry, nor any fully functional computer simulations of living things.

So the list of living things that resemble things known to have been designed is a null set.

Date: 2008/07/02 14:39:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
[/QUOTE]Fixed that for you, since the entire article is about when they don't.

My layman's understanding  is that correlation is a measure of probability.

I've had a couple of brief waking dreams. Call them hallucinations induced by strong expectations, or whatever. Makes me sympathetic toward people who have religious experiences, but lack sympathy for their conclusions.

Date: 2008/07/02 14:43:19, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm so old I hadn't seen a television at age eight. First thing I saw on TV was Queen Elizabeth's coronation. About eight and a half.

Date: 2008/07/02 15:40:32, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2008/07/03 04:35:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I've got a text version of the Comer lawsuit, my own OCR, so beware of glitches.

Comer lawsuit

Date: 2008/07/03 16:04:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
No one looks at the bathrrom wall today. For those interested in reading and possibly quoting from the lawsuit, I have a text pdf.

text pdf

Date: 2008/07/03 16:38:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
As for lawsuits, I'm sure the good people at the Discovery Institute (OBTW, I think the name people around here give it, the "Disco Tute" is funny) are getting ready to do more lawsuits to get the "Evolution Uber Alles"* thrown out and let science back into the classroom.

Now that's funny.

Date: 2008/07/04 07:53:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad
dead tree media=print media

Beyond that you're on your own. She did say she tried, and that should be good enough.

Date: 2008/07/06 09:30:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Raevmo Says:
July 5th, 2008 at 7:33 pm Guts:

Why do anti-ID activists here, like Raevmo, feel the need to act like spoiled retarded children? It blows my mind.

Excuse me? I just mentioned that Shubin's claim to fame was his discovery of Tiktaalik. I see you have deleted that post. Why is that?

Comment by Raevmo — July 5, 2008 @ 7:33 pm
Guts Says:
July 5th, 2008 at 7:36 pm I just went through this with Zachriel. I already provided a link to that, the topic is not Shubin's discovery, the topic is well beyond Shubin's discovery.

Comment by Guts — July 5, 2008 @ 7:36 pm
steve Says:
July 5th, 2008 at 7:44 pm Speaking of Zachriel, why was he covertly banned? That kind of behavior flies at Uncommon Descent, but I thought people here had some ethics.

Comment by steve — July 5, 2008 @ 7:44 pm
Guts Says:
July 5th, 2008 at 7:47 pm he wasn't banned. he was barred from this thread.

Comment by Guts — July 5, 2008 @ 7:47 pm

Date: 2008/07/06 09:30:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Raevmo Says:
July 5th, 2008 at 7:33 pm Guts:

Why do anti-ID activists here, like Raevmo, feel the need to act like spoiled retarded children? It blows my mind.

Excuse me? I just mentioned that Shubin's claim to fame was his discovery of Tiktaalik. I see you have deleted that post. Why is that?

Comment by Raevmo — July 5, 2008 @ 7:33 pm
Guts Says:
July 5th, 2008 at 7:36 pm I just went through this with Zachriel. I already provided a link to that, the topic is not Shubin's discovery, the topic is well beyond Shubin's discovery.

Comment by Guts — July 5, 2008 @ 7:36 pm
steve Says:
July 5th, 2008 at 7:44 pm Speaking of Zachriel, why was he covertly banned? That kind of behavior flies at Uncommon Descent, but I thought people here had some ethics.

Comment by steve — July 5, 2008 @ 7:44 pm
Guts Says:
July 5th, 2008 at 7:47 pm he wasn't banned. he was barred from this thread.

Comment by Guts — July 5, 2008 @ 7:47 pm

Date: 2008/07/06 14:40:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
So, Dave what are the odds of tossing 5 heads in a row, given that you've already tossed 5 heads?
The odds don't change retrospectively, but the question being addressed is wrong.

The way to look at it is this:

Say you've tossed a hundred heads in a row; what are the odds that the coin is fair?

In terms of evolution, when you know via many lines of evidence that something has evolved, what are the odds that Dembski/Behe's CSI probability assumptions are correct?

Date: 2008/07/06 19:02:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm wondering if Guts is the HIV denier who shows up on other forums.

Date: 2008/07/06 19:02:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm wondering if Guts is the HIV denier who shows up on other forums.

Date: 2008/07/07 07:35:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think TT's Guts may be the same person as this Guts:
No, the article proves that darwinist expectations are wrong again. ID scientists predict frontloading, whereas the Church of Darwin predicts evolution from the simple to the complex. Seeing how sea anemones are thought to precede the Cambrian explosion, this article flies in the face of Darwinist expectations (and to their credit they admit it). Of course, they omit the fact that IDers have predicted frontloading all along, but such behavior is to be expected from nature worshiping darwinists.
IT'S TIME TO REOPEN THE DUESBERG FILE! Indian media begins to cover the story our own AIDS establishment (and their friends in the MSM) has been spiking for almost two decades.
If you would like to be put on my RETHINKING AIDS list, please FReepmail me--GGG

To learn how the AIDS establishment used phony AIDS alarmism to push an anti-family, anti Judeo-Christian, pro-homosexual, totalitarian agenda, please read the following:

The Hidden Agenda behind HIV

Front Loading: check
HIV denial: check
Abusive language: check.

Date: 2008/07/07 07:35:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think TT's Guts may be the same person as this Guts:
No, the article proves that darwinist expectations are wrong again. ID scientists predict frontloading, whereas the Church of Darwin predicts evolution from the simple to the complex. Seeing how sea anemones are thought to precede the Cambrian explosion, this article flies in the face of Darwinist expectations (and to their credit they admit it). Of course, they omit the fact that IDers have predicted frontloading all along, but such behavior is to be expected from nature worshiping darwinists.
IT'S TIME TO REOPEN THE DUESBERG FILE! Indian media begins to cover the story our own AIDS establishment (and their friends in the MSM) has been spiking for almost two decades.
If you would like to be put on my RETHINKING AIDS list, please FReepmail me--GGG

To learn how the AIDS establishment used phony AIDS alarmism to push an anti-family, anti Judeo-Christian, pro-homosexual, totalitarian agenda, please read the following:

The Hidden Agenda behind HIV

Front Loading: check
HIV denial: check
Abusive language: check.

Date: 2008/07/07 10:21:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
6 July 2008
Chris Comer was shilling for CFI-Austin
Cool. This should be interesting when it gets to court. As I was reading the complaint it mentions Barbara Forrest’s talk was sponsored by the Austin Center for Inquiry.

The briar patch! Anything but the briar patch!

Date: 2008/07/07 10:38:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ July 07 2008,10:28)
Gutless has covered his tracks in that comment thread at TT. All of the comments relating to his trollery at AtBC have been deleted.

Apparently he is so proud of his turd-chucking here that he doesn't want any of the TT regulars to get a whiff of it.

More things to think about re your choice of bedfellows, lcd.

I don't think he wants his HIV denial to become widely known either, except to his chosen audience.

If I have misidentified him he is free to correct me. I'll be happy to back away. But I've seen this behavior at other sites. I doubt if I'm wrong.

Date: 2008/07/07 10:38:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Albatrossity2 @ July 07 2008,10:28)
Gutless has covered his tracks in that comment thread at TT. All of the comments relating to his trollery at AtBC have been deleted.

Apparently he is so proud of his turd-chucking here that he doesn't want any of the TT regulars to get a whiff of it.

More things to think about re your choice of bedfellows, lcd.

I don't think he wants his HIV denial to become widely known either, except to his chosen audience.

If I have misidentified him he is free to correct me. I'll be happy to back away. But I've seen this behavior at other sites. I doubt if I'm wrong.

Date: 2008/07/07 13:16:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Somewhere Goebbels is smiling and nodding knowingly.

I wonder if Telic Thinkers are smiling. We are talking about someone who's HIV stuff offended the tender sensibilities and discerning scientific minds at FR.

There does seem to be an under-the-counter trade in HIV denial amongst IDiots.

Date: 2008/07/07 13:16:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Somewhere Goebbels is smiling and nodding knowingly.

I wonder if Telic Thinkers are smiling. We are talking about someone who's HIV stuff offended the tender sensibilities and discerning scientific minds at FR.

There does seem to be an under-the-counter trade in HIV denial amongst IDiots.

Date: 2008/07/07 15:13:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm familiar with slavery denialism, particularly as it pertains to the many in the Bible that sanction slavery, admonish slaves to obey their masters, or codify just how near to death you can beat a slave.

Date: 2008/07/07 15:23:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
In a broader sense, Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose.

That was easy. I wonder when they'll get around to providing an example of detection.

Date: 2008/07/08 17:32:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (argystokes @ July 08 2008,16:41)
Over on the comment thread in discussion, Joy said:

Though as a mere nuclear physicist, I obviously don't know much. I expect Heddle would agree.

Joy is a nuclear physicist? Really? I find it hard to believe she's ever been a scientist of any kind.

Homer's a nuckular physicist, isn't he?

Date: 2008/07/08 18:22:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
So what's all this pious bullshit?

Maybe he remembers his days in the timeout room, outside the Inner Circle.

Date: 2008/07/08 18:55:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad



6:17 pm

We have gross models of gravity that permit us to predict trajectories of projectiles with considerable accuracy. Similarly, we have gross models of evoluton.

You really lost the plot there. NDE predicts nothing. Look at poor Dr. Lenski and his 20 years and 40,000 generations of E.coli. He couldn’t predict jack diddly squat about what or when (if anything) was going to happen to them in the way of evolving. All he could do was watch, wait, then when and if something did happen he could explain it after the fact.

You had better a get a clue pretty quick or you’re history here.

On second thought, get lost. That was just too stupid to tolerate.

EDIT: cool. With an edit button I can scoop everyone.

Date: 2008/07/08 19:30:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Can't edit yet. Who's in charge of that?

Date: 2008/07/09 06:18:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
BTW - I note that Guts has denied being the Freeper Guts HIV-denier. Fair enough. Perhaps next time he'll do what I'd do if such a terrible case of mistaken identity happened, and emphasize that not only is he not that person, but that he's not any sort of HIV-denier. It's a very insulting charge to make of anyone, even by mistaken association, and I'm sure that, as a man to whom personal honour is so important, he doesn't want to be so labeled.

That would be me making that claim. If he denies it, he must be telling the truth. all I can say is he behaves the same and talks the same and shares an internet username.

Date: 2008/07/09 08:04:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Ftk @ July 09 2008,07:50)
LoL...right on target there, Olegt... ;)

I hope you've seen a doctor.

Date: 2008/07/09 08:29:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Another one bites the dust, same thread.




7:49 am

Austin English compared gravity to evolution. I told him it was ludicrous as gravity allows us to make exquisite predictions of the future and evolution can’t predict anything.

You then started to make analogies about evolution and the rolling of dice. Yeah, buddy, but it’s almost infinitely sided dice. No two rolls ever have to come up the same in a finite universe. You can’t make predictions based on statistics from dice like that. That’s why neo-darwinian evolutionary theory can make no unpredictions.

For participating in the stupidity of comparing of evolution to gravity you are out of here. Say hi to Austin English wherever he is.

Date: 2008/07/09 11:31:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The argument is valid...nothing juvenile about it.  Perhaps you can explain to me how it's invalid?  The conspiracy element is an accusation forwarded by both sides of this debate.

Being caught lying under oath about your motives is evidence of a conspiracy. Being caught changinging creationism to intelligent design in a textbook is evidence of a conspiracy. Hiding a strategy paper is evidence of a conspiracy.

Date: 2008/07/09 12:10:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Save this comment for a couple of years.  It will make one of my publications really, really funny (hint: I use principles of evolution to predict things).

Does that mean you've explained gravity?

Date: 2008/07/09 13:25:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Flatfish missing link tells twisted tale
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last Updated: 6:01pm BST 09/07/2008

A twisted tale of how the world's flatfishes ended up with two eyes on one side of their head is told at last by a newly analysed fossil that has lain in a museum drawer for more than a century.

The 50 million year old discovery puts an end to an enduring problem that has been puzzled over by many famous evolutionary thinkers, including Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace.

Date: 2008/07/09 14:04:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (lcd @ July 09 2008,14:02)
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ July 09 2008,12:58)


An Intelligent designer would use things over again that worked.

So, why would a designer use things over that didn't work?

From what I believe and read it was Original Sin that caused and is causing God's creation to break down.  Micro Evolution is fully supported by ID and indeed it is supported and predicted by it.  The loss of Information is why we get these sub-optimal appearing designs.

God's creation was perfect, our sin destroyed that perfection.

Or again that is what I Postulate.

So would Fall Theory imply that disease causing organisms were better at their work before and just after the Fall, or have they lost information and become wimpy over time?

Date: 2008/07/09 17:36:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Think whatever you like, but I'm not lying.  Have you ever seen flood geology or age of the earth issues covered in Dembski/Johnson/Behe books regarding design?

I would start with Dembski's Mere Creation in which he welcomes young earth creationists to the fold and says solidarity in the war against materialism is more important than deciding whether the earth is 6000 or four billion years old. He has repeated this recently on his blog.

Now if you see nothing ironic about a mathematician who doesn't care to distinguish between 6000 and four billion, I'd say you need serious help.

Date: 2008/07/09 18:00:56, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Kind of blurs the usual political stereotypes. Creationism, Kos, No Nukes, Conspiracy.

Date: 2008/07/09 18:17:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm familiar with the acronym "FTA" from my time as a draftee, but what is "FTK"? Something from WWI?

Date: 2008/07/09 23:03:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
That's three in about 24 hours.

Date: 2008/07/10 07:58:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (keiths @ July 10 2008,00:47)
Joy's intellectual hero, Matti Pitkänen, opens today's post on his blog with this paragraph:
A code for protein folding and bio-catalysis

The TGD inspired model for the evolution of genetic code leads to the idea that the folding of proteins obeys a folding code inherited from the genetic code. After some trials one ends up with a general conceptualization of the situation with the identification of wormhole magnetic flux tubes as correlates of attention at molecular level so that a direct connection with TGD inspired theory of consciousness emerges at quantitative level. This allows a far reaching generalization of the DNA as topological quantum computer paradigm and makes it much more detailed. By their asymmetric character hydrogen bonds are excellent candidates for magnetic flux tubes serving as correlates of attention at molecular level.


I think he failed to take this into consideration,

In string theory, the quantum-mechanical amplitude for the interaction of n closed or open strings is represented by a functional integral (basically, a sum) over fields living on a two-dimensional manifold with boundary. In quantum gravity, we may expect that a similar representation will hold, except that the two-dimensional manifold with boundary will be replaced by a multidimensional one. Unfortunately, multidimensionality goes against the grain of conventional linear mathematical thought, and despite a recent broadening of attitudes (notably associated with the study of multidimensional nonlinear phenomena in chaos theory), the theory of multidimensional manifolds with boundary remains somewhat underdeveloped. Nevertheless, physicists' work on the functional-integral approach to quantum gravity continues apace, and this work is likely to stimulate the attention of mathematicians.

Date: 2008/07/10 12:27:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Richardthughes @ July 10 2008,12:08)
Not at all. Why, you should feel Special since you have your very own Olympics.

and forces, too.

Date: 2008/07/10 13:54:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I hope someone keeps track of the 11 parents and their children. Everyone in Dover knows damn well that no children were forced to listen to the 60 second announcement regarding evolution and intelligent design. So what you have is 11 parents whose religious hostility extended to such a trivial matter they were willing to make the tiny school district pay a million dollars.


Date: 2008/07/10 15:16:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Another one Expelled.

Date: 2008/07/10 21:17:13, Link
Author: midwifetoad
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. -Admin]

All right. Time for a group hug.

Date: 2008/07/11 09:29:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Ah, neutrality toward the controversial belief that 6000 does not equal four billion.

Date: 2008/07/11 10:20:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Though I seem to be banned from uncommondescent (for no apparent reason) I hope the moderators there read this.

It's fairly apparent to me. Even Dave had a close encounter with reality and was removed from the inner circle for fumigation. I see he's recovered.

Date: 2008/07/11 12:42:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. -Admin]

Where I come from, The Swamp is a place of honor and glory. Just sayin'.

On a higher literary plane, the swamp was the home of Pogo, a wise creature from whom the DI crowd could learn much.

Date: 2008/07/24 10:30:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
As an outsider looking in on the biology community, I see lots of opportunities being created for quote miners.

One obvious problem in popular writing about transitionals is the common notion that one fossil  is a descendant of another, and an ancestor of yet another.

The notion of cousins is occasionally mentioned, but it seems to clog up the flow of writing. It seems to me that with graphics and animation technology, someone could come up with a good flash video illustrating how something could be a transitional and at the same time be on a dead branch of the tree.

Date: 2008/08/01 20:52:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Anyone else having trouble opening scienceblogs sites with internet explorer?

EDIT: I see on other forums that many blog sites are suddenly inaccessable with IE.

More edit...

If you have sitemeter and us Internet Explorer, they are not working together and will not allow
you to get into your blog. What it also means that I cannot read any blogs with sitemeters on them.
THIS is a HUGE problem in blogspot land right now.
What you do is:
go to
log in
get to your dashboard
then layouts
remove sitemeter....

THAT is the only reason my blog is working tonight....
hope this helps some of you

The final word...

Date: 2008/08/05 16:39:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Dec. 27 2007,23:18)
Quote (stevestory @ Dec. 27 2007,21:34)
Quote (VMartin @ Dec. 27 2007,11:15)
Have you ever heard about Paul Leautaud?

No, but since you like him, we know two things about him: he's probably dead, and probably had some idea no biologist in his right mind would accept today.

And odds are no one's bothered to translate him into English and he never wrote anything after the 1930's.

Il naît d'un père comédien puis souffleur vingt-trois années à la Comédie-Française. Cinq jours après l'accouchement, il est abandonné par sa mère, une des « compagnes temporaires » du géniteur. Élevé par un père indifférent, le petit Paul acquiert très tôt le sens de l'indépendance et possède une clef du domicile à l'âge de cinq ans.

Dans son adolescence, il se lie d'amitié avec Adolphe Van Bever et partage avec lui une vie d'employé pauvre. Leur passion commune de la poésie les conduira à publier en 1900 l'anthologie Poètes d'aujourd'hui.

Date: 2008/08/06 09:15:20, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I could provide a version of the fiddle tune with the hum removed if someone has a place to upload an MP3.

Date: 2008/08/06 20:43:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
"Do, or do not. There is no 'try.'"

Date: 2008/08/07 10:21:02, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Quack @ Aug. 07 2008,10:13)
Quote (lcd @ Aug. 07 2008,07:10)
It's called faith.

I don't have evidence that you'd consider to be so for why I believe and think the way that I do.  What I'm looking for is science evidence that will back up my faith.

So yes all you ATHEISTIC EVIL NAZI-MARXIST WANNABES I'm looking for evidence to give to more than a few people I know and teach them a few things.


Just what is it you want to teach? Faith or facts?

It's not faith or facts; it's faith or empiricism.

Exactly why anyone would look for evidence to bolster faith is beyond my imagination. The evidence for revealed religion has been on a downhill slope for centuries.

Date: 2008/08/08 10:11:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
many Limeys of my acquaintance think (for comedy purposes) that the American accent and male population is gay

The John Wayne accent sounds gay to me, particularly imitations of the accent.

Date: 2008/08/10 19:34:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (lcd @ Aug. 10 2008,18:47)
I've asked my questions at the UD board.

Please forgive me but I hope they answer in a way that shocks and surprises you.



Link please?

Date: 2008/08/10 19:51:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I asked polite and reasonable questions at UD and lasted six posts before being banned. I was accused of arguing for something I never even mentioned.

All I know is that all my posts aroused the attention of someone posting under the name Patrick. Except the last one, which was answered by Dave Scot.

Date: 2008/08/10 20:16:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (lcd @ Aug. 10 2008,20:00)
I'll ask here as I've already asked on the TT Board.

What systems are considered IC by IC proponents?

Ooooh. A moving target.

Edit: The correct answer is any system that hasn't (yet) been explained as an accumulation of small steps.

Date: 2008/08/10 20:39:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
On the other hand they might be waiting for it to show up here to support a bannation. I suggest making a copy in Notepad and holding it for a day or two.

Date: 2008/08/10 23:00:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
That a jumbo bag of questions. In my experience, all but one will be ignored, and the one that is addressed will be the least interesting.

Date: 2008/08/10 23:01:20, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Ping me when they burn Atlanta.

Date: 2008/08/11 09:18:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Adding on to that, the word "better" is relative to the current environment, which changes all the time.

Also, it is possible to be "as good as". Sexual selection allows populations to drift apart for purely cosmetic reasons. Some chicks just prefer guys with redder feathers, for arbitrary reasons.

There are other forms of drift as well.

Date: 2008/08/11 16:44:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (lcd @ Aug. 11 2008,12:32)
To any UD proponent.  Is this true?  Did Dr. Dembski actually misuse someone else's work for his own profit?

Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but the weight of evidence is stacking up against him.  I'm really asking for some help here.  I want to know that people who are leading the charge to show that there is alternatives to Evolution are not themselves doing the very thing they accuse others of doing.


P.S. I’m banned on AfterTheBarCloses so I can’t respond there but I read the accusations about stolen materials. Ask them where a court found a violation of “fair use” in any of it. There won’t be any affirmative answers forthcoming

Not much chance of any court action, but I wonder if Christians think it is OK to remove a copyright notice from a video and show the altered video at a paid lecture. As long as you don't get taken to court.

Date: 2008/08/11 21:41:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
of the week.

Date: 2008/08/12 08:55:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Much of The Argument Regarding Teleology involves the use of bolding.
Sharp. On many levels.

Date: 2008/08/12 10:52:25, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (cewagner @ Aug. 12 2008,10:38)
I am not arguing for a supernatural explanation.

I am arguing that random, accidental or non-directed processes cannot do the job.

I do not deny that there may be some yet to be discovered "first principle" involved in the process that provides a perfectly natural explanation.

What part of selection is not direction?

The fact that you can't predict the direction is no more mysterious than the inability to predict the weather a month in advance.

Date: 2008/08/12 20:46:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Need I mention that Newton's "law of gravity" describes a subset of observed conditions?

Date: 2008/08/13 08:22:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (olegt @ Aug. 13 2008,07:38)
Rude on Ted Davis's departure from UD.  

In spite of all the nuanced chatter one thing is clear. Ted says that many TEs won’t enter the Big Tent because it’s too big, that unless we disavow the YECs and Common Descent deniers (and Global Warming deniers?) they will stand aloof. Well if that’s the case then who wants them? The age of the earth and common descent are empirical questions for which I have no dog in the race, nor should ID because they are irrelevant.

Should ID be an organization with litmus tests for irrelevant issues just so that sophisticated people can avoid embarrassment?

Irrelevant isn't the right word, Rude.  Those issues are settled.  When a large number of people under the big tent argue against long-established science, they look like a bunch of crackpots.

Six thousand does equal 4.5 billion, approximately, so what's the issue?

Date: 2008/08/13 10:09:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2008/08/13 10:15:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Actually, Darwinism is the only supposedly scientific theory I have ever heard of that always seems to need a legal defense fund - and thrives simply by expelling opposition. That is a reliable mark of falsehood.

Or a reliable mark of a theory that is only challenged in the courtroom and not in the laboratory.

I forget. when was the last time creationists went to court to demand equal time for flood geology? Or variable rates of atomic decay, or variable speeds of light?

Date: 2008/08/13 12:27:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Fight in the big tent coming?

All the money comes from the yahoo contingent, so I predict counselling and continued cohabitation. Without the questioning of the age of the earth and the questioning of common descent, ID is an empty shell.

Date: 2008/08/13 18:34:02, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Did anyone ever tell him the moon hasn't always been the same distance from earth as it is now?

Date: 2008/08/13 21:13:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Tracy P. Hamilton @ Aug. 13 2008,21:09)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Aug. 13 2008,18:34)
Did anyone ever tell him the moon hasn't always been the same distance from earth as it is now?

Yeah, but the moon was designed to be at just the right distance when humans were to be designed.  And the earth-moon system was designed to have the earth's rotation be 365.25 days at just the right time to match the calendar!

I guess that tells us how many days we have. Just calculate when the moon will cease producing total eclipses and you have the day of reckoning.

Date: 2008/08/14 12:11:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Do we get to assigne weather to pixies because there is no theory or law of weather?

Dave might want to distinguish between the study of elementary forces and particles, and the study of complex processes. Even gravity gets dicey when you have more than two bodies interacting.

Date: 2008/08/14 13:55:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Atheism seems to serve as porn for the yeccies. Where's the LOL cat?

Date: 2008/08/14 13:59:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Are you bringing up again that drunken fling he and Bill and/or Denyse once had?

The gravity of that possibility buggers belief.

Date: 2008/08/14 15:06:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
So where's the gay, atheist kittuh pics?

Date: 2008/08/14 17:48:20, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Aug. 14 2008,17:07)
Intelligence only comes from intelligence. Write that down.

Then one can only conclude that Dave's parents weren't real bright.

Intelligence Entropy?

Date: 2008/08/14 18:39:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Srsly. From Dave's standpoint, and the apparently official position of Dembsky/Behe, et al, is there any reason we shouldn't expect every generation to be stupider than its parents?

Date: 2008/08/14 18:43:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm always wondering about the percentage of biology teachers convicted of diddling boys, compared to the percentage of clergymen.

Date: 2008/08/16 15:22:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Is the assumption of randomness really necessary? Would a system of variation that produced all possible alleles in sequential order have different evolutionary consequenses than one that produced them in random order?

Just asking. :p

Date: 2008/08/16 15:58:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
What does the one have to do with the other?

The guys at UD seem to think everything produced by evolution is simply the expression of an algorithm, not unlike a cellular automaton. See front loading.

Date: 2008/08/16 16:00:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The question though, is does it matter? As long as the variation generator produces all possible values for a given string.

Date: 2008/08/17 08:31:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Original Skonk Works.

Date: 2008/08/17 10:34:04, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think the wheels in Dark Materials were borrowed, in the fashion of the hermit crab.

Date: 2008/08/17 19:36:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Accused of independent thinking. I'm so ashamed. I think I'll go hide under a rock for a while.

Date: 2008/08/17 20:14:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Personally, I think ee cummings said it pretty well.

i like my body when it is with your
  body. It is so quite a new thing.
  Muscles better and nerves more.
  i like your body. i like what it does,
  i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
  of your body and its bones, and the trembling
  -firm-smooth ness and which i will
  again and again and again
  kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
  i like,, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
  of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
  over parting flesh . . . . And eyes big Love-crumbs,

  and possibly i like the thrill

  of under me you quite so new

Date: 2008/08/17 21:38:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
By the way, The Gang of Four at the Gateway of Life" sounds a bit like "Piper at the Gates of Dawn" from Wind in the Willows. Also a Pink Floyd album.

Date: 2008/08/17 23:26:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Dave prefers nazibaters to clean guys?

Date: 2008/08/18 08:50:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I always wonder: what? I hear that often, that people have enough to thank for, but I never hear exactly what.

I think this may reflect the story that if all the troubles of the world were put in a bucket and you could draw out anyone's, you would -- after reflection -- choose your own.


Date: 2008/08/18 10:16:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Real genetic engineers mix genes across families, even across kingdoms to produce useful products. why none in nature? Why does it all look like common descent with small modifications between generations?

Date: 2008/08/18 18:14:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Science fiction writers have populated Jupiter with balloon critters.

There were going to be some in the movie 2001 -- they're in the book -- but the movie got shortened and the Jupiter critters got edited into the LSD/wormhole scene.

Date: 2008/08/18 19:18:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think everyone would like to see an ID research proposal that didn't involve googling for quotelets.

Date: 2008/08/19 17:58:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
One comment so far, of uncertain gender.

Date: 2008/08/20 21:44:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
If the drive is not physically dead you don't need to pay for a recovery service, but you might need to pay for a recovery program. I've used RTT and it has save the day a couple of times.

I once deleted the partition on a drive used for a server backup. I was using it to restore to the server after installing bigger drives. The mistake wasn't fatal. I still had the original drives, and I had another day old backup, but it was rather embarrassing.

RTT found everything in a reasonable time. It's essentially an unformat.

Edit: I just realized that I use PC Inspector to get stuff off mangled camera memory cards.
Good free program. I'm not sure it will work on NTFS. That's why I paid for RTT.

Date: 2008/08/20 21:52:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
FAT32 is not terribly robust. It's a lot easier to lose the allocation tables and harder to rebuild them. I reformat all external drives to NTFS.

Date: 2008/08/20 22:07:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Aug. 20 2008,21:57)
Quote (stevestory @ Aug. 20 2008,18:54)
Nothing. 25 Gigs of music gone.

OMG. You mean all those hundreds of Cake mp3's, just...gone? ? ? :O

You only need to recover one. Then just copy it 2,999 times and change the titles.

Date: 2008/08/21 06:35:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Aug. 21 2008,03:56)
He can write a book (or have it ghost-written), hit the talk-show circuit, and never miss the day job.

I'm thinking the title would include words like coverup and conspiracy.

Date: 2008/08/21 11:12:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Nerull @ Aug. 21 2008,10:49)
Quote (stevestory @ Aug. 21 2008,00:18)
A long, long time ago (four years) I was a power user and ran lots of premium software, and NAG libraries, and finite-element methods, and extensive Mathematica programs doing simulations and Cellular Automata runs and etc etc. And so at the time I knew all the deep deep computer junk, even as far as details about the IEEE 754 specs, etc, But now I just want a computer that fucking works. I want to hearz my musics without screwing around and I don't want to bother with tables and MBR backups blah blah blah. I swear to god if I have another event like this I'm just saying to hell with it and buying Mac. I guarantee if i took a hard drive out of a Mac and put it in another Mac it would just fucking work.

If the filesystem is corrupted, it doesn't matter what OS you use. Macs wouldn't have any better luck reading it than Windows. It's a problem with the data on the drive, not the software.

I was going to say that. I've swapped drives dozens of times without problems. I've also, in 24 years, seen several drives fail. The stupidest on was a SATA drive that had the data connecter break due to mishandling in shipping. Really weird.

But I'm going to repeat. NTFS has a much better chance of supporting data recovery if things get erased, or reformatted or corrupted.

Date: 2008/08/21 12:55:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Aug. 21 2008,11:59)

But I'm going to repeat. NTFS has a much better chance of supporting data recovery if things get erased, or reformatted or corrupted.

I'm glad that it has that going for it, for in my experience, an NTFS partition is by far more likely going to *need* data recovery at some point.

Interesting. In nearly fifteen years of using NTFS and supporting it, the only time I've needed a recovery tool was when I screwed up.

When I was using FAT, I had to run chkdsk every time the power failed.

Date: 2008/08/21 13:27:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Certainly. I wouldn't plug an NTFS drive into a system that didn't support it. If you need compatibility, network.

I'm just saying that I've seen FAT files lost in power outages, but in fifteen years I've never seen an NTFS drive corrupted by power outages. Never seen an NTFS USB drive corrupted by pulling the plug illegally.

But mainly I use it because I have humongous files that can't be saved to FAT32.

Date: 2008/08/21 15:23:56, Link
Author: midwifetoad
"Network it" doesn't do much in a dual-boot laptop situation, where the host OS is not the one currently running.

I wouldn't give up on this.

NAS external, supports NTFS

Date: 2008/08/21 20:30:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2008/08/22 15:22:26, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It did move biology and geology out of the realm of stamp collecting. Or, to use Darwin's metaphor, pebble counting.

Date: 2008/08/23 07:18:32, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Would it be unthoughtful and uncivil to suggest that science seeks find regularities rather than whims?

Date: 2008/08/23 10:25:56, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It does seem that the requirement for thoughtful contributions has dried up the well.

Edit: Or perhaps the UD regulars noticed that Fuller tries to enhance his credibility by distancing himself from Behe and Dembski.

Date: 2008/08/23 16:42:19, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I found a pic of Dave driving out the uncivil and unthoughtful, and those posting under pseudonyms.

Date: 2008/08/23 20:17:32, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think Dr Dr might want to avoid calling attention to the Hereditas article.


It is characteristic of both C. Darwin and
G. Mendel that they created, for the first time, the
possibility of true scientific theorizing, free of
teleological philosophy, in the two main fields of
biology/evolution and heredity’’ (SOSNA 1966).

Date: 2008/08/23 21:47:46, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Huh? horseshoe crabs in pursuit of edges? WTF?

Crab nookie.

In 1967, Dr. H. Keffer Hartline received the Nobel Prize for his research on horseshoe crab vision. He discovered how sensory cells in the retina help the brain process visual cues, enabling horseshoe crabs to see lines, shapes, and borders. This mechanism, called lateral inhibition, allows horseshoe crabs to distinguish mates in murky water.

Date: 2008/08/24 00:28:46, Link
Author: midwifetoad
They simply refuse to coordinate two or more aspects of the same truth. First, they intrude their theology on their science (A compassionate God could not have designed this world), then they intrude their science on their theology (Darwinism is true, so Adam and Eve didn’t exist). One wonders how many truths one mind is supposed to hold. Apparently, it has never occurred to them that it is much easier on the mind and the emotions to simply follow the evidence where it leads.

How is the compassion inference less self evident than the design inference? After all we have evidence in scripture that God is loving and compassionate.

Isn't the compassion inference more in tune with religion than the inference that a loving God designed leishmaniasis, as Behe seems to think?

Just wondering...

Date: 2008/08/24 01:06:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Personally, I think the idea of unobservable causation deserves careful consideration. But anyone who thinks scientists are going to be receptive to the notion anytime soon is dreaming.

Any physicists care to illuminate this?

Date: 2008/08/24 08:02:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Bob O'H @ Aug. 24 2008,06:39)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Aug. 24 2008,01:06)
Personally, I think the idea of unobservable causation deserves careful consideration. But anyone who thinks scientists are going to be receptive to the notion anytime soon is dreaming.

Any physicists care to illuminate this?

Some of you may think that the appearance of these words were caused by a human being typing them in front of the computer, but you would be sadly mistaken.  We scientists know that, because you didn't observe them being typed (and I know you didn't - even the cat is asleep), there is no point in even considering the possibility.


The Mysterious Telic Entity Bob

Of course they weren't typed by a human being. They were typed by a toad.

Date: 2008/08/24 19:12:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad

It doesn’t appear you want any constructive dialog but rather just came here to disrupt this thread with your preconceived beliefs. You’ve had your say and I want other people to get a chance to have theirs. Zip it in this one

Sincerely, Dave

Date: 2008/08/24 22:27:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I lasted six posts on UD. My only claim to fame is that my posts got the attention of Patrick hisself.

I don't know who Patrick is, but he writes like Behe.

Date: 2008/08/25 09:18:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
In the Republican debates, three wannabes raised their hands indicating they did not accept evolution. None of them will be on the ticket.

McCain appears to be a theistic evolutionist. He doesn't seem inclined to pick a yahoo for a running mate.

I'm more concerned about state legislatures and school boards.

Date: 2008/08/25 10:14:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm all for holding the candidate's feet to the fire on science. It would be odd to see candidates forced to deny being anti-evolution. That would be the day.

Date: 2008/08/25 11:35:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think it should be obvious that politicians can't really have opinions on religion that aren't calculated. If anything matters, it is their voting record.

And even that isn't a sure thing, because laws are packaged in such a way that everyone winds up voting for something they don't like.

Date: 2008/08/25 17:29:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Sometimes the news source says it all.

Date: 2008/08/25 18:21:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
China will eventually be the superpower simply because it has the most people and possibly the smartest.  Or the most smart people. Could take ten years or  fifty, but it's on the way.

India could compete in this arena if they undergo a similar cultural revolution, but I doubt they will in my lifetime. Of course I would have said the same thing about China 20 years ago.

Date: 2008/08/25 18:23:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Drink fast. All your PgUp/PgDn keys are belong to Microsoft.

Date: 2008/08/25 19:09:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2008/08/26 20:07:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
A file that was completely, truly random would be basically incompressible, and the zipped file would be 100% the size of the original.

Just to show how screwed up intuitive concepts can be, the digits of pi are believed to be "random" in the sense that an arbitrary sequence of digits taken from pi cannot be distinguished from a sequence generated by quantum phenomena. In another sense, the digits of pi are believed to contain every possible string of finite length.

And yet pi can be generated by a simple algorithm.

Date: 2008/08/26 20:54:56, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Actual data, image size 100x100 pixel, White square, and same size square after Photoshop noise filter applied (looks like confetti). Saved with no compression and two kinds of lossless compression.

