More Meyer

Yeah… I didnt go see ‘Darwins Dilemma’ last night.

Why?

Because Ive seen EXPELLED.

At least when I watched EXPELLED I was in the comfort of my own home and could do dishes/vacuum/watch other movies when I got bored. But Id be trapped in a theater!

Also, I got no response to my debate request re: Wells HIV/Evolution Denial… I just dont understand why ID Creationists dont want to debate me… :(

Sooo… Youll have to wait for Ians write-up.

Ian has written his view of Meyers talk.
His post actually contains information and complete sentences, not just “AAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA!!!“:

Meyer was in town to hawk his new book, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design. Based on his talk, Meyer is attempting to revive the magic of Darwin’s Black Box; in 1996 Michael Behe argued that there were too many ‘gaps’ in our knowledge of molecular biology, and that these gaps were too big to fill. Behe’s arguments have not aged well; undaunted by his doubts, science has filled many of his gaps, and left his broad generalisations looking rather silly. Nonetheless, Behe’s book provided a very fruitful model – it created the illusion that there was something to the ID argument. Behe’s model was much more successful that the one that Jonathan Wells used in Icons of Evolution (rehash old, debunked ideas and hope no-one notices) or Dembski used in his books (be utterly incomprehensible so that it’s almost impossible to debunk you). Although he seems to have gone for the Behe model, Meyer’s selection lacked Behe’s originality – while Behe blazed new ground for creationists when he addressed molecular biology, Meyer went with an old creationist favourite, the origin of life.

I actually think Meyers choice of ‘origin of life’ was a bold choice. Meyer is not a biologist. I mean, hes got some earth science degree, but ‘Origins’ research is dominated by virologists, astrophysicists, biochemists– waaaaaaay beyond Meyers knowledge base. Waaaaaaaaay off. Behe could bullshit biochem, cause hes a ‘biochemist’, but for a geologist/philosopher to try to bullshit astrophysics… thats bold!!

Meyers unfamiliarity with the topic he wrote a book about was obvious from his presentation. There was no science in his talk. None. We went from quotes from elderly/dead men, to ‘Its like, SO NOT PRO-BABBLY, MAN!’ Meyer used words like ‘protein’ and ‘DNA’, but only to say ‘IS SO NOT PRO-BABBLY PROTEIN EVOLVED! IT PERFECT AND NOT PERFECT MEANS IT DONT WURK!’ ‘DNA AND SCRABBLE DONT WURK! HAHAHA!’

I was waiting (in vain) for him to say something about the RNA world and evolution/population dynamics of RNA populations… but we just got ‘RNA WORLD. NOT PRO-BABBLY!’

The presentation was entirely superficial.

Meyers bullshitting got real funny in the Q&A, when he was asked questions that contained words that he was unfamiliar with, ie the ‘Alu/ERV/pseudogene’ question, which took him 10 minutes to kinda ‘correct’ his stupid answer, and the ribozyme question (ribozyme was the answer to the persons Q. Took Meyer a long time to get to that answer, and he only kinda ‘got it’ after bumbling through 20 other potential (but wrong) answers). Meyer would incorrectly use ‘science words’– there were several times when Ian and I looked at each other and said “That word… I dont think it means what you think it means…” and laughed.

We have a lot of oral tests in grad school. Have to answer questions after our seminars. The most valuable piece of advice I got from an upperclassman, the one piece of advice I give every young ‘un, is “Dont bullshit.” There are people asking you questions that know more about Topic X than you. They are not idiots. They know bullshit when they hear it. Meyers talk/Q&A was like listening to a kid who had a test on ‘Origins’… but played HALO3 all night instead of studying.

To the scientists in the room, he looked like an idiot. Not just an IDiot. For Meyer to stand up and put his name on such shit, yes, I think thats bold.

Comments

  1. #1 Doc Bill
    September 30, 2009

    Remember a few years ago when Dembski got pwn’d by art students at OU?

    Ah, those were the days.

  2. #2 Confused
    September 30, 2009

    I’d call it brave if I thought his intention was to have a rational conversation with scientists. It’s not important if he gets humiliated in front of a few dozen people, his target audience will never read this or, in all likelihood, ever meet anyone even remotely critical of his book, let alone qualified to rubbish his arguments.

