What makes an IDiot?

While Creationists get a free-pass to call scientists ‘Nazis’ and ‘liars’ and ‘baby killers’, Larry Moran gets a lot of crap for calling IDiots, ‘IDiots’. While Ive always found that pet name more than apt, some people get their panties in a wad over it.

I think maybe what we need is a nice example of IDiot behavior to illustrate, for everyone, why ‘IDiot’ is such an accurate descriptor for the major proponents of Creationism.

Luckily, Casey Luskin has just provided me with just that! A perfect example to demonstrate what makes an IDiot an IDiot.

So we are left to decipher his jargon-filled written comparison in the following sentence by sentence analysis:

1. Shubin et al.: “The intermedium and ulnare of Tiktaalik have homologues to eponymous wrist bones of tetrapods with which they share similar positions and articular relations.” (Note: I have labeled the intermedium and ulnare of Tiktaalik in the diagram below.)

Translation: OK, then exactly which “wrist bones of tetrapods” are Tiktaalik’s bones homologous to? Shubin doesn’t say. This is a technical scientific paper, so a few corresponding “wrist bone”-names from tetrapods would seem appropriate. But Shubin never gives any.

3. Shubin et al.: “The formation of a mobile transverse joint at the distal margin of these bones in Tiktaalik presages the establishment of a functional proximal carpal joint.”

Merriam-Webster: Presage:

1. something that foreshadows or portends a future event : omen
2. an intuition or feeling of what is going to happen in the future

Note that presage does not mean “equivalent to.” So when we come to Shubin’s technical analysis, he admits that Tiktaalik does not have not real a “wrist,” but at best he says that it has some bones that foreshadow a wrist. But does Tiktaalik’s fin really foreshadow a wrist, and how closely do its bones resemble a real wrist?

Let’s go back to Shubin’s claim that Tiktaalik has a “one bone–two-bones–lotsa blobs–digits arrangement” pattern in its fin, just like a tetrapod limb. Digits are part of fingers or toes that have a grasping capability. It’s tough to grasp something with one bone in your finger, so these don’t deserve to be called digits.


Following Caseys format:
1. As others have pointed out, Shubin did exactly what Casey asked. But Casey didnt know that because while he bothered to look up ‘presage’ in the dictionary, he didnt find it necessary to look up ‘eponymous’. Looking up two words in one day is simply too much work to expect from a Creationist, I suppose.

2. He also didnt bother to look up the word ‘digit‘. Horses, dogs, whales, etc do not have ‘grasping capabilities’, yet they still have ‘digits’. Funny enough, horse, dog, and whale ‘digits’ are probably my earliest memories of understanding evolution, as there are very few animals a little girl loves more than horses, dogs, and whales!

Horse hooves, at least the ones I have seen, lack ‘grasping capabilities’. Yet the horse hoof is a digit, specifically, the tippy tip of one finger, that evolved into a special structure! Sorry, Casey, it ‘deserves’ to be called a digit.

Dog feet also lack ‘grasping capabilities’, yet they have a nice example of a vestigial organ– dewclaws. A vestigial digit. The rest of a dogs paw is made up of plain ol digits, but Arnie isnt opening his own cans of dog food.

And, while we have yet to observe whales engaging in thumb-wars, whales have digits too. Oops!

But heres the deal. Not knowing what ‘eponymous’ means doesnt make you an idiot. Not knowing some really, really, really basic facts of evolution and anatomy doesnt make you an idiot.

It just means you dont know something.

I dont know lots of stuff. *shrug* Weve all had different educations and different upbringings. I wont call someone an idiot just for not knowing something, because Id be an ‘idiot’ on lots of topics too.

What makes one an IDiot is not knowing something, plus being arrogant– so goddamn arrogant– you turn up your nose at people who *do* know something, and refuse to learn. Look at the rest of Caseys boom-boom:

  • the alleged intermediate fossil
  • this fossil is allegedly
  • this paper claims
  • about the supposed wrist
  • “wrist” is the assertion in the abstract
  • the abstract contains a confession of retroactive ignorance
  • we are left to decipher his jargon-filled written comparison
  • But that’s not very interesting
  • Let’s continue on to see if the rest of Shubin’s statement is defensible
  • but the bone that Shubin calls the “radius”
  • *fapfapfapfapfap*

This stupid little IDiot that doesnt even understand ‘Evilution for Babies‘ is calling Neil Shubin a liar. He is calling Shubin a liar in an article that will be listed on ‘Google News’. He is calling Shubin a liar in a venue that provides Shubin no avenue of rebuttal, or means to defend his own name.

