Stephen Meyer

6.55– AAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
SALLY KERN IS HERE!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!

7.06– Pretends hes talkin up Darwin. DIRP! John Lynch would be having a seizure.

7.09– Intelligent Design>Evilution

7.10– Meyer is clueless on origin of life and Darwin. He sounds exactly like a parrot. I know the people studying origin of life, and they are waaaaaaay beyond this kindergarten shit Meyers talkin bout. This is like listening to a fourth graders report on ‘origin of life’. My god this hour is going to be long…

7.18– Proteins are ‘precise three-dimensional structures’. News to HIV-1 env, which is not at all precise. Flutters. Pulsates. Causes a lot of trouble, actually… As someone who deals with protein structure and AA neutrality and evolution, this is a very bizarre portion of the talk (as if this whole thing isnt going to be a drug trip LOL!)

7.23– The animation stolen from PBS

7.24– I get it. I get what Meyer is doing. Superficial, and incorrect statements to elicit a ‘GEE WIZ!’ response in audience. Cells = CAD.

7.27– ‘Origin of information in DNA’. HAHAHA I made all the mathematicians *facepalm*

7.30– INFORMATION! Bored. Before he was talking under the audience, now hes talking over them and confusing them/terms. Bored….. CHARLES THAXTON!

7.37– I think hes just reading an outline. This talk is really weird. Like, hes saying the same thing over and over, or saying the same thing in different ways… over and over.

7.40– Bored. Now watching porn.

7.43– My god this is weird… Glad Im not a mathematician right now. Pretty sure theyre raging right now. Im just still bored. Hes on stage, multiplying numbers, trying to tell everyone the odds of something spontaneously generating… not evolving. BUY MY BOOK!

7.49– Ian, “You know what you should do, Abbie”
Me, “Wat?”
Ian, “Yo, Meyer, Im really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but I just got to say Susana Manrubia is one of the best astrobiologist of all time!”

8.01– Why isnt this over yet? Talking about discussions he had in 1985. This is liek, so current. I was 2 years old. 2.

8.07– Rosetta Stone was made by people, NOT NATURE! SUCK IT, EVOLANDERS!

8.10– So, apparently my research is impossible. Theres a big orange X over exactly what I do in the lab, every day. Wish I could take a pic to rub his nose in it when I publish, LOL! Loser.

8.12– JUNK DNA!!!

8.14– Problem: I dont think I can ask a Q without taking a dig at Kern. Giving Ian my car keys– Hes not going to give them back unless I stay away from her.

8.22 Q&A– Meyer doesnt believe in ERVs, Alus, or pseudogenes.

8.24 Q&A– Meyer doesnt know what a ribozyme is. Oh wait, ya he does! Kinda! I mean, he used the word… But then brushed them off, LOL!

8.34 Q&A– So, basically scientists can never ‘prove’ evilution, because if we do experiments that use randomness/chance/necessity and get new information, there is intelligence involved.

8.37 Q&A– Kerns husband– JUNK DNA DIRP!!! Specially created junk DNA AAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAhAHA!!! Humans and chimps are specially created!!! AAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Im embarased for him!

Meyers is diggin it! Humans and Chimps might not be related! AAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! He knows whos paying him!!

What a waste of time.

Comments

  1. #1 Joshua White
    September 29, 2009

    OK, sure.
    A) Fine, that would be evidence in favor of THAT SECTION of DNA having no function. So what?

    A creation model would not suggest the presence of parts that have no function. If this DNA has no function then it seems that the “common Darwinian argument” against the creation explanation has weight. The presence of this functionless DNA needs an explanation and the current explanation is consistent with the Darwinian model. Many examples of DNA that once had function and then lost it have been demonstrated. (Vitamin C and primates, wrecked viral genomes, duplication mutations that went nowhere, etc…). Single celled organisms and viruses are known for their compact genomes with almost no waste, but multicellular organisms by contrast have genomes that seem to be tremendously wasteful. Given what we know about how useful DNA becomes “Junk”, the amount of time it would take to explain the presence of the amount of junk would be huge, like millions to billions of years.

    Oh, like claiming that unicellular organisms have become kiwis and people, then claiming “that’s science”? Right.
    I’m more interested in logic.

    Here is an interesting website.
    http://tolweb.org/tree/
    This is a project that aims to determine the relationship between every life form that has ever existed on this planet. Science is a process that seeks to explain phenomena. You can’t just come up with any old explanation, your “hypothesis” must be rooted in observations that you make about the phenomena. If you do not do this you will be shot down by your colleagues that would prefer to get your grant money. On almost every page of that website you will find tons of citations. Here is the page that just pertains to the root of the tree, http://tolweb.org/Life_on_Earth/1. Look at it. There are probably over a hundred journal articles alone. Are you really going to tell me that no science was done here? These scientists did not look at the world, form hypotheses to explain what they were seeing, and then test them? These scientists did not put their explanations up against their competitors’ explanations and let the community as a whole decide? When the scientific community that focused on this specific area (relationship between the three kingdoms of life) was satisfied that the evidence was strong enough they did not use it as background for new studies? Do I need to go on? This is the crap that lets us make fun of you. You have NO IDEA what the evidence that supports our views is, but you think that it’s all fine to make statements like this in a room filled with people who know how to see if you are full of crap.

    Now, a question for you. Please describe what “Darwinism of the gaps” means. Why might I have used that term?
    Mostly correct about the god of the gaps.

    If (in comment #61) by “wherein they claim…” you are talking about evolution supporters, you seem to indicate that evolution supporters claim that god fills in a lack of understanding. We are saying that the ID supporters and creationists are inserting god as an explanation when the best current explanation is simply that we do not know yet and more study needs to be done. I admit that I may be misreading you.

    As for “Darwinism of the Gaps”, I am not a mind reader so I will have to make some assumptions. If you are using the definition that you provided as a framework, then you seem to be implying that evolution supporters are inappropriately inserting an explanation. Now when “God of the gaps” is used it is because there is no scientifically satisfactory current explanation for a phenomenon. We are claiming that there is no good evidence to insert god, and every time in history that it has been inserted before it has eventually failed (lightning, disease, mental illness, earthquakes…). So I assume that you are saying that we have no good evidence to assert that junk DNA has no function, or that there is something wrong with how we are using vestigial structures in an argument. I shot down your junk DNA claim above because the fact that we can delete huge chunks of genome without apparent effects argues that the “junk” descriptor is accurate, we have good reason to call it “Junk DNA”. I can’t say if your problem with our use of vestigial structures is a valid claim or not because you do not say what is wrong with any particular claim in your #61 comment.

    B/c some of them have been found to have function, and b/c there’s less than zero reason to think that God would have some sort of prejudice against creating them. *I* don’t bring it up; Darwinians do, and I respond.
    Also, Joshua, take a deep breath. This is just a combox. It’s not the end of the world, nor is it Pharyngula, K?

    The definition of vestigial that you gave is not consistent with your first sentence. So I have to conclude that you did not really understand the definition of vestigiality. The definition does not say the structure has no function. What matters is if the structure has the same function that it had when it first appeared. The entire concept of vestigial is utterly dependant on the theory of evolution (but evolution is not dependant on vestigiality). You are correct that evolution supporters bring up vestigiality. We do this because like junk DNA it is a good example of something that is not consistent with creationism. Wisdom teeth make no sense if there is a creator. They are far more trouble than they are worth and in many cases are not even functional because they are set in the jaw in a way that makes them useless at best, a medical problem at worst. There are lists of other “design” issues that were there really a creator, would have been done differently.

    You come on this weblog that is run by a scientist, frequented by scientists, and display gross ignorance about what science is, how it is done, what evidence supports our conclusions, and what our motivations are. You come here and you make specific, factually incorrect claims about a huge range of issues and don’t offer a single citation to a scientific paper that actually supports your claims. You make assertion after assertion about your religious explanations and just expect us to accept your assertions, when we have spent years or decades immersed in a world where every claim better have observations and data to support it, and then you claim we are the ones with hubris.

    Oh I am perfectly calm. You see I just received a master’s degree in molecular biology and am planning on going into high school science teaching. I was wise enough to save money to endure the necessary unemployment period after I graduated (only a few weeks ago). So I have the time to sit here and dig up the evidence that demonstrates why you are an ignorant jackass because I am bored and this is more fun than I thought it would be. All I have to do is remember that I will never convince you because I can’t rationalize you out of a position that you got into sans rationality. It’s the fence sitters that care about evidence that are watching us that I care about. I am planning to be a teacher after all, so I should be prepared for stupid things that I will hear when the topic of evolution comes up. I will just have to adopt a different demeanor for the parents. You are practice.

  2. #2 Joshua White
    September 29, 2009

    I screwed up the third block quote on comment #101. “Mostly correct about the god of the gaps” is me.

  3. #3 Doc Bill
    September 29, 2009

    Assuming pure chance is responsible for the enormous differences between plants, animals, and all other life is to consciously blind yourself to the facts revealed in the fossil record, and in the cell itself.

    Brian, this quote qualifies you as an willfully ignorant moron. Since you’ve made this statement previously and have been corrected previously and since you have access to the Internet, Google and Wiki, as do we all, your quote qualifies you as a Lying Willfully Ignorant Moron.

    Oh, but that’s so 8th Grade locker room.

    Actually, there’s a bright side. Being a Lying Willfully Ignorant Moron will enable you to quit your job at the buggy whip factory and get an internship at the Discovery Institute.

    Hey, Crowther, throw a bone to Brian, here. Who knows, he could be another Luskin!

  4. #4 JD
    September 29, 2009

    It’s laughable that creotards and IDiots are still arguing against the concept of “junk” DNA. The concept is self-evident to anyone who bothers to do any sort of phylogenomic comparisons. For example, the size of the lowly onion’s genome is around 17 picograms (pg) whereas the epitome of Yahweh’s creation, man, has a pitiful genome weighing in at a measly 3.5 pg. Hmm, did the genus Allium stump Yahweh? It seems he needed a lot extra DNA to make vegetables. Some god.

    Meyers and Dumbeski failed the onion test.

  5. #5 Tyler DiPietro
    September 29, 2009

    “The evolutionists here don’t know the difference between complexity, specificity, and specified complexity.”

    I’m pretty sure you don’t have a fucking clue. You can always prove me wrong by providing relevant definitions.

    Ritchie,

    It would actually be pretty remarkable if creationists were able to supply a probability distribution that assigned differential probabilities to God/the designer’s possible actions. That would make their hypotheses testable. Since no particular claim can be definitively said to have higher or lower probability, they really have to assume the uniform distribution. That’s essentially what my argument is.

  6. #6 Fitz
    September 29, 2009

    @Jay.
    You said “No serious theological minds chalk up the image of G-D to molecular material”.

