PT Arguments

form_author: DaveScot


1 Date: 2005-01-02 23:33:57, Link
Author: DaveScot
I'll be more impressed about the kind of immune systems that dinosaurs have if someone can first tell me whether their T-cells and such were floating in warm or cold blood.

LOL! Amazing. We don't know whether creatures just a few tens of millions of years old had warm or cold blood but we're claiming to know what kind of immune cells were in creatures hundreds of millions of years old?

Gimme a break.

2 Date: 2005-01-03 00:14:31, Link
Author: DaveScot
Actually ID does suggest new lines of inquiry and ways to add to total knowledge. The most interesting, in my opinion, lies in Dembski's work i.e. specified complexity.

A mathmatical way to detect design would apply to very many fields from bioterrorism to stock market fraud. For instance, say a nasty variant of anthrax is spread around. Could further refinement of Dembski's mathmatical concept of specified complexity answer the question of whether the new anthrax strain is naturally occuring or should we go looking for a weapons lab somewhere because you can tell it was an engineered variant?

Could it be applied to the trading patterns in a stock to tell illegal manipulation apart from simple efficient market causes?

I wonder if anyone's bothered to run the poliovirus genome through the SETI filters to see if it rings the bell for an intelligent signal - as my calculus teacher used to say "just for kicks".

3 Date: 2005-01-03 00:16:53, Link
Author: DaveScot
Actually ID does suggest new lines of inquiry and ways to add to total knowledge. The most interesting, in my opinion, lies in Dembski's work i.e. specified complexity.

A mathmatical way to detect design would apply to very many fields from bioterrorism to stock market fraud. For instance, say a nasty variant of anthrax is spread around. Could further refinement of Dembski's mathmatical concept of specified complexity answer the question of whether the new anthrax strain is naturally occuring or should we go looking for a weapons lab somewhere because you can tell it was an engineered variant?

Could it be applied to the trading patterns in a stock to tell illegal manipulation apart from simple efficient market causes?

I wonder if anyone's bothered to run the poliovirus genome through the SETI filters to see if it rings the bell for an intelligent signal - as my calculus teacher used to say "just for kicks".

4 Date: 2005-01-03 10:24:31, Link
Author: DaveScot

It took me 20 seconds to find 10,000 hits for "simple solution, and it is always wrong" on the net.

Did it occur to you that maybe Menken made the quote exactly the way Dembski wrote it and that you simply discovered Menken saying it a different way?

I'm going to discount the rest of your article because of it. I'm sure you understand.

5 Date: 2005-01-03 11:13:48, Link
Author: DaveScot
It seems a lot of people are misquoting Flew's SUPPOSED about not keeping up with the literature.

Richard Carrier states that in private correspondence with him Flew in some way says:

"Flew points out that he has not yet had time to examine any of the critiques of Schroeder. Nor has he examined any of the literature of the past five or ten years on the science of life's origin, which has more than answered his call for "constructing a naturalistic theory" of the origin of life."

Without any direct quotes from Flew this is questionable at best. Carrier points out that Flew didn't give him permission to make quotes but in December 2004 he gets permission and in the update doesn't expand upon Flew's supposed ignorance of the literature.

The intellectual dishonesty coming from the evolutionist camp is apalling. The notion that Flew hasn't been keeping up with the literature is just one shining example.

And you know, even if it's true, I doubt flew would be very impressed with the RNA World hypothesis which was resurrected (Crick first suggested in the late 1960's) in the 1990's and then pretty much thrashed in the last several years because the RNA chemistry that ostensibly led to DNA chemistry doesn't work at all well in primordial soup conditions. Now what Flew would find "in the literature" is a mad scramble to find a precurser to the "RNA World".

And of course, the RNA World is "bad science" because it makes no predictions and cannot be proven or disproven because all evidence of any RNA World is lost with nothing at all left behind today as evidence it ever existed except a few ribozymes which in some extreme stretch of the imagination have been cast into the role of evidence.

Sounds like I gotta take a lot of stuff on faith, like the RNA World, from the science community in regard to origins.

So tell me again about ID and natural origins - which is faith and which is science?

6 Date: 2005-01-03 12:04:09, Link
Author: DaveScot
Appeals to authority grow ever so much more appealing as the authority grows in number.

Shall we then list by name the vast majority of people in the United States who do not fully believe in either creation science or naturalistic evolution?

In a democracy isn't that majority supposed to decide matters like what is taught in public school classrooms?

Do we live in a democracy or some kind of scientocracy?

7 Date: 2005-01-03 12:40:48, Link
Author: DaveScot
Let me get this straight.

We don't know whether 100 million year old dinosaurs were warm or cold blooded but we're claiming to know what kind of immune system cells were floating around the bloodstreams of creatures that preceded them by up to 400 million years?

Gimme a break. Until you have 100 million or 400 million year old blood to analyze you're just guessing about it and asking people to have faith in your guesses.

I'm not buying it. I'm an agnostic and we don't take things on faith from creationists OR evolutionists.

8 Date: 2005-01-03 12:57:23, Link
Author: DaveScot
re Nothing to teach about ID

How about we teach that intelligent agents wearing lab coats in the year 2002 took a gene map of poliovirus, a decidedely unnatural gene splicing machine, non-living chemicals, and created a living organism thus proving that it is possible for intelligent agents to create life. The effort took about two years.

We can also teach that in 2003 the usual suspects accomplished the same thing in a few weeks with an esoteric bacteriophage demonstrating that intelligent agents improve their game with practice.

Or how about we teach them about genetic engineers (presumably intelligent agents) that have tinkered with genes to produce useful results that are (controversially I might add) sitting in grocery store produce bins. Once again proving that intelligent agents can interfere with natural evolution.

The problem we have here, folks, is that no additional scientific proof is required to prove the possibility for ID. We all know that it's not just possible, it's proven that intelligent agents (such as ourselves) can tinker with evolution.

On the other hand, evolutionists are getting the living bejesus smacked out of them (pun intended) just trying to demonstrate possible paths to naturalistic evolution.

9 Date: 2005-01-03 13:16:11, Link
Author: DaveScot
Be it known that Ed Brayton banned me from commenting at "Dispatches from the Culture Wars" two days ago after a mere half dozen comments critical of his views.

I wasn't surprised. Anyone that's as willing to censor discussion of evolution in a public school classroom certainly isn't going to tolerate me for long when he can push a button to make me go away.

If only there were a button Ed could push to make the people in school boards go away...

10 Date: 2005-01-03 13:39:44, Link
Author: DaveScot
A word to the wise...

Calling people like Schafly ignorant and proving it in excruciating detail is not a good way to make friends and influence people. Given that approximately 80% of the U.S. professes a belief in the God of Abraham you aren't going to win by insulting their intelligence, even if the insults are true. It just makes the targets of ridicule tune you out except to vote against you in revenge whenever they have the opportunity.

That tactic cost the political left the presidency, both houses of congress, and (likely) the superior court. I suggest getting a new schtick because although I'm on the political right I don't relish the thought of having a one-party system, which is where we're headed if y'all keep on dissing religious folks.

11 Date: 2005-01-04 00:59:35, Link
Author: DaveScot
Social amoebas a.k.a. slime molds

Interesting critters for sure. These little guys have presumably been around since the dawn of time. They're the fittest creatures to ever grace the planet then or now by any measure - in every environment imaginable, diversity, number, biomass - pick any fitness metric and they win it anytime anywhere. If life started from Adam & Eve, single celled organisms would've eventually evolved from them if mutation/selection is operational across phyla boundaries. If the earth exploded tomorrow they'd be the only survivors. If they weren't already on the Moon and Mars they are now as well as on their way out of the solar system on Voyager. They're in us, in the air we breathe, the water we drink, on the space station, etc. There's just no escaping them.

Now, the interesting question. Since they're inarguably the fittest, most highly evolved life on the planet, and they've been around billions of years longer than any multicellular forms of life, and they sometimes gather in colonies and communicate with each other to accomplish important things, did they develop some kind of colonial intelligence during those billions of years? Maybe they designed us as the ultimate armored transport vehicle - 100% recyclable since when we're no longer able to provide them with protection and locomotion they eat us.


There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreampt of in your philosophy.

12 Date: 2005-01-04 01:14:33, Link
Author: DaveScot
So infer for me whether dinosaurs had warm or cold blood. If you can infer the kind of immune cells they had surely you can infer whether they were warm or cold blooded.

You boys do an awful lot of inferring in evolutionary science, huh? Almost like it's a forensic science with no hard proofs about anything - just a bunch of guesswork with more or less chance of being correct guesses.

13 Date: 2005-01-04 01:47:23, Link
Author: DaveScot
This is a lot like arguments I've had on usenet 10 years and more ago over certain evolutionary aspects of personal computers. I won those arguments after time proved the predicted outcome. I won because I understand that technical merit is but one factor in what makes an idea a winner. Often it's not the deciding factor. Marketing and political clout usually win the day. ID has sufficient technical appeal and distance from the bible to be a competitor in the marketplace of public school curricula. Natural evolution and design are both forensic - no one can prove one happened and the other didn't. This is easily understandable to the general public. The general public, which is who will ultimately decide what is taught and how it is taught to their children in public schools, couldn't possibly care less what pedants say science is and is not.

The ID guys are going to get their wedge into the classroom. Bank on it. Resistance is futile. They've got the advantage of vast numbers of plebeian voters who want to believe in design and you can't PROVE their belief is wrong. Courts will be forced to examine ID prima facie and conclude that "intelligent agent" does not equal "God" and rule it constitutional. School boards will make the call and in a nation where 80% of them believe in God it isn't tough to guess they'll support teaching a theory which doesn't begin by assuming that there is no God.

But don't despair. This is all just a bunch of nonsense. ID or no ID in the classroom will have absolutely no effect on the price of tea in China. Religious alarmists who think evolution is the cause of all evil in the world will find it's the cause of none of it and secular alarmists who think ID in the classroom will cause the collapse of the enlightenment will find that it collapses absolutely nothing.

In other words - the entire argument is academic (pun intended).

14 Date: 2005-01-04 02:31:45, Link
Author: DaveScot
Best way to fight ID if it means that much to ya...

You have to ridicule it in a way that the John Q. Public who is much more knowledgeable about NBA than DNA will understand and sympathize with.

Ridicule or attack on the basis of "it isn't science" won't get you anywhere. Joe Average doesn't understand why testable and verifiable are important concepts. Explanatory is the only attribute he cares about, if he cares at all.

Ridicule or attack on the basis that "intelligent agent" is code for "God" is just an insult to Joe's intelligence. Prima facie, to anyone with enough education to use a dictionary, intelligent agent isn't a biblical invention. He will agree it includes God but he doesn't care because 80% of Joe's crowd has some vague belief in God anyhow.

Ridicule or attack on technical merits are far too deep for Joe to ever understand. There's sufficient easily understood surface technical merit for ID to convince Joe it's worthy of consideration. Just take Reagan's simplistic "when you go into a restaurant and eat a fine meal, do you doubt the existence of a chef?". It takes more time and technical acumen than Joe has or will ever have for him to begin to understand the problems with Reagan's one liner. Joe likes his science, and everything else, in sound bytes and the evolutionist camp can't make their technical case in a sound byte. And nobody likes an intellectual bully who's just too smart for everyone else.

Now here's my idea. The reason ID appeals to ME is I'm a hopeless SciFi buff (nerd or geek if you prefer). Since a tender young age (I'm almost 50 now) I've been reading the musings of rather well educated men of science (the best SciFi authors are scientists) on the notion that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe. Only carbon chauvinists are dedicated to the idea that it has to be DNA based. As a computer scientist for 25 years it's particularly intriguing to me to think about semi-conductor based intelligence. Maybe I was too young when I read von Daniken's "Chariots of the Gods" and "Ancient Astronauts". I don't know. I just know the idea that life on earth was designed intrigues me and since it can't be disproven it retains an appeal. But here's the thing - Joe Sixpack is more repulsed by the idea of little green men visiting the earth and tampering with life here than he is by natural evolution. I'm weird. Joe doesn't want to be associated with weirdos like me.

So what you need to do is attack ID not on its inclusiveness of God but rather on its inclusiveness of the proverbial LGM (little green men) from Alpha Centauri. The very modification that the wedgies were forced to make to honest to God creation science so it passes constitutional muster is probably the best way to attack it. Don't try to equate intelligent agent with God. Even if you can on some conspiratorial level that what's a majority wants to believe and prima facie the courts can't make the equate. Equate "intelligent agent" with little green men from Alpha Centauri in flying saucers. Frame it in the same class with UFO whackos and Area 51. That's the ticket. Joe won't like that.

15 Date: 2005-01-04 10:30:31, Link
Author: DaveScot
"All sciences do a lot of inferring, DaveScot. We never went outside our solar system, but we know quite a bit about what's going on in the rest of the universe. Ever wondered why? Again, inferences are not guesses."

No, I never wondered why because we can directly observe the sky. The sky isn't something that happened in the past. It's there right now. Just go outside at night and look up at it if you don't believe me. Evolution on the other hand is something that happened in the past. I can't observe an amoeba as it turns into a rhinoceros as I can look at the moon rising and setting and waxing and waning.

And yes, inference IS a guess. It may be an arbitrarily good or bad guess but it is still a guess. Direct observation is not guesswork.

16 Date: 2005-01-04 11:19:31, Link
Author: DaveScot
Bayesian re Raelians


But it needs to be said during public input to school boards to be effective. ID is embarrassing on an easily understood level if it can be loosely associated with crop circles, alien abductions, and anal probing instead of a respectable God of some sort. ID apologists have no defense against this other than a lame "ID makes no attempt to define the nature of the intelligence" which is forced on them for church/state separation reasons. That is its strength and its weakness. It allows you to mention the nature of the intelligences it must therefore include aside from the God that most everyone wants to believe in.

17 Date: 2005-01-04 11:28:04, Link
Author: DaveScot

There's no constitutional requirement that only science be taught in science class. The people are free to make a law through due process requiring that basket weaving be included in 9th grade biology class if they want. A judge cannot overturn such a law as it does not violate any constitutional prohibition that I'm aware of.

18 Date: 2005-01-04 14:23:51, Link
Author: DaveScot

I don't know what will happen in Dover. The school board seems to have screwed the pooch by making assorted claims in session along of the lines of "someone has to take a stand for Jesus". Whether that was recorded in any way admissable in court I don't know nor do I know whether it'll be judged relevant. I know the ACLU will certainly try to get it admitted and certainly try to show it's relevant.

I also know the next school board won't make the same mistake Dover's did.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg.

I'm also following ongoing cases in Kansas, Georgia, Ohio, and Montana in addition to Dover.

You, GWW, can't prove anything you claim about ID. Stop flattering yourself. What are you going to do, write the 500th book disproving it that no one but the already convinced will bother to read? LOL!

19 Date: 2005-01-05 23:12:42, Link
Author: DaveScot
Hey Ed,

Did I hit a nerve or what?

Your knowledge of neighborhood associations is as narrow and preconceived as the rest of your thinking. No surprise there.

Your conclusion that the similarity in morphology between my name and a dean's name at UT combined with geospatial proximity means we are the same person is a good example of how shallow your thinking is. That's the kind of inference that underpins the evolutionary dogma you worship, by the way.

All I want to do is get you thinking outside the box and the thanks I get is an inept attempt at cyber stalking. Lovely.

Try this link if you want to learn a little more about what I did for a living (I retired 5 years ago):

20 Date: 2005-01-06 00:45:53, Link
Author: DaveScot
Esmay is a rare voice of reason in this stupid war between bible thumpers and science pedants. One side says allowing ID into a classroom will cause a collapse of all that science has accomplished since the enlightenment and the other side claims that teaching naturalistic evolution is the root of all evil and will eventually lead to the collapse of all moral absolutes. Both sides are loony if they actually believe any of that crap. Esmay is absolutely right - not a damn negative (or positive) thing is going to happen from ID in the classroom. Both sides are guilty of slippery slope arguments.

My problem with this is that ID is being censored in public schools by the science establishment in various ways and just about every way stinks in some manner. I object in principle to censorship when it serves no compelling need.

By the way, the study of dogs and tandem repeats isn't really evolution. It's breeding. There's a difference in kind here, Ed, from trivial variations like skin color, nose shape, leg length, etc. within the same species to big differences like whether you have a beak or a probiscus. Do you really understand evolution, Ed?

Here's a good read on the mysterious punctuated equilibrium - it's science fiction but what the heck, macro-evolution is mostly speculation anyhow and this way you get a plot and characterization go along with the wild guesses about how it might happen. The author, Greg Bear is a physicist at UT Irvine, one helluva bright guy, and claims he put 5 years of part time research into the evolutionary science underpinning the novel. He's using endogenous retroviruses as a mechanism for rapid speciation in response to excessive environmental stress.

"Darwin's Radio" by Greg Bear

I just ordered the sequel "Darwin's Children" which I haven't begun to read yet. "Darwin's Radio" was simply excellent. Bear is my favorite author.

21 Date: 2005-01-06 01:29:22, Link
Author: DaveScot
I know how to settle this one. It's a usenet rule that evolved naturally (pun intended) to end discussions that have devolved into pathetic flame wars. The first person to bring a comparison to Nazis into the argument automatically loses. A related truism is that all usenet arguments that go on long enough will eventually have one side comparing the other to Nazis.

So which side was the first to bring the Nazis into it?

By the way, evolution through undirected means is hardly proven or even suppoted. There is no way to support the notion that there was no intelligent direction. It's simply taken (or not) AS A GIVEN that everything in the universe has an unintelligent cause (except things designed by humans of course). All you may do is demonstrate that an unintelligent cause is possible. You can never demonstrate an intelligent cause is impossible.

My big gripe with this notion of everything having an unintelligent cause is that it is self-contradictory. If human intelligence arose through unintelligent mechanisms then intelligence is itself a natural consequence of unintelligence thus an intelligent cause is as natural as an unintelligent cause. The whole shootin' match then becomes one of a presupposition that humans are the only natural arising intelligence in the universe. Given the size and age of the universe, given that dark matter composes some large fraction of all matter and we don't even know what dark matter is, I find it intellectually repulsive and downright arrogant to presuppose that humanity is the first intelligence on the scene. Maybe it is but that's certainly not well supported by any evidence. Lack of evidence is all that supports that supposition.

22 Date: 2005-01-06 14:22:29, Link
Author: DaveScot
Slime molds can be amoeboid, bacterioid, or fungoid. Social amoeba demonstrate the same type of behavior in chemical signaling for group activities such as spore formation as bacterial and fungal colonies. I just like the common name "Social Amoeba" because everyone that ever looked at pond water in a microscope has seen a live amoeba and adding "social" to it is just too cute. Maybe I took a little literary license with it. So sue me. In any case, I meant single celled organisms with species that demonstrate colonial behaviors in the general sense. There's an estimated 4 million (if memory serves) different species of single celled organisms (maybe it's 40 million) with fewer than 1 in 10 of them observed or documented. Lots of them defy placement in one phlya or another. Here's a bit of light reading on amoeba taxonomy.

And the point still stands that single celled organisms were around for billions of years before any complex multicellular lifeforms emerged. They had much longer to evolve. The fact that they did not evolve into multicellular forms for so long is quite a testament to how fit they are for virtually every environmental niche imaginable - environments so harsh even humans don't have the technology to inhabit yet.

23 Date: 2005-01-06 14:31:08, Link
Author: DaveScot
No New Species of Dog

Humans have been artifically isolating and breeding dogs for specific traits for 20,000 years. In all that time, in all those isolated groups, where several hundred true breeding variations from Chihuahuas to Saint Bernards have been created, they're ALL STILL DOGS and every one of them can readily breed with the common wolf ancestor.

How much time and experimentation do you boys think you'll need to actually observe a new species evolving? I'm a patient man but 20,000 years wears even my patience down. LOL

24 Date: 2005-01-06 15:25:24, Link
Author: DaveScot
Why I would say breeding isn't evolution.

I equate evolution with speciation. Can you give me any example of breeding resulting in speciation? If not then it's not evolving anything but rather merely selecting among already existing traits and the isolated populations that breed true for the selected traits can just as easily revert back to the common ancestor if bred for it. There's nothing new there. Evolution implies something new.

Greg Bear's got as good a theory as anyone else on how rapid specitation (punctuated equlibrium) might occur. I notice you didn't point me anywhere for alternatives. At least pointed you -somewhere- even if you pooh poohed it out of hand.

And yes, biology IS something that can be picked up in spare time depending on how much time we're talking about and how fast the person can learn. I have certified IQ somewhere north of 150. If you're much under that you really can't even comprehend how fast people at my level can think. For instance I got a 4.0 in marine biology in college by devoting ONE DAY to studying the material. I've read every issue of SciAm cover to cover for two decades in my spare time. But am I a biologist? Nope. I made my bones designing PC hardware and software where my talent at logic could be exercised to the fullest. Now that I'm financially independent and free to pursue any area of interest I want, and the 2004 election is over, I'm interested in this evolution brouhaha as it encompasses a number of my favorite subjects including politics. I spent a hundred hours or so in the past few weeks boning up on things missed in 250 issues of SciAm related to evolution. It's mostly a review though, not a learning experience. For instance I knew that DNA codons in both nuclear and mitochondrial forms didn't always code for the same amino acid out of 20 possibilities but I'd forgotten it until I visited the NIH repository where the standard coding table and exceptions are kept.

Speaking of that I've got a question - how is it that you think a codon that specified one amino acid in one species mutated to code for a different acid in another species and the mutation survived? It seems to me that a mutation at such a basic level as codon to acid translation would kill anything as it would fundamentally alter so many proteins at once survival would be impossible. This STRONGLY infers multiple lines of descent instead of the LUCA holy grail does it not?

25 Date: 2005-01-06 16:18:01, Link
Author: DaveScot
Spelling corrections are SO robust in supporting an argument aren't they? I don't know how I manage to resist.

Look, I've got no real brook with microevolution and heritable traits within species. I have reservations about extrapolating out that perfectly good and well documented breeding mechanism within species out to ridiculous extremes like saying it accounts for cyanobacteria (did I spell that right, Flint) morphing into elephants even given 3.5 billion years especially in light of the ostensible fact that the first 3 billion of those years resulted in nothing more complex than a sponge.

The REAL problem I've got is the origin of that first cell. The combination of DNA and ribosome is a computer controlled milling machine - plain and simple. You can trust me there because that IS my professional expertise. I understand computer controlled machinery from the quantum tunneling that enables FLASH memory chips to work to the mining and refining of iron ore that go make the cutting tools to the microprocessors and instruction streams that control the operation and store the forms of the things it mills.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, is going to blow smoke up my ass with a presumption that a machine like that arises from random mutation/selection. That's STOOOOOPID (check the spelling there Flint). If it looks like a machine that was designed for a purpose and acts like a machine designed for a purpose then any sane person first assumes it was designed for a purpose until it can proven that it wasn't designed.

Thus we get to the real issue. We know for a fact that computer controlled milling machines can be designed because we the human race have designed them. That's ONE proven way such a machine can come into existence. Until science can at least demonstrate a plausible alternative with good experimental evidence for an undirected pathway in some natural prebiotic soup (on earth is looking REALLY unlikely because 500 million years just wasn't enough time) then design is the only proven alternative pathway to something like that.

And I don't know if you keep up with astronomy and xenobiology as much as I do but recent data indicates the GHZ (galactic habitable zone) is a lot smaller and younger than previously thought - the gist of it being that planets with attributes conducive to abiogenesis are on average just 1 billion years older than earth and in no case more than 3 billion years older while estimates for the amount of time required for abiogenesis I've read in peer reviewed is 4 billion years. 500 million years on earth and 3 billion on another terrestrial world in an older solar system still doesn't quite add up to 4 billion years so panspermia is starting to look rather grim. Recent calculations of the odds of any material containing the seed of life from another solar system randomly hitting the earth are slim to none as well.

So like I said - design is a proven pathway to DNA-based life. Heck, some supernatural intelligent agents in lab coats with supernatural gene splicing machines took a poliovirus map, non-living chemical components, and assembled a more or less functional poliovirus in the Year of our Lord (hahahah, couldn't resist) 2002. The effort took 2 years. In 2003 the usual suspects accomplished the same thing in a few weeks with an esoteric bacteriophage (the name escapes me - PhiX-171???) demonstrating that the intelligent agents improve their creation game with practice.

Nothing else even remotely plausible other than design has been demonstrated to account for abiogenisis. At some point clinging to the given "all things have natural origins" becomes preposterous. We've passed preposterous in this case already. To say at this point that it happened by accident wouldn't pass the laugh test in any "science" other than neo-Darwinian evolution.

26 Date: 2005-01-06 16:26:59, Link
Author: DaveScot

re punctuated equilibrium and Darwin's Radio

Start reading. That most certainly IS what Bear is speculating about.

27 Date: 2005-01-06 16:54:17, Link
Author: DaveScot
Is anyone going to step up to the plate and fathom a guess at my question of how the organisms with deviations from the standard codon->acid translation table managed to survive the mutation?

Here's a link to the organisms (the ones known to date, anyhow) with deviations:

Let me help you get started with a link to some attempts to explain it:

28 Date: 2005-01-06 17:10:19, Link
Author: DaveScot
Great White Hope,

What's with this depends on superintelligent unprecendentedly powerful crap? That's a strawman. You're running right down through the list of logical fallacies trying to defend this dead horse. I hesitate to point out each instance of fallacy out of concern for how much time and space it will take up.

I merely posit the possibility (not the dependence upon) of design. The source of design is unknown and I have no data upon which to base a characterization about it other than it needn't be anymore than superintelligent than you given the state of the art today in genetic engineering. Ok, maybe more intelligent than you but not a lot more. Ok, maybe a lot more than you but not more than some of the brighter members of h. sapiens sapiens.

I don't have a religious bone in my body by the way. That's yet another strawman you've trotted out. (See how space consuming pointing out your flaws is?) I've been agnostic since as far back as I can recall. My parents were agnostics and probably unlike you I knew both of them and wasn't an abused child.

You also seem to have decided penchant for reductio ad absurdum in your arguments. I can't imagine this shortcoming hasn't been pointed out to you many times just in the past day but if not then chalk up one time for today. That's even lamer than strawmen, GWH. I'm trying real hard to just ignore it because it really doesn't deserve acknowledgement.

29 Date: 2005-01-06 17:26:37, Link
Author: DaveScot
Great White Hype,

Ummm... go read the link before you embarrass yourself further.

Here it is again:

30 Date: 2005-01-06 17:45:41, Link
Author: DaveScot
Great White Hope asks:

"So it a correct statement of your position that alien beings with no additional intelligence and no additional powers beyond those presently known to be possessed by human beings could have designed and created from scratch all of the life forms that ever lived on earth?"

No. A correct statement is that I presume that the apparent purposeful design in the DNA/ribosome machinery might indeed be just what it appears to be - a purposeful design. The nature of the designer is a mystery. Got it? A mystery. That doesn't negate the appearance of design nor does it negate the lack of a plausible explanation for how it came about without design. I'm willing to entertain any plausible notions of how the apparent design came about without a designer. So far I have seen nothing plausible but being open minded about these sorts of things, unlike you I might add, I don't rule out a naturalistic cause but at this time that's as much as mystery as the nature of the possible designer.

This should all be intuitive even for a schlepper such as you if you just drop the presupposition that the origin of life must have a non-design explanation. If you consider the possibility of design it should all fall into place without further need to explain myself.

Is it really that difficult for you to alter the non-design dogma that's been taught to you? The problem of teaching neo-Darwinism to children as rote fact might be worse than I imagine if so. How old are you anyhow?

31 Date: 2005-01-06 18:06:22, Link
Author: DaveScot
On the legal front it's not a good sign that the ACLU decided it would not seek an injunction to stop the curriculum change in Dover from proceeding as planned next week.

My guess is the ACLU decided their hand was too weak to risk an adverse decision this early in the game. They need time to build their case (if they have one at all) and a long drawn-out trial process to present it to have a chance at a decision in their favor. I'm virtually certain their strategy is to outspend the people of Dover and win by attrition. That's really despicable but that's how the ACLU operates.

I just don't see how a federal judge can possibly decide in the ACLU's favor unless of course it's the 9th Circuit Court whose ultra-liberal bias is quite often overturned by the Supreme Court. Prima facie ID is not religion. It can't be any clearer.

ID might be bullshit to the majority in the science establishment but it isn't religion and there's no constitional demand to separate bullshit and state. It's only church and state where there's an issue.

I say ACLU as the plaintiff because the 11 parents they represent are no more than legal necessities for the ACLU to bring the case before a court. This is really the ACLU vs. People of Dover.

32 Date: 2005-01-06 18:18:58, Link
Author: DaveScot
By the way this part of the letter

"For example, evolution is fundamental to genomics and bioinformatics, new fields which hold the promise of great medical discoveries."

is alarmist crap. Suggesting there might be intelligence at work in evolution will not effect any field of inquiry one iota.

Newtonian physics isn't a complete explanation of matter and energy but it's quite sufficient to build rockets and launch spacecraft. You don't need to get into Einstein's General and Special Theories of Relativity for those fields of endeavour just like you don't have to think about a possible designer in evolution for bioinformatics and genomics.

I've yet to hear a valid reason why suggestiong the possibility of design in a biology class is harmful except perhaps that it wastes a few seconds to make the suggestion.

33 Date: 2005-01-06 18:29:51, Link
Author: DaveScot
RBH - I thought that too but I've now read various reports that say TMLC was "retained" and "hired". It's bad either way. TMLC is a nobody compared to the ACLU.

Here's what I really hate though. Another veiled threat to any primary public school district that dares to question the party line - your kids will be discriminated against in college admissions and employment. The follwing is despicable:

"Instead, empower students with real, dependable scientific knowledge. They need this knowledge to understand the world around them, to compete for admission to colleges and universities, and to compete for good jobs. They deserve nothing less."

Pure scare tactics. Dover isn't stopping the teaching of evolution. They're not presenting it as unquestionable dogma is the only change.

34 Date: 2005-01-06 18:50:57, Link
Author: DaveScot
I know all about the Wedge strategy. That isn't MY strategy. I don't give a flying fig about any agenda but my own. Here is my agenda, if you can call it one:

As a parent of three children and one grandchild I don't want them indoctrinated into simplistic dogmatic neo-Darwinism. Just the facts please, and plenty of them, INCLUDING the facts that don't add up, the gaps, and an assortment of hypothetical explanations of the gaps. I want them taught about the current thinking of the origins of life including the hypothetical RNA World first suggested by Francis Crick and being explored through ribozyme engineering today. I want them to know that DNA/ribosomes act like a computer controlled milling machine and the chicken/egg paradox therein. I want them to know about the fragility of the RNA molecule and the problem with its chemistry in a primordial soup. AND I want them aware that intelligent design remains a possible explanation to these problems.

35 Date: 2005-01-07 02:56:02, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ralph - reasons for promoting it can't be considered. Only the material itself, prima facie, may be examined for constitutional fitness. Otherwise you open the door to getting ANYTHING banned because of the motivation of someone who voted for it. Say a school board member says "we're teaching evolution because it agrees with our [insert earth based religion] belief that all life springs from nature". If you use motivation as a qualifier then you'd have to ban evolution because someone likes it for religious reasons. Of course there's a lot of people so sick of the controversy and unimpressed with either ID or neo-Darwinism they'd be happy to have both of them banned from public schools.

Nick - No, I haven't read "Of Pandas and People". Dawkins "The Blind Watchmaker" is even older and it still seems to be embraced as the definitive anti-ID tome. If a school district actually wants to teach that HIV doesn't cause AIDS I'll bother to think about how to react but until someone does try to teach that it's irrelevant. Keep an eye out and let me know when they do.

Ed Darrel - Dover and no other school district I know of is advocating teaching any less mainstream evolutionary dogma. They're advocating teaching some of the bits that are left out of the introductory dogma - particularly things that are not adequately explained by it like abiogenisis and punctuated equilibrium. To say that this additional knowledge, which they'll learn about anyway if they get into college level biology, will somehow harm them in gaining admission is just a lie designed to frighten uninformed parents and it's a despicable lie.

Wayne - I bet I can find plenty of potential crap taught in high school that could be removed to make time for a few more class hours devoted to evolution. I really don't think it's more than a few hours needed to get a bit more depth in the origins and punctuated equilibrium areas not well explained by mutation/selection. If evolution underpins so much of modern biology, medicine, genetics, etc. then it deserves more time than what it gets today, right? Nobody's voting to say "must be intelligent design" in the so-called gaps. Just suggesting the possibility of design. If it looks like a design and quacks like a design then it might just be a design. That's just straightforward logic - see Occam's Razor. I'm agnostic and that's the viewpoint I recommend teaching for the gaps. It's neutral. It neither rules out design nor makes design a necessity. That's going to offend both sides a little bit but it doesn't offend either a whole lot at the expense of the other. There are people that believe in creation as strongly as any scientist believes in the primacy of natural law and the plain fact of the matter is creationists vastly outnumber the scientists at the ballot box and if you don't give in a little bit to them now the backlash is going to be worse. Don't turn them into a vengeful mob. Please. They dropped the 6,000 year old earth. They dropped references to a bearded thunderer named Yahweh that created everything in 6 days. They dropped the claim that none of evolution is mutation/selection. You need to compromise a little too. Can't we all just get along?

Steve - I don't think biologists are the best qualified to recognize design. I think engineers are the best qualified. That's me. I'm a computer design engineer. Over 20 years experience and a number of patents in the field. DNA/ribosome is a computer controlled milling machine. Plain and simple. I recognize it because I've spent my whole life designing computer controlled machines. It is simply ludicrous to work on the assumption that these machines came into existence without being designed. The sane thing is to assume they're designed, just like every other computer controlled milling machine, until a path through random happenstance can be shown as a possibility. That random path has not been shown for the DNA/ribosome combination due to the chicken/egg problem of DNA and protein catalysts. It just has not been shown yet. If you've got a demonstrable way it could be random then I'm all ears but until then I'm making the sane, straightforward assumpition that agrees with everything I know about computer controlled machinery - it comes about from purposeful design. I don't need to know who or what the designer was to recognize a design.

Mark - George W. Bush has a graduate degree from Harvard and a Masters from Yale. Isn't that enough said about what letters from an Ivy league school really mean? Letters are anything from nothing to everything, obviously, and GWB is living proof of the former. Personally, little of my opinion in this matter is influenced by anyone's work except my own in the computer science field and those who've worked so hard to open the black box of the DNA/ribosome machinery so that I could recognize it for what it is.

36 Date: 2005-01-07 03:24:31, Link
Author: DaveScot
No Henry, the real reason is not religious. Or at least no always religious. There's plenty of agnostic like me that don't have a dog in the religious hunt that question some bits of neo-Darwinism.

The reason is the presupposition that all things must have a so-called natural explanation. You call the religious view "God of the Gaps". I call your view "Science of the Gaps" and laugh at both of you for your dogged determination to cling to things which are not proven and probably not provable.

When you see something in nature that so apparently designed as the DNA/ribosome machinery and encounter the chicken/egg problem with DNA needing proteins to replicate and proteins needing DNA to be constructed the most straightfoward, sane assumption to make in this case is that the silly thing was designed. You must make that assumption AT LEAST until a plausible path around design has been demonstrated. That path has not yet been demonstrated so the sane presupposition is still design.

A lot of people understand this intuitively. What they don't understand is why you and others like you cling pedantically to a definition of "science" which must always and without exception assume, contrary to all common sense, that all things are of natural origin until proven otherwise. In this particular case that's just not palateable to anyone who doesn't accept such a pure and uncompromising definition.

None of the school boards are asking that evolution be thrown out the window. None of the school boards are asking that design be taught as the only possible answer to unexplained origins. All they're asking is that the possibility of design not be discounted at least until a plausible alternative to is demonstrated.

If you can't budge even that much from your inflexible position then you have a problem. You're the one that is clinging to faith in things not seen. You're the one with the religious beliefs. Agnosticism is the only intellectually honest view and as an agnostic you do not rule out ANYTHING by faith. Not by faith in religion and not by faith that all things have a so-called natural explanation (as if intelligence somehow isn't natural).

Speaking of that - how can intelligence have arisen via natural causes in humans, as you believe it has, yet it is supernatural if it isn't human. Why can't intelligence have come about naturally in life we don't know about? Surely you're not going to hand me negative evidence as proof that no other intelligent life exists are you? I'm sure even you admit that negative evidence is not proof of anything.

37 Date: 2005-01-07 03:44:16, Link
Author: DaveScot
Flint - go ahead and correct my spelling errors. It'll make us both believe you have a useful purpose and it'll save me time. I don't reread what I write. If I did I'd never be satisified with it and wouldn't be able to churn out the volume I need in environments like this when it's me against a veritable hoard of you. I have to sleep sometime and that sometime is now so if you'll excuse me I'm going to have to ignore you for a little while. But don't worrry, you repeat the same mantras over and over so I'll eventually get a reply out to you when you inevitably repeat what I'm not going to read tonight or probably ever on this particular thread. Same goes for double for Great White Hype. Apologies to others who aren't demanding so much from me. TTFN.

38 Date: 2005-01-07 14:14:45, Link
Author: DaveScot
Just a little bit for the Greg Bear critics here. I don't have the time or patience to respond to the rest of the flood directed at me here. Everyone wants a piece of my ass it seems and there ain't enough to go around. Sorry. This happens a lot. I can stir up a controversy like no one else. A really great mechanism for that is bragging about my IQ. LOL! I play you like fiddles.


Review of Bear's "Darwin's Radio" by Michael A. Goldman published in NATURE.

Michael A. Goldman bio

Peabody Veterans Memorial High School, June 1972, magna cum laude, Peabody, MA 01960.

Bachelor of Arts in Biology, University of Rochester, May, 1976, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Rochester, NY 14627.

Ph.D., Biological Sciences, Purdue University, 1981, W. Lafayette, IN 47907.

Post-doctoral fellow, Medical Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, 1982-1983, Houston, TX 77030.

Senior fellow, Medical Genetics, University of Washington, 1984-1988, Seattle, WA 98195.

--lots more at link

Har har hardy har har

39 Date: 2005-01-07 14:30:41, Link
Author: DaveScot
Quoth Dr. Goldman

"Most of us believe that simple, incremental changes in allele frequencies, driven by the forces of genetic drift, mutation, recombination, migration and natural selection, are enough to explain evolution from adaptation to speciation, to the origin of higher taxa. There is no compelling evidence to the contrary, but neither is there compelling evidence in favour of the idea; we simply haven't observed or catalogued the forces and changes that create new species."

Hmmmm... no compelling evidence. Oops. I guess the eminent and highly accomplished and widely published geneticist Dr. Goldman must be a, what was the phrase Great White Hope used, Liar for Jesus to have uttered such heresy as there's no compelling evidence to support what most biologists believe are the mechanisms behind speciation. I guess you environmentalist boys must take these things on faith, faith being the belief in things for which there is no evidence.

ROFLMAO! I feel like I'm kicking puppies here. Your beliefs have so many holes - what a target rich environment for an antagonist like me.

40 Date: 2005-01-07 14:41:22, Link
Author: DaveScot
Who needs courses in the internet age? I'm an autodidact.

And when I independently arrive at the same conclusions of someone like Dr. Goldman (cited above) that there's no compelling evidence to support the widely held beliefs about the mechanisms behind speciation it just reinforces my confidence in my autodidactic capabilities. This is nothing new for me. I find myself in independent agreement with remarkable intellectual persons all the time. Great minds think alike. There don't seem to be many great minds posting commentary on Panda's Thumb, unfortunately. Maybe Dr. Goldman has a blog but I doubt it. He seems like he's too busy actually getting things done in his field to waste time with the likes of the people defending the defenseless on this blog.

Anyhow, if you want to argue about the "overwhelming evidence" supporting speciation take it up with Dr. Gold. I'm deferring the matter to his expertise which appears vastly superior to anyone engaging me here.

41 Date: 2005-01-07 15:23:59, Link
Author: DaveScot
More food for (outside the box) thought for you boys.

Nature 424, 726 - 727 (14 August 2003);

Living with the Neanderthals


"Science, the ultimate arbiter of truth, is still stained by the imperfections of human nature. We sometimes think we have all the answers. But the preposterous ideas of yesterday are the unshakeable dogmas of today, and the ancient superstitions of tomorrow. Science is driven by politics, and politics by fear."

This Goldman guy knows WTF he is talking about. Recall previously I told you boys that technical superiority of products (hypothesis and theories are products of the mind) often isn't the deciding factor in determining the winners. I said that marketing and political clout are more often the major determinants of success. Marketing and political clout is what's going to put ID into classrooms. You boys are mostly stuck arguing that the technical flaws in ID must doom it but that's just not how the real world works. You must live very sheltered lives. Prof. Goldman evidently lives in the real world and isn't afraid to talk about it.

42 Date: 2005-01-07 15:28:53, Link
Author: DaveScot
Great White Hype,

Are you accusing Dr. Goldman of using illegal recreational drugs?

Maybe you're just projecting. Yes, I think that must be it. That fits all the facts.

43 Date: 2005-01-07 17:37:53, Link
Author: DaveScot
GWH - I see you took to heart my advice that the best way to fight ID is by equating it with Raelian beliefs instead of Christian.

Good laddie (lassie?). I was beginning to wonder if I was wasting my time with you.

The logic in the Raelian strategy is very simple but you have to think about the politics instead of the science. And you have to have a sound bite not a stack of books to make your case before the voters (voters in this case being school boards).

You might feel you're the master of your domain (and I'm sure you are in a Seinfeldian way if no other) surrounded by your peers and/or mentors who hold the same beliefs you do but in fact in the larger world where the ID-in-the-classroom thing will get decided you're in a small minority. The majority of interest is Christians (80% of population in U.S.) who aren't scientists and aren't going to spend much if any time learning the prior art in evolutionary science(s). Neither do they think like scientists or use the scientific method. The wedgies seem to be a lot more politically savvy in this regard.

The issue you care about, ID in the classroom, will be decided by the voters sooner or later. So the stupidest thing you could do is offend a big fraction of the voters. I see ACLU lawyers trying to frame IDers as holocaust deniers. That's so politically incorrect it's almost like calling them slave owners. Very boneheaded. Not a way to make friends and influence people. Insulting the belief that Christians have in a bearded thunderer that created the heavens and the earth isn't going to make you Mr. Popular either if you get my drift and I think you do.

There is a minority you can safely offend without being politically incorrect and that would be people like me who're willing to entertain the thinking that Erich von Daniken exploited for a fortune in book and film royalties - i.e. little green men from outer space are responsible for making us.

Most Christian non-scientists aren't afraid to acknowledge a belief in God in public but they aren't going to want to acknowledge that their creator might ride around in a flying saucer. They aren't going to like the Raelian-like belief taught as a possibility to their children in school either.

If I were a Christian non-scientist sitting on the board of a public school in an open meeting (you know about federal open meeting laws) and you were a concerned citizen getting your $0.02 sound bite on the record saying that ID is teaching your child that LGM in flying saucers might have created mankind I'd have to think long and hard about whether I wanted to be known as the board member that voted the flying saucer platform.

Now don't say I never gave you anything.

44 Date: 2005-01-07 20:12:00, Link
Author: DaveScot
Don T. Know said:

"Science itself is agnostic as to a "designer.""

I agree that it should be. In practice I don't agree that it is.

What follows from the agnostic position is that a designer is a possible explanation for life. That's precisely what the IDers want to be made clear up front when introducing young minds to evolutionary theory.

The fact of the matter is that it is not being taught from the agnostic view. There is no explicit acknowledgement made in the teaching of evolution that design is a possibility. The only possibility being mentioned is undirected mutation/selection.

45 Date: 2005-01-07 20:26:30, Link
Author: DaveScot
GWW - The alternative to offending the delicate sensibilities of the science staff by making them speak the vile words is to do what Georgia did and get others to slap a sticker containing the short message onto the the biology text where the students won't miss it.

46 Date: 2005-01-07 20:44:54, Link
Author: DaveScot
"Any person in America is free to use that phrase at any time, in any classroom or any other place in this country, regardless of the decisions in the Newdow case.*"

You gotta be shitting me. What planet do you live on? Teachers can't even say "Merry Christmas" in the public schools in the Austin area. The bauble bedangled pine tree at the local middle school this year was officially a "Holiday Tree" instead of a "Christmas Tree". Students can call it whatever they want but faculty cannot.

47 Date: 2005-01-07 20:53:52, Link
Author: DaveScot

My bad.

Corrected: "Slimes can be amoeboid, bacterioid, or fungoid."

Expanded: "Amoeboid or fungoid are slime molds while bacterial slimes are also called biofilms."

Is that better?

48 Date: 2005-01-07 21:00:40, Link
Author: DaveScot
Great White said:

"If we could obtain the genome sequence of some ancestor of E. coli from 1 billion years ago, do you think it would be identical to today's bacteria?"

Well since we can't obtain the ancestral E. coli genome the hypothesis of it being dissimilar is not falsifiable. Thus it isn't science and deserves no further consideration.

How's the view on that petard?

49 Date: 2005-01-09 17:32:13, Link
Author: DaveScot
Craig T says "Are there ID linguists that believe that languages don't evolve?"


Are there evolutionists who believe that language is the result of random interactions between non-living chemicals?

50 Date: 2005-01-09 18:08:36, Link
Author: DaveScot

Birds with longer tail feathers are still birds.

A Chihuahua and a Saint Bernard are both still dogs. After a 20,000 year long experiment where dog populations were isolated and selected for adaptation to many different environments from hunting to herding to companionship not one new species of dog has emerged. They're all still dogs and if you mix the breeds back together you'll get the wolf from whence they all descended beginning 20,000 years ago.