    Object              .bmp      .tif         .psd
white, 100x100 px   29.3k     7.83k      8.25k
Noise, 100x100 px   29.3k    35.40k     44.60k

Date: 2008/08/26 22:05:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Richardthughes @ Aug. 26 2008,21:21)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Aug. 26 2008,20:54)
Actual data, image size 100x100 pixel, White square, and same size square after Photoshop noise filter applied (looks like confetti). Saved with no compression and two kinds of lossless compression.

    Object              .bmp      .tif         .psd
white, 100x100 px   29.3k     7.83k      8.25k
Noise, 100x100 px   29.3k    35.40k     44.60k

clearly there's a market for a metaformat that dynamically pics the best compression format - the added carrier cost for the 'format switch' would be minuscule...

© 2008 - AtBC Labs

Saving the same two files as .gif, the solid white takes 156 bytes and the noise file takes nearly as much space as the lossless compression files.

Date: 2008/08/28 07:51:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I had in mind something a bit less drastic than all members of a population shifting their alleles like synchronized swimmers, but I see your point.

I guess my point is that a pseudo random algorithm would work as well as a theoretically perfect random one.

I'm pretty sure there are ID advocates hoping to demonstrate some day that some mutations anticipate need, or at least respond to environmental stress by producing targeted change. A non-theistic teleology, if you will.

Don't shoot me. I'm just trying to figure out what they're thinking about, if anything.

Date: 2008/08/28 14:26:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2008/08/28 14:34:35, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Apparently not all teachers are prepared for this.

Date: 2008/08/28 21:24:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad


Date: 2008/08/29 12:54:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Aug. 29 2008,07:18)
Quote (Richardthughes @ Aug. 29 2008,01:31)
The math may be beyond me but I'm sure folks like Wes could offer you a good critique, if you'd like.

I can at least speak to Dembski's history of claims with respect to information theory and evolutionary computation. I was the guy who set him the task of explaining away EC back at the 1997 NTSE conference. My example there was a GA that produces short tours for the Traveling Salesman Problem. It's an example Dembski has never come to grips with. The class of problem, NP-hard, sets both intelligent agents and evolutionary computation on the same level, seeking approximate solutions rather than exact optimal solutions for any non-trivial number of cities in the tour. The evaluation function is too simple to even try to claim that the solution state is incorporated into it: total cost for each tour. Instead, Dembski has been making a career out of misunderstanding even Dawkins' pedagogical example, the weasel program. So far, he has not even managed to describe the weasel program correctly.

I have been wondering whether the weasel program could be run as a web page where viewers could vote on the strings to live and reproduce based not on a match to a given string, but on arbitrary criteria known only to each participant.

Date: 2008/08/29 14:27:48, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I have no idea what the population size is in weasel, but let's say it's too large for inspection by a human over the Internet.

Suppose each page view is treated as and encounter with a reasonable sized tribe, and the web player is designated as a predator, choosing some to eliminate, or food, choosing some to survive and replace those that are eliminated. The host would dole out the roles so that the population size remains stable.

On any given page view, the host program selects an individual at random and builds a tribe of those most nearly matching it. The player sees the tribe -- say 50 or 100 individuals -- and selects some for reproduction or elimination.

At the host end the population would be in continuous flux; there would be no "rounds" affection the entire population at once.

From the player's perspective, the "genome" would be beyond the control of any particular player. Depending on the population size, a player might never see the same string or same tribe twice.

OK, so I'm nuts, but I think with some tinkering, you could build a game that would have interesting results.

Date: 2008/08/29 22:50:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The travelling salesman problem does not have a predetermined solution. It doesn't even have a single solution.

There's a patent issued for an electronic circuit designed by a genetic algorithm.

Date: 2008/08/31 03:09:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The science debate looks like a good idea. I wish the networks would devote a major debate to science.

The image, however, strikes me as something that will backfire. The results of making fun of Reagan's age and senility come to mind.

The experience issue would make more sense if Biden were topping the Democrat ticket and Obama and Palin were opponents at the same level.

Date: 2008/08/31 11:47:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
What pisses the anti-evolutionists off the most is that the features they can't live with haven't changed since Darwin: the fact of common descent happening over hundreds of millions of years, and the lack of foresight in variation.

The YEC crowd can't accept the first, and the ID crowd can't accept the second.

Date: 2008/08/31 12:20:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Some pics from my travelling spawn.

Date: 2008/08/31 14:23:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (J-Dog @ Aug. 31 2008,13:51)
Mid-toad - NICE PICS!!!  What?  You climbed Mt Everest, without telling us???!!!

But seriously?  When and where dude?

Last week, taken in Peru by my son. Possibly on the Inca Trail, but I'm not in frequent touch.

I think it's nice to be able to upload travel pictures to Flickr as you go, in case your stuff gets lost or stolen.

Date: 2008/09/04 12:34:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm a veteran of about 50 XP repairs and reinstalls. The most critical thing is to make sure you don't change the CD key on a machine that has been activated. This is sometimes problematic when you have a machine cobbled together from bits and parts.

There are a couple of programs -- one of them happily named Keyfinder -- that will tell you what is installed. I have found that Dells and Gateways often have a key installed that doesn't match the sticker on the side of the computer.

The next problem is making sure your CD key matches the type of installation CD. There are numerous kinds of installation CDs. Windows comes in two flavors, Home and Pro. For each flavor there are three colors, Retail, OEM and Upgrade. That makes six possible CDs, and each is tied to a specific list of keys. To make it even more fun, there are three versions -- Original, SP1 and SP2. If you can find an SP2 CD, that's the one to use. Keys are not tied to version.

The next problem is that except for the Retail versions, activation seems to be tied to either the hard drive or the motherboard, or both. Sometimes you have to call Microsoft and fight with them over activation. The OEM versions are technically tied to the original hardware, so if you get into a fight over activation, you better be aware that Dell CD keys cannot be transferred to a new computer.

Now, I have worked around most of these activation issues, with only a couple of failures. For OEM installations, MS seems to allow you to put an old hard drive into a new computer. Or to replace a dead hard drive in the same computer. Or upgrade a hard drive. But if you do too many of these things too quickly, you can find yourself on the phone.

There is a secret version of reinstall called Repair. (This may only work for Professional. that's all I work with.) To do a Repair, you boot from the CD, follow the menus for installation. After the installation script finds an existing installation it will ask if you want to repair it. If you say yes, it replaces all the system files, but leaves all your third party programs untouched and still installed. It will look exactly like an install, even asking for your CD key. If your key doesn't match the CD version, or the version already installed, the repair will fail, leaving a mess.

I have managed to repair a lot of computers that were trashed by viruses or disk errors, mostly because I stick to one flavor of Windows, OEM Pro. All my headaches have occurred when someone bought a cheap Dell for office use, and the Home version had to be upgraded to Pro. This route sucks. It's cheaper in the long run to buy a copy of Pro and do a clean install.

Date: 2008/09/04 12:49:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I recently built half a dozen new computers to replace an assortment of five year old business computers -- Dells, Gateways, eMachine and such.

All of these involved new motherboards with different CPUs. For these, I simply installed the old hard drive in the new machine.

Before even attempting to boot these, I booted from a Windows CD and did the repair process. (Needless to say, based on long and painful experience, I recorded the CD keys while the old machines were still running.)

This almost always gets Windows running correctly. Next, you install the motherboard drivers, just as you would if building a completely new machine. The only thing left is to run all the windows updates. These may already be downloaded, so the installation may go a bit quicker.

Several of these machines had replacement hard drives. I think if you wait a few months between hardware updates you don't get activation issues. If you replace the hard drive and the motherboard at the same time you can find yourself on the phone.

Date: 2008/09/04 15:22:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I have to say that in ten years of forumizing, UD is the only forum that has banned me. It took six posts, all of them rather simple questions asking for clarification.

They were not done rapid fire. They hardly could have been rapid, since they were in moderation for at least a day each. Most were addressed by someone going by the name of Patrick.

I have never told anyone here what my UD name was, and I didn't call attention to my UD posts on any other forum, so it isn't like I was out to make fun of UD. I simply like asking questions, and questions are not worth much if they aren't hard. I suppose that admitting I was there to ask hard questions contributed to my demise, since that was when I got canned.

Date: 2008/09/06 16:43:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
All this reminds me of the way Reagan was ridiculed. Politics doesn't seem to favor rational thinking.

Date: 2008/09/07 12:47:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
So if this is what non Christians (and by that I mean Agnostics/Atheists) think of Christians who support evolution (mainstream science) what is the point in us taking part in evolution Sunday/the clergy letter project ?????? Someone please clarify ??????

Possibly because evolution is the (lowercase) truth, and it is in the interest of all people to clarify and promote the truth, particularly when vast swarms of supposedly religious people ar promoting lies in the name of religion.

How is this not enough reason?

Date: 2008/09/07 13:12:04, Link
Author: midwifetoad
If you want Christians to accept evolutionary science and participate in the above events this is not the best way to go about it.

the reason to accept any science is because it is true, or at least the best explanation for a class of phenomena that we have. Politics and personalities have nothing to do with the substance of science.

The reason for clergymen to support the best ideas of science is that religion has, for centuries, opposed the best ideas of science and made itself look foolish in the process.

Date: 2008/09/07 14:35:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad
As a contrarian, I note that I am not subject to arrest or confiscation of my property for selling bananas by the pound.

And my country, warts and all, does not publicly humiliate Germans and Italians by noting, as a matter of law, that their condoms are, for some unspecified reason, undersized.

Date: 2008/09/08 19:16:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (rhmc @ Sep. 08 2008,18:39)
i've enjoyed the "discussion".  please continue.  
screw the volume.
turn it UP.

Date: 2008/09/09 14:09:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It either does not work as intended or is not capable of handling the situation in the US as it exists today.

I think that could be said in any period of history.

It does, however, work as well or better than evolution. I'm not aware of many instances where complex systems worked exactly as planned, or were capable of adjusting for and compensating for unexpected contingencies.

People wring their hands because politics is not rational, but the fact is that life does not hand us problems with tidy, deterministic solutions.

Date: 2008/09/10 10:43:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'd be interested to see any evidence of how things would actually be different depending on who wins. I recognize a lot of rhetoric, but in the 40 years I've been voting, I've failed to see a lot of difference in actual outcomes between presidents of different parties.

Just for example, the most enduring outcome of the Clinton presidency may be welfare reform. Not something the democrats intended.

It's also possible that the Russians will use our intervention in Kosovo as cover for nibbling its way back to control of Eastern Europe.

Politics is a game, and intentions don't equal accomplishment. Changing the rules, as in reforming or restructuring voting and representation, will be followed by adaptations, just a surely as bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics.

The only useful test of a political system is whether -- in fact, not theory -- it produces alternations of control among the competing tribes.

Date: 2008/09/10 12:30:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Saying nation states are "wrong" is a bit like saying the design of living things is wrong. Things are what they are because of descent. That includes the U.S. constitution.

There are few decent governments in the world that are not descended from the British model, with some fiddling with details. I'm not convinced the details matter as much as some people think. Any system that involves elections and representation will be gamed by factions.

But I am not personally cynical about this. I vote for the same reason I return lost wallets. It doesn't benefit me directly, and the world will not change if I quit voting or keep found money, but for whatever reason, I am a social animal and engage in social behavior that has no immediate benefit to myself.

Date: 2008/09/10 13:29:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I don't oppose trying to improve politics. I do, however, doubt that sweeping changes are likely to happen, particularly at the federal level.

There are lots of places where new memes can be tested. The world provides a laboratory full of variations on the theme of democracy and representative government.

There are also lots of variations among state and local governments. I would personally oppose drastic changes at the national or international level that have not earned their place by gaining popularity at lower levels.

The problem race has come up. That's a different issue altogether. Questions about basic rights and basic justice do belong at the national or international level.

EDITED for spelling.

Date: 2008/09/10 13:39:35, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Political tricks are both old and common. I suspect the Republican strategy is simply to extract a price for the attacks on palin. I could have told the democrats that such attacks would backfire.

If you look at Republicans who have been defeated in recent decades, it has mostly been on significant issues. Goldwater and the bomb. Bush I and taxes.

If you look at Republicans who have won, it has been despite attacks on their personality and character. Nixon, for God's sake, won two elections. Reagan benefitted from the possibly accurate portrayal of him as senile. Bush II won dispite attempts to portray him as stupid.

Attacks on Palin, even if some turn out to be justified, have negative utility for Democrats.

Date: 2008/09/10 14:57:35, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm just trying to stay in tune with reality here. Since the attacks on Palin started, McCain has taken the lead at Intrade. The personal attack isn't working. I understand the Enquirer has a hit piece on two of her children. That's like a paid ad for the McCain campaign.

It really takes some effort to make Republicans look clever, but the Democrats seem up to the task.

Date: 2008/09/10 15:33:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Running a woman for VP turns out to be a good idea. To bad the Democrats didn't have that option.

Seriously, I never figured out why so many Democrats seem to hate Hillary.

Date: 2008/09/15 21:38:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (stevestory @ Sep. 15 2008,21:14)
According to FreeRepublic, the thing to really worry about is blacks rioting and burning everything down if Obama loses. They suggest buying a gun.

Depends, doesn't it, on whether the loss would be perceived as due to racism. There's a lot of talk about otherwise solid Democrats not being willing to vote for a black candidate.

Date: 2008/09/16 12:44:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think the distinction between Republicans who oppose Obama because of race and those who oppose him for political reasons is moot in this election.

What matters for the election is whether Democrats will withhold their vote for Obama, or whether they will decide to vote for a Republican who has long been a pariah to conservatives.

I personally think it's going to be another squeeker.

Date: 2008/09/16 13:54:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Sep. 16 2008,13:28)
Quote (Nerull @ Sep. 16 2008,08:53)
I would have thought the last 8 years would have woken up the "Waaaaah! They're all the same! It doesn't matter who I vote for!" bunch. How bad does it need to get?

I don't see it changing at all. I still hear it from Naderites. It seems to basically boil down to "none of the political parties are perfect or make me happy, so they're all the same". And this comes from people who can reason well when other subjects are under discussion.

That pretty much excludes politics and religion.

Date: 2008/09/16 22:25:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2008/09/17 09:21:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Only Pope that matters is the Pope of Columbia Street.

Date: 2008/09/17 09:32:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think 50 years from now the intervention in Kosovo, done entirely without U.N. sanction, will have more consequences than the war in Iraq. We will see this as Russia continues to rebuild the Soviet empire.

Date: 2008/09/17 10:30:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Oh, I don't think Kosovo has anything to do with Russian ambitions, but it serves as an example of "protecting" people by separating them from a bullying soverign nation.

Lots of opportunities available.

Date: 2008/09/18 13:05:56, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Just to stir the pot:

As an example of misplaced scientific certainty Winston said the traditional "determinist" approach to genetics was proving to be too simplistic.

"We can't any longer have the conventional understanding of genetics which everybody pedals because it is increasingly obvious that epigenetics – actually things which influence the genome's function – are much more important than we realised … One of the most important aspects of what makes us who we are is neither straight genes or straight environment but actually what happens to us during development."

Lord Robert Winston has renewed his attack on atheist writers such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Christopher Hitchens, whose arguments he said were "dangerous", "irresponsible" and "very divisive".

The science populariser and fertility expert said that the more bombastic arguments of atheist scientists were making dialogue between religion and science more difficult.

Date: 2008/09/18 13:17:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Sounds like the kind of filter Dembski could write.

Date: 2008/09/18 13:34:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Sep. 18 2008,13:30)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Sep. 18 2008,13:17)
Sounds like the kind of filter Dembski could write.

He'd pass it to Marks, who'd fail to initialize a couple of arrays, so you'd get the entire text of his recently opened files inserted for each letter replaced, or something of the sort, and the UD crew would marvel at how it was still better than anything done in a materialist paradigm.

Is that about what you had in mind?

I just thought the idea of elimininating big words sounded like something ID would be comfortable with.

Date: 2008/09/18 13:53:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
YEC and literalism are where the heart of the conflict lives and breathes. I'm shocked sometimes by things I hear from friends and relatives, members of mainstream churches.

Date: 2008/09/18 16:35:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (JohnW @ Sep. 18 2008,15:10)
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ Sep. 18 2008,12:55)
WMD claims may not be lies by your president. I thought they (IRAQ) had them. I still do. Is that (WMD claim) what we are talking about?

Not exactly.  GWB said he knew Iraq had WMDs - i.e. a statement of fact, not opinion.

You have a quote for that, one that doesn't rely on intelligence reports?

Date: 2008/09/18 16:37:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ Sep. 18 2008,15:48)
Satire? Nobody does it better then DS himself.

Distinguished scientists don’t want creationism to come up because it raises too many questions they cannot answer.

I have to wonder how somebody in his position can type.

What questions are those DS?


Date: 2008/09/18 17:15:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I would count Sarin gas as among the most lethal weapons, and we have video of Iraq using it on civilians.

Prior to the war, one of the most vocal cheerleaders for invasion was The New Republic. Nearly every Democrat was on record calling for regime change.

Now, none of this justifies making a bad decision, but I find it interesting that everyone talks about the Iraq war, but Kosovo has disappeared from discussion. Is it not a war if we simply drop bombs, or perhaps send 400 cruise missiles? If we avoid casualties when we bomb another country, does that mean its not a war?

Date: 2008/09/19 08:20:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Sep. 18 2008,17:26)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Sep. 18 2008,15:15)
I would count Sarin gas as among the most lethal weapons, and we have video of Iraq using it on civilians.

So we spent close to a trillion dollars invading and occupying a country because they had sarin?

I didn't address the question of whether the war was a good idea.

But my question remains. Is bombing a country for 75 days, or sending 400 cruise missiles to attack a country not an act of war? Is it war only if we take some personal risk?

Date: 2008/09/19 12:22:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
But is your point here that Russia is using Kosovo as a precedent for grabbing back bits of its empire? Obviously so.

That was my point. It's an opinion.

The world at large sees the U.S. as doing pretty much whatever it wants with impunity. My point regarding Kosovo is that it was done without the cover of U.N. approval.

Date: 2008/09/20 17:54:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Anyone want to have a pool on when WAD will remove Whippie from the banner of his website?

Date: 2008/09/20 17:58:02, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Being a strictly non-partisan kind of guy, I think it is likely that the mortgage bailout will drain every available dollar from the federal budget for several years, effectively rendering presidential policy moot.

We did this once before, in the 80s.

Date: 2008/09/21 07:13:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Atonal music a perversion? Can Bauhaus be far behind?

Date: 2008/09/21 07:22:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (PTET @ Sep. 21 2008,06:21)
21 September 2008
And they call us religious whackaloons?

Uncommon Descent post an obviously faked video about Obama... And present this as evidence that his supporters are unstable.

What're the odds that any comments there are wiped - or even that the whole thread will vanish - before the end of the day?

Just another Sunday meltdown at UD...

The video isn't fake. UD has been Poe'd. That was just one of the early unofficial McCain ads. YouTube makes unauthorized ads rather cheap and easy.

Date: 2008/09/21 07:29:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Lou FCD @ Sep. 21 2008,06:34)
Quote (Stephen Elliott @ Sep. 21 2008,03:55)
The reason that I believe the war was legal is that Iraq (Saddam) never complied with the peace treaty detail. That should render the peace treaty null and void should it not (assuming you agree that Iraq did not carry out it's requirements)?

The enforcement of that UN treaty was for the UN to decide... and it did. It said, "no".

If we are in moralistic mode, I'm going to ask again, was the United States attacked by Serbia? Was 75 days of bombing required for our national defense?

I'm all for holding presidents accountable, so long as accountable isn't just politicking.

Date: 2008/09/21 08:34:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
And I'm certain the UD-poster knew it wasn't "real" either. But s/he posted it anyway as if it was.

I'm trying to imagine a UD poster having sufficient grasp of reality to post a transparent satire as real for the purpose of parody.

But the incident reminds me that creationists didn't invent quote mining. They can't even be credited with perfecting it.

Date: 2008/09/21 09:15:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Bob O'H @ Sep. 21 2008,09:02)
midwifetoad - if you're going to use that argument about Kosovo, I think you might have argue that the West was right to let Srebrenica happen.

I'm an equal opportunity curmudgeon. I don't give advice on international politics because I don't think it is possible to have a consistent, rational policy toward all the butchers and despots in the world.

It's all improvised.

What I object to is is promoting the illusion that some administrations have a monopoly on political morality.

If you are so worked up about missing WMDs, how about the missing evidence of chemical warfare agents at the pharmaceutical factory bombed on the eve of the Monica scandal? If the blowjob is not a great sin, how about bombing a foreign country to take the blowjob out of the news cycle?

Date: 2008/09/21 09:59:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
My argument is the same. Without a threat to our security, we have no business invading anyone without international consensus.

I have no problem with that, but the fact is we do attack other countries, or at least attack targets in other countries, and we do it under all administrations, regardless of party.

I will grant that a full scale war is an order of magnitude more consequential than sending a few hundred cruise missiles, but on my personal scale of morality, taking risks with ground troops has a higher political cost and is therefore less cowardly than sending machines to kill things you can't see. We know that Saddam's weapons were a Potemkin village because we went in and looked behind the facade. We have no idea what we did or why with missiles and stealth bombers.

What I have the most trouble with is giving mechanized warfare a free pass.

Date: 2008/09/22 13:52:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I simply have a hard time taking everything some of you say as irrefutable evidence for common descent because you also believe that we evolved from a speck via evolutionary mechanisms.

Do you find that impossible to believe that every human starts as a speck and develops through naturalistic means?

Date: 2008/09/24 10:05:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
That crap you pulled on your blog about Behe was so unprofessional it was appalling....demanding that he respond to you when he hadn’t responded to anyone’s rebuttals of his book yet.  Who in the hell do you think you are?

Watch your mouth. The Kids might be reading this.

Date: 2008/09/24 10:41:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
DS said:

“Both Behe and Dembski have conceded that exaptation may produce what otherwise appears to be irreducible complexity.”

I want to parse what you are saying correctly in the context of this exchange. So what follows is a real (not rhetorical) question:

Is it correct to express their concession as, “We concede that stepwise processes (exaptation, scaffolding, etc.) can create structures that are indistinguishable from true IC structures, when evaluated in terms of the Behe/Demski definitions quoted above. However, these structures are not, by definition, truly IC because they were created by stepwise processes.”

Is that correct?


First time I've seen this exchange.

Date: 2008/09/24 12:53:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
In other words, I can't understand the sentences because I don't know all the words, if that helps.

Life would be so much more enjoyable if we could hear this said more often. Whenever it's true, for instance.

Date: 2008/09/24 19:02:55, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Somebody's exclusion rules say only one electron can be in a given quantum state.

That's probably Pauli's exclusion principle which states, if I remember correctly, that Pauli and a successful experiment cannot exist at the same time and place.

Date: 2008/09/25 09:36:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Late 80s to early 90s. We deregulated the Savings and Loan business in the 80s, and half of them promptly went tango-uniform. The government was forced to step in with bailout $$ and the Resolution Trust Corporation to prevent a financial melt-down. President was a guy named 'Bush'. Any of this sound familiar?

I was working in the mortgage industry and remember it somewhat differently. Mortgage interest rates went from 9 percent in 1978 to nearly 18 percent in 1982. All kinds of tricks were invented to enable people to buy houses. ARM loans, which quickly rose to market rate, and something called a Graduated Payment Mortgage, in which the first year's payment didn't even cover interest. People found themselves, after three years owing more than they had borrowed, and monthly payments twice what they had started at.

Foreclosures skyrocketed in the early to mid 1980s. At the time I was working on mortgage software, Bank of America had at least 150 people working on foreclosures. That's just people using the software I helped write.

The economy killer was interest rates. From 1984 to 1992, mortgage interest rates fell from 14 percent to about 8 percent.

Date: 2008/09/25 10:23:56, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Once you abandon realism you're screwed. There is no a priori reason to believe that being created by or in the image of a deity guarantees that thoughts or perceptions are reliable. The deity could be insane.

Perusal of the Old Testament lends no comfort here.

Date: 2008/09/25 13:57:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad
RTC may have been created in 1989, but the damage was done by high interest rates and bad loans made a decade earlier. It takes years for people to default on mortgages when the default is due to creeping payments, and it can take years to foreclose on loans after default.

The costs associated with foreclosure, coupled with huge numbers of properties that had to be liquidated quickly at less than the value of the note, did in the savings and loans.

This cycle will repeat every time government policy makes loans available to vast numbers of people who will be unable to repay them. The current mess is exacerbated by loans made that exceed the market value of the property. This is a fact regardless of who deserves the blame. I suspect there is more than enough to go around.

The disastrous economy and high interest rates that made Carter a one-term president were the result of paying for the Vietnam War. Again, it often takes a decade or more for policy decisions to result in a national crisis.

Date: 2008/09/25 14:03:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Sep. 25 2008,13:01)
BlarneyA displays his Christian charity:
Television wasn’t yet invented in 1929, moron...

In 1928, Philo Farnsworth made the world's first working television system with electronic scanning of both the pickup and display devices, which he first demonstrated to news media on 1928-09-01, televising a motion picture film.

Are you referring to this Biden quote:


"Part of what being a leader does is to instill confidence is to demonstrate what he or she knows what they are talking about and to communicating to people ... this is how we can fix this," Biden said. "When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed. He said, 'look, here's what happened.'"

Date: 2008/09/25 15:01:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think it was pretty clear from the link that Bill was referring to BarryA.

Doesn't change the fact that the BarryA quote was mined and  truncated to emphasize an inconsequential error. In the context of the BarryA comment, "invented" means available for use by Roosevelt to address the public. And, of course, Roosevelt wasn't president when the market crashed.

Why is this kind of quote mining illicit when creationists use it, but defended here? I guess one man's potatoe is another man's potahtoe.

Date: 2008/09/25 15:19:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Not an unreasonable point. Of course, BarryA was doing same vis Biden.

True, but I have a reflexive horror of quote mining by anyone. I'm pretty much anti-partisan.

Date: 2008/09/25 15:53:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
What can you expect from a guy who has eggs on his back and inky feet?

Date: 2008/09/25 19:09:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Neil Bush (the more stupider one) managed to get his ass bailed out and avoid jail. John McCain was also one of the Keating 5. Of the K5 whores, McSame was the closest personal manfriend of Charles Keating.

After a lengthy investigation, the Senate Ethics Committee determined in 1991 that Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, and Donald Riegle had substantially and improperly interfered with the FHLBB in its investigation of Lincoln Savings. Senators John Glenn and John McCain were cleared of having acted improperly but were criticized for having exercised "poor judgment".

Why all the selective reporting?  By the way, I find this amusing:

After 1999, the only member of the Keating Five remaining in the U.S. Senate was John McCain, who had an easier time gaining re-election in 1992 than he anticipated,[46] and who ran for president in 2000 and became the Republican presidential nominee in 2008. McCain survived the political scandal in part by becoming friendly with the political press.[46]

Not that the press is ever biased or anything.

Date: 2008/09/26 06:52:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
So, according to Dawkins, one should not be a member of the Royal Society and also ordained?

Not what Dawkins said or implied, but aside from that, your comment does conform to the rules of English grammar.

Date: 2008/09/26 06:56:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (didymos @ Sep. 26 2008,04:42)
Quote (Ptaylor @ Sep. 26 2008,00:09)
Ask yourself: how did the full comment add anything at all to the four words of the first?

Well, it added some Shannon information, anyway.

Your uncertainty was reduced?

Date: 2008/09/26 09:33:32, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think it is a widely held opinion that money will be tight for the next administration, regardless of who wins. I doubt if any party not contemplating suicide will raise taxes significantly.

I have been registered as an Independent since my first vote in 1972. I voted for McGovern. It's about the only vote I've cast with any enthusiasm. I fully understand the enthusiasm for Obama, but I don't share it. I think a Hillary/Obama ticket would have been unbeatable. At the moment I wouldn't bet on Obama, even though today's polls have him ahead.

Date: 2008/09/26 10:07:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Taxing the rich is the Democrats' equivalent of the NRA and Right to Life.

Date: 2008/09/26 10:50:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Campaign rhetoric.

Date: 2008/09/27 16:44:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (JAM @ Sep. 26 2008,11:27)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Sep. 26 2008,10:07)
Taxing the rich is the Democrats' equivalent of the NRA and Right to Life.

I guess that's because you think that taxing the poor is a much better idea?

No, we have Lotto for that. Plus cigarette and vice taxes.

Date: 2008/09/29 14:18:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Is that Patrick Behe responding in defence of Michael?

Date: 2008/09/29 15:16:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Working Replica of Noah's Ark Opens In Schagen, Netherlands

Date: 2008/09/29 20:30:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Drive a steak through his hart and be done with it.

Date: 2008/09/30 06:17:26, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Side B from Outer Space.

Date: 2008/09/30 08:52:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
We also insist on having a civilian as commander in chief of the armed forces. Sometimes someone with no military experience.

Go figure.

Date: 2008/09/30 09:49:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I was being a bit sarcastic. I think civilian control of the military is as important as freedom of the press and secularism. The political Trinity, at least until someone adds more to the list.

Date: 2008/09/30 11:57:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
They found that "commanders in chief" who lacked personal military experience grossly over estimated the effectiveness and capabilities of the military. Plus, they were more likely to turn to a military solution when apparently frustrated diplomatically.

I'm a Vietnam vet. Been there, done that. Anybody who's seen something like that will be cautious about what the military can do.

Now if you need to break something, no one can do it faster or better than the U.S. military.

Date: 2008/09/30 13:41:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'd prefer that we take such choices on a case-by-case basis and not be quick to try to add restrictions on eligibility for our highest public office.

No one is adding restrictions, but it does figure into the voting decisions of some people.

Off topic, but if I were asking debate questions I would be more interested in how to deal with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia than with Iraq or Afghanistan, or even Iran.

Date: 2008/09/30 16:38:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
This may sound naive, but a president is himself plus his party. If the party can't fill the vacancies in a president's knowledge and skill package, the country is screwed, because very few people are fully qualified for the job.

Date: 2008/09/30 17:49:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Are mignons allowed to operate the loudspeaker in the ceiling?

Date: 2008/10/01 09:06:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think it might be useful for aspiring presidential candidates to go through boot camp. Tom Lehrer wrote a song about it, but it's not the same as being there.

Quite frankly, most vets, including Gore and myself, have not participated in close combat.

Date: 2008/10/01 13:23:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The rest of the world is not monolithic. At some point you have to decide that dictators are dictators, and folks who want to impose a new dark age -- whether Muslim or Christian -- are simply wrong and have to be opposed.

There are, of course, all sorts of options short of invasion or aerial bombing, but I see no merit in diluting the notion that women must have equal rights under the law, and that this applies everywhere.

Just as an example.

Date: 2008/10/01 20:48:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Louis @ Sep. 30 2008,12:43)
Also, on the share and enjoy theme, is this little tidbit from A COMPLETELY ANONYMOUS DONOR WHO IS NO WAY RICHARD T HUGHES, GOT THAT?


[FTK]I merely mention it because it is INTERESTING, I'm not saying I agree with it.[/FTK]

Gosh, it's easy to act the tard like FTK isn't it? I presume we are at FlounceCon 1?


[FTK]P.S. Call Walt. Seriously. Daily basis. Waaaaaaah.[/FTK]

I notice that Sarah Palin tried to get the following books banned back in 1997:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

She must have been forward looking.

Date: 2008/10/07 12:24:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Small Asteroid Predicted to Cause Brilliant Fireball over Northern Sudan
Don Yeomans
NASA/JPL Near-Earth Object Program Office
October 6, 2008
A very small, few-meter sized asteroid, designated 2008 TC3, was found Monday morning by the Catalina Sky Survey from their observatory near Tucson Arizona. Preliminary orbital computations by the Minor Planet Center suggested an atmospheric entry of this object within a day of discovery. JPL confirmed that an atmospheric impact will very likely occur during early morning twilight over northern Sudan, north-eastern Africa, at 2:46 UT Tuesday morning. The fireball, which could be brilliant, will travel west to east (from azimuth = 281 degrees) at a relative atmospheric impact velocity of 12.8 km/s and arrive at a very low angle (19 degrees) to the local horizon. It is very unlikely that any sizable fragments will survive passage through the Earth's atmosphere.

Objects of this size would be expected to enter the Earth's atmosphere every few months on average but this is the first time such an event has been predicted ahead of time.

Update - 6:45 PM PDT (1 hour prior to atmospheric entry)

Since its discovery barely a day ago, 2008 TC3 has been observed extensively by astronomers around the world, and as a result, our orbit predictions have become very precise. We estimate that this object will enter the Earth's atmosphere at around 2:45:28 UTC and reach maximum deceleration at around 2:45:54 UTC. These times are uncertain by +/- 15 seconds or so. The time at which any fragments might reach the ground depends a great deal on the physical properties of the object, but should be around 2:46:20 UTC +/- 40 seconds.

Date: 2008/10/09 15:33:26, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (stevestory @ Oct. 09 2008,14:30)
The House Surge, or whatever McCain called that program he sprung on everyone Tuesday, where the federal government would buy every bad mortgage in america, has anybody calculated how many trillions that would cost?

I've heard that 700 billion would buy half the outstanding mortgages. Obviously the cheaper half.

Date: 2008/11/05 06:05:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Assassinator @ Nov. 05 2008,04:15)
I tried to do an election marathon last night. Since it's GMT+1 here, it was veeeeery late. I broke down at 3:00. Damn you America...
Glad to see Obama becoming president when I woke up like half an hour ago. I immediatly thought: Obama's f*cked now. Loooooots of people will be dissapointed during his presidency, you can be sure of that. I think he simply cannot live up to it. And that's not even Obama's fault, that's simply how the system works. And if Palin runs in 2012...God forbid.

Whether people bcome disappointed with Obama depends on what they expect.

Ammendments passed in Florida and California banning same sex marriages. A proposition failed in California that would have substituted treatment for prison for some drug users. WTF?

In Florida, two ammendments passed banning some increases in property taxes.

It will be interesting to see how many of Obama's policies actually have majority support.

Date: 2008/11/13 06:25:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (stevestory @ Nov. 11 2008,23:31)
I know I've got to be avoiding the politics now for my own health but there's just so much yummy tard there. check out some FreeRepublic commenters w/r/t to Obama's grandmother's death.

here's a sample:

May have succumbed to Broken Heart considering what a crack-head, lying, racist and America hater her zebra Grandson turned out to be. Undoubtedly, her daughter was even more of a low life. Ms. Madelyn was probably very sad in her later years.

hat tip to someone on Dispatches.

Freerepublic was my entry level tard. They used to have lively, if futile, debates, until enough evilutionists were banned in a short time to populate two new sites.

Date: 2008/11/14 15:26:56, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (stevestory @ Nov. 14 2008,14:39)
interesting article on the reemergence of American liberalism

reemergence resmurgence. It's a preditor/prey balance. Every political movement plants the seeds of its eventual defeat.

Personally, my motto is eight years and out, regardless of party. Everyone who makes or enforces laws should have to live under them as an ordinary citizen.

Date: 2008/11/14 15:51:55, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Intelligent Design: A theory in crisis, since 1803.

I guess with no prospect for getting fundies on the Supreme Court, the movement is going to spore.

Date: 2008/11/16 20:38:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
That makes my day, and it's been a bad one up to now.

Date: 2008/11/21 18:02:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (dvunkannon @ Nov. 21 2008,16:21)
In Denyse's latest link to futility, Robert Deyes takes down Sean Carroll with this deep thought:

Front loading

From a philosophical perspective the possibility remains that a designer may have supplied an organism with more genetic information than may have been needed for life- what one may call an "all the options, all the bells and whistles" approach. Such a designer could have been interested in placing non-functional genes in the genome for a future role in his or her design. We all install software into our computers that may not be operational until some later date when we finally choose to use it. Computers can now be accurately scheduled to start a process at a specified instant in the future, similarly to the programming of a recording on a video-recorder.

DNA = God's own Tivo

Will Scooter support the backwards walking butt shaver from Toronto?

Personally, I have Office 2012 and 2018 preloaded, and just to be safe, OS11.

Date: 2008/11/21 19:10:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
You guys having tofurkey for thanksgiving?

Date: 2008/11/23 11:59:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Zachriel @ Nov. 23 2008,11:14)
O'Leary: The interesting thing about Darwinism is that it is now represented so largely by cultists who are prepared to acribe miracles - even the massive intricacy of the cell - to it.

tribune7: Very true. It is a cult. Facts must be hidden and dissent must not be tolerated.

