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Date: 2008/11/18 18:43:25, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
Just wanted to stop by to invite you all to visit me if you feel the inclination.  I don't know why I didn't think of this before.

Skeptic's Corner

No need to worry that I'll be hanging around in an annoying manner.  Take care. :D

Date: 2008/11/19 12:32:32, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
Quote (Erasmus, FCD @ Nov. 19 2008,10:37)
skeptic why bother posting that here if you aren't even going to let comments through?

you'd think you had learned something here.

Apologies, this is my first go-around with a blog site.  I will look into that and get that issue corrected.

Date: 2010/03/28 11:22:44, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
You've brought me out of my self-imposed exile, TP.  I will follow this thread to see where it leads.  I'm guessing it will rehash earlier discussions of NOMA, which I have advocated in favor of, but it will be interesting to see if 3 years has brought on any changes.  I doubt I will post from here out but I wanted to let you know that you're not posting to empty air.

Date: 2010/05/04 22:53:42, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
Sorry to jump in here but I find Challenge #4 very interesting in a non-ID way.  I'm fiddling with an evolutionary algorithim and I think this would be a good problem to apply it to.  I just wanted to confirm 1 assumption, that there is an actual solution and not just a jumble of characters to prove a point.  I don't begrudge the later in any sense as I believe the point is self-evident.  Also, can we get a commitment that the solution will be posted at some later date?  thanks.

Date: 2010/05/05 09:59:32, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
I view it as an excellent cryptology problem so this is off-topic so to speak.  Personally, I don't believe in acceptable "ID" methods but I think the post is a great challenge for different reasons.  Sorry for the diversion.

Date: 2010/05/12 22:12:45, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
Louis, sorry for the diversion but even though I realize the conservative/liberal labels aren't equivilent to ours over here, isn't the Cameron/Clegg partnership somewhat hard to rationalize?  Just curious.

Date: 2010/05/23 09:31:13, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
Grats Lou, but I wouldn't be too concerned if I was you.  I loved organic and it was a piece of cake.  In fact it was the weed-out class at my university for all those pre-med bio pukes, 90% of them had no hope in hell of making it into med school but they were too delusional to realize it.  You should be fine.

Date: 2010/06/16 23:46:17, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
Quote (dvunkannon @ June 15 2010,12:16)
Article on a protein that mutates quickly and drives speciation.

It’s logical then to ask what specifies or controls hotspot location. Scientists have gathered evidence that three different mechanisms are involved in controlling location and activity. First, the genomic sequence around each hotspot seems to be important; for example, 40 percent of human hotspots are associated with a repeating 13-basepair motif. However, because only a portion of hotspots correlates with a specific sequence, other factors must be involved. For example, evidence is accumulating that hotspot locations are associated with certain histone modifications. The third proposed mechanism implies that a soluble factor or protein must control the location and distribution of hotspots.

Remarkably, a single protein appears to satisfy all three conditions.

Read more: Sticky fingers - The Scientist - Magazine of the Life Sciences

Wonderful stuff!  Studies like these are just the beginning.  One of these days, fifty years from now, we'll be able to tell our great-grandchildren (hopefully) that we once believed evolution was random.  As the famous chaos theorisist once said, "life finds a way."

Date: 2010/06/24 18:14:45, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
This is, by far, the best thread I've seen on this site in four years!  Bring on 2014!

Date: 2010/07/17 20:28:18, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
I see the melodrama hasn't changed in four years.  There is no battle for science in the US or anywhere else.  Science is a tool and it is utilized when it is proven effective.  A quick survey of any k-5 Sunday school class would reveal that T-rex died 65 million years ago because of a big damn rock hitting Mexico AND God created the world in 6 six days some 12,000 years ago.  This is not an expose of science in the USA.  These are children repeating what they've been told, nothing more.
Science is utilized every single day where appropriate and required and these same "misguided" children will someday use science where they need to to be successful and productive.  The sad fact that many here miss is the practical application of evolutionary "science" is only relevant to less than 1% of the population and will never be an accurate "biomarker" to measure the health of science knowledge.
If you're looking for a cause of decreasing critical thinking skills among our youth you need look no further than their parents and teachers.  The list of ills here is much too long to mention but suffice it to say comparison studies across cultures reveal markedly different pictures.  Even considering the conventional wisdom, I've watched my five year old explain picture and video publishing to his Facebook page to his Grandmother and the knowledge gap was astonding.  The level of technology exposure that our children receive should not be under-estimated as a better indicator of future potential scientific advances.  Then again, I'm an eternal optimist so that cup is always gonna be half full to me.
On a final note, in every class I've ever taught 90% (or more) of the class was there to learn the material to pass the test and then move on.  Only those few students really wanted to know more and were blessed with that trait that pushed a strong scientific curiosity.  Any teacher will tell you that those are the ones we long for, that reinvigorate the passion for teaching and get us through another year hoping for the next bright soul to come along.  I doubt that this dynamic has changed much in the last 200 years and I'm comfortable asserting that it's unlikely to change in the future.