Using this empirical evidence of adaptation to infer a mechanism that caused a single celled universal ancestor to morph into things as diverse as trees and the dogs that mark them seems like an unreasonable extrapolation to me.

51 Date: 2005-01-09 22:45:07, Link
Author: DaveScot
The abstract mischaracterizes ID right at the start

"Intelligent design theory asserts that a supernatural intelligence intervened in the natural world to dictate the nature and ordering of all biological species, which do not evolve from lower- to higher-order beings."

First of all, ID posits an intelligent agent. Not a supernatural intelligent agent.

Secondly, it posits that at some points during evolution an intelligent agent intervened. It does not posit the dictation of the nature and ordering of all biological species.

What these dopey lawyers have done is to construct a strawman.

Strawmen aren't allowed into evidence in court, I'm afraind.


52 Date: 2005-01-09 22:59:12, Link
Author: DaveScot
Colling states that intelligent design is a new thing?

I wonder what planet it's new on. On earth it's been around at least since cavemen began carving little gods out of mammoth bones.

Maybe someone should whisper the name "William Paley" in Colling's ear.

Creation science, trying to find scientific justification for a literal interpretation of Genesis might be new. The notion of intelligent design is truly ancient.

53 Date: 2005-01-10 09:28:28, Link
Author: DaveScot
RBH "it all depends on which IDist one is looking at".

Yes, it does indeed. ID is not monolithic and Discovery Institute fellows certainly aren't the first people to posit that life didn't spontaneously arise from mud. William Paley used the watchmaker analogy 200 years ago. As far as I can tell ID today is still essentially the watchmaker analogy with arguments updated for discoveries that have been made in the last two centuries. The simplest forms of life are vastly more complex machinery than anyone dreampt of in Paley's era.

Part of the problem in a constitutional adjudication is to identify what is actually brought into the public classroom. Arbitrary selection of what is and is not meant by "intelligent design" is a straw man. One must actually have a case in point and right now the case in point is Dover. What is actually being said in Dover classrooms - is it what this FSU white paper describes? I don't think so.

Last, for separation consideration, it doesn't matter whether ID is science or not by any arbitrary definition of science. There is no constitutional mandate that only science be taught in biology class. There is not a wall of separation between state and poor science. The only thing that matters is whether ID is religion or not religion in the context of the establishment clause. It appears to me, prima facie, that a watchmaker argument is not respecting an establishment of religion. An argument that defends each and every point in the King James Bible account of creation taught in a public classroom is very much respecting an establishment of religion.

54 Date: 2005-01-10 09:47:46, Link
Author: DaveScot

Are you appealing to any particular authority or just all authorities in general?

55 Date: 2005-01-10 10:31:51, Link
Author: DaveScot
Science has proved that intelligent agents can interfere with natural evolution.

I have a genetically engineered rotten tomato ready to throw at anyone who disagrees.

56 Date: 2005-01-10 10:51:03, Link
Author: DaveScot
Adam - Dr. Wieland is not a linguist. He's a medical doctor. He only meets half the qualifications for an "ID linguist".

57 Date: 2005-01-10 11:44:58, Link
Author: DaveScot
Nic George

"The physical differences between a Chihuahua and Saint Bernard are arguably greater than the differences between a Human and a Chimp."

What do you propose is stronger evidence of common descent between groups of organisms than ability to breed and produce fertile offspring?

58 Date: 2005-01-10 12:32:36, Link
Author: DaveScot

The Dover policy consists of the following:

Students will be made aware of gaps/problems in Darwin's Theory and of other theories of evolution including, but not limited to, Intelligent Design. The Origins of Life is not taught.

That's hardly a hodge-podge.

The implementation of the policy in its entirety consists of reading aloud the following statement to biology students:

The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin's Theory of Evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.

Because Darwin's Theory is a theory, it continues to be tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. A theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.

Intelligent Design is an explanation of the origin of life that differs from Darwin's view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves.

With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of the Origins of Life to individual students and their families. As a Standards-driven district, class instruction focuses upon preparing students to achieve proficiency on Standards-based assessments.

The statement took me one minute to read aloud.

59 Date: 2005-01-11 07:24:45, Link
Author: DaveScot

organisms can arise ex nihilo -- such an event would totally circumvent the laws of physics

Really. So the poliovirus created in a lab in 2002 circumvented the laws of physics?

60 Date: 2005-01-11 09:36:29, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ya gotta love the Nazi comparisons. They're comically lame.

If you don't what Godwin's Law here it is:

ACLU lawyers in the Dover case likened ID proponents to Holocaust deniers.

The lame rhetoric isn't confined to one side or the other.

61 Date: 2005-01-11 12:13:21, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ed D

"Since there is not a single researcher working in a lab on any ID-paradigm idea, there can be no secular reason to teach it as science."

Not true. Many lab experiments are seeking to discover plausible chemistry for abiogenesis. Check out this area of biochemistry for some interesting reading:

A demonstrated way to get from soup to nuts that doesn't require design input goes a long way towards putting ID to bed. Failure to demonstrate such a path, while not proving ID, tends to strengthen ID.

There are many areas of scientific inquiry that bear on the question of abiogenesis. Geology attempts to characterize the earth's environment at a very early age which is important constraint for any theories of abiogenesis. Astronomy attempts to find out the range of ages and frequency of other terrestrial planets in our galaxy where life as we know it would be theoretically possible. SETI is searching for signs of intelligence elsewhere in the cosmos.

One of the things, and probably the most germane thing IMO, ID predicts is that the chemical pathway from prebiotic soup to living cells cannot happen without design input. Demonstrating a mechanism for abiogenesis will falsify that ID prediction.

62 Date: 2005-01-12 03:57:12, Link
Author: DaveScot
With an as yet undetermined appendage WyldPirate writes:

1.) The focus on debunking the fundie creationist trojan horse of ID is an extremely important, but under-the-radar topic, is something that as a scientist I love to see. The fundamentalists pushing this stuff are the biggest danger to our country today. They are trying to extend their brainwashing and indoctrination out of the church and into the public arena. This is a dire threat to America and must be stopped.

What a load of drama queen nonsense.

63 Date: 2005-01-12 04:51:48, Link
Author: DaveScot
ID or not ID is as important to practical applications in biology as whether the discovery of beer was accidental or happened by design is important to practical applications of brewing. Beer's the same either way and how it happened to be discovered is not relevant to the modern practice of brewing.

It's not a big deal. It's historic trivia. Hysteric trivia might be more apt though. If all the drama queens would disappear so would the brouhaha over ID.

64 Date: 2005-01-13 02:43:29, Link
Author: DaveScot
Well, I'll admit I only took two years of Latin in school. I'd guess that's two more years than most of y'all here but I could be wrong.

The "ex nihilo" I referred to was not used in a vacuum (pun intended). It was used in reference to an organism i.e. creation of an organism ex nihilo.

Ex nihilo in that case refers to creation of an organism where no organism existed. It doesn't mean creation of an organism where nothing (vacuum) existed before.

Therefore creation of an organism (polio virus) ex nihilo is quite true. There was no organism prior to the creation event, there were only non-living chemical precursers where strung together in a gene splicing machine according to a predetermined sequence and presto an organism where none existed before.

Intelligent design is a proven possibility for creation of organisms ex nihilo as well as for unnatural tampering with the genome of existing organisms. The question is thus not if ID is possible but rather the date of the first time it was done. Popular consensus puts that date in the Holocene epoch. Popular consensus is often wrong.

Anthropocentricity evidently didn't die when we discovered the earth wasn't the center of the universe...

65 Date: 2005-01-13 10:03:44, Link
Author: DaveScot
If there's an infinite number of universes then ID has to be right in a subset of them. Not only that, it has to be right while a vast majority of scientists are convinced that it is not right.

Such is the nature of infinities.

Move over water, infinity is the universal solvent.

66 Date: 2005-01-13 10:18:02, Link
Author: DaveScot
Gary Hurd says

You can't seem to understand the differences between Nazis and Holocaust deniers. Why is that? For someone who pretends to be intellectually gifted, you are remarkably obtuse.

You seem remarkably obtuse about emotionally charged rhetoric for someone pretending to be a grownup. Why is that?

67 Date: 2005-01-13 11:29:09, Link
Author: DaveScot
grand daughter

re no one doing ID research

Any research being done in abiogenesis is DE FACTO work that may falsify a claim of ID (life is too complex for abiogenesis).

Inspiration is a very subjective term but I would put to you that ID and creationism in general inspires a lot of effort to falsify it. Must inspiration only be of the positive type?

Unfortunately for design-deniers ID makes predictions, is falsifiable through experiment, and such experimental work is being done. Whether the work is being done in the name of ID is irrelevant. What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet!

68 Date: 2005-01-13 12:31:36, Link
Author: DaveScot
Wedgie (paraphrased) says

"Evidence of design is lacking."

Hardly. In every case when we observe something that looks like a purposely designed machine, and where we are able to determine whether it was designed or not, it has been found to be designed. One might thus rightly call it a law, not a theory, that machines are designed as every machine we know of where design can be determined is in fact designed.

Anyone that has at least a rudimentary understanding of the mechanism underlying protein construction via the DNA/ribosome combination and denies that it is a machine with a purpose is either not playing with a full deck or is simply dishonest. DNA/ribosome is essentially a computer controlled milling machine with the express purpose of milling all the parts required to construct duplicates of itself.

No similar machine has ever been observed that did not have design input. That doesn't prove that no complex machine ever came to be without design input but it does tend to put the burden of proof on the claim that design is not required.

69 Date: 2005-01-13 12:55:00, Link
Author: DaveScot
Antony Flew in 2004 simply arrived at the same tentative conclusion that I arrived at 15 years ago. The tentative conclusion is that the well observed and duly documented cellular machinery employed by living things is too complex to have come about through accidental happenstance.

This does not speak to an omnipotent God, to the bible, to revelation, to an afterlife, or to any religion at all. It speaks to common sense and sound reasoning. Thus Antony is not converted to a religion or even really to deism. He's converted to pragmatism.

All I have to say to Antony is "What took you so long?". LOL!

70 Date: 2005-01-13 17:48:34, Link
Author: DaveScot

I echo your sentiments about a society full non-specialists.

It is quite distressing to me that biologists who do not specialize in the design of complex machines pretend to be experts in design.

Most of my 25 year professional career has been a computer hardware and software design engineer. I recognize an intelligent design when I see one. It's too bad most biologists do not, but why should they, since they're not design specialists?

71 Date: 2005-01-13 18:00:26, Link
Author: DaveScot
No, biologists don't recognize design. If they did they wouldn't cling for dear life to the materialist dogma. Perhaps if you were a designer you'd understand.

72 Date: 2005-01-13 18:32:25, Link
Author: DaveScot
David Heddle,

I don't wonder why the evolutionists are so upset. You shouldn't either.

You and I have physical laws of nature in our professions. We don't rely on inference. The law of gravity, the laws of thermodynamics, Ohm's law, boolean algebra, etc. All of these are based on empirical observation and are called laws for a reason. Evolutionists do not have the equivalent. There're no laws of evolution. It's called a theory and that's for good reason too. Aside from empirical observation of trivial adaptations that may or may not result in speciation (biologists can't even agree on what a species is) they have nothing but inference about the mechanism or mechanisms that created non-trivial differentiation in the remote past. Macro-evolution is a bunch of forensic guesswork and it will probably never be more than that. It's as much science as the study of how the pyramids were constructed. I'd call it history, not science. If I was an evolutionist I too would be damned awful touchy when someone pointed out what a soft science it is.

That's not to say the study of contemporaneous living things isn't hard science. That study is based on empirical evidence. It's a hard science. Evolutionists obviously want to be accepted as hard scientists and they're afraid of the public finding out they are not after all the decades of indoctrinating children in their dogmatic beliefs. It's quite understanable. Intellectually dishonest but understandable.

73 Date: 2005-01-13 18:50:16, Link
Author: DaveScot
Here's a very good, concise description of hard vs. soft sciences.

It's written by an ecologist which is by his own admission a soft science. Here's some apt excerpts:

The strict school will have none of this - what matters is being scientific, not doing science. That is how they keep the soft sciences soft. By setting absurd standards that discourage creative thinking they inhibit our ability to understand the natural world, and thus maintain a sterile respectability.

This brings to mind standards like falsification and dogmatic clinging to materialism.

Even so, the followers of Karl Popper have an impact and their ability to impede the progress of science should not be underestimated. Whenever a potentially useful principle raises its head in the soft sciences there will be those ready to smack it into the ground, as criticisms of the Competitive Exclusion Principle show.

Smack it into the ground like the smacking down of the principle that complex machines performing an identifiable, useful purpose have design input before they are materially realized. This is the case for EVERY machine where the origin of the machine can be determined. Materialists discount purpose and design in nature out of hand because purpose implies intelligence and intelligence is anathema to a materialist universe.

74 Date: 2005-01-13 20:26:22, Link
Author: DaveScot

But the judge disagreed: "While evolution is subject to criticism, particularly with respect to the mechanism by which it occurred, the sticker misleads students regarding the significance and value of evolution in the scientific community."

I don't see how the "significance and value" of evolution is a matter of constitutionality.

Am I to take it from this district judge that the establishment clause is now the guardian of scientific significance and value?

I can hear the founders spinning in their graves.

Fortunately a decision from a podunk north Georgia district judge isn't binding outside his district. It'll be interesting to see what a circuit court with a panel of much more qualified judges has to say about it if the school board appeals.

What's even more interesting is whether the school obeys the order. They haven't said they haven't decided to obey it or not yet. We might be treated to a little civil disobedience over this. Then it'll really make the news.

75 Date: 2005-01-13 21:21:38, Link
Author: DaveScot

Judge Cooper was appointed a United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of Georgia by President Clinton on May 9, 1994.

A Clinton appointee during the time when the U.S. Senate was controlled by Democrats rubber-stamping all Clinton's judicial nominations.

That sure explains the decision.

76 Date: 2005-01-13 21:28:08, Link
Author: DaveScot

Start changing random bits in MS Windows executable files. Let me know when a random change makes it work better. Better yet, let Bill Gates know.


77 Date: 2005-01-13 21:51:23, Link
Author: DaveScot
Wayne Francis and others that think complex machines can be made better by mutation/selection:

Start changing random bits in MS Windows executable files.

If the change does no apparent harm, keep it and repeat the process. If there's harm then kill that version and go back to the previous iteration.

Y'all are trying to sell me on the concept that this will eventually fix bugs and add features to Windows.

Sorry, I ain't buying what you're selling.

To demonstrate that I'm not a mean guy I strongly suggest you back up your disk one time at the beginning of this experiment and keep the backup handy because I know what the nature of the results will be.

If you want to waste even more time & money, since it's now possible to introduce random changes into the DNA of critters, try making one fitter for its environment through random change to its DNA. Please use a lower animal for this as I'm something of a PETA sympathizer and, as with the computer experiment, I know what the nature of the results will be.

78 Date: 2005-01-14 11:52:40, Link
Author: DaveScot
Where the Cobb opinion is flawed. Justice Clarence Cooper states:

In this case, the Court believes that an informed, reasonable observer would interpret the Sticker to convey a message of endorsement of religion. That is, the Sticker sends a message to those who oppose evolution for religious reasons that they are favored members of the political community, while the Sticker sends a message to those who believe in evolution that they are political outsiders.

The fact that evolution is being presented in the textbook without criticism or mention of opposing theories sends a message to those who believe in evolution that they are favored members of the political community and sends a message to those who question evolution that they are political outsiders. The Sticker, by encouraging critical thinking and pointing out that evolution is not irrefutable fact, sends a message that those who do not believe in evolution are POLITICAL EQUALS with those who do believe in evolution.

Justice Cooper clearly got it wrong in who is being favored. Cooper's flawed logic in deducing favoritism is the basis of his finding that the Sticker fails to meet the Lemon test. Absent this conclusion of political favoritism he finds no other failure to meet the Lemon test and would thus have to rule in favor of defendents. I believe that his decision will be reversed on appeal, if there is an appeal, because of this.

79 Date: 2005-01-14 12:02:31, Link
Author: DaveScot

You have absolutely no clue how commercially saleable computer hardware and software is designed if you think genetic algorithms play any part whatsoever in the design process. I'm not going to argue with you about it further. I've worked in the computer industry as a hardware and software design engineer my entire adult life. You are simply full of crap about any role that GA plays.

80 Date: 2005-01-14 12:38:27, Link
Author: DaveScot

The GA you reference is not modifying either the hardware or the software that comprises the computing platform. That simply is not done in the computer design business.

Evidently you're failing to distinguish between application software and computer hardware, firmware, and operating systems which host the applications.

GA is being employed to help discover unique and unexpected solutions in various applications but those applications do not include modifying the platform which supports the application software. Fixing a bug in Windows or adding a new feature to it via random bit flipping is preposterous and will get you laughed out of any shop involved in platform development.

Random searches through solution spaces is not a new concept and it is sometimes applied as an adjunct to directed design, but not as a replacement for design. In my experience it's employed usually as a result of sloth. It's easier to design an algorithm that simply tries and tests all possible solutions than it is to think up intelligent restrictions which reduce the size of the set to search and test, trading off brain power for computer power.

Be that as it may, evolution does not posit some design and some random searching through solution spaces. It posits no design and nothing but random searches through solution spaces. Complex machines simply don't come about through completely random mechanisms. At least not any complex machine I've ever seen where the origin of the machine can be determined.

81 Date: 2005-01-14 12:52:26, Link
Author: DaveScot
Great White Wonder (whatever that is) says:

No, it just sends a message that those who question evolution are outside the scientific community, as a matter of fact.

By that do you mean that skepticism isn't allowed in science anymore?

I guess science has changed a lot while I wasn't looking. When did this paradigm shift occur?

82 Date: 2005-01-14 13:21:27, Link
Author: DaveScot
I'm certainly of the opinion that my tax dollars funding the Cassini mission are far better spent than those that funded the discovery that whales are descended from artiodactyls instead of mesonychians.

I empathize with your desire to post an article about hard science with real merit on Panda's Thumb as a break from the pedantic drivel about life's ancient history.

But isn't science of real merit that isn't controversial and is happily funded by taxpayers excited by it off-topic in Panda's Thumb?

Just curious...

83 Date: 2005-01-14 13:34:23, Link
Author: DaveScot
The ESA certainly needs some success after their rather embarrassing rate of getting Mars landers on the ground in one piece.

Speaking of Mars landers it's simply amazing and a demonstration of good old American know-how that Spirit and Opportunity are still functional far beyond their expected operational lifetimes.

Granted we didn't expect Opportunity's solar panel to get cleaned 4 times by a little green homeless man with a spray bottle of windex and a dirty rag. I hope someone thought to put a dollar bill on the rover to compensate the LGM for his trouble. ;-)

84 Date: 2005-01-14 13:53:16, Link
Author: DaveScot

What tax dollars of yours went into evolution research? Just curious Dave.

I don't really have enough data to say how much went where but since I pay taxes and taxes fund NSF and NSF funds grants for things like this research on evolution of whale hearing

I know it's some non-zero amount.

85 Date: 2005-01-14 14:40:11, Link
Author: DaveScot

There was also some convenience factored into the Titan decision but in general I'm aware of and agree with the motivations you cited.

You seem to have me confused with someone who believes a bearded thunderer created all life on the planet Earth and created it nowhere else. I don't have enough data to reach the bearded thunderer conclusion. I don't dismiss it out of hand though, like many others are wont to do.

I lean towards intelligence having first evolved somewhere other than on the earth and probably not DNA based. I'm not a carbon-chauvinist. It appears to me that the DNA machinery that led to intelligent life on earth was designed. But that's just a theory and is subject to being wrong just like any other theory. There's no such thing as absolute knowledge IMO - just working knowledge that is always subject to revision.

To that end I'm as anxious as anyone to know about the conditions and possibilities for evolution of life on Titan. To be quite honest though I'd much prefer we were exploring Europa first, but in any case the exploration and eventual (dare I say it) exploitation of the solar system is something I'm all for. The earth is going to get creamed with another K-T magnitude extinction sooner or later and it would be nice if we had a permanent foothold elsewhere before it happens again.

I suppose what bothers me to a minor degree is dogmatic evolutionists' smug condescension towards anyone who doesn't accept their version of the facts without question. But that's common in my world of computer engineering - it's the prima donna syndrome - so as a prima donna myself I understand it in others. I may not care for it but I understand it.

What bothers me a lot more is that the intolerance for skepticism in evolution science has become entrenched in the politics of public education and this small minority (not many people are scientists) is dictating what can and cannot be taught to a vast majority of children who are not theirs. That isn't my idea of a democratic republic in action. I might not always like the result of democratic decision making but it remains the only way I want decisions to be made.

86 Date: 2005-01-16 08:01:09, Link
Author: DaveScot
Surprising to whom?

In both the title and the conclusion, the authors emphasize the surprising complexity of our ancient ancestors.

Gee, it's almost like all the biochemical complexity of life was there right at the LUCA billions of years ago and all the intervening time has just been rearranging the deck chairs.

Heck, that would even explain why single-celled organisms were the most widespread form of life from the word "GO" billions of years ago right on through to today.

I seem to recall a biochemist saying something like that 10 years ago. What was his name... oh yeah... I remember... some cat named Behe. I understand he's something of a pariah amongst his peers for postulating such heresy.

Funny, the most natural thing in the world is for organized systems to become less organized over time. It's called the second law of thermodynamics. Dr. Behe's theory follows this law. And by the way, for you anti-sticker apologists, a law is more of a fact than a theory. You'd think materialists would be more open to Behe's theory since it doesn't violate the laws of nature, unlike some other theories. Go figure.

87 Date: 2005-01-16 10:14:57, Link
Author: DaveScot
Let me be the first to put forward the theory that Titan and Earth descended from a common ancestor.


I kill me sometimes.

88 Date: 2005-01-16 14:01:01, Link
Author: DaveScot

Sorry, please accept my apology. It isn't really science to talk about the genomes of ancient creatures as there's no way to falsify any theories about them - DNA unfortunately doesn't fossilize. I was pretending it was science instead of speculative history based on the sage advice "when in Rome, do as the Romans do".

At any rate, it did seem reasonable to believe, granted it's speculative history not science, that sea anemone and human lineages separated a long time ago. Does Cambrian period sound like a good guess for that? Sorry if I made the extrapolation from half a billion years to billions of years. I thought extrapolations like that were allowed in the realm of evolutionary conjecture.

The article in question was just one more bit suggesting that genomes of ancient creatures were more complex than had been previously guessed. If you want something that goes back even further - I've read that genes for various flavors of hemoglobin are found today in plants, animals, and fungi suggesting an ancestral hemoglobin gene in the last common ancestor betwixt all three phyla. Is the consensus guess that plants, animals, and fungi diverged from a common ancestor over a billion years ago?

Another interesting bit of trivia is that evidence of retrovirus infections have been found in plant genomes. It had been believed earlier that retrovirus infections were unique to vertebrates. Since retroviruses can shuffle genes between disparate species and since retroviruses can mutate at an extraordinary rate being based on much more volatile RNA instead of DNA this points to an array of possibilities for horizontal interspecies gene flow in the past offering alternative explanations for any number of things previously assumed to be evidence of hereditary gene flow. I couldn't find a whole lot of research on it. It might be a target rich environment for future research grants.

89 Date: 2005-01-16 17:04:03, Link
Author: DaveScot
God (pun intended) I love politics.

Blount County school board, TN okays teaching alternatives to biological evolution.

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Here we go again. TN is in a different Circuit Court of Appeals than Georgia. This is going to take a year or two to make it before the supreme court. Our fearless fundie leader President Bush and his rubber-stamp republican senate will have the USSC packed with right-minded justices by that time so it's really a forgone conclusion which way the cookie is going to crumble.

In the meantime the dopey posturing by anal retentives on both sides is outstanding entertainment for irreverent chuckleheads like me in election off-years.

Carry on.

90 Date: 2005-01-17 09:43:37, Link
Author: DaveScot

Cobb County Board of Education may feel like they've blown enough taxpayer money defending the defacing of taxpayer-purchased textbooks, defaced in order to appease a bunch of anti-science creationists.

The pro-sticker people are taxpayers in their school district. They have as much right as anyone else to participate in the political processes that decide how to spend those taxes.

The legal and scientific guns aimed at the stickers will get much bigger at the appeals court stage.

Possibly. Yesterday I wrote to each member of the Cobb County Board of Education and urged them to create a website asking for donations to support the cost of appeal if such cost was a large issue in their decision. I also said I'd be among the first to contribute. The Clintonista Judge Clarence Cooper needs to get taken down a notch and I'd bet there's millions of people just like me all over these United States willing to pay to have it done.

I'm not a religious person myself but I'm deeply offended when I see attacks made not on ideas but instead on the people who hold them. The first rule taught in Civil Disagreement 101 - "attack ideas not the people who hold them". Attacking the sticker because the people most likely to support it are Christians is anathema to everything the United States stands for. The constitution guarantees that people will not be discriminated against due to religious belief and that's exactly the type of discrimination that's going on here. Judge Clarence Cooper should be removed from the bench if you ask me for his wanton disregard for such a basic civil right as freedom of religion and freedom from persecution for religious beliefs. His job was to make a decision based on prima facie evidence not the supposed religious bias of the people in Cobb County. Judge Clarence Cooper is incompetent.

91 Date: 2005-01-17 16:47:48, Link
Author: DaveScot

If they enter as black-and-white thinkers, we hope they will not leave as such. People who peddle absolute truths will only make our jobs harder.

I agree.

Do you believe mutation/selection is the absolute truth to the origin of life and diversity?

That's a rhetorical question. Think about it outside the box you were taught to think in.

92 Date: 2005-01-18 01:17:33, Link
Author: DaveScot
Actually Great White Wonderbread,

It's about the 1st amendment not using the phrase wall of separation between church and state.

It's about the 1st amendment reading freedom *of* religion not freedom *from* religion.

It's about a majority standing up for its rights.

It's about powers not explicitely granted to the federal gov't reserved for the states and the people.

It's about freedom of speech.

And it's about teaching the *theory* of evolution like it was the *law* of gravity.

93 Date: 2005-01-18 01:48:43, Link
Author: DaveScot
The backlash begins...

"I tried to exercise my basic rights as a citizen to propose a new idea, and school officials responded by suspending normal procedures, publicly attacking my personal religious beliefs, and even threatening to sue me to stop me from speaking out," reported Caldwell. "These are tactics you'd expect in a banana republic, not the state of California."

Unbelievable. There's no civil right in the United States more sacrosanct than freedom from discrimination and persecution due to religious beliefs. If that charge is true someone is going to hang for it.

94 Date: 2005-01-18 02:14:19, Link
Author: DaveScot

By the way, Dave, which Austin school teachers aren't allowed to say Merry Christmas?

Far as I know, all of 'em.

Check this out:

The word "Christmas" hasn't been mentioned on Austin Independant School district website but one time and that was in 2003.

Now check out a search for "winter break"

79 hits

So did you have a Merry Winter Break, GWW? Hope you got the present you wanted under your Holiday Tree. Did you hang a Holiday Stocking on your fireplace? Sing any festive Holiday carols - maybe the classic "Dreaming of a White Holiday"?


95 Date: 2005-01-18 02:17:01, Link
Author: DaveScot
Grey Wolf

I think I will assume tht everything you post is a flame/lie/distortion

Oh gee, that really hurts. I care about your opinion so much and all...

96 Date: 2005-01-19 01:35:21, Link
Author: DaveScot

New Science Book Stickers Evolve After Court Ruling
by Scott Ott

(2005-01-14) -- Scientists credit the Darwinian mechanism of "descent with modification" for the mysterious appearance today of new labels in science textbooks in Cobb County, Georgia.

School officials discovered the new stickers as they prepared to comply with a federal judge's order to remove primitive stickers which called evolution a "theory" rather than a "fact" and encouraged students to study it with an "open mind."

U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper ruled that the old labels could "confuse" public school students, who are not accustomed to thinking critically.

In addition, since the 2,000 parents who initially requested the stickers were "religiously motivated," even though the stickers carry no hint of religion, they're tantamount to a government endorsement of fundamentalist Christianity.

"As with other hate crimes, it's the thought that counts," Judge Cooper wrote.

The lawsuit was filed by six parents and the American Civil Liberties Union after hundreds of atheist and agnostic children read the stickers, became confused and nearly converted to Christianity.

"The district brought in extra psychologists to deal with the crisis, but the damage had already been done," said a spokesman for the ACLU. "The faith that these innocent children once had in a beautiful world created spontaneously by fortunate accidents has been shattered by the brutal, bigoted language of the stickers. The establishment clause of the First Amendment specifically prohibits this kind of government meddling in the free exercise of their faith."

The newly-evolved stickers read as follows: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a fact, not a theory, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with childlike trust, accepted obediently and defended vigorously against the attacks of ignorant monotheists."

"There must have been some sort of favorable random mutation in the soy-based ink," said one unnamed science teacher in explaining the almost-miraculous appearance of the new stickers. "We believe the new version is more fit to survive the natural judicial selection process, if not the legislative process."

97 Date: 2005-01-19 09:43:00, Link
Author: DaveScot
Wayne, you don't seem to know the difference between a computer program and output from a computer program. See if you can find a genetic algorithm to teach you the difference between truffles and pigs that hunt for truffles.

98 Date: 2005-01-19 11:25:51, Link
Author: DaveScot
Could a lobster make a flower?

I dunno. But I bet an amoeba dubia could.

I was idly contemplating the notion of a LUCA with an extremely complex genome that was more or less a superset of everything that has come along since so out of curiosity I wondered what organism (so far) was known to have the largest genome. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that ameoba dubia holds the record with 670 billion base pairs (compare to human genome of 3 billion base pairs).

A very complex universal ancestor that reconfigures itself into different forms for different environments using a subset of its genome would obey the second law of thermodynamics (information entropy, not heat entropy). Aside from obeying the laws of physics as applies to information science this also addresses a number of problems with mutation/selection like the rapid emergence of new species and especially the rapid emergence of new phyla as in the Cambrian explosion. It also explains why once a kind is established (fish, bird, mammal, etc.) it remains that kind (fish, bird, mammal, etc.) forever after regardless of how much time passes for mutation/selection to turn it into something different. It remains that kind because the genomic information for different kinds is no longer a part of it and the law of information entropy requires that once the information is gone it cannot be regained.

This of course begs the question of where the LUCA came from and that may be an exceedingly difficult question but that's the breaks, folks. As Plato said "follow the evidence, wherever it leads". The evidence and natural law points to life on earth starting with a complex LUCA that has evolved into simpler forms to fit a changing environment.

99 Date: 2005-01-19 15:47:41, Link
Author: DaveScot
The C-value paradox.

Now see, if they'd teach the weaknesses of neo-Darwinism I wouldn't be discovering the C-value paradox at this late date. If I wasn't so damn curious and open minded as to question neo-Darwinism I wouldn't have happened across the c-value paradox. In point of fact the more reading one does about genetic evolutoin the more problems one runs into with the mutation/selection theory that attempts to explain it all.

Could someone point me to the fossil record of the first amoeba? I was under the impression they didn't fossilize very well so I have no bloody idea how one can state when they first appeared in the "fossil record".

100 Date: 2005-01-19 16:24:09, Link
Author: DaveScot
Jim says "kinda charming when he managed to channel various 19th Century biologists by putting ameobas at the root of the tree of life"

Yeah but I put 'em there because of high potential for genome complexity whereas the 19th century dudes put 'em there because they appeared to be the simple blobs of jelly in primitive microscopes.

So far I don't care for any of the theories I've read to account for the c-value paradox which are mostly derived from some theory about junk DNA. The problem with that is DNA replication is a very expensive item in the cellular energy budget. It takes two orders of magnitude more energy for an amoeba to dup its DNA than for a human cell. Fitness demands an explanation for why all the energy is spent. Duplication of useless trash at such a high energy cost is a poor answer. Preserving a library of information that might be needed in the future is a good answer. For instance, if a big enough asteroid hits the earth and makes a new asteroid belt one of the few things that might survive is spores from an amoeba and if those spores contain all the information needed to make everything from trees to the dogs that piss on them well than that makes good sense.

It does however make it far more difficult to accept the proposition that a library containing all the complexity required to build everything from viruses to human evolved accidently in a primordial soup with only 500 million years and no proof testing of the instructions. It probably means that the first cell came to the earth from somewhere else and all the information in its DNA library was tested somewhere else.

Only by allowing the possibility of purpose and design can these possibilities be contemplated.

Before I go searching - has anyone or any group tried developing genome compression algorithms that measure the amount of information entropy in fully sequenced genomes? That would provide a valuable clue in exploring the c-value paradox - for instance if a sequenced amoeba genome could be compressed by a margin far larger than a human genome it would be a good indicator of how much is really junk and how much isn't.

Offhand, from a cursory glance at the c-values for different organisms, it would be reasonable to try correlating potential for morphologic diversity to size of genome. Has anyone bothered plotting c-values into an evolutionary tree?

101 Date: 2005-01-19 19:07:30, Link
Author: DaveScot
It doesn't make sense on a survival of the fittest POV to carry the overhead of junk DNA. It doesn't make sense to carry any burden that isn't strictly required for reproductive success. Nature doesn't care if any or all life ends tomorrow or a trillion years from now. It's all about a selfish gene. Or so Dawkins would have you believe. There are all sorts of problems that come up when purpose and design are assumed away at the beginning. If one assumes purpose and design are a possibility then elegant explanations become evident. Rapid speciation - no problem - in the absence of a requirement for serendiptous beneficial mutations to accumulate over geologic timespans contrary to law of information entropy, if one assumes that the evolutionary record we see began from a template library of morphologic solutions to anticipated problems, then rapid speciation is easy to account for - all the necessary information was already in the genome and it's a much simpler manner of expression rather than fortuituous creation. Weird c-values that have no correlation to expressed complexity of the organism - no problem - some organisms have a larger measure of the original template library and hence a greater ability to adapt to an environment changing so rapidly it's catastrophic for other organisms. The template library, which is an unneeded burden for the selfish gene that only cares about whether it can reproduce in the next hour or next year, becomes a huge asset for guaranteeing that life continues for millions and billions of years. Indeed, the morphology that leads to the emergent quality of intelligence and tool use might have been an anticipated need for life to continue after the earth becomes a cinder because not even an amoeba spore is going to survive when the sun turns the inner solar system into a giant autoclave.

Now back to the c-value paradox.

Not much progress has been made on the c-value paradox since the mid-1970s it seems. You evolution boys kinda stalled out on a lot of the gaps while I was preoccupied inventing the technology in the computers we're using to talk about it today. But hey, at least you managed to take a page from geology to figure out that the 1953 Miller-Urey experiment was based on bogus assumptions. That's progress, I guess...

Here's some interesting reading on genomic compression by a young Dr. David Krakauer (Oxford 1995 PhD in Evolutionary Theory, now working at Princeton) whose research interests "lies at the interface of evolutionary biology, applied mathematics and computer science". Good stuff. He's a little weak on the computer science side of things but he's got some good ideas. He's tending to want to take what he knows about genetic evolution and apply it to computers. I don't think that's going to be very fruitful. Computers are already evolving millions of times faster than anything biological. I think the more practical track is to take what we've learned from the artifical evolution of computers and apply it to biological evolution in search of answers to some of the more intractible questions.

Anyhow, here's an interesting paper he wrote on genomic compression. It's about varying c-values and natural genomic compresssion like overlapped reading frames, whereas I was really looking for artifical genomic compression algorithm to compare c-value relative to information entropy, but it's all I found so far looking for anything anyone has done on genome compression.

Just for kicks, I wonder how well pkzip works on a fully sequenced genome. Somebody must've tried that at least for the obvious archival reasons. You should get at least a 4:1 compression ratio for going from 8-bit ascii encoding to 2-bit ACTG encoding. After that it gets more interesting. Pkzip (tweaked LZW algorithm as I recall) isn't optimized for idiosyncracies in genome strings but it should still pick up some gains.

102 Date: 2005-01-19 20:08:30, Link
Author: DaveScot
Great White Hope manages to peck out:

Fun with Google

"David Scott Springer" "liar"

"David Scott Springer" "stupid"

For even more fun substitute "George W. Bush" for "David Scott Springer". Being called stupid and liar by insignificant anonymous twits like Great White Hope doesn't seem to limit one's possibilities. People just consider the source and you are nobody. I understand why you don't let anyone know your name. If I were you I wouldn't either.


103 Date: 2005-01-19 21:06:59, Link
Author: DaveScot

Dawkins isn't held in high regard? Interesting. What's it take to earn high regard in your book, a Nobel prize?

Just because you don't understand the function of any given bit of DNA doesn't make it not required for reproductive success anymore than not knowing the roadmap for abiogenesis makes the first living thing a product of divine creation. I'm surprised you'd use the same logic the Discovery crowd uses. Well maybe I shouldn't be surprised since you're all scientists. Maybe scientists and engineers are different species...

Since you insist I'm missing the entire point of evolution please tell me what you think the point is. Frankly I think it's you that's lost the plot, not me.

So how much of the amoeba dubia genome is non-functional junk? You speak as if you know the answer without a doubt. You must have completely sequenced it, figured out what each bit of it does, and kept it a secret.

Your link to the "progress" made since 1970s in understanding C-value paradox starts out with

both the origins and reasons for the clearly non-random distribution of this variation remain unclear. Several theories
have been proposed to explain this 'C-value enigma' (heretofore known as the 'C-value paradox'), each of
which can be described as either a 'mutation pressure' or 'optimal DNA' theory. Mutation pressure theories
consider the large portion of non-coding DNA in eukaryotic genomes as either 'junk' or ' selfish ' DNA and
are important primarily in considerations of the origin of secondary DNA. Optimal DNA theories differ from
mutation pressure theories by emphasizing the strong link between DNA content and cell and nuclear

It was unclear in the 1970's and it remains unclear today. What progress has been made - a few obvious theories with no consensus versus no theories with no consensus? That's not progress in my book. I said at the start that the theories were mostly based on junk DNA. Like that's a tough one to come up with. Duh. Equally obvious is selection pressure to make it smaller. Duh again. I already explained that there's a high energy cost associated with DNA replication which you pooh-poohed out of hand so I guess you're aligning yourself the "it's all just junk" theory.

My explanation for c-value is not remotely plausible, eh. Which god of truth died and made you the arbiter of plausibility? It's completely plausible if you don't rule out the possibility of purpose and design. Robust designs anticipate problems. That's the benefit of planning. Nature doesn't plan ahead. Nature is REactive. Intelligent design is PROactive. If there's anything in the genome of any organism that's anticipatory of a problem that has not happened to that organism in the course of time it's evidence of design. The more complex and the more numerous the solutions to anticipated problems the stronger evidence. Accumulated mutations addressing a big problem ahead of time by sheer accident is bloody unlikely.

Unfortunately for everyone DNA doesn't fossilize so we can only guess about the characteristics of ancient genomes. Technically, according to y'all who object to ID because it makes no falsifiable predictions, that makes ANY theories about ancient DNA not falsifiable so it should all be deposited in the pseudo-science receptacle... fortunately most people don't insist on such a strict standard but it sucks when there's a double standard - one for neo-Darwinism and a different one for anything critical of it.

104 Date: 2005-01-19 21:27:08, Link
Author: DaveScot
Great White Wonder writes:

I'm just one of the few that's crazy enough to think that underneath that thick pink skin of yours is a decent human being that might wake up if he's slapped hard enough.

I been slapped by far better than you.


why do you guys respond to Dave Scott?

Among my many talents is knowing how to push the buttons that make people respond. The core principle is self-aggrandizement. Everyone wants to put a braggart in his place. All you need is a skin impervious to the inevitable flamage from tools like Great White and/or certain kind of pyromaniacal glee obtained by watching him burn. The remainder is often instructive.

I mean, he invented the modern computer, for Pete's sake!

That's right. And if Al Gore hadn't said it first I'd lay claim to inventing the internet too!

105 Date: 2005-01-19 22:21:03, Link
Author: DaveScot

Thank you. I hadn't put much time into the search and I have to stop and read what I do find as I go. I made it to the RepeatMasker but was disappointed in that it was library based on a list of mammalian genes and known short sequences, worked only on short subsets, and had few sequenced examples. A lot of the other stuff I found was based on rolling window compression (frame start overlap I think the bioinformatics guys called it) used mostly by viruses and bacteria (where size REALLY counts) to compact their code. Since coding genes are such a small part of most of the big c-value genomes frame overlay of protein coding genes isn't going to be significant as far as compression.

Ya gotta admit, there ain't much there even adding what you found. The authors of one tried pkzip and after the 4:1 compression I said would be the minimum it actually EXPANDED the file size instead of compressing it. That's a friggin' difficult trick to make PKZIP produce a bigger file. It means that the very minimal library overhead (PKZIP assembles a customized library on the fly) is larger than the excess entropy.
Of course as I mentioned LZW is a general purpose compressor and better results can be obtained by tweaking for certain types of redundancies known in advance to be resident in certain types of data sets. I wrote some real-time voice compression software a dozen years ago (the challenge was doing it on the fly with a limited amount of CPU bandwidth) and spent a long time staring at digitized voice prints looking for compressible patterns that couldn't be discerned by general purpose compression algorithms or were too computationally-intensive for my application. There's a LOT of money in the smallest improvments in voice compression - imagine how much money AT&T saves with a 0.1% improvement in compression - it seems small but multiplied by the untold billions of dollars in their voice switching capacity it's BIG money. But I digress...

The other problem with DNA sequence compression is the limited number of fully sequenced genomes they have to work with. Most of the fully sequenced genomes are tiny c-values - bacteria and viruses. These are presumably already highly compressed for reasons practical to the organism itself. Good sized ones like h.sapiens fully sequenced are as rare as hen's teeth for reasons practical to the budgets of the organisms manning the gene sequencing machines.

RepeatMasker however compressed the human genome by some 50% but it's really highly tailored to human DNA. Individual tailoring to other organisms like lillies and amoebas with genomes orders of magnitude larger than humans isn't practical and probably not even relevant. And how long it will be before we even have those genomes sequenced so compression can be attempted might be a very long time.

The most recent DNA tweaked program (not optimized with a mammalian library like RepeatMasker) I noted from your link

obtained only marginally better compression than basic LZW. But again, they're not taking a gigantic sequence like amoeba dubia either.

Now I'm off to search for a plot of c-values on an evolutionary tree. I don't know the method of obtaining a c-value (I'd guess it's isolate the DNA and simply weigh it) but there's a lot more of them to work with than fully sequenced genomes. Surely someone has tried looking at them plotted onto an evolutionary tree to see if any patterns are evident...

106 Date: 2005-01-19 23:36:57, Link
Author: DaveScot
Questions for you dudes what gots all the answers:

What stretch of human dna accounts for a newborn:

1) opening its eyes when awake
2) closing its eyes to sleep
3) crying when it is hungry
4) cooing when it is comfortable
5) knowing how to coordinate all muscles used in nursing

I gots a suggestion for yas. It probably isn't in the few percent of the genome that contains DNA that codes for proteins or the surrounding areas that control gene expression.

Now unless y'all want to embrace the idea that complex instinctive behaviors are imparted when the great bearded thunderer blesses newborns of all sorts with a soul I'd guess that somewhere in the DNA is a vast amount of information for which you don't have clue #1 about.

So please, in the future, when discussing junk DNA, please don't make me laugh by pretending you know more than a tiny fraction of what's really going on there. Saying you can see the tip of the iceberg is a vast overestimate.

So did you guys ever hear the joke about the pig farmer and the monkey?

There was once a pig farmer with a pet monkey. The farmer wanted to win the livestock show by having the largest pig. So he figured if he put a cork in the pig's ass it would quickly bloat up to monumental proportions. But, being a forward looking guy, he knew he'd need to remove the cork after the show. So he trained his monkey to pull corks out of bottles. In a few weeks the monkey was a cork-pulling fool. The monkey made cork pulling motions even when there were no corks around. The farmer won the show with the biggest pig anyone'd ever seen. Upon returning he set about emptying the pig. He got a good distance away and let the monkey go. The monkey, which was so motivated and well trained he was making cork pulling motions constantly, walked over and did his thing. The sh*t flew everywhere, even covering the farmer. When the dust settled the farmer was rolling on the ground laughing. A neighbor, who'd watched the whole affair, walked over and said "You're covered in pig sh*t. What's so darn funny about that?". The farmer, laughing so hard he was crying, said "You should have seen that monkey trying to put the cork back in."

The pig reminds me of Darwin's "black box", the simple blob of protoplasmic jelly he thought was the cell. The black box that didn't get opened for a hundred years after "Origin of Species" was published. The cork is the lid on the box. The creationists are the farmer. The sh*t is the complexity of the living cell. I'll leave it to y'all to guess who the monkey reminds me of...


107 Date: 2005-01-23 05:36:29, Link
Author: DaveScot
There are four seasons. They are marked by solar equinoxes and solstices. The date and time of these do not vary depending where on the earth you happen to be. O'Reilly was right.

This is taught in sixth grade science class.

No wonder I'm having a hard time getting through to you boys.

108 Date: 2005-01-23 07:10:25, Link
Author: DaveScot
Science seeks to explain how the natural world is ordered.

Religion seeks to explain why the natural world is ordered.

The distinction between natural and supernatural is best contained within the context of the following quote:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." --Arthur C. Clarke

109 Date: 2005-01-23 07:34:22, Link
Author: DaveScot

Equinoxes and solstices are very old discoveries in the science of astronomy predating the United States by thousands of years. They are not cultural, they are not regional, they are astronomical facts. A season is the period of time between these. There are four of them and as long as the earth revolves about the sun and its axis is tilted there will remain 2 equinoxes, 2 solstices, and four periods of time between them which we call seasons in the english language.