Meanwhile, as reported on Uncommon Descent, ...

Questioning the Tree of Life: International Workshop Series

It's interesting that the main impetus for denying evolution is to rule out man's common ancestry with apes, but all the tree of life discussion is about microbes.

Date: 2008/11/23 14:48:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
One thing I'll bet on is no tax hikes in the near future. Taking money out of a depressed economy is not likely to happen. Much more likely is a spate of deficit spending, since inflation is no threat at the moment.

Edit: sorry if that is off topic.

Date: 2008/11/23 15:02:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
ID opponents can comment all they want as long as they keep it serious.


Odd. I got banned immediately after asking Patrick a serious question.

Date: 2008/11/23 21:01:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Not trying to short circuit a provocative discussion, but the observed fact of extinction -- millions of times over -- pretty much rules out the notion that genomes contain everything necessary for adaptation to future needs.

What we have here is preformationism wrapped in modern jargon.

Date: 2008/11/25 13:05:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
That's going to play so well in court.

I'm not an Obama fan, but I do have some hopes that his science advisers will be this side of reality from Deepshit d'Oprah.

I know a lot of IDiots were counting on the Supreme Court changing in their favor. Perhaps they should go back to their test tubes, if they have 'em.

Date: 2008/11/25 13:35:48, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Nov. 25 2008,13:20)
Whoever updates the blogczar thread has some more work to do.

The side with the sense of humor is the side that’s going to win.


Ohh I am so saving those links Tribune, thanks!

Date: 2008/11/25 18:07:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (bfish @ Nov. 25 2008,18:04)
Quote (bystander @ Nov. 25 2008,12:26)
I don't think that it was coincidental that DrDr D left UD just after the election. It wouldn't surprise me if somebody with a modicum of sense said that the only way to move forward in an Obama administration is to start to look sciency again and nix the culture war stuff.

So who was the person with a modicum of sense who tipped off Dembski that he should move on?

Not doubt The Designer, who has not been identified.

Date: 2008/11/26 13:33:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad

I seem to be logged in, but my posts go into the bit bucket. They don't even make it to moderation.

Sad, because I had some great porn shots depicting nekked truths.

Date: 2008/11/28 17:12:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I thought a Republican administration liked to encourage small business.

Depends, does it not, whether these devices come in different sizes. ;)

Date: 2008/11/29 06:34:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Quack @ Nov. 29 2008,05:58)
We are not done with debating "the controversy" yet, are we?
Seems God works in mysterious (or maybe not so mysterious) ways?

News from Carnegie Institution for Science
Webpage of Robert Hazen, on evolution of minerals
American Mineralogist, abstract

Implications for SETI? Or at least SETL.

Date: 2008/11/30 11:59:19, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (olegt @ Nov. 30 2008,10:20)
Methodological naturalism was invented in the 1980’s for one purpose and one purpose only—-to combat the science of intelligent design. That is simply a fact that can be verified by consulting the literature on the philosophy of science. You cannot find one reference to he subject at any earlier time.

This is bullshit.  Nick Matzke had a post in 2006 On the Origins of Methodological Naturalism.  It begins
Remember how, according to the ID movement, “methodological naturalism” was supposed to be a Darwinist/atheist conspiracy to arbitrarily exclude ID? Well, let’s have a look at who coined the term.

Go ahead and read the whole thing.

The Numbers book gets a poor review on Amazon by C. Pennington, a belly dancer and top scientist.

Date: 2008/11/30 12:28:03, Link
Author: midwifetoad
UFO enthusiasts call on Obama to release X-Files

They believe they have good prospects of success after public statements of support from both John Podesta, who is running Mr Obama's White House transition team, and Bill Richardson, the Governor of New Mexico - a UFO sighting hotspot - who is expected to secure a cabinet post.

Date: 2008/11/30 13:07:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Good science from politicians is a game of wack-a-mole.

Date: 2008/12/02 10:28:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (lkeithlu @ Dec. 02 2008,09:35)
I tried to point out that dog breeds are NOT species and humans drove a third of mammals extinct in Madagascar. Appears I am still banned. :angry:

Just out of curiosity, are you able to log into UD, but your posts go in the bit bucket?

Date: 2008/12/02 11:59:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (lkeithlu @ Dec. 02 2008,11:13)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Dec. 02 2008,10:28)
Quote (lkeithlu @ Dec. 02 2008,09:35)
I tried to point out that dog breeds are NOT species and humans drove a third of mammals extinct in Madagascar. Appears I am still banned. :angry:

Just out of curiosity, are you able to log into UD, but your posts go in the bit bucket?

Seems so, unless moderation takes REALLY long. I logged in without a hitch.

Appears to be a standard procedure then. I wouldn't count on your posts being in moderation, or even being seen by a humanoid.

I made the mistake several months ago of asking Patrick a question along the lines currently being discussed. Can't remember the exact question, but when I get the chance I always ask why ID assumes the flagellum was a goal rather than something that happened.

That seems relevant to the cheating metaphor. If evolution must produce a flagellum (in gambling, a win), then it is relevant to compute the product of the probabilities of each step on the way. But that is equivalent to computing the odds that your particular set of alleles was produced by a goal seeking process. Where in any theory of biology does it say that you were specified in advance?

Date: 2008/12/02 12:27:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Re the fish kinds: dragon fish, a darter, and a sturgeon? The dragon fish was interesting to read about. The male carries the fertilized eggs? Don't tell Midwifetoad! Convergent Evilution!! TEH DESGNER LIVES!!!!!

Works for me. :p

Date: 2008/12/03 08:35:20, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Nerull @ Dec. 02 2008,23:39)
Religion is not an enemy of science. It doesn't make an enemy of anything - it is just reality, and the study of it.

It is the religions, who hold to old tribal mysticism and refuse to let it go when proven wrong, who declare science their enemy.

The same story repeats itself over and over again throughout history. Someone discovers something new and profound, and people like Daniel spend all their time covering their eyes and trying to pretend it isn't true.

Have you ever noticed that the stem of a banana is the perfect size and shape for plugging the ears, so you don't have to listen to unwanted information?

Date: 2008/12/03 14:29:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Win Ben Stein's mind

I've been accused of refusing to review Ben Stein's documentary "Expelled," a defense of Creationism, because of my belief in the theory of evolution. Here is my response.

Ben Stein is only getting warmed up. He takes a field trip to visit one "result" of Darwinism: Nazi concentration camps. "As a Jew," he says, "I wanted to see for myself." We see footage of gaunt, skeletal prisoners. Pathetic children. A mound of naked Jewish corpses. "It's difficult to describe how it felt to walk through such a haunting place," he says. Oh, go ahead, Ben Stein. Describe. It filled you with hatred for Charles Darwin and his followers, who represent the overwhelming majority of educated people in every nation on earth. It is not difficult for me to describe how you made me feel by exploiting the deaths of millions of Jews in support of your argument for a peripheral Christian belief. It fills me with contempt.

Roger didn't like it.

Date: 2008/12/03 14:37:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I understand what you mean. Nevertheless, we know a lot about human design, nothing about “cosmic design.” This sounds mostly like a play on the word “design” to me.

I'm just a layman , but it strikes me that when humans fiddle with genomes they produce rather distinctive fingerprints, such as violating the nested hierarchy. If I understand this correctly, it would seem that the analogy with human designs argues against the design inference.

Date: 2008/12/03 16:02:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
IDskeptic races the bannation train to the tracks...

Has anyone got an easy to understand CSI calculation? I’m fairly math savvy…

Date: 2008/12/03 19:58:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
EDIT: deleted post

How about them new pterosaurs?

Date: 2008/12/03 22:01:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The thread is much shorter and easier to read now.

Date: 2008/12/04 08:59:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
As a hevy user of OmniPage, I have to say that hand notations in books make OCR a difficult thing.

Date: 2008/12/04 11:46:04, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Is there a part of their work that selection can't be the process "feeding in" CSI?

You'd intuitively that a series of yeses and noes would constitute information of some kind, but as Barbie might say, math is hard, and intuition fickle.

Date: 2008/12/04 15:45:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2008/12/04 18:15:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
This EF news is bound to give an almighty shock to all of the fire investigators, policemen, art forgery experts,  and judges who have been using Dembski's design detection techniques all these years. And many people who have been sent to the electic chair are going to need retrials !!!1

I'm not aware that Dembski invented forensic science, nor the techniques used to detect human manufacture of artifacts.

What Dembski seems to have invented is a technique for the detection of unspecified actions performed by unspecified agents having unspecified capabilities and motives, acting at unspecified times and places.

And calling the result specified complexity.

Oddly enough, producing a nested hierarchy, the fingerprint of human design.


Date: 2008/12/04 20:05:32, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (dheddle @ Dec. 04 2008,18:04)
Has anyone addressed the ramifications for the more tested Nixplanatory Filter?

I do believe anyone trying to mock Dembski regarding his failure to consider unknown sequences of events should consider the following dictum:

There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know.

Date: 2008/12/05 13:24:47, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I had an uncle who lived 25 years with amnesia. Hard on his wife and kids.

Date: 2008/12/05 14:44:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
denyse! does that make you a “link-a-saurus”?

Someone there sure links-a-lot.

Date: 2008/12/05 14:56:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,Dec. 05 2008,14:48)

oh i read that wrong.  hmm.  and i hear voices.

Careful where you step.

EDIT: For those too timid to follow that link, it includes the following:

(posted by Denyse O’Leary for Bill Dembski)

Date: 2008/12/07 10:34:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
UD seems to be having some technical difficulties.
What dreams may come?

Date: 2008/12/07 11:55:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Will the Olofsson thread survive the site reboot? Anyone want to apply the EF to this one?

EDIT: Whoops, I guess it did.

Date: 2008/12/08 15:05:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Boring? What with Dembski folding his tent and all?

Date: 2008/12/09 08:17:20, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (bystander @ Dec. 08 2008,22:54)
Will Patrick (if it is Patrick) come clean about the silent bannination?

Which one? There must be hundreds.

Date: 2008/12/09 08:47:03, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Not to interrupt a fascinating penis waving contest, but George Bush just came over to the dark side and supported evolution.

Dembski, Bush: it's snowballing. Could FTK be far behind?

Date: 2008/12/09 09:58:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Dec. 09 2008,08:48)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Dec. 09 2008,09:47)
Not to interrupt a fascinating penis waving contest, but George Bush just came over to the dark side and supported evolution.

Dembski, Bush: it's snowballing. Could FTK be far behind?


Bush: Bible, evolution not at odds
15 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) — US President George W. Bush said in an interview Monday that the Bible is "probably not" literally true and that a belief that God created the world is compatible with the theory of evolution.

"I think you can have both," Bush, who leaves office January 20, told ABC television, adding "You're getting me way out of my lane here. I'm just a simple president."

But "evolution is an interesting subject. I happen to believe that evolution doesn't fully explain the mystery of life," said the president, an outspoken Christian who often invokes God in his speeches.

"I think that God created the Earth, created the world; I think the creation of the world is so mysterious it requires something as large as an almighty and I don't think it's incompatible with the scientific proof that there is evolution," he told ABC television.

Asked whether the Bible was literally true, Bush replied: "Probably not. No, I'm not a literalist, but I think you can learn a lot from it."

"The important lesson is 'God sent a son,'" he said.

Date: 2008/12/09 12:44:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Obviously, somewhere along the line the matter of an infinite loop would have to be resolved, but how is that different from methodological naturalism?

I suppose that methodological naturalism leads to verifiable descriptions of how things change from state to state.

Date: 2008/12/11 11:32:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Bill Gates recommends writing passwords down as a better alternative than using weak passwords.

I should talk. I find myself frequently asking to have a password emailed to me. Obviously much less secure than having a written list that's not on the net.

Date: 2008/12/11 11:40:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
How about flipping the CSI acronym to Change, Selection, Iteration?

Date: 2008/12/12 08:52:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Franklin County students participating in a media course are getting an unplanned lesson in the First Amendment.

Brandon Creasy, a 16-year-old junior who attends the Leonard A. Gereau Center for Applied Technology and Career Exploration, claims that an opinion piece he wrote backing the theory of evolution is being censored by the school's principal.

Creasy submitted the piece for a school news magazine, but Principal Kevin Bezy said this week he decided it wasn't proper to publish, at least until it was revised. Creasy says he believes Bezy had problems with the piece because the principal doesn't believe in evolution.

When asked his opinion of evolution and how that may have factored into the situation, Bezy declined to discuss his feelings on the theory. He said he considers that irrelevant to the matter, believing it important to remain unbiased when making decisions.

"The law gives the principal the responsibility to edit publications of the school," Bezy said. "It is an important responsibility because the principal has to look out for the rights and sensitivities of all students, especially in a diverse and multicultural area."

Continuing, he said of the piece: "It didn't present the theory with a sensitivity for those who hold other theories. The teacher of the student was asked to take out language that stated his theory is the only theory."

Date: 2008/12/12 09:12:19, Link
Author: midwifetoad
(The "snow" where I am consisted of maybe half an inch on car tops and caused us to delay school by two hours.  The locals were terrified.  I remember two Easters ago we got snow here and a local preacher was interviewed on the news saying it was a sign of the end of the world.)

Back in 1989 North Florida got down to ten degrees and had five or six inches of snow. Closed Interstate 95 to Saint Augustine. I was driving to Disney World at the time. When we arrived it was 16 degrees in Orlando, and stayed below freezing for three days.

The day we arrived, all the blooming plants at Disney were crispy. The next morning they were all gone. The third morning they arose from the dead: all the landscaping plants had been replaced overnight.

MGM Studios was completely filled with larger plants that had been brought in for protection, shutting down production on several TV shows.

The generic media makes a big mistake by equating hot weather with global warming. As a result the public interprets cold records as proof that warming is a hoax.

Date: 2008/12/14 06:03:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Americans believe in God, angels, heaven, miracles - such traditional religious thinking is still much a part of the nation's mind-set, according to research that also plumbs a few less traditional beliefs.

"Overall, more people believe in the devil, hell and angels than believe in Darwin´s theory of evolution," said a Harris Poll released Thursday.

The numbers clearly favor the proverbial Big Man Upstairs: 80 percent say they believe in God; among those who attend church weekly, the number is 98 percent. Three-quarters believe in miracles, 73 percent believe in heaven, 71 percent say Jesus is the Son of God and 71 percent believe in angels, the survey found. Seven out of 10 say Jesus Christ rose from the dead and that the Bible is, all or in part, the "Word of God."

More than two-thirds - 68 percent - believe in the "survival of the soul after death" and would describe themselves as religious. About 62 percent think that hell exists, 61 percent believe in the Virgin Birth and 59 percent say the devil exists.

In contrast, fewer than half - 47 percent - said they believe in Darwin's theory of evolution; a third said they did not believe in it while 22 percent were not sure what they thought. A full 40 percent said they believe in creationism, though the question did not elaborate on exactly what that term meant.

Supernatural phenomena of other kinds attract Americans' attention.

Overall, 44 percent of the respondents said they believe in ghosts, 36 percent say UFOs are real while 31 percent believe in both witches and astrology. About a quarter believe in reincarnation, or "that you were once another person," the survey found.

"I think these numbers show that Americans are both devout and rebellious at the same time," said Steve Waldman, co-founder and editor in chief of Beliefnet, an online spiritual source that also polls the public.

"Americans embrace key parts of tradition and faith, but they add other sorts of stuff, the supplementary beliefs that might not be on the approved list," he added.

Although Protestants have a slight edge on Catholics in terms of church attendance, the survey revealed marked similarities between the denominations.

"There are no significant differences between the large percentages of Catholics and Protestants who believe in God, miracles, heaven and hell, that Jesus is the Son of God, angels, the Resurrection of Jesus, the survival of the soul after death, the Virgin Birth and the devil," the survey said.

"However, Catholics are more likely than Protestants to believe in Darwin´s theory of evolution (by 52 percent to 32 percent), ghosts (by 57 percent to 41 percent), UFOs (43 percent to 31 percent), and astrology (by 40 percent to 28 percent). Protestants are slightly more likely than Catholics to believe in creationism (by 54 percent to 46 percent)."

The survey of 2,126 adults was conducted Nov. 10-17.

Date: 2008/12/14 19:23:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Ptaylor @ Dec. 14 2008,17:21)
Quote (Occam's Aftershave @ Dec. 14 2008,16:13)
The liars at UD are at it again.

Pretty egregious, and relying on the fact that most regulars would be too incurious to check (let alone pay for access to) the article.

This needs wider coverage.

Date: 2008/12/14 19:57:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I believe a post like that wins you ten extra lives at UD.

Date: 2008/12/15 07:28:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Just me, or is UD having more technical difficulties?

EDIT: apparently just me.

Date: 2008/12/15 08:41:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The thing is, Gil, the trad media are usually out of their depth.

That is why the blogosphere became so powerful so suddenly. For example, recently, a freelancer in the Middle East was found to have been doctoring photos for Reuters. The editor, not a photo expert, probably didn’t notice.

But the bloggers who were photoshop experts DID notice. It was their job to notice stuff like that. So they started writing about it.

Word on the street is that a well known ID blog was caught fabricating a quotation.

Date: 2008/12/15 13:43:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Dec. 15 2008,13:31)
Thanks, Steve, I've noted the change in the article to a new form of deceptive practice.

Oddly, all the comments refer to a section of the article that no longer exists.

Seems to have brought the discussion to a halt though.

Date: 2008/12/15 15:59:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The brain as radio does deserve some thoughtful commentary.

I like to ask why our consciousness can be altered by drugs. If our real mind is somewhere else, shouldn't psychoactive drugs produce an experience similar to what we perceive when a hand is numbed by ice or novacain?

That is, shouldn't we perceive that some external object -- the radio -- is having reception difficulties. But our true mind should be unaffected.

Date: 2008/12/16 09:39:08, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm pretty ignorant in this area, but my understanding is the "cosmological constant" is just the gravitational effect of dark matter and dark energy. The effect would be the same if the matter was visible.

Date: 2008/12/16 13:33:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
But the whole "brain as radio" analogy that gets trotted out in support of dualism, well, it's stupid.

The more you examine, in detail, the effects of localized brain damage, the stupider it gets.

Date: 2008/12/16 15:52:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
There's always Brain's "Diseases of the Nervous System," on the same shelf as the Boring "History of Experimental Psychology" and Horney's "Self Analysis."

Date: 2008/12/18 07:01:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Computational modelling of evolution

Computer modelling seems to be a very promising technique to study
complex systems like ecosystems or langauge. In the present paper we
briefly review such an approach and present our results in this field. In
section 1.2 we briefly discuss population dynamics of simple two-species
prey-predator systems and classical approaches in this field based on Lotka-
Volterra equations. We also argue that it is desirable to use an alternative
approach, the so-called individual based modelling. An example of such
a model is described in section 1.3. In this section we discuss results of
numerical simulations of the model concerning especially the oscillatory

Date: 2008/12/18 07:07:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I thought ID folk weren't hung up on atheism.

Date: 2008/12/22 20:17:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
So the way to test this is to attempt to piece together a natural pathway

It's interesting that ID proponents start here and then conclude that the best approach is to do nothing.

Rather than make the attempt.

Date: 2008/12/23 09:29:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Mechanical watches can be magnetized. "Antimagnetic" watches were a big deal before everyone started wearing quartz movements.

I had a college friend, a polio survivor, who had a steel rod fusing his spine. He could not keep a watch running. Even expensive Swiss watches would become magnetized by the motion of his arms swinging.

So what bionic parts can we assume are present in someone who stops watches? Or could it be the same force that stops clocks?

Date: 2008/12/23 11:01:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Don't lose that password again. And use gmail or something for your contact address. ;)

Date: 2008/12/23 12:59:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Can some people extinguish streetlamps by means of their bodily emanations?

Date: 2008/12/23 14:16:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I haven't seen any discussion of learning in this discussion. Since any discussion of detection and interpretation necessarily assumes at least a rudimentary nervous system, we are discussion systems that respond to changing contingencies much more rapidly than biological evolution.

We know, for example, that when the image focused on the human retina is optically inverted, that a person can adapt within a week, and perform complex tasks such as riding a motorcycle.

The chief benefit of nervous systems is that they contribute a layer of adaptive evolution that responds much faster than changes to the genome.

Date: 2008/12/27 17:52:04, Link
Author: midwifetoad
When it comes to science, Barack Obama is no better than many of us. Today he joins the list of shame of those in public life who made scientifically unsupportable statements in 2008.

Closer to home, Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith faltered on the science of food, while Kate Moss, Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore all get roastings for scientific illiteracy.

The Celebrities and Science Review 2008, prepared by the group Sense About Science, identifies some of the worst examples of scientific illiteracy among those who profess to know better – including top politicians.

Mr Obama and John McCain blundered into the MMR vaccine row during their presidential campaigns. "We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate," said President-elect Obama. "Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it," he said.

His words were echoed by Mr McCain. "It's indisputable that [autism] is on the rise among children, the question is what's causing it," he said. "There's strong evidence that indicates it's got to do with a preservative in the vaccines."

Exhaustive research has failed to substantiate any link to vaccines or any preservatives. The rise in autism is thought to be due to an increased awareness of the condition.

Sarah Palin, Mr McCain's running mate, waded into the mire with her dismissal of some government research projects. "Sometimes these dollars go to projects that have little or nothing to do with the public good. Things like fruit fly research in Paris, France. I kid you not," Ms Palin said. But the geneticist Ellen Solomon takes Ms Palin to task for not understanding the importance of studies into fruit flies, which share roughly half their genes with humans. "They have been used for more than a century to understand how genes work, which has implications in, for example, understanding the ageing process," she said.

Hollywood did not escape the critical analysis of the scientific reviewers, who lambasted Tom Cruise, for his comments on psychiatry being a crime against humanity, and Julianne Moore, who warned against using products full of unnatural chemicals.

"The real crime against humanity continues to be the enduring misery caused by the major mental illnesses across the globe, and the continuing lack of resources devoted to supporting those afflicted," said the psychiatrist Professor Simon Wessely.

In answer to Moore, the science author and chemist John Emsley said that natural chemicals are not automatically safer than man-made chemicals, which undergo rigorous testing.

"Something which is naturally sourced may well include a mixture of things that are capable of causing an adverse reaction," Dr Emsley said.

Other mentions went to the chefs Nigella Lawson, who said "mind meals" can make you feel different about life, and Delia Smith, who claimed it is possible to eliminate sugar from the diet. The dietician Catherine Collins said that Lawson's support for expensive allergy foods is a wasted opportunity and too costly for those on limited incomes, while Lisa Miles of the British Nutrition Foundation said that sugars are part of a balanced diet.

Kate Moss, Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore all espoused the idea that you can detoxify your body with either diet (scientifically unsupportable) or, in the case of Moore, products such as "highly trained medical leeches" which make you bleed. Scientists point out that diet alone cannot remove toxins and that blood itself is not a toxin, and even if it did contain toxins, removing a little bit of it is not going to help.

But top prize went to the lifestyle guru Carole Caplin for denouncing a study showing that vitamin supplements offer little or no health benefits as "rubbish" – it is the third year on the run that she has been mentioned in the review. Science author and GP Ben Goldacre pointed out that the study Ms Caplin referred to was the most authoritative yet published. "Carole should understand that research can often produce results which challenge our preconceptions: that is why science is more interesting than just following your nose," Dr Goldacre said.

Date: 2008/12/28 14:27:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The Dawkinites should be careful. If evolution can be proven by computer program, they will be proving intelligent design because the programmer is (moderately, in this case) intelligent.

I thought the mission of ID was not to prove that evolution can't work, but to prove that that complex problems cannot be solved stepwise.

Date: 2008/12/29 12:37:35, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I may be wrong, but I personally believe that ID needs to split into rival schools, with competing models of the Designer’s modus operandi and objectives, before it can make headway scientifically, and get “runs on the board,” so to speak.

Date: 2008/12/29 12:45:19, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I can't say that we actually know what's involved in forming a new structure, but five [genes] would be a minimum estimate.

Date: 2008/12/29 14:30:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Seelke can now educate the rest of the ID community that evolution does not move towards a particular target (recreating the protein he inactivated), but towards any improvement available. No gradient = stasis.

That does seem to be the point of understanding toward which ID cannot evolve. ;)

Date: 2008/12/29 14:46:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Front Loading=3.5 billion years of lost history.


Date: 2008/12/29 14:51:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (stevestory @ Dec. 29 2008,14:48)
Quote (dmso74 @ Dec. 29 2008,15:31)

somebody want to tell me what this means?

Needs its own thread, doesn't it?

Date: 2008/12/30 11:29:04, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (J-Dog @ Dec. 30 2008,11:25)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Dec. 30 2008,10:38)
Lil Billy D whines about Wikipedia:

Help! Help! I'm being oppressed!

If Dr. Dr. Billy doesn't behave himself, he's gonna wind up as a Big Star on another Wiki source...

Future Home Of Dembski's Bio

Nah. Too much good company. Enough for a bridge foursome, anyway.

Date: 2008/12/30 14:18:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Doesn't that belong in the bathroon sink?

Date: 2009/01/02 14:13:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (guthrie @ Jan. 02 2009,14:04)
17th scientific revolution?  What were the other 16?

I assume they preceded the 19th nervous breakdown.

Date: 2009/01/05 10:43:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I hope that the next Good Ol' Boy Judge is as smart as Judge Jones hisself.

I'd think the greatest fear the ID movement has is getting a dumbass judge to side with them and having that opinion overturned on appeal.

I've followed the right wing argument for some time and know they were expecting Supreme court replacements to be appointed by a conservative. Now that ain't gonna happen.

The next time this gets to the Supreme Court, it will be strike three.

Date: 2009/01/05 12:08:35, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (KCdgw @ Jan. 05 2009,11:46)
My goodness-- I missed this the first time.


Avida DID NOT generate IC. Because of the way Avida operates every structure it produces is by definition not IC because it was generated by stepwise path.

So...IC is defined by how it comes about, not by what it is. Right.


But you can determine how it came about (or how it didn't come about) by what it is.

Pretty neat.

Date: 2009/01/05 12:29:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
This may be completely superfluous, but I've been thinking about the evolution of the bicycle.

The problem with the analogy is not that a wheel can be removed, leaving a functional unicycle.

The problem with the analogy is that we know much of the history of bicycles (and wheels in general) and know that the various memes enabling the invention of bicycles did not spring full grown from the forehead of Zeus.

We have examples of early wheels that were simply logs placed under heavy objects to make moving them easier. So we have a plausible scenario in which a found object can become useful. First unicycle. No construction required, no modification of structure required. No seat. No handlebars. No chain. No pedals.

Analogies have limits, but what we can take from this is the fact that knowing the actual history of an invention makes nonsense of claims of irreducibility.

Human designed objects like bicycles do not begin with a vision of the perfect final form, and the fact that removal of a piece makes the product significantly less functional says nothing about the history of the invention.

The Intelligent Design argument stands or falls on what it can say about the history of an object, and so far it can say nothing.

EDIT: I suppose this belongs on the Luskin thread.

Date: 2009/01/05 14:04:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
They agree with him, but they see the next Dover trial going down the tubes.

Date: 2009/01/05 14:25:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Looks good to me. I've always wondered, however, what keeps the real wheel attached to the frame.

Is there a hidden ID metaphor in that drawing?

Date: 2009/01/06 10:20:26, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Behe testified under oath that the Designer is God.

So if ID comes to court again, what other expert can the cdesign proponentsists put on the stand?

Date: 2009/01/06 15:46:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It would be fun, indeed laudable fun, to go through Darwin and highlight all that's therein which answers current creationist critiques of evolution or prefigures new discoveries.

Isn't that what Stephen Gould did for umpty years in Natural History magazinne?

I believe you can find Darwin's discussion of punk eek in Gould's essays.

Date: 2009/01/06 16:33:03, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Now I'll spend hopeless and futile hours looking for the Gould essay.

I started reading Gould in 1974. I had no idea at the time he would become an icon. But it did lead me to subscribe to the mag.

Date: 2009/01/06 19:52:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
His last visit did not go so well.

That's true, assuming it gave us creationists.

Does this belong on FSTDT?

Date: 2009/01/07 13:14:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
For someone whose website won't accept any God talk, Dembski certaintly has a lot of titles with the word "creation" in them.

Date: 2009/01/08 09:24:19, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Following up on that:

...and lastly, although each species must have passed through numerous transitional stages, it is probable that the periods, during which each underwent modification, though many and long as measured by years, have been short in comparison with the periods during which each remained in an unchanged condition. These causes, taken conjointly, will to a large extent explain why—though we do find many links between the species of the same group— we do not find interminable varieties, connecting together all extinct and existing forms by the finest graduated steps. It should also be constantly borne in mind that any linking varieties between two or more forms, which might be found, would be ranked, unless the whole chain could be perfectly restored, as so many new and distinct species; for it is not pretended that we have any sure criterion by which species and varieties can be discriminated.

Looks like Gould could have benefitted from Darwin Online.

Date: 2009/01/08 12:22:20, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Seems to be a Khan shaped elephant in that chat room.

Date: 2009/01/08 13:16:04, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Seems that they forgot to publish the October issue.

Here it is:

Date: 2009/01/08 13:25:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (mitschlag @ Jan. 08 2009,12:56)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Jan. 08 2009,12:22)
Seems to be a Khan shaped elephant in that chat room.

Yes, but currently, the really heavy lifting is being done by Sal Gal.

Interesting that SETI only works if ET thinks like us.

Another way of saying that the search for SETI is equivalent to the search for human artifacts, and rests on the assumption that we know something about the designer of the artifacts.

Date: 2009/01/08 13:53:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
OK, lets say the consequences sufficiently resemble those of agents with which we are already familiar and that said consequences are not potentially causable by known agents or natural processes - then what?

We already have examples of that in genetically engineered food crops. We know that when humans design living things they walk all over the nested hierarchy, leaving giant boot prints in the genome.

Date: 2009/01/08 14:15:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The point is that when you know something about an agent, you can detect instances of the agent.

We know something about human designers and can detect instances of engineered genomes.

We also know something about natural selection acting as an agent, and we can say with considerable assurance that gneomes not known to be engineered by humans fit the M.O. of natural selection.

Date: 2009/01/09 13:17:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
80 Microcomputing used to have contests for things like the fastest assembly language program for filling the screen with a given character. And a prize for the shortest.

Hell, now you can't even be certain that a program will still execute after the next OS patch.

Date: 2009/01/11 10:22:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Jan. 11 2009,08:17)
Quote (rhmc @ Jan. 11 2009,09:07)
i assume you're running some version of the leopard OS these days?

OS 10.5.6 on a G5 dual processor tower and a MacBook. So I straddle processor families (without having to take the slightest note of that fact).

Which calls to mind Apple's most astonishing accomplishments: the transition from the 68000 family to the PowerPC, the transition from OS 9 to OS X, and the transition from PowerPC to Intel. Equivalent to repeatedly replacing the hull and engines of a submarine while underway, underwater, and in battle.

It's a smooth and powerful vessel.

My only experience with a Mac was with OS8.1.

It only needed to do a few things for the crew publishing a magazine. Open Acrobat files for proofreading, scan images and print to a printer on the network over ethernet.

After three months of tech support it never printed to the network. After each image scan, using Photoshop, the computer froze and had to be powered off.

I have two friends who bought Mac laptops in the last two years. One bought it for his daughter because her private school required it. Her laptop has had three dvd drive replacements and two hard drives.

The other guy sold his mac after six months. I didn't get a detailed explanation, but it had something to do with synchronizing email with a corporate PC and a Blackberry.

I gave my son an iPod a couple years ago. I find out recently that it died after a year and a half, and he replaced it at his own expense. He was too embarrassed to tell me that my gift wound up costing him money.

I don't like to spend a lot of time bashing Apple, but occasionally I get tired of the endless of bullshit emanating from the Apple crowd.

Date: 2009/01/12 09:00:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Louis @ Jan. 12 2009,05:37)
Quote (Lou FCD @ Jan. 12 2009,11:26)


Now I can put my world domination plans into action:

Step 1: An AtBC POTW (it may even last for a few hours!)
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit (and world domination).


Good rule of thumb: if you covet POTW, make fun of Expelled.

I did.

Date: 2009/01/14 07:22:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Seriously, who gives a rat's ass what a Bush administration economist thinks about fiscal policy at this point? It's about like asking Dembski on to talk about evolution. Why would you bother except for comedic effect?

I'd be a bit more impressed with the incoming administration if key members of congress -- still in office -- weren't on tape from two years ago telling us the icebergs were just an illusion and Freddie and Fannie were just fine.

Date: 2009/01/14 12:57:25, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (cogzoid @ Jan. 14 2009,12:45)
Joseph is a tard under the hood as well.  
I once put platinum spark plugs in my Grand National because I figured they would allow it to run better. Wrong! The spark reached its destination too soon throwing off the timing!

As a physicist and backyard mechanic, I know that there is no way that the few millimeters of platinum at the tip of the spark plug could possibly speed up the spark.  This guy is a complete moron.  There may be other reasons why the spark plugs didn't work, but the platinum was not it.

Zapped by the god of the gaps.

Date: 2009/01/14 14:01:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
But it makes perfect sense if it’s partially defined algorithmically.

Does open new Vistas on the identity of teh Designer.

Date: 2009/01/14 14:53:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Careful what you say about squids. HE might be watching.

Date: 2009/01/15 14:55:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad


Date: 2009/01/15 16:35:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Look like facts to me.

Date: 2009/01/15 19:11:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
My guess the number reflects the accuracy of the measurement. Significant digits and so forth.

Date: 2009/01/16 10:46:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (dvunkannon @ Jan. 16 2009,09:48)
DaveScot leaves a gift for my grandchildren in the form of a prediction. We all know how well Scooter predicts things.

I will now make a prediction from an ID perspective. Any living organisms found on Mars will be based on DNA and ribosomes essentially identical to what all life on earth utilizes. This is because life, even the simplest forms, is too complex to have originated in our solar system very early in its history.

Hey, it's a prediction, It's science.

I'm thinking it might take less than twenty years to find out.

Date: 2009/01/18 14:25:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote it may change. The first comment points out that it was Lot's wife, of course.

Curiosity and its punishment seems to be a theme.

Date: 2009/01/18 15:23:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Now if theists could just stop killing each other over which goddidit, we could all get on with our lives.

Date: 2009/01/18 16:15:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I switched to Classico and Bertollis for marinara sauce. Now when I try the cheap stuff like Ragu it is sickeningly sweet.

First thing to do when purchasing sauce is throw out anything that has added sugar. Most do.

Date: 2009/01/18 17:14:56, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I am intrigued by the caution, if not squeamishness, that ID supporters – especially Christian ones – express towards the pursuit of theodicy.

The Ill-at-ease and Theodicy.

Date: 2009/01/19 11:13:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (csadams @ Jan. 18 2009,18:15)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Jan. 18 2009,17:14)
I am intrigued by the caution, if not squeamishness, that ID supporters – especially Christian ones – express towards the pursuit of theodicy.

The Ill-at-ease and Theodicy.

Ugh.  Just . . . ugh.

<doffs cap>

It has come to my attention that I misspelled Theidiocy.

Date: 2009/01/19 11:37:32, Link
Author: midwifetoad
No videos of fundie students burning evolution posters and banners? Where is their commitment?

Date: 2009/01/19 13:58:48, Link
Author: midwifetoad

The debate over the controversial practice of child marriage in Saudi Arabia was pushed back into the spotlight this week, with the kingdom's top cleric saying that it's OK for girls as young as 10 to wed.

"It is incorrect to say that it's not permitted to marry off girls who are 15 and younger," Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, the kingdom's grand mufti, said in remarks quoted Wednesday in the regional Al-Hayat newspaper. "A girl aged 10 or 12 can be married. Those who think she's too young are wrong and they are being unfair to her."
Late last month, a Saudi judge refused to annul the marriage of an 8-year-old girl to a 47-year-old man.

Date: 2009/01/19 16:33:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2009/01/19 17:34:46, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I wait for the garage sale. The problem isn't the money. It's the lost hours of my life.

Date: 2009/01/20 16:22:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I admit to only having an undergrad background in math, and to not working through the equations in Dembski's papers myself, but don't the No Free Lunch theorems only apply in a problem space that is random?  Has any IDer tried to show that that assumption is applicable in genome space?  I'd love to hear them explain the incredible unlikelihood that a high percentage of zygotes are viable, even though their genes differ from both parents.