Not only that, Luskin is calling all the scientists and reviewers that ‘believe’ Shubins ‘lies’ incompetent and stupid. ‘HAHAHA! Stupid scientists! Believe that ‘alleged’ Tiktaalik is real! HAHAHA! It doesnt even have ‘grasping capabilities’!! STUPID!’

Not knowing something doesnt make you an IDiot.

Not knowing something, but being arrogant enough to spit in the faces of the very people who could alleviate that ignorance… that makes you a Creationist. That makes you an IDiot.

Comments

  1. #1 J-Dog
    July 14, 2008

    Beautiful post. I especially enjoyed the phrase “the rest of Casey’s boom-boom”.

    Luskin is to science writing what Denyse O’Leary is to philosophical writing – in other words they ARE the quintisential IDiots.

    How nice for us!

  2. #2 Andrew
    July 14, 2008

    Predicted Luskin reply: “Okay, you might have a bunch of bones that look a little bit alike, but at the end of the day, fish still give birth to fish. Show me a fish giving birth to a monkey, and THEN you’ll have evolution.”

  3. #3 waldteufel
    July 14, 2008

    You, madam, are an artiste! I linger over every word of some of your posts, and this one is a great example of eviscerating a complete fraud and sleazebag.

    *Swoooooooooon*

    *Vapors*

  4. #4 James F
    July 14, 2008

    Submitted for your approval: when we find what we think is designed, it’s designed! Checkmate, evolutionists!

    Is intelligent design a scientific theory?
    Yes. The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. Intelligent design begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI). Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI. Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures to see if they require all of their parts to function. When ID researchers find irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed.

  5. #5 BaldApe
    July 14, 2008

    The IDiocy is just delicious.

    I would have expected his objection to “presages” to be that Tiktaalik must have known ahead of time that its digits would someday be used to operate a keyboard dispensing such gems of superstition-induced wisdom. The reality of their IDiocy is so much better.

  6. #6 Paul Lundgren
    July 14, 2008

    The old saw, “It’s not the ignorance, it’s the stupidity.”

    We heart you, Abbie!

  7. #7 Dr. J
    July 14, 2008

    Checkmate indeed, James. As an ecologist – obviously the most complex and difficult of all the sciences – I eagerly await my next publication flying through the review process when I simply explain the process is too complicated to be understood by mere mortals. If only it were that simple.

    Great article, Abbie. How some of the IDiots don’t know they are IDiots is beyond me.

  8. #8 John the Skeptic
    July 14, 2008

    This stupid little IDiot that doesnt even understand ‘Evilution for Babies’ is calling Neil Shubin a liar. He is calling Shubin a liar in an article that will be listed on ‘Google News’. He is calling Shubin a liar in a venue that provides Shubin no avenue of rebuttal, or means to defend his own name.

    Hmmm . . . Sounds like the elements of defamation may be all laid out there: a publication of a false, defamatory statement of a purported fact regarding the plaintiff.

  9. #9 Dave Wisker
    July 14, 2008

    Bob Dylan, of course, said it perfectly:

    Idiot wind, blowing through the flowers on your tomb,

    Blowing through the curtains in your room.
    Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth,
    You’re an idiot, babe.
    It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

  10. #10 steve norton
    July 14, 2008

    Abbie a great post I wouldn`t hesitate to say that the position of creationists and ID supporters is not just the expression of idiots(people who know no better). It is an expression of willful stupidity. The main aim of which is not acquiring knowledge but advancing a social agenda. A social agenda whose underlying principals are authoritarianism, superstition, and fear. The need to dumb down is associated with the need to dominate. So thank you for taking a stand against this family of ideas, their toxicity and their cost has been immeasurable to the enterprise of human knowledge and progress.