We could not have chosen them to be different anymore than we can choose the geometry of the solar system. Seasons are not arbitrary.

I didn't defend O'Reilly's contention that 24 hours in a day is science so I fail to see why you mentioned it in your response to me.

110 Date: 2005-01-23 09:25:11, Link
Author: DaveScot

1st chapter, 2nd paragraph of "The Origin of Species" Darwin says

But I am strongly inclined to suspect that the most frequent cause of variability may be attributed to the male and female reproductive elements having been affected prior to the act of conception.

In other words, he believed that acquired charateristics were heritable. A fish that exercised its fins as legs would produce fish with more leglike fins. Enough generations of fish exercising their fins as legs would result in fish with legs.

It's pretty much unanimous now that acquired traits are not heritable. Random mutation/selection replaced Darwin's theory and is commonly called neo-Darwinism.

The big difference is that Darwin's theory posited a PURPOSEFUL method of altering genetic material. Under his theory evolution could proceed at a rapid pace because it didn't rely on selection to preserve the exceedingly rare beneficial mutation. His theory was that beneficial mutations occured as a result of need, not as a result of serendipity. Darwin used selection to explain why nature isn't awash in living transitional creatures. He explained that once a need for variation came about through environmental change that the variations would happen piecemeal until the need was met and then natural selection would eliminate the less fit transitional forms. Natural selection works a whole lot faster and more reliably to eliminate marked weakness than it does to preserve marginal fitness.

Since Darwin's day we found out that "reproductive elements" aren't changed by exercise. When that mechanism of variability was falsified, random/mutation selection (neo-Darwinism) replaced Darwin's theory of the primary variability mechanism. Random mutation/selection works much more slowly and that is its Achilles Heel. The punctuated equilibrium observed in the fossil record along with the biochemical complexity of the evolutionary changes is putting fatal constraints on mutation/selection being the primary means of evolutionary change.

The long and the short of it is that we're now back to groping around for consensus on a mechanism that can better explain common descent. Hypotheses abound. ID is one hypothesis. Several here have admitted that mutation/selection is getting weaker in explanatory power. The Discovery Institute is pushing to have that weakness exposed to primary school students in biology classes. That's a perfectly legitimate position.

The problem scientists are having with that is the absence of a good alternative to mutation/selection creates a vacuum they fear will be filled by opportunistic biblical creationists. I think that's unfounded paranoia. Just because mutation/selection is a theory in crisis doesn't mean massive numbers 14 year-olds are going to start preaching Genesis instead. What's more dangerous IMO is treating bright kids like mushrooms - keep them in the dark and feed them manure. If you try to hide ID from them they'll find out about it anyhow and then wonder why its hidden like the proverbial forbidden fruit.

111 Date: 2005-01-23 09:49:19, Link
Author: DaveScot

The judge found that the disclaimer-stickers hurt biology education and did not foster critical thinking, despite the board's best intentions.

Really. What did he base that finding upon? I can tell you what he didn't base it on - objective test scores. In fact he based it nothing obejctive at all. It was a purely subjective finding with no empirical basis. That's bad science and bad judicial conduct. Tsk, tsk.

In fact, he found that the disclaimer-stickers hurt education in such a way that only sectarian interests (creationism et al.) benefited. This caused a violation of the Lemon test.

Again, not a single bit of empirical evidence to support that. Judge Clarence Cooper imagined he was an average Cobb County resident and then found that in his average mind the sticker sent a message that made political outsiders of evolutionists and political insiders out of creationists.

In fact what the sticker does is makes creationists the tiniest bit more politically equal to evolutionists. Evolution is the ONLY theory of life taught in primary school biology class despite a huge majority that object to it being the only theory exposed. Clearly the political insiders are the evolutionists. The creationists are the political outsiders and the sticker with langauge that doesn't come close to mentioning any religion, makes them just the tiniest less of an outsider. And they'll remain the outsiders as long as creation theory gets less time than evolution theory.

The decision is neither activist nor bizarre. All Lemon prongs must be satisfied, not just one.

The decision is certainly activist and bizarre. Judge Clarence Cooper is a Clinton appointee which by itself makes him one of the usual suspects for liberal judicial activism. His decision was subjective, his logic tortured, and the result was indeed bizarre.

112 Date: 2005-01-23 09:56:07, Link
Author: DaveScot

The "Skeptic" glares at the "Believer" and says, "You elitists think you know everything but all you really want to do is push your gay agenda on everyone else."

And then a tiger sprang out of the bushes and disemboweled the "Skeptic."

Was the tiger gay?

You also forgot to somehow connect the author with racism or slavery.

Far be it from me to point out your preoccupation with race and sexual preference of course...

113 Date: 2005-01-23 10:30:37, Link
Author: DaveScot
I read the entire original finding and many analyses by third parties. I understand how Judge Cooper arrived at his finding - through subjectivity and liberal bias. I'm not the only person to read it that way either.

You know, Reed, if you actually read and understood the the Federalist papers and the constitution of the United States you wouldn't be agreeing with Judge Cooper.

114 Date: 2005-01-23 10:46:26, Link
Author: DaveScot
Do you guys carry around signs that say "Will Argue for Food?"

Jeebus! I can't believe you're arguing that solstices and equinoxes are arbitrary.

O'Reilly said there are four seasons and they're scientific facts. He's exactly right. The four seasons are delimited by astronomical certainties not by variable weather patterns. That's sixth grade science. Get over it. Or go back to the sixth grade and learn it over again.

115 Date: 2005-02-03 02:14:58, Link
Author: DaveScot
And remember, on Panda's Thumb there aren't four seasons. That's just some arbitrary definition of "season" according to y'all. Bill O'Reilly was assailed for stating that four seasons are a scientific fact. I was assailed for stating that Bill was correct.

Evidently at "Windows on the Universe", a link to which Nick Matzke points us to learn about annual deviation in distance from earth to sun, they're supporting that unpanda-like heresy that there are four seasons. They've even got a lovely picture illustrating the equinoxes and solstices I tried to tell all you chuckleheads were what delimits the four seasons.

What the heck?!


116 Date: 2005-02-03 02:53:52, Link
Author: DaveScot

Before scientists engage the public (scientists aren't a segment of the public???) they're going to have to engage with the truth first.

For instance, when a member of the public asks "Has anyone actually observed random mutations causing the emergence of a new order?" you have to reply "No" which of course is the true answer. If you prevaricate you lose credibility.

Or if they ask "Isn't it true that observed random mutations have never resulted in anything more than variation within a genus?" you have to answer "Yes".

So Steve, has anyone actually observed random mutations causing the emergence of a new order?

117 Date: 2005-02-07 00:46:18, Link
Author: DaveScot
I sure hope this nonsense isn't being done on the taxpayer's nickel. We aren't paying people at the Smithsonian to engage in this kind of silliness. I hope for everyone's sake that no one is using federally funded facilities or equipment to participate in this ideological flame war.

118 Date: 2005-02-07 01:32:42, Link
Author: DaveScot
Pardon me, but I do believe these digital organisms were created by an intelligent agent called a "computer software engineer".

I'd also remind you that the universe hosting these digital organisms was also created by an intellegent agent called a "computer hardware engineer".

Let me know when you boys get some organisms going that do not require an intelligent agent to get the ball rolling in the first place.

Thanks in advance.

119 Date: 2005-02-07 02:19:44, Link
Author: DaveScot
I wonder if the little digital organisms are arguing amongst themselves whether they were created or are the result of mutation + natural selection.

Should we tell them truth?


I find it difficult to take this seriously.

120 Date: 2005-02-07 02:53:04, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ok Marek, seriously now.

You're saying that if I offer a hypothesis that the original cell which was ancestor to all contained all the genetic information required to build all the major body plans and that, like ontogeny, phylogeny unfolded by the gradual expression (derepression) of genetic information that was already there, you wouldn't have a problem with it?

I'm sorry Marek, but neo-Darwinists DO take issue with the origin of life. The scenario I gave you above easily fits all the observed evidence of evolution much better than mutation/selection. But it begs the question of how the information was preformed in that first cell. Neo-Darwinists won't tolerate that because if the information was preformed that means anticipation and anticipation is the hallmark of intelligence.

Richard Dawkins was absolutely correct when he said that Darwin made it possible for atheists to be intellectually fulfilled. This is all about ideology, not science. Science is about the truth. Science is about following the evidence wherever it leads.

Here's just such an evolutionary hypothesis given by a guy that's had a PhD in biology for 50 years and is emeritus professor of biology at University of Vermont.

121 Date: 2005-02-07 07:08:56, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ontogeny is predictable? HAR HAR HAR

Only after you watch it happen is it predictable.

What part of the genome codes for instinctual behavior like a newborn baby's rooting response or its ability to coordinate God only knows how many muscles to nurse and swallow or the autonomic work done by the rest of the digestive tract to get mommy's milk where it needs to go? How would you go about predicting that without first seeing it? Nobody has a clue.

Point mutation exists, sure. That it accumulates to cause the emergence of new phyla is pure unadulterated speculation without a shred of real evidence. It's extrapolation most extreme. It boggles the mind how many people accept that fairy tale with blind faith. You can't even demonstrate to me that evolution of new higher taxa is even happening anymore today. I know, I know, it's too slow to observe in real time. Maybe little green men from Mars that control tectonic plate movement are too slow to observe in real time too. Gimme a break. Or rather, gimme the facts and keep the guesswork for Discover Magazine subscribers.

122 Date: 2005-02-07 08:12:12, Link
Author: DaveScot
Behe is, of course, without a doubt, correct in everything he wrote in that article. ID has been maligned by a horde of intellectually dishonest academic elitists. Any of your own that dare to use common sense and empirical evaluation of evidence (or lack thereof) supporting (or falsifying) the all-powerful mechanism of mutation + natural selection are ridiculed, made into pariahs, their careers ruined. It is little wonder that so few will say with they think in this arena. Fewer than those with the first name Steve actually have a dog in the hunt so they remain silent. Glasnost came to the Soviet Union but has yet to arrive on American university campuses when it comes to the Church of Darwin.

That neo-Darwinian ideologues are in a state of discombobululation over the ID movement is quite understandable. I'd be discombobulated too, not knowing whether to first call my lawyer to sue a public school or wind my blindly made watch, if my most cherished beliefs were being systematically disemboweled in front of a cheering public.

Freud, Marx, and Darwin. The three pillars of western modernism. Two frauds down and one to go. It shan't be long now.

123 Date: 2005-02-07 11:25:22, Link
Author: DaveScot
Okay, that last comment of mine was harsh. I get a bit frustrated.

I'm just not ready to abandon the Copernican Principle quite yet.

It demands we assume intelligent life like us is not special. We're already successfully tinkering with our own genome and those of other organisms. That demonstrates intelligent design at the genetic and epigenetic level is possible. The question then becomes are we the first kids on the block to be able to do this. Copernican Principle says we should assume not. We aren't special.

Some very fascinating science mostly sponsered by NASA trying to get a better handle on how Copernican our situation here really is. And of course there's SETI which has only scratched the surface of an exhaustive search for intelligence elsewhere in the causally connected universe. Mabye the overwhelming appearance of design is exactly what it looks like. How weird would that be? Not very. Copernicus isn't knocked down by it.

What really boogles the mind is coming to grips with the idea that intelligent agents in labcoats, some with the first name Steve, appear likely to become (if they aren't already) the primary drivers of hominid and many other organisms' evolution on this planet. Practical, productive genetic engineering is here now. Natural evolution is being displaced by directed evolution as we speak. If unnatural evolution isn't in our past it's in our present and future.

Suggesting a 9th grader read "Of Pandas and People" is SOOOO trivial in the big scheme of things. You have to realize the vast majority won't bother because it's too much like extra work that isn't being graded. I worry more about them watching "The Matrix" too many times and believing that. I worry about ME believing that! Just the admission that there might be some truth in ID is benign and not an unreasonable position.

124 Date: 2005-02-07 11:52:27, Link
Author: DaveScot

I am still waiting for someone on this blog to admit that he or she is stupid enough that, if that sticker had been on their high school biology text, they would have ended up teaching YEC at Liberty University.

Ain't that the truth...

Russel - the science side is all academic to me. Heddle wrapped that up neatly with the quote above. No 15 year old I know (and I've raised two of my own well beyond that point) is going to be effected by anything Dover or Cobb or Kansas or wherever has done or attempted to do. That said, I object in principle whenever activist judges and overeaching federal agencies interfere with duly enacted laws through tortured interpretation of the constitution. ID is sufficiently devoid, prima facie, of any religious favoritism that rises to level 1st amendment establishment clause. In fact I believe the stronger case is that banning it is direct violation of the freedom clause. It'll live or die by its own merits and in any case isn't going to have any detrimental effect on science. All significance is political.

125 Date: 2005-02-07 13:07:16, Link
Author: DaveScot
But then why not use that rationale for other branches of science?

Address that when and if it happens. In the meantime disembark the slippery slope.

Yeah, but The Matrix is sold as science fiction not science fact - there's a big difference. Anyone who truly believes that The Matrix is reality is rightly written off as - to put it kindly - not quite right in the head.

The underlying idea of the matrix, that we really don't have absolute knowledge of the nature of reality, is not science fiction but an ages old philosophical issue that any good agnostic will shrug off as a possibility then focus on something more practical. I find it impossible to be anything but agnostic at the end of the day.

But if I have to choose between just two options I'd rather have my neighbor's kid believe there might be a bearded thunderer that will hold him accountable for his actions than one who thinks nothing really matters because life has no purpose. Leave the door for purpose open. It does no harm and it might do some good.

126 Date: 2005-02-07 13:34:12, Link
Author: DaveScot
Most atheists are moral absolutists just as much as Christians. We just have a different basis for our morals.

Can you direct to me to the authority which establishes these moral absolutes?

In return I will direct you to the preambles of all 50 state constitutions of the United States which explicitely claim that a supernatural agent of some sort is the ultimate source of basic human rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and that gov'ts created by men exist solely to protect these rights. I don't think it's a good idea for science to reject the notion of a higher authority as a matter of doctrinal materialism. Evolution, or at least what of it is taught to high school students by fiat, is not leaving room for doubt. The Cobb sticker and/or the Dover 1-minute schpiel are very reasonable ways to bridge the ideological divide. Standing on principle is noble but compromise is practical.

127 Date: 2005-02-07 13:55:23, Link
Author: DaveScot
I'm curious then how use justify following our nation's laws which are derived from the people and not some higher authority.

But U.S. laws ARE derived from a higher authority. I went to the trouble of reading every preamble to every state constition and they all call out a higher authority of some sort as the wellspring of basic human rights. The Declaration of Independence identifies the violation of those same rights as the just cause for the 13 colonies to rebel against English rule. What God giveth let no man take away. It's an important concept in our constitutionally limited republic.

128 Date: 2005-02-07 14:06:48, Link
Author: DaveScot
Which brings us the next issue which is whether such beliefs need to be coddled in public schools by teaching lies and misleading stories about "scientific" controversies so that believers who are parents can allegedly indoctrinate their children free of any "secular humanist interference".

When you're old enough to be a parent of a 9th grader maybe you'll feel differently.

"If you're young and not a liberal you have no heart. If you're old and not a conservative you have no brain."

If liberals could just admit that mutation/selection is an important part of their political agenda it would make things a lot clearer. ;-)

129 Date: 2005-02-07 14:17:35, Link
Author: DaveScot

Agreed that the level of civility on PT comments is suprisingly high given the evident lack of moderation. This in itself is proof that miracles are real.

130 Date: 2005-02-07 14:26:55, Link
Author: DaveScot
Joe Shelby

Did you find ANY state constitution that doesn't mention a supernatural entity of some sort? I'll grant there's niggling ambiguity in a few about the role of the supernatural but in the majority there's none.

If there's not at least an implicit appeal to higher authority why mention a supernatural entity at all?

131 Date: 2005-02-07 14:40:40, Link
Author: DaveScot

Agnostics acknowledge the possibility of a bearded thunderer. There's no inconsistency in my position. If the bearded thunderer is confined to a box where all that flows out of it is natural human rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness I don't find that at all threatening. It's an ideology that will cause no harm and make more people happy than it makes unhappy. Why stifle it? Materialist principles? Spare me. Only a tiny minority cling for dear life to dogmatic materialist principles and I don't intend to pander to it. I care more about democratic principles.

132 Date: 2005-02-07 14:57:38, Link
Author: DaveScot
The only authority upon which governance is justified is we the people. Kind of makes your claim hard to maintain, no?

Not at all.

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

What part of "endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights" does anyone think ambiguous?

133 Date: 2005-02-07 15:13:06, Link
Author: DaveScot
everyone recognizes that it's just a sort of "ceremonial deism",

The whole state of Ohio was polled on that and it was 100% (everyone) recognizes it's ceremonial? Sounds like Saddam's last election results.

You'll forgive me if I reject your 100% consensus out of hand I hope.

134 Date: 2005-02-07 15:23:05, Link
Author: DaveScot

To perpetuate the principles of free government, insure justice to all, preserve peace, promote the interest and happiness of the citizen and of the family, and transmit to posterity the enjoyment of liberty, we the people of Georgia, relying upon the protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution.

I wonder why they need to rely on the protection and guidance of Almighty God?

Oh yeah, that's right. It's ceremonial. Probably everyone in Georgia agreed it was ceremonial. I surrender. LOL

135 Date: 2005-02-09 04:36:50, Link
Author: DaveScot
Great White Wonder

You and your incivility don't fit in here. Why not do the right thing and either grow up or take a hike?

And how many children did you save by believing that mutation/selection is the mechanism behind macroevolution? Spare me. That has absolutely no bearing on any practical applications.

136 Date: 2005-02-09 04:52:52, Link
Author: DaveScot
The fear you boys have of even the mention of ID in a one-minute advisory statement to biology students is it might make them wonder about the appearance of design and if anyone gets it into their head to check out just how much of an appearance that is they're going to get an inkling of just how complex the machinery of life is.

The appearance of design that Dawkins disputed has in the last 20 years has become an overwhelming appearance of design. You know it, I know it, and you're all afraid everyone is going to know it. Most people do not put ideological materialism ahead of common sense. If they see something with the overwhelming appearance of design they're going to believe it is a design until proven otherwise. And that's the sticking point. There's no proof it isn't a design. It's not a falsifiable concept.

Stop fighting it. You're just giving yourselves a bad name in the eyes of the public by such zealous behavior that you won't even allow a stupid sticker in a backwoods biology text. Geeze Louise. Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill - this takes the cake. I wonder how much good could have been done if all the energy over this had been put to better use.

137 Date: 2005-02-09 05:02:10, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ed Darrel

One of my daughters is taking Biology 101 this semester at Austin Community College.

Imagine my delight when I found out there was a writing assignment wherein the students have to compare and contrast standard evolutionary theory with intelligent design.

If you think this isn't being taught anywhere you have another think coming.

138 Date: 2005-02-09 05:13:53, Link
Author: DaveScot
What's to teach in intelligent design?

ID Lesson one:

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's probably a duck.

ID Lesson two:

If it looks like a design and acts like a design it's probably a design.

End of ID lessons.

Big deal.

139 Date: 2005-02-09 05:28:57, Link
Author: DaveScot

The problem with abortion on demand is it cheapens human life. It reduces something precious to something disposable. Another problem is it discourages personal accountability for one's decisions. Why bother worrying about pregnancy when you can just kill any child that starts growing to spare the parents responsibility for their actions. And it's not really a human being with a life ahead of it, it's just a fetus and they're cheap. And it would probably have a bad life because it's unwanted. Rationalize, cheapen, escape responsibility. That's no basis for civilization.

The first argument, cheapening of life, can be applied to unbending materialism in the origin of life. Hey, it's all just a cosmic accident that doesn't mean anything. The universe doesn't care if shoot my classmates. The universe cares about nothing, especially me, so why should I care about the universe or anything in it?

That's why the same crowd that opposes abortion tends to also oppose materialist evolution being taught as undeniable fact.

140 Date: 2005-02-09 06:02:50, Link
Author: DaveScot

I've been designing computer hardware and software most of my adult life. Before that it was radio and TV. I soldered together my first ham radio in the 1960s. Very little that I can think of in modern electronics was designed with QT in mind. GPS uses general relativity, which might be first for relativity & electronics. Flash ROM was designed based upon quantum tunneling which is probably the first deliberate use of QM effect in a computer. Tunneling microscopy, SQUID, there's some but I wouldn't say a whole lot. The fabrication technology to bring feature sizes down into the realm where quantum effect is relevant is recent. It's mostly just plain old ohm's law and wave propagation just like Newtonian physics got us to the moon.

On the other hand, I can't think of any practical result the concept of mutation/selection driving macroevolution has brought about. Microevolution, sure thing. That's relevant and practical because it's happening right now not millions/billions year old history that doesn't repeat itself. That's what explains things like bacterial resistance to antibiotics. But unless I've missed something antibiotic resistant bacteria are still bacteria. No macroevolution occured there.

So what practical difference does it make what mechanism brought about the first cell 4 billion years ago and what practical difference does it make what specific mechanism turned single celled organisms into a hundred phyla in the Cambrian Explosion? Life still works the same now no matter how it came to be.

141 Date: 2005-02-09 06:16:32, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ralph Jones

If you don't think "evolution" cares about abiogenesis just try out the hypothesis that the first cell was a result of design and there was no design input from that point forward.

Evolutionists care very much about that the origin of that first cell was materialist.

And ID proposes nothing testable? How about we assume that the first cell was a design and it contained all the preformed information necessary to diversify itself in response to various challenges from the environment.

What would that predict? I should think one prediction is that we'd see the genomic information in extant critters whose ancestors had never expressed that information. Let's take the easter lily for example. Its genome is some 190 billion base pairs long. Seems kind of excessive for a flower when 3 billion base pairs makes a human being, wouldn't you say? I wonder if in all of that huge storage capacity of the water lily there's some animal design information in there that was never expressed in a plant. Or how about amoeba dubia with 670 billion base pairs. That's a lot of base pairs for a silly little amoeba. That's a lot of baggage. That much DNA causes reproduction to take a lot longer. Natural selection it seems should have pruned that down unless there's something buried in there that's critical. Maybe that amoeba has all the information in it needed to build a water lily - or a mammal - if the proper challenges arise.

So there's a major prediction for the design argument. We should be able to find anticipatory information in the genome of organisms that have never needed or used that information. Anticipation is the unmistakable hallmark of intelligence and evidence of it should be rather unambiguous and well within the reasonable bounds of discovery.

142 Date: 2005-02-09 06:55:08, Link
Author: DaveScot
Mutation + natural selection being the driver of higher taxonomic diversity is about as important to practical applications in life science as the origin of the element silicon is to me in the practical application of semiconductors. It doesn't matter to me whether silicon was formed in supernovae or if God created it 6000 years ago ex nihilo and sprinkled it on the earth like fairy dust. It doesn't matter how it got here. It works the same in practical applications either way.

I really want to hear one of you tell me with a straight face that you need to know that mutation/selection and not design turned protists into plants in order to advance medicine, or genetically corn to fix its own nitrogen, or find a new antibiotic, or anything. I want to hear it. How does it effect the price of tea in china, so to speak. I've an open mind but it isn't open to malarky.

143 Date: 2005-02-09 07:01:06, Link
Author: DaveScot

>But both my personal experience and the history of abortion

I was a teenager in the United States before Roe v. Wade and I can assure you that here many pregnancies were avoided in the first place because abortion was illegal, painful, and dangerous. I can also assure you that the unplanned pregnancies that did occur were seldom aborted because abortion was illegal, painful, dangerous, AND carried an intense social stigma if anyone found out about it.

These days it's hard to swing a dead cat without hitting a woman who's had an abortion.

144 Date: 2005-02-09 07:07:28, Link
Author: DaveScot

Red grapefruit is still a grapefruit. No macroevolution occured there.

Nobody designed modern beef cattle. They were bred long before anyone put forward the idea that mutation/selection turned protists into parrots.

Feel free to try again. Here's the question a little more refined:

What practical benefit is a direct result of knowing that mutation/selection and not design causes the emergence of higher taxa?

145 Date: 2005-02-09 07:19:28, Link
Author: DaveScot

No malarky. No unsubstantiated claims.

How exactly does the sure knowledge that mutation/selection and not design drove the emergence of higher taxa aid help in the understanding of AIDS, malaria, diabetes, or any kind of surgery, etc?

Whether by design or mutation/selection the relationship between extant species is EXACTLY THE SAME.

Or from another POV... if you found out tomorrow that mutation/selection was not responsible for the emergence of higher taxa, what would it change in the way medical research is conducted?

Would we abandon doing animal tests before testing on people? Of course not. Why not? Because it doesn't matter whether mutation/selection or divine intervention caused the relationships to be the way they are. They are the same relationships either way.

146 Date: 2005-02-09 07:30:20, Link
Author: DaveScot

Speaking of core principles, one of mine is Copernican Mediocrity.

I know for a fact that genetic engineers exist on the earth.

Copernican Mediocrity insists that I must thus assume genetic engineers are a common, average thing in the universe. This is the core principle behind the enlightenment. Darwin was a long time past Copernicus. It was the idea that there's nothing special about the earth that's brought science where it is today.

Ergo, since I know that genetic engineers exist, and I follow the principle of Copernican Mediocrity, I cannot a priori rule out the possibility that when I see something that looks like a design that there might be a designer behind it. There is nothing at all unscientific about that. In fact, the a priori assumption that no designers preceded human designers is in fact so anthropocentric that I wonder if the next step is going back to the belief that the earth is the center of the universe and intelligent life arose nowhere but on this very special place which makes us observers most special indeed. Copernicus is spinning in his grave.

147 Date: 2005-02-09 08:25:34, Link
Author: DaveScot
What predictions change if a designer created the first cell or whether it arose spontaneously?

I'm not arguing that evolution didn't happen. I'm not arguing against common descent. It's fairy obvious from the fossil record that evolution happened. It's also painfully obvious from the commonality of just the standard coding table (codon->amino acid) that all life descends from a common ancestor. Some creationists will argue that also supports a common designer and while I can't refute that I don't happen to buy it for a number of good reasons.

What I'm arguing is that design of the first cell with preformed information needed to diversify fits the observed evidence better than any other hypothesis. Information theory is insulted by the creation of so much organization without design input. That insult goes away with a designed first cell. Dembski's arguments to specified complexity, which are not without merit, are satisfactorily addressed. The abbreviated period of time from formation of earth to evidence of first cell (~500my) is addressed. The long periods of evolutionary stasis followed by the abrubt emergence of new higher taxa evident in the fossil record are addressed.

In fact I, after much diligent effort, have yet to find any empirical evidence at all that doesn't fit the designed first cell hypothesis. As to where that first cell came from - who knows, it's a big old universe. Maybe SETI will find the source. There's a long future discovery still ahead of us (if we don't self-destruct first). Copernicus isn't offended by an other worldly designer since we already know designers exist on one world. It's all very scientific. Of course the bible crowd doesn't care much for that idea. I'm not at all motivated by religious belief. I'm just going where the evidence is leading and if design is the best way to fit all the pieces together then so be it. A designer isn't unscientific - just ask Copernicus.

148 Date: 2005-02-09 08:55:30, Link
Author: DaveScot
Let's revisit the evolution of man's best friend again. I like using dogs because it's the longest running experiment in mutation/selection that I know of. We've been unnaturally selecting them for specific traits for about 20,000 years starting out with wolves, coyotes, and jackals. In that time we've gotten some truly remarkable diversity in true breeding varieties from chihuahua to wolfhound. But in all time selecting for specific and/or unusual traits they're still all dogs. The only changes we've accomplished are in scale, not in kind. We've changed the ratio of leg length to spine length, jaw size to chest size, color of coat, length of coat, etc. etc. But they ARE ALL STILL DOGS. Not a single unique new anatomical feature emerged in 20,000 years of teasing out possible new traits.

What does that tell us? Well, it should tell us that quick evolution is possible WITHIN VERY LIMITED BOUNDS. We were able to change the size of dogs very quickly such that the smallest are a hundred times lighter than the heaviest. But they're both still dogs by every measure, different in scale but not in kind.

This is the limit of change that mutation/selection has been empirically demonstrated. Anything more is an extrapolation based on nothing at all except want for some explanation materialist explanation lest a divine foot move into the vacuum otherwise filled by an egregious extrapolation of mutation/selection far beyond the bounds of any experimental evidence of its diversifying power.

149 Date: 2005-02-09 09:34:26, Link
Author: DaveScot
Dave S.

What observed evidenceis that?

All of it. Name something you think doesn't fit. Fossil, ontogenetic, phylogenetic, induced mutations, Cambrian Explosion, extinctions, limited range of variation from breeding, bacterial resistance to antibiotics, commonality of coding tables, chromosomal reorganizations, the works. The question isn't what does fit, the question is what DOES NOT fit. I haven't found anything that doesn't fit. In fact I even found a great candidate extant organism with far more DNA than its complexity warrents and it's from a very ancient phyla - protists. The candidate is amoeba dubia with 200 TIMES the DNA of a human. I predict that somewhere in that huge collection of genetic information are things that are anticipatory - the blueprints for structures that were never expressed by amoeba dubia or anything in it's ancestry. Say for instance we find the instructions for building a neuron in dubia's genome.

Isn't the amount of organization added since the last common ancestor[/uote]

Which common ancestor and what information?

One of the intractible problems we must deal with is that DNA doesn't last long in the fossil record. We pretty much only have DNA from extant organisms to analyze. What was the last family to appear in the fossil record? Is it possible to get an intact genome from a member of it to compare to a modern sample?

Actually I was snooping about for a date when the most recent new family evolved in fossil record. It would appear we're either in one of those long periods of stasis where nothing majorly new in body plans has popped up OR macro evolution has stopped altogether and nothing but variation amongst extant body plans is happening i.e. plenty of new dogs but nothing radically different from what already exists.

The oldest DNA I could locate was some disputed bits of possibly insect DNA from amber fossils that might be in the low millions of years old and some 20,000 year old fragments from a neandertal bone. The empirical data even from the old amber bug isn't really old enough. Nothing much has happened, evolution wise, in the last 20 million years of insect evolution and certainly hardly anything at all has happened in the last 20,000 of hominid evolution. You'd have to go back 5 million years just to get to the emergence of the hominid family.

Someone here can probably name a date. Hopefully there won't be much dispute over it.

Another thing I've been looking at is the possibility of horizontal gene flow through retro-virus infection. I know that they cross major barriers like bird-mammal. And I know that evidence of past retro-viral infections have been found in plants whereas for a long time it thought to be limited to vertebrates. I wonder about the possibility of horizontal gene flow amongst phyla and kingdoms which could provide a mechanism for getting some anomalous genes where you don't expect them. For instance, various flavors of hemoglobin exist in plants and animals. The ostensible explanation for it being in plants is that a common ancestor for plants and animals had need of oxygen transport. The way I know of that hemoglobin is used by plants today is in a couple of isolated cases of symbiotic relationships with nitrogen fixing aerobic bacteria that appreciate some assistance in o2/co2 transport deep underground.

150 Date: 2005-02-09 09:49:56, Link
Author: DaveScot
Bob Mauris

If you ask a series of questions "where did that come from" the need for a first cause is at most just a few questions from the time the first cell appeared on earth.

Say the first cell was not designed.

Where did the cell come from? Chemical soup.

Where did the chemicals come from? Supernovae.

Where did supernovae come from? Gravitationally compressed hydrogen.

Where did hydrogen come from? Big Bang.

Where did the big bang come from? First cause.

First cell in any case is only four steps removed from the logical need for a first cause. It's specious to push the need for a first cause back onto the poor tortured theoretical physicist plate just because it's unsavory to you.

At any rate there is nothing unscientific about a first cell that was designed. Copernican Principle of Mediocrity says that if genetic engineers exist on earth we should assume they are not unique in the universe. Anything that humans can do we must assume is not unusual, unique, or special according to Copernican mediocrity and Copernicus is the real father of modern science and enlightenment. Darwin came along over 300 years later.

I'm not about to throw over the Copernican Principle just so atheists can find intellectual fulfillment in Darwinian materialism. I'm agnostic and I don't give a fig what offends either atheists or deists. I'm following the evidence wherever it leads in a most enlightened fashion that would make Copernicus proud.

151 Date: 2005-02-09 09:55:51, Link
Author: DaveScot
Bob Mauris

If you ask a series of questions "where did that come from" the need for a first cause is at most just a few questions from the time the first cell appeared on earth.

Say the first cell was not designed.

Where did the cell come from? Chemical soup.

Where did the chemicals come from? Supernovae.

Where did supernovae come from? Gravitationally compressed hydrogen.

Where did hydrogen come from? Big Bang.

Where did the big bang come from? First cause.

First cell in any case is only four steps removed from the logical need for a first cause. It's specious to push the need for a first cause back onto the poor tortured theoretical physicist plate just because it's unsavory to you.

At any rate there is nothing unscientific about a first cell that was designed. Copernican Principle of Mediocrity says that if genetic engineers exist on earth we should assume they are not unique in the universe. Anything that humans can do we must assume is not unusual, unique, or special according to Copernican mediocrity and Copernicus is the real father of modern science and enlightenment. Darwin came along over 300 years later.

I'm not about to throw over the Copernican Principle just so atheists can find intellectual fulfillment in Darwinian materialism. I'm agnostic and I don't give a fig what offends either atheists or deists. I'm following the evidence wherever it leads in a most enlightened fashion that would make Copernicus proud.

152 Date: 2005-02-09 10:14:18, Link
Author: DaveScot
Nice Try

Hiding behind freshly created IDs already? Gosh, it usually takes me longer to provoke that response. No matter.

Do you think that everything was preprogrammed to evolve at some predetermined point? Where is there any evidence for that?

Preprogrammed. Possibly. Intelligence is anticipatory of future needs. That's the difference between intelligent design and unintelligent design.

Offhand I'd say the initial job was to oxygenate the earth's atmosphere to enable faster metabolism and when oxygen level reached a certain point it triggered the next stage. Oceans retreating to expose land might've triggered the next stage. Global castastophes might reset the clock and cause a new burst. It appears that larger organisms that produce few offspring don't last long before they go extinct. Maybe there's something like a hayflick limit that operates over much longer intervals of time that cause species to go extinct.

One thing's for sure, mutation/selection didn't predict long periods of stasis followed by abrupt explosions of macroevolution. It failed miserably. Yet Darwinists don't seem to mind. So what if the biggest prediction made by mutation/selection, the GRADUAL accumulation of small changes, didn't pan out. Some tortured explanation of punctuated equilibrium was contrived and mutation/selection, however unlikely, remains the all-powerful mechanism that provides intellectual fulfillment to atheists. Gag me with a spoon.

It's time for mutation/selection to move into the dustbin of falsified theories. It's failed enough already. Ideology is the only thing keeping it standing.

153 Date: 2005-02-09 10:45:30, Link
Author: DaveScot
Right (another new anonymous ID?)

I detect a note of sarcasm there. In my world we don't publish although we do patent and I've a number of those in the computer field. We make and sell. Success isn't getting peers to agree but rather customers to buy. If you use a Wintel PC (80x86 CPU, Windows O/S) then bits of it are things I invented and I thank you for your purchase. I spent 25 years working to make PCs and networks cheap and ubiquitous. No fame but the money was real good and the job was a screaming success because they sure are cheap and ubiquitous.

Publishing is now super easy and just about cost free. My words here are dated, archived, and easily found in a web search. If they have any merit they will be reviewed by far more than just a few biased people in some or another obscure technical journal. Judging by the response so far there must be some merit as I'm getting more comment than I have time to respond to. But maybe I'm being hasty and you guys like to waste your time rebutting baseless notions.

154 Date: 2005-02-09 11:00:56, Link
Author: DaveScot
Hey Colin,

What about the Copernican Principle of Mediocrity don't you understand?

Genetic engineers are a proven commodity in the universe. There's probably a few posting to Panda's Thumb in fact. The Copernican Principle says that there's nothing special about the earth. If there are genetic engineers here then there's nothing special about them either. To insist otherwise, a priori, is anthropocentricity not quite as egregious as the earth in the center of the universe but close to it.

As far me being a scientist - no, I'm not. I'm an engineer. A designer. I may not understand the work of other designers but I sure recognize design when I see it. Cells were designed. I've no doubt of that. They reek of anticipation and purpose embodied in complexity that is mind bending. No individual will ever be able to true expertise in more than tiny chunks of it. An 30,000 foot view requires a very broad knowledge base in many areas of science and engineering from information systems to cosmology and everything in between. And science isn't about unbending materialism. It's about Copernican mediocrity. No special observers and that includes us. ESPECIALLY us. Darwin didn't get religion out of science, Copernicus did, and admitting that the overwhelming appearance of design might actually be a design is not unscientific at all. It's common sense. It's the most rational assumption.

155 Date: 2005-02-09 11:08:27, Link
Author: DaveScot

Yes, I've heard many mutations (pun intended) of the taxonomic artifact argument that boils down to there really aren't any different forms of life if there were no artifical rules of demarcation.

I ain't buying that argument. It's ridiculous on the face of it. There's a deep and fundamental difference between a protist and a dog, a plant and a dog, a fungi and a dog. It's not an artifact of the classification system. Please don't insult my intelligence with such lame arguments. I'm having a difficult time trying to find time to respond to those that aren't quite so lame.

156 Date: 2005-02-09 11:33:40, Link
Author: DaveScot

I haven't explained this to you before but I don't know where the ability to change is limited in mutation/selection. What I do know is that no one has directly observed its power to do more than cause variation in scale without causing any major change in body plan.

No one has observed it changing an invertebrate into a vertebrate. No one has observed it changing a single celled organism into a multi-celluar organism. No on has observed it producing an exoskeleton. No one has observed it changing a prokaryote into a eukaryote. The list of non-observations is far longer than the list of observations. The variations it has been empirically observed to do are insignificant compared to the novelty it has ostensibly created. And the biggest job of all - no one has observed it going from non-living to living.

Every time I mention abiogenesis I get first response of mutation/selection doesn't attempt to explain that. Yet then when I put the point of design input at the first cell, so that the question of abiogenesis is someone else's headache, all hell breaks loose. I'm sure you know why. You aren't defending a theory. You're defending an ideology - materialism. Plain and simple. We'll never find common ground unless you first give up the ideology. I'm not ideologically bound. I don't have a vested interest in either materialism or supernatural cause. All I know is that humans ARE a supernatural cause and where one is possible another is possible. Humans may not be the first kids on the block to have acquired the ability to intelligently tinker with natural evolution at the genetic level. Admit it so we can move forward.

157 Date: 2005-02-09 11:48:32, Link
Author: DaveScot

You don't know now that a supernatural agent didn't poof up a flagella.

You don't need to know the origin of a design to figure out how the design works. The flagella won't change no matter what you believe about its origins. You can believe babies come from a stork and it won't change the nature of the baby one iota.

The plain fact of the matter is that the cell exhibits overwhelming appearance of design and the more we know about the more the appearance grows. At some point you admit the obvious and move on. At those point few are even willing to admit the POSSIBILITY of design even when the appearance has become overwhelming. Denial is more than just a river in Egypt.

There's nothing unscientific about admitting the obvious. Designers exist in nature. We are living proof of it. The Copernican principle of mediocrity, which is the underpinning of the enlightment, is not compromised by an unknown designer. In fact it dictates that we assume designers exist elsewhere in the universe because THERE IS NOTHING SPECIAL ABOUT THE EARTH.

If you believe, a priori, that there's something special about the earth or the life on the earth, including human life, then you are practicing a religion - secular humanism - not scientific inquiry.

158 Date: 2005-02-09 11:56:37, Link
Author: DaveScot

I can demonstrate that genetic engineers exist. Got links to their work online. It's up to you to demonstrate there's one and only one instance of genetic engineers in the universe.

The Copernican Principle of Mediocrity states that the a priori assumption is that nothing is special about the earth. Ergo, if you're going to be faithful to Copernican mediocrity, the a priori assumption is that genetic engineers aren't special.

If you insist that the a priori assumption is that humans are unique in the universe, that's religion not science. Get thee behind me with the bible thumpers - they think we're unique in the universe too. You have far more in common with them than me.

159 Date: 2005-02-09 12:06:23, Link
Author: DaveScot

I can just as easily adopt your standards and demand that you must demonstrate to me how abiogenesis occured before the possibility can be admitted. I'm certainly not asking that you do that nor am I saying that design is the only possibility. I'm saying that in light of what we know design is a possibility. I believe design is almost a certainty in the cell, know it's a possibility, but don't entirely discount the possibility of serendipity being the originating agent.


You're being unreasonable insisting that diversity is purely an artifact of taxonomic rules. If you can't see the difference between a dog and protist without a formal rule to rely on then I just don't know what to say except that's ludicrous and you can talk to the hand about it from here forward.

And drop the smug attitude. It's unbecoming and undeserved in my company.

160 Date: 2005-02-09 12:20:38, Link
Author: DaveScot

Genetic Engineers:

Copernican Mediocrity

Connect the dots.

161 Date: 2005-02-10 10:05:45, Link
Author: DaveScot
where do you get the original intelligence from?

I suspect the same source from which the observable universe sprang forth. No matter what, there's always a logical need for a first cause at some point in time.

How could this happen, if it had no merits?

Hubris. Ignorance. Inertia. Strongly held materialist ideology. Letting go creates a vacuum that, so far, only a design hypothesis is available to fill the empty space.

It's not without merit. Mutation/selection is lacking observational support in macroevolutionary ability because macroevolution happened in the past, can't be repeated, and works too slowly and/or unpredictably to observe in action in the present. Its main prediction, the gradual accumulation of mutations leading to the evolution of novel new forms, has been soundly refuted by the fossil record which shows long periods of evolutionary stasis then explosive bursts of evolution to novel new forms. When a hypothesis fails its most fundamental prediction it is supposed to be abandoned. But for reasons espoused in the previous paragraph mutation/selection would have been abandoned except for that which it has actually been observed to do which is make small scale changes in preexisting forms without ever creating new and novel forms. It has the power to make big dogs and little dogs from medium size dogs but it doesn't have the power to give a dog an exoskeleton (for example). At least it doesn't have the observed power to give a dog an exoskeleton. Lacking a direct observation of this power begs for extraordinarily circumstatial evidence and that's simply lacking as the fossil record simply and strongly refutes the gradual accumulation prediction.

162 Date: 2005-02-10 14:09:31, Link
Author: DaveScot
What you propose, in essence, is a primordial organism that is more complex than anything we see in nature today.

Absolutely not. Amoeba dubia, an extant single celled organism, has a genome that is 670 billion base pairs in length. At approximately 200 times the size of any mammalian genome, including our own, I think that's more than sufficient to hold all the preformed information required to construct all the body plans we've seen evolution produce so far. Not every detail of every species of course. Mutation/selection fills in the details. Mutation/selection appears to be limited to scale changes - it can take a wolf and scale it up & down to chihuahuas and saint bernards but it can't give them a different body plan.

163 Date: 2005-02-10 14:13:43, Link
Author: DaveScot
What you propose, in essence, is a primordial organism that is more complex than anything we see in nature today.

Absolutely not. Amoeba dubia, an extant single celled organism, has a genome that is 670 billion base pairs in length. At approximately 200 times the size of any mammalian genome, including our own, I think that's more than sufficient to hold all the preformed information required to construct all the body plans we've seen evolution produce so far. Not every detail of every species of course. Mutation/selection fills in the details. Mutation/selection appears to be limited to scale changes - it can take a wolf and scale it up & down to chihuahuas and saint bernards but it can't give them a different body plan.

164 Date: 2005-02-10 17:10:22, Link
Author: DaveScot
Grey Wolf (& others)

I set my hard drive out in the sun hoping, as you say, that the sun shining on it will increase the information content as the sun shining on living things increases the information content in their genome.

Alas, this experiment failed to achieve the result your interpretation of 2LoT predicted. My hard drive did, though, get warmer.

What went wrong? Was my hard drive gaining information too slowly to observe but if I waited 50 million years I would indeed see the information content increase?

Please explain.

165 Date: 2005-02-10 17:28:10, Link
Author: DaveScot
Andrew Rule

On another PT thread (or maybe this one, I forget) I was informed by Great White Hope (among others) that believing mutation/selection is responsible for all diversity is critical to progress in saving the lives of children.

The children! For God's sake man, THE CHILDREN!

Have you no conscience? Don't you know that by denying the power of mutation/selection you are going to cause a regression to the dark ages and we'll be fighting AIDs with leaches and incantations?

166 Date: 2005-02-10 17:43:43, Link
Author: DaveScot
Do you think that the 2nd law of thermodynamics prevents zygotes from growing into adults?

Begged questions:

Do you think the zygote is less complex than the adult?

Is there a gain of information in the transformation from zygote to adult?

What information do you posit is created in this process?

167 Date: 2005-02-10 17:53:29, Link
Author: DaveScot

re a seed becoming a tree

All the information required to build the tree is contained in the seed. The tree just appears more complex because the information in the seed has been expressed in a way that is easier to see than ACTG sequences.

It's like fractal. A simple looking formula can produce the appearance of amazing complexity when expressed in a different way. But there is actually no increase in information content between the formula and the fractal pattern produced from it.

168 Date: 2005-02-10 18:35:03, Link
Author: DaveScot
allows one copy of a gene to mutate and explore genetic space

Genes as space explorers. Interesting concept. What are the bounds of "genetic space"?