    So what? How many serious theologians are trying to push their religious ideas into science classrooms?

  7. #7 Sili
    September 29, 2009

    Got tired of reading the comments.

    Isn’t it time we got some more Arnie photos?

    (But hope all this chatter earns you a buck or two.)

  8. #8 Azkyroth
    September 29, 2009

    10 points FROM Blytherin, Jay, for being an insufferable know-fuck-all.

  9. #9 TBnsuch
    September 29, 2009

    The question was about genetic elements that demonstrate our long historical battle with bacteria and viruses (HLA variation, ERVs etc). It was a general review of Immunology which is a beast of a subject to condense into 2 1/2 hours.
    That bit about prophage virulence factors is interesting, I’ll have to look into that. Thanks.

  10. #10 rbroughton
    September 29, 2009

    Sorry if I annoyed anyone; I was annoyed by Meyer’s abysmal understanding of molecular biology. He has the floor to spew all the B.S. he wants and we get one 10 second question before they pull the microphone.

    As to junk DNA, Meyer brought it up. It was his example of a prediction of ID. It is not clear exactly what part of design leads to the prediction that junk is not really junk. But molecular biologists had been talking about regulatory regions being larger than originally thought long before the IDers jumped on it. None the less, if genomes are only 90% junk instead of 95%, they’re still mostly junk.

    Evolutionary biologists talk about junk because the sequences of non functional DNA frequently indicate common ancestry. We don’t use it to try to falsify a designer – the whole concept is unfalsifiable.

  11. #11 Ritchie Annand
    September 30, 2009

    It would actually be pretty remarkable if creationists were able to supply a probability distribution that assigned differential probabilities to God/the designer’s possible actions. That would make their hypotheses testable.

    Oh, but they could! Problem being that it would just be a post hoc data dump of everything that exists and calling it God’s decisions :)

    If they could provide rules that could be applied to unknown – or unknown-to-them – situations, then that would be worth something.

    Say, for example, the idea that no new “information” has been created since the Fall. Since non-”clean” nephesh-life-containing life forms were down to a single breeding pair each at 2348 B.C., we are down to a maximum of four possible alleles at any particular site. For cases where there are more today – including across “baramins” (a baramin could include all canids, depending on whom you ask) and those alleles are functional, there must be some vestiges of new kinds of genetics that show traces of all the old front-loaded allele varieties.

    They’ve got the money – why don’t they go for it?

    For what it’s worth, nature isn’t particularly kind to their speculations once one goes looking :)

    10 points FROM Blytherin

    Azkyroth, I pronounce you full of win[gardium leviosaAAaa].

  12. #12 Rhology
    September 30, 2009

    So let’s see.
    From tonight’s performance, we have:
    -Meyer and Wells LOTS
    -Darwinists in attendance ZERO

    Seriously you guys. The best you can do during the Q&A is
    1) Have Prof Hutchison ask why it’s proper to quote non-ID people expressing their views on a relevant topic (and then have Prof Hutchison warmly pat Dr Meyer on the arm and tell him that he didn’t ask another question b/c he didn’t want to embarrass him)?
    2) Ask about the presence of ERVs evidenced during mammalian evolution (which is, for the uninitiated, AFTER the Cambrian explosion) (oh yeah, the DVD was about nothing but the Cambrian explosion)?
    3) Ask about Hox genes and gene duplication (and then go into a tizzy when challenged on why a Designer just couldn’t conceivably want to do it that way)?
    4) Ask why a Designer would make it so humans share lots of similar genes with other organisms? (Dunno, maybe b/c they work well and the Designer doesn’t like to reinvent the wheel every time? Maybe?)
    5) Ask why the DVD sometimes said “designers” and sometimes “Designer”?
    6) Ask whether using the normally-accepted geological scale was an intentional jab at YEC?
    7) Beg the question repeatedly and mercilessly when asked to give an explanation for one’s materialistic views (that was you, Prof Hutchison)?

    Umm, so yeah. Not exactly the best of performances from our Darwinist friends. Send us more, we’re hungry.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  13. #13 Jay
    September 30, 2009

    Thanks for the rundown on the Q and A Rhology.

    Sounds like more of the same. Did somebody seriously ask the whole “is it designer or designers question”? WOW. I remember that question back when I was at University. And HOX genes? Seriously.

    Can anybody post some notes from the “No Dilemma for Darwin” lecture. A little bird told me that Dr. Westrop cited the anti-Darwinian Paul Chen (et al. 2009 paper) in his pre-”Darwin’s Dilemma” -this-is-not-a-refutation-talk. L-oh-my-goodness-L.

    If the pre-response lecture actually cited one of the decidedly pro-Discovery Institute Cambrian Explosion experts in their talk (Chen), I am going to have a conniption.

    Oh, wait, am I allowed to have a conniption? I realize that I have been banned from henceforth employing any sharp sarcasm here so as not to confuse any simpleminded Darwinian readers of ERV, but seriously, if the museum’s Cambrian expert cited Chen’s 2009 paper during his talk, not only is that freaking awesome that he cited a DI guy during an anti-DI stunt, but it pretty-much proves the general consensus feeling among ID proponents that their opponents haven’t a clue what they are up against.

    At least a Chen citation is indicative that Westrop is actually keeping up with his reading.

    It’s still hilarious.

    P.S. I left a word misspelled and employed a poorly constructed sentence in the above post so that the Darwinians would have something to attack me for. Your welcome.

  14. #14 Ritchie Annand
    September 30, 2009

    4) Ask why a Designer would make it so humans share lots of similar genes with other organisms? (Dunno, maybe b/c they work well and the Designer doesn’t like to reinvent the wheel every time? Maybe?)

    I see that claim a lot. “Common toolkit” and the like.

    Do you know the background of the “similar genes” topic?

    Why is human alpha hemoglobin chain identical to that in chimpanzees and bonobos (you can go to uniprot.org and look for P69905 or HBA_HUMAN and click to run the Blast search yourself, if you like), 99% identical to that of the lowland gorilla, 97% identical to that of the macaque, 93% identical to the mandrill, 85% identical to that of the common mouse, 82% identical to that of the rabbit, and even in the forest of similar percentages, you can usually “re-home” your blast search on the given creature.

    If you take a look at the genes responsible, it’s even more telling. HBA Human may be identical to HBA Chimpanzee, but there are three base pair differences which don’t change the proteins. You can follow the genes down as well, though we have fewer creatures gene-sequences than we do protein sequences.

    If you take a look at the surrounding gene area, you see no pristine toolkit. Take a Google for J00153. There are flanking ALU repeats, HBAP pseudogenes all over the place, and HBA2 and HBA1, each in three pieces (three exons, two introns) to get stitched together.

    Think this won’t form a similar taxonomic pattern once we sequence and analyze them?

    The only way this would make any sense in a designer explanation is if the putative designer went up and back down the taxonomic tree, copying and modifying from baselines. In that sense, it would be common descent, but from prototypes instead of from creatures.

    Creationists could have used an explanation like that, save for the confounding details required for the Noachic flood, which would destroy such a pattern due to the need for saving space and thus requiring “baramins” to be larger.

  15. #15 Shirakawasuna
    September 30, 2009

    “(…) it pretty-much proves the general consensus feeling among ID proponents that their opponents haven’t a clue what they are up against.”

    HAHAHAHAHA! Oh no, scientists are up against incompetent liars like Meyer and Dembski? Oh my, let’s all hope they don’t invent some more terms and pretend their ideas are better because of them. They’d better not steal any animations from PBS, that’ll make up for the complete dearth of evidence for their claims!

    That feeling is a false sense of superiority. Dunning-Kruger and all that.

    Also, when were you banned from doing anything? You’re ridiculed and insulted because you act like an idiot and should expect such treatment in the future, as we possess memories. I see no bannings in place for merely being an idiot.

  16. #16 Shirakawasuna
    September 30, 2009

    Rhology: ” 3) Ask about Hox genes and gene duplication (and then go into a tizzy when challenged on why a Designer just couldn’t conceivably want to do it that way)?”

    This is your contribution to the blog in a nutshell, sans labeling those familiar with science as “Darwinists” and declaring accuracy without things like sources and evidence. That is, an ID/creationist claim is made (they tend to be poorly evidenced). Someone with at least a passing familiarity with the subject points out how the reasoning is flawed and/or based on false premises. Then the inevitable, “a designer could still do it!” comes out, thus invalidating the entire point of the argument to begin with.

    Rhology, if a designer can do just about anything in just about any asinine way, why would you consider an argument based on the properties of such a designer to make any sense? A “designer” that can act like a designer (efficiency, grandeur!) or like a roundabout drunkard going through contingency that looks just like evolution isn’t exactly the best conclusion to make based on what a random ID proponent/creationist thinks is in line with ‘intelligence’ or ‘design’. If you want to give up on arguments for design, which just about inevitably draw upon the qualities of a designer (suddenly unnecessary when a counterargument is made), that’s peachy, but then what else do you have to contribute here? Calling us Darwinists? That’s just dishonest: opposing ID requires only minimal knowledge of the movement, its claims, and critical thinking. You don’t need to know jackall about biology and even if you do, being labeled a ‘Darwinist’ would only apply if the subject is solely/primarily natural selection or biology of the 19th century.

    As a side note, you don’t seem to know what question-begging is. It’s best to avoid accusing other people of misusing logic if you don’t even know the accusation.

  17. #17 Shirakawasuna
    September 30, 2009

    Ritchie Annand, stop coming up with new ways for professional creationists to lie!

  18. #18 Brian Biggs
    September 30, 2009

    The ritchies here don’t seem to know the difference between conversant argumentation and unfounded assertion.

    #97 The brians here don’t seem to know the difference between random chance, contingency and cumulative variation. By their own misinterpretations of what scientists say…

    There seems to have been only two Brians commenting here, and since I have yet to posit anything about random chance, contingency, or cumulative variation, either here or on my blog, you seem to have made a rather bold accusation based sheer speculation or imagination. This is the second time I have been included in a critique of someone else. I am beginning to wonder how many naturalists can distinguish between their critics.

  19. #19 Rhology
    September 30, 2009

    rbroughton @ 110 –

    Evolutionary biologists talk about junk because the sequences of non functional DNA frequently indicate common ancestry. We don’t use it to try to falsify a designer – the whole concept is unfalsifiable.