  3. #3 Sardine
    September 30, 2009

    Just thought I’d let you know that Yingguang Liu and Charles Soper have published a paper at Answers Research Journal, “,” totally debunking your understanding of ERVs.

    “Most biologists assume endogenous retroviruses are remnants of ancestral germ line infections (Belshaw et al. 2005). Since humans and primates share similar ERVs, not only in sequence but also in position, it is assumed that exogenous retroviruses infected the common ancestor of both (Belshaw et al. 2005; Bonnaud et al. 2005). The best alternative explanation is that orthologous ERVs were created to occupy similar genomic loci in separate species by a single designer to carry out similar physiological functions.”

    I’m guessing about six thousand words of Pure horse shit.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/arj/v2/n1/exogenization-vs-endogenization

  4. #4 JohnV
    September 30, 2009

    The lengths they go to to flesh out “God did it” are astonishing at times.

    On the plus side, if I wash out as a scientist, I guess I can go apply for a job as a “scientist” at the DI or whatever and make shit up for a living.

  5. #5 Dan J
    September 30, 2009

    Heck, I don’t even have a science degree and I think I could probably fake it better than some of these schmoes.

    Keep up the good work, ERV… You rock.

  6. #7 Moderately Unbalanced Squid
    September 30, 2009

    Ian has written his view of Meyers talk. His post actually contains information and complete sentences, not just “AAAAAAAAHAHAHAHA!!!”:

    Great, but sometimes we need someone just to burst out into laughter at these kinds of talks. The Cdesign Proponentists rely on the appearance of serious thought to convince the masses they have a point. Someone literally being laughed at by scientists has to rely on more than just somber appearances to make a point.

    Thx, ERV

  7. #8 Bo Dixen Pedersen
    September 30, 2009

    @Rhology.

    Only if the want to read a completely deluded and out of sync with reality account of what happened.

  8. #9 Sili
    September 30, 2009

    Took Meyer a long time to get to that answer, and he only kinda ‘got it’ after bumbling through 20 other potential (but wrong) answers).

    Yeah … I think I’ve been in those exams.

    Do you think I could get a job shilling for the Discodudes even though I don’t have a ph.d.?

  9. #10 JohnV
    September 30, 2009

    I’m sure that I’m going to regret asking this, but is there a really short explanation for the “Cdesign Proponentists” abomination I see every once in a while? :P

  10. #11 Dr. J
    September 30, 2009

    I’m sure that I’m going to regret asking this, but is there a really short explanation for the “Cdesign Proponentists” abomination I see every once in a while? :P

    In short, creationists are so inept that they can’t even use the “find and replace” feature correctly.

    I used the Judgment Day video in my evolution course yesterday, they had a good chuckle at this transitional fossil.

  11. #12 freelunch
    September 30, 2009

    @Rhology.

    It won’t be from you. You have demonstrated a clear willingness to post erroneous claims, here and on your own blog.

  12. #13 Nomen Nescio
    September 30, 2009

    is there a really short explanation for the “Cdesign Proponentists” abomination I see every once in a while?

    yep.

  13. #14 mds
    September 30, 2009

    I’m sure that I’m going to regret asking this, but is there a really short explanation for the “Cdesign Proponentists” abomination I see every once in a while?

    While modifying a creationist textbook to support Intelligent Design instead, they mostly just replaced every instance of “creationists” with things like “design proponents”. In one case, they only selected the middle of “creationists” before replacing it, and so we ended up with “cdesign proponentsists“. This mistake indicated that the authors considered creationism and ID to be interchangeable, or at least ‘close enough’.

  14. #15 W. Kevin Vicklund
    September 30, 2009

    Slightly longer version, JohnV-

    The ID book Of Pandas and People was published shortly after the 1987 Edwards Supreme Court decision barring “equal time” provisions for creationism. It turns out that there were several drafts written before and after the decision. At one point, the draft immediately before the decision had the word “creationists.” In the next draft, that word was replaced by “cdesign proponentsists,” thus leaving a “transitional fossil” demonstrating that the apparent replacement of creationism with design elsewhere in the book was deliberate.

  15. #16 Art
    September 30, 2009

    #2 has it right.