169 Date: 2005-02-10 19:21:42, Link
Author: DaveScot
the genome is 'exploring' sequence space

There's that recurring concept of genes as space explorers.

Does NASA know they have competition?

At least you put 'exploring' in quotes to emphasize the anthropomorphizing taking place.

It's interesting that while denying intelligent design you can't help but compare the process to intelligent endeavours like exploration.

So how big is this "sequence space" and how quickly can these explorers "decide" (anthropomorphism intended) decide if they've found a beneficial new sequence? I think one of the points made by Dembski??? was that this space is so incredibly large that undirected exploration of it is an exercise in futility.

170 Date: 2005-02-10 19:35:11, Link
Author: DaveScot

Ah, the environment provides information now.

How does the environment contribute information to a developing chicken inside an egg? Seems to me the egg is pretty well isolated from the environment and all the information necessary to go from single cell to chick complete with feathers is all inside the egg at the outset.

171 Date: 2005-02-10 19:56:57, Link
Author: DaveScot
[quote-PvM]You do understand the differences between equilibrium and far from equilibrium processes? Are you sure that you are correctly representing the predictions btw?

I understand that the exergy differential between the sun and my hard 3-gig hard drive is in the same equilibruim ballpark as between the sun and my 3-gig genome if that's what you're asking.

How the sun would add information to either of them was my question.

Do you understand how to answer a question with a statement?

172 Date: 2005-02-11 02:46:46, Link
Author: DaveScot

I'm not at all confused when you use metaphors that anthropomorphize evolution and never hinted at confusion. I completely understand it. It's hard to describe a process driven by intelligence without anthropomorphizing. It's a dead giveaway - a Freudian slip - that reveals what you really think about evolution. I'm trying to find a way to get your conscious mind to acknowledge what your unconcious already knows to be true.

173 Date: 2005-02-11 03:29:29, Link
Author: DaveScot

So how big is sequence space.

Your answer was about 200 words long and didn't contain a single numeric value.

When I was in Marine boot camp they taught us that if we didn't know an answer to a question the proper answer was "SIR, the private does not know the answer but the private will find the answer, SIR."

Get back to me when you get the answer and keep the dissembling for someone else.

174 Date: 2005-02-11 03:54:24, Link
Author: DaveScot

I was skeptical of Dembski's numbers and double checked them. I question most of what I read, actually, which handily explains why I don't buy this all-powerful mutation/selection malarky that's being sold to 14 year-olds as fact when it's nothing but a large leap of faith. The bottom line remains that mutation/selection has not been observed to do anything more than make changes, mostly of scale, without producing any novel new forms. It requires faith to believe it has greater ability and that means mutation/selection is no longer a theory, it's a religion.

Common descent I don't question. Evolution I don't question. It's the all-powerful mechanism of mutation/selection I take issue with. Seems like everywhere I turn trying to match that up with the data it's questionable at best or just plain wrong. A poor fit here and there I can understand but the fit is poor everywhere except for making small scale changes in rapid fashion - fine tuning a body plan. It does that well but it doesn't do changes that add up to novel new body plans.

Copernican Principle of Mediocrity says it ain't bad for an enlightened thinker to assume that anything about the earth is special. I know genetic engineers exist on the earth. Some of them are named Steve. Therefore it is a valid assumption to think they are common elsewhere. From there it follows that design is valid option to consider. If one applies design to the first cell, and the first cell only, supposing that it contained the information required to diversify into myriad basic body plans, then all the data fits like a glove.

While this may not be true, it is certainly on equal ground with mutation/selection in every metric I can think of. Only a committed secular humanist who believes that in this vast universe mankind is the only designer. What hubris!

175 Date: 2005-02-11 23:08:48, Link
Author: DaveScot
Joe Shelby

Huxley was on the right track. Social/cultural factors are sorta right, definitely a part of the equation, but *technologic* evolution I think should be the most apt descriptor. You boys are able to move genes from plants to animals and vice versa fercrisakes by little more than point & click with a mouse on a workstation. Okay, more than that, but you get the idea, right?

Stuff that nature might do by accident in a hundred million years you can do in a good week at the office and it's directed. I keep tellin' y'all if evolution didn't have an intelligent agent mucking with it in the past it certainly has intelligent agents mucking with it now.

But just for the record, there's an overwhelming appearance that y'all weren't the first ones in the designer genes business, but if it's any consolation I believe you're the first ones in the last few billion years to intelligently interfere with the natural course of events.

176 Date: 2005-02-11 23:40:55, Link
Author: DaveScot
In other words, yes sequence space is enormous but that is no argument against evolution. Let's for instance take a 'typical' gene of 200 aminoacids, there are 20 amino-acids thus there are 200**20 possible combinations. An enormous number.

Ya gotcher math bass ackwards there. This is why I wanted a number from you. The enormous number you mention isn't close to how enormous it is. This is real basic math.

Possible sequences 200 bases long is

20^200 not 200^20

One base = 20^1
Two bases = 20^2
Three bases = 20^3
Two hundred bases = 20^200

The difference is ENORMOUS. Your 200^20 is 1x10^46 but the real number 20^200 is 1.6x10^260.

I realize the egregious underestimation you made of the size of a 200 base sequence space isn't going to bother you a bit, even though it was a mistake of over 200 orders of magnitude. But it bothers me and makes me wonder how many similar mistakes you've made in arriving at your faith in mutation/selection.

Personally, I can't see how any objective genius with a broad background in science willing to put in a couple hundred hours of focus on the matter of mutation/selection can arrive at a conclusion that it just doesn't work as an explanation beyond fast tweaking of basic body forms. It just doesn't have the innovative power claimed. Maybe if there were a trillion trillion years for it to work... but there's not a snowball's chance in hell of it producing what's in 4 billion year geologic record we know of.

177 Date: 2005-02-12 01:27:01, Link
Author: DaveScot

Let's also be clear that the IDer like Behe and myself have a problem with abiogenesis. Evolution happened, okay? Common descent gets two thumbs up, okay? The process occured over a 4.5 billion year span of time, okay? The evidence is pretty clear.

What's not at all clear is the mechanism of change. Especially problematic is the mechanism of change that "explored the sequence space" from a dead start. It's one thing to explore sequence space from a starting point of a working cell with thousands of interdependent proteins already assembled in good working order. It's a whole different problem to go to from no established working order (prebiotic soup) to the minimum set of 300 or so interdependent proteins estimated to be necessary for replication. Sequence space is being explored from scratch. Pot shots taken in the dark into an incredibly large number of possibilities. If you think that all came together by accident you are whistling in the dark.

Some neo-Darwinists then tell me "evolution doesn't speak to origins" and I say "good". Because I think the only way that evolution and common descent could have happened is if the first cell had a lot of preformed information in it. But then the lie that "evolution" doesn't speak to origins is exposed because as soon as I propose starting conditions that aren't accidental it's rejected out of hand which clearly means you boys ARE INDEED concerned with origins.

The long and the short of it is that in the shortest period of time available - the formation of the earth to the first evidence of life, is only 500 million years. So the thoughest job of mutation/selection, exploring "sequence space" from a cold start to get the 300 basic proteins required for replication, has to be accomplished in the shortest block of time.

Behe is right. I don't care for his irreducible mouse trap crap very much, that's far too simplistic and substitution of function is a good argument against such simple examples, but the biochemical evolution to get from soup to nuts is not simple and there's no substitution of function going on because at the start there are no preexisting structures to employ in novel new ways by chance.

178 Date: 2005-02-12 02:13:16, Link
Author: DaveScot

Here's an enlightening way to look at the promiscuity of catalysis exhibited by enzymes.

First, since there're 26 letters in the alphabet and 20 amino acids we can make rough equate between "sequence space" and "language space".

As I showed earlier in your example of a 200 base protein, the number of possibilities is a number that for all practical purposes is infinite - some 260 places left of the decimal point.

So let us take a sentence with two hundred letters in it which because it is something with meaning out of a virtual infinity of meaninglessness is a good example of specified complexity.

Here's the SENTENCE:

So let us take a sentence with two hundred letters in it which because it is something with meaning out of a virtual infinity of meaninglessness is a good example of specified complexity.

I'm not sure if that's 200 letters and it doesn't matter so don't count them.

Here's how promiscuity works: change ONE random letter in the SENTENCE above. It still has almost exactly the same meaning. Change another, then another, then another...

Gradually the SENTENCE loses meaning. This is how exploring sequence space works when you start from something that already has specified complexity. Is there a chance that a random letter change in our SENTENCE will add/change meaning instead of just drifting away from any meaning at all? Sure. But I defy you to EVER randomly change a thousand letters in a row and have any semblance of a message left in our SENTENCE. All you'll get is gobbledygook after that many changes. And that's exactly what happens if you keep randomly changing bases in a protein. You end up with meaninglessness. That's because sequence space is indeed, as Dembski says in more or less works, islands of meaning in a ocean of meaninglessness.

I hope this helps you understand exploration of sequence space, get a better handle on how big sequence space is, what happens when you take a meaningful portion of sequence space and introduce random changes in it, and why Dembski is right.

If I made any silly typographic mistakes above please forgive because I'm most of the way to the bottom of a bottle of rum right now and am a bit impaired.

179 Date: 2005-02-12 14:03:15, Link
Author: DaveScot

Structured sequence spaces are islands of meaning in an ocean of meaninglessness. You can explore an island with mutation/selection (I realize that selection makes the process non-random) but you can't reach a new island that way because you have to cross an ocean of meaninglessness. Selection doesn't select meaninglessness.

The greater problem isn't extant organisms exploring structured sequence spaces. The great problem is how those structured spaces were "discovered" (there's that unavoidable anthropomorphizing again) in the first place. Abiogenesis is the major sticking point. The first cell using DNA/ribosome for replication needed on the order of 300 interdependent proteins. Each protein is an island in sequence space. How were these islands found? And we're talking about finding not just 300 islands but 300 INTERDEPENDANT islands which makes the task impossibly difficult through casting randomly about and relying on selection to retain any serendiptously discovered meaning.

180 Date: 2005-02-12 14:15:42, Link
Author: DaveScot

Feel free to provide me with an example of a human language that came about without intelligent input.

Maybe chemicals in a primordial soup accidently discovered how to talk to each other, eh?

181 Date: 2005-02-12 14:34:11, Link
Author: DaveScot

I feel I must relay to you what was told to me here on Panda's Thumb about sub-species, varieties, and body forms. One of the usual suspects told me, I forget which one in particular.

Organisms in different kingdom, phyla, class, order, family, genus, or species are not really different. Any difference is merely an artifact of the rules in taxonomic classification. Thus there's no real difference between a paramecium and a pomeranian.

I found this a very interesting bit of logic. Extending it I found that there's no real difference between a scientist and a rock of equal mass since both are composed of the same measure of energy (recall Einstein showed us that matter and energy are the same thing). So you see, the distinction between rocks and scientists is merely an artifact of our classification system.

So if you encounter a scientist here that displays the critical thinking ability of a rock, now you know why.

182 Date: 2005-02-12 14:59:17, Link
Author: DaveScot

There is no evidence suggesting that these islands have bridges between them that enable mutation/selection to cross from one to the other without drowning in the sea of meaninglessness.

Even if such bridges exist, it doesn't explain how inanimate chemicals found these islands in the first place.

In any case, I think you need to first go back and relearn how to work with number bases and exponentials before further pointification about relationships between them. Your spectacularly wrong answer about the size of the sequence space when I pressed you for a number was evidence you really don't understand numbers very well.

183 Date: 2005-02-12 15:32:21, Link
Author: DaveScot

No, I understood the classification argument perfectly. It usually points out that the definition of "species" is arbitrary and controversial. That's a reasonable point.

You now take that reasonable point and extrapolate to kingdoms, phyla, etc. in addition to species which of course is quite ridiculous.

There's little arbitrariness in putting a mushroom and a hominid in different class buckets. As far as I know, no taxonomic controversy exists over whether they should or shouldn't be in the same bucket.

It is diversity of that magnitude for which there is no evidence that mutation/selection can produce it. You have to take it as a matter of faith that mutation/selection can work such fundamental change.

But once again, the biggest leap of faith made by those that embrace all-powerful mutation/selection isn't how a paramecium could have evolved into a pomeranian in the course of billions of years. The biggest leap, by far, is how inanimate chemicals managed to become a living cell in 500 million years. If someone could convince me that abiogenesis is plausible I'll concede by default that the rest of evolution could easily be the result of mutation/selection.

Until then when I see the overwhelming appearance of design I'm doing the rational thing and assuming it is indeed a design until proven otherwise.

184 Date: 2005-02-12 19:44:29, Link
Author: DaveScot

Have you figured out why the number of possible sequences in a 200 base protein is 20^200 instead of 200^20 yet?

You remind me of the proverbial cat that runs headlong into a sliding glass door then picks itself and pretends that it never happened - "What me stupid?".

I guess marine biology doesn't require much math aptitude, huh?

185 Date: 2005-02-12 20:34:38, Link
Author: DaveScot
Big Numbers for PvM


1. the earth is covered by an ocean
2. there are 1 million single celled organisms in each cc of water in the top 20 meters
3. each organism divides once per 24 hours
4. there is one mutation per division

How many mutations will have occured in 1 billion years?

Answer: 1.01617268E+41

Now let's revisit PvM's assertion that both 20^200 and 200^20 are virtually infinite.

200^20 = 1.048576e+46

Oh my. Maybe that wasn't quite a virtually infinite number at all.

Now let's look at the correct number

20^200 = 1.606938e+260

See the difference, PvM? The number of possible proteins you mistakenly claimed is not infinite at all and could conceivably have been well explored by random point mutations in a few billion years.

A number 46 digits long is virtually nil compared to one 260 digits long.

I did the above exercise originally as a sanity check on Dembski's claims.

186 Date: 2005-02-12 20:46:56, Link
Author: DaveScot
Oh heck... I did the above calc from scratch and forgot to factor in 365 days per year. The previous answer is how many divisions if each organism divided once per year instead of once per day.

The number of mutations per billion years should be:


I thought it looked a little small... hahaha

187 Date: 2005-02-12 20:57:17, Link
Author: DaveScot

It's interesting that I had no problem knowing what Davison meant with "no taxonomy in a Darwinian world".

Correct me if I'm wrong, JAD.

He meant if mutation/selection were working as purported we'd be swimming in a sea of extant transitionals. A smooth continuum with no demarcation whatsoever upon which to base taxonomy distinctions.

I agree with JAD about that too.

Davison read Darwin long before you were born, by the way. Possibly before your parents were born. Show a little respect for your superiors.

188 Date: 2005-02-12 21:00:49, Link
Author: DaveScot
Oops... I meant to say "show a little respect for your elders". Must've been one of them Freudian slips.

189 Date: 2005-02-13 12:19:55, Link
Author: DaveScot
If two forms can interbreed and produce a fertile hybrid, they are by that physiologically undeniable criterion the same species. If the "hybrid" is not fertile like the mule, the parents are different species. Speaking as a physiologist I like that definition as it is crystalline clear and testable.

Speaking as a rational, objective person I like that definition too.

Not to mention it's been the only definition I've known for the past 40 years until I starting reading the spin put out by the atheist evolutionists in the past year. What they did, and it's just plain disgusting intellectual dishonesty, is they moved the goalpost. Now the definition of species is arbitrary, and can mean things as silly as two populations that can't swim separated by a river are two different species because they can't naturally interbreed. All so they can say with conviction that mutation/selection has been observed to result in speciation.

Have you ever seen a bigger pile of horsesh!t, Professor Davison?

190 Date: 2005-02-13 12:22:02, Link
Author: DaveScot
If two forms can interbreed and produce a fertile hybrid, they are by that physiologically undeniable criterion the same species. If the "hybrid" is not fertile like the mule, the parents are different species. Speaking as a physiologist I like that definition as it is crystalline clear and testable.

Speaking as a rational, objective person I like that definition too.

Not to mention it's been the only definition I've known for the past 40 years until I starting reading the spin put out by the atheist evolutionists in the past year. What they did, and it's just plain disgusting intellectual dishonesty, is they moved the goalpost. Now the definition of species is arbitrary, and can mean things as silly as two populations that can't swim separated by a river are two different species because they can't naturally interbreed. All so they can say with conviction that mutation/selection has been observed to result in speciation.

Have you ever seen a bigger pile of horsesh!t, Professor Davison?

191 Date: 2005-02-13 12:30:35, Link
Author: DaveScot

Yeah, Darwin certainly reminds me of the black knight too.

Can you imagine needing lawyers and judges to defend a theory against the mere suggestion that it might not be a fact?

I guess when you have no arms and no legs those are the kinds of things you have to resort to.

That's just too funny!


P.S. Have you no shame?

192 Date: 2005-02-13 12:37:45, Link
Author: DaveScot
Dave S.

Aren't you the least embarrassed that California housewives are smarter than you are?

193 Date: 2005-02-13 12:57:03, Link
Author: DaveScot
With an as yet undetermined appendage You predicate your [Davison's] entire philosophy on an unpublished and unpublishable manifesto

Ummm... try to keep up, Colin. Professor Davision published "The Semi-Meiotic Hypothesis" in 1984 and "The Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis" is, as I understand, accepted and headed to print as we speak. The Manifesto is unpublishable by his own admission.

P.S. I did a little googling of Page and Meurs. Those two are trolls extraordinaire. I suggest you exercise a little more discretion in who you choose to champion because, as they say, when you lay down with dogs you get up with fleas.

194 Date: 2005-02-13 13:33:05, Link
Author: DaveScot
Any mechanism that blocks genetic exchange between lineages will split a continuum.

No, it doesn't. Extinctions split a continuum.

You've never read "The Origin of Species" have you? I find it quite remarkable that the hypothesis which has "stood the test of time" hasn't even been read by a large number of its defenders.

In "The Origin of Species", chapter 6, Darwin writes:

On the absence or rarity of transitional varieties. As natural selection acts solely by the preservation of profitable modifications, each new form will tend in a fully-stocked country to take the place of, and finally to exterminate, its own less improved parent or other less-favoured forms with which it comes into competition. Thus extinction and natural selection will, as we have seen, go hand in hand. Hence, if we look at each species as descended from some other unknown form, both the parent and all the transitional varieties will generally have been exterminated by the very process of formation and perfection of the new form.

I don't buy that hyperbolic perfection nonsense but at least I'm aware of it.

195 Date: 2005-02-13 13:48:57, Link
Author: DaveScot
Of course, Darwin didn't believe that undirected mutations were the primary means of change.

It has been disputed at what period of time the causes of variability, whatever they may be, generally act; whether during the early or late period of development of the embryo, or at the instant of conception. Geoffroy St Hilaire's experiments show that unnatural treatment of the embryo causes monstrosities; and monstrosities cannot be separated by any clear line of distinction from mere variations. But I am strongly inclined to suspect that the most frequent cause of variability may be attributed to the male and female reproductive elements having been affected prior to the act of conception. Several reasons make me believe in this; but the chief one is the remarkable effect which confinement or cultivation has on the functions of the reproductive system; this system appearing to be far more susceptible than any other part of the organization, to the action of any change in the conditions of life.

Effects of Use and Disuse

From the facts alluded to in the first chapter, I think there can be little doubt that use in our domestic animals strengthens and enlarges certain parts, and disuse diminishes them; and that such modifications are inherited. Under free nature, we can have no standard of comparison, by which to judge of the effects of long-continued use or disuse, for we know not the parent-forms; but many animals have structures which can be explained by the effects of disuse.

Darwin's hypothesis was a LOT more plausible when it was based on the now falsified assumption that acquired characters are heritable. The directed mechanism that he postulated would have driven evolutionary change at an incredibly faster rate. Selection working on DIRECTED trial balloons created by the needs and habits of an organism during its lifetime is a powerful mechanism of change. Random mutation + natural selection is incredibly weak in comparison. Accordingly, random mutation + natural selection has never been observed to result in anything more than fine tuning of basic body plans. It has never been observed to create a novel new anatomical feature. The enormity of that extrapolation, and the unfettered FAITH in it, is nothing short of astounding when I find it in people who describe themselves as scientists.

196 Date: 2005-02-13 14:11:12, Link
Author: DaveScot
Great White Wonder [a.k.a. Dr. Scott L. Page]

If you'd like to know something of the lines of inquiry mostly sponsered by NASA into the time available for abiogenesis you can start here:

I'm not here to do your homework for you, Dr. Page.

P.S. Did anyone ever tell you that it's an unnatural act to strap on a parachute and jump out of a perfectly good airplane? You can quote me on that but make it "Sergeant Springer, USMC, 1974-1980" you airborne wussy.

197 Date: 2005-02-13 14:32:46, Link
Author: DaveScot

Imagine three populations, A, B, and C. Population B can interbreed with both A and C, but populations A and C cannot interbreed.

How many species are there?

Two. A and C. B is a member of both.

By the way, what is an example of A, B, and C? I'd like to read a little more about it. The usual problem, and a legitimate reason for employing less rigourous defintions of species, is it's impractical to test every suspected new species for ability to interbreed with others. I'd like to confirm for myself that extraordinary means were used to confirm the ABC scenario you gave and that the experiment has been repeated.

198 Date: 2005-02-13 15:30:36, Link
Author: DaveScot

Please excuse my mistake re An Evolutionary Manifesto

Is The Prescribed Evolutionary Hypothesis available anywhere online yet?

I see you have some published papers that I haven't read.

The Blind Alley: Its Significance for Evolutionary Theory (1993)

Evolution as a Self-limiting Process (1998)

Did Ontogeny, Phylogeny and the Origin of Biological Information (2000) get printed in Rivista?

As I recall the three themes above were all incorporated into the manifesto, right? Is there further detail in the earlier papers?

199 Date: 2005-02-13 15:56:28, Link
Author: DaveScot

The titles of the papers suggest that the varieties in question were not observed to interbreed in nature which is a different thing than saying their gametes are physically incompatible. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that none used artificial means to see if fertile offspring could be produced. If the had used artificial means someone would have added it to the talkorigin faq. Someone will correct me and give me a link if that's not right and I suggest it get added to that portion of the faq.

200 Date: 2005-02-13 16:12:31, Link
Author: DaveScot
Bob Maurus

1: Cytogenet Cell Genet. 1988;47(3):134-9. Related Articles, Links

A fertile mule and hinny in China.

Rong R, Chandley AC, Song J, McBeath S, Tan PP, Bai Q, Speed RM.

Institute of Genetics, Academia Sinica, Beijing.

Anecdotal reports of fertility in female mules (jack donkey x mare) and hinnies (stallion x jenny donkey) have appeared in the literature over the years, but scientists have generally regarded them with scepticism. The fact that some of these hybrids can come into estrous and ovulate makes fertility conceivable, given that opportunity for mating arises. In China, where mules are bred extensively for work on the farms, a fertile female mule and a fertile female hinny have now been verified by chromosomal investigation. Each had mated with a donkey and produced a filly foal. The foals show unique hybrid karyotypes different from the mule's or hinny's and different from each other's. The studies make it clear that mule and hinny fertility, at least for the female hybrid, is a real possibility.

The mules were fertile but not with each other, just with one of their parent species.

201 Date: 2005-02-13 16:19:44, Link
Author: DaveScot

"the issue is moot given the nature of protein space now isn't it?"


"my original argument was correct, namely that protein space is far too large to be ever explored"

Your original argument was that it was indeed being explored by promiscuous enzymes.

I said that those enzymes are bounded islands of meaning in an essentially infinite sea of meaninglessness. The island can be explored by promiscuity but it won't take you through a sea of meaninglessness to a different island.

202 Date: 2005-02-14 09:47:42, Link
Author: DaveScot
PZ Meyers

What do you mean by "fan of evolution"?

I'm a big fan of evolution. It's how I got here.

I just don't believe evolution is an aimless process driven from top to bottom by mutation + natural selection.

I'll give Panda my vote.

203 Date: 2005-02-14 10:02:04, Link
Author: DaveScot
"They include things created by genes but that aren't attached to bodies -- for example, beaver dams and groundhog holes."


Which "genes" have been found to govern instinctive behaviors?

204 Date: 2005-02-14 10:47:51, Link
Author: DaveScot
I don't know what governs instinctive behavior and neither does Richard Dawkins.

That's the whole point.

205 Date: 2005-02-14 11:01:15, Link
Author: DaveScot
Pardon me for pointing out the obvious, PZ, but a fly with dark spots on its wings is still a fly.

You can rest the defense of mutation/selection in microevolution.

If you come up with observed or experimental evidence that mutation/selection can turn a single celled organism into a fly (with or without dark spots on its wings) then I'm all ears.

Good luck.

206 Date: 2005-02-14 11:17:09, Link
Author: DaveScot
Typical extrapolation

9 I have read the proposed changes to

10 the science standards from the

11 Intelligent Design promoters, and am

12 very much against their acceptance. As

13 a microbiologist, I watch bacteria

14 change into resistant bacteria from

15 sensitive, and I know that change, over

16 time, is a fact; it is not an unproven

17 theory.

Excuse me, ma'am, but an antibiotic resistant bacteria is still a bacteria. What evidence have you that the same mechanism that explains antibiotic resistance drove the process that turned bacteria into bacteriologists?

Sheesh. Gimme a giant break.

207 Date: 2005-02-15 02:04:49, Link
Author: Davescot
Hey Professor Davison WE OWN THIS SPACE.


208 Date: 2005-02-15 02:16:20, Link
Author: DaveScot
Is mutation/selection on such shaky grounds that the mere mention to 9th graders that it isn't writ in granite will bring it down?

I don't understand what all the commotion is about. It's one of the most tested theories there is. Mutation/selection turned inanimate chemicals into the vast diversity of life we see today.

It's as factual as combustion of oxygen and hydrogen produces water.

It's as factual as chlorphyl is green.

It's as factual as craters on the moon.

It's as factual as gravity on earth accelerates a falling object at 32 feet per second per second.

It's as factual as a wing gets its lift via pressure differential on the upper and lower surfaces.

Oh hang on, maybe it isn't that factual after all. I think I confused things are observed and measured with something that's unobserved, based on a huge extrapolation, and requires FAITH.

209 Date: 2005-02-16 11:56:20, Link
Author: DaveScot
The facts speak for themselves, they do NOT need lawyers to push them like ID does.

Um... speaking of lawyers. Who sued who in Dover and Cobb?

You are very confused. The lawyers and the judges are keeping the props under Darwinian theory. Parents in a school district try to put a mere sticker in a biology text reminding students that the account of evolution contained therein is a theory, not a fact, and that's too much. A mere sticker...

210 Date: 2005-02-16 12:08:33, Link
Author: DaveScot
You people are ridiculous with your reductio ad absurdum arguments.

Put a sticker in high school physical science textbooks saying gravity is a theory, not a fact, and should be read with a critical mind?

First of all, it's called the LAW OF GRAVITY, not the theory of gravity. Unlike macroevolution, gravity is an observable, measurable law of nature.

And if you want a sticker, be my guest. I'm confident that students won't spend much critical thinking time before concluding that the law of gravity is a fact, not a theory.


211 Date: 2005-02-18 08:05:08, Link
Author: DaveScot
Hey Gary,

How many black guys you know with PhD's in biology?

212 Date: 2005-02-18 08:32:03, Link
Author: DaveScot
No mass is converted.

If you can remove energy from a closed system without reducing its mass then you've falsified the equation e=mc^2.

Good luck with that.

In the meantime your statement is untrue.

213 Date: 2005-02-18 08:54:13, Link
Author: DaveScot
First, evolution, being science, differs from religion in that it is a testable, confirmable theory

What test has confirmed that the gradual accumulation of random mutations conserved by natural selection has resulted in novel new body forms?

Even more to the point, what test has confirmed that inanimate chemicals self-organized into a living cell?

I haven't read of such a test yet but I remain on the lookout. Maybe you can help where others have failed.

Good luck with that.

214 Date: 2005-02-18 09:29:20, Link
Author: DaveScot
Great White Wonder

Isn't it a tad hypocritical to call Witt dishonest and afraid whilst you yourself are hiding behind an anonymous alias in the calling?

Marines are evidently made of sterner stuff than Army Airborne.

215 Date: 2005-02-18 10:04:01, Link
Author: DaveScot
If you're going to compare ontogeny to phylogeny here's a good one.

Ontogeny is the derepression of preformed genetic information. How much of phylogeny is explained if it also is the derepressoin of preformed genetic information?

With so many other obvious similarities between ontogeny and phylogeny it's nothing short of amusing how the notion of preformed information is dropped like a hot potato from phylogeny while retaining all the other comparisons. Like DUH!

We all know why it's dropped, too. Neo-Darwinsism loses its palliative quality for atheists if it does not make the a priori assumption that life as we know it has no design, no purpose, and came about through pure serendipity.

That assumption isn't science, it's religion. The assumption is made through unabiding faith in materialism. Even more painful, it is made today in blatant opposition to the Copernican Principle of Mediocrity which states that nothing about the earth is special. If genetic engineering is a fact of life on earth, and I'll throw a rotten genetically engineered tomato at anyone who says it isn't, then we may in a most enlightened manner assume that genetic engineering is not something that's special to the earth. I.E., if genetic engineering (read design) happened here we can assume it happened elsewhere too. Thus there is no enligntened reason to assume that the first cell on the earth, which diversified into a plethora of specialized forms over billions of years, is not just like the first cell of a human being which diversifies into a plethora of specialized forms in a matter of weeks.

Once one gets past the atheist demand that there is no design in life then one may assume that the first phylogenetic cell was, like the first ontogenetic cell, preformed to unfold in a prescribed manner. And then something truly remarkable happens - all the observations make perfect sense.

216 Date: 2005-02-19 03:43:22, Link
Author: DaveScot
At long last, DaveScot reveals his true character. While I can't speak for the management here at PT, I'd be quite content if you'd just crawl back under whatever rock you've emerged from, and not return here. You have nothing worthwhile to contribute, and, indeed, you reveal your stunning ignorance with every comment.

Pardon the heck out of me for causing you to think an uncomfortable thought. Please forgive me and go ahead and stick your head back in the sand. You'll need to keep it there in any case if you want to retain your faith in the all-powerful mutation/selection dogma.

Ed Darrel - why do I ask how many black guys Gary knows with PhD's in Biology?

To make you confront uncomfortable realities. Denial is more than just a river in Egypt.

217 Date: 2005-02-19 03:59:58, Link
Author: DaveScot
Joe Shelby,

You're wrong. Removing energy from any closed system reduces its mass according to the formula e=mc^2.

There's no getting around it. Repeat 1000 times "mass and energy are equivalent".

Perhaps you're forgetting that even when something like an electron, or a molecule in Brownian motion, slows down or speeds up, its mass changes with the change in velocity. Usually we deal with the rest mass of objects in chemistry because they aren't travelling near enough to relativistic velocities to make any practical difference. But that doesn't mean there is no difference. So even in a chemical reaction when energy is removed from a closed system there must be a commensurate decrease in mass, however small that mass loss might be. It has to be that way because mass and energy are equivalent.

If you can manage to remove energy from a closed system without decreasing its mass you will have falsified e=mc^2. Good luck with that. You'll be the first and very famous for it.

218 Date: 2005-02-19 04:12:17, Link
Author: DaveScot

I implied nothing. Here's another interesting, related factoid: there's a dearth of women in computer science/engineering roles that probably isn't reflected, or at least not as stark, in life sciences. Again, I imply nothing. It's merely an observation. You are free to speculate why this situation exists. You are even free to deny it if you wish. Denying the facts seems to be common in The Church of Darwin so I shan't be surprised.

219 Date: 2005-02-19 04:41:07, Link
Author: DaveScot

As far as I know, Christ never intentionally killed a single living thing in his entire life. He didn't even eat meat. He preached kindness, charity, love, and salvation. No destruction or killing of any kind can be reconciled with Christ's preaching or the example he set with his life. Interestingly, Christ's gentle nature by itself would have made him a Buddhist or Hindu in good standing. Personally, I find the mandate to be kind & gentle to all living things to be the common thread uniting all the world's great religions and a number of lesser known religions.

In any case, any individual or identifiable group that calls itself Christian yet attempts to justify death and destruction is perverting the theme that Christ taught.

220 Date: 2005-02-19 04:57:40, Link
Author: DaveScot
Personally one. And also M.D.s and Ph.D. chemists. Why do you think that is rare or worth comment? Your question is absurd unless viewed as some veiled racist assertion that their aren't or shouldn't be Blacks in the sciences. Non-white students are seriously under represented in higher education, and this is even worse in the sciences. There is in my oppinion much need to improvement. What does this have to do with evolution?

The first paragraph of your article contains the line "Blacks shouldn't back evolution".

I asked a simple and obviously related question - how many biology PhD's do you know that are black. If there's a dearth there's a reason. You tell me why there's a dearth and drop the feigned offense that someone dared to point out an uncomfortable fact to you. Deal with it.


221 Date: 2005-02-19 05:22:04, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ed Darrell,

The mustards have not mutated into novel new forms of life any more than any breed of dog is a novel new form. There is merely a change of scale in both cases. Existing structures changed size. Observations of what mutation + selection (even unnatural selection) is capable of producing are bounded and that is a simple fact. A simple fact which is denied in The Church of Darwin where bounded observations are extrapolated to unbounded power and the extrapolation is portrayed as a fact instead of an extrapolation.

Not a single experiment has shown that chemicals can self-organize into the structures found in living organisms used in support of self-replication. Even the much touted Urey-Miller experiment in the 1950's, which is still the state-of-the-art so to speak, which only managed to produce a few simple amino acids, has been shown to have not accurately simulated the conditions of the ancient earth. If you want to know more try googling "RNA world" which is the latest faddish failure in this regard.

222 Date: 2005-02-19 05:28:32, Link
Author: DaveScot
Hey Dave --- what "novel new body forms" do humans have that other primates don't?

Gene sequencing machines. Space shuttles. Blogs.

Just to name a few.

223 Date: 2005-02-19 05:33:59, Link
Author: DaveScot

Very well said. Kudos.

224 Date: 2005-02-19 05:51:49, Link
Author: DaveScot
It does cause one to wonder how evolutionary science has made any progress at all since Darwin.

What progress would that be?

I'll cede that evolutionary science falsified Darwin's Lamarckian belief that acquired characters are heritable.

What else?

You got more entries in the tree of life but no less controversy over how correct the placements.

You can't even agree on a definition for the word "species" fercrisakes. At least when I went to school it was defined as ability to interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Now that's dashed. That isn't progress.

If you mention any bit of biochemistry, medicine, or the like I'm going to raise an objection in that those have no dependencies on Darwinian theory of descent with modification. No part of any of those gives a fig about whether birds came from dinosaurs or not. Chemistry and medicine work the same regardless of whether one believes God created everything for a purpose, it all happened by accident, or some combination thereof.

225 Date: 2005-02-19 06:12:45, Link
Author: DaveScot
Oh sorry. Technically there are epigenetic factors too but these are also predefined from the start so the point stands.

No mutation/selection occurs during the process of going from an egg to a mature form.

Correct me with specific examples if you think I'm wrong, prof. I'm not one of your students who you get to dismiss with a wave of your hand or a shake of your pointy little associate head.

226 Date: 2005-02-19 06:51:11, Link
Author: DaveScot
Specified complexity is not a biblical concept.

If you are playing poker and lose to someone who gets dealt 15 royal flushes in a row and are willing to say to yourself he was just real lucky and there was no cheating involved then you are, quite simply, a fool.

If you start tallying up the (im)probabilities of life as we know it coming about through chance it makes that run of royal flushes look positively commonplace.

My mama didn't raise any fools. When presented with the overwhelming appearance of design the most rational assumption to make, until proven otherwise, is that it is a design. When confronted with the overwhelming improbability of something happening by random chance the most rational assumption to make, until proven otherwise, is it did not happen by random chance.

227 Date: 2005-02-19 13:25:59, Link
Author: DaveScot
Richard Dawkins, the famous Oxford atheist zoologist, author of "The Selfish Gene" "The Blind Watchmaker", was at least honest when he said "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist". 'Tis a pity everyone in The Church of Darwin is not as forthright.

Make no mistake, the core constituency on both sides of this brouhaha are driven by religiuous ideology. It stopped being about science a very long time ago.

228 Date: 2005-02-19 13:38:25, Link
Author: DaveScot
The use of those stickers was struck down by the courts

For that you fail Current Events and Civil Justice.

The use of the sticker was struck down by one (singular, not plural) lower court. The ridiculous ruling handed down by Clinton appointed crony/judge Clarence Cooper is being appealed in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. I expect a judge at a higher pay grade will reverse Cooper's goofy finding.

229 Date: 2005-02-19 13:41:24, Link
Author: DaveScot

Yeah right. Richard Dawkins being an atheist is beside the point but Stephen Meyer being a Christian is oh so relevant.

Spare me.

230 Date: 2005-02-19 13:50:46, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ed Darrell,

The evidence doesn't support mutation/selection as the all powerful force of evolution. Darwin never subscribed to it. Anyone who's actually read "The Origin of Species" knows Darwin believed that evolution was driven by the heritability of acquired characters. That's been falsified. Mutation selection would never have been considered as a replacement for Darwin's Lamarckian belief if there'd been any saner hypothetical mechanism in the wings other than Paley's. Mutation/selection won by defaut through the combination of an appeal to ignorance and dogmatic materialism.

And that's the way it was. Deny it if you want, it doesn't change the facts.

231 Date: 2005-02-19 14:14:21, Link
Author: DaveScot

I expect it because Cooper's decision was ridiculous. I have made my reasons clear before using relevant quotes from the decision itself. I didn't bookmark it. If you missed it, too bad.

Here's a nice take on the matter for your reading pleasure.

232 Date: 2005-02-19 14:49:39, Link
Author: DaveScot
The stickers have yet to be removed, by the way. It appears the Cobb County School board is ignoring his order. I wonder if the National Guard will have to be called in with tanks and guns and such to remove the stickers? It's highly amusing for those of us who see how preposterous the situation is.

Latest development:

Appeals court asks mediation on evolution stickers

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/18/05

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta has asked both sides in the Cobb County evolution disclaimers case to meet with a mediator March 1.

The step is an intermediate one as the county school board appeals a federal court ruling banning disclaimers on textbooks that call evolution "a theory, not a fact."

The court's request surprised neither Michael Manely, who represents parents who want the disclaimers removed, nor Linwood Gunn, who represents the school board. The two lawyers don't expect it to come to much, either.

"I'm not overly optimistic of reaching any kind of settlement," Gunn said today.

U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper ruled Jan. 13 that the disclaimers were an unconstitutional endorsement of religion and ordered them removed immediately. The board has since requested that the order be put on hold pending the outcome of its appeal.

233 Date: 2005-02-21 08:07:37, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ed Darrel

Funny thing - a supreme being of some sort is mentioned in all 50 state constitution preambles. Many of them mimic the Declaration of Independence bit about God given inalienable rights. What's up with that?

If you say it's ceremonial then just consider the fearsome sticker to be ceremonial as well.

234 Date: 2005-02-21 08:25:14, Link
Author: DaveScot
In 1963, Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama called upon his state's National Guard to PREVENT the imposition of federal law (de-segregation), NOT to enforce it. In any case, there is a parallel were your hypothetical to happen. The National Guard would once again be called upon to defend the opinion of a Southern state that has decided to rely on the Christian Bible to justify its defiance.

Is this some kind of leftwing revisionist history or are you just trying to live up to your handle? JFK federalized the Alabama National Guard and had them enforce federal de-segregation law which Wallace opposed.

235 Date: 2005-02-21 08:50:43, Link
Author: DaveScot
There's a high correlation between intelligence measures ("IQ" to take one example) and level of education, and acceptance of evolutionary theory.

You don't say. My IQ is 153. What's yours?

236 Date: 2005-02-21 09:08:06, Link
Author: DaveScot
Are you denying that "Gov. George C. Wallace of Alabama called upon his state's National Guard to PREVENT the imposition of federal law (de-segregation). The operative word here is PREVENT.

That's exactly what I'm denying. JFK federalized the Alabama National Guard and used it to enforce federal de-segregation laws. Perhaps you're confusing state troopers with national guard.

Pick anywhere and start reading:

237 Date: 2005-02-21 09:14:46, Link
Author: DaveScot
I also pointed out that there are more African Americans in biology I know than are in the ranks of creationism defense or intelligent design advocacy.

Would it surprise you to learn that a larger percentage of African-Americans attend church than any other racial group?

238 Date: 2005-02-21 09:39:06, Link
Author: DaveScot
re Christ and killing

Suggested reading:

Christianity would never have gotten off the ground if it insisted on vegetarianism as the eating of animal flesh was too well entrenched in the relevant cultures. The early promoters of it knew this so they played it down. I believe the KJV New Testament has suffered numerous "edits" for political expediency and recommend reading the Essene "The Gospel of the Holy Twelve" for perspective if interested.

239 Date: 2005-02-21 09:43:08, Link
Author: DaveScot
But did you get my point about "correlation"?

There are three kinds of lies. Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.

Yeah, I got your point. It was meaningless.

240 Date: 2005-02-21 10:00:42, Link
Author: DaveScot

Since it was my reference to the National Guard I get to clarify which use of the National Guard I was referring to. You don't get to clarify my meaning, thank you very much.

The commenters who responded with Alabama and George Wallace were right about which use of the National Guard I was alluding to but they got the National Guard use wrong. The National Guard in that case was called out by JFK to enforce federal desegregation. My mistake was in thinking that the JFK/Wallace/National Guard history was common knowledge.

And by the way, maybe you should exercise a little due diligence in your history quoting. Even in Arkansas the state's National Guard contigent was ultimately federalized by Eisenhower and used to ENFORCE desegregation. Furthermore, the Arkansas Governor ostensibly (by his own claim) called up the Guard to prevent violence and maintain order not to block desegregation. One might make an argument that his intent was to block desegregation but officially it was not.

241 Date: 2005-02-21 10:27:11, Link
Author: DaveScot
A high IQ that refuses to be used properly is like a dull sword never removed from it's sheath.

Perhaps it is you who's not using yours? Mine's been employed in a most rewarding manner.

You make more false assumptions about me. I'm an agnostic. I don't believe the bible is the revealed word of God. I do believe that there is, as Dawkins put it, an overwhelming appearance of design in the machinery of life. Unlike Dawkins, I have no dog in the theism/atheism hunt and when I see an overwhelming appearance of something I do the rational thing and assume that the appearance is not an illusion until proven otherwise.

I am an unashamed Copernican. I believe that the machinery of life is ultimately 100% understandable and malleable by science. This is evidenced already by the rudimentary ability of science to alter the genome of an organism for a directed purpose. Thus, according to the Copernican Principle of Mediocrity, I should assume that the ability to make directed genetic alterations is a common thing in the universe. To assume otherwise is to assume that humanity is a special creation. I must also acknowledge that humanity is able to send the seeds of life beyond this solar system. Voyager is leaving the outer confines of the solar system as we speak. I'd bet some microbial spores are accidently aboard it too. I think evolutionists are the ones who are being unscientific about this. Darwin didn't begin the enlightenment, Copernicus did.

242 Date: 2005-02-21 10:42:42, Link
Author: DaveScot
What people always miss is that even if ID could somehow be tested, somehow be proven, had even 1 shred of evidence, it would still not prove the agent to be the Christian God. That is a matter of faith.

Well, I certainly didn't miss that. An intelligent agent can be anything from a guy in a labcoat to the almighty "I AM". If you're a Copernican, which all scientists SHOULD be, then you have to acknowledge that design is possible since WE are intelligent agents and WE are ALREADY artifically mucking around making changes to genomes for our own purposes. Then it just becomes a matter of probability and evidence. The evidence is, and here I agree with Dawkins, an overwhelming appearance of design. Since I've been a computer design engineer all my professional life it's not difficult for me to recognized a design when I see one. Dawkins is right - the appearance of design is indeed overwhelming. The more that cellular machinery is explored and demystified the more overwhelming is the appearance. Long gone are Darwin's days when they assumed that cells were simple blobs of protoplasm.

243 Date: 2005-02-21 10:54:40, Link
Author: DaveScot
DaveScot has previously claimed to be an atheist scientist

I never made such a claim. I'm an agnostic. There's not enough evidence to either prove or disprove the existence of God, IMO. That's not to say I don't lean in one direction or another. The happy coincidence of how all the physical constants in the universe lined up to allow life as we know it to exist seem contrived to me but fall short of proof of anything. Intelligence exists in the universe in at least one case - humanity - so it's a proven possibility. Could there be more, greater, and earlier intelligence? Sure. Any enlightened Copernican will tell you so. If they deny it they're anthropocentric dark ages special creation muttonheads... to put it kindly.

244 Date: 2005-02-21 11:19:29, Link
Author: DaveScot
[qoute=FYI]Some writers say that scores outside the range 55 to 145 must be cautiously interpreted because there have not been enough people tested in those ranges to make statistically sound statements. Moreover, at such extreme values, the normal distribution is a less accurate estimate of the IQ distribution.

The SAT test has certainly been administered enough to make statistically sound statements above 99.88th percentile which correlates to an IQ of 145. Roughly 1500 people score at that level or higher every year.

245 Date: 2005-02-21 11:23:19, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ed Darrel

You implied African-Americans were no more or less likely to be creation defenders than anyone else.

I pointed out that there are a greater percentage of African-Americans who attend church than any other racial group.

Do I really need to connect the dots for you? C'mon. Put on your thinking cap.

246 Date: 2005-02-21 12:49:43, Link
Author: DaveScot
It seems to me that the preambles are unconstitutional since they mention God. The sticker doesn't even mention God and it was deemed unconstitutional. The sticker was unconstitutional, according to Judge Clarence Cooper, for merely suggesting to the average person that it obliquely refers to God.