    Hahahaha, funny stuff, Dr Broughton. ToE is functionally unfalsifiable, b/c no matter what critique ID and/or the fossil record brings against it, you just change it. Witness the “absorption” of punctuated equilibrium into the neo-Darwinian landscape of accepted ideas. For no obvious reason really, other than “Uh oh, we better do SOMEthing, guys!”
    Anyway, you gave (nor do you ever give) any reason to think a Designer couldn’t’ve laid down that DNA. Nor do you have access to this Designer’s motivations and mind, so retreating to “well, *I* wouldn’t’ve done it that way”. Who cares what you would’ve done?
    Finally, plenty of things are unfalsifiable. The laws of logic. The laws of mathematics. The scientific method. The principle of unfalsifiability itself. Seriously, I’d suggest you get a new argument.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  20. #20 minimalist
    September 30, 2009

    Can anybody post some notes from the “No Dilemma for Darwin” lecture. A little bird told me that Dr. Westrop cited the anti-Darwinian Paul Chen (et al. 2009 paper) in his pre-”Darwin’s Dilemma” -this-is-not-a-refutation-talk. L-oh-my-goodness-L.

    If the pre-response lecture actually cited one of the decidedly pro-Discovery Institute Cambrian Explosion experts in their talk (Chen), I am going to have a conniption.

    Citation please. Do you mean Paul K. Chien, UCSF biology professor and Disco Toot associate?

    The one whose primary area of research, according to his university webpage, is in ion and amino acid transport across membranes?

    In which field he has exactly six publications indexed in PubMed, spanning 1977 to 1995? And none in the area of Cambrian paleontology?

    Or perhaps you have him confused with a “Paul Chen” who actually is a Cambrian expert with reams of peer-reviewed publications in the field.

    Because if Paul Chien is your “expert”, tee hee hee hee, and furthermore oh ho ho ho ho.

    Anyway, I repeat: citation please.

  21. #21 Ritchie Annand
    September 30, 2009

    Note, Brian, I said brians, not Brians :)

  22. #22 impal
    September 30, 2009

    Rhology,

    ToE is functionally unfalsifiable, b/c no matter what critique ID and/or the fossil record brings against it, you just change it.

    What does the “fossil record” bring against “it”?

  23. #23 Sili
    September 30, 2009

    4) Ask why a Designer would make it so humans share lots of similar genes with other organisms? (Dunno, maybe b/c they work well and the Designer doesn’t like to reinvent the wheel every time? Maybe?)

    If the – omnipotent – designer “doesn’t like to reinvent the wheel”, then why, pray tell, did they feel the need to put the genes that chimps have on chromosomes 2A and B together on out chromosome 2 – that sounds like reinventing hot water to me.

    I shan’t ask why they decided to leave in the gene for synthesising vitamin C, while still disabling it so that we have to get it from out diet. I know the answer to that one: SIN! SINSINSINSINSIN!!! DIE IN HELL, INFIDEL!!

    *ahegm*

    :straightens hair:

  24. #24 scripto
    September 30, 2009

    Joshua @ 102

    Hope you end up in my school district.

  25. #25 Gruesome Rob
    September 30, 2009

    If the amount of information is independent of the number of letters in the alphabet, then how much information can be generated in an alphabet of one character. For example, let’s say our alphabet is just the character ‘a’…. Oh wait, yes in fact it is governed by how many letters are in an alphabet….

    Given that the computer you read and typed this on only knows 2 “letters”, the only restriction on the alphabet is “more than one letter”

  26. #26 justfinethanks
    September 30, 2009

    ToE is functionally unfalsifiable, b/c no matter what critique ID and/or the fossil record brings against it, you just change it.

    “Seriously, scientific community, when you realized that classical mechanics doesn’t work with objects travelling at the speed of light or objects very far away, did you toss it all out as nonsense? NO. You just came up with this ‘relativity’ silliness and adjusted your theory to more accurately fit the facts. Physics is all bunk.”

    To seriously suggest that the theory of evolution is unfalsifiable because it has actually CHANGED over the course of the last 150 years to be ignorant of both

    1) The process of science.
    2) The history of science.

    Of course there are lots of ways you could easily falsify evolution.

    1) Pre cambrian rabbit
    2) Fossil elephant in Austrailia (as this would violate evolutionary biogeography)
    3)Creature with titanium claws (as this wouldn’t fit within the nested hierarchy, though it would be awesome)
    4) Mammal with atavistic feathers (Instead, all atavisms discovered so far are 100% consistent with evolution)

    Instead, we discover a biological world that is 1) Totally consistent with evolution, or 2) Has been designed with the appearance of being totally consistent with evolution. And Occam’s Razor cuts off the nuts of the latter explanation.

    Finally, plenty of things are unfalsifiable. The laws of logic. The laws of mathematics. The scientific method. The principle of unfalsifiability itself. Seriously, I’d suggest you get a new argument.

    None of these things are scientific theories, so this objection is irrelevant. Seriously, I’d suggest you get a new rebuttal.

  27. #27 SVN
    September 30, 2009

    The entire movie:

    The 1st third was relatively innocuous. The computer generated images of the organisms… I have games from the early 2000s that has better graphics the movie but I digress. They interview Dr. Simon Conway Morris and ask him to describe the Cambrian and how some of these soft bodied animals can be fossilized.

    A few quotes here and there, taken out of context, from Richard Dawkins. The movie describes the process of gradual evolution and how long of a time is needed to generate new species. They claim the Cambrian explosion was ‘only’ 5-10 million years thus it was “too fast” for life to have evolved. They point to the Chengjiang fossil strata that contains pre-Cambrian bilateral embryos then the immediate Cambrian strata above that contains various complex life forms. I believe Jonathan Wells said in the movie “it might have appeared overnight!”

    So the argument starts to condense around this fossil strata. You have “fragile” embryos fossilized in one layer and complex life forms fossilized in the immediate layer. This time difference is estimated to be between 5-10 million years. If you ignore that adult forms of these embryos have not been found nor do other soft bodied fossils have been found in the Precambrian strata, the Chengjiang site does give the appearance of “poof! New animals!”

    Thus, their central argument is that “evolution is gradual” and during the Cambrian explosion, new phyla suddenly appeared. The claim is that evolution predicts that there should be primitive ancestral transition fossils. Since these “fragile” embryos were fossilized, this proves that soft bodied organisms can be fossilized which ‘proves’ that the evilutionist’s claim that the fossil record is incomplete is false…

    So they ask “what could have made all these new phyla suddenly appear? Look at all these pretty cars! They all have the same basic body plans (like these organisms in a phyla) and that it hasn’t varied! No immediate primitive car precursors, must have been designed! From an intelligent human being! Since all these new phyla appeared during the Cambrian and we don’t find any immediate precursors and it looks like what we humans do, these new phyla must have been designed!”

    “Since we only know of one force that can make ‘new’ plans, which is an intelligent mind…who could it be?” . Then they went into some confusing spiel that the body plan is not encoded in DNA and that cells must receive some miraculous commands to differentiate into parts. Some more junk science, propaganda, speculating on the conspiracy that scientists, universities, and researchers are on to block debate…etc.

  28. #28 Paholaisen Asianajaja
    September 30, 2009

    Rhology: “Witness the “absorption” of punctuated equilibrium into the neo-Darwinian landscape of accepted ideas. For no obvious reason really, other than “Uh oh, we better do SOMEthing, guys!””

    Yeah, that’s exactly how and why paleontologists came up with punctuated equilibrium.

  29. #29 Gruesome Rob
    September 30, 2009
    If the amount of information is independent of the number of letters in the alphabet, then how much information can be generated in an alphabet of one character. For example, let’s say our alphabet is just the character ‘a’…. Oh wait, yes in fact it is governed by how many letters are in an alphabet….

    Given that the computer you read and typed this on only knows 2 “letters”, the only restriction on the alphabet is “more than one letter”

    And now that I think about it more, remove that “more than one letter” restriction. You can represent anything with one letter.

    Encode the contents into computer memory. Take the entire contents as one whomping big number. Send that many of the letter. Practical? Oh hell no. Possible (ignoring little things like lifetime of the universe), yeah.

    Therefore, information content is totally independent of size of the alphabet and things can be encoded in even 1 letter.

  30. #30 gingerbaker
    September 30, 2009

    Abby

    Just wondering if anyone had the temerity to stand up, identify themselves and their qualifications, and condemn Meyer’s talk as a nearly perfectly complete load of donkey bollocks?

    Outreach efforts by the DI are a deliberate and calculated disinformation campaign to deceive the public. To merely engage in Meyer in polite and erudite Q&A leaves the unenlightened visitor with a false sense of the scientific legitimacy of the presentation.

    Bullshit artists like Meyer should be denounced as the charlatans that they are, and in no uncertain terms, don’t you think? The public interest deserves nothing less, IMO.

    Best,

    Ginger

  31. #31 Ritchie Annand
    September 30, 2009

    Ritchie Annand, stop coming up with new ways for professional creationists to lie!

    I thought they needed some help :)

    Seriously, though, there are things that they could go off and research if they followed through on the implications of what they claim. They seem, by all the writings I’ve encountered so far, just to offer “it could have been” conjectures and there they stop. It’s just “good enough” until they get embarrassed into making a further “good enough” conjecture.

    There’s nothing stopping them from doing their own actual, honest-to-goodness research, but they would rather whine about persecution than do it.

    Hell, even offering up well-formed experiments that scientists could perform on their behalf would be fine if they complain about lack of materials and expertise.

    SVN:

    Then they went into some confusing spiel that the body plan is not encoded in DNA and that cells must receive some miraculous commands to differentiate into parts.

    Seriously?! I’d love to see them expound that on paper :) What rock have they been living under that they haven’t even heard of bicoid at the very freaking least?

  32. #32 Gruesome Rob
    September 30, 2009

    4) Ask why a Designer would make it so humans share lots of similar genes with other organisms? (Dunno, maybe b/c they work well and the Designer doesn’t like to reinvent the wheel every time? Maybe?)

    He’s omnipotent why is reinventing the wheel versus not any harder?

    Why aren’t we the LITERAL dirt mentioned in Genesis? He’s omnipotent, it’s possible for him, by definition. Yet instead we’re a kludge on top of a kludge. So many of the biological mistakes I wouldn’t expect a first year engineering student to make. Is the designer really that incompetent?

  33. #33 Ritchie Annand
    September 30, 2009

    I think humans dancing nekkid in the exosphere would be a much more suitable demonstration of an omnipotent being’s power than all these tawdry lifeforms that obey the laws of physics and chemistry.

  34. #34 rbroughton
    September 30, 2009

    Rho
    “Anyway, you gave (nor do you ever give) any reason to think a Designer couldn’t’ve laid down that DNA. Nor do you have access to this Designer’s motivations and mind, so retreating to “well, *I* wouldn’t’ve done it that way”. Who cares what you would’ve done?”

    I did not use the “bad design” argument at all, don’t know where you got that.