Possibly because evolution isn't searching for a target or trying to reach a goal. I'm not sure why the search metaphor is used.

What happens is that new combination occasionally have useful properties, but the properties are not necessarily foreseen, even by the selecting agent.

I'm not convinced it is easy to model a process that creates emergent properties.

Date: 2009/01/21 10:00:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I have a numbr of German knives that I thought were pretty good, and I've been a skeptic of the expensive Japanese knives.

But I got a Shun knife for Christmas, and jobs like chopping vegetables are transformed.

That, plus you can have the knife factory resharpened forever for the price of postage.

Date: 2009/01/21 12:22:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
You guys all deserve Shunning.


Date: 2009/01/21 14:56:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Imagine pink whirled peas.

Date: 2009/01/25 11:15:20, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I cannot see the point in churches taking part in either.
Could be there's an embedded IQ test involved.

Date: 2009/01/25 17:12:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I could breed chihuahuas and presumably eventually produce a great Dane, but what if I could not?

Date: 2009/01/26 14:23:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Kristol's contract is up.  They signed him up for one year in January 2008.  Maybe cooler heads at the NYT have have prevailed this time around.

That and the Times is broke.

Date: 2009/01/30 13:30:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
AIDS Coordinator Is Dismissed

The abrupt departure of the State Department’s global AIDS coordinator has led to debate over who should run what may be President Bush’s greatest legacy: his commitment of billions of dollars to fighting AIDS overseas.
The position — U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and director of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, which is known as Pepfar — is a State Department post with ambassador’s rank that had been held by Dr. Mark R. Dybul, a Bush administration appointee.

On Jan. 9, Dr. Dybul circulated a memo saying he had been asked by President Obama’s transition team to stay on the job temporarily. But on Jan. 22, one day after Hillary Clinton was confirmed as secretary of state, her staff announced that Dr. Dybul had resigned.

No reason was given, but he was reported to have packed up his office and said an emotional goodbye to his staff that afternoon. Mr. Dybul did not return phone messages, but he has told friends that he does not even know on whose orders he was dismissed.

“He deserved better,” said a friend who asked not to be identified for fear of jeopardizing his government job. “He didn’t want to stay, but he was asked.”

The ambassador disburses Pepfar’s funds; Congress authorized $15 billion over five years in 2003, and the fund has since paid for AIDS drugs for about two million people, mostly in Africa. Last year, after a bitter fight between liberal and conservative lawmakers over what the money could be spent on, the fund was renewed as part of a law authorizing $48 billion over five years for combating AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The question of who should run the program seems to be a legacy of that fight. Several names have been discussed as possible candidates, but AIDS activists say they know of no one who has been seriously vetted for the job by the Obama transition team since November.

A day after Dr. Dybul’s resignation, word began to circulate among AIDS activists that the job had been offered to Dr. Eric Goosby, the director of AIDS policy in Bill Clinton’s administration, who now runs a San Francisco foundation devoted to fighting AIDS.

According to a member of an anti-AIDS group speaking on the condition of anonymity, Senator John Kerry approached Mrs. Clinton, seeking the job for Dr. Jim Yong Kim, a Harvard medical school professor and former World Health Organization AIDS chief, and was told that she had offered it to Dr. Goosby.

Through a spokesman, Dr. Goosby declined to confirm or deny that he had been offered the job, and Dr. Kim did not return phone calls seeking comment. Senator Kerry’s spokesman said he would not discuss the senator’s personal conversations with Mrs. Clinton.

Both men had been discussed as possible candidates, along with Dr. Nils Daulaire, former president of the Global Health Council; Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, an epidemiologist at the Columbia School of Public Health; and Warren W. Buckingham III, Pepfar’s director in Kenya, who is openly gay and taking AIDS drugs himself.

Dr. Daulaire declined to be interviewed, Dr. El-Sadr said she had not heard that her name was among those being discussed, and Mr. Buckingham said he knew his name had been suggested by others but had not lobbied for the job and had not been contacted by either the Obama or Clinton teams.

The abruptness of Dr. Dybul’s departure and the secrecy of the process to replace him has upset some AIDS policy specialists.

On Monday, a coalition of 68 anti-AIDS groups sent a letter to Mrs. Clinton asking her not to fill Mr. Dybul’s post immediately but to convene a committee to identify top candidates and get many viewpoints, including theirs.

One of its authors, Brian Hennessey of the Vineeta Foundation, expressed his irritation at how the request was ignored.

“Goosby is not bad,” he said. “There are plenty of people who want Goosby — but they’ll be damned if the job is filled this way. This isn’t the truth-in-advertising of the Obama campaign.”

Dr. Dybul’s departure was both celebrated and condemned.

Jodi Jacobson, a former head of the Center for Health and Gender Equity, which wants financing for all aspects of women’s reproductive health, including abortion, wrote a blog post titled “Dybul Out: Thank You Hillary!!!” It argued that he had worked too closely with the far right, and she accused him of lobbying to please the Roman Catholic Church by letting its relief groups opt out of distributing condoms.

Michael Gerson, a former Bush speechwriter and Washington Post columnist, shot back that “blogging extremists” like Ms. Jacobson had lied about Dr. Dybul’s record and that his firing had left an important program without a leader.

At the heart of the debate was the difficult bipartisan compromise behind Mr. Bush’s AIDS plan. It is the darling of two groups that normally oppose each other: foreign policy liberals who want to help Africa and evangelical Christians who support mission hospitals there.

Dr. Dybul was straddling some personal fences too: he was one of the Bush administration’s few openly gay officials, a doctor who had treated AIDS patients in San Francisco and Africa, and he had donated to Democratic causes. He took office when his boss, Randall Tobias, a former pharmaceutical executive, was ousted in the D.C. Madam scandal after acknowledging he had received escort-service massages.

Mr. Tobias and Dr. Dybul surprised many with two early decisions that activists had expected fights over: Pepfar has paid for millions of condoms, and it buys cheap generic drugs from India, despite the pharmaceutical lobby’s opposition.

But conservatives in Congress imposed other restrictions: one-third of the money spent on prevention had to be used for teaching abstinence until marriage. Groups getting funds, including those helping prostitutes, had to sign a pledge condemning prostitution. And no money could be spent on clean needles for drug addicts.

These issues were divisive not just for liberals and conservatives, but also between liberals. For example, some feminists think women needing money have a right to engage in prostitution, while others oppose it, saying it contributes to human trafficking and child rape.

In separate studies, the Government Accountability Office and the Institute of Medicine both found that the abstinence earmark unnecessarily tied the hands of fund recipients, especially in countries where AIDS was concentrated among drug users and prostitutes.

Dr. Dybul defended the teaching of abstinence, especially to young children, because it can be effective among deeply religious rural Africans.

And he argued that countries could get funds for prohibited uses, like clean needles, from other donors like the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria or European countries.

Although the restrictions have been criticized, no one has presented scientific evidence that they cost any lives.

And although there was grumbling in 2003 when the Bush administration created its own AIDS program rather than simply contributing to the Global Fund, Rajat Gupta, chairman of the Global Fund’s board, said Thursday in Davos that Pepfar was “one of the truly great contributions of the last administration.”

Date: 2009/01/30 15:29:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Discovery Institute in JPost: Darwin Led to Hitler
Opinion | Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 11:51:21 am PST

David Klinghoffer of the anti-evolution Discovery Institute has an opinion column in the Jerusalem Post, attacking Jewish groups like the ADL for protesting against Pope Benedict’s reinstatement of Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson. Klinghoffer calls it “whining:” The wages of whining.

But the real purpose of Klinghoffer’s column is to attempt to redirect Jewish anger toward the Discovery Institute’s main target: the theory of evolution.

Date: 2009/02/02 08:51:46, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Hard to beat a wing sauce that has butter as it's first ingredient.

Date: 2009/02/02 15:54:46, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (steve_h @ Feb. 02 2009,15:40)
the new FAQ – which is entitled “Frequently Raised But Weak Arguments Against Intelligent Design – is nearing completion. Watch for the final product to appear on this page soon.

If you can't wait that long, type faq onto the end of the UD homepage.

eta: linky

Wouldn't that be the list of bannable offences? Offering any argument against ID?

Date: 2009/02/03 21:46:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I used to be a quote miner.


Here's where I identified Genesis Park as the number three internet quote mine, using talkorigins quotes, Google, and an Access database.

Date: 2009/02/05 14:31:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I also wonder how many very smart American kids reject scientific and other intellectually rigorous pursuits because they have been led to believe all is by accident, hence their time is more wisely spent doing drugs and playing computer games.

I also wonder how cdesign proponentsists account for the fact that Las Vegas prospers on chance. What Designer intervenes to give the house the edge?

Date: 2009/02/06 09:41:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The salesman's route problem seems to have been well researched, even to the point where corporations are using genetic algorithms in daily planning. As someone Egnorant of the underlying details, I'd appreciate a layman's overview of the methods used to avoid a brute force search.

How does this relate to Dembski's claims?

And how soon before I can haz a GPS that will plan a multi-stop route for me?

Date: 2009/02/06 10:11:20, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Kristine @ Feb. 06 2009,09:58)
Quote (Bob O'H @ Feb. 06 2009,08:24)
You know, I'm still waiting for FtK to...

Just how many times are you guys going to press that bar, waiting for cheezburger drop? ;)

That's what you get with intermittent reinforcement.

Date: 2009/02/06 11:57:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Did you see the pandasthumb posts on this?

I've seen some discussion, but not much detail since WAD posted his peer reviewed paper. As a relatively math illiterate person, I have trouble following the arguments over whether one search algorithm is faster of more efficient than another.

As an amateur selectionist I have trouble seeing how efficiency is relevant, or even why the word "search" is relevant. I don't see that evolution is searching for anything. To me it seems simply to be filling the container the way a fluid fills a container. Selection constrains the shape of things, but things don't have the goal of fitting the container.

However, problems like the salesman's route do have goals, and I'm curious if there are indeed, ways of finding the best fit in fewer steps.

Date: 2009/02/06 19:22:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
According to Behe, “irreducible complexity” is the idea that a system has a number of parts that interact to produce a function that each part on its own could not produce.

Isn't that a change from earlier definitions, and isn't it a bit tautological?

Date: 2009/02/07 14:26:08, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Mississippi disclaimer bill dead

Mississippi's House Bill 25, which would have mandated the state board of education to require every textbook that discusses evolution to include a disclaimer describing evolution as "a controversial theory," died in committee on February 3, 2009, according to the state's legislative website. At present, the only state to require a textbook disclaimer about evolution is Alabama, which is currently using a disclaimer adopted in 2005. The proposed Mississippi disclaimer was evidently a hybrid of two previous versions of the Alabama disclaimer: its first paragraph is modeled on the first paragraph of the second version (adopted in 2001), while much of the remainder is modeled on the first version (adopted in 1995).

Date: 2009/02/09 09:27:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
State Board of Education Chairman Don McLeroy was reappointed to a new, two-year term by Gov. Rick Perry on Friday. McLeroy, a Republican from College Station, has been on the board for nearly a decade and is one of seven members closely aligned with social conservatives.

McLeroy, a dentist, was on the losing end of a controversial board vote last month to scrap a longtime state requirement that high school teachers cover so-called "weaknesses" in the theory of evolution in science classes. McLeroy was successful in getting the board to adopt a weaker rule backed by evolution critics that says students must consider the "sufficiency or insufficiency" of Charles Darwin's tenet that living things have common ancestors. Science teacher groups will try to eliminate that requirement in a final board vote on new science curriculum standards in March.

Date: 2009/02/12 12:54:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
What do we tell our children? I’m still working on that one.

When I got exam questions like that I always thought there must be a trick.

Date: 2009/02/13 18:41:25, Link
Author: midwifetoad
* In the interest of accuracy, there are a handful of reports of people surviving clinical rabies
Of course at the time they were praying for death, and God healed them just to piss 'em off.

Date: 2009/02/15 12:09:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
"Unbalanced Centrifuge"

Is that "Things fly apart" moment?

Date: 2009/02/17 09:25:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
If anyone has a suggestion for additional items on the timeline, or, heaven forbid, errors in what I have there, please let me know.

There are quite a few precursors to Darwin, some going back to the Greeks. I have toyed for some time with putting together a high-school level "biography" of evolution, the idea.

My thinking is it would be good to put all the creationist talking points in historical perspective, showing that they are not new ideas being ignored by mainstream science.

Date: 2009/02/17 18:16:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Organisms known to have been engineered don't fit the nested hierarchy. What does that say about design detection?

Date: 2009/02/18 15:32:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (khan @ Feb. 18 2009,14:27)
Quote (Arden Chatfield @ Feb. 18 2009,15:17)
What are they at the university where you teach, Dave?


And Dave without a ban button.

That's gonna leave a scar.

I have a video of the incident.

Date: 2009/02/18 17:11:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
My only close contact with Muslims has been keeping a couple of Egyptian pre-teens in my home for a week as part of a summer camp exchange program. I found it rather remarkable that the parents would allow infidels to house and feed their children. (We bullied the local Dominoes  into making pizza with tuna instead of sausage.)

The following year the parents dropped by for a quick visit. they were quite pleasant apart from being dentists.

When the were gone, however, my wife said she was horrified at how submissive the wife was. (She was also a dentist and therefore professionally equal.)

Of course it's only been 90 years since women in our enlightened country got the vote.

Date: 2009/02/19 07:07:02, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Lou FCD @ Feb. 18 2009,21:24)
Monster Tales from the 112 Lab, in which I say bad words and nearly crap my pants.

I was swapping between moving the table and making quick, partial sketches of what I saw. Everything was going along quietly when all of a sudden […] tried to jump off the slide and eat my face. I swear it did.

I had that happen in high school bio lab, with water from a creek behind my house. It just ain't right for stuff under a microscope to move fast.

Date: 2009/02/19 12:44:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Thanks for the additional shows of sympathy, folks.  364 days and counting to the big 40.

You be careful. Lots of people never make it past 39. :p

Date: 2009/02/19 21:34:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Maya @ Feb. 19 2009,19:58)
Quote (Louis @ Feb. 19 2009,18:34)
Honestly, it's political correctness gone mad. Women don't want equality they just want to have babies and do cooking.

You know that whole baby delivery mechanism?  NOT intelligent design.

It's intelligent. It's designed to teach you wimmon not to play with snakes.

Date: 2009/02/19 22:06:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
......oh yeah that will work.....snickr

You have to reinforce the lesson with occasional global genocides.

Date: 2009/02/20 09:43:20, Link
Author: midwifetoad
In another thread ID critics complain there is no rigorous definition or mathematical formula by which everyone can agree on whether or not something exhibits complex specified information. Believe it not, they say it like mainstream science isn’t chock full of things that not everyone can agree upon. Like duh.
Shouldn't the vast array of mathematical tools in the ID quiver enable us to determine whether this is a natural or artificial formation? If not, then what can they do?

Isn't ID about design detection without requiring speculation about the physical history of objects?

Date: 2009/02/20 12:41:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Feb. 20 2009,10:23)
If you haven't looked lately, please check out the front page for I have added an "Antievolutionists Say the Darndest Things" block and coded stuff so that it and the books block are dynamically updated. Plus, a "Random Articles" block is now on the left sidebar.

I'm going to start a new topic for people to suggest examples for the "Invidious Comparisons" compilation.

Nice stuff, but doesn't bingo require grid coordinates? Like B2, I3, N4 and such?

Date: 2009/02/20 12:52:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad
be inside surreptitiously recording them.

Sounds like a good way of getting that second circumcision you always wanted.

Date: 2009/02/20 12:55:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Measure this, Dave:

Are you going to tell us the name of that formation, or is some service required first?

Date: 2009/02/20 13:36:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I guess printing BINGO or IDIOT across the top is just a convenience, making finding the square faster. If you're playing fifty cards you can't have too much help.

Can you arrange to sell these at 7-11s?

Date: 2009/02/20 15:19:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad
DaveScot wants us all to look at something and say that it exhibits "CSI", when in reality, it exibits "Looks like a city"-ness.

Google today claimed the criss-crossing lines were sonar data collected as boats mapped the ocean floor.

But the internet giant said “blank spots” within the lines could not be explained.

A spokeswoman said: “Bathymetric (or sea floor terrain) data is often collected from boats using sonar to take measurements of the sea floor.

“The lines reflect the path of the boat as it gathers the data.

“The fact that there are blank spots between each of these lines is a sign of how little we really know about the world’s oceans.”

Dave knew that.

Date: 2009/02/23 15:20:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Dave's right. Only the Designer is allow to make up the rules at whim.

Date: 2009/02/23 20:51:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (AmandaHuginKiss @ Feb. 23 2009,19:32)
Save me I'm posting over there

Do my arguments make sense to you guys? It's hard when you go through the looking glass

You might ask if slavery has always been immoral, or is it still moral?

Date: 2009/02/24 09:02:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (utidjian @ Feb. 24 2009,02:40)

That is an interesting description. I have often wondered what makes a literalist and even many not so literalist Christians cling to their mistakes with such tenacity. Especially so in the presence of a non-believer.

I always assumed that it had more to do with pride rather than denial and fear. I am most likely wrong. Good thing it doesn't scare me to admit that ;-)


For a creationist, changing one's mind about Genesis would mean giving up nearly all friends and family ties.

Which is why people tend to flip between extreme politions rather than ease into new understandings gradually. It strikes me as tribalism, the need to be surrounded by the like minded.

Date: 2009/02/25 11:35:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Hasn't this been asked, and the answer was because of the loss of his daughter?  
That was the official conclusion in Desmond and Moore, but I don't find it satisfying. It could, however, put you off organized religion.

Date: 2009/02/25 13:23:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Too bad he didn't read this first.

Date: 2009/02/26 14:01:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Hong Kong evolution curriculum row
Intelligent design 'debate' sparks controversy.

Date: 2009/02/26 15:20:34, Link
Author: midwifetoad
When Michael Behe was asked what type of research would help prove his thesis as outlined in the Edge of Evolution, he pointed to the research of Lenski at Michigan State on bacteria evolution. As I said before Lenski would cringe if he knew he was doing ID research but ID research he is doing. Each generation of data for every culture line either supports or falsifies Behe’s thesis.

So there you have it. Groundbreaking ID research. Stealthed.

Date: 2009/02/27 18:27:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
intelligent design doesn't require "perfection"

I think the problem is that the Designer used protomatter.

Date: 2009/03/01 15:21:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
However, you might pinch a piece of code from an unrelated project to stop reinventing the wheel.

So ID would predict many exceptions to common descent ...

This is what happens when humans engineer living things, which  I think is the most convincing argument against ID. Why do the only known designers routinely violate common descent, and why does the Designer stick to the constraints imposed by common descent.

Date: 2009/03/01 15:26:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Patrick Henry/aka sensuous curmudgeon was a founder of Busy boy. I think his commitment to the political battle overrides mere chitchat.

Date: 2009/03/01 16:28:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Human designers do appear to produce features that could be mistaken for common descent.

Designers can do all sort of thngs. My comment is directed to to fact that humans frequently do transgenetic engineering, whereas the Designer does not. Hence, analogies to human engineering argue against ID as the source of pre-ge organisms.

Date: 2009/03/02 09:06:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
All science so far...

Date: 2009/03/02 11:25:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
My research area is in evolutionary robotics, I've seen some of the NASA stuff, very interesting but its hard to convince traditional engineers to trust things that were 'evolved' rather than designed because evolving a solution can produce results where it is hard to understand exactly how they work - evolutionary electronics is a good example!

Aside from whether evolved electronics work, what is it aboutthe algorithms that make them more effective than Dembski's brute force search?

I'm bordering on innumerate and wish someone would translate Dembski's argument vs commercial implementation of EAs into simple.

Date: 2009/03/02 11:56:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Has anyone at the Institute ever published anything equivalent to this, tossing out decades of "we're not religious" discipline, in one stroke?

Is Igor even aware that creationism is not a legally sanctioned alternative to science in science classes?

Date: 2009/03/02 11:58:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
So what can we conclude about Densey's inability to get things right ?

Lots of practice?

Date: 2009/03/02 12:00:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
GAs tend to continue down good alleys and give up on bad ones. This is called "hill climbing", and the top of the hill represents the best (localized) solution. There can be many hills and the closest may not be the tallest.

So you could get a great performing antenna that's prone to hernias?

Date: 2009/03/02 12:46:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
So GAs are efficient at navigating gradients, but no better than brute force at climbing towers.

So it must piss off folks like Behe when the obvious towers are associated with things like malaria and dysentery. The skyhooks are mostly shithooks.

Date: 2009/03/02 15:08:08, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm thinking that in a landscape with many hills, some higher than others, that  a system that spawns many offsping, some will work their way around local hills and find the higher ones -- assuming that not finding a hill isn't instantly fatal.

But the key thing seems to be the gradient and the differential success of individuals that land on a higher position.

That's a question.

Date: 2009/03/02 15:27:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm in favor of having a history of science handout for those interested in the controversy. The main weapon of IDC is the claim that their ideas have been ignored.

Much better to show their place in history. Gould and Mayr wrote some good stuff, but I think NCSE could put together a handout.

Skeptic magazine did some excellent stuff, but their name sounds a bit anti-religion. I'm thinking just a discussion of the various criticisms of evolution as they arose in history.

Date: 2009/03/03 06:36:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Gradients aren't so important to GAs, because the new population members are not created by following the gradient.

No, that would imply foresight. What I assume happens is that individuals that happen to find themselves higher on the gradient are more successful at reproducing or avoiding elimination. Repeat.

Date: 2009/03/03 13:05:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Since the definition also includes "Charles Johnson biggest censorship ass hat 2008", I get the impression that the definitions are written by the readers, without too much editing by the dictionary staff.  I'd guess this one was entered by the same person who breathlessly reported it to Denyse.

This is an internecine war between a couple of pig headed guys. I don't know or care who's the bigger ass, but LGF had it's 15 minutes of fame during the Dan Rather/Bush  AWOL document imbroglio. Since then LGF has ditched creationism and Muslim whacking, and seems to have acquired some enemies among its former fans.

Date: 2009/03/03 19:22:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Some wild, some not so wild, some rocks by the side of the road.

Date: 2009/03/04 08:38:25, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Lou FCD @ Mar. 03 2009,20:13)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 03 2009,20:22)
Some wild, some not so wild, some rocks by the side of the road.

Some GREAT shots!

These are my son's photos, if it isn't clear from context.

The telephoto shots are blurred because one of the lens elements came unglued. Not a nice thing on a once in a lifetime trip.

Date: 2009/03/04 11:24:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Best buy currently is the Canon Rebel line. Assuming you want the ability to swap lenses. Point and shoot (non-SLR) cameras are cheaper, but have unacceptable shutter lag and poor battery life. This means that when you push the button there's a half-second delay before the picture is taken -- really bad for wildlife photography.

And if you leave the camera on, the battery will be dead when you need it most. Leave it off, and it takes a minute to boot while your subject finishes doing whatever was cool.

SLR cameras can be left on for days at a time and take thousands of shots on one charge.

Date: 2009/03/04 15:32:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think the number of cdesign proponentsists who have not fatally compromised their potential effectiveness as expert witnesses in court is zero.

There are probably a lot of churchgoing working biologists who compartmentalize their work and their religion, and who accept the data accumulated in their work, but believe God secretly loads the dice.

But I doubt if many of these people are political activists willing to swear under oath that their personal belief in the cosmic soup stirrer is unrelated to religion.

Date: 2009/03/05 14:31:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Someone off his meds again?

Anoxia due to being throttled by his major intestine?

Date: 2009/03/05 17:20:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Worse than delusional, the surgeon has Bobbeted himself. Failed brain surgery.

Date: 2009/03/06 12:31:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (GCUGreyArea @ Mar. 06 2009,10:29)
Someone should produce a glossary of terms.

Tardon (alimentary unit of Tard, as in: Absorption of Tardons results in emission of Tardicles)
Tardicle (Outpouring of Tardons, as in: Peer Reviewed Tardicle)
Tardma (TRVTH)
Tardmatic (adj: devoted to Tardma. n.  A Weapon capable of Rapid Fire Tardons or Tardicles)

Date: 2009/03/06 13:31:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The problem we have is how to distinguish between "tardma" (dogma of tard) and "tardma" (trauma caused by tard). We need a linguistic consult. Quick, page Chatfield!

Perhaps you mean Irraditardation Sickness.

Date: 2009/03/06 17:24:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
“There are two reasons for this: First, our culture worships science and disdains philosophy, so nothing other than a truly comprehensible and common sense philosophy can ever hope to regain widespread respectability.”

Show us your digital watches.

Date: 2009/03/06 17:28:04, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Has anyone noticed a recent trend toward completely abandoning the pretence of science? Egnor,and now this.

You used to get bannated for suggesting ID was religion.

Date: 2009/03/06 23:44:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad
During a massage theraphy session (the therapist was using a lymph technique), something started throbbing in me. It felt as though an earthquake was taking place but the therapist said no the room was perfectly still. After the initial throbbing, there was this feeling of circular motion going from my head down the right side to my feet and then over to the left side and back up to my chest. There must have been at least 5-7 rotations before it subsided.

Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Uh, Jack, Jack, listen, tell me, tell me, Jack. When did you first... become... well, develop this theory?
General Jack D. Ripper: Well, I, uh... I... I... first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.
General Jack D. Ripper: Yes, a uh, a profound sense of fatigue... a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I... I was able to interpret these feelings correctly. Loss of essence.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Hmm.
General Jack D. Ripper: I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women uh... women sense my power and they seek the life essence. I, uh... I do not avoid women, Mandrake.
Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: No.
General Jack D. Ripper: But I... I do deny them my essence.

Date: 2009/03/07 15:41:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
While we are complaining, I have never been able to login and ost from a public computer.

That is, I can't post unless I check the remember me box when signing in.

Date: 2009/03/07 17:37:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
One of my internet buds once engaged a creationist with unedited responses from Eliza. It went on for an hour or so of back and forth.

Date: 2009/03/07 17:39:56, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Henry J @ Mar. 07 2009,16:42)
While we are complaining, I have never been able to login and ost from a public computer.

That is, I can't post unless I check the remember me box when signing in.

Just a guess, but I wonder if public computers limit the use of cookies for websites accessed on them?


Nope. They're my puppies. I control the horizontal and the vertical. They're business computers and I don't want any passwords or login names kept.

They have no restriction on session cookies.

Date: 2009/03/09 13:30:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. - Lou FCD]

4:  If it is a family's fault for buying "too big a home", why didn't the banks and the mortgage lenders stop them?  Isn't that their job?

Who makes the rules that Fanny and Freddy applied to loan approvals? Just asking.

I have no partisan ax to grind here. I think incumbents have an interest in heating the economy, regardless of which party is in power.

Date: 2009/03/09 15:45:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2009/03/09 15:49:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad

You seem to be confused. Pick any paper that has ever been published in evolutionary biology. It either is consistent with ID or it contradicts ID. I maintain that no paper ever published in evolutionary biology ever contradicted ID.

I gave you a basic proposition which ID has as a hypothesis. Find me a paper that contradicts it. Since there are thousands of studies on the mapping and analysis of genomes, they are either consistent or contradict this ID hypothesis. I have not found anyone who can provide one that contradicts ID.

You are either dense or playing games. My guess is the latter.

Date: 2009/03/09 17:53:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. - Lou FCD]

Quote (dvunkannon @ Mar. 09 2009,15:59)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 09 2009,14:30)
4:  If it is a family's fault for buying "too big a home", why didn't the banks and the mortgage lenders stop them?  Isn't that their job?

Who makes the rules that Fanny and Freddy applied to loan approvals? Just asking.

I have no partisan ax to grind here. I think incumbents have an interest in heating the economy, regardless of which party is in power.

A good place to start particularly the material on the CRA and the GSEs.

Efforts to control GSE were thwarted by intense lobbying by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. [59] In April 2005, Secretary of the Treasury John Snow repeated call for GSE reform, saying "Events that have transpired since I testified before this Committee in 2003 reinforce concerns over the systemic risks posed by the GSEs and further highlight the need for real GSE reform to ensure that our housing finance system remains a strong and vibrant source of funding for expanding homeownership opportunities in America … Half-measures will only exacerbate the risks to our financial system." Then house Minority Leader Harry Reid rejected legislation saying " we cannot pass legislation that could limit Americans from owning homes and potentially harm our economy in the process." [60] A 2005 Republican effort for comprehensive GSE reform was threatened with filibuster by Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT). [61]

Date: 2009/03/09 17:56:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
[Graffiti moved to Bathroom Wall. - Lou FCD]

But none of that answers my question , which is, after the crisis became obvious and painful, why has their been no rush to buy the toxic loans. You are talking about firve or ten percent of all mortgages dragging the world into a depression.

And even the worst mortgages are worth more than zero.

Date: 2009/03/10 12:13:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm confused. The Martian face is designed?

Date: 2009/03/10 13:16:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (GCUGreyArea @ Mar. 10 2009,12:32)
Quote (Leftfield @ Mar. 10 2009,12:26)

Onlooker - I might use that as my next sockpuppet

Quidam  being taken?

Date: 2009/03/11 01:37:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Yeah, but did she invent COBOL?

Date: 2009/03/11 07:41:25, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Using science to show IDC is wrong is not a new or different approach. Nor is any single effort going to suddenly and completely transform the public demographic on acceptance of evolutionary science.

That's for sure. The public isn't following the evidence on this topic. This is a clash of tribes, not a rational debate.

Date: 2009/03/11 09:13:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
ID etc are basically symptoms of some people's inability to adjust to reality.

But when people resist reality you have to as why. I don't believe it is lack of intellect or inability to reason.

I think it is fear.

At one time I thought it was simply fear of damnation for holding wrong beliefs. this may be true in some cases, but I think it more often fear of cutting ties to friends and family.

Creationism is a shibboleth and a circumcision. It defines one's membership in the family and community. It's the secret handshake, the social networking password.

Dropping creationisn is not the same as correcting an error in one's understanding of calculus. It's more like changing ones sexual orientation.

Date: 2009/03/11 12:36:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Proof that evolution theory has no applications in medicine:

Date: 2009/03/11 14:02:32, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Many have met their doom by following false profits.

Recently, too.

Date: 2009/03/11 14:08:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
After all, who said "Directed evolution is non-Darwinian"? Therefore, eugenics, being directed evolution, is non-Darwinian. N'est-ce pas, Church Lady? Can't you guys get your stories straight over there?

So let me spell it out: DIRECTED EVOLUTION IS NON-DARWINIAN. DARWINIAN EVOLUTION IS NON-DIRECTED. I’ve been saying this now for close to a decade (see ch. 4 of my book No Free Lunch). Just because the word “evolution” is used doesn’t mean that homage is being paid to Darwin. “Directed evolution” properly falls under ID.

So ID IS EUGENICIST AND RACIST! Thank you, Dr. Dr. Rev. whoeveryouthinkyouare. :p

Here's an opening:

Since ID is not a religious program, but a scientific one, I fail to see why an ID proponent needs comment what a religious organization does or doesn’t do. Evolution is all about science (or so we’re told), as such its founder clearly held racists views drawn directly from the science. If you have a similar connection between racism and ID, we’re all ears.

Date: 2009/03/11 15:12:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Slavery is not the same as racism!

A racist can be against slavery(like Darwin). Someone not against slavery can be against racism(like God).

Hope that helps.

Date: 2009/03/11 16:08:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
O’Leary @ 30

I certainly do not hold myself responsible for everything anyone has ever done in the name of religion, simply because I am a Catholic Christian.

Nor would I hold you responsible for everything done in the name of Catholicism but you do stay in the faith, which is problematical.

Following my argument at #35, it should be clear that what is described in the Bible can also be viewed as a form of directed evolution since it lays out the course of God’s Chosen People. And the God of the Old Testament is no passive observer. He clears a path by striking down the less-favored ‘races’ or assists his chosen ‘race’ in wiping them out. At one point, in the Great Flood, he even goes so far as to annihilate not just other races but all other life on the planet, in effect, wiping the slate clean so that his favored ‘race’ could have a clean start. That is genocide on a scale of which Hitler or Stalin could only have dreamed.

To put it bluntly, Christianity, from that perspective, is a racist and eugenicist program.

Darwinist, do you or don’t you divorce this book?

And if Darwinists dissociate themselves from The Descent of Man because of its alleged racist and eugenicist overtones, will you, Denyse O’Leary, also dissociate yourself from the Bible for the same reasons?

Date: 2009/03/12 14:43:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
As a (hopefully) a learned novice, where is it said that evolution STARTS at a "highly optimized state.

Optimized enough, but there is no necessity for evolution to produce *highly optimized* anything. Things that survive and reproduce are good enough.

Behe's big lie is his assertion that for evolution to be true, it *must* produce things like flagella. Most microbes survive without rotary flagella. The fact that some have them doesn't imply that there was some impetus to produce them.

Date: 2009/03/13 12:02:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Selection Code Fail.

Date: 2009/03/13 12:25:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
This Has Been a Test, And Only a Test, Of The Uncommon Descent Comment System. If this had been a real change in policy, this comment would have already appeared.

Odd. So far not a single dissent, uncommon or otherwise.

Date: 2009/03/13 14:23:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
One immediate effect the new improved moderation policy is that opposing opinions no longer appear. I'm sure that is because the opposition has admitted defeat in the face of overwhelming reason.

Date: 2009/03/13 14:46:47, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Here’s an interesting twist for the thread. Evolutionary biology has been taught to some extent (not much) in western schools after the modern sythesis, starting in the 1930s. The first generation effected by this would have become adults around 1950.

My high school Biology book from about 1960 doesn't list the word evolution in the index. Anybody have a good reference for when evolution actually entered textbooks?

Date: 2009/03/17 10:20:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Canada's science minister, the man at the centre of the controversy over federal funding cuts to researchers, won't say if he believes in evolution.

“I'm not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don't think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate,” Gary Goodyear, the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

Date: 2009/03/17 12:17:55, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Part of the problem with emulating evolution lies in the fact that nature is massively parallel, and programs execute sequentially.

A more realistic Weasel program would have, as its target, any grammatically correct sentence. It could, for example, have as it's target, all well formed sentences in all languages, whether or not they have been uttered or written prior to the program run. But the coding and execution of such a selector is impractical. Or at least difficult.

But evolution has as its target, any structure (organism) that survives and reproduces, whether or not the structure has ever existed previously, or has been anticipated.

Design implies a goal or destination or target. Evolution does not. Is this wrong? And if it's not wrong, how is it possible not to notice?

Date: 2009/03/17 12:34:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Would it be possible in the real world to devise a simple language -- call it Chomskese -- with a limited vocabulary and simple rules of grammar so that any sentence or phrase could be quickly analyzed for correctness? It could be a subset of English, so that any well formed sentence in Chomsker would also be a meaningful sentence in English.

Then write a program -- call it Chomsker -- that would start with a random seed and generate well formed sentences in Chomskese. A kind of MadLib generator.

The selector would have to operate at two levels. First you would need words, then grammar. I suspect, like Weasel, the output of Chomsker would appear to latch letters and words, even if the algorithm did not prevent mutation of "correct" letters.

You could treat words as genes and allow them to migrate from one position to another.

Date: 2009/03/17 12:37:46, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I suspect that things somewhat like this have already been done.

Date: 2009/03/17 12:38:47, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (k.e.. @ Mar. 17 2009,12:36)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Mar. 17 2009,20:34)
Would it be possible in the real world to devise a simple language -- call it Chomskese -- with a limited vocabulary and simple rules of grammar so that any sentence or phrase could be quickly analyzed for correctness? It could be a subset of English, so that any well formed sentence in Chomsker would also be a meaningful sentence in English.

Then write a program -- call it Chomsker -- that would start with a random seed and generate well formed sentences in Chomskese. A kind of MadLib generator.

The selector would have to operate at two levels. First you would need words, then grammar. I suspect, like Weasel, the output of Chomsker would appear to latch letters and words, even if the algorithm did not prevent mutation of "correct" letters.

You could treat words as genes and allow them to migrate from one position to another.


Is that a no because the idea is stupid, or because implementation is too difficult?

Date: 2009/03/17 12:42:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Chomsky has been accused of being an IDiot on more than one occasion. His take on human language abilities seems to be that they are irreducibly complex and unevolvable.