  11. #11 Ubiquitous Che
    July 15, 2008

    James F:

    In terms of evidence-based reasoning, you’re at least concerned about the evidence part. That’s good.

    But you’re not so good with the reasoning.

    This is where you go wrong:

    1. Everything that is Y has X.
    Therefore, everything with X must also be Y.

    In your case, X is ‘has high CSI’ and Y is ‘Deisigned’. So to translate back into English, you’re saying that:

    Everything that is designed has a high level of CSI – therefore, anything with a sufficiently high level of CSI must have been designed.

    This has the illusion of logic to it, until you realize the gaping fallacy in the logic.

    It’s easier to see if we change the meaning of X and Y. Let’s say that Y means ‘is gold’ and X is ‘does glitter’.

    1. Everything that is gold also glitters.
    2. Therefore, everything that glitters is gold.

    Now, we know that this is nonsense – as the saying goes, not all that glitters is gold. In much the same way, it is plainly obvious that not all that has high CSI is designed.

    Even if you were to come across something that was genuinely irreducibly complex, Intelligent Deisign would still have all of its work ahead of itself beacause it would have to explain how it was Deisigned. Until Intelligent Deisign proponents can actually produce a falsifiable hypothesis on how, when, and where irreducible complexity is Deisigned into being, then they don’t have a potential scientific theory – they have a vauge and unverifiable guess.

    Also, note for other bloggers on a new vocabulary word I’m trying to move into circulation: Deisign – Sign of God. That’s what the Intellignet Deisigners are really after, so why not call it by a name true to its nature?

  12. #12 ngong
    July 15, 2008

    When ID researchers find irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed.

    When “ID researchers” apply a criterion that is actually accepted outside their little circles, they can begin to do real science.

  13. #13 Dustin
    July 15, 2008

    some people get their panties in a wad over it

    It’s time for them to go back to pull-ups. *glares out into the audience where Epistaxis is surely lurking*

  14. #14 Tachauch
    July 15, 2008

    ‘Horse hooves, at least the ones I have seen, lack ‘grasping capabilities’. Yet the horse hoof is a digit, specifically, the tippy tip of one finger, that evolved into a special structure! Sorry, Casey, it ‘deserves’ to be called a digit.’

    … it is actually the MIDDLE finger which horses show to all Creationists …

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equidae
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_finger

  15. #15 pcarini
    July 15, 2008

    James F: “Checkmate, evolutionists!”

    That wasn’t tongue in cheek, even? Fine, I see your Checkmate and raise you a Checkmate, atheists!

    To anyone who isn’t already familiar with Edward Current’s excellent work, check it out on youtube, find the channel from the link above.

  16. #16 Jared
    July 15, 2008

    I must say this is yet another example of human neurons gone to waste. I still think Luskin was a waste of a UC education. I once thought an education at a decent university generally meant a good education, I don’t know if he actually received a good education and is completely lying, or if he just memorized all of the exam answers…

  17. #17 Eddie Janssen
    July 15, 2008

    I think some of mister Luskins religious friends at the DI should explain this quote of St. Augustine (around 500 AD somewheres):
    “Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of the faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men…. Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by these who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion”.
    St. Augustine, The Literal Meaning of Genesis (42-43)
    (ps I never read this book but I found this quotation in a couple of books on the topic of christians and science; the specific quotation is from http://www.asa3.org/ASA/topics/Bible-Science/PSCF3-88Young.html)

  18. #18 Eddie Janssen
    July 15, 2008

    The last three words were missing in the first sentence of comment #17

    I think some of mister Luskins religious friends at the DI should explain this quote of St. Augustine (around 500 AD somewheres) to mister Luskin:
    etcetera

  19. #19 Sam the Centipede
    July 15, 2008

    Perhaps Luskins and O’Leary are also iDIots as well as IDiots?

    I like the last sentence in James F.’s IDiotic website:

    When ID researchers find irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed.

    Heck, ID “researchers” (better term please? “prophets”?) can find “irreducible complexity” anywhere, and they don’t waste time on looking for better explanations when G*d has already told them this is Duh Troof!