    However it is interesting that Meyer claimed that design makes predictions. The junk DNA thing was the only thing he could come up with. What exactly is it about design that leads to the prediction of no junk DNA? How can design predict anything at all without “access to this Designer’s motivations and mind”?

  35. #35 TBnsuch
    September 30, 2009

    The question was about what genetic elements demonstrate our long historical battle with bacteria and viruses (HLA variation, ERVs etc.) The lecture was a review of Immunology, a beast of a topic to cover in 2 1/2 hours.
    That bit about prophage virulence factors is interesting, I’ll have to look into that. Thanks.

  36. #36 mds
    September 30, 2009

    Encode the contents into computer memory. Take the entire contents as one whomping big number. Send that many of the letter. Practical? Oh hell no. Possible (ignoring little things like lifetime of the universe), yeah.
    Therefore, information content is totally independent of size of the alphabet and things can be encoded in even 1 letter.

    The tipping point between one symbol and more than one is pretty significant, though. It takes n characters to encode n in unary, but only lg n in binary, or to look at it another way, it takes exponentially more characters to represent a number in unary than in binary. Adding more symbols makes things more efficient, but only linearly – having 4 symbols instead of 2 means that encodings are half the length, and 8 symbols instead of 2 means the encodings are one third the length, but that’s it. The returns diminish rapidly with every new symbol.

  37. #37 David Marjanović
    September 30, 2009

    Then let me use the Argument from Stupid Design.

    Because, you see, it goes on. If you say “it only looks stupid to us because we don’t know what the designer was thinking and can’t know what the designer was thinking”, you have left science. I hope you feel comfortable out there. The ineffable, you see, cannot be tested even in principle, and is therefore unscientific. Goodbye, see you never again.

  38. #38 Joshua White
    September 30, 2009

    Rhology @ 112
    That’s a nice collection of assertions you have there. Care to actually back any of them up? If you don’t say why the comments were bad you’re useless. The only thing resembling an argument that you provide is pointing out the movie was about the Cambrian. So? If you don’t actually explain how the professor’s comment was supposed to challenge Meyer and demonstrate why it was wrong, I am left to assume that you did not understand it properly like so many other things you have demonstrably not understood. Damn you’re a lazy fuck.

    Jay @ 113
    You seem to have a nice collection of assertions too. The board seems to have lots of lazy ID supporters. OH MY GOD, SOMEONE CITED A PAPER BY A PRO ID PERSON! Oh wait that doesn’t matter. Even Behe has a couple of journal articles that are good science. Scientists are just intellectually honest so they accept the good science and complain about the bad science. But of course why let reality get in the way of a perfectly good distortion? If you don’t back up your argument, you’re full of shit too. Nice failed attempt at a rhetorical use of sarcasm at the end by the way. No one said that you can’t have a conniption; I challenge you to point out where someone said that. Hell, sometimes when I come here I’m tempted to start a comment by saying “sup /b/”. Similar to your use of misspelling.

    Rhology @119
    ToE is easy in principle to falsify, if you can actually understand what the theory actually says. If a rabbit fossil were to found be in the pre-Cambrian that would falsify evolution. If the DNA sequences and morphology of life could not be placed into nested hierarchies that would falsify evolution. Too bad you don’t actually understand what the theory of evolution says.
    Ditto for science, you still don’t know what science is. A theory is supposed to change when better data is available so that it can reflect reality better. When punctuated equilibrium was folded into evolutionary theory it did nothing to change the fact that the theory still described the fact that populations of organisms change over time, it just fleshed out the details so that now we better understand the dynamics of how that change occurs. Seriously, if the theories about atomic structure did not change when better data became available, physics would be in poor shape.

    Anyway, you gave (nor do you ever give) any reason to think a Designer couldn’t’ve laid down that DNA.

    You really are a lazy fuck aren’t you? It is not our job to prove something could not have happened. It is your job to prove that something did happen in a particular way. It is always the job of the person with the argument/hypothesis to prove it. That is how science works.
    More unsupported assertions at the end as usual. Do you actually do anything that takes effort in your life?

  39. #39 Shirakawasuna
    September 30, 2009

    “ToE is functionally unfalsifiable, b/c no matter what critique ID and/or the fossil record brings against it, you just change it.”

    I can’t believe you haven’t been corrected on this before… did you forget your lessons?

    1) ID has no valid critiques of evolutionary theory. It presents the intellectual fortitude of a typical 7th grader’s understanding of biology and adds professional PR along with bumbling idiocy.

    2) Punctuated Equilibrium isn’t a knee-jerk response to, “Oh no, these things can’t have evolved!” The only way you could have been informed in that way is if you received your biological education from unsourced and/or quotemined (and idiotic) creationist websites, *or* if you skimmed Gould’s writings and failed to comprehend the tiniest bit of his points. Punctuated Equilibrium is an idea about the rate of change and how it can fluctuate, one supported (and sometimes not supported) by fossil evidence, indicating that indeed, sometimes features arise gradually while others are abrupt *ON AN EVOLUTIONARY TIMESCALE*, which is to say still quite slow on our own familiar timescale of mere hundreds or thousands of years. Good on you, evolutionary biology, for following where the data leads to a conclusion which incidentally in no way invalidated evolutionary theory.

    I expect you to not make this mistake again, Rhology.

  40. #40 Dan L.
    September 30, 2009

    ToE is functionally unfalsifiable, b/c no matter what critique ID and/or the fossil record brings against it, you just change it. Witness the “absorption” of punctuated equilibrium into the neo-Darwinian landscape of accepted ideas. For no obvious reason really, other than “Uh oh, we better do SOMEthing, guys!”

    Explain how punctuated equilibrium is inconsistent with the theory of evolution. Hint: it isn’t. Evolution is a response of a population to a changing fitness landscape, i.e. a changing environment. A population of organisms adapted to an environment that is in some sort of equilibrium or close to it will evolve slowly if at all. A large population in an environment that has undergone some sort of cataclysmic change (e.g. nearby volcanic eruption) will likely evolve quickly or go extinct.

    The obvious reason for introducing the concept would be that there was evidence of rapid morphological changes alongside evidence of the more traditional interpretation of evolution as slow, gradual, change. The original debate began before there was much knowledge of heredity. Now that we’re sequencing genomes, it seems obvious in hindsight that evolution can happen fast, slow, or anywhere in between. When it happens fast, it looks like punctuated equilibrium. When it happens slow, it looks like gradualism. So what’s the problem, exactly?

    Anyway, you gave (nor do you ever give) any reason to think a Designer couldn’t’ve laid down that DNA. Nor do you have access to this Designer’s motivations and mind, so retreating to “well, *I* wouldn’t’ve done it that way”. Who cares what you would’ve done?

    That comes close to a perfect explanation of why ID can never be scientific. If everything that happens is the will of a designer, then probability is meaningless — everything that happens has a probability of 1. But since we can’t know the mind or motives of the designer, we can never know which events have probability of 1 or 0. We’ve gone backwards — scientific explanations can give us confidence intervals regarding the outcomes of certain experiments and observations, but all ID can do is post hoc justification.

    If part of the ID hypothesis was to impute particular motives or operational constraints on the designer, then ID would be predictive and therefore testable. In other words, it would be scientific. But since ID specifically doesn’t guess at the designer’s motives or operating conditions, it cannot be scientific. Thanks for making that clear.

    Finally, plenty of things are unfalsifiable. The laws of logic. The laws of mathematics. The scientific method. The principle of unfalsifiability itself. Seriously, I’d suggest you get a new argument.

    The laws of logic are a convention, not a theoretical explanation for empirical findings. Other logics can be formulated that are also useful or interesting in their own rights. They are internally consistent and finite, but not complete, just like any other possible logic. Essentially, the laws of logic are not some special privileged natural system. They are like any spoken language: useful, but arbitrary to the extent that they are contingent on the history of their formulation and application.

    Still, we test them by using them. If the laws of logic as we know them today weren’t useful, we wouldn’t know them today. Similar with evolution: if it was false, it would probably be falsified by now. The fact that you still have a theory to argue against shows that it’s at the very least useful in explaining empirical results (the first benchmark of a scientific theory), and very likely true.

    There are no laws of mathematics. There are axioms, or postulates, and derived statements such as theorems and corollaries. Some people think of mathematics as a science, but from my perspective having earned a mathematics degree, mathematics is actually more like a language and has more in common with the laws of logic than it does with biology or any other scientific field. Like logic, mathematics consists of various conventions, notations, and axiomatic systems and inferences within those systems. There’s no reason to expect something like that to be falsifiable any more than a statement like “the color orange is orange in color.”

    Still, individual axiomatic systems get tested for usefulness: we don’t use systems that aren’t useful. This is analogous but not identical to falsifiability in the empirical sciences.

    The scientific method is also a convention, this one procedural instead of semantic or syntactic. Like mathematics or logic, it makes no phenomenological assertions, and therefore can’t be falsified by empirical findings. However, like mathematics and logic, it can be tested for usefulness. If the scientific method didn’t lead to interesting and useful results, mankind would have abandoned it as a lost cause before it became as formalized as it is now.

    Finally, you yourself note that falsifiability is a principle, not a physical theory. Why do you expect conventions, principles, concepts in general to be falsifiable? What are falsifiable are assertions about causal or phenomenological relationships.

    The complaint that “no matter what critique ID and/or the fossil record brings against it, you just change it” is irrelevant for two reasons:
    1) It’s not enough merely to critique a theory. The critique has to constitute a valid scientific argument against the theory. I have yet to see such a thing produced in the case of evolution.
    2) Scientific theories change as new evidence discredits old formulations. Newton’s law of gravity was discredited, in particular by observations of the precession of Mercury’s orbit, and so general relativity was formulated to replace it as a theory of gravity. This did not change the fact of gravity — the fact of us sticking to the earth, e.g. Similarly, some of Darwin’s original formulation of evolution has been discredited and reformulated — heredity would be the primary example. However, the broad theoretic framework we inherit from Darwin has remained unchanged: take an environment and populate it with organisms. These organisms reproduce and the new generations imperfectly inherit traits from their parents. In this situation, we will expect to see the expression of inherited traits change over the course of many generations depending on which traits allow the organisms to better utilize the resources present in their environment.

    This is the core of the theory of evolution, and it is pretty much the only part that hasn’t changed since Darwin. It hasn’t been falsified because we KNOW it’s true — agriculture has been one huge controlled experiment demonstrating this effect. This is exactly what we’re talking about when we talk about both the theory and fact of evolution.

  41. #41 Shirakawasuna
    September 30, 2009

    Joshua White wrote, “It is always the job of the person with the argument/hypothesis to prove it. That is how science works.”

    That isn’t just how science works, it’s how reasoned debate and argument works. Rhology claims to be a fan of logic, so I recommend that he look up the term “burden of proof”.