Date: 2009/03/17 12:57:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (deadman_932 @ Mar. 17 2009,12:54)
Chomsky has said some weird things about the evolution of language:

The ones that really caught my eye were:
"It surely cannot be assumed that every trait is specifically selected. In the case of such systems as language or wings it is not even easy to imagine a course of selection that might have given rise to them. A rudimentary wing, for example, is not "useful" for motion but is more of an impediment." [Noam Chomsky Language and Problems of Knowledge: the Managua Lectures 1988 p 167]

Analogizing language and an odd vision of avian wing evolution

and this:
"It is perfectly safe to attribute this development [of innate language structures] to "natural selection", so long as we realize that there is no substance to this assertion, that it amounts to nothing more than a belief that there is some naturalistic explanation for these phenomena." [Noam Chomsky, Language and Mind, 1972, p. 97]

How is that different from Behe blather?

Date: 2009/03/17 13:08:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (deadman_932 @ Mar. 17 2009,13:04)
Midwife: if you look above, I just added this bit:  
However, as the blog "article" points out, Chomsky has amended these earlier statements recently. I dunno if evolutionary origins interested him that much, considering how intractable the subject matter of cognition is.

Specifically, Chomsky has said this:

"I must admit, however, that in recent years, I have made less use of Darwin’s adaptive logic. It is not because I think that the adaptive program has failed, or that it can’t continue to account for a wide variety of human and animal behavior. But with respect to questions of human and animal mind, and especially some of the unique products of the human mind — language, morality, music, mathematics — I have, well, changed my mind about the power of Darwinian reasoning."

How is this different from Behe blather? I don't see how it could have happened; therefore it's magic.

EDIT for typo.

Date: 2009/03/17 13:18:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (deadman_932 @ Mar. 17 2009,13:12)
Midwife: take a look here and see what you think (essp. the comments, which are pretty scathing):

So his thinking has evolved from one kind of saltation event to a different kind of saltation event.

Still sounds poofery to me.

Date: 2009/03/17 13:20:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
In the late 1950s Chomsky argument carried the day because his opponent gave no place to any internal processes, either perceptual or conceptual. Behaviorism described only reflexive responses to unambiguous stimuli.

This is bullshit.

Date: 2009/03/17 13:34:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (deadman_932 @ Mar. 17 2009,13:19)
Here's another one , from Science:

Marc D. Hauser, Noam Chomsky, and W. Tecumseh Fitch (2002). “The Faculty of Language: What Is It, Who Has It, and How Did It Evolve?”

The argument
starts with the assumption that FLB, as a
whole, is highly complex, serves the function
of communication with admirable effectiveness,
and has an ineliminable genetic component.
Because natural selection is the only
known biological mechanism capable of generating
such functional complexes [the argument
from design (29)], proponents of this
view conclude that natural selection has
played a powerful role in shaping many aspects
of FLB, including FLN, and, further,
that many of these are without parallel in
nonhuman animals. Although homologous
mechanisms may exist in other animals, the
human versions have been modified by natural
selection to the extent that they can be
reasonably seen as constituting novel traits,
perhaps exapted from other contexts [e.g.,
social intelligence, tool-making ...(

So language is a bit like a flagellum? And if so, does that mean it was poofed?

My take on all this is that Chomsky got into an argument with Skinner over whether language learning could be modeled as evolutionary. Chomsky was perceived as winning the argument, and has never been able to back down.

Skinner's model involved biological evolution and learning being equivalent processes.

Date: 2009/03/17 13:46:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad
For my own part, I'm not real concerned with Chomsky's views.

Same here, but his name seems ironically to fit a program that would attempt to evolve gramatical sentences. I haven't heard anyone comment on whether such a program is possible. And if it has already been done, where is it?

It seems to me that the least stupid argument against Weasel is that it has a specific target. That seems conceptually wrong, since evolution doesn't work toward specific goals. A better demonstration would be a program that produces structures that meet some general criteria, but whose details are not specified.

Date: 2009/03/17 14:29:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I wasn't thinking the sentences had to be "true" in the sense of conforming to reality. Just well formed sentences, like Mad Libs.

Living things form a small subset of all the ways atoms and molecules can be arranged. (There are more ways of being dead than of being alive.) So the output of a program that models evolution must be filtered by some set of rules.

But there is no practical limit to the number of well formed English sentences. And presumably, there is no knowable limit to the variety of possible living things.

The question is whether we can make a demonstration of how a broad selection rule (grammar and vocabulary) can evolve a population of sentences that conform to a simple grammar, without specifying the target.

Date: 2009/03/17 14:32:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Richardthughes @ Mar. 17 2009,14:19)
Green ideas sleep furiously

The first two now agree because of the equivocation of 'green'. Evilution at work, I guess.

Is that the output of a program that simple fills in blanks of a pre-formed sentence, or is it evolved like Weasel? Is it even reasonable, given real world limitations to computing power,  to try making sentences from dirt, so to speak?

Date: 2009/03/17 14:51:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Henry J @ Mar. 17 2009,14:41)
But, the status of Pluto is a question of terminology, not of basic facts. What to use as official terminology is something that can be decided by a vote.

I wonder if geologists have ever held a debate about whether Europe and Asia are two continents, or one.  :p


More a matter of when than whether.

Date: 2009/03/17 14:56:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'd say Chomsky has been at least as useful to the understanding of human language as Behe and Dembski have been to understanding biology.

what that commonality is that (a) people have and (b) non-people don't seem to have, which is by definition irreducible


EDIT to add:

I'm thinking here that we have living evidence that the "innate" language ability in humans differs from person to person, and there likely isn't a single, irreducible  ability.

Date: 2009/03/17 15:28:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Shorter Joe G:  I don't know what the fuck I am talking about am just plain wrong and won't admit it.

Date: 2009/03/17 15:44:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Maybe both things are happening at the same time.

Date: 2009/03/18 08:07:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (CeilingCat @ Mar. 18 2009,01:55)
Quote (FrankH @ Mar. 17 2009,14:02)
To me the whole analogy of language to evolution is nebulous at best.

Last time I checked, different sounds can mean different things to different people.  Also, language doesn't evolve in the same manner.

Unless I am being too literal, I don't see how using language is relevant as evidence for evolution.

Chomsky is talking about the structure of grammar, not the individual words or sounds.  The ability to understand and use grammar can evolve just like anything else.  If a change in your ability to generate and understand grammatical sentences helps you think or communicate more efficiently, you do better in life and pass on your genes more often than the ordinary dummies ID people.

My problem with Chomsky -- not a direct quote -- is represented by this thought from this blog:

A rewiring of the brain, “presumably the effect of some small mutation” occurred in an individual “not a group.” This individual was endowed with “complex thoughts, [superior] planning, [superior] interpretation, and so on.” Over generations this gene spread and dominated “a small breeding group.” Only then would there be a reason for “externalization” of the language capacity, i.e., only then would speech be possible or useful.

I'm not an evolutionary biologist, just an armchair historian, but that sounds pretty 19th century to me. a single mutation that distinguishes man from "animals"?

Date: 2009/03/18 09:51:25, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Richardthughes @ Mar. 17 2009,20:55)
Science denial now with added Anti-vax

It's a real pity that scientists can't be bothered to study the problem using the scientific method rather than using statistical measures that are bound to be flawed.

These folks are just wasting their time?

My childhood coffee table mag.

Date: 2009/03/18 10:56:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (KenGee @ Mar. 18 2009,08:12)
And they said ID wasn't a science stopper.
A new challenge at UD.

2nd prize is his daughters hand in marriage.
Err Gil, no thanks mate.

Also note that the program is irreducibly complex, on many levels. Without the quicksort the binary search is useless. Without the binary search and the modulo divide operator the sieve won’t work. Without all of the above and much more, carefully orchestrated and properly timed, the tree search won’t work. All of the components must be in place simultaneously and functionally integrated.

Of course, the program did evolve, but it did so by saltation and design. Each new version required the simultaneous altering of many components of the existing code, and the addition of new code. The implications concerning living systems should be obvious.

Date: 2009/03/19 08:17:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
House Bill 4224, introduced in the Texas House of Representatives on March 13, 2009, would, if enacted, require the Texas state board of education to restore the "strengths and weaknesses" language in the Texas state science standards. The current standards for high school biology include a requirement that reads, "The student is expected to analyze, review, and critique scientific explanations, including hypotheses and theories, as to their strengths and weaknesses using scientific evidence and information." As NCSE previously reported, in 2003 the "strengths and weaknesses" language in the standards was selectively applied by members of the board attempting to dilute the treatment of evolution in the biology textbooks then under consideration. When a panel of scientific and educational experts revised the standards, the "strengths and weaknesses" requirement was replaced with "The student is expected to analyze and evaluate scientific explanations using empirical evidence, logical reasoning, and experimental and observational testing." In a close vote on January 23, 2009, the board gave its preliminary approval to a version of the standards without the "strengths and weaknesses" language; a final vote is expected at the board's March 26-27, 2009, meeting.

Date: 2009/03/21 04:36:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
A Texas legislator is waging a war of biblical proportions against the science and education communities in the Lone Star State as he fights for a bill that would allow a private school that teaches creationism to grant a Master of Science degree in the subject.,2933,509719,00.html

Date: 2009/03/24 12:35:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
For those here, in case you're wondering: I was indeed all those things, in my youth.  My commitment to standard science dates to my early 20s.  (I'm 44 now.)

I recall around age 11, Life magazine came out with a series on the evolution of humans (that would be around 1956, for the chronologically unendowed), and I remember thinking that Satan obviously put the bones in the ground to fool people.

This wasn't something I learned from my parents. They would have been horrified at the thought. Looking back I think it was a pretty clever thought for an eleven year old. But I got over it.

Date: 2009/03/24 14:11:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Indeed too there is some doubt that Paul existed.

That's called wishful thinking.

Isn't there an old saying that Catholicism stems from Paul's triumph over James, and Protestantism stems from Paul's triumph over Jesus?

Edit: Link

Date: 2009/03/24 18:04:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Depending on the programming language, you could store the offspring in an array of strings. This hardly seems like a significant programming task. It's just defining a variable.

Date: 2009/03/24 18:50:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Understanding Evolution lawsuit over

On March 23, 2009, the Supreme Court denied certiorari without comment to Caldwell v. Caldwell, which challenged the constitutionality of the Understanding Evolution website — a joint project of the University of California Museum of Paleontology and the National Center for Science Education. The San Francisco Chronicle (March 23, 2009) reports, "One page on Cal's 840-page 'Understanding Evolution' web site says Darwinism can be compatible with religion. The four-year-old suit by Jeanne Caldwell said the government-funded web site contradicts her religious belief about the incompatibility of religion and Darwinism and amounts to a state position on religious doctrine that violates the Constitutional separation of church and state."

Caldwell filed suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in 2005. But her suit was dismissed in 2006 because she failed to allege that she had federal taxpayer standing, failed to sufficiently allege state taxpayer standing, and failed to establish that she suffered a concrete "injury in fact." When she appealed the decision, the appellate court's decision concluded, "Accordingly, we believe there is too slight a connection between Caldwell’s generalized grievance, and the government conduct about which she complains, to sustain her standing to proceed." Reacting to the Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case, a lawyer for the University of California told the Chronicle, "We believe the lower court rulings were correct, and we're glad this ends the matter."

Date: 2009/03/27 14:18:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad


Well, that was fast.

Texas Board of Education creationist Barbara Cargill today proposed an amendment to the science standards saying that teachers have to tell their students there are different estimates for the age of the Universe. This is not even a veiled attempt to attack the Big Bang model of the Universe, which clearly, and through multiple lines of evidence, indicates the Universe is 13.7 +/- 0.12 billion years old.

So Ms. Cargill is right, if she means that "different estimates" range from 13.58 to 13.82 (given one standard deviation) billion years old.

But she doesn’t mean that at all, does she? If you read her website, you’ll see she’s an out-and-out creationist. She has a large number of, um, factual errors on her site that are clearly right out of the Creationist Obscurational Handbook.

Anyway, her antiscience amendment passed 11 - 3.

So tomorrow that will go to the final vote on whether it will be added to the standards or not. With such a majority voting to pass it along, it looks like it will pass, and Texas students will get their chance to learn that the Universe is 6000 years old, and when they try to get a job or do anything later in life, they will be routinely laughed at.

That’s great, Texas! Keep on keepin’ on.

So I rescind my earlier post, and tentatively (until the final vote tomorrow) submit:

Date: 2009/03/27 19:06:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think textbook publishers should take up the challenge and increase coverage of the evidence for evolution. This way they acknowledge opposition, but strengthen the argument for evolution.

Date: 2009/03/31 11:53:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Now when the Bible belt fundies return to the Democratic Party, things will be back to normal. :p

Date: 2009/04/01 09:40:04, Link
Author: midwifetoad
the very term latching implies that once a latched letter hits the target, its probability of further change falls to effectively zero. (A bit more than that in the case of quasi-latching

Where "effectively zero" == 0
and "a bit more than that" == p

Has anyone suggested modifying Weasel so it prints all the members of a generation?

Date: 2009/04/02 01:16:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The other main point of my response was that this process of inferring a designer is not a long, methodical, scientific process; it is an instant, intuitive mental process whereby we just say essentially "Yeah, I can believe that".

For me that was a revelation.
Of course the next, obvious revelation should be that inferences of faces from piles of rocks are, in general, something to be extremely skeptical about.

Date: 2009/04/02 08:31:03, Link
Author: midwifetoad
(OTOH, Daniel sometimes writes about this artifact as though we have actually found such a thing.)

There are websites devoted to proving that there are artifacts and living things on Mars. Forests, even. Things like that should serve as a warning about our tendency toward false or incorrect witness.

Date: 2009/04/02 09:23:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
WEASEL doesn't model evolution, it corrects a fallacy about evolution.

I'd say it corrects a false argument about the inadequacy of incrementalism. It goes pretty much to the heart of Behe's argument in The Edge.

I don't know if it addresses any argument of Dembski's because I'm not aware that Dembski ever addressed cumulative change.

Date: 2009/04/02 21:04:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Could be worse. He could invoke Newton's Second Law or Thermodynamics.

Date: 2009/04/04 01:45:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
When choosing a lens, you need to know the size of the image sensor. This is not an obvious or widely promoted feature of digital cameras, because it doesn't correlate with megapixel count.

But a full size sensor (the same size as a 35mm film frame) will give the same results with the same focal length as a film camera.

Most affordable cameras have smaller sensors, so the lenses seem "longer" than they would in the35mm world. A 24mm lens, for example, is not very wide.

To make this more complicated, some lenses are optimized for the smaller sensors, giving sharper results on the correct camera. If you are dropping a couple of grand on equipment, it's worth your time reading up on these issues.

Date: 2009/04/04 02:14:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm not an expert on this stuff, but my first real job was at Altman's.

Date: 2009/04/06 15:32:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Diffaxial's "definition" of an automobile IS defective, in the same way that Joseph's "definitions" of religion are defective.

That is is his/her point: to underscore Joseph's defective reasoning.

"Illustrating absurdity with absurdity."

I believe that's a tagline of a certain Radio celebrity.

Date: 2009/04/07 14:49:26, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Cumulative selection as described and illustrated by the “weasel” program- in TBW- is a latching process.

All that's left for Joseph to explain is why an algorithm with no foresight works about as well as one with foresight. To the point where an incurious observer can mistake one for the other.

So once again, where is the need for front loading?

Date: 2009/04/07 15:03:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Richardthughes @ April 07 2009,14:54)
It definitely latches, except when it doesn't.

That's a bit like calling a lottery ticket a 'millionaire making cheque.'

Lotto definitely latches. When's the last time you saw losing numbers printed in the newspaper? Can you prove that any losing numbers were generated in 1986?

Date: 2009/04/08 12:42:48, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Murdoch University scientists have developed an improved theory of evolution – a groundbreaking hypothesis which finally reconciles evolutionary theory with the fossil record.

And the author isn't I. Lirpa, although he may be related to Mi Tu.

Date: 2009/04/08 15:18:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think the others drop off a cliff in quantity.

Date: 2009/04/09 15:29:25, Link
Author: midwifetoad
My first thought was the wicked witch of the west.

Date: 2009/04/14 11:12:04, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2009/04/14 12:38:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
What can be made of the fact that few of the regular contributors to UD thought seem able to follow the behavior of a 20 line Java script?

Or is it just a matter of denying that the foremost mathematical guru of ID could not follow a five line algorithm?

Date: 2009/04/14 15:33:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
R0b brings the pain:

Can Post of the Week be from another site?

Date: 2009/04/15 09:35:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I’m currently writing an essay on computational vs. biological evolution. The applicability of computational evolution to biological evolution tends to be suspect because one can cook the simulations to obtain any desired result.

Having played some with the Wesley Weasel, I'd say the Weasel algorithm is too simple to hide or mask any cookery, and changing the parameters over a very broad range makes no difference in the outcome, other than affecting the rate at which it closes on the target.

I'm giving some thought to the possibility of making a competitive game out of this, in which the object is to form a dictionary word of 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 letters in the fewest steps. Players would see all the children and do their own selecting. They would not necessarily have to stick to their initial choice of target. Depending on the luck of the draw, they could change to a target of opportunity.

You could even have speciation, in which a player could split a hand, so to speak, and try for two or more different words.

I wonder if anyone has trademarked Weasel Words. I suspect Boggle and Scrabble players would like it.

Date: 2009/04/17 11:24:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Then I’m a skeptic.
I threaten America.
I crumble the culture.
I don’t mind the mindless
tyranny of moral relativism.
I vulgarize all
that was once beautiful.
See that beautiful thing over there?
I make it vulgar
just like that
by thought alone.
I have gained control
of almost every major
institution in the country.
In those institutions,
I create new skeptics.
I propagate skeptical children.
These my skeptical
children and I,
we make up morality.
as we go along.
We threaten America.
We crumble the culture.

Date: 2009/04/17 12:17:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ April 17 2009,01:06)
Susan Boyle stunned me. Amazing!

Incidently, my new album comes out in Japan on Wednesday 21st, in Europe on April 29th and 30th, and in the US on May 19th.

Some guy already put the whole promo album on youtube, if anyone wants to take a listen...

Just search "score to a new beginning". There's even a playlist...

I have to confess being reminded of this classic.

Date: 2009/04/17 12:26:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
That's more or less a "cento" (a poem made up of quotations)

I learned something new this morning. Now I can dig back into the mud and hibernate.

Date: 2009/04/17 12:31:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Chardin's timeline:

Date: 2009/04/17 13:43:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Just a wild guess:

Date: 2009/04/19 16:45:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It seems unreasonable to me that the non-criminal (?) Eusebius Actron could have a serious action for libel in such a case. He refused to acknowledge that he is not the convicted bank robber, which is all the journalist wanted to know in the first place. And his behaviour led the journalist to reasonably assume that he was.
Annie Oakley won something like 54 out of 55 libel suits based on that kind of reporting. Hearst said she was arrested for drug possession, but it was a case of mistaken identity.

The bad news is she barely broke even after legal expenses.

Date: 2009/04/21 10:25:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Which is basically what happened to whales- there have been claims of a femur found in whales. But the claim of a “femur” is just because it is assumed that whales evolved from land animals.

And we assume the sun will rise again tomorrow because the Bible says it will. Or something like that.

As for myself, I find it perfectly sensible that the Designer would create all these odd creatures that are not quite reptiles and not quite bird, and creatures that are not quite fish and not quite amphibian.

They are obviously prototypes for Kinds that never made it into production.

Date: 2009/04/22 18:13:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Another non-intermediate

Date: 2009/04/22 18:41:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2009/04/23 15:45:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Dear Charles,

I’m a
[] longtime poster with 0-3 comments since January 2008
[] longtime lurker
[] sockpuppet

who just read your post on
[] that fossil disproving another talking point
[] a speech by: [] Hitchens [] PZ Myers [] Dawkins [] the Pope
[] a picture from the Hubble
[] a Discovery Institute “senior fellow” saying something dumb
[] some politician stepping on his dick
[] Bobby Jindal

and I am feeling
[] upset
[] saddened
[] betrayed, befuddled, bewildered
[] so angry I could spit

I am not a creationist. I have a degree in
[] biochemistry
[] something
[] science
[] *mumble*

and according to the noted scientist
[] Michael Behe
[] Phillip Johnson
[] Ron Paul

there are too many unanswered questions. What about
[] the bacterial flagellum?
[] no transitional fossils?
[] Darwin’s NAZISM!

Huh? I’m just saying we can’t know everything. In conclusion
[] you’re doomed to burn in eternal torment
[] I’ll be praying for you
[] Just sayin’
[] Please delete my account

Best regards,
[your signature here]

Date: 2009/04/24 11:37:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I can't get specific as it deals with security. If you can get a security clearance I could show you what I do.

Someone is unfamiliar with security. In addition to a clearance, you must have a need to know for the specific information. And that assumes you are part of the project or in command over the project.

Date: 2009/04/27 12:52:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
On the subject of global warming:

WASHINGTON – The U.S. should build 100 more nuclear plants rather than spend "billions in subsidies" for renewable energy if it is truly committed to lowering electric bills and having clean air, the Republicans say.

In the party's weekly radio and Internet address, Sen. Lamar Alexander said the United States should follow the example of France, which promoted nuclear power decades ago. Today, nuclear plants provide 80 percent of France's electricity, and the country has one of the lowest electric rates and carbon emissions in Europe, he said.

In contrast, renewable electricity provides roughly 1.5 percent of the nation's electricity, according to Republicans. Double it or triple it, and "we still don't have much," the Tennessee Republican said.

Interesting to see Republicans wanting to emulate France. But they're right about nukes. It's the only technology that can reduce carbon emissions significantly in the near future.

Date: 2009/04/27 13:23:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm routing for fusion...

Good choice if you have 50-100 years to wait before becomes viable.

The question is, what can we do in ten to 15 years. Nothing but nukes can replace more than a small percentage of our energy demand in the near future. The trick is to make it past the next 30 years without making things worse.

Date: 2009/04/28 11:05:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Fascinating as it is, the question of how the genetic code and its translation machinery originally evolved (or, alternatively, was created) appears to me to be entirely beyond the scope of the empirical sciences. Molecules do not (indeed, cannot) fossilize, and even if we could somehow “recreate” the various steps in what we might assume to be the “logical” evolutionary pathway to the origin of such systems, there is absolutely no way (short of time travel) to verify that this pathway was, indeed, the way it actually happened.

True in principle, but maybe not so true in practice. Chemistry may contrain the possible pathways to a very narrow band of possibilities. Research will tell.

And even if there are many pathways, we will know that there are many, just as we know there are places where  evolution could have branched differently, given a different sequence of mass extinction events.

Date: 2009/04/28 12:32:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Either there are many possible ways that life could have originated, or just one, or  very few.

Any of these scenarios is just fine. None of them are compatible with ID.

I don't know of any ID/creationists who support research into chemical evolution. Now why is that?

Date: 2009/04/28 13:16:26, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Worst case scenario: sunspots come roaring back in 2012, coinciding with the eruption of the Yellowstone caldera, melting of the ice caps, swine flu merging with chicken flu, and Jaguars falling from the sky.

Date: 2009/04/28 14:04:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It seems to be one thing or another. Global warming postponed by industrial pollution, volcanoes, and now solar minimums. Sounds like the winding of a spring.

Date: 2009/04/28 15:04:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (JohnW @ April 28 2009,14:43)
Quote (midwifetoad @ April 28 2009,11:16)
Worst case scenario: sunspots come roaring back in 2012, coinciding with the eruption of the Yellowstone caldera, melting of the ice caps, swine flu merging with chicken flu, and Jaguars falling from the sky.

... and Denyse blames Darwin.

You see, it's already started.

And though I was joking, the latest flu does seem to be merged from several types.

the weather is cloudy with a chance of jaguars.

Date: 2009/04/28 21:30:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I’m a vegetarian. So I guess I must be an idiot then.

Allen MacNeill might call that the answer to a how question.

Date: 2009/04/29 15:39:48, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The important question is whether individual mutations were latched. :p

Date: 2009/04/30 10:23:34, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I know what science is as well as anyone since I have experience with it.

The mind boggles, wondering if there's a video.

Date: 2009/04/30 11:39:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Randi deals with the supernatural all the time.

It's isn't the subject matter that is allowed or forbidden, but the methodology.

Hence the term methodological.

Date: 2009/04/30 12:37:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
To the extent that Randi tests supernatural claims, he is not practicing methodological naturalism, though I would argue that most of the time he is testing paranormal claims, not supernatural claims.

I have difficulty conceiving a difference between supernatural and paranormal. It sounds a bit like distinguishing between invisible pink unicorns and invisible purple unicorns.

Paranormal powers, such as ESP and psychokinesis, are indistinguishable from magic of the Harry Potter type. Supernatural phenomena are just paranormal phenomena having an invisible agent.

Before getting excited about fine distinction in vocabulary, it would seem expedient to determine whether there are any actual examples  of paranormal phenomena, which is what Randi investigates.

Randi uses two primary methods: He controls the conditions to eliminate natural causes (cheating), and he replicates mysterious phenomena in ways that demonstrate a natural cause.

As with the Duke University studies, the quantity of unexplained phenomena is inversely correlated with the care taken with the methodology.

I don't know if Randi gets personally involved in claims of supernatural events -- bleeding statues and such -- but his compatriots conduct investigations of claims of the supernatural. From where I sit, it's all searching for natural explanations of fraud, misrepresentation and misinterpretation.

And it does start with the assumption that a natural explanation exists.

Date: 2009/04/30 12:42:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (keiths @ April 30 2009,11:58)
Quote (midwifetoad @ April 30 2009,09:39)
Randi deals with the supernatural all the time.

It's isn't the subject matter that is allowed or forbidden, but the methodology.

Hence the term methodological.

Not true.  Look around the Web and you'll see that MN is understood to exclude the consideration of supernatural causes.

Anyway, what would a supernatural methodology be?  A Ouija board?

That is the question, isn't it? Methodological naturalism seeks to make supernatural and paranormal causation unnecessary.

Sometimes a forensic investigation can detect fraud, but more often you simply demonstrate that natural explanations suffice.

Date: 2009/04/30 17:20:04, Link
Author: midwifetoad
No, methodological naturalism assumes that supernatural causes are inoperative. Why assume that when we can actually demonstrate it (at least in the case of falsifiable hypotheses)?

Depends on the individual case. You can demonstrate that a global flood did not happen, but you can't prove that a specific minor miracle didn't happen.

You can test claims that people can perform miracles (or paranormal feats) but you can only assume that repeated failure to perform under controlled conditions means that historical claims are false.

I'm not terribly interested in semantic precision here. The reason you don't take claims of the supernateral and paranormal seriously is that they have been repeatedly tested and found to be of no value.

But like wack-a-moles and claims of cold fusion, they keep popping up.

Date: 2009/05/02 20:27:03, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The more I think about Fart & Finch's paper, the odder it seems. Judging from the quote above, their proposal could be summed up as "Darwinian evolution with front-loaded fitness".

Or God The Designer loads the dice.

Once the mutatations occur, everything that follows looks like biology and chemistry.

Date: 2009/05/05 12:25:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Speaking of No Free Lunch, Weasel Words is up and running. Worth every penny.

Date: 2009/05/09 06:28:08, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Consensus? Is that the word for a gathering of homos?

EDIT: I always that it was a gaggle.

It's a Pride of gays, silly rabbit.

Date: 2009/05/13 11:35:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Hermagoras @ May 12 2009,19:24)
In honor of StephenB's Australian-ness, I am changing my avatar to Ern Malley, the Australian poet who was not identical to himself.

I believe I've located Ern's 17th poem

The infinite-dimensional invariance group erodes
Certain elements which enjoy a particular privilege.

What will be the language and ontology?
Essential inscription at the origin?
Closed or open strings?

Between the whole and the part,
The ubiquitous yet mysterious phenomenon,
Breaking down of barriers.

The universe is characterized by
The connectedness or disconnectedness.

Date: 2009/05/15 12:56:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Makers of LOL cats: look upon these works, ye mighty, and despair.

Date: 2009/05/27 12:05:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Schroedinger's Dog @ May 27 2009,11:08)
Shhhhh, Ras, don't say it too loud, they still think they're faith-camouflage experts...

I wonder what it would be to have a rerun of Kitzmiller Vs Dover with these website as additional evidence. Maybe later attempts from IDC wouldn't have even existed...

And neither would have Expelled?

I wonder who's left as an uncontaminated expert witness, able and willing to testify under oath that their motives are not religious.

Date: 2009/06/11 12:37:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Richardthughes @ Mar. 27 2009,17:08)
Pharyngula on "Weasel":

As Ian Musgrave shows, the program is trivial, and even us biologists can whip one out in minutes.

Even non-biologists...

Date: 2009/06/11 13:40:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
What is clear is that the default parameters for beneficial alleles are very low. Their justification for having such a low maximum beneficial effect strikes me as plausible-sounding nonsense.

From my own dabbling I think the only really critical factor in getting a GA to "work" is an effective fitness function. Assuming at least some offspring are viable, the fitness function must be able to see and score alleles, either by seeing them directly of by having some means of scoring phenotypes.

All the other aspects are pretty much irrelevant.

My own effort tries to evolve a population of letter strings that "look like" words, without having a fixed target. The trick is having a fitness function that can score relative wordness without requiring enormous computational resourses.

Date: 2009/06/11 13:51:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (oldmanintheskydidntdoit @ June 11 2009,13:47)
Quote (midwifetoad @ June 11 2009,13:40)
The trick is having a fitness function that can score relative wordness without requiring enormous computational resourses.

I wonder if google could help, after all it "suggests" words when it cannot match your search term. No suggestion = not "wordy" enough.

OK it's probably not practical, not for running quickly anyway.


Google runs pretty quickly for me. I'm a bit in awe of their ability to suggest words from misspellings, but after my experience evolving words I think I know how they do it. Or at least one approach that doesn't require a supercomputer.

I think my approach is more effective than that used by most spelling checkers.

Date: 2009/06/11 18:11:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
fast-reproducing sexual species that have existed a few million should have all been extinct by now, but they're not.

Isn't this the ultimate test of a simulation -- that it must model the fact that populations don't go extinct simply because their genes degrade?

Any simulation where this happens is obviously flawed. History trumps trumps any theory that says something that has happened can't happen.

Date: 2009/06/12 23:43:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Who woulda thunk a few years ago that entry level computers would have four gigs of memory, or that the retail price of four gigs would be about $19.95?

Date: 2009/06/16 01:11:34, Link
Author: midwifetoad
There are two flavors of Creation Math:

Proving that observed phenomena are impossible, and proving that unobserved phenomena are inevitable.

Date: 2009/06/16 19:12:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It just means that in the steady state, everyone is carrying a fair number of deleterious mutations, with those having the most being the least likely to reproduce.

I'm having trouble coming to grips with the simple-mindedness of assuming that beneficial or deleterious mutations have any necessary effect at on on fecundity.

My family hosts a number of odd and relatively undesirable alleles. We tend to have extra sets of front teeth -- which requires surgery to prevent blocking permanent teeth. My son has Adam's missing rib, something that gets painful when playing racket sports. Most of us are nearsighted.

What we don't have are genes leading to early death or to belief in cult science. And based on anecdotal evidence, the inability to understand cumulative selection is positively correlated withing having nine children.

Date: 2009/06/19 00:40:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2009/06/19 10:43:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
In fact the sun does orbit the earth, just not by nearly as much as the earth orbits the sun.

From a certain point of view, both travel together in a wobbly, almost straight line.

Date: 2009/06/22 16:01:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad
He got the definition of design from Mirriam-Webster so I'm surprised that he did not publish your comment then ridicule you for imagining you know better than the dictionary (but it is a rather odd definition).

In the universe the rest of us live in his syllogism is known as the fallacy of equivocation.

Date: 2009/06/25 19:36:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I can see Casey Luskin busily typing away on his version of the Ryan Report, detailing abuses perpetrated by Biology teachers.

Still to come: the first sentence...

Date: 2009/06/25 19:41:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Because a creationist book was not turned into an intelligent design textbook.

How would an ID textbook look? After you get past the first sentence that says anything that looks really complicated musta been done by...

Whoops. At this point it gets tough.

Date: 2009/06/25 20:46:08, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ June 25 2009,20:26)
Of course, people operating on the basis that the myth is true are setting themselves up for a short, sharp shock... NCSE can just recycle the materials from KvD. It will make things easier the second time around. For the pro-science side, anyway.

Well nobody claims they changed the substance of the book from its creationist origins. In fact they seem proud that they changed only 150 words.

Will someone please educate this man about the Pandas and People time line and explain to him that the editing process had nothing whatsoever to do with any attempt to change the substance of the book.

Date: 2009/06/25 21:28:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think you left out the smoke and mirror generators and the obfuscationizer.

Date: 2009/06/25 22:24:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Henry J @ June 19 2009,22:49)
Carnivorous mushrooms? Sounds like some fun guys.

I had a cat die from a fungal growth in his sinus cavity. Very expensive and very sad.

Date: 2009/06/27 00:42:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Reed @ June 26 2009,22:18)
Dear Clive Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.

Right ?

F*king Darwinist scum.

Date: 2009/06/27 00:58:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Richardthughes @ June 26 2009,18:55)
You’re presence here has been one of deceit the entire time

ID in a nutshell.

Hey, it passes spell check.

Date: 2009/06/27 02:33:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
In other UD related news...

Date: 2009/06/27 18:48:19, Link
Author: midwifetoad
This feline has a tumor-like fungus trying to push his eye and brain out of place. The first vet referred us to a specialist who recommended a cat scan(of course). It was more expensive than a human scan, -- I suspect to cover the medical bills of the folks who handled the cat.
So after they decided it was fungus instead of cancer, he improved for about four months uder anti-fungal medication, until dying suddenly.

It was sad because, after many years of being semi-feral, he was becoming domesticated. He was a look you in the eye kind of cat, a variation that seems to have a lot of survival value when living off the generosity of humans. Certainly sucked us in.

Date: 2009/06/28 10:00:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It should be repeated for the 100th time, common descent is not the same as common ancestry.

I've been following the endless argument for several decades and haven't encountered this claim. I'm trying to imagine some context in which it could be physically possible.

Date: 2009/06/28 11:13:02, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I suspected it involved Baramin Syatems, but it still doesn't make any sense when the prefix "common" is attached.

I can't find any references to "common descent vs common ancestry" in google. The closest I came was this:

Which seems to take Behe's line that common descent is a fact, but is guided by god.

Date: 2009/06/29 05:44:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Pullman's Dark Materials posits that Jehovah is a poser, not the creator, but a regent who usurps the throne.

Hence the OT combination of superpowers and moral perversion exhibited in the Fall, the Flood, etc. Basically a James Bond megalomaniac with actual magic powers.

In the happy ending, Metatron (Jehohah) is overthrown, The Authority (creator) dies of old age, and all the dead souls are released from heaven, which is a kind of gulag.

Some thumpers were a bit put off by the fact that this was a popular children's book. They managed to kill off the movie series.

Date: 2009/06/29 06:23:13, Link
Author: midwifetoad
A new Shakespeare?

“Well,” began David, “I’ve been doing a lot of reading on intelligent design theory.  Have you heard or read about this theory?”

“I can’t say I have,” replied Tommy.  He picked up the pitcher and poured himself some pomegranate juice with sparkling water mix; he had a feeling his throat was going to need plenty of hydration.  “Fill me in,” he said, making a legitimate effort at open-mindedness and attentiveness.

Date: 2009/06/29 08:24:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It's been a few years since I read it, so thanks for the corrections on character names. a trip to Wikipedia did not help. Their description seems more muddled than mine.

I agree that the last book got tedious. Better than LOTR, in my opinion. Too bad the books can't be made into movies.

Date: 2009/06/29 13:34:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The Pythons got it figured out.

Date: 2009/06/29 20:15:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Anyone interested in comparing two related documents can do so in a few seconds with this.

It might help to format the documents into text documents having one sentence per line, but MS Word can do that in a few additional seconds.

Date: 2009/06/30 10:34:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad
On the subject of Judge Jones' misconcuct at Dover, I think the appropriate response is: "Good points Make sure you bring them up at the next trial."

I'm sure future judges will be impressed.

Date: 2009/06/30 11:40:03, Link
Author: midwifetoad
How is it that you are always so far behind the curve. I stipulated a long time ago that the 90.9% number applied to Judge Jones’ decision on the matter of whether ID is science. Everyone knows that number doesn’t apply to the entire decision.

Judge Jones plagiarized 90 percent of the Dover decision.

By which I mean he copied a few sentences and phrases from one small section of the proposed findings of facts.