    The point was to be seen, variously, ‘engaged’ with the science community and to be able to claim to be part of that community, and, to be ‘facing down the inherent religious orthodoxy and bias against free thought’ of the scientific establishment.

    In that sense he could have juggled and made balloon animals. The content of the program and the fact that the vast majority of scientists, particularly those active in the subjects he touches on, laugh and deride his ‘science’ as so sophomoric and wrongheaded that it is unworthy of the term makes no impact.

    He could even plant a person willing to sacrifice their science to their belief and have his make a statement how he was convinced and use this to show how he ‘rocked the scientific establishment’ and ‘changed minds’.

  16. #18 LanceR, JSG
    September 30, 2009

    Rhobot just wants to take the discussion to a forum where *he* controls the stage. Like most of his ilk, he cannot actually stand up to reasoned discussion. Actually getting called on his lies mistakes just gives him the heebie-jeebies.

    Remember, play nice with the Rhobot. If you break it, ERV isn’t going to buy you a new one!

  17. #19 vhutchison
    September 30, 2009

    #16, right on! The DI used OU, with the assistance of the IDEA Club, seen by many as an extension of the Trinity Baptist Church, to add a scientific and educational aura to Meyer’s lecture and the showing of the ID film at the SNOMNH. Had they really wanted to reach a larger audience for the film premier, they would have selected Meacham Auditorium instead of the Museum.

    #12 and for all: My advice is to ignore Rhology as I now will do on blogs and in person, since he is not to be trusted for any any display of honesty, despite his stated deep belief in the Holy Bible.

  18. #20 Doc Bill
    September 30, 2009

    When I was a Young ‘Un one of our ilk gave a seminar, somewhat unprepared. The correct answer to the question was “Gee, I don’t know but I’ll look it up and get back at ya.”

    That’s not what he did. What he did was try to bluff and bullshit himself around the question. Suddenly all the other profs sat up and started to pay attention.

    In short, the presenter was vivisected. Then he was blended, fried, tossed and diced. By the time it was over we were all sweating buckets but thankful It Was Not Us.

    Lesson learned. Seminars were much better the rest of the semester. It was only an hour long but to this day, having forgotten many others, I remember that session.

    Oh, how I would love to see Meyer, Wells, Dembski and Behe in such a forum!

    (Well, we did get to see Behe in court but that was more pathetic than anything else.)

  19. #21 impal
    September 30, 2009

    Rhology, I have read your blog, and isn’t it amazing you hang on the most pathetic arguments?

  20. #22 rbroughton
    September 30, 2009

    In response to my question about first appearance vs. actual origin after the movie, we got
    a) we disagree (with the majority of paleontologists) and
    b) phylogenetic analysis does not work because it is rigged.

    To expand on b, Wells said phylogenetic analyses are run on computers that are programmed to give trees, so they always trees no matter what the data. It was also mentioned (I think by Meyer) that phylogenetic analysis assumes evolution to be true so relationships supporting evolution are a foregone conclusion. Anyone who has ever actually done a real phylogenetic analysis knows that these statements are patently false. Phylogenetic anslysis groups the units according to nested sets of similarities. You can do such an analysis on models of cars (to use their analyogy) and what you get are groups of more and less similar cars. You don’t need to assume anything about evolution. In addition, if the data do not contain sufficient similarities you get an unresolved polytomy (what we informally call a comb). This would look like Wells’ lawn instead of a tree.

    I asked them both about this afterward and it was clear that they knew enough about it to know what they said was not true. So this was not just the usual distortion, it was an outright lie. And they constantly call for civility at these events. A real honorable bunch those DI’ers.

  21. #23 JohnV
    September 30, 2009

    Thanks for the explanations everyone. I was really scared that there would be some non-mocking origin of the term.

  22. #24 StGJM
    October 1, 2009

    @ VHutchison
    IDEA Club being an extension of Trinity Baptist? come now. IDEA was founded 10 years ago at UC San Diego and has chapters on more than 25 University campuses. TBC has a weekly attendance of about 250 locals. Please stick to the science you do know and drop the conspiracy theories. They do not serve as valid arguments for your cause.