    It’s probably below the radar here, but The Guardian (U.K. newspaper) included a short review of Steve Fuller-Schitt’s IDiotic panegyric to himself and ID, which makes quite funny reading in its unsympathetic reaming of Fuller’s nasty pot-stirring stupidity.

  20. #20 Jason Dick
    July 15, 2008

    Granted, this is how most people respond to being unskilled in a particular area. Here’s an article about some interesting research in this area:
    http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=406

    Basically it’s only once proficiency is attained that people actually have an understanding of how good they are. Before they have proficiency, the tendency is to significantly overestimate their capacities.

    But yeah, even if this is sort of the “normal” reaction, it’s still fucking annoying when people absolutely butcher science they don’t understand in an attempt to promote an anti-science agenda.

  21. #21 Sili
    July 15, 2008

    Well – at least the stupid nit finally made me get off my lazy arse and order Your Inner Fish off Amazon.

    So some good came of it, at least. (Of course now I just need to get around to reading it.)

  22. #22 Stacy S.
    July 15, 2008

    I already know that Luskin is an idiot so that is not news to me but,the picture of that whale fin blew me away – I had no idea!
    Thanks for posting that. :-)

  23. #23 Joshua Zelinsky
    July 15, 2008

    I’m not sure this is completely fair to Luskin. The strict dictionary definition of “eponymous” is being named after a person with that name or a similar name. While it is commonly used to mean “same name” it is at best not a perfect use of the word.

  24. #24 Jason Failes
    July 15, 2008

    Damn, I clicked on James F’s link. Now the creationists got a nickel (that’s how the internets work, right?)

    Anyway, great post, and James F’s link basically restates the inherent problem, albeit from the perspective of those promoting it: not just ignorance but ignorance + arrogance.

    Does anyone remember this issue of New Scientist?
    http://www.newscientist.com/contents/issue/2507.html

    A more appropriate graphic for the “science” of intelligent design has never been made.

  25. #25 Dave Wisker
    July 15, 2008

    I’m not sure this is completely fair to Luskin. The strict dictionary definition of “eponymous” is being named after a person with that name or a similar name. While it is commonly used to mean “same name” it is at best not a perfect use of the word

    The lawyer side of Casey Luskin thanks you for giving him a technicality with which he can try to save face.

  26. #26 Doubting Foo
    July 15, 2008

    I was eponymous once, but I went to a doctor and he gave me something for it.

  27. #27 Beowulff
    July 15, 2008

    Not knowing something, but being arrogant enough to spit in the faces of the very people who could alleviate that ignorance… that makes you a Creationist. That makes you an IDiot.

    *Standing ovations*

    I’ve often said I don’t mind ignorance, as ignorance can always be fixed. I only mind willful ignorance, people who refuse to learn.

  28. #28 John Kwok
    July 15, 2008

    Hi Abbie,

    Here’s a toast to you, JamesF and Dave Wisker for some great posts – what I’ve come to expect from you all – here at ERV. Last year, in an essay published in the British newspaper The Telegraph (January 30, 2007 issue), eminent British invertebrate paleontologist Richard Fortey wrote persuasively as to why Intelligent Design advocates – and indeed, other creationists – ought to be regarded as creationists. His definition ought to be seen as the quintessential one.

    Elsewhere, especially at Amazon.com, I’ve been getting a lot of grief from others who are surprised that I refer to Discovery Institute mendacious intellectual pornographers like Casey Luskin and Bill Dembski and, of course, their intellectually-challenged acolytes as IDiots. However, in light of their rather inane styles of reasoning, I believe the term “IDiot” is a correct description of their ability to reason well when confronted with overwhelming scientific evidence – such as Shubin’s, for example – in support of biological evolution.

    Cheers,

    John
    (aka known as the “Jekyll and Hyde of Paleobiology” according to Uncommon Dissent IDiot DaveScot Springer)

  29. #29 John Kwok
    July 15, 2008

    I should have proof-read my last post. Here it is now, corrected:

    Hi Abbie,

    Here’s a toast to you, JamesF and Dave Wisker for some great posts – what I’ve come to expect from you all – here at ERV. Last year, in an essay published in the British newspaper The Telegraph (January 30, 2007 issue), eminent British invertebrate paleontologist Richard Fortey wrote persuasively as to why Intelligent Design advocates – and indeed, other creationists – ought to be regarded as IDIOTS. His definition ought to be seen as the quintessential one.