All 50 state constitutions are unconstitutional by the logic in Cooper's imbecilic ruling.

What's wrong with that picture?


247 Date: 2005-02-21 12:51:59, Link
Author: DaveScot

Good enough then. You were the one that brought up IQ score correlation to faith in The Church of Darwin. I merely countered that my IQ is certified at the 99.97th percentile so one way or another your statement is meaningless. If you were smarter you'd have known that ahead of time.

248 Date: 2005-02-21 13:02:24, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ed Darrel

I guess I have to connect the dots for you.

1) People who attend church are more likely to be creation defenders.

Wanna argue that?

2) A greater percentage of African-Americans attend church than any other racial group.

Wanna argue that?

Therefore, African-Americans are more likely to be creation defenders than any other racial group.


Thanks for playing. There's a consolation prize waiting as you exit stage left. It's an autographed picture of Jesse Jackson shaking hands with Malcom X.

249 Date: 2005-02-22 08:19:07, Link
Author: DaveScot
Some biologists evidently need a sticker on their foreheads warning of the hubris therein.

So Dr. Myers, did you come up with any examples for me of the new information created inside a chicken egg while it's going from egg to chick, or are you prepared to concede that ontogeny is the expression of preformed information?

250 Date: 2005-02-22 08:51:43, Link
Author: DaveScot

No "scientific" alternatives to mutation/selection? Hardly. You're laboring under an incorrect definition of science. Does science ignore the possibility of design when something that appears like a hand ax is found? Of course not. Nothing else should be an exception!

To presume a materialist explanation no matter what the evidence is anthropocenticity, pure and simple. It presumes that humans are a special creation, the only entity in the universe capable of design, while in fact it's simply the only known entity. To conclude no others exist or have ever existed is a logical fallacy - an appeal to ignorance. Shame on you.

The enlightenment began long before Darwin came along. The enlightenment, and modern science, owes its debt of thanks to Nicholas Copernicus who demonstrated that the earth is not the center of the universe. The Copernican Principle of Mediocrity, which any honest scientist should embrace, states that there is nothing special about the earth, which includes life on the earth and by definition human life. Therefore, if there is design on the earth, then as good scientists we must presume, until proven otherwise, that design is common in the universe. To presume otherwise is to presume that humans are a special creation uniquely possessing the power to intelligently design.

Genetic engineering is a reality today. Therefore, the Copernican Principle of Mediocrity, the TRUE underpinning of modern science, directs us to presume that genetic engineering is a common thing in the universe.

Dogmatic materialists are every bit as guilty of anthropocentricity as the bible thumpers. Both camps are unscientific. Both camps are irrational and illogical.

So there.

251 Date: 2005-02-22 09:10:48, Link
Author: DaveScot
one needs to understand that the frames of reference in which Newton's Laws don't apply are those found at extraordinarily small or large scales

Not always. The Global Positioning System must take the relativistic effects of moderate satellite velocities (the satellite's clocks are running a bit slower than the same clock on the earth's surface) in order to get an accurate position fix. There's also compensation for the satellite clock being in a reduced but moderate gravity field farther from the center of the earth's mass than a ground based clock. There's even compensation for changes in the earth's gravity field due to density differences over any particular spot.

If you're trying to target a precision weapon in bad weather the difference between a bomb factory and a grammar school next to it is not a matter of extraordinarily small scale, yet without Einsteinian physics we have no way of discriminating between the two in that circumstance.

252 Date: 2005-02-22 09:21:16, Link
Author: DaveScot
The moment the chick-to-be goes from undifferientiated cells to slight specialization there is an increase in the information, according to Shannon's Information Theory.

No, there is not. All the information required for differentiation is already there. No new information is created. None is added from the environment. Pre-existing information is merely expressed differently.

253 Date: 2005-02-22 11:00:28, Link
Author: DaveScot
Grey Wolf

So you see, what we have in a chicken egg is a cell, which is composed of a recipe and self-replicating organic factory, plus a suitable chemical environment containing raw materials to be made into more organic machinery according to the recipe.

Now imagine a first, common ancestor cell for all the life on earth we see. Most scientists agree there's a common ancestor, right? But instead of imagining its genome going from less to more complex, assume the complexity was already there just like the complexity is already there in the chicken egg. Now the process of ontogeny and phylogeny are extremely similar except for the timescale.

Further, there's an very complex timing/trigger sequence in the expression of different cell types and organization from chicken egg to chicken. No more or less complex timing/trigger sequence need be operating over geologic timescales in phylogenesis as are operating in ontogenesis.

What we might better be trying to figure out is what cues are used in phylogeny to time the specialization and diversification based on the assumption that little of it was due to any random process just like little in the way of random process is required to make a chicken egg into a chicken.

A perfectly good explanation for phylogeny is right there in ontogeny.

The only thing different is it becomes harder to explain abiogenesis if you start from an information rich genome instead of an information poor genome in the universal ancestor. Ostensibly, evolution is the origin of species, not the origin of life. When it becomes the origin of life it crosses the border from fact based science to faith based philosophy.

254 Date: 2005-02-23 02:10:44, Link
Author: DaveScot
this designer can just jump in and poke around with stuff willy-nilly, why bother investigating at all?

Because we can assume that the designer of biological systems is working within the constraints of physical laws just like the designer of the computer you used to write your little missive.

255 Date: 2005-02-23 02:21:19, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ockham's Razor has been proven as a theorem in information theory, so either your education or your ability to absorb it are lacking. Since your education has not only left you with the absurd

Where on earth did you come up with that nonsense? Occam's Razor is a rule of thumb not a theory. It says the simplest solution is usually the correct one. Note it's not ALWAYS the correct one. Quantum physics certainly isn't simple compared to Newtonian physics.

And by the way, the simplest solution to the overwhelming appearance of design, is that it's a design. Tortured and unproven hypotheses to the contrary that attempt to explain how the most complex machine ever observed happened by a long series of random chance defeating virtually impossible odds are NOT what William of Occam advises as the leading presumption.

256 Date: 2005-02-23 02:27:03, Link
Author: DaveScot
all of the Wells's, Behes, Dembskis, and those "Darwin-doubting" signers of petitions who unreasonhably cling to a single-designer conjecture

The signers of the petition explicitely doubt mutation + natural selection as being adequate to explain the diversity of life. Can't you at least get that little bit right? Mischaracterizing the opposition through either ignorance or dishonesty does nothing to further your side's agenda. In fact it does just the opposite.

257 Date: 2005-02-23 02:51:28, Link
Author: DaveScot
Who's to say that we understand the "complex" systems well enough to be able to claim that they had to be designed?

I have designed enough complex computer hardware to recognize design when I see it. I may not know the design team but the design is apparent nonetheless. Just the combination of DNA/ribosome, which is perhaps the best understood subset of cellular machinery at the moment, is very much like a computer controlled milling machine able to fabricate all the parts required to replicate itself. And that just scratches the surface of the machinery of life. One little, but important and moderately well understood subsystem that churns out 3-D protein sculptures to specifications contained in the genetic code. Machines like that don't just appear out of thin air. At least none are known for a fact to have appeared out of thin air. Especially troublesome to non-intelligent origin is when the storage media for the specifications (DNA) requires the milling machine (ribosome) to produce it and the milling machine requires the specifications for the milling machine parts to be produced. I have yet to see any hypotheses even remotely supportable about how the chicken/egg paradox of DNA/ribosome came about with no intelligent design input. In fact all machines except biological systems are known to be the result of intelligent design. The rational assumption is that machines are the result of intelligent design until proven otherwise. Biological machines are no exception.

258 Date: 2005-02-23 03:04:41, Link
Author: DaveScot
One obvious problem with this discussion is this assumption that belief in intelligent design causes a person to have no curiousity about nature and how things work. I believe in intelligent design, yet I am quite curious to dig down and understand how things work. I would call it simple arrogance to say "I don't believe in intelligent design, and therefore I have greater curiosity than those who believe in intelliegent design."

Very good. In the world of commercial computer design (my professional world), working specifications are often held as trade secrets so the owner can maintain control & profitibility as long as possible. Others who which to capitalize on the capabilities of those systems are then forced to do what is commonly called "reverse engineering" where we figure out how the thing in question works through dissection and experimentation rather than getting a copy of the code or schematics from the original designer(s). Reverse engineering is exactly what science is doing with the machinery of life. The motivation for the effort is not dependant on who or what came up with the design but rather the practical benefits derived from knowing how it works.

259 Date: 2005-02-23 03:24:00, Link
Author: DaveScot
Clearly you'd expect based on common design that the similarities should be closer between whale and shark

Clearly not. The shark is cartilage boned, cold blooded, and breathes water while the whale has calcium bones, warm blood, and breathes air. At first blush I'd put the cow and the whale closer than the shark and the whale based upon those easy structural observations.

Examples of things you might expect from design is relatively rapid instantiation of new forms followed by long periods of stasis which mutation/selection DID NOT predict. You'd expect to see top-down evolution where new forms appear from a paucity of ancestral forms instead of bottom-up design where new forms appear from a plethora of ancestral forms which mutation/selection predicts. In point of fact the fossil record reveals both rapid instantiation of new forms and top-down evolution. Mutation/selection is perhaps the greatest failed hypothesis since the days when scientists believed the earth was at the center of the universe and everything else spun around it. Its days are numbered. An increasing number of people are examining the evidence and noting how mutation/selection fails to adequately explain it. Darwinian evolution ceased being science a long time ago and became a faith based philosophy much closer to a religion than a science which explains its dogged hanger's on despite spectacular failures in its predictions.

260 Date: 2005-02-23 03:51:33, Link
Author: DaveScot
Evolution assumes that simple processes we have already seen work in the lab can have a cumulative effect over time to create the diversity of life we see today.

In other words some perfectly good observations obtained through the scientific method that explain minor scale adaptations over short periods of geologic time to best fit any particular environmental niche have been extrapolated into major form adaptations over geologic timespans. Morever, the predictions of these small scale changes gradually accumulating into a great diversity of species from which new forms are selected has utterly failed to be supported in the fossil record which shows major new forms emerging from a scarcity of species and not emerging gradually but very rapidly.

The extrapolation's predictions failed. Admit it and move on. The overwhelming appearance of design is not an illusion. It's real. It's the only explanation which perfectly fits the facts.

261 Date: 2005-02-23 04:03:35, Link
Author: DaveScot
From the fact that there's considerable literature on the subject, including published proofs, like the one I actually cited in the post you're responding to, you imbecile.

You linked to a wikipedia article that properly calls Occams's Razor a "principle". That does not support your position that it's a proven theorum. Neither does some obscure paper submitted to Information Processing Letters.

Pay attention. Occam's Razor is a perspective, not a falsifiable or provable hypothesis. Get a clue. Purchase one if necessary.

262 Date: 2005-02-23 04:10:15, Link
Author: DaveScot
that is not what evolution states

"Evolution" is not a precise term.

How many times must I point out to you that I don't deny that evolution happened? The evidence that a common single celled ancestor unfolded into the diversity we see today is stark and compelling. I don't deny it. What I deny is the ability of mutation/selection to explain it all, just like the hundreds of scientists that had the courage to sign a statement saying they question mutation/selection's ability to explain the diversity of life.

Write that down.

263 Date: 2005-02-23 04:15:27, Link
Author: DaveScot

I suggest you read the article you linked to. Pay particular attention to "the one generating the shortest overall message is more likely to be correct".

So it's been proven to be likely.

Thanks. Statements like that are proven likely to provoke laughter.

264 Date: 2005-02-23 04:19:04, Link
Author: DaveScot

In science

Ockham's Razor has become a basic perspective for those who follow the scientific method. It is important to note that it is a heuristic argument that does not necessarily give correct answers; it is a loose guide to choosing the scientific hypothesis which (currently) contains the least number of unproven assumptions. Often, several hypotheses are equally "simple" and Ockham's Razor does not express any preference in such cases.

Now STOP this nonsense about Occam's Razor being a proven theorum RIGHT NOW. It's not a theorum. Period. End of story.

265 Date: 2005-02-23 04:27:15, Link
Author: DaveScot
your explanaition fits the facts. It fits all the facts - all imaginable facts

It disobeys no known laws of physics. It does not fit all imaginable facts, whatever those might be, as I haven't spent any time trying to imagine facts - imagined facts seems to be the mutation/selectionist's forte - they imagine extrapolations are facts and use the ACLU to enforce their faith when someone trys to point out that it is an extrapolation and not a fact. Design fits the observered facts which mutation/selection does not do. Fitting the observed facts within the confines of the known laws of physics is what hypotheses are supposed to do, in case no one taught you that yet.

266 Date: 2005-02-23 04:41:29, Link
Author: DaveScot
Well no sh@t simpler explanations are more likely to be correct. Duh. That's why Occam's Razor is an enduring, guiding principle in science and engineering. It's still a principle, by the way, not a theory.

267 Date: 2005-02-23 04:57:58, Link
Author: DaveScot
So you claim design does not fit all imaginable facts? Give us an example of evidence which, if found, would disprove design. If you want design called a hypothesis (we can talk about being a theory later), it'll need to be falsifiable.

The salient question is what evidence can disprove mutation/selection since that's already being peddled as a well tested theory.

268 Date: 2005-02-23 06:35:09, Link
Author: DaveScot
Falsifiability is tied to verifiability.

Design can, in principle, be verified by locating a designer.

What can, in principle, verify mutation/selection acting in distant past to accomplish the diversity we see today?

I've seen no documented observations of mutation/selection having the ability to change one closely related group of organisms into something different. Mutated insects remain insects, mutated mammals remain mammals, mutated bacteria remain bacteria, even mutated viruses remain viruses. Mutation has not been observed to make the kind of changes required to turn a bacteria into a bird. It's a huge extrapolation. That's not a well tested theory, it's an educated guess. Design is on equal footing except I'd say it's a more rational guess since intelligent tinkering with genomes is something we're already doing today and all the machines where the origin is known are of intelligent design.

269 Date: 2005-02-25 00:18:00, Link
Author: DaveScot
(1) Who hatched this idea in the first place? Who set up the "rules"? Who is really running the show?

The duly elected Kansas Board of Education, of course.

(2) Why was this new, highly irregular procedure tacked onto the normal procedures at the last minute? Was the problem that only creationists supported the Intelligent Design Network revisions at the regular public comment sessions?

To get expert opinion from both sides on the record.

(3) Can science be redefined based on a bare majority on a state school board? (The conservatives gained a 6-4 majority in the last election, which is why this is happening now)

Yes. Democracy's a real bitch sometimes.

(4) Should the real scientific community participate in this show trial at all? Why can't "intelligent design" follow the route taken by every other idea in the science classrooms --- peer-reviewed publishing, acceptance by the scientific community, and finally incorporation into the introductory textbooks? Why is ID forced to "cut in line" via political means?

Because the scientific community is heavily weighted by atheists and any challenge to atheistic evolutionary theory doesn't get a fair hearing through regular channels.

Why is the all-powerful mutation/selection hypothesis forced to defend itself by the ACLU is the salient question. Can't it stand scrutiny on its own merits? Evidently not.

By the way, Kansas is only going to get ridiculed by minorities in other states. Majorities are applauding. Evidently someone doesn't have much of a clue how little public support atheist evolution actually enjoys. If it had a majority it wouldn't need the ACLU to defend it, now would it.

270 Date: 2005-02-25 00:23:54, Link
Author: DaveScot
He also said many scientists would feel uncomfortable speaking in a trial format.

Maybe the penalty for perjury makes them uncomfortable. Just a guess...

271 Date: 2005-02-25 00:50:52, Link
Author: DaveScot
Sure, I'll teach the Muslim kids, the Shinto kids, the Buddist kids, Jews, Born Agains, Jehovah's Witnesses . . . .. THE VERSION OF CREATION THAT I AM FAMILIAR WITH (I am Catholic). Is that acceptable???

No, it's not acceptable. What's acceptable is you teach a neutral theory that doesn't attempt to characterize the intelligent agent(s). Intelligence is the not the exclusive domain of religion. Supposedly even evolutionary biologists are intelligent agents and I for one am willing to give them the benefit of doubt in the regard.

If you want a religious version of the story, buck up and send your kid to a religious school.

If you want only an atheist version of the story buck up and send your kid to a private school that kowtows to atheism.

Every one of the religions above would have a rightful lawsuit against me for indoctrinating their kids wth "my religion".

Sure they would. That's why it's an intelligent agent and not Yahweh.

A second point, if you do not think evolution is a fact, I do not have the time or patience to deal with you.

Intelligent design questions the mechanism of evolution, not evolution itself.

What you BELIEVE is seperate from what you can PROVE.

Ain't that the truth. Prove to me that dinosaurs are the result of random mutation + natural selection acting on a universal common ancestor.

Maybe in the trial format an ID defender will have the temerity to ask "Is it true that no one has observed mutation + selection changing a single-celled organism into any multi-celluar organism and isn't it it true that this power of mutation + selection to change a single celled organism into a multi-celled organism is an extrapolation of its observed powers to make small changes that don't create new higher taxa?"

Good lord, an evolutionary scientist may be required to answer that, under oath, with a simple yes or no. We can't have that.

272 Date: 2005-02-25 01:42:40, Link
Author: DaveScot
Actually, no idea.

Honesty at last.

Behe believes that intelligence could have worked to produce the universal common ancestor (a single celled organism) and not had a hand in anything since that point. I've said this a number of times. I've then gone on, beyond anything Behe has said, to point out that ontogenesis and phylogenesis then become equivalent processes each beginning with a single cell that is pre-programmed to unfold into specialized, organized, interdependant versions of itself in response to internal and external cues. I've further pointed out that an extant organism, amoeba dubia, has a genome 200 times larger than the human genome which seems adequate to contain enough pre-programmed information to account for the diversity we see today with little in the way of random processes needed to produce any of it so there's no question that a single-celled organism can thrive with a genome that size even when hardly any of it is actually expressed.

It's the only point where design is evident IMO and all the problems that skeptics of mutation/selection point to go away with a designed LUCA. It's at least worth testing by looking for genes in extant single-celled organisms that have no business being there as they've never been used in that organism or any of its ancestors. Say a gene coding for a neurotransmitter is found in a single-celled organism...

273 Date: 2005-02-25 02:02:05, Link
Author: DaveScot
Miller then rips this idea to pieces, pointing out first of all that such a clairavoyant cell (containing all the IR systems from creatures not to walk the earth for a billion years) would be giagantic

About the size of amoeba dubia is my guess. 670 billion base pairs. Extant and (presumably) happy. Did anyone bother to point out known c-values, and the c-value paradox, to Miller? Another interesting little factoid - the Easter Lily weighs in at 190 billion base pairs.

274 Date: 2005-02-25 02:24:12, Link
Author: DaveScot
[qoute=Miller goes on and]none of the bacterial ancestors of this cell show any such thing. Worse, anything that was "turned off" for this length of time would degrade into nonsense because natural selection could not discard mutational errors in unexpressed genes that made it through the usual DNA correction mechanisms.

Any particular reason that bacteria didn't evolve from an anaerobic eukaryote instead of the other way around? Any reason other than an ideological constraint that presumes that evolution always proceeds from simpler to more complex?

This is too easy. Who is this Miller guy? Obviously a low IQ individual.

And his natural selection argument is bogus. Any number of simple error-checking algorithms could kill off any imperfect copies. If a designer wanted preservation of an entire genome without alteration it's not that hard to do. Computer engineers like me do it with similar amounts of critical information so if I can do it surely whoever designed the first cell could do it too. Miller needs to learn how to think outside that dogmatic box he lives in.

275 Date: 2005-02-25 02:26:43, Link
Author: DaveScot
Grey Wolf

All the information needed to turn a chicken egg into a chick is inside the egg at the outset. Duh. Are you stupid or what?

276 Date: 2005-02-25 02:31:32, Link
Author: DaveScot
Grey Wolf

I've been around the block a few times and have seen your type many times before. I don't have the time or the patience to argue forever with people who won't concede a valid point to save their life.

If you think there isn't enough information in a chicken egg to construct a chicken I'm not going to argue the point with you. I'm just going to pat you on the head like I would a small child and move on to another topic where there's perhaps an adult around that wants to talk about it.

277 Date: 2005-02-25 03:01:24, Link
Author: DaveScot
Grey Wolf

Falsifiability is a red herring.

A hypothesis may be, in decreasing order of preference:

1) verifiable and falsifiable
2) verifiable but not falsifiable
3) not verifiable but falsifiable
4) not verifiable and not falsifiable

Design is verifiable in a number of ways. An irrefutable proof of irreducible complexity may be presented. SETI might discover the creator. An extant organism's genome might be found containing genes that code for functional proteins that were never used or expressed in any of its line of descent but are found in other lines.

It's possible that design may not be falsifiable due to the nature of negative evidence but that doesn't matter if it is, in principle, verifiable.

I question whether it can ever be verified that mutation/selection operating in the distant past accumulated enough random mutations acted upon by natural selection to 1) turn inanimate chemicals into a living DNA-based cell and 2) turn a bacteria into a dinosaur.

Hypotheses that cannot be verified aren't useless in all cases of course, as negative evidence (failure to falsify) can become compelling, but they're certainly not preferable to those that can be verified. A verified hypothesis is the best case. A falsifiable hypothesis that has yet to be falsified is inferior.

278 Date: 2005-02-25 03:19:19, Link
Author: DaveScot
Behe's "views" are intellectually incoherent

Either that or it's over your head.

In the immortal words of Arthur C. Clarke (said at the considerable risk being labeled a quote-miner):

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

DaveScot's corollary:

"Any sufficiently advanced thought is indistinguishable from incoherent."

Write that down.

279 Date: 2005-02-25 03:36:42, Link
Author: DaveScot
Unless he posits that the great designer dips in and out, as the whim strikes him/her, creating an IC object here and then one there, but leaves the rest to evolution. That strikes me as an indefensible position, not only scientifically but also theologically.

Indefensible? That's EXACTLY what human genetic engineers are doing AS WE SPEAK. Not only is it defensible, it's an extant process in the last decade or two! ID does not say the designer has to be perfect. What the designer had to be in that case was patient. A tweak here, a tweak there, come back in a hundred million years to see how it worked out. I've sure got a lot of good working designs out the door that way. On somewhat tighter schedules of course.

280 Date: 2005-02-25 03:41:23, Link
Author: DaveScot
This strikes me as a whole lot less credible than Santa Claus.

Yeah, but Santa Claus is a whole lot more credible than the presents evolving under the tree out of dust and floorwax.

281 Date: 2005-02-25 04:10:31, Link
Author: DaveScot
That sounds strangely as if in Behe's eyes life on Earth is not much more than a computer program whose course was pre-determined with external factors playing no role. Does that mean that the great extinctions were events in the history of life analogous to god playing war games with his toys, since the cretaceous meteorite was surely not part of the genetic plan?

Einstein went to his grave believing in determinism. Einstein's reputed to be a pretty bright guy so I wouldn't be real quick to pooh-pooh his most cherished belief that "God does not play at dice with the universe".

But just for the record, I think Einstein was an idiot savant, more or less. Determinism sucks and free will exists.

Ontogenesis is certainly front-loaded. Why not phylogenesis? Nature loves a fractal. Ontogenesis and phylogenesis being governed by the same underlying process on different timescales is quite elegant.

I could wax on poetic equating the first cell on the earth to a chicken embryo on an egg yolk, and humans being the reproductive organ that allows the ecosytem on the earth to spread its form to other planets, but I fear you'll make fun of me if I do. So I won't. ;-)

Oh the humanity - rejected by atheists AND bible thumpers. Woe is me.

282 Date: 2005-02-25 04:37:57, Link
Author: DaveScot

Explain the chicken/egg paradox of DNA/ribosome. I've said I don't care for the examples that Behe used when such a beauty is right there out in the open, unexplained, paradoxical, irreducible, and possibly the most widely studied and well understood subset of cellular machinery we know of. DNA/ribosome is a computer controlled 3-D protein milling machine capable of making all the parts required to replicate itself. The problem is that proteins are needed to replicate DNA and DNA is required to replicate proteins.

The best clutching at straws attempt to modern synthesize the paradox away I've seen is through the fantasy of an "RNA world" that existed long enough to make a DNA World then conveniently vanished without a trace.

The big problem with it is that DNA is like disk storage in a computer (slow and non-volatile) while RNA is like RAM storage (fast and volatile). Those attributes are exploited in a cell just like they are in a computer. RNA never could have persisted long enough in any credible environment to evolve. It's just too volatile.

If someone can come up with a remotely believable process whereby DNA/ribosome combination evolved without direction, including the 300 or so minimum number of interdependent complex proteins that are required for self-replication then I'll never again question any part of the mutation/selection fairy tale. Good luck.

283 Date: 2005-02-25 05:10:51, Link
Author: DaveScot
Plunge writes A cell containing all those "turned off" IC strutures with foresight for all the sorts of things modern animals would need would be a HUGE cell.

What part of amoeba dubia, an extant single celled organism, having 670 billion base pairs did you not understand?

And there is no evidence of any of that information having been there in any of the descendants of early life.

We've barely started to look.

Certainly no evidence of these monster frankenstein cells.

Ameoba dubia has a monstrous genome. It might not be the biggest, just the biggest anyone has seen yet. At 200 times the human genome it's plenty to specify all the basic proteins and body plans used by say 200 different phyla which is enough phyla to account for all the extinct and extant phyla that are known. In fact, since many proteins and bits of body plans are common even across phyla domains it's probably enough to be a lot more specific. Once you get down to groups like mammals, or frogs, most of the variation is trivial rearrangements and changes in scale rather than any real novelty.

So . . . where are they? What are they?

You're prepared to tell me with a straight face that you believe in abiogenesis without a real clue about how it could have happened and at the same time question the possibility of a simple error-checking algorithm in a cell? Ferpetesake. That's just a bit of double standard there. Google "DRAM ECC". In fact I have a patent on part of an error checking algorithm. Here ya go:

But hey, don't go letting the facts get in the way of your faith in the mutation/selection fairy tale. I don't want that on my conscience, fercrisakes. I already feel bad enough about telling my other children that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy were made up out of thin air when they might have gone another year or two before figuring it out on their own recognizance.

284 Date: 2005-02-25 05:48:53, Link
Author: DaveScot
Well, this should advance the cause of Atheism more than anything. What a concept of a negligent, could't-care-less God. Why should anybody believe in such an . . . ?

I didn't say I LIKED the trial and error designer. If I liked trial and error I'd stick with the mutation/selection fairy tale. All I said was a lot of human design gets done through trial and error, lately including GENETIC design. Don't make me have to give you a link to genetic engineering sites - things like that get SO tedious.

That's at least a way to start research. Anyone of the DI working on that?

I dunno. I hope someone will get around to it. I are just a agnostic, antagonistic retired computer engineer catching up on what I missed in biology that didn't get covered in 25 years of reading Scientific American when I wasn't busy raising hell, raising kids, or inventing better Microsoft Mousetraps. And besides, I won't join any club that would have me for member. I didn't miss a whole lot, as it turns out. Abiogenesis hasn't moved much beyond Urey-Miller and I read about that in the 1960's before I turned 10 years old. At least someone figured out Miller used a contrived environment for the early earth so even those few amino acids they got to precipitate out of the soup were bogus. That's progress in a backwards sort of way I guess.

I do not think that that was the question. Of course, the information is enough to construct a chicken, but what about a specific chicken? If the chicken is is only caused by its genome, then clones would really be identical. But they aren't. So somewhere there is an increase in information. (Not necessarily introduced into the hereditary line, but nonetheless). That was the point.

Exactly where each down feather goes down to the micrometer is trivial information. The big flight feathers go on the outside of skin on the wings. The down feathers go underneath the larger feathers. That's important and it's not a random placement. And the micrometer accurate placement of the feather information is there in the egg in any case, it's just too chaotic and unimportant to worry about. If you could somehow precisely track the brownian bumpings of the progenitor protein molecules for the feather follicles you could probably predict precisely where each would end up. There is no increase of information that I can see and there is CERTAINLY no information missing needed to create a chicken instead of some other kind of bird.

I'm not saying that evolution didn't have any random factors in it. I'm saying it might not have had much in the way of important things come about from random factors.

Other things we can look for along these lines are trigger events that would've spurred our ancestral megacell to diversify.

Fer instance, if life had a purpose beyond anaerobic single-celled critters mucking slowly around in the water it had to create an oxidizing atmosphere to support faster metabolisms. Maybe the first trigger was a certain percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere. And then maybe because terrestrial animals have to be protected from UV radiation to survive maybe an ozone layer had to be formed before that stage of evolution was triggered. I haven't really put much thought into the possible triggers yet but I believe they're there, just no one is looking for them because they're wearing mutation/selection blinders and the thought of prescribed evolution just doesn't occur to them. Very unfortunate situation. This is what happens when ego driven dogma takes over from healthy skepticism.

285 Date: 2005-02-25 06:02:48, Link
Author: DaveScot
If human blood clotting genes are smuggled around in genomes waiting for humans, why aren't they in, say, sea cucumbers anymore?

Because sea cucumbers were never intended to diversify beyond sea cucumbers. Maybe you hadn't noticed but most lines go extinct. They're evolutionary dead-ends. My pet hypothesis is that the c-value paradox is explained, at least partially, by the potential diversity that an organism possesses. Most of the fluff is in repeats of various flavors (approximate, tandem, distant, what-have-you) and what little we know about those is they're often alleles which in sexually reproducing critters is a measure of potential diversity - the more alleles the more and different recombinations that are possible. We've only just scratched the surface on our own genome, which is 200 times smaller than dubias, and you're already ruling out possibilities based on no evidence whatsoever. Amazing. With 95% of the human genome a big QUESTION MARK of unknown function, you're sitting there telling me what is and is not in an unsequenced genome 200 times larger. You're obviously pretty desperate to defend your faith. I sense you're beginning to get a glimmer of how tenuous its basis is.

This is too easy.


286 Date: 2005-02-25 06:33:57, Link
Author: DaveScot
Some other related research that I really like (I LOVE astronomy, cosmology, and space sciences in general) that I'd like to take this opportunity to plug can be found here:

This is pulling together a truly broad range of sciences.

As some of you may know, one of the largest problems with abiogenesis is the limited amount of time between the earth's formation and the appearance of the first cell - believed to be no more than 500 million years.

And the problem just keeps getting worse and worse. The more we dig into the machinery of even the simplest cells the more complex we find out they are. Thus the amount of specified complexity that had to be generated by chemical evolution grows and grows while the amount of time for it to happen on the earth does not grow.

What the "galactic habitable zone" work attempts to do is find out how much time there was for abiogenesis to occur on another earthlike planet that formed before our planet did, how many of them there were, and the range. It's fascinating stuff. Read it. The best estimate now is that the oldest earth-like planets are no more than 4 billion years older than the earth and are in a restricted band well away from the galatic center. But there should be plenty of them. So that gives abiogenesis of carbon forms (I'm not necessarily a carbon chauvinist though) an extra 4 billion years. That's a lot more wiggle room and it's probably going to be needed because that first cell was a huge step, bigger than any other leap in the path from non-life to observed diversity today.

A problem (which I think is really humorous) with abiogenesis occuring on a different planet and seeding the earth is that some group (I forget who) worked through the numbers to figure out the odds of an earth-like planet blowing up and a microbe hitching a ride on a piece of shrapnel. The odds of that are reasonable. What they figured is essentially zero odds is any of those bits of shrapnel happening to land on our planet. So even if abiogenesis occured on another planet, odds are it would have needed to have an intelligently designed transportation to get here.

Now if any of this is new information to any of you mutation/selection faithful then I say you are not well enough informed to even be talking about the problems with origins. And that's the real problem IDers have. It's not about the Panda's Thumb. It's all about where that first cell came from 4 billion years ago. The rest of evolution is easy to believe in comparison to abiogenesis.

287 Date: 2005-02-25 14:50:28, Link
Author: DaveScot
the evidence for the basic Darwinian hypothesis, whatever you may consider that evidence to be, can be reinterpreted as evidence for the design hypothesis with double the confirmation. As far as concerns what studies get funded and what articles get published in "reputable" scientific journals, that's both irrelevant and a political can of worms in its own right.


The problem is obvious. Any bright individual that's bothered to look at the evidence in light of both mutation/selection and design can see which is a better fit. Therefore atheists like Dawkins and his band of merry men can't let even a whisper of criticism of the modern synthesis into a classroom lest more bright people start to dig deeper and reach the inevitable conclusion that his peer and former world renowned atheist Antony Flew arrived at recently. If they can continue the fraud of saying Darwinian evolution is confirmed without a doubt by 150 years of testing no one bothers to question it. Heck, anyone that's bothered to read "The Origin of Species" knows that Darwin made spectacular mistakes (heritable acquired traits is a beauty) galore which, in and of itself, means that the trite "150 years of confirmation" is a lie.

288 Date: 2005-02-25 15:06:14, Link
Author: DaveScot

Falsifiability is not a requirement if there's verifiability.

The nature of negative evidence makes it practically impossible to falsify some explanations. However, if the explanation can be confirmed by positive evidence there's no need to be falsifiable. That should be evident to even the casual observer.

Mutation/selection appears to be non-verifiable and evidence which any objective person would view as falsifying it is rejected out of hand because nobody can come up with an alternative to mutation/selection which adheres to the materialism dogma.

ID may not be falsifiable but it is verifiable. I'm not convinced it's been verfied but the evidence certainly supports it a lot better than the mutation/selection hypothesis which has failed so many predictions yet trundles along like everything lined right up for it it's gone from hypothesis to faith-based dogma.

289 Date: 2005-02-25 15:39:25, Link
Author: DaveScot

The only thing of Darwin's original work still standing is common ancestry and descent with modification. And he wasn't the first to propose either of those as anyone involved in animal husbandry over the last umpteen thousand years knew of heritable traits and descent with modification. The most important thing, the mechanism by which phylogenesis operates, Darwin posited to be the primary result of inheritance of acquired characters... which is totally wrong. Mutation/selection, the all powerful patch applied to Darwin's spectacular failure, remains to this day a huge extrapolation from a: [observed but limited powers to modify] to b: [all encompassing unobserved power to modify]. All this time and it still remains just an extrapolation with no confirmation. I don't believe it CAN be confirmed because you can't confirm something that isn't true. And it too has failed miserably because it predicted that novel new species would arise from selection acting on a plethora of closely related populations. Instead of bottom-up evolution working from a large body of small acccumulated beneficial mutations the fossil record reveals top-down evolution where new forms arise in eyeblinks of geologic time with little if any evidence of gradual mutation preceding it. Thus comes in the latest kludge on the failed hypothesis - punctuated equilibrium by Eldredge and Gould a mere 30 years ago. So the vaunted 150 years of confirmation is really 130 years of failed predictions and a 30-year new hypothesis that has not been confirmed and probably won't be confirmed because it just didn't happen that way. Spare me.

Mutation/selection is a failed hypothesis for explaining the diversity of life. There are only two kinds of explanations for macro-evolution and origins - failed hypotheses and unconfirmed hypotheses. The modern synthesis is in the former group. ID is in the latter.

And all the above doesn't even touch on the origins problem which is so problematic no one has made a bit of progress on it since finding out that Urey-Miller's precipitating amino acids in the 1950's was based on a seriously flawed model of the young earth environment. The mutation/selection extrapolation and punctuated equilibrium kludge are small leaps compared to the leap any materialist abiogenesis hypothesis is forced to make. Most evolutionists, just as Darwin did, would rather just ignore abiogenesis and focus on a plausible explantion for evolution after the first cell miraculously showed up out of nowhere.

290 Date: 2005-02-25 16:02:36, Link
Author: DaveScot
"What the hell is a "world renowned" atheist?"

Antony Flew.

"Funny thing though, Flew admitted that he wasn't aware of the evidence and has since recanted that portion of his "conversion"."

No, he did not. That's simply false. Flew said he hadn't read the interviewer's latest book not that he had read nothing. He recanted nothing and confirmed that ID is the closest thing to what he now believes to be true.

"So basically he did what everybody else does: toyed with ID out of ignorance (note that he never actually accepted it)."

He has accepted that recent discoveries in the details of cellular machinery have become impossible for him to accept as anything other than design by some agency. He still rejects religious dogma purporting to the be revealed word of God. In other words, he's moved from atheist to deist, which is move even I haven't made. I remain agnostic.

"What about all those theistic evolutionists who both outnumber and agree with those atheists? Christ you're dishonest. Shouldn't you be against bearing false witness?

If you're allowed to point to the leading lights of ID as being conspiratorial Christians with agendas then I reserve the right to point to the leading lights of neo-Darwinism as atheists. I don't think anyone's faith should be scrutinized but you force me to play by those rules so I point out that Dawkins and Gould and most of the other big names in evolution are atheists.

And no, I shouldn't be against bearing false witness. Your lame little poke at the ten commandments is nothing to me. The bible is a nothing more than collection of bedtime stories as far as I know. If you're careful to avoid the ambiguities in it you can pull out some decent moral codes but it's like finding a pony buried in a mountain of manure. Knowing right from wrong doesn't require a bible for guidance - at least not for me.

291 Date: 2005-02-26 12:57:00, Link
Author: DaveScot
Don't get your anal retentive panties in a bunch, evolutionists. "Monkey" is simply being used as an aphorism for the hominid ancestor men and apes have in common.

292 Date: 2005-02-27 10:05:51, Link
Author: DaveScot
Researching amniote penises seems like a wonderful application of your natural talents, Dr. Myers. Keep up the good work!

293 Date: 2005-02-27 10:21:11, Link
Author: DaveScot
"I know it when I see it" isn't even the standard used to judge dogs at the Westminster Dog Show.

At a dog show the judges can at least observe living dogs doing the things their owners claim they can do. If The Church of Darwin's priesthood were held to the same evidentiary standard there'd be nothing to argue about.

294 Date: 2005-02-27 10:39:07, Link
Author: DaveScot
re Antony Flew

I hadn't read the January 2005 update on secweb. My mistake. Please forgive me for missing it at this late date of February 2005. I try to read everything new on the internet within a day of its appearance but sometimes my reading list is backed up a month or two. LOL!

Congratulations to all who caught me in a mistake. Cherish it as you would the rarest of treasures.

295 Date: 2005-02-27 10:56:25, Link
Author: DaveScot
BTW, my "interpretation" of the data is that aliens were involved in seeding the first cell. This also "explains" the data. So, may I put that into a scientific curriculum as well?

Does it violate any known physical laws? No.

Does it explain any problems better than competing theories? Yes.

Does any evidence contradict it? No.

Is it falsifiable? Yes (by verifying a non-alien hypothesis such as all powerful mutation/selection).

Is it verifiable? Yes (SETI is one of several possibilities).

So, if you can get a duly elected school board to agree that it is worthy of mention then I don't see why it shouldn't be in the curriculum. You'd get my vote that it should be at least mentioned as a possibility with SETI and astrobiology as example areas of scientific inquiry which may lead to more evidence for or against it. I wish you good luck with a real school board as the average member is far less likely to be as honest and open-minded as moi.

296 Date: 2005-02-27 11:20:11, Link
Author: DaveScot
Heddle at

Good work. But there's an even easier way to falsify ID for me. Just verify mutation/selection is the mechanism that took bacteria to buffalo in 4 billion years and that'll do it for me. Is that too much to ask? Evidently it is.

Ya know why it's too much to ask and why mutation/selection has not been verified as the mechanism that turned bacteria into buffalo? Because you can't verify something that didn't happen. Ouch.

297 Date: 2005-02-27 11:38:11, Link
Author: DaveScot
I could care less about the theistic inclinations of Evolution's supporters. This has no bearing on the fact that most evolutionary biologists are not atheists. 40% are Christian, the rest are a mixture of Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Agnostic, Atheists, Deists, etc. So again, you do them injustice and I would go so far as to say you insult them. And we're not talking about chump change here either. We're talking about people like . . . . Darwin. Wallace. Asa Gray. Maybe we should curse Christians for coming up with Evolution.


I could give a crap one way or another. The point is that 1. we should be honest in this discussion and 2. you haven't been.

Sure, let's DO be honest "prince". Aside from starting by using your real name (hahahaha) there's this

Atheism is common in Western Europe, in former or present communist states, and in the United States and Canada. It is particularly prevalent among natural scientists, a tendency already quite marked at the beginning of the twentieth century, developing into a dominant one during the course of the century. In 1914, James H. Leuba found that 58% of 1,000 randomly selected U.S. scientists expressed "disbelief or doubt in the existence of God". The same study, repeated in 1996, resulted in 93% expressing such disbelief or doubt. Expressions of positive disbelief rose from 52% to 72%.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, princy.

298 Date: 2005-02-27 11:51:05, Link
Author: DaveScot

The all-powerful falsifiability is mid-20th century invention by Sir Karl Popper. He was an atheist that adored Karl Marx, by the way.

So who died and made Popper's view of falsifiability the final word on what is and is not science? I must have missed that bit of news.

299 Date: 2005-02-27 11:58:19, Link
Author: DaveScot
Are you saying that if/when SETI finds evidence of ETs, it will automatically prove that ETs were responsible for seeding the first cell?

No. But if they include a schematic of the first cell and it checks out I'd probably be swayed.

Genetic engineers exist on earth today. You might even know one as they tend to be found in university genetic research laboratories wearing lab coats.

The Copernican Principle of Medicrity, the basis of enlightened thought, says that the earth and life on the earth is not "special" in any way. Therefore, to be good enlightened Copernican thinkers we must assume, until proven otherwise, that genetic engineers are not unique to the earth.

So the question is, are you an enlightened Copernican or an anthropocentric throwback to the dark ages where the earth was thought to be a special creation at the center of the universe?

300 Date: 2005-02-27 13:04:41, Link
Author: DaveScot

Plenty of people are convinced. The problem is that anytime anyone actually tries to suggest in a classroom that the neo-Darwinian story might not be correct they get sued by the ACLU for violation of the so-called doctrine of separation of church and state which is in itself another one of those mid-20th century inventions by atheist intellectuals.

You can bet your bottom dollar if your precious fairy tale wasn't being defended by the federal courts it would be long gone.

301 Date: 2005-02-27 14:14:07, Link
Author: DaveScot
Interesting response to neurode on the philosophy of biology thread.

If not a supernatural entity, then who?

Supernatural is something that violates the physical laws that govern the universe. That leaves a lot of leeway for an entity to be "godlike" yet still work within known physical laws.

An intelligent organism from another planet? And if so, what is your evidence that such an organism exists?

The same place that evidence of mutation/selection being able to make miraculous transformations from paramecium to pomeranain is residing - the undiscovered country.

Both are unverified assumptions. The Copernican Principle of Mediocrity states that we should always presume that the earth isn't special which includes life on the earth. Genetic engineers that are tinkering with the genomes of living things for directed purposes already exist on the earth and I'll pelt anyone who says otherwise with a genetically engineered rotten tomato. Therefore, according to the REAL principle of enlightened thought, which isn't atheist/marxist Sir Karl Popper's 20th century invention of falsifiability or methodological naturalism, but rather Nicholas Copernicus who killed the dark age notion of anthropocentricity in the 16th century, our FIRST scientific assumption is that some intelligence LIKE OURSELVES but a little more advanced did the design work. That's the simplest explanation and the simplest explanation, as the well tested (and some say proven) principle of Occam's Razor also directs, is what we should put first and foremost in the absence of contravening evidence.

Where those designers came from is anyone's guess. Maybe THEY evolved by serendipitous means. That is, however, irrelevant to the question of explaining the overwhelming appearance of design in the cell and the utter failure of scientific inquiry to verify the mutation/selection hypothesis for either abiogenesis or so-called macro-evolution.

That's not to say I think mutation/selection as a POSSIBLE mechanism to explain abiogenesis and all biological diversity should not be taught. What I'm saying is it's preposterous and far outside the bounds of enlightened thinking to say it's the only valid possibility. Darwinism stopped being science a LONG time ago and has now become an anti-religion religion which is being propped up by a bunch of atheists using the federal court system to confront ID on the basis of unconstitutionality. So much for science when science has to use the ACLU and a tortured, latter 20th century interpretation of the 1st amendment establishment clause to defend itself.

So there.

302 Date: 2005-02-27 14:55:33, Link
Author: DaveScot

"Why don't you quit casting your pearls before us swine, and win over Dr. Marburger?"

The war, as always, is being waged in federal court. The battle for public opinion has never even been a contest. It's ALWAYS been a court battle. Darwinism can't stand up to criticism on its own merits. It's purely a matter of fun for me to rub atheists noses in their own piddle here. I'd rub young earth creationists noses in their own piddle too but that would be too easy. You boys present more of a challenge.

303 Date: 2005-02-27 14:59:22, Link
Author: DaveScot
"Strains of bacteria exist prior to selection for several reasons"

And after selection they remain bacteria. We coming back to that thorny little issue. Antibiotic resistent bacteria are still bacteria.


304 Date: 2005-02-27 15:35:45, Link
Author: DaveScot
Popper criticized Marx's methodology, not necessarily Marx's conclusions. He admired Marx for generating a genuinely scientific hypothesis. He loathed the failure to reject it when its predictions didn't come true. And he WAS a Marxist, although he repented. It's unclear whether he ever rejected philosophical socialism on a personal basis but irrelevant either way.

1919 was in many respects the most important formative year of his intellectual life. In that year he became heavily involved in left-wing politics, joined the Association of Socialist School Students, and became for a time a Marxist. However, he was quickly disillusioned with the doctrinaire character of the latter, and soon abandoned it entirely.