I said this from the beginning, and I said it before anyone else.

Date: 2009/06/30 15:27:47, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Darwin wasn't a christian? And this is important why, when considering government funding?

Date: 2009/06/30 19:19:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I agree that having Pat oppose you on any issue is a blessing.

Date: 2009/07/01 06:57:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Amadan @ July 01 2009,04:50)


Date: 2009/07/01 22:12:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
May we assume that genetic entropy is the new black?

Date: 2009/07/02 09:35:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
what makes you think the mutations aren’t front-loaded as well? Clearly in any front-loading scenario mutations would not only be expected but counted on as part of the process. Mutations are just one more potential tool available in the scenario, though naturally we’d be talking about one hell of a powerful designer.

Date: 2009/07/02 10:11:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Forgive me for having trouble with the meltdown concept. Is there an observed instance in the real world of a reproducing population going extinct due to the accumulation of deleterious mutations?

What would that look like?

Date: 2009/07/02 11:22:25, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm still a bit confused. It is commonly argued, and has been for many decades, that low population numbers lead to extinction, even if the remaining members are protected.

But I fail to get the relevance for TOE. Extinction seems to be a rather common event at geological time scales, so what's the problem for the theory?

I'm thinking the definition of deleterious is rather arbitrary unless it is exposed to selection. What prevents us from defining all niche specializations as deleterious at geological time scales, since specialization puts a population at risk for extinction.

Date: 2009/07/02 12:29:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'd think if you were trying to model a natural phenomenon, you would have an example in mind. Something from the real world to model. But maybe that's just me.

I haven't heard of any decline in the fecundity of asexual organisms. All the species I know of that are listed as in danger of extinction seem to be in danger due to reduction of or rapid change in habitat,  or due to introduction of diseases or predators. Neither of these causes involves genetic entropy.

I just wonder what observation led to the genetic entropy hypothesis.

Date: 2009/07/03 20:59:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (keiths @ July 03 2009,18:56)
“What is gained by claiming objective truth?”

For me this adds clarity to life. One day I realized that there is actually something somewhere, it was a therapeutic moment. Because something actually is, gives life a sacred quality. So whether we are in a dream or are just a vehicle from some god or whatever, we’re experiencing something, It’s hard to explain.

I'll have what he's smoking.

I think someone's confusing realism -- the notion that there's something out there having constant properties -- with the claim that we can obtain full and final knowledge.

Scientists are mostly realists, but few think we can have full and final knowledge of reality.

Date: 2009/07/04 12:01:32, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Have the fine tuning guys ever addressed the implications of accelerating expansion? Do they explain why we appear to exist in the cosmic microsecond that supports stars and planets and atoms and such?

Date: 2009/07/04 19:48:35, Link
Author: midwifetoad
But once an African American gets into rap or Muslims or Christians, it just a short hop to getting into Darwin.

Date: 2009/07/04 20:39:47, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (keiths @ July 04 2009,20:32)
William J. Murray, in a spasm of honesty:
I believe whatever I wish, regardless of evidence pro or con.

Beliefs are my tools, not my masters.

Date: 2009/07/05 15:28:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Quack @ July 05 2009,14:15)
Are all those grammatical errors from the book?

Don't know, but indeed at Amazon!

BTW, googling Patterson brings up a lot of stuff, even at T.O. Archive and an interesting one from ARN's Paul Nelson

ETA links

What I get from this is the strongest argument for ID is that it can be indistinguishable from descent with modification.

So if the Designer is fond of ichneumons, kludgy structures, and likes to reuse spaghetti code, we have a winner.

Not that we ever discuss the attributes or behavior of the Designer.

Date: 2009/07/05 17:30:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Woe be to the farmer that drowns his children.

Date: 2009/07/05 18:16:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The simm computer's hard drive was no doubt installed upside down. Stupid tech didn't realize this would affect the simulation.

Date: 2009/07/05 23:18:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Discoverers are Clueless in Seattle.

Date: 2009/07/05 23:54:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Nota rocket scientist myself, but I chat with one on another forum. He informs me that a disturbing number of creationists infest NASA.

I wonder if the pi = 3 crowd has anything to do with probes crashing on Mars due to metric conversion errors and such. I mean three always equals three, does it not, regardless of purely subjective human ideas, like units of measurement.

Date: 2009/07/06 11:05:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
You doubt that Gil was associated with one of NASA's most embarrassing moments? Ye of little faith.

Date: 2009/07/06 13:00:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad
My little program seeks to build words through cumulative selection. The scoring algorithm is based on the frequency of letter pairs and triplets occurring in actual words. I've built frequency tables for a number of languages.

Selecting just on the relative frequency of pairs and triplets, it builds 7, 8, 9 and ten letter words in very few generations, involving just a few thousands mutations.

More interesting to me is the fact that it builds long word-like strings that look like words and are perfectly pronounceable, but aren't in the dictionary. Also interesting (to me) is the fact that it often ignores dictionary words in selecting the most fit. But despite being word blind, it builds words.

I don't want to read too much biology into this, but I think it blows away Behe's claim that long strings can't be the result of a selection algorithm that is unaware of a goal or target.

My program doesn't have a target or halting condition and continues to produce unique strings for hundreds of generations. I prevent getting stuck on a high scoring mother by periodically killing off the most fit child. Literally, every fourth generation, the most fit bites it.

I don't know if this simulates anything in nature, but to me it indicates that a rather mindless algorithm can do things beyond the ken of rocket scientists.

Date: 2009/07/06 13:07:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
This table of affinities would be salted with entries that guarantee A-Z have some entry with high affinity.

I'd be curious to know if your concept of affinities has any similarity to my use of letter pairs.

In my limited experience, the output of a GA is limited only by the fitness scoring algorithm. I tried to build the simplest and stupidest scoring algorithm that could still produce interesting results.

My highest priority was to produce a fitness scorer that couldn't be construed as a target.

Date: 2009/07/06 13:24:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
And the incident was widely publicized at the time, including, shortly thereafter, that the cause was due to a sensor being mounted upside-down.  It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.  I remember it well.

Things Happen. I one worked on a programming project using an AT&T 3B2 computer. We moved the computer to another room and started reassembling it.

I was plugging in the disk drive cable and saw one side labeled "This side up." By some chance I looked at the other side of the cable, and sure enough, it also said, "This side up."

I've wondered if that sensor was made by AT&T.

Date: 2009/07/06 14:21:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think Chomsky showed that human language is more than an HMM, but as you said, Behe doesn't think evolution can even do that much!

I certainly am not ambitious enough to attempt evolving language. My goal was simply to test Behe's edge of evolution in a way that is a notch less deterministic than Dawkin's original Weasel.

I know, for example, that selecting for phenotypes is theoretically different from selecting genotypes, but I don't see how this matters much in a model. If the phenotype doesn't reflect the genotype in a way that is visible to the selecting agent, it doesn't really matter.

As for evolving phoneme level utterances, I think that's quite appropriate for a demo program. For one thing, I can make trade names. Bactine, for example. The distinguishing features of a trade name are pronounceability and novelty.

I don't know much about Chomsky except that he said a lot of things that sound like ID. I resist his pronouncements for that reason alone.

Date: 2009/07/06 16:05:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Henry J @ July 06 2009,15:25)
At a guess, computing a phenotype for each genome might make it easier to allow for things like neutral drift, or making some traits more critical than others without necessarily attaching those traits to certain genes.


That sounds like saying genes modify the effects of other genes.

But unless you have some way of modeling biological development, you are not being more "realistic" than my database of letter combinations known to have fitness.

I can quickly assign a fitness score to any arbitrary string of characters, comparing say EUPOUACCT to EUPOUAGCT, and choose one to be the parent of the next generation.

Now if you were doing a straight Weasel program you could just count the number of letters that match your target. But I am not searching for a target. I am shaping a population to look and sound like words from a specific language.

I'm not claiming to model biology, and I have doubts that we have the ability at this time to model biology. What we can do is model specific claims and specific assumptions.

All I set out to do was respond to criticisms of Dawkins asserting that his program did nothing but seek a fixed target. The demonstrable fact is that a clever selector can build unanticipated structures -- functional strings much longer than those known to the selector.

Date: 2009/07/06 16:44:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Just as soon as cdesign proponentsists come up with a level one critic, I'll worry.

But the general argument is that selection doesn't work. Or that it can't make anything new.

The demonstrable fact is that a selector that works at the organism level allows novelty to arise. If you toss in an occasional asteroid, it continues to arise over many generations . That takes care of latching and virtual latching.

Regardless of how you parse the argument, my dumbass selector makes words that could be in the dictionary, but aren't. It also makes things like jargon and acronyms that are in common use but aren't allowed in my dictionary (developed for Scrabble).

Date: 2009/07/06 16:52:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Selection has to be, at some level, hard coded.

At the biochemical level, most combinations are non-viable. (More ways to be dead than alive.)

At the population level, the selecting environment is pretty discriminating. diseases and predators are a lot smarter and more versatile than my probability tables.

I use tables for two reasons. One is that they are easy, fast and practical. The second is that they reflect a history of language evolution. Unless you don't believe language evolves.

They are a shorthand for all the historical events that made some strings of letters words and some not.

I am certain that some of the children produced by my demo that are not currently in use will be. One of the cute words that popped up was "mindfly." Not surprisingly, there is a

So I think my selector does, at some elementary level, model one of the ways language evolves.

Date: 2009/07/06 19:46:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Eyes got paranormals? No wires to the brain? No brain?

Stop while ahead.

Date: 2009/07/06 22:40:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The aspect of my simple weasel program that I find most interesting is the period after selection creates a population having high fitness. It then dithers around -- sometimes for fifty or a hundred generations -- without increasing fitness. Then, suddenly a long word will pop out, as if the program were waiting patiently for some hopeful monster.

My reading is that the plateau of high fitness is where any living population resides, and that so called neutral mutations are not really neutral, except that they have a fitness level as high as the existing average. Or perhaps they balance -- one up, one down.

It isn't really necessary to invoke any miracles of improbability. The dithering at high levels of fitness allows all kinds of things to emerge which could not emerge in one step from a low level of fitness.

I record the fitness scores of the mothers in my demo. When I see a 10 letter word emerge out of nowhere, I can trace the mothers and their fitness scores. Doing this, I see that for the most part, the history exhibits the same kind stepwise shift toward the 10 letter word that Dawkins' Weasel shows, as if that particular word were the goal.

Because I kill off the fittest every now and then, the scores sometimes go backwards. Sometimes the total count of "correct" letters will go backwards. All the more astonishing in retrospect. Dawkins' program can't do that.

But of course I wrote the program and I know the stepwise movement toward a target is an illusion. The program merely insures that given an adequate level of fecundity, fitness will always be high. After the first twenty or thirty generations, the population is never more than a few steps away from a "breakthrough."

I think what the cdesign proponentsists are missing is the fact that stasis in level of fitness does not imply genetic stasis. There are many variations that are equivalent in fitness. The path to a breakthrough structure doesn't have to  involve a continuous increase in overall fitness.

As an author, I'm biased, but I think my little program allows a person to see genetic drift. You see every mutation and every child. Of course I could be completely wacked. :p

Date: 2009/07/07 07:36:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Betting windows are now open:  who will be the first to make an crude joke?

Dude, you beat them all.

Date: 2009/07/07 09:59:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad
You could say that ID is the Macon Bacon of science.

Date: 2009/07/07 13:57:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (dvunkannon @ July 07 2009,12:16)
Sometimes the total count of "correct" letters will go backwards. All the more astonishing in retrospect. Dawkins' program can't do that.

Errr, no. That was what the whole latching kerfuffle was about!

The latching crowd asserted that once a letter was correct it was protected from mutating. That's a separate issue from whether the total number of correct letters can decline.

At reasonable mutation rates, there will "always" be at least one perfect, unmutated child in the Dawkins program, and the total fitness will never decline. It is theoretically possible for two good mutations to offset one bad one, so it is possible for a good letter to revert.

My program pretty much guarantees that every fourth generation will decline in total fitness.

Since my fitness definition is much broader than a single target, I stir the pot to avoid getting stuck on a single individual having a high fitness score.

I don't know if I am modelling anything real. My only concern is to demonstrate that selection can do interesting things without a specific target.

I would argue, however, that my fitness database is at least partially equivalent to a real selection history. Which is to say, the distribution of letter pairs or phonemes in a real language is the result of a real selection history, and the database embodies that history.

Date: 2009/07/07 14:18:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Here's what I'm thinking, right or wrong:

The Behe challenge is to evolve a flagellum from an organism that may have some parts of the structure, but no motor.

Behe and Dembski are thinking that each step must be selected, that is each step must improve fitness; otherwise the probability of building a novel, complex structure is nil.

My argument, based on my own observations, is that when a population is at a high level of fitness -- and any living populations is fit by definition -- there are many variations that neither improve nor degrade fitness. (obviously this isn't an original thought).

This means there is little cost to variation. You may or may not hit upon some new invention, but the cost of "exploring the search space" is nil.

Now I could be just another crank, but I think my program shows this happening in a reasonable time frame. It's a toy illustration, but I think it's worth looking at as a possible teaching device.

Date: 2009/07/07 17:59:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
How would you know it contains data? Does he have some sort of tricorder that detects elan-vital?

Date: 2009/07/08 00:28:04, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Henry J @ July 07 2009,21:58)
And of course the challenge back to Behe is to explain how his ideas explain a single nested hierarchy being followed by the vast majority of major traits and DNA sequences. (If that isn't being picky.)


I haven't read Edge of Evolution, but I understand he lists many evidences for evolution without mentioning ERVs.

Can't imagine why.

Date: 2009/07/08 16:20:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Somebody ask that boy if either of his are descended.

Date: 2009/07/08 20:45:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I was wondering though that when some of the Nazi posts started appearing via Denyse there was some mild opposition by otherwise ID supporters (I think that Dave was still around).

DS was quite vocally opposed to this nonsense, and said so during the 15 minutes of Expelled.

Date: 2009/07/09 10:57:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Does the embrace of Wallace mean the ID movement has dropped the flagellum as an icon of ID?

Can we look forward to a redesign of the UD banner?

Date: 2009/07/09 22:39:03, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm certainly glad to hear that our precious ameboids (not to mention our lovely E.coli) are not endangered.

I was worried there for a while.

Date: 2009/07/10 08:54:08, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Ancient PostModernism?

Date: 2009/07/10 13:19:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (keiths @ July 10 2009,13:09)
Jerry defends ID:
It is not a theory such as gravity, the Standard Model, the Laws of Thermodynamics, Kinetic theory of Gases, Information theory or Plate Tectonics etc yet people keep on asking for some hypotheses and predictions like it was.

This is why we love you, Jerry!

Well, gosh darn it, when you just know something is true you don't have to waste time with hypothesizing and testing.

Date: 2009/07/10 15:11:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Public school students in Spencer will get to study the Bible and pray at graduation if school district leaders approve a proposed "religious liberties" policy, the first of its kind in Iowa.

The plan calls for elective classes such as "Critic of Darwinism," which includes arguments against the theory of evolution, and "The Bible in History and Literature."

School officials say they want to set clear rules for religious expression without discouraging students, for example, from writing "Merry Christmas" on holiday cards in class.

Date: 2009/07/11 11:59:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
So when Darwinists come here to discuss and notice that we spend a lot of time talking about God and religion, they have to understand that we are doing what the evidence leads us to - not what we want to force on the evidence.

Date: 2009/07/11 12:49:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (khan @ July 11 2009,12:44)
  Anatomical Evidence For Creation: Design In The Human Body
  David A. Kaufmann, Ph.D.

  The human body is designed for precise, efficient functioning.

Obviously written by a man.

Without a hernia.

Date: 2009/07/12 11:11:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (keiths @ July 12 2009,10:30)
Joe G. turns his back on Allah:
I know I didn’t use any religious assumptions because I don’t care about religion.

Blinded, no doubt, by Morton's Demon.

Date: 2009/07/12 16:31:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I find this very interesting. As it turns out, there is indeed an “immaterial vital force” that is unique in living systems, and found nowhere else in chemistry. It’s called information. Chemistry is the medium; information is the message.

Date: 2009/07/13 07:55:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The press releases for the Lenski experiment assert that the E.coli populations underwent every possible mutation during the course of the experiment. I fail to see how this kind of scenario could lead to extinction.

Except, as noted, in a very small population. But we already know from field observations that population declines can result in extinction. But after mass extinction events, there are always fast breeders of some kind lurking in the wings. Fast breeders never seem to melt down.

Am I wrong?

Date: 2009/07/13 11:47:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
My reading is that the one line of code would be replaced by a function

Date: 2009/07/13 16:59:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm not disagreeing, but perhaps the MA programmers chose a method because it was easier to program.

Date: 2009/07/13 19:50:26, Link
Author: midwifetoad
If three out of the four forces driving evolution are non-adaptive, then perhaps most evolutionary change is also non-adaptive, and not due to the power of natural selection.

Date: 2009/07/13 20:18:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
A trivial result from examination of the genetic code is that about 20% of possible single nucleotide changes are completely neutral, meaning that a substantial proportion of a genome could change without engaging any selection at all. On the other hand, only about 1.5% of the human genome codes for proteins. Selective processes can be far less frequently in action than drift and yet have important effects on the evolution of traits; what the mode of evolution is does not eliminate selection as the cause of the various phenomena Gauger lists.

Question, not a comment:

Are some "neutral" mutations important in retrospect? That is, does context change the interpretation of a mutation? Does the accumulation of non-selected mutations ever look, in retrospect, like a chain of selection?

Date: 2009/07/13 22:25:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
All I'm suggesting, based on my own fiddling around, is that there is no need to assume that each step in the invention of a new function must be selected.

Of course I'm thinking of Behe's irreducible structures.

I see no reason why a population rich in fitness equivalent variants cannot occasionally produce a significant new capability. Looking backward at the history it might look like a continuous chain leading toward a goal, but seen in the context of a population, it would not look like continuous cumulative selection.

Forgive me for asking what may be naive questions, but I'm not a biologist.

Date: 2009/07/15 22:13:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It's not "whether" design exists; it's the history.

The ID crowd remains hot to prove the history of living things does not include continuous stepwise change.

No matter how the arguments twists and turns, it always comes down to gaps.

Date: 2009/07/16 14:42:48, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Tracy P. Hamilton @ July 16 2009,09:12)
Quote (didymos @ July 16 2009,05:04)
Frost elaborates on his "Materialists hate gravity" remark:



3:48 am

Jehu, it is caused by the curvature of space as predicted and explained in Einstein’s GR theory. But the materialists want to attribute this curvature to more matter because by increasing the matter in the universe the origination makes more sense- but the bottom line is that there is no real reason to postulate more matter - a lot more btw like 90% more- as the answer to gravity’s origin- which is the cause of what you are seeing with the curvature of space. Gravity pulls curves space which causes the traveling light curve with it.

If you asked creationist Walt Brown he’d probably say it is because made “stretched out” the material universe like a thin cloth- as Einstein use to use the image of a cloth with a ball in the middle curving the cloth around it to explain gravity’s shape.

That didn't help.  In fact, it seems like he's now saying materialists like gravity so much, they can't help but believe in and want more of it, and so they invented dark matter to satisfy this gravitational yearning.  But yes, surely: let's ask Walt "Hydroplate" Brown to solve for us our cosmological conundrums, a task for which he is so eminently qualified. I look forward to seeing "Flood Cosmology" on shelves across the land.

I think the rejection of Dark Matter is a subconscious rejection of "His Dark Matter" trilogy by atheist Philip Pullman.

Speaking of Pullman, I notice he's boycotting a registry designed to screen sex offenders and people potentially dangerrous to children.

What's up with this? Is it 1984 yet?

Date: 2009/07/16 17:00:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Wimmon impregnated by ancient gods are a dime a dozen. What makes Christianity special is the claim that Jesus was descended from David through Joseph.

Date: 2009/07/16 18:34:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Which is especially impressive given that Joseph was not Jesus' father.

That's the special part.

Date: 2009/07/16 20:47:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2009/07/17 15:06:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
WikiP is pretty much designed for folks who have something to add to be able to do so.

Date: 2009/07/17 17:14:48, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Lowell @ July 17 2009,16:42)
Quote (Hawks @ July 17 2009,16:34)
Anyone remember that Dembski posted a list of ID predictions a while back? He was doing them for a radio show, but for some reason they ended up being published in the comments section of a thread I can't remember. Can anyone else remember? I was trying to bring this up in Cornelius' latest "religious assumptions" thread, but my comment has failed to appear (because I am moderated?). What I wanted to do was to check if Demsbki's predictions all relied on religious assumptions.

There was this post by O'Bleary in response to a question from some TV producer to Dembski asking for scientific predictions made by ID.

She posted a list of nine "predictions" here, demonstrating the she has no idea what a scientific prediction is.

4. The environment will prove far more resilient than eco-doomsayers believe. People forget that the Permian extinction wiped out 90% of the marine life forms on this planet.

I've always been comforted by the thought, come what may, that 10% of living things will survive.

Edit: I assume this prediction is in responce to global climate change, which due to the resilence of the earth, will not wipe out everything.

Date: 2009/07/18 11:30:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I've been a few rounds with Ethan Clive Osgoode.

That he might become a star at Uncommon Descent is a bit like contemplating Jim Jones becoming Pope.

At any rate, if UD starts welcoming freepers, you guys will all die of overdose. You're use to diluted tard, and may not survive the full strength stuff.

Edit: I'm 90 percent sure that DaveScot was a freeper and got banned for excessive rationality.

Date: 2009/07/18 13:32:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think they evaporate in sunlight or melt in water.

Does say something about the direction of UD.

Date: 2009/07/19 20:17:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Ferns got seeds?

I did find this definition of fern seed:

The dustlike spores of ferns, formerly believed to be seeds and once thought to have the power of making their possessor invisible.

Date: 2009/07/20 08:14:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
For the complexity aficionados, I have a question. How long would it take a random string generator to produce a C program capable of generating all the digits of pi?

How can you look at a section of an arbitrary string and calculate its complexity, or the complexity of the algorithm that generated it?

Date: 2009/07/20 08:39:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
My guess, as an old C programmer, is the the minimum C program is shorter (fewer characters) than "Methinks it is like a weasel."

If not C, then how about APL?

My point is that a very short algorithm can generate a string which, taken at some arbitrary point, cannot be distinguished from random.

So given a string -- a genome, for example -- what can you deduce about the algorithm that generated it?

Edit: Evolution embodies an algorithm. Not only that, but the inputs to the algorithm are indeterminate. all we know for certain is the inputs are mostly in the form of negative feedback (selection). So how can anyone with an IQ higher than a dairy cow pontificate about what evolution can and cannot produce?

Date: 2009/07/20 09:05:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Rummaging around, I find that the program is probably a bit longer than I guessed.

But I haven't looked for one optimized for compact code. there are people who can do insane things with C code.

Also, I suspect that computing a binary string would be simpler (shorter code)  than hex or decimal.

But even if I'm off by an order of magnitude in code length, the principle is the same.

Date: 2009/07/20 09:44:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Some are far too readily discovered to be of service for security and privacy applications.

But some aren't, or we wouldn't have online credit purchases.

I guess my point is that evolution is a general purpose algorithm capable of generating any string. I believe that was Yockey's conclusion, which may be why he is no longer the darling of ID.

Date: 2009/07/20 10:17:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ July 20 2009,09:50)
these kinds of folks think they can always get the rhetorical free pass over "his hatred of America".  its a wow-ee moment every single time i get one of these emails.

really, he hates america?  what the fuck does that even MEAN

I have a straight answer to that, but it's kind of boring.

Try reading Noam Chomsky. It's mostly a foreign policy thing.

Date: 2009/07/20 16:26:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Did detect a "Written By"?

I quit listening to NPR news decades ago, not because I disagreed with their politics, but because they put a crying kid or angry crowd soundtrack behind every news report.

I'm not going to watch any documentary  that backed by portentous music. Can't hit the off button fast enough.

Date: 2009/07/20 19:22:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Two POTWs mere minutes apart.

Alice may be POTM.

But the mind wanders to big bazoombas.

Date: 2009/07/20 19:24:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I hear Freerepublic's founder has annoyed the Secret Service by calling for an overthrow of the government.

Date: 2009/07/20 23:23:13, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Also, Pinker is again way off when he says “Virtually no scientist takes “intelligent design’’ seriously…” For just one example, take a look at the Letters section (p 5-6) of the July 6th issue of Chemical and Engineering News. Of six letters published in response to the Editor’s heavy-handed dismissal of ID, five acknowledged flaws in evolutionary theory and, it seems to me, all five were supportive of ID too.

I guess that answers the question as to why the letters are suddenly appearing.

Date: 2009/07/21 08:38:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I can’t help but wonder what Pinker would have had to say had Jones ruled that ID was science. Would they accept citations of the ruling as de facto evidence that ID is indeed science or would they pound their lecturns shouting that courts and judges do NOT get to decide what is or is not science?

Galileo, according to legend, answered that: "E pur si muove"!

Date: 2009/07/21 08:42:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I don't think you are following the overwhelming logic here:

The failure of educated people to believe in myths is proof that they are factual.

If the invisible gnomes weren't clouding your brain, you would be able to see them.

Date: 2009/07/21 20:54:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Well, if the holocaust never happened -- and Dembski seems to be applauding that point of view -- then Hitler wasn't so bad; therefore Darwin wasn't so bad.


Date: 2009/07/21 21:20:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Hermagoras @ July 21 2009,21:07)
Quote (midwifetoad @ July 21 2009,20:54)
Well, if the holocaust never happened -- and Dembski seems to be applauding that point of view -- then Hitler wasn't so bad; therefore Darwin wasn't so bad.


My mistake: it's not Yahya himself but a Yahya representative.

Wasn't Darwin just Hitler's representative? Where's your logic, man?

Date: 2009/07/21 21:41:46, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Carl Woese, W. Ford Doolittle, E. Bapteste, E.V. Koonin, and M. DiGiulio are apparently IDC proponentsists.

Date: 2009/07/21 21:54:48, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm probably being a pain about this, but this is from Wiki's article on Dr. Dr.'s poster organization:

In 1996, the SRF distributed a book which was originally published the previous year, entitled Soyk?r?m Yalan? ("The Holocaust Lie").[20].[6] The publication of Soyk?r?m Yalan? sparked much public debate.[21] This book claims that “what is presented as Holocaust is the death of some Jews due to the typhus plague during the war and the famine towards the end of the war caused by the defeat of the Germans.”[22] In March 1996, a Turkish painter and intellectual, Bedri Baykam, published a strongly-worded critique of the book in the Ankara daily newspaper Siyah-Beyaz ("Black and White"). A legal suit for slander was brought against him. During the trial in September, Baykam exposed the real author of the book as Adnan Oktar.[21] The suit was withdrawn in March 1997.[23][24]

Nice company UD is keeping these days.

Date: 2009/07/21 23:23:13, Link
Author: midwifetoad
"...those who doubt the validity of evolutionary theory, who can take comfort from this challenge to the TOL only by a willful misunderstanding of its import. "

Folks have seen what happend with Gould quote mining.

Doesn't stop the willfully dishonest from trying though.

Date: 2009/07/22 04:18:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think what is interesting about this man is that his views seem to be modified from a radical islamic POV to a more moderate position once he’s faced with more Western influences. His switch on the holocaust is an example of this.

Good to know the boy's creed is subject to veto by the marketing department.

Date: 2009/07/22 11:05:13, Link
Author: midwifetoad
In abiogenesis, there is no fitness function, there are only reaction rates and products. The ‘fitness’ of a molecule depends entirely on its enviroment, which is why a GA like the IPD scenario I proposed is closer to that reality than silly Weasel style functions.

Regardless of how complex or "realistic" the fitness function, it all boils down to its effect on the probability of reproduction.

Rather than saying there is no fitness function, it might be better to say that it is difficult to construct a function that is equivalent to chemistry, or to an ecosystem.

Edit to add link:

Date: 2009/07/22 11:57:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Henry J @ July 22 2009,11:42)
Quote (Erasmus @ FCD,July 22 2009,09:41)
Probability for occurrence of all 322 parameters =10^388
Dependency factors estimate =10^96
Longevity requirements estimate =10^14
Probability for occurrence of all 322 parameters = 10^304
Maximum possible number of life support bodies in universe =10^22

Not that it really matters, but 388 - 96 + 14 = 306, not 304.

Getting the right answer is not as important as understanding the problem, according to Tom Lerher.

Date: 2009/07/22 15:31:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Well you could try coating the computer with honey and running your sim near an ant bed.

Alternatively, I hear Squirrels are fond of wire insulation.

Date: 2009/07/22 16:49:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad
4. Demand an apology from those calling attention to Jehu's lying.
5. Ban the bearer of bad news.
6. 4 and 5.

Date: 2009/07/23 05:27:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Scientists find HIV's 'missing link' in sick chimpsA virus that is killing chimpanzees in the wild may be an intermediate stage in the evolution of the deadly human strain

Date: 2009/07/23 14:58:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The evidence that I find strongest doesn’t have to do with evolution; it has to do with for example the origin of life from non-life and the fine-tuning of the fundamental constants of physics. I recognize that intelligent design proponents mostly focus on evolution-based arguments, but there are other arguments out there.


Still god of the gaps.

Date: 2009/07/23 20:01:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
'No doubt it is possible, as Mr G. H. Lewes has urged, that at the first commencement of life many different forms were evolved; but if so, we may conclude that only a very few have left modified descendants’

so now Jehu can either remove Woese from his list of common descent-deniers, or add Darwin.


Date: 2009/07/23 20:10:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
What Jehu is engaging is apologetics, or lawyering, or argumentum ad gotcha.

When you've lost the argument, look for some inconsistency in your opponent's language. look especially at metaphorical language. Bound to be some nuggets there.

Date: 2009/07/23 20:22:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I really haven't seen such a tenacious liar since I encounter someone who quoted Darwin as saying "Life comes from life."

Date: 2009/07/23 22:18:48, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I mean irrelevant to the definition of common descent, and irrelevant is probably too strong a word because if it turned out that there were a thousand we might have to rethink things..

I can see some danger in that wording. It depends, doesn't it, whether you are discussing single celled organisms or multi-celled.

After all, Jehu is not interested in seeking knowledge or in clarifying terms. He's trying to escape from a box.

Someone ask him if his definition of common descent means he's kin to monkeys.

Date: 2009/07/24 00:40:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
One could define ID as the science of equivocation.

Let's go back to Dover for a Do-over.

Date: 2009/07/24 09:03:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I wounder if "three" objects can exist in the absence of an intelligence to count them.

Date: 2009/07/24 09:20:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
"Wounder" is obviously a Freudian spelling.

Date: 2009/07/24 09:55:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
All it takes to get started on the proper footing is the superior philosophical position that "all apparently designed things should be considered actually designed until demonstrated otherwise." Or to generalize further, "all apparent things should be consider to be actual, until demonstrated otherwise." This is what humans do by default, and it is superior to the alternative.

Date: 2009/07/24 13:37:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
What's a "hostile website"?

Seems likely.

Date: 2009/07/24 23:56:48, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I feel a bit guilty foisting this website on innocents, but it's the weekend, so what the hey.

Edit: it occurs to me that teachers could do worse than slyly let a link to this site slip out. Maybe with a warning about adult content.

Date: 2009/07/25 10:57:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
So is genetic entropy almost like a prediction of ID, or is it just debris tossed behind to impede pursuit?

Date: 2009/07/25 21:44:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Mathematics mirrors the Mind of God except when it mirrors the Mind of Satan, as when used in atheist/materialist science.

Date: 2009/07/26 12:17:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Joe's legs are long enough to reach the ground. Praise the Lord.

Date: 2009/07/26 13:04:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
No singularity at all:

Pardon my jumping in, but I think this statement could be questioned. According to fine-tuning arguments, the solar system just happens to be arranged in one of the very few configurations that is consistent with the existence of life. Doesn’t that indicate that it “contains” some amount of FSCI?

Date: 2009/07/26 15:33:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Adam and Eve aren't the most recent Biblical bottleneck. Try Noah and his family.

Date: 2009/07/26 16:29:02, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Perfectly Candide @ July 26 2009,15:56)
Quote (midwifetoad @ July 26 2009,15:33)
Adam and Eve aren't the most recent Biblical bottleneck. Try Noah and his family.

Actually I did discuss Noah and his family in my post.

The general response to this kind of argument is that all the bad mutations happened after the Fall. AIG and the like would claim a period of super fast evolution after the Flood.

Once you go ad hoc, anything is possible.

Date: 2009/07/26 21:10:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Richardthughes @ July 26 2009,20:43)
I've been reading Gils posts for a few years now. He's got more bitter.

Everyone involved in ID has gotten more bitter since Dover. I've noticed this on lots of sites. The bitterest ones are those who are smart enough to realize it's over.

Folks like Dave Scot have to be depressed when they see two decades of pretense being piddled away on sites that were set up to separate ID from religion.

Date: 2009/07/26 21:18:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ July 26 2009,20:46)
oooh boy you won't BELIEVE teh stoopid in here.

30 held in New Jersey including mayors and Rabbies in corruption, money-laundering probe

Date: 2009/07/27 13:37:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Based on the ability of creationists to ignore evidence presented to them in writing, I conjecture their ability to ignore evidence presented in lectures they haven't attended.

Date: 2009/07/28 06:07:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I don't know.

I sometimes envision creationists of sending wave after wave of unarmed words up against the machine guns.

Maybe if you keep doing the same thing over and over the outcome will change.

Date: 2009/07/28 06:35:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
such a system will require not only general operating machines, but a stored blueprint and a self-assembling factory that reads and uses it to copy itself; rendering such an entity that incorporates self-replication even more complex than one that does not. [Indeed, the much derided William Paley reflected on that, speaking about a self-assembling watch.]

Has KF ever addressed the research on self-replicating molecules? Should he be?

Date: 2009/07/28 07:43:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think if you are trying to parody someone you at least have to change a few words.

Date: 2009/07/28 13:13:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad

That is all.

Date: 2009/07/28 19:52:08, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2009/07/28 22:59:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Always bad to start a discussion with new people by being dishonest about your motives.

Date: 2009/07/29 09:53:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Why would someone come here for help with a physics question?

Not that help isn't available,but still...

Date: 2009/07/29 12:38:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
This exact question has been asked by the same person at askyahoo.

I suppose it could be legit, but why not google it first? There are lots of responses. Why would someone claim there are none?

Date: 2009/07/29 13:01:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Harvard Professor Gates Is Half-Irish, Related to Cop Who Arrested Him

Date: 2009/07/29 14:44:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (didymos @ July 29 2009,14:30)
Gordon does a shorter Gordon:  

sea of non-function!


Date: 2009/07/29 17:22:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Can't answer for Dembski, but when you reach a certain age and shape, belts no longer work.

The solution, I think, is not to live past 40, or to be descended from skinny people.

But maybe being descended doesn't help. Perhaps you need skinny ancestors.

Date: 2009/07/29 21:06:28, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Human infants have separate pathways and that’s why they get so distressed with any nasal obstruction.
At about age 2 this configuration changes to “shared” - an anatomical change that also prepares the way for another human marvel: speech.

Anyone care to comment on this? I'm stumped.

Is he saying infants can't choke on food?

Date: 2009/07/29 21:39:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Good post. Someone else also mentioned that each bodily orifice presents an entry point for bacteria and other toxins
Damn good thing the mouth doesn't present an entry point for the lungs.

But it was different before the Fall. Sort of like the way infants can't choke.

Date: 2009/07/29 21:56:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think he means the fact that infants can breathe through the nose while feeding, and that the larynx descends as they get older.

Adults can also breathe through the nose while [redacted]. Infants under age one are the most likely victims of choking.

Date: 2009/07/29 23:26:20, Link
Author: midwifetoad
a rather tidy 256 words

It does set some sort of record, though, in terms of wrong to word count.

Date: 2009/07/30 10:01:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm trying to get the fine tuning thing straight in my head. According to the fine tuning conjecture and current understanding of cosmic expansion, our universe will be habitable for approximately .000000000000001 percent of its existence, and this is evidence for design.

Date: 2009/07/30 10:46:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2009/07/30 11:09:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Here is a typical ill informed comment meant to disparage. All the eyes were available in the Cambrian n an nothing evolved since. There was no predecessor to the Cambrian so the various versions of eyes just poofed out of no where. An informed person would have taken that into account

Jerry seems to embrace his inner fish. Jellyfish, even.