    @ RBroughton
    What Meyer said about the phylogenetic analysis was true. It’s amazing that we can determine similarities within animals by comparing sequences in their DNA and group them into categories, but you are not being genuine in your portrayal. Unlike your cars analogy , Phylogenetic Analysis of organisms is utilized to estimate the proposed distance between organisms on an evolutionary tree. This is done by ASSUMING COMMON DESCENT and then plugging in the calculated differences. This assumption of relation is what Meyer was referring to.

    I don’t believe that I have said anything erroneous here but please correct me if I am out of line.

    thank you.

  23. #25 Shirakawasuna
    October 1, 2009

    You have said something out of line, StGJM. You have presumed to know the slightest bit about the generation of phylogenies and then lectured others on the topic despite your ignorance. The only reason phylogenies work is that common descent is true. It is tested every time the analyses are done and, lo and behold, holds true for individual genes in comparison and the sequences between them. When common descent *is* assumed, it’s because it’s demonstrated as such.

    You’d be wise to question yourself more when you find that you’re defending something Stephen C Meyer said. He tends to be wrong and dishonest.

  24. #26 rbroughton
    October 1, 2009

    @StGJM
    Genetic distances simply measure the difference between sequences (e.g., % nucleotides that differ). This is a simple descriptive method, no evolution required. Distances can be converted to graphs (trees) using statistical clustering methods, again no assumptions required.
    Parsimony uses shared derived character states as measures of similarity but does not require any assumption about the source of those similarities.

    What they said was false in detail and false in broader implication. These guys portray themselves to the public as scientists. In science we call what they did academic dishonesty. That’s one of the reasons they don’t have any credibility with real scientists.

  25. #27 Rhology
    October 1, 2009

    vhutchison @19 –

    I love it – now I’m dishonest. I know from other time spent here that I’m an idiot, a moron, a cretin, evil, a servant of a trickster God, spawn… hmm, what else?
    Oh, you probably didn’t know that I have 7 convictions for pædophilia and child rape on my record.

    Anytime you feel like substantiating such accusations, Prof Hutchison, I’d love to see it. Say, a direct quote. Interestingly, I have a perfect example of either your incompetence or your own dishonesty; when we were talking Tuesday night, you told me you’d read my arguments and “they aren’t any good”. Then, mere minutes later I started walking you thru an extremely common argument of mine, three times, and you never showed any sign of understanding it. Were I as charitable as you, I’d already be trumpeting all about how you’re not to be trusted.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  26. #28 P A Nelson
    October 1, 2009

    @StGJM and rbroughton

    From one of the most widely-used textbooks on methods of phylogenetic inference (Hillis et al. 1996, p. 409):

    Use of Models and Assumptions in Phylogenetics

    Although we will deal extensively with specific models of the evolutionary change of molecules, a preliminary discussion of the relevance of models in general is in order at the outset. Phylogenetic inferences are premised on the inheritance of ancestral characteristics, and on the existence of an evolutionary history defined by changes in those characteristics….Although almost all methods accept the appropriateness of a tree-like model of evolution (a strong assumption in itself), many commonly used methods of phylogenetic inference are not explicitly based on a set of evolutionary assumptions. However, the lack of stated assumptions does not mean that a method is assumption-free; the assumptions are simply implicit rather than explicit. For example, the widely used method of maximum parsimony does not depend on a precise model, but believing its results does require one to believe that plausible evolutionary scenarios that could cause it to fail have not take place. It is often argued that it is circular to model character change for the purpose of estimating a phylogeny because we cannot begin to understand the processes of character change without first knowing the tree. We prefer, instead, to think of the problem as one of ‘reciprocal illumination’ (Hennig, 1966)” [from the chapter on phylogenetic inference by David Swofford et al., emphasis added)

    David Hillis et al., Molecular Systematics, 2nd ed. (Sinauer Assoc., 1996).

  27. #29 Ian
    October 1, 2009

    OK, part 1 of my review (of a 338-part series) is up, part 2 will be done some time today.

  28. #30 a lurker
    October 1, 2009

    StGJM:

    @ VHutchison
    IDEA Club being an extension of Trinity Baptist? come now. IDEA was founded 10 years ago at UC San Diego and has chapters on more than 25 University campuses. TBC has a weekly attendance of about 250 locals. Please stick to the science you do know and drop the conspiracy theories. They do not serve as valid arguments for your cause.