    Elsewhere, especially at Amazon.com, I’ve been getting a lot of grief from others who are surprised that I refer to Discovery Institute mendacious intellectual pornographers like Casey Luskin and Bill Dembski and, of course, their intellectually-challenged acolytes as IDiots. However, in light of their rather inane styles of reasoning, I believe the term “IDiot” is a correct description of their ability to reason well when confronted with overwhelming scientific evidence – such as Shubin’s, for example – in support of biological evolution.

    Cheers,

    John
    (aka known as the “Jekyll and Hyde of Paleobiology” according to Uncommon Dissent IDiot DaveScot Springer)

  30. #30 James F
    July 15, 2008

    Apologies for linking to the hive of dishonesty that is the Discovery Institute – I just feel compelled to cite my sources, and that definition of their “theory” takes the cake. pcarini (#15), I’m a huge Edward Current fan, nice link! And Ubiquitious Che (#11), thank you for unpacking the logical fallacy of the DI quote, it was worse than I realized!

    On another interesting note, Konrad Scheffler, who edited Douglas Axe’s Chinese character program paper in PLoS ONE, has noted the following:

    “There has been some concern about the authors’ connection with an intelligent design institute, which understandably creates a perception that the research may be ideologically biased. I did not detect any such bias in this manuscript; nor do the results support intelligent design in any way. It will of course be possible, and indeed highly desirable, for intelligent design (or any other) researchers to use these (or any other) tools to investigate their hypotheses. But while these tools can be useful for discovering which detailed models of evolution are a priori more likely than others, it is important to bear in mind that they cannot be expected to have the fidelity required to make strong statements about which processes do or do not occur in nature. For that, there is still no substitute for empirical data.”

    I’m glad he clarified that the paper doesn’t support intelligent design, although I can’t figure out what hypothesis “intelligent design researchers” will be investigating. The paper is certainly a PR victory for the DI in that one of their own got a paper in the peer-reviewed literature, regardless of the paper’s content, but on the other hand it neatly disproves the notion that a global conspiracy is keeping pro-ID scientists from publishing. Not that I expect them to drop the suppression canard any time soon….

  31. #31 John Kwok
    July 15, 2008

    Hi JamesF,

    It’s been noted elsewhere – but can’t recall the correct citations – that Discovery Institute “scientists” like Behe, for example, have had no trouble getting their work published in peer-reviewed scientific journals SO LONG AS their work did not include any discussion of ID. I think it speaks volumes that they have yet to submit for publication any work which is based directly on their ID “research”.

    Regards,

    John

  32. #32 James F
    July 15, 2008

    John,

    Indeed, but I think this example is particularly germane because Axe and his colleagues submitted their paper with the Biologic Institute as their sole affiliation. The only other case of this is Richard von Sternberg’s paper in Acta Biotheoretica this year, although that was essentially an opinion piece and as far as I know even the DI and UD failed to give it any fanfare. Folks like Michael Behe and Scott Minnich both have tenure at actual universities, so they would be expected to have a certain immunity from the ravages of “Big Science.” Axe had been financially supported by the DI in the past, but there was nothing subtle about this paper, it came right out of an organization specifically created under the guidelines of the Wedge Document to inject religious fundamentalism into legitimate science. It’s a matter of degree; an uniformed observer might be more clearly convinced that the DI’s conspiracy theory is bogus because of it.

  33. #33 Matt Penfold
    July 15, 2008

    I could kind of see how someone could think whales and horses do not have digits. They would be ignorant but if they were only going on what they actually saw when looking at the animals in the flesh, rather than skeletons, I can see how a not very bright person could come to that conclusion.
    ever
    However if you have spent any time with a dog is it likely to have put its paw on your leg, wanting attention. If you touched that paw you cannot help but notice it has toes, with claws at the end.