  42. #42 Gruesome Rob
    September 30, 2009

    The tipping point between one symbol and more than one is pretty significant, though. It takes n characters to encode n in unary, but only lg n in binary, or to look at it another way, it takes exponentially more characters to represent a number in unary than in binary. Adding more symbols makes things more efficient, but only linearly – having 4 symbols instead of 2 means that encodings are half the length, and 8 symbols instead of 2 means the encodings are one third the length, but that’s it. The returns diminish rapidly with every new symbol.

    Very true, but it’s still useful from a theoretical point of view. Turing machines are still used even though they don’t resemble real computers.

    More to the point, it does validate “Information content is independent of alphabet size”. That statement is true. Now practicality and encoding sizes are completely different statements. As I said, a 1 character alphabet sure as hell isn’t practical; but it can be used as an axiom for other proofs.

  43. #43 Rhology
    September 30, 2009

    rbroughton @134 –

    How can design predict anything at all without “access to this Designer’s motivations and mind”?

    Sir, if you’d been listening, that was the exact question I asked Meyer on Monday night. To help you remember, it was the last of the public questions during the Q&A.

    And if only you were consistent enough to rebuke other Darwinists for asking that same stupid tired question with even less justification…

  44. #44 impal
    September 30, 2009

    For one thing, no Christian Jew or Muslim has ever considered G-D to be a material being made up of things…

    Jay, you are sure you want to argue with C.S. Lewis? I think he had a good way with words but wrote tame apologetic stuff that’s as strong as a piece of tissue before a blast from Russell. But really you want to argue with CS Lewis?

  45. #45 Dan L.
    September 30, 2009

    Sir, if you’d been listening, that was the exact question I asked Meyer on Monday night. To help you remember, it was the last of the public questions during the Q&A.

    And if only you were consistent enough to rebuke other Darwinists for asking that same stupid tired question with even less justification…

    So I take it you rebuke anyone you hear who makes what you consider to be an invalid criticism of evolution?

    What was Meyer’s answer to the question, by the way? Does it suggest a research program or at least a few experiments? If so, does that mean you’ll leave and come back with experimental results either supporting or discrediting ID?

  46. #46 George
    September 30, 2009

    If the amount of information is independent of the number of letters in the alphabet, then how much information can be generated in an alphabet of one character. For example, let’s say our alphabet is just the character ‘a’…. Oh wait, yes in fact it is governed by how many letters are in an alphabet….
    Given that the computer you read and typed this on only knows 2 “letters”, the only restriction on the alphabet is “more than one letter”

    And now that I think about it more, remove that “more than one letter” restriction. You can represent anything with one letter.

    Encode the contents into computer memory. Take the entire contents as one whomping big number. Send that many of the letter. Practical? Oh hell no. Possible (ignoring little things like lifetime of the universe), yeah.

    Therefore, information content is totally independent of size of the alphabet and things can be encoded in even 1 letter.

    I agree that you can represent anything with one letter/character, I do not agree that you can represent everything with one letter/character. There would be no way to differentiate each thing if they were all denoted as the same character.
    One thing can be encoded in one letter/character. You would need more than one letter to encode anything else. This is precisely why our computers have more than one bit of storage. Thus the amount of information content is not independent of the the alphabet used to encode the information. The amount of information you can encode on an alphabet depends directly on how many characters are contained in the alphabet. You argue that you can use one letter to encode all of the information, this is only possible if you say that one letter represents everything. Then the information content is still directly dependent upon the alphabet used to encode it. This is what I was trying to point out in the first place. Meyers, says it’s independent when clearly it isn’t.

  47. #47 Nomen Nescio
    September 30, 2009

    ToE is functionally unfalsifiable, b/c no matter what critique ID and/or the fossil record brings against it, you just change it.

    sort of like how Newton’s classical mechanics was “functionally unfalsifiable”, because no matter what critique Einstein brought against it, those gol-durned physicists just changed it?

    evolutionary biology provides the best explanation known — and one amazingly good explanation, at that — for most every fact in and about how life looks and functions. if you want us to just toss out such a very good explanation wholesale, you’d better give us a really DAMN good reason to.

    otherwise, if all you have is a nit here or a quibble there — damn straight we’re gonna tweak the best theory we’ve got so as to accommodate the minor detail you’re bringing up. so long as that’s a viable strategy at all, we’d be damn fools to start over from scratch when we could instead build gradually on what is arguably the best tested framework in the natural sciences.

    caveman Ug: “looky! me invent wheel!”
    caveman Oog: “that not wheel. is chipped here at edge. wheel must be round, this not round.”
    Ug: “me smooth out edge, make round, is wheel!”
    Oog: “you impossible! never admit wrong! always just change what you got, claim you right!” [hits Ug over the head with big club]

    and that’s why cdesign proponentsists still haven’t managed to invent the wheel.

  48. #48 386sx
    September 30, 2009

    Anyway, you gave (nor do you ever give) any reason to think a Designer couldn’t’ve laid down that DNA.

    There isn’t any. Okay, I guess your work is done now. Well done. Bye I guess!! Good job.

  49. #49 Rhology
    September 30, 2009

    Dan L. @145 –
    So I take it you rebuke anyone you hear who makes what you consider to be an invalid criticism of evolution?

    1) Yes. Such as the “entropy invalidates evolution” argument, forgetting that Earth is not a closed system. It’s in everyone’s best interest to stop one’s friends and allies from using bad arguments if you think that your side has good arguments they *could* be using.
    2) Even if I didn’t, that would not invalidate the inconsistency I cited.
    3) I’m some blogger schmo, not an Assistant Prof of Zoo at a major state(-funded) university. With increased visibility and power come increased necessity to be consistent and to use arguments that are actually substantive.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  50. #50 Dan L.
    September 30, 2009

    1) Yes. Such as the “entropy invalidates evolution” argument, forgetting that Earth is not a closed system. It’s in everyone’s best interest to stop one’s friends and allies from using bad arguments if you think that your side has good arguments they *could* be using.

    Do you rebuke every single person who makes the argument? Of course not. That would be an absurd demand, right? Maybe I’m wrong, but that seemed to be what you were getting at with your “it would be nice…” comment. That any person using that argument ever constitutes a failure on the part of every person supporting the same premise. Again, absurd. Please correct me if this isn’t what you meant.

    2) Even if I didn’t, that would not invalidate the inconsistency I cited.

    Which inconsistency? I’m afraid it wasn’t clear from your post.

    3) I’m some blogger schmo, not an Assistant Prof of Zoo at a major state(-funded) university. With increased visibility and power come increased necessity to be consistent and to use arguments that are actually substantive.

    But again, no matter one’s “visibility and power,” it’s absurd to expect one to criticize every proponent of an invalid argument. I really don’t understand what your criticism is since you seem to be criticizing people who don’t make the argument as opposed to the people who do. What are you on about?

  51. #51 Rhology
    September 30, 2009

    Dan L,
    Everyone *I encounter* who uses bad arguments, and thus on through. I can only speculate as to what would cause you to miss the point that badly.

  52. #52 Shirakawasuna
    September 30, 2009

    I haven’t seen you do much criticism of Jay, Rhology, and he makes moronic arguments and seems quite proud of his ignorance.

    But it really doesn’t matter, this is *your* unnecessary criticism of “Darwinists” (again, dishonest term) and a deviation from the points that have been made. I haven’t seen you point out a single bad argument made against creationists or God, only silly excuses that miss the intention of said arguments (i.e. no one pretends to have a universal disproof of God, the concept is so fuzzy and floppy that you can escape any criticism with enough intellectual gymnastics).

  53. #53 Hypatia's Daughter
    September 30, 2009

    #140 Dan L.

    However, the broad theoretic framework we inherit from Darwin has remained unchanged: take an environment and populate it with organisms. These organisms reproduce and the new generations imperfectly inherit traits from their parents. In this situation, we will expect to see the expression of inherited traits change over the course of many generations depending on which traits allow the organisms to better utilize the resources present in their environment.

    Which is how creationist explain how “bad” organisms now exist. That’s why we have parasites & disease. God made everything “good” but some things degraded over time after the Fall. All those “kind” evolved into the multitude of species in only a few hundred years after the Flood. They believe in “micoevolution” – but at a rate of mutation that would make your head spin.
    That’s why creationist, at the heart of their babble, are really (GASP!) Darwinists!

  54. #54 Dan L.
    September 30, 2009

    Everyone *I encounter* who uses bad arguments, and thus on through. I can only speculate as to what would cause you to miss the point that badly.

    No need for speculation: pretend you’re not you and reread your post. Is it clear from context what your criticism is? I wasn’t at the Q&A, but as much as I can gather at this point, someone asked a dumb question and you’re criticizing the evolution proponents in attendance for not shouting the young man down. Again, absurd. In a different setting, it would make sense for a member of the “same team” to correct his misconceptions, but this was a question directed to a speaker. It would have been rude to both Meyer and the questioner for anyone in the audience to interrupt the exchange.

    I can only speculate as to why you’ve ignored all the substantive arguments I’ve made on this thread and chosen to hash this out.

  55. #55 Tyler DiPietro
    September 30, 2009

    “Finally, plenty of things are unfalsifiable. The laws of logic. The laws of mathematics. The scientific method. The principle of unfalsifiability itself. Seriously, I’d suggest you get a new argument.”

    And I’d suggest you write something other than sanctimonious gibberish about topics you clearly have no understanding of. First of all, there are no “laws of logic” or “laws of mathematics”, there are axiomatic systems in which propositions are either true, false or undecidable. “Law” is a term used in science to generalize behavioral properties. There is also no one “scientific method”, there are various heuristics that approximate the framework of Solomonoff induction and MDLI, which have both been established through analytical deduction. The notion that something has to be falsifiable to qualify as science does not itself have to be falsifiable qua science, and thus this common retort represents a lame argument against it.

  56. #56 Marcel Kincaid
    October 1, 2009

    BTW, wikipedia is willing to claim that much of the DNA out there is junk.

    ID predicts otherwise I suppose. Oh wait, ID does not put forward any predictions. Oops.

    Jay you ignorant slut. It’s inevitable that proponents of ID make various predictions. But what counts in science are the predictions made by a theory or hypothesis, not predictions made by people — that is, falsifiable empirical statements that are logically entailed by the theory or hypothesis. ID is simply the assertion that some biological systems are too complex to have evolved and therefore must have been designed, and that assertion does not logically entail any falsifiable empirical statements — certainly not about Junk DNA. (It does logically entail some empirical statements, such as “some biological system did not evolve” and “there exists or existed some designer of a biological system”, but such existentials aren’t falsifiable.)