    Unless you are a complete idiot you damn well know that Dr. Hutchison was referring to the OU branch which existed before it became affiliated with the so-called “IDEA club” existed as a “Creation Science Society” organization. They basically rebranded which is not surprising that ID is a rebrand itself. I have no idea of the degree of control the Trinity has though.

  29. #31 Dan J
    October 1, 2009

    Rhology bloviated:

    Interestingly, I have a perfect example of either your incompetence or your own dishonesty; when we were talking Tuesday night, you told me you’d read my arguments and “they aren’t any good”. Then, mere minutes later I started walking you thru an extremely common argument of mine, three times, and you never showed any sign of understanding it.

    Your anecdote shows neither incompetence nor dishonesty. It shows someone who obviously sees the inherent worthlessness of your arguments. I suggest that there was no inability to “understand” your argument. I suggest that your argument was worthless to a degree that it was not worth paying any attention to.

  30. #32 vhutchison
    October 1, 2009

    #31. Dan J. You are correct.

  31. #33 impal
    October 1, 2009

    I love that thing about “Assumption of Common Descent,” and thanks to YEC Nelson for dredging out a quote from some textbook. OK Nelson, it’s my assumption vs. yours. Let’s see what you have got.

    Rhology, where do you think that assumption of common descent comes from?

  32. #34 Tommykey
    October 1, 2009

    I know from other time spent here that I’m an idiot, a moron, a cretin,

    I would certainly dispute that. After all, you know how to use a computer! :-)

  33. #35 Tommykey
    October 1, 2009

    By the way, I liked your use of the “æ” in “pædophilia”. It shows a real attention to detail.

  34. #36 rbroughton
    October 1, 2009

    @28 P A Nelson
    The relevant term in the italicized sentence is “phylogenetic inference”. The methods of generating trees do not require any assumption of an evolutionary model. If (big if) a designer created all the phyla (or major groups, or baramins, or whatever you call them) simultaneously and “as different as they can be” (from the movie). You’d get a completely unresolved polytomy, not a tree in any sense of the word. If the genes in some groups were more similar to some and less similar to others, the resulting pattern would then be tree-like, a graphical representation of differential similarity. The methods of phylogenetic analysis do not require any assumption about evolution and the algorithms do not force an evolutionary result.

    The “evolutionary models” are probability statements about the frequencies of various kinds of similarities among DNA sequences. The parameters of these models are derived from the data and reflect the reliability of certain similarities for reflecting the overall similarity among organisms. Nothing inherent in these models requires an evolutionary result.

    Making phylogenetic (evolutionary) inferences from the results is up to the investigator. Such inferences would be well founded based on a large body of knowledge about how genes change through time but are not built in to the method. Similarities among organisms are often interpreted as synapomorphies, (technically, shared derived character states) but essentially similarities due to common ancestry. But tree-like results simply reflect a nested hierarchy of similarities among organisms. Linneaus was a creationist but his system of classification recognized the hierarchical similarities of life.

    In the context of my question and the response from Wells and Meyer, I suggested that an abundance of evidence paleontological and molecular indicated that many of the groups in question originated before the Cambrian. They said the molecular data are wrong because phylogenetic analyses are rigged. The molecular data perfectly fit predictions made by evolution. Their answer was simply a deliberately misleading attempt to impugn a method that does not conform to their preconceived notions about the origin of the Cambrian taxa.

  35. #37 Rhology
    October 1, 2009

    lurker @30 –
    I have no idea of the degree of control the Trinity has though.

    We control the entire city of Norman, actually, if you want to know the truth. Even the Dept of Zoo at OU is on our payroll, but they don’t know it, which makes us chuckle as we sign the cheques.

    vhutchison @32 –
    So *I’m* dishonest for some unspecified reason, but when you say you’ve read my arguments and know them well enough to know they are no good, and then completely fail to even understand one of the most basic ones in a face-to-face convo, you’re off scot-free, eh? Unvarnished character, that.

    impal @33 –
    Materialistic presuppositions.

    Tommy @35 –
    Thanks! I keep an ALT + code chart taped to my monitor b/c I often write in other Romance languages. :-D

  36. #38 Dan J
    October 1, 2009

    So *I’m* dishonest for some unspecified reason, but when you say you’ve read my arguments and know them well enough to know they are no good, and then completely fail to even understand one of the most basic ones in a face-to-face convo, you’re off scot-free, eh? Unvarnished character, that.