    Either Luskin has never been to a museum with skeletons of whales, horses and dogs on display and has never made a fuss of a dog or he is a liar or so ignorant you fear for his safety.

  34. #34 tachauch
    July 15, 2008

    @JamesF

    Just for the record,
    PLoS ONE is not a peer reviewed journal in the classical sense.
    The editors will just take care that the manuscript is ok from method/technical point of view. The manuscript is usually not send to the classical `peers` for review.
    The idea of PLoS ONE is to rate the paper after publication:

    `Each submission is assigned to a member of the PLoS ONE Editorial Board. They are responsible for managing the peer review for each submission – a process which concentrates on technical rather than subjective concerns and may involve discussion with other members of the Editorial Board and/or the solicitation of the opinions of other experts in the field. If published, papers are made available for community evaluation and discourse involving the addition of online Notes, Comments, and Ratings.`

    http://www.plosone.org/static/information.action

  35. #35 James F
    July 15, 2008

    tachuach,

    I can add to that by speaking from experience, since I have a paper in PLoS ONE. The paper wasn’t accepted at another PLoS journal and my co-authors and I were given the option of sending it to PLoS ONE. I don’t have the statistics, but I imagine that a large percentage of papers in PLoS ONE wind up there this way. In essence, there is a pool of papers that have been pre-reviewed and rejected only on the basis of novelty and impact, which can then go to press rapidly at PLoS ONE. Based on what Bora at Blog Around the Clock has said, PLoS ONE does standard peer review in that experts are called upon to evaluate manuscripts, but dropping the aspect of novelty and perceived future impact is unusual. Based on the long review process (received January 9, published June 4; compare to May 23 and June 12 for mine) I would hazard a guess that Axe et al. submitted the paper directly to PLoS ONE. What I find troubling is that PLoS ONE may become the journal of choice for the Biologic Institute, reinforcing an image of a journal of last resort.

  36. #36 James F
    July 15, 2008

    *tachauch, that is.

  37. #37 John Kwok
    July 15, 2008

    Dear Matt,

    Luskin studied geology – presumably paleontology too – at Michigan State University. He has no excuse for being an ignoramus.

    John

  38. #38 Dave Wisker
    July 15, 2008

    IDers present different arguments depending on who is present. When people who know better are watching, they tone down the rhetoric and pretend to be agnostic. It’s a different story when they think they are speaking toi their own. Case in point: Jonathan Wells. When he knows critics are watching, he says Peppered Moths do not ‘usually’ rest on tree trunks. However, among his own, he says differently. I attended an Intelligent Design Conference in Kansas City once, and Wells gave a talk. He clearly said Peppered Moths “do not” rest on tree trunks.

    The take home lesson is, they will be very careful what they say if they present papers to legitimate journals. Once published, they will then crow over it and unleash the objectivity.

  39. #39 Blaidd Drwg
    July 16, 2008

    “Luskin studied geology – presumably paleontology too – at Michigan State University. He has no excuse for being an ignoramus”

    The only conclusion, then, is that Luskin knows what the facts are, he simply chooses to ignore and distort them to further his own agenda.

  40. #40 David
    July 16, 2008

    I am amazed that Mr. Luskin has never read an album review.

  41. #41 John Kwok
    July 16, 2008

    Hi all,

    Luskin studied geology, not at MSU, but rather, at the University of California, San Diego, where he also earned a M. S. degree doing research on paleomagnetism. However, he should have had ample exposure to both paleobiology and other relevant aspects of biology there, but for some inexplicable reason, did not ensure for himself a decent education in both.

    Regards,

    John

  42. #42 John Kwok
    July 16, 2008

    Hi all,

    For another instance of Casey Luskin “floundering” about when it comes to evolution, one ought to read his rather intriguing comments on the evolution of the flounder that’s the most recent posted entry at PT:

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2008/07/natgeo-tweaks-i.html#comments

    Seems as though Luskin needs more than a dictionary and a thesaurus to help him out. He needs a great textbook on evolutionary biology too.

    Cheers,

    John
    (aka “Jekyll and Hyde of Paleobiology” according to leading Uncommon Dissent IDiot Borg drone DaveScot Springer)

  43. #43 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    July 16, 2008

    The lawyer side of Casey Luskin thanks you for giving him a technicality with which he can try to save face.