Date: 2009/07/30 16:52:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (utidjian @ July 30 2009,12:33)
Quote (midwifetoad @ July 30 2009,10:01)
I'm trying to get the fine tuning thing straight in my head. According to the fine tuning conjecture and current understanding of cosmic expansion, our universe will be habitable for approximately .000000000000001 percent of its existence, and this is evidence for design.

Yeah I don't "get" the fine tuning argument so much either. What I find more interesting and more critical to "the existence of the universe as we know it" (or whatever) is not the, so called, fine tuning of various physical constants but that in the various laws and relationships in physics we have have factors like 1/r² (inverse square law) and that the "square" is exactly 2. I know this holds for Newtons law of gravitation but I am not sure about Einsteins general relativity. I suppose that G could vary a little bit (or even a lot) and we would just see a different universe if there was anything to see at all. Same thing in Coulomb's law. I guess it just "follows from the geometry" but I don't see why it has to.... just that it does.

midwifetoad, do you have a linky for that number?


I believe my number first appears here:

But seriously, what does the exact number matter? According to currently understood trends, the universe will pull itself apart, stars will die, even atoms will cease to cohere, but the existence of matter will continue for much longer than the lifetime of stars and galaxies.

That's the big freeze theory. There's also the big rip theory, which Douglas Adams seemed to favor

Date: 2009/07/31 00:24:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think it had something to do with me thinking it was some thread or comment on UD that you were commenting on.
It was inspired by a comment on UD, but it's a generic comment on the argument that a temporary state of the universe -- one that will probably occupy an infinitesimal percentage of the lifespan of the universe -- is designed. ID is all about retrospective astonishment, looking at what is and calculating the odds against things being exactly as they are.

Idists do the same thing with evolution. Look at what is and assume the current state of things was a goal or target.

Date: 2009/07/31 06:48:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quantizing the continuum:

Maniraptorians are considered by some scientists to be birds, not reptiles or dinosaurs.

Substitute any alleged transitional.

Date: 2009/07/31 12:02:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The RATE project? You mean the one where they found 500 million year old rocks and decided to ignore the evidence?

Date: 2009/07/31 13:53:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Ok, but I feel the same way about my weather radio.

Date: 2009/07/31 15:09:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
All science, all the time.

FYI, Harry Potter's blood also does something.

Date: 2009/07/31 21:01:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think maybe KF needs to find a way to exclude the "F" part of this, because functional stuff can be accumulated through selection.

Doesn't he need to talk about the sea of nonfunction separating the islands of function, or something.

I'm trying to come up with a good visual analogy, but everything I can think of involves hip waders.

Date: 2009/08/01 05:05:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm not surprised that Republicans are less science literate, but 51% hardly seems like passing.

I bet that few of the people who hold the "correct" opinion could justify it with a line of evidence.

Date: 2009/08/01 23:34:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I fail to see what's counterintuitive about children being near perfect copies of their parents. (Or near perfect intersections.)

Shouldn't we be demanding that ID proponentsists present a documented case of a new function coming into existence via multiple simultaneous mutations?

In the absence of a documented case of saltation*, conjecture about possible histories is rationally constrained to processes that have been observed.

Without the assumption of uniformity, we have no reason to believe we can extrapolate the positions of the planets to the past, nor can we be justified in convicting people of crimes based on forensic evidence.

Edit: *polyploidy being sort of an exception.

Date: 2009/08/02 09:25:26, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Apparently H2O2 is added to some water supplies in lieu of chlorine. It's also used in food packaging. I suppose you could wash vegetables with it.

But for superior crank medicine, it's no match for coffee enemas.

Date: 2009/08/02 18:24:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Jerry is skating on thin ice over making sense.

Whatever that means.

Date: 2009/08/02 19:28:46, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Not to mention the price of coffee.

Date: 2009/08/02 23:31:19, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Just out of curiosity, why do old UD threads look like this on my browser?

“Other organisms, have changed relatively little in all aspects of their body’s anatomy and physiology…as you indicate.

And if that looks like clear text to you, WTF is going on?

Date: 2009/08/03 14:05:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (MichaelJ @ Aug. 03 2009,07:05)
some notable events:

Lockout of the Baylor cafeteria.

Marines incident

Dembski getting destroyed by ERV at one of his talks

Street theatre

How about the internet statistics?

Date: 2009/08/03 19:42:35, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I know what you are saying. It simply isn’t true.
Insert more or less anywhere.

Date: 2009/08/03 21:49:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Google trends for searching on “intelligent design”

EDIT for explanation: someone fails math forever.

Date: 2009/08/04 08:43:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It seems like just yesterday that ID proponentsists were insisting that it had nothing to do with religion.

Now we have a full blown inquisition going, and no one is raising the hammer to slow it down.

I guess they could only hold their breath for so long.

Date: 2009/08/04 14:54:34, Link
Author: midwifetoad
In fairness, this is not far from what Chomsky argued. Syntax, and the brain structures required to learn syntax in the absence of explicit training, could not have evolved incrementally.

Date: 2009/08/04 15:41:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I do think that going from Dembski to Chomsky is evolution. :p

Date: 2009/08/04 17:26:46, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I agree that Creationist should buy and utilize these books, as well as help ID fund research at Biologic Institute.

Date: 2009/08/05 07:09:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Always lurking in the depths of every creationist is the knowledge that they have the secret that eluded Einstein, the grand unification. Sometimes modesty fails and the secret leaks out.

Date: 2009/08/05 10:53:26, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Yeah, that was me.  

I guess I'm slow on the uptake.

The irony just hit me that all the anti-evolution arguments currently being used were developed by creationists 40 and 50 years ago, and now the ID movement is repackaging this stuff and selling it back to the creationists.

And they're buying it.

Date: 2009/08/05 18:12:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I thought that I had been pretty clear about that.

As I say, I'm slow. The list of old articles joggled a couple of brain cells, and that made it a majority.

Moving on, I found this interesting:



7:08 am
Mr Joseph,

But anyway life begets life- what does that tell you?

That ‘life’ is no longer the definite, binary category people once thought it was.

Date: 2009/08/05 20:25:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Non-life is the more stable state and therefore living entitities will, as a matter of principle, tend toward non-life.

So it takes angels to keep microbes alive, sort of like the way angels are needed to keep arrows flying? Who knew?

Date: 2009/08/06 09:18:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
New ideas bubble up from the ooze...

False! you/they start from a known degraded position and then try to rely on compensatory mutations to falsify Genetic Entropy,,,Whereas a strict rendering of the Genetic Entropy principle will hold that only the original un-degraded bacteria is optimal.

Date: 2009/08/06 10:27:08, Link
Author: midwifetoad
More wisdom:

Reading some of the other discussion, I doubt that all information loss affects fitness. In fact some information loss appears to affect fitness positively. I don’t think information loss can reliably be measured using fitness tests.

Date: 2009/08/06 11:08:19, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Just keeps coming:

“If the compensatory mutations in the Lynch paper are only “compensating” for information loss during the course of the experiment (laboratory adaptation) and not for information loss that occurred prior, then it’s not even interesting.”

Date: 2009/08/06 13:36:25, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Design can counter genetic entropy.

Why didn't you guys think of that?

Date: 2009/08/06 14:46:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Boldly going where no TARD has gone before...

Yes but is that metric not so course as to allow for imminent entropy?

Date: 2009/08/06 15:22:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Wouldn't Front Loading counteract Genetic Entropy?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Date: 2009/08/06 19:01:46, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Maybe the old characters got banned and replaced with some who type in tongues.

Date: 2009/08/07 00:22:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (djmullen @ Aug. 06 2009,23:49)
Quote (Barrett Brown @ Aug. 06 2009,21:31)

Thought you guys might enjoy this article I just wrote for The Huffington Post on the subject of Uncommon Descent and its general wackiness. Most of the stuff described therein probably won't be new to you since you're the world's greatest experts on Dave Springer, but perhaps you'll get a kick out it nonetheless. Here it is.


Barrett Brown

Springer was unfazed by the revelation. "To everyone who's pointed out that the ACLU story is a fabrication according to -- that's hardly the point," he explained. "The pictures of Marines praying are real."

Didn't that picture turn out to be photoshopped to increase the number of marines praying?

Also, does anybody remember the details of when Dembski got caught flat-out lying his little creationist head off and then claimed it was all really street theater?

I thought I remembered something about photoshopping, but I'll be darned if I can find it, or any reference to that on the net.

Must be some othe picture.

Date: 2009/08/07 07:57:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I thought I remembered something about photoshopping, but I'll be darned if I can find it, or any reference to that on the net.

"That" refers to Photoshopping or fakery. I've spent a bit of time looking at at the photo and simply don't see any evidence the soldiers were multiplied. But that wasn't the issue anyway. The ACLU was the issue.

The Snopes article deals with the ACLU.

Date: 2009/08/07 09:28:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
KF droning on about information entropy again. I suppose it never occurs to these people that however you define information, it is always manifested in physical systems; so any "laws" regarding conservation of information would parallel the laws of thermodynamics.

And since life and evolution locally reduce entropy (do work), the expectations regarding information are the same as they are for physics and chemistry.

Date: 2009/08/07 14:02:08, Link
Author: midwifetoad
springer | July 18, 2009 7:12 AM | Reply | Edit
The moon landing was accomplished by evolution. Evolution produced RBH and all of his drives and desires. There’s no more to be proud about here than there is in being proud about a thunderstorm.

Date: 2009/08/07 22:37:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Hope this qualifies as science.

Edit: Crap. Saw this on another board and didn't check the date.


Date: 2009/08/07 22:44:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
If established connections work, but browsing is slow of intermittent, I'd suspect DNS.

Or malware. Or a firewall issue.

Date: 2009/08/08 09:33:48, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think that the DNS explanation makes the most sense. A quick way to find out if your ISP's DNS servers are flaky is to use some other servers, like Open DNS.

The reason I mentioned DNS is that my work computer exhibited this behavior a couple days ago, so I added OPEN DNS to the list, and the problem went away.
The company firewall manages DNS, and it allows more than two servers.

The DSL provider is Bellsouth, which is transitioning to AT&T. Lots of weirdness happening.

Date: 2009/08/08 09:38:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Wesley R. Elsberry @ Aug. 08 2009,09:28)
The New York Times expels Ben Stein

Over economics, not "intelligent design" creationism.

Ben has exhibited consistency.

Date: 2009/08/08 09:47:32, Link
Author: midwifetoad
That’s why evolutionary materialist models and speculations on OOL are in crisis.

Another theory in crisis. Or at least a conjecture in crisis.

Date: 2009/08/08 11:47:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
But the fact of the matter is when ID takes charge of science as opposed to being continually locked in debate with recalcitrant Darwinists, there will be new standards by which we judge whether or not genetic entropy is occurring.

I wonder it TM has his headquarters in a volcano.

Date: 2009/08/08 12:28:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
As a compromise you can use your ISP as the first DNS server and Open DNS as the second server.

Date: 2009/08/08 13:56:02, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Darwin always argued against the best and strongest opposing ideas. He put them better than most modern evolution opponents.

Date: 2009/08/08 23:57:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Windows is smart enough to notice two computers attempting to use the same IP address, and to give an appropriate message.

Date: 2009/08/09 08:30:55, Link
Author: midwifetoad
That thread is an exercise in self-immolation.

Date: 2009/08/09 18:20:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Please tell us how “talking donkeys are not part of a rational universe.” I agree that a talking donkey is an unusual event. Though we probably agree that such a phenomenon may violate certain physical laws, I fail to see how it violates logical laws.

Typing donkeys seem common enough.

Date: 2009/08/10 13:06:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
comments as you are making would have got you a few warnings and then a boot for violating standards of logic.

How dare you say something that is true and back it up with evidence.

Date: 2009/08/10 15:23:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Ben Stein steals your money

Date: 2009/08/10 15:35:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm trying to think of an alternative interpretation of Joseph's claim that "you can’t produce a testable hypothesis pertaining to non-telic processes" which keep this from being one of the single stupidest things he or anybody else has said at UD, but I'm coming up blank.

I't's not that bad. A four character deletion mutation would fix it up.

Date: 2009/08/11 08:44:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think you could modify the banner to say this is an official hostile site, qualifying for both graduate and undergraduate college credit.

And start a new thread for posting essays.

Edit: And maybe someone could come up with a scarlet "H" to denote officially qualifying hostile sites.

Date: 2009/08/11 10:18:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2009/08/11 11:14:47, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Hard to believe that Dave was the only thing holding the wheels on.

Date: 2009/08/11 12:39:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Offer him college credit.

Date: 2009/08/11 15:02:32, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It's back, but what is it with non-portable character sets?

•We get the mandatory book plug: "for the details about this ploy, see Edward Sisson’s essay in

EDIT: I get this garbage in both IE and FireFox.

Date: 2009/08/11 15:20:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The source code doesn't show any of this, which means they are using Ajax or some similar programming technique to build the pages. You can't really see what the browser sees.

I assume this error arises from being cute with simple text characters like apostrophes. I.e., "Edward Sisson's essay."

Bad software.

Date: 2009/08/11 23:06:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Michael Behe and I have something in common: It was Michael Denton’s book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, that first alerted both of us that Darwinian orthodoxy was in big trouble with the evidence.

Michael Denton...

Isn't he the heretic? Can you even mention him without getting banned?

Date: 2009/08/12 10:02:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
If you are going to compare two people using graphs, I recommend using the same scale for both.

Date: 2009/08/12 13:14:26, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Maybe he'd like to come over and discuss NDEs.

Lenoxus asks,

Are there any reported cases of someone returning from brain death?

Yes, this following NDE pretty much rocked the NDE world,

The Day I Died – Part 4 of 6 – The NDE of Pam Reynolds – video

This one the man was confirmed dead in a car wreck:

Don Piper – 90 Minutes in Heaven – A Trip To Heaven and Back!

this following NDE was of a man who was in a brain dead coma for 27 days:

Near Death Experience – Raised From Brain Death By Jesus – Miracle

This following NDE personally rocked my world:

Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience – video

Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported being able to see during their NDEs. 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth. In all, 15 of the 21 NDEers and 9 of the 10 OBEers could see during their experience while the remaining participants either claimed that they did not see or were not sure whether or not they had seen.

This following NDE should give severe pause to anybody who rails against God:

Former Atheist Howard Storm’s Hellish NDE – video

Date: 2009/08/12 14:48:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
so-called “simulations” that are no more than trial-and-error programs made to reach for predetermined goals.

Only designed things, like bacteria, strive for predetermined (specified) goals (propeller hineys).

Everyone knows that.

Date: 2009/08/12 15:07:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Dear Cousin Stuart,

Nice to see you posting at UD. There must be something in those Dodgen genes that predisposes us to software engineering, and recognizing the illogical and evidence-deprived nonsense propagated by Darwinists.


Date: 2009/08/12 17:55:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Wait till he finds out they're ALL Poes.

The internet has been a major blow to Darwinism because now with yooutube and site like this people can actually find out about the dissent. Before everyone was either a true beleiving Biblical literalist or at the mersey of what they learned in biology class.

Date: 2009/08/13 06:34:34, Link
Author: midwifetoad
This pretty well sums it up.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

Date: 2009/08/13 11:45:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Dembski was actually responding to criticism of his own arguments, denigrating the criticism and extolling his own book as if he were a knowledgeable, disinterested third party.

Fortunately, "A Customer" (no doubt someone else) has come to Dembski's aid:

17 of 110 people found the following review helpful:
Who Are They Kidding?, December 21, 2003
By A Customer

Prometheus Press is one of the most militantly atheistic and ideologically driven presses around. And yet it purports that the following description of the book represents an unbiased assessment of Perakh's work: "This thoughtful and incisive critique from a veteran scientist genuinely concerned about the integrity of the scientific enterprise wastes no diplomacy on those who would see its purpose twisted to ideological ends." If there are ideological ends on the intelligent design side, there are no less ideological ends on the anti-design side, for which Perakh has now become a champion. Perakh's analyses of Behe, Johnson, and Dembski are in each instance defective. If simply by reading Perakh, you think he has decisively demolished intelligent design, you need to read the primary literature. Especially recommended here are John Campbell and Steve Meyer's _Darwinism, Design, and Public Education_ as well as Dembski's _The Design Revolution_, which answers many of Perakh's concerns.

Date: 2009/08/13 12:01:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The text may be the same, but yours was written by
"a reader from Riesel, Texas," and mine was written by "a customer."

See the difference? Perhaps one of the reviews was plagiarized.

Anyway, there are several similar reviews, all recommending Dembski's books. He obviously has lots of loyal fans. ;)

Date: 2009/08/13 12:35:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think there's a higher probability that Dembski writes several similar reviews under different names, than that he spends hours moderating his forum.

Moderating doesn't take brains, but it takes time.

Date: 2009/08/13 13:26:34, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (someotherguy @ Aug. 13 2009,12:58)
Quote (olegt @ Aug. 13 2009,11:06)
Speaking of Lewis and Chesterton, Dembski has just rolled out a buy-my-book campaign for The End of Christianity.  The post lists a bazillion endorsements, one of which calls him the C. S. Lewis of this generation.

That's a rather telling statement about the trajectory of Dembski's career.  Going from the "Isaac Newton of Information Theory" to the "C.S. Lewis of this generation" is quite a profound demotion.  No wonder he's so bitter.

And he could have avoided the demotion, considering he wrote all those reviews.

Date: 2009/08/13 13:28:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Aug. 13 2009,13:13)
i was thinking "chuck norris of the printed word"

Careful now. Evolution just describes the things Chuck Norris allows to live.

Date: 2009/08/13 13:33:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad

tragic mishap


1:05 pm
I knew I recognized that room. Anyway, I used to go to that museum when I was a kid. In the basement they had several large sculpture displays of artist’s renditions of our primate ancestors. Yes, one of them was Nebraska Man.  

Needless to say, those displays are all gone now.

Methinks TM is lying. Not that that is news, but it would seem a takedown is in order.

Date: 2009/08/13 15:26:55, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Clive Hayden


3:05 pm
Evolution cannot pull a boot-strap trick and elevate itself above itself. Therefore, all judgments are from the same source as the thing being judged, the judge is also the defendant.

Someone needs to think this through.

Date: 2009/08/13 20:18:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (didymos @ Aug. 13 2009,18:20)
StephenB, glass-house inhabitant:  

Do you suppose that could have been a tribu[t]e to your obsession?

“If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”—-Abraham Maslow.

Therefore, all judgments are from the same source as the thing being judged, the judge is also the defendant.

I think these guys miss the point that Dawkins "judges" the OT god by His own standards of morality. Just as Clive says it should be done. There is no need for Dawkins to assert an objective morality. He is merely observing that the big guy with all the power doesn't follow His own rules.

Date: 2009/08/13 20:49:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Hath not a Darwinist eyes? Hath not a Darwinist hands,
organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same
food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases,
heal'd by the same means, warm'd and cool'd by the same winter
and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If
you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, do we not revenge? If we are like you in the
rest, we will resemble you in that.  

Date: 2009/08/14 09:48:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
There's some serious self-touching going on over on the problem of evil thread.

I'm always amused by people who think that "objective" morality means following the orders of the guy with the biggest gun. Even if the Guy doesn't follow His own rules.

Date: 2009/08/14 11:51:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
What is wrong with these people? Are they little children who threaten to take their ball home if they don't get their way?
It must be tough to lose all the time.
They long for a blogczar who defines good manners as letting the Wookie win.

Date: 2009/08/14 12:38:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
But all this goes to the heart of the matter for evolutionists NEVER address how natural process can generate information in the first place
Are we still stuck in Second Law analogies? Conservation of information crap?

Someone ask him how photosynthesis generates carbohydrates. Maybe we could start a discussion on the definition of the word natural.

Date: 2009/08/15 14:35:02, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (dvunkannon @ Aug. 15 2009,14:31)
ok, I hurt my head listening to John Mark Reynolds for an hour. Math proves God, If you read Gary Habermas you will believe, so if you don't believe you must be wrong. gah

Date: 2009/08/15 14:40:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (dvunkannon @ Aug. 15 2009,14:31)
ok, I hurt my head listening to John Mark Reynolds for an hour. Math proves God, If you read Gary Habermas you will believe, so if you don't believe you must be wrong. gah

Does he subscribe to Big Tent Math, in which 6000 is equivalent to 4.5 billion?

Date: 2009/08/15 20:11:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Finally someone at UD makes sense. They'll probably take it down, but they really shouldn't.




5:10 pm
Universal Law of Intelligence (ULI)

So, Interrelation Theory had discovered this universal law of intelligence and it is very useful to determine a phenomenom if it is intelligently made or naturally made.

Again, the simple formula is

Made by Intelligent Being = A + B + back-up to A or B

Made by Nature = A + B + no back-up to either B or A

This is the reason why most of us, if not all, will surely agree with me that scientists in NASA have this higher ULI ability as “intelligent people” since they sure to it that when there is an space exploration, the degree of back-up allowance or safety allowance for a mission is too big.

Date: 2009/08/15 22:12:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I've heard of Creative Accounting. Never knew that it was invented by the Isaac Newton of Biology.

Date: 2009/08/16 10:20:32, Link
Author: midwifetoad
You haven't encountered "winner" - his/her/yx' screenname on CARM - before.
I just thought it was rather lovely that the only response to Flannery's endless screed has come from a Time Cuber. UD moderation seems to work like reverse osmosis.

Date: 2009/08/16 12:40:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It's all marketing. Being mocked at PZ's is good publicity.

Date: 2009/08/16 12:47:23, Link
Author: midwifetoad



11:40 am
Being able to snip something with no apparent ill effect may in fact provide support for ID

Oh, those evolutionists, constantly bringing in just-so stories so they can claim that any and all data support their hypothesis

Date: 2009/08/16 14:49:02, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The only solution is to appeal to a universal standard which binds us all. This is clear.

Sounds like a declaration of total, genocidal war to me.

But I take comfort in the knowledge that SB's source of absolute morality would never condone a genocidal war.

Date: 2009/08/16 20:33:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
No need to hunt for snarks after you find this place.

Date: 2009/08/17 14:22:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (CeilingCat @ Aug. 17 2009,13:57)
Gordon almost gets it right:


[3] this is an oprganised functional message.

Closer than most of his tries.

You laugh, but:

Going beyond that, the informatics revolution is snowballing on both OOL and body plan level biodiversity.

Darwinism is doooooooomed.

Date: 2009/08/17 15:16:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (dmso74 @ Aug. 17 2009,14:23)
jerry shows his compassion:

If I have a terminal illness and there is a possibility that a treatment may work and it is not sanctioned by the insurance companies or the government, I have the right to buy that treatment if I can come up with the money. So health care is no different than other economic good. The reason is has become an issue is that so many new options are available to let us live longer and better that people want it. NO! They demand it as a right. They want it all and like every other so called right, they want other people to pay for it.

Jesus couldn't have said it any better himself.


I am skeptical of our government's ability to lower costs of health care by managing it, but we do survive with government run streets and highways and government run fire departments and government run police and military.

All public benefits, equally enjoyed. We do survive with socialized infrastructure.

Any reservations I have about ObamaCare are utilitarian. I think the fight over details is healthy. I think most political fights are healthy.

Date: 2009/08/17 15:30:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Isn't transfusing blood cannibalism, or something? i forget.

Date: 2009/08/17 17:28:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Defence money has always been magic. The founding fathers knew about procurement corruption. I believe Howard Hughes has a spot of trouble. Or perhaps the hives.

Of course 99 percent of healthcare will be outsourced.

Edit: By outsourced I mean contracted out, not foreign. Brain lapse.

Date: 2009/08/17 20:32:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I had an Indian boss as a programmer. In about a month I normalized his dialect. As you say, their English is very proper and easy to understand, just as soon as your ear adjusts to the sound.

But that's unrelated to my comment. I simply used the wrong word. I meant that any health care services provided for or directed by the government will be under contract or will be reimbursed.

It will be subject to the same kinds of cheating and corruption that plague any system where large amounts of money are available.

Doubly so, because most people find medicine indistinguishable from magic. I would bet that at least half the money spent on health care goes to quackery. I believe at least one congressman tried to include reimbursement for alternative medicine in the current plan.

I bet my estimate is low.

Date: 2009/08/17 20:46:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
This has got to fit in here somehow...

Date: 2009/08/18 06:39:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Fresh meat:

Today’s origin of life researchers can make no stronger claims for abiogenesis on empirical grounds than could Huxley.  Hasn’t more than a century of this failed strategy been long enough? Hasn’t the philosophical faith of materialism premised upon the uniformity of natural causes in closed system had enough opportunities to prove its case? History and its accumulating evidence points toward the ID alternative.

Date: 2009/08/18 15:00:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (dmso74 @ Aug. 18 2009,14:49)
Is it just me, or does this seem to be the most common response to Corny's posts:

Sorry, but I don’t get your point.


The last half dozen posts have been too dumb even for the regulars. The Magnum opus on Wallace garnered a well deserved hit from one of the net's finest trolls.

And nothing more. Even Dembski can't raise anything to the bait.

Date: 2009/08/18 15:17:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Have you so soon forgotten: Darwinists at this site, with your blessing, assert with confidence that an automobile can be a part of a crankshaft because they will not acknowledge in principle that the whole is always greater than any one of its parts.

Hmmm. Wonder where he was during the lecture on emergence.

Date: 2009/08/18 19:24:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I notice that Lamarck, moon landing denier, has come out as a 9/11 troofer...

Isn't the moronic convergence a thing of wonder?

Birth Cert

You could make an alternate Crank Index, and I bet they would track each other.

Date: 2009/08/18 19:51:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Henry J @ Aug. 18 2009,19:46)
Quack, posted 8/18/09 2:19 AM

Defence money has always been magic.

Off topic, but while we are at it - read a story many years ago about Pentagon procurement - hammers at >$100 apiece. (Gold plated and numbered, with certificate?)

How do you think they pay for stuff that they don't want listed on the official records? ;)


District 9? That's ours. Just a neighborhood in Area 51.

Date: 2009/08/18 20:59:32, Link
Author: midwifetoad
But he could put the twit in Twitter.

Date: 2009/08/18 22:35:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
You have to admit that a random mutation modifying limb length the exact amount needed to reach the water is pretty improbable.

Date: 2009/08/19 09:28:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
However, the emergence of the NA movement and the rise of its chief exponents to public prominence and the New York Times bestseller list clearly shows that Darwinism is not only a dominant institutional scientific paradigm, but that — angry rebuttals to the contrary notwithstanding — it is and has always been a deeply controversial scientific theory.

By that standard, ID is not quite as controversial as alien anal probes.

Date: 2009/08/19 10:01:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
E. Partitioned Search
Partitioned search [12] is a “divide and conquer” procedure best introduced by example. Consider the L = 28 character phrase METHINKS ? IT ? IS ? LIKE ? A ? WEASEL. (19) Suppose that the result of our first query of L = 28 characters is SCITAMROFN ? IYRANOITULOVE ? SAM. (20) Two of the letters {E, S} are in the correct position. They are shown in a bold font. In partitioned search, our search for these letters is finished.

For the incorrect letters, we select 26 new letters and obtain OOT ? DENGISEDESEHT ? ERA?NETSIL. (21) Five new letters are found, bringing the cumulative tally of discovered characters to {T, S,E, ?,E, S,L}. All seven characters are ratcheted into place. The 19 new letters are chosen, and the process is repeated until the entire target phrase is found.

Endogenous information represents the inherent difficulty of a search problem in relation to a random-search baseline. If any search algorithm is to perform better than random search, active information must be resident.

The first query consists of L randomly selected
binary digits.We mutate the parent with a bit-flip probability of ? and form two children. The fittest child, as measured by the Hamming distance from the target, serves as the next parent, and the process is repeated. Choosing the fittest child is the source of the active information.

Date: 2009/08/19 10:05:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
He's basically saying that random searches don't work without problem specific information being inserted into the program.

He does say that selection provides specified information, so I'm not sure what is left of the ID argument.

Date: 2009/08/19 13:11:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
What's this obsession with "finding targets" anyway? Do cdesign proponentsists really think evolution is "trying" to build structures?

Date: 2009/08/19 21:47:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
With regards to evolution, we're not talking about the average performance of all search algorithms across every possible search space. We're talking about a very specific type of search algorithm and a highly organized search space.

One in which you always start from a viable position and never depart from viability.

The only way you could validate Behe's assertions regarding structures like the flagellum would be to demonstrate that every modification of the genome results in death.

He promotes the idea that every change must improve fitness, but all that's required to get from one place to another is steps that don't result in death.

Date: 2009/08/20 00:00:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
From your poat at TT:

What if we had a "black box" that recognizes a valid word? And every member of the evolving population has to be a valid word. No near words allowed.

But of course language doesn't work that way in practice, as any internet discussion demonstrates.

Every aspect of language evolves: spelling, grammar, denotation, connotation, and so forth.

Date: 2009/08/20 00:19:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It's pretty hard to write a GA that doesn't have some agent that implements differential reproductive success.

Date: 2009/08/24 12:25:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
a poster remarks that abiogenesis requires there to have been a sterile environment.

Sounds like a twisted version of the fact that living things would consume any recurring proto-life before it got started.

Date: 2009/08/25 05:09:25, Link
Author: midwifetoad
When I was a kid, humans still had 48 chromosomes.  :angry:

Date: 2009/08/25 09:41:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad




Sounds like DrDr is channeling k.e.'s sexual fantasies.

Date: 2009/08/26 14:39:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Speaking to DiEb on the side, I realize what is stake here.

Dembski's latching algorithm requires the mutation engine to know the target; Dembski's Weasel does not.

This may seem too obvious or too stupid even to consider, but it's really the heart of the argument.

IDiots really believe that mutations have to be directed; Weasel demonstrates this is unnecessary. the inability to understand a simple algorithm masks an inability to accept reality.

Date: 2009/08/26 15:02:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Like everyone keeps a copy of a trivial program written more than twenty years ago on an obsolete computer system written in a defunct version programming language stored on some primitive media. Maybe he's got his antique computer in some dusty corner of the garage.

Crap. I've got all that stuff.

Date: 2009/08/27 10:10:26, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Damn. The latching thread continues.

The only relevant question is: how do you produce the next generation.

If the algorithm that produces the next generation knows which characters are correct, it knows far more than and algorithm that doesn't know which characters are correct. Hence the claim that information is "smuggled in." If the mutation engine is privy to the target, then information has indeed been smuggled in.

The only reason for the existence of the weasel demo is to show that evolution can work with mutations that are random with respect to selection. Any other kind of algorithm would be irrelevant to biology.

So it is necessary for Dembski to lie about how Weasel works in order to preserve the fiction that evolution cannot work with random mutations.

It really demonstrates how powerful this simple idea really is, that a PhD in mathematics would destroy his reputation* attempting to obfuscate something a ten year old could understand.

Looking at Atom's code reveals something else. The details of selection are really irrelevant. Selection will shape the population to produce higher fitness scores, regardless of the details of the selection algorithm.

The only relevant question is whether the mutation process is random with respect to fitness.

*Edit: Admittedly, a fall not far enough to crack an egg.

Date: 2009/08/27 10:58:05, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The image if Dembski mounting a camel is almost as disturbing as that of a camel sneezing in ID's slippery big tent, producing lord knows what rough beast to slouch toward Dover II.

Date: 2009/08/27 12:37:34, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Is there some reason other than dishonesty that Hunter starts a thread at UD on Szostak and provides a "read more" link that has nothing to do with Szostak, but flogs Hunter's blog?

Date: 2009/08/27 13:39:13, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think I found it here:

So it turns out to be stupidity rather than dishonesty. I guess that's somehow refreshing.

Date: 2009/08/28 09:21:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Maya @ Aug. 28 2009,07:49)
Indium sums it up:  
So, now, kf, you are reduced to claiming that an algorithm that does a query by constructing a population by copying a string with random mutations and then selecting the best fitting member is the same as an algorithm which gueries by just randomly selecting a new letter for every wrong one.

This is so obviously wrong that it doesn´t even need a refutation. It is plain denial of the obvious.

That thread is just astonishing.  Gordon seems constitutionally incapable of admitting even the tiniest possibility of error, and projects his own psychological failings madly over everyone who disagrees with him.  He has worked up to truly epic failure of logic and reading comprehension.

Naturally, Clive baby won't moderate good ol' Gordo for behavior that would get a member of the reality based community evicted.

Perhaps D, M and K should jointly receive a coveted Stasis Award.

Date: 2009/08/30 22:07:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Just for fun:

Date: 2009/09/01 10:51:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (dheddle @ Sep. 01 2009,08:26)
Have to disagree with the hordes on the C.S. Lewis question. I think his writing is worthy of the praise with which it is lavished. I think the Chronicles are beautifully written: descriptive (shows, doesn’t tell), entertaining, thought provoking, good character growth, works on multiple levels, etc. Screwtape Letters is a masterpiece, in my opinion.

My only complaint about Lewis is that he wasn’t a Calvinist. What’s up with that?

If God wanted him to be Calvinist, he would have been. ;)

Date: 2009/09/01 12:09:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It’s the same as the “affordable, commercial fusion power” time constant!

Not to mention the AI time constant.

As for counting pinheads, I remain,

Date: 2009/09/01 12:35:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (olegt @ Sep. 01 2009,11:30)
Scoff now while you still can. 20 years from now we will see who was on the wrong side of history. I suspect you will get to know first hand how dedicated Marxists felt the day after the Soviet Union fell and America won the cold war.

Let's see... The Wedge Strategy said ID would win 20 years from 1999.  Today is 2009 and the victory is still 20 years ahead.  Did we discover a new fundamental[ist] constant?

I think the relatively recent uprising amongst creationists can be traced to progress in molecular biology.

They find themselves in the position of a flat-earther living in an age of GPS and communication satellites. It's one thing to hold fast to ignorance when the evidence against you is abstract, but when evolution becomes a laboratory science with commercial applications, the facade crumbles.

Date: 2009/09/01 13:56:34, Link
Author: midwifetoad
As everybody should be aware by now, Denyse Oâ??Leary is offering a prize for the original code for Dawkinsâ?? Weasel program which illustrates cumulative selection [1]. Oâ??Learyâ??s offer arises from people challenging Dembskiâ??s misrepresentation of the Weasel program, as he has misrepresented it yet again in a trivial non-id paper. To get some much needed perspective, read Joe Felsensteinâ??s excellent article (and its follow-up) and those of Chris Mark Chu Carroll (here and here)

Some weird formatting going on here. Just this one thread.

EDIT: I verified this problem with FireFox.

Date: 2009/09/01 14:12:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Emergence of a Code in the Polymerization of Amino Acids along RNA Templates

Laugh while you can, Darwinoid. Twenty years.

Just remember, you've got just 20 years.

Date: 2009/09/02 17:36:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Thus the modern internal combustion engine is a perfect example of how existing features can be co-opted to produce new functions.

Don't forget that carburetors were based on perfume atomizers.

Date: 2009/09/03 08:12:25, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Zachriel @ Sep. 03 2009,07:02)
Bradford: But why not produce a search methodology that utilizes intermediate fitness values en route to the target. Or is that too challenging?

Or better yet, no specific target.

Word Mutagenation.

How about intermediate fitness values to no particular target?

Date: 2009/09/03 08:30:55, Link
Author: midwifetoad
We currently lack the capability to compute either the goal or the path of evolution, but that is a comment about our limitations as observers, not about the process itself.
You may believe anything you wish to believe, but evolution doesn't have goals. If your theology demands a god acting as a breeder, then evolution can accommodate artificial selection, but the evidence for that is entirely missing.

This is one of the weaknesses of Weasel-like GAs, as noted by Dawkins in the Blind Watchmaker. They imply a target or goal.

Date: 2009/09/03 14:23:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
DNA_Jock, good observation @ 286. It also highlights the inaccuracy of referring to active info as a measure of problem-specific information. A search without replacement is based on the same problem-specific information as a search with replacement, and yet the active information measure of the former is higher. The active information measure is a function not only of the information available, but also of the way that information is used.

Date: 2009/09/04 07:57:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Not to mention that with a little knowledge of "nuclear chemistry", we figured out how to make gold from lead!

The analogy fails at a more basic level. Natural processes turn energy into gold and lead and carbon and every other element without any "intelligent" intervention.

Date: 2009/09/04 08:55:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Hey! That's rather an entertaining game!

Yeah, but at least half of each generation is implicitly latched. It's pretty blatant.