For Marxism, Popper believed, had been initially scientific, in that Marx had postulated a theory which was genuinely predictive. However, when these predictions were not in fact borne out, the theory was saved from falsification by the addition of ad hoc hypotheses which made it compatible with the facts. By this means, Popper asserted, a theory which was initially genuinely scientific degenerated into pseudo-scientific dogma.


For Popper, however, to assert that a theory is unscientific, is not necessarily to hold that it is unenlightening, still less that it is meaningless, for it sometimes happens that a theory which is unscientific (because it is unfalsifiable) at a given time may become falsifiable, and thus scientific, with the development of technology, or with the further articulation and refinement of the theory.

Hmmm... a hypothesis which started out being scientific (Origin of Species), made predictions which were not in fact borne out (Cambrian Explosion, heritability of acquired characters, always reducible complexity), then saved from falsification by the addition of ad hoc hypotheses (mutation/selection, punctuated equilibrium, wild speculation about alternative functions of irreducible components), a theory which started out initially as genuinely scientific degenerated into psuedo-scientific dogma.

Sir Karl Popper is rolling over in his grave at what has become of Charles Darwin's theory. It's a classic example of psuedo-science exactly like Freud's psychology and Marx's economic theory.

I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Freud, Marx, and Darwin are the three pillars of western modernism. Two down, one to go. Popper rejected the psuedo-science of Freud and Marx and if he were here today he'd reject Darwinism too.

Before Popper would reject ID he'd first have to see its predictions falsified and the falsifications rejected. ID makes predictions (top-down evolution, rapid instantiation of new species, irreducible biochemical complexity) which are borne out in fact by the fossil record and irreducible complexity of biochemical machinery in extant living cells. ID is falsifiable by a detailed and plausible demonstration that mutation/selection, absent any design input, can explain rapid instantiation of most modern phyla in a geologic eyeblink (Cambrian Explosion) without any evidence of myriad and closely related predecessor populations for selection to act upon and even more challenging, to show how the first cell evolved from inanimate chemicals in a mere 500 million years in a very hostile environment.

Copernicus is rolling over in his grave too.

So there.

305 Date: 2005-02-28 00:13:21, Link
Author: DaveScot
Richard, may I call you Dick?

306 Date: 2005-02-28 00:36:24, Link
Author: DaveScot
Didn't you evolutionists used to pose black people as some kind of inbetween being?

They claim humans came out of Africa so I don't see what choice they have. When a naked ape wanders out of a hot climate to a severely cold climate one might assume that natural selection would play some role in conserving certain beneficial mutations.

Let's ask the mutation/selection boys what those beneficial mutations might be!

Speak right up, fellas. Don't be shy. Did God create everyone equal or did natural selection select some for different qualities than others?

307 Date: 2005-02-28 00:49:51, Link
Author: DaveScot
Evolution theory, applied, keeps diabetics alive.

Insulin isn't even spelled close to the same as evolution, Ed. Care to regale us with the logic behind that bit of absurdity?

Perhaps you're one of those "power of positive thinking" guys who holds that if you believe in something hard enough it comes true. So because Darwinists believed hard enough that dogs and humans have a close common ancestor that made them anatomically similar enough that they both respond the same way to insulin. And absent that belief, insulin would be unique to human beings.

Yeah, that must be it. Or something equally absurd.

308 Date: 2005-02-28 00:52:00, Link
Author: DaveScot
Evolution theory, applied, keeps diabetics alive.

Insulin isn't even spelled close to the same as evolution, Ed. Care to regale us with the logic behind that bit of absurdity?

Perhaps you're one of those "power of positive thinking" guys who holds that if you believe in something hard enough it comes true. So because Darwinists believed hard enough that dogs and humans have a common ancestor that belief actually made them anatomically similar enough that they both respond the same way to insulin. And absent that belief, insulin would be unique to human beings.

Yeah, that must be it. Or something equally absurd. I can hardly wait to hear it.

309 Date: 2005-02-28 01:01:21, Link
Author: DaveScot
What created you is higher than you.

I dunno, Steve. What makes you think that?


1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

Sounds pretty clear to me. I mean, a lot of the bible is ambiguous but this part about "in our image" and "after our likeness" is pretty darn specific. Which part of it don't you understand?

310 Date: 2005-02-28 12:00:39, Link
Author: DaveScot
The frauds are doubtless a blow for the researchers unlucky enough to have sent samples to Protsch for dating, but do nothing to weaken the evidence for human evolution

I have to agree. One more little fraud is just one more drop in the bucket of fraud that was already there.

Maybe evolutionists can get the ACLU to sue somebody over it. Ya think? After all, the federal courts are mutation/selection's main line of defense. Without the court ordered defense of the indoctrination of children in Darwinian dogmatism to the exclusion of all else, mutation/selection as an all-powerful mechanism capable of transforming clay into clams would have been laughed out of existence a long time ago.

Church of Darwin clerics are in a desperate hysteria to censor criticism of the Darwinian Scriptures. The desperation is understandable. I'd be desperate too if my most cherished faith were hanging by the thread of judicial fiat in an increasingly conservative nation.

311 Date: 2005-02-28 12:27:20, Link
Author: DaveScot
Alright then, Dick. I didn't want to erect any seminal barrier between us that would interfere with further intercourse. At first glans I thought it might be too presumptious.

312 Date: 2005-02-28 12:58:15, Link
Author: DaveScot
Job 9:14 How then can I dispute with him? How can I find words to argue with him?

I've found the only really challenging way to argue with a bible thumper is to limit yourself to terms they understand. Thus you must include a quote from the bible to back up any assertion you make.

313 Date: 2005-02-28 13:10:17, Link
Author: DaveScot
But it appears to me you're saying that at any moment a chimpanzee could give birth to Homo erectus --- is that what you're saying?

Upon the proper signal a stem cell gives birth to a [for example] liver cell. Is that transformation any more or less complex than the transform between successive hominid lines? Does it require random chance for it to happen?

Random chance plays little to no part in oncogenesis. I fail to see any reason (other than a priori, dogmatic rejection of design) why it should be presumed beyond a reasonable doubt that random chance played any major role in phylogenesis.

314 Date: 2005-02-28 13:19:17, Link
Author: DaveScot
Steve, Steve, Steve...

Said the clay to the potter.

The potter doesn't create the clay in his own likeness, after his own image. Clay doesn't speak either. That was a very poor analogy.

The bible specifically states that God created man in His own image, in His own likeness.

Are you saying that God appears as a hominid but the resemblance is only superficial?

Please explain exactly what you think God meant when He talked of creating man in His own image.

315 Date: 2005-02-28 13:32:32, Link
Author: DaveScot
Dr. Davison

What triggers the chromosome rearrangements and what determines how the new arrangement will differ from the old arrangement?

I can see how the chromosome rearrangement could happen like shuffling a deck of cards and dealing a new hand. New cards aren't created in that process and no invention is required but it will yield different hands from a large but finite range of possibilities. But the shuffle and deal is still presumably random and the trigger is whenever the prior hand has been played out.

That darn duck-billed platypus sure got an odd hand dealt to him, didn't he? I'm still trying to figure out how that happened if not by the idea that chance combinations of preformed characters are at work on some level.

316 Date: 2005-02-28 13:47:15, Link
Author: DaveScot
Job. 13 v 7 Do you think that God needs your lie so that you can speak deception for him?

Hey, I'm just following orders! No lie.

1 Chronicles 16:23 Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.

317 Date: 2005-02-28 22:28:12, Link
Author: DaveScot

You must be smoking crack. It makes absolutely no practical difference in the world whether mutation/selection, the hand of God, or something else was the primary cause for evolution.

I swear, besides making mutation/selection all powerful now the peanut gallery makes the mere faith in it the very thread which holds civilization together.

You really have no idea how ridiculous that is, do you?

318 Date: 2005-02-28 22:35:32, Link
Author: DaveScot

I'm an agnostic which is the only position an enlightened, objective, honest genius can possibly take.

So sorry. No church for me. Not a Christinian one and not a Darwinian one. You should try it. Free your mind. Take the red pill.

319 Date: 2005-02-28 22:55:21, Link
Author: DaveScot

It's not surprising that it is you who sounds so desperate.

ROFLMAO! Hardly. This is entertainment for me. I'm laughing my a$$ off at both the atheists and the bible thumpers. Don't confuse a good rant that I enjoy writing for affect with any vested interest in it. The outcome of this brouhaha will make no difference whatsoever in the real world. It's two camps of anal retentive egocentric dipwads both convinced they are the holders of the absolute truth battling over a friggin' sticker that students couldn't possibly care less about.

The only thing I really care about is the political aspect. It ticks me off when the establishment clause of the constitution is tortured the way that homozygous imbecile Judge Clarence Cooper did and it ticks me off when activist judges like that inbred Clinton-appointed lifetime moron Judge Clarence Cooper defy the legitimate legislative actions of duly elected representatives of the people. I didn't serve four years of my young adulthood in the United States Marine Corps defending the constitution to see liberal retards like Judge Clarence Cooper make a mockery of it while whiney little academic pissants who speak from the safety provided by men like me cheer him on.

320 Date: 2005-02-28 23:31:21, Link
Author: DaveScot
ONLY if it used the same genes as the other species from which it supposedly combined features.

You might want to be more careful; remarks like that one lead directly to a testable prediction.

Please excuse my ignorance, Hank. Could you describe for this old jarhead exactly which genes code for body type characters such as beaks or lips and egg-laying vs. bearing live young?

Thanks in advance.

321 Date: 2005-03-01 00:14:56, Link
Author: DaveScot
Hey Steve!

What's going to happen to Hindus and Buddhists who've spent their entire lives doing the kind of good deeds that Christ wanted us to do but, through no fault of their own, haven't been exposed to the New Testament and thus haven't a clue about how to become saved?

Do billions of good people like those get told at the Pearly Gates to go to hell when they die?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Matthew 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

322 Date: 2005-03-01 00:22:44, Link
Author: DaveScot
As Henry J pointed out, he [Davison] hypothesized that the platypus's bill had a similar biological origin to the bill of a bird.

Dr. Davison hypothesized no such thing. He said he was thinking about the egg laying, not the beak. Apologize immediately.

323 Date: 2005-03-01 00:33:50, Link
Author: DaveScot

Sorry. You're full of it. If one posits the existence of black holes, and predicts what observational metrics to look for, that hypothesis cannot in principle be falsified because there is no way to distinguish between not finding a black hole because you haven't searched enough or not finding one because they do not exist. However, the hypothesis can be verfied by finding one.

Is the black hole hypothesis "scientific"? Of course it is.

Unfalsifiable but verifiable hypothesis such as that abound. You and everyone that pulls the old "but can you falsify it" crap is either ignorant of basic rules of logic and a plethora of unfalsifiable scientific theories, or is just being dishonest.

Write that down.

And apologize to Karl Popper IMMEDIATELY for abusing his work in such a horrible manner.

324 Date: 2005-03-01 00:38:10, Link
Author: DaveScot

You are wrong again on the Copernican Principle of Mediocrity.

At least you're consistent. You haven't been right about anything yet.

Here ya go. And you don't even own me any tuition. How's that for generous?

325 Date: 2005-03-01 00:54:06, Link
Author: DaveScot

Dude! Way to go! Pure genius. I fear it is lost on your lessers, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

326 Date: 2005-03-01 00:59:43, Link
Author: DaveScot
Wu says "Your idiot interpretation of Mediocrity would say that there must be other Shakespeares out in the Universe"

No, it does not. Is says that we should ASSUME there are other Shakespeares in the universe until there is reason to believe there are not other Shakespeares in the universe. That is the principle of mediocrity. It's a guiding principle, not a law.

Either your reading comprehension is severely wanting or perhaps english is not your first language?

327 Date: 2005-03-01 01:08:20, Link
Author: DaveScot

Black holes were a prediction of special relativity and were hypothetical until confirmed. The hypothesis that led to the observation of black holes was certainly not in error.

Maybe you should refrain from commenting on things you evidently know nothing about.

Falsifiability is a red-herring when applied to any hypothesis which is verifiable. Due to the nature of negative evidence many perfectly valid, perfectly scientific, and later CONFIRMED hypothesis are not falsifiable.

Write that down.

Then tell me how it can be verified that mutation/selection changed inanimate chemicals into dinosaurs. Absent any method of verifiability it is nothing more than a guess which may eventually be falsified but never confirmed.

328 Date: 2005-03-01 01:12:16, Link
Author: DaveScot
Correction - black holes were predicted by general, not special, relativity.

329 Date: 2005-03-01 02:42:51, Link
Author: DaveScot
Goodbye, Mr. Carlton Wu. The pottiness of your mouth is exceeded only by the dullness of your wit. You shall henceforth not be undeservedly dignified by a response from me.

330 Date: 2005-03-01 03:10:31, Link
Author: DaveScot

The way the universe works today does not change one iota if inanimate chemicals turned into dinosaurs by divine will the day before yesterday or by chance and natural selection over the course of billions of years.

Mutation/selection is not proven to account for all diversity. Therefore, it may be found to be wrong. If you don't admit that much there's no sense in further discourse with you. So if it turns out to be wrong, does that mean that medicines will stop working? Nope. Not a single practical thing to do with science will change by allowing for the mere possibility that intelligent design had a hand in evolution.

You're assigning far too much importance to a concept that has nothing but historical significance. Micromutation is very important and happens today. Macroevolution via micromutation is ancient history at best and is irrelevant to anything happening today.

Keep in mind that *I*, like Behe, am not in disagreement with common descent. The idea that all extant species are related is the valuable idea. How distantly related species got that way is of no practical value - random muatation or directed change - the difference has theistic consequences and nothing else.

331 Date: 2005-03-01 03:18:13, Link
Author: DaveScot
An agnostic that believes in some mystical energy stopping creatures from evolving outside their "kinds", in your own words.


I believe in the possibility of God, or intelligent aliens, not the fact of God or intelligent aliens.

If you don't know the difference between possibility and fact then you need more help than I can give you here.

Agnosticism means not knowing for sure. Atheists know there is not a God. Theists know there is a God. I know they're both full of sh*t because nobody knows for sure.

Got it?

332 Date: 2005-03-02 00:23:23, Link
Author: DaveScot
Didn't language evolve by accident somehow? I'm sure if you work at it hard enough you can come up with an explanation where intelligence plays no part in the evolution of language. Complexity, such as we see in the writings here at Panda's Thumb, can arise from purely natural processes. Dictionaries, grammar, words like "Darwinian" and "evolution" are just random vocal cord vibrations acted upon by natural selection.

Yeah, that's the ticket!

I can see now what a target rich environment for grants this will be.

333 Date: 2005-03-02 12:06:15, Link
Author: DaveScot
Hmmmm... the French language isn't used by any intelligent being.

Ya got me there!

But just because you proved one language evolved without any intelligence doesn't mean they all did.

334 Date: 2005-03-02 12:13:54, Link
Author: DaveScot
Let's consider the scientific names for different species which are a part of language.

Did they come about by:

1) random vocal cord vibrations acted upon by natural selection


2) a presumably intelligent discover choosing the name

This is an open book quiz. Take your time.

335 Date: 2005-03-02 13:33:00, Link
Author: DaveScot

One unmistakable hallmark of intelligent design is anticipating a future for which there is no past precedent.

Beavers building a dam is anticipating future needs but there is past precedent for that need so it could be, and is as far as I know, instinctual behavior which can be accounted for by heredity and natural selection. In regard to the monkey and the stick, I'm unsure if this is instinctual or not, but if not instinctual then it appears to meet the criteria for intelligent design.

I offered the following as one possible unambiguous sign of intelligent design:

The organism amoeba dubia has a genome (670 gigabases) that is 200 times the size of the human genome. Amoeba dubia has no multicellular organisms in its line of descent. If it were found to contain any gene that codes for a functional protein that is only expressed in multi-cellular organisms (say a neuro-transmitter) this would clearly be anticipation of a future which has no precedent in the past.

Whether looking for design or not, the c-value paradox is worth exploring and amoeba dubia is the reigning champ in paradoxically large genome for an organism with so little expressed complexity. The Easter Lily is another good candidate. It has a genome that is 190 gigabases, about 63 times the size of a human genome. What the bleeding heck are these seemingly simple organisms doing with such large genomes?

The size of a genome in excess of what's actually expressed is thought to be mostly repeats of various flavors - tandem, approximate, far, etc. Alleles are a form of repeat and as we know the more alleles at a given locus the greater the diversity possible for whatever thing happens to be coded for there. Therefore it's not unreasonable to posit that c-values might correlate with diversification potential. Given that dubia has a c-value hundreds of times larger than any mammal could it be that dubia has the potential within it to diversify into a very wide range of organisms in response to internal or external triggers? I think that's a possibility worth investigating.

336 Date: 2005-03-02 13:53:44, Link
Author: DaveScot

If black holes were an unscientific claim why did scientists search so hard for evidence of them?

Black holes nonetheless were discussed far and wide in science classes everywhere! So by your logic an unfalsifiable, unscientific claim may still be a) discussed in science classes and b) be a valid area of scientific research.

By the way, I don't agree design is not falsifiable. Just verify mutation/selection and design is thus falsified. The problem, of course, is that mutation/selection isn't verifiable. It's an educated guess based upon extrapolation of actual observations and will never be more than that!

Thanks for playing.


337 Date: 2005-03-02 14:22:08, Link
Author: DaveScot
Falsfication Questions:

The leading hypothesis for the emergence of the first eukaryote is a symbiotic relationship between prokaryotes.

How may this hypothesis be falsified?

If it can't be falsified should it be dubbed non-science and scrubbed from all "legitimate" science classes and texts?

Thanks in advance for all who care to continue playing the falsification red-herring game with me!

338 Date: 2005-03-02 23:08:43, Link
Author: DaveScot
You know, when I was much younger, the science establishment was telling me that civilization as we knew it would collapse with this many people on the planet. The so-called population explosion.


When I was younger, the science establishment was telling me that the ozone layer was disappearing and land animals would all go extinct as they fried in fatal levels of ultraviolet radiation.


And now science is wondering why people don't trust the science establishment.


Just the facts, please, science. Thanks in advance.

339 Date: 2005-03-02 23:21:40, Link
Author: DaveScot

What do you think of Ward Churchill?

The far left is as disruptive as the far right. Most people are centrists. Unfortunately (but deservedly) the science establishment employed in academia has been associated with the Churchill types. When people see him they don't think he's unusual for an academic. They think he's honest for an academic.

Rather than run around whining about the "Christian fundamentalists" if I were you I'd be worrying about my own image in the public's eye. I'm here to tell you it is in far worse shape than Jerry Falwell's flock.

340 Date: 2005-03-02 23:33:43, Link
Author: DaveScot
For non-experts, which constitutes the vast majority of people, the technical language that scientists use to speak about their findings is too often beyond the reach of the average or above average Joe.

When are you lefties going to figure out that you don't have a monopoly on smart?

341 Date: 2005-03-02 23:47:47, Link
Author: DaveScot
Thompson wasn't inconsistent.

There's a vast leftwing conspiracy to de-Christianize the U.S.

Their modus operandi is to equate anything they don't like to an establishment of religion and then get the liberal leaning judicial branch of gov't to outlaw it on constitutional grounds.

This is what is being done to ID. ID is not religious. The designer can be a little green man from Mars fercrisakes. That's not religious and in fact alien civilizations are standard fare in >>>SCIENCE<<< fiction. Not religious fiction. Science fiction.

342 Date: 2005-03-03 00:07:20, Link
Author: DaveScot
45955783 is not a prime.


343 Date: 2005-03-03 00:38:12, Link
Author: DaveScot

"Such a claim is falsifiable without the slightest problem, e.g. by showing that the preserved genetic material or structures are more related to something else."

You're using a double standard now. I can easily use your logic and say ID can be falsified by showing that the preserved genetic material are naturalist in origin.

I guess I assumed you knew more about endosymbiosis than you do. I was being kind calling it a hypothesis. It's usually referred to as a theory, and we all know that scientific theories aren't just guesses - they're hypothesies that have stood the test of time, like the theory of evolution, and have been promoted from educated guess to widely accepted, well verfiied explanations.

So tell me again, and this time don't be so vague that I can use the same logic to show that ID is falsifiable, how may the endosymbiosis theory be falsified?

344 Date: 2005-03-03 00:50:13, Link
Author: DaveScot
no sane scientist would claim "There ARE black holes" until they were actually observed. It's an equivalent claim to "There are pink unicorns somewhere".

Well, no it's not the same. No widely accepted theory predicts pink unicorns, nobody spent a lot of time and energy looking for pink unicorns, and pink unicorns were never subsequently observed. Try to be a little more careful in choosing your analogies.

But you're right and wrong about what sane scientists would claim. It appears sane scientists are claiming that mutation/selection produced all diversity in life and it's never been observed to do anything even close to tranforming a Paramecium into a Pomeranian.

What's up with that? No sane scientist should claim that mutation/selection accounts for all observed diversity until it's been observed making the larger scale changes. So far, and I've pointed this out over and over again, no one has observed mutation/selection doing anything beyond changing extant organisms into slightly different forms of the same category of organism. Big dogs and little dogs are still dogs. Drosophila mutants are still flies. Antibiotic resistant bacteria are still bacteria.

I can't wait to hear you explain your way out of this one. If you're sane, you won't try. ;-)

345 Date: 2005-03-03 01:31:04, Link
Author: DaveScot
Hey Wu,

By your own admission I'm an idiot.

Can't you find someone smarter than me to impress with your genius?



346 Date: 2005-03-03 09:49:38, Link
Author: DaveScot
re Ozone

Certain scientists have a habit of sensationalizing things. The latest debacle is global warming. Keep in mind the story of the boy who cried wolf.

Speaking of Germany, did you know that unemployment there just hit a 30-year record high? France, and indeed Europe, has a horrible growing problem with Muslum fundamentalists. I always get a chuckle out of people holding up progressive secular Europe as a positive example.

I also get a chuckle out of people saying American culture is anti-intellectual. Who landed a man on the moon? Who put up the global positioning system? What nationality is Bill Gates? Where did Intel start? Cisco? The internet? The Hubble space telescope? I could go on and on.

I would also point out that the countries in the world today that enjoy the highest standards of living are those where the Protestant Reformation took hold. Far from being the boogeyman atheists think of Christianity, and if they're not blind and acknowledge the success say it is in spite of Christian culture not a result, they're wrong. The Protestant Work Ethic is what led to all this success.

Protestants didn't invent capitalism but they did make a religion out of it.

Write that down.

347 Date: 2005-03-03 10:36:24, Link
Author: DaveScot

Evolution isn't couched in language that's not understandable until you try to portray mutation/selection as the mechanism that accounts for all diversity. It's easy for anyone to understand that mutation/selection has never been observed to do anything other than modify extant forms without changing the forms... big dogs and little dogs are still dogs. Mutated drosophila are still flies. Antibiotic-resistent bacteria are still bacteria. Dark moths and light moths are still moths. Finches with big beaks and finches with little beaks are still finches.

What's so hard to understand about that?

It isn't hard to understand that DNA doesn't fossilize so any genetic relationships between extant species is between extant species. Ancient DNA cannot be observed as it's long destroyed. All extant species are related in some fundamental way but as it has been pointed out many times this could be a common designer as well as a common ancestor so it really proves nothing.

The bottom line is that mutation/selection as the driving force behind all of evolution is gigantic extrapolation of contemporary observations.

Tell the man on the street it's an extrapolation and he has no problem understanding THAT. And that's the problem. It's easy to understand that mutation/selection is a hypothesis with big problems like failing to account for the Cambrian explosion and failing to explain irreducible complexity. Both of those were problems Darwin said could devastate his theory. In an honest world absent atheist agendas it would have devastated his theory. The man on the street understands that.

348 Date: 2005-03-03 10:54:34, Link
Author: DaveScot

"non-scientists are always proven incorrect on every point that can be put to a test"

I nominate that for the 2005 Unbelievably Stupid Hubris Award.

349 Date: 2005-03-03 10:57:42, Link
Author: DaveScot

Should I be surprised that scientists don't associate themselves with the Churchill type?

I was referring to a large number of others. Like the 51% of the population that voted for GW.

350 Date: 2005-03-03 11:07:02, Link
Author: DaveScot
Wayne Francis

Here's a good example of the population explosion scare;

the 1968 bestseller "The Population Bomb" by Paul Erlich from Stanford.

It was all the rage in those days. By that time the scare from nuclear armageddon was wearing thin and the rubes were ready for a new global catastophe scenario to keep them occupied and willing fund research to avoid it.

351 Date: 2005-03-04 11:27:35, Link
Author: DaveScot
The Drudge Report posted a link to the news before Panda's Thumb.

How 'bout that!

Too bad Scott Page isn't still posting here so he can tell me how many more children he can save once he knows exactly where to place the hobbit in the tree of life.

352 Date: 2005-03-04 11:40:11, Link
Author: DaveScot


353 Date: 2005-03-04 12:45:53, Link
Author: DaveScot
Jeff Lowe

1) specified complexity of a brick

The brick is specified because it has exactly matching sides (suited to a particular purpose). It is complex because it is one shape out of a virtual infinity of possible shapes with no natural law biasing for brick shapes (small probability). I.E. specified complexity. Were there a smaller finite number of possible shapes it would lose its complexity. Were there not matching sides it would lose its specificity.

2) design redundancy

There are lots of perfectly good designs that won't function with a part missing. Redundancy in design is a luxury. A bow & arrow won't function with any part missing. Your computer won't function with virtually any integrated circuit missing. Every designer knows there are tradeoffs between cost and reliability. Living machines have a plethora of redundant systems, by the way, just not everything is redundant because the cost outweighs advantage sometimes. For example, humans have two kidneys but only one liver, two lungs but only one heart, eight fingers but only two thumbs.

3) Neither Behe nor Dembski has addressed these criticisms in 6 years.

I imagine there are far more critics they haven't addressed than those they have. There's a million critics and only one each of Dembski and Behe. The reason in this case is certainly not because the critique is irrefutable. It could be because it's too easily refutable though.

354 Date: 2005-03-04 12:50:03, Link
Author: DaveScot

It's hardware that's evolving in real life not software. Get circuit boards to replicate and evolve instead of abstract algorithms and I'll be impressed.

355 Date: 2005-03-04 13:16:32, Link
Author: DaveScot

I question Behe's selection of examples. DNA + ribosome is, in my opinion, by far the best example of specified and irreducible complexity in living systems. Every living cell has the combo and there's no plausible way that DNA and ribosomes could have evolved without a fully functional other. It's estimated that a minimum set of 200 complex interdependent proteins are required for DNA replication. It's the mother of all chicken/egg paradoxes.

Virtually no actual progress has been made in how DNA/ribosome came to be since the Urey-Miller experiment 50 years ago and even that has been discredited as it made incorrect assumptions about the young earth's atmosphere.

I may be biased in my selection however since the DNA/ribosome combination is a computer controlled milling machine (programmed to make all the 3-D parts required to build copies of itself) and I've been designing (hardware and software) for computer controlled machines as a profession for decades.

What strikes me as particulary insane is that in EVERY case where the origin of a machine can be determined it has been found to be from intelligent design. In any other case in science this would be enough to make it a LAW that machines are produced by intelligence. However, in evolution it's not enough to even allow intelligent design as a possibility. What's wrong that picture is that evolution stopped being a science a long time ago and has become an absurd manifestation of materialist dogma.

356 Date: 2005-03-04 14:00:40, Link
Author: DaveScot
Guiness Book of Records Nominee for World's Greatest Non Sequitur

1) People, who are intelligent designers, evolved naturally.

2) Intelligent designers are supernatural.

357 Date: 2005-03-04 22:13:28, Link
Author: DaveScot
Here's the kind of sentiment I was talking about that's brewing in America:

Colorado Rocky Mountain News - by Mike Rosen

Thank you Ward Churchill! As the poster child for so much of what's wrong with higher education today, you moved this issue from the back burner to the front burner of public policy. Whether you stay or go is merely another battle. This is about the war of ideas.


Whatever the outcome for Churchill, the battle lines have formed and are hardening. Here's what many of us, I hope most, would like to see: substantive change, a revolution even, at the University of Colorado. It must start with electing regents who have a commitment to restoring real, intellectual diversity and an evenhanded exchange of ideas. That means hiring conservative professors to balance the now left-lopsided scales.

Lots more at article.

Here's something you boys need to add to your rules of thumb:Follow the money

What I mean by that is to remember where the money comes from that pays the operating expenses of universities and their research programs. They ultimately drive the decision making process. If they don't like what's going on they can change it.

358 Date: 2005-03-04 22:16:06, Link
Author: DaveScot
Darn link didn't work...,1299,DRMN_86_3592594,00.html

if that don't do it try this

359 Date: 2005-03-04 23:19:38, Link
Author: DaveScot
Timothy quoted this in his article

[qoute]It is suspicion of all groups who claim authority rather than excessive respect for religion that drives hostility to science....[T]he theme of anti-intellectualism on the American right has drawn vigour from the critique of expertise developed since the 1960s by their opponents in the culture wars. It was radicals who pioneered the idea that children should educate the teachers, that doctors were no more expert than their patients, and that claims to expertise generally were little more than an excuse to assert power by marginalising the voice of the victim. In this picture scientists are not disinterested investigators of the truth so much as spin doctors for their paymasters in business or government. It is the coming together of these two strands from left and right that represents the real danger for science.

Ward Churchill represents everything that anti-intellectualists hate. He's beginning to represent the stereotype of academics that average Americans hold. Not altogether undeservedly either.

How many of you here that are tenured professors think United States foreign policy invited 9/11 and that it was a matter of the U.S. getting what it had coming to it? And how many of you think lashing out unilaterally with wrath and vengence against terrorist supporting nations was the wrong thing to do? Be honest now.

360 Date: 2005-03-05 00:02:19, Link
Author: DaveScot
Thanks Wayne Francis!

So much for any correlation between cell size & genome size. To be fair, I've read there's a correlation between nucleus size & genome size but that's not a mystery - you can't put 10 pounds of stuff in a 5 pound sack.

By the way, where'd you look up the cell size data? Online for laymen like me to get at it perchance?

361 Date: 2005-03-05 00:12:15, Link
Author: DaveScot

There MIGHT be intelligent design.

I've never said differently. It's a matter of probalities.

Are we in agreement that far or is mutation/selection changing prokaryotes into pro-ball players something you believe is a proven fact?

If you don't claim mutation/selection in that case is a fact then our argument is reduced to where we place the probability boundaries.

362 Date: 2005-03-05 00:26:31, Link
Author: DaveScot

If you demonstrated that mutation/selection is capable of changing diatoms into dinosaurs it would be sufficient falsification TO ME.

Maybe not to everyone but everyone isn't an objective guy like me.

P.S. It seems to ME that the Cambrian explosion and irreducible complexity is some serious falsification for mutation/selection. Even Darwin said those things would spell big trouble for his theory and HE Lamarckian beliefs like heritable acquired characters which are FAR FAR FASTER acting at producing change than random mutation/selection.

I got a real tickle out of reading Karl Popper's rant against Marxian theory talking about how it started out as scientific but instead of being abandoned when its predictions didn't pan out it was modified with ad hoc changes as necessary. That's exactly what happened to Darwinian theory. No heritable acquired traits? No problem - mutation/selection becomes the primary mover. New forms exploding onto the scene in an eyeblink? No problem - punctuated equilibrium.

Forgive my laughter when falsifiability is brought up against ID. Darwinian evolution's history as a theory is exactly what prompted Popper to rant about falsifiability!

363 Date: 2005-03-05 00:36:06, Link
Author: DaveScot
Wanyne Francis

I said that amoebe might have all the information required to diversify given the proper internal/external triggers.

More specifically I compared the process of phylogenesis to ontogenesis. As you are well aware there are many complex internal/external conditions that must be met for a developing organism to progress to the next step in the process. In fact the trigger events are so complex we don't really know what they are. Welcome to stem cell research. The triggers that would prompt an amoeba to diversify into another form are probably just as complex. Or maybe the triggers are no longer possible just like we think stem cells only specialize and once specialized they don't go in reverse back into stem cells again.

I don't know. What I do know is I've posed pertinent questions worth finding answers to. Me being just an old tired electronics engineer I'm not in a position to find those answers so I'm appealing to you and others in a better position to think about it. If you dare.

364 Date: 2005-03-05 00:41:16, Link
Author: DaveScot
Wayne Francis spout more lies:

"DaveScot is one of the biggest troll idiots I've seen. Just ask him about his 153 IQ. He says that evolution can't occur."

I said mutation/selection is a fairy tale. I said evolution happened. The evidence that parameciums evoloved into pomeranians is compelling. It's the mechanism by which it happened that I take issue with.

Write that down.

And stop putting words in my mouth I never said ya lyin' sack a crap. If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen.

365 Date: 2005-03-05 00:48:49, Link
Author: DaveScot
"The monkey, I'm sure, has used this same tool many times before, probably because it saw its family doing the same thing."

Then it's mimicry, not intelligent design.

Let's move along to a more concrete example. A genetic engineer with a gene splicing machine. There's intelligent design. He's doing something with no precedent. Building gene sequencing machines isn't mimicry of unknown origin nor is a structure that's built by instinct like a beaver dam.

Citing the most ambiguous cases you can come up with is specious. Stop.

366 Date: 2005-03-05 00:53:00, Link
Author: DaveScot

There sure are a lot of people here like you that want to argue with idiots like me.

Since most of the others are 1) far smarter than you and 2) they're all devoid of that juvenile potty mouth of yours I shall 3) leave you in the kill file where you belong.



367 Date: 2005-03-05 00:58:20, Link
Author: DaveScot

"Have you ever seen an electron?"

No, but I felt the little bastids coursing through my flesh more times than I care to remember. That's why I switched from radio electronics to digital electronics decades ago. Shocks from 5 volts don't hurt none.

Now how can I either somehow see or feel, in real time, real bacteria changing into real brontosaurs like I can feel the effects of a real electron?


368 Date: 2005-03-05 01:45:37, Link
Author: DaveScot
Hmmm, that would pose a problem for evolution if dubia had the gene coding for blood clotting or something like that.

No kidding.

Are IDists studying this and looking for stuff like that?

As far as I know the hypothesis and suggested path of inquiry are original (mine) and I just came up with it this year so no, no IDists are studying it. I found John Davison in a search for someone with credentials in biology who thought that phylogeny and ontogeny are essentially the same process on different time scales. So far he's the only one and he disagrees with me on many things including dubia, although he thought it was any interesting hypothesis worthy of further investigation. Davison, quite frankly (personalities aside), is a scientist role model that it would behoove many here to emulate.

Of course, other plants and animals also have inordinately large genomes as well, don't they?

Sure. Takes yo pick.

Follow the links and you can get some plant genome sizes too. The Easter Lily has a genome close to 100 times the human genome. Just for instance. Mammals, by the way, all have genome size similar to humans. A few amphibians get up to ~10x the mammal genome. Most fish are the scale of human genomes. Sharks are ~5x. Lungfish however get up to about 50x the human genome. Reptiles are all small. Most insects are tiny. Grasshoppers are an exception with genomes typically 4x humans. A few flatworms get 6x or so. Arachnids not overly large.

Prokaryotes get a lot larger than you might expect. Several times the human genome.

This is a good table for getting a good sampling in one place:

Anyway, it's still a rather strong statement that finding a neuro-transmitter in dubia's genome would "clearly be anticipation of a future."

Of course it is. I've did some investigation into the literature on horizontal gene transfer through viral vectors. Theoretically, AFAIK, it's possible for an endogenous retrovirus to cross cross phyla boundaries and drag genes from one organism to another that way. And endogenous retrovirus that can infect both human DNA and amoeba DNA seems a bit of a stretch but stranger things have happened.

What do you mean by that? Does that mean that dubia will become something more complex in the future featuring those parts of the genome?

It means a number of things. First it means that an extant single celled organism can thrive with a genome in the ballpark of what it would take to contain preformed information for a large number of body plans and genes coding for all the proteins required for specialized tissue types in multicellular organisms. It means that given the proper conditions dubia could, in theory, diversify into quite a wide range of organisms, perhaps with mutation/selection doing the intra-type fine tuning. It's not unreasonable to assume mutation/selection can serendipitously create approximate repeats (alleles) that have some enhanced survival value. It becomes unreasonable to extrapolate that into the ability to create whole interdependent protein complexes where many point mutations are required on many proteins from any predecessors and with no plausible survival-advantageous pathway of point mutations to get from complex A to complex B. One protein changing that way into something quite different in sequence and function is maybe plausible by luck. Many proteins that have to work together else none are functional is a different story.

But to even consider seaching through dubia's sequence looking for genes that don't belong requires accepting the possibility of finding something that doesn't belong there. Even more to the point, as Davison stated, it also requires NO FEAR of what might be found there.

369 Date: 2005-03-05 01:57:17, Link
Author: DaveScot

"However, we know almost nothing to a point of logical certainty. Epistemology brings almost everything into doubt's range."

Don't try to feed ME that crap. I'm an engineer. I know many things to a point of logical certainty. I couldn't do my job without that certainty. There are physical LAWS that govern the way matter and energy (if you care to distinguish the two) operate. Most of them are certain within their observed domains. I would venture to say that mutation/selection within its observed domain is a law. Operating outside that domain is sheer conjecture and its predictions have not panned out. Rather than tossing the theory as SHOULD be done when its predictions fail, Darwinian evolution just gets ad hoc changes made to it, which is exactly what Karl Popper said happened to Marxian economic theory - it should have been abandoned but it wasn't because falsification wasn't rigorously enforced - people got wedded to the idea of Marxism and no amount of failed predictions would sway their faith in it. There's a LOT of scientists wedded to neo-Darwinism today, but that's changing, thank Bob.

370 Date: 2005-03-05 12:17:02, Link
Author: DaveScot

The hate is inspired by envy. It's what we're doing right, not wrong, that is the cause.

Now you know.

371 Date: 2005-03-05 12:37:28, Link
Author: DaveScot

I suggest YOU read the link. The evolution of language itself, as well as the ability to use it, is discussed. Here's some quotes from the article:

The subject is language, and how it evolved.

Despite the superficial diversity of languages, they all share a basic underlying structure, which had first been identified by Noam Chomsky of MIT in the 1960s.

Hauser et al make a bold suggestion: perhaps only one thing makes human language unique. They call this special ingredient recursion. Roughly speaking, it's a process by which small units--such as words--can be combined into larger units--such as clauses--which can be combined into larger units still--sentences. Because units can be arranged in an infinite number of ways, they can form an infinite number of larger units. But because this construction follows certain rules, the larger units can be easily understood. With recursion, it's possible to organize simple concepts in to much more complex ones, which can then be expressed with the speech-producing machinery of the mouth and throat.

As my initial post touched on the evolution of language structure - words, defintions of words, and grammar - it was quite on topic.

Thanks for playing but try to do a little better next time, Steve.

372 Date: 2005-03-05 12:42:23, Link
Author: DaveScot

Which part of "I don't know the nature of the intelligent agent(s)" don't you understand? I can describe possibilities but have no data by which to reach a firm conclusion. Conclusions based on faith I leave to the bible thumpers and atheists. Which one are you?

373 Date: 2005-03-05 13:23:29, Link
Author: DaveScot
There's little question that oxygen was not a significant component of the early atmosphere.

While life exists in hostile environments today, the key is stability of those environments. The early earth was not a stable environment It was getting creamed by huge meteor impacts at a high rate. Nothing can evolve or survive in molten rock as far as I know.

The second thing to consider about life in hostile enviroments today is that it's all based on DNA and DNA chemistry cannot proceed in those hostile environments without the protected environment provided by and contained within a cell wall. There's a chicken/egg paradox once again. What came first - the cell wall that provides protection for protein chemistry or the protein chemistry that creates cell walls?

Current thinking is that the protected environment may have been provided by clay substrates. That means that science has come full circle and is back to the ancient belief that living cells spontaneously arise from mud!

374 Date: 2005-03-06 02:59:15, Link
Author: DaveScot
Anybody have a spare pair of hip waders? The hubris is getting deep around here!

375 Date: 2005-03-06 11:20:12, Link
Author: DaveScot
Hold on a second. Reed A. Cartright, too clever by half, in the previous language thread corrected me by saying the discussion is about the evolution of language ability, not the evolution of language.

So shouldn't this

One point touched upon in passing by Zimmer and by some comments' writers, was the question of whether or not natural languages have all evolved from the same proto-language.

actually be this, according to the Reed Hypothesis (emphasis my changes)

One point touched upon in passing by Zimmer and by some comments' writers, was the question of whether or not natural language ability have all evolved from the same proto-language ability.

In the future, Reed, make sure your brain is engaged before putting your mouth in gear. Thanks in advance.

376 Date: 2005-03-06 11:27:01, Link
Author: DaveScot
Happy Birthday!

Then, on 9 March, after all the champagne has been drunk

I wouldn't have guessed you were old enough to legally consume adult beverages...

377 Date: 2005-03-06 11:51:38, Link
Author: DaveScot
Atheists (Mirsky) and Christians (Crowther) are at it again. Meow!

It's not completely useless though. Agnostics (me) are entertained by it.

Please pass the popcorn.

378 Date: 2005-03-06 12:01:11, Link
Author: DaveScot

Science is not afraid to be judged. Science ideas are judged every day by competent experts in the appropriate field. Scientists are well schooled in statistical inference and we would not be true to our training if we bet on a stacked deck.

Statements like that from imbeciles like Harry McDonald, president of KCFS, insult the intelligence of people who don't self-annoint themselves as scientists. And you wonder why it seems like everyone outside your academic circles is picking on you?

Get a clue!

You DO NOT have a monopoly in either science or intelligence. In fact you're just hired hands working for people even smarter than yourselves.

379 Date: 2005-03-06 12:23:32, Link
Author: DaveScot

Okay, I'll do your homework for you just this once. But I want you to do it yourself next time, okay?

You want one example of a prokaryote with a genome "several times larger than a human".

Sorangium cellulosum Soce56 12200 d proteobacteria Pradella S, et al (2002)

12.2 billion base pairs. Several times the human genome of 3 billion base pairs.

You've been back several times since then, spouting your usual content-free slurs on mainstream science, yet you just walk away from the gaffe that reveals your own cluelessness. Despite that, I guess you think we should still take you seriously?

The salient question is whether I should take YOU seriously. Don't confuse my not noticing your questions with not being able to answer them, dopey. There's one of me and scores of you that want a piece of me. Sad but true, there just ain't enough of me to go around.

380 Date: 2005-03-06 12:41:55, Link
Author: DaveScot
Nevermind. The prokaryote table I referenced is labeled wrong. The lengend says megabases and it should be kilobases.

Write that down, Russell. You caught me in an error in a casual remark to someone else. Or actually you caught me referring to someone else's error. It's rare. Cherish it.

But in fact it had nothing whatsoever to do with the point I made that amoeba dubia has a genome size 200 of times the size of the human genome so the point still stands.

381 Date: 2005-03-07 01:49:58, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ummm... Reed, why don't you warn all the others who go far beyond me, routinely, in causing offense? Let me know if you need any examples.

382 Date: 2005-03-07 02:07:39, Link
Author: DaveScot
I wrote the author of who appears to be a nice enough young zoology PhD and informed him of the error. Thanks for all your kind comments on the matter and thank you Russell for pointing out my error in quoting it. ;-)

383 Date: 2005-03-07 02:55:45, Link
Author: DaveScot
Uh, who the hell are YOU . . . .?

A blasphemer in The Church of Darwin.

According to ID "theory" (such as it is), nothing we see REQUIRES any supernatural or divine explanation.


I'm curious ---- can any IDer out there give me an example of this working? Can anyone show me a parent species and its genome, a daughter species and its genome, and point to the specific genetic sequences that "PK Unzipped" to give this "new genetic information"? Can any IDer tell me how this genetic sequence "unzips", and what happens to all the old sequences once they've "unzipped"?

That's a bit unfair to demand examples of things that happened in the remote past. Look how far mutation/selection got without anyone ever showing an example of abiogenesis, an example of the Cambrian explosion working through mutation/selection, or really any example of mutation/selection working except for changes that do not result in new body forms, new tissue types, new organs, etc. Big dogs and little dogs are still dogs, finches with different beak sizes are still birds, mutated drosophila are still flies, antibiotic resistent bacteria are still bacteria.


It appears to me that life on earth did some terraforming. It oxygenated the atmosphere which enabled fast metabolisms in large organisms. That also led to an ozone layer which protects terrestrial life from destructive UV radiation. It appears to play a major role in regulating greenhouse gases so the oceans don't boil away. As far as we know there isn't a lot of guesswork in how planets evolve when initial conditions are known (mass, makeup, distance from sun, type of star, etc.) so I don't think there'd have to be a lot of alternative scenarios to plan for.


Hotmail put you in the junk folder and I still agree it's where you belong. You know what I'm talking about. Ploink.

384 Date: 2005-03-07 03:09:06, Link
Author: DaveScot
If you continue to behave like an ass, I will ban you. Consider yourself warned.

It would be nice if you exercised that power even handedly. I can give you examples of ad hominem abuse here far more egregious than mine but I suspect you know what I'm talking about without specific examples.

385 Date: 2005-03-07 03:12:14, Link
Author: DaveScot
Sorry about duplicate posting. The first was somehow delayed in posting by a LONG time.

386 Date: 2005-03-07 03:45:06, Link
Author: DaveScot
What is a stable environment?

As a minimum, one that doesn't turn into molten rock and vaporized oceans at frequent intervals from large asteroid strikes.

I read some research the other day that correlated the average interval between catastrophic asterioid impacts and various milestones in evolution. I'm not sure where it was or I'd give you a link. As you may know the frequency of large strikes has decreased with time. You may also know something of the havoc that larger ones can create. It was interesting and made sense, especially the very long interval between the appearance of single celled and multi-cellular life.