    It was probably in Luskin’s mind the whole time. He doesn’t need to be very careful, as the credulous mass of IDiots will gobble him up. But ambiguity helps; and it seems a more flexible meaning of eponymous hasn’t reached the dictionaries yet. His main purpose is to make flimflam fuzz of Tiktaalik, as its predictivity is a major bother to creationists.

    Also, note for other bloggers on a new vocabulary word I’m trying to move into circulation: Deisign – Sign of God.

    Good idea. Though I will adopt it as dei-sign.

    Intelligent design begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI).

    So what CSI would an IDiot assign to the Tiktaalik dei-sign? 0.2?

    More to the point, how much CSI does Luskin produce on a daily basis? As much as 101 IDiots?

    I’ll come back when an IDiot has learned how to observe and quantify something testable.

  44. #44 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    July 16, 2008

    I’m glad he clarified that the paper doesn’t support intelligent design, although I can’t figure out what hypothesis “intelligent design researchers” will be investigating.

    I assume this is a rhetorical question.

    But FWIW, if you scrutinize the paper, you will see that it is rigged with a cost function that penalizes large genomes (or rather proteins) to achieve the function targeted by selection. Seems they fail the onion test.

    This is of course serious. The larger the dimensionality of the search space, the easier it will be to fulfill the target by evolutionary mechanisms.

    AFAIU they have also added a random fuzzification factor to hide the rigging. (So at times, they will have a protein that exceeds the fitness of the original, see the figures.)

    It was just a preparatory paper. The next step is likely that Axe et al will try to show how poorly their rigged evolutionary model works on examples. The hypothesis “intelligent design researchers” will be investigating is the usual – evolution can’t work because their religious dogma tells them so.

  45. #45 chris y
    July 17, 2008

    Merriam-Webster: Presage:

    Young’s 3rd Law, submitted for critique: “Whoever appeals to a general purpose dictionary to define terms in a techical document has lost.”

  46. #46 James F
    July 18, 2008

    Torbjrn,

    Would you be interested in a formal write-up to address these issues, either as a reply in the discussion thread or as part of an evaluation of the program that might be submitted to the journal?

  47. #47 arachnophilia
    July 19, 2008

    yeah, i saw that post over at pharyngula. i’m surprised you got as far as “presage” or “eponymous” or “digit.” he lost me at “jargon-filled.” i mean, THAT’s the part that just screams “i don’t know my deuterostomes from my protostomes” or some such other jargon-filled in-joke.

    i mean, it basically says outright “look, i don’t know the science well enoguh to even take a first year bio class, nevermind critique this paper, so i’m just gonna gloss over all the bits i don’t understand and pretend i’m capable of critiquing what might as well have been written entirely in greek.”

    then again, i’ve argued with some of these people using coloring books and they still don’t get it.

  48. #48 Torbj�rn Larsson, OM
    August 8, 2008

    Life intervened, but finally returning to old threads FWIW:

    @ James F:

    Would you be interested in a formal write-up to address these issues,

    Well, doesn’t seem I have the time, does it? But FWIW, Niles Eldridge has a fine thread on this on his blog. Besides that he is attempting to (may have already done) an analysis of the program, there’s a couple of biologists (I assume) that had more pertinent critique.

    But feel free to use my analysis. The problem is that it isn’t fully pertinent until Axe (ID) goes the extra step. For now, his work is just an uninteresting and slightly inappropriate article.

  49. #49 sideline observer
    June 10, 2009

    The only thing worse than smug uneducated superiority is smug educated superiority. While y’all sit here jacking each other off you are only proving that knowledge doesn’t cure ass-hole disease. At least the bumpkins and science haters have ignorance to fall back on for their shit. What your excuse?

  50. #50 LanceR, JSG
    June 10, 2009

    Wow! Thank you, sideline observer, for the perfect example of a “Quit beating your wife yet?” question! Textbook!

    Got any other logical fallacies you wanna whip out and flog publicly? Or do you need to be alone to flog that *particular* horse?