    If you presented arguments for a hollow earth (ala Brooks Agnew), I would be of the opinion that you were, indeed, a crackpot of the highest order. Prof. Hutchison seems to (rightly) view you as such a person.

    If you then approached me with further arguments, I would most likely ignore you. If it went further, I would most likely petition a court for a restraining order.

    Claiming that the good professor does not understand your arguments does not make it so, nor does it make your arguments valid. It could very well imply that your arguments are so laughably absurd that they are truly incomprehensible to anyone not suffering from delusions similar to your own.

  37. #39 impal
    October 1, 2009

    Rhology,

    impal @33 –
    Materialistic presuppositions.

    You mean all the way back to Linnaeus?

  38. #40 Eric Saveau
    October 1, 2009

    Rhobot-

    Oh, you probably didn’t know that I have 7 convictions for pædophilia and child rape on my record.

    That truly would not be surprising. It would be perfectly consistent with the character you’ve demonstrated thus far.

  39. #41 Ritchie Annand
    October 1, 2009

    Rho, why do you seem to figure that blowing peoples’ opinions of you out to comically criminal proportions in any way invalidates those original opinions?

  40. #42 P A Nelson
    October 1, 2009

    @36rbroughton

    The molecular data perfectly fit predictions made by evolution.

    “The recurring discovery of persistently unresolved clades (bushes) should force a re-evaluation of several widely-held assumptions of molecular systematics.” (Rokas and Carroll 2006, p. 1900). The paper is available here:

    http://people.vanderbilt.edu/~antonis.rokas/pdfs/2006_Rokas_Bushes_PLOSBiol.pdf

  41. #43 Brian Foley
    October 1, 2009

    @P A Nelson
    ===
    The molecular data perfectly fit predictions made by evolution.

    “The recurring discovery of persistently unresolved clades (bushes) should force a re-evaluation of several widely-held assumptions of molecular systematics.” (Rokas and Carroll 2006, p. 1900). The paper is available here:

    http://people.vanderbilt.edu/~antonis.rokas/pdfs/2006_Rokas_Bushes_PLOSBiol.pdf
    ===

    Yes, excellent example of the perfect fit between the fossil record, the theory of modification and descent with selection, and the molecular data. All of them show that there are some “bursts” of evolution, when a particularly successful lineage spreads out in many directions (and not just 2 directions) from a common ancestor.

  42. #44 LanceR, JSG
    October 1, 2009

    Rho, why do you seem to figure that blowing peoples’ opinions of you out to comically criminal proportions in any way invalidates those original opinions?

    At a guess, either pathetically low self-esteem fishing for compliments, or a really bad attempt at reductio ad absurdem.

    Either way, it’s just sad.

  43. #45 Doc Bill
    October 1, 2009

    Hey, someone used the phrase “intellectual dishonesty” and Paul Nelson showed up!

    Like a moth to a flame.

  44. #46 Reed
    October 1, 2009

    Paul Nelson…

    Paul Nelson mentioned how he was looking into having an open discussion area for the content of “Explore Evolution”.

    lol. Guess he didn’t die in a horrible quote mine explosion after all.

  45. #47 386sx
    October 1, 2009

    I’m not sure if it’s technically a quote mine because he let the quote mine do all the talking and he didn’t actually expound on anything himself. He was probably just pointing out some controversies. :P (I guess.)

    Once bitten, twice shy, as they say…

  46. #48 Rhology
    October 1, 2009

    why do you seem to figure that blowing peoples’ opinions of you out to comically criminal proportions in any way invalidates those original opinions?

    Actually, it was originally a bit of a joke. Only later did I realise its utility in drawing out how evil and gratuitously nasty some of you can be. Mission accomplished!

  47. #49 Dan J
    October 1, 2009

    Only later did I realise its utility in drawing out how evil and gratuitously nasty some of you can be.

    So what. What’s your point? Do you consider the fact that some of us can be “evil” (in your judgement) and “gratuitously nasty” (also in your judgement) has any bearing on the merits, or lack thereof, of your arguments?

  48. #50 Eric Saveau
    October 2, 2009

    evil and gratuitously nasty

    A fair description of RhoBot.