387 Date: 2005-03-07 04:23:14, Link
Author: DaveScot
"So far as anyone has determined, the rules of chemistry work in all environments, "harsh" or not.

Correct. And some of those rules are that protein chemistry cannot tolerate a wide range of pH and temperature.

Proteins can be picky about the environment in which they are found. They may only exist in their active, or native state, in a small range of pH values and under solution conditions with a minimum quantity of electrolytes, as many proteins will not remain in solution in distilled water.

RNA chemistry is even more picky as cytosine is easily hydrolized.

To favor cytosine formation, reactant concentrations are required that are implausible in a natural setting. Furthermore, cytosine is consumed by deamination (the half-life for deamination at 25°C is 340 yr) and other reactions. No reactions have been described thus far that would produce cytosine, even in a specialized local setting, at a rate sufficient to compensate for its decomposition. On the basis of this evidence, it appears quite unlikely that cytosine played a role in the origin of life.

388 Date: 2005-03-07 05:03:36, Link
Author: DaveScot

A million different bits of data from virtually every area of scientific inquiry puts the earth's age far beyond 6,000 years. Even tree rings go back farther than that. Ice cores in the antarctic go back over half a million years. Sedimentation, radioisotope decay, glaciation, plate tectonics, star evolution, you name it and the data all lines up in favor of a very old earth.

Some really interesting stuff in astronomy I just read about. At the galactic scale there are jets of matter spewing out, falling back, small galaxies and gas clouds colliding with the Milky Way, and the trails of these things can be seen and the speed at which they're proceeding can be measured. The trails are far longer than 6,000 years of travel to say the least. On the scale of hundreds of millions of years as I recall.

The polonium halos mystery is interesting but the vast preponderance of evidence makes it almost a certainty that the halo interpretation is somehow incorrect.

389 Date: 2005-03-07 05:36:27, Link
Author: DaveScot

The big bang didn't start from a central point. That's a common misconception. This month's Scientific American outlined 8 different common misconceptions about the big bang. Here's one of them - the "explosion"

The rest of the article is here

390 Date: 2005-03-07 06:14:08, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ed Darrell

Let's stick to what 1st amendment actually says, not the tortured interpretation made by late 20th century courts.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

The 14th amendment extends this to state legislatures.

First leap: how do you turn "congress" into a "school board"?

Second leap: what law (provide federal or state statute number please) requires the sticker in the biology text?

Third leap: which religious establishment is respected by a sticker that doesn't even mention religion?

Fourth leap: where does it say that no part of gov't may mention any religion in any way?

Fifth leap: how do you turn "make no law" into "make no mention"

The doctrine of an impenetrable wall of separation between church and states is an absurd, tortured interpretation of the establishment clause. As far as I'm concerned Cooper's decision, since it carries the force of law (which is where the phrase "legislating from the bench" comes from), violates both the establishment and freedom clauses. It violates the establishment clause because it respects the religion of secular humanism and it violates the freedom clause because the people have been denied their right to determine what their public schools may or may not have in the curriculum.

Further undermining the notion of the impenetrable wall of separation extending from law to mere speech is

1) the preamble of every state constitution contains a reference to a supernatural deity of some sort

2) for 200 years all oaths of public office were sworn before God

3) congress opens with a blessing

4) federal court opens with a blessing

5) chaplain is military occupation funded by taxpayers to cater
to religious beliefs of service members

So there.

391 Date: 2005-03-07 15:59:27, Link
Author: DaveScot


very nice term there

maybe reed agrees that it was necessary


392 Date: 2005-03-07 16:21:36, Link
Author: DaveScot
"It might be interesting to find polling data on Vietnam vets, to see how many are creationist."

I'm a Vietnam Era Veteran but didn't get sent overseas. I understand that communism was a real threat to a free world and the United States chose to fight it on various fronts - economic, political, and military. Vietnam was one battle on the military front. If nothing else we caused communist forces to expend resources and focus on that front for a decade. We might have lost that battle but we won the war. The United States doesn't live in a vacuum. Isolationism became an untenable strategic position in the 20th century when technology overcame the natural protection offered by vast oceans.

393 Date: 2005-03-07 16:30:20, Link
Author: DaveScot

"It worked well in experimental situations, but it did not suitably reflect what happens in nature."

No, that's not right. What it didn't suit was the argument for mutation/selection. Nobody could demonstrate, even in 20,000 years of selecting dogs for unique traits, that a new species had arisen.

Darn. Well, if you can't show those anti-Darwinians an instance of speciation then just change the definition of speciation!

If you can't reach the goalpost just move it closer and pretend it was in the wrong place all along.


Testing for capability to produce fertile offspring is often IMPRACTICAL but otherwise it's the definitive test for a new species and I'm not going to accept any Darwinian apologist notions to the contrary.

394 Date: 2005-03-07 16:43:17, Link
Author: DaveScot

Lies, damned lies, and statistics. Statistics can be made to show anything.

Dembski used statistical tests. You didn't seem to care much for them in that case. I can't fault Dembski's tests, however. It's not difficult to figure out the size of sequence space for proteins with hundreds of amino acids then imagine a large interdependant suite of those complex proteins somehow accidently coming together into a DNA/ribosome replicator. Science can't even show how amino acids could've come about in a solution with a high enough concentration to even begin the trial and error process.

You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Mutation/selection is a huge extrapolation of its observed powers to make minor changes that have never been shown to result in new body forms, new tissue types, or new organs.

395 Date: 2005-03-08 12:32:43, Link
Author: DaveScot
So . . . ID theory is atheism?

ID is a big tent. It merely states that intelligent design is evident in observations of life on earth. It does not characterize the source of the intelligence. An intelligence that arose naturally is not excluded.

Have you told your fellow fundies yet that they are preaching atheism?

I'm not at all religious. Write that down.

Have you told your fellow atheists in the Church of Darwin that they don't have to abandon their faith in materialism to accept the possibility of ID?

396 Date: 2005-03-08 13:00:23, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ummm... that was ME that said drosophila is still a fly. I didn't see JAD saying it.

The fact is that no one has observed mutation/selection creating:

1) novel body forms
2) novel tissue types
3) novel organs

397 Date: 2005-03-08 13:16:17, Link
Author: DaveScot
The evidence suggests that it is not.

I don't agree. Cells are complex machines operating in a deterministic manner according to known physical laws. In all cases where the origin of complex machines can be determined said machines are of intelligent design.

The evidence suggests intelligent design.

In fact Richard Dawkins called it an "overwhelming appearance of design".

The evidence overwhelmingly suggests intelligent design.

398 Date: 2005-03-08 16:12:40, Link
Author: DaveScot
Cells not being machines is silly.

Let's take some attributes of my favorite example; DNA/ribosome.

1) DNA stores specifications for 3-dimensional parts (folded proteins) in a well understood format of sequential base-pair triplets (codons) each specifying one of 20 amino acids plus stop/start codons.

2) RNA is used to make temporary copies of the protein specification for transmittal to the ribosome.

3) the ribosome reads the transcribed sequence of codons and attaches amino acids specified to a growing chain until a stop codon is encountered.

Now let's look at the attributes of a CNC milling machine that makes 3-d parts of out metal.

1) a disk drive stores specifications for 3-D parts in a format of sequential octets specifying the cutting heads and travel distances used to create a part.

2) random access memory is used to make tempory copies of part specifications for transmittal to the cutting head controller

3) the cutting head controller reads the transcribed sequence of steps and cuts metal according to the instructions

Both are machines performing essentially the same task - converting instructions stored in non-volatile format into finished 3 dimensional parts.

Anyone arguing that DNA/ribosome is not a machine is just being intellectually dishonest. Period. End of story.

399 Date: 2005-03-09 00:15:33, Link
Author: DaveScot
my bet is that Mr. DaveScot will say that intelligent life can arise naturally, just not here, as anyone but us Darwimps can see

You'd lose that bet. Life could arise naturally here. Anything's possible. It's just a matter of probabilities. In any objective, informed view of the evidence one must conclude that it probably didn't arise here first. The most logical thing to do when presented with overwhelming evidence of something is just to accept the obvious. Atheists and bible thumpers simply aren't objective and for the rest of you I can only conclude you're ill informed.

400 Date: 2005-03-09 00:34:26, Link
Author: DaveScot
Jeeze Lenny - you really don't what it means to be agnostic, do ya?

There may be supernatural forces in the universe. Or maybe there ain't. I DON'T KNOW. It requires faith to say there is or isn't.

Write that down.

401 Date: 2005-03-09 00:40:03, Link
Author: DaveScot
Are cells machines? Not likely. They only share a few superficial features with machines. At their core, they are very, very different.

Ah, so you believe there's some spooky supernatural process going on inside cells that can't be explained by physical laws?


I'll have to go ahead and disagree there. Nothing leads me to believe that anything going on in a cell defies any known physical laws.

402 Date: 2005-03-09 00:42:37, Link
Author: DaveScot
Life on earth appears to be designed. I haven't observed life anywhere else. As soon as I do I'll let y'all know whether or not it appears to have been designed or not.

403 Date: 2005-03-09 00:46:32, Link
Author: DaveScot
Hi Dr. Page,

I estimate the odds at almost 100% that life on earth is the result of intelligent design. But I could be wrong.

What do you figure the odds are? And could you be wrong?

404 Date: 2005-03-09 10:35:00, Link
Author: DaveScot
Not to get back on topic or anything... but here's an excellent article that appeared in the Kansas City Star dealing with a number of important issues relevant to the evolution debate.

405 Date: 2005-03-10 00:28:00, Link
Author: DaveScot
Dr. GH,

I must have missed the part where science has observed mutation plus selection creating a (choose one or more):

1. novel body type
2. novel tissue type
3. novel organ

Be a good chap and give me the reference for that.

Thanks in advance.

406 Date: 2005-03-10 00:36:45, Link
Author: DaveScot
I think you do him a disservice in seeking to eviscerate him in this way.

Nah. Dr. GH is just doing his part to endear the academic community with the unwashed masses. And the curs don't even have the common courtesy to appreciate what an effort it is for people like Dr. GH to descend to their level to speak to them. It's an outrage, dammit.

407 Date: 2005-03-10 01:28:02, Link
Author: DaveScot

I'm interested in making clear what a huge extrapolation of actual observations is made when crediting mutation/selection for all the observed diversity.

You don't have a problem with clarity do you? After that long pompous speech about trying to make things clear to laymen I think I made a very clear point for you. Practice what you preach and spread the word.

408 Date: 2005-03-10 01:45:39, Link
Author: DaveScot
The events you're asking about are ones that would be expected to take a very long time indeed to develop, perhaps into the hundreds of thousands if not millions of years for vertebrates.

Pay attention. I didn't mention vertebrates. A bacterium mutating into a yeast would be fine. I'm not picky. Show mutation/selection generating any novel body type, any novel tissue type, any novel organ.

You're asking for something that evolutionary theory doesn't predict should likely be directly observable in human time scales, and then asking that mutation be directly observed bringing it about.

And you sir, are asking me to accept as a matter of faith that time empowers mutation/selection to accomplish things that have never been observed.

I thought faith was the stuff of religion and empirical evidence was the stuff of science. Am I wrong?

409 Date: 2005-03-10 01:52:33, Link
Author: DaveScot
Just because I believe that Fred Reed is asking questions in a sincere, if ignorant, way, doesn't mean that you trolling like that doesn't make you a pernicious twit.

Coming from you, I'll take pernicious twit as a compliment.

Thank you. I'm flattered.

410 Date: 2005-03-10 02:25:18, Link
Author: DaveScot

I don't have a problem with holding out mutation/selection as a strong explanatory mechanism for diversity. What I have a problem with is holding it out as the only mechanism and pretending it doesn't have problems that would make one want to consider other explanations.

411 Date: 2005-03-10 02:40:43, Link
Author: DaveScot
I'm not asking you to accept anything, whether as a matter of faith or not. You clearly have no interest in considering anything but your own point of view. You demonstrate this by your refusal to internalize the evolutionary argument, and by your constant demand for evidence for that which evolutionary theory does not predict.

Good grief, Jonathan.

YOU clearly have no interest in considering anything but your own point of view.

YOU demonstrate this by your refusal to even consider intelligent design worthy of mention.

And by YOUR constant demand for evidence of a designer when that's something that ID doesn't predict is observable.

From my objective POV, you are little different than a bible thumper. You both have articles of faith where you assume things to be true that have never been observed and are by definition unobservable. You are both convinced you have the correct answer. You both refuse to acknowledge any possibility that the other is right.

I can understand this kind of behavior in the unwashed masses. I can't understand it from people like you.

412 Date: 2005-03-10 08:44:56, Link
Author: DaveScot
the question becomes why you think the evidence does not suffice to point to micromutations giving rise to large-scale changes over time

If by that you mean why won't I put unwavering faith in the unobserved and unobservable then it's simply to be consistent. I don't take anything as indisputable fact based on faith. I don't accept stories in the bible on faith and I don't accept stories in evolutinary biology on faith. There's a plethora of science I can accept based on empirical evidence.

Then there's the problem. Large scale changes such as new body types, new tissue types, and new organs have a habit of happening fast with few predecessors. 500 millions years of nothing then BOOM, the first tissue type appears. 3.5 billion years of nothing then BOOM, in the space of 10 million years most of the modern multicellular body types, tissue types, and organ types appear. Then evolutinary biology, happy as a lark while the biggest prediction of mutation/selection fails (the gradual accumulation of micromutations over billions of years resulting in bottom up evolution), an ad hoc theory of punctuated equilibrium is formulated to explain it like it was no big deal.

I'm supposed to accept that new theory on faith too.

Sorry. I accepted the gradual accumulation of micromutations and bottom up evolution when I was a naive young man. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Now I want empirical evidence all this happened the way you claim it does otherwise it's time to put an alternative explanation on the table so another generation doesn't get blindsided by this atheist crock of shi!t like I did. Oh yes, I used to be an atheist just like 70% of the AAAS membership. No more thank you very much. I've been agnostic for the last 14 years thanks to a few scientists who were brave enough to risk their careers by bucking the establishment to point out the inferential evidence for intelligent design which, IMO and growing number of others, is just as good as the inferential evidence for mutation/selection, if not better.

413 Date: 2005-03-10 09:03:23, Link
Author: DaveScot
Evolution is caused by extremely commom mutations (3 or so per individual. That gives you, what, 99.999% chance of having at least one?)

That sure explains a lot.

It gives you an 87.5% chance of having at least one.

414 Date: 2005-03-10 09:14:11, Link
Author: DaveScot
Mosquitoes have developed immunity (not just resistance) to DDT through the novel mechanism of now being able to digest the stuff rather as a nutrient, and break it down. How is this example insufficient for your challenge?

They're still mosquitos, ain't they?

Mosquitos have been feeding on plants for ages and plants have been producing insecticides as a defense mechanism for ages.

So how do you know this is a novel capability rather than a recessive trait that was there all along?

415 Date: 2005-03-10 09:22:05, Link
Author: DaveScot
Fossilization is a chance process, so it only gives us snapshots of evolution.

Ah yes, another article of faith... if the fossil record were complete it would back up your claim.

If it were complete it might back up a different claim.


416 Date: 2005-03-10 09:35:15, Link
Author: DaveScot
7) Unless you can show a feasible guiding function large scale mutations may take trillions of years. DO THE MATH . . . You are assuming the timeline fits before you figure out what is happening.

Excellent point. Darwin believed that the primary means of change for selection to act upon was the heritability of acquired characters. These are DIRECTED changes made in response to environmental pressures. Natural evolution could have proceeded orders of magnitude faster with directed changes for selection to act upon. However, the notion of heritable acquired characters has been falsified. The only remaining mechanism to generate novelty for selection to act upon is random mutation. That's a whole different ballgame than Darwin imagined.

As well, back in Darwin's day the universe was thought to be steady state - without beginning and without end. Therefore there was an arbitrarily long amount of time for natural evolution to act out. Darwinian theory, until it was falsified, was a lot less of a stretch of the imagination. It still took a leap of faith but it was a much smaller leap. The so-called modern synthesis requires a huge leap of faith.

417 Date: 2005-03-10 10:02:32, Link
Author: DaveScot
I'm STILL waiting for you to explain to me why the appearence of life through natural means on another planet is any more or less probable than the appearence of life through natural means here, and how you know.

Living cells appeared on earth about 500 million years after the earth itself formed. Other solar systems in the galactic habitable zone formed up to 4 billion years before the earth with the average being about a billion years earlier. Panspermia thus has 4.5 billion years and millions of solar systems for abiogenesis while on earth abiogenesis has only 500 million years.


418 Date: 2005-03-10 10:10:23, Link
Author: DaveScot

No dear. Darwin believed the primary means of generating change for novelty to act upon was heritability of acquired characters.

Effects of Use and Disuse
From the facts alluded to in the first chapter, I think there can be little doubt that use in our domestic animals strengthens and enlarges certain parts, and disuse diminishes them; and that such modifications are inherited. Under free nature, we can have no standard of comparison, by which to judge of the effects of long-continued use or disuse, for we know not the parent-forms; but many animals have structures which can be explained by the effects of disuse.

419 Date: 2005-03-10 11:14:53, Link
Author: DaveScot
For example, if all but 1% of the population has 3 mutations (with .5% having 2 and .5% having 4), the average is 3 and the probability of having more than 1 is 100%. That would fit my number but not your answer.

So you're just making up distributions to support your answer of 99.999%?

Then criticizing me for making up different distributions?


Pot, kettle, black...

There is no right answer.

By the way, the estimated average number of mutations per individual human is 175, not 3.

The average mutation rate was estimated to be 2.5 x 10-8 mutations per nucleotide site or 175 mutations per diploid genome per generation.


420 Date: 2005-03-10 11:28:47, Link
Author: DaveScot
Rilke's Grandaughter

I can address your other points but to be fair I can't address your half dozen (or whatever number it was) when there are many other people vying for answers from me. Sorry, dear. Try emailing me and I might give you the special treatment you desire.

But back to the first point you tried to make. I've clearly shown that Darwin believed that acquired characters were heritable. Now it's just a matter of whether or not he believed that was the primary means of variation.

I put to you

But I am strongly inclined to suspect that the most frequent cause of variability may be attributed to the male and female reproductive elements having been affected prior to the act of conception. Several reasons make me believe in this; but the chief one is the remarkable effect which confinement or cultivation has on the functions of the reproductive system; this system appearing to be far more susceptible than any other part of the organization, to the action of any change in the conditions of life.

Point to me. Thanks for playing.

421 Date: 2005-03-10 11:40:34, Link
Author: DaveScot
Mosquitoes don't feed on plants. They suck blood from animals. Plant defenses against mosquitoes are completely beside the point, consequently.

Jeepers, Ed! I thought everyone learned in grade school that only the female mosquito sucks blood.

422 Date: 2005-03-10 11:45:24, Link
Author: DaveScot
Grey Wolf,

The difference between us is that I actually go look up answers. You'd still be blundering about claiming that humans have an average of 3 mutations per generation when the real answer is 175.

Don't bother thanking me. Just keep in mind that it's 175 and not 3 next time the subject comes up.

Thanks in advance.

423 Date: 2005-03-10 11:53:57, Link
Author: DaveScot

Chapter 5 reference from Darwin:

Effects of Use and Disuse
From the facts alluded to in the first chapter, I think there can be little doubt that use in our domestic animals strengthens and enlarges certain parts, and disuse diminishes them; and that such modifications are inherited. Under free nature, we can have no standard of comparison, by which to judge of the effects of long-continued use or disuse, for we know not the parent-forms; but many animals have structures which can be explained by the effects of disuse.

Which part of that don't you understand? If that's not Lamarckian I'm a monkey's uncle.

Good grief. There's just no getting you to concede a point even when it's spelled right out for you, direct from the horse's mouth, Chuck Darwin hisself.

424 Date: 2005-03-10 12:41:01, Link
Author: DaveScot
Rilke's Grandaughter

Next point. Popular view of the universe in Darwin's time.

I submit to you Olber's Paradox formulated in 1823, contemporaneous with Chuck Darwin more or less, which states that if the universe is static and infinite then the night sky should be white because eventually every line of sight must terminate on a star.

This begs a question.

Why would they call it a paradox unless it was taken as a given that the universe was indeed static and infinite?

I therefore continue my claim that the vast majority contemporaneous with Darwin believed the universe to be infinite and unchanging, without beginning and without end.

That's naturalists' beliefs of course. The majority in Protestant Reformation countries back then believed, as they do now, that in the beginning the firmanment was void and without shape. Funny how science came over to the bible thumper's side there, ain't it? The big bang theory initially met with some serious opposition because of that too. Imagine the chagrin on scientists faces, who were dominated by atheists even in 1950, when the evidence started pointing to a firmanment that in the beginning was void and without shape... Wow! Creation city! but I digress...

425 Date: 2005-03-10 14:05:31, Link
Author: DaveScot

What's really mind blowing is Lamarck and Darwin might've had it right in transmission of acquired characters - epigenetically. Gadzooks! Who's next to be vindicated, William Paley fercrisakes?

426 Date: 2005-03-11 03:13:35, Link
Author: DaveScot
Interestingly, I know Francis Crick's son pretty well. The subject of evolution never came up. He only mentioned in passing who his father was. Michael's a programmer in Seattle and we collaborated on some multiplayer internet game development work.

427 Date: 2005-03-11 03:25:30, Link
Author: DaveScot
Moyers is a drama queen. Best to just pat these people on the head like a child or small animal, smile, and move along.

428 Date: 2005-03-12 14:08:39, Link
Author: DaveScot
"openly rejected Creationism"

She learned a valuable lesson. Do not be a lone voice openly attacking the beliefs of a large group, in their physical presence, without an exit strategy.

429 Date: 2005-03-12 14:19:20, Link
Author: DaveScot

Read the welcome message. Panda's Thumb's primary mission is to be critical of the so-called antievolution movement. The fact that antievolution comments are allowed, near as I can tell, is so that it doesn't become an incestuous mutual admiration society. That's a good thing. It shows, contrary to popular belief, that evolutionists aren't ALL about censoring opposing views wherever they find voice. Evidently they only want it censored in 9th grade biology classes and peer reviewed science journals...

430 Date: 2005-03-12 14:56:20, Link
Author: DaveScot
"they are still sheep"

It's difficult to avoid mentioning obvious things that stand out like a sore thumb. Maybe you'll get lucky and one day someone will actually observe mutation/selection creating a:

1) novel body type
2) novel tissue type
3) novel organ

I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you. Like the designer of the creationists, these are things that theory says will never be directly observed. We can only infer them. But hey, even if a designer is observed, I'm sure someone will come up with a punctuated-blind-watchmaker theory to work around it so the atheists still have a security blanky to hug at night.

431 Date: 2005-03-12 15:08:16, Link
Author: DaveScot
Neurode wrote: "In fact, such correlations suggest the possible existence of a hidden causal relationship between fitness and mutation."

I sometimes entertain that notion that Darwin and Larmarck were right about heritability of acquired characters with the mechanism perhaps being epigenetic. This would go a long way towards vindicating the materialist-only version of evolution.

Wilder hypotheses are that transposons and other mobile elements in the genome actually function as a biologic computing device which can programatically respond to environmental stresses. This would go a long way towards explaining the overwhelming appearance of intelligent adaptation to the environment in the eyeblinks of geologic time that mutation/selection fails to explain.

There is more in heaven and earth, Horatio, than is dreamt of in your philosophy

432 Date: 2005-03-12 15:15:48, Link
Author: DaveScot

The likely explanation for the sheep flap is that the absence of the flap was a recessive trait all along. I'm sure both sheep and flies have been around longer than mulesing and the fly strike problem is not new. Perhaps something has changed recently that gave fly populations a boost and an old solution which had become recessive has reappeared.

433 Date: 2005-03-12 16:01:41, Link
Author: DaveScot
The problem with allowing neo-Darwinism to be criticized is that, as atheist Richard Dawkins put it, there is an overwhelming appearance of design in life.

Dawkins didn't say "overwhelming" just to be cute. The appearance of design is indeed so overwhelming that even a 9th grader with a modicum of intelligence is going to see it. Conversely, it takes volumes of esoteric neo-Darwinian babble to begin to dispute the overwhelming appearance of design.

Since very, very few of the students will actually go on to any further study of neo-Darwinian theory this will severly restrict the growth of atheism. I've already pointed to polls which show that 72% of AAAS member scientists positively deny the existence of God, while another 20% are merely agnostic (like me), leaving only 7% with an affirmative belief in God, so don't try to blow smoke up my a$$ saying the neo-Darwin side isn't driven by atheists.

This isn't about science. It's about two faith-based philosophies - atheism vs. theism. I condemn both for the ideologic knuckleheads that are making a mockery of science with their dogmatic beliefs. Science is agnostic. I've loved science of all kinds my entire life. I made a fortune as a computer scientist. This dogmatism in evolution disgusts the living sh!t out of me. I can understand the low-IQ types clinging to their religious fairy tales. I don't respect them but I understand their fear-borne ignorance. What I don't understand is fear and ignorance of the same nature in highly intelligent people like those that frequent this blog.

434 Date: 2005-03-13 11:17:00, Link
Author: DaveScot
Moreover, my so-called "vitriolic" posts are just a fraction of what I contribute here. I post as many links to education, evolution and fundamentalist-related news as anyone on this blog. And I contribute to the scientific discussions as well.

There was a sign in my USMC shop that read

1000 attaboys qualifies you to be a leader of men, worthy of the respect of your peers, without a raise in pay. Note: 1 awshit negates 1000 attaboys.

Write that down.

435 Date: 2005-03-13 11:52:06, Link
Author: DaveScot
No one, and I mean no one, knows anything about the emergence of a new life form (evolution) because no one has ever observed that event."

"No one, and I mean no one, knows anything about the emergence of a new star (astronomy) because no one has ever observed that event."

The consequence of gravity acting on a gas cloud of known volume, mass, and composition is predictable down to 10 decimal points and invariable. There is no random chance in the equation.

Neo-Darwinian evolution on the other hand is not amenable to such predictability as the driving force behind it is random mutation. By definition one cannot predict the precise outcome of random events.

This should be obvious to nearly any intelligent person without explanation. Please explain why it eluded you.

436 Date: 2005-03-13 12:01:45, Link
Author: DaveScot
sentient things which connect up at night while we're sleeping, and concoct new and more devilish ways to fuck with our heads. They made it so we depend on them, and now they're having their way with us.

Well Bob, like all complex machines these too are intelligently designed. However, unlike the complex machinery inside the living cell, you can communicate with the designers of the computer. That would be me, among others. While I did indeed strive to make a tool that would become indispensible to modern life so that you'd buy many of them, and while I did design them in such a way that you'd need to buy a new one every few years, I didn't do it to fuck with your head. I did it to fuck with your wallet - i.e. transfer a portion of the contents from yours to mine.

Any other questions?

437 Date: 2005-03-13 12:28:25, Link
Author: DaveScot
Grey Wolf

Afraid of the tough questions, eh? Nothing but ad hominen retorts where the rubber meets the road.

I grow weary of dissembling picayune partioning of what is and is not a species. The quick way to end such useless inanity to just point to the painful fact which of course is:

Mutation/selection has never been observed creating a

1) novel body type
2) novel tissue type
3) novel organ

There are invariable, well known, deterministic laws of nature like gravity that are predictable in consequence down to many decimal places that allow us to predict that Pluto will complete an orbit of the sun in 248 years or that a cloud of gas of sufficient mass will collapse until pressure and temperature ignites a hydrogen fusion furnace even though we've never observed the entire process.

There are no such laws operating in neo-Darwinian evoluton as the bottom line force driving all change upon which selection can operate is random mutation. By definition the outcome of random chance cannot be predicted. This is an intractible problem for neo-Darwinian theory which relegates it forever to being an untested and untestable hypothesis for all unobserved phenomena it attempts to explain. One must take it as a matter of faith that vast tracts of time gives mutation/selection the unobserved vast, unrestricted powers of creation that you insist it has. Faith is for religion. I'm interested in science.

438 Date: 2005-03-13 12:42:30, Link
Author: DaveScot
amoeba ancestors to the animal kingdom? I wouldn't have thought so offhand, since to my thinking the way amoebas move around doesn't look like it would lend itself to colony type living, which I'd think would be prerequisite to evolving into a multicelled whatever.

Do ANY of you people ever bother to check if there's a factual basis for any of the statements you make, fercrisakes?

The social amoeba is one of the classic examples used in the colonial hypothesis of evolution from single-cell to multi-celled organisms.


439 Date: 2005-03-13 13:03:43, Link
Author: DaveScot
Apparently DaveScot is a lot smarter than I am. My IQ was only 143 and that was when I was I8. I am sure it has dropped substantially due to the ravages of time, alcohol, and dealing with Darwinian atheist ideologues.[/qoute]

You're a genius. I knew it! Had to be. It's all genetic.

440 Date: 2005-03-13 13:27:55, Link
Author: DaveScot
That the scientists are staring to say evolutoin is true regardless of mechanism is a hint.

Creationists starting to say that evolution is true regardless of the mechansim is even more of a hint.

Evolution is -almost- certainly true. The mechanism is what's in question. There a number of mechanisms. Mutation/selection is without a reasonable one of the mechanisms but its scope is probably limited to fine tuning within a limited set of options rather than miraculous creative powers to do anything.

441 Date: 2005-03-13 14:38:03, Link
Author: DaveScot
Nerves on top of retina, blocking some of the incoming light.

Backbone made from stack of bones - suitable for horizontal support, not appropriate for vertical structure.

Tailbone - not needed for anything, but can be damaged in fall.

I dropped a subtle hint by calling gene splicers, space shuttles, and blogs "novel new body plans" made by intelligent designers. I guess it was too subtle.

JAD is certainly right that there's no compelling reason to believe that evolution is still going on. However, given the long periods of relative stasis in the past, there's no compelling reason to think it has stopped either.

I suggest it's irrelevant. Biological evolution may indeed have stopped with humans as the goal. We're a new paradigm in evolution - technological evolution. Consider what the state of the art in genetic engineering will be 1000 years from now if we extend the current rate of progress. Heck, try just 100 years from now.

What "nature" gets accomplished in biological evolution driven by mutation/selection in 100 or even 1000 years is, under any theory, next to nothing. Given the fossil record and most if not all similarly empirical evidence, whether by design or accident, nature takes millions and billions of years to create novel body forms, novel tissue types, and novel organs.

Yet in just the last few millenia we've gone from the whims of nature to being able to put artifical hearts in ourselves, correcting some kinds of genetic defects in ourselves, travelling to the moon & back... the list goes on and on. We've extended our senses and ability to communicate in the last century by such an extent it would seem like magic to our ancestors just a handful of generations back in time.

As long as science & engineering keep progressing, biological evolution has indeed ended with humans. We mark the start of technological evolution which proceeds at a far faster rate from what I've seen so far and briefly mentioned above. How's that for faith? Faith in science and engineering of course. That's my kind of faith.

You all should read the following book, which I suspect very few of you have, which doesn't so much teach you to think outside the box as it does describing just where the boundaries of the box are located. I read it in 1987, bought the hardback, hot off the press. If I had to name a single book that most influenced my thinking about the future this is it.

A link to the full text of the book is at the bottom of the wiki article.

As you read it, think about how many of the predictions made in it have come to pass in the 19 years since it was published. It's amazing. We're on the cusp of something big. Engineering credo: if it's physically possible, it's only a matter of time and money to get it done.

442 Date: 2005-03-13 15:04:08, Link
Author: DaveScot
And hair, what about hair? What's the point in having hair if you're only going to lose it? And what's with flat feet?

Impetus for the tool-using apes to employ their intelligent design capacity to fix it themselves?

443 Date: 2005-03-13 15:17:35, Link
Author: DaveScot
Of course not. Your commentary on here gives me very little motivation to do so. And requiring me to use a search engine to

God save me from Luddites!

444 Date: 2005-03-13 15:53:02, Link
Author: DaveScot

There's plenty of other anomalously large genomes out there. Don't get all caught up with amoeba dubia just because I quoted it as the largest known. There are many more.

We've barely begun to catalog all the single celled organisms on this planet. And of those catalogued the number where the genome size has been determined is much smaller. The number that has been sequenced is still smaller, and the percent of sequenced DNA where we understand its purpose reduces it further still. But despite all this ignorance you, Russell, can rule out all but one explanation for life's diversity. Can you spell "hubris"? I knew you could.

445 Date: 2005-03-13 16:00:45, Link
Author: DaveScot
I'll just skip your posts from now on.

I can spoonfeed the facts to you if you'd stop making faces and spitting them out.

But hey, if you don't want them you don't want them. No skin off my nose. Get some of your friends to join you. Less work for me.

446 Date: 2005-03-13 16:06:48, Link
Author: DaveScot
What qualifies as a novel body type?

How about we start with the pretty pictures on this page

If we agree on those we can climb the tree looking for further agreement provided you convince I need to in order to prove my point that no one has observed mutation/selection creating novel body plans.

447 Date: 2005-03-14 01:05:16, Link
Author: DaveScot
Wanna fuel the space shuttle with the amount of propellant that comes up on a roulette wheel, dopey?

Maybe when you and your friends are the crew...


448 Date: 2005-03-14 01:09:30, Link
Author: DaveScot

JAD is a determinist which explains his FL philsophy quite handily. And I've determined he may be right. Einstein went to his grave a determinist too and he was no one's fool. As usual, I'm agnostic about determinism.

449 Date: 2005-03-14 01:15:42, Link
Author: DaveScot
Re "Do ANY of you people ever bother to check if there's a factual basis for any of the statements you make, fercrisakes?"
I didn't make a factual statement, I stated an opinion, and labelled it as such

Well, now you don't have to write mistaken opinions about amoebas and colonial behavior any more. Don't bother thanking me, just try to check your opinions for accuracy in the future so I don't have to spend my time correcting you. Thanks in advance.

450 Date: 2005-03-14 01:34:47, Link
Author: DaveScot
Not to mention that according to quantum mechanics, all events are random. Which means that all physical processes are the results of random events, not just evolution.

Here we go again.

Observable properties of subatomic particles are described as probability distributions in quantum mechanics. That doesn't even come close to saying that all events are random. At the atomic scale and larger quantum uncertainty disappears.

Write that down.

451 Date: 2005-03-14 01:44:30, Link
Author: DaveScot
Novel body forms and new organs never took millions of years to be formed.

Possibly not, but there were, if not a gradual accumulation, still millions and billions of years of stasis between saltations. That's why I said "in any theory". Even in your theory it took evolution billions of years to get from bacteria to badgers.

Note that "any theory" doesn't include a 6,000 year-old earth which I won't dignify by calling it a theory.

452 Date: 2005-03-14 02:01:56, Link
Author: DaveScot
Don't make me come over there and rub your nose in that 4.6 Gbp E. coli of yours!

A biology PhD made the mistake. My mistake was carelessly copying his his error. I shan't do it again. You just can't trust these guys. Write that down.

Plus, I noticed the mistake by looking further into his table and noting e.coli was way off. Don't go changing the story now.

453 Date: 2005-03-14 02:10:12, Link
Author: DaveScot
Speaking of rubbing noses in things...

Two items caught my eye today.

The New York Times published a story saying that WMD stuff was in Iraq at the time of the invasion and was systematically removed by a coordinated effort involving heavy machinery.

The second item is that with democracy breaking out all over in the Middle East, Time Magazine considers George W. Bush in the running for a Nobel Peace Prize.,9565,1037629,00.html

454 Date: 2005-03-14 03:08:12, Link
Author: DaveScot

Amazing! You even refuse to acknowledge that military chaplains are religious clerics paid for by U.S. taxpayers to explicitely provide religious services to military members, in time or war or peace, at home or abroad.

You know what else Ed, the taxpayers build CHAPELS on military bases.

Your theory of that impenetrable wall of separation between church and state is blown all to hell by the egregious breach of said wall made in the military.

In actuality, gov't isn't prohibited from promoting religion. It's prohibited from promoting a state religion. This is evidenced in the military by the chaplain's requirement to fulfill the religious needs of any servicemember regardless of what particular religion he practices. Gov't is neutral with regard to religion, not hands off with regard to religion. Any greater separation is, as I said and as I proved, a tortured latter 20th interpretation of the establishment clause by an activist, liberal federal judiciary.

455 Date: 2005-03-14 03:17:48, Link
Author: DaveScot
Mutate a HOX gene and see a new organ/body form.

I took your advice. The result was spontaneous abortion in every vertebrate I tried it in and I got an extra pair of dysfunctional wings in drosophila.

Maybe you can give me an example of someone that had more success than I.

I shan't hold my breath waiting for said example. I suspect you know why.

456 Date: 2005-03-14 03:23:33, Link
Author: DaveScot
Not many people work with fruit flies in laboratory conditions. Many people work with Drosophila. I will assume they are referring to Drosophila. Drosophila are not fruit flies.

Pedantry is a good fit for your talents.

457 Date: 2005-03-14 03:34:24, Link
Author: DaveScot
JAD re mitochondria

I was just reading up on mitochondria last week. I learned that some genetic diseases have been traced to mutations in mitochondrial DNA.

But you know what I also learned? Even after mutating for billions of years, mitochondria are still mitochondria...

458 Date: 2005-03-14 03:45:21, Link
Author: DaveScot
Next time one of you imbeciles espys a female mosquito sucking blood out of you, tell yourself she isn't really feeding but is nurturing her eggs.

That bit of self-delusion has got to be piece of cake for anyone that buys the all-powerful mutation/selection fantasy.

459 Date: 2005-03-14 10:14:48, Link
Author: DaveScot
And what does it say when you have to buttress your belief with bs?

Are you talking about Piltdown man, peppered moths, or Haeckel's embryo drawings perchance?

It doesn't say anything good would be the answer.

What says something even worse is when your bs beliefs are so obviously flawed that criticism of it in 9th grade public school classrooms has to be censored through legal chicanery.

460 Date: 2005-03-14 11:26:13, Link
Author: DaveScot
Holy Smokes! You boys better hope that article doesn't get wide exposure. It's devastating. Perhaps the best I've seen and I've seen a lot of them. It appears on which is, IMO, the best of the best for libertarian politics.

461 Date: 2005-03-14 11:33:19, Link
Author: DaveScot
Nick Matze

Instead of cherry-picking the easy bit about giraffe neck vertebra, how about you tackle the butterfly questions posed by Fred Reed?

Thanks in advance.

462 Date: 2005-03-14 17:16:21, Link
Author: DaveScot
Don't worry about it, PZ. There's no controversy. Guys like Berlinski are just a bad dream you're having. Click your heels together three times and repeat after me:

There's no place like home!

There's no place like home!

There's no place like home!

463 Date: 2005-03-14 17:36:18, Link
Author: DaveScot
Hey, I'm childless and I STILL care about our children.

Just like the overwhelming appearance of design is an illusion, the overwhelming appearance of altruism is also an illusion. Natural selection doens't give a fig about anything except the individual reproducing with more success than the individual next to it. Just ask Richard Dawkins if you don't believe me.

464 Date: 2005-03-14 17:52:16, Link
Author: DaveScot

Go fill in the article if you think you found a good answer as none of those given even attempt an explaination of how a worm with the ability to produce silk evolved the ability to pupate and turn into a butterfly.

465 Date: 2005-03-14 17:54:19, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ken Shackleton

Instead of demonizing the questioner, just answer the questions.

466 Date: 2005-03-15 00:52:17, Link
Author: DaveScot
From this search one can easily calculate the appropriate ratio of evolutionary scientists to IDers. The committee should be informed of (hammered with) the ratio.

Disbelief in God and immortality among NAS biological scientists was 65.2% and 69.0%, respectively, and among NAS physical scientists it was 79.0% and 76.3%.

The committee should be informed of (hammered with) the ratio of atheists among NAS scientists.

This isn't about science. It's about religion. Specifically atheist scientists against theist parents. Science should be agnostic but it has been hijacked by a bunch of lying atheists. It's disgusting.

467 Date: 2005-03-15 00:56:23, Link
Author: DaveScot
Someone ought to sue:

There ya go. The last bastion of failed atheist theories. When the empirical evidence is overwhelmingly against you, resort to the establishment clause to censor the evidence.

Truly disgusting.

468 Date: 2005-03-15 01:10:38, Link
Author: DaveScot
What people need to see is the hollowness of ID's underpinnings when subjected to true scientific inquiry

No John, what they need to see is the hollowness of mutation/selection's underpinnings when subjected to true scientific inquiry.

No one has ever observed mutation/selection to create a

1) novel body type
2) novel tissue type
3) novel organ

One has to accept, as a matter of faith, that mutation/selection has the creative power to do these things. It's no more or less a matter of faith to suppose that the overwhelming appearance of design is just what it looks like - design.

And that's the whole problem. The appearance of design is indeed overwhelming. Richard Dawkins wasn't just whistling Dixie when he characterized the evidence as overwhelming. In fact it's so overwhelming that even a kid in a 9th grade biology class will see it if he's allowed to think about it. The amount of rationalization it takes to even begin denying the obvious is truly astounding. And as the machinery of life contained within the cell is further and further exposed the evidence that must be rationalized away to support a materialist origin just grows and grows.

469 Date: 2005-03-15 01:31:46, Link
Author: DaveScot
Consensus Science

To those of you who think that the ratio of IDers to neo-Darwinists in the credentialied halls of science means a lot, consider this...

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus.

There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

The committee should be informed of (hammered with) this basic truism about science.

470 Date: 2005-03-15 02:05:36, Link
Author: DaveScot

Thanks for your invitation. I did a comprehensive survey and found no reproducible observations of mutation/selection creating a

1) novel body type
2) novel tissue type
3) novel organ

I did, however, find much agreement about the reason for the absolute dearth of observations - mutation/selection works too slowly to observe these things in real time.

I question that thinking as the punctuated equilibrium theory says that mutation/selection can act very quickly. Moreover, dogs have been bred by humans for 20,000 years for unique traits that would never survive the natural selection process, thus dramatically increasing the odds of a creative mutation event, and not a single instance of a novel body type, novel tissue type, or novel organ has appeared in any dog.

The alternative explanation for the complete lack of empirical evidence in support of mutation/selection's power to create novel body types, tissue types, and organs is, of course, that it doesn't have that power. I feel that, at the least, the possibility that mutation/selection does not have this imagined creative power, should be presented in any discussion of evolution. Honesty requires such a disclosure.

Feel free to expose any reproduceable observations of mutation/selection creating a novel body type, novel tissue type, or novel origin that I may have missed in my comprehensive survey.

471 Date: 2005-03-15 02:34:30, Link
Author: DaveScot

I almost forgot about your request for a definition of terms.


If you don't know what an observation in science is you can glean an understanding from the following link:


This one is a little more involved. I'm an accomplished inventor and am using "novel" in that sense. Some background of that context can be found at:

However, examples work even better.

Examples of novel body types can be found at the root of this tree:

Novel tissue types would include the array of known types that descend from stem cells during ontogeny:

Novel organ typew would include the array of known types that are formed during ontogeny:

I hope this helps. I sometimes overestimate my audience and assume that when I use terms such as novel, body, tissue, and organ that the reader will have an immediate and unambiguous understanding of these terms in an anatomical context.

472 Date: 2005-03-15 02:47:39, Link
Author: DaveScot
Care to show us your methods and results?

Nope, I don't care to. But feel free to give me one example of mutation/selection being observed creating a

1) novel body type
2) novel tissue type
3) novel organ

which would serve to cast doubt upon my method and result.

Best of luck!

473 Date: 2005-03-15 03:20:17, Link
Author: DaveScot
Serioiusly though my heart goes out to American biologists with all the crap you have to put up with from ignorant, misinformed or malicious individuals who oppose evolution, who are also sadly nurmeous and well funded.

Nah, those are the easy ones to put up with. The hard ones are these guys:


Public TV programs, educational policy statements, and science textbooks have asserted
that Darwin's theory of evolution fully explains the complexity of living things. The
public has been assured, most recently by spokespersons for PBS's Evolution series, that
"all known scientific evidence supports [Darwinian] evolution" as does "virtually every
reputable scientist in the world."
The following scientists dispute the first claim and stand as living testimony in contradiction
to the second. There is scientific dissent to Darwinism. It deserves to be heard.


[ since DaveScot claims to have 'unintentionally' cut&pasted so many names, I've taken the liberty of correcting his mistake. ]

474 Date: 2005-03-15 03:23:19, Link
Author: DaveScot
Sorry about the length of that. I didn't mean to cut & paste so many names. The list is actually a lot longer and grows larger every day.

475 Date: 2005-03-15 03:36:05, Link
Author: DaveScot
it is a scientific fact that all organisms to live on earth are the descendents of self-replicating molecules that were on earth about 3.8 billion years ago

Prima facie evidence of the brainwashing of naive, impressionable young minds.

Good grief. I'm stunned.

476 Date: 2005-03-15 05:08:39, Link
Author: DaveScot
The biological basis of instinctual behavior is poorly understood

What bits of the biological basis of instinct is understood that would justify saying it is anything other than a complete mystery?

Reed's butterfly question seems well enough formulated. A top-down analysis of the needs fulfilled by the metamorphosis does nothing to explain the bottom-up process by which it came to be. A butterfly does not produce silk as far as I know. No non-metamorphous insect I'm aware of produces silk before hatching. It's a straightforward question to ask what incremental steps were involved in the evolution of pupating insects.

ID predicts irreducible complexity. This appears to be a good candidate but I remain open to plausible explanations.