Date: 2010/08/03 19:15:23, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
Quote (midwifetoad @ Aug. 03 2010,14:30)
Don't know if this has been posted before. but the link comes via ERV.

Can't wait to see Hunter's take.

OH, how I love OpenAccess!  Thanks for this link.

Date: 2010/08/03 19:27:57, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
I believe my heart just skipped a beat.  In reviewing this thread and it's predecessors I realized that UD I was started in 2006.  To imagine UD combined is closing in on 3000 pages in just 4 short years is staggering.  The real scary thing is the posts today mimic(repeat) the posts then.  Not so tongue in cheek, what does that say about this discussion?  You'd have thought someone would have thrown in the towel by now.  I think I'll wander on over there and encourage them to do so.

Date: 2010/09/11 21:05:25, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
unless the heavy lifting is done in the paper, I see some rather vague hand-waving here.  I think you need to tighten this up quite a bit before it's really usable for discussion.

Date: 2010/09/19 00:43:15, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
Quote (Reciprocating Bill @ Sep. 17 2010,10:20)
Quote (Richardthughes @ Sep. 16 2010,17:42)
User's guide to Design Arguments:

I have several times remarked on the tensions underscored in this paper.

Thanks, RTH.

Very nice post.  This will occupy me for a good day or two.  Thanks.

One thing I'm seeing after the premises are defined could be a quick resolution.  I'll lay it out now for discussion and see if it still rings true by the time I finish the rest of the paper.

Namely, the tension is one of false definition.  Whether through intent of the authors or selection of the source definitions, the prospect that P© and P(B) are inversely proportional is incorrect.  In fact, they are correlated and BDA is merely a subset of FTA.  The misconception lies in the belief that the BDA requires an inhospitable universe, it does not.  The existance of complex life anywhere still begs the questions How and further supports the FTA.  By virtue of the hypothetical fine-tuning the possiblity of complex life proceeds from 0 towards 1.  Any increase in the P(B) does not in any way diminish P© because the range of fundamental values follows an infinite continuum and impact conditions that, while including those required for complex life, define the entire structure of the universe.  Any alteration of the value set for the fundamental properties would decrease the P(B), or at least in our current understanding of life.  Any other proposed forms of life are completely hypothetical and beyond assignment of quantitative probability.

So, in short, P(B) is only defined when C has occurred.  Or said differently, if the universe were not fine-tuned for life, i.e. possessing certain fundamental values making life possible, then the possibility of biologically complex life, as we know it, would be zero.  In the truest sense P(B) is a boolean quantity.  Further, in order to prove otherwise, one would need to compile alternate values referred to by the FTA and contemplate life forms under those conditions, and assess the probability of those life forms emerging.  The lack of credible relavent information renders this impossible but the exercise may be interesting, none the less.

Personally, this is where I see the failure of all such fine-tuning or design arguments.  Ultimately, they always become circular alternate data sets do not occur and their completely hypothetical and untestable nature renders any comparison impossible.  As a consequence, the strength of the FTA (+BDL) is completely undercut in the same way irreducible complexity et. al. are lacking.

Anyway, these are my immediate thoughts 11 pages in, I'll see how they compare at the end.

Date: 2010/11/16 23:29:53, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
Hate to let a potentially promising thread just whimper and die.  So, do you guys require an irrational YECist to kick around or would a semi-rational theist do?

Date: 2010/11/17 17:42:53, Link
Author: skeptic reborn
Ahhh, Louis, some things never change.  I must admit, though, I was amazed at the volume of insight you were able to divine from two simple sentences.  Might I suggest that your next career be that of fortune teller?  Who knows, if you continue to hone your considerable talent you may end up on Oprah.

As to the name change, as I stated before, I reject the senseless restriction.  I simply did not and still don't have time for childish games.  My purpose here is to simply offer an alternative to the current doldrums.  Over the last few years I noticed increasing boredom and decreased actual discussion on this board so in sympathy I hoped to cheer some members up.  Take it as you will.  I have no interest in insulting generalizations but if any wish to discuss, that's just fine with me.

As a final note, I was intrigued by your professed tolerance of YECs.  Odd that we would disagree in this area, but I consider holders of those beliefs as competely irrational and ignorance is a poor defense.

As to actual content, I wonder currently as to the actual view of evo-devo within the scientific community and as an explanatory theory and whether it fulfills the promise of initial claims.  It's not my field so I'm interested in contemporary views.