  57. #57 Marcel Kincaid
    October 1, 2009

    I do not agree that you can represent everything with one letter/character. There would be no way to differentiate each thing if they were all denoted as the same character.

    Sigh. No one is talking about denoting as one character, but rather with one character. As was stated in the post you responded to, everything can be represented, by using different length strings of the single character. The technical term for this is “base 1 notation”.

  58. #58 Marcel Kincaid
    October 1, 2009

    Meyers, says it’s independent when clearly it isn’t.

    On this matter (but not much else) Meyers is quite correct: the number of symbols in an alphabet is irrelevant (as long as it’s greater than zero). They teach this sort of thing in kindergarten nowadays.

  59. #59 Marcel Kincaid
    October 1, 2009

    The tipping point between one symbol and more than one is pretty significant, though. It takes n characters to encode n in unary, but only lg n in binary, or to look at it another way, it takes exponentially more characters to represent a number in unary than in binary. Adding more symbols makes things more efficient, but only linearly – having 4 symbols instead of 2 means that encodings are half the length, and 8 symbols instead of 2 means the encodings are one third the length, but that’s it. The returns diminish rapidly with every new symbol.

    Um, it takes log1n symbols to encode n in unary, log2n symbols to encode n in binary, log3n symbols to encode n with 3 symbols, etc.

  60. #60 Marcel Kincaid
    October 1, 2009

    Such as the “entropy invalidates evolution” argument, forgetting that Earth is not a closed system.

    The argument would be completely invalid even if the Earth were a closed system.

    It’s in everyone’s best interest to stop one’s friends and allies from using bad arguments if you think that your side has good arguments they *could* be using.

    Yeah, but it’s only in the interests of intellectually honest people to stop using bad arguments even when your side doesn’t have any good arguments … as is the case for ID.

  61. #61 Marcel Kincaid
    October 1, 2009

    ToE is functionally unfalsifiable, b/c no matter what critique ID and/or the fossil record brings against it, you just change it. Witness the “absorption” of punctuated equilibrium into the neo-Darwinian landscape of accepted ideas. For no obvious reason really, other than “Uh oh, we better do SOMEthing, guys!”

    Why does anyone waste their time on this pathetically dishonest, stupid, and ignorant jackass?

  62. #62 Marcel Kincaid
    October 1, 2009

    Anyway, you gave (nor do you ever give) any reason to think a Designer couldn’t’ve laid down that DNA.

    There aren’t any reasons to think a designer couldn’t have, moron, only reasons to think a designer didn’t … because what we observe is what we would expect if there were no designer.

  63. #63 Marcel Kincaid
    October 1, 2009

    Finally, plenty of things are unfalsifiable. The laws of logic. The laws of mathematics. The scientific method. The principle of unfalsifiability itself. Seriously, I’d suggest you get a new argument.

    Logic, mathematics, the scientific method, and the principle of falsifiability aren’t scientific theories, cretin.

  64. #64 Marcel Kincaid
    October 1, 2009

    Ask about Hox genes and gene duplication (and then go into a tizzy when challenged on why a Designer just couldn’t conceivably want to do it that way)?

    All sorts of things are conceivable, but that’s no reason to believe them or even consider them, moron.

    Ask why a Designer would make it so humans share lots of similar genes with other organisms? (Dunno, maybe b/c they work well and the Designer doesn’t like to reinvent the wheel every time? Maybe?)

    Maybe, but almost certainly not, because of the detailed relationships among those genes that you are completely unaware of, you unschooled ignoramus.

    Maybe the fact that you don’t know anything about science or evolution is a reason to think that nothing you say about it is correct.

  65. #65 Tyler DiPietro
    October 1, 2009

    “Um, it takes log1n symbols to encode n in unary, log2n symbols to encode n in binary, log3n symbols to encode n with 3 symbols, etc.”

    The logarithm to base 1 is undefined, since for it to be defined the ratio logax/loga1 would have to be defined. However, that would require division by zero.

  66. #66 Rhology
    October 1, 2009

    Tyler DiPietro @155 –

    First of all, there are no “laws of logic” or “laws of mathematics”

    Maybe we’re just using different terms for the same thing.
    Let me ask it a different way – the law of identity, of non-contradiction, and of excluded middle: are these descriptive and normative for all things, all propositions, all events, all statements, everywhere and at all times?

    The notion that something has to be falsifiable to qualify as science does not itself have to be falsifiable qua science

    1) You forgot to add “…because I say so” at the end of that.
    2) So why use the principle of falsifiability as the sledgehammer that Darwinists so often think it is? (Or perhaps you don’t agree with that?)

    Peace,
    Rhology

  67. #67 impal
    October 1, 2009

    Rhology,

    Falsifiability is one of the minor tools that scientists use to clobber creationism/new-old, that too in argument. If you knew how scientists worked you wouldn’t ask such a question. In fact if a PhD candidate were to face questions on falsifiability during a progress review it would indicate that the research project is off the rails, or that the student is a closet creationist/quack trying to game the system.

  68. #68 Tyler DiPietro
    October 1, 2009

    “Let me ask it a different way – the law of identity, of non-contradiction, and of excluded middle: are these descriptive and normative for all things, all propositions, all events, all statements, everywhere and at all times?”

    They aren’t laws, they’re tautologies: there exists no logical possibility of them being false under the axioms of propositional logic. Conversely, there are things that are necessarily false (such as “this cube is spherical” or “this bachelor is married”). The claims of intelligent design, by contrast, are contingent: there exists the distinct possibility of them being false. That is why being unfalsifiable is problematic.

    “You forgot to add “…because I say so” at the end of that.”

    Um, no. You’re failing to make an elementary distinction between claims that are true about science and claims that are true qua science. Philosophy of science uses meta-scientific reasoning that can be contested on its own terms, which you’re absolutely failing to do.

  69. #69 Rhology
    October 1, 2009

    Tyler,

    Yes, that’s right about the laws of logic. Now, are these laws/tautologies material or immaterial? Did they arise? How? When? If they did not arise and are eternal, how did they precede the origin of matter and energy? How were logical statements possible before the advent of human minds to make them?

    Philosophy of science uses meta-scientific reasoning that can be contested on its own terms, which you’re absolutely failing to do.

    So presumably you agree that the scientific method and the experience of the senses are not the only ways to discover truth?
    (I have to ask these seemingly basic questions b/c so many Darwinists get them badly wrong. This is what bamboozled poor Professor Hutchison so much on Tuesday night.)

  70. #70 Eric Saveau
    October 1, 2009

    Now, are these laws/tautologies material or immaterial? Did they arise? How? When? If they did not arise and are eternal, how did they precede the origin of matter and energy? How were logical statements possible before the advent of human minds to make them?

    What the fuck does any of this word salad even mean??! It’s as if RhoBot is randomly pulling phrases out of Bullshit Generator 0.7a.

  71. #71 Tyler DiPietro
    October 1, 2009

    “How were logical statements possible before the advent of human minds to make them?”

    This is a deeper ontological discussion that I’ll be glad to have if you feel like opening that can of worms. But it’s not really pertinent to the necessity of falsifiability. See below:

    “So presumably you agree that the scientific method and the experience of the senses are not the only ways to discover truth?”

    No, they aren’t.

    Specifically, there are several formal methods of reasoning, and any real world cognition is an approximation to one of them.

    Where applicable, we like to use the strongest method of reasoning, which is deduction using either just the basic axioms of propositional calculus or any higher order logic. The inference rules in such a system are validity preserving, so the transitivity of truth from premises to conclusion are guaranteed.

    Unfortunately, such a system is actually applicable in fairly rare situations. So where we can’t use inference rules that are validity preserving, we use inference rules that are justification preserving. Defeasible logic, which I mentioned earlier, is a formal system that models such reasoning. Solomonoff induction, PAC learning and MDLI model induction, which is what science uses in most cases.

    It’s crucial that most real world science is actually an approximation to these ideal, formal systems. It is in that sense that falsifiability becomes a crucial criterion for a proposition or hypothesis to be worth considering. A case where a proposition or hypothesis is unfalsifiable is a case where the inference rules are no longer applicable, and thus no longer preserve justification. So we see that while the claim is contingent (it may be true or false), there is no way to give a positive justification.

  72. #72 Dan L.
    October 2, 2009

    Sigh. No one is talking about denoting as one character, but rather with one character. As was stated in the post you responded to, everything can be represented, by using different length strings of the single character. The technical term for this is “base 1 notation”.

    Marcel:

    Wouldn’t you need a stop character to tell one word from another in “base 1″ notation?

  73. #73 Dan L.
    October 2, 2009

    Rhology:

    How were logical statements possible before the advent of human minds to make them?

    They weren’t. Logical (and illogical) statements can’t possibly be made until there is someone to state them.

    Now, are these laws/tautologies material or immaterial?

    Is Microsoft Windows material or immaterial?

  74. #74 Tyler DiPietro
    October 2, 2009

    The only possibility for a single character alphabet to express numbers exists for the integers and proper subsets thereof. There is no way to represent the full set of reals with one character.

  75. #75 Brian Biggs
    October 3, 2009

    impal,

    your response to Rhology amounts to “that’s not how we operate around here.” That’s not much of an answer or retort.

    I’m not familiar with the PhD process… when you say that a PhD candidate facing questions of falsifiability would show that something is wrong (with the student or program), do you mean that the student is asked questions concerning falsifiability and answers poorly? Or is the fact that he is asked questions at all an indication that he has poor views on falsification?

  76. #76 Shirakawasuna
    October 3, 2009

    Brian Biggs, impal was saying that if falsifiability is coming up for a PhD candidate during a review, there are some serious problems with their research (which probably should’ve been apparent from the beginning). It’s something so easy and integral that you do it automatically if you’re going to have productive research: you have to come up with something to test and you have to know what the null hypothesis, that is what would happen if there were no effect (hypothesis is unsupported).

    This is reeeeeeally basic stuff.

  77. #77 Shirakawasuna
    October 3, 2009

    It seems Rhology has not yet realized that asking for falsifiability to be falsifiable is stupid. Let me inform you that it is and that perhaps you should take 20 seconds to think about why, something you presumably forgot to do when you got the inkling of a gotcha.

    Falsifiability is used in science because it’s productive: it reduces some of the problems introduced by induction. Empirical claims which can not be falsified (by definition) lack verifiability with respect to alternative explanations. Crap, I did the work for you. I guess I’ll have to blame you when you miss the point in the future (you know it’s coming).

    Oh wait, nevermind, if falsifiability isn’t falsifiable it can’t be science nya nya.

  78. #78 Tyler DiPietro
    October 3, 2009

    I contend that the Dead Parrot sketch on Monty Python’s Flying Circus would have been the same in spirit, though much less funny, if you replaced Michael Palin’s character with Rhology.