Date: 2009/09/04 09:18:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Barrett Brown @ Sep. 04 2009,04:09)
My latest screed against Uncommon Descent, this time in reference to Cornelius Hunter's bizarre post on "Evolution's Legacy of Shame," may be found at this link:



I've tried for several minutes to hyperlink this but have given up.

Hey! That's about me.

Edit: Does Hunter ever address anything relevant, like say, the faking of evidence part?

Date: 2009/09/04 13:10:34, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Amazing how low the threshold is for being able to out-think the likes of Einstein and Wolfram.

Date: 2009/09/06 09:49:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
If the blind-watchmaker thesis is correct for biological evolution, all of these artificial constraints must be eliminated. Every aspect of the simulation, both hardware and software, must be subject to random errors.

Of course, this would result in immediate disaster and the extinction of the CPU, OS, simulation program, and the programmer, who would never get funding for further realistic simulation experiments.
Someone propose the following thought experiment to Gil:

Create a simulation that runs on a virtual machine. I'm sure he understands the concept. The virtual machine includes the OS, hardware drivers, and programs. All of this will reside in memory, but this is the only feasible way to run his kind of simulation.

To make it possible, the virtual machine would be somewhat less complex than Windows. Perhaps a few thousand bytes. I think the early Apple and Radio Shack computers implemented Basic in under 4K. I think you could easily make a VM that requires much less. A VM would consist of an interpreter and code, and both would be subject to mutation.

Since abiogenesis is not the issue being explored, the starting VM would be a self replicator. It would divide, producing imperfect copies of itself. The division and mutation process could affect both "children."

The VMs would exist in a sea of memory, perhaps a turbulent sea that sloshes around, separating the individuals so replications don't always sit on other individuals. Although this could happen. Perhaps individuals need a virtual membrane.

My first thought is that something like this has probably already been done. I don't follow the details of the various simulation programs, but I'd be surprised if someone hasn't tried this.

My second thought is that Gill wouldn't accept this, because the "real" OS isn't affected.

Date: 2009/09/06 11:48:55, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Virtual Windows and virtual OSX are a bit ambitious.

What I have in mind is a bit of self replicating code, such that it satisfies Gil's demand that the code and data both be subject to mutation. Something like a virtual Spiegelman's Monster.

Date: 2009/09/06 18:29:34, Link
Author: midwifetoad
In this scenario you don't need to code the reproduction code as the programs should develop the ability to reproduce to protect the "genome" against being killed by competitors or by random mutations

I assumed that the idea wasn't original.

Date: 2009/09/06 21:54:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Richardthughes @ Sep. 06 2009,21:34)
Quote (Dr.GH @ Sep. 06 2009,21:12)
I got a copy on order- used for $0.62.

You got fleeced!

So true. I can get his tripe at garage sales for a dime. I draw the line at videos, though.

Date: 2009/09/06 21:58:32, Link
Author: midwifetoad
If BL were innocent he would defend himself, right?

Date: 2009/09/11 12:04:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
He will continue to avoid answering it. Maybe the reason is that it is so obvious that these two searches, called “Partitioned” and “Proximity Reward”, are completely different.
As others have pointed out, all you have to do is sit down to program a Weasel algorithm, and it becomes clear that passing the location of correct letters is much more complex than selecting the child closest to the target. One could differentiate the algorithms by the number of steps and tests required to generate a population.

In the case of self replicators, no information at all is passed to the replicator.

Date: 2009/09/13 10:33:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Darwin Expelled from U.S.

Date: 2009/09/15 09:40:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
However, the dynamical-empirical fundamentals of Weasel and why implicit latching is a credible account for the showcased runs c 1986 remain the same. (And that is why I rely on and prioritise dynamical-empirical methods.)

A pretty concise example of how ID can't find it's own elbow.

Date: 2009/09/15 19:27:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It is one of Behe’s most profound, yet simple, points that it is not time but reproductive events that matters in terms of Darwinism. i.e. the greater the number of reproductive events the greater the probability any given mutation will occur. Time itself, independent of reproductive events does not increase the probability of a mutation occurring. Therefore, we can observe in one year with P. falceparum what would be the equivalent of millions of years in other organisms.

Darwinists are so stupid they haven't even read the transcript of the Dover trial, where Behe first discovers this principle. :p

Date: 2009/09/17 09:02:35, Link
Author: midwifetoad
As an experiment, I've told Google Chrome to save the first thread as a complete website. It has run overnight and is still going, but it seems to be creating one big html file, plus a subfolder with all the images.

I hope and imagine that it is changing all the image references to the subfolder. The html file is still being processed, but I have 850 images in the image subfolder. They will remain even if the html download fails to complete.

CPU and memory usage have leveled off (unlike IE8). My biggest problem is that we have nearly daily power outages.

Date: 2009/09/19 10:05:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Behe is not claiming to offer a mathematical proof. Nor is claiming that Darwinists can’t conceive of how IC systems might have formed. He offers IC as an obstacle to Darwinian processes, providing theoretical as well as empirical grounds for why they do indeed pose an obstacle.

God of the gaps is an obstacle?

Date: 2009/09/19 11:10:00, Link
Author: midwifetoad
DrDr publishes second peer reviewed research paper.

Date: 2009/09/19 11:55:17, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Missing from Dembski's article is any claim that these are the originas as written by Dawkins.

I suppose that in a minor detail in Dembskiverse.

Date: 2009/09/19 12:04:20, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I've never coded in Pascal, but it seems to follow recognisable syntax rules.

And I see nothing that would implement latching.

So assuming Dembski preemptively declares these to be the winner of someone else's contest, does he admit he's been a dumbass for the last decade?

Edit: The closer I look, the less sense it makes. Where's the mutation rate? I don't see any evidence that each letter of each child has some probability of changing.

Is this a hoax? I admit not knowing Pascal.

Date: 2009/09/19 12:38:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Both change exactly one letter of each child

That's what I concluded after trying to convert the code to BASIC. It makes no sense. It certainly isn't Dawkins' Weasel.

Date: 2009/09/19 12:39:14, Link
Author: midwifetoad
On what criteria is he basing that I wonder? Best in what way? You could have a million line version and as long as the output was correct it would be just as "good" as any other.

I rather doubt the output would match that of Dawkins' Weasel.

Date: 2009/09/19 13:21:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
ETA: Oops misread the code. 'If' ... 'then' is followed by one statement (or several between "begin" and "end")

Is this the code in question?


While I< =Length(New) do
   If New[I]=Current[I] Then

Edit: still working on this...

Date: 2009/09/19 14:33:10, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Here's my BASIC interpretation:

Sub Weasel()
   Dim AlphabetText As String
   Dim Target As String, Parent As String, BestChild As String, Child As String
   Dim I As Integer, Best As Integer, Generation As Integer, Copies As Integer
   Copies = 100
   Parent = ""
   Best = 0
   For I = 1 To Len(Target)
       Parent = Parent + RandChar(AlphabetText)
   Debug.Print Parent
   Generation = 1
   While Best < Len(Target)
       For I = 1 To Copies
           Child = Parent
           Mid(Child, RandNum(Len(Child)), 1) = RandChar(AlphabetText)
           If SameLetters(Child, Target) > Best Then
               BestChild = Child
               Best = SameLetters(Child, Target)
           End If
       Parent = BestChild
       If Generation Mod 10 = 0 Then Debug.Print CStr(Generation) + ":" + Parent
       Generation = Generation + 1
   Debug.Print CStr(Generation) + ":" + Parent
End Sub

Function RandChar(AlphabetText As String) As String
   Dim c As Integer
   c = Int((27 * Rnd) + 1)
   RandChar = Mid(AlphabetText, c, 1)
End Function

Function RandNum(I As Integer) As Integer
   RandNum = Int((I * Rnd) + 1)
End Function

Function SameLetters(Child As String, Target As String) As Integer
   Dim L As Integer, I As Integer
   L = 0
   For I = 1 To Len(Child)
       If Mid(Child, I, 1) = Mid(Target, I, 1) Then
           L = L + 1
       End If
   SameLetters = L
End Function

It works, but it can't be Dawkins' code, because only one character per child can mutate. The effective mutation rate is approximately 4 percent, which gives decent results, but conceptually it isn't Dawkins.

Date: 2009/09/19 14:47:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think I've discovered the weasel in the woodpile.

If only one letter per child can mutate, you have latching by default. It a correct letter changes, is impossible for a compensating mutation to produce the same fitness score.

Dembski is attempting to redeem himself by getting this obscure and badly formatted imposter accepted as Dawkins' code.

It does indeed satisfy KF's claim of implicit latching.

A Dawkins' Weasel, however, would give each and every letter in each and every child to mutate.

Date: 2009/09/19 15:13:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Interestingly, if you change the algorithm to allow each letter to mutate independently"


           Child = ""
           For J = 1 To Len(Parent)
               K = Int((100 * Rnd) + 1)
               If K < 5 Then
                   Child = Child + RandChar(AlphabetText)
                   Child = Child + Mid(Parent, J, 1)
               End If

           ' instead of this:
           'Mid(Child, RandNum(Len(Child)), 1) = RandChar(AlphabetText)

Not only does it not latch, but it reaches the target in about half the number of generations.

Date: 2009/09/19 15:20:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Since they stake their entire worldview on an assumption of scriptural infallibility, they can only apprehend that establishing fallibility of WEASEL negates our god.

That is probably how some of them look at it, but I suspect Dembski is after a version of Weasel that rescues his dimwitted interpretation of it.

How convenient to come across someone with a Pascal version that superficially behaves like Weasel, but is actually a partitioned search.

My Explanatory Filter is twitching.

Date: 2009/09/19 15:47:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Interesting to note that my copy of TBW seems to have misprints in the "critical" Weasel chapter.

I assume they're misprints, because the number of characters in the children varies from 27 to 29.

The assumption of invisible spaces doesn't look like the correct explanation.

typos appear to explain this:

However, somethings not quite right since the first one is shorter then it should be…

Date: 2009/09/19 16:21:19, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (DiEb @ Sep. 19 2009,15:58)
ouch, 1970s....
And even with this mutation, the algorithm doesn't latch...

If only one character per child can mutate, characters cannot revert unless the entire population loses fitness.

In order for correct characters to change, there must be at least one compensation mutation.

In a population of 100, with only 27 values for characters, it would be rare for the entire population to lose fitness.

Of course it will happen occasionally, at a predictable rate.

Date: 2009/09/19 18:59:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Well, it would be a pity if you didn’t need to declare a winner from nearly 400 comments, and still judge other contests and put up more contests, and solicit new prizes from publishers hit by the recession.

Considering that no one at UD has been able to understand how Weasel works (with the possible exception of Atom), how is she going to select a winner?

Date: 2009/09/20 08:25:29, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The other interesting thing about the ID/Creationists is how they transmogrify the concept of fitness into the concept of search.

They are all obsessed with retrospective astonishment at complex functions, as if these functions were goals. Behe is particularly stuck on the idea that any test of evolution must produce a flagellum or the test disproves evolution.

It is, of course, interesting when evolution produces a specific adaptation, but the history of life includes a lot of extinction, examples where adaptations were not produced. I think you could argue that adaptation is the unusual case.

Behe and Dembski sit around looking at lottery winners and speculating about what great and powerful agent arrange for them to be the winners.

Date: 2009/09/20 08:59:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
In two pages, twenty-some years ago, Dawkins provided more supporting evidence for one small facet of evolutionary theory than Dembski has ever provided for his entire preferred brand of creationism.

That's the problem for the IDiots. Anyone can make a complicated demonstration, full of wheels and gizmos to the point where it takes hours of concentration to understand.

Simple demonstrations that any 12 year old can follow are works of genius. And very dangerous to the opposition.

I wonder what kind of simple demonstration you could make to illustrate ID.

Date: 2009/09/20 11:21:48, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I'm confused. What is it that wanders?

Date: 2009/09/20 11:34:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Is it gravity, or water following the curvature of the toilet bowl?

Date: 2009/09/20 13:11:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
That's pretty cool I might steal it. It needs labels and a brief description of what's going on.

Date: 2009/09/20 14:50:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Therefore, the fuss and the disagreement is about whether “intelligent cause” must be ruled out from the beginning as a possible causal factor for why things are different now than they were in the past.

Actually, the debate is about whether an event can be explained by known causes.

Death by accident and death by murder are both death by known causes.

What is generally ruled out by police investigations is death by ghosts, invisible pink unicorns, sky pixies, psychokinesis vampires and such. (Although Holmes was known to dabble in vampires, and his author was notoriously fond of pixies).

Date: 2009/09/20 18:41:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Henry J @ Sep. 20 2009,16:56)
Simple demonstrations that any 12 year old can follow are works of genius. And very dangerous to the opposition.

I guess there's never a 12 year old around when ya need one, huh? :p


Mental age, I meant.

Date: 2009/09/21 10:16:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
My immediate reaction was "What rubbish!"  Here are some things for God to do other than to create and diversify life:

create peace
make souls immortal
inspire art, architecture, music, science, and philosophy
expand the good in people's personalities
expand the good in the personalities of animals
create and maintain the universe
structure the laws of physics
provide food for the hungry [both human and animal]
provide solace for the dispossessed [both human and animal]
promote the spiritual in materialistic societies
promote the material in impoverished societies
provide stability to those in difficult times
answer prayers

The slacker should get started on at least one of these.

Date: 2009/09/21 15:10:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Or are you saying that the Pope is the only Christian alive who has the sole privilege of reconciling evolution and faith in Jesus Christ?

Don't leave out most mainstream protestant denominations.

Date: 2009/09/21 15:30:59, Link
Author: midwifetoad
So aside from Roman Catholics no true Christan accepts evolution, aside from Methodists and aside from Episcopalians and Presbyterians (PCUSA only), no TRUE Christian accepts evolution, aside from those that do.

Date: 2009/09/22 06:02:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
How does Monkey come up with the same initial sentence as Weasel1?

Whatever are you talking about?

Date: 2009/09/22 06:54:35, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Maya @ Sep. 22 2009,06:37)
Quote (Maya @ Sep. 22 2009,06:29)
Do you have a link for that?  Surely Joseph wouldn't use foul language in the Online Church of UD?

Nevermind, my Google Fu is strong this morning.  Joey's posing is here.

I've invited him over.  I hope no one minds.  Perhaps if everyone tells him how much we want him to join us, he'll be persuaded.

Maya Papaya has her? profile blocked.

Why do all intellectual cowards do that?

JoeG has the courage to reveal personal details, such as the fact that he lives somewhere in New England, and that he "fixes things."

Date: 2009/09/22 07:04:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
If Dawkins is defining Darwinian evolution as inherently without a target, then he is going to have to show that cumulative selection can operate without a target to even show that cumulative selection can indeed be a part of Darwinian evolution.

Maybe if he turned the page in TBW

Date: 2009/09/22 08:41:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Thus, after months we see that while explicit latching was credibly not used in Weasel c 1986, implicit latching is a possible explanation of the showcased runs of Weasel c 1986, and that quasi-latched runs (ratcheting with occasional slips) are likely to predominate in the population of runs of the program.

Damn, you get all the way to the 12th step and stumble back into the gutter.

The rest of KF's post (what follows the quote) makes sense, for a change.

Date: 2009/09/23 08:25:12, Link
Author: midwifetoad
In cumulative selection, a number of things are chosen in succession using the same criteria.  In other words, they are being selected with a particular purpose, goal or target in mind.
Generating a fitness score does not require a particular target.

You can as Zach has done, have a target that mutates along with the population, or you can have a diffuse target that models all the viable combinations or strings.

Your statement is wrong on at least two separate counts.

In the wandering weasel, the target can change for successive generations.

But it is also possible to score substrings rather than the entire string, resulting in the possibility that individual characters change in fitness value.

And of course, Dawkins himself, after about four pages of describing Weasel, introduces biomorphs, which have no target at all. Nevertheless, they accumulate selected changes.

Date: 2009/09/23 12:07:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I see the target phrase as a stand-in for the fitness landscape.

I'm sorry to keep repeating this, but selection can be based on any of the following, plus any that I haven't thought of.

Random selection, as by asteroid impacts or supervolcanoes. Not difficult to model in software.

Wandering fitness functions, as in real life, with changing environments and ecosystems. Also not difficult to model.

Capricious selection, as in Dawkins' biomorphs.

Target proximity, as in most Weasel implementations.

Diffuse fitness, in which there are multiple possible targets, and in which a specific character may change in fitness value depending on the value of other characters. This is also not difficult to model in software.

You could also model wandering diffuse fitness.

What Behe would like you to believe is that structures like the flagellum are some kind of Platonic ideal to be searched for, rather than something arrived at through a series of contingencies having no plan or foresight.

There is an interesting empirical question posed as to exactly what historic steps produced the flagellum, but not having that history is no more troubling than not having the exact facts in any historical event.

Date: 2009/09/24 10:16:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Also it is a strawman to say ID sez that things are sooooo complex they must have been designed.

Which leads to several questions...

Date: 2009/09/25 14:54:18, Link
Author: midwifetoad
First Baptist in Jacksonville, FL has also invited Ham or the equivalent. I'll try to get details.

Date: 2009/09/26 18:16:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Peter Henderson @ Sep. 25 2009,15:52)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Sep. 25 2009,14:54)
First Baptist in Jacksonville, FL has also invited Ham or the equivalent. I'll try to get details.

Is it a mega church ?

I went to several (Baptist churches) in Florida when I was on holiday there. One was in the back of beyond,as they say in these parts. The experience was, well, interesting to say the least.

The other was more mainstream and not unlike the Crescent church in Belfast


Date: 2009/09/28 13:34:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Richardthughes @ Sep. 28 2009,10:13)
Corny's latest:

From here:

to here:

end with this:

Two thousand years ago the Epicureans explained that the organization in nature arose from nothing more than the swerving motions of atoms. How naive. Evolution has moved us far beyond such a silly idea. Religion drives science and it matters.

Religion drives science and it matters. Completely pulled out of his arse with no support.

Computers are fast, brains are massively parallel. We've know this for a long, long time, Corny.

Wonder what he'd make of this:

Date: 2009/09/28 13:50:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Inspired by GRAPE-6, a $60K supercomputer that has revolutionized astrophysics, Neurogrid provides an affordable option for brain simulations. It uses analog computation to emulate ion-channel activity and uses digital communication to softwire structured connectivity patterns. Because operation is parallel or serial, respectively, these technologies impose different constraints. Analog computation constrains the number of distinct ion-channel populations (subcellular compartments) that can be simulated—unlike digital computation, which simply takes longer to run bigger simulations. Digital communication constrains the rate (bandwidth) at which synapses can be activated—unlike analog communication, which simply sums additional inputs onto the same line. Working within these constraints, Neurogrid achieves its goal of simulating multiple cortical areas in real-time through the following choices.

Rivaling Blue Gene's performance, Neurogrid will simulate a million neurons in real-time, while consuming a million times less energy, one watt instead of a megawatt!

Date: 2009/09/29 09:27:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It does shed some darkness on the subject.

Date: 2009/09/29 17:22:41, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I just finished reading Poul Anderson's A Chapter of Revelation, which has something bigger than a 900 foot Jesus.

At the request of prayers to stop a global nuclear war, God stops the rotation of the earth for 24 hours.

Results are not particularly positive.

Date: 2009/09/30 13:34:04, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Does that make vegans antediluvian?

Date: 2009/10/01 10:37:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (khan @ Oct. 01 2009,10:13)

khan is that you or some other khan?

not me

I can only watch in awe

rather than throwing stones from the sidelines, it seems like it would be more productive to actually replicate Kammerer's experiment and see what happens.

Sounds like fun.

Date: 2009/10/01 12:52:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad
There's also SN1987a, which allows measurement of interstellar distance by trigonometry, independent of the speed of light.

Date: 2009/10/01 13:09:13, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Clive should be introduced to the original Isaac newton.'s-rules.html

Date: 2009/10/01 13:35:55, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I suppose it's been mentioned that the only way the RATE project found to rescue a young earth interpretation was to assume variable rates of decay (without any of the annoying side effects caused by the energy released).

In other words, Last Thursdayism.

Date: 2009/10/01 15:14:40, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I am interested in why D-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-embski would tolerate YEC stupidity on UD when he knows good and goddam well that this is a fatal liability to his push for "ID=Science".

Dave made a pretense of trying to discourage discussion of religion at UD. Pretty much a floodgate that failed.

Date: 2009/10/01 15:36:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
He just says that, given the situation at hand, you're at least personally free to believe whatever you want about God's existence (but he's not supplying you any rational reasons for it).  
If there were rational reasons for believing there wouldn't be any need for this messy faith thing.

Date: 2009/10/02 09:15:07, Link
Author: midwifetoad
If non sequitur were poetry, Clive would be Shakespeare.

Date: 2009/10/02 13:33:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Is this news to anyone here?

Viruses aren’t supposed to be visible under a light microscope; they are typically far too small. But mimivirus (“mimi” for mimicking microbe) isn’t just big for a virus, it’s bigger than some bacteria. Analyses of its DNA, cataloged in 2004, revealed that it also has more genetic material than some bacteria and certainly more than any other previously seen virus. The mimivirus genome contains genes for more than 900 proteins. (In contrast, T4—which, pre-mimi, was considered a large virus—has about 77 genes.) Some of the mimivirus genes appear to be involved in processes thought to be conducted only by cellular creatures—the virus’s hosts—such as translating messenger RNA into proteins.  All in all, mimivirus seriously unsettled the world of virus research.

Date: 2009/10/03 00:35:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (Richardthughes @ Oct. 02 2009,19:54)

Gets my vote for worst web page design of the month.

Date: 2009/10/03 14:49:34, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Don't know where to put this...

Date: 2009/10/03 20:13:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
MeganC, the Catholic Church expects its clergy to be celibate and disciplines them if they are not, irrespective of their preferences.

By which she means the Church moves pedophiles to a different church, where their proclivities are not known, with no warnings attached.

Date: 2009/10/04 13:12:50, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I have the thread and first 10 comments saved, in case of 404.

Date: 2009/10/04 13:43:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The only moral failings I see in this chain are yours and Seversky’s.

I guess that settles that.

It also answers the age-old question of whether two dogs are dumber than one dog.

Date: 2009/10/04 15:42:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2009/10/04 22:19:09, Link
Author: midwifetoad
My thought will never be the same when I hear that someone is being parroted.

Date: 2009/10/06 10:33:52, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think there are few, if any, believers who would happily commit murder if God hadn’t told us not to.

Personally, I find it interesting that the Good Book records instances where people committed murder because God told them to. In fairness, there is a famous instance where someone disobeyed such a demand.

I've always thought the Bible reflect some evolution in ethical thinking.

Date: 2009/10/06 15:15:38, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Supporting the claim of dishonesty is the well documented trail of warnings that the example doesn't match Dawkins' algorithm.

Date: 2009/10/06 15:50:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I think Dembski is aware of his problem with misrepresenting Dawkins. Hence the recent thread attempting to present a phoney Pascal program as Dawkins' original.

That seemed kind of lame at the time, but I suspect he was covering himself.

Date: 2009/10/07 08:32:11, Link
Author: midwifetoad
They're really going to be up the creek when the next generation of computer hardware becomes available.

The brittleness and susceptibility to crashing on bit errors will disappear when the hardware better emulates brains. I thought this was twenty years away, but apparently not. I now expect commercial products within five or ten years.

Date: 2009/10/08 08:47:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It concluded that there was a statistically significant difference in the texts

Considering that Hebrew has no vowels, I'd expect there to be some difference. Unless I've misread something, it means that many Hebrew words are disambiguated by context.

Date: 2009/10/08 09:42:02, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (sparc @ Oct. 08 2009,09:28)
Since all his posts are so similar I may be wrong but IIRC Cornie's "Segmental Duplications and Evolution" was followed by comments yesterday.

Newton used thousand of data point to infer his theory.
How many experiments Darwin did to infer his theory? None.

A couple of points. Newton's data points improved with age, absent new observations. A remarkable, possibly miraculous phenomenon.

Natural selection was suggested by millennia of artificial selection. Quite a bit of data.

Date: 2009/10/08 12:21:42, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Murray also wore an orange cord necklace with a pair of earplugs and a black cord necklace that featured two pentagrams and a medallion showing the Eye of Ra, an ancient Egyptian symbol.

In the right front pocket of his pants he carried a red paperback book called "The Book of the Law" by Aleister Crowley, a British occultist that Murray referred to in some of his web writings.

On December 10, the gunman in both the YWAM Arvada and New Life Church shootings was identified as Matthew J. Murray, age 24, one of two sons of a prominent Colorado neurologist. Reportedly, Murray was homeschooled in a deeply religious Christian household, and he attended, but did not complete, a missionary training program at the YWAM Arvada facility in 2002.[5] Early on in the investigation, law enforcement officials stated that Murray had been sending "hate mail" to the program and that he "hated Christians",[14] the religion in which he had been raised.[15][16][17] Murray had previously attended the same YWAM Missionary Center where he began his shooting spree. Court records indicated that Murray was bitter over his expulsion from the 12-week missionary training program.[18][19] His expulsion from the school was confirmed by Cheryl Morrison, whose husband, George Morrison, is pastor of the Faith Bible Chapel adjacent to YWAM Denver. She didn't know specifics of the conflict. "I don't think that ‘run-in’ is the word, but they did have to dismiss him. It had to be something of significance, because they go the nth degree with people." Murray was expelled from the school due to "strange behavior," which included playing frightening rock music and claiming to hear voices.[20][21] Before the second shooting, Murray left several violent and threatening messages on several religious websites, espousing his hatred for Christianity and his intentions on killing as many Christians as possible.

Date: 2009/10/08 12:28:19, Link
Author: midwifetoad
More like chapter 7, but nothing to liquidate.

Date: 2009/10/08 12:37:37, Link
Author: midwifetoad
EDIT: I think Murray was severely mentally ill and neither Dawkins, Dennett, Haggard, or the Bible/church was a cause of what he did.

Hearing voices might be a clue. Voices from the ceiling are usually rather unpleasant.

I read somewhere that there is no record in the annals of psychotherapy of disembodied voices telling people to love their neighbors, be nice to the wife and kids, and pet the cat.

I think that may be an exaggeration, but still true in the main.

Date: 2009/10/09 14:27:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I don't see right-wingers being pissed off. Mostly they are laughing; the Peace Prize has been a joke more often than not. Obama is now enshrined along with Kissinger.

Date: 2009/10/09 14:52:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I fear their brave sacrifice will come to naught though.

Only if your goal is to change their minds.

If you goal is to sharpen your own understanding, it's worthwhile.

I've been at this since the early 70's. I discovered Gould's essays in Natural History a few months after he started writing them. I've been following the argument on the net since 1998.

Over the years I've seen the debate narrow quite a bit. For those not clinically insane, Dover pretty much defined the issues. Nothing since then has changed much.

Date: 2009/10/09 22:02:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (franky172 @ Oct. 09 2009,07:57)
Quote (didymos @ Oct. 09 2009,00:08)
Oh, for fuck's sake!  Weasel.  Again.

Supposedly, this covers "every conceivable interpretation" of the program described in Blind Watchmaker.  Here be the source.  Haven't looked at it yet myself.

The amazing part?

You don't have to write 5 versions of "Weasel", most of which have nothing to do with GA's to prove anything.  Just one correct one will do.

First, let's look at partitioned search used by Dr. Dawkins.  Assuming uniformity, the probability of successfully identifying a specified letter with sample replacement at least once in Q queries is ...


Date: 2009/10/11 07:14:57, Link
Author: midwifetoad
There are only about half a dozen threads that maintain visibility here. so I vote for keeping the number down, and keeping them general.

Date: 2009/10/11 16:35:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (keiths @ Oct. 11 2009,16:13)
Fixed that for you, Brent:
I sacrificed my first and second child to Him. All Christians are obligated to sacrifice everything to the Lord. Nothing is otherwise safe in our own care.

I assume Brent is a literalist. No metaphors allowed?

Date: 2009/10/12 12:02:03, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Conan Doyle's design detector was not as trustworthy as Sherlock's:

Date: 2009/10/12 12:46:46, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The photographs of garden fairies couldn't possibly have been faked by mere girls when adult ment couldn't figure out how it might have been done.

Garden fairies are poster children for ID.

Date: 2009/10/12 13:09:01, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Never assume that Behe will accept reality:

Date: 2009/10/12 17:27:25, Link
Author: midwifetoad

Date: 2009/10/13 14:08:06, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I can't evaluate the math, but I think people are being led down a garden bath with the concept of search.

I don't see any evidence that biology is modeled by a search algorithm. In biology a change might affect fitness for unknown reasons, and a subsequent change to the same position might further affect fitness. There is no single correct value for any given position in the string.

Behe and Dembski want you to believe that evolution must progress toward goals (consider Behe's obsession with the flagellum), but biology merely chugs along with whatever is adequate.

Date: 2009/10/13 14:37:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
No particular reason. This just seems to belong here.

Date: 2009/10/13 15:00:21, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I agree entirely. I raised the issue of whether optimization was a good model of biological evolution in my first NFL paper, back in 1996. Now I am completely convinced that it is not.

I think fitness is a useful concept, as long as you don't conflate it with correctness.

BTW, bath=path, for more fitness.

Date: 2009/10/14 06:18:47, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (steve_h @ Oct. 14 2009,06:05)
I can't find the "pathetic level of detail quote" on that page - or that thread in the index.  If I switch to a different page, I get the same page again.

Has there been some sort of tragic accident at ISCID?

or maybe this?

Date: 2009/10/14 12:41:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (FrankH @ Oct. 14 2009,12:37)
Has anyone tried to start a thread at UD where there are multiple design style so therefore multiple designs?

One could start with the differences in the Squids' eye vs the Mammalian one.  One has a more competent designer as the blood vessels are are behind the layer of light gathering cells instead of infront of it.....

ID is not a mechanistic theory, and it's not ID's task to match your pathetic level of detail in telling mechanistic stories.

Or so I'm told.

Date: 2009/10/14 12:47:02, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I suppose I should have put that in quotes, but who could mistake the authorship?

Date: 2009/10/14 13:00:54, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (FrankH @ Oct. 14 2009,12:49)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Oct. 14 2009,12:47)
I suppose I should have put that in quotes, but who could mistake the authorship?

Lemme guess, everyone's favorite, female(?), Canadian "writer"?

Actually the quote was discussed just a few posts back.
More of a male mere creationist.

Date: 2009/10/14 14:05:22, Link
Author: midwifetoad
You guys aren't even a little bit troubled by the destructive power of radaition?

Date: 2009/10/14 14:20:45, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (FrankH @ Oct. 14 2009,14:14)
Quote (midwifetoad @ Oct. 14 2009,14:05)
You guys aren't even a little bit troubled by the destructive power of radaition?

Not when I'm wearing my tinfoil underware!

Then I'm impervious to your death ray eyes!

Oh Yeah?

Date: 2009/10/14 14:33:47, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (khan @ Oct. 14 2009,14:25)
I'm looking for a quote
something like: a theory is an idea people come up with after a late night of drinking


That one apparently fits.

Date: 2009/10/15 12:58:31, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I always think of creation science as the equivalent of pouring gas and oil on the outside of the car.

As with those mathematicians, who shall remain unnamed, who can calculate probabilities without knowing how or when to apply them.

Date: 2009/10/15 13:19:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Actually, he probably would dismiss that.  Notice that "pre-biotic"?  He's got an abiogenesis hang-up.   Of course we do know of such a mechanism: chemistry.

Last of the the gaps, gasping its last.

Date: 2009/10/15 13:46:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Ruler and Sustainer of the Entire Universe At All Levels All Time All Space All Dimensions

Just keep in mind that arrows in flight require constant efforts by angels to maintain their motion.

Even in heaven, someone's got to clean the toilets and take out the garbage.

Date: 2009/10/15 14:50:20, Link
Author: midwifetoad
What will the good Dr. Dr. do now that he's been "outed" as an OEC and therefore not a literal believer in the TROO tm word?

Dembski has long argued that the difference between 6000 and 4 billion is negligible. Not something to excite the passions of ID scientists.

Date: 2009/10/15 15:11:43, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Still, is Phil Johnson a YEC or OEC?  I can't find anything that says one way or the other.

You're asking for a pathetic level of detail.

Date: 2009/10/15 16:47:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Sad story of how not to do weather research.

EDIT: Kid found, never was in balloon.

Date: 2009/10/15 21:13:36, Link
Author: midwifetoad
it would be nice to "help drive a wedge" between those who want to use the good Dr. Dr. I can use Phillip as well.

It would be nice, but it's about as easy as driving a wedge between two parts of an oil slick.

Date: 2009/10/16 07:59:49, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The old "ID is science because evolutionists are lecherous sluts" gambit.

It’s not hard to imagine that ID, because it may be construed as implying that humans were intended to operate within certain constraints, might be seen as challenging certain lifestyles

Or is he implying that evo is teh ghey.

Date: 2009/10/19 10:43:27, Link
Author: midwifetoad
One of many auxiliary assumptions in science is there will always exist a person or persons motivated to find and produce disconfirming data for any hypothesis.

This fits somewhere in the general definition of random sampling. In the population of investigators, sampling bias will be minimized by the random distribution of bias.

Date: 2009/10/20 09:58:24, Link
Author: midwifetoad
We'll be lucky if they aren't spreading their own infection.

Date: 2009/11/03 13:36:15, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Of course one can argue, as Lenski has done, that given a reasonable amount of time, all possible mutations will occur in a population and be tested for their effects on viability.

Rendering the issue of randomness moot.

Date: 2009/11/04 12:54:39, Link
Author: midwifetoad
There are only two approaches to morality: Traditional morality and utilitarian morality.

And everyone knows that that the utilitarian approach has terrible consequenses. :p

Date: 2009/11/04 13:45:58, Link
Author: midwifetoad
That merits a black belt in Poe.

Date: 2009/11/04 14:18:51, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Regardless of whether our sun is particularly suited to support life, there is some reason to believe our sun is one of many similar stars formed at the same time in the same cluster.

But suppose we are unique as sentient beings. What can be concluded by the winner of lotto? That it was predestined?

Date: 2009/11/05 09:42:33, Link
Author: midwifetoad
It's not the "facts" presented in PP that are generally disputed.

It's the argument that because someone wins a lottery, he must have been selected by some magic agency.

Of course the facts can be disputed. There are  astronomers who expect to find many twins of our sun because they have reason to believe our sun was born in a cluster of similar stars.

Date: 2009/11/05 10:42:16, Link
Author: midwifetoad
fine-tuning we see in the universe, galaxy, solar system, and Earth, DOES at least carry a possible implication of a supernatural cause of that universe

Anything is possible. It does not argue for one cause being more likely than another, however. Assigning causes to the results of chance is called superstition, even by the religious.

Date: 2009/11/05 12:47:44, Link
Author: midwifetoad
The question is only one of degree.

The question is one of relevance. What question is asked or answered by noting that we happen to exist in a temperate zone?

What question is asked or answered if we continue not finding extraterrestrial life?

Date: 2009/11/05 22:32:35, Link
Author: midwifetoad
By the way it was bible believing Scotsmen who first studied geology and from a genesis presumption.

So all that stuff written by da Vinci was in response to a Buddhist perspective?

Date: 2009/11/06 09:12:34, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (ppb @ Nov. 06 2009,08:20)
Quote (Robert Byers @ Nov. 05 2009,23:28)
By the way it was bible believing Scotsmen who first studied geology and from a genesis presumption.

Sure, but as the data accumulated, the proportion of geologists approaching the subject from a genesis presumption has gotten rather small.

That's the point.

I believe the statement concerning the Scotsman should be reversed. It was a Scotsman (Hutton) who gets credit for discovering deep time. Prior to Hutton, most geologists viewed the earth from a Genesis perspective.

Prior to Hutton, others, like daVinci, argued against a Flood interpretation for fossils on mountain tops.

Date: 2009/11/06 12:30:30, Link
Author: midwifetoad
I chat with a NASA engineer at another site. He would confirm that some NASA engineers are creationists. Of course we already know that engineers are not scientists and often have no interest in or competence in biology.

The same could be said of doctors.

Date: 2009/11/06 12:37:53, Link
Author: midwifetoad
Quote (OgreMkV @ Nov. 06 2009,12:21)
I still remember taking my brand new $400 48SX to a science club meet.  I had the science chip with the built in periodic table and physics equations that included the magnetic moment around a torroidal solenoid (or something like that, I never got to that in Physics).

I've batteries twice since I got it in 1989 and I still use to this day.

I love that machine.