  49. #51 Bo Dixen Pedersen
    October 2, 2009

    After all the comments I’ve read on this blog from Rhology it seems to me he’s so delusional he actually reads and understands things in an unique way. Best to ignore his comments I gather. You have to visit Rhologyworld to understand anything.

  50. #52 lurk mcguirk
    October 2, 2009

    Best to ignore his comments I gather. You have to visit Rhologyworld to understand anything.

    Did that (read his blog). Found it lacking coherence. But, in that he/she/bot is certainly consistent. I agree, though. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of vanity blogs, shouting me, me, me into the void. Why encourage the behavior by validating any of their bleatings with responses? It’s best to follow Rep. Frank’s advice and not waste time beating one’s head against dining room tables. Not trying to be a concern troll at all. But I’ve not once seen the guy enter into any kind of discussion about the evidence. It’s just this grabass game of intro to logic gotcha. At least (and this is a very, very small) at least, the wacko AIDs denialists who post here cite to journals (which they frequently misrepresent). But at least that’s something to respond to.

  51. #53 Dan L.
    October 2, 2009

    @P.A. Nelson:

    As others have pointed out, Linnaeus grouped living organisms into trees long before evolution was even considered. Surely he wasn’t working from the assumption that evolution is true.

    What is absolutely spectacular — one of the greatest scientific discoveries of the 20th century — is that when we study similarities and differences between the genotypes of organisms (without reference to evolution — merely looking at the “distance” of one genome to another) we get pretty much the same tree Linnaeus did looking at phenotypes.

    Why is this so spectacular? Well, Darwin’s theory of evolution explained why Linnaeus, without even trying, had been constructing phylogenetic trees hundreds of years before anyone had even considered anything like evolution. However, Darwin did not have a robust theory of heredity.

    Genetics offered such a theory. However, if trees based on genomes did not match closely to trees based on phenotypes, evolution would have been falsified (Rhology, are you paying attention? That’s a specific point at which evolution could have been — but wasn’t — falsified).

    To Linnaeus, classification was simply a way of organizing information about the natural world. He hadn’t any conception of the causality behind his organizational model. Darwin provided an explanation for why that organizational model makes sense: that the tree structure of the Linnaean classification system was actually a giant family tree. Good evidence that the Linnaean tree was in actuality a family tree, however, had to wait until we understood more about heredity. The facts that traits are inherited through genes and that a tree of differences between genomes fits nearly perfectly over the Linnaean tree are not dependent on the assumption of evolution — they are simply one of the most compelling single pieces of evidence for it.

  52. #54 Chayanov
    October 2, 2009

    Not trying to be a concern troll at all. But I’ve not once seen the guy enter into any kind of discussion about the evidence. It’s just this grabass game of intro to logic gotcha.

    To be fair, creationists do seem to be rather fond of playing grabass.

  53. #55 Tyler DiPietro
    October 2, 2009

    “But I’ve not once seen the guy enter into any kind of discussion about the evidence. It’s just this grabass game of intro to logic gotcha.”

    Occasionally he will attempt to argue on the basis of evidence. However, such cases are usually preludes to him claiming that the evidence doesn’t matter because he can think of extremely ad hoc ways to reconcile the evidence with some unfalsifiable concept of a creator.

  54. #56 Tyler Clark
    October 4, 2009

    It seems any theory can be questioned or criticized, but not Darwin’s…gee, I wonder why???

  55. #57 386sx
    October 4, 2009

    Tyler Clark, you’re making it sound like professional creationists don’t attack idiotic strawman theories of their own fantasies, or that they don’t willfully act like boneheaded clowns out of pure spite, or that they don’t worship deities that fly like tweety birdies up up into the sky, or that they aren’t pining for the glory they once had during the 10th freakin century. Gee, I wonder why!

  56. #58 386sx
    October 4, 2009

    or that they don’t willfully act like boneheaded clowns out of pure spite

    Sorry, I should have said egregiously stupid instead of boneheaded clowns. Sorry about that!

  57. #59 slpage
    October 4, 2009

    Hi Paul N,

    I just sent this to env:

    =========

    Hello,

    I read the account from Norman, OK, by Jon Wells, wherein he wrote:

    “Even then, different molecules—or the same molecule analyzed by different labs—can give different trees.”