    “What possible evidence could be inconsistent with this parrot pinin’ for the fjords?”

  79. #79 Brian Biggs
    October 4, 2009

    Shirakawasuna,

    Empirical claims which can not be falsified (by definition) lack verifiability with respect to alternative explanations.

    All empirical claims? Is strict falsification applied to ongoing phenomenon, or is it also applied to theories concerning unique, unobserved events in the distant past?

    Would incongruities or absurdities in the fossil record be able to falsify modern evolutionary thought? Would an inconsistency such as, I don’t know, a Precambrian rabbit falsify it? Dr. Westrop didn’t think so. What would it take to falsify the modern synthesis?

  80. #80 Shirakawasuna
    October 4, 2009

    Brian Biggs, I said it applied to empirical *claims*, not empirical events. A Precambrian rabbit would go a long ways to falsifying common descent, although realistically a single fossil would constitute an outlier rather than ‘OMG rethink everything!’ The fact that the fossil record gives us such a nice pattern, largely confirmed through molecular phylogenies, is a not-so-subtle hint that creationists are fighting against the empirical evidence itself, whether they know it or not. In case you’re missing the relation here, those phylogenies come out in particular ways and overlap, something predicted by common descent (part of evolutionary theory) and open to falsification (they wouldn’t need to overlap).

    I don’t think I need to explain what would falsify common descent, it’s easy to figure it out from the explanation above and you (should) learn the value of independent overlapping data and the dearth of evidence for the denialists, to boot.

  81. #81 John Scanlon, FCD
    October 4, 2009

    Rhology #73,

    Got an example of my being dishonest? Direct quotes will suffice

    Here you go (Rhology #119):

    ToE is functionally unfalsifiable, b/c no matter what critique ID and/or the fossil record brings against it, you just change it. Witness the “absorption” of punctuated equilibrium into the neo-Darwinian landscape of accepted ideas. For no obvious reason really, other than “Uh oh, we better do SOMEthing, guys!”

    That’s definitive, unless you admit to being stupid enough to actually believe that.

    Dan L. #140,

    Now that we’re sequencing genomes, it seems obvious in hindsight that evolution can happen fast, slow, or anywhere in between.

    …exactly like Darwin said (“I do not suppose that the process ever goes on so regularly as is represented in the diagram, though in itself made somewhat irregular, nor that it goes on continuously; it is far more probable that each form remains for long periods unaltered, and then again undergoes modification.” – Origin of Species Ch IV)

    What would it take to falsify the modern synthesis?

    More than you’ve got, BB.

  82. #82 slpage
    October 4, 2009

    Brian Biggs wrote:
    “Once you remarked, “he [Meyer] isn’t a biologist, he doesn’t understand.”

    As if that were necessarily a bad thing.

    Dembski has denigrated and used as an excuse to ignore criticisms of his claims by Richard Wein since Wein ‘only’ has a BS is mathematics, while He, Dembski, has a P\hD and all.

    Is it OK for Dembski to employ credentialism to ignore criticisms from people in his own field but not ok for biologists to identify and criticize errors made by non-biologists when speaking of biology?

  83. #83 Shirakawasuna
    October 4, 2009

    Notice that Rhology never responded to the clarifications of what Punctuated Equilibrium was and how he was wrong, preferring to steam ahead with some other burning stupid or gotcha claim he could think up. If presenting such an ignorant idea of punk eek isn’t dishonest, his behavior afterwards is.

  84. #84 Travis
    October 4, 2009

    I guess Rhology only corrects other people who are wrong, Shirakawasuna. Admitting that he was wrong is just asking for too much.

  85. #85 Brian Biggs
    October 4, 2009

    @ Shirakawasuna

    Sorry, I wasn’t very clear or articulate in 179… Is falsification a strict necessity for claims or hypotheses about events or processes in the distant past?

    although realistically a single fossil would constitute an outlier rather than ‘OMG rethink everything!’

    So, upon encountering a pre-cambrian rabbit, would the scientists:

    A) Assume the modern synthesis falsified
    B) Ignore it
    C) Declare it an unexplained obscurity
    D) Modify current the theory or hypothesis
    E) Something else?

    Also, should I take your saying that the fossil record, along with phylogenetics is ” a not-so-subtle hint that creationists are fighting against the empirical evidence itself” to mean that creationist or design theorist claims are shown to be wrong by this?

    @ slpage

    Again, I only brought up what Vic had said because it seemed he was claiming he never said anything like that. And I don’t think sheer credentialism or credentialism in itself is valid, regardless of who is arguing it. Pointing out that someone doesn’t understand something is fine, but it should be explained where the misunderstanding lies rather than stating the reason as such and such a person doesn’t have a degree in that field.

  86. #86 Shirakawasuna
    October 4, 2009

    Yes, Brian Biggs, falsification is required for scientific claims about what happened in the past. This applies for the distant past and the recent past, although sometimes the argument is skipped because it’s so obvious. If it’s an untestable hypothesis, it’s speculation that *might* lead to something testable (falsifiable), but nothing will be moved forward and certainty hasn’t changed in the slightest.

    The answer to your question depends upon the actual specimen. If it weren’t clear, it would be C. If it strongly pointed to a very old age, it would be F) cause scientists to reconsider the dating method and study the entire area for its potential contributions to our understanding of how that happened (as common descent is so very well evidenced, despite your desire to focus only on a hypothetical event of falsification which hasn’t come close to happening). In other words, they’d do *precisely* what you would expect: weigh the evidence and see whether an apparent contradiction carries the weight of falsification. Sometimes, in general, it might if the context is strong enough. However, this situation hasn’t occurred because common descent is true. It’s tested every time a new fossil is found and categorized, every time phylogenies are generated from separate genes and *overlap*. One has to wonder why you’re so stuck on an implausible event that would be handled quite reasonably and in line with the scientific method when all of the evidence against your hopes exists and is easily accessible.

    My statement about creationists is what I said: they are fighting against the evidence itself because they don’t know wtf they are doing. They haven’t thought it through, they just go for what’s easy and sounds favorable to their position. And yes, creationists are often wrong about phylogenies and common descent, although I was being more specific. ID types are so bad that they aren’t even wrong: their ideas require such an absence of thought that it’s astounding any even exist. At least creationists have a clear and open dedication to their religion.

  87. #87 Shirakawasuna
    October 4, 2009

    Just to make sure you’re understanding, Brian, the lack of fossil rabbits in the precambrian is monumental. The particulars of fossils can be difficult to piece together, but on the whole the pattern holds up extremely well, on the order of thousands and thousands of fossils fitting neatly into place, almost as if common ancestry were true. A single fossil in the ‘wrong’ place would measure against that. If common descent were not true, we would expect a lot of rabbits in the precambrian, so to speak, as opposed to a hypothetical single fossil.

  88. #88 Shirakawasuna
    October 4, 2009

    Last note: we’ve been assuming a situation where there’s evidence for creationist claims, Brian. Don’t get too comfortable there ;).

  89. #89 Brian Biggs
    October 4, 2009

    @ Shirakawasuna

    Thank you for taking the time to explain your position clearly to me and answering my questions. That being said…

    So, modern evolutionary thought is based upon thousands and thousands of fossils fitting neatly into place; and a “single fossil in the ‘wrong’ place would measure against that.” Meaning that a precambrian rabbit wouldn’t carry “the weight of falsification.”

    On the other hand,justfinethanks @ 126 said

    Of course there are lots of ways you could easily falsify evolution.

    1) Pre cambrian rabbit

    And Joshua White @ 138 said

    ToE is easy in principle to falsify, if you can actually understand what the theory actually says. If a rabbit fossil were to found be in the pre-Cambrian that would falsify evolution.

    Shirakawasuna, you didn’t correct either of them. They said it would easily falsify ToE, which seems to be VERY contrary to what you have presented to me. I also know that you read Joshua White, as you quote from that very comment @ 141.

    Now, it seems that if you were simply trying to correct error you would likely have corrected them. On the other hand, if you simply wanted to attack Rho because he’s not on your side then your commenting and lack of commenting make sense. And, lest you think I have not disagreed with or have attempted to correct other Christians I thought to be in error, simply go through the comments at the ou daily. Though I primarily argue with atheists on there, I have occasionally agreed with atheists and disagreed with Christians and other theists. For an example of this, see Josh Huff’s column on the existence of God.

    Now, I don’t mean to focus on you entirely: no one else corrected them either. Or… perhaps justfinethanks and/or Joshua White would like to correct you at this time… However, I highly doubt it. And, after reading impal’s comment, I hope that neither one of them is a PhD candidate, as they seem to think it would only take one fossil to overthrow the ToE.

  90. #90 Shirakawasuna
    October 5, 2009

    Brian Biggs, their faults are minor and almost interchangeable with my claim: I said that one *could* strongly challenge common descent *if* it were very convincingly ‘out of place’. And strongly challenging an idea is precisely what a falsification is. They have the right idea, they could even have the right specifics and merely used the simpler version rhetorically. They don’t labor under serious and arrogant misapprehensions about an entire field of science. If I consider it important in the future, I’ll correct them. Otherwise, it’s really not worth the time: they’re on the right track.

    It seems you’ve missed the entire point of the PhD checkpoint discussion again, Brian… my explanation does not result in common descent being unfalsifiable, nor does having an ever-so-slight error (likely, not being enough of a pedant) concerning a particular extremely well-established theory damn their competence. On the other hand, if you haven’t a clue what falsification is (like say… tons of creationists here) or ignored it, you could easily run into problems with doing basic research.

    So, no rabbits in the Precambrian.

  91. #91 386sx
    October 5, 2009

    Yeah, still no rabbits in the Precambrian! Lol.

    Does Brian Biggs have any falsifications in mind? Maybe he just likes rhetorical falsifications. :D

    Still waiting for Brian Biggs to reveal how butt-ignorant he is of “naturalism”. (Yeah I know, won’t happen.)

  92. #92 Rhology
    October 5, 2009

    Tyler @168 –
    there exists no logical possibility of them being false under the axioms of propositional logic

    Unfalsifiable. So plenty of things can be true, like the laws of logic and mathematics, w/o being falsifiable. Thank you.
    And true things aren’t falsifiable either. I don’t expect to encounter sthg that proves Christianity, for example, incorrect, b/c it’s true. There may be ways it COULD be falsified, but those ways don’t exist. And you are the same w.r.t. ToE.

    You’re failing to make an elementary distinction between claims that are true about science and claims that are true qua science.