477 Date: 2005-03-15 05:32:28, Link
Author: DaveScot
Various evolutionary thinkers have proposed various hypotheses for the various gaps in evolutionary theory

The Marxist account of history too, Popper held, is not scientific, although it differs in certain crucial respects from psychoanalysis. For Marxism, Popper believed, had been initially scientific, in that Marx had postulated a theory which was genuinely predictive. However, when these predictions were not in fact borne out, the theory was saved from falsification by the addition of ad hoc hypotheses which made it compatible with the facts. By this means, Popper asserted, a theory which was initially genuinely scientific degenerated into pseudo-scientific dogma.

The Darwinian account of history too, DaveScot held, is not scientific, although it differs in certain crucial respects from psychoanalysis. For Darwinism, DaveScot believed, had been initially scientific, in that Darwin had postulated a theory which was genuinely predictive. However, when these predictions were not in fact borne out, the theory was saved from falsification by the addition of ad hoc hypotheses which made it compatible with the facts. By this means, DaveScot asserted, a theory which was initially genuinely scientific degenerated into pseudo-scientific dogma.

The three pillars of western modernism - Freud, Marx, and Darwin. Two down, one to go.

I charge for this brilliant combination of education and levity. You owe me payment in kind.

478 Date: 2005-03-15 12:43:11, Link
Author: DaveScot
Intelligence acts by changing probabilities.

This is very, very far from being silly, Wesley.

In my own attempt to arrive at an internalized, consistent working definition of "intelligence" I independently arrived at the same conclusion as Dembski above.

Great minds do indeed think alike.

479 Date: 2005-03-15 13:05:57, Link
Author: DaveScot
Perhaps a more intuitive way for mathematically disinclined thinkers to discriminate intelligent actions from unintelligent is to look for anticipation.

Natural, unintelligent processes do not anticipate different futures and act in the present to guide the course of events into a more desireable future.

Thus, as I have said several times in this forum, the hallmark of intelligence is anticipation. Intelligence is the ability to take knowledge and experience of cause and effect, form an abstract model of possible futures based on that knowledge and experience, then physically act to change the probabilities to favor a more desireable future.

Dembski is right on about intelligence changing probabilities.

480 Date: 2005-03-15 13:46:26, Link
Author: DaveScot
Being an experimentalist at heart, I think I will just see whether or not you guys will leave DaveScot and myself alone. I am betting you can't.

There's a safe bet if I ever saw one. Sort of like betting that people won't stop attempting to gain the summit of Mt. Everest.

481 Date: 2005-03-15 13:54:56, Link
Author: DaveScot

I admitted my carelessness re not immediately recognizing a mistaken legend in a table I glanced at for all of 10 seconds. Interestingly, I was the first to point out the error to the author.

But hey, I'm glad you my advice to cherish the mistake you caught me making as the exceedingly rare and precious thing that it truly is. Good boy! Have a cookie.

482 Date: 2005-03-15 14:05:40, Link
Author: DaveScot

Fools differ in unpredictable, random fashion. It is a reflection of their thought process which is based upon white noise.

Write that down so you don't randomly forget it.

483 Date: 2005-03-15 14:14:01, Link
Author: DaveScot

Effective method (mutation/selection) leading to tiny islands of meaning in a virtually infinite sea of meaningless sequence space is an exercise in circular reasoning. How do we know the method is effective? Because there are meaningful results (useful proteins). How were the meaningful results obtained? By an effective method.

Try again, and this time use a different logical fallacy to support your conclusions, so that I may remain interested and your capacity to think in a logical fashion may be increased when I correct you.

Yours in science,

484 Date: 2005-03-15 14:22:40, Link
Author: DaveScot
Who's doing this calculation of probabilities, and how did they decide what to account for?

In the given instance of the statue of David it was Michelangelo.

In the instance of the machinery inside the cell it is the $64,000 question that as of yet no one has been able to do more than guess about. Some say God. Some say natural selection acting upon random chance. I say no one knows and any assertion to the contrary relies on faith in things never observed.

485 Date: 2005-03-15 14:30:25, Link
Author: DaveScot
Can you point us to any place on this site where you have ever mentioned this idea before?

I can, yes. The question is will I take the time to manually search through months of comments looking for where I posted "the hallmark of intelligence is anticipation". The answer to that is, "no, I will not".

If the owners of this blog add the capability to search the comments I would be happy to oblige you.

486 Date: 2005-03-15 14:54:06, Link
Author: DaveScot
Dembski set up his search problem as looking through an entire sequence space of 20100 protein sequences for the single best solution.

And in so doing, for the sake of brevity, he vastly underestimated the actual potential solution landscape.

First of all, 100 amino acids is a relatively small protein, but that's not nearly the worst of it. The worst part is that these proteins don't operate singly in a vacuum but rather are single cogs in large groups of proteins that work in cascade or synchronicity to accomplish interim needs in the furtherance of critical life processes.

So not only must there be an effect method to search for islands of meaning in a virtually infinite sea of meaningless sequence space, many such islands which are separated by vast gulfs of meaningless must located in groups that effectively work together.

By far the best analogy, IMO, for relating this problem to something more intuitively grasped is to compare sequence space to language. There are roughly the same number of different letters in the roman alphabet as amino acids in proteins. Sentences are roughly the same sequence length as proteins employed by living things. The combination of many thousands of sentences that work together to form such things as as a novel like "War and Peace" is about equivalent to the harmonious interworking of thousands of proteins in living systems.

What's the chance of any natural process other than intelligence forming a meaningful sequence of letters of the complexity found in "War and Peace"? Essentially nil in my estimation. But I could be wrong. The more salient point is that you could be wrong too. Honesty demands that any discussion of evolution presented to anxious young minds in 9th grade biology class include the fact that neo-Darwinian evolution is based upon the unconfirmed assumption that mutation/selection had enough time to operate for a reasonable chance to overcome vast odds in assembling a large suite of proteins capable of self-replication and self-modification.

487 Date: 2005-03-15 15:05:11, Link
Author: DaveScot

And you, sir, cannot tolerate the idea that natural processes might not account for all we see, so you automatically exclude any explantion that includes anything you deem unnatural.

This, I might add, is done in the exceedingly contrary mindset that intelligence, which you propose arose through entirely natural processes, is unnatural.

How can you sit there with a straight face, and in the same breath, tell me that intelligence arose through entirely natural processes and that intelligent design is a supernatural event? Such illogic boggles my mind. It's the mother of all non sequiturs.

488 Date: 2005-03-15 15:21:01, Link
Author: DaveScot

Please read:

Thanks in advance.

489 Date: 2005-03-15 15:35:29, Link
Author: DaveScot
It would seem that by the Dembski/Scot definition of intelligence, intelligence only exists when individuals discover novel solutions to novel problems. So much for trying to impress the girls by memorizing Shakespeare.

When that fails to impress I resort to my fallback which is inviting them aboard my 66 foot motor yacht. A career in the practical application of formal logic can be very rewarding.

You still owe me for the Karl Popper post, by the way.

490 Date: 2005-03-15 16:19:24, Link
Author: DaveScot
Michael Finley

What you describe is philosophical determinism. There's some merit to it. My personal belief is that the universe is deterministic with the exception of free will in intelligent life. Some dispute the notion of free will. If the universe were created for a purpose I can't envision what the purpose would be if everything that happens in it was known ahead of time and writ in granite by the creator.

An interesting bit of cosmology recently exposed by analysis of the small inhomogeneities in the microwave background radiation (inhomogeneities which led to the formation of galaxies, stars, planets, and pandas instead of a homogenous soup of equally distributed matter & energy undergoing unrelenting dilution through the expansion of space) is the pattern of the irregulaties exactly matches what's called pink noise by music connoissuers. In other words, it's postulated that sound waves in the primordial cosmic soup accounts for all the diversity we see today.

When I read the pink noise hypotheses concocted by high-brow high- energy physicists trying to decipher what happened in the first instant of creation I thought, privately of course since I'm an avowed agnostic, they've just described the voice of God. Literally. Weird how science is converging on ancient theological concepts like God speaking "Let there be light, and there was light." And the big bang itself, creation ex nihilo, is eerily like "In the beginning, the firmament was void and without form". Undeniably prophetic and back in those days there was no reason to think that something could emerge from nothing. It's still a hard concept to grasp but that's eventually where science led us - full circle back to the account in Genesis.

I'm still agnostic but these are things that make you go "hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...".

At any rate, the stock atheist answer for the "fine tuning" problem is that if the universe wasn't fine tuned we wouldn't be around to talk about it. It's a strong argument. I don't see any real support for creation in the cosmic fine tuning argument. Now the pink noise sound waves reverberating through the primordial plasma, that's a bit of enticing evidence in support of creation mythology.

491 Date: 2005-03-15 16:27:59, Link
Author: DaveScot
They have a probability of being a wave or a probility of being a particle.

Wrong. Light exhibits properties of both waves and particles.

Please read

492 Date: 2005-03-15 16:40:13, Link
Author: DaveScot
And since both selection and mutation (even just purifying selection or completely random mutation) change the probability distribution of a population of alleles, they must also have "Dembskian intelligence".

Yes indeed, that appears to be the case. Life, even at the molecular scale, exhibits properties of intelligence. The question is at what point is it merely the inevitable result of purely deterministic chemistry and where does self-awareness step in with the ability to use abstract thought to direct physical processes towards desired outcomes. Maybe it never steps in and self-awareness/free-will is just another illusion in the most Dawkinsian tradition of grand illusions. On the other hand, maybe transposable elements in the DNA helix are acting as mutable logic gates in a biological computer and intelligence does arise at a level that basic through that mechanism. The jury is still out.

493 Date: 2005-03-15 16:59:48, Link
Author: DaveScot
But as I pointed out to Emanuele, that path lead to an infinite temporal regress which is a physical impossibility.

Any theory of everything leads to an infinite logical regress. If God created the universe then where did God come from? There's always a logical necessity at some temporal point for a first cause. Neo-Darwinists, IMO, arbitrarily shove the need for a first cause into someone else's domain of scientific inquiry - i.e. it's not our problem, let the cosmologists worry about it.

The leading contender with cosmologists is 11-dimensional extension of string theory called m-theory which contains a so-called multiverse. I get quite lost once they start talking about branes in quantum superstring theory. I kept up with physics through quarks then they lost me. Once it goes beyond the point of any possible empirical observations by requiring ludicrous amounts of energy in particle accelerators to explore the domain I say "screw it" and move along to something else.

494 Date: 2005-03-15 17:02:51, Link
Author: DaveScot
it's almost trivially easy to build a system that gives the appearance of anticipating futures

It's trivially easy for an intelligent designer at any rate...

495 Date: 2005-03-15 17:13:35, Link
Author: DaveScot
Therefore, the probability of at least one universe generating sentient life is, unsurprisingly, one.

And the probability of the existence of intelligent agents able to artifically manipulate genomes for directed purposes is also undeniably equal to one.

And I'll pelt anyone who tries to deny it with genetically engineered rotten tomatoes. Of course I'll have to wait longer for my ammunition as genetically engineered "Flvr Savr" tomatoes take longer to ripen.


I kill me sometimes.

496 Date: 2005-03-16 07:51:09, Link
Author: DaveScot

Two obvious problems, of course.

First is that in order to get a good view during a colonoscopy the colon is inflated with gas. The artificial worm cannot crawl upward in that case. It's possible, I suppose, to put the patient on a table that rotates in 3-axes to solve that problem.

The second problem is it's dark in there. Motive power doesn't seem to me to be the limiting factor but rather illuminating power. Possibly could be solved by using infrared but I'm not sure that has sufficient resolution without requiring exotic hardware like SQUIDs.

Sharp bristles like a real earthworm has might solve the first problem and, with the increased traction available, might be able to tow a fine power cord behind it to solve the second problem.

A great idea, actually. Novel, not obvious, and valuable. I'd authorize pursuing a patent on it. Of course unless a patent application has already been filed it's too late as the idea has now been disclosed to the public.

Lastly, I'd like to point out that mutation/selection has never been observed creating a

1) novel body type
2) novel tissue type
3) novel organ

The power of mutation/selection to accomplish those things must be taken as a matter of faith. Faith is for religion, not science. I recommend that any teaching of mutation/selection in public school beyond its ability to cause microevolutionary change be relegated to comparative religion class as a basic tenet underlying atheist beliefs. Mutation/selection driven macroevolution doesn't belong in a science class because it just isn't science - it's a grand leap of faith that gives comfort to atheists.

497 Date: 2005-03-16 08:02:59, Link
Author: DaveScot
Sorry Paredo,

You can probabilize all day long but at the end of the day light creating an interference pattern is a wave and light causing a photoelectric effect is a particle.

If you don't understand something just say so.

498 Date: 2005-03-16 08:06:09, Link
Author: DaveScot
Granted if the numbers hold out ~20 of those will be from JAD, DS or DK which I will be automatically skipped.

Cool! An artificially closed mind. Good job!

499 Date: 2005-03-16 08:27:22, Link
Author: DaveScot

Using taxpayer money to hire priests and build churches on military installations, which is done during times of war or times of peace, at home and abroad, is an egregious violation of the so-called impenetrable wall of separation between church and state.

You continue to ignore it when I point out this done during times of war and times of peace, at home and abroad. No other gov't employees get churches built for them and priests hired for them when they accept a gov't job that requires travel away from home.

There is no prohibition against gov't supporting religion as long as it's not supporting a state religion. The religious clerics hired and chapels built for military personnel are strictly non-denominational and serve the religious needs of any service member no matter what his particular religion may be. I know these things, Ed, as do all military veterans. It comes as no surprise to me that in a bunch of pathetic liberal atheist academic wimps there's not a man-jack here that ever served his country. All you do is bitch and moan from the safe haven that men like me provide for you. Don't bother thanking me.

500 Date: 2005-03-16 08:45:35, Link
Author: DaveScot

How on earth can the big bang be used in support of atheism?

Creation ex nihilo is a core concept of Judeo-Christian religion. The big bang was more or less described in Genesis fercrisakes, thousands of years before science described it.

Denial is more than just a river in Egypt.

501 Date: 2005-03-16 09:08:30, Link
Author: DaveScot

Someone asked you to explain how new forms continue to reproduce in the semi-meiotic hypothesis when it takes two to tango i.e. it takes a male and female of the new species to continue it. Semi-meiosis only produces one unique individual of a new species, correct?

If you answered it I missed your answer. Could you answer it again?

Thanks in advance.

502 Date: 2005-03-16 09:24:58, Link
Author: DaveScot

Quantum fluctuations which result in the so-called "boiling vacuum" are only probable at the Planck scale. Fluctuations resulting in the creation of matter at larger scales become increasingly improbable as the scale increases. To posit that the entire universe is a quantum fluctuation is a stretch of the imagination possibly only exceeded in imaginary extent by the supposition that accidental chemical reactions could create a huge suite of unique proteins capable of self-replication and self-modification.

Hugely improbable events don't seem to bother members of the Church of Darwin but it bothers objective people like me who actually pratice scientific agnosticism and view hugely improbable events as, well, hugely improbable.

503 Date: 2005-03-16 09:35:27, Link
Author: DaveScot

How may I test the supposition that mutation/selection can create

1) novel body types
2) novel tissue types
3) novel organs

504 Date: 2005-03-16 09:42:22, Link
Author: DaveScot

I was 100% correct. You may say that my statement was not a complete description of wave/particle duality but you cannot say it was incorrect as far as it went. So that makes YOU incorrect.

Thanks for playing.

505 Date: 2005-03-16 09:47:37, Link
Author: DaveScot

"Please explain how it is a violation of the separation of church and state to allow citizens in military service to worship. I'm missing your point completely."

They're not just being allowed to worship. The cost of the trappings of their worship (chaplains and chapels) are underwritten by taxpayers.

Which part of that don't you understand?

506 Date: 2005-03-16 09:57:53, Link
Author: DaveScot

Man you're thick.

I was stationed at MCAS El Toro for 3 years during peacetime. That base is in the heart of densely populated southern California. There was absolutely no shortage of privately funded churches there for any service member to use just like any other citizen of the United States. Yet the taxpayers payed for the construction of a chapel inside the base, payed for its maintenance, and payed for religious clerics to staff it.

What part of that don't you understand? Tax dollars directly used to provide and promote religion to military members. I bet Madison was uncomfortable with the concept. If you weren't a hypocritical nitwit you'd be uncomfortable with it too.

507 Date: 2005-03-16 10:03:22, Link
Author: DaveScot

"trying to equate any "beginning" with "Creation" is the logical fallacy known as "begging the question""

No it isn't. It's a simple correlation. The Big Bang theory is creation ex nihilo and so is the account of creation in Genesis.

Get a clue.

508 Date: 2005-03-16 10:20:46, Link
Author: DaveScot

The Big Bang theory neither suggests nor discounts "someone or something" causing the initial event. It describes, among other things, the universe coming into existence from nothing - creation ex nihilo. The biblical account of Genesis also describes the universe coming into existence from nothing - creation ex nihilo. Where they differ is the biblical account describes a first cause (God) for the creation event whereas the Big Bang theory does not attempt to describe a first cause. I hope that clears up your confusion because you're becoming really tedious.

509 Date: 2005-03-16 10:29:45, Link
Author: DaveScot

"The whole point of inflationary cosmology is that it only takes a quantum fluctuation in a miniscule amount of space with a miniscule mass to create the conditions for an inflationary field that explains the entire universe we see today."

The primordial plasma came into existence everywhere at the same time. All the matter/energy (matter and energy are equivalent) in the universe today winked into existence at once. It was not an explosion with a miniscule center where an underpressure surrounding it caused it to expand. That's a common misconception taken from the name "Big Bang" which suggests an explosion of some sort.

Read this SciAm Article Misconceptions About the Big Bang

510 Date: 2005-03-16 10:47:13, Link
Author: DaveScot

I can't seem to find the answer to my question in your response, or maybe I didn't pose the question well enough. Let's specify mammals since that's what I had in mind.

Where do one pair of mammals that are a new species, male and female, able to interbreed, come from in the semi-meiotic hypothesis?

In the Darwinian hypothesis the changes from one generation to the next are so small that ability to interbreed is maintained in each new generation. If I'm reading it correctly in your hypothesis a new species comes about in one generation in one individual. How does the new individual of the new species then become a mating pair able to continue the new species? Does the mother have to produce one each of the new species, male and female, or what?

511 Date: 2005-03-16 11:02:57, Link
Author: DaveScot

Popper's preoccupation with falsification came about from his personal dalliances with Marxism and subsequent disillusionment with it when he concluded it was a bunch of psuedo-scientific pap.

I find the following infinitely amusing and an object lesson in what unfalsifiable psuedo-science is to Popper.

The Marxist account of history too, Popper held, is not scientific, although it differs in certain crucial respects from psychoanalysis. For Marxism, Popper believed, had been initially scientific, in that Marx had postulated a theory which was genuinely predictive. However, when these predictions were not in fact borne out, the theory was saved from falsification by the addition of ad hoc hypotheses which made it compatible with the facts. By this means, Popper asserted, a theory which was initially genuinely scientific degenerated into pseudo-scientific dogma.

Now do a simple search and replace for "Marx" with "Darwin" in the paragraph above. Try not to laugh at the result...

[qoute]The Darwinist account of history too, Popper held, is not scientific, although it differs in certain crucial respects from psychoanalysis. For Darwinism, Popper believed, had been initially scientific, in that Darwin had postulated a theory which was genuinely predictive. However, when these predictions were not in fact borne out, the theory was saved from falsification by the addition of ad hoc hypotheses which made it compatible with the facts. By this means, Popper asserted, a theory which was initially genuinely scientific degenerated into pseudo-scientific dogma.

ROFLMAO - neo-Darwinism is Darwin's theory with ad hoc hypotheses such as punctuated equilibrium and random mutation tacked onto it when the facts didn't agree with the theory. Darwin, you see, believed that the primary mechanism of change was not random mutation but the heritability of acquired characters. Darwin also thought that subsequent exploration of the fossil record would clear up the seeming instantaneous emergence of most of the modern phyla in Cambrian explosion.

Popper is rolling over in his grave today with people invoking his name to discount a hypothesis that competes with one he would have shit-canned right along with Marxism for exactly the same reasons. Shame on you.

512 Date: 2005-03-16 11:08:33, Link
Author: DaveScot

Big Bang theory is agreeable with any account of creation that is something from nothing. It's not rocket science. You've gone beyond tedious and I shan't discuss this anymore with you as it's a complete waste of my time. Arguing with idiots is never worthwhile. They drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience. Adios, dopey.

513 Date: 2005-03-16 11:43:46, Link
Author: DaveScot

Brian Greene's speculations are hardly the definitive word in Big Bang theory.

You are confusing a singularity with a point source in the standard model. Time and distance are undefined in the singularity, temperatures and pressures are infinite. It was a gravitational singularity.

And we really only have evidence of expansion once the universe became transparent to radiation. It has expanded about 1000 fold since that time.

Until there's a theory of quantum gravity the physics of the singularity will remain a mystery.

514 Date: 2005-03-16 11:57:08, Link
Author: DaveScot

I have a couple of problems with what you wrote.

First, neo-Darwinism doesn't attempt to explain the origin of matter.

ID and ND cannot be mutually exclusive if they don't both attempt to explain the same phenomena.

Second, any proposed tests for truth or falsehood have to be reasonably possible to perform. If you can't think of a reasonable test that would provide evidence for or against a multiverse then it's just plain specious to even bring it up.

515 Date: 2005-03-16 16:25:25, Link
Author: DaveScot
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Hrr, PZ, hrr.

516 Date: 2005-03-17 07:13:26, Link
Author: DaveScot
Th fllwng rtcl hs nthng t d wth rrw wrms bt t's smthng shld b cgnznt f, Dr. Mrs.


W t tk th hgh rd, b th w, cllng m bffn.

517 Date: 2005-03-17 07:21:10, Link
Author: DaveScot

Dn't sht th mssngr.

518 Date: 2005-03-17 07:36:42, Link
Author: DaveScot
Mike Dunford,

Where does the funding for your project come from?

519 Date: 2005-03-17 09:52:40, Link
Author: DaveScot
Well, they've all but banned me now at Panda's Thumb. It had to happen. PZ Myers is deleting all the vowels from my posts. Steve Reuland is just deleting my posts altogether. I knew censoring criticism was they way they played the game. It's the only way neo-Darwinism can survive.

See y'all, around. It's been real.

520 Date: 2005-03-20 21:06:10, Link
Author: DaveScot
Mrs tctcs rn't dspcbl. Th'r prdctbl. Wht dd xpct, Jhn, frm scntsts wh s th jdcl sstm t stfl crtcsm f thr thst fth? H's gng t d whtvr t tks t sht p.

521 Date: 2005-03-20 22:01:30, Link
Author: DaveScot

522 Date: 2005-03-20 22:33:52, Link
Author: DaveScot
I predict that we will recover a virus whose growth in species B is measurably improved, and that that improvement will be associated with mutation(s) in its genome. What does Intelligent Design predict?

ID predicts that it will still be a virus.

Care to make a wager that the ID prediction is accurate?


You just don't get it.

523 Date: 2005-03-20 22:58:52, Link
Author: DaveScot

Observations are agnostic. No theory "owns" the evidence. So when you say that ID provides no evidence of its own that's not correct. All the evidence that neo-Darwinism uses can be used by ID as well. Indeed such evidence MUST be used. Any theory must attempt to explain the observations.

524 Date: 2005-03-20 23:06:16, Link
Author: DaveScot

There are no specimens of 3.5 billion year old bacteria. Their existence is entirely hypothetical based upon presumed residues. As with just about everything to do with evolution more than 1 million years ago there are no intact specimens and no DNA to analyze. Keep that in mind. And there has been no major evolutoin in the last 1 million years. Not a single new higher taxa has emerged in many millions of years. John Davison will tell you that evolution has stopped. I'm not convinced it has stopped but there's no compelling evidence that it's still going on either.

525 Date: 2005-03-20 23:45:06, Link
Author: DaveScot

Well I'm certainly not jealous. I'm an accomplished inventor and self-made millionaire. I retired from Dell Computer Corporation 5 years ago at age 43. Now I do whatever I feel like doing. At this moment I'm on my yacht getting blasted as a reward for a good day's work tinkering with this and that. Don't be presumptious.

526 Date: 2005-03-20 23:51:02, Link
Author: DaveScot
Yeah, Russell, ID does have more predictions.

It predicts that no matter what you do with a virus it will still be either a live virus or a dead virus when you're done with it. The common thread is it will still be a virus. That's because mutation/selection isn't capable of producing:

1) novel body forms
2) novel tissue types
3) novel organs

I'm an optimist so I believe that someday you will see the light.

527 Date: 2005-03-21 01:28:00, Link
Author: DaveScot
Longhorm - yeah, yeah, yeah... there were what looked like microrganism remains in a meteorite from ancient Mars found in the Antartic ice pack. Spare me the conjectures.

I'll make you a deal. If you stick to just the facts, I will too.

528 Date: 2005-03-21 01:42:57, Link
Author: DaveScot
No, none of those things have been observed happening due to mutation selection. The mechanism of evolution on those scales is entirely conjecture. It may not be the responsible mechanism. I think it's unlikely that mutation/selection is the whole story. It's premature to rule out intelligent design which is a BIG tent. The neo-Darwinian view presumes that design is either not possible (an extraordinarily ignorant view from my high perch) or is somehow "not science" for reasons only pedants will argue are valid.

Plus there's different flavors of ID. I'm not saying any version of ID is true. I'm saying some version of it might be true and mutation/selection as the primary mechanism of evolution is not a fact, is not observed, and isn't even what Darwin proposed was the primary mechanism as he reckoned it was heritable acquired characters the same as Lamarck.

529 Date: 2005-03-21 01:55:55, Link
Author: DaveScot
There are no predictions made by ID independent from evolutution.

So you're saying ID makes the same predictions as "evolution" and uses the same empirical evidence as "evolution".

Think hard Ed. What logical conclusions may we reach from that?

530 Date: 2005-03-21 02:20:25, Link
Author: DaveScot
Bravo Jan. Sorry I missed your postings. I don't have time to keep up with all of it.

531 Date: 2005-03-21 02:29:03, Link
Author: DaveScot
you appear to have assumed that most evolution supporters are atheist

Most scientists are disbelievers in God - 72%. 21% are agnostic and 7% believe there's a God.

Thanks for playing.

532 Date: 2005-03-21 03:41:24, Link
Author: DaveScot
"From whence comes the American apple maggot?"

An extant species prospers at the expense of another extant species.

There's a lot of amphibians, birds, and mammals that are seriously endangered and even more that have gone extinct in recent times on the North American continent. Pick one of equivalent biomass in trade for the apple maggot's artificial success.

There're far more extinctions than new species happening in recent history. And the apple maggot isn't even new, it's merely extended its range. This is evidence in support of John Davison's contention that evolution has stopped and all that's happening now is, more or less, thinning the herd through natural selection and some growing amount of unnatural selection from humans.

533 Date: 2005-03-21 03:52:27, Link
Author: DaveScot
P.S. Ed

I hate to belabor the obvious but...

bacteria that digest nylon are still bacteria

coyotes are still canines

mice that eat acorns made available by the extinction passenger pigeon are still rodents

Please provide me with an example of observed mutation/selection creating a

1) novel body type
2) novel tissue type
3) novel organ

I've asked for this time and time again and have never been given an example. That's because it has never been observed.

There are two explanations, neither of which can be falsified or verified, for this situation:

1) mutation/selection acheives these things over timescales that are too long to observe

2) mutation/selection is incapable of acheiving these things

Do you agree so far?

534 Date: 2005-03-21 08:48:08, Link
Author: DaveScot

Now there's a new one - endogenous retroviruses are really people.

Congratulations. I think you crossed some sort of line there.

When will you publish?

535 Date: 2005-03-21 08:51:17, Link
Author: DaveScot

A background in logic is what's needed and lacking in most of the dopes here. I presume you don't have one.

536 Date: 2005-03-21 09:00:59, Link
Author: DaveScot

Nice straw man you have there.

Not one single time have I ever advocated not teaching a child about evolution or the neo-Darwinian theory thereof.

Please play by the rules.


537 Date: 2005-03-21 09:03:26, Link
Author: DaveScot

A leach attached to man's leg is still a leach. A virus attached to a man's genome is still a virus.


538 Date: 2005-03-21 09:06:21, Link
Author: DaveScot

I have answered the body type question many times. Here's what I mean by body types:

See the seven pretty pictures in the tree? Those are novel body types.


539 Date: 2005-03-21 09:11:14, Link
Author: DaveScot

I don't know what planet you're living on but the earth is losing some 20,000 species annually.

540 Date: 2005-03-21 09:22:05, Link
Author: DaveScot

I'm not criticizing evolution. I'm criticizing mutation/selection.

Mutation/selection is given as the mechanism that produces all creative change yet not a single one of the largest types of changes has been observed.

The largest change of course is biogenesis but that gets begged off too often as not part of evolution. Biogenesis not being part of "evolution" is absurd but hey, when in Rome. So I use the next largest category of unobserved creation - basic body plans, tissue types, and organs. Neo-Darwinists say they know how those things evolved so it's certainly fair to point out that it's a huge extrapolation from anything actually observed to happen. I don't take things on faith. I don't take religion on faith and I don't take unobserved evolutionary mechanisms on faith. If the teaching of "evolution" in public schools just comprised the facts and left out the atheist dogma I wouldn't have a problem with it.

541 Date: 2005-03-21 09:31:51, Link
Author: DaveScot
Darrell says "Mosquitoes now digest DDT"

Big deal! Insects have been battling natural insecticides made by plants for a very long time. How do you know that DDT resistance wasn't a recessive allele that was there all along? There's probably natural insecticides made by plants that are chemically similar to DDT and there's your explanation. It was a capability that was there all along.

Regardless though, it's a still a mosquito.

And I responded to it last time you asked. It started a whole long discussion of what mosquitoes really feed on. A few dopes here didn't know only females suck blood. Maybe 9th grade biology classes should spend less time on unobserved neo-Darwinian atheist dogma and more time on facts like what mosquitoes do for a living.


542 Date: 2005-03-21 09:45:57, Link
Author: DaveScot

20,000 years of dog breeding has not produced a single novel thing in a dog that isn't entirely a matter of a different scale of some existing thing. I believe that works out to around 1000 human generations, not a few dozen. Not only that, but the normal rules of fitness didn't apply, because humans were doing the selecting. So it's like 20,000 years of uber-evolution.

I don't consider scale changes to be remarkably creative. These are just minor variations around a larger theme that stays quite intact.

543 Date: 2005-03-21 10:03:14, Link
Author: DaveScot

If bacteria couldn't cope with a wide variety of poisons they wouldn't be the most successful (by biomass and number of individuals) form of life on the planet. I'm sorry if I yawn at antibiotic resistance in bacteria as convincing evidence that bacteria mutated into badgers via mutation/selection. If you can show me, for example, an extant bacteria that mutates into a yeast I promise I won't yawn at that and will consider it convincing evidence of the power of mutation/selection. Good luck.

In the meantime I think the door should be left open a crack for other explanations, including design, in the set of possible mechanisms underlying biologic evolution. That's not unreasonable.

544 Date: 2005-03-21 10:19:43, Link
Author: DaveScot

Evolution covers a lot more ground than minor variations that produce lemur populations that are considered a new species by some arbitrary artificial system of classification.

You're defending microevolution when no one here, especially me, is attacking it!

Abiogenesis and evolution of higher taxa are where I am skeptical of the mutation/selection story. There is no compelling reason to believe that the process, whatever it was, which produced the first cell and thence the higher taxa is still operating today. That macroevolution is still occuring is just another bit of neo-Darwinist dogma that must be accepted as a matter of faith. Spare me the faith, just the facts please.

545 Date: 2005-03-21 11:00:12, Link
Author: DaveScot

This is my favorite source for past and current polling data on a wide range of issues.

Polls on evolution are in the science topic here.

The numbers don't surprise me at all but they might surprise you.

Quite frankly, Ed, it's pissing into the wind trying to keep stickers like Cobb's out of textbooks. All that's doing is inflaming a super-majority of voting age adults that don't just question neo-Darwinism like me but are positively convinced it is wrong. It's just a matter of time until they exercise their political power. The judiciary branch isn't the ultimate decision maker - the voters are the ultimate decision makers. A super-majority can change the constition. Pretty cool how that works, innit?

546 Date: 2005-03-21 11:14:09, Link
Author: DaveScot
Even better - polls on teaching evolution/creation

NY Times 11/04 65% favor teaching creation and evolution together.

That is the majority that I fall into although I don't think more than a single minute needs to be spent on the creation side. The Dover statement is perfect at one minute, one time, just to make students aware that skeptical scientists exist albeit relatively small in number. If there were more I'd suggest spending more than a minute on their disagreement. What I'm more interested in is the presentation of neo-Darwinism in a more critical light starting with a clear distinction of where direct observation ends and extrapolation begins.

547 Date: 2005-03-21 11:34:11, Link
Author: DaveScot
Someone mentioned plate tectonics as a process that's based on extrapolation of actual observations because it works too slowly to see the larger changes. I didn't have time to respond when I read it.

Here's my answer.

If continental plates exhibited, as Richard Dawkins so aptly phrased it, an overwhelming appearance of design, then it would be a fair analogy with evolution. The fact of the matter is that the earth's crust doesn't have an overwhelming appearance of design. It's just a simple matter of rigid, broken plates floating around and colliding on a molten fluid substrate. The machinery in a living cell is so far removed from that it's absurd to compare them or the processes which drive each.

548 Date: 2005-03-21 15:38:38, Link
Author: DaveScot

There's at least seven novel body plans. I don't really care if it's seven, seventy, or seven hundred. The point is the different body plans are at or near the phylum level not the species level. While there's widespread disagreement I believe 50 or so phyla (most of the modern phyla) appeared in very short order during the Cambrian explosion.

549 Date: 2005-03-21 15:43:57, Link
Author: DaveScot
Wayne Francis

Thanks for confirming that a few neo-Darwinism critics stimulate most of the discussion at Panda's Thumb. Without us this blog would deteriorate into a nepotistic mutual admiration society that few would bother giving a second glance.

But I already knew that before you started counting words.

550 Date: 2005-03-22 05:21:14, Link
Author: DaveScot
John Davison asked me to relay to y'all that he has been banned from Panda's Thumb.

551 Date: 2005-03-22 07:03:48, Link
Author: DaveScot
Simply ask DaveScot why we couldn't have evolved from some early great apes if by his definition he's only concerned with 1) Novel Body plan 2) Novel tissue types 3) Novel organs since we don't have any of those that any other great apes do . . . .for that matter we don't have any compared to most vertebrates.

Thanks for asking, Wayne!

There's no reason I can think of why we didn't evolve from an earlier hominid line. Your behavior especially (see no evil, hear no evil) leads me to believe we did!

In fact I think all life on earth is descended from a single, common cell. I can't prove it and no one else can either but the evidence is strong. I find the almost perfect commonality of codon tables amongst all life forms to be the single most compelling bit of evidence. The coding tables could have a large number of equivalent permutations but the fact that all life uses just one permutation speaks volumes towards common descent.

It's the underlying mechanism driving change that I take issue with. I'm skeptical of mutation/selection as an adequate explanation for the diversity of life. I have an even bigger problem with extending it to explain abiogenesis of the first DNA-based cell.

552 Date: 2005-03-22 07:09:52, Link
Author: DaveScot
Paul Flocken,

Perhaps if you can elaborate on the perceived contradiction?

Rest assured there is none in any case.

553 Date: 2005-03-22 07:24:41, Link
Author: DaveScot

"No person has observed a quark, and I'm sure quarks exist."

That's called faith, my boy.

Welcome to the Church of Darwin. Leave the facts at the door on your way in. It's all based on faith.

554 Date: 2005-03-22 08:09:59, Link
Author: DaveScot
The threat from China today is real. When the local university held commencement in December the local paper announced the number of graduates at 900. The most popular degree earned, Business: 168. The least popular degree, Physics: 2.

Follow the money. Science is expensive these days even if you're doing useless crap like studying the evolution of penis size on arrow worms. Capitalism is what pays for it which is why China is 40 years behind the U.S., why the Soviet Union collapsed, and why Europe is in decline. U.S. culture is a curious mix of capitalism and religion embodied principally in the Protestant Work Ethic. The Protestant Reformationists invented neither Christianity nor capitalism but they did invent a religion which promoted both at the same time as a way of life while casting aside the wasteful ritualistic trappings and infrastructure of the Catholic church. Research scientists tend to deliver informaton that yields practical results when engineers get ahold of it. Practical results are of interest to the Protestant capitalists. It's a good working relationship that has resulted in the U.S. being the only superpower on the planet. Don't screw up the relationship by pissing on the Protestant right's belief in a creator by insisting that 9th grade biology students be indoctinated into the atheist orthodoxy of neo-Darwinism. That's a lose-lose situation. It can't be won because the atheists are a tiny majority but a nasty, vindictive battle with lots of name calling will serve to alienate academic scientists from the rest of the taxpayers and hence from their funding. Monumental asses like Ward Churchill aren't helping the situation either.

555 Date: 2005-03-25 17:54:31, Link
Author: DaveScot
Reed, are you implying the public education system is not anti-conservative?

556 Date: 2005-03-25 18:00:25, Link
Author: DaveScot

Good point about not caring about money. How about giving some big tax incentives on unearned income to public school teachers? That'll get some rich conservatives volunteering to teach.

557 Date: 2005-03-25 18:38:23, Link
Author: DaveScot

Do you agree that "conservative" and "belief in God" show a positive correlation?

558 Date: 2005-03-27 09:40:43, Link
Author: DaveScot
That is a myth spread by people with little experience with public education.

I have three kids, two of which have gone from kindergarten through 12th grade in public schools and the last is halfway through. I also attended K-12 public schools myself. That gives me about 42 years experience the public education.

What experience with public education do you have, Reed?

559 Date: 2005-03-27 10:04:28, Link
Author: DaveScot
Intelligent design is not necessarily supernatural. If intelligence evolved naturally, as Darwinists insist, then intelligent design can also be a natural process.


You can't have your cake and eat it too, boys and girls.

560 Date: 2005-03-28 23:35:31, Link
Author: DaveScot

McHugh's piece is extraordinarily good. Thanks for the link. I'm emailing it to all my friends.

Darwin's exclusivity in evolution narratives is going down. I think by now many of you must be aware of this inevitability.

The three pillars of western modernism: Freud, Marx, and Darwin.

Two down, one to go.

561 Date: 2005-03-28 23:48:28, Link
Author: DaveScot
McHugh employs what I call "sophomoric reasoning'. While such reasoning may suffice for public rhetoric, students who do not rise above it will not succeed in science.

Oh please. Dr. Paul McHugh is head of a department at Johns Hopkins fercrisakes. You should be so successful in science.

562 Date: 2005-03-29 00:01:53, Link
Author: DaveScot
Every alternative either fails the "Science" test or doesn't fit the evidence.

The neo-Darwinian narrative fails the "science" test and doesn't fit the evidence.

If we just stuck with the facts microevolutionary adaptation would be taught in biology class and macroevolution through mutation/selection would be taught in comparative religion class as an atheist alternative to biblical creation myth.

563 Date: 2005-03-29 00:19:02, Link
Author: DaveScot
The problem with ID is you must have certain presuppositions that are inherant to a particular religion(s).


As McHugh pointed out, Francis Crick promoted the idea of "directed panspermia" which is something that falls under the ID tent. It's a big tent. I am particularly fond of Crick's directed panspermia, by the way, and have been since I first read of it over 20 years ago.

564 Date: 2005-03-29 00:29:37, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ten litmus tests signaling a Panda's Thumb commenter is attacking your position:

1) You are called a "dissembler"
2) You are declared as having committed a random logical fallacy
3) You are called a child abuser for raising you children as Christians
4) You are called a fundamentalist
5) You are called a right-wing nut-job and Bill O'Reilly is assumed to be your guru
6) You are called stupid, idiot, moron, liar and/or troll
7) You are called a quote-miner
8) You are called a Nazi or a Fascist
9) You are called a holocaust denier or a racist
10) You are called an AIDS denier or a homophobe

Let's not forget

11) Your comments are moved to the bathroom wall.
12) Your comments are deleted.
13) Your comments are disemvoweled.
14) You are threatened with being banned.

565 Date: 2005-03-29 00:39:57, Link
Author: DaveScot
Ten litmus tests signaling a Panda's Thumb commenter is attacking your position:

1) You are called a "dissembler"
2) You are declared as having committed a random logical fallacy
3) You are called a child abuser for raising you children as Christians
4) You are called a fundamentalist
5) You are called a right-wing nut-job and Bill O'Reilly is assumed to be your guru
6) You are called stupid, idiot, moron, liar and/or troll
7) You are called a quote-miner
8) You are called a Nazi or a Fascist
9) You are called a holocaust denier or a racist
10) You are called an AIDS denier or a homophobe

Let's not forget

11) Your comments are moved to the bathroom wall.
12) Your comments are deleted.
13) Your comments are disemvoweled.
14) You are threatened with banishment.

566 Date: 2005-04-01 16:09:34, Link
Author: DaveScot
Professor Davison is really kicking some ass here. I'd guess that's always the case when a biologist of his high calibre meets up with Church of Darwin apologists.

567 Date: 2005-04-01 17:03:57, Link
Author: DaveScot
I nominate Professor John Davison. He's a scientist, a biologist with 50 years experience no less, and I'm sure he'd be willing to talk about Darwinian evolution with the Kansas board of education.

568 Date: 2005-04-02 21:26:49, Link
Author: DaveScot
Dr. Davison,

What can I say except RIGHT ON!

Thanks for your efforts. They're not for naught.

569 Date: 2005-04-02 21:30:20, Link
Author: DaveScot
H fckng sshls. plgz t Dvsn NW bfr gt pssd ff nd strt fckng wth . dn't wnt t mk m md. Trst m n ths. r scrt scks bg tm.

570 Date: 2005-05-19 13:59:44, Link
Author: DaveScot
This thread is for John A. Davison to hold forth, and anyone who wishes to interact with him may do so here.

Thanks for the invitation. I've unilaterally decided to unban myself to post this note of thanks.

571 Date: 2005-05-19 14:02:38, Link
Author: DaveScot_001
This thread is for John A. Davison to hold forth, and anyone who wishes to interact with him may do so here.

Thanks for the invitation. I've unilaterally decided to unban myself to post this note of thanks.

572 Date: 2005-05-19 14:05:46, Link
Author: DaveScot
Sorry about multiple postings. I thought maybe the name DaveScot was no longer usable and I'd have to start numbering my incarnations. I thought wrong. Make a note of it. I think that's like the second time in my life I've been wrong about anything.

573 Date: 2005-05-19 14:18:06, Link
Author: DaveScot
I'll have you know it wasn't nice forcing me to dig an analog modem out of my closet just to post comments here. Fortunately my ISP offers complimentary dial-up access to cable modem customers so it doesn't cost extra to have it. If it costed extra I would't bother.

Now here's the deal. I will abide by your suggested rules of behavior under the provision that my comments are neither disemvoweled nor deleted in the future unless for a very good reason. If they are we'll go back to playing hide & seek like we did with "not buyin it", which just for the record was indeed moi. Hide & seek is a fun game. I didn't try very hard to hide that time. It was just a little test to see how long it took you to catch on.

574 Date: 2005-05-22 15:31:17, Link
Author: DaveScot
Thanks for the invitation Dr. Davison!

I've been wanting to get your take on these two polls:

In particular in this 1997 Gallup poll note that the assertion

Man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process, including man's creation. is affirmed by 40% of scientists and 40% of the public.

Yet this 1998 survey of NAS members by Edward Larson found that only 7% of NAS members express a positive belief in God.

Why the huge discrepancy between scientists in general and NAS members?

Thanks in advance for your answer.

575 Date: 2005-06-01 11:53:39, Link
Author: DaveScot
Why do you creeps keep banning Davison? The man has a new hypothesis for evolution. Is that some kind of crime? It would be different if Darwinism wasn't such a total joke. Give him a break. Banning him just makes you look weak.

576 Date: 2005-08-28 22:15:29, Link
Author: DaveScot
Gee Mark, what about my search of the patent database? It only revealed one patent where you were one of five listed inventors.

Oh yeah, I know. The communists ate my patents...

So sue me.


577 Date: 2006-01-11 17:31:15, Link
Author: DaveScot
(Off Topic) Mr. Steve is no longer with us
People writing things like this I'm Dave Scot
No, I'm Dave Scot
I'm Dave Scot, and so's my wife!

are not welcome here. The two-faced Mr. Steve will fit right in at Panda's Thumb.

Filed under: Intelligent Design --- DaveScot @ 2:35 pm

578 Date: 2006-01-11 17:32:50, Link
Author: DaveScot
(Off Topic) Mr. Steve is no longer with us
People writing things like this I'm Dave Scot
No, I'm Dave Scot
I'm Dave Scot, and so's my wife!

are not welcome here. The two-faced Mr. Steve will fit right in at Panda's Thumb.

Filed under: Intelligent Design --- DaveScot @ 2:35 pm

579 Date: 2006-01-11 18:52:13, Link
Author: DaveScot
(Off Topic) Mr. Steve is no longer with us
People writing things like this

I'm Dave Scot
No, I'm Dave Scot
I'm Dave Scot, and so's my wife!

are not welcome here. The two-faced Mr. Steve will fit right in at Panda's Thumb.

Filed under: Intelligent Design --- DaveScot @ 2:35 pm

You know what, DaveScot? I've always thought you were an a**hole!

DaveScot is no longer with us.