    I did my graduate research on the molecular phylogenetics of Primates. I understand that analyzing ‘the same molecule’ can produce differing trees, and I understand why. But merely calling them ‘different’ and implicitly declaring the entire field unreliable is a monumentally disingenuous thing to do. I have heard such charges made before – charges along the lines of it is ‘researcher bias’ and the like which really determines the outcomes of such analyses.

    As Mr. Wells seems to believe this, or at least wants his target audience to believe this, I have a challenge for him.

    I have some unpublished DNA sequence data from a number of species, all from the ‘same molecule’. I have aligned and analyzed the data and have my own ‘biased’ trees. I will send Mr. Wells my raw data, devoid of any potential bias-inducing information (such as the taxa from which the DNA came) . Seeing as how he is a PhD. prepared molecular biologist who has made statements about molecular phylogenetics (implying experience in the field), it should be easy for Mr. Wells to produce his own unbiased alignment and phylogenetic analysis. Then we can compare results. If Mr. Wells’ implications have merit, our results should be substantially different, and he will have actually supported his position.

    I should also add that while the programs I am aware of do not have an explicit option for producing trees with ‘unrelated’ taxa in their outputs, one with introductory-level experience with the operation will know that an ‘unrelated’ taxon could be identified by its placememt in the resulting tree.

    If Mr.Wells is amenable to taking this ‘challenge’, please let me know.

    Sincerely,

    Scott L. Page

    ===========================

    I sent essentially the same challenge to you* several years ago via Helen Fryman on the CARM discussion board. I even sent you the file. But I never got a reply.

    Why is it that you folks prefer arguing via quote and assertion to actually testing your proclamations?

    *pretty sure it was you, could have been Wells

  58. #60 Travis
    October 4, 2009

    Tyler Clark, well, to start off scientists have questioned Darwin’s theories for a long time. Hell, they even showed he was wrong about things. Of course, they also have found that a lot of it was right. But I assume you really meant evolution and not Darwin’s theory specifically. But perhaps your conflation of those two things says something about your knowledge of this field.

    So, can justify your position that it cannot be criticized. I mean, no one is stopping anyone from doing so, people on this very thread have criticized it, as they have on many threads here. Of course that does not mean they are correct. As 386sx said often they do not really attack evolution but some strawman version, but even if evolution is attacked it is usually wrong, I have yet to see a convincing argument.

    But feel free to try if you want, just do not feel bad if people rip your ideas apart. Do not mistake that as not allowing it.

  59. #61 rbroughton
    October 5, 2009

    @42 PA Nelson
    Wells said phylogenetic computer programs are written to force results in the form of trees. Who’s side are you on?

  60. #62 slpage
    October 6, 2009

    The very next sentence from Nelson’s quoted paper:

    “Now, as the field is transformed from a data-limited to
    an analysis-limited discipline, it is an
    opportune time to do so.”

    The authors also go on to discuss the causes of some of the discrepencies sometimes observed, but Paul and pals are not interested uin understanding anything, they just want to cast doubt.

  61. #63 Ron Vogeler
    October 13, 2009

    Did intelligence show up to understand how life was created? It would seem there was no intelligence allowed at OU.
    Please Tell me how ” dead matter” became “a living cell”?

    How does dead things evolve in to “livings”? Only answer is by intelligent design. Dead things only evolve unto dead things without ID. Living things create more living things.

  62. #64 Travis
    October 13, 2009

    Ron #63
    First, how do you know the only answer is intelligent design? You do not present an argument, all you do is make assertions. There are lots of people working on abiogenesis, how as you say “dead matter” becomes a “living cell” well, how life comes about at least, if not actually a cell. Are you familiar with any of that work?

    Come back when you can actually form an argument and show that you know anything about the topic.

  63. #65 eddie
    October 14, 2009

    Aaah! It’s all clear to me now. Them nasty evil darwinathiests went back in a time machine and made poor linn&ligae;us put all the creatures in a nesting hierarchyto test our fiath.

  64. #66 Stephen Wells
    October 15, 2009

    @63: a sugar cube is “dead matter”. Eat one. Dead matter will become part of your living cells. Woooooo, spooooky.

    Vitalism is dead; life is _chemistry_. Living is a process, not a magic blue glow.