    Ah yes, because YOU say so.
    I’m personally more interested in what is true, rather than strictly speaking what is “scientific”. It’s the same argument Ruse made when he debated Dembski at OU most recently (a terrible debate on both sides, BTW). He straight up said, multiple times, that he was there to discuss whether ID was science, not whether it was true. Pitiful.
    That’s certainly what it seems like you’re saying too.

    And I’m glad you’re not a strict empiricist (like Vic) b/c that’s completely irrational.

    It’s crucial that most real world science is actually an approximation to these ideal, formal systems.

    Well, if you’re a scientific realist.
    Anyway, to make sure we’re all on the same page, what I hear you saying is that falsifiability is crucial, except when it’s not. Great, thanks. This is hardly a rebuttal, and besides, the falsifiability thing is brought up by Darwinists. You’re in effect responding (badly) to an ID rebuttal of the Darwinist “rebuttal” to ID. I bring up things that are unfalsifiable and which you accept anyway to show you that this is not a tool you wield consistently.
    When it comes to falsifying ID, you could falsify theism and you’d be in GREAT shape. Maybe you could make a coherent case for materialism…

    Shirakawasuna @183
    Rhology never responded to the clarifications of what Punctuated Equilibrium was and how he was wrong

    “Relatively faster” is not how the CambrExp went. Darwin would’ve thought, if he were consistent with his OoSpecies thinking, that ToE was false if he lived today and knew what we know, your ad hoc gyrations to preserve the hypothesis in the face of contrary evidence notwithstanding.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  93. #93 Stephen Wells
    October 5, 2009

    Rhology, out of interest, how do you think the “CambrExp” went? And why would Darwin have thought that the theory of evolution by natural selection was false?

  94. #94 Joshua White
    October 5, 2009

    @ Brian Biggs

    It might make things simpler if falsifiability were restated a bit.

    What falsifiability means is that it must be possible to find evidence that proves a scientific explanation for a phenomenon wrong in principle.

    In the broadest sense evolution is genetic changes in populations over time. That description implies a series of populations that are slightly different from one another, that can be placed into an order or nested set that reveals their relatedness (evolutionary tree). This set can be created using morphology or DNA sequence, but all other methods of confirming the set should give consistent results. For example dating methods should should show that populations predicted by the nested set to be younger should date younger and opposite for the old populations.

    When we say that a pre-cambrian rabbit would falsify evolution, we mean that a an animal that is predicted to have evolved within the last 50 million years being dated to strata 500 million years old would clearly be a challenge for evolutionary theory.

    Now you need to be careful with where your most recent posts seem to be going. It is true that there are “trees” being made that disagree with one another, but these are trees that involve closely related family members. For creatures more distantly related we are not seeing these problems. It is most likely that what is needed to resolve these conflicting trees is better methods of constructing these trees.

    In reality however it is larger patterns and repeatability that determine our scientific understanding of the world. When we say “pre-cambrian rabbit” that is mostly a simple slogan like statement chosen for its quick and dirty impact in an argument rather than it’s real effect on the scientific view of evolution. When we say “pre-cambrian rabbit”, what me mean is that when the research for evolution was being collected it was in principle possible that none of the fossils or DNA sequences could have ended up fitting into neat trees. But it did not end up that way. All the data supports the overall picture of relatedness that we are getting from the trees. The only disagreement is from the more closely related members. An analogy would be if a billion years from now you were studying life now. It would be easy to see how canines, bovines bats, and humans fit into the picture, but trying to see if wolves and raccoons represent cousin populations or parent and progeny populations is more difficult. If we really found a rabbit in the pre-cambrian it would be physicists who would want to see it because in the face of the overwhelming evidence of evolution, time travel would seem more plausible. In order to falsify evolution now every subsequent organism (or a majority) studied from this point on would have to not fit into any existing evolutionary tree, or possible tree. But that is simply not realistically going to happen. Evolution in it’s broadest sense could have been falsified, but was not. Now the only things to be potentially falsified are the arguments for how evolution is occurring.

    Falsifiability being falsifiable would mean it should be possible to prove wrong the contention “it should be possible to prove something wrong”. Do you guys see why that makes no sense now?

    Also just for the record Shirakawasuna is correct. When I said that evolution was “easy to falsify” what I should have said was “conceptually easy to falsify” or “easy to falsify in principle”. What I meant is that for someone who understands evolutionary theory and it’s implications, it is easy to imagine data that could falsify it. I did not mean to be confusing and I will try to be more precise from now on.

    @ Rhology


    You’re failing to make an elementary distinction between claims that are true about science and claims that are true qua science.

    Ah yes, because YOU say so.

    Actually no. When science as a process was being worked out it seemed obvious that it was valuable for ones experiments to be proven wrong by the results in principle. That is if one actually cares about determining what reality is really like instead of proposing bullshit experiments that only give results that either end up neutral or positive towards ones own experiments. Like creationists. ALL scientists that I have ever met propose experiments are falsifiable.

    …what I hear you saying is that falsifiability is crucial, except when it’s not. Great, thanks.

    Where does Shirakawasuna say that falsifiability is not crucial? She says that the “argument is skipped over” on occasion. But I am pretty certain that what she means by that is that falsifiability is so ingrained into our thinking processes for experimental design, that it is assumed and not mentioned unless someone else sees a proposed experiment that is unfalsifiable. That would be a rare occurrence that I have never personally encountered. It would be like an electrical engineer designing a circuit, but not assuming a complete path for electron flow in his design.

    It does not surprise me that you are interested in “truth” more than what is “scientific”. Truth has a way of being deceptive about reality. For example is it true that vanilla is better than choclate? Not absolutely, that truth, like so many others changes depending on who you talk to. Science is a systematic way of studying the world that aims to inform us about what reality is really like, as well as technology allows, and independent of opinions. What science determines becomes cold hard fact over time if no better data become available as our techniques and knowledge improves. I will take fact and reality as data that informs my world and morals over weak truth any day.

  95. #95 Joshua White
    October 5, 2009

    @ scripto

    Thanks! I’m in Texas though. At least I can help where it is most needed lol.

  96. #96 Rhology
    October 5, 2009

    Joshua White @194 –
    When science as a process was being worked out it seemed obvious that it was valuable for ones experiments to be proven wrong by the results in principle.

    Fine, but we’ve already seen that the principle of falsifiability (PoF) is discarded when it doesn’t fit in. You bring it up as a rebuttal; I’m pointing out that you apply it inconsistently. I agree it’s useful in general, but not always.

    Where does Shirakawasuna say that falsifiability is not crucial?

    Tyler DiPiero said that. I’m not at all sure that Shirakawasuna has even followed that convo with any comprehension.

    It does not surprise me that you are interested in “truth” more than what is “scientific”.

    Good, then I have at least been able to communicate that much. I wonder why you put “truth” in quotes, though… you’re not some kind of relativist, are you?

    Truth has a way of being deceptive about reality.

    Bwahahahahaha, nice. So tell me, is that statement true, or is it being deceptive?

    Peace,
    Rhology

  97. #97 Tyler DiPietro
    October 5, 2009

    “Unfalsifiable. So plenty of things can be true, like the laws of logic and mathematics, w/o being falsifiable. Thank you.”

    *facepalm*

    The claim that something is a tautology is falsifiable. Set up a truth table for the proposition and see if it is satisfiable regardless of truth assignment to the variables. What I’m saying, and what you’re completely missing, is that once we know a statement to be tautological we know a priori that there is no possibility of it being false. Thus it doesn’t have to be empirically falsifiable.

    “Well, if you’re a scientific realist.”

    I happen to be one, as I suspect most of the posters here are.

    “I’m personally more interested in what is true, rather than strictly speaking what is “scientific”.”

    But you’ve provided no criterion for discerning what is true other than that such a thing being consistent with your preconceived worldview.

    “You’re in effect responding (badly) to an ID rebuttal of the Darwinist “rebuttal” to ID. I bring up things that are unfalsifiable and which you accept anyway to show you that this is not a tool you wield consistently.”

    I am wielding it consistently, you’re just bringing up cases completely irrelevant given the criteria I’ve set forth.

  98. #98 Joshua White
    October 5, 2009

    @ Rhology

    Fine, but we’ve already seen that the principle of falsifiability (PoF) is discarded when it doesn’t fit in. You bring it up as a rebuttal; I’m pointing out that you apply it inconsistently. I agree it’s useful in general, but not always.

    Where is it applied inconsistantly? I need an example.

    Good, then I have at least been able to communicate that much. I wonder why you put “truth” in quotes, though… you’re not some kind of relativist, are you?

    It depends on the specifics. On statements of fact I am not a relativist. I am not a relativist when it comes to the fact that methane has four C-H bonds in a tetrahedral configuration.

    For explanations that have been supported by data for so long that they are treated by the scientific community as facts I am only a relativist as a matter of principle, but for the sake of getting work done I act as if I am not a relativist. I just keep in mind that strictly speaking, new data could still appear.

    When it comes to things like morals and opinions, I am a relativist. I put “truth” in quotes because the popular usage of the word is often equated with fact, especially among some religious individuals. I regard the use of the word as dangerous in conversations because of the many times that individuals have used “vanilla vs. chocolate” truths as if they were “ATP has three phosphates and ADP has two phosphates” truths.

    Bwahahahahaha, nice. So tell me, is that statement true, or is it being deceptive?

    Oh no, you’re not getting me into one of those, lol!

  99. #99 Joshua White
    October 5, 2009

    After my last post I think I should clarify something. When I say I am a relativist on morality I mean that when you look at morality and and human behavior in general, morality looks relative in the general sense I have seen no issue that all humans agree on so I do not believe in absolute morality. Individual people will be relativistic or not on specific moral issues for various reasons. There are specific issues I am relativistic towards and other that I am not. This is a bit OT though.

    From this point on I may not respond until tomorrow due to beer. Or I may, you have been warned.

  100. #100 Rhology
    October 5, 2009

    Tyler @197

    once we know a statement to be tautological we know a priori that there is no possibility of it being false. Thus it doesn’t have to be empirically falsifiable.

    Excellent, now we’re getting somewhere.
    That’s why I keep wanting someone to prove materialism/naturalism. Everything depends on the presuppositions, the worldview. (And materialism is a crappy, irrational worldview.)

    you’ve provided no criterion for discerning what is true other than that such a thing being consistent with your preconceived worldview.

    Internal consistency is enough to disqualify any worldview I’ve ever encountered except for mine, so I don’t see much use in arguing farther, really.

    I am wielding it consistently

    Sure you are. “ID needs to be falsifiable. But not the scientific method.” Mmmhmmm.

    Joshua White @198
    Oh no, you’re not getting me into one of those, lol!

    Um, you were the one who made the boneheaded statement, not I. May I suggest the retraction, medium-rare? It goes well with a robust Bella Sera.

    Peace,
    Rhology

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